Tag Archives: Racing with Jesus Ministries

Together

By Rev Don Rivers

Freedom is a funny thing, each one of us wants it but we are not sure what it is. We want to be able to do anything we want whenever we want, but we still need something to hold our lives together. What is holding your life together? We need to be together in this? Greetings in the name of our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ.

Having the freedom to race wherever and whenever we want is the great ideal. The fact of the matter is we need a little help. If we run down the list it starts with a car, we first have to have a car to race and unless you have your own machine and body shop, someone has to make the parts and someone has to build the car.

Many times the driver gets the credit for winning when in fact it probably has a lot to do with the equipment he has to drive. A friend that worked at DEI made an observation after Jr. moved to Hendrick Motorsports, “At least at DEI we could build a car Jr. could win with.” That thought stuck in my head and this past week I was reminded of it.

Ronnie Williams had a career week this past week in an Asphalt Modified, he won $20,000.00 of prize money by winning three races over six days. Three different tracks, two different cars and three different sanctioning bodies. He did it for two different car owners; Gary Cassella and Adam Skowyra & Family. Many times all you read about is the driver and what they accomplished. As Gary reminded me at Seekonk, the driver needs a good car, I guess I build a pretty good car.

I thought about that as I ran through my memory banks. Ryan Preece came to mind. His decision to step out of Mid-pack Xfinity equipment and focus his resources on a five race deal with equipment that had the potential to win made a difference in his career. Some questioned the move but when he posted wins and top five finishes people took notice and doors opened.

If we are looking to be successful in this racing endeavor we need a car capable of running the race and winning. I am sure there are many talented drivers who for one reason or another just haven’t had the right equipment to show what they are capable of. The conclusion is we are in this together. Yes, talent and ability matter in a driver but without a car that is capable of winning the opportunity to visit Victory Lane may never come.

Another component of this togetherness is we need a place to race. We know they won’t let us do it on the street. I know some of us have tried along with everyone else who built a racecar, but the fact is they are not going to let thirty or forty of us go out and race around the block for 100 laps on Saturday night. What does it take for someone to provide a place for us to race? It takes more than we consider sometimes; facility, personnel, insurance, permits, and trained safety workers among so many other intangibles. Providing a venue for a race is no easy task. Sometimes we take it for granted and don’t realize the efforts that nobody sees. This past weekend I helped on the changeover crew at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. So much goes into converting the road course into an oval configuration. It is hard enough to provide one type of racing circuit, but Thompson provides two and switches them back and forth. Many facilities are multi-functional to provide different options for us to race at. We should appreciate a place for racers to race!

We also need rules, who is going to decide what is good and what it bad. In comes the Sanctioning body, someone who assumes responsibility for making the rules, making sure the cars conform and are safe, enforcing the rules, and that the race is run fairly. They are not necessarily appreciated but without them organized racing couldn’t exist.

One case and point happened at New Hampshire Motor Speedway at The Short Track Showdown recently run there. During the Modified Racing Series Feature a driver was in a serious accident. Thankfully his car was safety inspected, his driving equipment was safety inspected confirming that the car and driver were safe to race. I believe his injuries would have been much more serious if his equipment was not up to par.

I am sure I overlooked some things, but as you can see none of us are truly free to race where and when we want. Our ability to race is dependent on someone else providing the opportunity. There needs to be some give and take to continue to make the opportunity to race available for the future. Sometimes we lose sight of what it takes to be able to race. We need to see the big picture and learn how to make it all work. Everything depends on all things being in place. We are in this together.

This also has something to do with life, we are not independent; we are interdependent. Just like we need all the necessary elements to come together to race we need the same things to come together for us to truly live. Christ is like a sanctioning body and covered the risk of living for us. He provided the way for us to have a relationship with God. Listen to what he says in John 14:1-6;

John 14:1-6, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Jesus is the way we get to God. He provides that for us. Without His provision we would not have any hope. We have the freedom to choose His provision. When we do, we receive a special gift, the forgiveness of our sins. He erases the penalty for us making the wrong choice. He covers it.

Jesus said in John 10:10 that the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come so that you might have life and have it abundantly.

What that tells us is that if we choose to live our own way and not accept the provision that Christ made for us then we are bound by the one who steals, kills and destroys. The choice is ours.

The forgiveness that Christ offers comes without a performance requirement, it is available to anyone, no matter what they have done. We soon learn though that when we accept Christ’s offer our perspective changes. We find ourselves seeking out different things. We start to see the true meaning of life and how to live it. That is because Christ provides us with additional help in learning to live, The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit helps us to see things correctly. Listen to what Paul said about this Freedom;

1Corinthians 10:23-24, 31-33, “Everything is permissible”–but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”–but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God– even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

Paul helps us to understand that we are free to do anything, but not everything is beneficial to our lives. We need to be motivated to help others before we help ourselves. Basically we are free to do for others and God will take care of us. Our lives are full when we serve others without regard for what is in it for us.

That concept is strange to us, most times we spend our life trying to look out for number one, but we are in this together. We will not be truly free until we change that perspective. We will not experience the freedom that Christ offers until we trust in Him and let the Holy Spirit guide our actions. When that happens we are free, free from paying the price for our mistakes. As Jesus said in John’s Gospel, trust in God, trust also in me.

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.

Honor

By Rev. Don Rivers

From May to July we have a period of time when we single out certain groups to honor; Mothers, Fathers, Grads, Military and those who declared our independence. Honor is defined as showing great esteem, high respect, doing what is right. Who do we honor with our lives? Choosing to honor God not only in the big things in life, but the little ones has a lasting effect on the lives around us. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

We have all seen it, make jokes about it, and say we will never be like that. What am I referring to? Sports parents! I can recall a car owner saying to me, “The kid is great but get that father out of here!” I have observed it first hand at the track. Watching a parent belittle their child in front of the world is not an attractive sight. From quarter midgets to Cup, I have witnessed it all and my heart goes out to the person being torn down.  There seems to be no limit when choosing to act in a way that dishonors God.

Yes, when we belittle someone else we dishonor God. Christ reminds us that even when we call someone a fool we dishonor what God holds most valuable, us, our life.

Mathew 5:21-22. NLT,“You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.

Showing honor to God means respecting what He created, valuing what He values and acting in a way that demonstrates that belief. If you look at our driver’s prayer there is a request for God’s help in the way we respond. We ask that He would help us to respond in a way that honor’s Him. We are quick to let emotions and anger run wild. We say things and act in ways that do not reflect well on us or others. We all need work in this area. Even those of us that seem to have it under control still have those certain situations that challenge us to honor God.

How does this play out in our lives? How does this reveal itself? Respect and honor are choices that we make. While we do not have control over the situations and circumstances that surround us we do have control over how we respond. Responding in a way that honors God is never wrong. Sometimes we succeed and sometimes we fail. The key is to always be working toward remembering that there is a right way to respond then choosing to do so.

I am reminded of Hank Parker Jr.’s, up and coming NASCAR driver, story. It made me ask myself if I make decisions based on what honors God. As I read some of Hanks story it made me think about where I would draw the line. I hope that I could have the faith that he demonstrated when he had a decision to make. It is important the foundation we build our life on. Hank had a promising future in racing but made it clear that he would not drive a car with a certain sponsor on the hood. The sponsor decided to go elsewhere. There were no other sponsors available and Parker was out. While turning down a chance at stardom on the Cup series might have deflated a lesser person, Parker was confident that moving away from racing was God’s plan for his life.

“Seeing how God is in control has been amazing,” Parker said. “There came a point in time in my career where I really just laid down my career and my life, and gave my life to Christ. God has changed so many things and my perspective on things.”

“I’m good … I’m content,” Parker said. “I actually had a phone call the other day to see if I’d come back, and I felt really good about saying no. … It was time to bow out. I feel like I gave it a good shot. I feel like I gave it my best. A lot about racing is timing. Obviously, there’s people that were better than I was, but I feel like I did the best that I could.”

He decision to honor God changed the direction of his life. He chose to let God direct his life instead. I wondered how willing we are to put aside our wants and desires and choose to honor God. When we choose to dishonor others we are refusing to honor God. Remember showing honor is a choice we all have.

A father out for a walk with his son, met and old friend he had not seen for years.

“Fine boy you have,” said the friend. “I hope he grows up to be as good a man as his dad.”

On the surface the compliment should encourage, but the father knew that his son needed to be more than that.

The father answered, “I would be ashamed of him if he does not become a much better man that his dad.”

Therein lies the secret, we need to spur our children on to a greater and deeper respect for God than we have. We need to help them understand the challenges we faced and help them learn from them.

The boy was amazed at his father’s choice of words, he look up to his dad and thought he was the best man on earth. Then he began to realize the lessons he learned from his father. Many were because his father had experienced difficulties, made wrong choices. From those lessons his father showed him the right way to go.

He taught his son how to lead his life, because of the mistakes he made and the lessons he learned. He taught his son that he wasn’t the authority, he too answered to his Father in Heaven. He taught his son that in all things we need to prepare and run in such a way as to win. Each generation can improve on the succeeding one when they are taught to look to God and honor Him.

We should make every effort to honor God in the decisions we make. We should be ready to draw the line when we are asked to compromise our beliefs. We should teach our children that some things are not worth compromising our faith over.  Make every effort to honor God in everything you do.

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

By Rev Don Rivers

We have been looking at how we relate to one another. We talked about a few topics on my heart that focus on the relationships we develop. Let’s take a moment this week and see how we relate. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

First we looked at the challenge of the life we live and being too busy to focus on what is truly important. We need to make a time for resting and recharging our batteries. Spending time with family and friends is important. Breaking the routine and making an effort to develop those close relationships will lead us through life.

Psalm 23; 1-3, NLT, The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.

We then moved on to talking about recognizing the efforts of other on our behalf. We need to realize that so many people have a part in our day to day life, the freedoms we enjoy, the racing we pursue. We are encouraged to acknowledge their efforts, appreciate the sacrifice, respect the price they paid and understand the significance their efforts have in each of our lives.

1 Thessalonians 1:2; We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers. 

From there we looked at Chemistry, the way personalities and talents are molded together to achieve more than we can on our own. A race team without chemistry will not succeed. There are many teams that have talented individuals but do not succeed. They don’t fit together. We have to recognize the strengths and weakness of each individual and work toward building a cohesive team. Understanding our differences goes a long way at building the right chemistry.

1 Corinthians 12:12-13, NLT, The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles,some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.

We took time to look at the relationship between parents and children realizing that we know what we know because of what we learned from them. Good or bad our parents have significant input into the people we become and our ability to relate to one another. Our Father in Heaven also has some degree of influence, whether we acknowledge it or not.

Psalm 139:1-3, NLT, O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.

So, as you can see, we have touched on a few points about how we relate to one another. How does this affect us each individually? We are the sun of many parts. Racing is just a snapshot of life. We need to relate within the racing community much like we relate in our life away from the track. For some of us racing is our life and we are very comfortable within that community.

I was thinking the other day about the racing community, how close knit it is and the threads that tie us all together. We all know that some people don’t quite understand the attraction. They don’t quite get the draw. I have tried to figure out what the glue is that holds this all together. I can go to any track, anywhere and have a common understanding with the people there. Doesn’t matter what type of racing, racers are racers. I have some degree of comfort there.

I think that is the key, when we can say, “These are my people”. There is some common ground in racing. I think it is built in us to race from the beginning. I can’t explain why but I still try to beat my last time when I travel someplace. It could be by only a minute but for some reason I am watching the clock, counting the miles and calculating if I can beat my last time.

For whatever reason we are wired to seek out people to gather with. We do not want to be alone. The greater the challenge the more our desire to travel down that road together. There isn’t one of us that can make it through this life alone. That isn’t the way we were created. When God created man he observed his activity and determined it wasn’t good for man to be alone. God then created a companion for man.

When we look at the topic of relationships and relating to one another we need to realize there is a place for everyone. We are unique, no two the same. Our differences can become a blessing if we embrace seeing things through a different view point. However they can become divisive if we stick our head in the sand and refuse to acknowledge the differences.

I liken it to watching a race. Think about how many different kinds of racing exist in the world? I enjoy watching certain types of races. Why? I don’t know, just a preference I guess. That doesn’t mean everyone who likes watching other kinds of racing is wrong. I can appreciate different forms of racing but I do have a preference.

How we relate in life is much the same. There are as many different ways to live life as there are people on Earth. We can accept that or be frustrated that they all don’t live the way we think is best. We must commit to meeting people where they are, walk alongside one another, and hold each other up. This life can beat us down, having someone to reach out to will make all the difference. We can be that someone. How we treat others reveals what is in our hearts.

Mathew 25:40, 45, NLT, “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ 

“And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’

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.