Category Archives: Racing With Jesus Ministries

Together

By Rev Don Rivers

We all have significant dates along our journey. We all reflect on them, the people we shared them with, the things we did, together. We do a lot of things together. Some significant, some not so much, but together we wander along the road of life. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

I saw a sign the other day; “We Are in This Together”. I thought, really? I’m sure there are shared experiences and common challenges but are we really together? You see, for me, the word together implies a choice. We choose who and what to be together in. Just because we are in the same place, doing the same thing doesn’t mean we are together.

Racing is one of those things that can help us sort this out. There are so many people at the track. They are all there for one reason or another. They have different reasons and agendas. Just because they are in the same place doesn’t mean they are together.

I have seen some race teams that weren’t together. You know what I mean, everyone on the same page pulling for a common goal. There are some that just seem to be tuned in to a different frequency. The most successful teams are the ones that have the most members on the same wavelength.

We should be careful not to assume being on the same channel somehow indicates success. I have seen some great teams, united in defeat. There is a plus side, we have some company to commiserate with; as they say, misery loves company.

So how do we get together on something? Commitment; we all have to understand and make a commitment to work toward the same goal. The more committed we are the better our chances are of attaining the desired result. You cannot be together in something if you haven’t made a commitment to be.

That also brings up the subject of commitment, or should I say level of commitment. You see for some winning is a life and death proposition, checkers or wreckers. The level of commitment required is all or nothing. Either you are willing to lay down your life to achieve the prize or you are not. I think it is safe to say many lack this level of commitment.

Goals and level of commitment can get confused. Some goals do not require a level of life and death commitment but we place that significance on them. Winning a race isn’t a life and death commitment and I don’t think it should be. There are things in life that are significant enough to be life and death decisions. We can get confused it placing the highest level of commitment on goals that are not worthy of that significance. Paul helps us understand;

Philippians 3:7-8; NLT; I once thought these things (worldly status) were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ

Paul explains that all the things in life he had committed to attain were worthless when compared to being together with Christ. In fact, he laid down his life to be together with Christ.

Philippians 3:13-14; NLT; No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

A significant event happened shortly after Jesus ascended into Heaven to return to the Father; Pentecost. Pentecost marks the day when the promised gift of the Holy Spirit arrived and empowered those who were together with Christ to spread the Good News. The Holy Spirit found them together, praying.

The presence of the Holy Spirit altered the goals of the followers of Christ. They decided to do things a little different.

Acts 2:42-47; NLT; All the believers (over 3,000) devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.

A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.

The Holy Spirit united them and they were together. They united in doing things the way that honored God. The result was unexpected.

The shared meals together, they shared the Lord’s Supper together, they studied together, they shared everything they had together, they experienced miracles together, they shared their money and possessions with those who had need, they praised God together, and they worshipped together.

The result; they found favor with and enjoyed the goodwill of all people and the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

That’s a lot of togetherness, but without it there is division, faction, envy, anger, discord, jealousy, and all kinds of selfish behavior. Kind of makes me think of the world we live in. We have forgotten what it means to come together and lift up the name of the Lord. I encourage you to get together with some likeminded believers and change the community around you. This world resembles the result of separation, isolation and independent thinking. We are not islands and we were not created that way. We were created to be together.

Galatians 5:19-26; NLT; When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.

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.

Moving Forward

Chaplin Todd Heft

Moving right along, the racing season is in full swing, fans are back, masks have been lowered, and dare we say some semblance of normality has returned. One thing left to do, move forward from here. This week Todd Heft steps in to share some thoughts about moving forward. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Things around the country continue to move forward after 2020, where everything seemed to come to a standstill. Paddocks have more racecars and grandstands are starting to fill up. The hustle and bustle of the racetrack is back.

Moving forward is a good thing. Moving up through a large field of cars when you start in the back and moving up in the points standings make you want to come back for the next race. Gathering race finishes that see a steady upward trend give a team and driver hope. What does it look like, though, to move forward in Christ?

Starting from the time you accept Christ into your life, your life will begin to change and shift in small incremental changes. Your faith will move forward as you grow in your love and desire for Him in much the same way as your desire to do better on the racetrack.

The amazing and wonderful thing about God is that he doesn’t expect us to clean ourselves up before coming to him. He wants us now, just as we are. From there He will help us make those small incremental changes that will result in significant gains over time. He will shape and mold us as we allow Him into our lives.

Our journey can be compared with a 500 or 600-mile race as opposed to an 8-lap heat race. Preparation for the long haul is different from a short trip. There are things that will matter in the future that may seem insignificant now. God holds the future in His hands and He alone knows the adjustments we need to make to move forward.

Think of it like a driver that switches teams or maybe gets new equipment. From one season to another, the transformation may or may not be significant but moving forward the results should be different. Paul’s words remind us how we should look different:

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV; “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

We shouldn’t look the same as our old selves as we move forward in Christ.

Racecars don’t have giant mirrors and tiny windshields because what is happening behind you isn’t all that important. When we’re on our journey in life, it’s important to note what is behind, but it’s what’s ahead, our prize in Christ, that truly matters. We are reminded;

Proverbs 4:25 ESV; “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.”

In 1986 I attended my first NASCAR race, and it was a wild one. Typically, if your car ends up stuck in reverse, you don’t win the race. Going backward around the track isn’t the fastest way. Moving forward is the ideal way. However, in this race, Tim Richmond briefly got stuck in reverse but went on to win the race in a 3-way photo finish. This stuck in reverse was then dramatized in the movie Days of Thunder. 

Jesus knew the importance of looking forward. He also knew exactly the right examples to use when speaking.

Luke 9:62 ESV; “Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.””

To the people of that time, plowing the field meant keeping a focus on the line they were making. They would focus on a point in the distance and put their hand to the plow. Looking behind would mean going off course and your field not producing as good of a crop.

All the way back to Genesis, we see God telling us not to look back but look forward. In Genesis 19:26, Lot’s wife looked back at the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. This was precisely what God had told them NOT to do. What happened? God turned her into a pillar of salt. Our past is exactly that, the past. While we can learn from it, we must remember that Christ has already paid for that, and we can now be free from it. The prophet Isaiah said it pretty simply:

 Isaiah 43:18 NIV; “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.”

So, what does it take to leave our past behind? How do we move forward in a way that honors God? First, we spend time with Him. The closer we draw to God, the further we are from the things of our past. That doesn’t mean we get it right all the time. None of us do. But like making gains at the track week after week, we can do the same in our lives. Small increments add up over time. The Apostle Paul wrote about this in Philippians.

Philippians 3:13-14 ESV; “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

God is calling us to move forward in him. Our eternal home and hope aren’t on this earth but with Him. We need to live our lives looking forward, put behind us the past things and drive forward towards our salvation in Christ.Thanks, Todd, for sharing this week. Appreciate all your efforts and the efforts of our entire group of chaplains to help everyone move forward.  Until next time, remember God loves you

Let Me Explain

By Rev. Don Rivers

Memorial Day, celebrating the unofficial beginning of summer. Please take time and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Also take time and reflect that our own life has been given to us because someone gave their life for us. Let me explain. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Freedom Isn’t Free is the title of a poem written to recall the memory of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the giving of their lives. Their willingness to give secures to this day our freedom; freedom to do what we enjoy, racing.

Recently we experienced the loss of that freedom. We went through a time where our freedoms were restricted. We got a glimpse of what this country would look like if we weren’t free? On any given weekend we could choose where we go to watch a race. We could choose where to race. That was taken away. Our freedom of choice was taken away. That is not something to take lightly.

Think of a race team. Some are funded well, others run on a shoestring. It doesn’t matter; to be able to race someone pays. Someone’s hard work earns the money to pay the cost of preparing the car and team to race. We experience the freedom to race because someone paid the price. The situation is the same whether it is our hard work or someone else’s hard work, to race someone pays. Freedom to race isn’t free either.

Think of all the choices we can make in our life and then think of some of the other nations in the world who don’t have the same option. The difference is freedom. The founders of our country decided to build it on the foundation of God and free will. We fight to maintain that, not only for us but also for other nations and peoples of the world.

God also gives us freedom, freedom to choose. He makes available for us a life of abundance and freedom. We can choose to accept that life. Jesus said…

John 10:10; The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Jesus came and gave His life as a sacrifice so that we could know the abundant and free life that God has offered us. Not unlike those who have fought and gave their lives for our country’s freedom. Why? So that we can enjoy an abundant and free life. For us to experience freedom it cost someone something.

In Acts 2 Peter reminds us;

Act 2: 14b; NLT; …“Listen carefully, all of you, fellow Jews and residents of Jerusalem! Make no mistake about this.”

Acts 2:21; NLT; … everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Acts 2:22-24; NLT; “People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know. But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him. But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip.

Acts 2:36; NLT; “So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!”

For us to have freedom as a country many men and women paid with their very own lives. They made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom of others. They gave their lives. Likewise, Jesus gave His life so that we might have life.

John 3:16-17; “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

Those lives that were given for us secured our freedom. Jesus Christ gave His life to save us from death and destruction. Let me ask a question, do you enjoy your freedom as an American? If you do take the time to say thank you and honor those who have made it possible.

Let me ask another, do you want to experience an abundant and free life that only comes from knowing Jesus Christ as your Savior? He gave His life to give you that opportunity, accept it and free yourself from the burden of sin.

Freedom isn’t free. It cost someone, something. Be thankful there are those who are willing to pay the price for our freedom.

What should we do? First, if we haven’t received Jesus as both Lord and Savior of your life you need to address that and ask Him to come into your life and forgive you. If Jesus is Lord and Savior of your life, we should proclaim the gospel and let God move the hearts of those who hear so they can have the freedom in Christ that we have.

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.