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

Monday, December 31, 2012

What a Difference a Year Makes!

What a difference a year makes! On this last day of 2012 I reflect on how my running over the past year compares to 2011. In 2011 I ran 2756 miles -- an average of 53 miles per week in my 53rd year which I completed on December 31, 2011.  In addition to my many training miles in 2011, I completed 15 half marathons, 3 full marathons, and 6 runs which were greater than marathon distance during my 10 day GRACERUNNER JOURNEY. Fast forward to 2012 --- Because of a major hip injury I had to cut back drastically and will end the year with a total of approximately 1,300 miles -- completing 9 half marathons and 2 full marathons. 

Back in August, after several months of much pain and eventually reaching the point that I could not run, sit, drive, or sleep without pain, I met with one of the top orthopedic surgeons in the country who specializes in hip surgery. He told me what I didn't want to hear. My hip joint needed repair --- a resurfacing procedure instead of a total hip replacement. After this surgery and much rehabilitation it is our desire that I will feel much better. The surgeon told me that we could do the procedure in October. I declined. He told me that we could have the surgery before the end of the year. Once again, I declined. He was puzzled. I explained that I had unfinished business for our TEAM 413 ministry. I planned to run the Chicago Marathon on October 7 and then complete the Goofy Challenge (run both the half and full marathons) at the Walt Disney Marathon Weekend in January 2013. He had no problem with this, but warned me that I would have significant pain. My response was that I thought that I could deal with the pain. He agreed to allow me to carry on if I thought that it was what I needed to do.

I completed the Chicago Marathon on October 7 and my surgeon was right! I had a lot of pain. Nevertheless, I completed the event albeit very slow! October, November, and December would prove my doc right again. Pain would be my constant companion as I continued forward. 

Now, comes one of the greatest physical challenges of my life. January will be a month filled with much effort, agony, joy, guts, grit, and pain. On January 12 I will line up for the Walt Disney World Half Marathon and then on the 13th I'll once again go to the starting line in order to complete the Walt Disney World Full Marathon -- This will be my 4th Goofy Challenge at the WDW Marathon Weekend. My only desire is to finish the event to the glory of God and to be a witness to someone along my journey.

On January 14 Kiki and I will drive from Orlando, Florida to Columbia, South Carolina. On January 15 I will finish preliminary testing prior to my surgery and then on January 16 I will undergo hip surgery, the structures will be resurfaced, and I'll stay in the hospital for a few days. What follows is still bit of a mystery to me. I'll be out of running for at least 6 months. I'll go through a rehabilitation program with a goal of returning to running at whatever pace God allows me to achieve. There is a race that I'm aiming for as my return event in 2013, but I'll keep that to myself for now.

Many folks have asked if I will still travel to represent TEAM 413 at marathon expos and at speaking engagements while I'm physically out of commission. The answer is, YES! I plan to be at a couple of events in February and then go to all of our scheduled events from March throughout the spring and summer prior to return to running. I'll probably sit down a bit more in our booth space and will have more volunteers to help us, but I'll be out there with my wonderful wife and partner, Kiki, sharing with whoever will listen. And, I'll be planning for our April 12-13 Race Weekend in Alabama.

This journey is going to be a challenge. It will be a test of my will, mental toughness, physical stamina, and trust in God's promise that HE is THERE! It will be a testimony to God working in my life! I'm looking forward to it with great anticipation! As always, Kiki will be right there by my side encouraging me, pushing me, loving me, and sharing our story.

Call me crazy! I'll just say that I am still on a relentless pursuit to allow God to draw strength from the depths of my soul that I didn't know that I had any longer!

God is good --- He is faithful -- and I am blessed!

Under HIS Grace...


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Fall Marathon Season

Dick Beardsley, TEAM 413 Ambassador Steve Wilson, Me, and Frank Shorter
at The Bass Pro Shops Outdoor Fitness Festival Marathon Weekend where
I was a speaker along with Dick and Frank. Great event in Springfield, Missouri!

It's November 6 and we are in the midst of fall marathon season. This fall has been a very busy time for TEAM 413. In October we attended events in Chicago, St. Louis, Des Moines, and Washington, DC.  As we've entered November our schedule has already included Savannah and Springfield. We go to San Antonio this coming weekend prior to a two week break for a little rest and then we'll be off to Las Vegas to start the month of December....8 race expos in 9 weekends! It's a daunting schedule for all of us, but we wouldn't have it any other way! Kiki and I along with all of our ambassadors and volunteers cherish the time that we spend with folks from all over the country.

Keep checking our schedule at www.team413.org. We'll be coming to a city near you soon. 2013 promises to be the busiest year in our history and we look forward to what God is going to do as we follow His calling to "GET THERE AND SHARE!"

This is our calling - it is our duty - God is faithful - we are blessed!

Under HIS Grace...


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Not My Race...It is HIS!

It's been a very hard decision, but I have decided what I am going to do. I have mixed emotions. I am honestly not sure that I can complete the task at hand. For almost a year I've had significant hip pain. Yet, I have been able to run and finish races albeit at a much slower pace than usual.

Last April I was a speaker at the Illinois Marathon Speaker Series and decided to run the half marathon while I was there representing TEAM 413. The race was difficult for me and on the way home I starting having more than "normal" pain in my right hip. I dismissed it. I tried to forget about it. I took time off and then I tried to run again. I couldn't.

So, all my running plans seemed to be placed on the shelf for awhile. I missed running at Grandma's, Hospital Hill, the Chicago Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon, and other events throughout the summer. Finally I had to make a decision and in early August I saw one of the top hip surgeons in the country. Having already seen my MRI and X-Rays, I knew that his advice would not be what I wanted to hear. He told me that I needed either a hip replacement or hip resurfacing. We discussed the validity, complications, and success of both procedures. We concluded that I was a candidate for a hip resurfacing rather than replacement simply because I am so active with TEAM 413. I want to return to running as soon as possible after the surgery.

My surgery was scheduled for January 16, 2013. Then, I asked a lot of questions. "If I can stand the pain, can I run/walk until then? Will I cause any additional harm? Will activity compromise the success of the upcoming surgery?" The answers were fairly simple...."the damage is done. If you can tolerate the pain, you can do whatever you wish."  So I asked more, "How about running the Chicago Marathon in October and finishing the Goofy Challenge at the Disney World Marathon in January?" The doctor answered, "Not a problem if you can do it....chances are you won't be able to go through the pain." Although it was not a challenge, I took it as one!

So, here I am just three days from the start of the Chicago Marathon, one of the greatest marathons in the world. I registered a very long time ago. I have a race number. I have a corral assignment. We have a place to stay. Everything says, "GO!" except my hip. I've delayed or altered long runs because of pain. Instead, my long runs became long weekends....4 miles on Friday, 8 miles on Saturday, and 12 or more miles on Sunday. Unconventional? Yes! Will this training get me to the finish line in Chicago? I have no idea, but I hope to give it a shot!

After much prayer, I have made the decision to go to Chicago, I will line up at the start line on Sunday morning, October 7, with a very supportive wife cheering me on. My start corral is far back in the crowd so, I will have more time to "warm up." My race goal is to beat the time limit for the event, but if I can't, to keep moving forward and get to the finish nevertheless.

No matter what happens on race day I will still plan on going the "GOOFY DISTANCE" on January 12-13. After that, I'll check in at the hospital and turn my hip over to the surgeon for resurfacing on January 16. 

Crazy? Maybe.

Blessed? For sure. 

Goal to glorify God? Exactly!

Say a prayer for us as we continue this path that God has planned for us. While some folks may not understand why I feel the need to carry on, all I can say is that it is my calling, it is my duty, God is faithful , and I am blessed!

Under HIS Grace...


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Penny For Your Thoughts...

A few weeks ago Kiki and I had the privilege of traveling to Waynesville, Missouri to speak at Westside Baptist Church. I've had the opportunity to speak all over the country, but I've never spoken in three consecutive services. To say the least, it's taxing physically, emotionally, and spiritually and to say that I was totally unprepared for the events of Sunday, August 12, would be an understatement. 

The title of my message was "The Last Mile." At the end of the services I asked everyone in the congregation to write their "last mile" -- the thing that they hold on to and have not given over to God -- on one side of that card. I'm certain many wrote of relationship issues, pride, intolerance, patience, an addiction, faith, and so much more. On the other side of the card, I asked them to simply write their first or last initial.  

Then, I challenged every individual to walk down the isles of the auditorium and place their "last mile" on the alter as a symbolic and public way of saying, "I give this over to God!" In those services the isles were full of folks who took me up on my challenge -- they laid it down -- they gave it up -- they were brave enough to do it publicly. After the services we asked everyone to pick up one of those cards and to specifically pray for the person identified only by an initial. It was powerful! It was one of the most significant faith moments of my life.

After the service I was standing in the commons area of the church where Kiki had set up a display with TEAM 413 shirts, literature, and other gear. Lots of people crowded around to pick up something for themselves or a friend and to make donations to our ministry.  

As I stood near the display I felt someone touch my hand. When I turned to see who it was, I had to look down into the gleaming blue eyes of a small boy -- most likely 5 or 6 years old. He wore a big smile and he reached out and placed a shiny new penny in my hand. He said, "This is for you." Before I could do anything, he smiled again and ran off into the crowd most likely to find his parents so he wouldn't get in trouble for running away from them.  

Time stood still. I was amazed at what God taught me through that child. He gave up his shiny new penny which was probably all the money he had simply because something made him do it. I'll always believe that it happened because God was teaching me a lesson. I realized how hard we have worked to grow TEAM 413 in order to share the good news of Jesus Christ with endurance athletes from all over the world. I was reminded of the words of my pastor that we just want to "get there and share so that others will run up on the gospel on the roads of this country." I looked back over the years and pondered what would make this child give his single penny yet, we still have such a hard time raising funds for TEAM 413 - GRACERUNNER MINISTRIES.

Many people want to be a part of TEAM 413, but very few go to a level of giving to the ministry financially. It is hard to find sponsors because we are faith based. Many don't understand that we are a 501(c)(3) non-profit ministry that uses 100% of our donations to help us stay on the roads as we "get there and share."  I've prayed for guidance about how to ask for contributions. I've begged God for wisdom and clarity regarding how to approach people and explain. Yet, He has chosen to go about it in a different way -- making promises to me through a few people who are steadfast and true with their financial support and through that little boy with his shiny new penny.

God has taught me so many priceless lessons of His grace at the very point of my greatest need through the unexpected, simplicity of a moment in time.

Penny for your thoughts? Keep your mind and heart open.....you might be blessed just like me when you expect it the least.

Under HIS Grace...


You can make a contribution to TEAM 413 at the following link:

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Ordinary People

When ordinary people come together for a common cause they can accomplish extraordinary things! And, so it is with TEAM 413 - GRACERUNNER MINISTRIES!

For almost 10 years thousands of ordinary, everyday people have given of themselves to help this ministry accomplish the extraordinary! These folks have become part of the single largest ministry for endurance athletes in the world -- one person at a time -- one heart at a time!  

We've witnessed hundreds of individuals come to the Lord in the most unlikely of places -- in the middle of a marathon, at the finish line of a race, at a water station, and over the telephone. We've seen the change in thousands of lives and experienced the endurance community accept us into their world. We've been a part of knocking down the barriers of church affiliations and taking worship to the streets! It has been an unbelievable journey -- a glorious ride!!!

I am so thrilled to be a part of this God ordained ministry! It humbles me more than anything I've ever been a part of for God has allowed the extraordinary to happen through the ordinary. We are so blessed to see what God has done and look forward with great anticipation to what He will do in the days to come.

Join us as we continue our journey.

God bless ordinary, everyday people!

Under HIS Extraordinary Grace...


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Embracing the Pain

A great quote from the movie Chariots of Fire has always meant a lot to me..."When I run, I feel God's pleasure."  I've taken that one step further in the last 10 years of my life.  I've come to know God's pleasure through pain. You read right -- through pain!  

I've dealt with mental pain, emotional pain, spiritual pain, and a significant amount of physical pain.  It has taken a toll on my body, but God has always reminded me of the enduring joy that He has given me even in the midst of pain....for pain reminds me of what God has brought me through.  He has lifted me up when I didn't think that I could do it.  He has mended wounds of my spirit, my soul.  He has given me back much of what has been taken away in my life.  Yet, my physical pain remains as a monument to His glory!  

He rescued me for a purpose.  He gave me pain for a reason.  He brought me through "it" in order for me to help others -- so that I would understand the complexities of their maladies -- the nature of their discomfort.  I embrace the pain for He has embraced me and for this, my life is a better place.  

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord for He is worthy of your praise EVEN in the midst of the pain!  Celebrate the enduring joy that you have received through Christ -- Our redeemer!

Under HIS Grace...


Monday, April 30, 2012

Enduring Joy!

Today is April 30 and this blog post is an excerpt from my book, GRACERUNNER - FAITH ON THE RUN. As you read, you'll soon find out much about me that you don't know. You'll also notice that my "celebration" run this year is the 26th anniversary of the day that changed my life forever.  

Read my story and you'll understand why I must continue on this path that God has laid out for me....There truly is a place called grace! 

A Miracle of God’s Unimaginable Grace!

“And we know that in all things God works for the good
of those who love him, who have been called
according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

On April 30, 1986, I left my office to go out for a run. The day had been shortened for me as the athletic teams at Samford University had finished practices a bit early on that day. As the Head Athletic Trainer at the university, it was extremely rare for me to get a little free time at the end of a day. So, I was excited about going out for a long run and having some time alone for reflection.

Little did I know that, on this day, my life would be changed forever. My life as I knew it would never be the same again.

I ran an unusually fast pace that day. I ran a route that was somewhat new to me. I took a wrong turn and had to make my way down to a very busy highway just about the time of rush hour. I couldn’t get across the highway to run against the traffic so, I moved to a spot several yards off the shoulder of the road and ran alongside the traffic. I had a few hundred yards to run before I would reach the entrance to the Samford University campus and be able to walk back to my office for a cool down from a very good run.

Suddenly, I was involved in a serious, unimaginable accident. While running along the very busy Lakeshore Drive in Birmingham,Alabama, I was struck from behind. I was propelled forward more than 30 feet. I thought that I had been hit by a car! I was face down on the shoulder of the road and I knew that I was hurt badly. I couldn't feel my legs and I had significant pain up and down my spine. I was alert and conscious during the entire event but still had no idea what had happened. It felt as if time stood still.

Several people stopped to help. I heard sirens in the distance and a flurry of activity ensued. One of the people who stopped to render aid was a nurse. I spoke to her and told her that I was a certified athletic trainer and understood what was going on medically. Therefore, I had many questions. “Do I look broken up? Am I bleeding? What hit me?Will you take my blood pressure to make sure that I don’t have any internal injuries?”

The answers were good and bad. She told me that I did not appear to be mangled and that I was not bleeding. She took my blood pressure and assured me that it was fine. Still, I couldn’t feel or move my legs. I could hear the sound of sirens getting closer and closer. The nurse stayed with me until the paramedics arrived. I never saw her face. I never spoke to her again. Nearly 24 years later, I still do not know the name of this wonderful person who stopped to comfort and help me after this devastating accident.

Police arrived on the scene and I finally found out that I had been struck by something that had flown off the back of a pick-up truck. I didn’t know what the object was, but I knew that it must have been something pretty significant!

As I lay face down on the ground, I overheard the policemen describing the object that had hit me in order to record it in their incident report. I heard them describe the object as a “5 feet wide by 9 feet long sheet of plywood.” For some reason I thought -- “They don’t make plywood in that size.” So, I asked the EMT to get the policeman over to me. I asked the officer about this 5’ X 9’ sheet of plywood and was told that it was painted green with white stripes.

I was puzzled by this until he told me the rest of the story. Bottom line: IT WAS A PING PONG TABLE! This “table” was being hauled on the back of a pick-up while two men held it down from the cab of the truck.This very large piece of wood, that soon became a flying missile, was not tied down or restrained in any way whatsoever. I had been hit by a flying ping pong table! What are the odds of that?

God went to the extreme to get my attention during my afternoon run! He does that sometimes! Sometimes it's a soft whisper, sometimes it’s a loud roar, and sometimes it's a ping pong table!

After being immobilized on a spine board by a team of very capable emergency medical personnel, I was transported to a nearby hospital where I regained feeling in my legs a couple of hours later. I was kept in that hospital for pain and injury management for 17 days. A few days after my first hospital stay, I was back in the hospital for surgery and a stay that lasted until the end of June of that year.

My sacrum had been crushed. I had lost nerves. I had significant muscle and other soft tissue damage. I had tremendous swelling and eventually turned black and blue from the top of my shoulders to the bottom of my feet. This injury would affect me for the rest of my life. I was very fortunate to be alive.

Serious rehabilitation was ahead of me. I was told that I would be lucky to walk normally again and running was most likely out of the question forever. In my wildest dreams, I could not envision running again.

If I had been struck a foot lower, my legs would have been damaged significantly. If I had been struck six inches higher, I most likely would have been a paraplegic. If I had been hit in the neck region, I would have been a quadriplegic. If I had been hit on the head, I could have been killed. God spared me for a reason. I continue to uncover His reasons more than two decades later.

Each year on the anniversary of this event, I celebrate that I'm able to walk and run. I celebrate that God used a tragic moment in my life to get my attention. I celebrate that he did a miracle in my life and now I have been blessed to be a part of the running community through a ministry such as TEAM 413 that was planned and ordained by God Himself! I praise Him that I am able to be a part of something that is so much bigger than we could ever comprehend, envision, dream, or imagine.

On the day of celebration each year that marks the anniversary of this STRANGE event and injury, I go out for a run at the time that the injury occurred, about 5:30 PM. Each year, I ask others to join me on that day either in person or wherever they are at that moment. They run with me and they pray with me. It’s always a very special day to thank God for miracles of GRACE.

Each day of my life I pray that God will continue to get our attention and then use us in ways that we cannot comprehend. I also pray that He will be glorified through the ministry that we call TEAM 413. God has entrusted us with such an amazing outreach ministry. We consider this a miracle after the incomprehensible circumstances that occurred on that day in April 1986.

As we continue on our journey through life, we give thanks for God's grace… ~ And so I run ~ And so I care ~ And so I share ~ And so I praise His name for His goodness!


Under HIS Grace...


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Don't Steal the Joy!

It was a busy day at the 2012 Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon Expo. We had made contact with new people who wanted to be part of TEAM 413 all day, renewed friendships with folks from days gone by, and shared the message of TEAM 413 with thousands of people. Still, it would be the "least" of these who I would remember the most.

Late in the day a young boy about 8 or 9 walked by our booth. I watched him read the banner hanging at the back of our space. I saw him check out the shirts and other ministry tools that we showcase at marathon expos all over the country. He continued his stroll down the isle and he suddenly stopped, turned around, and walked up to the front table. He reached in his pocket and pulled out a crumpled dollar bill and dropped it in our donation container. Then, he gave me the thumbs up, smiled, and walked away.  

For a moment I thought about stopping him to give him a wristband for the donation, but I didn't because something inside me kept me from doing so. I believe if I had done this, I would have stolen the joy of his gift. He had pondered this for several minutes -- he had walked by and turned back around in a deliberate act of obedience to what I believe to be God working in his heart -- to have minimized that gift and the joy that came along with it would have been discounting the tug on his heart, the joy deep within, the goodness that he modeled.

Lesson learned -- "When God nudges someone to be a blessing to you through words or actions, never take away their joy by feeling like you owe them something in return. Their reward is in being obedient to the Master!" 

On the way home from Knoxville, Kiki was driving the rental van. She said that she thought we might have a flat tire. We pulled off to the side of the road and sure enough, our driver's side rear tire was flat. We pulled as far off the interstate as possible -- folks really drive fast and, quite frankly, don't seem to care about the safety of people on the side of the road.

We had to find and read the owner's manual to locate the spare tire which was underneath the van between the front seats. You literally had to use a special tool to lower the tire to the ground from the inside of the van! Then, the jack and tire iron looked like something that you would use to work on a toy car! I swear they turn changing a tire into an IQ test! I'm certain that the folks who make the cars have hidden cameras somewhere on the vehicle and they check out the video footage each day. I know they were laughing at us!

We were struggling with the getting to all the stuff, getting the lug nuts off, watching for traffic, and figuring out how to replace a full size tire with a tire half the size! We were surprised when an SUV pulled off the interstate in front of us, backed up, and a young man and his son got out of the car. We would later meet his wife as well. The family had been in Gatlinburg for the weekend and evidently felt compelled to stop.

"Need some help?" was music to my ears! They immediately jumped in and helped us get everything done and soon the job was completed. They cut the time that we spent on the side of the road in half! When we finished, we laughed about the tools that we used, discussed where the spare tire was located, and admired our handiwork. Before they returned to their vehicle, I asked them to hang on -- that I wanted to give them something.

The dad immediately said that it was not necessary, but I insisted. I asked Kiki to get three TEAM 413 shirts for them. After being presented the shirts and reading the back, the mom said, "I know that's right!" We talked briefly about TEAM 413 and our new TEAM MEMBERS were off to complete their trip.

Kiki and I also returned to the vehicle and we were on our way as well. God sent some angels to us. He aligned this meeting for reasons we may never know.  

"When God nudges someone to be a blessing to you through words or actions, never take away their joy by feeling like you owe them something in return. Their reward is in being obedient to the Master!" Instead, this time, I felt the nudge to do something for these wonderful people. They, too, learned to share in the joy that I had in giving them those shirts. Now they will enlarge the outreach of TEAM 413 in a way that we never saw coming ... God works like that! 

Enough writing for now ... I have to start reading about all the spare tire locations on different types of vehicles and the instructions on how to us the "Tonka Toy" jacks and tire tools that go along with them! If a gray headed guy with a very cute wife stop to assist you in changing a flat or lending a hand in some other way, let us help -- don't take away our joy of sharing it forward!

Under HIS Grace...


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Absolute GRACE!

Chris and Kiki at the 2011 Hospital Hill Run in Kansas City

Earlier this month I had the honor of representing TEAM 413 at the Rock 'n' Roll St. Pete Half Marathon in St. Petersburg, Florida. We had a good expo, met lots of wonderful people, and then ran the race on that Sunday morning. 

My race was a success by our ministry standards -- it was about being on the course to encourage others, to represent TEAM 413, and most of all to glorify God.  At most of the Rock 'n' Roll events my buddy, John "The Penguin" Bingham, is the lead announcer. John and I first met back in 2002 and we've remained friends through the years. In my opinion John is one of the most significant forces in the "fitness" running boom of the past 15 years. He is a self-proclaimed "accidental athlete" and offers hope and inspiration to people from all over the world. The list of people who I respect as much as I do John Bingham is very short!

At the start line and the finish of most of the RNR races, John finds me, acknowledges me in his unique way, and mentions TEAM 413. This simple act of kindness validates the effort of everyone who slips on that TEAM 413 shirt and shares their faith on their journey. John's words mean a lot to me personally because I know what it means to all of our TEAM 413 folks.

This day would be different. As I ran across the last "timing" mat just before the finish, my name most likely popped up on the computer screen and John knew that I was on my way. He called out my name, mentioned TEAM 413, and then he said, "thank you for all you do for this sport!" He didn't know it, but his words touched my heart, lifted my spirit, and tears rolled down my cheeks. One of the medical folks asked me if I was OK and I told them that I was just emotional. I hopped aboard one of the shuttles, returned to my hotel, packed up, and then quickly made my way to the airport.  

At about 30,000 feet somewhere over the southeastern United States it finally hit me why John's simple words had drawn such emotion from within me. It's not that I have done anything for this sport -- THIS sport has done so much for me!

Many years ago I was told that I would never run again. I went through significant life changing events. I lived through a job change that hurt me more than anyone will ever know. We had a flood in our home from a broken pipe that destroyed virtually everything we owned. I suffered from significant medical problems that it took doctors almost five years to figure out. We started a small ministry called TEAM 413. A divorce that I didn't know was coming hit me hard. We struggled to keep the ministry afloat.

Then, through running, I met Kiki and we married in 2005. Other issues would hit both of us hard over the next few years. However, one thing would remain constant -- God would be glorified and TEAM 413 would become the largest ministry for endurance athletes in the world. Through the hard times when we didn't think we could go on -- God would provide.  

Through all of those changes, our TEAM 413 family and the overall running community lifted us up when we couldn't hold ourselves up. Our wonderful expo partners always checked to see how we were doing. Runners from all over the world would lift us up in prayer and ask their friends to check out TEAM 413. God would provide ways for us to get in front of more people than I could ever comprehend. He would open the doors and windows of the hearts of people from all over the world through TEAM 413, GRACE-WORDS, GRACERUNNER JOURNEY, and so many other unique ways. He gave me absolute GRACE that I don't understand or deserve!

You see, it's not what I've done for the sport of running -- it's what this sport has done for me. God used running to help give me back things that I had lost. It helped mold me into the person that I strive to be each day. Running has given me far more than I can ever give it! The wonderful people of "my sport" are family to us! Kiki and I are blessed to travel this road together as we praise God in everything that we do.

My mantra for race weekends is always, "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord for HE is worthy of your praise. Lift HIM up TEAM 413!"  This living, breathing "thing" is much more than a sport to me! It has become a lifestyle to glorify God -- to celebrate His mercy and grace -- to share my faith forward!

Thanks, John, for the acknowledgement, but thanks so much for what you have done for the sport and for so many people! And, God bless all of you for doing so much for us! Y'all are truly blessings in our lives!

Under HIS Grace...


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New Chapter -- GRACE-STORM 2012

It's been quite sometime since I've written anything in GRACERUNNER JOURNAL and I really don't know why.  There is so much to tell -- there is so much to share -- so many wonderful things are going on in the ministry of TEAM 413.  Yet, I've just not found the time to put it down in words.  Life has a way of getting in the way and that's where I'll lay the blame.

God is doing such a work in my heart and in my life.  He has revealed much to me in the past few months.  I've traveled thousands of miles with TEAM 413.  We've been able to share Christ with hundreds upon hundreds of people throughout the country.  It's been quite a journey for the past year.

2012 has already offered up many challenges.  My health -- my work -- the enemy on the march!  We'll weather the storm and come out on the other side better than when we embarked on this journey through our theme for the year --- GRACE-STORM 2012!

There is so much work to be done and we truly need your help.  We need your prayers.  We need you to volunteer.  We need you to give to the ministry of TEAM 413 financially.  God is at work and we will follow His perfect timing -- one breath, one step, one mile at a time!

Please join us on this amazing journey!  See you down the road --

Under HIS Grace...