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2009 Conversations

2008 Conversations

2007 Conversations

2006 Conversations

2005 Conversations

Benji creator Joe Camp: Moral movies, personal cost (12/26/04)

Gloria Gaither: A Gaither family Christmas(12/19/04)

Allyson Feliz: Olympic medalist  shares passion for following Christ (12/12/04)

Dan Dean: Walking by faith (11/28/04)

J. Don George: Every church can touch the poor (11/21/04)

Brock Gill: Jesus is no illusion (11/14/04)

Ted Dekker: Good, evil and the battle for souls (10/31/04)

Bob Kilpatrick: CCM: Growing and changing (10/17/04)

Eugene H. Peterson: Man with a message (10/10/04)

Caz McCaslin: Fixing kids sports (9/26/04)

Jerry B. Jenkins: A novel approach to evangelism (9/19/04)

Natalie Grant: Living the dream (9/12/04)

Sharon Ellard: A life-changing education (8/29/04)

Steven Curtis Chapman: All things new (8/22/04)

Jim Ryun: Running to Jesus (8/15/04)

George Barna: Today’s church: By the numbers (8/8/04)

Randy Singer: Made to count (7/25/04)

Holly McClure: Morality and the media (7/18/04)

Don Miller and Richard Flory:Taking the Church to today's culture (7/11/04)

Cecil Richardson: Pastoring the Air Force’s 'Pastors' (6/27/04)

Barry Meguiar: Driven by faith (6/20/04)

Thomas E. Trask: Concerned for America (6/13/04)

Dr. David Yonggi Cho: The work of the Holy Spirit (5/30/04)

Tom Greene: High school: A great mission field (5/16/04)

Jennifer Rothschild: Walk by faith, not by sight (5/9/04)

Chaplain Alex Taylor: Forgiveness and restoration (4/25/04)

Joshua Harris: Not even a hint (4/18/04)

Nicky Cruz: Changing America (4/11/04)

Jason Schmidt: Lessons learned on life’s field (3/28/04)

Scott Temple: One church, many colors (3/21/04)

Michael W. Smith: Called to worship (3/14/04)

Representative Jo Ann Davis: Christians in politics (2/29/04)

Darlene Zschech: Sing, shout … just shout the praise the Lord (2/22/04)

Surgeon James W Long: For your heart’s sake, get fit (2/15/04)

Jerry R. Kirk: Battling pornography (2/8/04)

Dr Michael Ferris: A choice to heal (1/18/04)

Chaplain Al Worthley: Outside the four walls of the church (1/11/04)

2003 Conversations

2002 Conversations

2001 Conversations

Running to Jesus

Jim Ryun, a three-time Olympian and former world record holder in three middle-distance events, spoke with Associate Editor Scott Harrup. Ryun shared his thoughts with the Evangel in 1996, the same year he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives to represent Kansas’ 2nd District. He continues to serve in Congress.

PE: You were the first high school student to break a 4-minute mile and you went on to become a world record holder and win a silver medal in the Olympics. What does it feel like to have those achievements behind your name?

RYUN: To break a 4-minute mile in high school is very satisfying. You work toward that goal and you can’t believe it’s happening to you. World records in the mile, and half-mile and 1,500 meters all added to the excitement of my running career. But there’s always that sense that you’ve got to do better. I always felt like I needed to run faster.

When you have that kind of success, it’s so easy for that success to be your identity and not the Lord. If you don’t continue to get better and faster, who will you be if someone comes along and does the very same thing that you have done? So, I always had a gnawing sort of satisfaction and no inner peace.

PE: How did accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior make a difference?

RYUN:: On May 18, 1972, my wife, Anne, and I prayed and invited Jesus into our lives. There was an overwhelming sense of peace. I have to confess that I was skeptical at first. But about the third day after I accepted Christ, I woke up that morning and I said, “Lord, there’s something very special about this. How can such a simple prayer — asking forgiveness and acknowledging my sins and inviting You into my life — make such a difference?”

And I felt like He said to me, “I love you, because I love you — not because of what you’ve accomplished.” For me that was like walking into a new room of my life. Someone loved me, not because I was fast, but because He just loved me. My identity and purpose in life were defined.

That’s God’s plan for each one of us. It doesn’t matter what you wear, where you live, or whether you’re in a popular crowd. He just loves you and has a plan for you to be involved in.

PE: The years between the 1968 and 1972 Olympics were difficult. What was God doing in your life?

RYUN: Having won a silver medal in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City in the 1,500 meters, I felt that if I won a gold medal in 1972 at the Munich Olympics, then I could put running down and get on with the rest of my life.

But along the way there were bumps in the road. I would have a slow race, or the media would say something antagonistic. Now I see those things happening for the purpose of God revealing to me that He had a better plan.

I would meet born-again Christians who had gone through something similar. But they had gone through their trial with more joy than I had ever experienced. That began to speak to me. The Christians seemed to have a better answer — Jesus.

So, the hard times Anne and I experienced were for the purpose of shaking our earthly idols — in my case, running. God was drawing us to himself.

PE: Any other comments?

RYUN: Jesus has a plan for everyone’s life. We’re never going to feel that contentment or that sense of fulfillment until we enter into His kingdom. To live in the kingdom of God is to take on a new nature, a new culture, a new language, and new attitude toward life. As we start to live out that fulfillment in His kingdom, we can’t ask for a better place to be.

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