Things in life change, just as the seasons change so it goes. Change is a
constant. In New England they say “if you don’t like the weather, wait a
minute.” If change is inevitable and time marches on what are we doing to
insure we influence the direction of the future? What are we doing with the
torch? We need to act in a way that will have a lasting effect on tomorrow.
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Remember the old days? I am sure we all have stories of events, races,
locked in our memory forever. We can recall them like they were yesterday.
What about favorite drivers? We all have certain ones that for one reason or
another we remember; memories that are burned into our minds forever.
How about heroes? People we look up to, separate them from others in our
lives. We seek to use their lives as motivation for ours. Do you have some
heroes in your life? Do you look up to someone and desire to be like them?
A funny thing happens when the next generation of racer comes on board. I
have talked with many a father whose son or daughter has followed them into
the driver’s seat. Many have said their child is their hero. From Mike
McLaughlin talking about his son Max, to David Gilliland talking about his
son Todd, to Joey Payne talking about his boys, to Don Wagner talking about
I was at Mahoning Valley this week and talked with Don about the next
generation. He shared the familiar refrain about it being harder to watch
your kid verses driving yourself. His son needed to place in the top two in
the consi to make the feature. As we looked over the lineup and went through
the possibilities Don Sr. shared;
“He (Don Jr.) said it doesn’t matter he is going to win it.”
Sure enough on the last lap Don Jr. made a last lap pass to take down the
win. I caught up with Don Sr. getting lined up for the feature and through
the darkness you could see the smile. He extended his hand, shook his head
in disbelief and said “He won it!”
Ah the torch, passing from one generation to the other. Don Sr. shared he
welcomes the day he sees his son come by on the outside and pass him for the
lead. That will be a cool day. He promised not to make it easy, but if Jr.
has what it takes it will happen.
I think in one form or another we all have heroes. They help us connect
the past with the future. Kept in prospective this is a healthy endeavor.
Idol worship is a danger. Don’t put your hero on a pedestal, they will fall
and fail you. Heroes do help us with the torch.
When the connection is in the family torch passing is easy. It is when it
passes without the connection of family that it can get dropped. For the
torch to be held high you have to know the journey it took to get here.
I remember something that happened at Thompson. A young driver, new to
the sport and I were watching the local divisions race and George Summers
walked by. I introduced the two of them. They shook hands, George and I made
small talk and we went back to watching the races. Then it struck me that
this young man had no idea who he had just shaken hands with. I am sure that
if I asked him the last thing he would guess is that George was one of the
best modified drivers in the Northeast.
Therein lies the challenge of transferring knowledge from one generation
to the next. Do we know those who made it possible for us to race today? Do
we understand the development of the technology? Do we care?
The Apostle Paul cared and took several young men under his wing and
taught them about God and how to live a life that honors God. One of those
men was Timothy. In one of his letters to Timothy he wrote about his race,
life, and the fact that it was nearing the end. He charged Timothy to keep
at it, follow the teachings he had been taught. Show the world the
difference Christ can make in your life.
2 Timothy 4:1-8, I
solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus,
who will someday judge the living and the dead when he appears to set up his
Kingdom: Preach the word of God.
Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct,
rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.
For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and
They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell
them whatever their itching ears want to hear.
They will reject the truth and chase after myths.
But you should keep a clear mind in every situation.
Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good
News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.
As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The
time of my death is near.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained
And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the
will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but
for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.
For me this passage holds special meaning. On
the day that I was ordained to the Gospel Ministry, T. Marshall Thompson
read this passage to me. He was my mentor, my Paul. He spent his time
helping me learn to handle God’s word correctly. He helped me learn how to
be bolder for Christ. He encouraged me to run the race in such a way as to
A short time after he read this passage to me T. Marshall left this earth
to join God in Heaven. I will never forget the impression he made on me and
the things he taught me. When I am faced with challenges beyond my
understanding I think about T. Marshall and what he would tell me to do. He
is still with me.
Let me ask a couple of questions; have you taken the time to pass along
what you have learned in your life and help someone mature? Have you sought
out someone with more experience than you and let them guide you? What have
we done to continue the work of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?
There is much we do not know and will not learn unless we let someone
teach us. There are many challenges in life that we cannot get through
without someone there to encourage us. Take some time and be an encourager.
Make the effort to ask for help from someone who knows how. The experiences
we endure in life are only valuable if we learn from them. Let us make every
effort to help and encourage one another. Do your best not to let the torch
WEATHER WOES CONTINUE - I made the trip out to Mahoning Valley
Speedway, rained off and on the whole way. Truth be told I expected a call
and to make a U-turn. The call never came, a five hour delay ensued and we
ran the planned afternoon race in the cold damp night. Not the best
conditions for competitive racing. One characterized it as “the Free for All
500”. You can draw your own conclusions.
Mahoning wasn’t the only one fighting difficult conditions. New
London-Waterford Speedbowl had a similar challenge. Not sure which safety
vehicle won the Track Drying 500, but they were the star of the program.
They managed to fit in a few heats and the Granite State Pro Stock Feature
but that was about it. The Saturday portion of the Bemer’s Big Show will be
held this week.
We have some things to finish up at Oswego with the Race of Champions.
There will be an opportunity for some additional cars to race their way in
through the consi and then the big one, 250 laps of modified action on the
shore of Lake Ontario. Rev. Dan will be there to cover the action. I’m
tentatively headed south to the World Dirt Finals at the Dirt Track at
Charlotte. Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over
Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support helps us
continue this ministry. Thank You
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you are in, or give us a call. Remember that God loves you, we love you and
Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing. GOD BLESS.
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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
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