It’s Always Story Time

By Jim Jack

Stories have captivated humans since the dawn of creation as a way to pass down their knowledge of what happened in years gone by. There are billions of people and trillions of stories in the world, and these numbers increase daily. We all have hundreds of stories about our lives, our families, our work, and about racing too. Bench racing has been a favorite pastime for those involved in motorsports. Most of the stories are true, many are hilarious, some embellished too much, and some cannot be repeated in print.

I casually mention “I have a million stories”—a slight exaggeration—but I have plenty of them stored away just like you do. At times it takes something to happen to extract these stories out of the memory banks, as these stories are stockpiled away and they can pop up at anytime of the day or night…no need to fuss or fight…it may take some serious searching or insight…but when the time is right…it’s an opportunity to shed some light…and honestly the best ones truly come from God’s power and might.

Drag racing has been my story since 1958, and God, in His amusing way—of calling me into His kingdom—has seen fit to combine His Story (His-tory) with my story and your story to bring the stories of life and racing out into the open air…in a world that doesn’t always seem fair…but if we truly care…and have a story to share…please don’t miss eternal life on a whim or dare…so let’s tell others about our faith story of a fully paid heavenly fare.

Stories paint a vivid picture with words. Words describe an event that touches the heart and soul. The human soul can process these stories and make them come alive. Case in point is when we are at the racetrack. Every event that’s held is full of stories just waiting to unfold…then be told…they’re something to behold…for the young and the old.

For four years towards the end of my eighteen years as the IHBA Series chaplain, I wrote the “Chaplain’s Blog Book”—a personal take on Star Treks “Captain’s Log Book”—for their magazine. It was based on actual stories during their races and I simply wrote about the truth at a particular race on the tour. It was fun and filled with cool human-nature stuff.

In all honesty, every run, and every race down the track is a story in itself. When we see a machine power down the track, and thousands of eyes are watching every micro second, we each see something a little different, so our stories are a little different. That doesn’t mean these stories are wrong, it’s just that we each have a little different perspective.

Through the eyes of a driver of an eleven thousand horsepower drag racing machine: The story of a three second run is surely different from an avid or first time observer. Watching this machine whizzing by takes a keen eye to understand everything that’s happening during those few seconds.  

Searching the brain and retrieving a story bodes well if you remember it? But if some parts are little fuzzy, it can be frustrating too (I know). I have to be careful, as God blessed me with a good memory for many details of racing history, and some folks may think I really don’t factually remember. When I share all my true stories I hope the listener or reader believes it.

Lord, please use the true stories we hear about life, racing, and the stories we learn in the Scriptures to spur us all on to share the Good News with others. Remember, God can even use disappointment to show us our appointment with eternity to help restore our faith.

“The greatest miracle that God can do today is to take an unholy man out of an unholy world and make him holy, then put him back into that unholy world and keep him holy in it.” (Leonard Ravenhill). A great story is that God spoke everything into existence, and an even greater story is He speaks to each one of us about eternal life through faith in His Son!

Human beings are designed by God to love stories. When we tell others how He’s changed us, He works through our stories gaining access to their heart…as a heavenly start. 

A little boy wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with a bag of potato chips and a six-pack of root beer and started his journey. When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old man, who was sitting in the park, just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to him and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old man looked hungry, so he offered him some chips. He gratefully accepted them and smiled at him.

His smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered him a root beer. Again, he smiled at him. The boy was delighted! They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word.

As twilight approached, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave; but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old man, and gave him a hug. He gave him his biggest smile ever.

When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, “What did you do today that made you so happy?” He replied, “I had lunch with God.” But before his mother could respond, he added, “You know what? He’s got the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen!”

Meanwhile, the old man also radiant with joy, returned to his home. His son was stunned by the look of peace on his face and he asked, “Dad, what did you do today that made you so happy?” He replied, “I ate potato chips in the park with God.” However, before his son responded, he added, “You know, he’s much younger than I expected.”

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime of pleasin’. Therefore, embrace everyone equally. Have lunch with God: Bring some chips…along with some dips…slowly take some sips…of your soft drink as it passes through your lips…into the stomach and towards the hips…maybe share a few stories of your own true-life clips.

Sometimes in order to tell a story well, you need to tell two. Pastor W.A. Criswell had a vivid dream where he watched Christ being beaten before His crucifixion. “I saw the Savior; His back was bare and a soldier bringing down that awful cat-o’-nine tails. I rose and grasped his arm, when I did; the soldier turned in astonishment and looked at me. When I looked at him, I recognized myself.” Back in my B.C. days at a race, a close friend got into a skirmish with a big burly bearded guy, who grabbed a huge chunk of ice to hit my friend and I blocked his arm with my hand. Now, thinking back, as he looked at me in disbelief, I recognized my sinful self.

The best story is when two hearts beat as one. Research indicates our hearts may fall into the same rhythm when we hear the same story at the same time, like the love relationship between a man and a woman. Marriage can be a mystery, but it’s also a tangible demonstration of the relationship of two other things: Christ and the church. So if you are married, what kind of story does your marriage say to a watching world about the church and about God?

A much beloved racing story happened in Fremont, CA in July 1977 while crewing for our late friend and Top Fuel Dragster owner / driver Jim Plummer. A sixteen car Top Fuel race when you still pushed the cars back by hand from the burnouts, beating Bob Noice in round one, Jerry Ruth in the round two when he blew the blower off at the hit on his burnout (with Linda standing right between both cars), and James Warren red lit in the semi’s. We lost to Rick Ramsey in the final, but it was an unforgettable race. Pushing the car back after six burnouts was a chore…the nitro fumes and sticky track I did adore…our spirits did soar…our bodies became a little sore…while truly desiring more!

During WWII a French soldier had been killed and his comrades brought him to a church for burial. The Priest asked “If he had been baptized into his church” to which the comrades replied they didn’t know if he had. So they were told to bury the soldier outside of the fence line.

The next day the guys came back to visit the grave and they couldn’t find it. As they were about to leave, the priest came up to them and said he had been troubled because of his refusal to allow their dead comrade to be buried in the church yard, so he got up early and with his own hands he moved the fence line.  

God’s own Son got up early one Sunday morning—Christ’s resurrection—and removed the boundaries of sin by breaking down the dividing wall between Himself and mankind through God’s grace so we could become a part of His church forever…God’s plan was quite clever…by trusting Christ our sinful past He will sever…because believers whosoever…the Lord will always endeavor…and keep His promise for you in heaven forever.