By Rev Don Rivers
Each of us is valuable in God’s eyes. We all have the same value. Now we don’t all have the same usefulness to God but that is a subject for another day. Do we know our value to God? Racing with Jesus Ministries mission is to help those in the racing community know the value they have before God. We are here for the purpose of helping everyone know they are valuable to God. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
A few weeks back we said goodbye to Zach at New York International Raceway Park. A nine-year-old that had a love for racing. He had a challenging life, one filled with medical issues, but he loved being at the track. You could see the excitement and joy in his eyes. Today Zach is home in heaven with His Heavenly Father, fully healed and hurting no more. God reveals in His word the special place children hold in His heart.
Mark 11:13-16; NLT; One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.
When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.
This same encounter is recorded in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. God indicates to us that even children have value in His eyes. So much so he says unless you receive the Kingdom of God like a child you will never enter it. Through the eyes of a child. Think of the excitement, the joy, the wonder and amazement we get when we see things through the eyes of a child. Think of the cynicism and negativity that children do not possess. Yes, there is always hope and wonder in the eyes of a child.
We are all children of God. We head out to the racetracks to try and help people find that wonder and amazement that God offers them. The intrinsic value he placed in each of us. We seek to walk alongside and guide the discovery of what our Father in Heaven has for each of us. Let’s take a little journey with some of our chaplains.
Todd Heft shares; “Often we, our family, plan camping around Racing with Jesus Ministries races. It usually means a shorter drive to and from the track and less time away from the family. Win-win!
When the schedule for 2021 was first forming in February and March I saw there was two events in Maine this past weekend. There was no question in my mind we should go up there. After talking with Don Rivers, we made a plan on camping together. Even up until a week or two ago we both were planning on attending the Whelen Modified Tour event. Well, there was a pair of NEMA races without a chaplain so we decided to divide and conquer; Instead of being at one track I’d head up to Wiscasset and bring my oldest son with me.
There was a slight detour. On the horizon loomed a hurricane. So instead of a few extra days away we rolled back home after the race arriving at 2am this morning. It gave me a rare chance to attend church and truly worship and not serve as a techy.
None of it sounds especially remarkable until you see the details behind what God is doing. Don was exactly where he needed to be last night at the track and I was exactly where I needed to be both yesterday and today.
Detours aren’t fun, they’re many times the long way around. They’re not convenient. God doesn’t ask us to lead a life of convenience, he asks us to live a life of obedience. When we do we see the amazing things He does and we see lives touched and transformed. Our own lives begin to greater reflect Christ to the others around us.
Back in the time when Jesus lived, Jews used to take the road around Samaria because they despised the Samaritans so much. Jesus didn’t and when he met the women at the well, He transformed her life. Not only that but he transformed the entire town into believers. He knew the detour was the right way for that time.
If God is calling you to do something, if you’re feeling a nudge, it’s probably the Holy Spirit prompting you to take action. Take the detour from what you planned and follow God’s route. It’s significantly more rewarding than the road you would have chosen.”
Our Chaplain at Stafford Motor Speedway Tim Garrison shares how he sees God’s presence at Stafford. “I am seeing God moving and working at Stafford in a couple of different ways. I am seeing people that previously would not spend much time talking with me, initiate conversations and ask for prayer before the race. I am seeing relationships build and develop with drivers and crew members where they share their prayer requests with me and engage in deeper and more meaningful life conversations.
Another exciting way that I am seeing God working is in the logistics of how I serve at the track. There seems to be more of an openness to what I do and a growing appreciation and acceptance to the message of what “the chaplain” is there to do.”
Scott Frazier, our Northern Chaplain, visits many different places throughout Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Scotty shared this about his journey. This year has been an important year to get back to normal after a trying 2020.
“With my travels to many different tracks, I have made a lot of friends over the years. I have found a special connection with the Storace family at Star Speedway. Kelly and Jim are a very special couple that are very dedicated to racing for many years.
I first met them years ago, as I became a Chaplain, they wanted to have me stop and pray with them at their trailer on race day. I always make sure I stop and catch up and chat with them.
Within the past 2 years Kelly has been fighting brain cancer. We pray together during her fight over the racing season. Keeping God in their life to guide them.
I am happy to say she is now in remission. God has given her life back. I can see how much they love each other and knowing that we have that connection with them on a personal level with God has made our presence well worth it. Serving him well one team at a time.”
Todd Heft adds; “God is working in the NEMA series in a way I have not seen with any other division in my short time as a chaplain. The officials, the drivers and the families are specifically seeking out our presence at the track. God has put together connections and those connections are allowing the Gospel to be shared and heard by people who would otherwise not have heard. It has not only touched lives in the series but given me a tremendous amount of encouragement.”
God wants to be with His people, He wants them to know the value they have in His eyes. We go to deliver the message, to walk alongside, lifting each of you up. We are blessed to be a partner with God in ministering to you. Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support and donations helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.