The Finish Line Chaplain – Busy Day at SDW and Brewerton

Day two of Super Dirt Week I began by setting up the free literature in our tent. I prayed at two meetings as the Big Block Modified and 358 Modified drivers came to draw for time trial slots. I got to meet with several people and then opened the media event with an invocation, all before lunch. I took a few minutes to “cool my heels” while I enjoyed a quiet lunch and began to reflect on what was already a busy day.

One of the drivers I bumped into was one of the first drivers Pastor Wells introduced me to when he was indoctrinating me as a Finish Line Chaplain. Kenny Brightbill isn’t racing any of the Super Dirt Week events but it was great to hear what he’s been up to. As an accomplished modified driver he was here for my first event as a Chaplain, and returned for our last event at this venue. He’s been enjoying the challenges of racing the Tobias Speedster spec class at Linda’s Raceway in central PA. He shared some interesting information about the degree of difficulty involved in racing cars that are so closely matched due to the rules. He also pointed out his fun it is to race them because they run so close all the time.

After a few tours around the pits and some time checking in on qualifying times I had to pack up and head to Brewerton Speedway. Is like to congratulate Tyler Dipple for earning the 358 Modified pole, and for writing his name in the history books for being the youngest driver ever to do so at Super Dirt Week. I’d also like to congratulate Larry Wight for setting a blistering time with the 99L Big Block to earn his first ever pole for the NAPA 200.

Brewerton was a packed house. The pits filled up so much that some haulers were diverted to an area off turn three. The track had some bite that lasted through the heats. The cool weather and damp are around Oneida Lake assured that conditions wouldn’t change too drastically until the 100 ground pounding laps of the 358 feature. I’ll let my fellow columnists feel you the story of what happened. I’d like to share one of a different nature.

When I was waiting to pray at the driver’s meeting Randy Lajoie was standing beside me. He addressed the drivers after me and then we struck up a conversation. It seems he’s more concerned with the safety of a driver as much as their comfort more than any other aspect of design in his seats. He told me that during his career as a driver he’s attended around 20 funerals for friends that didn’t look for safety when they built their race cars. We’ve come a long way in the last 10 or 15 years but we’ve got more ground to cover as our knowledge of technological advancements in materials, design, and human anatomy increase.

He’s got a full line of custom made seats and bolt on accessories for your seat that will greatly improve your body’s ability to sustain a crash. We personally used one of his products in one of our USAC .25 Midgets when we ran them and it was well made, light weight, and durable. I offered Randy a corner of our tent to display some of his seats because he really didn’t have a vendor area to set up. He’ll be at the mile today and tomorrow and will be packing up on Sunday if you’d like to check our what he offers. It’s his concern for safety and attention to details that impressed me the most. Plus he’s a great guy and easy to talk to so you can get the most out of your conversations with him.

As busy as yesterday was, being the only Chaplain at the mile, and at Brewerton, I missed my chance to deliver an invocation before the anthems at Brewerton. Sometimes one person needs more than the collective whole and that’s why God created us. Relationships are more important to Him than religious rules and traditions. God didn’t humble Himself to become a Man to die for our sins so we could fall back into a type of bondage that separates us from Him. He came to restore the relationship with the Father that was lost in the gardens when we (humanity; Adam) broke our covenant with Him.

God perfected relationship in His triune personage. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit each have distinct roles as God, and all are God, yet they remain distinct. Jesus submitted Himself to the Father’s will, yet several times said “I and the Father are one”. He was describing Their relationship. They, being God, are perfectly united in purpose and power, yet retain an individualism for identification. The Holy Spirit only says and does what He hears from Jesus Christ or the Father, yet He too is God. The synergy within the Trinity is mind blowing yet represents the perfect example of relationship.

Jesus came to make us one with Himself so we could be reunited with the Father through that same perfected synergy within our relationship. They, God the Father and God the Son, give the Holy Spirit to those who believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God yet fully God, paid the penalty for their sins and rose from the dead.

The veil of the Temple was torn in two the moment Jesus exhaled His final breath on the cross to prove that He meant business and was flinging the door back open to humanity to come to Him. The dividing line between God and mankind was removed. The relationship was restored and made available to anyone who would believe.

Religion ( Latin root religare) means return to bondage. Jesus came to free us. Satan bound us to His authority and rule when he deceived the first couple in the garden. Jesus said “Whom the Son sets free will free indeed”. What was once celebrated a pure and undefiled relationship was tainted and skewed around the third century BC as human pagan religions were integrated into Christianity as it became the empirical “religion” of the Roman Empire under Constantine. Pagan rituals and celebrations were added to the biblical feasts and celebrations to make Christianity more attractive to those worshipping pagan gods.

At the same time rules were beginning to enter into play that removed the Holy Scriptures from worship and replaced them with human doctrines and traditions. The human was race was plunged into the dark ages as a result and it wasn’t until the great awakening under the Reformationsists like John Calvin and Martin Luther that a reemergence of divine light and relationship began to enter the world through the sharing of God’s Word.

As the knowledge of salvation through faith in the risen Christ apart from works of the law. or the keeping of humanly invented religious traditions became more widespread, so did the awakening of the human spirit. That led to the renaissance period which we in some ways are still emerging from as God’s creation.

I’m so grateful God gave us His Word as an absolute so we can measure all things by it according to His will. It removes any doubts of His intentions. It restores all hope in His mercy and grace. It shows the way to a dynamic fruitful relationship with Him. It reveals promises that He’s bound to keep because of His divine integrity. It paves a path to His blessings and leads us along it to them. I’ll take that relationship over anything man created to reach out to appease Him. Jesus Christ already took care of that. I’m gratefully serving Him because of what He did for us. It’s a gift. We couldn’t earn it if we tried, so why not just reach out with your faith and take it?

We’re here to help with that. Look for us of you’d like to know God personally and enter into a relationship that will reshape your life into what He has dreamed of for you since before the foundation of the world.