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  • Food: An Underrated Idol

    Food is a beautiful gift from God. All throughout the Bible, you see the Lord finding delight in blessing His creation with the fruits of the earth. God blessed Adam and Eve with a garden full of delicacies. He promised Israel a land flowing with milk and honey. He dropped manna from heaven while the Israelites were in the wilderness. He attached our remembrance of Him to the breaking of bread. But, too often, a good thing can become a bad thing if done outside of God’s will; and food is no exception. If we are not careful, we can begin to worship the gift instead of the Giver and become consumed with consuming. Our appetites become unhinged, giving food a stronghold in our daily lives. A good thing has now pivoted into an idol. But why is food so attractive? Why do so many people struggle with the balance of what to eat and what not to eat? I think it boils down to one simple factor… Food is legal, necessary, and cheap. Yes, we need food for survival. So why not smash down that double cheeseburger with an extra-large fry like a high school teenager on a growth spirt? I mean, we’ve gotta eat, right? But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Our food choices matter to God, and we should strive to please Him in everything we do. Some people fall into the traps of food addiction because it is an easier idol to maintain. Crack just costs too much. (Just for the record, I’ve never done drugs and you shouldn’t either). But just because something appears harmless doesn’t mean that it is. And we (myself included) justify our actions by saying, “I deserve to treat myself.” “This will make me feel better.” “Food is the only pleasure I have.” I’ve seen this even in ministry. Really solid, sold-out believers that live a very pure life of service for Jesus have an unhealthy relationship with food. They don’t live with all the pleasures of the world (Praise the Lord!) so food is “all they have” for enjoyment. They turn to it when they feel sad. They turn to it when they feel glad. It’s the easy go-to for quick gratification. And in its own subtle way, it becomes a drug that pokes an prods its way to the forefront of their lives. But isn’t that kind of drastic to say food can be addictive like a drug? In fact, it’s not that far-fetched. An article from Every Day Health states that “people predisposed to addiction, as well as those who struggle with weight or weight-related problems, tend to be more likely to behave in ways that align with this definition of food addiction, as do people with low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression… “Here it’s worth pointing out that evidence published in Archives of General Psychiatry did show that highly rewarding foods (ones with large amounts of sugar, fat, and salt) trigger the brain’s reward circuitry (namely dopamine neurotransmitters) in ways similar to other addictive substances, like drugs and alcohol.” (1). Yes, food can be addictive and it can easily control other facets of your life. “Other researchers have found in brain imaging studies that people who frequently consume junk foods can develop a tolerance to them over time, leading them to require larger and larger amounts to get the same enjoyment.” Notice King Solomon warning to those who are given to a lifestyle of gluttony and food addiction: “And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite” (Proverbs 23:2). An addiction to food is an easy gateway into a lifestyle of self-gratification. It’s the fragileness of our heart that we have to take into account and realize that even something sugar-coated and jelly-filled can be the monster that drags us through a rabbit-hole of regret. This is why we need to truly take evaluation of our eating habits and ask ourselves: “Is what I’m choosing to consume, consuming me?” “Do I have a healthy relationship with food?" “Do I run to food to give me the comfort and satisfaction that only Jesus can give?” “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (I Corinthians 10:31). SOURCES: https://www.everydayhealth.com/emotional-health/is-food-addiction-real/

  • An Uncontrolled Appetite

    “I’ve got it all under control!” Famous last words, right? This is a dangerous thing to say in many situations but especially when our cravings are involved. I believe one of the greatest enemies of fulfilling our God-given purpose is an uncontrolled appetite. It’s the inability to tell ourselves no when it comes to worldly pleasures. And I’m afraid this even involves food. It is the subtle sin of gluttony that opens the gate to many other fleshly indulgences and strips us of God’s best for our lives. I think the words of Paul in the context of food are expressively fitting: “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any” (I Corinthians 6:12). Our bodies, which are the temple of the Holy Ghost, are not to be under the power of anything other than Christ. He is to have complete control over even the simplest desires like what we eat. This is why the Bible speaks so much about food and man’s relationship to it. For example… The Old Testament Jews were given laws on what to eat and what not to eat; what was considered clean and unclean. Daniel stood up to King Nebuchadnezzar to prove that God’s way was best. Jesus fasted 40 days in the wilderness. Jesus fed the 5,000 with five loaves and two fishes. Jesus even commanded His disciples to remember Him by taking communion. And remember how this whole sin thing got started? It was literally from eating. It was temptation against a God-given desire, that was fulfilled outside of God’s will. Not that the eating was wrong but eating something God said not to eat was indeed wrong. Sin entered into the world when Adam and Eve gave into their fleshly appetites and overindulged. So, how can you take control of your appetite and cultivate a healthy relationship with food? Here are a few practical things I have found that helps me when I want to overindulge. Realize you don’t have to feel full every time you eat. This is a big one, especially if you have an unhealthy history with food. Sometimes our survival instincts kick in and we pull up a chair to the table like it’s the last time we will ever have another meal. This paves the way for a weighty portion size that may not be conducive to the nutrients our bodies actually need. As one study suggests, “…people using a large bowl ate 77% more pasta than those using a medium-sized bowl. (1) “In another study, nutritional experts served themselves 31% more ice cream when given larger bowls and 14.5% more when provided with larger serving spoons (1). And the sad part about the above study was that most people did not even realize what they were doing or how much extra they were eating. So, understand you don’t always have to feel full. This is where knowing your metabolism, nutritional facts, and workload for the day can help you keep your body maintained in a healthy limit. Get your hand out of the bag. This one will kill chip lovers (like myself). One of the worst things you can do to set yourself up for failure is to bring the whole bag of chips to the couch for a movie night. Not only are most potato chips not the best choice of snack, but when consumed at large quantities they have the potential to do the following: Raise your blood pressure. Increase your chances of heart disease. Increase your risk of a stroke (2). Grab a small bowl for a light snack. (Sorry to the people that eat cereal out of a mixing bowl). It’s for your own good. 😉 Know your portion sizes before you start cooking. One study suggests that “People tend to eat almost all of what they serve themselves. Therefore, controlling portion sizes can help prevent overindulging.” (3) Sometimes you think you need to cook the whole box of pasta because you want to have enough for the whole family. But knowing your portions ahead time can greatly reduce the quantity of food left over for that large second helping you didn’t really need, or that “I deserve it” midnight snack. Find accountability. As all good husbands know, God gives us beautiful wives to keep us in check. And I truly believe that your spouse is a great thermometer for your fleshly appetite. Nobody knows you like your spouse, so keep the door of honest communication open wide to allow subtle rebuke every now and then. Give them warrant to tell you no if you are about to make an unhealthy choice. They can be just the accountability that you need to steward your health in a way that causes your faith, family, and focus to thrive! My wife and I love to help other couples steward their bodies for Jesus with natural solutions and supplements. It has made a world of difference in our home! If you would love some accountability or if you have questions about natural solutions, go here and get your Free Wellness Gameplan. We can walk you through the steps you need to level-up your health! Fast and Pray. Now don’t lose sight of the bigger picture here. Jesus wants us to fast and pray to fulfill a spiritual need of intimacy and oneness with God. I think we make the mistake when we say, “I haven’t been eating well lately so I think I’ll fast.” You’re missing the point. With that being said, I do believe prayer and fasting is for a dual purpose: to bring your heart into a closer connection with God and to bring your body under control. It is the acceptance of God over our fleshly desires: a yes to God and a no to ourselves. This is the very essence of controlling your appetite. It is by yielding to Jesus and granting Him every desire, every craving. SOURCES: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/portion-control#TOC_TITLE_HDR_2 https://eatingdisorderresources.com/what-happens-if-i-eat-too-much-potato-chips/#google_vignette https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15761167/

  • How Is Your (Heart) Posture?

    Believe it or not, poor posture does affect your health. It can lead to neck and back problems if not corrected. Whether you sit at a desk all day, or browse your smartphone on the couch, it is often hard to remember to straighten up during the day. My wife will often give me a stern elbow while sitting in church, and that’s just a little “loving” reminder to sit up nice and tall, and put those shoulders back. Like a good husband--I usually listen. Although I am truly convinced of the importance of healthy living and taking care of our “temple,” I am often reminded that God’s work is very much inward. It’s the shaping of my heart into the image of Christ that brings on great transformation and spiritual health. “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:29. We often tend to put a lot of emphasis on physical posture and health, but what about your heart? How is your heart’s posture toward the things of God? Is it upright and open to Him and His Word? Or is it slouching into apathy and coldness towards His will and purpose for your life? There is no better “loving reminder” to straighten up our heart’s health then the Word of God. It is our nudge to keep our hearts open and right with Jesus throughout the day. Here are three ways to help with your heart’s posture as you go about today: 1. Keep short accounts with God. Sin will make you slouch. There is doubt about it. Sin destroys your spiritual health and contaminates any good thing God tries to place into your life. One of the greatest lessons that I learned at a young age, was to keep short accounts with God--keep my sins confessed. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9. How soon should you confess your sins to God? ASAP. Don’t let much time pass before your get that specific sin confessed to God. The longer you wait the more your heart will get used to the comfort of slouching--but the implications are detrimental. Confront your sin - get honest about it Confess your sin - literally means to say the same thing as God. (Call it what it is--God already knows) Continue - Don’t let guilt of the past paralyze you from God’s blessings for the future 2. Consult Christ in every decision--BIG or small This may seem elementary but it’s so vitally important. We often clock-in at our jobs and work our busy schedules without much thought of Christ. Sure we may start our day in His Word, but then we put on our “work hat” and keep our spiritual lives out of our secular lives. Jesus wishes for us to Keep the Door Open to Him all day long. “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, (emphasis mine) and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6. Many times, we do not acknowledge Him in our decisions because we do not trust that He will make the right one. Let him direct your paths, big or small. Even if it’s on what you are deciding to wear that day. Let Him lead your heart. 3. Be quick to thank Him for the little things Nothing accelerates your heart’s health like giving praise and thanks to God! It is an attitude that energizes your mind and gives you the support that you truly need throughout the day. “A Psalm of praise. Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” (Psalm 100). As soon as the blessing lands in your lap, straighten your heart’s posture to God. Give Him the praise that He deserves. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17). How is your heart’s posture to God? Do you keep short accounts with Him? Are you quick to consult Him? Do you stop and praise him for the little things? Like my wife does to me on occasion can I give you a little nudge and challenge you to keep your posture in check? As you browse the aisle for Valentine’s Day and see the big signs and boxes shaped like hearts, let it serve as a reminder to you to keep your heart’s posture in check toward the things of God. “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23.

  • 3 Habits to Improve Your Health

    I am learning a hard lesson. No matter where you are, unhealthy habits are easy to form. As a dad of three beautiful kids and an assistant pastor at an awesome church, I have learned that life can get really crazy really fast! And before I know it, I can form unhealthy habits in the rush of it all! Habits like… Reaching for candy while trying to finish out the workday. Not eating breakfast because of a rushed morning. Being glued to my phone because I’m over-obsessed about a project that needs to be done. These are habits that form in the subtlety of the moment and can greatly impact my health. The Bible says, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's” (I Corinthians 6:19-20). Notice the Holy Spirit’s emphasis. We are commanded to glorify God in body and in spirit. There is much to say about forming spiritual habits of Christ-like devotion and discipline, but I believe we often neglect physical disciplines as a part of our service to God. Your body is a temple. Let that sink in for a second. It’s a place of worship: an instrument in the hand of God. I think we often just don’t see it that way. We see our bodies as our own and everything else as His. But we are bought: purchased by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. One day we will be given a new body; but for now, God has gifted us with a temporary body which we are called to steward. So, the question really is… How do you steward your body for Christ? That’s kind of an odd question, but I believe it is a necessary one. What physical disciplines do you have that make it easier for you to serve the Lord? What are you doing right now with your health that greatly impacts your walk with Jesus?  Let’s be honest… You want to be around for your kids. You want to be healthy enough to enjoy your grandkids. You want be able to serve God in the highest compacity every day. You want to be healthy and holy in your stewardship of your body and spirit. Well, here are a few building blocks that will greatly propel you forward on your health journey. They are simple habits that, if done prayerfully and with the right mindset, can bear much eternal benefit for the glory of Jesus! 1.      Pray about what you eat. Say what? I know I’m supposed to pray for my food, but you’re telling me I should pray about what I eat? This sounds a little weird, but the next time you open that pantry for a midnight snack, ask God what you should eat. Now I’ll be totally transparent…I stink at this! It’s so easy for me to just grab something out of the cabinet that I want; something I’ll enjoy and not even think twice about. But one day it hit me, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (I Corinthians 10:31). This strikes at the heart of our human desire. We need food to survive so therefore, we don’t see food as potential idol. It’s just what we do. But I think that’s why I Corinthians 10:31 is in the Bible. God is tapping into our basic human need and saying, “Hey! Be careful. Even something as small as food can become an idol!” Look at the verse in context of chapter 10 and see that Paul is speaking to the church all about idol worship! Ouch! I am responsible for the things I put in my body. Every decision I make about my diet, should be a decision guided by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Even if it’s covered in chocolate and caramel. On the practical side of your health, there are a few small changes that can really go a long way in the type of food you consume. Here are a few basic suggestions: Taste your food before you salt it. Pack your lunch once or twice a week instead of eating out. Leave snacking to all the nuts out there. Really! Nuts are a wonderful source of protein and calories. Although high in unsaturated fats, they can serve as a great source of vitamin E and fiber. Save eating out as a treat. (1) 2.      Get up and get moving. Imagine for a moment that someone you love is about to cross the street. She looks both ways and proceeds to the mailbox. But she doesn’t see the truck barreling down the road at enormous speed. She is in great danger and you’re the only one that can help her. You quickly get up from where you are seated but find it hard to move. Your muscles are weak, and your joints feel welded shut. You try as best as you can, but you just can’t get to your loved one fast enough. I know this is an extreme example, but think with me for just a moment. We have been commissioned by Jesus to share the life-saving news of Christ to a lost world around us. “Go and preach…” It is the duty of every believer to be actively engaged in the transformation of another. But how can we tell if we cannot even go? How can we share God’s love if we are not up and moving? Understand that I am not berating those with disabling physical ailments or those who are well up in years. I am speaking to those who are able but have allowed ease and comfort to rule their bodies. One of the greatest habits you can form is some type of physical activity. The CDC claims that, depending on your age, the average person needs about 30 minutes of exercise each day or 150 minutes each week (2). Now that sounds like a lot but recall the last time you spent 30 minutes on your phone. In fact, the average American spends 5-6 hours on their phones per day. That’s up to 2,520 minutes every week! Well over the 150 minutes needed to exercise. Here are a few suggestions on how to be active and have fun as well: Take a walk and talk to God. This is one of the most refreshing things I have ever done in my Christian life. It engages my mind, heart, and body all at the same time. Workout with a friend or spouse. One of the most refreshing things my wife and I did last year was work out for about 20 minutes in the mornings together. The value of starting our day together and the accountability we gave each other was a great asset to our health and home. Stretch out while listening to your favorite podcast or playlist. Whatever you do, get up and get moving! Your muscles won’t get stronger on their own! 3.      Rest your body and your mind. I’ll be honest. I love sleep. There is something amazing about the ability to fall into a deep state of slumber in 3.5 seconds. That’s right! Go ahead and be jealous but it has been my super power for as long as I can remember: on the bus on the way to a game, a short trip to the grocery store, even in a room full of people chatting away. You say the word and I’m off to counting sheep. It’s a proven fact that rest is essential to your health and heart. It is vital to the machines of the body and necessary for mental cognition and focus. According to the Mayo Clinic, the average adult needs seven or more hours of sleep each day. Ah! Sweet music to my ears. But let’s not forget that sleep is also biblical. We see this when God, who needs no rest, took a day off on the seventh day of His creation. Why? To show us an example of Sabbath rest. To remind us that there are seasons of labor and seasons of settling down and moving at a slower pace. It is natural and right. But God did not set this special day apart just for our physical health, but for our spiritual health as well. The seventh day is the Lord’s Day. It implies that we rest our bodies and refocus our minds and hearts on Jesus. I believe there are many people that have difficulty resting their bodies because their minds are not at peace with God. Their heart doesn’t know what it means to sabbath. They are restless… Fears cloud their mind and causes them to doubt God’s goodness. Worry drives their body to feel sick and tired. Anxiety creeps in the back door, leaving them isolated and helpless. My friend, Jesus has not made you for restlessness. There is a way to have rest; yes for your body, but even better…for your soul. This is why I wrote the book, Restless: Finding Rest in a Restless World. There are so many aching hearts that are living on the fumes of doubt and fear, desperate for a change. Look what Jesus says about our rest: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Jesus wants us to steward our health for the glory of God, and this stewardship means rest is essential: spiritually and physical. Developing the right kind of health habits right now in your life could mean the difference between a good legacy and a great one! We have one body. Let’s steward it for the sake of the gospel and the work of the ministry! SOURCES: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/six-simple-ways-to-smarter-healthier-eating https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.html

  • 5 Verses on Stewarding Your Health

    Believe it or not, the Bible has a lot to say about your body and what to do with it. You may not be able to open to the book of Proverbs and find a wholesome and healthy recipe for dinner tonight, but you will certainly find biblical principles that empower your thinking about the stewardship of your health and body. So, what does God say about your health? How can you steward your body for His service? Here are five simple verses about health and stewardship of the body: “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (I Timothy 4:8). This is an interesting verse to have as number one on the list, don’t you agree? I bring this verse to your attention first because it gives us keen insight into God’s heart regarding our health. First, notice that the verse does not say, “bodily exercise does not profit at all.” It says it does profit a little. There is value in physical exercise, and I believe it is a vital (quite literally) part of stewarding our bodies for God’s use. But notice the Holy Spirit’s emphasis, “but godliness is profitable unto all things…” I believe this is God’s heart considering our health: stewarding your body through physical exercise is good but stewarding your mind and heart through godliness (rightful living) is greater. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (I Corinthians 3:16-17). The moment you trust Jesus as your Savior, the Holy Spirit lives inside you. You are the temple of God to be used for worship, intercession, and service. Just as we respect and take care of the church sanctuary, we are to take care of our bodies. Remember that they are not ours, but Christ’s (I Corinthians 6:19-20). “And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite. Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat” (Proverbs 23:2-3). One of the most taboo subjects among believers is the subject of overeating. The Bible clearly states that gluttony is a sin (Proverbs 23:21). Don’t get me wrong, I love to eat! But as hard as it is to say, we should not stop being a steward of our body over the holidays. We are responsible for what we put into our bodies. As one pastor said, “Food is a great gift, but makes a terrible god.” “But I keep under my body and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (I Corinthians 9:27). Stewarding your body for Christ is all about who you submit to; the appetites of your flesh or the desires of the Holy Spirit. Establishing firm principles of exercise and healthy diet enables you to say with boldness, “No! Not today flesh!” and “Yes, Lord. Whatever you want!” And why should I think this way? Paul said in the verses before. “And this I do for the Gospel’s sake..” (I Corinthians 9:23). “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (1Co 10:31) It’s interesting that this verse is found in the context of idol worship. I think the Holy Spirit is teaching us something. Eating and drinking is essential for life. But when we they are done outside of the parameters of God’s will and Word, they instantly become idols. If you would like to learn more about stewarding your health, my wife and I would love to connect with you! Kathryn and I are both Wellness Advocates that love to coach people on how to live a healthier lifestyle through the natural solutions and supplements of doTERRA. As parents of three little munchkins, we are on our own journey to establish healthy habits for Jesus’ sake and we would LOVE to help you do the same! Connect with us HERE!

  • Why Your Health Matters to God

    I believe there is a line of thinking that has inched its way into the footnotes of Christianity. Many believers have thrown their hands up in the air and excuse themselves from discussing it. What is this way of thinking? That our health does not matter to God. We think, “Oh well, ‘bodily exercise profiteth little,’ right?” But check out these startling facts about Americans’ health habits: Americans today spend roughly $110 billion every year on fast food (up from $3 billion in 1972) and 1 in 4 Americans eats fast food at least once every single day! Since 1980, the rate of obesity in the U.S. has tripled. And according to the National Institutes of Health, 2 in 3 Americans are now considered overweight or obese. According to the Mayo Clinic, adults need at least 30 minutes of physical activity (other than day-to-day tasks like moving around the office) per day. Yet the average American gets only about half that much. (https://www.pulsara.com/blog/the-5-scariest-health-facts-for-americans) The fact is that God does care about your health. What you put in your body matters to God. What you do with your body matters to God. Yes—husband, wife, pastor, leader—your health matters to Him! Here are three reasons why I believe this is true: You were created for service, not slothfulness. From the very moment of conception, God gifted you with life. “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). God created you with intention and purpose. It was not a haphazard conglomeration of artistic whim, but a specificity of placement and divine appointment. You are His creation. That’s why your health matters to Him. There is something He has left you on this planet to do, and He has given you one body to fulfill that purpose. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1). He created us to serve (Colossians 3:23-24), and our bodies are the vehicle that gets that done! But if we do not take care of the bodies He has given us, how can we serve Him to the fullest? How can we expect God to bless us with health if we have been a poor steward of it? The Bible warns us against slothful behavior that drives the spirit and the body down to a place of uselessness. “By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through” (Ecclesiastes 10:18). When we succumb to the temptation of idleness, we open the door to poor health habits that can affect our body negatively: Spending too much time in front of the TV Staying up late because we procrastinated on a project Grabbing a fast, unhealthy breakfast because we weren’t a good steward of our time to prepare I know, I’m treading on thin ice! But it easier to form a bad habit than it is to keep a good one. Be disciplined with the body God has given you and remember that your purpose is to serve the Lord and honor Him in everything you do. “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1Corinthians 10:31). Your body is His, not yours. What? What do you mean my body is not my own? My body my choice! Sound familiar? If we are not careful, as believers we can live our Christian lives compartmentalizing everything. We say, “Lord, this is yours, and this is mine!” We categorize parts of our lives into two sections—secular and spiritual. Look what Paul says in I Corinthians 6:19-20. You can almost hear the sarcasm in his voice. (I think we would have gotten along pretty well). “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's” (I Corinthians 6:19-20). “Ye are bought with a price…” What was the price that bought your redemption? It was the precious blood of Jesus Christ! Through His love and mercy we can take hold of eternal life and live in the freedom of His will. He sought you out. He paid your sin debt. He loves you! It is by this truth that we ought to give to Him everything with a heart of thanksgiving—including our health. Have you surrendered your body to Him and to His service? I understand there are things regarding our health that we cannot always fix or help. Unexpected ailments pop their heads up. The word tumor appears on the MRI results. Nothing seems to fix the aching pain that keeps you up at night. But the truth is still the same. Our bodies and health are His to do with as He sees fit. If you suffer with a physical ailment and the doctor is no stranger to you, listen to these comforting words, “For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (II Corinthians 4:15-18). There is a heavenly purpose that God wants you to do through an earthly body. Does He have complete control if it? Because your body was made to be pure, not perverse. Another charge from the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (I Corinthians 3:16-17). The moment you received Jesus as your Savior, the Holy Spirit of God came and dwelt in you. What a thought! He is there to guide you, encourage you, comfort you, and bring healing that you cannot create on your own. But with this wonderful gift comes a great responsibility. This means that now wherever you go, He goes. Whatever you do, He does. When you abuse your body through alcohol, drugs, overeating, etc. you can hinder the work of the Holy Spirit in your life. Your body becomes a place of spiritual decay that constantly needs cleaning. And the more time you spend having to “clean” your mind and body, the less time you are spending in service to Him. God wishes to use pure vessels of honor for His Kingdom, and when we continue to defile the temple of the Holy Ghost, we are hindering God’s pure work in us and through us. In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis says this about stewarding our bodies: “Every faculty you have, your power of thinking or of moving your limbs from moment to moment, is given you by God. If you devoted every moment of your whole life exclusively to His service, you could not give Him anything that was not in a sense His own already.” What steps could you take in your life to better steward your body for Christ’s sake? What is a small, attainable goal that you could set this year, that would change the way you feel and benefit those around you? God is ready to give you the wisdom for that goal as well as the power to perform it. Philippians 2:13 says, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” If you would like to learn more about stewarding your health, my wife and I would love to connect with you! Kathryn and I are both Wellness Advocates that love to coach people on how to live a healthier lifestyle through the natural solutions and supplements of doTERRA. As parents of three little munchkins, we are on our own journey to establish healthy habits for Jesus’ sake and we would LOVE to help you do the same! Connect with us HERE!

  • Bringing Worship to Life with Andrew Johnson

    In this special episode, we discuss what it means to bring worship and music together as one! My friend, Andrew Johnson gives two powerful truths on how to bring our personal wprship to a place of authenticity and truth. Here are some great moments from our talk: "The first word and last word of affective music ministry is communication. I want to be able to take the variety of thoughts and phrases, musical notes, pitches, dynamics and key signatures that not only make the song sound good, but communicate a message. We attach our message to the melody." "And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD" (Psalm 40:3). "I'm not singing about the old life anymore. I'm not singing about selfish things. I'm singing about Jesus new in subject, new in sound. I sing from a redeemed sound."

  • 4 Helps for A Better Devotional Life

    Your time alone with God matters. What you do in the secret place is essential to your personal growth and your influence as a Christian. It is the foundation that holds up every good thing in your life, and it is the vitality of your mind and heart. When you immerse yourself into the vast ocean of God’s Word and prayer, your soul is refreshed, and your life forever altered. Trying to turn over a new leaf can’t ultimately change you. Working hard to fit in with cultural trends can’t sustain you. Living by legalistic standards by just pushing through and doing more will not lead to lasting change. Only a genuine and wholesome relationship with Jesus and His Word can satisfy your soul. And even though most of us know our time with God is vital, staying consistent is the hard part. Life happens. Tragedy comes. Plans change. And all that we are left with is the guilt of not having an emotional high from our devotions every day. Our perfectionism kicks into our spiritual life, and we just feel like failures. But let me encourage you by reminding you that this life is a walk with Jesus. Sometimes you know where you’re headed and other times you are just thankful to take another step. Regardless, Jesus longs to spend time with you each day and bring you into His presence. So, what can you do to deepen your walk with Jesus right now, in this season of life? What habits can you implement each day for a full and nourishing devotional life? Here are four powerful habits that have sustained me throughout my Christian life. I wrote them into the pages of my Bible when I was twelve years old and have shared them with hundreds of people since...

  • Grow in Your Faith, Family & Focus in 2024

    How would you like to grow this year? There are few things on this planet that are as refreshing as watching something grow. Maybe it’s a seed etched into the darkness of the soil and given a little water and sun. Walla! Out shoots from the ground a blossom of beauty and usefulness. Or how wholesome it is to see a child develop in his formative years the admiration of strength and stability. This time of year, we are resolute in the challenge to bring on new responsibilities and look for ways to enrich our lives. Personally, I love reminiscing of what God has done in my life over the last year. But I realize that I can’t live in my past failures or successes. I must move forward to a deeper walk with Jesus and allow God to enrich the soil of my heart in the coming season! Peter reminds us to give all diligence and to continually add to our faith. What will you add to your faith this year? Not what will you add to your to-do list or schedule this year. But what will you add to your faith? It is through our faith that all other facets of life channel through. Without a strong personal walk with Jesus our family will suffer. Without a resolution in our soul to study God’s Word, we will have a hard time focusing in our area of leadership. So, what can we do to grow in our faith, family and leadership focus this coming year? 1.      Keep your spirit in check Here’s the reality. You have no idea what’s going to happen this year. For many, that may scare you. The unknown is just that; unknowable. But we can either go into this next year with fear our through faith that Jesus has it all under control. You can either fear the future or see it as God doing something new in you. No matter what comes into your life this year, you must always keep tabs on your spirit. A preacher friend of mine gave me some advice last year I hope I never forget. He said, “No matter your circumstances, you are always responsible for your own spirit.” Solomon reminds us to keep our with all diligence. Why? Because out of our heart flows the all the facets of life. 2.      Develop a habit of studying God’s Word I love reading God’s Word! It refreshes my soul far greater than any other thing on this planet! And what I love even more than reading God’s Word, is studying God’s Word. II Timothy 2:15 says, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” We all know that treasure is never out in plain sight. To reach the precious golden nuggets of God’s Word we must be willing to do a little mining. What will you implement this year to dig into the deep truths of the Bible? 3.      Meet amazing new people There are not many things that will change your life more than the books you read and the people that you meet. As one author put it, “Life is all about the people you meet and the people you make.” How true is that? When you befriend someone new and begin to invest into their story, incredible transformations take place; for every person! This is why I love to have guests on the Faith, Family and Focus Podcast. We dive into the lives of some ultra talented people who have walked down different paths of life and allowed Jesus to take center stage in their story. (Fun Fact: Our most downloaded episode of 2023 was with my good friend David Averbeck.) This year, go out of your way to learn someone else’s story. Who knows. You might become a part of it. 4.      Read life changing books Books are the vehicles that drive the mind and the heart to express a life of purpose and legacy. What you read is ultimate the direction you will go. What books will you read this year that will carry you to the place you’ve always wished to be? If you are uncertain where to start, here are a few of my favorites: 50 People Every Christian Should Know by Warren Wiersbe Revival Today devotional by John Goetsch Revival Today by Scott Pauley A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards William Borden of Yale Dream Big by Bob Goff Love Does by Bob Goff Extravagant: Living a Life of Dangerous Generosity by Brady Boyd Anything C. S. Lewis This is not an exhaustive list, and I certainly don’t endorse every view of the authors mentioned but that will give you a well-rounded start. Whatever you decide, read the books that will inspire change in your life and captivate your heart to Jesus! More than ever, I have been challenged to grow in these specific areas of my life and they have truly become the very essence of everything that I write and preach. I want this year to be a year of addition to my faith, family and focus! That is why I am thoroughly excited about the upcoming year for the Faith, Family and Focus Podcast! (Formally known as The Navigator’s Podcast). Every Thursday, we will dive into the Scriptures and implement the truths that will draw us closer to Jesus. I hope you will join us as we study God’s Word together and meet some amazing friends along the way. Are you ready to grow in 2024?

  • The Value of One Soul

    I am so grateful that my God is individual. He sought me where I was, met me in my condition and prepared a way that I could escape eternal despair! Praise the Lord for personal salvation! This same God who saved me as a seven-year-old boy, is in constant pursuit of restless souls that need Him. Oh what thought to ponder that God never stops running after lost sinners that are hopelessly lost without the Gospel! When we turn the pages to Acts 8, we find God doing just that; pursuing the heart and life of a man desperate for answers. But God does not work alone. He uses His children to bring the message of the Gospel to the ears of lost men around the world. In this pointed story we see Phillip being pulled away from a thriving ministry to minister in the dessert. Notice… The Place where he was called (v.26) God called Phillip to “Gaza which is desert.” Gaza was a place that is was desolate and dry; a place where life was scarce. God will often send His children to spiritually dry and desolate places where there is a great need. This is His purpose. Despite our preconceived notions. Despite the perceived outcome. He calls us to those who are in need. Even the famous missionary, David Brainard questioned his circumstances of where God had called him: “It is remarkable that God began this work among the Indians at a time when I had the least hope, and to my apprehension the least rational prospect of success.” Where is the place of need God is calling you? You may be surprised that there could be a great spiritual dearth right where you are. Listen to His Spirit and follow where He leads. The Person he was to reach (v.27) God urged Phillip to pursue an Ethiopian eunuch traveling back to his home from Jerusalem. He was a court official who was from ancient Nubia, located south of Egypt. He travelled over 200 miles to worship God in Jerusalem. This is evidence that God had already been working in His heart about the truth. It reminds me that men will go through great lengths to find the truth. How amazing that God accommodated his search by sending a first-class delivery of the Gospel message. The reality is that there are many people all around us that are going through great lengths to find the truth of God. If we usher them off to the side as inconveniences, we make poor use of the Good News that lives within us. If you see others as inconvenient, don’t be surprised when they treat the Gospel the same way. Who is the person God has called you to? Who can you share the love of Jesus? The Prompting of the Holy Spirit (v.29) “Go near and join…” There is no doubt of Phillip’s loyalty to the voice of the Holy Spirit. All other voices said that he should stay in the fruitful work of Samaria but the Holy Spirit bid him into the desert and that was the only bidding he needed. The Holy Spirit takes a vital role in our obedience to the Great Commission. We cannot know the needs of others without Him. We do not have the boldness to proclaim the truth without Him. We desperately need the Holy Spirit to take control of every part of the Gospel process. The Preparation of the Divine Appointment (v.30) God is always working behind the scenes. We saw how God had already been working in the eunuch's heart toward the truth. This is case when you share Jesus with others. God oftentimes has been working in their life for the Gospel’s sake long before you ever speak a word. “Missionary life is simply a chance to die.” – Amy Carmichael, 1867-1951, missionary to India The Pivotal Questions How can I? (v.31) Many people sincerely desire the truth but do not know how to apply it. They need someone to take their hand an lead them into the way of salvation. “of whom” (v.34) All religions hang on this one question – Who is Jesus? Where others stand with Jesus is where others stand with God. That’s why we must preach Jesus. Inside that precious name and story lies the truth that sets men free. Salvation is traced back to a Person, not a process! The Pursuit of Discipleship (v.37) Not only do we see a pursuit of the man’s soul, but we see a pursuit of a man’s service. Phillip understood the importance of urging his new convert to share the good news with others. This is often missed in our soul-winning efforts. We work hard to reach others with the Gospel but forget that salvation is only the beginning. Discipleship is the goal. To do that, we must be fully invested in the transformation of another’s life. It is time consuming and laborious, but it is simply the work of Jesus. Discipleship is the goal! Salvation is only the beginning! There are souls that are dependent on your obedience to the Great Commission. It is so easy for our eyes to become blind, and our ears to become deaf to the hopeless cries of the souls around us. May God help us to keen our senses to the empty hearts of people that are doomed to a devils hell. May we rise to be a Church firmly planted on the foundation of winning the lost to our God, and may we set this Great Commission as a fervent and faithful life-style of our own. “Only as the church fulfills her missionary obligation does she justify her existence.” – Unknown “We have all eternity to tell of the victories won for Christ, but we have only a few hours before sunset to win them.” – Amy Carmichael, 1867-1951, missionary to India

  • Under God's Christmas Tree

    Did you know that God has a Christmas tree? But God's Christmas tree is much more different than the ones we see beautifully decorated in Times Square or in our homes. This is tree holds the sinless Son of God; the babe that came in the manger. The gift of peace, He gives to all men so that all may know God.

  • Where Christ Longs to Be Born

    Christmas is a beautiful time of the year isn’t it? Everyone seems to be a little more upbeat in their spirit and smiles are the common expression. But I wonder what were the expressions of a young couple, about to deliver a baby--not in a hospital, or a comfortable room, but in a place built for animals. Imagine Mary’s concern as she begins to feel the pains of birth knowing Joseph is all she has. Imagine Joseph’s embarrassment as he feels as though he has failed his wife in finding a decent stay for the night. But every detail was God’s doing. Jesus was not to come in a palace, wrapped in royal linens. He was not to be given special treatment as the Christ-child. No, our Lord would come to this sin-cursed earth robed in humility and grace and would leave in like fashion. But why in a stable? Why wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manager (feeding trough)? Because these are the lowly means by which God established His glory. He wishes to come to life in the midst of every humble heart who will take him. He longs to be born in the souls of men who, in the stench of their sinfulness, have no hope of ever being clean. As I reflect on the wonders of the Christmas story, I cannot help but see myself as that lowly stable where Jesus lay. I am so unclean in my affections and so useless in my efforts to be something great. But the presence of Jesus makes all the difference! Yes, I have received that babe in the manager as my Savior, but Oh how I need a continual reminder that He is still my King! I am nothing a part from Christ! So, as the shepherds kneeled on beds of hay before their King—as Mary’s Noel echoed in the wooden stable--so shall this robe of flesh be a house of worship for Emmanuel! There Is Room in my heart for Thee, Oh Lord! Is there room in your heart for Jesus? Or have you like Bethlehem cluttered your heart with busyness of your plans and dreams this year? I hope our prayer will be in this season; "O come to my heart Lord Jesus There is room in my heart for Thee And my heart shall rejoice Lord Jesus There is room in my heart for Thee" (Words and music written by David Averbeck, His Song Publications)

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