NASCAR & Perseverance

One of my favorite things to do on the weekend is curl up on the couch in my pajamas and watch the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. As a girl who has always been drawn to fast muscle cars, the race scene and all its smokin’ tire glory get me excited the way most North Texans get excited about football. This weekend, NASCAR Sprint Cup Driver, Tony Stewart-#14 Office Depot/Mobile Chevrolet, won his first race of the 2011 season. His first win coincided with the first race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup this year.

You may be asking yourself, Why on earth is this important?

And, in the grand eternal scheme of things – It really is not important at all… to you. But, to me, Tony Stewart is my favorite race car driver and week after week I watch and anticipate his next big win.

The NASCAR season begins in February with the Daytona 500 and runs 36 races long into mid-November finishing up in Homestead, FL. With few exceptions race teams travel the track circuit across the country practicing, qualifying and racing each and every weekend.

This season has been tough to watch – Tony had lost every race leading up to September 19th with a couple of close calls and some really heartbreaking moments when his car was wrecked or disabled at a critical point in the race. Imagine losing 26 straight races.

I have watched him hold his ground in the chase even when it seemed he could not gain any ground or momentum to compel him forward. I heard his interviews with the media who pounded home the fact that he had not yet won a race. And, I heard his own voice say, “I don’t deserve to be in the chase.”

Still, his team has fought hard to stay in Chase contention throughout the season. He has overcome bad starting positions and finishes and began this week’s race in the 26th of 43 positions on the track tied with four other drivers for last place in the top 12.

Sports Wire News reported on Monday that Tony all but counted himself out of cup contention in his media interviews last Thursday before the weekend’s race related activities began. But, after the race…

“We didn’t have anything to lose,” he said. “Where we’re at in the Chase right now, we had to press.” (Sports News Wire, NASCAR.com)

And today, he is second in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship that will be decided in Homestead, FL in just nine short weeks. We didn’t have anything to lose…

The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-25, NKJV) Believers in Christ are all running a race for an imperishable crown. We are exhorted by God’s Word to go out day after day and press into God, pursue hard after a relationship with Him, and finish this race well. Our greatest hope and desire is not the reward – the crown or prize – but the glory of the Lord that will be expressed when He places our crown upon our heads and says, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.”

Just before Scott and I went on vacation with extended family in August, I went to the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit.

The high point of the conference for me was a quirky man with yellow horn-rimmed glasses. His presentation was captivating for two reasons – he used pictures of glaring contradictions to illustrate the points of his message, but also his message hit me where I live. Seth Godin exhorted the leadership summit attenders to take their laptops and go conquer the world. He said, if you are supposed to write-write. If you are an artist-do art. He proclaimed that every person with a laptop and access to the internet has all the tools necessary to be successful in their calling and field of expertise.

He highlighted the fact that the industrial age defeated individualization and the motivation of the individual to pursue a greater life than they were born into – the status quo became more appealing than the wild blue yonder. For me, the voice of God came through… LOUD & CLEAR. “What are you waiting for?”

“What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his own soul?” Matthew 16:26. What if this passage is about more than salvation? The Scriptures say that the calling of God is irrevocable, but it also says that God will not contend with the spirit of man forever. He calls things that are not as though they were. He takes the uneducated, unseemly and the foolish things of this world and uses them to confound the wise. In a backwards and upside down kingdom where the knowledge of good and evil kills but the Spirit of God in His unseen glory gives life – what do I have to lose? Even if it doesn’t make sense…

Peter stepped out of the boat onto the crashing waves and walked on water with Jesus. That didn’t make sense.

Jesus forgave the woman caught in adultery rather than stoning her as the law permitted. That didn’t make sense.

God sacrificed His own Son so we could be His sons and daughters, that didn’t make sense.

God called the zealous pharisee Saul to be an apostle to the gentiles. A Hebrew among Hebrews to minister the Gospel to the unbelieving pantheistic gentiles of Asia Minor. Did that really make since? To put the chief persecutor of Jewish Christians in charge of proselytizing the whole of Asia Minor. Not really, but it worked. Didn’t it?

If you are a Christian in this western culture we live in you are the fruit of that zealous Pharisee’s ministry all these years later.

An uneducated, self-promoting fisherman penned the Holy Spirit inspired words on the depths of God’s love. This same man who early in his time with Christ asked if he and his brother could call down fire from heaven on a town that turned his master away. Does that makes sense to you?

That a shepherd, the youngest of his family, would become the first great King of Israel and his son behind him the most revered and well known King in history for the wisdom he received from the Lord.

What are you saying is impossible for you to do today?

What stands between you and your destiny?

It is time.

Walk out by faith, believing the Lord will do all He has promised. It doesn’t depend on you. He has already supplied everything you need to be successful. Will you believe?

Mark 9:23 (NKJV)
Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

Mark 10:27 (NKJV)
But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”

All things are possible for those who believe. What is possible for you?

As for me… What do I have to lose?

Philippians 3:13-15 (NKJV)
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, Ipress toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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