Tag Archives: Racing with Jesus Ministries

NOISE

By Rev Don Rivers

Do you know what I like best about Springtime? The noise! Whether it be the birds singing or the Modifieds thundering, Springtime is a wonderful time for renewal and rebirth. Stretch, yawn, rub the sleep out of our eyes and announce our awakening with some noise. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Look around, life abounds, waking up from its sleeping slumber. We see the hope of life in those things we thought were dead; Springtime. The trees and flowers are blooming, the color of brown is fading behind the bright colors of springtime. Time to awaken and make some noise.

We experience it at the track, the smell of rubber and racing fuel, yes spring has sprung. The cars and their new paint schemes; the drivers and their new suits, the new teams, the old teams, everything seems fresh and new in Springtime. Practice days at our local tracks have gotten the cars out of the garage, into the box, transported to the track and shaken down. The annual rite of spring in the racing community, noise!

What seems new to you this year? What does it bring to mind? Has the sounds of spring rekindled a zest for life? Springtime reminds me of the new life I received in Christ, once dead with sin, now alive through Him. The spring of living water has renewed my hope and given me life.

One of the difficulties with this new life is living like we have really been given a new start. It can be hard to believe that God meant what he said. If we take Him at His Word we would live differently. In Steven Curtis Chapman’s song; Live Out Loud it encourages us to make some noise!

“This is life I’ve been given. I was a dead man who has been called out of the grave. Wake the neighbors, make some noise!”

You know what’s neat about a spring morning, the noise! The sun approaches the horizon and the neighborhood wakes up. You’ve heard it, the birds singing, announcing the new day. Have we been given a new lease on life?

EPHESIANS 4:17-24, NLT; With the Lord’s authority let me say this: Live no longer as the ungodly do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their closed minds are full of darkness; they are far away from the life of God because they have shut their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They don’t care anymore about right and wrong, and they have given themselves over to immoral ways. Their lives are filled with all kinds of impurity and greed.

But that isn’t what you were taught when you learned about Christ. Since you have heard all about him and have learned the truth that is in Jesus, throw off your old evil nature and your former way of life, which is rotten through and through, full of lust and deception. Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes. You must display a new nature because you are a new person, created in God’s likeness—righteous, holy, and true.

Think of the comparisons found in these verses. Hopelessly confused, closed minds, full of darkness, hardened hearts, don’t care about right or wrong, surrendered to immoral ways, full of all kinds of impurity and greed. They describe a life without Christ.

Throw that away: It’s rotten through and through, full of lusts and deceptions.

Put on a new Spirit; renew your thoughts and attitudes;

Phil. 2:5-8, Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross.

Our new self is not one of demanding our rights, but one of humble servants, obedient to God’s direction and will for our lives.

Listen to the contrast in Galatians 5:19-23;

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law.

I encourage you to make some noise, sing a new song, this is life we have been given, and we have been called out of the grave.

Demonstrate it in the way we live; not demanding to be treated a certain way or rights, but humble, with a servant’s heart, obedient to God’s will. Remember our life should reflect the presence of the Holy Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control

Eph. 4:23b-24; There must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes. You must display a new nature because you are a new person, created in God’s likeness—righteous, holy, and true.

Make some noise this spring with a new attitude, a renewed mind and a commitment to live in a way that honors God. People will take notice, and blessings will abound. 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.

EMPTY

By Rev Don Rivers

Sometimes things are not all they seem. Empty is a word that signifies nothing. But empty has a different meaning when we relate it to being poured out, giving your all, sacrificing everything. At Easter we celebrate an empty tomb? There is tremendous significance in not finding Jesus in the tomb, finding it empty. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

As a Pastor I would begin the Easter service by offering the children the best Easter egg they had ever seen. Each one received the plastic egg with the instructions not to open it until the end of the service. They held onto them with the assurance that what was inside was going to be great. At the end of the service each one would open their egg and find it empty. They would ask me “what is so great about an empty egg?” I would then help them to understand the meaning of empty.

In racing, empty has its own meaning, it means nothing. When you go out and race and come up empty it means you didn’t win anything. When you hear the word empty you think that something is wrong or missing. That is not the same with Christ, empty means hope and salvation.

Let’s explore that a little. A few things had to happen to make Easter possible. First Jesus had to come to Earth in the form of a man. Scripture puts it this way;

Philippians 2:6-8; NASB; (Jesus) who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Before Jesus could come to Earth, he had to set some of His privileges of being God aside. He had to empty himself out. Think of it like going to prison. I hope none of you have experienced this, but if you have you know what I am speaking of. You have to remove everything and surrender everything to the guards. They give you new clothes to wear and hold on to your personal belongings until you are set free again.

It was the same for Jesus, He imprisoned Himself in the form of a human and set aside His Godliness for our sake. He became a slave for us. He didn’t demand his rights as the Son of God, He set those rights aside so that we could be free. He emptied himself.

Do we know the significance of what that means? When was the last time we emptied ourself for someone else? When was the last time it didn’t matter what we wanted but it mattered what someone else needed more? When was the last time we let something go and didn’t demand our rights or to be treated fairly?

They are the times when we think more of ourselves than we should. They are the times when we think we are something special and others should honor us. There are times when we become full of ourselves. These are the times we lose sight of the sacrifice Christ made for us.

Think of some of the drivers that enjoy the appreciation of the fans. Those drivers are appreciative of the chance they have been given. They don’t think they deserved it but are glad to have the opportunity. They are willing to do whatever it takes to honor those who gave it to them. We like that about them.

Jesus emptied himself out so that we would have the opportunity to be free from the bondage of sin. How free are we today? Do we have freedom in Christ? He made it available for us. To come to Earth Jesus had to empty Himself, to return to heaven He had to empty the tomb.

The empty tomb separates Christianity from every other religion? Other religions point to a founder who’s grave and remains can be located and identified. We know where Christ was laid to rest but the place is still empty. He is alive. He has victory over death. He offers the same to us.

Death could not hold Christ and it should not hold us. One of our biggest fears in life is dying. We know the odds, 100% of us will die. Why then if it is a foregone conclusion does it make us so fearful? I think it is fear of the unknown. We fear what we don’t know and try desperately to hold onto what we do know regardless if it is the best for us or not. Christ went to the grave and overcame death so that our fear could be removed. He put it this way;

John 14:1-4; “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.”

Jesus prepares a place for us beyond death. A place that is better than the one we know. A place in heaven. Think of it this way, God created everything we have here. It was paradise, then we corrupted it. We spoiled and wasted it. How much better will heaven be if it is unspoiled? I can’t wait. There is work to be done before we get there though.

Do you remember the children holding the eggs? Now open them and what do you find? They are empty, but yet they are full. They are full of life, full of hope, full of peace and full of love. In their emptiness we find everything we need to know about God. Jesus emptied Himself for you and me. He conquered death for you and me. He is waiting for our response.

How will we respond this Easter? Will we accept the offer Christ makes and fill ourselves with His Spirit? Will we empty ourselves for others? Will we be the ones to go and bring the message of the empty tomb to others; the message of Hope, Peace and Love? Christ emptied Himself for us, now we need to empty ourselves for Him. God Bless and Happy Easter.

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.

The Road

By Rev Don Rivers

There are many who can talk a good story, but the numbers thin out when the time comes to walk the walk. Our actions speak volumes. When we have a difficult road before us to walk, how do we face it? As we head toward Easter let’s take a look at the road Christ walked for us.  Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

We have all heard them, the talkers, they can tell stories with the best of them. But when it comes to putting your money where your mouth is, their performance is less than advertised. It is one thing to say yet another to do. There are many phrases that come to mind about people whose actions fall short of their words. That leads me to believe that there are many that prefer to talk about it rather than do it. The comments I read on social media seem to prove my point. Don’t just talk about it, do it!

Truly it isn’t others that we need to look at, it is ourselves. Are we someone others can count on? Do we talk a good game but our follow through is lacking?  Without following through with actions consistent with our words do we fall short? When people watch how we live do they see a life that matches what we say we believe?

In racing it is pretty hard to hide behind your words. At some point you have to start the race. During the race it will be apparent to all if you were just blowing smoke or you really had something for the other teams.

This has been on my mind this week as I remember the road our Savior walked that one faithful Friday. He came and taught us who he was. He showed us many miracles, healing the sick, raising people from death. He asked only one thing; believe in me.

Many have followed Him along that road, dedicating their lives to His teachings, meeting the same fate, death for the cause of Christ. It is a rare occurrence for someone to lay down their life for something they don’t believe in. A few of us are willing to die for the truth. Look around and ask yourself, what am I willing to die for? The list is probably pretty short, if there is a list at all.

One thing that amazes me about Christ is that he was willing to die for you and me regardless of whether we accepted Him or not. He walked the road foretold by the prophets so long ago. Isaiah writes;

ISAIAH 53, NIV

  1 Who has believed our message

    and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

  2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,

    and like a root out of dry ground.

  He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,

    nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

  3 He was despised and rejected by men,

    a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.

  Like one from whom men hide their faces

    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

  4 Surely he took up our infirmities

    and carried our sorrows,

  yet we considered him stricken by God,

    smitten by him, and afflicted.

  5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,

    he was crushed for our iniquities;

  the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,

    and by his wounds we are healed.

  6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,

    each of us has turned to his own way;

  and the LORD has laid on him

    the iniquity of us all.

  7 He was oppressed and afflicted,

    yet he did not open his mouth;

  he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,

    and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,

    so he did not open his mouth.

  8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.

    And who can speak of his descendants?

  For he was cut off from the land of the living;

    for the transgression of my people he was stricken.

  9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,

    and with the rich in his death,

  though he had done no violence,

    nor was any deceit in his mouth.

  10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,

    and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering,

  he will see his offspring and prolong his days,

    and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.

  11 After the suffering of his soul,

    he will see the light of life and be satisfied;

  by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,

    and he will bear their iniquities.

  12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,

    and he will divide the spoils with the strong,

  because he poured out his life unto death,

    and was numbered with the transgressors.

  For he bore the sin of many,

    and made intercession for the transgressors.

Isaiah tells us of the suffering and death that Christ would experience for our transgressions. He wrote this over 600 years before Christ walked on the earth. These verses reveal the difficulties Christ would face during his time here on earth.  Do you know what I find is the most amazing thing about this? Christ knew this and he came anyway.

Christ knew the road that needed to be walked so that our sins could be forgiven. He knew the pain and ridicule he would face. He knew the death he would endure. He came anyway. I asked a question earlier, what is worth dying for? Christ considered you and I worth dying for.

The most amazing words in the Gospel are “He came”. Christ didn’t run and hide; he didn’t refuse to walk the road that needed to be walked. He came, He suffered, He died, and He rose again.

I would ask you to read these words of the prophet Isaiah this week and consider all Christ has done for us. Ask Him for forgiveness. Ask Him to come into your life and help each of us walk the road we need to be taking. He will provide the strength, courage and wisdom we need to accomplish what He has planned for us to do. Don’t just talk about it, start walking down the road with Christ alongside.

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.