WHO HAS CONTROL
by Rev. Don Rivers
Have you ever felt out of control? In life we strive to have a handle on
things, get a grip. How does God fit into the control we want to have on our
lives? Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
In racing we are not quick to reveal everything. Think about the
interview with a driver or crewchief after practice. It may go something
like this; “the car is good, but we can still get a little more out of it.”
Then ask the other competitors who has a fast car and they will tell you
straight out, “so and so has the car to watch.” The art of playing the
racing game, don't let them know what you have until you need to.
This sort of thinking showed up in a tech inspection infraction
against a team last year. It appeared that the Toyotas were generating a
tremendous amount of horsepower and NASCAR wanted to dyno their engines
against the other competitors. Without notice they announced during the race
that they were going to pull several cars after the race and dyno the
engines right in the car. This, they felt would give them an actual
indication of what the engines produced in race trim. They needed to do it
this way because if they announced it and gave the teams notice they would
not be assured that no gamesmanship was taking place.
One team thought of a way around it and put a spacer behind the gas
pedal to prevent the engine from turning max rpms. They got caught and
fined. This just reveals to us the great lengths we will go to control the
outcome of a situation. Even the threat of penalty doesn't deter us from
trying to control the outcome.
Words that have become popular today include, spin doctor, damage
control and the like. All created and practiced to control what others hear
and think about a situation. They all fall into the category that our
passage talks about today. We say things we don't mean, swear to them,
invoke God's name all in an effort to convince others to do it our way. Look
at this section of verses out of the passage we read last week.
Matthew 5:33-37: "Again, you
have heard that it was said to the people long ago, `Do not break your oath,
but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.' But I tell you, Do not swear
at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne; or by the earth, for it is
his footstool; or by Jerusalem , for it is the city of the Great King. And
do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.
Simply let your `Yes' be `Yes,' and your `No,' `No'; anything beyond this
comes from the evil one.
Manipulating others is a harsh concept for us to admit, but it is
something that we all engage in. There a very few truly honest people in
this world. When we see one, we call them stupid. Why? Because they are
vulnerable and they don't play the game of manipulating their words to
please or protect.
Have you seen the movie Forest Gump? Do you know what made him
special? He was truly honest. His yes meant yes and his no meant no. When he
had something to say he said it; he wasn't what we would refer to as
tactful. Look and sounds so strange to us doesn't it.
How about us? Have we fallen into the trap of making commitments
and promises that we can't keep. Why is it that we think we can control the
events of our life to the point that we commit to do so to others? Look at
what Jesus says in this verse, “you cannot even make one hair white or
black”. Actually I think we can make them gray by worrying about too many
things, but I digress. We really do not realize how little control we have
in our lives.
Jesus councils us to simplify things, less is more. Say yes when
the answer is yes and no when the answer is no. Don't spend time thinking it
through and trying to over think things. When we do that we end up making
promises that we cannot keep. Worse yet we have to think up another way to
cover for the things we didn't do.
In sports, gamesmanship is part of the deal. We reveal things in a
way as to keep others thinking and guessing, keeping the competition off
balance. Don't let that become a lifestyle. We can get so caught up in
manipulation, control and orchestrating events that our lives spin out of
control. We don't know what is real and what is fabricated. The burden
becomes overwhelming. Jesus wants to remove that burden.
Take steps this week not to embellish the truth, just speak as
truthfully as you can. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Turn to Jesus
for help in that. Your life will be simpler and your mind won't be clogged
up with trying to remember who you told what. Remember God's promise;
Matthew 7:7-8, "Ask and it will
be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened
to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who
knocks, the door will be opened.
Have a great week, remember to keep things simple. Next week we'll
talk about retribution and getting even. The week after that we'll look at
how we treat those we don't care much for. That will close out our Winter
Bible Study and we will look toward Easter, the death and resurrection of
our Lord and Savior. Have a great week, God's continued blessing.
THOUGHTS FROM THE ROAD
WINTERNATIONALS MORE LIKE SUMMERNATIONALS - Dan and I
made the quick trip down to Orange County Speedway in Rougemont , NC at the
invitation of Charles Kepley. Charles is the force behind the John Blewett
III Memorial North-South Shootout at Concord Motorsports Park in November
and he is trying to put together an event to start the season like the
Shootout closes the season. We were excited to be a part of something new
for Modified racers.
Orange County is a fantastic facility, wide, banking, several
racing grooves, fast, the list goes on. The racing was some of the best we
have seen in a long time. Absent was the foolishness of impatience. The race
had just three cautions for minor spinouts and only one tow truck call. In
the end patience ruled the day. Ronnie Silk, Matt Hirschman and Charlie
Pasteryak ran in the top three for most of the race with George Brunnhoelzl
III running with them. Side by side, bumping, rubbing, close-quarter racing
that made the Mods famous. As we approached the last several laps you could
see the tires go away and the top three looked as though they were hanging
on till the end when Matt Hirschman found a little left in the tank. He
caught and passed Ronnie and took home the checkers followed by Ronnie and
Charlie. The North ruled this one but I am sure if we meet again next year
the southern guys might have something to say.
Part of the challenge of this weekend was that we couldn't be two
places at one time. We made a commitment to Charles to support his event and
needed to fulfill that even though it meant missing the indoor event at
Providence . It would have been easier to stay home and head to Providence
but as our passage said this week our yes needed to be yes.
NEW FRIENDS - While we met with
many old friends in NC we also made new ones. One of the folks we had the
pleasure of getting to know this weekend was Eric Peterman of RPM Outreach.
Eric is the Chaplain for the ASA Southern Modified Race Tour. He came on
board with them this year and is excited about the opportunities of
ministering to the ASA family. We are looking forward to seeing him along
the road. It is great to add another member to the community of ministers
that have a heart to reach racers. Please keep Eric and the ASA tour in your
OLD FRIENDS - We had the
pleasure of spending some time with the Dilner's as Meagan was racing in the
ProCup series on the under card of the event. In addition to that Jerry Babb
and Melanie were along for the ride as hauler driver and chef. We enjoyed
some good food, good friends and good racing. I am always amazed at how God
prepares the way for us. God is Good, All the Time!
NO COOKIES - On a sad front
when we arrived at Orange County we met many of our northern friends
including our favorite cookie baker from New York State . I am sad to say
that she was cookieless. We had to endure an entire race without the benefit
of her chocolate chip cookies. The Icebreaker is a few short weeks away and
I am assured there will be cookies there. Nothing goes better with the sound
of a modified than chocolate chip cookies.
PRAYER REQUEST - I was talking
with Randy LaJoie at Orange County and he asked if we could lift his family
up in prayer. They are facing some challenges in the days and weeks to come
and need the prayer support of the racing family. Pray that God would
surround them with His grace and mercy as they face these challenges.
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
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Please remember, we can only do what we do because of your prayerful
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
JOSEPH AND ALICE FERGUSON - The proprietor of Ferguson Painting and
Decorating and wife; fans from Howard , PA celebrate their 33rd anniversary.
MARK & AUDREY MOCKOVAC - The Danbury, CT based True Value Modified
Series Media Coordiantor and wife/ Claremont Modified driver (Audrey
Stevens) share their 12th anniversary.
JEFF & JENNIFER ZUIDEMA - The North Brookfield, MA ProStock driver and
wife share their 19th anniversary.
ERIC & CHERIE BEERS - The Northampton, PA Flemington and WMT driver
and wife have their 17th anniversary.
JOE GOSEK - NY based ISMA SuperModified driver.
HAL GOODSON - Darlington , SC All Pro driver.
BRIAN CRUNDEN - Connecticut ProStock driver.
DAVE BURNHAM - CT based LM driver.
VALARIE LeSIEUR - Daughter of former Speedway Scene Publisher, Val.
DAN BURY - Upstate NY photographer.
JOHN LANE - A son of NJ photographer Ace.
CAROL PARES - Wife of "Area Auto Racing News" NASCAR Mod Series
photographer Mike of Wayne, NJ.
BOB HABERSTICK - Wall Township Speedway driver.
TODD MASSEY - Haw River, NC LMSC driver.
GREG COVERDALE - Milford, DE URC Sprint driver.
JEFF SPRAKER - Latham, NY NASCAR NASCAR/ARCA Owner.
LYN ST. JAMES - Willoughby, OH born, now Daytona Beach , FL IRL
SCOTT BONNEY - Lee Speedway (NH) LM driver.
RANDY KANE - Selinsgrove and Clinton County Pit Steward.
JASON KOHLER - Fleetwood, PA MicroSprint driver.
CRYSTAL SANSEVERINO - A daughter of Hillsborough , NC photographer Ed
and wife Linda.
JACK BATEMEN - NH True Value Modified Promotor/driver/team owner.
PAT PUNCH - In Newton, NC, the wife of Brewco NNS Team manager,
Dennis, who is the brother of TV's Dr. Jerry .
ERIN & KARRI LARSEN - The twin daughters of NASCAR Mod Tour official
Joe are 17.
DEVIN HILTS - Brushton , NY go-kart driver.
PAT D'ANTONIO - Tuscon,AZ NASCAR West driver.
ROBBY PAGE - A new quarter midget driver turnes 8.
ED FERREE - Pennsylvania Motor Speedway multi-time dirt big block LM
champion, proprietor of Frankland Racing Supply racing rears and Clincher
JERRY CRANMER - Semi-retired NJ asphalt Modified and ARCA driver.
SHERRY BLAKELY - San Antonio , TX driver.
DAN MESERVEY - Chatham, MA Mini Modified driver, dad of Mod/NASCAR
CWES drivers Dan, Jr. and Doug.
BOB CASAGRANDE - Riverhead Raceway Blunderbust driver.
KATRINA SPENCER - Daughter of former NSC driver Jim and wife Pat is
BRANDON LEHMAN - A grown-up son of AARN columnist "Doc" from
Smithville , OH .
DAVID BLAIN - No. Grosvenordale, CT LM driver.
KATHY ATTAYA - Wife of Tim, Producers of the Augusta , ME annual
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Don Rivers / Racing With Jesus Ministries