Phoenix International Raceway
February 24, 2011
“Authentic Friends, Community, and Racing”
(This is the Complete, unabridged message for our BCFM website)
At our home church we have been talking about community values. We began with this: “We value authentic community. We believe this is where unity and maturity begin to develop as we experience life with God together. It is here that we come alongside one another as family and learn to walk out the principals of grace, accountability, integrity, generosity and hospitality.”
Here in our NASCAR K&N Series West we actually need to realize that we are within the same constraints as we operate each season as a community and racing family. Here we are about to begin 2011 and we have many new people that are like “Rookies” in our community and equally as many veterans, some who just took their yellow strips off.
We are friends, family and community …a racing community, unique unto itself. Let’s take a look at some of these aspects of our K&N Series.
This is the era of social networks and friends. Facebook alone has over 400 million users. To “Friend” a person means opening the door to communication and information of who you are, where you go, and what you do. They may be casual or committed but each one is by invitation only.
Secondly, I have learned by hanging out with our young people today that the most important thing in their lives is their friends. They come from broken families, dysfunctional if not broken in most cases, and therefore draw close to other “kids” their age …or in their same lifestyle, or circumstances out there on the street. The generation’s perspective is different than ours from the older generations.
Just before Jesus was crucified He told His disciples: “You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants because a servant doesn’t know what his master is thinking or doing; but I call you friends because I have let you in on everything I have heard from My Father.” (John 15:14-15 Gospel by Bob)
Christ took the initiative by giving His life for us and inviting us into His family and by getting to know and follow Him. He showed us that unselfishness, oneness of purpose, and confident trust are the marks of true friendship …especially with Him.
With friendships comes a community. In the best definition a community draws together out of oneness of purpose. It requires working together to be successful despite different methods of approaching the same issues.
Thereby, to be brief, you hear me call our NASCAR K&N Pro Series West “a community.” The East Series certainly is part of that community also because the NASCAR rule book, goals, and purpose is the same.
This whole friendship and community reality goes far beyond our immediate, local, community …both our home town and our racing community. Let me explain …and bring us to remembering what I am about to remind us of in the days ahead.
Today I can travel both nationwide across America and also worldwide and suddenly find myself stepping back into a community and a friendship at a moments notice. Every time I travel back to my hometown where I grew up back in New York (Seabreeze, near Rochester, NY and Lake Ontario) I meet old friends and step back into that community I will always be a part of. I have been overseas and met people from both my childhood home and especially friends and staff members from our YWAM ministry (Youth With A Mission) in some of the wildest places! Immediately, you feel right at home despite being in a strange land and feeling like a fish out of water. Seriously, you never know when or especially where you will meet someone from your community, no matter which one you are or were part of at one time.
In our case with our NASCAR K&N Pro Series racing community things are exactly the same. Once you are part of our community you will always be home here or wherever you go in the future …whether the Sprint Cup level, airports, vacations in a distant land, or anywhere in the whole world. We will ALWAYS be a K&N community!
We are unique unto ourselves. There is no other racing series quite the same just like there is no other city, town, or village exactly the same.
So how do we become an authentic, successful community? A racing community at that? Fit this all into the spirit of competition and you really muddy the water! Too much for God to work out? NO!
We need to go back to that opening statement, specifically the second part: “It is here we come alongside one another as family and learn to walk out the principals of grace, accountability, integrity, generosity and hospitality.”
- Grace – mercy, friendship even though we do not deserve it.
- Accountability- being liable to answer for one’s conduct.
- Integrity- moral purity; incorruptness; uprightness; honesty
I have watched racers totally operate in hospitality and generosity All my life …and experienced it on the receiving end too. We all can tell stories here. I have some favorites from every era and year.
But the other three …when mixed into the competition sure gets tough.
My RWJM brothers said it well in a Chapel Message for Valentine’s day:
“Racing isn’t a lovey dovey sport. We don’t spend a lot of time telling each other how much we love them. I am pretty sure, as Tina Turner says; we might ask ourselves “what’s love got to do with it?” It has everything to do with it.
I am not talking about erotic love or brotherly love; I am talking about unconditional love. That is when we treat people with respect and dignity no matter who or what they are. When we give them that respect we begin to value others the way God does.
For some reason we think we can compete with each other and not consider who is in the other car. I like to remind the drivers at the drivers meeting before I pray, look around, these are the people you will be driving against, treat each other with respect.
This is where we learn accountability, integrity, and grace for one another. It is called SPORTSMENSHIP …all wrapped into one word and includes RESPECT in a competitive world …like ours.
Whether we put on the Driver helmet and uniform, the Team’s Crew uniform, or the Official uniform, we need to step UP and commit ourselves in faith, to honor and respect each other, our sport, and our series by operating in sportsmanship.
Only THEN can we grow and prosper as a viable community.
Go back and look once again at the definitions of accountability, grace, and integrity. These are areas that God is completely sold out and committed to help each of us with. Ask Him today to help you with it and mature to the next level. We ALL can & need to grow daily.
Have a safe and prosperous race today!