Category Archives: Racing With Jesus Ministries

Winning

A phrase proclaiming that, in our opinion, we are winning. Winning is a much more complex concept. The fact is that we don’t get to decide if we are winning, that is for others to decide. We want to tell the world we are “winning” and maybe if we say it often enough they will believe it. Truly winning involves a joy and peace that comes from only one source. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

We crown our champions and celebrate the season. We roll into victory lane and celebrate a race won. The driver collects the hardware but in fact the team behind the driver has just as much to celebrate. Without those who surround the driver, winning is impossible. Putting together a collection of people that come together and are focused is the key to winning.

My favorite pictures in victory lane are those where the whole team assembles behind the driver and car. They are wearing a hat that proclaims their victory. These are just the crew members that come to the track, I’m sure there are many more behind the scenes. Winning is a team accomplishment. No one person wins, you need multiple people who look at things from different perspectives to see all the options. So goes the story of winning. The combination of personnel, machine, desire, commitment and performance all come together in a victory. No one wins on their own. No one stands alone. We need to remember that is life also. We need to surround ourselves with support, encouragement and guidance.

When you see teams dominate year after year think about what it takes for them achieve such success. Let me tell you it isn’t achieved by standing pat. It is not accomplished by being complacent. It is done by constant change and adjustment. It is achieved by not being satisfied, always looking at what can be done to improve.

Proverbs 16:27; NLT,Idle hands are the devil’s workshop; idle lips are his mouthpiece.

Each one of our lives needs a support structure. One that is good for us, not one that is destructive. Sometimes we need to separate ourselves from certain people, places and things because of the influence they have on us. It doesn’t matter if they are friends or relatives some people are not good to have around. There are places that we should not be, things we should not desire. Giving ourselves the opportunity to find joy and peace depends on who and what we surround ourselves with.

Living a complacent and idle life will not lead to the desired joy and peace we strive for. A satisfying and fulfilling life is not achieved by idleness. We need to be proactive, seeking, searching, knocking. Being idle allows the devil a foothold. It allows our minds to go places that are not beneficial. I’m not sure why social media comes to mind but I can tell you at its core is idleness. We fill our time looking, writing and believing what we see. We burden ourselves with what others think and say. We need a filter, letting only the things in that are beneficial. The world around us is destined for destruction, let’s not sit idly by and watch it happen.

2Thessolonians 3:11-13; NLT,Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business.We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living. As for the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good.

The key to winning is activity, being active in the things that honor God. Believe me it is just like trying to win anything it takes practice. For the opportunities to come our way we need to be doing good things. Things that reflect the character of God; grace, forgiving, caring, love, patience. These things take practice, we have to want to. Don’t get tired of doing good.

We grow tired of doing good though. We all lament the time we helped someone and they didn’t respond the way we had hoped. We are reluctant to do it again. That is not the way we should look at things. We should not be motivated by the response but we should focus on doing what is right in God’s eyes. The joy and peace comes from inside our soul not the outward recognition from those we help. When we do the right things we can sleep at night. We can be confident of our motives and our desire to do good. Unlike winning a race with its outward display and celebration.  Truly winning yields peace in our soul, a confidence that our motives were good and a joy in knowing we honored God.

I have never heard a race team say they are fast enough, we don’t need to try and get faster. They keep working at it, trying to find a little more speed, a little more quickness. The teams that win are those that don’t settle. But looking for speed and finding it are two different things. Sometimes you have to look at things in different ways.

Have you ever played solitaire? I do and sometimes have to play a game several times to figure out how to move the cards, according to the rules, until I find the way to win. Sometimes you have to make moves that don’t make sense or are unconventional before you find the winning combination. Sometimes you have to play the game differently to win.

How quickly do we give up when our first attempt fails? To win we need to keep at it, use unconventional methods, and try even the options that don’t make sense. We are called to be imitators of Christ. Remember his motive was to do the will of his father, to honor God. For him it wasn’t about recognition or accolades, it was about doing the right thing even in the most unconventional way.

Truly winning isn’t about being celebrated and honored, it is about doing the right thing even if no one notices, a peace in our soul, a joy achieved when our motives are to please God. We know it when we feel it, winning.

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.

HOMESTRETCH

By Rev Don Rivers

As the season winds down and we come to the traditional end of summer, Labor Day Weekend, School begins, there is a fall crispness to nights; the seasons are changing.  How has your season gone? Have you been able to appreciate all the Lord has blessed you with? I encourage you to take a few moments and rejoice in the victories and challenges that have come your way. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

I find myself looking back. Taking stock of all the Lord has done for me in the blur of time that makes up the heart of the racing schedule. This past week has seen me travel to Bristol, TN, then to Florida to visit my daughter and back to St. Louis for a race at Wide World Technology Raceway at Gateway. It has been a whirlwind journey. I’m looking forward to being home for a few days.

As I was leaving Gateway this past weekend there was a visual reminder of the milestones we achieve during the season. Lord Stanley’s Cup in the back a side by side with the St. Louis Blues hanging on as it proceeded through the crowd. St. Louis had won their first Cup this year and they are still celebrating! So hard earned they refuse to let the celebration fade.

As the local racing scene enters its final few weeks of competition it is important to take the time and look back and celebrate what has been accomplished. Don’t lose sight of the little things. Maybe this was the year you finally made it over the hump and started to get a handle on your race setup. It might have been the year you made it to victory lane for the first time.

There are many milestones we achieve but we can get too caught up in the season to stop and think about them. Many times the milestones are only significant to us and other fail to see them. When compared to the measuring stick that other’s use they seem insignificant, but they are not. Don’t minimize the how much you have grown this year.

I think some of our greatest moments are when we acknowledge the significance of the small steps we take in life. Think about the little things that you have done this year. The things you have done that have enabled you to grow and advance, not only on the track but in your walk with Christ. Maybe this was the year you started reading your Bible every week or even every day. Maybe this was the year you made an effort to attend chapel service or attend a local church. Maybe it was the year that you made the effort to talk with God on a regular basis.

Don’t make light of the things in your life that are truly significant. We all are guilty of not placing the right importance on seemingly little things, but it is the little things that add up to make significant changes in the direction of our lives. I am reminded of Paul’s words to Timothy;

2 Timothy 4:1-8 (New Living Translation); I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he appears to set up his Kingdom: Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.

For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.

But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.

As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.

These were not only the words Paul wrote to encourage Timothy they were the same words one of my mentors shared with me as I entered into ministry.

T. Marshal Thompson was a wise man who had seen many things in his life. He helped me overcome the desire to please men instead of pleasing God. He encouraged me to be a little bolder in faith. He listened to my fears and helped me overcome them. Little things that helped me become a man dedicated to serve Jesus.

T. Marshal is home now, but his memory is as alive as if he were still here. He helped me focus on the little things that when you add them up they become significant things in life. He guided me through my doubt and showed me the hand of God on my life.

As we reflect on the things that we have seen and done this past season I ask you to think about those who have helped guide you. Those who have encouraged you to make decisions that were beneficial to your life. Those who provided the resources you needed to continue on.

It is easy to continue on without remembering where you come from or who helped you get to where you are, but I suggest it is more beneficial to reminisce a little. Take a look at the steps you’ve taken, the miles you have driven. Remember who was holding your hand and had your back as you took those steps.

With another season winding down there is more races to be run. Without the help of many others we wouldn’t make it to this time of the year and still be able to race. To enter the homestretch each one of us needed the support and encouragement of someone. Encouragement to take the little steps that add up to a giant leap. We all need someone to walk by our side. Take time to say thanks and acknowledge what others have given so that you could pursue your dreams.

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.

COUNTERFEIT

By Rev Don Rivers

Have we taken the Lord’s name in vain? Are we Christ like? Are we acting and behaving in a way that would reveal to others the love that God has for them through Jesus? Being a Christian means just that, Christ like. Not calling yourself something you are not. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Sponsors make the racing world go round. We need them to support our racing program. We also need to represent them and promote their interests. Racing has a loyal fan base and that can be very beneficial to a sponsor who, in turn, pays for that opportunity.

What happens when we don’t represent our sponsor well? Or maybe we just don’t fit the profile. What would you think if a 16 year old started promoting Geritol? How believable do you think he/she would be? The best spokesperson is one who we can actually believe uses the product.

Let’s say we asked advice of a crew chief at the track and they had a certain decal promoting a certain brand of oil on their car. We then watched them put a different brand of oil in the race car. How likely would you be to believe the advice they gave you?

The same thing is true with Christ, when we claim to be Christian, Christ Like, we say that we have given our life over to Christ and are making every effort to live a life that reflects His character. My point is, sometimes we are not doing a very good job.

I remember watching an event and observed a man I know, he says all the right things and claims to be a Christian, but when I hear what others say about him and I watch the way he handles himself on and off the track I cannot help but wonder if he is a counterfeit.

When you have several officials, accompanied by a few State Troopers, follow you to your trailer after the feature and they would like to discuss your behavior, maybe there is some work to be done.

When other competitors comment that if you remain in their division then they will change divisions or race somewhere else, maybe there are things that need to be addressed. Listen to how James puts it;

James 1:22-25 (New Living Translation), But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror; you see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

You cannot be a Christian by just claiming to be a Christian that is not enough, we need to act like one. We need to be obedient to God. We need to change the priorities in our lives. Not an easy task when it requires changing the order of our live and putting the needs of others first. Most times in our lives our needs come first and when we have taken care of what we need then we look around to see if there is anyone else in need.

That is not the way God intended us to behave, if we think so then we are fooling ourselves. We can rationalize it all we want, but the fact is we care more about ourselves than others. We are counterfeit.

Take a look in the mirror or better yet, let someone video tape you and watch it back. Is it easy for other’s to see the character of God in our behavior? James says when you look in a mirror you should see what you claim to be. We shouldn’t be two faced, showing one face to people then turning around and showing another.

Many times we can behave properly when people are watching. It is a rare occasion that we behave poorly in front of others. Don’t get me wrong it does and will happen. I see it every day. That just indicates that we need more practice at doing what we ought to do and less practice of doing what we want to do.

We need to practice following the example Jesus set for us, we need to follow God’s direction. Even when it is not popular, attention getting, comfortable, secure; even when it is not what we want to do. We need to do it so that others will see the grace, mercy, compassion and peace of God.

As James says, if we claim to be Christians and do not live in obedience to God’s word we are fooling ourselves. Not only that the rest of the world is laughing at us also. They laugh because we are counterfeit. They reason we are no better off for knowing Christ. They can see our actions and reason we have not changed.

James also says, if we are obedient and practice following God’s direction we will be blessed. God’s favor will be on our lives. He will give us hope, peace, joy, a fulfilling future of things that matter, not of things that rust and fade away.

We need to be doers of the Word, not just listeners. Don’t think the world is laughing with you because you have sinned, they are laughing at you. Make every effort to live according to the name you have claimed, the name of Jesus. Are we Christians or are we counterfeits? Would the world be able to tell from the life we live?

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.