Waynedale United Methodist Church
Saturday, June 06, 2020
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!

July 30, 2017 Sermon

“NASCAR and Jesus:  Pit Crew”
1 Corinthians 12:12 – 27
Ted Jansen  July 30, 2017  Waynedale UMC
1.)        Who can tell me who has the most wins in their NASCAR career?  (Richard Petty with 200 victories).  Who can tell me who had the most wins in a single season?  (Richard Petty with 27 wins).  Who is the NASCAR driver with a Purdue degree in Vehicle Structure Engineering? (Ryan Newman)  Who are your favorite drivers?  
2.)        Even though you might focus on the drivers you like we need to realize that NASCAR it is not a “one-man” team.  There is an entire group of people that are focused on the driver and car and work to get a victory.  One estimate given was that there are approx. 50 people focused in some role to support that one driver.  There are also hundreds and thousands of fans who informally support the driver.  All are focused on the one driver, for one purpose, to win! 
3.)        I want to highlight four different groups of people that focus on the driver.   
            a.)        The Pit Crew             You are allowed to have seven people on your pit crew.  These are the ones who are allowed inside the wall.  In pit row you have a wall that separates the car from the entire team.  When the cars come in only these seven are allowed on the track.  The seven are:  Front tire replace man, rear tire replace man, Gas man, Gas catch can man, front tire holder, rear tire holder, and jack man.  They each have a job that is focused, specific and needed to be completed in the quickest time possible. 
            b.)        Communication and Support Crew            These are the men and women who work outside the wall.  They have to stay behind the wall on race day and work on the communication station, or they have worked on the cars before the race.  There is no limit to how many people you can have outside the wall, giving and receiving advice and helping all the others.   The crew chief is here.  
            c.)        Spotters          These are the men who have binoculars (or other viewing devices) located high above the track to spot what is going on.  They relay the information back to the driver and the communication crew.  It is their job to give information about conditions.  They can see accidents, what other drivers are doing, trying to anticipate what’s ahead.    
            d.)        Fans    The fans are focused on the one driver they want to win the race.  They have the team hats, jerseys, colors, numbers, etc.  When they see their driver doing well they are cheering and celebrating.  They can get real loud and at times unruly. 
4.)        When you look at one driver you are actually looking at a pit crew, a support crew, spotters and fans, all connected to each other in some way. 
            When you look at a follower of Jesus Christ you are looking at a whole team as well.  There are people that are connected to each other that focus on supporting and loving each other.  That is what Paul wants disciples to understand.     
5.)        In 1 Corinthians 12:12 – 27 Paul is writing to the church in Corinth.  In this scripture he begins teaching by talking about the body and its biology.  He says your body is made up of many different parts; feet, ears, eyes and they are all a part of your body.  They are different and needed.  They are connected and work together.         
            Paul says, “God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.”  (1 Corinthians 12:18).     
            Then Paul links the physical body to the church, the spiritual body, when he writes.  “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”  (1 Corinthians 12:27) 
            Each disciple is unique, with a purpose, in the church, the Body of Christ.             
6.)        Listen to these words from Hebrews 10:19 – 25 where the writer teaches about our relationship with God and with each other. 
            “Since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.  Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” 
            We are connected to each other in our common hope and faith in Christ.  We are to spur one another on to love and good works.  We are to meet together, stay in relationship with each other as the church.    
            Some of the Christian disciples were not coming together, they were not meeting together for worship or fellowship.  The writer did not want them to quit meeting together.   No, it was important for the church to be together as the Body of Christ.    
7.)        As we have consider the encouragement to be connected as the church let us look at the different roles in supporting the drivers of NASCAR as our guide in our Christian life.  How can these groups, in the life of the church, make us winners?         
            a.) Pit Crew    The pit crew are those people who are allowed inside the wall.  These people are the ones that you have the highest trust level with.  “Inside the wall” can translate to “inside your life.”  These are the people in your life who ask you the tough questions, who expect complete honesty, who understand that you are flawed, are willing to accept you as you are and will not let you get by without being true to yourself. 
            Someone who relates to you as a pit crew might say, “You need to spend time in prayer about that situation.  Do something fun with your children.  You know your health issues concern me, please see a doctor and see what is going on.  You seem to be spending a lot of time alone on the computer, are you visiting any web sites that are not good for you?”   
            Who are the people that you are the pit crew for?  Who are the people that you feel comfortable getting inside their life?  Do you have a pit crew?       
b.)  Communication/Support Crew This crew is the one that communicates to you based on what is happening at the moment.  You have a basic level of trust in them and you rely on their input and ideas.  You might have some great sources of communication for your life.  There might be some information that is not helpful or healthy for you. 
One way to think about this is to consider turning off some communication area.  How would this affect you?  What communication do you need for your faith?      
            Someone who relates to you as a support crew might say, “It appears that you are involved with a certain person that has been trouble with the police.  Are you sure you need to associate with them.  I really liked this book called, “The Purpose Driven Life” it would be good book for you to read.”
            Who are the people that will listen to you?  Who can you trust?           
c.)  Spotters    These are the people in your life that are looking ahead.  They may be several years older or more experienced and can see what is coming your way.  It is vital for those who are older, with more experience, to serve as spotters to those younger and more inexperienced.  Look ahead and look out, what do you see?    
            When our children were little I used to tell the parents of teenagers to expect a call from me in a few years.  I knew that I would need some spotters, some advice about teenagers. 
I used to ask Pastors who were ten to twenty years older if there were things they would do differently about life, faith and ministry.  One thing I remember they saying is that they wished they had put more money in their pension fund.  That was good advice that I have tried to follow, so I would not have any regrets.        
            Someone who relates to you as a spotter might say, “In a few years you are going to need to be careful who your children are friends with.  My wife and I have a date night once a week and have done this for years.  Make sure you cultivate your marriage!”
            d.)  Fans         These are the people in your life that are cheering for you. They celebrate with you in good times and groan when you aren’t doing so well.    
            Someone who relates to you as a fan might say, “You are great, you are doing a great job!  I appreciate you, support you and believe in what you are doing.  I am sure sorry things didn’t work out this time.  Keep up the good work.  Way to go!”
8.)        On Wednesday I was driving from our cottage to the office and on the way I had two people unexpectedly contact me.  The first was Sue who said that 69 was closed due to a semi accident and I should avoid it.  I had not turned on the radio and was headed right for 69 so I decided to head down 3.
Then when I was at the 3 and 205 intersection I stopped at the light and guy next to me honked at me. He shouted out the window that my right light was out.   I thanked him and went on my way. 
These were two people who were helping me.  I was thankful for them.    
9.)        Each of us are on a journey and we need others to help us.  We need to be aware of others and how we can help them as well.  You were not meant to live life alone, you have a team, and it is called the church, “Team Jesus.” 
I need you to get inside my life, to communicate today to me, to tell me what to expect down the path and to cheer me on!  I need you, as the church in my life.  That is what God intended for all of us. 
I need to be in your life and communicate to you today and share things that I see down your path and cheer you on.  I am needed to be on your team, your “Team Jesus!”