Published February 10, 2015
"Racing From Death to Life"
The keynote speaker at this year's National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC, on February 5th was Darrell Waltrip, a retired NASCAR driver who has been active in recent years in evangelistic Christian ministries.
We have been talking a lot recently in this column about opportunities to witness. And Waltrip with the Dalai Lama, President Obama and others of other faiths looking on boldly took the opportunity to tell all those in attendance the true Gospel of Jesus Christ in the form of a powerful and compelling personal testimony. Although his remarks were not the ones that got national media attention (you've probably heard all about the others in the media), Waltrip's certainly were the most important.
He told how he used to drink too much, hang out in the bars and do whatever felt good to him. "That was my lifestyle. That's how I lived... I did everything to satisfy me... I had no time for this church stuff.'"
But then, a 1993 auto racing crash left him wondering what would happen if he died.
Speaking very frankly, Waltrip said the accident "scared the hell out of me. I mean that literally. I realized, I could have been killed that day. What if I had lost my life that day at Daytona? What would I have done? Would I have gone to heaven or would I have gone to hell? I thought I was a good guy, but folks, let me tell you something: good guys' go to hell." Waltrip may have still been breathing, but he was spiritually dead.
But as a result of this "wake-up call," as he describes it, Waltrip got on his knees and surrendered his heart and life to Jesus Christ. He became alive in Christ.3
With the President, the Dalai Lama and members of other faiths listening, Waltrip unequivocally and boldly declared, "If you don't know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, if you don't have a relationship, if He's not the master of your life, if you've never gotten on your knees and asked Him to forgive you of your sins you're just a good guy' or a pretty good gal' you're gonna go to hell... Think about that."
Waltrip calls the day that he accepted Christ "the greatest day of my life...and that changed everything. I felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders.4 I felt like I'd been born again.5 I felt like a new man6... I felt different. When the Lord comes into your life, you're gonna be different, you have to be different... The Lord changes you, and He changed me for the better."
"Things changed on the racetrack, too," he said. "I still had wrecks, I still had problems...but I wasn't in it alone. While I had thought I was always in it alone, now I had Somebody to pray with, to talk with, to lead me and guide me the wisdom of the Lord... I had it, and I needed to use it."
"The hardest thing about preparing for this morning," he admitted, "was in looking back and seeing the way I was. I'm not that way anymore."
Then Waltrip boldly explained to his faith-diverse audience, "You don't have to walk alone. You don't have to carry all those burdens, like it's you against the world. You have to do like I did. You've got to get off your high horse'7 and get on your knees and ask for forgiveness. He's waiting for you. He was there all the time. I just didn't know it or acknowledge it... The Lord is a strong tower. The righteous will run to it and be safe."8
What a wonderful testimony! And it's a good example of how to share, in your testimony, where you've come from and, now, where you're going! Your testimony might not be as dramatic as Darrell Waltrip's, but the end result is the same. Celebrate that and share the good news.
3. Romans 6:11; 1 Corinthians 15:22; Ephesians 2:5
4. Matthew 11:30
5. John 3:3
6: Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10
7. Ironically, President Obama had said at the Prayer Breakfast that Christians get on their "high horse" to condemn Islamic atrocities while forgetting what (so-called) Christians did during the Crusades (a European response to hundreds of years of Muslim invasions) way back in the Middle Ages.
8. Proverbs 18:10, almost verbatum
Note: You can view Darrell Waltrip's entire inspirational speech online here:
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