All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.

Monday Mission – Play to Win

by pizzaranchadmin on November 30, 2015

There was a time in most of our lives when we had no fear-that feeling when we jumped from the jungle gym and slammed our little bodies to the ground. Perhaps it was when we went on our first roller coaster, or when we were in high school or college and felt that there was nothing we couldn’t do. No goal was unattainable. We were an unstoppable force that would think of something and then make it happen. Then, as time goes by, the world tells us more frequently that we can’t do what we want. The doubters laugh at our goals and try to persuade us from going after our dreams.

They say, “You’re crazy. It’s too hard. Why don’t you do this instead? You should play it safe.” They act as if dreams were meant for others but not people like us. They surround us with negative energy and try to instill their own fears and insecurities in us. We not only begin to know the word “fear,” we start to understand what it’s like to be fearful. With so many people telling us we can’t do something and so few telling us we can, it’s hard not to let fear into our lives. Unfortunately this is how many of us go through life.

Whether you are 20 or 50, many of us become so scared of losing what we have that we don’t go after what we truly want. We play it safe and hold on so tight to the status quo that we never experience what could be. We believe the doubters and don’t take chances that will move us one step towards our dreams. I call this “playing to lose.”

We see this in sports all the time when a team has the lead. They start to think about how not to lose instead of how to win. They hold on so tight to their lead that they start playing safe and scared. You can see it in their energy and body language. As a result the other team takes chances, plays with no fear and eventually gains the momentum and wins.

To live a life filled with positive energy we must learn to repel the energy of fear. Whether it comes from within or from another person, we must overcome fear and adopt a “Play to Win” mindset. Playing to win requires a commitment to yourself that even if you fail, you will never give up and never let your goals and dreams die.

Those who play to win know that success is not given to us. It is pursued with all the energy and sweat we can muster. Obstacles and struggles are part of life and only serve to make us appreciate our success.

If everything came easy we wouldn’t know what it felt like to truly succeed. Obstacles are meant to be overcome. Fear is meant to be conquered. Success is meant to be achieved. They are all part of the game of life and the people who succeed play to win and never give up until the game is over.

-Jon Gordon

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Friday Devotional – Thanksgiving

by pizzaranchadmin on November 27, 2015

Do you ever wonder how to get closer to God?  Or to be able to pray without ceasing?  I believe it starts with a thankful heart.  When we thank God throughout our day, not only does it help us pray more often, but it also provides a solid foundation of many other prayers.  It’s the beginning of that relational part of our walk with Him.  When we practice thankfulness, it becomes contagious.  As we draw near to Him with a grateful heart, He fills us with Joy.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

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Thursday Video – Thank You God

by pizzaranchadmin on November 26, 2015

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Stories of Impact – Yankton, SD

by pizzaranchadmin on November 25, 2015


SPRINGFIELD – Jon Fleek could only wait helplessly while a fellow soldier was caught in Taliban fire during a mission in Afghanistan.

Heavy support arrived for relief, and the medic returned with the wounded Afghan soldier.

“Our medic didn’t say anything, and he just had this look on his face,” Fleek said. “Then I looked at his front side, and he was covered in blood. All his medical pouches were hit with bullets, but he wasn’t hit himself. All the blood on him came from the Afghan soldier.”

Fleek’s sense of relief turned to frustration when the medic didn’t receive any formal commendation or other recognition for his heroism.

“From that moment, I promised that, if I could ever help it, I would see that a veteran got the recognition he deserved,” Fleek said.

Fleek now works as a corrections officer at Mike Durfee State Prison in Springfield. Keeping his promise to himself, he provided free food Wednesday to fellow MDSP corrections officers who were veterans and working on Veterans Day.

“Our staff has veterans of wars ranging from Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan. We had about a dozen of them that were working on Veterans Day,” he said.

“This day is really for them. They don’t get a lot of recognition, and I wanted to give them what they should be getting.”


Fleek wasn’t scheduled to work Veterans Day as part of his alternating holiday schedule. He devoted his day off to his fellow veterans rather than use it for personal time or relaxation.

He came up with the idea of providing a free meal. He received permission from prison officials, but he needed to change course with his plans.

“I talked about providing a catered or home-cooked meal, but time just flew by and I didn’t get it done,” he said. “Then, I thought about buying doughnuts or pizzas. At the last minute, my mom (Julie Fleek) and I threw it together.”

Even those plans took a new direction, Fleek said.

“I was going to pay for it out of my own pocket,” he said. “My mom said I should contact local businesses for donations.”

Julie Fleek took on the task of soliciting food donations.

“I live in Tea, and I thought of Pizza Ranch (in Yankton) because our (franchise) in Tea donates food for things,” she said. “I called up (the Yankton restaurant) and asked about it. They said, sure, they would provide 15 pizzas. I was surprised. I wasn’t expecting that kind of response.”

The Fleeks found similar positive responses from area businesses. Casey’s convenience store in Springfield donated doughnuts and cookies for breakfast, while Buche’s grocery store in Tyndall donated meat and cheese trays.

In addition, two Springfield financial institutions donated to the cause. First Savings Bank donated pop, paper plates and napkins bought at Doug’s Food Center in Springfield. The Services Center Federal Credit Union donated $35 for gas and other expenses.

“I was really surprised,” Jon Fleek said.

He started his marathon day of deliveries before sunrise. He picked up the doughnuts and cookies at 5:30 a.m. and delivered it for the prison’s morning shift. He arrived in Yankton during late morning, picking up pizzas for the prison guards’ lunch. He made a return trip to Yankton in the afternoon, picking up the rest of the pizzas for the guards working the evening and overnight shifts.

Pizza Ranch co-manager Becky Plautz said the restaurant was happy to be part of the project.

“This is a great cause, and we’re happy to do it,” she said. “It’s our way of saying ‘thank you’ for (the veterans’) service. They do so much for us, and they deserve it.”

While he had indicated his intentions of bringing free food, Fleek said his arrival still surprised the guards. But his fellow corrections officers were grateful and literally ate up his offerings.

Fleek thinks it made a difference that the token of appreciation came from a fellow corrections officer.

“Veterans are not generally big on taking handouts,” he said. “When it comes to businesses offering free meals, the veterans are humble. They don’t go looking for free meals, but (the MDSP officers) knew who I was and why I was doing it.”

Fleek saw the gesture as part of his nature.

“I have always been more of a liking to give than receive,” he said. “And being a veteran myself, it would mean a lot if someone brought me something.”


Veterans Day holds a special meaning for Fleek, as he comes from a family of veterans including his father and younger brother.

Jon sees his fellow MDSP veterans as continuing their sense of military duty to a different arena with their prison work.

“These men served their country, and now they’re serving their state. They’re still in uniform,” he said. “I think, once you join the military and get used to doing something for the greater good, it’s hard to get out of that (sense of service). Law enforcement is a good calling for that person.”

Jon no longer serves in the military. However, he continues watching developments in Afghanistan and other hot spots around the globe.

The United States faces a continued battle in the war on terror, particularly in Afghanistan, he said.

“A lot of people don’t pay attention to it anymore,” he said. “It’s just go on so much that people are putting in on the backburner.”

For that reason, Fleek has strengthened his resolve to give veterans the recognition they deserve – even something as simple as providing the free Veterans Day meal on Wednesday.

“For the corrections officers, I hope it’s a morale booster for them and gives them a lift,” he said.

“When you work at the prison, a holiday is just another day. I want my fellow officers and veterans to feel recognized on this day.”

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Tuesday Truth – Psalm 106

by pizzaranchadmin on November 24, 2015

psalm 106Psalm 106 leads me to think seriously about my sin and because of that to think seriously about my Savior.   As you read Psalm 106 think about the sins of Israel.   Think about their unbelief; ingratitude; craving other things above God; rebellion; complaining at trials; serving false gods; despising God’s blessings; and selfish living.   Then turn from those sins and think of the cross.   Thank God for the forgiveness offered in the cross and praise Him for his love.


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Monday Mission – Give Thanks

by pizzaranchadmin on November 23, 2015

Give Thanks

This week is Thanksgiving.   As a nation we will celebrate with family, we will express our gratitude to and for our loved ones; but this week I would encourage you to direct your thanks to the one from whom all blessings come.   Take some extra time this week to thank the Lord for what He has done.

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Friday Devotional – Surrender

by pizzaranchadmin on November 20, 2015

“For I know the plans I have for you.” Declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”  ~Jeremiah 29:11

How Do I Surrender?  By Regi Campbell

I’ve thought a lot about this idea of surrendering. It’s a word that isn’t used much in our culture. It’s almost anti-American to think of surrendering….to anyone or anything.

Here’s what I’ve come to understand. Surrender is what you do when you have NO OTHER OPTIONS. No army surrenders to the enemy unless or until it has absolutely nothing left….no resources….no new ideas…when the only choice that includes a chance of survival is surrender.

And that’s why it’s so hard for us. We always have other options. We can always “tough it out”, “work a little harder”, or our default …..“Let’s wait and see what happens”.

You see, life is a lot simpler than we make it. Day in and day out, we’re faced with decisions…usually only one at a time. (We may be thinking about a lot of things, but we can actually only process one decision at a time).

If we’ve been in church or read the Bible much, we can think “What would Jesus have me do?” and we’ll get an answer pretty quick. But then the hard part comes, because “what Jesus would have me do” is often different from what we want to do. It will usually cost us more time and energy, it’ll be harder to do, it will be riskier, and it’ll sometimes put you at odds with other people….sometimes with the people you love the most.

Jesus revealed His life purpose when He said “I have come so that they might have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10b). “Having life” means eternal life, which began the day we confessed with our lips and believed in our hearts that Jesus is God’s son. But the “having life to the full” part is what I think most of us miss.

I believe that “life to the full” is obtained by living life in a collaborative way with God. You have “life to the full” by facing everything you do and every decision you make in threes, not twos. Let me explain. It’s not me and the decision about taking that new job….it’s me, God, and that decision.

It’s not me and the decision as to who I’m going to lunch with. It’s me, God, and the choice of my lunch partner. Over and over, He leads me to lunch with people where there is a spiritual discussion and I end up with some opportunity for influence. Now it may sound silly, but I believe God wants to be that involved in our lives. And I believe that when we pause and ask Him, He’ll point us toward a specific answer almost every time.

And that’s where surrender comes in.

If we ask and He answers, then we have a decision to make. Will we do what we want to do? Or will we obey? Will we surrender? The “Christian walk” that we’ve heard so much about all these years is about this collaborative approach to life. Not just the big things, but the things that seem little at the time.

There’s two “surrenders” in every situation. First, we have to remember to include God in every situation. That involves a bit of surrender…to slow down our agenda to make it His too. And then the actual surrender to His leading, whether it’s what we want to do or not.


What can we expect if we surrender? I mean, in the longer run…

Peace. Fulfillment. Meaning. Rewards. Fruit. Usefulness to God. Joy.

It takes the pressure off of life.

I live, not one day at a time, but one decision at a time.

Assess the situation or decision. Pray. Obey.

That’s surrender.

Question:  What does surrender look like in your life?

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. ~Philippians 4:5

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Thursday Video – Follow You

by pizzaranchadmin on November 19, 2015

God uses us to touch the lives of those who need a loving hand, a loving heart, a word from the Lord. Follow you is a song which exemplifies this. While you are watching this, although the setting is Cambodia, think of and pray for our team from Pizza Ranch who are in Jamaica, touching the lives of those in need.



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Stories of Impact – Clinton, IA

by pizzaranchadmin on November 18, 2015

One way one of our Pizza Ranches are making a difference.

clintonEvan Kramer (left) and Ryan Wynn, Pizza Ranch management team, help promote charity in Clinton by offering a 50-cent discount to anyone who donates to the Great Food Drive, a community-wide food donation for the Victory Center’s Great Thanksgiving Banquet at Ashford University in Clinton.

“It takes about a week to get people involved, but once they do we have people bringing in buckets of stuff,” Wynn said. “I would say two out of every three customers is bringing in at least one item, which is so helpful. I think as a community having everybody pitch in to help makes it all the better.”

The Great Food Drive isn’t the only way Pizza Ranch tries to promote giving to others. In addition to its commitment to the drive, Wynn said the company’s Monday night fundraisers are a big hit among the community. (Excerpt from the Clinton Herald)

Thank you.

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Tuesday Truth – Who You Are

by pizzaranchadmin on November 17, 2015

“You cannot be anything you want to be—but you can be a lot more of who you already are.” (StengthsFinder 2.0; Tom Rath)

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