Tag Archives: Racing with Jesus Ministries

Being Free

By Rev. Don Rivers

The double checkered flags signify the end of the race. The first car to cross the start/finish line under the flags is declared the winner. The race is finished. Having the freedom to pursue the checkered flag is something we need to appreciate. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

With each beginning comes an end, there is a green flag that is followed by a checkered one. So life goes, what is begun has to be finished. As Jesus hung on the cross, what He came to do was done, He made atonement for us. He pronounced it finished.

John 19:30; When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Christ came and gave his life for us, he bore the weight of our sin and reconciled each one for us to God. He came to save our souls from eternal separation from God and that is what he accomplished. He gave us the freedom of forgiveness. John writes;

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.

We also come to this part of our study at an opportune time to remember those who have given so much for the freedom we enjoy in America. As we look ahead to celebrate Memorial Day. We remember those who have given everything they had for our freedom.

I am reminded of the poem “Freedom isn’t Free”. It helps us 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.

I was thinking the other day what would this country look like if we weren’t free? Would there even be racing, as we know it. On any given weekend I can choose where I go to watch a race. You can choose where to race. If you don’t like going to a certain track you can choose another. We have the freedom of choice. That is not something to take lightly.

Stop and 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 organize this nation on the foundation of God and freedom of choice. We have fought for over 200 years to maintain that, not only for us but also for other nations and peoples of the world.

As we close out our series on the words of Christ from the cross I wanted to note a few parallels, seven statements, seven days in creation. Also note on the seventh day it was time to stop and rest. Christ finished his work and then went home to be with God. His last statement from the cross can be summed up like this, Dad, I’m coming home.

Luke 23:44-46, It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

Jesus finished what he came to Earth to do and now was the time to return home. He was placed in a grave for three days and on the third day rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He had provided a means for the people of the world to save themselves.

Jesus Christ gave His life for us, to save us from death and destruction. 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. Thank them.

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.

Connected

By Rev Don Rivers

As we continue our discussion of the final words of Christ, I saved this message for this week as it refers to Mothers and their special place in our lives. None of us would be here without our mother. Good, Bad or indifferent matters not, we all have been given the gift of life through our mother. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Let me ask you, what have you done for your mom lately? I don’t mean one Sunday out of 52. I mean every day. I realize some of us have estranged relationships with our mothers but we still need to recognize the fact that without them we wouldn’t be here. Scripture instructs us early on to honor our parents.

Exodus 20:12, “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”

This is the fifth of the Ten Commandments and comes with the promise of long life. Why do you think it matters so much? It has something to do with the way God ordered things; He instituted the family and it is the foundation of a community. Everything worth something is built on the foundation of family. Our Racing community is no different, think about it; we support one another, we help one another we are sensitive to the needs of each other and we care for one another. We are family!

The same is true of our true family. God designed us in such a way that we need family support. We need a group of close people who know us better than we know ourselves sometimes. This is a necessary element to living a long and healthy life. When we maintain the family unit the way God designed it we begin to live in a way that honors God.

Jesus knew this also and modeled it from the cross. He prayed for his enemies, he forgave and provided salvation for the criminal who acknowledged him and now he made provisions for his mother to be taken care of after his death.

John 19:25-27, Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

Jesus demonstrated from the cross that God meant what he said. He showed us that even in the most trying times of our lives we need to respond in a way that honors God, Jesus did just that. Even in his own agony he was not focused on himself.

Greg Laurie shares this with us; “At the foot of the cross was Jesus’ mother Mary, along with some other woman and the apostle John. Can you imagine the anguish Mary experienced seeing her son on the cross? For parents, and certainly mothers, it is exceptionally painful to watch their children suffer.”

“Imagine Mary as she looked up at Jesus, hanging on the cross. He was beaten and marred, His body traumatized by the scourging. That was her son. His forehead she used to kiss when He was a boy was now lacerated with a crown of thorns. His hands she once held were now pierced and bloodied by spikes.”

“Now as Mary looked up and witnessed her son Jesus hanging on the cross, I believe the sword pierced all the way through her soul. A new revelation probably came to Mary. Perhaps she realized, for the first time, That Jesus was not her child – but that she was His. Maybe for the first time Mary began to grasp the fact that this was not simply her firstborn son. He was God Almighty. It all came into focus for her.”

We need to come to the same realization; Christ gave his life for us. He suffered and died for our sins. He rose from the grave victorious over death so that we would not have to fear death. He saved us.

That day as He hung on the cross dying He had the presence of mind to honor his mother and make provision for her after His death. John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, accepted the responsibility of caring for Mary.

How have we provided for our mothers? How have we responded to the commandment of God to honor our parents? How have we responded to the cross and the sacrifice that was made for us? There are so many questions to answer, so many things to consider. I would ask you to follow God’s commandments and Jesus’ example; honor your mother. I would ask you to consider all that has been sacrificed for you so that you may have the opportunity to live; honor that sacrifice. I would also ask you to live in such a way that honors God as Jesus did.

Philippians 2:6-8, Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross!

CONNECTIONS- As I continue to reflect on the cross and the significance I can’t help but think of the connections we have with those around us in the racing community. There is the ebb and flow of life, people come into our lives and leave. Some are expected, some are surprising. Just this last week we have suffered some disconnections, at Riverhead Silas Hiscock has gone home, the Monadnock community is dealing with the sudden loss of Deb Yurko and the ROC racing family is coming to grips with the loss of Rick Wylie.

The connection to each one is something that makes us family. Our heart breaks when we suffer the loss. We face the challenge to continue on. As I was reading Larry Ott’s Story in the Buffalo News about that connection he stated about Rick Wylie; “His family through the generations has been involved in local racing for almost 70 years.”

The connections we build in our community is our strength. Many times those connections span generations. The story continues and shares about Rick’s wife of almost 40 years, Karen, who he met at the track, raced against, lost to and then onto his sons Scott and Jake who continue what Pops started. The connections continue and they help us carry on in the absence of those who have gone before us.

Hebrews 12:1 comes to mind; Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

Our racing family’s roots and connections run deep. Many times I am surprised by those connections. When I am introduced to a young driver and then learn the rest of the story, I enjoy learning the connections. Who put into this young racer the desire and passion to pursue this endeavor? As we reflect on these lives let us think about who connected us with the racing family.

This weekend extends beyond honoring our Mothers, it is also about how we got here, who is responsible for putting that desire in our heart. Remember those connections. Take the time to thank those who put that passion in your heart. 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.

Paradise

By Don Rivers

Answered prayers hold the promise of hope. They let us know that God hears our requests and provides for our needs. Last week the first words Christ spoke from the cross involved a prayer for those who crucified him. This week as he spoke he answered a prayer. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

As we celebrate Easter there is no greater hope found than in victory over death. That is what Christ offered as he hung on the cross. It what we might interpret as a sign of weakness in reality is the greatest demonstration of strength. Christ accomplished what we cannot and he offers it to us as an answer to our prayers.

When things are hopeless, when the future looks dim, when we cannot see what tomorrow holds for us we turn to God and ask for his help. That is prayer, a conversation with God. Does he hear them? Does he answer them? That depends on if you have a relationship with him.

You and I both know it is easier to receive help from someone you know. I have said it many times at the track, the willingness to help one another makes the racing community a special group of people to be around. I have seen it many times, teams helping teams so that they could race. We all understand the challenges to get to the track and have your car ready. Then something breaks and you don’t have a spare. That is when you know who your friends are.

That is the key; those who know us and care about us are willing to help us. If you walked up to a total stranger and asked for twenty bucks, how likely would you be to get it? On the other hand if you walked up to a friend and asked the chances are they would give you whatever you needed, probably forty or fifty.

Jesus found himself nailed to the cross, enduring its pain for you and me. He was there between two thieves, one on his right and another on his left. He was there for us, they were there because the deserved it. Even in that moment of grief we see that Jesus still had compassion for those who sought him out.

Luke 23:32-43, Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals–one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.”

The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”

But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Jesus speaks from the cross a second time, this time he answers a prayer. Look at the contrast of the criminals on the crosses, one belligerent and hurling insults, the other had a fear of God, a respect for Christ. Together they sum up the two options, for or against. There is no middle ground. We either honor God or we don’t.

The thief on the right asked Jesus to remember him when He came into his kingdom. Look closely, not if you come into your kingdom, when. He had done some terrible things in his life, terrible enough to be sentenced to death. He understood that that was unacceptable to God and he prayed to the only one who could save him, Jesus.

Jesus responded, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” Salvation is that simple, acknowledge God and ask for his forgiveness. God will receive you into His kingdom. Jesus still wasn’t focused on his needs he was focused on the needs of those around him.

How easily are we distracted from the needs of those around us? How easily do we get lost in our own difficulties and challenges that we forget what is going on around us? How many times do we push someone away because we don’t have time? How often are we so wrapped up in ourselves that we cannot see the needs of those around us?

Jesus wasn’t too busy or distressed to hear the prayer of a lost soul. He has set an example for us to follow. Let us take some time and listen to those around us. Let us make every effort to focus on the needs of others and not on our own.

This Easter season let us turn to the cross and listen to the words of our Savior. Let those words make an impression on our hearts. Jesus, even in His suffering set an example for us. Let us make the effort to follow that example. 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.