Tag Archives: Racing with Jesus Ministries

Lifetime

When we hear the word lifetime what goes through our mind? Do we process the fact that it is made up of two important words and each one has their value given to us by God? God created time and then he created life, together He blessed us with a lifetime. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Soon we will be celebrating the accomplishments of a lifetime as Mike Stefanik will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. His lifetime behind the wheel of a racecar that is. He was more than that, he was a true gentleman. His grace and class were evident in his life. He made room for others. He was a true champion and touched the lives of so many in a positive and uplifting way.

Many times, we wonder about our own lives, what will be said of our lifetime. Recently we were blessed to hear from so many how our daughter Elisabeth touched someone’s life. It was a tremendous encouragement in a difficult time. Thank you all.

When our lifetime comes to an end what will be said of us? What do we hope for out of life? Enough time? Time to search and find. Time to build and enjoy. Time to live and love. Scripture shares with us;

Ecclesiastes 3:1; NLT; For everything there is a season,

    a time for every activity under heaven.

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. That can only be found in a relationship with Him. What is a relationship with God? What are the attributes of such a thing?

We can turn to the person Scripture described as a man after God’s own heart, David. In Psalm 23 he records the attributes of the relationship he has with God. Six verses that when examined will redefine what we look for in our relationship to God.

Psalm 23; NLT; A psalm of David.

1 The Lord is my shepherd;

    I have all that I need.

He lets me rest in green meadows;

    he leads me beside peaceful streams.

3     He renews my strength.

He guides me along right paths,

    bringing honor to his name.

Even when I walk

    through the darkest valley,

I will not be afraid,

    for you are close beside me.

Your rod and your staff

    protect and comfort me.

You prepare a feast for me

    in the presence of my enemies.

You honor me by anointing my head with oil.

    My cup overflows with blessings.

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me

    all the days of my life,

and I will live in the house of the Lord

    forever.

The Lord is my shepherd. My first thought is; is He? We would like to say we have a relationship with God but do we have one that displays the right priorities? God leading, us following.

I have everything I need. Again, the reality is that we have trouble thinking and living like God will supply everything we need. We somehow think we have to help Him or figure it out.

He lets me rest in green meadows. When was the last time we rested? We can get so busy thinking we have to provide for ourselves that we forget to rest. Rest is a gift from God, He has a plan, it is good, He won’t need our help. So, we can rest.

He leads me beside peaceful streams. How many times is our life in turmoil? Peaceful is not an adjective that most of us would use to describe our daily lives. Peace is something God desires to provide for us, refreshing peace, if we allow Him to.

He renews my strength. It is said that life will wear you down. It will chew you up and spit you out. Our strength comes from God, He desires to renew it. The previous combine, rest and refreshment, to renew our strength. If we think we can make it without them our strength will fail.

He guides me along right paths. God has a plan, it is good, it will provide hope and a future. The reality is it is God’s plan, not ours. To follow His plan, we need to seek Him out, ask for His guidance and follow it.

Bringing honor to his name. When this all comes together, we have a purpose. Our life has meaning. We accomplish the will of God. Nothing is more satisfying and fulfilling. We bring honor to His name.

Even when I walk through the darkest valley. Life is not a bowl of cherries. We face difficult times. Those times test us and challenge us. They form us and shape us to reflect the character of God.

I will not be afraid. We can face them without fear because we don’t face them alone. God said He will never leave us or forsake us. We do not have to fear being alone.

For you are close beside me. God walks alongside us even in the darkest valley. He doesn’t expect us to face the challenges of life alone. He is by our side.

Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. Some much so we can feel it. His protection and discipline help make our path straight. He is there to keep us on the right road, His road.

You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. Even when we cannot see a way out. Even when the world is closing in around us. God has an abundance of hope. God provides hope for us even when surrounded by enemies.

You honor me by anointing my head with oil. We belong to the King! He has placed His mark on our forehead signifying that we are His. We must never forget that.

My cup overflows with blessings. Having a relationship with God not only yields benefits for us, it also overflows. We cannot contain the blessings we receive. Our abundance should have a positive influence on the lives around us. We should be a blessing.

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me. We will never cease from being blessed as the Father peruses us. Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.

All the days of my life. He will demonstrate that to us every day he provided for us to live here on this earth, our lifetime.

And I will live in the house of the Lord forever. Not only here but eternity. We will dwell with Him forever.

Six verses that provide a framework for the most significant relationship we can have in our lifetime, a relationship with God, through Jesus Christ. Relationship, Provision, Rest, Refreshment, Healing, Guidance, Purpose, Testing, Protection, Faithfulness, Discipline, Hope, Identity, Abundance, Blessing, and Security, for Eternity. That is quite a list. I encourage you to spend some time here, identify the aspects of your relationship with God that need attention.

Maybe the first step is in order and you have to establish a relationship with Him. Scripture makes it clear for us.

Romans 10:9; If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

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.

In the fire

By Chaplin Todd Heft

To say the last 18 months were difficult for some people would be an understatement. Many of us faced trials we haven’t had to deal with before. Isolation was a hardship in and of itself, but it also made some difficult times even more trying. Where is God in this? Where is He when we face the unimaginable? Where is He when our world is seemingly burning down around us? Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Understanding what God does and doesn’t do is something that is beyond our comprehension. We are not all-knowing. What we can do, though, is search His Word and trust that what he says is true. God doesn’t promise us that we won’t have hard times. He does tell us what we can do during those times. Look carefully at the words in Isaiah 43:2

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”

Isaiah 43:2 ESV

 The Word doesn’t say when you walk on water. Likewise, the Word doesn’t say when you walk around the water. The Word says, “when you pass through the waters.” The Word says, “when you walk through the fire.” We are going to face difficult times in our lives. I’ve heard it put this way: you’re in one of three places: coming out of a tough time, in a tough time, you’re about to go through a tough time.  

 When a driver straps in a race car, there has been much preparation ahead of time. The car was set up, practice laps were run, and countless hours were spent in the shop. But, unfortunately, sometimes things don’t go right. Were the proper safety devices put in the car and put in correctly? Does your fire suit fit properly? These things can make the difference between a tragic outcome and a seemingly miraculous one.    

 What about our trials in life? What do we lean on? Let’s look back at Isaiah 43:2. The word says, “I will be with you” and “you will not be burned.” God promises that as believers when we face trials, He will be right there with us.  

The prophet Daniel wrote about three servants that faced a trial with a life and death consequence. Obey God or obey man. They chose God and faced certain death.   

“Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated. And he ordered some of the mighty men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. Then these men were bound in their cloaks, their tunics, their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the burning fiery furnace. Because the king’s order was urgent and the furnace overheated, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell bound into the burning fiery furnace. Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.” Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace; he declared, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire. And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them. Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.”

Daniel 3:19-28 ESV

God was with them in the fire. When they were in the fire, they were not consumed. The crucial part of what happened here was trust. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego put their complete trust in God. It was then that God delivered them. But they trusted that even if he didn’t, their outcome with God was better than one without Him.  

How deeply do we trust God? Do we trust that he is all good? Trusting God doesn’t happen in the middle of a bad situation. It happens when we grow deeper with Him and build a relationship with him. We start that by acknowledging Him and reading his Word. Just like the driver and crew that put effort into safety before they even left for the track, we need to spend time with God, building our relationship with Him, before the hard times come, so that we will trust Him. 

Value

By Rev Don Rivers

Each of us is valuable in God’s eyes. We all have the same value. Now we don’t all have the same usefulness to God but that is a subject for another day. Do we know our value to God? Racing with Jesus Ministries mission is to help those in the racing community know the value they have before God. We are here for the purpose of helping everyone know they are valuable to God. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

A few weeks back we said goodbye to Zach at New York International Raceway Park. A nine-year-old that had a love for racing. He had a challenging life, one filled with medical issues, but he loved being at the track. You could see the excitement and joy in his eyes. Today Zach is home in heaven with His Heavenly Father, fully healed and hurting no more. God reveals in His word the special place children hold in His heart.

Mark 11:13-16; NLT; One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.

When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.

This same encounter is recorded in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. God indicates to us that even children have value in His eyes. So much so he says unless you receive the Kingdom of God like a child you will never enter it. Through the eyes of a child. Think of the excitement, the joy, the wonder and amazement we get when we see things through the eyes of a child. Think of the cynicism and negativity that children do not possess. Yes, there is always hope and wonder in the eyes of a child.

We are all children of God. We head out to the racetracks to try and help people find that wonder and amazement that God offers them. The intrinsic value he placed in each of us. We seek to walk alongside and guide the discovery of what our Father in Heaven has for each of us. Let’s take a little journey with some of our chaplains.

Todd Heft shares; “Often we, our family, plan camping around Racing with Jesus Ministries races.  It usually means a shorter drive to and from the track and less time away from the family.  Win-win!

When the schedule for 2021 was first forming in February and March I saw there was two events in Maine this past weekend. There was no question in my mind we should go up there.  After talking with Don Rivers, we made a plan on camping together. Even up until a week or two ago we both were planning on attending the Whelen Modified Tour event. Well, there was a pair of NEMA races without a chaplain so we decided to divide and conquer; Instead of being at one track I’d head up to Wiscasset and bring my oldest son with me. 

There was a slight detour.  On the horizon loomed a hurricane.  So instead of a few extra days away we rolled back home after the race arriving at 2am this morning.  It gave me a rare chance to attend church and truly worship and not serve as a techy.

None of it sounds especially remarkable until you see the details behind what God is doing.  Don was exactly where he needed to be last night at the track and I was exactly where I needed to be both yesterday and today. 

Detours aren’t fun, they’re many times the long way around.  They’re not convenient.  God doesn’t ask us to lead a life of convenience, he asks us to live a life of obedience.  When we do we see the amazing things He does and we see lives touched and transformed.  Our own lives begin to greater reflect Christ to the others around us. 

Back in the time when Jesus lived, Jews used to take the road around Samaria because they despised the Samaritans so much.  Jesus didn’t and when he met the women at the well, He transformed her life. Not only that but he transformed the entire town into believers.  He knew the detour was the right way for that time.

If God is calling you to do something, if you’re feeling a nudge, it’s probably the Holy Spirit prompting you to take action.  Take the detour from what you planned and follow God’s route.  It’s significantly more rewarding than the road you would have chosen.”

Our Chaplain at Stafford Motor Speedway Tim Garrison shares how he sees God’s presence at Stafford. “I am seeing God moving and working at Stafford in a couple of different ways. I am seeing people that previously would not spend much time talking with me, initiate conversations and ask for prayer before the race. I am seeing relationships build and develop with drivers and crew members where they share their prayer requests with me and engage in deeper and more meaningful life conversations.

Another exciting way that I am seeing God working is in the logistics of how I serve at the track. There seems to be more of an openness to what I do and a growing appreciation and acceptance to the message of what “the chaplain” is there to do.”

Scott Frazier, our Northern Chaplain, visits many different places throughout Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Scotty shared this about his journey. This year has been an important year to get back to normal after a trying 2020.

“With my travels to many different tracks, I have made a lot of friends over the years. I have found a special connection with the Storace family at Star Speedway. Kelly and Jim are a very special couple that are very dedicated to racing for many years. 

I first met them years ago, as I became a Chaplain, they wanted to have me stop and pray with them at their trailer on race day. I always make sure I stop and catch up and chat with them.

 Within the past 2 years Kelly has been fighting brain cancer. We pray together during her fight over the racing season. Keeping God in their life to guide them.

I am happy to say she is now in remission. God has given her life back. I can see how much they love each other and knowing that we have that connection with them on a personal level with God has made our presence well worth it. Serving him well one team at a time.”

Todd Heft adds; “God is working in the NEMA series in a way I have not seen with any other division in my short time as a chaplain.  The officials, the drivers and the families are specifically seeking out our presence at the track.  God has put together connections and those connections are allowing the Gospel to be shared and heard by people who would otherwise not have heard. It has not only touched lives in the series but given me a tremendous amount of encouragement.”

God wants to be with His people, He wants them to know the value they have in His eyes. We go to deliver the message, to walk alongside, lifting each of you up. We are blessed to be a partner with God in ministering to you. 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.