Category Archives: Racing with Jesus Ministries

A NEW YEAR

Welcome to the beginning, the beginning of a new set of numbers on the calendar that tell us the slate is wiped clean, a time to begin again. It is common to look at the calendar for guidance to the timing of things but in reality each day brings us the chance to begin again. As we look ahead with hope and anticipation let us not forget where we have been and what we have accomplished. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The anticipation of a new season has many faces; some good, some bad. For the most part a chance to begin again, wipe the slate clean and start over is welcomed. We forget our past shortcomings and failures. We count the lessons learned and commit them to memory. We make resolutions to travel down a different path, embrace new habits, and embark on new journeys. The positive energy that comes with renewal is great and can be a significant motivator. I encourage you to plug into it and let it help sustain you as you guide your life to new adventures.

Racing falls into the category of a calendar year sport, it starts and finishes in the same calendar year. That makes it easy to keep track of things. How many years have you been racing? Easy just subtract the year you started from the current year and you have the answer. I was thinking of that as I sat down to write this column. I’ve been at this for almost 15 years. Back in 2004 when Brother Pat’s health was failing he asked me to help him with the column. I agreed but the truth be told I was very intimidated. Funny how a white sheet of paper can be so powerful. I remember his help with those first few as I would write something, send it to him and he would use it to make something readable. In time he released me and let me run on my own. What a tremendous gift he gave me.

I think as we reflect on where we come from there might be someone in your past like Pat. Someone who took you alongside guided you through your first few efforts and then let you run on your own. What a gift we have received. We have had the benefit of someone’s life lessons learned given to us and allowed us to move forward. When we reflect, remember those who came before and paved the way. Those who were willing to help us learn the ropes. Those who fought the battles so we could win the war.

I wonder if we fully understand the blessing of having someone show us the way, a teacher. I see them back there watching the things we do with the information they gave us, wanting to see us succeed and prosper. They remain available to guide and counsel, all the time looking out for our wellbeing. The hardest part for them is watching as we make mistakes, knowing they cannot save us from them. They understand the challenges and hurdles we must overcome on our own. But yet they are there, watching waiting, ready to pick us up, dust us off, or maybe give us the kick in the shorts we need to keep going. They want nothing more than to celebrate our success with us. They want nothing more than to see things continue for another season.

This last year has been particularly hard as many of those types of people have left us. People who taught us the ropes, people who encouraged us to keep going, people who had our back and covered our butts. I am truly thankful for them and hope you would be also. Give some thought to who those special people are in your life. Surprise them once in a while by turning around and thanking them. Oh they are there watching and if you look quick enough you’ll see them.

We lost a good friend this past week, one who fit into that category. You know you are in that category when people seek you out and want to be with you. At the track he was intimidating, rough looking and menacing. Inside he had a heart of gold. Larry “Grub” Solbo was more than a member of the racing community, he was a big part of its heart. He wasn’t an angel and had his share of experiences with violating the rules but he genuinely cared for people. He wanted the best for you. He was one you were glad to see after you realized the exterior appearance was covering the biggest heart. He had your back.

We were privileged to know the other side of Grub, he spent many times talking with us chaplains about this and that, personal stuff. He always sought us out and wanted to know how we were doing. He would ask if anyone needed “taking care of”, you know the way a guy who looks like Grub would “take care” of things. We would say no, we’re good. He teased me about my “scooter” telling me I needed to step up my game if I wanted to ride with him. We built a close relationship with Grub, as we do with many in the racing community, and we were there for him in his time of need. As he faced his diagnosis and the finality of life he sought out the Lord and we were there to make introductions. I am confident in knowing we will meet again. Grub’s name was written in the book of Life.

John 3:16-17; NLT, “For this is how God loved the world: He gavehis one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

Hebrews 9:27; NLT, And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people.

When we face the reality of life, it ends, we need to remember there is a loving God who wants us to be with Him. He desires that so much that he provided a way to overcome the obstacles, sin, that separates us. He provided a sacrifice in Jesus that covers us. We were able to reach out to Grub and help him know the grace that God offers. We were available and ready to pray with him as he accepted the gift of salvation. There is no greater gift that we can receive.

Remember the times we had, let that inspire us to move ahead. Remember the road other’s walked for our benefit and let that motivate us. Remember God and his gift of grace, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and let that save us.

Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.

With a Little Help From My Friends

                We have been talking about relationships, relating and building community. I wanted to share one of the truly inspiring stories of this past race season with you. RWJM has played an important role in delivering a blessing to one of our racing community members. We are thankful for those who provided the blessing. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The racing community is a pretty close-knit family and many times we come together to help one another. Sometimes though we don’t know the true needs of someone until it is brought to our attention. For the past few years a member of our community struggled to figure out how he could continue to be a part of the racing scene. He is wheelchair bound and his van was in need of replacement. The cost was staggering, especially considering his condition limited his ability to secure the resources needed.

Rick Raducha, you know the smiling guy in the wheelchair, has been a fixture at race tracks up and down the East Coast for many years. He also has been instrumental in securing sponsorship for many racers through his company Driver Connection. If you have never seen Rick in person you wouldn’t even know of his condition. He is not one to let his condition limit his ability to be a contributing member of society and the racing community. Osteogenesis Imperfecta, Brittle Bone Disease, has rendered his body into a twisted resemblance of what it should be. He has accomplished much more than many thought he could.

You can imagine the weight on his shoulders as he tried to figure out how he could replace his van. With much encouragement he shared his need with the racing community unsure if there might be enough help to replace his wheels. Many came forward, a little bit here and a little bit there. He saw the funds multiply and it allowed him to dream that it might just be possible. When enough funds were available he ordered a van and started the process of getting all the special equipment on order that would allow him to drive it.

The 2018 season started and there was a gap that needed to be filled. This is where friends came in. A Modified owner with a big heart decided to take a leading role in getting the final piece of funding in place to make Rick’s van a reality. True to his word he delivered the funding needed to pay the final invoices and Rick took delivery of his van in late October. This wouldn’t be possible without a little help from his friends!

Let me take a moment and share a little. We are created in such a way that if we are truly living, it involves being connected with others. A give and take is necessary. True fulfilment and satisfaction comes when we share our resources to meet the needs of others. There are those who see and meet the needs and unfortunately there are those who don’t. There are some that say they want to help and those that help. We need to rise up and move beyond ourselves. We need to not only be touched by the needs of others but actually do something about it. I encourage you to follow through on your words and actually do something.

Throughout this process many had the opportunity to spread the cost out so that the burden didn’t fall on a few. Some even made commitments to help. In the end there wasn’t enough. What could have been a celebration for the entire racing community fell to a few. I am thankful to those who followed through with their commitment and made this a reality for Rick. I am reminded of the passage from God’s Word;

2 Corinthians 8:10-15, (NLT); Here is my advice: It would be good for you to finish what you started a year ago. Last year you were the first who wanted to give, and you were the first to begin doing it.  Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving. Give in proportion to what you have.  Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have. Of course, I don’t mean your giving should make life easy for others and hard for yourselves. I only mean that there should be some equality. Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal. As the Scriptures say,

“Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over,
and those who gathered only a little had enough.”

We need to remember that life is worth living when we help those around us who are in need. That is how we build community. We lose so much when we focus our lives on ourselves. The end product of self-centered living is a vacancy in our hearts. We may have many things but there is still a void. We need to spend our lives filling the lives of others, only then will we be satisfied and fulfilled. Giving is more blessed than receiving.

There are so many individuals and companies that made this a reality. Take a look at the list that adorns the back window of

Rick’s new van, it lists the names of those who gave so generously. Underneath it the quote from a Beatles song, “With a little help from my friends”. The song reminds us that we will get by with a little help from our friends. Here are a few friends that had a big part in making this a reality.

First and foremost; Grandpa Blewett was instrumental in getting this over the finish line. I talked with him about why he felt so strongly about it. He said it is the right thing to do. He commented more than once about the smile Rick always has on his face. He would ask me “What does he have to smile about?” He wondered out loud many times how inspiring Rick, his smile and laugh were. What’s he got to be so happy about? I think the answer lies in the choice Rick made not to let his condition limit him.

This past weekend Rick visited Wall Stadium for part of the Turkey Derby. Although the cold was painful for a person with his condition he wanted to say thank you in person to Grandpa and the Blewett family. Rick has shared with me the overwhelming appreciation he has for everyone who made this a reality. He is overcome with the generosity of others. His heart is full of emotion and thankgiving.

We also need to recognize Valenti Ford in Mystic CT for getting the van spected out, ordered and delivered. They also helped get the van up to the next company w want to thank, Advanced Wheels, mobility for everyone, in Granby CT. They met the challenge of outfitting the van with a lift, driver’s seat and hand controls customized for Rick. As I understand it this was the first time that a van of this type was outfitted with the specialized equipment that folks like Rick need. As anyone who has every built anything the first time that presents all kinds of new challenges to overcome. Between the two they were able to figure it out and get the van equipped.

What would Rapid Rick’s Race Car Red Rocket Ship be without a little customizing? Don Derosier and the team at Connecticut Tire outfitted it with some sweet new wheels. Our friend Shawn Monahan and his team at Critical Signs provided the vinyl to say thank you to all those who had a part in bringing this from need to reality.  Whelen Engineering put the icing on the cake, emergency lighting. Whelen added flashing yellow lights when the lift is in operation, ground lighting around the van, and lighting to illuminate the lift for safety. Rick now has a state of the art, safe van to travel in for the next 20+ years.

Last weekend he headed south in his new van to the warmth of Florida. A stop in Jersey at Wall Stadium to meet the Blewett’s then off to Charlotte and Florida. We want to send our best to Rick and a sincere thank you to all who contributed to making this amazing gift a reality. I am thankful for those who cared enough about Rick to make this happen.

Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.

RELATING, RWJM Blog 11.12.18

As we enter the Holiday time of year we turn or focus to those around us, the relationships we have. For some this can be a stressful time as relationships are not what we would like them to be.  We have relationships with many, but how do we relate? As we take a look around, who do we have relationships with? Why? Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

You are at the racetrack and you need a part for your car, who do you go ask? You go to someone you know. You go to someone who you know will help you out. How do you know? You know because you have a relationship with them. They will help because you relate well to each other. If not, an excuse will be made or some other reason made. Among our racing community we relate well to each other and are willing to help one another more than other communities we are a part of. That is why we enjoy being together.

In our day to day lives we meet people and interact with them. Some we decide to get to know better. Others we choose not to pursue. Who we choose and why is an interesting process. Understanding the reasons we build relationships will help us relate better. Did you know that guys generally choose who to be friends with based on what others have? Let me explain.

If Joe has a truck and you don’t, you may choose to become friends with Joe because you may need a truck someday. Think about it, if you doubt it, go buy a truck and see how many friends you suddenly have.

That is not the only way we choose our friends. We have many different things that draw us to others. Stop for a moment and think about why you hang around with the people you do. Think about what attracts you to someone else.

Just like we have many people we have relationships with, there are many different kinds of relationships. Some are close and some are social. No matter the relationship there are a few things that are true about each one of them. Relationships are built on trust, communication, time, honesty and faith. The stronger these traits the closer the relationship.

Without these components relating to each other is difficult if not impossible. Close relationships only develop when we can relate to one another. We can pretend, but when times get difficult and they will, only relationships that are built on this solid foundation will be able to stand.

The keys to secure, close relationships come directly from our relationship with God through Jesus. The relationship that God desires to have with each one of us involves each of these. Let’s break it down a little.

Trust; it is difficult to be close with someone you cannot trust. Think about how difficult it would be to share your most intimate thoughts if you didn’t feel you could trust someone. You wouldn’t and the relationship would not be as close as it should be. Think about the relationships you have, are they trusting ones?

Communication is another vital component. How close can you be if you don’t talk with someone? Communication can also be done without talking, our body language can indicate our true feelings. Communicating with each other helps develop the trust required in any close relationship. It also helps us recognize each other, “that doesn’t sound like….”

Time is another necessity; time spent together and time spent thinking about one another. How much time have you spent on the relationships you are in? Sometimes we think others will understand our absence but it takes its toll. There is no substitute for being there.

Honesty is a given. No relationship stands a chance if honesty is absent. Trust is built on being trustworthy. We are trustworthy when we are honest with each other. When we are not honest we deceive not only the other person but ourselves. There is tremendous pressure on a relationship when it is built on lies.

When these components are present they produce faith. Faith we can depend on someone to fulfill their responsibilities in a relationship. When we relate in these ways it is a freeing feeling. We are at peace. It puts the finishing touches on what it means to be in a close personal relationship.

Let me transfer this to the personal relationship we need to have with God through Jesus. You see Jesus opened the door so that we could seek out God and have a close personal relationship with Him. God provided Jesus because He wants a close personal relationship with each of us.

Seek Him out by reading His word and getting to know Him. Spend some time talking with Him and asking Him some questions. You will find Him trustworthy and honest. You will find Him worthy of placing your faith in. I am reminded of the passage that Jesus spoke at the end of His sermon on the mount. He talked about two men who had heard His words. One chose to listen, one chose to ignore them. They lived their life and challenges came. One was able to put his trust and faith in God. The other had only himself to depend on. One was able to stand. The other life crumbled and crashed.

Matthew 7:24-27, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

Who do we think we need to have a relationship with? Life is difficult at best. We cannot make it through alone. We need the companionship of others. God made us that way. Take some time and work on the relationships in your life. Make every effort to build them on the rock that is the teaching of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Desire to relate with trust, communication, time, honesty and faith. Learn how having these close relationships can make life worth living. Build a relationship with God today and all your relationships will benefit.

John 10:10, NLT, The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.