Pounded the WALL in Turn #1

Saturday night was my hardest hit in a race car in 4 years of driving.  I love racing.  I love the speed of the 5/8’s mile race track.  However, with that speed comes consequences.  Maybe I dodged the bullet for all these years, but Saturday I hit the wall like a freight train, destroying my race car.

It was after the half-way break in the Galloway Memorial 125.  We had a restart, where I started 4th after leading a bit in the 1st half.  It was a real cat and mouse 1st half because we were all riding trying to save our stuff for a late race duel with the #00.  The cat and mouse would stop as soon as the end of the first half drew near.  Naima moved to the front, I was second until the guys battling to stay on the lead lap started wrecking, I had to check.  I’d end up 3rd at the break with Lewis in 2nd.

On the restart my car was pretty terrible.  The handle was real strange, and Moore got around me.  I fell behind for a few laps while the top 3 moved out. After just 3 laps my car got some heat back in the tires and the handle came back.  I was able to close the gap back to third and with Lewis and Lang swapping positions we had a 5 car battle going, that was anyones race at that point.  The caution came out.

I restarted outside row 2.  Dan Moore inside.  Dan was strong, but so were we.  I was just not quite as good in the upper groove as I like.  I held Dan thru the center of three and got an awesome drive off of turn four.  Out of nowhere the turn 4 wall smacked me.  I hit the right front pretty good and thought I most likely knocked the toe out of the car, but left the throttle matted.  Somewhere between the exit of turn 4 and the start/finish line I realized I had a cut right front tire.  I checked up and started braking.

It wouldn’t stop.  It wouldn’t turn.  It barely slowed down.  In one display of sparks and awe I pounded the wall in turn one.  Hardest hit I’ve ever taken. Crazy part was I never closed my eyes.  I never looked away, so I can play it over and over in my head.

While sliding along the wall the noises are strange.  For a second I thought the throttle was stuck, so I shut the car off.  When the noise didn’t stop I reached up and shut the master switch off cutting power to the whole car.  Then I realized the noise was the wall and race track grinding on the race car.  It came to a stop.  It was eerily quiet.  The guys on the radio said, “Are you ok?”  I was, I replied, “I’m good.”  Truth is, I didn’t get hurt at all.  Some people think I’m bluffing because it is true that my whole life I’ve done dangerous things, and to mask the danger I sometimes would stuff the pain of injury in front of mom, dad and Melinda.  But this time for real, I’m NOT at all hurt.  Except my feelings for my car.

If this car hits the track again it will be affectionately named “Lazarus.”  It will be coming back from the dead.

I don’t know what the rest of the season looks like.  I have sponsorship lined up for the Fall Classic in October, so I want to race again, but not certain if I can pull off the repair of Lazarus or the acquisition of another decent chassis.  The funds are a little tight at the end of the season, and if I can race again in 2011 it will be because of the amazing people around me.  Many people came up and gave to me Sunday at church, which is amazing.  I love it that people want to be a part, and these kind people are my motivation right now.

Huge thank you to my sponsors:  Sound Advice, Snohomish Pie Company, Domino’s Pizza of Monroe, J’s Interiors on Main Street, JZ Motorsports, Streamline Automotive and Deyounginc.

Huge thank you to everyone who makes the #70 go fast!  I really can’t race and represent Jesus the way I want to without your support!

3rd and 4th in the double header!

Photo By Jeff Harris

Two weeks ago we were back on the 3/8’s mile oval for the first time since 4/30!  We were scheduled for twin-50 lap features, and it would shape up to be a fast day.

About a month ago Highroad Promotions, manager’s of Evergreen Speedway, brought in a track grinding company and cut down the surface of the 3/8’s about 1/4 of an inch.  I thought to myself when hearing the news that it wouldn’t make that much difference.  The old track is rough, there’s no grip and grinding it will most likely hurt it.  Boy was I wrong!

In practice I was on old tires and the car was flying.  In fact, the fastest I’d ever been around the 3.8’s is a 17.2 second lap.  That’s pretty fast with a crate engine, so I was astonished when I was practicing at 16.9 second laps!

We qualified 2nd with a  16.509, good enough for the track record for about 5 minutes!  Naima cracked off a 16.363! Folks, that’s fast.

In the 1st main I finished 3rd and came in with a right rear flat, and in the 2nd main I finished 4th and had a right front flat.  Not really sure if it was the surface of the track wearing my tires down or just racing luck to get two flats in the same night.  Sometimes racing is just weird.

My only comment after was, “Thank God I did 60 miles on my road bike the week before the event.  16.8 second race lap speeds at the end of the night were about all this 41-year old physique could muster on that night.  The speeds yielded intensity not normally found on the 3/8’s, but I’m pretty excited about more racing this year on that track.

But first, there’s the Galloway Memorial 125 this weekend with the fair opening.  Pumped up!

Which road are you traveling?

The Good LIFE: How Do We Get There From Here?
1.  A new set of circumstances won’t get us there.  (Mark 8:31-33)
2.  Grabbing hold of the good life won’t get us there.  (Mark 8:34-9:1)
3.  Nostalgia won’t get us there.  (Mark 9:2-8)
4.  Death is the path to the good life.
a.  Jesus’ death  (Mark 9:9-13)
b.  Our death (Mark 8:34-38)

Illustration: Solomon
Summary:  Solomon soaked up every pleasure and perk life could possibly offer, but at the end of his life all he could do was look at it longingly and declare the whole pursuit empty and worthless.

LIFE= A change of my outward circumstances.  Mark 8:31-33
Summary:  We all play the “if only” game.  Here’s how it works:  If only I could get ________, I would be happy.  If only I could achieve ________, life would be good.  The only problem:      there’s always another “if only” right around the corner.  Our hearts are never satisfied with new, different or better circumstances.

LIFE=the Pursuit of the Good Life Mark 8:34-9:1
Summary:  Every culture, including ours, says if you acquire or achieve _________, your life will be good/valuable.  Jesus says that’ll never work.  Nothing will ever make up for the life you were created to live.  Jesus says the only way to life is to lose those little dreams and base yourself and your identity on me and the gospel (Mark 8:35).

LIFE=Nostalgia Mark 9:2-8
What is nostalgia?  a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one’s life, to one’s home or homeland, or to one’s family and friends; a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time…Nostalgia won’t work…

Missional Analysis:

People with no faith:
·    know something’s wrong with life as it is.
·    believe they would be living the good life if their life circumstances were different – a different job, a different spouse, a larger home, a larger income, or if they could grab a bigger slice of the pleasure pie, or if they could get to some idyllic nostalgic place with no suffering or setbacks.

People with damaged faith:

·    the good life is achieved through self-denial, rule-keeping, discipline, or a return to conservative values.
·    They believe God, or some higher being, will bless them with a life of no suffering or setbacks if they follow the rules.
·    When life doesn’t work out this way, they grow angry and bitter toward God because he didn’t keep up his end of the agreement, or they pick themselves up by their bootstraps and try harder believing God will reward them with the good life if they can just try harder.
·    At the end of the day, though, here’s the deal:  trying to walk the way of the cross will crush you if you don’t embrace the pardon of the cross

People with active faith:
·    be encouraged with a compelling picture of “life after death in everyday life.”
·    a life of self-denial is not an empty life.
·    It may well be a sacrificial life, but it’s a full life lived to God’s glory and for the sake of his kingdom.
·    It’s a big life of love – love for God and love for others – fueled by the love of Jesus, who relinquished his own life that Christians might be forgiven and welcomed into life with and for God.

Which road are you traveling today? The life to death road or the death to life road.

Are you walking the deceptive path littered with signs that say,
“LIFE AHEAD – a change of circumstances right around the corner”,
“LIFE AHEAD – a bigger slice of the pleasure pie around the corner”,
“LIFE AHEAD – get back to a happier time in your life”

OR  Are you following Jesus on the path less traveled – the way of the cross, the way of death that leads to an abundant life of love?

What are you willing to lose your life for?
A new set of circumstances – maybe that corner office, that new spouse, that bigger house, that bigger income?
The full-on pursuit of pleasure?
If you’re honest, deep inside you know there’s got to be something more.  You know there’s a better path.

Today, Jesus is calling you to follow him on that path
– the path that leads to the cross.  He’s saying to you, “If you want to save your life, if you want real, abundant LIFE, the kind of life you were created to live, follow me to the cross.  Come and die to your little dreams.  Let me crush your lonely kingdom, and give you new life, a place in my kingdom, and a real CAUSE worth giving your whole life for!  Let me give you new longings and new dreams!”


Mark 8:34-9:13
Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. 35 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. 36 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? 37 Is anything worth more than your soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

9 Jesus went on to say, “I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Kingdom of God arrive in great power!”

The Transfiguration

2 Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed, 3 and his clothes became dazzling white, far whiter than any earthly bleach could ever make them. 4 Then Elijah and Moses appeared and began talking with Jesus.

5 Peter exclaimed, “Rabbi, it’s wonderful for us to be here! Let’s make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 6 He said this because he didn’t really know what else to say, for they were all terrified.

7 Then a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son. Listen to him.” 8 Suddenly, when they looked around, Moses and Elijah were gone, and only Jesus was with them.

9 As they went back down the mountain, he told them not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 So they kept it to themselves, but they often asked each other what he meant by “rising from the dead.”

11 Then they asked him, “Why do the teachers of religious law insist that Elijah must return before the Messiah comes?”

12 Jesus responded, “Elijah is indeed coming first to get everything ready for the Messiah. Yet why do the Scriptures say that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be treated with utter contempt? 13 But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they chose to abuse him, just as the Scriptures predicted.”

Fallen Condition Focus
We all know life isn’t as it should be.  The problem is we think the path to the good life is paved with a different set of life circumstances, the all-out pursuit of the good life, or a healthy dose of nostalgia.

Gospel Response
Jesus stops us in our tracks, just as he did his disciples, and he tells us the path to the good life isn’t at all like we’ve imagined.  “If you really want to experience life,” he says, “death is the only way to get there.”  A shocking statement that up-ends our categories!  The good news is Jesus doesn’t leave us to figure out what he means.  He shows us by walking willingly toward the cross, and he says simply, “Follow me.”  More than this, he leads us to life through his own death and resurrection, so that even as he calls us to relinquish our agendas, our plans, and our empty pleasure pursuits, he empowers us to pursue a life greater than we could ever imagine.

Are You Growing?

Without a doubt the most encouraging and motivating factor in advancing your life is the tangible evidence and feeling that you are growing.  Advancement and growth are the most rewarding parts of life.  In fact, God made you and first commanded you to be fruitful and multiply.  Sure, He was talking about babies, but he was also talking about pro-creating!  What has God called you to create? A company? A product?  Are you to create a new innovation? How about a new ministry?  How about reshaping a current one?  Are you pro-creation?

My daughter Seven is growing fast.  I can’t stop her, she keeps getting bigger and bigger, talking more and more. Her vocabulary is continuing to develop. Recently we started her in swim lessons; she started school a couple days a week.  She even puts on her backpack and yells, “School time!”

I want to challenge you with this question, What time is it in your life?

Is it time for you to grow up?  Is it time for you to advance your passion to do something for Jesus Christ?  Are there areas of your life you need to mature in, gain a new vocabulary?  So many times we can live life the same year in and year out; one obvious area, our relationships with people remain the same, even worse, our relationship with Jesus and others remains unchanged.

As a pastor I often feel like my job is to help people grow by growing their relationship with Jesus.  Yet, I’ve discovered growth is not a one way street.  I can’t make anyone grow.  It takes initiative. It requires a burning desire on the part of the one who wants to grow.  It also takes a plan.  I am going to lay out a plan for different types of people.  Skip down, if you want to grow, and read the section that most applies to you.  Hopefully it will help you take the initiative to grow into who you desire to be.

Just Connecting to The Rock Church, may be a believer, may not be.

First off, welcome.  Welcome to one of the greatest groups of people on the planet, the local church.  TRC people absolutely love you.  Here is what I think you need to do to move your journey forward.  First, to get what you want you have to re-prioritize your life.  You must decide to make Sunday church a part of your schedule.  You must add/delete some people from your life.  Add some people at TRC to your contact list, Facebook, Twitter and engage them.  Delete some people who you know will drag you backward.  Also, You must make time to read your bible. Another practical idea, in times of confusion or doubt you must remember you are the one, not God, who is confused.  Never give up!  Find a place in your church to share your story, share your life and serve. There is no greater place to advance your story than the local church.

The Rock Church is your church.

Are you serving anywhere?  Are you giving regularly?  Are you inviting people to experience God?  To grow further you will need to step up your game a bit.  Most of us are super busy already.  Work and family dominate our calendar, so sometimes your spiritual journey can take a back seat to other important tasks. If you feel this way, that’s perfect, because here is where you can advance.  When you read Genesis there was not a distinction between family, work and worship!  God expected all three to coexist in unison.  I believe you can’t have a great family life without a great church life.  Nor can you have a great work life without a great family life.  Nor can you have a great work life without a great church life.  If one is missing none are complete.  God designed us to master all three areas.  Too many times I see people sacrifice one of the three areas in the name of protecting another.  It cannot be done while advancing at the same time.  Here is my recommendation.  Learn to master the season you are in.  If it’s busy then master it.  If it’s calm then master that too.

You feel under-utilized in the Kingdom.

I’ve felt this way before, so I know the frustration.  First off, are you tithing?  Are you helping someone else’s dream?  Do you serve anyone who can’t pay you back?  I’ve learned, what I make happen for others God will make happen for me.  Is your Kingdom motivation obvious?  If not, then do those few things beginning today.  If yes, then it’s time for you to tell your leaders you are ready to be equipped at a higher level!  It’s time to come out from behind the safe zone and really throw yourself into leading other people.  There is a great sense of purpose and destiny when you throw yourself into the success of people.  Identify who can unlock your potential.  Then sit with them and ask them to help you unleash the dream in your heart!  But be ready, if you ask a high-caliber person to help you, get ready to work for it.  There are no shortcuts to experiencing the thrill of being fulfilled in the Kingdom!

You feel like the best of times are behind you.

This is usually due to some change or loss you’ve experienced.  I too have experienced these feelings and they can be crippling.  Do not allow yourself to stay in this state too long.  It’s time to really voice your heart in these matters, and get the prayer and support you need to advance from this season.  Too long here can be debilitating.  Do not let that happen.  Tell someone who can encourage, pray and motivate you to pick it up and get after it. You’ve done some great things, but I believe the best is yet to come from you!  I especially would want someone who’s hit home-runs for their church in the past, but is on the side-lines now to know it’s not over.  Time to lace up the cleats and get back in the game.

You feel like you are gaining momentum and are ready to fly!

I especially want to know.  Send me some correspondence about your passion and excitement.  Hopefully I can direct you to a “dream-releaser” on our team who can help you set the people of The Rock Church and our cities on fire for God!  Also, we are working on some exciting things as the fall starts. We want you to be a part of it.  Step forward and share your heart! We feel like The Rock Church is getting ready for the greatest season of our lives!