Monday, January 24, 2011

The Prodigal Son

I loved the video above. It will put tears in your eyes! It was filmed by Alex Meinert

Of course Luke 15:11-32 and the story of the Prodigal Son is one of the most beloved stories and teaching ever given by Jesus.

We remember the father of the prodigal son never stopped looking for the son, and he prayed for him and even though that young man had squandered away his inheritance, lived a scandalous life, and ended up living with the pigs.

Fortunately, the story didn’t end with the son’s leaving. Times of rejoicing were yet to be written when he fully returned. Our Heavenly Father longingly is watching for the return of his wandering children.

Here's why favorite part of the story.

"And he ran and embraced his son, and kissed him” (Luke 15:20)

Here we see the Father of the prodigal son running down the road to find his estranged son. When this story was told by Jesus to first century hearers they would have been shocked by this statement; a patriarch (or respectable father of a community) does not gird himself, pulling up his garments, and run. But this is what the father did when he left his place of honor to go to his shameful son. The father became worthless to bestow honor on his son that was deserving of little just as Jesus became poor to make those who are poor very rich. (2 Cor. 8:9)

Our Father is willing to leave His lofty place of honor and run to us in your weakness. He runs full speed to show mercy when our heart is seemingly filled with lust, anger, greed, and hate?. He is willing to crucify His reputation to give dignity to us.

The God of the Bible runs undignified to give value to the broken prodigals and wayward children who aren’t deserving. Lift up your eyes, He is running to you now.

God bless,
Robert Prater

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Check out the video above which features Trey Canard. Trey and his mother and young brother are members of the Central Church of Christ congregation where I preach.

Trey is a professional motocross champion. But more importantly, Trey is using his talents and skills and opportunities before thousands of people each weekend as he rides to share God’s Word. Despite ridicule, Trey continues to put God first in his life and on the podium. He and his family are a wonderful blessing to our Central church family.

Also check out this link

This is a great article and interview that Bobby Ross and the Christian Chronicle have on him in the February 2011 issue. Trey talks more about his faith and how he considers motocross his ministry to reach others for Christ. He also talks about some of the challenges and obstacles he had faced including the tragic death of his father

Trey is active in leading singing and reading scripture and helping with our teens. As a matter of fact, he is probably going to be the guest preacher when Central hosts the AWTG next year on April 6, 2011.

Robert Prater

'This is what the Lord made me for' — motocross champion Trey Canard
By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle
January 7, 2011


SHAWNEE, Okla. - Out of his racing uniform, Trey Canard seems an unassuming presence, especially for someone known for performing high-speed, bone-jarring exploits in front of 30,000 to 60,000 fans.

However, the toughness and quiet confidence of the 5-foot-6, 150-pound Canard shine through as he reflects on his motorcycle racing career and the long list of injuries he has overcome.

“Yeah, I’ve broken my wrists four times,” said the 20-year-old professional motocross racer, the reigning national champion in the sport’s 250 class of smaller cycles. “I’ve broken my collarbone twice. I’ve broken my femur.”

That’s not to mention nagging little injuries involving fingers and toes, ankle sprains and “stuff of that sort.”

Given all the painful spills, what keeps him climbing back on the bike?

Must be the thrills, right?

Yeah, that’s part of it.

But for Canard, the passion to race goes deeper than that.

“I believe this is what the Lord made me for,” he told The Christian Chronicle. “This is my talent. This is my ministry, I believe, so that gives me hope. And I just really enjoy it. The good stuff outweighs the bad stuff for me.”

When Canard achieved his most superb feat on wheels last fall, fellow members of the Central Church of Christ — many of whom have fallen in love with the Speed channel — cheered at the top of their lungs.

“Amazingly, Trey won five of the final seven races of the season to overcome a 57-point deficit to win his first career motocross championship,” said Robert Prater, pulpit minister of the Central church, a 250-member congregation about 35 miles east of Oklahoma City.

“But more than being a great rider, Trey always gives glory to God and has such a strong faith,” Prater added. “He is a great role model for young people from all around the world.”

Apparently, he’s a role model for older people, too.

“I get these older women — 70 and 80 years old — and they’re telling me that they’re watching me ride a motorcycle,” said Canard, who leads singing, reads Scriptures and helps with the youth group at the Central church. “It’s kind of funny.”

As a new season of indoor and outdoor racing begins, Canard will again spend about 30 Saturdays on the road from January through September.

This year, he’s moving up to a bigger class of bikes. He’ll ride a Honda CRF450.

Raised in western Oklahoma, he started racing at age 3 when his late father, Roy Canard, built him a tiny, single-speed cycle that topped out at 20 mph.

By age 9, Trey signed his first racing contract.

“Then it kind of got a little more serious,” he said with a laugh. “It’s funny how quickly we kind of have to become professionals.”

For the first 18 years of his life, Canard and his family lived in Elk City, Okla., where they attended the Second and Adams Church of Christ. “That will always kind of be my home congregation,” he said.

Roy Canard, a motocross fanatic, died in a tragic accident when Trey was 12. Trey’s father was using a front-end loader to clear rocks from a small track where Trey and his older brother Aaron, now 24, practiced. The family doesn’t know exactly what happened, but Trey’s mother, Kari Canard, found the tractor upside down on her husband.

“My dad was a huge part of my racing. He got me riding,” Trey said. “It was his passion, and he kind of passed it on to myself and my brother.

“He was just a great man, a strong Christian man, and really my inspiration to be a strong character for Christ. … It’s unfortunate that I lost him when I was a young kid. … When I feel down or sad about that, I’ve just got to remember that God knows what he’s doing.”

Focus. Heart. Effort. Fun. Dedication. Put them all together and they equal this: Success.

That’s the message on a whiteboard in a large metal building on the rural property near Shawnee where Canard lives with his mother and younger brother, Jaxon, 9.

At the end of a gravel road but just a few miles from Interstate 40, this is where Canard hangs out in the offseason. Here, trophies and motorcycles, including the tiny one that his father made him, mix with weight equipment that the motocross champion uses to keep in shape.

Two years ago, Canard used his own cash to buy this property, which includes a house and an outdoor practice track.

“I’m making a decent living,” he said. “I’m thankful for that, and I know that’s a blessing. I try to give back any way that I can.”

Said Prater, the Central minister: “Kari and Trey are very generous givers and always are willing to help out those in need.”

The Canards didn’t want to leave Elk City, but it was a two-hour drive to Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City.

Since he flies nearly every week, Canard wanted to be closer. Shawnee, a city of about 30,000, is roughly 45 minutes from the airport.

What he didn’t know when he moved to Shawnee, Canard said, was what a terrific congregation he’d stumble upon.

He didn’t go out of his way to tell Central members about his profession, but word spread.

“I normally don’t like to talk about it too much at the congregation. I kind of like to stay to my worship, you know, the reason we’re there,” he said. “But people ask me what’s my job and am I in school, and it kind of came up like that.

“So it’s just a neat thing, and I feel like it’s been a blessing in my life, and it’s brought me really close to a lot of great people in our congregation. I think everyone’s enjoyed it, so it’s been fun.”

The church also has embraced Trey’s mother and brother Jaxon, who’s active in the Leadership Training for Christ program.

“We’re not anything special, I don’t think,” Kari Canard said. “It’s funny because no matter where we seem to live, people young and old get pretty excited about motocross.

“I’ve signed up so many people for the Speed channel that I should be getting a kickback on it,” she joked.

Scriptural references on his crossbar pad help Canard maintain his Christian focus.

Verses such as Philippians 4:13 (“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”) provide inspiration and motivation.

In his podium speeches, Canard — whose cycle is No. 41, like his dad’s — always gives God the credit for his success.

“A lot of people think of motocross and motorcycle riders, and they’re associated with tattoos and drinking and partying and all that stuff,” Canard said. “So I think anything I can do … is hopefully well-accepted and good.

“Christianity, especially in the Church of Christ, gets a label of being kind of boring or not cool, just all these rules. I just hope my story kind of shows teens and people in general that … you can use your talents to glorify God.”

Given the hard knocks of a sport where age 35 is considered ancient, the Oklahoma church member knows his racing career won’t last forever.

When he stops revving his motor, though, he has an inkling what he’d like to do.

“I’d like to be a youth minister or just work in a church,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed a lot of the youth ministers I’ve had and people who were really crucial to my Christian walk. And I feel like I could be an asset someday in the church."