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Chapel Service

Phoenix Int’nl Raceway

March 2, 2013

“The Best Gift”

Bob Butcher

Welcome to Phoenix!  That very name itself sort of fits with Resurrection Day …or Easter if you choose.  The ancient Egyptian’s mythology is where the name comes from.  It is about a bird that lived 500 years then consumes itself in fire and later rises back out of the ashes.  If you look at Phoenix, AZ history and how that city rose out of a desert then you realize it’s name fits.  Now today, we are in Phoenix, heading toward Resurrection Day and it’s a good time to talk about Easter if you choose to call it that.  Personally, I call it Resurrection Day which I believe tells it like it really is, point blank.

 As we anticipate the coming celebration of Easter, I begin thinking about the sacrifice Jesus made so that I could be reconciled to God. To help me focus on all that He gave up for me, I often choose to make a small sacrifice of my own. When I “fast” from something I normally enjoy, every craving for that food or drink or pastime reminds me of how much more Jesus gave up for me.  That is the reason many people choose to “give things up for Lent.”  These days I have noticed that giving things up for Lent …or “fasting” if you want to call it correctly, has become just some misunderstood tradition in most people’s case.  However, in reality that Lent or fasting is to remind us what Jesus Christ suffered for us.  Fortunately, we do not have to ever face what Jesus faced.  I am not sure any one of us could ever endure what He did… All for you and me!

Now then, because I want to be successful when I fast, I tend to give up something that isn’t a big temptation for me. Yet even then I have to work hard and keep my head about me before I fail. I find it easy to not stop and think before I just grab and eat or drink whatever I am attempting to fast from.  My inability to be perfect in such a small thing reminds me of why Easter is so important. If we could be perfect, Jesus would not have had to die.

The rich young man whom Jesus encountered along a Judean road was trying to earn eternal life by being good. But Jesus, knowing the man could never be good enough, said, “With men [salvation] is impossible, but not with God” (Mark 10:27).  That is how the New International Version (NIV) translates it.   Let’s say it another way:  Jesus was blunt: “There is NO chance at all if you think you can pull  off being good enough for salvation by yourself, however you have every chance in the world if you let God do it through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus.” (GBB)  All we have to do is simply BELIEVE on Jesus Christ.   

Although giving up something does not make anyone of us “good,” it does remind us that no one is good except God (Mark 10:18).  “And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God Himself.” (GBB)

And that’s important to remember, for it is the sacrifice of a good and perfect God that makes our salvation possible.  Romans 6:23 tells us:

 “For the wages of one sin in our life is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. THAT, is salvation, clear and simple!”   All we have to do is believe what Jesus did for us.  You see all those little signs along highways that simply say “Believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.”  Well for once my friends, the advertising is right on!  Truth is rare but there it is, point blank.  We cannot work for it, be good for it, or any other way.  Salvation is God’s gift and plan for each of us.  If you have not thought seriously about this lately, I pray that you do so this Easter coming up March 31st …or Resurrection Day as I call it.

 Jesus sacrificed His life for you and me…

…and everyone around us.

 NEXT, I cannot recommend more highly than taking less than an hour each Monday evening and go to our website front page or Chapel Service page and follow our “DEEP PURPLE” recorded series by two of Kathy & my closest friends.  It is also easily found by simply going to:

and clicking on Latest Sermon in the purple box.  The series began February 10, 2013; however you can listen to them all at your convenience.  Believe us when we say, this WILL change your thinking!

 Lastly, Kathy & I have two questions for you:

 This is for everyone:  Do you have a topic or book of the Bible that you would like to see us focus upon this season?  I would really like to hear from you on this.  I have specifically not chosen anything for this 2013 season except these two events at Daytona & here at Phoenix.  Please take time to let Kathy or me know what you think.

 This is mainly for Drivers, but we welcome the crew & Official responses also:

 For 15 years now Kathy & I have had a tradition of visiting each driver & crew at the car before the start to offer you a prayer.  At Daytona I did what they do in the East Series and stood at the end of the introduction stage and prayed for you as you came down and walked toward your car.

 I want to ask you which you prefer.  Do you have some specific wishes in regards to this?  It is totally your call.  Pray or not is your choice; but either way Kathy & I want to salute you all and wish you the very best.  We came to serve you all in whatever way we can and however you desire if possible within the wishes of NASCAR.

 Thank you for you response!

We love and appreciate all of you.



Have a safe and prosperous race today!