Category Archives: Life/Death

A Lesson from Mark West and the Indy 500

Mark West is not someone that I would call a “close” friend, but he is a brother in Christ and we have the same political persuasion. He is also a friend on Facebook, someone I have met in person, and he has a ranch and a cool race car.

Mark ahead of a couple of Vettes.

Did I say race car?

Maybe I ought to get to know him better…you think? I mean, a race car?

Anyway, if you were watching the last Indy 500 on television, you witnessed a horrific crash. But if you had been my friend Mark West, you would have witnessed it in person. And had you witnessed that crash in person, my hope is that you would have come away with the same insight that Mark did.

But since we are not Mark West, and most of us were probably not at the last running of the Indy 500, let’s read what Mark wrote on his own blog, Awake to Freedom. (Reprinted by permission)


Guest post by: Mark West

Click on the picture to visit original post on Awake to Freedom.

The Indy 500. Daytona 500. Monaco Grand Prix. 24 Hours of Le Mans. These are just a view of the world’s iconic motorsport races. 

For me there’s not much more thrilling in sporting events than the combination of horsepower, speed, technology, competition, and fans.  And for fans, there’s not much they enjoy more than a good crash.  Although a good crash, like beauty, is a matter of perspective.  

Strap yourself into a car with the engine revving, tires screeching, and the speedometer in the three digit zone, and there’s no such thing as a GOOD crash.  The fact is, if you’re inside the race car, any crash is a bad crash.  (I know, I’ve been in a couple of my own three digit racing crashes which you can view here and here.)  But sit back in your favorite La-Z-Boy recliner, or better yet, at the Indy 500 between Turns 1 and 2, as I was this week, at the 101st running of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” and a crash is an added “bonus” to the fans.  

Sitting in the stands on Sunday at the Indy 500, I could not have anticipated viewing one of the most jaw-dropping crashes I’ve ever witnessed.  It was lap 53 of 200 laps.  The race had been perfect so far.  There had been no yellow, or caution flags.  The drivers were at their best.  The cars were nearly a blur as they flew around the track, 40 seconds per lap, at an average speed of 220 miles per hour.  My favorite driver in the race, Fernando Alonso from Spain, a two time world champion in Formula 1, but a rookie to the Indy 500, had worked himself into the lead.  

A pack of cars came down the front stretch and slowed just slightly as they maneuvered through turn 1.  As I sat there, the “bonus” happened, directly in front of me. Jay Howard lost control and hit the outside wall.  As he slid back across the track, Scott Dixon, the pole winner, had no place to go and rammed into the back of Jay’s car.  The thud we heard was unmistakable, and we watched in disbelief as the next several seconds unfolded. Immediately Dixon’s car was catapulted high into the air and the four time IndyCar champion was simply along for the ride. His years of experience and success provided no advantage. 

As Scott’s car careened through the air, his life literally hung in the balance. How would his car land as he flipped towards the wall and catch fence?  Would he survive such a horrific crash?  Could he, like many of his fellow racers in the past, skirt death?  

As the crash video reveals, Dixon’s aerial flight came to an abrupt and violent impact with the inside wall on the right side of his car.  The impact caused massive damage with the #9 car disintegrating into a thousands pieces.  As the car continued to twist and turn, it flipped upside down and then back over, sliding to a stop with only one of the four wheels left intact, and half the car missing.  Miraculously, Scott climbed out of the car, unhurt and waving to the crowd.  

But… what if?   

What if Dixon’s car had rotated just a quarter turn more and instead of landing on its side, it had landed driver first, into the wall?  I shudder to think what the outcome would have been.  But it’s not too far fetched to consider.  The fact is, something very similar happened six years earlier at another IndyCar race in Las Vegas when a massive crash launched former champion and Indy 500 race winner, Dan Wheldon, into the air.  As I watched the race live, the driver would suffer blunt force trauma to his head.  And Wheldon, whose career would likely have seen many more wins and successes, breathed his last that day, at age 33.  He left behind a beautiful wife and two young boys. 

Following the race at Indy last Sunday, the thought occurred to me just how fragile life is. One driver dies. The other lives. Some might suggest luck plays a part in the outcome, as if it’s merely a flip of a coin to determine whether it’s heads you live, or tails you die.  

But ultimately no amount of skill, preparation, goodwill or luck will prevent our taking our final breath.  Rather, death is something that will come to us all, sooner or later, as the Bible affirms:  

“Each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment.”

Death. It’s a sobering thought that most of us avoid and refuse to consider.  Yet it will happen to all of us, without a doubt.  

So, the real question is how will we live our lives until the figurative coin lands on tails?  But even more importantly, will we be prepared for that moment when the inevitable occurs? For as we just read, we will all be judged, not only for how we have lived our lives, but more importantly in whom and what we trusted for our eternal future.  

I don’t know what your personal standing is with God but here’s is the truth of God’s Word – the Bible.  In Romans 3:23 we are told “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”  In other words we have all fallen short of God’s standard of perfection.  Because of this fact, we learn in Romans 6:23 that “the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  God is clear that without His Son we can expect death eternally. 

The eternal life offered by God is as a result of His Son’s death and resurrection as we see in Romans 5:8: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  Finally, while God did this for us, we must accept His gift of salvation.  Romans 10:9 tells us “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”  This is the road to true peace and freedom… and assurance of your eternal future, once that final moment comes for you and me.  

If you want to pursue this matter further, here is a relevant website that deals further with life, death, and eternity:  http://www.areyouagoodperson.org/  Or send me an email and let’s grab coffee and talk.

Whether you are a motorsports fan or not, we all share the common need to prepare for what lies ahead.  I hope and pray you have done so, or if not, you will do so today. 

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Filed under Guest Posts, Life Lessons, Life/Death

The Price of Freedom

Memorial Day

Today is the day on which we Americans pause to remember and honor those who have fought and died for our country. We also honor those who have served and are serving.

Unfortunately, most people use this day to only focus on the celebration aspect of the holiday, not the memorial. But had it not been for those men and women who bled in the trenches and fell from the sky, there might not be a place to hold a barbecue. We celebrate because we are free, but that freedom came with a price.

Visiting Memorials

Last year at this time I visited Washington, D.C.. with my family, and one can’t visit D.C. without going to the memorials, especially on Memorial Day.

It had been a long time since the last time I was here, and new monuments to the fallen had been erected. One of them, which is probably the most impressive, is the World War 2 Memorial. I took my time exploring it.

One of the places at the WW2 Memorial is pictured below. Gold stars are affixed to a curved wall above a reflective pool. A plaque beside the reflective pool reads, “The Price of Freedom.”

Each star represents 100 who died in the war to defeat the Axis powers. Did you get that? 1 star = 100 dead. 

image

On this day let us pause and remember the lives sacrificed so that we (and the world) might live in freedom. Remember also that those stars represent mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, and scores of children whose loss purchased our gain.

Freedom isn’t free.

 

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Filed under America, Life/Death, Vacation

Bedtime Praise

Now I lay me down to sleep.

I do not fear; my soul He keeps.

If I should die before I wake,

Alive I’ll wake beyond the gate. 

Hallelujah, amen! 

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Filed under Life/Death, poetry, Prayer

My Facebook Live Vlog Discussing My Thoughts on the Final Scene of “I’m Not Ashamed”

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Filed under Apologetics, Christian Living, Christianity, Faith, General Observations, Life/Death, Love of God, Movie review

Just Look Ahead

This is the third time I’ve edited this post in an hour. It’s just hard to write. 

Sometimes we…

No, we can never stop the bad news; all we can do is decide what we’re going to do with it.

This morning I received some tragic news of a police officer getting shot and killed…by other police. I wish now I could have met him, but he worked a shift I haven’t yet visited. I have reasons for why I haven’t, but that doesn’t change anything. 

I’m a police Chaplain, that’s what I’m supposed to do: visit with all the officers I can, to minister to them in some way, if possible. 

But I didn’t with this young man. 

Now he’s gone. It’s in the hands of a merciful God. That’s all I know. 

I can’t go back and change what happened, what I did or didn’t do, but what I can do is look to the future as I keep my eyes on Jesus, my eyes wet with tears for the lost.

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Filed under community, Life Lessons, Life/Death

Bodily Exercise Profiteth a Little

The other day I saw a poster on the wall of my physical therapist’s office. I took a picture of it just for you, my readers. 

I thought to myself, “Self, there’s a blog post if I’ve ever seen one.” 

Self replied, “Yes, I believe you are correct, as always. Why not take a photo of it?”

“Already on it,” said I to self. 

“Good play, my boy! Bravo!”

“Yes,” I answered, “I know.”

So, here is the poster, followed by my thoughts. 


By the looks of it, running, golfing, tennis, and swimming can do almost as much harm as good! I mean, exercise could kill you! 

On the other hand, the Apostle Paul didn’t totally dismiss exercise; he admitted there was a “little” profit. 

For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. – 1 Timothy 4:8 (KJV)

The thing to remember is that no matter how healthy you become, death is following close behind. It’s our spiritual health that matters most of all. 

How do you exercise? 

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Filed under Christian Living, Life Lessons, Life/Death, salvation

My Daughter’s List

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not trying to get my daughter hitched. However, if you are a young man who can live up to Katie’s high standards, then let’s talk.

And believe me, we will talk first.

A few days ago my daughter Katie (age 20, not far from 21) sent me an email containing a list of what she wanted in a man. Unbelievably, even though she is now a senior at Bryan College, has a beautiful voice, is a fantastic photographer, and bubbles with a personality as lovely as her looks, she still has no marital prospects. Crazy, right?

What’s wrong with you guys??

Do you have, and can you do all the following?

  1. katie-before-the-banquet-at-bryanHas a heart that wants to serve God in every way and serves to refine my heart for Christ
  2. Patient
  3. Respectful to all people and animals
  4. Wants to honor my family
  5. Respects and honors my body
  6. Has a love for children
  7. Lives a healthy lifestyle and encourages me to do the same
  8. Will be respectful of my dietary requirements
  9. Has a strong work ethic with a reasonable plan for life
  10. Will willingly give quality massages (primarily on feet and neck) upon request and out of self will

If you are interested in becoming my son-in-law, you’ll figure out how to get in touch with me. Then, if I think you might possibly make her happy, I’ll forward the info. She has the final word, though.

Any takers?

Oh! I do have a badge (so I have connections), and I firmly believe in the 2nd Amendment. Just FYI.

Visiting Bryan to hear Katie sing her first solo with the choir and full orchestra. She sang Vivaldi.

Visiting Bryan to hear Katie sing her first solo with the choir and full orchestra. She sang Vivaldi.

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Filed under Life/Death, Marriage, Parenting, Relationships and Family