Race Weekend — Spring 2008

On my old blog “Virginia Transplant,” I noted that NASCAR comes to our little corner of the world twice a year. This past weekend was one of those two weekends. My father-in-law noted that the weather looked ugly yesterday. Friday was the last time we had nice weather — not that I’m complaining because we need the rain. We are still in a drought. But for a racing weekend, it was terrible — raining and cold (for Southern Virginia.)

While none of us in our family are diehard NASCAR fans, we do participate in some of the activities throughout our small city. Like I mentioned yesterday, the size of our community triples (at least) during race weekend. Wal-mart usually has several cars on display and so do several other retailers. There are give aways and racing simulators, so we have a little fun. I’ve included some pictures of our Saturday activities.

One thought I had about this weekend was the dedication of the fans. Despite the bad weather, the race was a near sellout. There was a very light rain throughout the race and the fans hung in there. NASCAR fans support their drivers and they are dedicated to being there. It made me think: do we put such a high priority on the Kingdom? It seems (at least to me) that some Christians will put anything in front of being in church or doing Kingdom work. Sometimes it seems our priorities are out of sync. So, I challenge you to put Christ and the work of his Kingdom first. When we do that, God will take care of everything else.

By the way, it was great to have a native Virginian win in Virginia. Carp Diem! (Seize the Day!)

Wednesday Night Update

We returned back to a regular format this week at Mosaic.  Unfortunately because of sickness, we were a bit shorthanded when it came to staff.  We had a good group (19) of students show up.  As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I am starting to see some real growth among some of our students.  Several who sang in the choir on Sunday, really surprised me by being engaged in the discussion tonight.  That is a nice change of pace.  Those same students sang out during the worship as well.

cimg1970.jpgBefore we gathered for Mosaic, our bank held a customer appreciation day.  This is race weekend in Martinsville.  Believe it or not, it is something that the entire region looks forward to.  Yes, it is a pain to get around on such a weekend, but these loyal racing fans bring a great deal of money to our struggling economy.  Sundays are interesting because several of our congregation work the race in some way.  Because the race is in town, and our bank sponsors one of the Nationwide Series cars, they had their car at the cimg1971.jpgbank.  The backup driver enjoyed having his picture taken with James. They were also giving away free popcorn, drinks and cookies and other assorted stuff. I’ll be away this weekend, but I’m sure Pam will be taking pictures of several of the displays throughout Martinsville and I’ll post those Sunday night.

Until then — Carp Diem!  (Seize the Day!)

A Big Weekend

This weekend is one of two weekends the big show NASCAR comes to town. Today we hosted the Craftsman Truck Series and tomorrow we host the Nextel “Chase to the Cup.” All week our small town has grown bigger and bigger, especially the Southside. One of the cool things is that unlike other places I’ve been, our community embraces these weekends. For one it brings some serious cash into our community and our economy can use all it can get. The popular item today at RadioShack was scanners…Even though our family are not big NASCAR fans, we get into it and embrace it with the rest of the community. The sponsors have displays set up all over town and my children love the racing simulators and other free things you can get. It does make Sundays interesting around here. Tomorrow we have several off on vacation, several are working the race in some capacity but on the upside on of the former pastors and his wife are coming in tomorrow to visit along with a couple others. (This is the weekend, I feel like a one man show (driving the van, teaching Sunday School, preaching and leading worship, driving the van home) filling in on several jobs. Tonight I spent time preparing for tomorrow. I feel ready. Here are some pictures of James and checking out the racing displays.

A Visit to Martinsville Speedway

As noted in the title of my blog, NASCAR visits Martinsville twice a year. However, the speedway is here year round. As part of the speedway’s 60th anniversary, they had an open house today. We had full access to the entire speedway to take a look around. The track gave away hotdogs and Pepsi and even let people take their cars on the track for a few pace laps. It was very cool.

A rare view from the back side of the track. Directly behind us our the Norfolk and Southern railroad tracks. They were moved back several years ago to create this space. There are only a few hundred bleacher seats along the back straight just beyond the parking barriers.

Turns 1 and 2 from the Main Grandstand

Turns 3 and 4 from the same placeThe start/finish line from the flagman’s position

Looking down the front straight from the flagman’s stand.
They also showed various classes of stock cars. Here Pam has her picture taken in front of one of them.
Getting ready to take a few pace laps around Martinsville Speedway in the Kia Sedona. Wayne, I can’t believe I actually did this! Don’t be too jealous 🙂
I’ll give tons of credit to NASCAR drivers. This is not as easy as they make it look on TV. Martinsville’s corners are tight and very flat.
During our pace laps, I had three motorcyles following me. It was very interesting and very cool at the same time, but it also required all of my attention.

In less than two years our church will be celebrating it’s 60th anniversary. This little open house got me to thinking, how could we use our 60th anniversary to reach out to our community? How could we give them a way to “test drive” our church? It leaves me something to think about.

Race Weekend

Race weekend is always interesting around here. One of the great things is that Martinsville really embraces the fans that come here. For one it is great for our economy. Martinsville is a city of about 15,000, so when NASCAR comes to town, we more than triple in size. There are no hotel rooms for 50 miles. That doesn’t include the massive RV city that surrounds the area around the track.

The race was delayed by rain, so I didn’t get a chance to finish watching it from the comfort of my home. I liked the fact that Jimmy Johnson won. It’s always an interesting weekend. My son James loves going around and looking at the different car displays they set up around town.

Needless to say, the race always affects our attendance. Several from our congregation have to work on race day and the traffic makes it difficult for others to get to church. I enjoy the excitement that comes to Martinsville twice a year.

Sunday Thoughts – April 1st

Today was a good day. The Spirit really moved among us during our service this morning. We started with the triumphal entry and progressed to the cross. I preached from Philippians 2:1-11 as we looked at what it means to imitate Christ. Philippians 2:5-11 is an ancient church hymn. As we prepared for communion, we sung a new hymn, “In Christ Alone.” We have introduced several new hymns over the Lenten season from the song writing team of Keith Getty and Stuart Townend.

We had a moving time as we gathered at the Lord’s Table. We sang several songs about the blood and did it without music and it was a special time.

This evening we continued our study of the book “There’s No I in Church.” We are taking a look at the Moving of God. We had some great discussion.

In other news, our hot water heater decided to spring a leak during morning worship and several of us cleaned that up after church. Today was also race day. Twice a year NASCAR comes to Martinsville and triples the size of our community. We usually drive by the race track to see all the people and today was no disappointment. True to form, it was another cloudy day when NASCAR comes to Martinsville.

Hope you have a great week!

The Race

As it says in the title, we live in a place (Martinsville, VA) where NASCAR visits twice a year. Our sleepy little city triples in size for the weekend. This past weekend our city hosted both the Craftsman Truck series and the Nextel Cup series. If you’re a NASCAR fan, you already know that. It was interesting as I went to pickup the kids in the van this morning. Our usual 45 minute round trip was a bit longer, because we couldn’t take the usual route because of the race traffic. My family had a great time yesterday visiting all car exhibitions around town. The race teams bring the cars to various places and let the fans view them. I had to work yesterday, but they were excited to tell me all about it when I got home. By tomorrow afternoon, it will be difficult to tell there even was a race here.

What amazes me about the NASCAR fans in general is that they will go to great lengths to let you know who their favorite driver is. Many of the cars on the street advertised “their driver.” It’s amazing to me to see the money spent on what is basically entertainment. If only we as believers would be as quick to go to the same lengths to tell people about Jesus. Think about it!