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

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:

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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!

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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!