This time of the year finds us celebrating graduations. People are
closing a chapter on something accomplished and opening a new one. They
are filled with a sense of accomplishment. They also are filled with a
sense of excitement about what the future holds. Where are we on this
road? Have we accomplished all there is to accomplish? Are we reaching
and striving to grow and expand our world? Greetings, in the name of our
Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Commencement speeches have a few things in common. They
congratulate you for a job well done. They encourage you to spread your
wings and fly. They remind you to remember all those who supported,
taught and helped you get to the day of graduation.
We need to know three things in life; where weíve been, where
we are and where we are going. We never should lose sight of what it
took to get us where we are. We also should not limit ourselves to only
what we can see and understand. There are so many things in life that
God has for us and if we limit ourselves, we will miss out on those
Racing has a ladder of sorts also. You start at the local
track in the entry-level division. You learn the ropes, gain some
experience. When you have a handle on that you move up in class. If the
championships come you may have the opportunity to move up to a regional
touring division and then to a national division. Unfortunately in
racing, talent isnít the only thing required to make that progression.
We need the resources also.
I can think of several drivers who have the talent to run any car
anywhere and do well, problem is they donít have the financial backing.
There is however the rare case that someone succeeds without the
financial resources that open doors. This should not escape the
attention of those drivers. It is truly a difficult task and everything
has to fall in place. When it happens the attitude should be one of
humble appreciation. Sometimes we respond with a deserving arrogance.
When that is the case the opportunity will be short lived. We need to
remember that no matter what we attain in racing or life it cost someone
something and for that we need to be appreciative and thankful.
I was thinking about the twelve men that Jesus taught
and I wondered about their graduation. Now that was a hard course of
study and I imagine that they were pretty apprehensive when the time
came to receive their diplomas. There are a couple of passages of
Scripture that come to mind; sort of the commencement speech from Jesus
to the disciples. Scripture records in two places the final words Jesus
spoke to his disciples;
MATTHEW 28:16-20, Then the eleven disciples went to
Galilee , to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw
him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and
said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the
name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching
them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you
always, to the very end of the age."
ACTS 1:1-9, In my former book, Theophilus, I
wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was
taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to
the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he showed himself to
these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared
to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God .
On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this
command: "Do not leave Jerusalem , but wait for the gift my Father
promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with
water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at
this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel ?"
He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or
dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive
power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in
Jerusalem , and in all Judea and Samaria , and to the ends of the
After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes,
and a cloud hid him from their sight.
Jesus left the Apostles with the command that as they go
through the world and live their lives they were to help others
understand who He was, what He taught and how to follow Him. To do this
they would receive the Holy Spirit to guide them. They needed to do this
in Jerusalem , their home; Judea, their community; Samaria , places and
people they didnít like or care to be associated with and the ends of
the earth. Jesus had all the authority in Heaven and earth to ask this.
He also promised to be with them everywhere they went. Short, concise,
to the point, Jesus didnít mince any words when he conveyed to them what
he expected. This was the beginning of what we call the Kingdom of God
here on earth.
A couple of questions come to mind, what if they refused?
What if they said the task was too big? What if they didnít feel like
it? What if they just decided it wasnít worth the effort? We have the
same decisions to make in our life.
Jesus taught the Apostles for three years, he performed many
miracles, saved many lives, preached many sermons, filled the lives of
countless people with hope and healing. Jesus wasnít asking them to do
something He hadnít already done himself.
It is important where the commencement speech comes from.
When it comes from someone who has been there, who has experience, who
knows the challenges of the road ahead it makes a difference. It means
the words are trustworthy. It means you can follow with the confidence
the speaker knows what they are talking about. They know the reward for
the effort is worth whatever it cost to travel down the road. Jesus had
been there, He gave everything he had, His life, for our benefit. He
asked only that we do the same.
Paul writes in the Letter to the Ephesians that God has
prepared a ďto doĒ list for each of us and that when we accept His gift
of Salvation through Jesus Christ He will be there with Things for us to
EPHESIANS 2:8-10, For it is by grace you have been saved, through
faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by
works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created
in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us
We need to accept the gift and set out on our journey through
life, making disciples, doing the work of our Lord, showing people the
blessings that God has for us if we would just submit to Him and let Him
have control over our lives. The message comes from one who sits at the
right hand of God. Will we respond and accept the challenge? Today is
the day, now is the time, accept the gift God offers, ask Him to forgive
you and let Him guide your footsteps along the path of life you have yet
THOUGHTS FROM THE ROAD
What is it about racing and the decisions made during an
event that breeds controversy? Why is it that we cannot believe that the
parties responsible for making these decisions are considering the best
for all parties involved? Why have we become so cynical that we cannot
accept what life deals us without thinking that somehow we were
shortchanged? The debate continues but the race is in the books. The
fact of the matter is that whatís done is done and no degree of rock
throwing will change it. Letís choose to look at this from a positive
perspective. It has been said, ďIf you are not part of the solution,
youíre part of the problem.Ē Do you know that if everything that comes
out of our mouth is negative and derogatory then when it comes time to
analyze the decisions made we will not be part of the discussion. The
fact is when people solicit advice they ask people who have the ability
to look at the entire picture and can contribute to a discussion that
will help us all learn how we can improve. When we are so polarized we
are not part of the discussion to improve. Our opinion is marginalized
and our input is discounted. We can learn a lesson from Jesus on this
point, He didnít accept everything without questioning the heart of the
people involve. He tolerated the actions, behavior and words of people
so that He could have an opportunity to suggest they might want to look
at things a different way. We need to do the same; we need to be more
discerning and less judgmental. I would encourage us to take a step
back, see the whole picture, give folks the benefit of the doubt and try
to be part of the discussion, not part of the problem.
The racing that did take place Thursday night at Thompson
International Speedway was great. It looked like Eddie and James were
having a ball swapping the lead and playing bumper tag along the
straightaway. Donnie got to the front and used a no pit strategy to beat
the rain and hoped the race didnít go the distance. It rained and the #4
found itís way to victory lane for the third time in five races. WOW, it
reminds me of the dominance that Hendricks Motorsports is having on the
Cup Series. Can anyone stop the Mystic Missile? Weíll have to wait and
see. I talked with Bob in victory lane and was reminded that they have
visited Victory Lane at NHIS before and anything short would be a
disappointment. One thing is clear, Bob knows how to setup a car that
Donnie can drive.
The team under the microscope Thursday was local Sunoco
Modified Track Champion Woody Pitkat and the #79 of Hillbilly Racing.
Woody was in a tour mod for his first race and the plusses and minuses
of debuting at Thompson were debated throughout the garage. Woody had
some nerves but qualified with a provisional a few hundredths off in
speed. The longer he sat in the seat the more comfortable he got. He
finished tenth in the rain shortened event and had his first race under
his belt. He finished tenth in the rain shortened event and had his
first race under his belt. After the challenges of rolling out the
backup because the primary was not up to speed, repairing the left front
because of too much rear brake, they finished with a top ten, great job.
All that is left to do now is race at NHIS.
Saw an announcement this week that Whelen Wear is now
available on the Whelen Web Site,
www.whelen.com. If you would like to buy your genuine Whelen
All-American Series, Whelen Modified Tour and Whelen Southern Modified
Tour you can get it there. Phil has received many requests and is
excited to bring this race wear to everyone at reasonable prices. Take a
look and wear your favorite racing gear not only at the track but
everywhere you go.
This week has us making our first visit to NHIS a few weeks
earlier than usual. Dan and I will be joined this time by Danís wife Deb
and his daughter Amanda. We are looking forward to displaying the new
pace car in the parade lap on Sunday. See you in New Hampshire . Have a
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
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 Coastís 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
RENE & ELAINE LaLUMIERE - From Jefferson, NH, this former ACT LM
driver and wife; faithful Ministry helpers, have their 18th anniversary.
THE REV. BILL & DAWN WAUGH - Pastor of the Greesburg, PA Church of
the Brethren/ RWJM PA/Ohio Coordinator and Challenger Raceway RWJM Track
Chaplain and very supportive wife share their 24th anniversary.
GEORGE & SANDRA MARTIN - This Wernersville, PA writer and wife
have their 38th anniversary.
JOHNNY BENSON, JR. - CTS driver from Grand Rapids, MI
ROBBIE REISER - Allentown, WI NNC/BGN Matt Kenseth Crew Chief.
MIKE SKINNER - Randleman, NC CTS driver.
JOHNNY JOHNSON - NC Modified/Virginia Sprint Series driver.
DICK WIBBELSMAN - RWJM Advisor from Gainesville, FL.
AL GEAUDREAU - Owner of New London, CT's Quality Auto Electric
and famous former Waterford Speedbowl Modified Team owner.
KRIS HANSEN - Green Lane, PA wife of Al, Grandview/Bridgeport
MARIAH THOMAS - Neice of JDM Chassis owner Jay and Angelina
Sturat in Preston, CT.
JEFF BURTON - South Boston, VA RCR Cup driver.
MARTIN TRUEX, JR. - Mayetta, NJ NNC DEI team #1 driver.
BILLY ELLIS - Oley, PA URC Sprint driver.
LARRY CAUDILL - No. Wilkesboro, NC NASCAR driver.
NICOLE ROSE BELLISLE - The daughter of Canterbury, CT Waterford
Speedbowl Strictly Stock driver Jim is 12.
THOMAS URIAH JAMES - "TJ" is the eldest son of Canterbury, CT
RWJM Advisors Scott and Lisa and turns his 12th lap.
STERLING MARLIN - Columbia, TN Cup driver.
JEFF TROMBLEY - NY D.I.R.T. Modified driver.
JIMMY BEGOLO - D.I.R.T. Modified driver.
BOB PARK- East Northport, NY former NASCAR WMT driver, turned
Southern Modified driver, and proud dad of CTS driver Steve Park.
LYNDON AMICK - Batesburg, SC NASCAR BGN driver.
DAVE MADER III - NC LMSC/BGN driver.
JOHN GRADY - "Turtle" is a Lebanon Valley Speedway based
BILL BRICE III - Husband of Janice and Familiar sight at NJ
SKIP MATCZAK - Ellington, CT SuperModified team owner.
LISA GRAVEL - Wife of Groton, MA driver Gege.
JERRY SOLOMITO - Son of Riverhead Raceway driver Jerry and wife
Linda is 19.
GREG ZYLA - Shamokin, PA Editor/writer.
JOAN NICKEL - The wife of Thompson Speedway photographer Scott.
CHRIS LOMASTRO - She is a Stafford Herb Bennett LM driver and
Lebanon Valley Billy Decker Modified fan.
SALLY CAVALLERO - This Cup and Wall Township race fan, wife of
Tom, mother of Emily, Bobby and Joey, daughter of Doris Bradley. Sally's
brother-in-law Woody works for Ray Evernham in North Carolina.
RICHARD PETTY - Randleman, NC owner of Petty Enterprises, all-time
winningest Cup driver, a founding-father of ministry in auto racing.
JOHNNY LEACH - Lumbertown, NJ dirt Modified driver.
TOM FLINN - Star Speedway (NH) Chief Tech Inspector.
GARY NEGRI - Danbury, CT Cup/Mod fan.
SCOTT ROBERTSON - Goodyear tire tech frequently with the BES and
a pretty good bagpipe player.
JAMIE TOMAINO - Popular Howell, NJ NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
driver Team #99 and Racing with Jesus Ministries Series Board Member.
JIMMY HORTON - Whitehouse Station, NJ top dirt Modified driver.
CHARLIE DONK - NY D.I.R.T. Modified driver.
DON TIRPAK - Mt. Arlington, NJ Street Stock and Micro Stock
RON JACKS - NASCAR West Series driver of Las Vegas, NV.
LINDA GEER - Waterford Speedbowl former Office Manager.
RICH PAWLICH - Rocky Hill, CT Modified fan.
*** IN THE SHOP ***
ELAINE STOCKWELL- Keep Elaine in your prayers as she recovers
from recent heart surgery. She writes "All this maintenance just makes
me younger and in better shape and ready to keep going. I am feeling
quite good, a little weak and have lost a lot of weight (30+ pounds) but
keeping the faith. Lennie will be with me all the way....." Call or
write to let them know they may not be racing with us but they are not
forgotten. I know a few teams that would have paid anything to have Tug
in Elko. They are planning on making it to a race soon and were hoping
to get to NHIS.
SHARE YOUR SPECIAL OCCASIONS WITH YOUR RACING FAMILY.
SEND THEM TO
RACING WITH JESUS MINISTRIES AT
PO BOX 586, Tolland, CT, 06084
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Racing With Jesus Ministries Website