These are all the workouts that I am currently doing and prescribing to others.

Be The One

Lately, a lot of my posts have taken a little bit of a turn away from the training floor.  I hope you don’t mind, but in this very season of life, training is of secondary importance.  While I still lift heavy things, sprint, carry, perform bodyweight movement frequently, I have spent the better part of the last two weeks soaking in some changes that must be there to be mentally strong – an example – the one.

With those thoughts in mind, I encourage you to be the one…

Be the one who chooses not to stand on the sidelines

Be the one who chooses not to let others negativity affect you

Be the one who chooses that right is right

Be the one who chooses to take action instead of believing someone else will

Be the one willing to ask “Are you ok?”

Be the one willing to answer that question honestly.

Be the one who will stand up for anyone who needs help.

Be the one who is proactive, not reactive.

Be the one who believes in change…and works towards it.

Be the one willing to stand alone, with everyone watching.

Be the one willing to be wrong in the name of making the world a better, safer place.

Be the one willing to look past the things you disagree with, to stand for what is right.

Be the one willing to love

Be the one willing to carry a heavy burden for someone else

Be the one willing to walk alongside someone struggling

Be the one that cares enough to know actions speak louder than words

Be the one willing to let your life speak for itself

Be the one willing to ask for help

Be the one that starts real change

Be the one who is working while everyone else is complaining and pointing fingers

Be the one!

Faith Workout – What Does It Mean To Be A Christian?

There has been a lot going on recently in the United States that has left me pondering and pontificating on the very question proposed:

What does it mean to be a Christian?

I find myself scouring the passages of Scripture, praying in my alone moments and wondering what should a Christian look like to their family, friends, and Christ Himself?  And is that what the church currently looks like?

Do we have the correct posture in the world today?  Do we reflect Christ to the world or do we reflect a society hell bent on being right?

If we take the words and life of Christ as seriously as we say we do, are we a reflection of His light or are we collectively adding to the darkness that is being displayed?

Are we Christ, loving the women caught in adultery (while asking her to sin no more), or are we the mob, holding stones to be thrown?

Are we Christ, loving the lost, sick, needy, and clinging to faith that He will be enough to cure our ailments, or are we the Pharisees, demonstrating all that we know while missing the Savior standing before us?

I cannot answer these questions, as I watch and hear everyone shout loudly about standing up for our Christian beliefs, and I do not see people living out anything that I can call genuinely of Christ.

As a believer, we are called to hold our brothers and sisters in Christ to the standards that Christ has demonstrated.  We are to resist sin, be in the world but not of it, love our neighbor, and put nothing ahead of Christ.

But I missed the part where Christ talked about the world bending and bowing to our wants.  I missed where Christ said that we were going to be a political party and that our ways would be the world’s ways.

So as we debate whether or not to shop at Target, judge the choices and lifestyles of others, I ponder the question again:

What does it mean to be a Christian?

Is there a way for us, as the Church, to love our brothers and sisters even when we don’t agree with their choices and lifestyles?

Is there a way to break away from the methods and madness of the world and start from a position of compassion for the afflicted and desperate?

Can the love of Christ bring healing through us or is the noise we are making with our mouths just too much for the whisper of Christ in our hearts?

004 – Faith Workout – Sacrifices Define You

There are three questions that I find myself looking at from time to time.  They are questions that rank up there with “what’s your why” and “who do you say I am”.  They are questions that help me reflect on living a life of integrity.  They force me to answer if I am truly being the same person outwardly, as I think I am in my own head.

  1. How do you see yourself?

  2. How do others see you?

  3. Are you happy with both answers?

As I dive deeper into those questions and explore my own answers, I have found that, for me personally, we desire definition by our sacrifice.  Others know as based on the choices we make, for good or for bad.  If we want to be known as a family man or woman, we are often praised for giving up a career or higher paying job.  If we choose the career path, we can be treated as if we made a mistake by choosing that over having a family.

It appears that people, increasingly, have a hard time seeing the world simply for what it is.  We see it through the lens of sacrifices and choices.  We see the person with the physique we want and think that they must hate life because they no longer know how good cake and doughnuts taste.  And maybe they look across the room at someone like me, with my average physique, and think about my lack of willpower.

Can we ever stop and just accept that both of us might just be content and happy with our choices.  And so I return to my three questions.

How do you see yourself? – This is just a gut-check honesty question.  When you look in the mirror and look at yourself, what do you see?  Who are you, to you?  Do you see yourself as someone who sacrifices for everyone else, cares for everyone else, is strong enough to put yourself first?  What do you see?  As I look in the mirror, the answer to this question can often be misleading.  The answer, usually, is who I want to see. I answer blind to my own biases and faults.  I will seldom say, I see a selfish person who wishes more people said thank you.  I just do not want to admit to myself that, the words thank you…are powerful to me.  I won’t say to myself, I feel taken advantage of.  I struggle to say compliments too.  I struggle to be real and admit good things too.  I don’t always say, I’m a good coach.  The rabbit hole this question often leads me down is one where at the end, all I say is I can be better.

And so I go into the second question…

How do others see you?  – It’s easy to lie on this one and say that they see you as a great person, caring, loving…a great friend, spouse, parent.  It is easy to sidestep this question and think long and hard about how big the category of “others” really is.  Stop and really focus on those out there that just might not see you in the best light.  Accept your highlights.  Build up that personal highlight reel as you ponder this question, but don’t neglect the slip-ups and mistakes that have been made.  Don’t forget the people you might have hurt, intentional or not.  How do they see you?  Have their wounds healed?  If we want to grow at all, we have to look at all sides of who we are.  Sometimes, the hurt was necessary.  That is why there is the third question…

Are you happy with both answers? – As I stated at the beginning, we are often defined by the sacrifices that we make.  We are known for giving things up so that we can do other things.  That is a fact of life.  We cannot do all things at once.  And so, we have to also be content with how we answer questions 1 and 2.  If we can look at our answers to those questions and be happy with them, then we are on a solid path.  If my actions hurt someone, but I understand they had to happen…that the pain is a result of a necessary sacrifice for my growth into a bigger, better person, then I can accept it.  If I am not happy with my answers to questions 1 and 2, then I know that changes have to be made.  Changes have to take place, and I am the only one that can make those changes happen.

And so the faith workout, the challenge of our faith is to add one more layer to these questions.  I do not have to change the questions, but I do have to answer them through the scope of Christ and Scripture.  As I address the question about how I see myself and how others see me, I am seeking Christ in both of those answers.  I mean that literally.  I am forced to ask myself, can I see Christ working through me, can others?  Am I happy with that answer?

003 – Faith Workout – Indeed in Our Hearts We Feel the Sentence of Death

Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. (2 Corinthians 1:9, ESV)

This one is out early this week.  I did not get it up yesterday, sorry, but it was a long day.  But that being said, it reinforced the need for what I wanted to share this week.  In continuing to grow off of the post from last week asking you to live an authentic faith this week…I was forced into being reminded of my favorite verse.  That is the one at the top from 2 Corinthians.

My favorite book of the Bible… Job!

There is a pattern to what stands out to me and what I empathize with.  What always strikes me and resonates with me are the following:

  1. There will be dark days.
  2. We have those to increase our faith and dependence on Christ, not to pull us away from it

As you go through this week and focus on living out your authentic faith, please include in that some reflection the dark days and times that you have been through.  How did you respond to those times and those struggles?

 

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Did you doubt Christ was there?  Did you cling harder to the cross?  Did you pray more, less?  Did you pray at all?

When I examine life, it is pretty safe to say that we are all just like the disciples in any telling of Jesus calming the sea.  We are the disciples and we are the sea.

We fall into a trap of thinking that just because we do not see Jesus moving and working that He is not protecting, providing and delivering us to safety.  We forget that He is in the boat and so when the wind and the waves and the storms of life attack, we pay more attention to them than the fact that we have Christ with us.

In Mark’s telling of this story, the following is said:

He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” (Mark 4:40)

And this is each and every one of us…daily.  We see the storms, that chaos, the confusion and we get afraid and lose faith.

We do not have to run down below and wake Jesus up from his sleep, we have to remember that He is in the boat.  That He controls the wind and the waves and they will be calmed when the time is right.  We need to stop focusing on the storm and take refuge in the one who can calm the storm.

But we don’t.  When there are dark days and rough times, we immediately go to a place of how can I fix this, what did I do to be in this position, or why is God punishing me?  When a lot of the time, it’s not about fixing, it’s not about what you did, and it is not punishment.  It is a call to trust, a call to cling to the one who raises the dead.

Dark days will happen.  Some days will be darker than others, but as we go through them and face them…we must trust that Christ will calm to storm and be drawn closer to Him.  The seas will calm, and we will make it to the other side.

 

002 – Faith Workout – Authentic Faith

As I wrap up the work week, I am going to continue with the exploration of the concept of authenticity.  This is probably the toughest post of the week because I believe that authenticity in our faith is extremely important and extremely lacking.

What does an authentic Christian life look like?  What does authentic faith look like?

Those are tough questions because I think that so often we live a message that is not authentic.  We live a message that is appealing.  We become promoters and advertisers for this thing called Christianity and neglect that faith is a very real part of it.

So we leave out the scary parts of the truth.  We put on the show that says, since I am a believer and things are not going perfect, that I must pretend as if they are.  In public, since I claim the riches and glory of Christ, my life must represent that and I can show no weakness.

I am here to encourage you to stop hiding the struggle; the struggle is the beacon of hope to the world that Christ pulls us through the trials.  He, and our faith, do not remove struggles and hard times.  We just know that we have a solid foundation so that the storms do not have to destroy us.

An authentic Christian has a story.  They have struggles and triumphs and anger and they fall down.  They drop to their knees and dare I say it, they doubt.  They question and they explore.  They take comfort in knowing that Christ is working all things for the good of those who love Him, but they can be afraid when they are not able to see the big picture.  They trust in the truth, but they are still scared to leap.

No one will understand why we lose some people so young.  No one can explain why terrible things happen to “good” people, but we have faith in a bigger plan.  It still HURTS!  We still struggle to come and sit at the feet of Christ with the biggest question of all “Why?”  But we still come to His feet.

And that is what we need to stop being afraid to show a little more often.

This week my mind seemed centered on the following:

Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. (Luke 9:23)

And what kept coming to me was that in this passage we are reminded that we have a cross to carry daily.  Our sins are not crucified to it when we believe.  We still will struggle with sin and death in this lifetime.  It means that even though I am a follower and I know that my sins will not be the cause for me to be separated from Christ in eternity…I still have to deal with them in the here and now, daily.

This reminds me that being a believer does not remove the struggle, it gives me a hope for the future.  It means that I am going to fall down and fail.  And if I am going to live out my faith and be authentic with those around me, they need to see that.

My motto for this year is “#WatchThis” and it does not come from arrogance, but from the notion that says, I want you to see me for who I am.  I want you to see the authentic person.  It means that you will see me sin and get hurt for no reason.  I will be upset with my wife, kids, friends and family when they do not deserve it.  I will be selfish and you will call me things that I deserve to be called.

I will struggle with my faith and I will trust in my creator to help me.  I will not understand what God is doing in and around me, but I will trust Him.  I will misinterpret Him and I will get it right sometimes.  I will share from my heart and try to bring you who I am in everything that I write and post.

That will include my failings.

The church as a whole in the west needs to start being authentic again.  It needs to admit its failures and the God’s people need to recognize that if we want people to know Christ, and know Him intimately, they have to see us NEED Him and trust Him.  Christ does not make life perfect and automatically fill our bank accounts and remove illness and heartache from around us.  He is a refuge from the storm, a place for peace in the chaos.

I challenge you to live an authentic faith this next week.  When you struggle, help people to see you are relying on Christ to pull you through.  Don’t carry on like everything is good because you are afraid that  will cause people to leave you or hurt your reputation with the believers.  Christ knows what you are going through, He built this body called the church so that you would have a place to be safe.  The authentic Church that Christ built was built as a place for a bunch of people with a bunch of crosses to get together and be real with one another.

It isn’t a place for acting…that is called the theatre!

001 – Faith Workout – I Am New

Something new is on the blog – Faith Workouts!  A whole new section and a new challenge for anyone that wants it.  Before I started down the path of fitness and writing primarily about that, I often wrote about my faith.  I knew it was important, but I felt that I had to keep my “business” blog and faith separate.  I have changed my mind on that.  As you know as someone who has followed this site, you know that I write consistently on having a strong mind and the right mindset.  For me that strength comes from my faith.

So I have this new section.  I will do my best to post at least one “Faith Workout” a week.  I will continue to write about mindset in a universal tone on other posts, but this section is for those that also desire to walk with Christ daily.  It will also pertain to approaching your fitness lifestyle.  It will be a merging of all those things.  So I welcome you to the new section.  I hope you stick around and grow!


Let’s start at the beginning.  One of the things that we always hear in church is the notion and idea that when we accept that Christ died for us and that when we believe that and have genuine faith, we are a new creation.  We are made new.

When we accept that we are a new creation, we also act accordingly.  Something changes.  There is a new power that we have access to and we now represent Christ and the Kingdom.  If you were like me, you also dealt with struggles of letting go and feelings like the only way to remain in the Kingdom is to remain perfect.  As we mature we learned that temptation in the world we live in is very real.  We learned that we still falter and sin.  But we also felt different about our actions.  We knew it was wrong, so we repented.  We turned back, knowing that we cannot lose our place, we can only reject it.

 

Above is one of my favorite songs on the topic.  And it probably does a better job of capturing the reality than I could.  And that leads into how this simple truth can and does relate to our fitness journey.  When we start at the beginning, we need to see ourselves as the new creation we are working to become.  We need to accept and not see ourselves as a work in progress.  We need to recognize that we are that new person.

Whether we are trying to gain strength, lean up, whatever our journey is, we have to accept the changed mindset that comes with living the healthier lifestyle.  We have to make those changes.  We have to let the new creation dictate how we behave and let go of the old habits we have and the strongholds.  We have to let go of the mindset that says “I am not strong enough to go run with my kids” or the voice that tells us we are too weak to be successful.

We have to accept that we ARE that person we are trying to become.  We have to acknowledge that we will falter and have setbacks, but just as we become new in Christ…when we truly commit to our fitness journey we are that new “After” person.  The sooner we start acting like the “New” person, the easier it can be for us to achieve what we after.

Just as we mature as Christians and grow in our knowledge of the Creator, we can grow in our knowledge of our new healthier selves…My encouragement to you is this.  Accept who you are in Christ first and foremost, then accept who you will be at the end of your fitness journey.  Give yourself grace as you grow and change, but never let go of the truth that You Are New!