Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,--Hebrews 12:1

Thursday, November 29, 2012

St. Jude Marathon: Pre-Race Prayer with TEAM 413

We would like to invite any and all to join us this Saturday for a pre-race prayer at the St. Jude Memphis Marathon. We will be there with TEAM 413 to give thanks to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for blessing us with the ability to run a marathon in His service.

At 7:15 AM, in front of Starbucks (pictured below), only a block or so from the start, we'll gather. All are welcome. If you're fast or slow, a runner or a spectator, it doesn't matter. We consider it a blessing and an honor to gather with other TEAM 413 members before the race to honor the One who died so that we might live.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." -- Philippians 4:13

The verse that gave birth to TEAM 413's name says it all for me. I still remember the time, not so long ago, when I thought it impossible to run 26.2 miles. Only two and a half years ago, I had just run my first half marathon. I crossed the finish line, but I didn't have another step in me!

Laying there in Riverfront Park in Little Rock, Arkansas, I swore to myself I'd never attempt a full marathon. I wasn't even sure I'd ever go for 13.1 again! Cramping badly, writhing in agony on the grass in the park, hoping the pain and cramps would subside so I could get in my car and get home, I had gone beyond MY limit!

But it was between miles 3 and 4 of that race when I passed a lady donning a TEAM 413 shirt. As I passed by, I read this verse plastered across her back.

It was the first time I recall reading the actual verse. Oh, I'd heard it or variations of it said from time to time, but I couldn't recall actually reading it before. Philippians 4:13 would stick in my mind afterwards though. When I ran, or just when life dealt me a tough hand, this verse came to mind.
"The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." -- Isaiah 58:11

I didn't know it then, but the Lord was guiding me when I read that verse on the young lady's shirt that day. Less than a year later I found myself in that sun-scorched land when my daughter was murdered. My frame needed strengthening, and bad. I had needs that I'd never even entertained thoughts of before. At any given moment, I had no idea how I would get through the next hour.

But that verse kept coming to mind, and it wasn't long before I could hear God speaking to me, planting the idea for Running with Amanda in my mind. As this ministry began to take shape, I never recognized the role TEAM 413 played in it. It wasn't until months later, when Chris Gillespie (TEAM 413 founder) found us and sent us a free t-shirt, that I began to realize the role his organization had played in the development of our own ministry.

Though I never spoke to the lady on whose shirt I first read the words of Philippians 4:13, God spoke to me through her. With only words worn on the back of her shirt, a seed was planted that would later grow into the ministry we now call Running with Amanda.

That's why I'm honored to join with them, to represent this TEAM that is dedicated to "Get There and Share" at races whenever I can. I hope and pray the words worn on the back of our race shirts can have a similar impact on someone else.

If you want to join TEAM 413, it's an easy thing to do. Anyone can do it. Anyone can join. Anyone can help spread the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Just visit the website, go to the online store, order your TEAM 413 race shirt, and wear it when you race. Do that and, VOILA!, you're an official member of TEAM 413!

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

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