"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2011 - Wow!

Wow!  It's hard to believe that 2010 is almost over!  It's been a great year for TEAM 413 and we are looking forward to a bunch of outstanding events in 2011.

To finish 2010 strong, I am throwing out a TEAM 413 CHALLENGE. We need a lot of folks to make TEAM 413 run efficiently and effectively. We need people to give end-of-the-year financial contributions to our ministry. The goal is to raise $2,500 before January 1. 

This goal should be an easy task considering it will take very little from each of you to get it done!  We ask you to STEP UP and give to help us move forward under God's grace!

If you would like to make a contribution, please go to the following link:

God bless all of you and Happy New Year!

Under HIS Grace...


Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas from Chris and Kiki!

Kiki and I would like to wish all of you a Merry Christmas! Our hearts are full and we feels so blessed to have friends from all over the world. We never imagined the impact that TEAM 413 and the many people who are a part of this wonderful ministry would have on our lives. Thank you for being an important part of us and for making our lives a better place! 

During this Christmas season and always, may God bless your family, hold you close, embrace you with His love and care, and allow you to feel the mercy and grace that only He can give through His Son, Jesus Christ!  

Under HIS Grace...


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Jesus Ran!



TEAM 413

The following is an excerpt from my book,


I believe that Jesus RAN.  God the Father told Jesus that we needed him.  Jesus responded that He was willing to run the race and so He ran!  He ran out the gates of Heaven to the start line on this earth.  He ran the race of human life as He lived with us for more than 30 years.  He ran with all types of people.  He ran with the rich and the poor.  He ran with people of different cultures.  He ran with the sick, injured, and downtrodden.  He ran alongside mankind and experienced the tough challenges of the miles and miles of life.  He felt the pain that we feel.  He saw the things that we see.  He was a part of the human race.

Then the Father said that we needed Christ even more.  So, Jesus ran up Mount Calvary with a cross on His back.  He allowed us to nail Him to the cross and to make fun of Him.  He still loved us even though we turned our backs on Him.  In the end, He looked into all of our eyes and said to us, “If I cannot love you, I cannot love another because YOU are the love of my life!” 

He ran for each of us and then He finished the race on this earth and declared, “IT IS FINISHED!”  He stayed in the grave for three days and then He ran out of the tomb.  He ran back to Heaven and told the Father of the race.  He told Him how He ran the same course that we run.  He became our advocate.  He told His Dad that He understands us now.  I believe that Jesus still runs to the Father each time we do the things that please Him.  I can hear Him ---


Jesus runs for you!  He came running to us through mercy and grace.  He ran from the start to finish so that He could live on common ground with us. 

The results of our earthly marathon will not be posted until the day when Christ runs back for us.  Make it your goal to finish life strong so that your results will be posted and the FATHER and the SON will say, “Well done my good and faithful servant!  You ran the race and finished strong!  Welcome HOME!”

Jesus runs!  Do you?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

It's Christmas Time!

It's hard to believe that it is less than TWO WEEKS until Christmas! We look forward to spending time with family and friends during this season of the celebration of our Savior.  Our next event will be the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend from January 5 - 9, 2011.

We've been getting lots of orders for TEAM 413 shirts to give as Christmas gifts.  As a reminder, if you order by Monday, December 19, we can most likely get your gear to you prior to Christmas!

Here are a few items you might consider:

Women's Shirt as worn by
Jonie Boyd Davis
Chris A. Gillespie
Men's Shirts as worn by
Brett Ciancanelli
Sweatshirts as worn by
Chris & Kiki Gillespie
TEAM 413 shirts as worn by TEAM 413 Ambassadors
Short Sleeve - $37.00 ----- Long Sleeve - $45.00
Please email Kiki at kiki@team413.org for additional information regarding styles and colors of shirts that we currently have in stock or to check on any of our other items.  

Lastly, you may make a contribution to TEAM 413 in the name of a loved one and we'll send them confirmation that you have done so. Many families have started giving the gift of charity at Christmas and we would be honored to be included in this new tradition.  In order to do this, you will need to click below and then send an email to kiki@team413.org with the name and mailing address of the person who you would like for us to send a notification.

May God bless you this Christmas!

Under HIS Grace...


Monday, December 6, 2010

Yearning to Learn - St. Jude Marathon Weekend

Celebrating after the St. Jude Half Marathon with Terry Greer and Ed Pierson

The St. Jude Marathon weekend was great in so many ways for TEAM 413.  This is such an outstanding event because it's all about the kids. The smiling faces of kids who are facing unimaginable health issues in their young lives really grab my heart!  

Mark Eldridge was our "go to" guy this past weekend --- setting up the booth --- taking care of the logistical matters for the event --- and being the official representative for TEAM 413 for two days.  THANK YOU, Mark!  Your contribution to TEAM 413 is immeasurable and I thank God for you each day!  Terry Greer, Faye Powell, and Sharon Pierson also helped at the expo and I am so blessed to serve alongside such wonderful ambassadors!

Although I was only at the expo for a few hours, I was able to visit with quite a few people on Friday afternoon and evening.  

Pat, my friend from Rhode Island, was once again a blessing.  She has been a steadfast supporter for several years and it was great to see her once again.  Pat always thanks me for my words on our website or in GRACERUNNER Journal.  She is a nurse and has read my ramblings for several years as she works the late, late night shift.  It has always meant a lot to me that she has found our words worthy of her time. Thanks, Pat for believing in us and supporting our ministry from far away.  You are awesome.

One remarkable story stood out for me during the expo.  Lisa came by to buy a shirt -- a black shirt with yellow writing.  I asked her about the color and she explained to me that those were the colors of the gym where she had worked out to lose over 100 pounds!  I could tell that she was so very proud of her hard work.  I gave her one of my books and personalized it for her -- tears welled up in her eyes. She had come so far and on this day, I wanted her to know that she could do anything. She is a living testimony of God's amazing grace!

During the race we ran through the St. Jude campus.  I came upon a group of kids yelling and cheering for the runners.  As I ran by, I stopped and thanked them -- I had about a dozen of our TEAM 413 wristbands strapped onto my Spybelt and gave one to each of them. But, I was short one wristband!  The little guy at the end of the line had been left out --- but, then one of the older kids spoke up and said, "Hey, you take mine!"  and then turned to me and said, "Thank you, sir!"  It was not just an act of kindness.  It was an act of self-less kindness!  It touched my heart.

We can learn so much from the people I write about above.  We can learn about facing the challenge ahead of us and attacking it with a great attitude from the kids of St. Jude.  We can learn service and dedication from Mark Eldridge and our TEAM 413 Ambassadors.  We can learn about being supportive of a ministry from Pat.  We can learn about commitment and will-power from Lisa.  And, lastly we can learn about being self-less from the young boy at the St. Jude campus.

These people made me question myself and now I question each of you.  How is your attitude when you approach life challenges?  When was the last time you served?  When was the last time you were supportive?  When was the last time that you had the will-power of Lisa?  When was the last time you gave up something that you wanted in order to give it to someone else?  When was the last time that you were self-less?  

Asking questions and yearning to learn ---

Under HIS Grace...


Sunday, November 28, 2010


I have received several inquires regarding our GRACERUNNER JOURNEY taking place from May 12-21, 2011.  We will have a website up-and-running in early January.  We are currently working on the logistics of such a site.    It will either be a website dedicated to the event or a fundraising page similar to our active.com site that we currently use.  Stay tuned for details.  

As for now -- please know that you may make contributions that will be set aside for GRACERUNNER JOURNEY through our secure PayPal site.  You DO NOT have to "own" a current PayPal account to use this service.

We are asking that you make "per mile" donations, venue donations, etc.  Following is the current donation structure:
  • 5 cents per mile = $20.65
  • 10 cents per mile = $41.30
  • 25 cents per mile = $103.25
  • 50 cents per mile = $206.50
  • $1.00 per mile = $413.00
  • $2.50 per mile = $1,032.50
  • $5.00 per mile = $2,065.00
  • $10.00 per mile = $4,130.00
  • "Venue" Sponsor = $300.00 (8 cities along our journey)
  • GRACERUNNER Partner = $500.00
  • GRACERUNNER Sponsor = $1,000.00
  • Other amounts as you are led to give
The link for donations as of right now is below:

Preview Image

Please click HERE to learn more about GRACERUNNER JOURNEY.

It's going to be an event that will be to God's glory!  Come run with me!

Under HIS Grace...


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Blessings for Thanksgiving

On this Thanksgiving Day and every day -- I am thankful for:

My wife, Kiki, who loves me without condition and who keeps me young at heart.  I never knew that life could be so good and I have never felt so loved!

Two daughters, Morgan and Ashley, who would make any dad proud and have brought so much joy to my life.  And, for Ashley's husband, Donald, who is a son-in-law that I would be proud to call my own son.

Kiki's kids, Gerrit and Hanna, who I love as if they were my own.  They have a bright future ahead and I am so blessed to have them in my life.

My late mom and my dad for instilling Christian intensity into my character – so that I would make the decision to accept Christ as my Savior!

My family – friends – students – peers.

But most of all, I am thankful for Jesus Christ, who is has molded me to be His servant!

God has truly been so good to me.  Sure I've had bad times -- rough times -- tumultuous times in my life.  However, God has blessed me beyond measure!  His mercy, grace, love and care are enough!

Let everything that has breath, praise the LORD!

Under HIS Unmerited Grace...


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Come Run With Me!

My training for GRACERUNNER JOURNEY is well underway.  I have significantly ramped up my weekly mileage over the past couple of months.  I am doing speed work (speed is relative -- you can stop laughing now!), a medium long run, and a tempo run during the week. Then, I am completing a long run on the weekend. Yesterday was my long run day and I knocked out 23.4 miles - it feels great to get things really kicked off!

As many of you know, GRACERUNNER JOURNEY will be a ten day -- eight city event that will take place in May.  On May 12 - 21, I will run (complete) 413 miles.  The finish line of the Fargo Marathon will be the completion of the 413 miles.  Our "tag" line for the event is "One Man, 10 days, 413 miles, 1 goal! To Glorify God!"  This journey will also be used to raise funds for TEAM 413 - GRACERUNNER Ministries, The Dick Beardsley Foundation, Constructores Para Cristo, and The Great Circle Boys and Girls Town of Springfield, Missouri.  Here's a little information about these groups:

The Dick Beardsley Foundation is an organization led by my friend, Dick Beardsley, and his wife, Jill.  The mission of the foundation it to assist those suffering from chemical dependency receive the treatment they need; speak to youth in schools and treatment centers across the world about leading a healthy, active lifestyle chemically free; and to educate the general public on the disease of chemical dependency. Our goal is to help them as they strive to help others.  

Constructores Para Cristo is another organization we have chosen to help along our journey.  Constructores Para Cristo is committed to helping the people of Piedras Negras, Mexico break the cycle of poverty by providing housing, health care, and educational opportunities.  This organization has built homes, medical facilities, and schools in order to accomplish their mission.  It is amazing to see what God has done through this wonderful organization and we are blessed to be a small part of their cause.

Great Circle - Boys and Girls Town of Springfield, Missouri is an organization that holds a very special place in my heart.  I have been able to speak to this group of kids and the staff and was moved in a way that I cannot adequately describe in words.  Our goal is to help them achieve their  mission which is to reshape vulnerable lives through a community of partners, teachers and leaders, giving children and families the confidence to create bright futures.  I look forward to being a part of this group for many years to come.

To accomplish our goal of completing 413 miles in ten days, we need your support.  

First of all, we need your prayers and I'm asking you to commit to praying for GRACERUNNER JOURNEY each day.  Please pray that God will give us the strength, fortitude, and mental toughness to get the job done.  And, please pray that God will be glorified during each step of this challenge.

Secondly, we need your logistical support and we need people to be on-site at each stage of our journey.  We'll be running at venues in Birmingham, Memphis, Springfield, St. Louis, Champaign/Urbana, Chicago, Des Moines, Duluth, and Fargo.  In each city, we'll set up camp at a park where there is a running trail.  We're asking many of you to help my wife, Kiki, who will be our crew chief, to make sure that we have the things we need at each site.  I'm also challenging many of you to come out and run a few miles with me at each stage.  The goal is to run about 45 miles per day for the first eight days, 26.8 miles on day 9, and then finish the event with the 26.2 miles at the Fargo Marathon on  May 21. I'll need help from my brothers and sisters in Christ to finish this drill! So, please come run with me!

Lastly, we need your financial support.  An event like this cannot take place without significant contributions.  Plus, we are raising funds for four worthy causes.  We have a financial goal but I simply do not want to place limitations on God -- so, we are not going to publish the goal. God may have something much more significant in mind and I'll allow Him to work in the hearts of people from all across the world to help us raise the funds that He will bless.  Our contribution website is set up and you can give by going to the following link:


You may also click the "donate" button below and you will be directed to a secure site.  We've got a few months to get it done!  Please help me as I embark on the greatest physical challenge that I've ever attacked in my life!

Preview Image

We'll be sharing lots of stories along the way and it is my intention to write a book about our GRACERUNNER JOURNEY -- we've already started writing and I hope to chronicle the entire event to the glory of God!

Come Run with me!

Under HIS Grace...


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

God Rocked San Antonio!

Throughout the past eight years a lot of expos and running events have raced by ... sometimes the moments run together.  There are times when I just can't remember some of the special moments that we share with the people, places, and things that come our way to shape and mold our heart along our TEAM 413 journey.  But, sometimes those moments are as clear as a crisp, cobalt blue sky fall day!  And so it was at the San Antonio Rock 'n' Roll Marathon weekend.

God has a unique way of grabbing your attention at moments when you least expect it -- two of those times stand out in my mind from this past weekend in San Antonio.  

He waited for a few minutes while I was talking to someone else.  Then, when I was free he approached me and told me that he was compelled to tell me his story.  Joe and I talked for quite some time and I learned that this would be his first half marathon and that he had lost 170 pounds!  I was so moved by his story that I gave him a copy of my book and he also got a TEAM 413 shirt to wear on race day.  

That evening I received an email from Joe. He wrote, "I came home and have read through about 7 chapters (of your book) so far, and look forward to finishing it. I am very excited about being able to wear your shirt not only during Sunday's race, but also in the gym as a ministry tool to spread the incredible change that God has made in my life and He wants to make in theirs. We did not have a lot of time to chat tonight, but one thing I tell people when sharing with them about my weight loss is that it is an exterior sign of the internal change that has taken place in me. God is great, and seeing this formerly 420+ lb.  man cross the finish line will be a testament of his power to change lives."  Wow!  That was a strong testimony!

Then on Sunday evening I received another email from Joe.  "Today was amazing for me, ran a PR for 10 miles, then unfortunately experienced some cramping. Learned a valuable lesson in electrolyte management. But, I wanted to let you know that the shirt was a real blessing to me in more than one way. The first 8 or 9 miles I may have only seen 2 of them (other TEAM 413 runners), but I received a bunch of compliments on it, and it reminded me why I was doing what I was doing. Then in the last couple miles, when I was in pain, I was surrounded by people wearing the TEAM 413 shirts and it really helped me push through to finish even though it was not the pace that I had hoped for due to calf cramping. It was a real honor to wear that shirt, and was just what I wanted while doing this. This is just one more amazing part of my testimony."

Joe is really a testimony of God's amazing grace!  He made a decision to change -- to turn and go the other direction in his life.  Now, he is doing things that he could have never imagined.  What a blessing he will be to people who hear his story!  What a blessing he is to me!  God bless you, Joe!

As the crowd filled the expo on Saturday our booth became very crowded.  We were talking to people from all over the country.  Most of them had heard of TEAM 413 but there were others who stopped by to check us out.  The day was going at a frantic pace and then time stood still as I noticed a lady pick up my book and flip through it.  I asked her if I could help and she told me that she would like to get a copy -- I asked her about signing the book and who I should "personalize" the message to.  She told me that it was for her son and went on to tell me that they had lost their other son and the family was running in his memory.

As we talked, I asked her how the son was doing who I was signing the book for.  She went on to tell me that he was strong and that God was seeing him through the difficult times.  I asked her how she was doing and, through her tears, she told me that she was doing OK.  I signed the book for the son and handed it to the mom.  She started to hand me money for the book but I just couldn't take it .... I told her to tell her son that this one was on me.  She began to cry and her husband and I comforted her -- I promised them that I would pray for them as they ran for Taylor on Sunday.

There is no way that anyone can understand how a mom or dad feels after losing a child unless they've been there before.  I could not imagine it -- But, this lady -- her husband -- and her son were standing strong for their departed loved one.  They were keeping his memory alive through running this race.  They were going to finish this race for him!  I saw God in their eyes!  I saw hope that only God could give -- I saw strength that one can only gain through Christ -- I saw joy in the knowledge that Taylor was sitting at the feet of Jesus in Heaven!  I had no words -- I could not talk for a few minutes -- I was moved to tears and moved deep within my heart because these folks allowed Christ to "show through" in the midst of circumstances that I cannot comprehend.  Only God's grace is sufficient for what this family is going through and I know He will see them through because of their deep faith and unstoppable love!

Before the expo opened on Friday I told someone that despite being placed in a spot in the expo that was less than desirable, that God's word would not be ignored!  God would bring people our way and rock our world just like He does every weekend that we travel with TEAM 413.  Looking back, I was right because I handed it over to God.  People did find us -- folks did share stories of God's amazing grace -- and His word was not ignored!  Living proof was all over the marathon course on Sunday -- God rocked His word all along the streets of San Antonio in celebration of His Son who rolled the rock away and lives in the hearts of many who ran under His grace and finished the race before them! 

Under HIS Grace...


Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Sharon Pierson, Faye Powell, Jackie Greer, Ed Pierson, Chris Gillespie & Terry Greer

This past weekend we had a great time at the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor Fitness Festival in Springfield, Missouri. We hosted our first ever TEAM 413 Weekend as a part of this outstanding weekend.  Several of our TEAM 413 Ambassadors and friends met us for "shirt story" times on Friday and Saturday evening.  The stories of God's goodness and grace grabbed my heart and increased my desire to move TEAM 413 forward more than ever!  It was a special time of celebration!  God bless all of you who attended!

The Bass Pro event is unlike any other that I attend - It is off the hook!  Melissa Bondy does an outstanding job putting on this festival which is truly a community wide event.  Bass Pro Shops brought their invited speakers in a day early so we could visit with people from across the area.  So, we got to town on Thursday afternoon.

 Dick Beardsley, Kiki, and Chris

Frank Shorter, Dick Beardsley, Bill Rodgers, and I were then taken to several locations to speak -- We spoke to the cross country team at Missouri State University along with high school cross country teams from the region -- we spoke to a group of 7th and 8th graders at Immaculate Conception School -- and we spoke at Boys and Girls Town of Springfield.  Then, we all spoke at the pasta dinner on Saturday evening and I led the pre-race worship service on Sunday morning.  I have wonderful memories from all of these opportunities and plan to share many of them with you in upcoming editions of GRACERUNNER JOURNAL.

Bill Rodgers & Frank Shorter with Kiki and Chris

At the TEAM 413 get-together on Saturday afternoon and at the pasta dinner we announced the most significant fundraiser in the history of TEAM 413.  On May 12 - 21, 2011 I will begin GRACERUNNER JOURNEY.  This is a 10 day - 8 city journey.

May 12 - Birmingham, Alabama - Lakeshore Trail
May 13 - Nashville, Tennessee - Greenbelt
May 14 - St. Louis, Missouri - Forest Park
May 15 - Champaign/Urbana, Illinois - TBA
May 16 - Chicago, Illinois - Lake Michigan Trail
May 17 - Des Moines, Iowa - Gray's Lake Park
May 18 - Duluth, Minnesota - Lake Superior Trail
May 19 - 21 - Fargo, North Dakota - TBA

Start of the Bass Pro Shops Half Marathon with Faye Powell

On this journey I will be running 413 miles over the 10 days.  The finish line of the Fargo Marathon will mark the end of 413 miles!  We are planning and working hard to make this a successful event.  My training has started with Jeff Galloway writing a personal training program to help me finish the drill.  We'll also be speaking in each city --- details will be posted soon.  Our goal is for folks from the community to come out to the venues and run along with me for several miles and to visit with other members of the TEAM 413 family.

We'll be raising funds for TEAM 413 - GRACERUNNER Minsitries, The Dick Beardsley Foundation, Constructores Para Cristo, and Boys and Girls Town of Springfield, Missouri.  I'll be sharing profiles of each of these organizations in the days ahead.  In addition, we'll have a fundraising page up and running soon and we'll post details on how you can be a part of this journey!

The evening before I finish the 413 mile trek, I'll be speaking at the pasta dinner at the Fargo Marathon.  I invite anyone who can be at this world class event to be there to celebrate with us at the finish line on May 21.  We'll be having a TEAM 413 - GRACERUNNER JOURNEY CELEBRATION after the race.  Details on this event will follow in the weeks ahead.

As for now -- I have to get to training!

God bless all of you for your service to HIM!

Under HIS Grace...


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

OORAH! 35th Marine Corps Marathon

I've been a part of many athletic events in my life.  I've run many races during my time with TEAM 413.  I've done a lot of cool things in my life!  However, when it comes to memorable times -- a bucket list item -- thrills that will remain in my heart and mind forever --- well, the 35th running of the Marine Corps Marathon was OUTSTANDING!

Everything about the Marine Corps Marathon is top-tier.  The expo gave TEAM 413 an opportunity to get in front of so many people.  The isles were packed and we talked to countless people.  The marathon was one of the highlights of my running life.  We ran by so many of the things that I've heard about my entire life.  I've run this race before but this was different.  This was my first time to really soak it all in....to take time to enjoy the ride!

To run by the monuments of the United States of America, to see the pride in the eyes of Marines, to hear and feel "God, family, country!" created overload in my heart.  My race was tough and I had to walk a lot but it didn't take away the beauty of this event.  As I ran to the finish, I looked up and saw the Marine War Memorial -- the tears ran down my face -- pride in our country filled my heart -- and I thanked God that I could run in a race like this and share my faith along the way without apology -- with the words "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!" on my back.  

We complain about so many things being wrong in the United States.  We want more and think others deserve less.  We feel as though we are entitled to our piece of the pie.  If you want to get over YOURSELF, look into the eyes of a service man or woman who has pride in protecting your freedom!  It will change your heart, mind, and soul!  

OORAH! to all of the Marines along our path on this day....THANK YOU for your service!



Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Flying Through Life!

Airports and air travel have always amazed me.  I find it so intriguing to watch people.  Some are in a hurry -- some are in a tizzy -- some have no clue what to do or where to go -- some act surprised when they suddenly have to get on a plane or show someone an ID.  It's funny how unprepared some people are and then how over-prepared others are!  I find it amusing to watch all aspects of what happens on the inside and outside of these "meccas" of flight.  From the time you get to the building until the time you walk out of your destination airport, it is always an adventure.

We hardly ever pay attention to the miracles that go on around us in and around an airport.  We don't stop to notice things like the soldier coming home meeting his family at the airport.  We don't marvel at the miracle of thousands of pounds of metal lifting us off the ground and propelling us to another city somewhat akin to a time machine!  We don't feel the sense of wonderment that you see in the eyes of a child when they get to look into the cockpit with the pilot or are handed a "wing badge."  We miss it because we are in such a hurry and we are consumed with our own wants, wishes, and desires!

We could paint an analogy of life with the things that happen in a airport.  We don't care about others enough to slow down just for a moment to ask, "How are you today?"  We don't stop and "smell the flowers" of the grand time machine that God has given us --- LIFE!  We grow up and lose the faith, simpleness, and hope that only a child can exhibit.  We simply go about life with a badge of entitlement pinned to our heart and mind.  We want "what we want" and we want it NOW!  Everything is too slow -- nothing can keep up with our demands -- if it's yesterday's news, it's not worth anything to us!

I don't believe God wants us to live our lives that way.  I believe that He wants us to savor every moment.  I think God's desire is for our life to be filled with excitement, challenge, hope, and love.  I cannot imagine that God would want us to live our lives as if we "lived" in an airport!  So, slow down and be a kid today -- embrace the fullness of God's love around you -- look for hope in the miracles that happen in front of you each and every single day of your life.

Seat backs and tray tables up!  Fasten your seat belt!  Expect the ride of your life each day -- God wouldn't have it any other way!

Under HIS Grace...


Monday, October 25, 2010

Happy Birthday, KIKI!

Happy Birthday to my wife, best friend, and the love of my life!

An Angel Who Rescued My Heart
From GRACERUNNER - FAITH ON THE RUN - Published January 2010

Just a few short years ago, I had pretty much given up. Even though I knew that God would take care of me, I just couldn't come to grips with what was going on in my life. In my mind, I had lost everything. I had been through a divorce that was devastating. I was suffering with health problems that seemed to worsen by the day. I didn't know how I was going to make it through each day.

Because of my faith, I turned it over to God and asked Him to show me what to do. Then along came Kiki, who is now my wife. She was, without a doubt, an angel sent from God to rescue my heart. Without question, she is one of the primary reasons for the success of TEAM 413.

Kiki is an absolutely amazing person. She is so very sympathetic to other people's feelings. She is empathetic as she tries to understand what others are going through in their personal lives. She is compassionate by doing things for people who will never know she helped. She is the most beautiful person that I've ever known, both inside and out.

I can best describe Kiki as being full of energy, extremely positive, and extraordinarily dedicated. Her energy is contagious. She does everything in her life with a zeal that is a model for all of us. She is upbeat even in tough situations. She keeps her head up, tries to make other people smile, and encourages them with her words in more ways than I can explain.

She is loyal to her family, her friends, her employer, and associates. She simply gets things done and finishes any task that has been entrusted to her. She is a gift and a blessing to many people. She is wonderful!

Everyone who meets Kiki remembers her. At first, I thought it was because of her name. But, it's not. It's because of her smile, her cute squeaky voice, and the way she approaches people. They remember her because her goal is to make someone smile, to make someone laugh, to brighten someone's day, to cheer someone up, to lend a helping hand, to help someone in a time of need, to deliver on a promise.

Kiki is special for so many reasons. She is a wonderful wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. She has a contagious personality that instantly wins you over. She is intelligent, but still sees the world though the eyes of a child. She is in wonderment of God's creation in nature, in people, in life.

Kiki is one of the most talented people that I've ever known. She can do just about anything. She is a gifted athlete. She is a great worker. She can figure out stuff that makes me scratch my head! I love to sit back and tell her that she "can't do something" -- she'll prove me wrong every time because it motivates her. She can do and be anything!

My wife is the most genuine, wonderful person I've ever met. Hold on, did I write that already? Well, she is!!! I am a very lucky man to have her by my side in good and bad times. I am blessed to be graced with her presence each day. I am a better person because God sent her to make my life whole again.

Thank you, Kiki, for loving me, caring for me, and never doubting me! You are an angel!

Under HIS Grace...


Friday, October 22, 2010


Jeff Galloway

I am happy to announce that Jeff Galloway will become the official training program provider of TEAM 413.  Jeff commented, "I am honored to be the official training program provider for Team 413. Following the instructions in the program has reduced injury rate to almost zero -- while increasing the fun."  Jeff, a US Olympian and author of GALLOWAY TRAINING PROGRAMS is a pioneer in marathon training and we are thrilled to work with him. 

Jeff has helped me in immeasurable ways through my years of running.  I cannot think of a better person to help us achieve our running goals than Jeff Galloway!  Pleas check out Jeff's website and training programs at www.runinjuryfree.com

Stay tuned for additional details.

Under God's Grace...


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

God Uses the Simple to do the Extraordinary!

"In the midst of the thunderstorms of life, people seek shelter in the hope that only Christ can give.  As Christians, we must be there for these people to offer support, love, and a caring heart.  We have to allow our faith to show through so others will see Christ in us!"

This past weekend at the IMT Des Moines (Iowa)  Marathon I had the privilege of speaking at the expo speakers series.  On Saturday afternoon a young lady took her seat as I was about to step up to the microphone to begin my presentation.  As I began to share my personal story and the story of the founding of TEAM 413, tears ran down her face.  The more I talked about how Christ had been glorified by a simple verse on a simple running shirt all over the world, she began to cry.  She eventually composed herself, but she remained somewhat emotional during the entire talk.  I was able to speak with her afterwards and learned that she had lost her mom not too long ago and was having a tough time.  She was going through a "thunderstorm moment" in her life.  She told me that the words of encouragement really helped her.  I was moved beyond measure because God had allowed me to help someone in a way that I could not have imagined.

Frank Shorter, me, Jeff Galloway, and Dick Beardsley at 2009 Bass Pro Shops Marathon

Later that evening I had the honor to introduce the keynote speaker, Jeff Galloway, at the pasta dinner.  Jeff and I have been friends for quite some time, but he didn't know the depth of his influence in my life...of how his run-walk-run method had gotten me through virtually every race that I've ever finished.  He had never heard my entire story and this was my opportunity to say thanks to him and to introduce my friend, my coach, and the father of the run-walk-run method of training to this audience.  When Jeff took the stage he thanked me for the kind introduction and then told the audience that TEAM 413 was making an impact on people all over the world, that we were helping to change people's lives.  Once again, I was in awe of God's power -- of how he could use a simple messenger to help spread His good news and now we are accepted by the worldwide running community.

After the pasta dinner, I had the privilege to meet, Stacy Sparks, a cancer survivor who had shared her story at the expo.  She introduced herself and we chatted for a bit.  She went on to tell me how TEAM 413 folks had helped her get through some races and that she had never stopped by our booth at an expo but was glad the she could meet me one-on-one so that we could share our stories.  Once again, I was inspired by someone who God used to lift my heart -- to know that we truly are making a difference.

Finally, on race day, I felt great.  I eventually would complete the Des Moines Half Marathon in my fastest time in several years.  My time still wasn't great but it was several minutes faster than I've run in a very long time!  I was pumped because even though it's not really about the time any longer, I had become somewhat discouraged that I couldn't seem to get over the hump.  But on this day, I was able to achieve a little more than I thought I could.  God shined down on me on this cobalt blue sky day in Des Moines and I will never forget the people who I met along that journey through the streets of the city.

There is much work to be done and we need your help.  Look for some major announcements coming during the next few weeks.  TEAM 413 is coming to a city near you soon.....

Under HIS Grace...


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

It's not about me -- It's about Him!"

On Tuesday, October 12,  I posted the following quote as my status update:

"I don't run as fast as I once did.  I used to care about where I finished a race in my age-group.  That stuff is not important anymore.  God planted different reasons in my heart.  Now, I run to celebrate God's miracle of grace in my life - that I can run against all odds - so Christ will be lifted up through each step I take - so others may see Christ in me.  Quite simply, it's not about me -- It's about Him!" 

Frankly, I was astounded by the comments, emails, phone calls, and other feedback I got from this simple quote.  Some of the comments were:

"Since I have only recently started back running, it is by His grace that I can take the next step, deepening the understanding that His grace is providing each step, not just when running but each and every step throughout the entire day."

"I so agree with this and love it! Just got home from The Chicago Marathon! It was so hot 88 degrees. We have always known our camaraderie was most important, but during this race, it was ever so evident. God's grace was upon us and we were able to extend it to others. We finished hold hand and smiling."

"Your post says it all for me as well, after a knee scope that left me bone on bone and in need of a knee replacement, it is no longer about the time. It's about the fact that with God all things are possible and I can do all through Him, we just have to keep going so others will see this!"

"Beautifully written Chris! I ran behind two ladies that were wearing, 'I can do things through Christ who strengthens me' shirts at the Portland marathon...brought a smile to my face and heart."

"You said exactly how I feel!"

"I had never thought about running with that perspective....thank you for that. It takes a lot to change an attitude. Your post just did."

The thing about this status update that is so amazing is that I had a couple of days off as we were on fall break at Samford University, where I teach.  I was on my way out the door for a run when I realized that I had not posted my daily status update.  I sat down at my computer and went totally blank!  I had no idea what to write!  I said a simple prayer, "God, give me words to touch someone today."  Those words were what He delivered. 

As soon as I finished typing and posting the words, a "like" came up on the screen, then another, then more, then comments!  My run was delayed for a few minutes while I responded.  I sat on the sofa as I thought about how God had entrusted me with something that belonged to Him.  It as a very emotional time -- Possibly one of the most "in tune with God" times that I've ever had. 

I eventually walked out the door and my planned 2 hour run turned into 3 hours.  My brain was in overdrive and my heart was full of emotion.  I thought about all the things that I've been able to do while we've been involved in this thing we call TEAM 413.  God gave me thoughts for the future -- a plan for some things that you'll hear about soon -- a clearness of focus that I've longed for.

God's simple words became a sermon to me!  It's now a challenge for me to live up to what God expects of me.  It has challenged me to do somethings that will be, to say the least, "outside the box."  

Hang on folks!  The best is yet to come.  God is at work in the lives of people all over the world because of His ministry -- TEAM 413.  We'll be coming to a town near you soon!  Want to be involved?  We can use you as we continue to celebrate God's goodness and ensure that He is glorified in ALL we do!

Under HIS Grace...


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Less is More!

Very few things in my life have been as frustrating as "trying" to raise funds for our non-profit ministry, TEAM 413 - GRACERUNNER Ministries. It's time consuming, tedious, gut wrenching, and yet, still a blessing! Even though very few people actually participate and give to the ministry, those who do are such amazing people and I am a better person because of their impact on my life. 

I've found that those with the most, give the least and those with the least, give the most. It's truly an extraordinary thing! The wonderful folks who can least afford it give each month. Every time we need people to step up, they are the ones who give. They never judge us for asking for funds to continue this wonderful ministry, they just participate in our events and tell us that they are praying for us! 

God has used those amazing people to touch my life in immeasurable ways. He has taught me many lessons through their steadfast support. God has blessed the dollars that they have given through the years. He has multiplied the gifts to expand His Kingdom!

When I've asked and asked and asked again --- and the dollars don't come in as timely as I think they should, God shows up through one of these folks and blesses my heart.

To those of you who give, thank you so much for having hearts of servant-hood and for believing in our efforts!

Under HIS Grace...