NASCAR: Pit Stop Essentials

NASCAR-at-DaytonaA word that elicits a wide range of emotions is NASCAR . Some people shake their head in bewilderment thinking it is a waste of time to watch grown men drive a car in circles.  Then, there are those who froth at the mouth when they hear the rumble of a finely tuned engine that propels a driver down the straightaways in excess of 200 MPH.

Every second the driver spends on pit road is a second that will determine how he finishes the race. In a matter of about 12 seconds, a good pit crew can change tires, top off the fuel tank, and necessary adjustments to race car.

Pit stops are a vital component of every race—even the race of life.  Paul said, I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith (2 Timothy 1:7).  To finish the race, it helps to keep a few principles in mind:

  • Realize your skill-set is limited and you will always need God:
    • I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God with me. ~I Corinthians 15:10
    • Serve with the strength that God supplies, so that in everything God will be glorified through Jesus Christ. ~I Peter 4:11
  • Remember those who have helped you and show your appreciation: I thank God for you Christians at Philippi whenever I think of you. My constant prayers for you are a real joy, for they bring back to my mind how we have worked together for the Gospel from the earliest days until now. ~Philippians 1:3
  • Plan for the bumps in the road: Moses chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. ~Hebrews 11:25
  • Set a steady pace, so you can win the race: Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize. Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away. Therefore I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air.  Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified. ~I Corinthians 9:24-27

I’ll close with this thought: To run fast, you need to know when its time to slow down.

The *At-Risk Asterisk

AsteriskSometime during the day, I usually stop by McDonald’s and grab a cup of coffee.  When I made my caffeine pit stop yesterday, a sign caught my attention.  It was promoting McDonald’s 2016 version of the Monopoly game.  At the bottom of the sign a red circle was emblazoned with the words, 1 in 4 Win*.

I’ve learned that a person can be at-risk, if he doesn’t pay attention to an asterisk.  After a quick search about the significance of the 1 in 4 Win asterisk and the odds of actually winning, I discovered the following:

  • The odds of getting the exact combination to win the $1 Million prize is 1 in 513,591,720.
  • The odds of winning one of the instant cash prizes is 1 in 45,000.
  • The best odds of winning are associated with the food prizes, and they equate with the advertised 1 in 4 Win*.

An asterisk offers essential data about information that has been changed, is missing, or has been updated.  It’s a coach that guides you through the mental gymnastics of comprehension.

When I think of the asterisk in this context, it reminds me of the work of the Holy Spirit who will offer an at-risk warning.  The ministry of the Spirit is multifaceted, and he empowers, guides, and convicts of sin.

Jesus said the coming of Spirit would be a great benefit to His disciples:

The truth is that My departure will be a gift that will serve you well, because if I don’t leave, the great Helper will not come to your aid. When I leave, I will send Him to you. When He arrives, He will uncover the sins of the world, expose unbelief as sin, and allow all to see their sins in the light of righteousness for the first time.  This new awareness of righteousness is important because I am going to the Father and will no longer be present with you.  ~John 16:7-11, The Voice

Whenever you feel an impression to take some action or you hear a small voice within you, it might be the whisper of the Spirit attempting to give you a new awareness of righteousness.

Paul contrasted the new awareness with the old nature in Romans 8, and I think I’ll use it as an * to share some essential information with you concerning the transforming power of God’s Spirit:

Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored. ~Roman 8:5-8, The Message