Tuesday, April 6, 2010

‘Gracerunner: Faith on the Run’ by Chris A. Gillespie – Book Review

Buzz this
The first marathon of my season is coming up this weekend – the St. Louis Marathon on April 11.  One of the joys in being involved in the marathon world (our first was the Cleveland Marathon in May 2008) is making the acquaintance of Chris and Kiki  Gillespie.  Chris is the founder and executive director of Team 413 – Gracerunner Ministries; Kiki is the Associate Director, and Chris’ lovely (and loving) wife.  My husband Fred and I first encountered Team 413 at the Walt Disney World Marathon in January 2009.  Since then, we have seen them at several different events, and I have the privilege of being a Team 413 ambassador.

Team 413 is a Christian ministry that is geared toward the elite athlete community.  They travel to marathons around the country, and have booths at marathon expos, selling Team 413 tech shirts and miscellaneous other merchandise.  In addition, Chris has the opportunity to share the gospel message at many of these expos.

Chris has written his first book, ‘Gracerunner: Faith on the Run.’  This book is a devotional containing stories of inspiration and faith from Team 413 members all around the country, as well as stories from Chris’ life.   In addition to the stories, Chris has included photos of Team 413 members from all over the country.

Here is the description on the back of the book:

From one t-shirt to a worldwide ministry, Chris Gillespie calls Team 413 a miracle of God’s grace.  In 2003, Chris founded Team 413 inspired by God’s calling in his life.  Team 413 is his passion –- a labor of love for runners and other endurance athletes worldwide.

Gillespie shares a message of confidence, perseverance, courage, and strength.  His goal is to exhibit in his own life and to impart to others the truth of Philippians 4:13 – “I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me.”

This wonderful book is full of stories of God’s glory being revealed time after time.  Here is Chris describing his thoughts on the shirts which include the wonderful scripture verse:

“A simple running shirt?   I don’t think so anymore.  I believe that it is a huge witnessing tool, a billboard of God’s grace, a lightning rod of hope.  I challenge each of you to share your faith as you go about your journey on the roads of life.  I ask you to ‘pay it forward and share it forward’ because the ultimate price has already been paid for you!” (p. 45)

Here is another inspirational passage from Chris’s pen:

“For many years, I’ve written that when our life canvas is erased and wiped clean, God can work within us and create a masterpiece in our lives.  I think that He creates that masterpiece in our lives.  I think that He creates that masterpiece with a bunch of those happy snapshot moments like salvation, family smiles, friend moments, seed planting opportunities, running under His grace!” (p. 51)   

I found this book to be full of these wonderfully inspirational passages, with pages of ‘Gracerunner Notes’ between each story, providing space to write out your personal reflections or prayers. 
Being that the next time I will see Chris and Kiki is in St. Louis, I enjoyed Story # 30 entitled ‘Gateway,’ in which Chris recounts the St. Louis Marathon in 2003 (the first year for Team 413).  The marathon weather ended up being rainy and windy and sleety (my word, not Chris’s!).  Chris shares his perspective on the day:

“My sacrifices were actually few.  My Savior once left His throne and came to this earth to live with us.  He lived like us, even though He didn’t have to do so.  He ran the ultimate race.  He was mocked and ridiculed.  A crown of thorns was placed upon Him.  He was spat upon.  He was nailed to a cross and died for you and me.  But, the good news is that He finished the race against all odds.”  (p. 197)

I can’t tell you what an inspiration it is to see Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” – on the back of a fellow marathoner – especially at Mile 21….!  And many people have commented to tell me that that is their life verse – and are grateful to see it when they need the reminder most!  I thank Chris for listening to the call of the Lord in getting this ministry off the ground in 2003, and all of the countless number of hours he and Kiki have devoted to the ministry; in addition to full-time jobs for both of them.  I look forward to being a part of the Team 413 team for many years to come – and look forward to seeing them this week in St. Louis!

Other places where you can encounter Team 413 online is on Chris’ Gracerunner Journal, where he shares highlights from both Team 413 and his life.  Team 413 has a fundraising campaign called Faith on the Run 2010; you can also contribute to this wonderful outreach here.  You can also read my other Team 413 blog posts here and here.

You can contact Christ directly at chris@team413.org to order a copy of this wonderful and worthwhile book; I highly recommend it!  

This book was generously provided by the author.


Chris A. Gillespie said...

Thanks so much, Andrea!

We are blessed to have you and Fred as TEAM 413 Ambassadors. I appreciate you taking the time to review my book. It was given to me as a gift straight from the heart of God.

I hope and pray that it will touch lives just as the people, places, and things that we write about have touched mine.

God bless you!
Chris G.

Andrea Schultz said...

Hi Chris -

We're also blessed and honored to be involved with Team 413. It has been one of the highlights of our (short!) married life! And we are both blessed by what God has given to you!

Blessings -


Team 413 St Louis said...

There now is a local chapter of this awesome ministry right here in St Louis. If you would like more information please email us at team413stl@gmail.com

Andrea Schultz said...

That's terrific news, St. Louis! I encourage all Missourians to get involved with this terrific ministry!

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