Jim Jack has been a chaplain for Racers For Christ for... let's just say... a long time. He writes a monthly column and we're honored to now publish it on our website. For more info on Racers For Christ, visit their website - www.teamrfc.org.
Do you wish you could experience something amazing every day? Actually we can experience amazing things on a daily basis. By looking at God’s creation and realizing how incredible it is becomes an amazing experience for all who choose to enjoy everything surrounding us like the star-filled night sky…the mountains mile-high…birds that fly…growing corn, wheat, and rye…the smell of a fresh baked pecan pie…the honest truth and not a lie.
Drag racing is an amazing experience in itself. Man and machine trying to fill their ultimate need for speed. Man and machine coming together to compete against one another. Man and machine challenging their ability to win while performing in front of thousands of spectators. Man and machine producing a drag racing experience found only where nitromethane is used for fuel…in a side-by-side dual…real horsepower not an old mule…mankind’s ingenuity becomes the rule…ultimately experiencing in God’s eyes we are His real jewel.
Spectators also get to experience amazing racing and competition that brings intense enjoyment, a life-time of memories, and satisfies their craving for a racing experience that only can be met out on the racetrack. Our experiences in the racing world become a huge part of who we are and what we’re set apart to enjoy while living on earth.
As humans we are blessed to experience amazing relationships. We are blessed to experience marriage. We are blessed to experience the birth of our children. We are blessed to experience the birth of our grandchildren. We are blessed to experience a personal encounter with our beloved pets. And for those who are believers and followers in Christ the Creator, we are blessed to experience something called salvation. Forgiveness for all of our past, present, and future wrongs, and the grace to realize what Christ means to the world: His unconditional love…on the wings in the form of a gentle dove…God offers us eternal life from above.
Watching a flower bud and gently open is an amazing experience. Watching a tree bud and then see it turn into an apple is amazing. Seeing a vegetable plant’s purple flower turning into an eggplant is an experience to behold. All the food we eat is more…than something we buy at the store…a gift from heaven’s door. It’s a godly gift grown to nourish us with the opportunity to enjoy creation. We should feel a deep sadness for those people who cannot, or have not, experienced nature in its purest form of revealing a Creator who shows us this beautiful world we live in wasn’t an afterthought, but a way to let us know it was created just for us.
Experiencing the fury of a nitro burning engine warming up in the pits, then experiencing the vehicle out on the track rocketing to 200-300 mph is an amazing feat. The first time seeing a dragster run over 200 mph back in 1964, I was like, wow! What did I just experience? What’s in store for the future? What other things will amaze me during my short stay on this planet?
Speaking of 1964, it was February when I got to experience meeting my wife Linda. When I first laid eyes on her, I thought this is someone I want to know. I want to experience her as a friend, then as a girlfriend, and eventually experience Linda as my wife…for life.
Linda got to experience drag racing in August 1964 on our first date. I really don’t think it was an amazing experience for her. But we kept on seeing each other, kept on going to the races, and eventually experienced something amazing: Love for one another. We experienced marriage, experienced two children, experienced six grandchildren, and have experienced motorsports ministry together with Team RFC® since 1991.
Experience Amazing is something we can’t take for granted. We all should be amazed at what goes on around us every day. It seems some days lately like the world is going to hell…at times it’s hard to tell…maybe listen to a sea shell…drink cool water from a deep well…simply listen for heavens bell…God whispers so there’s no need for Him to yell.
Nature puts on an amazing show every year as the four seasons bring all the needed sunshine, needed rain, needed snow pack, and needed crops that sustain our lives. Planting is imperative, watering is required, and harvesting is the crucial element. “I planted, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow,” (1 Corinthians 3:6).
The racing seed is planted in the heart of someone who loves competition, fast machines, loud engines with gobs of horsepower, and the thrill of victory. Racer mentality must be watered with heart-felt desire, hard work, brain induced effort, special friendships to help out, and of course the finances to compete on a stage where the racing game is played out to its fullest.
To experience the harvest in the world of motorsports, plenty of amazing things must happen that may eventually result in a bumper crop of pleasure and gratification for those fortunate enough to be able to compete and to win at the highest level.
I have experienced amazing things for seventy years. Simply growing up in an upper middle class family was an amazing thing when I look around at what others in the world have or don’t have. Growing up in southern California where drag racing was happening every weekend at several tracks was enough to say those experiences were utterly amazing.
My first drag race (1958), my first date with my wife Linda (August 1964), my first drag boat race (July 1967), my first RFC chapel experience in Pomona, CA (February1988), my first chapel service I conducted in Sonoma, CA (April 1991), were all amazing experiences. And then to think back on those times, and realize we are still going to the drag races fifty six years later as husband and wife is pretty mind boggling.
What we have experienced in the past fifty five years as a family is truly amazing: We were kids having kids, watching, loving, and nourishing our kids while experiencing their experiences, experiencing grandkids, and going to the races around the country and up and down the West Coast. Meeting thousands of people and developing hundreds of solid friendships, while building many significant relationships, experiencing amazing racing throughout all these years and being able to minister the Good News is what I call “Experience Amazing.”
October 4, 1998 was Linda Jack’s 50th birthday and we were celebrating her special day at an IHBA drag boat race at Puddingstone Lake in southern California. Our chapel location that Sunday morning was at the IHBA trailer where all their equipment was stored. We had a crowd of 120 people seated next to their trailer blocking the side door that morning, so Rescue was unable to get to their safety equipment while the service was going on.
Being Linda’s special day, I called her up front for a time of prayer. She also received birthday cards, flowers, and gifts that morning. Linda was a little reluctant to come up front for fear the “The Blurred Vision” TAF crew of Eric & Kim Lyon, Joe & Mary Abby, Marvin Blea, and Rene & Sheri Adame, would do their normal birthday ritual of giving the birthday girl a whip cream pie in the face. We made it through the chapel with no pies in the face and then Rescue hurriedly grabbed their gear and off they went for the day’s action out on the lake.
Late that afternoon Don Ney (Cromwell & Ney Insurance) was making a run in his BGH “BoDaShus” in the left lane, as he approached the finish line, his boat veered way left (difficult to steer a hydro) and crashed into the Rescue boat. To everyone’s horror as Don’s boat was aiming at the Rescue boat, the four Rescue guys dived overboard into the water just before Don crashed into their boat. Afterwards we praised God as no one was injured in the scary incident, including Don. Don said “It was in slow motion after the impact, and God gently placed the capsule back into the water, and there was only three drops of water on the windshield.”
I then remembered at our chapel service that morning, it was the first time “all of the Rescue personnel” had ever attended the RFC chapel service—because they were waiting to get their gear and get their rear out on the Rescue boat. BTW: That afternoon while Linda and I were in the “Blurred Vision” pit, they were successful in their quest to gently come-from-behind and place a whip cream pie in Linda’s face. She despised whip cream for many years after the birthday celebration! I whispered, “Babe it was an honor for the pastor’s wife to get pied!”
Winning isn’t always the victory. The opportunity to live, race, and enjoy the blessings of being called a drag racer is truly experiencing amazing times and worth the ultimate effort…in a great sport…one you need to court…not as a last resort…as God has the best known port…and allow heaven to be your amazing eternal fort…and be glad that Jesus is your escort!