Tag Archives: Racing with Jesus Ministries

In My Father’s House

By Rev Don Rivers

As we reflect on the lives that touch ours and remember what it means to have someone care about us, my thoughts turn to my father. I wondered how many of us have a passion for something because our father put it there. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

My first visit to a racetrack was in the 60’s. My dad brought me to Stafford Motor Speedway. I was your typical seven-year-old, I didn’t sit still, wanted everything the concession stand had to offer and watching the racing was secondary. However, I do remember being entranced by the cars, the noise and the speed. I was hooked, I wanted to come back.

To this day, I still get that feeling in my stomach when I approach a racetrack. Sometimes it just takes a sign that states one is nearby. I remember the excitement like it was the first time. Even though I attend Stafford’s Friday night races many times every season; that feeling is still there. I hope I never lose it. Thanks dad.

I remember the race that cemented my passion for racing. One summer night a few years later at Catamount Stadium in Milton, Vermont. We were on vacation visiting relatives and the idea came to go to the races. I was in. We sat at the exit of the fourth turn, where the action was! Bobby Dragon and Canada’s Jean-Paul Cabana dueled for the entire feature. As they came to the checkered flag, out of turn four, one car erupted in flames. They rolled to a stop in the grass, just passed the start/finish line, the other driver was halfway out of his car with a fire extinguisher in his hand to help the driver he just fought tooth and nail with for the win. What a show of respect, of sportsmanship.

Things are different today, drivers seem to have lost respect for one another, for their cars and for the families behind the driver. That breaks my heart. My dad taught me respect, he instilled in me to have respect for everyone, treat people like they matter and give more effort than is expected. Thanks dad.

The part that really hooked me though was when the night was finished, we went through the gate at the start/finish line and walked into the pits. I had a chance to see the drivers and their cars up close and personal. I was in awe; these guys were larger than life and that night left an impression that has fueled my feeling about racing to this day.

I have my father to thank for that. My dad didn’t live too long, he passed away when I was fifteen, but during the time we had together he taught me a tremendous amount about life and how to live it. I think every parent only wants that opportunity, the opportunity to pass on their passion to their children. We want to teach them what and how this life should be lived.

I wonder how your dad touched your life. I look at the names of the drivers and I see the Jr.’s after many names. Each one is there to honor the dad that blazed the trail and imparted on his son the passion to race. There is at least one cheering for them, dad.

As I said before my dad passed away when I was fifteen but that doesn’t stop him from being an influence in my life. Much of who I am and how I view things I learned from him. I know he didn’t always do things right but he was always my dad.

I also have a heavenly Father. I remember how many times Jesus referred to his father, my Father in heaven. Jesus wasn’t out there alone; his father was there for him. There would however come a time when Jesus would leave this earth and turn the ministry over to the men he trained, much like sons. As he talked with His disciples about His upcoming departure, He provided them words of assurance and direction.

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 preparing a place for us in His Father’s house, Heaven. He will come and claim what belongs to Him and we will live there with Him for eternity. That is the promise of our Father in Heaven.

We do not have to live separated from our heavenly Father. We know the way; Jesus Christ. Let Jesus instill a passion in your heart for living in a way that would please your heavenly Father. Jesus is that way, that truth, that life.

Luke 15:20-24; NLT; “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son’

“But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet.And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.

There is always room at home, no matter how many children, spouses, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, extended family and the like come home. We open our earthly home much the same way our Heavenly Father opens his home, heaven, to us. Jesus has prepared a place for us; we need only accept the invitation to come home.

Remember the man who you call dad this week. Thank him for the passion he put in your heart for the things you love. Also remember your Heavenly Father and the place he has for you. Turn to him to get you through the days ahead. Trust Him with your very life.

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

Godspeed

By Rev Don Rivers


Have you ever felt like a gerbil running on a never-ending wheel? Many times life is a blur, moving at a speed that is difficult to keep up with. We find ourselves being swallowed up. We struggle to focus on the things that are truly important. STOP! Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Have you ever seen twelve hours go as fast as it does on race day? The hours turn into minutes, the minutes into seconds and before you know it the checkered flag has fallen and it’s time to pack up and head home. This is especially true when you are chasing the setup or you are trying to repair some damage. The next thing you hear is the call for your heat or feature. Where does the time go?

We can get so caught up in chasing our tail that we forget to look around and enjoy the life we have been given. We set our sights on getting somewhere, doing something and it becomes all consuming. And then it ends.

This past week RWJM lost Chaplain, Flagman, and Servant of God, Scotty Frazier. He was a friend to all, a give you the shirt off his back kind of guy. It wasn’t expected and that makes it difficult. Scotty had a big heart and made it a point to find out what was going on in your life. He would ask you how you were doing and really want to know the answer. Often his first words were; “How can I help?” He was as genuine as they come and that showed through in everything; from the way he flagged to the way he prayed to the way he would give you his undivided attention in the midst of a busy pit area. He treated each one the same, with value and respect. Godspeed my friend, until we meet again.

When I look at the photos of my children and grandchildren, I am reminded time goes by all too quickly. I wonder sometimes if I spend enough time with them. I wonder if I have shown them the right way, the way of God.

We get caught up in things that seem important, things that need to get done, but in hindsight they were not the most important thing we could have done. We are guilty of placing importance on things that are not truly important. We lose our priorities. I am reminded of the Serenity Prayer;

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”

Knowing the things we cannot change takes wisdom. It also takes experience. We need to be at peace with the fact that everything will not play out the way we planned. Even with that understanding we have an agenda and when it doesn’t go the way we planned we are disappointed. When things turn tragic, we grieve.

God promises us that He will provide for our needs. He has it all under control. We need only to trust Him. Proverbs explains it this way:

Proverbs 3:5-6; Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

There is too much life to live to be enslaved to the rat race. Try to avoid getting so busy with things that we forget about what God wants us to do. Try to avoid getting so busy surviving that we forget to take time to look around and see what others are going through. God promises to provide what we need to survive. God wants us to focus on what others are going through instead of focusing on ourselves.

If you have put your trust in yourself and your own understanding then you will be disappointed. Even if you accomplish everything you think you want you will still be missing something. It is God and God alone that can give you abundant life. Fulfillment in life comes only through Jesus Christ. No matter what we have, what we accomplish, what our social standing is, it will be incomplete without a saving knowledge of God through Jesus. Scotty knew that and desired to share that.

John 10:7-11; Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Do you see the promise contained in that verse? In Jesus we will find pasture, a place that supplies all our needs. Remember Psalm 23?

Psalm 23:1-3; The LORD is my shepherd, I have all I need. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

It is Jesus who brings abundant life, who leads us to green pasture, who restores our soul. The promise from God is one of abundant life; a full life that has no regrets, no dissatisfaction, a life that is complete, a life that honors Him.

Do we ever want to consider what God has for us? I encourage you this week to STOP. Take a step back and review your thoughts and actions. Ask yourself, who am I living for?

Don’t get consumed by the pressure to get things done. The line of the song says, “Life’s too long to live like this.” Focus on what is truly important. Focus on what will affect eternity. Focus on the things of God. Live in such a way as to be sensitive to the leading of God.

To do this we must step off the gerbil’s wheel and stop running so fast that life is a blur. We need to slow down and let things happen. Watch for where God is working and join Him there. God is the provider of time. The challenge is, He doesn’t share with us when our time is at an end. We must use the time we are given to find the blessings He has prepared for us. Don’t worry about your schedule. Let God set the schedule and decide what fits. Respond in a way that shows the love of Jesus that is in your heart.

We do not know what tomorrow will bring and all our plans, hopes and dreams will not make it’s coming any more certain. We expend so much effort trying to secure the future we overlook the opportunities we have to make a difference in the lives of those around us each day. 

Maybe some adjustments are in order?

Psalm 118:24; This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

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

RECONNECT

By Rev Don Rivers

As our 2022 season kicks into full swing, it’s been great to start reconnecting with one another. Chaplain Todd Heft shared some words to encourage us as we Reconnect.  Thank you all for your continued support. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

In early February we headed south to kick off the asphalt and dirt track seasons in Florida. The Whelen Modified tour got an early start with its inaugural race in New Smyrna.  After a relatively quiet March, April kicked off with the Icebreaker at Thompson Speedway and another Whelen Modified Tour race this time at Richmond.

While the off-season seems shorter every year, after a time away reconnecting with people at the track gives us a new opportunity to share the love and hope of Jesus Christ with the community.  The last few years have been different as we tried to connect yet stay safe.  2022 has had a different hope and outlook, not just for the racing community, but for everyone. Our hope is to see lives changed through the power and salvation of Jesus Christ.

While reconnecting and re-establishing relationships, we also want to help the community re-connect with God.  We are believing that God has powerful things planned for 2022.  Our schedule is one of the busiest yet but we have a team in place that looks to fulfill what God has set before us.  Local track chaplains, touring chaplains and their families have been in prayer for what God is leading them to do this season.

The Apostle Paul understood the importance of being connected.  His letters to churches make up a large portion of the New Testament.  He knew that in order to grow we must stay connected to other believers and ultimately to God.

Colossians 1:23 NLT “But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God’s servant to proclaim it.”

As we have embarked on our 42nd season at Racing with Jesus Ministries we ask that you join us in prayer.

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the blessings you have bestowed upon this ministry.  We thank you for the service of the dedicated chaplains that have served and continue to serve.  We thank you for the supporters of this ministry, may your blessing be upon them. Lord, we ask that you continue to pour out your wisdom and guidance on us as we bring forth your kingdom.  Let your hand of protection be over us as we travel.  May our lives reflect your great love.  May our connections with the community bring forth a connection to you, the giver of all good things.  Draw us close to you Lord and may your word continue to go into the community with power and grace.  We thank you for all that you bless us with in Jesus’ holy name. Amen.

Thank you, Todd. Please continue to lift up our chaplains. Pray that we would find favor with those who desire to know the saving grace that Jesus offers.

As the leader of the dedicated men and women that serve the racing community, I receive the requests from those we serve. The requests keep coming in! Requests to have chaplains with series, requests to have chaplains at local tracks, requests from people who want to join us and serve the racing community.

God is still in demand and the racing community desires His presence with them. That is tremendously encouraging. We are challenged to make the connections necessary to fill all the requests. We have over 80 Asphalt touring events to cover this year. The dirt side expands that number into the hundreds. Add to that our local presence with chaplains who serve a weekly racing program and we begin to have a complete picture of the community we serve. What may seem an overwhelming task isn’t with God involved. He has a plan and it is good.

One example is Wall Stadium, as some know our chaplain there, Bob Menschner, who had been with Wall Stadium over 50 years, passed away. How do you replace someone like Bob, whose presence was part of the fabric of Wall Stadium? You Don’t. But God provided someone to carry the torch!

We connected with Tom Simmons, someone led by God to contact us and see if there was some way he could help. He was the man God prepared to come in and carry the torch for the ministry that Bob selflessly served Wall Stadium. In addition, Bob’s brother Will has joined us to continue what his brother started. Will shared; “It was what Bob would want me to do.”

God has a plan and if we continue to walk with Him, we will see His plan revealed. I encourage you to reconnect with Him. Seek Him while He can be found and let Him lead your life to places and people you may not have gone to.

We have opportunities for those God has called to serve Him in this capacity. We are always amazed at how God moves and connects people with us. I want to encourage all of you who read this, God is still here, He is still working and He still loves you more than anything.

Despite what you see and hear God is on His throne. I was reminded of the words of Christ this week when he asked His disciples who they thought He was. When Peter answered;

Matthew 16:16-18; NLT; Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.

The revelation of who Christ is will change the direction of our lives. Making Him the foundation for everything we do will provide a stability that cannot be shaken. As we move through our 42nd year let us help reconnect you with Him. For He is the one building the Kingdom of God.

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