Monday, January 28, 2013


Well, I did it again... Under the guise of “practicing my right to free speech” via social media, I found myself in a conversation with someone of far intellectual superiority. So, once again, I ask the question “Why me?” Is this an opportunity for me to actually study what I believe to be true and express it lovingly or was I just spewing my opinions with nothing to stand on? Is this a case of David and Goliath or Peter walking through the gates called “Beautiful” extending the hand of grace?

I had posted my belief that “Bad company corrupts good morals.” (1 Cor 15:33) As a father of three, I prefer that my children not hang out with other kids who may not have the same moral convictions. As Granny used to say, “If you lay down with dogs, you catch fleas.” (I think Granny was pretty sharp...) My friend quickly and clearly stated that he disagreed. He believed disassociation from anyone, for fear of picking up bad habits, is the epitome of weakness of character.

Before getting defensive, I found myself agreeing with him to an extent. After all, Jesus didn’t turn his back on someone when they were in need whether that person recognized the need or not. He didn’t just happen upon the woman at the well smack dab in the middle of Samaria only to leave her there because she had been wed five times. He didn’t disassociate himself from lepers for fear of being infected. As a matter of fact, everybody that he encountered or hung out with was boogered up! More importantly, Jesus was very intentional about where he went, when he went, and who he was near. Again, as I have stated in other posts, Jesus issues the command “Follow me.”.

Though, as Christians, the ultimate goal is to look like Jesus, talk like Jesus, listen like Jesus and love like Jesus, we are NOT Jesus. We are given the opportunity to mature in Christ Jesus but it’s a process. It doesn’t happen immediately. When a baby is born, that baby enters the world helpless and totally dependent on someone else to feed. As the baby grows, he/she develops the ability to feed him/herself but is still not completely independent until much later in life. Through those years, that child has matured considerably, all the while, taking on certain characteristics of the person that raised them. Never, in my life, have I met anyone that was beyond the reach of influence. EVER!

Rarely, if ever, does someone struggling with substance abuse immediately go back into the same environment that they escaped with any success. They have to go through a season of detox, a season of counseling and a season of healing. Only then can they have any hope of ministering to the needs of friends with the same habits without being affected. Even if the maturity level is there, do you really think it’s wise to go back into those areas of persuasion for an extended amount of time? The misled individual may see your actions and think they can do the same thing but result in catastrophe.

Association is defined as “A group of people organized for a joint purpose” which begs the question “What is the joint purpose?”. I, as well, meet with and love people from all walks of life on a daily basis. Some of those people still habitually practice things that are detrimentaI to their and my well being. I’m still growing but I’m wise enough to know that I’m not invincible. Choose your battles wisely and proceed with caution.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


I enjoy going to the gym. That kind of stuff has always intrigued me. The discipline, the commitment that goes into training and the way the body responds to that training is astonishing. At a young age, I started weight training and, though I was never a big man, I was ripped! Wrestling and biking were soon added to the equation and produced expected results.

Somewhere along the way, things changed. My body stopped responding the way it was. Workouts got boring. I even found myself not going on occasion but would soon resume the same workout with the same intensity with the same results. Nothing... However, I kept on doing the same routine, going through the same motions, because I thought it was enough. It was comfortable. No results, no improvement, no change. “Insanity” has been defined as doing the same thing over and over again with little or no results...

The game changer was when my friend, Ben, walked in. It seemed as if everyone in the room stopped and was simultaneously thinking the same thing. “I want some of what he’s having!” There’s a difference between someone who’s big and someone who’s big and defined. Bodybuilders go through a regiment of bulking up and then, before a competition, drop crazy amounts of weight in order to give a better appearance. This guy was different. This is the way he looks all the time. He’s not massive but there’s no question about his strength. There’s no question about his discipline. There’s no question about how he conducts his life.

I asked him about training me and he introduced me to the world of crossfit training. Crossfit incorporates movements from several approaches to fitness. Powerlifting, gymnastics and aerobics are all part of the process. Always changing because life is always changing. Routine is the enemy. Of utmost importance is communication between mind and body. When an exercise is unfamiliar, you would do well to pause, if only for a moment, to listen to the head and, as the signals are sent, move forward. Always progressing, always communicating, always adapting and always growing. Crossfit isn’t only a physical application. Crossfit is a community, a family, and their purpose is to love and encourage each other and to grow together. Oh, by the way, rest is a BIG part of the program. However, even in rest, the body grows.

Before we got started, I told Ben (my personal trainer) “I’m your lump of clay. A clean slate. Tell me what to do and I’m gonna do it!” His eyes lit up... He told me that nothing irritates him more than when someone comes to him for instruction but then proceeds to tell him how they do it. Common sense tells me, if you’re going to ask someone else’s advice, that your way of doing things isn’t producing the desired results. CHECK YOUR EGO!

I’m three weeks into this and I’m still jaw dropped at the similarities! You see, most Christians have been going through the same motions (at best...) for years. Most of us attend the same churches at the usual time, sit in the same pews and talk to the same people. We sing the same songs, listen to the same pastor and exit the doors of our designated place of worship absolutely unchanged.... Insanity! And we wonder why the church isn’t growing.... To make matters worse, we may even be at that point of realization that our usual routine isn’t working but, because what we hear or read in God’s word involves the pain of being molded, we resort to what we’re comfortable with; religion. (Isaiah 29:13-16, Prov 12:15, Prov 14:12)

When was the last time that you actually stepped out of your comfort zone to do something that you knew was not in your power or encouraged someone else to do the same. To fully trust in the Potter and put yourself in His hand? When was the last time you did something so completely uncomfortable because you knew it was so completely right? When was the last time you grieved over someone else or prayed over a personal sacrifice so much that it literally made you sick? There comes a time that we, the church, have to “move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity.” (Hebrews 6:1) We have to move forward so steadfastly to the point that we will certainly be crucified only to be raised to new life. Isaiah 40:31 says “...those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” We have the ultimate personal trainer and his name is Jesus. After all, he not only broke the mold, he created it.