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

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Running Through My Mind......

Chris Gillespie & Ed Pierson at the Finish Line
2010 Bass Pro Shops Outdoor Fitness Festival

I've been blessed with so many wonderful opportunities in my life. God has allowed me to be a part of things that glorify Him that are beyond measure. He has directed my path to places that I never thought I could go. He has chosen me to do things that I never thought I could do. I am humbled by His goodness and grace!

As I write this, many thoughts are running through my mind. We have a major event coming up in May and the days are clicking away really, really fast! My training for GRACERUNNER JOURNEY is going well as I continue to build my mileage toward our quest to complete 413 miles in 10 days to the glory of God! Please pray for me as I increase my mileage and as the training hits a level of intensity that I cannot comprehend before our taper starts about May 1. Your prayers mean so much to me and your words of encouragement keep me focused and moving forward.

It would be less than truthful for me to say that I'm not worried about funding for our event. I know that God will provide for the things we need. I also know that it is my job to try to raise the needed funds. We really need help in this area -- fundraising has not gone as well as it should be going. I know that some people will wait until the last minute or donate an amount per mile after I complete the journey on May 21. However, the significance of fundraising finally hit me last night when a contributor asked me, "With all the good that TEAM 413 is doing, why in the world will more people not help you with contributions?" I had NO answer because I have no idea! I lay awake most of the night thinking about that simple question.  "Why?"

Today has been a real struggle for me because I couldn't get that question out of my mind and off of my heart. I asked friends their opinion and some told me that it was because of folks financial situation right now. Others told me that some people are so apathetic that they don't want to give their time and money even if it is for a good cause. Others told me to hang in there and that it would come in God's timing.

One person's response troubled me. They wrote to me to let me know that someone told them that all TEAM 413 does is sell the shirts that are a catalyst for conversations during a race. My response to this is that person has no concept of what we are doing because they don't follow us very well. If they did follow us, they would know that we spend countless hours talking to folks at events all across the country -- answering emails about the ministry -- sharing Christ with people at speaking events from coast to coast -- and so much more. The depth of this ministry is deeper than anyone can imagine and our reach is across the worldwide running community. People are accepting Christ through the witness of the wonderful people who make up TEAM 413. Just a shirt? I don't think so!

The second question that my friend has been asked is, "Why is TEAM 413 doing a fundraiser that involves giving to other non-profits?" Well, that answer is easy....We want to give back to people who need our help. We want to expand our ministry to unique causes and expose those causes to the people within our ministry. Jesus taught us to enlarge our territory to His glory! That's exactly what we are doing because we are commanded to do so. So, if helping others keep someone from giving to TEAM 413 or GRACERUNNER JOURNEY, that's just the way it will have to be. That's not my problem. That's something that a person needs to take up with God. 

If you are interested in being a part of a ministry that is making a difference one person at a time  while sharing common ground out on the roads of life, TEAM 413 is your ministry! If you want to be a part of something that is much bigger than yourself and that has the potential to affect millions of people in the endurance-athlete community one person at a time, TEAM 413 is your ministry. And, lastly if you want to be a part of an "outside of the box ministry" that believes that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life -- TEAM 413 may just be a great spot for you to serve.

To give to TEAM 413, please visit the following link:

God bless all of you!  We need your help!

Under HIS Grace...


Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I've heard a song -- "I SAW GOD TODAY" -- somewhere in the recesses of my mind on a radio station somewhere! Yet, today -- I saw God through the beauty of a day, in the eyes of a teenager, and through every step I took on my third long run in as many days.

We are on spring break at the beaches of South Walton County, FL along beautiful Highway 30A. Today was a post card type of a day. Today was a picture that you put on a magazine cover kind of day. Today was a chamber of commerce commercial day. The sky was my favorite color. It was a cobalt blue sky day. The sun was warm on my skin but the cool breeze still refreshed. The water of the Gulf of Mexico was blue and green and mixtures of the two! It was the kind of day that makes me want it to stay this way! I saw God today in the beauty of His creation!

As I ran on the path of Highway 30A, a group of teenagers came by me on bikes. Obviously on spring break, they seemed to be having a great time. There must have been 8 or 10 of them and all of them spoke as they went by. "Good day! How are you today!" Well mannered kids -- but the last two stopped as they went by me. And, one of them said, "Hey, I really love your shirt! Philippians 4:13 is my favorite verse because I think that I really can do anything with His strength." 

I stopped my GPS watch and talked to them for a moment. The others waited patiently as we talked. I told this young man that I appreciated his boldness -- his love of the Lord -- for being unashamed! He asked me about TEAM 413 and I shared the information and website with him. He was very interested and said he would check it out. Then, they started to leave and he turned to me and said, "God bless you and have a great day!" My response -- "He just did and I will!"  This young man was most likely 15 or 16 years old. I wish that I could talk to his mom and dad because I know that they must be proud of such a fine son. The bottom line -- I saw God in the eyes and words of a young man who has been raised right! God bless you, Michael!

Three days of long runs in a row can seem almost insurmountable. But, God gave me the strength to finish the drill as I prepare for GRACERUNNER JOURNEY. He opened the windows to my soul and shared glimpses of His goodness and grace all along my path. He showed me the hardships that will come, things that I need to deal with, and how my training is paying off. He uncovered many things for me today and many of them had nothing to do with running at all. I saw God today in so many different ways during my sojourn along the Florida Panhandle and I can't wait to see how He shows up to teach me new lessons in the days and weeks ahead.

Get on board with us folks -- It's going to be a great adventure!

Under HIS Grace...


Thursday, March 10, 2011


The past few months have been such an unbelievable time for me. The opportunity to prepare for  GRACERUNNER JOURNEY had been such a mixed bag of feelings for me.  During many hours of training to run 413 miles in 10 days to glorify God, I've had moments of  joy, anguish, reality, contemplation, survival, and success.  I posted the following quote on my Facebook wall a few days ago:

"Running has become so much more than an athletic endeavor for me. It is a time of worship - my quiet time with God - a time of reflection - a prayer opportunity with no outside distractions. Running is much more than it once was to me because God used it to improve the vision of the eyes of my heart."

I have found much peace in the time that I've spent alone with God as I've been running on trails, roads, and on the treadmill. I've had much time to praise God through the music that I listen to when I workout. It's been called my "GRACERUNNER Playlist!" Many of the song themes have something to do with God's grace....amazing grace - there is a place called grace - His grace is sufficient - grace that is greater than all my sin - abundant grace - delivered by grace.

I am in awe of how God has changed me through this simple act of running. I stand in amazement of how God has shaped and molded my heart so that I can see the vision of this goal in my mind but also deep within my heart of hearts. I am so humbled to do something this significant for the Kingdom. For, I am a simple guy, an average man who is blessed by God's unmerited favor. I am not sure why God has planted this vision within my heart but I do know that He has big plans ahead as we embark on our journey.

We have much work left to be done. So, we ask that you pray for us as we continue this path that God has planned for us. Join me in praying that people all around the world will be touched by something during our journey. Please pray that God will enlarge our territory and that we will be given many opportunities to share Him with the people we come in contact with along our way.

I ask that you continue to pray for our efforts as we raise funds for GRACERUNNER JOURNEY. My prayer is that we'll really be able to help our wonderful charities: TEAM 413, The Dick Beardsley Foundation, Constructores Para Cristo, and The Great Circle. We continue to seek sponsors who are willing to help us as we move forward. If you know of folks who are a good fit, please let me know.

Please pray for our crew. My wife, Kiki, will be my crew chief and will need uncommon patience and wisdom along the way. In addition, we are putting together an all-star crew who will be able to push me to "finish the drill."  This will be a live changing experience for all of us and I thank God for the opportunity to serve alongside wonderful people.   

We have several opportunities to speak during our trip but are looking for more! If you know of a group that would like to have us speak, please contact me at chris@team413.org.  Our schedule is as follows:

~ May 12 - Birmingham (Homewood), Alabama
~ May 13 - Olive Branch, Mississippi & Memphis, Tennessee
~ May 14 - Springfield, Missouri
~ May 15 - St. Louis, Missouri
~ May 16 - Champaign & Chicago, Illinois
~ May 17 - Des Moines, Iowa
~ May 18 - Duluth, Minnesota
~ May 19 - 21 - Fargo, North Dakota

I will provide more detailed information as we get a bit closer to May 12. I hope that many of you who live in these regions will come out and run a mile, or two, or 40 with me! Our crew will need your help and I will need your support and companionship. So, come run with me!

Today, I leave you with a few GRACE-WORDS that capture the essence of my heart:

"Running is a PLACE called grace to me. Running is my habitat for sanity. Running is my quiet corner of my heart's sanctuary where I am close to God. Running is my place of refuge, of solace, of climate change for my soul. It is a God filled place where HE does His wondrous work."

‎"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!"

‎"The likelihood of you doing something extraordinary in your life without significant sacrifice is impossible. God will give you the strength but YOU must supply the effort! Keep plugging away -- The impossible will become a reality when HIS strength and YOUR effort collide!"

On the run ---

Under HIS Grace...