Friday, March 12, 2010
Faith on the Run
My first opportunity to tell the TEAM 413 story to the students, faculty, and staff of Samford University came at a convocation on Thursday, March 11. The topic was entitled "Faith on the Run." Individuals across our campus knew of our ministry, but this was the first time that I've been able to speak to them collectively. It was one of the most humbling experiences of my life.
I didn't sleep much on Wednesday night as I tossed and turned the entire evening. I rarely get nervous prior to a speaking engagement. This was different! I didn't have butterflies --- I had eagles! This event had been scheduled for many months and it had simmered in my heart and soul all throughout that time. The day arrived and emotions overwhelmed me. It hit me how special this day would be. Having been employed at the university for 26 years, this was family. This opportunity was a God given dream come true.
Traffic on my commute to campus was awful. A 25 minute drive turned into more than an hour and I was running late for our audiovisual check. Nevertheless, we got it done and the students started to arrive. We had a great crowd and many members of the Exercise Science and Sports Medicine Department faculty came to hear our story. Matt Kerlin, the pastor to the university, opened with prayer. Then, Dr. Jim Angel, my friend, confidant, mentor, and role model for more than 25 years introduced me. He told a lot of really good lies! Our new TEAM 413 video produced by Mark Starner of Good News Films began to play on a HUGE screen and it was absolutely awesome!
Now, it was my turn. As I stood and looked out over the audience, the nervousness went away and I shared my personal story and then the story of TEAM 413. I spoke of the people who make up our ministry. I told stories of God's matchless grace along our seven year journey. For about 35 minutes, God grabbed my heart, mind, and mouth! He gave me the words to say. During this short time we shared the hopes, dreams, and vision of thousands of individuals involved with the TEAM 413 ministry. I've never felt so much peace while speaking to a group and I had so much that I wanted to say. It was a celebration!
As the day went on I received dozens of comments, emails, and phone calls from those who attended. God had touched their hearts through a simple message by a simple man. I am humbled to be His servant!
Later in the day we had a book signing of my first book, GRACERUNNER - FAITH ON THE RUN, at the University Bookstore. Lots of friends stopped by to pick up a book, share a story, or just talk. Faculty members, who are parents of some of my former students, came by to purchase a book for their son or daughter. That was very special to me personally because it meant that we might have been a positive influence on some kids at some point in their life.
I will cherish this day for the rest of my life. It was one of those "time stand still" moments. It was a dream come true to tell the good news of Jesus Christ and how He has changed the landscape of the running community through TEAM 413.
Thanks to all of you who came to the event or who prayed for us during that time. The message will be on Podcast soon and a video was made. I will alert everyone when we post the links in the near future.
God bless y'all!
Under HIS Grace...