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

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: