Benefits of a Foot Scrub

 

We have a silly little game we like to play in our family. When we are all together, bunched up on the couch or snuggled in the bed, we like to smell and tickle each other’s feet. I know it may sound strange, but my husband and I have played this game with our boys ever since they were little. They laugh, smile and even play with our feet. My youngest calls his feet “ticky toes” because they are our tickle toes. I suppose that when my boys get older the game will get a bit smelly, but for now it is something very special to us. 

Several years ago, my boys and I spent the day running the beach and beaten trails of Jekyll Island. For hours, we played in the sand, hiked through the sandy trails geocaching treasures and witnessed, first hand, sea turtles being nursed back to health. Throughout our adventure, there were many slip and falls, laughs, tears, and very dirty feet. 

During the forty days of Lent, our family takes a turn drawing an activity for us to participate in the following day. For our second Day of Lent, my youngest son, 3 years at the time, chose a “Maundy Thursday foot-washing”. Throughout the day, we all joked about who would wash whose feet. Whose feet would be the smelliest? After our family devotion that evening, I began the set up. I pulled up a chair, prepared a cooler full of warm water, grabbed a few towels, gathered my family, and shared the story found in John 13:1-17. We then took turns washing each other’s feet. 

“Before the feast of the Passover and after the last supper, Jesus rose, “laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself.” After that He poured water into a basin and began washing the disciple’s feet. He then wiped their feet with the towel which He wore around His waist. Jesus told the disciples in John 13:14, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you should also wash one another’s feet.” Jesus not only encouraged us to do the same as He did, but He said we will be blessed if we do them. 

Some of Christ’s teachings can only be taught by demonstration. What a powerful demonstration it was, because washing each other’s feet is not that easy. It is an act that must be done in love and being servant minded. I believe God used our family activity to set an example, just as Jesus set for his disciples, and encouraged us to love and serve wholeheartedly. I also believe God reminded me to be more aware of other opportunities that I can serve my family. Whether its enjoying the moments of bath time scrubbing the precious feet of my sons or rubbing my husband’s tired feet after a day of work, Jesus said, “Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for Me.” 

Even though we all snubbed the thought of washing each other’s feet; once we knelt down and began washing each of those beautiful “ticky toes,” we all experienced the joy and love in serving one another. Washing each other’s feet is a symbolic act, a lesson in humility and a reminder of Christ’s example to us.

Tanna Friday, Run for God

Story found at Faithful Trainer blog

Hot Chocolate and A Word From God

IMG_1835This past weekend I was in Atlanta, GA working the Hot Chocolate 5K/15K Expo with my good buddy Dean Thompson. I was amazed at the size of this race. Nearly 25,000 people signed up to run a frigid January race for a hoodie and some hot chocolate. I think the folks at RAM Racing must be on to something? Anyway, this is the first expo that I have personally worked of this size.

Friday morning we departed Dalton, GA at 5:00AM for the two-hour trek thru the big city of Atlanta to reach our destination, the GA World Congress Center. We got in, got set-up, and by 10:00AM people began arriving. It wasn’t long at all before people started coming up to our booth and telling us how they had heard of Run for God. Some shared that they had or were currently going thru the class at their church. Others had never heard of Run for God and were excited to find out exactly what this ministry is all about.

I would say that 98% of these nearly 25,000 runners were warm, accepting, or at least cordial. It’s those remaining 2% that I’d like to focus on for just a moment. You see, occasionally I would notice those who were obviously offended by our very presence. I could see this, because those who are offended are not usually very discreet about that fact. Some would walk out of their way to go around our booth to avoid us. Some would pass by our booth not paying attention until one of us would say, “Hello”, then they’d just keep walking and shaking their head. Others would walk up and just stare at our booth in disgust almost daring us to engage in some kind of debate.

Like I said 98% of the crowd were simply awesome, and only 2% or less were, well, let’s just say “Not so welcoming”. You would think that those 98% would just drown out the eye rolls, whispers, and the standoffish body language of that small 2%. Well, at least for me, it didn’t. I began to find myself getting discouraged and even somewhat ill at those who did not agree with what Run for God stands for. Outwardly, I never let that show, but inwardly I was fighting a pretty serious battle. It was almost as if those people were there to test my spirit, to take my focus off what was important, and that was to point people to Jesus Christ. I never lost my composure because I knew coming in to this weekend that it would be like this. I also knew that there were those around me who don’t have a relationship with Christ and I could either shine the light of Christ or allow my “flesh” to take over.

I’ll be honest, on the drive home Saturday night, I was physically exhausted from standing on a concrete floor for two days, but I was even more mentally exhausted from the spiritual battle that had taken place in my mind over the past two days. It’s times like this that your mind starts to wonder. You may even start to second guess what your doing. Am I on the right path? Am I really the person for this? Is what I’m doing really making a difference? Needless to say, it didn’t take long once my head hit the pillow to be out for the night.

The next morning I wake up to the sound of my two overly active kids sprinting thru the house. It’s Sunday and time to head to church. Those thoughts from the drive home still lingering in my head, but they almost seem like a dream at this point. Isn’t it funny how God will start to wash away those kinds of thoughts so that he can prepare you for something else? And preparing me for something else is exactly what He was doing. I walked into Sunday school just as our class was getting started and it didn’t take long until I realized that this lesson was just for me, at least that’s how it seemed.

Sunday’s lesson was taken from Nehemiah 6. This chapter is all about the conspiracy against Nehemiah. See, God had called Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Nehemiah had many supporting and helping him, but there were also those who wanted to harm and even destroy him. Chapter 6 talks about two men by the names of Sanballat and Geshem who were trying to distract and destroy Nehemiah. They would send letters to Nehemiah requesting a meeting and spread rumors about what he was doing. But he knew that this was only a distraction from what God had called him to do. Nehemiah knew what God had called him to do. He kept his focus and got the job done without being led astray or discouraged by distractions. Nehemiah was blessed!

The Bible is full of stories just like Nehemiah’s. Stories of those who took on the call of God, worked thru adversity, and went down in history as a soldier of Christ. At the end of the day, we are ALL called to be the next Nehemiah. Followers who will run the path that God has laid in front of us, and lay aside the sin and distractions that make us lose our focus. Sounds like a passage of scripture that we runners all know.

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 endurance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1

So let me encourage you today of the fact that if you are facing opposition while trying to advance God’s kingdom, then you are most likely exactly where God wants you to be. Don’t lose focus. Keep your eye on what God has called you to do. And prayerfully walk right thru whatever is being thrown your way!

Mitchell

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

Prayer Concerns

Dear Run for God Family,

I hope that all is well with everyone. I don’t know about where you live, but old man winter is really letting himself be known today in North GA. As many of you know, Run for God has many exciting things happening over the next few months. We’ve got our 2015 Race Series that we will be rolling out, complete with 4 Virtual Races, Devotions is coming out soon, our new magazine Connect will be releasing in the next few days, and our Black Friday Sale is sure to be a huge hit!

Even though there are so many things going on, we are completely focused on two events that I’d like for you to join us in prayer about.

rsz_my_hope_america_5k_final-01#1 The Free “My Hope America 5K”
This weekend, Run for God is hosting a completely FREE event for the general public in the North GA area. This event is being funded by the revenue generated from our 2014 National Race Series, and will be VERY different from any race that we have ever hosted.

The focus of this event is not the 5K, it’s not the awards, and it’s not Run for God. In fact, we are not even having an awards ceremony; instead participants who place in their age groups will simply collect their awards as they leave. The focus of this event IS a video that we will be showing after the race called “The Cross”. This 29-minute video is part of the Billy Graham – My Hope America series. Billy Graham does what he does best in this video, he points people to Christ in a very clear and simple way.

We have been promoting this event to the general public, in fact, we have even challenged Christians who will be running to reach out and invite those who do not know Christ. Because of this fact, we are expecting lives to be changed and souls to be saved, not by anything we may do, but by what we know God can do.

Will you join us in praying for all aspects of this race?

DEVOTIONS_BLOG#2 The Release of “Devotions”
As many of you already know, Devotions is a new project that is releasing this month. This annual study is unlike anything we’ve ever released. Many people across the globe have been through the Run for God program, and many lives have been changed and even saved as a result of what God has done through these programs. But they are what they are, they are simply tools that we can use to point people to Christ.

People love the Run for God – Challenges because they are done in a small group setting and people are able to hold each other accountable both physically and spiritually. But what about those who, for whatever reason, would not join a Run for God – Challenge? Maybe they’re a veteran runner and feel like they don’t fit it, or there not comfortable starting something like this in a group setting, how about the possibility that they’re not a Christ believer and they’d never set foot in a church?

Our prayer is that this program will simply be another tool to reach lost people with the Gospel of Christ. Maybe someone who’s not sure about a “small group program” will pick this book up and be inspired both physically and spiritually by the stories in this book, YOUR stories! Maybe you know a runner who doesn’t believe all the “Jesus Stuff” and would never pickup a Bible much less step foot into a church. Could laying this book into their hands be the key?

Will you pray with us that Devotions will land in the hands of those who Need Christ?

Thank you in advance for your prayers, I KNOW they will make a difference!

Mitchell

Run for God – Devotions

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Below is an excerpt from Run for Gods – Devotions. Formatting will be different in actual book.

Week 18

Run the Race God Has Set Before You

One Sunday morning during the meet and greet time at church, two ladies commented on my upbeat personality. One woman said that I am always so bubbly, and another said that I always smile. I didn’t have time to tell them that I don’t always wake up that way. Some days I have to talk myself into that smile. I also have to remind myself daily to be grateful for all I have and force myself not to dwell on things I don’t need.

Every morning, I mentally prepare myself to face the world. I hit snooze a few times. I get up, go into the bathroom, and look at the scared person staring at me in the mirror. I make breakfast and pack lunch for my son and myself, but during this whole process, I am in prayer. If you were sitting in my kitchen watching me, you might think I was doing what any normal mom does as a morning routine. If you were to look closer though, you would see that I was quietly talking.

I give my fear and anxiety over to God. Jesus says I don’t have to carry that burden, so I try not to. I thank God for the food I am preparing, the home we live in, the little boy laughing at cartoons in the other room, the heat, electricity, and the most basic of things that I take for granted every day. By the time I am ready to walk out the door, all of the worldly junk that fills my mind has finally been cleared. When I get to my porch, I am able to greet my neighbors with a smile.

Most people don’t understand how I can be so positive all the time. It is simple. I choose not to worry about what I can’t control. I choose to give the negativity, illness, worry, and stress in my life over to God, but I didn’t learn to do that on my own.

In January 2013, my sister convinced me to join a local Run for God 5K challenge. Scared and worried about embarrassing myself, I agreed to try it. I ran track in junior high and high school, and I was so bad my parents begged me to quit at the end of my freshman season. Run for God was not what I expected at all. Everyone was so warm and friendly. The program is tailored to reach people of all faith levels and fitness levels, and God did what God does. He met me where I was and carried me to the finish line.

The Run for God class prepared me to begin a journey back to God. Each week I read the story and listened to people’s responses to the discussion questions, and I thought, “Why am I so angry all the time? I have a good life in spite of being a single mom. I have enough money for all the things my son and I need, a wonderful family, and a good job. Why can’t I just be happy?” During week three of our Run for God class, the discussion was titled “Running Your Own Race: Running the Race God Has Set before You.” I knew then that it wasn’t my sister who led me to the class, but God.

My sister is extremely athletic. She runs much faster than I do, but when we trained together for the 5K, she never left my side. She pushed me through each work out, running beside me step by step. She refused to allow me to quit or fail. A week before our race, the words “run your own race” rattled around in my head. My sister would have stayed with me through the whole course if I had wanted her to, but I decided it was time for me to trust God and let Him carry me to the finish line. I told her to go run her race, meet her time goals, and I would run mine.

I was scared out of my mind when the gun went off, but I turned on my mp3 player and went on my way. I became discouraged in the first half mile because I felt as if hundreds of people were passing me. I knew I had to change my focal point, so I concentrated on my breathing and paced myself to the beat of the music. Around the one-mile marker, I started seeing the leaders of the race looping back. I passed people from my RFG group as they headed back to the finish line. They were over half way done with the race and I had at least a mile ahead of me. They were throwing me high five’s and yelling, “Good job!” I felt overwhelmed by their love. God was showing His love through them.

My sister’s house is about half way through the course, and when I reached it, I cried. My son was sitting in the front yard with my mom. He yelled and waved a sign that read “GO MOMMY!” It took about 300 feet for me to pull myself back together, but I picked up the pace and started the loop back. As my music carried me, I felt a second surge of energy take me into the last mile. Then I saw my sister, who had already crossed the finish line, running toward me. She ran the last mile with me, encouraging me to stay strong. She stepped off to the side about 200 feet from the end, and in the photo of me crossing the finish line, you can see her in the background with her hands around her mouth, yelling at the top of her lungs.

Faith and God’s great love carried me through that race. Run for God taught me that anything is possible with God on my side and faith in my heart. I smile and have a happy heart today, because I am running God’s race.

In Galatians, Paul says they are focused on the wrong things. Christ gave them a mission. He has given each of us a mission. I had to run a 5K to realize my mission, and now that I am running my race, I don’t plan to ever look back. Every morning I wake up, praise God, and ask Him to show me what path I need to run. Without Him, I would be lost on the trail.

Katie Hendricks – Carrollton, OH

Get In The Word

Galatians 5:7–8

You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you.

Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Scripture Memorization

Write out the scripture(s) in the space below and recite them ten times.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Something to Ponder

What are you withholding from God? What burdens do you carry that you should give up to Him?

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone and allowed God to carry you through your fears?

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Do you spend time with God each day, asking Him about your mission in order to avoid allowing Satan a foothold for distraction?

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Running Observations by Dean

Thank the Volunteers

Races are great fun! It doesn’t matter if it is a local race with 100 participants or a party moving down Peachtree Street in Atlanta called “The Peachtree Road Race.” There are mud runs, color runs, and foam runs. Some races are plotted through downtown areas, some through the woods. Some have tons of awards; some are no-frills. There are 5Ks, 100 milers, triathlons, and duathlons. There is a race for everyone. Whether a race requires a lot of planning or only needs someone to draw a line in the dirt, they all have one thing in common—volunteers.

Many volunteers are runners themselves and understand what you are going through as you run. Many of them get up early on Saturday mornings to help their community or the race’s charitable beneficiary: Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, or ROTC for example. Almost any race that takes place on the roads will employ the services of the local police department, and although they may be paid for their services, they usually volunteer to do the work.

Race directors have a huge responsibility to bring their event together for everyone to enjoy. Have you ever wondered how the portable toilets show up for the event? Yes, the race director has to pay attention to every detail, and at most events they have curve balls thrown at them all day long. They must make decisions quickly, because more questions are coming in another three minutes. Usually when I want to talk to the race director on race morning, I have to wait in line.

On race day, those who hand out drinks, tell you where to turn, and protect you from traffic have put love and time into their roles under a director’s supervision in order to give you a great experience. If you are not one who already tells the volunteers how much you appreciate them, tell someone the next time you race. For most events, volunteering means giving up a day to a cause, and you are part of that cause. Remember that whenever something doesn’t go well for you. These people care about doing things right. I once ran a marathon and was going to receive the first place masters award. When they called out the winner, the time was fifteen minutes slower than my time. Imagine my shock. I calmly walked to the front to explain what had happened, and the race director sent me a trophy in the mail the next week. Problem solved, and I didn’t need to get upset about it.

Like a race, God has set up a course for us to follow. He is standing at the corners telling us which way to turn. He has aid stations along the way to help with any need. He waits for us at the finish line with something much better than a medal—everlasting life.

  • Races are full of volunteers trying to make your day the best it can be.
  • The volunteers really like hearing appreciation from participants, so thank everyone at your next event.
  • God wants us to run His course.  He said it would not be the easy course, but it will be worth the effort.

Order your full copy of Run for God’s – Devotions today at

www.RunforGod.com

Share Your Story…

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This morning, I looked at each one of the beautiful pictures that our photographer and friends captured at last year’s 5k graduation race. This coming Saturday marks another milestone in the ministry in Warner Robins, GA, ten members will cross the finish line of their first 5k.

This is our 8th season in the 5k challenge. Each season is a blessing of God’s presence in Run for God. The excitement never changes for those who have completed their training and continue meet their goal of completing their first 5k race. I am overwhelmed with so much gratitude from our Father for leading each of us through this journey and keeping us all committed to the race.

Each season definitely has been full of hills and valleys, but seeing each member persevere and cross the finish line makes it all worth while. Standing back and watching everyone cheer, slap hands, hug one another with tears of happiness and accomplishment as they meet their friends and family members at the finish line is always a beautiful sight to see. Doesn’t it make you wonder how our friends and family will greet us in heaven? Oh, what a glorious day!

Every season brings a dynamic group of personalities that shine like stars. Each member is full of spark, encouragement, motivation and support for one another. It doesn’t take long for friendships to develop and bonds to be created. Each member pairs up, reaches out, motivates each other and encourages one another to push through each workout. I believe that this is when they start to understand true accountability of the physical and spiritual race. More importantly, each one of these amazing individuals all have an incredible story–all different, but are truly beautiful testimonies of how God is working in their lives. One commonality that everyone shares in the end is that we all want to give God all of the glory in our accomplishments because without HIM, we could not have completed the challenge. One thing I tell everyone in the challenge is that God has given each of you the desire to start the race, the next step is completely up to you.

One of my favorite quotes says just that, “The journey to God begins with one small step. After that, one step at a time. He doesn’t expect us to run the mile, but He promises to give you the strength to go the distances.” (Unknown) To me, the journey to the graduation race was so much more meaningful than finishing race itself. At the end of each season, there are many that long for the fellowship again (including me), but I know that there is always another season and another lesson that awaits. A lesson of learning the importance of recognizing that Christianity is a team event, not solo; learning to stretch ourselves, and help others stretch in the process. Most importantly, learning to become others minded by watching out for each other and leaving no one behind. (Read Ephesians 4:11-16)

It seems to me that God has given this ministry time for each of us to create a sense of unity and to better equip one another to not only finish the race, but to grow and become teachers and disciples, so that the body of Christ may be built up in those around us and in ourselves. Let us not forget that relationships that are developed and mended as a result of our spiritual journey together during Run for God.

I believe it is important to continue to share our stories to expand our Christian fellowship by reaching out to others and invite them into this incredible ministry and allow them to experience the personal and spiritual growth we have been so blessed to know. It is now up to us to share our story of personal growth and experience with our churches and communities, so that men, women and children can grow physically and spiritually stronger. It is my belief that this newfound growth that allows them to be more mature parents, spouses, leaders, and most importantly Christians.

After all if we cultivate the soil of men and women and nurture their physical state the spiritual seeds, the Church plants will grow and become splendid vine like the seedlings in Ezekiel 17:8, “It had been planted in good soil by abundant water so that it would produce branches, bear fruit and become a splendid vine.”

I will pray that each of you look deeper than your race experience and remember the seedlings that have been planted in your good soil that you have spent these many months cultivating and help Run for God continue to grow and flourish as it had helped each of us grow and flourish. As a supporting ligament of the body of Christ what role will you play in this growth?

Tanna Friday, Run for God – Social Marketing/PR/Race Coordinator

To share your story, visit http://www.runforgod.com/devotions

The Thing About a Shirt

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This past weekend I was in Richmond, VA for the Youth and Junior Elite draft legal triathlon. Some of our young athletes were competing, and it was an all around great trip. Something happened this weekend that happens quiet often to our entire Run for God family. A gentleman came out of his way to comment on our shirts, more specifically, the suits our triathlon kids wear. He said that his son had recently come to know the Lord and when he saw one of our athlete’s on the course wearing their Run for God gear, it inspired him. The other part of our Tri team was competing at another venue and while getting a race summary from that venue; I heard the same thing, stories of how people had commented on the Run for God tent and the shirts. While making the eight-hour drive home, I pulled up my Facebook and began reading how Ben Reed, an instructor in Westerville, OH, had volunteered his class to work the packet pick-up at a local race. 14,500 runners were present. Guess what, they were all wearing their Run for God shirts, and to hear the impact they had on those runners was awesome!

Yes, I am wearing a Run for God shirt 95% of the time, and I get many comments from many people. The vast majority of comments are great, inspiring, and are the type of comments that you know the Lord has reached down and touched someone’s day. Even if it’s just a small touch. Others are witty and even rude at times, like the guy that asked me “What’s God running for? President?” I’m convinced that in some way, even those people are touched.

So, can a t-shirt make a difference? I say yes, but I say that with a strong word of caution. People today seem to be more aware than ever of how others handle and portray themselves. A Run for God shirt, or any spiritual shirt for that matter, on the shoulders of someone who is out in the world living for Christ and reflecting Jesus can be a very powerful thing. It says a lot about who you are and whom you follow. It lets others know what you stand for without you ever having to open your mouth. But, and here is the word of caution, you must be walking with Christ and reflecting His light for that shirt to have ANY power. I have a friend that had a quote from Francis of Assisi printed on the back of his Run for God shirt. The quote is simply “Preach the Gospel, and if necessary, use words”. That statement is so true! We can make all the statements we want about how we live for God, and even have a closet full of spiritual shirts, but if our actions do not backup what we are representing then we are only hurting the cause and our words have no validity.

2 Corinthians 5:20-21 (NIV)

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sinfor us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

“Preach the Gospel, and if necessary, use words” Francis of Assisi

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Devotions

DEVOTIONS_BLOGHello Everyone,

Well I don’t know how the weather is where you live, but today it’s raining and cold here in North GA, and less than 24 hours ago I was out on my road bike in shorts and short sleeves enjoying sunshine and seventy degrees!  I am just amazed at how that can happen.

I wanted to reach out to you all today to share some exciting news that we have coming out of the Run for God camp.  Many of you through the years have shared your incredible stories with me.  Some of your stories have been ones of extreme lifestyle changes, health improvements, weight loss, a reconnection with the Lord, and even marriages being reinvigorated.  These stories always have a common theme, they always involve a lesson that God taught you.  I am always at a loss for words when hearing how God can use a ministry, that teaches people such a simple discipline, to radically change their life.  These stories are inspiring, motivational, and should be given a platform so that others can learn and be inspired from them.  I’ve often wondered how this could be done, and I think that lately the Lord has been showing me the answer to that very question.

I want to introduce you to “Devotions”.  Devotions will be just what the name says.  52 weeks of stories that will inspire, motivate, and encourage runners of all levels.  Run for God was founded on a 12-week Bible Study that parallels faith and endurance.  Whether it be a 5K, 10K, or Half-Marathon, we have a Bible Study for you that can be done in a group setting, and that will not change.  But “Devotions” is something very different.  This will be a yearly personal study that will be packed full of Real Life experiences that you can enjoy all year-long.  Along with this study will be training plans of all common running distances as well as our answers to the 52 most common running questions.

So what do we need?

  1. A Title – Sum up your story in 30 characters or less.
  2. Your Story – 600-1200 words
  3. Scripture – 3 passages that explain how God tied your story to His word.
  4. Questions – 3 thought-provoking questions that we should ponder

That’s it!  Once we get your story we will review it and possibly use it in one of three places.  Some will be used for our motivational post series, others may be used for blog contributions, and the 52 that our panel feel will make the most impact on readers will be published in the all new “Devotions” series that is slated to release in 2015.  If your story is chosen to be published in the “Devotions” series, you will receive 10 copies of the book, once published, at no charge.

Again, please consider sharing!  We all have a story.  Your story is powerful and may be just the thing that someone else needs to hear!

Keep Running for God!

Mitchell

YOUR STORY IS POWERFUL AND MAY BE JUST THE THING THAT SOMEONE ELSE NEEDS TO HEAR!

Post your Devotion at www.RunforGod.com/Devotions

Spiritual Base

Slow RunningThis past week I began a forty-week training plan that will hopefully land me at the Chattanooga Ironman finish line in under twelve hours in just over nine months from now.  Training for an event like his is something that I have become very familiar with.  I have read about this kind of training, gotten formal education on this kind of training, been certified to coach this type training, and I have personally endured this kind of training.

The first thing you will learn about any kind of endurance training is that you must first establish a base.  Base is a period of time in your training that you will exercise at an intensity that will many times seem easy, monotonous, and just a waste of time.  So why do I say that it may seem to be a waste of time?  Because as athletes we have an inner desire to always do better, to push ourselves to the limit, and as runners, to just get faster.  Base work accomplishes none of this; at least that is what we athletes often think.

It has always been said that many runners never get faster because their hard days are not hard enough, and their slow days are not slow enough.  Many times, you will fall into one category or the other, but rarely into both.  Base work builds endurance and is the foundation for everything that your training is built on.  Sure you can go out and do speed work every day of the week, you can even do 100 meter sprint until your heart is pounding out of your chest, but without a base level of fitness you’ll find it very hard to complete a 5K or 10K, much less a half or full marathon.  I once read a study that talked about the fact that many NBA players will often run 4.5 to 6 miles in a game at high intensities with no problem, but ask those same players to run 6 miles straight and they’d find that to be a real challenge.  Why?  Because basketball players do not build a base level of fitness, nor do they need it.  They train those fast twitch muscles to do exactly what they are designed to do, go fast, and neglect those slow twitch endurance muscles.

Speed work is great!  It’s challenging, it pushes you outside your comfort zone, and it makes you a better runner.  But without a good base period even the best speed work plan will not be sustainable.  If you’re running an endurance race and all you’ve done is speed work in training, you WILL blow up, hit the wall, and crash and burn.

So let me get to the point that I set out to make.  Today I was running one of those dreaded Six Mile Low Intensity Zone 3 training runs.  For those of you who don’t understand what that is, just take your comfortable running pace and at about two minutes per mile to it.  It’s a slow run; it’s almost embarrassingly slow and I was having a battle in my mind as to whether or not I should speed up.  The runner in me wanted to pick up the pace to my “comfort zone” and not look like the turtle rolling down the side-walk, but the trainer in me was hammering home the point that base work is a must and without it this 140.6 mile race might end at 70.3 or sooner.

It was at this point that the Lord began speaking to me about my Spiritual Base.  Don’t you just love it when God takes a point that you are trying to make to yourself and uses it to make His point for where you may be spiritually?  He began to show me that just like I must have an athletic base when competing in endurance events; I must also have a spiritual base when competing in this earthly event called life.

Spiritual base is also very basic.  It’s spending time in prayer and in Gods word.  This is the base by which we should all build our spiritual lives.  If you’re like me, I love to read books or hear sermons on how to be more spiritually fit.  These are great resources and if Biblically grounded will definitely add to your spiritual toolbox and make you sharper.  But these resources are like speed work, they will make you more knowledgeable and for a lack of better words, more spiritually fit, but without a strong base, they are useless.  Hearing a great sermon or reading a great spiritual book and having a deep daily relationship with God is like sharpening the edge of an industrial size log splitter.  That log splitter has a base big enough to get the job done even with a dull edge, but having it razor-sharp only makes it easier.  Hearing that great sermon or reading that great book without a deep daily relationship with Christ is like sharpening the edge of a razor blade.  Yes, it’s very sharp, but when put to the test against an oak log, it will fail!

So I challenge you today to join me in building a spiritual base that will stand up to even the biggest hurdle.  Make prayer and spending time in Gods word the backbone of your spiritual life.  Yes, it’s OK to sharpen the edge, but only after the base can back it up.

God Bless Everyone!

Mitchell

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.   John 1:1

Move out of your comfort zone.

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Happy New Year Everyone!

I just wanted to sit down for a moment, look back on 2013, and share a few thoughts that have been on my mind.  This past year has been a great one for Run for God.  Thanks to your support and God’s AWESOME grace, we have continued to see tremendous growth.

As of today, Run for God has been taught in 49 of the 50 states (come on Connecticut), and 6 countries.  Nearly 1300 different churches, schools, and athletic clubs have walked through the Run for God Challenges with over 27,000 graduates.  This past year we’ve added some new programs, new products, new races, and even had the privilege of hiring some new faces.  Are things always perfect here at the Run for God shop?  Not even close!  Yes God is a perfect God, but I’m still Mitchell and I can certainly mess things up from time to time.  Some of you may remember the books with upside down pages, incorrect pages, or recently missing pages.  Yes, I occasionally make grammar mistakes, printing mistakes, and I’ve even been known to stick my foot in my mouth.  It’s a good thing God call’s workers, not perfect workers, or well-spoken workers, but workers.

So why do I keep such a close eye on these numbers?  Because it’s a very clear reminder that God is using this program to touch the lives of people all over the world.  If you’ve read the introduction of The 5K Challenge, you know that I was happy with 12 T-shirts, I was happy and content with teaching one class at my church, I was ready to go back to my “Building” career after our first graduation race.  Run for God is not something I went looking for, but it was something that the Lord laid on my heart and a decision had to be made, go or don’t go.

Early on, I said this would never work.  I felt unworthy; I mean who was I to lead a program like this?  I wasn’t an author, I’d never been to seminary, I wasn’t an Olympic Marathoner, I’m not even that good of a runner, although I do love it.  I had a million excuses as to why I couldn’t do this and none of them seem to slow God down.  Then one day it hit me!  I AM unworthy and unprepared, but maybe that’s exactly where God wants me.  At our moments of weakness, God WILL show His strength.

So why am I bringing all this up?  Because it seems that over the past year I have talked to so many people who relate to my story.  They feel the Lord pushing them to do something, something outside their comfort zone, but something just seems to be holding them back.  One gentleman told me this past year that he has felt the Lord calling him to start a Christian based workout gym, another lady shared with me her idea of a Christian Children’s book.  There were several others that shared great ideas with me, and more importantly they indicated they felt the Lord calling them to these ideas.  So why haven’t they acted?  Fear!  Fear is one of the devil’s best tools.  The ideas that I’m not good enough, that I’m not worthy, that it just won’t work, are all fear tactic’s.

Here is the bottom line.  If you truly feel the Lord calling you to do something, you’ve prayed about it, and aggressively sought His direction, and you know that you know, THEN DO IT!  It doesn’t matter how prepared you are, how good you are, or what your titles are, if God birthed the idea, go for it.  We will NEVER be good enough to do anything God sized, but God is, and that’s all that matters!

God Bless and Happy New Year Everyone!

Mitchell

Mary’s Faithful Journey

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While reading the Christmas story in the book of Luke, I am completely amazed by Mary’s faith. The thoughts and feelings she must have experienced when approached by the angel of the Lord? How was she able to handle the news of raising the Son of God? How did she feel during the lonely journey that she and Joseph took together? She must have felt afraid and unsure why she was chosen by God to carry out His precious plan. There are many lessons that the bible has shown me through Mary’s life in my journey as an instructor today. I want to share a few with you this holiday season.

  1. Mary knew the Word of God and kept it hidden in her heart (Luke 1:54-55). As a Christian, and an instructor, it is important to know His Word, make time for it daily in order to grow and speak His truths to others.
  2. Mary was filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35). There are times when I have found myself relying on my own strength rather than submitting to the power of the Spirit to help me get through some tough situations. Jesus said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible.” (Mark 10:27) I pray that we continue to learn to submit our lives to Him in order for Him to work in and through us.
  3. Mary said “YES” (Luke 1:38).  She not only said yes to God’s plan, but she also was obedient, submissive and had a humble heart. Being obedient can sometimes be very frightening. I remember God calling me to become an instructor with Run for God. Even though I was terrified, and felt inadequate, I knew I wanted to do more for Him. Today I still ask, “Lord, if it is of you, I will go.” Are you willing to say, “Yes Lord?” May we have ears to hear His call and become faithful and obedient servants for His glory.
  4. The Lord chose Mary to be a vessel (Luke 1:30-31 ).  As Christians, we are all chosen to be an instrument for God. Whether you are leading or studying the Run for God program, you can use what God has given you to reach and encourage others. Run for God’s mission is to prepare individuals to be better witnesses for Christ mentally, physically and spiritually. All you have to do is share what He has done for you, leave the rest to Him.
  5. Mary asked Jesus for help (John 2:3-5). When I decided to take a leap of faith and lead my first season of the 5k Challenge, I wasn’t sure how to begin the journey that was ahead. Then I remembered the story of Moses when he told God that he wasn’t a speaker. God told him that He would equip him with everything he needed. Sometimes we all feel unsure if we are able to lead or are worthy to His calling, but you need to know that He needs you. Most of all, you need Him. Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
  6. Mary praised God in all things (Luke 1:46-47).  She praised God in every circumstance. Learning to praise Him in all circumstances brings honor to Him, reflects our relationship with God and brings others to Christ.
  7. Mary was faithful (John 19:25).  When everyone had begun to desert Jesus, Mary stayed with Him all the way to His death. We live in a society where being bold for Christ is not popular. Are you willing to be bold and lead others to Christ and help individuals become better witnesses for Christ? Be bold and share your faith! Join us this January

The one lesson I hold to the most is being able to say, “yes Lord.”  I used these two words in Fall of 2011, and I am reminded with each season of Run for God. As some of us conclude this Fall season of Run for God as an instructor and prepare for the next season that the Lord has for us and as we enter into this Christmas season, may we remember to have hearts that are submissive to God’s will for our lives.  He may call some of you to say “yes” to becoming an Instructor or a student of this ministry, but one thing He has called us all to, as followers of Christ, is faithfulness. May we surrender our lives to His will and purpose for our lives.  May we surrender to Him on bended knee and say, ‘Yes Lord.”

Running for Him,

Tanna Friday, Run for God Instructor – Warner Robins, GA