Wednesday, January 25, 2012

2012 Goal: Play Everyday!

I once had a physical trainer that had a phrase she liked to repeat: "Play Everyday!"

This was a motivational phrase to help people learn that exercising and training your body can be fun, but it's completely in the way you look at it.  It's a mind game, essentially.

But physical activity is good for LOTS of reasons.
-Stress relief
-Toxin release
-Creates serotonin
-Strengthens heart
-Strengthens lungs
-Prolongs mobility
-Helps circulation
-Can aid in sleep
-Energy builder
-Can help achieve and maintain a healthy weight

The list can go on and on.  Most people do not deny how beneficial exercise is.  More-so, we find it hard to keep our motivation elevated.

Let's try to remember this phrase when we're deciding whether or not to do something for the day, and let's decide, you and I, to do something now - while we can. You never know when your body will not be able to function in one way or another.  Take advantage of the opportunities you have now to have fun while taking care of yourself.


One last note - here are some ideas for your "play" time.  Don't make too big a deal of it - just do something!

-Walk the dog
-Jog the dog
-Sprint to the end of your street
-Take a bike ride to the closest store
-Play tag with your kids
-Have a jumping-jack contest
-Do situps or crunches
-Lift the laundry soap bucket/box in reps of 10
-Do squats or lunges while you're brushing your teeth or drying your hair
-Dance to music while you're folding clothes
-Leg lifts
-Go out to a community dance for the fun of it
-Do a Pilates routine from t.v.
-Go throw a football, play catch, shoot some hoops, or kick a soccer ball with the neighbor kids
-Carry a baby around!
-Punch a pillow or a mattress
-Skip to the end of your street
-Take a hike if you have trails nearby
-Speed-walk the local park
-Walk to a coworker's office instead of calling them on the intercom

Do you have any fun ideas you can add to this list?

Image from Cute Little Factory here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Missions Spotlight: The Spence's in Mongolia

I love keeping up with friends that are missionaries.  It makes my world and my heart explode. (In a good way!)

Some of my missionary friends are Jeff and Shauna Spence and their two girls, Mikayla and Ava. 

I met Jeff and Shauna in North Fort Myers about 6 years ago in an old Sunday School class.  We were studying what it meant to be an Armour Bearer for God, and they were both working at E.C.H.O. for training on how to help people learn to grow crops for food. 

They went to Mongolia several years ago to work with farmers and help them learn sustainable growth in a low-agricultural location.  Now, they are able to work with local Mongolians and share the love of Jesus with them through not just words, but through activities that can help save nations from poverty. 

Here is a picture of the Spence's.  They've had Mikayla and Ava since they've moved to Mongolia (though I believe the girls were born in the USA).

And here is a picture of their backyard- full of evidence that they know what they're talking about!

If you want to keep up with the Spence's, subscribe to their blog here.....

S U P P O R T    M I S S I O N S ! ! !  :)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

2012 Goal: Be Who I Was Made To Be

There are things that we have to do in life that - man - we just do not want to do.  We don't want to face the challenge, we don't want to deal with the possibility of defeat, nor do we want to fail.  We sometimes play the voices of our past critics in our head and battle their attacks with ways we can be better to, essentially, prove them wrong.

Last year, my brother went through Officer's Candidate School, and was thrown into a class of incredible, incredible men and women all pining to be dubbed officer's for the US Army.  His class's cutoff scores for physical fitness was higher than any other class before him, and he made it by a hair.  Every day was a challenge - a good one, at that - but a challenge nevertheless.

During this same time, I was taking state exams and not doing so well on them.  I've always been a high achiever, so it hit me hard to be so uncertain about my scores.  My brother was able to call me for a few minutes one day, and we talked about how what really matters at this point is that we have done our absolute best, and that we pass the test.  Not that we actually come in first place, but that we pass.  We've both found ourselves in leagues of extraordinary people this last year, and it's been exhilarating to be in their company.  Humbling, too.  What this means, though, is that while our best score may be the worst one of the group, it's still our best.  And our best is still good enough.

My pastor, Pastor Dan Betzer, quoted Theodore Roosevelt this week, and I was very encouraged by his words on pressing forward.

It is not the critic who counts:  not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.

"Citizenship in a Republic"
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910*
So please make a resolution to live with me this year, to be who we were made to be, to jump in our life's arena with the heart God put into us and move with Him.  After all, He earns the right to be a critic since He's right there with us all along.

*Retrieved from in January 2012

Friday, January 6, 2012

2012 Goal: Believe Bigger

I don't know one single person that would not benefit from believing bigger about God's ability and the ability He has instilled inside of each of us.  Too often, we find ourselves backing out of things before we even attempt them, though, because we don't believe God made us strong enough for something.

Remember Moses in the Bible?  God chose him to lead an entire nation to freedom, but he was so scared of speaking that God had to use Aaron, his brother, to speak to the crowds.  It's not to say that God didn't know this was going to happen, but I always wonder how or if the story would have changed if Moses decided to stammer his way through every speech, just because God told Him to.  I didn't read anywhere where God was asking Moses to be eloquent, just obedient.  Still, our human nature inherently tells us we are limited, where God's divine nature tells us we are able.

Remember Esther in the Bible?  She didn't think her stunning beauty was worth anything but to be beautiful.  She probably had hopes to be chosen as a bride by some other humble Jewish boy and to become a good wife and mother.  Yet God had a kingdom to save, and He knew he could use Esther, so He called her.  She became queen, but even with her influence as queen, she doubted her ability to do anything of significance.  Her wise uncle was the one who said to her that her whole life may have been purposed for just this very thing: this very pivotal part of the nation's survival.  And who is she to question God's purpose at this time?  Even here, the human nature of limitations creeps in on God's divine nature of ability.

Andy Grammar, a current singer/songwriter from L.A., has had an experience similar to these.  While I don't know how divine his experiences have been, I do know that God's Spirit can use anything to get inside of our hearts, including a song. From a non-Christian singer.  The lyrics to the chorus of "Lunatic" are especially encouraging to me.

You can do this, you can do this. You are not a lunatic. Crazy would be changing your mind. You can do this, you can do this. You are not a lunatic. Crazy would be leaving it behind.

God has put dreams inside of you and I.  Let's believe this year more than ever, let's let our faith grow this year more than ever.  And let's not ignore every little thing His Spirit speaks to us, from whatever source it seems to come from.

"And without faith it is impossible to please God" - Hebrews 11:6

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012 Goal: Remember Every Day

I'm such a practical Christian.  I like to live out my faith for people to see it - not to show off, but to be honest with my life.  But even with my practical side, I am deeply moved by my heart's Lover.  I'm deeply, unashamedly, undoubtedly moved by my Savior, Jesus Christ.  And I am equally moved by the love of God the Father, for all He sacrificed in giving up Jesus.

Salvation and God doesn't make sense to a lot of people.  There doesn't seem to be anything practical about it.  Truth be told, though, it is the only practical thing - God's love for us.  We don't see the big picture well enough to understand this most of the time.  

But when everything else fails - EVERYTHING - God's love is still there.  

I would hope for you to read that one line and let your heart be seared by this love.  I dare hope it does.  Not because I typed it, but because God's Spirit whispers to you that this is true. 

Please listen to this song.  The song is a tool.  It's a way for you to connect with God.  It's a way for you to move past the here and now and invite God into this very place - this very moment - every circumstance - every joy and sorrow of your life - right now.  Don't get lost in the song.  Get lost in the incredible Love described in the song.  This is the Love of God.  Get lost in Him.

My first goal and hope and delight for every year of my life is that I never forget - that I always remember - the incredible love, the incredible sacrifice, and my incredible inheritance in Jesus Christ.  I hope you find that same delight every day with me this year.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 Goal: Ignore Fear, Not Wisdom

**Movie Spoiler - A line from We Bought a Zoo**

If there's one thing I would have said about myself a year ago was that I was not really afraid of anything. 

But in 2011, God walked with me through many circumstances where fear was brought center-stage in my life.  It helped me realize how often I am paralyzed by fear and I don't even realize it - how often I am truly afraid and call it something else. 

Now, there's a verse in the Bible that talks about having a fear of God.  This is a reverent fear, not something that is scary, but something that is deeply respectful of God's position versus our position.  So there is a healthy fear, but in our vernacular, it should really be referred to as "reverence" or "respect". 

That being said, I was most certainly living in a lot of fear. 

I imagine you deal with the same thing.  But fear is not a useful thing.  We have to figure out a way around fear so we can live to go places we have not believed ourselves to be able to go.  Fear will, undoubtedly, keep us from walking in God's #1 plan for our life.

I heard a really good line in We Bought a Zoo when I saw it the other day:
You know, sometimes, all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage.. just, literally, 20 seconds of just embarrassing bravery, and, I promise you, something great will come of it.

One of my goals for 2012 and beyond is to remember this little tidbit and to take my chances with 20 seconds of courage.  As a Christian, I really think I have to remember wisdom in this decision, though.  Sometimes, 20 seconds of courage can mean holding my tongue for 20 seconds.  Other times, it's going to mean: go up to that stranger and give them a hug in a matter of 20 seconds.  Courage doesn't necessarily mean doing something stupid.  It just means doing something wise-doing something right, no matter how many people think it is stupid. 

So please remember 20 seconds of courage in 2012.  It's a great time to walk into somewhere incredible God has for you.  And I'm pretty sure we don't want to miss out on that...