A God Wink

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“…there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”  Luke 15:10

If you could be a part of a movement that changes the lives of others simply by sharing the love of Jesus Christ, would you? What if I said you already were, would you believe me? Well, you are. If you are reading this email, then you are a part of the Run for God family, and our mission is to share the love of Jesus Christ through the sport of running.

So how do we do this? For starters, we have two entire chapters in The 5K Challenge, which has been taught in thousands of churches and communities, devoted to clearly sharing the Gospel of Christ. We pose the question from Matthew 16:15 “Who do you say that I AM? – Jesus” in Runner’s World Magazine and prompt individuals to visit www.RunforGod.com/PeacewithGod where they can find out how to have peace of their own. We encourage everyone we come in contact with to tell others that God Loves Them! We at Run for God are ACTIVELY sharing Jesus Christ.

Yes, we promote the Gospel at Run for God, but it wouldn’t be possible without you. Keeping the platform that God has entrusted us with, takes more than just our staff. It takes people who are willing to buy The 5K Challenge, Books and T-shirts. It takes people who are willing to support us financially. It takes an army of people who are willing to pray for us and this ministry. It takes people who are willing to sign up and run our races. Yes, God has put you in our path for a reason.

A while back I started sending a simple text to our Run for God Board of Directors. I call this text a God wink. Each time someone reached out to us and let us know that they had either accepted Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, or they had rededicated their life to Christ as a result of what God is doing through Run for God, I’d send this simple text. No words, no explanation, no need for a response, nothing but a simple smiley face emoji with a halo over it’s head. We simply rejoiced together without saying a word.

Recently God laid it on my heart that I should give everyone who is a part of Run for God to be a part of these God winks. So that’s what we are doing. If you’d like to be a part of this, simply sign up by following the directions on the graphic.

Thank you once again for being a part of Run for God! You are the hands and feet of this ministry.

Mitchell

God is Love

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He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1 John 4:8

Do you ever have one of those seasons in your life where you feel like God is just really working you over about something? A time where it seems that he takes an issue in your life and He shines a light on it from many different directions? Over the past few weeks I feel that is what He’s been doing with me on the subject of love. Love. Now you would think that love is pretty simple, and there’s not much that we can do to mess it up. You’d be right about the first part of that statement, but there are plenty of ways that we can mess things up when it comes to love.

This all started when my good friend David Hendrix passed away back in January. David was a joyful person. He was always laughing, joking, and more importantly loving on people. On occasion he would even sign his name “Love” instead of David. He loved life, he loved people, and he loved the act of loving people. David understood that when we love people, we give them a glimpse of Jesus.

Fast-forward a few weeks to the passing of Billy Graham. I have always been a fan of Billy Graham. I’ve always seen him as a pillar in society that steered clear of politics, scandal, and anything that could bring his ministry into question. He stayed on point, and that point was that God loves you, He sent His Son to die for you, and He wants to spend eternity with you. He often made the comment, “It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge, and my job to love.” Billy Graham loved people regardless of the sin they were dealing with which is what attracted millions of people to him.

Recently I was also introduced to a person that I will be seeing often. Most likely a few times a week for the near future. This person has a very different lifestyle than I do. They give the appearance that God has no place in their life, and it’s very obvious by the lifestyle they appear to live. Was my meeting this person coincidental? I think not. You see historically, I would have had a problem with the lifestyle this person lives, and for that reason I would have begun to distance myself. Not this time. God began to prompt me to love this person, accept this person, not their sin, but this person, and show them Jesus.

And today, it’s as if God tied it all up in a neat package with a bow on top. I’ve mentioned before that anytime I drop my kids off for school, the last thing I tell them is to “Tell someone about Jesus”. I feel that you can’t say that enough these days. But today was different. It was almost as if God brought three simple words to my mind. It’s three words that can be found at the end of 1 John 4:8. GOD IS LOVE.

God is Love. That’s it. Pretty simple. You see, it’s a principal that we all know, but it’s also a principal that we often complicate. Show someone love, and by definition you show them God because God….is…..Love. David Hendrix loved people, therefore he showed them God. Millions were attracted to Billy Graham; he loved people and showed them Christ. If I just love this person who’s been placed in my path, I will show them God. And if my kids just love people they will also shine Jesus!

Does it stop there? Absolutely not. The Great Commission is clear that we are to take the Word of God, the good news of Jesus Christ, to the ends of the earth. But 1 Corinthians 13 reminds us that we can have the gift of eloquent speech, the gift of prophesy, and the gift of great faith, but without Love, we are bankrupt. “Showing” others love is where the process of “Telling” them about Jesus begins.

Today, when you see that person cross your path who doesn’t look like you or live like you, Love Them. When you hear that person gossiping or causing drama at your workplace, Love Them. When you see a person you feel deserves to be in the predicament that they’re in, Love Them. Don’t judge them, Love them. Because what we are doing is taking a situation of judgment and turning it into an opportunity for God to shine.

Mitchell

God loves you! For more information on how to experience Peace with God, please visit www.RunforGod.com/PeacewithGod

A Race For The Crown

Quiet time is a special time for me. I usually set aside time in the morning to dive into God’s word and talk with Him about the things on my heart. Because I don’t do well with complete silence, I usually choose the time when my kids are eating breakfast and getting ready for school. I go to my office, close the door, and begin reading with the sounds of footsteps and muffled voices running around the house. It’s either this or sitting under my favorite tree listening to the birds chirp. Either way, I prefer to have “white noise” in the background.

Anyway, this morning was no different. I sat down, opened my Bible, and began to read. I was reading 1 Corinthians out of a fairly new Bible. It’s the NGJV Study Bible by Thomas Nelson. I love the way this group breaks down the passages and makes God’s word so easy to understand. This morning, I was reading through chapter 9. Many of you know this chapter because of verse 24 which reads, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.”

Chances are, as runners, we’ve all read that verse. But do we really know what that verse means. I had a good idea. I knew it was Paul telling us how we should live our Christian life. I knew that Paul set the example by some of the final words that he spoke in 2 Timothy 4:7 where he said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” But I had never heard what that verse meant in the context of that day.

Thomas Nelson does a great job of putting this verse into context, and rather than paraphrase what my study bible says, I’ve included the excerpt below. Enjoy.

The Race For The Crown

From The NKJV Study Bible, copyright 1997, 2007 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.

“What does it take to be a champion in a given sport? For one, it is necessary to have a dedication to succeed no matter what the cost. A passion for the game is certainly essential, as is a single-minded determination to accomplish the task at hand. A willingness to train incessantly is also required. And a burning desire for the trophy or prize awarded to the one who wins is an absolute must.

In his letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul drew a direct comparison between the Christian life and an athletic competition. This comparison would have had immediate resonance with Paul’s Corinthian readers. Corinth was the site of the Isthmian games, a great athletic festival that was very similar to the Olympic games. Contestants in the Isthmian games endured ten months of mandatory training. Anyone who failed to complete this training was barred from competing in the games. The highlight of the Isthmian games was a great endurance race. It was this race that Paul used as an illustration to depict the faithful Christian life.

In the Isthmian games, several athletes competed for one prize; there could be only one winner. In contrast, the Christian life offers the opportunity for many people to be winners. The winner of the Isthmian games received a pine wreath crown. Those who faithfully complete the Christian life, on the other hand, will receive an imperishable crown.

Paul illustrates the “champion” mindset required to faithfully complete the Christian life with his statements, “I run thus: not with uncertainty” and “Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air”( 9:26 ). Paul was not an aimless competitor. He had a clearly defined goal. Like an athlete preparing for a race or a boxing match, Paul knew that he had to discipline his body; he had to force himself to maintain the strenuous, consistent practice needed for success.

The race that Paul prepared himself for, the race that all Christians need to prepare themselves for, was the calling of God. Paul taught that Christians are rewarded for the calling that God gives them. Paul had an apostolic ministry for which he sacrificed all things. He knew that if he was faithful to his calling he would receive a reward from the Lord for his service( 4:2 ). Paul also knew that if he ignored or treated lightly his mission he would not receive from God the victor’s crown for service. Having seen some of his close friends forsake their calling (see 2 Tim. 4:10 ), Paul recognized that the loss of the victor’s crown was a very real possibility for any believer, regardless of his or her standing in the Christian community. The apostle’s overwhelming passion was to fulfill his ministry at all costs, to stay faithful to the “fight”( 9:26) to the very end. In Paul’s last letter, written shortly before his death, we discover that he accomplished his goal (see 2 Tim. 4:6–8 ).

Paul’s spiritual training was the very best available. Yet he did not assume that he would automatically persevere to the end of the race. He continued to discipline himself, to fight, and follow his calling from God. In doing so, Paul provided an ideal model for all Christians striving to become champions.”

Leave a Legacy

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I sit here today, one day after laying my good friend David Hendrix to rest, thinking about his legacy.  There are so many things that I can say about David.  But I thought it best to simply share an article that we published about David several years back.  He was always sharing Jesus, even till the day he died.  May you rest in peace my friend, your legacy will be around for generations.

HIS COLLEAGUES DESCRIBE him as a man of deep faith, someone who is dedicated, and devoted to Run for God. Mitchell Hollis calls him an advisor, a mentor, and “the one who first said Run for God was going to be something big.” Although David Hendrix does not have a formal title, he is admired and appreciated by many, but more importantly, he loves God and has a desire to serve, which he believes is his calling.

Hendrix will tell you, firsthand, that he is thrilled to serve behind the scenes, helping others, rather than standing in the spotlight. “I believe God called me to enable others,” he says. “And when I am working for Run for God, I don’t really consider it work. It is just awesome to see God work.”

Performing tasks behind the scenes along with encouraging others is what Hendrix enjoys most. There are many projects he completes including setting up the finish line structure, taking inventory, preparing equipment, and other functions that may be required by the Run for God team. “It’s not Run for God ministry that excites me, it’s seeing God move,” he says. “Mitchell is following God and God is leading this ministry.”

Hendrix shares how God has been in this ministry from the beginning. “These days people do things by their own effort and they fail,” Hendrix says. “It’s a thrill to witness people like Mitchell do things when they spend time following God. It’s a fact, God’s leadership is going to prevail.”

David Hendrix has been with Run for God since it began in 2010 at Grove Level Baptist Church. “I was there from the beginning and knew God had His hand on this ministry,” he says. Hendrix retired in 2012 from Grove Level Baptist Church after serving 31 faithful years as the Associate Pastor/ Minister of Music. “I remember when Mitchell shared that God called him to the Run for God ministry,” Hendrix says. “I knew that God was going to help him because this was totally out of Mitchell’s comfort zone. He was in construction for heaven’s sake.”

“My role began helping Mitchell get things done at the church,” he says. “I am no longer involved in the intimate details like I was in the beginning. Mitchell has a lot of things going on, now that the ministry has grown, but whenever I see his number on my cell, I know it’s priority, and I am on it. I want to make God and Mitchell proud of everything I do.”

Hendrix was a part of the first Run for God 5k class at Grove level Baptist Church and shares how Run for God has influenced his life. “Run for God to me is deeper than being in shape,” Hendrix says. “If I had to give you a golden drop of everything in my life, Run for God has given me perseverance.”

“I have learned that pain is necessary, not fun emotionally or physically, but the rewards are greater when you persevere.”

“Before Run for God, I sold myself short,” he says. “When I reached mile 8 while running my first half marathon, I thought I was going to die, but I persevered through it.”

“The big question I asked myself was how many things have I quit because of pain? I knew I couldn’t do anything about those things in the past, but I could do something about tomorrow – persevere to the end,” he says. “It all comes down to this: It’s bigger than physical, it’s emotion. It’s a spiritual experience to run. You apply what you learn in Run for God to life.”

Connect Magazine – Spring 2015

Be Different

Be Different BannerHey everyone, Merry Christmas! You know, I just dropped my son off at school and there are two things that I often tell him just before he gets out of my truck. Number one, I always tell him to “Tell someone about Jesus today”. It’s my conviction that we just can’t tell our kids that enough. But there’s something else that I also tell him on a regular basis.

Be Different.

You know I’m wearing a Run for God shirt about 90% of the time, and when I’m not, people notice. They notice that the Run for God guy is not wearing his normal attire and many times they’ll even make comments to me. But there’s a lesson to be learned here.

Just like people notice a difference ABOUT me when I’m not wearing a Run for God shirt, they should also notice a difference IN me because I’m a child of God. My words, my actions, my attitude, and my LIFE should all point to the fact that I DON’T reflect this world, but rather JESUS.

The Bible tells us in Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Bottom line, as children of God, we are CALLED to be different.

Merry Christmas Everyone! I hope your week goes well. Love on your family, love on your friends, don’t eat too much, Run for God, tell someone about Jesus, and be different!

Mitchell

If you would like to learn more about how to know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, please visit our Peace with God page at www.RunforGod.com/PeacewithGod.

The Thing About Iron

Fe symbol 26 material for Iron chemical element

Hello everyone, Mitchell Hollis here with Run for God. I want to start this blog off by making a few statements. First, I am not a medical doctor, nor any other kind of doctor. I’ve never been to medical school, and I do not claim to know much about the human body. This blog is not meant to diagnose anyone of anything, but rather tell you of my experience. Should you need medical advice, please contact your physician.

Now that all of the disclaimers are out of the way, let me tell you about why I’m writing a blog on the subject of Iron and Ferritin.

I have a 14-year old son named Lane Hollis. Lane in many ways is your typical freshman high schooler. He attends public school, makes good grades, plays the guitar, and loves hanging out with his friends. But there is one thing that is not so typical about Lane. He’s a very focused nationally ranked triathlete who trains 15-20 hours per week and has some pretty lofty long-term goals. He runs a mid-17 5K, and his current PR in the mile is 4:56. He’s also experiencing that dramatic change every young man experiences when their voice changes and they seem to grow 6-inches over night. With this background let me explain what happened.

On September 1 of this year, I showed up to Lane’s cross-country practice just like any other day. As Lane walked into the area where we all meet for practice, I could tell that something was wrong. He walked up to me and said that he did not feel good. Now let me stop right there and say, Lane is almost never sick, he never complains, and he’s always ready for a good practice. So when he told me he didn’t feel good, there was no question at all that something was wrong.

We immediately left the practice and walked in to our local family care physician to get him checked out. Lane was pale, weak, and fell asleep in the waiting room. My first thought was the flu or some other random bug that kids pickup this time of year. After a few minutes we were able to see the doctor and after she checked his temperature we found that he had a 101.9 fever. That would explain why he felt as though a truck had hit him, but what caused the fever?

After she had checked for the flu, strep throat, and ran a urine sample she came back into the room somewhat puzzled. Everything came back negative. He didn’t have any of those things. She indicated that he may just be fighting off something and he’d be better in a few days. Sure enough, by Sunday he was back to what seemed like normal, at least until he showed up for XC practice on Monday.

On Monday following his fever, Lane showed up to XC ready to go. Lane came into the season as one of the top runners as a freshman and was ready to start this season off right! As soon as Lane started running his warm-up, he knew there was something wrong. He couldn’t get his legs to work! He said that he felt fine, nothing hurt, but he was having a hard time holding an 8:30 pace. Lane’s slow zone at the time was 7:00-7:30. He finished practice frustrated, but not too worried. We assumed that the fever he had on Friday must have taken more out of him than we thought. Tuesday and Wednesday was the same story and it was Wednesday afternoon when I realized we needed to head back to the doctor. I made an appointment for Thursday afternoon, and let his coach know that we would not be at practice.

On Thursday, I picked Lane up from school and once again he stated that he felt great. By this point I’m thinking that something else is going on and the fever may have just been a coincidence? As we met once again with his doctor I asked if we could get some blood work to see if there was any kind of imbalance. I had read about athletes, especially female athletes, who had performance problems due to low iron. Right away, he sent Lane back to the lab for a CBC (Complete Blood Count). The doctor told me that he’d give me a call later that afternoon with the results. This is it! I just knew this was going to be the problem. I got the call later that afternoon, but it wasn’t the call I was hoping for. Everything was normal. It’s strange to say that I was disappointed with a normal result, but we knew something was wrong, and once again we hit a dead end.

On Friday and Saturday Lane’s run only seemed to get worse. You could tell by looking at him run that something was very wrong. He almost seemed uncoordinated and it looked as though he had trouble just putting one foot in front of the other. On Monday, his XC coach (a great friend and coworker), and I were talking about what might be going on. We’d been to the doctor twice and everything was normal, maybe it’s just that he’s going through a growth spurt? Lane had grown a couple of inches in a short period of time.

I’ve coached triathletes for many years now and I’ve seen the effects that growing can have on kids. Their body awareness gets out of wack, and they’re just not aware of how tall they are getting which can spell big trouble when it comes to running efficiently. That must be it, so we went with it. For the next two weeks, we backed Lanes volume down and had him do other workouts when the rest of the team was doing speed. High intensity and growing quickly in many cases can lead to injuries and we just wanted to let Lane get through this.

Asking Lane to run less than everyone and not run hard is like asking a basketball player not to dribble the ball. It just didn’t make sense, and if it did, he was not happy about it. One day at XC practice almost a month since he first had his fever, I could see that this was getting to Lane. He was upset, which in turn made me upset. Something just didn’t feel right! He had grown, but not that much! And if it was a growth spurt that was leading to coordination issues then why were we not able to see it anywhere else? If it’s that bad, then it should be at least a little noticeable just walking around while not exercising. It wasn’t.

That evening I got on the phone with a coaching friend of mine out of Des Moines, Iowa, Jenny Weber. Jenny is a high-performance triathlon coach and the head coach of Z3, which is a high-performance team that Lane is a member of. I began to tell her about what was going on with Lane. She listened and said, “It’s his Ferritin”. There was no hesitation. I knew Ferritin had something to do with Iron and I told her that his CBC, which does check for iron, came back normal. Jenny calmly ensured me that a CBC does check hemoglobin, which is the iron-containing protein in the blood that carries iron and oxygen to cells, but it does not check for ferritin, which indicates the amount of iron stored in the body, almost like your iron reserve tank.

It all made sense, but I still wasn’t getting my hopes up. That night I read article after article about this very thing, and how low ferritin would affect athletes in exactly the same way that it was affecting Lane. But why didn’t anyone tell us this? Why didn’t anyone explain the difference between hemoglobin and ferritin? Why did the doctors miss this? Because while this condition is very common in young endurance athletes (some estimates are as high as 40%), it’s very uncommon with the average active young person. The average active young person is not training at the volume and intensity as Lane and many of his peers are. This is exactly why someone who coaches athletes such as Lane was able to quickly point this out when doctors didn’t.

Needless to say, Lane was happy to get his blood drawn once again the next morning for a specific ferritin test. Unfortunately we would not get the results until Friday and this was only Wednesday. For the next two days we were on pins and needles. We stuck to our plan of low volume, low intensity, and as much as I wanted to go ahead and get him on an iron supplement, I didn’t.

Friday, the call came in and it was the news we wanted. Lane’s ferritin was extremely low. What a relief! Crazy right? I’ve never been so excited to hear that something was wrong with one of my children. It was because we had an answer. We knew what the problem was and now we could work to fix it.

The “normal” range for ferritin in a young athlete such as Lane is 70-300. Lane’s was 11. That Friday afternoon Lane skipped XC to get a crash course on how to manage your iron naturally as well as to find out a supplement regimen for his iron deficiency.   We decided on 65mg of iron with vitamin C twice a day until his levels are back to normal.

So what caused the fever a month ago? We’re not real sure, but I have read that in some cases low ferritin can lead to infection, which would explain the fever.

So what caused the low ferritin? Again, I’m not sure, but I assume that when you couple the fact that Lane trains year round with the fact that he’s currently growing like a weed, deficiencies are going to occur.

There are still some questions that may never be answered, but there’s one thing for sure. The solution worked. Lane took his supplement on Friday afternoon, two on Saturday, and raced the final triathlon of his season on Sunday. He was back to the old Lane, claiming second overall against a strong field of athletes two and three times his age.

One thing I found during this 4 weeks of not knowing what was going on with my child is that answers were hard to find. Reading clinical studies, visiting the doctors office three different times, and conducting trial and error experiments that only lead to dead ends was not the easiest route. I only wish I had read Lane’s story that someone else had written from the very start. My hope is that this story will find its way to those who are searching for the same answers as me.

Please share!

The Beauty of Unplanned Stuff

One morning when I awoke, I listened for the sound of the waves. “The tide is out,” I thought. There would be enough hard sand on the shore to run. I opened my eyes and saw a flash of lightening; “So much for running,” was my next thought. I wanted so much to go watch the sunrise as I ran. It is such an important part of why I love the beach. I hear God in the perfect recipe of the sunrise, the crash of the waves, the footprint of my running shoe in the sand, the sound of my breath, the fatigue of my legs and the quiet of my mind. Instead, I pulled out my Bible and read about Gideon and how the Israelites, time and again underestimated God and wandered away to do their own thing (Judges 6-8). I read a devotional based on Jesus feeding the 5,000 with five loaves of bread and two fish and how the disciples still questioned how the next group of people would be fed (Matthew 14).

After my reading, I got out of bed. I put on my running clothes and shoes and opened the door to witness the most amazing sunrise. There was a thundercloud in the horizon and the sky blazed with bright pinks and oranges. It was amazing. I stepped out onto the beach and looked to the south; it was just the way I wanted to begin my run. It was quiet—very few people, no high-rise condo buildings, nothing to interrupt the solitude. The beach was smoother, too, an easier run, but if I wanted to watch the sunrise, this amazing work of art God was painting before my eyes, I would have to go north.

I could already see people littering the beach that way and the buildings rising along the shoreline. I looked at the sky again and began to run north. The sunrise was absolutely beautiful. Bright oranges, pinks and purples surrounded the clouds, the sun rose above them, blazing orange and streaks of light filled the sky. My lesson for the morning, however, was not in the sky. As I skipped through tide pools like obstacle courses, looking for a dry place to put my foot, I thought about how life is like that. It’s not a nice, smooth beach of sand. Sometimes I have my pace set; I’m running through the days of life and I come to a rough patch. It forces me to change my pace, choose my steps more carefully and seek out the Creator of my path to make sure the next step is the right one. Slowing down, changing course, it’s not always a bad thing. “Your ways are not my ways, says the LORD.” (Isaiah 55:7-9). I looked up at the sunrise, just like in life; the beauty is worth having to change my pace.

There was a man fishing; he made eye contact and wished me good morning. I smiled and returned the greeting, anxious to get back to my pace and my thoughts. He wanted to talk more, so I stopped. We talk about the sunrise, the spectacular lightening show he witnessed in the sky this morning and told me a little about himself. I wished him a good day and returned to my run. I thought about how much my life is like this encounter. I’m in the middle of something, pursuing my goals or deadlines or just simply not wanting to break the pace of life when God puts someone in my path that needs something I can give because of what He has given me.

I looked up at the sunrise. The beauty of it, just like the beauty of reaching out to someone in need, is worth the break in my pace. I was to the part of the beach with the high-rise condo buildings, which did not add to the beauty of the morning. However, when I looked right instead of left, I saw the massive ocean, the beauty of the continuing assent of the sun. Life is like that, too, right? There is so much ugliness in the landscape of our lives. I can easily be drawn into focusing on that ugliness or I can choose to see the beauty that God has placed in my life. God says he works all things together for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:27-29); it doesn’t get any more beautiful than that.

I had to turn around. My legs were tired and my body weak. I’d made very few good choices that week when it came to eating and my body was feeling the effects of the lack of fuel. My life is like that, too. Sometimes I choose to focus on the wrong things: worry, things that don’t feed my spirit, the negatives of life. I run out of fuel for my days or the things life brings my way. God tells me to pray without ceasing (I Thessalonians 5:17), Jesus says he is the bread of life (John 6:35). What does my life diet consist of?

As I finished my run, I start to notice the people around me. A couple was walking together, but looking as if they were miles apart. A young mother was trying to enjoy the sunrise as her two young boys ran along the beach and her husband tried to wrangle them in. She looked tired and distracted. What had brought these people to this place in time? What choices or decisions had they made? What would they do differently if they could? I know what regret and disappointment feel like. Thank you, Jesus, that all things become new in you (II Corinthians 5:17). I no longer have to wish I could change the past. I only have to focus on what the Master has planned for right now.

I finished my run strong. I was thankful for the beauty of the morning, the beauty of life and the beauty of the unplanned stuff of life: the rough patches, the distractions of life and the people who enter my life, the things that fuel my days with positive things and the grace that forgives my past. Most of all, I’m thankful for a God who speaks into my life through the beauty of a sunrise and the unplanned stuff of a run.

Written by Bonnie Burnside.  Excerpt from Run for God – Devotions v1

Pick up your copy of Devotions at http://www.RunforGod.com

Go Run!

Here is a comprehensive list of ALL the times when it is advisable to miss a scheduled run:

Number One.  When it would make you a worse runner or a scoundrel.

That’s it.  No other rules apply.  It’s only a little more complicated than that.

Obviously, if running would be injurious to you, then it would make you a worse runner.  Don’t run if you would injure yourself more.  If you’re just sore, go run.  If you ran twenty miles yesterday, then running twenty more miles today would probably make you a worse a runner too.  It’s all just common sense.

It’s the scoundrel part that makes it more complicated.  For example, you would be a scoundrel to run instead of going to your best friend’s anniversary party.  That part’s simple.  However, the complexity comes from the fact that there is probably sometime during the day when you can fit that run in.  Can you get up a little earlier?  Note that getting up earlier neither makes you a worse runner nor a scoundrel.

Sick?  How sick are you?  Tired? So what.  Is it raining?  Snowing? You get wet on purpose every day when you take a shower; it won’t hurt you.  Don’t feel like it.  You’ll be fine once you get going.

Stop the excuses. Make some time.  Go for a run.

Christianity is just as simple.  There is one way:  John 14:6 says, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  You either believe Christ is the answer or you don’t.  It’s black and white, simple as pie.  Once you believe that, it gets a little more complex as we struggle to become more Christ-like, but, just like there is one rule for whether or not you run, there is one rule for whether or not you’re going to Heaven.

It’s a convoluted world out there, but there are some things that are still uncomplicated.  I like simplicity.

Dean

Recovery Runs

I love recovery runs. There is no pressure to accomplish any particular goal except to cover a certain distance or time. The idea is to work some soreness out of your legs and you don’t have to run hard to do it. As a matter of fact, you have to run slow. I always run a recovery run the day after a hard run. Running hard will take its toll on your body and it needs rest. I believe active rest is best that day after a hard workout or race and an easy recovery run is perfect.   If I am going to take a day off, I would prefer it to be the day after a recovery run. Your legs get stiff with lactic acid build up from running fast and an easy run will help to alleviate that soreness.

So how do you go about a recovery run? Easy. That’s the key. A couple of minutes slower than your regular pace is not too slow. A little faster is okay, but not necessary. At the fastest, thirty seconds to a minute slower than your average run is appropriate. Run slow, take it easy, and enjoy the lower effort! Think of it like lying on the beach, or relaxing to a good movie. I always think about recovery runs as a reward for working so hard the day before.

Recovery runs will help to prevent injury. Keeping your legs as loose as possible is an important part of keeping yourself on the healthy track. In addition to the run, take time to stretch when done. Pay attention to particularly sensitive muscle groups and spend a little more time on those, gently stretching them.

If it is important to run easy the day after a hard workout, it is even more important to recover from a race. The longer the race, the longer the recovery needs to be. My (and a lot of other folks) rule of thumb is a day of easy running for each mile of the race. For a 5K, I will run a recovery run the day after the race and then at least two more easy days before getting back to hard running again. For a marathon, I will run recovery runs for a week and then run easy for another two to three weeks before attempting to run hard again.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” It’s a good way to look at recovery runs. Each race is the end of a journey, some short and some long. Either way, new beginnings are always intriguing. Any time we are tested and we become tired and worn; it is good to remember that we are New Creatures in God’s eyes.

  • Recovery runs are a reward for working hard. Enjoy them without guilt!
  • As a rule of thumb, run one easy day for each mile of a race to ensure your body is ready to get back to hard running.
  • Each mountain we climb, whether a race or difficult life circumstances, new beginnings are welcome. But nothing beats the new beginning of becoming a new creature in Christ!

An excerpt from Devotions v1.  Pick up a copy today at www.RunforGod.com.

We All Have Talents

Thirty-eight years ago this month (May), I ran my first sub-five minute mile. I was a ninth-grader at Pointe South Junior High School in Riverdale, Georgia. I remember that day acutely because I had been trying to run a mile in under five minutes for the entire season, and I was successful on my final attempt, the County Championship. Coincidentally, that was also the first one mile race I ever lost. Isn’t it funny how God will keep our ego in check!

Fast forward thirty-eight years and I stood on the starting line of the Market Street Mile in Chattanooga, Tennessee. My goal? Run a mile in under five minutes. The gun went off, I felt great running straight to the front of the over-thirty race. I never looked back and finished the mile in 4:55, the same time I had run thirty-eight years ago the first time I had broken the five-minute barrier. Hopefully, that’s not my last time, but it may be. I don’t know what God has in store for me tomorrow.

God gave me a gift: Running. He has made my body in such a way that I am able to excel at something I love to do. But, if I use it strictly for my enjoyment, I am completely missing the point and I am dishonoring the very God who gave me the ability to do what I do. For about thirty-four of those years, that’s exactly what I did. But, as I have grown closer to my Lord, He has shown me ways to impact others through the sport of running. I don’t know what He has in store for me in the future, but I have seen enough to know that following His will is never a bad thing.

He has allowed me to travel down some dark paths. They were places I would never choose to go. They were disappointing in some cases and painful in others. But, in the end, I have seen what the mighty hand of God can do when I choose to trust Him and go down that path, regardless of the immediate appearance of the direction.

Why is that important? I would never have followed His path to Run for God if He had revealed the entire picture to me from the beginning. I’m pig-headed. In addition, I found that really tough circumstances can lead to great things. But, it only works when you do two things: 1) Make yourself available to be used by God in whatever your area of talent may be, and 2) Follow His path no matter where it takes you.

My talent happens to be running, but maybe you have a talent for comforting people. God wants to use that talent, maybe through visiting nursing homes, for example. Or, maybe you can fix anything and God would enjoy seeing you repairing things for people who need it. I have heard a lot of people say, “I don’t have a talent.” To that, I reply “poppycock!” I know a lady who’s talent is sending thoughtful notes through the mail. They never fail to make my day! There’s something God wants to use you for…

Do you think God gave you that talent just so you could use it for yourself? Colossians 3:23-24 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” When you help others, you are serving the Lord! Jesus tells us this in Mathew 22:37-40, “And He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” When you honor God with your talents, you are proving your love for Him and for others, fulfilling the commandments that Jesus considers the most important.

What are you doing with your talent? Are you sharing it? If not, what are you waiting for?

Dean T.