Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Are you the type of person who eats when you're stressed? I am. I eat when I'm stressed, when I'm sad, when I'm happy, and when I'm tired. I believe there's a food for every mood.
I eat for any reason at any time. I eat when I'm watching television, I eat while riding in the car, and I even eat while sitting at the computer. There are enough crumbs in my keyboard to feed a troupe of boy scouts. Every once in a while, I just shake it over the table and announce to the husband, "Dinner's ready!"
I eat too much, too often. Since I was a kid, I've had a weight problem. I could never weight for the next meal. I began wearing a girdle to school in kindergarten, and I've been on diets for most of my life.
I recently began yet another new eating regimen. Forbidden food groups include appetizers and desserts, anything processed or fried, and anything with meat or dairy products in it. I must also avoid all foods seen on TV commercials or restaurant menus. I cannot eat anything prepared by my grandma, Aunt Hildegard, my third cousin twice removed, or any other member of the family. It's called the Oriental Diet. I can eat all I want from the specified food list (celery, kale, bok choi, and those tiny ears of corn), but I must use only one chopstick.
This week, I've failed miserably at sticking to my eating plan. I've had an insatiable appetite for junk food. In addition to a dumpster load of Hostess Twinkies, I've devoured roughly eleven cases of raspberry Fig Newtons and eight and a half pounds of extra crunchy Cheetos. I can't be sneaky about it either. When the husband asks if I've eaten all the Cheetos, how can I look innocent when my fingers and teeth are orange?
Wouldn't you think that after stuffing myself with junk food all week I'd be satisfied? I'm not. In fact, the more I eat, the more I crave. If I continue this way, I'll need a front end loader to lift my carcass out of the Lazy Boy.
To make matters worse, I don't get enough exercise. But I really can't do much that's physical, because I think I pulled a fat cell. I'm barely able to crawl to the kitchen for six square meals a day.
I really need to lose weight. I want to know how it feels to bend over and tie my shoes without cutting off the blood supply above my waist and feeling as if my intestines are being pushed out my ears. It would be great to zip my jeans without fainting from lack of oxygen. So I must get back on track. I'll paste on my refrigerator door that old proverb uttered by some wise sage: "If it tastes good, spit it out."
From now on, I'll plan my meals around a main dish of parsley. Only nutritional foods will pass my lips, like rutabagas, spinach, and celery -- stuff that takes half an hour to chew. By the time I swallow them, my aching jaws will be too tired to munch extra-crunchy Cheetos or anything else. Now if I could only figure out a way to make veggies taste like turtle cheesecake.
To keep my weight down and my arteries clean, I must eat health-restoring foods. Similarly, keeping my spiritual arteries open and flowing freely requires health food for my soul. Whoever coined the phrase "Garbage in, garbage out" knew what he was talking about. When I dump into my spirit things that I'm better off without, they transform my perceptions, attitude, and actions. The result can be just as shocking as that horror-filled moment when I view my cellulite-riddled body in Wal-mart's dressing room mirror.
So, I've made two resolutions. One is to strengthen my body and fuel it with life-sustaining foods. Also, I'll incorporate into my lifestyle more exercise than just aerobic eating and lifting extra large Hershey bars. I'll start slowly with the goal of working up to three sit ups a day. And instead of walking, I'll jog from my bed to the table.
I also plan to exercise my faith and feast spiritually on the word of God. This will be easier and much more palatable than a physical diet; and it will keep my sin-sick, love-starved soul in tip-top health. Bible study is the meat that gives me strength for handling stress and a clear mind to make good decisions. And, unlike Chinese food, it doesn't leave me feeling empty in an hour.
Jeremiah 15:16 says, "When your words came, I ate them; and they were my joy and my heart's delight." Jesus promised that whoever hungers and thirsts for righteousness will be satisfied, and Psalm 63:5 testifies, "My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods."
I feel better already.
Marsha Jordan is the author of "Hugs, Hope, and Peanut Butter":http://snipurl.com/mJordan (Amazon info)
Visit her official website: http://www.hugsandhope.org/
Copyright 2007 Marsha Jordan. Permission is granted to send this to others, with attribution, but not for commercial purposes.
Monday, January 29, 2007
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Friday, January 26, 2007
That is the stark warning issued by best-selling British psychologist Oliver James after a "mind tour" of seven countries chronicling how depression envelopes the affluent.
"We have become addicted to having rather than being and confusing our needs with our wants," he told Reuters in an interview to mark publication on Thursday of "Affluenza."
Globe-trotting from New York to Sydney, Singapore and Shanghai via Copenhagen, Moscow and Auckland, he concluded after interviewing 240 people that "selfish capitalism" has run riot. Bigger houses, more cars, larger televisions, younger faces -- these goals are frenetically pursued by middle-class workaholics afflicted by "Affluenza."
"Studies in lots of different nations show that if you place high value on those things, you are more likely to suffer depression, anxiety, addictions and personality disorders," he said. James concluded, "People in English-speaking nations are twice as likely to be mentally ill as people living in mainland western European nations."
Always wanting bigger and better is an emotional cul de sac, argues the 53-year-old psychologist, broadcaster and author.
However, James is optimistic and believes the backlash has begun. "We are at a turning point. My argument dovetails with the ecological argument -- we cannot carry on consuming in this manner and feel confident our great grandchildren have any future. This inevitably leads us to question consumerism."
"People are sick to the back teeth of this stuff. They don't want any more selfish capitalism."
James is just confirming what the Bible has to say about this subject:
A devout life does bring wealth, but it's the rich simplicity of being yourself before God.
Since we entered the world penniless and will leave it penniless, if we have bread on the table and shoes on our feet, that's enough.
But if it's only money these leaders are after, they'll self-destruct in no time.
Lust for money brings trouble and nothing but trouble. Going down that path, some lose their footing in the faith completely and live to regret it bitterly ever after. THE MESSAGE
It amazes that we still disregard this scripture. What amazes me more is that the 'Affluenza Virus' is rampant in our churches today just as in society. The church is full of it and consumerism is now the driving force in church competition.
God help us to return to a 'devout life that brings wealth.'
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Click on Pics to enlarge--
Well, Debi and I completed the Master Bathroom Makeover. Over the weekend Debi sanded the walls, textured them (took her 5 hours-what a woman!), painted and then put a faux finish on them. I helped with the last two things. We ended up with a leather look on the walls which is 'manly' as this is primarily my bathroom with all my stuff. So all I have to do is some caulking, hanging a neat cabinet and mirror we bought and this project will be done! We started on Dec. 29th and have patiently worked at it. But now we can enjoy the finished work.
Also, I enjoy working with Debi- she is my heart's delight!
This shows a close up of the texture and faux we put on the walls.
This is a completed view.
Another major home project completed!
Monday, January 22, 2007
According to an article in the UK based "Daily Mail", today is Blue Monday -- the unhappiest day of the year. It says, "Unpaid Christmas bills, nasty weather, and failed New Year's resolutions combine to make January 22 the gloomiest in the calendar."
Phillip Hodson, a fellow of the British Association for Counselling, said: "The worst day has got to be a Monday - there is other evidence to show it is the worst day of the week.
"Our bodies work on a 25-hour clock so that - by the time we get to the weekend - we stay up later. That makes it difficult for us to go to sleep on Sunday and we wake up grumpy.
"It's also got to be around this time of year - we are less contented with our body image because we've been bingeing."
Maybe you're feeling it. Every now and then reality has a way of catching up with us, reminding us just how 'not-right' everything is. Bad news hits even harder, goals seem even more unreachable, progress seems even more elusive.
How's your day going? Rough? Good? So so? Remember these scriptures:
He gets angry once in a while, but across a lifetime there is only love. The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter. from THE MESSAGE
2 Co 4:16-17
So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. from THE MESSAGE
God turns blue days into bright days!
Friday, January 19, 2007
Kids don't get in trouble anymore. They merely hit "social speed bumps."
You're not having a bad hair day; you're suffering from "rebellious follicle syndrome."
No one's tall anymore. They're "vertically enhanced."
You're not shy. You're "conversationally selective."
You don't talk a lot. You're just "abundantly verbal."
It's not called gossip anymore. It's "transmission of near-factual information."
The food at the school cafeteria isn't awful. It's "digestively challenged."
Your homework isn't missing; it's just having an "out-of-notebook experience."
You're not sleeping in class; you're "rationing consciousness."
You don't have smelly gym socks; you have "odor-retentive athletic footwear."
You weren't passing notes in class. You were "participating in the discreet exchange of penned meditations."
You're not being sent to the principal's office. You're "going on a mandatory field trip to the administrative building.
It's still tough to be a kid these days!
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
But there was some confusion, as the numbers were not adding up. Heaven was a little overcrowded, and a bunch of folks were unaccounted for.
So some of the angels were sent on a mission to investigate things. And it was not long before two of them returned, “We found the problem,” they said.
“Jesus is out back, lifting people up over the gate.”
"As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life."--John 3:14, 15
"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. (This he said, signifying what death he should die.)"--John 12:32, 33
The good news of the Gospel is that Jesus came to save people and lift them out of their miserable conditions and bring them to the Father. The Father is not willing that any perish. I appreciate the depths that He went to to secure our deliverance from sin and our ability to have a fresh, dynamic, daily relationship with Him.
As Pastors we need to keep a fresh perspective that we too are here to help lift people out of their misery, shame, defeat, despair, disillusionment, depressions, etc., to an exciting new and abundant life in Christ.
I am one of the lifted up ones therefore I can help others!
Monday, January 15, 2007
One of the tensest, most intriguing television shows airing today, the critically acclaimed 24 has captured my attention and that of millions of viewers. Created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran, 24 has become one of FOX's leading TV shows. It centers around its main protagonist, Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), as well as a plethora of supporting characters. Bauer, a skilled government agent, works in the Counter Terrorist Unit, located in Los Angeles. Over the course of five thrilling seasons, Jack Bauer has evaded terrorists, nuclear weapons, assassins, and many other sinister figures, all with equally sinister goals in mind. 24 is highly unique in the fact that each season takes place over 24 hours in real time, with each episode spanning one hour of the day.
And now 'Jack is back' with the 6th season thrilling 4 hour opener spreading over last night and tonight. However, because of a friend who loaned me the pre-release DVD of the 4 episodes plus first 10 minutes of the 5th installment, we were able to watch it all last night at a friend's home on a big screen TV.
WOW, how do these writers keep coming up with these almost true to life scenarios? They do awesome writing, there is superb acting and great film work!
I am addicted to it... I admit it... I don't want help though until the season is over!
The father invites the fiancee to his study for a chat. "So what are your plans?" the father asks the young man.
"I am a Bible college student." he replies.
"A Bible college student. Hmmm," the father says. "admirable, but what will you do to provide a nice house for my daughter to live in, as she's accustomed to?"
"I will study," the young man replies, "and God will provide for us."
"And how will you buy her a beautiful engagement ring, such as she deserves?" asks the father.
"I will concentrate on my studies," the young man replies, "God will provide for us."
"And children?" asks the father. "How will you support children?"
"Don't worry, sir, God will provide," replies the fiance. The conversation proceeds like this, and each time the father questions, the young idealist insists that God will provide.
Later, the mother asks, "How did it go, Honey?"
The father answers, "He has no job and no plans, but the good news is he thinks I'm God."
Friday, January 12, 2007
The pic above of the President crying reminds me of why I like him. He is real and genuine, not like his detractors in Washington. They have to feign mourning, it is not genuine!
But a President who crys for the dead, wounded, sins of a nation, etc., is someone I can follow!
And Pastor friends, if you haven't cried recently, you need to get in touch with your God given emotions. I would rather follow a crying preacher that a 'strutting your stuff' preacher. Where has all the humility gone in the pulpit?
People are crying all around us! Jesus is touched by that and we should be also.
"You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you." from THE MESSAGE
Jesus wept, President Bush wept.... can that be said of you?
Thursday, January 11, 2007
I say, leave the cup's hole facing your cubicle wall and let the little thief figure it out after he's started pouring his coffee.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Lord, bless our great city of Arlington with industry and businesses. We have people who want to work and live here. As they are faithful to You in their jobs, please give them raises, bonuses and increases. Bless those in our church with an entrepreneur spirit to start businesses and bless our business owners and prosper them. Give us clever and witty inventions that we too might make wealth. Now we are not greedy, nor covetous, and we do not want to consume it upon ourselves, but having our own needs met we are able to give to others and into the Kingdom of God. Amen.
That is how I pray each and every Sunday. I received an email last night from a Dad that attends the church:
I was praying with my children tonight, and Lyric, who's 10, prayed "Lord give daddy more work so we can get more money, not to consume it upon ourselves, but to give it to other people after our expenses. Amen."
lol! At least somebody's listening!
Monday, January 08, 2007
We had our annual Staff Retreat this past weekend. We arrived at the Riverbend Retreat Center in Glen Rose, TX, around 5PM, settled in, ate, and then began our meetings at 6PM. We worshipped, prayed, talked, discussed, did inventories, and discussed some more. Around 10PM we started praying for each other with words of encouragement, prophetic words, and words of affirmation. That lasted until about 12am. Then, we started playing a few games. Late Night!
We were back after it after our breakfast. We discussed 2006; what were our strengths (did right), what were our weaknesses (did wrong), and what we will and won't do again this year. We made plans for 2007, discussed our goals, and then prayed some more. We finished our time with a great meal at noon at Hammonds BBQ in Glen Rose. Great BBQ and desserts, i.e. the cobblers with Blue Bell ice cream and Peanut Butter Cream Pie, all homemade!
I have a great staff and they truly are the 'Dream Team.' I love them and thank them for being here at the Vine!
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Friday, January 05, 2007
I always get 1001 questions about what I did over Christmas break. We shut down the office for the week after Christmas. Some of the staff travel to be with family. We stayed here and I did what is now a tradition here at the Vine and that is serve communion to and pray over each family on Christmas eve. Been doing that for 16 years!
Ryan and Charity came here. So we had a great time of visiting, eating, and shopping. I am blessed with a great wife and tremendous kids!
After Ryan and Charity left I began a project that we needed to do and that was change out our master bathroom shower. These are some work in progress pics and some near completion pics.
So all I need to do is finish out the sheet rock and it will be completed. I will probably do that Monday on my day off.
Well, have to go get ready for our Staff Retreat this weekend. The staff at the Vine are a "Dream Team." I love them....
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
“One should rather die than be betrayed. There is no deceit in death. It delivers precisely what it has promised. Betrayal, though ... betrayal is the willful slaughter of hope.” Steven Deitz
Probably one of the most difficult and gut wrenching trial and test that a Pastor (or anyone for that matter) might experience in life is the betrayal by someone close to you. It can be at the hands of family members, husband or wife, church members, friends, business associates, etc. I have had a few relationships that have ended in betrayal. I tend to be very loyal, forgiving, and ‘giving the benefit of the doubt’ in my relationships with people. I don’t live life as a rule with the idea ‘people are going to disappoint you.’ Yet it does happen and nothing is more sinister than betrayal.
It is not an enemy who taunts me — I could bear that. It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me — I could have hidden from them. Instead, it is you — my equal, my companion and close friend. What good fellowship we enjoyed as we walked together to the house of God. NLT
This scripture is one of betrayal. The Bible gives us repeated instances of it. The religious community and one of His closest friends betrayed Jesus. Those who were closest to David betrayed him. Joseph's own family betrayed him. Betrayal is a fact of life!
Os Hillman calls loving those that betray you ‘graduate level Christianity.’ A Godly response to betrayal goes against everything in us. We want to protect, retaliate, and retain unforgiveness and bitterness. Therein lies Satan’s tool against us walking free of betrayal. We have to seek and appropriate God’s grace for these difficult situations. Loving our enemies cannot be accomplished by mustering it up. We need to die to ourselves so that God’s nature of true forgiveness and love can flow to us and through us to those that have betrayed us.
If you have experienced betrayal, may God give you the victory over it in 2007!
Monday, January 01, 2007
Mark 5:30 At the same moment, Jesus felt energy discharging from him. He turned around to the crowd and asked, "Who touched my robe?" from THE MESSAGE
Most Pastors live off the spiritual energy of ministry and preaching the Word Of God. When one stands to preach there is a life flow from God to the Pastor that gives a spiritual energy high. It is the most vital energy that any of us have – what we live off of. It gives confidence and courage to do everything else that may come our way. However, we can quickly deplete that spiritual energy and hit the proverbial wall. Jesus knew when someone touched Him and energy left him. There are people constantly ‘touching’ the pastor and with each touch energy is drained!
When a Pastor’s emotional deficit is extremely low, you just can’t stop and fill it quickly. Just as it took time to diminish and get to where it is, it will take time to replenish it. Usually more time than it took to drain it.
What are some steps to replenishing our emotional deficit?
1. Jesus showed us that in order to meet the demands of ministry- one had to get away and alone with God on a continual basis. Time with God is like attaching jumper cables to a depleted battery and giving it a new boost of energy.
2. One needs to relax and read non Christian Books to refresh the mind and soul. Read not for ‘sermon illustrations’ but for the effect that it will have on your psyche!
3. A Pastor needs to spend time in the company of his cheerleaders. Those are people, your wife and others, who are there to cheer you on and encourage you. They are there to ‘breathe a fresh breath’ on you! Play games with them, eat out with them, go to movies, etc. These are people who can accept you as a real person with legitimate needs and not ‘always as a pastor’ but a friend!
4. Personal downtime- this means take a day off. And as your mother used to say, “Get out of the house and do something, you’re driving me crazy!” We need to do the same or our home will become a ‘nut house.’
5. Take travel vacations. By travel, I mean vacations taken at another location other than your city or even state. I get replenish the best by lying on a beach beside an ocean absorbing those life threatening sun rays! My leaders and church recognize that I am much better after a travel vacation!
6. And as Bill Hybels said: I'm convinced God wants us to live so as to finish the race we've started. That's the challenge of every Christian leader. And monitoring all three gauges—spiritual, physical, and emotional—plays an important part in our longevity.
So dear friends, keep a constant watch on your emotional gauge now that you realize its importance to your overall well being and the work of the ministry.