ON THE TEAM
Rev. Don Rivers
I have been studying in the book of Ephesians the past few weeks and one of
the things that has been on my mind is being part of the team. What does it
take to be a part of the team? There are many that want to be on the team
but only a few become members. What qualifies you to be a team member?
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Being a part of a team is a great honor. When that team is a
winning team it makes it even more special. As I look around the pit area at
the many tracks I visit I see people who want to belong, they want to be a
part of something. Many are willing to sacrifice for the opportunity to be a
part of something bigger than themselves. Those that make those sacrifices
are bonded together in what we refer to as The Racing Family.
What do we need to belong to this team? A few things come to mind,
we need to have a high level of commitment. Have you ever had a team member
you couldn't count on? It is difficult to work with isn't it? I think more
than anything else people are looking for others to be committed, not just
participate. You must be willing to put everything you have into it.
I am reminded of the chicken and the pig. When it came time to be a
part of the breakfast team, the chicken participated but the pig was
committed. You see the chicken gave the eggs, just a portion of what it had
and it didnít require her life. The pig on the other hand gave his life to
provide the bacon. Are we just participating or are we committed?
Most everything we value in a team member is based on their
performance. They need to know what they are doing but if their level of
commitment is there they will learn what they need to know. If they are
willing to put in the effort they will find a home on the team. Their value
to the team is based on their level of commitment and their willingness to
What about Godís team? Did you know that you cannot earn your way
onto Godís team? Thatís right; God doesnít base our value on our
performance. We cannot do enough good things to earn our way onto Godís
team. It sounds strange because it is so foreign to us. How come we canít be
good enough to be on Godís team?
First off, God is perfect; there is no error in his way. We on the
other hand are not perfect, you know it and so do I. So how do we get on
board? For us to be present before God there has to be something that covers
over imperfections. To be a part of God's team it doesn't matter, it is not
what you know, it is who you know. Do you know Jesus Christ? Jesus made the
sacrifice necessary for us to be part of Godís team. God gave us that gift
and allowed us to become one with Christ. It is not something we can do for
ourselves. Here is how Paul explains it for us.
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 to do.
God cared enough for you and me to give us the gift of salvation
through his son Jesus Christ. A gift you cannot earn; a gift that will
change your life. Think about what it cost Christ to provide the opportunity
for you to know God.
Being on Godís team is different than manís team but if things are
in order the work will get done. Look at this verse. God provides us the
gift of grace, unmerited favor. It goes on to say that you cannot earn your
way on the team, you only need to accept the gift provided. Sometimes that
is hard for us to accept. We think we need to do something or pay a price.
Christ paid that price for us.
We also read that this team has tasks to do. God has laid out a
plan for each of our lives. His plan is a good one and will lead us to be a
productive member of His team. It will cost you something though. You have
to do it Godís way. We donít become a member of Godís team and then do what
we want to. Godís plan will transform our lives and change the way we see
things, His plan will allow us to live the best life possible. We donít need
to know how or why we only need to trust God and He will provide the
direction for us.
Team unity means that we are all working together for the same
goal. If we are on Godís team the Holy Spirit guides us. He will show us
Godís plan. Like a crew chief, he will lay out the things that need to be
done and then we need to follow.
Listen to the words of Peter as he talks about the physical
sacrifice we need to make for God. Peter helps us understand that accepting
Godís gift leads to a spiritual and physical change. We will look different
1 Peter 4:1-5 (NLT), So then,
since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same
attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered
physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. You wonít spend the rest
of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the
will of God. You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless
people enjoyótheir immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and
wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols.
Of course, your former friends are surprised when you no longer
plunge into the flood of wild and destructive things they do. So they
slander you. But remember that they will have to face God, who will judge
everyone, both the living and the dead.
Just as Christ gave up his life, we also need to be willing to do
the same. Remember the pig, he was committed. The amazing thing is that to
be on Godís team no prior knowledge is required. We need only to accept the
offer God makes to join Him. We need to commit ourselves to follow His lead.
Yes, it will mean that there will be a change in our lives, physical and
spiritual. Yes, some folks wonít understand and make fun of us. The reality
is that there is no other way that will fulfill you life. We cannot do
enough good things to earn our way onto Godís team. It is a gift we need to
Are you ready to unite yourself with Godís team? Remember it is not
what you know but who you know. Make that decision now, donít put it off.
Just pause for a moment and ask God to come into your life. Ask Him to
forgive you for your shortcomings and accept the sacrifice that Christ made
for your forgiveness. That is all it takes to receive the gift of life.
If you do, share that with us and we will help you find Godís plan
for you life. Remember the promise God made through the prophet Jeremiah;
Jeremiah 29:11, For I know the
plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to
harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
THOUGHTS FROM THE ROAD
EDDIE MACDONALD CONTINUES HIS HOT STREAK - Eddie MacDonald
showed up at Adirondack fresh off his win in the Oxford 250 and nailed down
the pole for the The Edge Hotel 150 presented by Casella Waste Systems at
Adirondack International Speedway. He dominated the race leading the most
laps, 101, but on a late race restart got shuffled back to tenth.
Oxford is one of those races that every aspiring driver hope to
compete in and maybe get to victory lane. Do you remember standing in your
driveway, basketball in hand, you mimic the voice of the announcer as you
count down the closing seconds, 5,4 3, 2Ö.. he shoots, he scores!!!!!!!!!
The crowd goes wild. That was the scene in victory lane; you could see it on
Eddieís and Rollieís faces as they celebrated in victory lane. This one was
the one that dreams were made of.
For a group of guys who have more commitment than resources I canít
think of a better example of working together for a common goal. These guys
have sacrificed and worked to get here. It is wonderful to see the hard work
pay off, congratulations to everyone connected with the team.
STATE TROOPERS ARE RACE FANS - Weather played havoc with
everyoneís travel plans and Jesus Hernandez was no exception. Car owner Troy
Williams had to step in practice the car and run qualifying as Jesus tried
to get to the track. They were on the last leg of their journey when they
pushed the speed envelope a little too much for the the New York State
Troopers. I believe it was 80+ in a 35 zone. WOW, here comes the hammer! Not
to be on this day. Maybe it was the name Jesus and the fact that he was
changing into his driving uniform in the back seat or just the fact that the
trooper was a race fan but they were allowed to make it to the track without
visiting the local lockup. Racing with Jesus!
WIRE TO WIRE AT RIVERHEAD - On a track that is one of the
toughest to pass on, getting out front is a distinct advantage. That point
didnít escape young Ryan Preece as he laid down a blistering 12.001
qualifying lap to secure the pole. They lined up for the feature just as
they qualified and that was all Ryan needed to keep Ole Blue out front. He
had the field covered on every restart and never lost the lead. When you
lead 150 of 150 laps the next stop is victory lane. Congratulations to the
entire #3 Team.
Pastor Scott, Riverhead RWJM Chaplain, joined me and preached his
first message at a RWJM Chapel service. He was received well and everyone
was complimentary of the word he brought. If you happen to make Riverhead
your home let Scott know how much you appreciate the work he does there each
The qualifying format was tweaked a little bit this year for
Riverhead and I think we are getting closer to something the teams can live
with. We ran the traditional time trials with the top 16 cars qualifying for
the feature and lining up based on that time. The change is that they didnít
need to go back out and run a heat race. The remainder of the cars ran a 25
lap heat race with the top 7 transferring to the feature. The remaining 5
spots were filled by provisional. To balance out the tire situation the cars
that ran the heat race were allowed to change two tires for the feature if
they wanted to.
Riverhead still is a popular stop on the tour, 32 cars showed up
for 28 starting spots. Everyone got to race at least 27 laps but in the end
4 cars went home. The toughest pill to swallow came for young Erick Rudolph,
winner at Spencer, headed home from Riverhead. It was his first time at the
famed Quarter mile and he just needed a few more laps to figure it out.
INDY WEEKEND CLOSES OUT WITH THE REDBUD 300 - The Anderson
Speedway CRA Redbud 300 is the final race for the Big Race Week in Indy.
Kyle Busch came out and showed why short tracks are his favorite. This is
the postponed race where Curt Stein was severely injured in a tire accident
at the beginning of June. Curt was released from the hospital a couple of
weeks ago, after a six week stay. Continue to pray for his arm and leg as he
continues to heal. Also, Dangerous Dan Ė Anderson ís trackside announcer Ė
asks for prayer for his girlfriend Crystal. She is already a cancer
survivor, and now faces another challenge as the doctors investigate a lump
in her throat. Kyle showed Anderson what he could do in a late model and had
no problem taking the lead and holding it pretty much the entire time. It
was a festive Victory lane complete with Kyleís four-footed family members
attending too. I think Kyle likes the quarter mile. Ė Chuck reported.
DYNAMIC DUO REUNITED - The Whelen Modified Tour returns to
Stafford Motor Speedway this week for their annual August visit and the Dan
and Don Show will be back together. After a few weeks that had us traveling
in different directions Dan and I will be headed to Connecticut this week.
Dan will have the newly updated Bolles Pace Car, thanks go out to Chris Z.
for the work, stop by and take a look. See you at the track.
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
RICH and PAT DURANTI - This LM driver from the Waterford Speedbowl and
his wife celebrate 32 years of marriage.
SCOTT & HEATHER PUNCH - This NNC crewman and wife in Claremont , NC have
their 9th anniversary.
CLIFF KULIKOWSKI & SUSAN ZINSMEISTER - This Christian brother now
Atlanta , GA commercial Direct TV dealer, Atlanta Antenna, transplanted from
Brooklyn , NY tied the knot.
DON SCERENCITS - Northampton, PA AARN Subscrition Sales Field Rep.
KIP STOCKWELL - Vermont based NASCAR CWES/late model driver and now
RICH WOODLAND, JR. - Templeton, CA NASCAR West driver.
KEVIN LITTLEFIELD - Salem, NH fabricator/crewman on the former #77
NASCAR BES team.
JACK FLOWERS - Charlotte, NC NSC writer.
KYLE GUENNETTE - Son of Fairfield , CT fan "Fast Eddie" is 18.
ELISABETH MINTER - A daughter of Martinsville , VA WODY Radio's
"Uncle Wendell" and wife Deloris is 17.
EDDIE MARSHALL - NY D.I.R.T. Modified driver.
CRAIG RAUDMAN - Redding , CA NASCAR West driver.
JEB BURTON - Son of former NNC driver Ward and wife Tabitha is 15.
DEBBIE DIONNE - Wife of Gary, both of Acton, CA RWJM Counselors and
Gary a Hollywood car stuntman and RWJM West Coast Coordinator.
BRUCE D'ALLESANDRO - East Hartford, CT former Riverside Park and NASCAR
AL HANNA - CT based alchohol Funny Car driver.
RICHIE YANETTA, Sr. - Of Bridgewater , NJ, the father of Go-Kart
drivers Rich, Jr. and Jeff.
JACK SPRAGUE - Concord , NC NSC/NNS/CTS driver.
CHARLIE PASTERYAK - Lisbon , CT NASCAR WMT driver/owner.
LORIN ARTHOFER - Bath, PA Mahoning Valley Speedway based Modified
driver and proud dad of driver Jason.
TOMMY ELLIS - Retired Richmond, VA BGN driver.
GREG TOMAINO - Brother of Howell , NJ popular NASCAR WMT driver Jamie
SAMANTHA HOWARD - A daughter of retired Waterford Speedbowl LM driver
Tom and wife Carol.
JERRY TOMARCHIO - Former driver at East Windsor and Flemington.
BRIANNA PAGE - This quarter midget driver at the Garden State Quarter
Midget Race Club at the Wall Township Speedway is 13.
MICHAEL DRANSFIELD - Another Garden State Quarter Midget racer is 18.
CHRIS KOPEC - Massachusetts Flamingo Racing NASCAR WMT Cheif and former
BRITTANY TOMAINO - Howell, NJ NASCAR WMT driver Jamie and wife
DON NEUENBERGER - Fort Washington, PA former NASCAR driver.
CHRIS URBAN - The grandson of Bob Pratt and grandson of Richie Pratt,
JOHN TEMCHAK - Canterbury , NH NHIS Victory Lane Staff Member.
FRANKIE SCHNEIDER - The "Master of Dirt Modifieds" from the 1950's
through early 80's is now retired. God Bless, Frankie.
ED ZWICKEL - "Bubba" drives the late Model #1 at Riverhead Raceway
and is said to have the best BBQ in town; at least in the pits.
KEN WALLACE - Dallas, PA SCCA driver.
*** NEW BEGINNINGS ***
LUCY STAKEY - 74, of Southington , CT passed away at home on Friday,
July 31, 2009. She was the wife for 50 years of Kenneth ďBuddyĒ Stakey.
Besides her husband she is survived by a daughter Crystal and husband Joseph
Dudac, a son Clifford and wife Lorna Stakey all of Southington, Her son
Cliff has been a member of the Stafford Speedway racing community for over
30 years. Kenneth "Buddy" Stakey, Lucy's husband, has been at his side the
entire journey. Cards can be sent to Cliff & Lorna, as well as any cards to
Buddy, at 217 Flanders Road , Southington , CT 06489
DAN BETZ - Dan Betz was killed in a motorcycle accident on Saturday
afternoon. He was a crew member for Paul Frantz since 2002. Paul had this to
say about his friend; I first met him in 2001. His son Duane, who also helps
me, and I work together. From the day I met Dan, he treated me like I was a
member of his family. He could always lighten the air in the garage or at
the track. He was only a few years from retirement, but he was always on the
go and would do anything to help. He and Duane started helping me in mid
2002 after coming up to watch me race. I won that night and they've been
hooked since. He is survived by his wife Myrtle, son Duane, daughter Audra,
brothers, sister, grandchildren and one more granddaughter on the way.
Please keep his family in prayer. He will be greatly missed. Cards can be
sent to his wife and family at; 1548 N 27th Street, Allentown , PA 18104
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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Racing With Jesus Ministries Website
Don Rivers / Racing With Jesus Ministries