I’m cheating today and haven’t written the story below but have blatantly stolen it!
It is something I found from all my clearing out. An old church newsletter/ magazine from Christmas 2002.
So why did I keep it tucked away in a draw?
Well inside Andrew had written about a dream he’d had and that makes it unusual for a start. He only ever told me of two dreams he had that were this clear. He believed this one was from God, what he wrote was about his faith, something he didn't share openly very often. It's extra special because I was always the writer in the family. His tales and words of wisdom were rarely written down.
Andrew explains in his own words about what was going on at the time he wrote it but what he doesn’t mention is it was also the time when we were seeking to buy the house we are in now. A time of searching for God’s direction and knowing where we should be. Maybe there is a timely word in there for me today.
The Parable of the Scalextric Car came to me in a dream when I was in work feeling pretty low. I’d applied for a new job with the same company in Denmark and I’d just found out they’d offered it to someone else. I think God was speaking to me saying,
“Hello Andrew you need to read your Bible and pray a lot more.”
Plus more besides. In the dream I was speaking in the toy service at church giving the children’s talk. Which I did, but now I would like to share a bit more. The pastor said it was long enough for a whole sermon.
It’s no secret that we are having a Scalextric set for Christmas which is probably why God chose to speak to me in these terms.
A brand new car looks pretty good but admiring it is no good. The car was designed to go round a track; it has a motor inside. What we need to make it go is POWER (in this case 12v dc).
Now as Christians God did not make us to be looked at (although some are better looking than others are). We also have a purpose far, far more important than looks and like this car we need POWER to perform our Christian functions. So as Christians how do we get POWER?
We need to pray. Prayer is like the power to the car. We will not move in our Christian lives until we have POWER, this car will not go until it has POWER.
So we become a Christian and we start to pray. We have POWER and we start to function in our Christian lives as God designed us to do. As the Scalextric car will start to move once it has POWER fed up through the pick-up braids.
So the crowds are cheering as we head off down the pit straight. We gain loadsa speed. But some of the stewards are shaking their heads. OH NO there may be trouble ahead (did someone write a song about that?) because fast approaching is the first bend and the car is travelling far, far too fast and it disconnects from the power supplied through the track and heads towards the living room carpet. OH DEAR!
Now part of my job in work is accident investigation – come on in Morse, Sherlock and Miss Marple. Let’s do an accident investigation into why the Scalextric car left the track.
For the purposes of this we assume that our onsite investigators have found no defects in the track, the car of any equipment failure what so ever. There was no oil on the track. So why did the scalextric car crash?
Well the immediate cause is that it was travelling too fast. But now in accident investigation we have to find out why. Underlying causes.
The driver did not want to come off the track onto the living room carpet so why did it happen? Why did the driver make that error?
Well the conclusion of my accident investigation is lack of driving experience on the part of the driver. So how do you get that experience to make it round the first bend?
One way is to read the instruction manual or we could talk to people who have done it before perhaps many times. Learn by other people’s mistakes is often the best way.
So back to our new Christian who has now hit the first problem in their Christian life and has left the Christian ways. How can we prevent this?
Well firstly in our Christian lives we have to read the instruction manual. What has God provided as our instruction manual? The BIBLE. Pretty big, loadsa small print; HELP where do I start? MORE HELP required.
I’m sure there will be by now a computer based Bible with a help button but that can only go so far. So now it’s up to the stewards, the people in the church to help. Between us in the church we have thousands of hours of Christian experience that we should be able to access for help.
We had the Alpha Course to help and then the Beta Course in this church. I cannot wait until we have the Charlie Course. I think that one will appeal to me somehow. Can you imagine the a large sign up at the station “Be a Charlie – go to a church near you”? That would have the local commuters thinking as they wait for their train.
So back to the Scalextric car on the living room carpet. How can we get it back on the track? Well the stewards can push it back or a huge hand from the sky can come along (the hand of God) and reconnect it to the power – praise God.
But sadly some cars do not make it back onto the track; they get broken and never return to function as designed. As some Christians leave the church and never return. We see it so many times so the best way to deal with this is to be prepared for that first bend. Read the instruction manual, get advice from other Christians (the stewards) and hopefully we will stay connected to the power.
Now there are Christians who have been coming to church for many many years. They are good at going around the Christian racetrack with many laps of experience. But you still have to pray because without prayer you will stop and then you will look pretty stupid, as a Scalextric car will stop on the track without power. The crowd will wonder what’s going on and start shouting.
Also you will have to read the instruction manual but you have to find all the small print to increase your lap times to get better at going round.
God has given us a fast Formula 1 car. It takes some getting used to as there are lots of controls. Please do not be happy driving it as the family saloon as I think I may have been doing for many years. When we start leaning to drive a motor car most people can make it go by putting it in gear and releasing the clutch but it is important to know where the brake is. You have to read the instructions and gain experience and read the highway code.
As we get competent with the basic controls life in the car becomes far more comfortable, like when we learn to operate some great devices like the heater. That’s the same with our Christian life, whilst the Christian message is very simple it makes life a lot easier when we have a greater knowledge of how God works. And looking at the instruction manual for the Christian life I would say there is at least one lifetime’s reading to get through it all and more importantly understand it all.
So I ask you how good is you Christian power supply, are your pick up braids in good condition? Are you getting full power in your life? Are you praying if not you will stop. Are you reading the instruction manual? Are your lap times increasing and are you getting better at handling the curves?