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

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


How do you answer the question, "Why?" How do you answer the question, "Why do bad things happen to good people?" How do you answer the question, "Why would God allow this to happen?" The answer is simply that we can't answer these questions...only God can.
I believe that it's perfectly fine to ask God, "Why?" I don't think that He minds at all. However, I do not believe that it is ever appropriate to question the sovereignty of God. He is in control and we may not know the reasons that He allows things to happen until we get to Heaven. But, I know for sure that HE knows what HE is doing and that there is a reason for everything.
He cares about us and how we feel about things. He knows the number of hairs on our head, the make-up of our DNA, the exact genetic code without using a computer! He knows our thoughts, our concerns, our desires, what will happen next! He knows everything!
God works in ways that we cannot understand because we are human and He is GOD. We can't think at that level. It's not possible. We can't see the total landscape of humanity -- the big picture of life -- the real world under our feet. But, He can! We don't know what's going on all over the world every second of the day, at each sunrise, and at every sunset. But, He does!
It's OK to ask, "Why?" However, the reality is that we most likely are not capable of understanding the answers. We simply can't and we must accept it -- that's the hard part!
Pray without ceasing, study the word, trust God's timing, and accept His will!
Under HIS Grace...

Monday, January 25, 2010

MIAMI - 2010

This coming weekend we will be at the ING Miami Marathon. We'll have a booth at the expo on Friday and Saturday. In addition, I will be speaking at 2:00 on Friday and 5:00 on Saturday at the Expo Seminar. Other speakers include GP Pearlburg, Lisa Dorfman, and Ryan Hall.
One of my best friends, Tish Stropes, will be helping us at the expo. Tish has been with us from the very start of TEAM 413 back in 2003. She has never wavered in her support of the ministry and is always a delight to work with. She has been a wonderful friend and even after not seeing her for a long while, we can always pick right back up where we left off. I look forward to seeing my dear friend.
Lesley Toops will also be helping this weekend. She is one of our ambassadors from the Dallas, Texas area. The good ole boy way to describe Lesley is that she is a HOOT. I laugh out loud at her Facebook status postings sometimes. Still, she has the heart of a servant and moved her flights around to be with us in Miami. It will be her first opportunity to work with us at an expo.
It is our plan to allow many of our ambassadors to work expos with us in 2010. It truly is a life changing experience to see things from the inside of the booth. I will never be able to see things from the "front" of the booth like all of our ambassadors have been able to do. I've always been on the inside. But, I can offer them the opportunity to experience the ministry from the inside out.
This opportunity allows one to hear stories of God's grace from a completely different perspective. It allows one to share their experiences with someone who doesn't know about TEAM 413. It allows the ambassador to share their faith in ways that they cannot comprehend. I look forward to sharing this behind the scenes opportunity with many of our ambassadors in 2010.
If you are interested in being a part of TEAM 413, please contact me at:
We'll see how we can plug you in to make a difference in another person's life.
Under HIS Grace...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

It's a Long Way from THERE to HERE!

On my Facebook status today, I posted the following:
"Live today! So many of us wish our lives away by declaring that we want another day to come soon. Live today! God has blessed you with this day to do with it as YOU will. Once you spend that time, you can't get it back. Don't spend today on wishing for the future. Live the moment and cherish the time that God has given you!"
My quote of the day on my status update sort of sums up my inspiration for this edition of GRACERUNNER JOURNAL.
The picture at the top of this entry is of the booth at one of our first expos as a ministry. We were at the 2003 Azalea Trail Run in Mobile, Alabama. It was a successful show for us but, as you can see, we had very little information and just a few cotton t-shirts. It was the beginning and we had no idea where we would be seven years later. Honestly, we had NO idea what we were doing!
As we move forward to 2010, we have come so far. Yet, we still have so much further to travel as we strive to reach the level where God wants us to be. We believe that our ministry will continue to be a very visible and viable entity in the worldwide running community. And, we believe that God will continue to give people a way to share their faith in words and actions as they run with, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" on their back!
The second picture above is our booth at the 2009 Country Music Expo in Nashville, Tennessee. Our Chief Administrative Officer, Mark Eldridge, and core team member, Donnie Maner, are there to share the ministry with thousands of people who walk by the display.
Looking at these two pictures gives you a "snapshot" of how far we have come as a ministry. It's an amazing miracle of God's grace! What a gift!
I'd like to thank all of you for helping us grow and encourage you to continue to support this very important ministry. Team 413 - GRACERUNNER MINISTRIES is recognized by people from all over the world. More than 25,000 people run under the name of TEAM 413. Looking back at the picture from 2003, it might have been 100 people! God has moved us forward in HIS timing. We look forward to the things God will do in our ministry today and in the future.
Grow with us!
Under HIS Grace...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Hear My Heart!

I really struggled about writing the words that follow. The timing didn’t seem to be right with what is going on all over the world. The environment just didn’t seem to be appropriate to put these words in print. But, after much prayer, a somewhat sleepless night, and God’s guidance, I decided to write this edition of GRACERUNNER JOURNAL. Please “hear” my heart through the words that God has given me. Over the past few years we have done our best to raise funds for TEAM 413 - GRACERUNNER Ministries. We have done everything that we know to do. We have asked for help. We have met with countless people and organizations seeking ways to grow a ministry that is an amazing gift straight from the heart of God. It truly is a gift of His matchless grace. Fundraising has been a hit and miss type of thing. There have been so many people who have given in order to keep us going. Yet, we have been told, "No!" by many significant companies, organizations and individuals. Usually, we are told that because our organization is "faith based," they just can't help us. We have been told that help is on the way and never hear from people again. It has really been awe inspiring at times and extraordinarily disappointing at other times. It’s a burden that I carry with me each hour of every single day. More than 25,000 people wear the TEAM 413 gear all over the world. We appreciate their efforts in spreading the gospel in all they do and say. However, we cannot survive by just selling shirts and other TEAM 413 attire. Although these are fundraising tools, the shirts are primarily our ministry tool. The shirts grow the ministry, but more importantly, they open the door for people to share their faith with another. That’s the beauty of the TEAM 413 ministry – It’s simple and non-threatening. To put things in perspective, if 1,000 people gave $25.00 per month to TEAM 413, we would be self-sufficient. We would not need a fundraising campaign, unless we were raising money for a very specific purpose. So, our plea is quite simple -- Invest in your ministry. If TEAM 413 has touched your heart, helped you through a difficult time, or you believe in what we are doing to advance the Kingdom of Jesus Christ -- please consider an ongoing gift of at least $25.00 per month. It's not a stretch to believe that we can get this done quickly. Our Active Giving fundraising site link is: www.active.com/donate/team413
Please prayerfully consider helping us continue at the pace God has set for us! Under HIS Grace... Chris

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Today on my Facebook status I posted the following:
Fill in the blank - "My faith in Christ is strong because _________!"
There were numerous responses. I came upon a song that best describes my response...
Here are the lyrics to Selah's "You Deliver Me" --
Deep as the ocean, bright as rain - This powerful emotion lifts me up above the planes. It's taken me to places I never thought I'd go. Showing me a grace I never thought I'd know.

When I feel like I can't go on, You deliver me. When the road is winding and way too long, You deliver me. You deliver me. I feel like a sinner, my sins have been washed clean. I'm absolutely given this heart has never seen. I must be forgiven sometimes asking why, I was chosen to be given you in this life. When i feel like I can't go on, You deliver me. When the road is winding and way too long, You deliver me. You deliver me. When there's a distance Between what I am and who I want to be, You deliver me. When i feel like I can't go on, You deliver me. When the road is winding and way too long, You deliver me. You deliver me. When I feel like I can't go on, You deliver me. When the road is winding and way too long, You deliver me. You deliver me.

My faith is strong because --- HE DELIVERED ME!

Under HIS Grace...


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Trust God and Love People

"When others put you down because of your faith, it's difficult to take. Sometimes we just don't know how to handle those circumstances. All I know to do is trust God and love people regardless of how they treat you. That's what Jesus did -- the ultimate example to follow!" Yesterday, my faith was challenged by a fellow believer. He didn't question my salvation or my trust in God. He questioned the way that I handled a situation. It wouldn't have bothered me so much had it not been such a trivial issue. Still, it hurt me because this man should know my heart by now. When I confronted him about him "questioning" my actions, he backed down and said that he really didn't mean it in a bad way. Yet, the damage was already done. He should have thought before he reacted. We go through life and many obstacles are thrown in our path. The devil will even use fellow Christians to throw negativity our way. He will never stop his efforts to "kill" our witness. Spiritual warfare is real and we have to be alert and ready to fight off the enemy. Through the years, I've written the phrase "never allow your circumstances to dictate your character" so many times. It's a common thread of my writing especially in my book, GRACERUNNER - FAITH ON THE RUN. We simply cannot allow an earthly circumstances to change our character. We have to be alert to these things and allow our faith to show through in the midst of the crisis of the moment. We have to STAND firm in our convictions and allow Christ to work through us. I'm certain that my friend never intended to hurt me, but it put me on guard for the warfare ahead. When you are doing God's work and are aligned with His will, the devil will use everyone and everything to tear you down. Deny him and lift Christ up! STAND against the adversary and God will give you the desires of your heart. Under HIS Grace... Chris

Monday, January 18, 2010

Along the Road

My dear friend Patrick Materna, sent me the picture above in a recent email. It was taken while he and his wife were horseback riding in Hawaii. He has on his TEAM 413 shirt with, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" on the back. What an unbelievable picture of God's word and handiwork in the still of one snapshot moment! Patrick is THE STICK guy at www.thestick.com. I met Patrick about 7 years ago as we were just getting started with our TEAM 413 ministry. He is truly a great guy with a heart of gold. Many of you know him from being involved in running. You've probably met him at expos all over the world. You have seen him rolling out sore muscles, teaching people how to tend to their IT Band issues, and tending to those who have a pain here or there. If you've met him, you will never forget him because of his smile, his wit, and his wisdom. He has become a great friend and more importantly, he is my brother in Christ. In the email that he sent along with the picture, Patrick relayed this message, "We share the same values and the belief in HIM. Thank you for spreading the wonderful message and for staying the course, despite all the challenges! It is a pleasure being part of your team and to do my part in it, and live it out daily, as best as I can!" I have met many wonderful people in my life, but I'm not sure there are many finer that Patrick. He is the real deal. He has supported TEAM 413 when other wouldn't. He has checked on me during trying times when others didn't. He has been steadfast in his friendship and his faith. For this kind and gracious man, we are thankful. If you get a chance, stop by THE STICK booth at your next race expo and ask for Patrick. He will make your day! Under HIS Grace... Chris

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Your Stories

For a little longer than seven years I’ve been writing articles called GRACERUNNER JOURNAL. The stories are about how God shows up at the events that TEAM 413 attends or moments that God shows His grace in one way or another. I’ve written about many of the people we have met, lessons that I’ve learned, troubles in life, celebration moments, and so much more. We have been blessed to hear from thousands of people who email us, send us a letter, or call us about an article that has touched their heart. Writing GRACERUNNER JOURNAL has been a life changing experience for me. Recently, I completed my first book, GRACERUNNER - FAITH ON THE RUN. Our idea behind the first book was to expound on many of the stories that we’ve already written on our website, add new stories of inspiration, and include chapters on a lot of “stuff” from our TEAM 413 journeys. We are already in the planning stages of a second book. Here’s where all of you come in! If you’ve had a GRACERUNNER moment ---- if you have a TEAM 413 shirt story ---- if you have an inspirational story to tell ---- AND you are willing to share it with us, we need to hear from you. By June 2010, we would like to have hundreds of stories to choose from. So, please share them with us. The ministry of TEAM 413, which includes many of you, has changed the lives of countless people. Hundreds of thousands of people have been inspired by a simple message on our shirts, by seeing us at an expo event, or by attending a pre-race devotion at a marathon. Regardless of where you were inspired, please tell us about it! We want YOU to be a part of this adventure that is so much bigger than all of us. Email your stories to us at chris@team413.org. Entitle your email “GRACERUNNER” in the subject line of your email. God bless you in advance for sending your stories! Under HIS Grace... Chris

Thursday, January 14, 2010


My first book, GRACERUNNER - FAITH ON THE RUN, came off the press last week. We sold the book for the first time at the Walt Disney World Marathon Expo in Orlando. We were pleased with the number of books that we signed and sold at our first ever book signing. The feedback on the book has been good and we believe that this book will turn out to be a major fundraiser for TEAM 413 - GRACERUNNER Ministries. The book is filled with stories of God's grace. I did my best to capture stories of the people, places, and things we have come in contact with during our seven year journey with TEAM 413. Some of the stories will make you laugh, some will make you cry, and some will make you turn your head like a Golden Retriever! God gave me the words of this book as He captured my heart with His goodness. The writing of this book was a labor of love for all of the people who have invested in the lives of others by sharing their faith during their "running" journeys through life. The cover of the book was designed by my oldest daughter, Morgan. The foreword was written by Dick Beardsley, a legend in the running community. I have dedicated the book to those who have truly made a difference in my life by giving of themselves in order to help me grow. I am very pleased with the final product. Although, I'm certain it is not perfect, I can assure you that it will touch your heart and make you think about what is important in your life. If you would like to help TEAM 413's fundraising efforts, please consider purchasing the book, reading it, and then passing it on to a friend. Writing it changed my life --- I hope that reading it will change yours. To purchase a signed copy of GRACERUNNER - FAITH ON THE RUN, email me at chris@team413.org. We'll respond with instructions for payment and then send you a copy pronto! Under HIS Grace... Chris

Comfort Zone

My wife, Kiki, and I couldn't ask for a better dog than our new little man, Willie. He is a character in every sense that you can imagine. He is funny, playful, loving, thinks he is bigger than he really is, and all that other mushy stuff! He's a mess! Willie loves to cuddle up with us on the couch, in the bed, in the car, on the floor --- you get the picture. He loves the "comfort zone!" In the picture to the right, Willie found Kiki's jacket on the sofa at Homewood Cycles, the bike shop where she works in Homewood, Alabama. He Jumped up on the sofa seat, apparently crawled up to the top of the sofa, laid down on the "comfort zone" of her jacket, and went to sleep. Kiki captured his picture just as he woke up from his power nap. That jacket was familiar to him and he wanted to make sure that he found a place to be safe in the hustle and bustle of the moments at the shop, where he serves as the co-shop dawg! Willie is a smart little guy -- He found his comfort zone! Is that what you are looking for in life? Are you looking for the comfort zone of the moment only to find that it is in some precarious spot that is hard to reach? Do you find hope in the comfort zone? Do you find peace in the comfort zone? If you are honest with yourself, what is your comfort zone? To me, the only comfort zone that really matters is to allow God to change you through accepting His son, Jesus Christ, as your savior. That's a comfort zone that no one can take away from you. It's even easy to get to --- all you have to do is pray and ask Christ to forgive you for your sins and come into your heart. It's a simple faith action with an instantaneous response. Need to know more? Call on someone who knows Christ and ask them to share with you. They will share their story with you and how you can receive Him and achieve an eternal comfort zone. Under HIS Grace... Chris

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Open the Door of Your Heart

"In those moments when you feel so alone, God has not left you. You may not feel his presence because you won't allow Him to be a part of everything you do. He is always there! You just have to open the door of your heart." There are times in life when we feel so alone. Yet, God has never left us. He simply allows us to make the decision to seek Him. He even says so in the Bible --- "I stand at the door and knock." He just wants us to open the door of our heart and let Him in to abide in us! When we do this in an act of faith, He will change us forever. In the darkness of a tough moment, in the solitude of an hour of pain, in the deep valley of despair over the circumstances in our life -- He will be there! You do not have to go through it alone. To those who read these words and are hurting because of your circumstances, your relationships, your trials, your troubles -- open the door of your heart and allow Him to take over the drudgery of the moment so that He can work a miracle in your life. He will never leave you. He will never forsake you. He will be there with you no matter what comes your way. Allow Him to take control and your life will never be the same again. Blessings to you on this day! Under HIS Grace... Chris

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Standing on the Rock!

Sara is a wonderful friend of TEAM 413. She has been a supporter of our ministry for quite some time. Yet, it was this past weekend while in Orlando, Florida for the Walt Disney World Marathon that I saw the reality of her heart. I was at about the 25 mile marker of the marathon near the Beach Club at the WDW Resort. I heard someone yell my name and I looked to my right. There was Sara, out in the cold, encouraging me with her words, "Chris Gillespie, you got this!" I needed those words at that very moment and Sara was there to be God's messenger. As I approached her, I thanked her for being out there for all of us and gave her a hug before I went on my way to finish the race. Sara had been on the marathon course for hours in the cold! She had been out there encouraging TEAM 413 runners as they passed by her. She was giving of herself for all the others on the course. Yet, we should be the ones who should be reaching out to encourage her. We should be the ones to tell her to fight on -- to trust God's provision. You see, Sara has been diagnosed with cancer but she doesn't feel sorry for herself. She is up for the fight. She will continue to trust God through this trial. Even in the midst of significant circumstances, her character has remained solid as she is standing on the Rock. She has put all of her trust in God and is willing to take on anything that comes her way. Please pray for Sara. She is a wonderful person with a challenging road ahead. I can assure you that she prays for you each day -- return the gesture! Lift her up and help her stand! Under HIS Grace... Chris

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Goofy Experience - A Look Back!

I've done some very difficult things during our years with the TEAM 413 ministry. I ran a trail run in Richmond, Virginia that I've written about before that was "off the hook!" Back in the fall of 2003, I ran 5 marathons over the course of 6 weekends. And, I'm sure there are some other things that should be included in that list. However, the 2010 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend "Goofy Challenge" -- as a whole -- may have been the most difficult thing that I've ever done physically. Kiki and I arrived in Orlando at about 7:00 PM last Wednesday. We got settled in at our hotel and then got up on Thursday morning to work the WDW Expo. Our set-up for the expo booth went well and then the show opened at 11:30 AM and went until 8:00 PM. On Friday, we worked the booth from about 8:00 - 8:00. Not much rest was in sight for me to get ready for the first adventure of the Goofy Challenge on Saturday morning. The alarm sounded at 3:00 AM! I'm not sure the alarm knew what to do --- 3:00 AM! If the clock could have spoken, it would have asked me, "Did you crazy folks mean to set me for a different time?" Nevertheless, we got up -- got dressed -- caught a Disney bus -- walked to the start area -- ate a little light breakfast -- and then we started the half marathon. Oh, and although we were in sunny Florida, it was in the low 30's with a windchill in the 20's. Oh, and it was sleeting which eventually turned into freezing rain and then to just cold rain! Those things don't really go together during a race -- windy, cold, wet! I finally just ran through a puddle of water like a little kid just to get it over with! I'd been dodging them too long. But, the half went pretty well -- just as planned -- run slow and finish. Day 3 of the expo followed the half marathon and lasted from about 10:00 AM until 6:00 PM. Kiki and I loaded up the TEAM 413 supplies and gear that we had left, got some dinner, and then went back to our room to rest. Again, the alarm clock went off at 3:00 AM on Sunday morning! We got up -- got dressed -- caught a Disney bus -- walked to the start area -- ate a little light breakfast -- WAIT, didn't we just do that? The full marathon started with fanfare like only Disney can do and we were off runnin' again. I forgot, it was colder than the day before! It was in the mid 20's with a windchill below 10! However, there was NO rain, sleet, or snow! The wind decided to stick around. It was COLD! I dressed for it and I was still cold! Kiki, God bless her, was on the course cheering for me and other TEAM 413 runners. I know she was colder than all of us -- she was a trooper as always. I noticed things that proved to me that it was cold. On the side of one road we saw a small canal which was partially frozen. At water stations, our water had ice in it that the volunteers DID NOT add. The PowerAde was in slushy form. There was also "black ice" all over the road at each of the water stations because as soon as someone would spill or throw a cup away with water in it, instant icy slick spot! I saw people slipping and sliding. I almost fell when I slipped at one point but used my "elite" athletic ability to recover. The volunteers at those stations were more than troopers -- they were saints! They could have gone home, but they stayed. All of them were awesome! We clicked off the miles and I was doing well until about mile 18 when I realized that I had completed over 30 miles in just about 24 hours! I was cold and tired and my legs hurt! However, somehow, through God's grace I was able to finish the Goofy Challenge. God allowed me to finish to glorify Him -- to use me to talk to some people during the race who were really struggling in the race and in life -- to show me, once again, that we really can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. I had a wonderful time during the event, got all my medals, and the personal fulfilment value of knowing that I finished. I had completed something far above my expectations, far above where I thought my limits were physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It was God's way of teaching me some valuable lessons which I'll be writing about in the days to come. For now, I'd like to thank Kiki, my wife - partner - best friend, for supporting me through this adventure. She braved the cold for all the people on the course. I'd like to thank all of the people who wore their TEAM 413 shirts and shared their faith through words and actions out on those frigid days in Orlando. I'd also like to thank Sara Roberts for being out on the course at about mile 25 when I really needed a little inspiration on Sunday -- for yelling at me and telling me, "You got this thing!" Lastly, I would like to acknowledge Paul Dillmuth. Paul is one of our TEAM 413 Ambassadors from Virginia. We met him at Disney in 2008. He has become a friend and supporter of TEAM 413 and for me personally. He made our Disney experience a reality through a financial contribution that paid for our expo booth. He stepped up to the cause and made it happen. I will be forever grateful to Paul for helping us kick-off 2010 in such a positive way. I'll be sharing some of the stories of faith and hope that we heard during our Disney trip in GRACERUNNER JOURNAL soon --- stay tuned... Under HIS Grace... Chris

Saturday, January 9, 2010

WDW - Half Marathon - Expo Day 3

It was everything that they said it would be. It was cold, windy, and their was a "wintry mix" that fell from the sky all morning. First, it was sleet. Then, it was freezing rain. Finally, it was cold rain. Nevertheless, this was a great race and I had a great time. I had many opportunities to share about TEAM 413 during the race. Bottom line...outstanding event!
Day three of the expo was the least busy but still a steady stream of people stopped by to see us, find out about the ministry, etc. Paul Dillmuth, one of our TEAM 413 Ambassadors, came by to visit. It was a special time because Paul took it upon himself to sponsor our booth cost at this event. He believes in the ministry and thought that we needed to be at this race. His generosity was truly a clear picture of the heart of this man!
We had many encounters with wonderful people who want to be involved with TEAM 413. We met people who are already involved, yet, we have never met in person. We heard stories of inspiration that we will eventually write about --- stuff that can only be called "miracles."
Our book, GRACERUNNER - FAITH ON THE RUN, received positive feedback and we sold a good many copies. We'll be selling them at all of our upcoming events.
Off to bed to see if we can beat down Goofy in the AM! Under HIS Grace... Chris

Friday, January 8, 2010

Amazing Grace in Action

I will write more about our expo experience on day two this weekend. At this time, the only words that I have are "AMAZING GRACE in action" --- Stories abound in Orlando and we'll share with you soon. Please pray for all the runners who will braving the cold in Orlando....record cold temps, freezing rain, sleet, etc. And, pray for us as we continue our work during the races and at day three of the expo. Amazing Grace in Action! Wow! Under HIS Grace... Chris

Day TWO of WDW Expo

Wonderful start to a long day. We look forward to hearing stories of God's amazing mercy, grace, love, and care! What a blessing it is to be part of something that is so big that we cannot comprehend! God has sent us stories of God's provision in the lives of thousands of people and then we get to share with new people each day. WOW! What a blessing! To those of you out there praying for us, thank you so very much. We can't do this without your prayers and God's unending, unconditional love. We appreciate your support and your willingness to give more than you receive. People are lining up to talk....gotta run! Under HIS Grace.. Chris

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Late Night Update!

What a great day at the WDW Expo! It was packed all day...More than 18,000 runners came through to pick up their packets and with all of their families included, I imagine at least 50,000 people walked by our booth today! We saw a lot of old friends and made many new ones today. We anticipate much more positive feedback tomorrow as the expo goes from 9:00 AM until 8:00 PM! Long day -- Wonderful opportunity -- Many seeds to be planted -- God will be glorified. Update you in the morning! Under HIS Grace... Chris

It's Go Time!

Kiki and I are up early on our way to set up our booth at the WDW Marathon Expo located at Disney Wide World of Sports Complex. HUGE DAYS AHEAD!
Please pray for us as we go about our task today. Our prayer is that God will touch lives through us this weekend and that we have an impact on this community to His glory. Join us as we pray for the ministry of TEAM 413.
God bless y'all today! I'll write a report on our activities later today. Under HIS Grace... Chris

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wednesday - Part II

We have arrived in the land of the MOUSE!! It's going to be a great show and we are excited about the opportunities to share and care for people this weekend. It's a world class event and it is one of the most important events on the TEAM 413 schedule. If you are running Disney, stop by our booth at the expo. We've got some great gear -- new shirts, sweatshirts, caps, tour tees, beanies, etc. Our new book, GRACERUNNER - FAITH ON THE RUN, is available and we'll be signing copies this weekend. Once again, if you want to reserve a copy, please email me at chris@team413.org so that we can hold one for you. Rest time! More from Disney tomorrow! Under HIS Grace... Chris

Wednesday! Time to Fly!

It's already Wednesday and it's time to fly! Kiki and I will be leaving for the WDW Marathon in Orlando this afternoon. We are going to pull up at curbside check-in looking like Jed Clampett of the Beverly Hillbillies! Some of you are old enough to remember what his truck looked like when they moved to the BIG CITY! Stuff was hanging all over that truck --- and, so it goes with us today. We are planning on outfitting a TEAM 413 army in Orlando. We'll have long sleeves for the cold weather and some new sweatshirts too. The theme this year is to get noticed! So, Kiki came up with shirt styles and colors that will, without a doubt, stand out in the crowd. Please come by and see the new gear which is our ministry tool as well as our fundraiser as we travel across the country. GRACERUNNER - FAITH ON THE RUN, my first book, is in my possession and we'll be signing and selling copies at the expo. If you have reserved a copy OR want to reserve a copy, PLEASE send an email to chris@team413.org. For a first publication, I am extremely pleased and pray that God will be glorified in every word. Have a blessed day! We'll keep you posted from Orlando! Under HIS Grace... Chris

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tuesday is Here!

Tuesday is here and we are one day from departing for the WDW Marathon. An exciting time awaits in Orlando. I'm looking forward to visiting with so many of our TEAM 413 Ambassadors who will be helping us at the expo booth. It should be a time of great fun and fellowship! One thing that I've not written about is that I'll be doing something that I thought to be CRAZY just a couple of years ago. I'll be running the GOOFY CHALLENGE. That means that I'll run the half marathon on Saturday and then run the full marathon on Sunday! That's why they call it the GOOFY CHALLENGE! My training has gone fairly well and the past month has been especially productive. I know that my time will be slow -- THIS is about finishing! All the TEAM 413 Gear is just about packed and ready to go. Kiki has picked out such great merchandise for this event. We'll be selling shirts in colors that we've never had before and we'll introduce some new items as well. Plus, we will be selling a Limited Edition "Faith on the Run 2010" t-shirt and hoodie. Finally, my book, GRACERUNNER - FAITH ON THE RUN, will be available. This will be the first opportunity to buy the book. And, it will be my first book signing! I'm kind of excited about that. This book is something that we've dreamed about for several years and to finally have it ready to go, brings me great joy. I believe that God will use my words to reach the heart of many people who read the stories of God's grace. Under HIS Grace... Chris

Monday, January 4, 2010


The countdown is on for the start of the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. We look forward to it with great anticipation. Since we leave on Wednesday evening so we can be ready to go for the expo on Thursday, we have to fit a lot of "stuff" into the next two days. Today, all remaining gear that has not been shipped has to be packed for us to take on our flight. Much work goes into gearing up for an expo. Shirts and other gear have to be ordered and printed. All of our supplies have to be sorted through and checked to make sure that we have all we need for a three day expo. Then, we have to think about what we are taking with us personally! That episode of excitement typically happens when we realize that we haven't packed anything for ourselves in the late hours of the night before departure! At some point in time, we'll learn! I cannot take credit for all of this work. My wife, Kiki, makes sure that things get done. She is a merchandising genius. She picks out all the styles and colors for our gear, choose colors for the print, folds every shirt, packs all the stuff, tells me when we are leaving, and then points me in the right direction. I show up at the booth and let her do her magic. It's best that I just follow orders! It will look much better if I do. We believe that God is honored in excellence and we strive to make sure our expo exhibit looks great. We want every aspect of TEAM 413 to be TOP TIER! We want to please God in our work with the ministry that God has entrusted to us. Please pray for us over the next few days. It's a daunting task to get ready for a show of this magnitude. More than 50,000 runners will be in the three races this weekend. They bring family and friends. TEAM 413 will be in front of several hundred thousand people through the WDW event. Pray that we will be able to share our faith with many and be a beacon of hope for someone during our stay. Under HIS Grace... Chris

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Big Week Ahead!

As I write this GRACERUNNER Journal, we are about to embark on one of the most important weeks in the history of TEAM 413. On Wednesday, Kiki and I leave for the Walt Disney World Marathon. We’ll join several TEAM 413 Ambassadors in Orlando who will help us during this amazing event. TEAM 413 will be well represented at the WDW Marathon Weekend with a booth at the expo and by hundreds of runners in the 5K, the half marathon, and the full marathon. Our ministry will be placed in front of several hundred thousand people. It will be a time to share the gospel with countless numbers of God’s children. There are thousands of people who we will meet next weekend who have not received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Because of this realization, I am reminded of the magnitude of the ministry that God has entrusted us with. He has given us a vehicle to reach millions of people across the world -- ONE at a time. What a blessing it is to follow His call. What a blessing it is to seek His will. What a blessing it is to be His child! Please continue to pray for us as we prepare for then events that are ahead of us. I will write daily updates as we prepare for our trip and then during our time in Orlando. Keep up with what’s going on and join us in moving forward under God’s amazing grace! Under HIS Grace… Chris

Saturday, January 2, 2010


TEAM 413 sells shirts in many colors with Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" printed on the back of each shirt. These shirts have become our ministry tool in addition to our fundraiser to keep us on the road. I've found it somewhat AMAZING that some people will NOT wear a certain color shirt because of a collegiate or pro athletic team allegiance. They say that they just can't wear green, yellow, orange, red, crimson, black, or blue because the "enemy" wears that color! We can walk into a stadium painted from head to toe in war paint for our team. We can yell at the top of our lungs for the athletic teams we support. We can spend thousands of dollars to get to these events and buy everything in sight that is color coordinated with our team. Grown men act like little boys and ladies act like aspiring cheerleaders. We have passion for that "thing" in our life. If you don't believe my theory, watch TV in the upcoming days. There are still many college bowl games to be played, NFL football playoffs and The Super Bowl are not too far away, and college and pro basketball seasons are in high gear. Catch a glimpse of a Pittsburgh Steelers' fan, a Dallas Cowboys' fan, a Boston Celtics' fan, a "you fill in the blank" college team fan. Relentless PASSION and THEN SOME! Yet, we can't get that excited over our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who died on a cross for us. We can't have the same type of passion for Him as we do for a sports team. There is simply something wrong with that picture! There is something wrong when you can't separate your team affiliation and your relationship with Christ. There is something really wrong when we can't show PASSION and THEN SOME for Christ! One of our TEAM 413 Ambassadors wears a shirt of a different color while he is training or running in races as a witnessing tool. He wears the color of the "enemy" of the team that he supports. When his buddies ridicule him about it, he uses it as an opportunity to share his faith. In doing so, he has won several of them to Christ -- through the simple message on a "wrong colored" shirt that shows the transparency of his heart! He shows his true PASSION and THEN SOME! I challenge you to show your passion for Jesus Christ. Don't worry about little inadequacies that we all have such as "the color of our shirt" and be more concerned about the message that we portray in our lives. Open the door for people to come to Christ through seeds you plant verbally or by the actions you live out each day. Show your PASSION and THEN SOME!
Under HIS Grace... Chris

Friday, January 1, 2010

Things May Be Bigger Than They Appear!

Has your day gone like THIS? My little dog, Willie, appears to be very small as he takes on the BIG tennis ball! Some days it just seems like you are up against far more than you can handle! Things are bigger than they appear! When life circumstances are insurmountable and you just can't compete with the things that you come up against each day, don't be afraid to ask for a little help. There are people willing and able to come to your aid if you just ask. Things in "life" too big for you right now? Ask for a little help! Even though you've always heard that God will never place too much on you to handle, this is never stated in the Bible. I believe that God allows us to have relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ so that they may help us STAND in the midst of the circumstances that come our way. Under HIS Grace... Chris

Role Models

We throw around the title of "role model" much too loosely. We crown people as a role model because they hold a position. We place athletes on a pedestal as role models. We simply do not look for the positive models in our life --- those people who make a significant impact on us personally. My role model is a strong man who has worked hard his entire life. He has compassion, sympathy, and empathy for others. Yet, he can also be stern when the need arises. He has a great sense of humor, a quick wit, and a twinkle in his eye when he witnesses something that amazes him. This man of God is my Daddy, Haskell Gillespie. Today is his 86th birthday! His memory has faded a bit, but his love for life and family remains as clear as a sunny day. He lost his sweetheart and wife of more than 60 years back in April 2008 when my Mom went home to be with the Lord. He was heart broken and still misses her so much, but his character has remained true through all of his circumstances. I have written much about never allowing your circumstances to dictate your character. It's been somewhat of a theme in my writing that we should allow our character to show through and glorify God in the midst of our circumstances. My Dad has lived this out in his life. I can remember many times when things didn’t look good and my Dad would pray that God be glorified NO MATTER WHAT. To this day he still stands firm on that belief. A little over a year ago I was asked to go home to Pontotoc, Mississippi and speak at West Heights Baptist Church, where I attended when I was growing up. My Dad is a member of that congregation and my Mom is buried in the church cemetery. Ashley, my youngest daughter, and I traveled to Mississippi and got set up to speak. In walked my Dad -- dressed up and ready to worship. He sat close to the front so he could hear me well. He prayed for me before I spoke and then celebrated God’s grace on TEAM 413 as I told “miracle moment” stories that have happened during our travels. He was a proud Dad because we have followed God’s call to see this ministry through. Daddy is a wonderful man and father. He misses my Mom terribly. But in ALL things he gives God glory. He thanks God for the years that he had with my Mom and looks forward to the time when he will be reunited with her in Heaven. He is truly the Godliest man I know and is the example of a role model. I am proud to call him Dad, Daddy, Grandpa, and Gramps. He is the best and I praise God for him each day.
Happy Birthday, Daddy! Under HIS Grace… Chris