Tag Archives: Racing with Jesus Ministries

CONTROL

By Rev Don Rivers

There are many things that happen in our life, some a direct result of our choices and others because of someone else’s choice. How is it then that we can have some sense of peace about what the future holds for us? How can we be confident that no matter what happens we will have what we need to get through? Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

We live our lives trying to wrestle control of events, agendas and the future. We make plans for tomorrow and look to the future, wanting to make it secure. We search for a peace in our heart that will enable us to relax and enjoy. An elusive prize, out of our reach, but yet we struggle to attain it.

Where does that peace come from? Where does that rest and relaxation reside? How can we find that balance we need to make our life fulfilling and satisfying? Sometimes it seems too far away to grasp, but yet it is at our fingertips waiting for us to reach out and take a hold of it.

The events of a race weekend bring our attention to how necessary it is to have God in our lives. Most things in life and racing are out of our control. A driver can have a great weekend going, qualify for the race, things are looking great until that last practice and due to circumstances beyond our control the car ended up in the hauler, wrecked, unable to run the race.

A driver can struggle with engine issues that have plagued them all year. His sophomore season on the tour has been a struggle to say the least. After many hours thrashing on the car, getting it ready to race, turn one lap and on lap two would be where this race would end, another frustrating result.

Another driver, a winner and former track champion, lost a motor, replaced it, started scratch in the race, faced adversity, and climbed back into the top ten, winning the Move of the Race award. Not an easy weekend but persevered through adversity.

Yet another has hit his stride, after refocusing his life and adjusting his driving style he has seen results, another top ten finish, making it five out of eight races he has finished in the top ten.

Every racer comes to the track hoping, expecting the best, but the fact remains we do not know the results until we run the race. How is it that some are able to be at peace no matter how the race is run, yet others do not have that capacity? It lies in who you put in control of your life.

When we turn to God and ask him to guide and protect us we need to expect that He will. The results may not be what we hoped for but they will be beneficial to our lives. God gives us the ability to see the bigger picture, to see beyond the events of the moment and realize there is something bigger than just the race we are running. There is something more important that just what we see around us.

I remember when Ryan Newman dedicated his win at NHMS to Beau Slocomb. Many of you may have never heard of him, he was a racer from Macon, Georgia. Beau went home to be with the Lord as a result of complications of cancer. He was still a young man. Ryan had extended a hand to the Slocomb family allowing them the use of various resources they had. It was a trip to NYC to see a doctor about treatment and it was the pilots of Newman’s plane that went the extra mile to help the out. As Maggie recorded in Beau’s blog,

“Beau, Jessica and I flew up to New York on the Newman’s plane and with the help of Preston and Ted (the pilots) we were able to get Beau to and from his appointments. This was no easy task when you consider we were traveling with a wheelchair, about 10 small oxygen tanks, an oxygen machine and Beau who gets worn out pretty quickly right now. We could not have made it without Preston and Ted…thank God for them!”

Beau’s life, however short in human terms, was a testament to our Lord. He lived it fully dedicated to serving God and putting Him first. Despite the setbacks and the challenges putting God in control of your life will lead you to discover the peace that passes understanding, the fulfillment even when things don’t go the way you plan, the satisfaction of doing your best regardless of the results, the safety and protection that come when we put God first in our lives.

Someone shared; “Beau was a talented competitor but always a gentleman. We lost a giant of a man. I am honored to have known him.”

A Scripture verse is noted on Beau’s blog reminds us;

Romans 8:29; “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Is God with us? Is God with you? It makes a world of difference. It will change your life. Take a step back, look at the events of the past few months, has God been there carrying you through? You may have to change your perspective a little, sometimes we don’t always see the benefit when things do not go the way we had planned, but I will say this, God is worthy of our trust and faith. If we call on Him and give Him control, He will lead us to the right place and provide for us the necessary things that are beneficial to a full life, peace, joy, satisfaction and fulfillment.

God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah and gave us this promise;

Jeremiah 29:11-13; For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

I encourage you to put God in control of your life, call on the name of Jesus and he will forgive you and save you. Turn to God and he will have mercy on you and cover you with his grace. Life is worth nothing if it is spent in the vain pursuit of satisfying ourselves, but life’s value is only evident when we use it to honor and serve God. As God’s word reminds us;

Acts 20:24; “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”

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.

KINDNESS

By Rev Don Rivers

I saw a sign the other day that had two words on it “Be Kind” and it made me think about how we have forgotten some of the basic principles of human interaction. We have become an unkind society. Why is that? How much effort does it take to be kind? Based on what I see many of us have decided it is too much effort. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

One question that came to mind has to do with whether or not kindness has a part in racing. Sometimes we think of kindness as a show of weakness when in fact it take a great deal of restraint and strength to show kindness. Let’s take a look at the complexity of the word; respect, value, consideration, understanding, tolerance and unselfish. That is not an exhaustive list but it does cover many of the things I see lacking not only in racing but in the world around us.

I am aware of a debate about how the racing we see today compares with the racing of yesterday. Many “Old Timers” are not a fan of the way races are decided today. I would fall into that group. I am not sure of the answer but I am sure of the cause, lack of respect.

We have developed an attitude that all things are permissible if the outcome is what I want. We see that attitude throughout society, in every part of our lives. From the reluctance to obey traffic signs; right turn on red AFTER stop, to having 25 items in the 12 item or less line, to the recent run on TP. We have lost our sense of compassion, consideration and thoughtfulness. Living that way has brought us to this place of angst and division in our daily lives. We are no longer in this together, it is me against the world.

I remember a time when you looked out for others, you understood the challenges we all face and considered that when you made choices. Today when we see someone our thought process prompts us to get there first, get your share, don’t let them beat you to it. Whatever means is necessary to get what you want, forget about anyone else.

How does this play out in the racing we see on the track? The bump and run. A lack of respect between competitors that seems more prevalent today. Now we can debate when and how it started. We can debate who is at fault, the bumper or the bumpee, but the fact remains the lack of respect and understanding we have for one another shows up in the racing we see. Blocking, using two grooves, changing the point where you pick up the throttle or lift going into the corner are all techniques to keep the faster car behind you, but we all know that when the laps wind down you will be moved.

I really admire the patience of the driver who tries everything to make a pass only to be thwarted by the slower car. My hope would be that when all those maneuvers are exhausted the slower car picks a lane, holds their line and lets the faster car pass. Unfortunately, when you arrive on the bumper of a car that you have had an encounter with before, you don’t sit and wait for the opportunity, you take matters into your own hands.

All the discussion and all the he said she said on social media will not solve this. The drivers involved know what they do and why they do it. Until they honestly share what they did to one another the truth of the matter will not come to light. I am not saying just move over and let them by. It is okay to make them earn it. What I am saying is if it’s not your day, it’s not your day and no matter how hard you try to obstruct the proceedings it will not be your day. The fate of your day will be placed in the hand on the wheel of the car behind you. I hope they treat you with kindness but I’m pretty sure when the time comes you will have worn out your welcome.

I won’t even get into the unintended consequences of selfish actions. When our focus is on ourselves we struggle to give consideration to our surroundings and how our actions will affect others. But if we get a handle on this kindness thing there will be less collateral damage I am sure.

I have written about the Golden Rule, Treat others as you would want to be treated, but it seems we are forgetful people. There are some who take advantage of the kindness of others. We should be different than that.

Ephesians 4:31-32; Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

We don’t need to be so judgmental and angry. We can choose to show grace and mercy. A friend of mine who has been through some very difficult circumstances had a perspective I want to share.

He said; “Not everything that happens to you in life is necessarily your fault. However, it is your responsibility with how you choose to deal with these things. We always have a choice. Choose Love. Choose kindness.”

Thank you Gene for reminding us that we always have a choice. The choice we make will determine the results. Don’t lose sight of the fact that good produces good and evil produces evil. Good never can produce evil and evil can never produce good. Choose wisely.

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.

INTERDEPENDENCE

By Rev. Don Rivers

A little over 200 years ago we, The United States, declared our independence from England. I wonder if we realize that we also declared our dependence. We succeeded as a nation because of our ability to join together and depend on one another. That is what secured our freedom. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Happy Fourth of July! I hope your picnic went well. I also hope you took some time to remember what it took for us to break away and become an independent nation. It took our willingness to work together, agree on one common purpose and sacrifice everything we had to make it work. Sound like a race team?

Racing, in many ways, reflects the same character it took our great nation to break free from England.  We first and foremost need to have a common goal. In most cases that is winning. When everyone is committed to making that happen the team starts to gel and become a cohesive unit. The chemistry is right. We all do our part for the good of the team.

What separates the best teams from the rest? The ability to work together, do what needs to be done and not pick apart the work of others on the team. Look at the teams that are successful and the attributes they display. They are prepared to race; everyone has a job and does it. They can depend on each member to pull their weight. The end result is a championship, or two.

When we develop the trust in one another, learn what our task is and focus on doing that we will succeed. When we are more concerned about nit picking and finger pointing, we do not succeed. Let me ask a question, are we dependable? Can people depend on us to do what we are supposed to do? Are we doing what we were created by God to do?

That last question may seem a little out of place on a race team. You may be asking the question, was I created to be a tire specialist? Yes, God created each one of us unique and equipped each one of us with special talents. What would happen if the tire guy wanted to drive or tune the engine? The members of the team would be out of place. If you are the tire guy, be the best tire guy possible.

As we navigate through the challenges of this pandemic, we have two choices; we can choose to come together, each one doing their part and defeat it or we can let it tear us apart at the seams. I believe we need to draw on the strengths that built this great nation and rise up in unity to overcome not only the pandemic but also the seeds of dissention that have been sown in our communities.

Paul wrote about the topic, one body, many parts, let’s read what he says;

1Corinthians 12:12-26: The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body–whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free–and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

    Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

   The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

God created us to be different and unique. He gave each of us a task to do and put in each of us the necessary abilities to accomplish those tasks. If we seek God out and ask Him to show us the tasks He wants us to accomplish He will. This is called being in God’s will. The blessings we receive from being in God’s will are tremendous. They include inner peace, joy, satisfaction, fulfillment and hope. Take a look inside your heart. Do you have those blessings there?

We were created to depend on one another. God didn’t create us as Lone Rangers. We will never experience the fullness of God’s blessing if we live life alone. Yes, there are times to be alone, but God created life to be lived together, depending on each other and helping one another.

The United States of America exists today because we learned and practiced that. Race teams win championships because they practice that. You too can have that in your life. First, seek God out and ask for His presence in your life. He will come and show you the way. The writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us;

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12; Two are better than one,

    because they have a good return for their work:

   If one falls down,

    his friend can help him up.

  But pity the man who falls

    and has no one to help him up!

  Though one may be overpowered,

    two can defend themselves.

  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

I encourage you to find your place in God’s Kingdom and seek His will for your 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.