Rev. Jim Jack

By Jim Jack


Reflecting on life as we’ve experienced it, there’s a little bit of heaven everywhere. We should understand there’s no promise of an easy path in this world around us, and this is also evident in the racing world. Life can be difficult and stressful. We’re never promised a pain-free life. There are a lot of hurting people with precipitous personal problems, so let’s try to find a little bit of heaven when we view our lives in the overall picture of this universe.


In December my wife Linda and I attended a Christmas concert where RFC Business Manager, Julie Thompson, sang with her long-time friends, Giselle, Chris, and Laurie in their group “Hosanna.” These ladies have been singing together for years, and harmonize wonderfully. It’s a real treat to hear and see them perform. They sang, Heaven Everywhere, “I hear the bells, they’re ringing loud and clear, you can’t help but love this time of year. It’s Christmastime in the air, there’s a little bit of heaven everywhere.” It got me thinking about life on earth and what the future has in store for mankind: “A new heaven and the new earth…”


There’s an abundance of human ideas in today’s news concerning things like global warming. Today’s world is full of distrust and uncertainty as people want to steer us towards a perception that feels void of hope. People are worried their lives will be impacted by what they hear and see in the news. But if we believe Almighty God is in control, He’ll make sure His special creation—man and woman—are aptly taken care of. He does have a plan…the weather is in His hand…come join His band…heading to the eternal heavenly Promised Land.


When it comes to all forms of racing, we can find a little bit of heaven in just about every aspect of the sport we love and enjoy. Simply gazing upon a high-powered machine brings to mind its awesomeness, and to all the sold-out racing drivers, crews, and fans, it repeatedly comes into view as a little bit of heaven.


Most likely when a driver is seated and ready to step on the loud pedal, there’s a little bit of heaven racing through their mind as they prepare to blast off the starting line. I’m sure it’s also true for the crew as they’ve prepared their hot rod for a fast lap and visualize it as a little piece of heaven. Even the spectators are hoping for a little bit of heaven when their favorite machine is screaming down the track at 100, or 200, or maybe even 300 mph.


Being at the racetrack and seeing these extraordinary racing machines, smelling the exotic fuels being burned, feeling the horsepower in your body and soul, and figuratively tasting the racing helps quench your appetite for motorsports in what seems like a little bit of heaven…hopefully more cylinders firing than seven…with the opening round at eleven.


Having a great family is like a little bit of heaven as you wish—hope and pray—for the good times to never end. And the same can be said for your wonderful friends that you hope are there for the long haul…while you’re racing and having a ball…some racers and friends have a unique southern drawl…winning comes after learning to crawl…there’s no time to stall…now if you have the gall…let God show you the way when you’ve hit life’s wall.


Gazing at God’s beautiful creation is a foretaste of a little bit of heaven for those who long to see the beauty everywhere. Unfortunately there are people who can’t see the forest for the trees, and just like two thousand year ago, they literally have no room for Christ in their lives or in their future. For these types, heaven’s a fantasy, a far-away place that only dreams are made of. Without God’s Spirit, people may consider heaven as farfetched foolishness.


As a person who has been around for more than seven decades, been a drag racing fan for more than six decades, married for more than five decades, faithfully enjoying God’s handiwork for more than four decades, been a follower of Jesus Christ for more than three decades, lived in Arizona for more than two decades, and director of the RFC Golf Tournament for more than one decade, I’ve seen a little bit—or more—of heaven in all of these matters.


I’ve personally officiated more than sixty weddings—maybe for some of you who are reading this—there’s always a little bit of heaven in every ceremony when observing the love of the bride and groom. And yes friends, even in the midst of me officiating one hundred memorials / funerals—maybe for loved ones of you who are reading this—in my career as a pastor, there’s a little bit of heaven in these too. If the truth be told, when conducting a celebration of life for a believer in Christ, there is more than a little bit of heaven, as heaven was attained by the individual whom we were celebrating.


Since the day I accepted Christ as my Savior back on February 5, 1988, I’ve often seen little bits of heaven, and at other times huge glimpses of heaven in the lives of family and many friends. Speaking of the month of December, back in 1998, I was literally bed-side with a local drag racing friend, Jim Wade, when he made his transition from earth to heaven. I was in the hospital room with his wife, two daughters, sister, and sister-in-law (who led him to the Lord). As the five women sang their usual family favorite Christmas song “Silent Night” to their loved one, and just as they finished the last stanza “sleep in heavenly peace” he breathed his last breath on earth. Heaven was realized by him at that inconceivable moment.


As a chaplain and pastor for motorsports for the past thirty one years, God has blessed me with affirming words of heavenly things. The day I asked Christ into my life, it was just like what Jesus said in Matthew chapter sixteen where He tells the apostle Peter, “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven has revealed these things to you.” At that very moment, I wasn’t quite prepared to understand heavenly things, but I truly believed my salvation only came from God. In my former forty years of life, I was pretty sure there was a Master Creator who designed this world—and heaven—for mankind: Now I knew it!


It’s interesting that my god for thirty years were Top Fuel Dragsters (1958-1988), and to me they were a little bit of heaven until the true God revealed Himself to me and showed me a glimpse of the real heaven. Not even racing could reveal the truth of heaven. Not even nitro could reveal the truth of heaven. Not even 280 mph top fuel cars at that time could reveal the truth of heaven. Not even the best wife and best kids could reveal the truth of heaven.


But, when the King of kings, and the Lord of lords moves in to your neighborhood, comes into your life, comes into your heart, you’ll realize heaven is for real. Everything changes: How you act, how you look at things, how you look at other people, and how you look at Almighty God who wrote the best love story— the Bible— for you and for me. He’ll open your eyes to see wonderful things, as the Bible says “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no human mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him,” (1 Corinthians 2:9). God’s plan of salvation thrills mankind, creation, and everything else under heaven!                 


Picture your family and friends enjoying the races. Picture your family and friends enjoying a personal gathering. Now picture your family and friends enjoying heaven. If you could choose only one of the three scenarios for them, which one would you choose?


I love drag racing. I love our family and friends. I honestly can’t wait for all our family and friends to see enough little bits of heaven that they honestly desire to be there when it’s time to graduate from earth’s education to heaven’s home. It’s a simple process. Simply become a committed believer and true follower of Jesus Christ, not merely just a fan of God.


Jesus followers get to see, hear, feel, smell, and taste a little bit of heaven, while fans only want to hear—albeit from a distance—a little bit about heaven like fans sitting in the stands, but aren’t thoroughly interested in following the narrow road to something far superior to winning a racing world championship. We’re talking about a celebration in the new heaven and new earth with millions of followers who chose to be on heavens Winning Team.


There’s a little bit of heaven when making a strong qualifying run. There’s a little bit of heaven winning a round of competition. There’s a little bit of heaven in winning the race. And there’s a little bit of heaven in winning a championship. But none of these above mentioned commodities compare to grasping on to the real heaven. The eternal place where God wants everyone to reside…there’s no room for pride…on earth nowhere to hide…no time to backslide…heaven is waiting and open wide…mankind has worked and tried…to earth we can’t be tied…follow wholeheartedly don’t minimally glide…time to take a heavenly stride…it’s okay to be Christ’s bride…so stay at God’s side…and for eternity you can abide.