WASHINGTON 500 WEEKEND

Photo by Kyle Davis

The Washington 500 is quite possibly one of the oldest racing weekends in the Northwest.  As a kid I remember my dad taking me to the speedway to watch the NASCAR Series.  Usually a big name or two would come and make an appearance.  There has been huge hype around this event for decades, but recent years have seen the prestige dwindle a bit, bit that doesn’t discourage those who show up.  All in all, it’s always a fun time at the track and 2010 didn’t disappoint the Snohomish Pie Co #70 team.

The gates opened early and we planned a full day of testing and getting the car ready in order to race in both shows, a 150 lap race and a 175 lap race.  The track made a decision to change the type of tire we’d been using, which made for some challenges.  We’d been told that the tire was pretty much the same as the older model, but truth be told, not even close. My intentions of racing both events were dashed when we bolted on the new model.  The car, which had been phenomenal on the previous tire, was a bucket of bolts on the new model.

Having won the previous race I’d figured we would fine tune the chassis in practice and have a relatively easy day, not so fast.  After scuffing the new tire the car had a severe push, so bad I thought we were out to lunch for sure.  I was kicking myself for not practicing the night before like my rival, Tom Moriarty.  The points battle for the Championship is close between us, so every point matters, and I didn’t want to leave one point on the table.  In addition, the field of cars was strong.  There were 15 Championships starting on the grid.  I wanted to show every one of them that the Snohomish Pie Co is a legit contender in a solid field of cars.

Steve and my crew went to work.  They were working like animals in the 85+ degree temperatures.  They changed springs, tolerances, measurements, and a bunch of race car jargon.  I went out to practice again, and the car was a lot better, but still needed more.  Again, more work was done.  At one point the guys were soaked from the heat, but they were jammin.

I went and scuffed the race set of tires.  The car was decent, but I thought it’d go away in the race.  Steve left it alone for qualifying.  Guess what?  It was the right call!!!  We qualified on the pole!  It was awesome.  The car was solid.  I knew I had Q-1 coming off turn 2 if I didn’t make a mistake in turn 3 and 4.  The car was so good through 1 and 2 there was no one taking it from us.

The night would start with a trophy dash.  We elected to scuff the two right side tires that we would change in the race, so I hung in 3rd for the few laps.

We rolled out on the track for the main.  As we were sitting there it dawned on me I was surrounded by 15 Championships, but had out qualified them all!  I took a moment to pump the guys up on the radio and let them know how appreciative I was for their hard work this day.  We had a chance to win this thing.

The race was to be 150 laps with a 10-minute caution at lap 75.  My plan, because it was a full invert starting me in the back, was to just ride and not use up my left side tires as I would get new right ones at the break.  So ride we did, the break came and we had went from 10th to 5th without really using the car, but for a few laps.

The car was loose, so the guys went to work at the break to tighten it up.  They did a great job.

Starting the 2nd half, I was on the grid in 4th.  We went into turn one and my car didn’t turn, it went straight for the fence.  I went from 4th to last in one corner.  But it wasn’t over, even when it seems over, it’s not over.  I put my head down and drove.

The car was wicked fast.  Someone told me that 11 laps later I was in first.  I did move around the outside of my competitors as quick as I could.  The worst part was I had to show how good my car was.  It was quicker than the leaders and I had pulled them back about a half a straight away.  I was riding in 3rd heading to the front when the leaders got together.  One car spun, the other was sent to the back for the spinning.  I was in the lead.

What would happen next was one of my favorite moments in my short racing life.  Like passing Roger on the 5/8′s years ago when I was a rookie, this was a high point.

John Zaretzke was saving his car also; in fact, earlier he had just waived me by.  But as the race went on he came after me.  Not once, but 4 times!  I held him off the 1st time on the outside and cleared him.  I held him off a 2nd time, and a 3rd.  I knew I could beat him if I just kept my groove and didn’t make a mistake.  It was the 4th time with just a few laps remaining that I made a small error.  I lost my focus trying to navigate a lapper and John took advantage.  He got me.

We rode out the remaining laps in 2nd.  You might think I was bummed.  Well, sure I’d have love to win that race.  It would have been my greatest win yet.  However, I qualified first in a huge field of cars, no disappointment in that.  Secondly, John and I had an epic battle, two guys just having a blast racing wore out race cars.  Third, my team was top notch on Saturday, the best at adapting to the new tire.  Fourth, talking with John after the race; the smiles, laughs, stories, these are the reasons why I race.

Thanks Washington 500.  Thanks for letting me see Harry Gant, Bill Elliot and Davey Allison when I was a kid.  Thanks for giving my dad a place to take me and make memories.  Thanks for the ‘banners’ Roger and I borrowed after the race was over for our shop, we’ll get those back to you some decade…  And thanks for letting this guy do something I never thought I could.

And Thank you Lord for keeping us safe this weekend…until next time.

LIFE AS A PK–PASTOR’S KID

I was 14 when my parent’s turned to me while driving down the road and said, “Son, your mom and I are going to start a church, we are going to pastor.”  I was flooded with all kinds of emotion.  First, I equated church to poverty, so I thought we were going to be poor.  Second, I equated church to popularity, so I thought I was going to be popular.  Third, I equated this change to absolute insanity, so I thought any minute someone would come and take me from these nutcases.

At first our church was in our home, so every Sunday night people would come to our house to eat food, sing songs and listen to my dad share from the Bible.  I usually found myself in my tree fort hanging out with a few kids who came with their parents.  As the church grew eventually buildings entered the vision.  Food would be replaced with banquets, sing songs turned into worship and dad sharing from the Bible became preaching.  I’d often be at the building 3-5 nights a week doing homework, working on my ground balls for baseball, messing around with a musical instrument.

A couple years ago our little girl entered our life.  I began to consider how her life as a PK will be so different than mine.  First, she’ll have targeted gospel messages every Sunday.  Early on we didn’t have youth or children lessons and ministry.  With dad, mom and technology like the iPad, who read to her, she will experience the Word of God by the time she starts school!  Second, she’ll have adult leaders who are compelled to equip the next generation to fulfill a GIANT purpose in God.  I can’t wait to see what our kids are capable of as they grow with Jesus.  Third, she’ll have like-minded young men and women around her, passionate about doing something for God!  It will be incredible for her.   Our kids are destined for greatness with the gospel in heart, caring adults in character and like-minded friends for life–I love a strong local church!

Unfortunately she’ll have the dark underbelly of the PK life also. Like I was, she’ll be betrayed, by “friends who say they are family.”  She’ll be criticized for her choices, no matter what they are.   She’ll live under huge expectation, and won’t be able to deliver.  And still, through it all, she’ll choose Jesus!  She will choose to serve Him with everything that is in her!

One day she’ll read this:

Speed, what I want you to know more than anything is how proud dad and mom are of you.  There is nothing in the entire world you cannot accomplish.  I know, not everything about being a pastor’s kid is easy, but it does have it’s perks.  Think of the people you get to meet, the mighty men and women of God who know you by name and pray for our family all the time.  Think about the places God has sent us as a family.  We’ve seen some of the greatest parts of the world, it’s big, huh?  Think about the stories of God’s goodness in the midst of challenge–He’s always on your side!  There are so many things I’d like to tell you about Jesus; instead, I’ll show you for the next 20 years.  Oh yeah, one thing your Grandpa Joe would to tell me when I was a PK,  He’d say, “If you get in any kind of trouble always remember to turn to Jesus. He loves at all times, is quick to forgive, and is so proud of you.”  There is a great assignment for your life, and your dad is your biggest fan.  I love you.

WHY I LOVE IT

Photo By Kristian Gorman

Every Sunday.  Once every 7 days.  Like clock work.  Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

Over ten years ago God demanded I step onto the platform of my local church and carry the gospel message to my generation.  Although, I wasn’t new to carrying the gospel having been a Youth Pastor and missionary the previous 6 1/2 years, I was no longer just a fill-in for the Senior Pastors.

I was pretty nervous, not about speaking, but about having to speak for so long.  My experiences had been 15-20 minute messages to students and casting the “salvation net” on the mission field in 5 minutes or less.  Having to come up with content to fill the time and be impacting made me anxious.  I’d draft out an outline in advance complete with scriptures, stories and illustrations.  Sometimes they’d be a dozen pages thick.  My thought was always, “Better to have more content than time!’

Over the years I’ve come to love speaking.  Here’s a few reasons why:

Because I am a Christ follower…

  1. I’m compelled. Romans 1:16-17, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.”  It is just not enough for me to live as a Christ follower and not be a communicator of the gospel.
  2. I’m called. Jeremiah 1:5, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.  Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”  To this day I find it incredibly ironic I preach the gospel.  When God has picked you, there is no other alternative.
  3. I’m equipped. 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  I have a Bible, I can learn and I am committed.

Because I am a Pastor…

  1. I simply love seeing the courage that comes across a persons face as they grab the understanding of God’s amazing life for them.  It is incredible.
  2. I know there are not too many messages promoting eternity, hope and goodness all in the same setting.
  3. I’m addicted to life change and discipleship.

Most of all, I love what I do Sunday mornings because I get to participate in the great work of Jesus Christ.  Believe me, the sum of all the parts is a lot greater than the part I play!

I’d encourage Christ followers to find what they love about Sunday morning.  Tap into the love of it.  If you lead kids, then love it; worship, then love it; greet people, love it; produce the service, then love it; serve people, then love it.  Start seeing the cause of Christ as the reason for your existence, not just something you do on Sunday.  It’ll birth a love within.

THANK YOU BRO!

“A man who has friends must himself be friendly,”  But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”  Prov 18:24

I have no brothers by blood, but my brother Rory has 2 by blood and one by marriage.  I’ve always wondered what life might be like to have a brother to grow, inspire and encourage.  I’ve wondered what fights might be like with a brother by your side.  Because of this man, I know.  This is our scripture bro, never underestimate the power of our faith together!  There is a story in the making right now.  We shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the Living!!!

I’M JUST SAYIN…

I’m just sayin…

  • the outpouring of God’s GRACE upon our lives at The Rock Church right now is incredible.  Always look beyond the circumstance.
  • the size of the giants faced are a clear indication we are in the position God wants us.  Never fear giants.
  • faith is the weapon of choice.  Jesus Christ still has the upper cut of resurrection and miracle.
  • when this season passes it will be a story for glory!  Great tension = Great story.

I’m just sayin…

  • seasons like these reveal who is “for ya” and who is “against ya.”  There is no middle ground.
  • when the people of God pray BIG stuff starts happening.  Go prayer!  Keep praying.

I’m just sayin…

  • don’t get caught outside looking in.  Something special is happening at TRC.
  • everything you need for the cause of Christ within you is within you!  Do your best, let God handle the rest!!!

I’m just sayin…

  • I love you, thank you for the encouragement that has come already.  Yes, I’d love to hear from you also.