Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Faith on the Frontstretch: The green flag waves on new beginnings

Credit: Patrick Smith / Getty Images     
“...and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1b

New beginnings abound in the NASCAR family. The green flag waves on all kinds of fresh starts -- redefined relationships, different teams and new series.

Several drivers began new phases with their sweethearts. David Ragan and Landon Cassill are newlyweds. Trevor Bayne and Reed Sorenson both got engaged during Christmas week.

Some drivers moved to new teams, such as Matt Kenseth, Elliott Sadler and Joey Logano. Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will run their first full-time seasons in Cup.

There is even a new-fangled stock car, the G6 model, which may continue to evolve into the first part of the season.

These are just a few of the "new beginnings" in NASCAR. But folks in the grandstands and infield are waving green flags, too.
Cap autographed by the No. 33 crew.
Photo courtesy of Susanne Bowyer.

Race fan Susanne Bowyer (no relation to Clint) talks about a new beginning in her life. A year ago, on New Year’s Day, she became a child of God. On January first she told her Facebook friends:

“Today is my one year anniversary of being saved! Having faith in Jesus Christ, trying to serve Him through everything I do, and receiving His grace and forgiveness has met (or changed) every need I have longed for. My life has been transformed ... reborn ... changed in ways that light every dark path I have been down.”

Susanne said God placed many people in her path that helped her find faith. But He used something a jackman scribbled on a ball cap to finally reel her in. In 2011, Susanne went to a NASCAR race and received a ball cap autographed by the No. 33 crew of Clint Bowyer. She felt an “unusual connection” to the hat, especially to what former jackman Nick Terry wrote under his signature: John 14:6. 

John 14:6 is a Bible verse where Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Nick Terry baptizing Susanne Bowyer.
Photo courtesy of Susanne Bowyer
Susanne got in touch with Terry, who became a chaplain with Motor Racing Outreach soon afterwards. “Knowing he was a chaplain, I felt comfortable enough to ask him questions about God, the Bible, forgiveness, etc. So I made the leap to go out of my comfort zone and get answers to my questions.”

Later, Chaplain Terry baptized Susanne, and she’s been going strong ever since. “I am now starting my second year as a servant for Christ, and I have planned a mission trip to Uganda in July,” she said. “I hope to bring orphans and the people of Uganda items from NASCAR and to tell them the story of a middle-aged woman who was reborn in His image. My journey has just begun!”

So, are you yearning for a new beginning in 2013? Perhaps you’re ready to wave a green flag on your own spiritual journey. If you’re curious about Jesus, Susanne has this advice for you: “I encourage anyone to try what I did. Take a year and learn about Jesus. See what He does in your life. You will be amazed at the rewards you get back.”

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NASB)

To help folks who wants to learn more about Jesus, I have a limited supply of free copies of my book, Race Fans’ Devotions to Go. It’s specifically written for female race fans. The end of devotion #5 explains how you can accept Jesus into your heart. To receive a copy while supplies last, any U.S. resident can e-mail me at bbreinke@skirtsandscuffs.com with your mailing address.
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Want more racing devotions? When you donate $25 to Skirts and Scuffs, we’ll send you a complimentary copy of Beth’s book, Race Fans’ Devotions to Go, a month-long, pocket-sized devotional book for female racing fans.

Faith on the Frontstretch” appears every 1st & 3rd Wednesday and explores the role of faith in motorsports. Comments or twitter follows welcome: @bbreinke. See you on the Frontstretch!



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