Wednesday, March 31, 2010


As I've been reflecting on today's activities, I've been thinking about the demolition work site we were on today. We are in the process of tearing down a house on a lot so a new house can be built on the same lot. To tell the truth, it was a lot of fun. There's just something about taking a sledge hammer to a wall and smacking it HARD! But as we were knocking down the walls, we began to see what was behind the walls. Mold. Lots of mold. Looking at all of the mold, you could see roughly how far up the water got during Hurricane Katrina, or as they call it The Storm. When they say The Storm, it means only one storm. This man has lived in a FEMA trailer for a number of years now while his house just sat. But it is finally being taken down to have a new one built in its place.

And this is where I began thinking. There's been hurt, pain, problems and storms in my life, that's for sure. And I know that there have been many in the lives of others too. And when the storm hits, mold grows. If it's not dealt with it over takes us. Sometimes we can see it growing and act, but I was learning that mold doesn't work that way. As I looked around the house, I saw that the mold was behind the walls and in the ceiling. The mold was in places the naked eye could see. You had to know what to look for to find it.

We read in the Psalms a paraphrase of "Search me and know me" God searches us. He knows the mold we have in our lives. He knows what's wrong. We might put up a good front, but he sees the mold.

As I've been working out and exercising and working on my eating habits, every so often I cheat. That's fine. But when it gets to the point where I say, just one more, it's okay, no one will know.. then I've started to grow mold.

But, just like this house, God is in the process of tearing down and rebuilding. God promises us through Jesus that he will no only get rid of the mold, but he will rebuild us brand new.

What in your life does God need to tear down and rebuild? Will you give it over to Him? Will you allow Him to rebuild in your life?

Fitness, Food, Faith--rebuilding

Fitness--many times we get the idea that we can't do this or that. Sometimes we remember something that made us feel embarrassed when doing an exercise. Sometimes we just feel embarrassed in our own skin as we exercise. Ask God to tear down those feelings and rebuild a solid self confidence that is filled with love for yourself as God loves you. Ask that God help you see you as he sees you.

Food--I'll be honest, I have emotional attachments to eating. I am constantly battling with it. What are you attached to in eating? Ask God to tear down those feelings and emotional attachments to food and rebuild a solid understanding of how He blesses us with food to sustain us.

Faith--Ask God to tear down walls that we have put up in our lives that limit us. Ask God to tear down walls that prevent you from moving forward in your faith. Ask God to daily rebuild you to be more and more like Christ in all you do.


For both Monday and Tuesday we worked at two different sites. The first site was with Mr. Floyd as we called him. He was a 79 year old retired pastor who was a cancer survivor. We had a few things we had to repair in his home, mainly mold damage. As we talked, he told me about how the people in the area had been helped by constant volunteers who came down from all over the US to help them and others out with recovery and relief work. As Mr. Floyd and I talked, he told me that a church recently approached him and asked him to come out of retirement to start a new church. He was leaning towards doing it. His reason: There are so many people who need it. As we drive around the area, we see countless sidewalks that lead nowhere. We see steps and mail boxes to once existing houses. Mr. Floyd is right, there is still a need out here. He didn't want people to forget about him and all the others that needed help.

Our second site was working with Robert. He is an unemployed shipwright/steel worker who deeply desires to work, but can't--no jobs available. He told me that after the storm hit, he had to use a chain saw just to get to his property. They lived in a tent for three months before they were able to move back into their mobile home. Robert said that he was lucky--he lived right near the helicopter landing zone where they would drop off supplies for everyone. He also said he never again wants to eat an MRE! What struck me was that Robert was working along side of us repairing his home. In fact after we left on Monday, he continued some of the work because we had left the supplies there. He told me that when he was first approached by the government to have his home repaired he told them to first help those living in their cars.

Looking at what this means to be a Spiritual Muscle Head, I began to think about what Jesus said to the rich young man who asked what he had to do to go to heaven. He was told to sell everything and give it to the poor. Could I do that? What else can I do to help out here besides one week of vacation time being used.

Fitness, Food, Faith--Be thankful.

Fitness--be thankful for a body that works. Appreciate it. Take care of it.

Food--be thankful for what you have. Appreciate what you eat and what you have. Eat wisely.

Faith--Be thankful. Find things where you can in even the darkest moments to thank God for.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Biloxi, MS--Monday

Today was our firs "work" day. I say "work" because not everyone really worked. It wasn't for a lack of trying. We wanted to. But for some, they were told to wait. This morning we met Brian, the leader of Hope CDA. We are partnering with Hope CDA in helping with the recovery from Katrina. It is weird to say that things still aren't fully recovered. But it's true.. it's not. It's sad. It's heart breaking really.

We were given rules that we needed to adhere by.. the first: Blessed are the flexible, for they won't be bent out of shape. This is what I've been saying for years.. and once again I'm putting it into practice. I think for many of us, it's hard to be flexible.We know how it should be done. We know how it needs to be done. But sometimes we need to take a step back and allow God to do what needs to be done.

Tomorrow is another day. A day that will be filled with flexibility and resisting the urge to throw stones.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Day 3--second day in Biloxi

I've been thinking about the whole concept of being a Spiritual Muscle Head. It's weird. When you look at being a follower of Jesus, it actually means something. As a follower of Jesus, I want to be like him to everyone I meet. I do. And that's why I'm down here. I find it interesting that we are doing service work during the Christian Holy Week... what better time to be Christ to others than by being Christ during the time we spend reflecting on his sacrifice for us.

This Sunday was a needed day of rest. It was a day of rest before the work begins. A day of worship, a time of rest and relaxation at the beach (and a sun burn for many of us to boot).

I am looking forward to getting to work. We haven't received our assignments yet, but we're told we will tomorrow..

During this holy week, I want to take the time to reflect on Jesus' sacrifice for me and why I truly am here... not because it's a great thing to do but because I truly want to reflect who he is and what it means to be to be a follower of him.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Day 2

We made it in to Biloxi this afternoon. We're at a church where their ministry is in hosting other groups who come down to do work in the area for hurricane relief work. When I was getting ready to come down, many people asked me what work was left. It had been 5 years since Katrina and Rita hit the Gulf Coast area. Our host, Mr. Ken, informed us that after the hurricanes there was roughly 70,000-80,000 homes lost. Lost. Gone. Destroyed. Families displaced. Homes gone. Memories only remained. Mr. Ken stated that at the highest housing boom in the Mississippi area the number of homes built in a year was 2,500. It would take roughly 30 years to rebuild all the homes lost. Not only that, but many people don't have the money or resources to rebuild or to even tear down so that they can rebuild. So that's why we're here.

This evening, after dinner, while relaxing. I played basket ball... something I haven't done in years. I was shocked at how well I could play without stopping and wheezing and having to rest. I was also amazed at how much I remembered from Mr. R in Jr High back in the day. I could play basket ball!! Exercising is paying off...

Tomorrow is church then a tour of what still remains to be repaired and rebuilt in the area. Pray that work gets done... that the work of the Holy Spirit is done.. that we can all do His will while we're here.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The first leg

We left this afternoon around 4ish. We split up into cars and got on the road. It's interesting really, stuck in a car, no where to go but the direcition you're going. You're cooped up with a bunch of people and sooner or later you need to talk. You have the chit chat, you have the small talk, but sooner or later, you have the real conversation. You know, that conversation you have when you start actually being real, when the facade drops and the real person begins to peak out..

We're in MO right now. Stopped for the night. Tired, exahusted from the ride and the long day.. looking forward to what tomorrow will bring.

The 7th Day

We read in the book of Genesis that after spending six days to create the universe, on the 7th day He rested. Further along in the Bible in the book of Exodus, God tells the children of Israel to remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy, on that day no one should do any work. God was instituting rest. Rest is important. In fact, we were made for rest. The average person needs 7-8 hours of sleep a night. In fact sleep deprivation is considered torture to some people. We need rest.

When it comes to me getting healthy, I've come to realize that I need rest. About a year ago, I came across a book on weightlifting by Ellington Darden, PhD. In his book he emphasized rest. He said that in weightlifting, you should push hard with the weights, but then make sure you take time off to rest. I found this interesting. He suggested that after about 6 months of working out three days a week, one should take 9 days off to rest. I did things a bit different. Every 6 weeks, I took the 7th week off to rest. I found that during that time, my gut got smaller and I lost more weight by not exercising. Weird, I know.

It shows to me that our bodies need rest. So do our minds. And so does our spirit. I have come to realize that the best times I have had in reading the Bible have been times when I can rest and relax with God's Word in front of me. When we have rest, we can recharge. We can keep going forward. Sometimes when we push real hard, we burn out. We we toss in some rest from time to time, we can have the strength to keep going on.

During this next week I will be taking some time to rest from work, from exercsiign and maybe even my diet and will be going down to Billoxi, Mississippi, to do some releif work. It is a time for me to rest from what I have been doing and help others. I will be doing some short blogs while I'm there.

Take time this week to rest--to rest form your work out, to rest from the daily grind and relax in God's Word and allow yourself to recharge.

Fitness, food, faith--Rest.

Fitness--as I said above, take time off and rest from your workouts, especially if you work out every day. Take a week off and rest. Trust in God to do what he needs to do during this time.

Food--every so often, rest from your diet. A lot of us push real hard in dietign and trying to lose weight. And then we cheat and binge on junk food. Instead, take a short rest. Don't go hog wild, but indulge once in a while.

Faith--take time to rest and listen to God. A lot of time we're working hard to serve Him and don't take the time to rest and listen to Him.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spot on

Today at the gym, a total stranger asked me to spot him. I was in the middle of my work out, focused, blasting Skillet into my ear drums and making myself deaf while I lifted weights. I think that there must be some unwritten but fully understood code at the gym that when someone asks you to spot them, you do. By the way, to spot someone means to help them in their lifting weights. This could be an extreme amount of weight where someone is maxing out, it could be the fact that they are unsure if they can lift the weight, or they just need someone along side helping them with a particularly hard exercise that requires someone to spot you. Either way, if someone asks you to spot, you're expected to say yes. Spotting also requires a lot of encouragement. You yell words like "Push it out!" "It's all you!" "I'm barley even touching the bar!" "You can do it!"

When this dude asked me to spot him, I hesitated. I don't know why, but I did. Me spot you, I thought. You're biceps are bigger than my head. You have more weights on there than I thought possible. And if I leave the T-bar row machine to help, I might lose the machine. But I stopped what I was doing. I went over and I spotted him. I yelled the words of encouragement to him. "Push it out!" "You can do it!" "It's all you! I'm barley even touching the bar!" (I was holding it tightly and helping him lift it). The dude thanked me and did the respectful fist bump after wards. He then went to a lower weight and continued to bench. I kept my eye on him for a bit just in case. I went back to my workout.

In life, I think, we need spotters. Whether we're going through an extereme situation, or doing something difficult, or just need someone to yell words of encouragement, we need a spotter. We need a spiritual spotter in our lives as well. Someone who can come along side of us, help us with God's Word. Help us in our walk with Christ. Give us those words of encouragement and help us lift those heavy burdens.

Do you have a spotter??

Fitness, Food, Faith

Fitness--Get a spotter. You may not need one for every exercise, but for some of the more complicated things, you need one. But also find someone to help you and encourage you in you work outs and exercises. Someone who can give you those words of encouragement but can also encourage you to keep going with it.

Food--Find a food spotter. We all need someone who can encourage us to eat well, to encourage us to not eat what we shouldn't. We all need someone to give us those words of encouragement in continuing to eat well and to keep at it.

Faith--We need a spiritual spotter. That's for sure. Find someone who is the same Gender and not your spouse/significant other (trust me on this one.. it's for the best of your marriage/relationship) pray for each other. Encourage one another in the faith. Carry each others burdens and help each other home.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The secret to my weight loss (or How I lost 100lbs in 6 years)

For the last month, I've had a large number of people stop me and ask what my secret was. You see, I've lost weight. A lot of weight. And I've built muscle. Some muscle. Because so many people have stopped and asked me about my secret, I've decided to start a blog. You see, when I've started telling people my secret, they get disappointed. The secret is, is that there is no secret. There is no quick fix. Instead, it is a journey of health, understanding and growth--physically, emotionally and spiritually.

I decided to call my blog "Spiritual Muscle Head." Why? Well, when I'm at the gym, I see a lot of muscle heads. Nothing wrong with being one, but I'm not really one. A muscle head is one who spends a lot of time talking about their muscles and what they can lift more so that actually lifting weights with their muscles. Muscle heads spend a lot of time at the gym. They spend time reading up on weight lifting, on nutrition, and so forth.

But as a follower of Jesus Christ, I want to be a spiritual muscle head. I want to be one who spends time talking about Christ but also following in His footsteps. I want to spend my time reading about Him, living like Him.

So what is my secret. I've listed it down to 4 things. Ready?
1. Hard work
2. Prayer
3. Perseverance
4. Patience

In this blog, I will talk about my own journey, how I strive to live my life loving my God with all of my heart, with all of my soul and with all of my mind and how i try really really really hard to love my neighbor as myself. Each blog will have three quick sections of advice on how to help with being healthy. They will be looking at Food, Fitness and Faith.

Today's 3 tips are--Write it down.

1. Food--as you eat, write it down. Keep a food log. How much are you eating? What are you eating, when are you eating it? Why are you eating it? Take time at the end of the week and look at it and see where you can improve in your habits.

2. Fitness--write down your exercises. I fail at this, to tell the truth. But it is very helpful. How much weight can you lift in each exercise? How far are you running/biking/walking? What is your heart weight? What is your weight? What are you inches? Are they going up or down?

3. Faith--do devotions. Get into God's word. Keep a journal and write down what you've learned from the scripture passage or devotional you are reading. Write down your prayers and pray them out loud.

Remember: This takes time. It involves hard work, prayer, patience and perseverance.

Good luck and may you become a spiritual muscle head.