Rev. Don Rivers
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 donít take time to get away and
recharge our batteries we wonít 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 donít see how they could continue if we took some
time off. They will and if you donít 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 isnít 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
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 doesnít revolve
around us, life revolves around the creator of life, God. We start to see
that we donít 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 donít always have the luxury to have a consistent Sabbath day
and thatís okay if you donít use that as an excuse to not have one at all.
The concept of taking time to rest and focus on things outside ourselves can
take place at any time and in any place. If you havenít 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 didnít 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 ďWild BillĒ
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
ďWar to end all WarsĒ 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;
ďAs 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.Ē
Stop by the gate some time and say thank you. If you canít get to
Stafford you will find Bill at Annaís, 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 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
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
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
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
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
*** 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
PO Box 586
Tolland, CT, 06084
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Don Rivers / Racing With Jesus Ministries