It is that time of year when we traditionally take a vacation. The Whelen Modified Tour and the Camping World East Series have a few weeks off before they get back into action in August. We all need to take some time off. What do you have planned for your summer vacation? Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Ahhhhh, summertime, brings back memories of when I was a kid. We ruled the world, went where we wanted, when we wanted and stayed as long as we wanted. As long as we had our bikes we were free. No school, no homework, free to do anything we wanted. For me growing up vacation time was the entire summer. I lived in a neighborhood with enough kids that there was always something going on. We had enough kids to play baseball, so you could always find someone and something to do.
My family did take that annual summer trip that you have seen recorded in the movies. We would head north to Vermont to visit relatives and we had a lot of them! I enjoyed those trips. I went to one of my most memorable races on one of those trips, Catamount Speedway.
I wonder how many of you have plans to take a rest, to step out of the routine and recharge your batteries. It is something that is necessary. In fact, God commanded it.
Our racing calendar is full in the summertime. That is the time we have to race. But it struck me that if we don’t take time to get away and recharge our batteries we won’t have the energy we need to continue. We need to take some time away from racing and take time to rest. I think you would be surprised how much it changes your perspective on things.
Lynda and I just returned from a trip to the west coast. We visited Seattle and drove the coastline to San Francisco. We took our time, made many stops and enjoyed not having a schedule. The rest and relaxation did us good. Next year we may take two weeks, who knows.
Did you know that God created us with a need to take a break once in a while and rest? In Scripture, it is called a Sabbath, from the Hebrew sabbat. Our word sabbatical comes from it and it means to rest, to take a break from labor.
I know we all have team members that seem to have the technique of avoiding labor figured out, but believe me they work hard trying to avoid working. Maybe they need to take a break and do some work?
The reality is we all forget that we need to stop and rest. We get so involved in things we don’t see how they could continue if we took some time off. They will and if you don’t rest you will not be around long enough to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Balance is the key and when we balance our work with our rest we live life to the fullest.
When God created the world we live in he did it in six days and on the seventh day he rested. God, the creator of everything, the one who possesses all power and authority, the one who breathes life into each one of us, rested. That speaks volumes to us about the necessity of resting, taking a break from our labor and changing our focus and resting. If God rested we need to rest also.
Let me explain that racing isn’t a diversion from your full-time job it is a second full-time job. I see most of the racers I know burning the candle at both ends. They work hard at enjoying racing. The rest I am talking about is different. It is a purposeful time that you take to stop and focus on everything we have been blessed with from God. A time when we adjust our minds from thinking about all we have to do and think about all we have been able to do. I think if we have lost one thing as a society it is the art of rest. We have forgotten that at the beginning of it all rest was a cornerstone of life, God created us that way.
Let us take a look at a couple of Scriptures that will help us know the importance God places on rest.
Genesis 2:2-3, By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
Exodus 20:8-11, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
The concept of a Sabbath has been confused throughout the years by man. This column is not long enough to explore all the various arguments for what is allowed and what is not. Suffice to say Jesus said about the Sabbath that we should be about doing good and our activity should reflect our acknowledgement of God and the blessings he has provided for us.
When we do that we start to understand that life doesn’t revolve around us, life revolves around the creator of life, God. We start to see that we don’t have to do everything; it is alright to let some things go undone. We are free from the pressure of the world to acquire things and pursue the things that really matter, our relationship with God and those who love us.
We try to provide that opportunity at the track for you, chapel service. It provides a time to rest and reflect on God. It can do wonders for your perspective if you let it. We know the race day is busy and many things need to get done, but trust me in this, if you take the time to honor God He will honor your commitment and your day. He will change your perspective for the good. Trust God and let him help you through the challenge of raceday, try attending chapel and relax.
We don’t always have the luxury to have a consistent Sabbath day and that’s okay if you don’t use that as an excuse to not have one at all. The concept of taking time to rest and focus on things outside ourself can take place at any time and in any place. If you haven’t taken time to rest and reflect this week yet, do it now. At the next opportunity stop, remove yourself from the distractions around you and talk to God, just like he was sitting beside you. Share your thoughts with Him, ask for His help with the things that are on your heart. Let Him know how much you depend on Him to get through life. Ask Him for forgiveness for the things you didn’t quite get right. Rest in His comfort and mercy.
You see now you have spent time with God and He will honor that.
I encourage you to experience the freedom of resting in God. Acknowledge His presence in your life and seek His guidance. He will not disappoint. Remember the Sabbath and set it apart from your everyday activity, rest in Jesus. God Bless, Rev. Don.
THOUGHTS FROM THE ROAD
A WAR TO END ALL WARS- I spent some time at the back gate at Stafford Motor Speedway Friday night talking with Mr. Bill “Wild Bill” Slater. He shared his usual sharp witted comments but he also showed me a picture from a few months ago. Bill was recognized for his service to our country by the State of Connecticut and Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz. This year the state is paying tribute to the veterans that fought in the “War to end all Wars” WWII. Bill received a public service award for his contribution to our freedom. More than that you could see the pride Bill had in his heart to be able to serve and give of himself for his country. Bill has done many things in his life and most involved risking his life but I could see it in his eyes this was one that he was extremely proud of. Bill, thank you, thank you for giving of yourself to maintain the freedoms we enjoy. Thanks also to every man and woman who have given of themselves for these United States. Let me share an excerpt from the letter;
“As a United States Veteran, you are an important part of what makes this state and country such a wonderful place to live. Your commitment to your state and country, and your willingness to serve your fellow citizens in very hazardous and life threatening conditions, are characteristics truly deserving recognition. Your dedication to public service is a precious gift.”
Stop by the gate some time and say thank you. If you can’t get to Stafford you will find Bill at Anna’s, holding court during the lunch hour in East Hartford, treat him to lunch.
DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES? A familiar refrain from the 1980 Olympic Games in Lake Placid, NY but this time it applies to something else. I received a call the other day from Warren Kuhlthau. As you may recall Warren was on his death bed last fall, given eight hours to live as he struggled to come out of a coma. He not only made it but on Friday, July 17, eleven months to the day from his diagnosis, he was declared cancer free! What a birthday present! Warren credits his will to live as a major factor in beat the deadly disease. He also realizes that the Great Physician, God, had a lot to do with it. He knows God has some work for him to do and he is ready to hit the road. Last fall at the Turkey Derby I gave him a ride in the pace car, this fall he wants to drive! Amen.
THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS- It has been a difficult week for many in the racing family, many have lost loved ones. Please keep the following families in your prayers, Tomaino, Mullin, McNeil, Seidel, Welch, and Verlatti. All these families have lost loved one in the past few weeks. If you know them personally please reach out and touch them, let them know that you are lifting them up in their time of grief.
Be a witness for our Lord with the ministry decals and apparel. See them at the Online Apparel Store at www.RWJM.org. Call us with your prayer and counseling needs and list all your prayer needs, no matter what part of our racing family you are in, with the Racing Family Prayer Request Page www.rwjm.org/page/prayers.php also send your prayer request by mail. Until next time, remember that God loves you, we love you and
Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing. GOD BLESS.
Mail reaches us at Racing with Jesus Ministries, PO Box 586, Tolland, CT 06084. Check our weekly printed pages in “Area Auto Racing News”, the East Coast’s largest weekly racing paper” See our on-line Apparel Store for subscription information. Check our home page www.rwjm.org for past articles. We invite you to input your thoughts as you sign our Guest Book. Please remember, we can only do what we do because of your prayerful financial support.
Numbers 6:24-26 “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
May God always Bless you, everyday in everyway. Rev. Don
BRAD & LYNN LEIGHTON- This Center Harbor, NH CWES Grand National driver and wife share their 18th anniversary.
PHIL & BETTY SMITH- This veteran writer and wife of Westerly, RI celebrate their special day.
RED & STELLA MEAD- This Hyde Park, VT White Mountain Motorsports Park (NH) driver and wife share their 24th anniversary.
DAVE & SHIRLEY ALEXANDER- This retired Maine Modified driver and wife have turned their track 42 times.
RON YOUNG- Conyers, GA NASCAR All Pro Series driver.
CHRISTOPHER SAVLUK- Son of Lisbon, CT Crew Chief Roger.
RICH YANNETTA- Bridgewater, NJ Flemington go-kart driver. JULIANNE ELIZABETH COX- The youngest of Bob and Tracy is 6.
BUCKSHOT JONES- Monticello, GA former NNS driver.
DEBBIE KRODEL- Keith’s wife, both Sprint and NASCAR WMT fans, in Pensacola, FL.
JEFF HERBERT- Wall Stadium Modified driver.
STAN WATTLES- Glen Cove, LI born, now Sewall’s Point, FL IRL driver.
LEONARD WAGNER- This Schwenksville, PA Grandview Speedway fan, along with wife Earlene, is also a Dale Jarrett fan.
JUDY ROBINSON- Wife of Bill, daughter of Doris Bradley, fan of Wall Stadium, New Egypt and NASCAR fan of Ricky Rudd. Sister of Sally and Tammy.
FRANK FLEMING- Mt. Airy, NC Modified driver.
KELLY PUNCH- A son of Dennis and Pat from Newton, NC and crewman for Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
TODD STILES- Lisbon, CT Tech Inspector.
RANDY MacDONALD- Canadian born CWES,NNS,CTS owner/driver now living in NC.
RICK CRAWFORD- Mobile, AL NASCAR All Pro/CTS driver.
ALAN COATES- Connecticut Modified driver.
WILL POIGNONNEC- Kart Racer at Oakland Valley Race Park from East Brunswick, NJ.
DAVID ALIO- NSC photographer
MIKE SOVA- Windsor, NY writer.
GLENN SULLIVAN- Westbury, LI CWES driver.
PETE FIANDACA- Townsend, MA legendary LM/ProStock driver.
JACK SELLERS- Sacramento, CA NASCAR West driver.
REGGIE RUGGIERO- Berlin, CT NASCAR WMT driver.
WAYNE CARROLL, JR.- Massachusetts ProStock driver.
SAMANTHA JARRETT- Holyoke, MA photographer Gracie Ryan’s grandaughter is 20.
JESSICA LARSEN- A daughter of Linda and Joe, NASCAR Mod Series official.
*** NEW BEGINNINGS ***
ETHEL MULLIN- Mother of Cheryl Tomaino passed away unexpectedly Thursday. She was involved with Victory Junction Camp and had the joy of meeting her great grandson. Please keep the Mullin and Tomaino families in your thoughts and prayers.
SHERRY SEIDEL, wife of Roy Seidell, former Mod Tour #27 driver, passed away early this morning 7-18-09 after a long and hard-fought battle with cancer. She never gave up hope and died far too young. Condolences can be sent to Roy at: 17 Kania St., Easthampton, MA 01027
SHARE YOUR SPECIAL OCCASIONS WITH YOUR RACING FAMILY. SEND THEM TO RACING WITH JESUS MINISTRIES AT PO BOX 586, Tolland, CT, 06084.
Sources: Rev. Don Rivers/RWJM