What we allow affects our minds; the more we filter what comes in, the easier it is to live out in truth.
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Michael McDowell is the driver of the K-LOVE NASCAR #95 in the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Gearing up for the 2014 season, McDowell is in a different place than he was when he first start racing the K-LOVE car back in 2012. “I’ve learned to let go of it all, and let God be in control,” he said. “I know this is where God wants me to be.”
Coming off a great year in 2013 - finishing second at the Nationwide Children's Hospital 200 in Lexington, Ohio, while racing the #18 K-LOVE Toyota - Michael is finding joy off the track as well with his wife, two kids, and a baby on the way. The McDowells are planning to add to the brood even more and are in the process of adopting a child from Honduras, “My wife and I felt God calling us to adopt, and we had a thought that we should adopt from South America where so many children are in poverty and don’t even have clean water.”
Raising his kids in a home where listening to Christian music is a normal occurrence, partnering with K-LOVE is an opportunity that Michael is grateful for. “We know the impact that K-LOVE has made on our own lives as a family, so to get to represent the network is a huge blessing,” he said. “It’s important to me to work with people who are likeminded.”
Racing with the logo has also provided Michael with a unique way to connect with NASCAR fans. “K-LOVE has helped me bridge the gap between fans. When a fan says to me ‘I listen to K-LOVE’ in my mind they are letting me know, ‘Hey, I’m a Christian, too.’ So, you have an automatic bond and connection with the fans that I wouldn’t have otherwise.”
Michael began racing with NASCAR in 2007 and he has only gone up from there. Since he first started in this industry, he’s made a conscious effort to be a light as well as an example. “We have about 10 ministry outreach programs that we do throughout the season as well as Bible studies for both the drivers and the wives of the drivers,” he explains. “We had a bible study that started with 4 drivers and is now up to 20! It’s been great to watch this community grow.”
Growing up in a non-Christian home, Michael never spent much time in church, “I never went to church for anything other than weddings and funerals,” he said. “There was not even a Bible in my house. I always felt God’s presence but I never knew what it meant.” After the death of his influential friend Ron Huber, Michael began to think about life after this world. After being invited to church with his wife’s Aunt and Uncle, Michael accepted Christ as his savior. “I really saw God’s spirit working through people, who lived out their Christianity,” Michael said. “God revealed himself through those people.”
After Michael became a Christian, parts of his old life began to slowly fade away, “Early in my walk, there were a lot of things that I didn’t what to give up,” he said. Michael remembers one day listening to Eminem and for the first time really hearing the lyrics, “I remember this thought going through my head saying ‘this isn't who I am this isn't what I support,’” he recalled. “I took the cd and threw is out the window, and from that day forward, I started listening to Christian music.”
These days Michael cant get enough of Christian music, and realizes that experience was part of God challenging him in his walk, “The music was just one of those layers that God removed from me,” he says. “What we allow in effect our minds, the more we filter what comes in, the more it’s easier it is to live out in truth.”