It was the fall of 2018, and my son, Sammy was living in Finland. My wife, Patty, and I went to visit him. We had a wonderful visit, but there was one thing in particular that they didn’t do: smile.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that they don’t smile. In fact, in most European countries, they don’t make eye contact with you, unless you’re a customer in their store. This was crazy to me.
I believe there is something powerful about making eye contact, and smiling. I believe it makes people feel valued and important. But in Finland, I must’ve looked like a freak!! In fact, even as I’m out on my daily run, I always say “hello” and smile. Honestly, you never know what someone is going through in their life. That smile and hello just might be the medicine they didnt know that they needed!
Here’s my challenge to you: smile at someone. It takes very little effort, and can totally make someone’s day.
A joyful, cheerful heart brings healing to both body and soul. But the one whose heart is crushed struggles with sickness and depression. Proverbs 17:22
Smile and spread joy! Go make a difference. Always run by faith!
A few weeks ago, I introduced you to my “Prayer Jar Project”. A simple way for me to pray for the people who matter most in my life. After only a few short weeks, I have been AMAZED at what has happened.
Every morning, when I reach into the Prayer Jar, I say a prayer to ask God to let me pull just the right name of the person who needs prayer for 24 hours.
Day 1: I pulled the name of someone who has a very close friend battling COVID-19.
Day 2: I pulled the name of someone watching her Mom battle cancer.
Day 3: I pulled the name of a friend trying to sell their house. (Within days after this prayer, it sold!)
Day 4: I pulled the name of my church. Perfect timing as our lead Pastor of 30 years retired.
Day 5: My wife, Patty, to help give her great influence at work. That day, she had a big meeting!
Day 6: A friend who is trying to grow in their career, and looking for new opportunities.
Day 7: My Mom and Stepdad. Just so happens they are trying to sell their home.
Day 8: A colleague in the radio industry. That day, he happened to be in the midst of a fundraiser for his radio station. Random? I think not!
Day 9: A running friend. He asked for prayer for his family to grow in the faith.
Day 10: I pulled the name of a family who, on this specific day, was driving to college graduation for their son.
Day 11: “Musicians we play on our radio station”. That afternoon, I had a Zoom with one of the artists. (Crazy timing!)
Day 12: A friend who is struggling in their marriage. (Again, timing)
Day 13: A friend of mine who is need of prayer for perseverance, and struggling with feeling a little blue.
Bottom Line: The Prayer Jar project is not only changing lives, it is changing mine! I am more committed to prayer than I have been in quite some time.
I’d like to encourage you to create your own Prayer Jar. Just put the names of friends, family, coworkers, anyone in your contacts list, etc. on paper, and drop them into a jar. Then, every morning, pull a name and start praying!
If you would like for me to add you to my jar, leave your name in the comment section. Also I’d love for you to subscribe to my blog for future updates. I believe that prayer works!
“This is the reason I urge you to boldly believefor whatever you ask for in prayer — be convinced that you have received it and it will be yours”.
Mark 11:24 TPT
Keep praying! Go make a difference. Always Run By Faith!
People love to get free food samples at grocery stores. And have you noticed that they’ll pretty much try anything? That’s the point, right? Sometimes you’re skeptical on how it’s going to taste. But, you never know til you try it, right? That sample pushes you from, “I’m not sure about that…” to, “I kind of like that!”
I believe the same can be said about how we live our faith life. When someone sees you living in a way that is encouraging, a life filled with joy, a life that brings peace, more people are willing to go from, “I’m not sure about that…”, to, “You know, I kind of like this!”
And, when you sample something you don’t like, you skip the purchase. And guess what? When people see you living selfishly, or with a negative attitude, they’re reaction? “I’m not so sure about this.”
Every day, your life is a “sample” to everyone around you. Remember, people will pretty much try anything.
Sample well. Go make a difference. Always run by faith!
Friends, for a few years now, I have shared with you that prayer is powerful. I have talked about it, blogged about it, even done a vlog about it. But now, it is time to do something more about it.
Confess and acknowledge how you have offended one another and then pray for one another to be instantly healed, for tremendous power is released through the passionate, heartfelt prayer of a godly believer! James 5:16
I believe that prayer works. From someone’s “bad day”, flipping to a “good day”. From reports of tumors miraculously shrinking, to the restoration of broken marriages. Prayer is a powerful tool! But, I’m ashamed to say, I don’t pray near enough. So, I’m taking action.
Introducing, “The Prayer Ja Project”. This simple jar contains the names of all of people in the contact list in my phone. I have names of family and friends. Co-Workers, neighbors, even my mechanic. If I have made contact with someone, I’m going to pray for that someone.
Here’s my plan. Every morning, I am going to reach into my “Prayer Jar”, and pull out a name. Throughout the day, as that person comes to my mind, I’ll take a moment and pray. I will pray for his/her health, their family, their job, direction in their life, and their faith-walk. Anything that pops into my mind as the Lord leads.
Here’s the cool thing. You can do this, too! It took me about 15 minutes to go through my texts and contact list, and write those names on slips of paper. Then, I cut them out, and put them into the jar. How simple!
And you know what? I expect God to do big things through “The Prayer Jar Project”. Why am I so confident? Confidence comes from the Bible in Ephesisans Chapter 3.
Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you. Ephesians 3:20 TPT
How stinkin’ cool is that? Take your wildest dreams, and God can make them immeasurably more than you can ask OR even imagine! (Insert mind-blowing sound effect)
Think of your, “if only this prayer would be answered…” prayer, and know that God can answer it! And then, He can super size it! Wow!
While there is NO magic in the jar, the jar holds the names of God’s children. You!! It holds YOUR name. And YOU are precious to Him. You are His child.
If you would like to know that someone is praying for you, I’m here! I would love to pray for you. Simply drop your name in the comments below, and I will make sure that I put your name in the Prayer Jar.
Pray continually. Go Make a difference. Always Run By Faith.
This is the true story of what happened to me on May 1, 2017. A painful day. But, a day changed the path of my life.
It started as a normal Monday morning. I had just finished up my morning radio show, like normal. I then headed to my normal Monday meeting. That was the only thing normal about Monday, May 1, 2017.
As my co-host and I were about to sit down for the meeting, I was asked to go into another room. (Honestly, I didn’t think much of it at the time). I figured they just wanted to talk to us separately about ideas for our show. That was not right at all. Moments later, due to corporate budget cuts, my co-host was being let go.
I was then pulled into that same meeting room. My mind raced. How will I provide for my family? What will become of my career? Yet, I was going to walk by faith, and not by sight.
I was told that budget cuts had to be made. I braced for the worst. “I’m sorry, we had to let your co-host go. Budget cuts”. In an instant, my “normal” shifted to “out of control”.
I was hurt. I was confused. I was praying for help! Now what? How do I do a, “team show” alone? Do I want to do a show alone? God, what is happening? Why is this happening?
This was one of the worst days of my life. I had worked so hard. Put in so many hours. And in one meeting, it all changed.
I know that in reality, a change in your job is not the end of the world. But, it still stings.
I have a friend, who at the age of 25, was diagnosed with cancer. She is still alive today. But, it changed her life. My sister, at the age of 25, was told that she would not survive her disease. It changed my life. The common thread? When news comes at you that you’re expecting, it rocks your world. My world was rocked on May 01, 2017. One of the worst days of my life.
I dealt with many emotions. Everything from survivor guilt, to what’s next? It was a very difficult road. I pushed forward. I had to hold my head up the best that I could. And, trust me, that isn’t saying much. It was a painful time.
To keep this long story to a minimum, during this time, I was listening to a message from a Pastor out of Chicago who was sharing a message, “The Worst day of your life, can be the best day of your life”. As I listened, I wondered how that was even possible. But now, looking back 4 years, it was spot on! God was working on my behalf, even when I couldn’t see it.
Fast forward a few weeks. After much prayer, I decided to take a step of faith, put in my notice, and take a leap into a job with a ministy. I had been truly feeling a pull into ministry, but didn’t know what that looked like. Well, this was my opportunity to take a bold step.
I didn’t know my future would fully look like, but looking back, that bold step lead me to where I am today.
I’m now doing full time “ministry ” on the radio. And, in a crazy turn of events that only God could orchestrate, I am again working with my former co-host. Yes, the one who was let go. God made a way for her, on one of the worst days of her life.
Look what God has done. He turned my “worst day”, into the “best day”.
Through it all, my wife, Patty, has been an amazing blessing of support through the entire process. She has been my encourager, my cheerleader, my helpmate. Thank you, Patty.
Friend, I don’t know what you’re facing today. Perhaps this is the worst day of your life. Rest assured, God can turn the worst day of your life, into the best day of your life.
The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.
I had to lean into this Bible verse countless times and trust that it was true. It WAS. Still is!
Let God fight for you. Go make a difference. Always, Run By Faith.
“Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was”. Those words were sung by the prophets from the band, Talking Heads. And, as we look at Easter, 2021, are they right?
The pandemic has changed many things, yet some things remain the same. Today, I saw a woman saying hello to a senior citizen, through a window. Same as a year ago. Today, not as many people were in-person in worship. Same as a year ago. Today, streets were quieter than normal. Same as a year ago.
That said, as I woke up today, 2021 brings new life. The Bible is as true today, in 2021, as it was the day it was 1st written. Same as it ever was. God’s love for you has not changed in 2021. Same as it ever was. His promise of eternal life has not changed for you in 2021. Same as it ever was.
What, in this crazy world, has changed in your life? Job? Health? Friends? What has remained the same? Is there anything you would like to see change? What can you do about it? Or, will you just be, “the same as it ever was”?
Make that change. Go make a difference. Always Run By Faith!
Meow. Meow. Meow. Every morning. Meow. Meow. Meow. Every afternoon. Meow. Meow. Meow. Everyday, our cat, Rory, cries, meow! It gets annoying, but he sure is effective.
The reason for his constant meow? He wants his Temptations treat. Yes, those little bite sized treats in a jar. He has been conditioned that he gets a few treats every morning. So, as soon as morning rolls around, the meow-fest begins. And, it doesn’t stop until he gets his treat.
Just today, his meow was so persistent, I got out of bed to give him his treat just to keep him quite. His constant begging won me over. Even if I wasn’t quite ready to get out of bed.
Jesus told a parable in Luke 18 called, “The Parable of the Persistent Widow”. And, it is quite similar to Rory and his constant meow.
In a certain town, there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
“And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says.And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
Bottom line, the widow in the parable didn’t stop asking God for what she needed. Eventually, the judge granted her the request.
Our cat, Rory, didn’t stop asking, “meowing”, either. And if I will get out of bed to get treats for Rory, how much more will a loving, just God, hear my persistence?
What, in your life, is a prayer that you want to be answered? Even if it seems like you’ve been praying it for years, don’t stop!
Keep asking, or “meowing”. Go make a difference. And always, Run By Faith.
Another year, another canceled race. Is it frustrating? Absolutely. Is there a chance your favorite race won’t ever come back? Absolutely. Is there something you can do about it to make sure that it WILL come back? Absolutely!
As we continue to slowly venture into opening things back up from the Pandemic shutdown, more races have had to make the difficult decision to make their race virtual. This isn’t a decision that your RD (Race Director) takes lightly. Numerous phone calls, emails, texts, and Zoom meetings have taken place to bring them to this decision. If this this has been tough on you, put yourself in the shoes of your RD.
Hours have been spent planning for your big race day. T-shirts and medals have been ordered. Contracts, sometimes filled with “Non-refundable Clauses” have been signed. And, the feeling of knowing that your expectations might not be met weighs heavily on your RD’s heart. Despite all of that, there’s something that potentially could break your RDs heart even more; your race might not come back next year. Now, before you freak out, there’s something you can do about it.
If your race offers a virtual option, SIGN UP! This will help offset some of the costs I spoke about earlier. And, it will help keep your race from going under. Yes, those are some of the tough discussions that some races are facing. If you’re thinking, “C’mon, Tommy, a virtual race can’t cost THAT much”. You probably don’t realize all of the costs that go into making your race day happen. I know of a race that ended up spending well over $7,000 on shipping for medals and t-shirts. (That certainly wasn’t in the original budget). So, if they had 200 people run the race virtually, at $35 per person, they broke even on JUST the shipping.
Running virtually DOES have its benefits. You choose the day to run. (I suggest picking your most favorable forecast). You get to choose your course. You aren’t fighting traffic. You don’t need to find a parking spot, or arrange travel. AND, you still get the amazing swag!
Events falling in the land of in between…you know the ones falling in the space of stringent gathering protocols and moderate vaccine percentages…need our support to ensure a return next year at this time.
We, at Gazelle Girl, are working hard to create a race feel experience as best we can. With fun swag additions like cowbells and confetti poppers, and small hometown gatherings. Motigo messaging that mimics the on course cheer squads and voices we’ve come to love and expect.
We’ve reduced the race fee to keep it reasonable for anyone to access. Walk or jog- just join us!”
Holly Visser, Gazelle Girl RD
My wife, Patty, is again signed up for the Gazelle Girl virtual race. You can still sign up, too. (just click that link) Oh, and another “virtual benefit”? You can run this in your own hometown, and still get the swag! (and it is legit swag!!)
Last year, I challenged you to flood the Facebook page, and email in-box, of your RD’s with LOVE! Show them you respect them, and their tough decisions. Being a RD is not glamorous. And, I know, each of them didn’t foresee continued pandemic guidelines. Join me in spreading a message of love and support to each of them.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11
Race virtually. Love continuously. Always Run By Faith.
Several Years ago, I was in a 12 person relay race called, RAGNAR. The race territory covered 200 miles. One runner would pass a baton to another runner. Then, we’d drive to the next destination, and wait for that runner to pass the baton so that the next runner could go. Then, on and on, and on. Once you’re passed the baton, you take off and run. Until you get the baton, you wait.
Guess what? Today, I’m encouraging you to take the baton, and run! Volunteer. Serve. Get involved. Community. School. Church. Just grab the baton and get involved. What are you waiting for?
There may be something inside you right now saying, “how can I do this?” Let me say this, how can you NOT? I know what you’re thinking, “it’ll be a headache” “my schedule is already chaotic”. But I’m here to tell you, God will help you make a way!
Serving is joining. And it is good to be part of something bigger than yourself. For me, I have found that serving at church is a very safe place to get involved. Besides, I’m doing God’s work.
Where’s God calling you to serve. Food pantry? A shelter? At school? As a mentor? Talk to someone and let them know, “I want the baton!”
Take the baton. Go make a difference. And always Run By Faith!