Sunday, April 25, 2010
Open My Eyes --- Open My Heart!
Since 2002 I've run a lot of Country Music Marathon Events --- either half marathons or full marathons. This year was one race for the memory book of my mind. I've never seen so many TEAM 413 shirts on a race course. I was never out of sight of a shirt with "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" on the back. I have never been in such awe of what God has done in our ministry in seven short years. It is truly amazing!
The expo was one of the most successful in the history of our ministry for several reasons. We were able to introduce TEAM 413 to thousands of people, we were able to hug old friends & TEAM 413 supporters, and we were able to raise significant funds for the ministry. God was glorified in the convention hall at the expo and then it was continued to the streets of Nashville on Saturday.
We met under the "Golden Arches" of McDonalds, as is our custom in Nashville, for a short devotion and prayer. It was great to see people truly show up to worship prior to running the race. We shared a few words of encouragement, had prayer, and then we were off to the start of the race.
As I approached the start line with my corral, John Bingham once again acknowledged me on the PA system. This is so kind of him and validates all those people running for our ministry. With impending weather delayed a bit --- he asked me, "did you have anything to do with this?" He knows that I would pray about it and everyone also got a chuckle out of his remark. I really appreciate him doing the things he does to help us in situations like that. So, thanks, John!
The race started and the floodgates of emotion would come in waves for me. I never lost sight of a TEAM 413 shirt during the entire half marathon. I literally saw hundreds of shirts. I saw OLD shirts from several years ago. I saw shirts that I knew we sold in other cities. I saw new shirts sold over the two days of the expo. It was an eye opener to me. With so many people in the race (34,000) and the course running the path that it does, you are able to see people going away from you and then coming back toward you. It gave me an interesting perspective so I could see a lot of people. That's rare for me.
On this day, it hit me of the impact that our ministry has had on lives from all over the world. Over 30,000 people wear our shirts. People wear TEAM 413 bracelets, temporary tattoos, caps, and t-shirts. Thousands of people walk by our booth at events all over the country. Literally, MILLIONS of people have been influenced by the simple ministry of TEAM 413. This multitude of people has allowed us to become a visible and viable part of the running community and there is no place that this is more apparent than Nashville, Tennessee.
Thanks to all of you who make TEAM 413 go! Thank you for your support in your words and actions. Thank you for sharing your love for your Lord and Savior with "whosoever" along life's path. You are heroes of the faith!