Wednesday, October 31, 2012

From Shack to Temple - Weight Loss WednesdayGoing Paleo

I really like the paleo version of the Nike slogan. Nike says, "Just Do It" while paleo says, "Just Chew It." I have been struggling with my weight, partially because I am allowing a cheat a day and that gets in my way. I am an addict, an alcoholic and I struggle with major impulse control issues with things that are unhealthy. If I have a beer a day, it will sooner or later evolve into me going on a bender and waking up having no recollection of the day before. If I have a Girl Scout Cookie, my new drug of choice, I will eat the entire box. That is why I should not have a cheat a day, because I will blow several days. I need something a little more strict.

I also am struggling with my digestion and internal issues. I have major pains when I eat, and I won't get in to the details. I will tell you that I have been to multiple doctors and had multiple tests ran, and they keep telling me they have no idea what it is. I also feel fatigued every afternoon and that has to stop. I miss my energy. I have heard that the paleo diet can help with those types of problems. Those are the two reasons I am going to try the Paleo Diet: Weight loss and Feeling Better.

Finally, the third reason. Every other weight loss and feel good system that I know of is expensive and you have to add it to what you already eat. I have to pay $200-300 for the system plus buy my food every week, too. It adds up quickly, and I am broke. If you have some great product that you want me to try I would be happy to use it if you send it to me and let me use it for free. I will be your spokesperson. Otherwise, I don't want to hear about your products. I love you guys, but I am trying to: write a blog, film a documentary, start a non-profit, get funding for non-profit, find board members, find people to do various things (interview, web design, legal, financial, write grants, donate goods/money, bands), speak at churches/schools/events, work full-time, raise two kids and give my wife the attention she deserves. Read that as meaning I have no time for anything else God has not laid on my heart.

For those who don't know what the Paleo Diet is, here is a run down. It is also called the Primal Diet and the Caveman Diet with some variations. The Paleo Diet consists of eating lean meats that are grass fed, free range and hormone/chemical free. I get to eat just about any meat including seafood, and just so you know uncured bacon tastes amazing. After all, it's bacon! Then I get vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.

You avoid dairy, grains, processed sugars and foods, legumes, starches and alcohol. I am super excited. I went out and got eggs, grass fed beef, free range hormone free chicken, uncured bacon, sweet potatoes, tilapia, salmon, tuna, walnuts then added organic fruits and vegetables. I even got almond butter to use as a dip for apples when my sweet tooth kicks in and I'm looking forward to having cauliflower popcorn. Below is the scramble I had today for breakfast: eggs, uncured ham, bell peppers, onion, tomato, avocado then I topped it with salsa!! YUM!! I could get used to eating like this.

P.S. - If anyone knows where the best selection and best economical values are in the Springfield area for good quality meat and organic produce please let me know.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Church in Under 60 Minutes or Your Money Back

I had put up something on Facebook about the Chicago Bears squeaking out a win. A friend commented that it was "almost embarrassing." I told her that I would take embarrassed with a win. I thought about Woody Harrelson's character in White Men Can't Jump when he talks about some people who would rather look good and lose than look bad and win. This reminded me of the world we live in today and how I am supposed to live my life. I should not live to look good and win the approval of those around me. Why don't we want their approval?

We are told that the world would hate us. In John 15:18-21 Jesus says to His disciples, "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.

That said, I don't think that we should be after the hate of the world. We are not going out of our way to make the world hate us. That said, wrong is wrong and we are to call those things out when they are IN THE CHURCH. We are not to go around judging those who are outside of the church. Instead, we are to be salt and light. That means we are to stand out and be different from those around us because we are called to a higher purpose.

We are called to act like Jesus. We are called to follow the commands of the Bible. We are to love God and to love our neighbors. Does that mean we will not talk to our neighbors about Christ and our faith? Absolutely not! In fact, we are called to talk to them about Christ and what He has called us to do as Christians. That does not mean we stand in judgement. Instead, we lead by example and inform/teach. I plant the seed, that is it. Only God can make it grow.

Now, back to the movie quote. Would you rather look good and lose, or look bad and win? When it comes to this world, if they cannot accept the way I live my life and the calling I follow than I would rather look bad to them. I don't have to fit in. In fact, I don't want to. Don't forget, the stakes are high. Winners get eternal life. To do that, we need to not follow the ways of the world. We need to look different, because once we accept Christ we are different.

So, how different from the secular world is today's church in America? I am sure that back in the early days of Christianity, church only lasted 45 minutes. There were 2-4 worship songs, a 15-20 minute sermon than two more worship songs. It was probablya  rush to get out the door and leave on your camel first to beat traffic. In fact, I bet that at least one if not two of those songs were not worship songs at all. I bet a couple of the songs they played in the early church were secular songs that were popular at the time so that more of the non-Christians would check the church out. Right?????

The church today is trying so hard to look like and not offend the secular world that we are looking more and more like the world outside of the church. We play secular songs that don't even tie in to the message. We have short sermons and short meeting times. We try not to offend any of the people who come to our church. Why? Because that is the popular thing to do. Because if we don't, then we might have some people who are unhappy stop coming to our church. They will go somewhere else and find a feel good, secular music playing, God loves you as you are why should you change hour or less church were they get dessert but no main course.

I say let them go. Why do we care so much what everybody thinks about us. It is sad that the churches today seem to be on a time schedule. What if the Spirit guides the pastor to talk for longer? Then we lose part of the sermon or we end the service with no last worship music. How is that spiritually nourishing? What happened to the church we have today?

We have traded in a sit down dining establishment for a fast food restaurant. We get nothing substantial or healthy. Instead, we get dessert and junk. Just like our physical bodies, our spiritual bodies are obese and out of shape. We are there to worship and let the Holy Spirit work on us and guide us. Who are we to put time constraints on the Holy Spirit? How dare us! I know that I am used to the short and sweet services because that is all that I know. But I am not always satisfied with them.

 I yearn for more! My spiritual batteries get depleted, and my spirit starves for more sometimes. I pray for 20-30 minutes in the morning. I break open my Bible several times a day. I write on the things that I read and learn. I share them with my wife and sometimes my coworkers. I have Jesus frequently in my daily life. That said, I want more!!

I have gone to multiple different churches in the same day, or gone to all of the services in one day to hear the differences in the sermons and see how they spoke to me. All I listen to is worship music. I meet with a weekly men's group. There is something about corporate worship I can't get anywhere else. The church is a locker room, and I need to get that play book down. I need more!

Now, don't get me wrong. There is great secular music out there, but not to be playing from speakers in your parking lot. There is also amazing worship music. I don't believe, as one of my wife's professors did, that drums are tools of the devil. I love contemporary Christian music as well as the old hymns. I love to sing out loud and express my adoration for Christ. Nothing primes my spirit to hear and apply a sermon more than great worship music. How can secular music possibly prime me to receive the message? It can't, period!

I have a novel idea. How about the churches with several services have the last one be a longer service. Let there be more worship and a longer message. That way the people who only care about the fluff, whose lives are so busy they can only take an hour or two (the extra hour is for that one small group they attend) out of their busy weeks, can have their sermon. They can get the fast food version. Those who want to spend more time in worship and listening to the word get to hear it, too. Those who hunger get fed and the truly thirsty get their thirst quenched! How amazing would that be?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Stop Pimping Jesus Out

I am going to start this off with an instance in particular that I see as condescending and sad. It is when someone on Facebook does what I consider to be pimping out Jesus. They also do it with soldiers, puppies, cruelty to animals, etc. What I am talking about is the random posts on Facebook that say things like, "Click like if you love Jesus," "Leave a comment if you follow Jesus," "Copy and paste this as your status if you support our troops" and "Forward this to 10 of your friends and you will have happiness."

Just wrong, period! People are using these things to get likes for their pictures and sites. You want to post something and have someone like it, write something original. Take your own picture, don't take someone else's and use it with a snappy caption pimping out Jesus or our troops or abused animals to get likes.

You want likes and follows, be honest. How about saying, "Like this site if you support what I am doing to bring the message of Jesus to people" or "Leave a comment if you support what I am doing." It is okay to use yourself and what you are personally doing. But using Jesus, pictures of soldiers or discussing what others are doing that you have no involvement in to curry favor is not the way to do it.

I am saying this because if you love and follow Jesus, your walk will show it. If you support the troops, donate to a non-profit set up to help them. Same with abused animals. If those poor dogs being abused and killed break your heart, adopt your next dog from the pound or shelter and not purchase it from a breeder or puppy mills. Finally, if you want to be happy and you are not, make changes in your friends, habits, activities and employment.

Just an FYI, I love Jesus and I would say that I have a good relationship with Him. Not great, but it is progress not perfection we aim for. That said, I have never commented or liked one of the posts that wanted me to prove it in some inane ways. I also support our troops yet I have never copied and pasted a status to say that I supported our troops. Finally, I have never forwarded an email to become happy, find love, not die in 7 days, keep a puppy from being killed or prove my faith.

We are called to be SALT AND LIGHT, NOT COMMENT AND LIKE!! Trust me, if you think that you are living on the wrong side of God, no amount of sharing an email or liking a post is going to change that. People who try to tell you that it will are misguided at best. Using God to get likes, salvation to get comments and people's fears to get shares is not right. If you want to get those things, then there are ways to get it:
  1. Photograph something amazing 
  2. Write something meaningful
  3. Record something that catches people's attention
  4. Start a non-profit benefiting a group and pour yourself into it

I want you to know that I am guilty on occasion of overdoing some things on Facebook and probably Twitter. At one time I had Facebook and Twitter linked and was double posting on Facebook because of it. I am also no longer going to use hash tags and @insertTwitternamehere on Facebook as that is not the right language. If you are on a social media network, use it and then take the time to post on the next social media network using their format.

My problem was that I was lazy and I realize that if I want people to have an interest in what I am doing, I need to show that same interest in them. Rick Warren says, "People don't care about how much you know until they know about how much you care!" If you care, you will take time out to do things well. You will use original content, not steal others.

I also share my faith very openly and honestly. I was out of hope, lost and ready to give up on life. Through Christ I found hope and a reason to live. He saved my life. If you discover something that saves your life, know that if you share it with others it could save theirs too and you don't do suck at life. You are simply not a good person. Not judging, just saying!

I also talk about the exercise I do and the food I eat on occasion. The reason for that is I am in the middle of losing a goal of 60 pounds, and 70 would probably be good. I have other friends that struggle with weight issues and impulse control that are encouraged by what I say. At least, that is what they tell me. Because of that, I share about dieting, exercise, Jesus and the things that keep me positive. I hope that it will allow others to get a better outlook on life and overcome some of their struggles.

In closing, if you can be positive that is great. If you have nice, uplifting things to say then by all means say them. If all you do is complain and trash other people, then maybe you need to keep that to yourself. Let me know about you. After all, that is what I care about.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

From Shack to Temple Weight Loss Wednesday My Fitness Pal

So, when I came into work on Monday this was the sight that greeted me from the copy/break room. It was hard to say no to. But, when I looked at my trusty new app that I got for my iPhone, MyFitnessPal, I was given all of the information that I needed. I looked at what it showed me, and decided what the best choice was.

So, let me tell you a little about MyFitnessPal. I want you to know that I rarely do product plugs...............ever. This is the first one that I have done in over 200 blogs. I may talk about music, small groups studies, movies but not products. The reason is simple, I am not here to sell anybody on anything, other than living a better life. But I must make an exception for this phone app, which is also available on your computer.

For starters, how cool it is to have a calorie counter on your hip. It is with me every where that I go. It allows me to use something that I already carry around instead of having to carry a diary. I then use it to log in all of the food that I consume. It also allows me to log in the exercises that I do and will then add the exercise calories to the total calories I can consume for the day so that I can have more food if I exercise. Your body needs fuel, so it is added. Makes total sense!

So how does it know how many calories I can consume for the day? It asks some questions: current weight, goal weight, starting weight, height, gender, date of birth and activity level. It then asks for your goal. Do you want to gain a pound a week, 1/2 a pound a week or stay the same? If not, do you want to lose weight: 1/2, 1, 1 1/2 or 2 pounds a week? It then sets you up with a daily calorie goal as well as the targets to hit for fat, protein, carbohydrates, cholesterol, sodium and several other minerals and vitamins.

But you could eat very unhealthy foods and never exercise, right? In recovery I talk about the 5 pillars: sponsor (mentor), 12 steps (live Biblical), meetings (small groups), a Higher Power (God) and accountability partners. This app will allow you to become friends with other people and they can then look at the exercise you do and the calories you eat. It lets you see weight lost or gained, calorie goal met,exceeded, exercise completed and whether or not they have been on the app. In this way, you have accountability partners built in.

Finally, not only does it already have a huge list of foods, brands, restaurants and exercises but you can also add your own. The coolest feature other than having friends be able to see how you are doing is the bar code reader. All you have to do is set the camera on the bar code of an item and it will automatically add it to your list of available foods to choose from. It puts it in complete with full calorie/protein/carb/fat/vitamin/mineral and serving breakdowns.

Together, those are the reasons that I am writing about this app. It is a total package. So, at the beginning I used my app to look up Krispy Kreme donuts and wedding cake. Small servings at 200-300 calories for the donuts and 400-600 calories for the cake. I knew that the Greek yogurt with granola, fresh blueberries and fresh raspberries was not only healthier and more filling, but also contained protein with no fat and tasty at only 200 calories.

I ended up eating the yogurt and did not give in to temptation. That may only be a small battle won, but it is A BATTLE WON!!! I love winning small battles every day, because the small wins daily will lead to a huge victory!! Unfortunately I have only really started using the app this week, and when we went to St Louis last week I was really bad and caved to my cravings. After two weeks, I am only down .6 pounds. That said, I am down not up so that is another small battle won in my fight against food cravings and body fat.

P.S. - So far I only have one accountability partner on the app. If this is something that you need or would not mind giving me (some support and encouragement with losing weight), get the MyFitnessPal app and request me. I am DjsDad1 on there. I also have a private Facebook group for several people who are struggling with food and/or weight issues that I can add you to if that would be beneficial.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Christians Are Not to Judge (NOT!!)

Do we judge other people? There are those who will quote scripture to chastise and judge those who judge others. Today we are going to look at one passage in the Bible to learn about whether or not we should judge others. The reason I am going to use this particular passage is because it contains the scripture that most often gets thrown in Christian's faces when we disagree with how others live.

The argument against judging others is that Jesus, in Matthew 7:1 clearly says, "Do not judge." They read that, and most stop right there. "See, your own Jesus says that you are not to judge me or anyone else," says the sinner. They use this as a way to say, "Christians don't even follow the malarkey that they believe." With that simple sentence, do not judge, many a Christian is shut down and left speechless.

Some will even use the entire first verse of Matthew chapter 7, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged." With that comment, anyone who suggests that someone is living a life that could lead them to hell is really saying that they too are going to hell. This makes complete sense, right?!?!?! After all, if a judge sentences someone to prison he is really sending himself to prison. Of course not. That would be ludicrous and devoid of logic.

If we look at this scripture, we should automatically realize that it is not to be taken in by itself only. If this scripture is read in to, I can walk away believing that I can do whatever I want and will never be judged. I can murder, lie, steal, cheat and there are no consequences for it as long as I don't judge other people. Wahoo!! There's no rules!!!

In Matthew 7:21 Jesus says, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." How is that possible if all we have to do is not judge others and we will get into heaven? So what is God's will Jesus speaks of? Jesus said there are two commands we are to follow in Matthew 22:37-40. He says we are to love God with all of our heart, soul and mind as well as love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

Wait, there's two rules? How can this be, if we do not get judged as long as we don't judge others? What do you mean, we won't get into heaven if we don't do God's will. I thought I couldn't get judged?? Obviously, there is a disconnect here. It is because we have not taken in the entire passage. So, lets look at the passage and see what Jesus really says.

Matthew 7:2-5 says, "For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured against you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

So, when Jesus says do not judge, what He really means is do not judge out of hypocrisy. It is like an alcoholic telling someone smoking marijuana or doing methamphetamine that they need to stop because its wrong what they are doing. When I was an addict, I would have people who were next to me smoking meth tell me that I was going to hell because I was not saved. "Get saved like me and you will go to heaven too," I was told on several occasions. THIS IS ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS I STAYED AN AGNOSTIC FOR AS LONG AS I DID!!!! Jesus is saying that we are not to judge other's sin when our sin is just as bad if not worse!

Parents, how can you tell your children not to smoke cigarettes or do drugs when you are doing them yourself? How can you tell them to not cuss when you curse yourself? When we parent with a "do as I say, not as I do" mentality we are doomed to fail. Get your life in order and begin living your life as we are commanded to.

When I am not living my life well, I am not in a position to help others. Judgement consists of two things. First we look at the actions and words of someone and discern how what they mean. Then we begin to instruct them on how to live their lives better. It is not hateful to judge someones actions and then assist them. If I see someone about to do something that would kill them and do nothing, that makes me a horrible person. If we see our brothers and sisters engaging in actions that will doom them for eternity and do nothing, we are sinning. Period!!

We should be instructing others in how to live the right way. This is done to all of us from the day we are born until the day we die. Our parents, teachers, local and federal laws all instruct us on how we should conduct ourselves. So, judgement and instruction is not bad................but it can be!

We are not to tear others down, just to build ourselves up. We don't belittle or nag others. We are not to instruct others to make ourselves feel better. We are not to instruct others and be hateful or judgmental in the process. Instead, we are to live our lives well and try to help those who are our brother's in Christ do the same! We are not instructing others out of hate, but out of love. We do not walk before our brothers, but instead walk beside them.

So who are we to judge? We are to instruct and help our brothers and sisters in Christ based on what God has said in the Bible. That at times means we need to make a judgement of someone based on their words or actions. By judging someones actions or words, we can then instruct them on how to live their lives by the Word of God. This is vital!

I know the American church does not need less internal judgement. THE AMERICAN CHURCH NEEDS MORE INTERNAL JUDGEMENT, AND LESS EXTERNAL CONDEMNATION!!! We are so busy picking the dust out of the eyes of the nonbeliever that we not only ignore the tree in our own eye. we also ignore all of the sin that is in the church. We are not called to stand in judgement of the world. God will do that. We are to help our brethren. Remember, iron sharpens iron.

So in closing, we are called to judge and instruct our Christian brothers and sisters from God's Word with discernment and love by first judging ourselves. Once we have gotten our lives in order with the two commandments we can then begin to help others. In all honesty, if you see your brother doing something that you know would lead to his death and said and did nothing you would be a horrible person! So, let us begin to rebuild the church and make it strong again by l

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tactics by Gregory Koukl Chapter 14 More Sweat Less Blood

In going through this book, you have looked at multiple tactics to help you effectively have conversations that aim to put a rock in the other person's shoe. That is, you give them something to think about that will hopefully stay with them long after the conversation is over. It is not about winning, but planting a seed. That said, this book and this blog on it do not guarantee that the conversations you have will be different.

There is a huge difference between application and knowledge. Greg states an old training maxim he heard from a former marine, "The more you sweat in practice, the less you bleed in battle." That means that you need to look at not only the tactics you have learned. You also need to practice those tactics as well as learn when and how to apply them in actual conversations. Following are his 8 quick tips:

  1. Be ready - always be willing to talk to the people you come in contact with and see if there is interest
  2. Keep it simple - Stick to salvation. If other issues don't come up, why bring them up?
  3. Avoid religious language and spiritual pretense
  4. Focus on the truth of Christianity, not merely its personal benefits - Focus on truth, not only experience
  5. Give reasons - Don't make assertions without giving evidence. Remember, the roof needs supports to hold it up 
  6. Stay calm - Don't get mad, don't get frustrated. Always stay composed
  7. If they want to go, let them leave - You don't have to close the sale every time. That is God's job
  8. Don't let them leave empty-handed - Offer a business card, a Christian web site or something to read
Also, gather on a regular basis with people who have the same interests in apologetics and/or sharing salvation with others that you do. They may not yet be as advanced as you are, they may have more wisdom and knowledge than you. Commit to meeting together on a regular basis. It could be monthly, weekly or biweekly. Just be consistent. Get together and study with open discussion. Build each other up and don't be surprised to see your passion spread to others. 

As ambassadors you need to welcome opposing views. If you are confident in your beliefs you will be committed to truth and gathering knowledge. I had a philosophy professor who gave me a great definition for intelligence. He said, "An intelligent man can discuss both sides of the argument." How can you combat what you don't know? Furthermore, how can you know that you are right if you don't listen to all of the facts? 

If you are truly interested in the salvation of others you will not run from opposing viewpoints. Instead, you will strive to find out why they believe as they do and share the truth with them. If you are committed to truth instead of an organization, you will be open to refining your own beliefs and views. You should be open to correction in how you think. Someone who disagrees with you may actually have the right view. You may have the right view. Either way, an evangelist is willing to engage in argument that goes against what he/she believes. That allows you to develop better answers to defend how you believe or make corrections if you find your thinking to be faulty. 

Bottom line, don't retreat under fire. Remember, it is all of eternity you are fighting for. If you were trying to save someone's life, would you just give up and walk away or would you be willing to fight for it? Having courage in the face of adversity allows you to gain the respect of others. Never be afraid to share your side; always be willing to hear the others side. Over time this will allow you to develop faith that is rock solid!

In closing, remember the traits of an ambassador. Always be:
  • Ready - Be on the alert for chances to represent Christ
  • Patient - Don't quarrel, listen so you can understand their side, then respectfully engage
  • Reasonable - Have informed convictions, not feelings, give reasons, ask questions, seek answers
  • Tactical - Learn to adapt to different situations and people, present the truth so they understand
  • Clear - Don't use Christian lingo and jargon 
  • Fair - Be sympathetic and understanding of the others views 
  • Honest - Don't misrepresent the facts of your view or someone else's, don't understate the gospels demands
  • Humble - Know that you are fallible and that your understanding is never perfect
  • Attractive - Always act with kindness and grace so that you may honor Christ with your conduct
  • Dependent - Always rely on God in all that you do. That is the most important key to being successful not only in conversations but in life!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Why I Hate Addiction or These are a Few of my Least Favorite Things

I can honestly say that there are very few things that I hate. I will give you a list and you tell me what is the #1 thing that you cannot stand:

  1. Murder
  2. Child Abuse
  3. Child Molestation
  4. Animal Cruelty
  5. Drugs/Alcohol
  6. Rape
  7. Domestic Violence

The top of my extremely short list would sit drugs/alcohol as the reigning king. "Why not child abuse or child molestation at the top of your list, David?" The same reason that animal cruelty, murder, rape and domestic abuse are not at the top. Drugs and alcohol are the top correlations in all of the above instances. If you look at the majority of child abuse/molestation cases, rapes, murders, domestic violence and animal cruelty you are more than likely going to see drugs and alcohol are in the mix!

That said, they do not cause the situations to happen. They are more like throwing gasoline on a fire. The gasoline is not the cause of the fire, but it causes it to get much worse. When you add alcohol and drugs to an already volatile situation or unstable person, you are just making a bad situation 100 times more dangerous. You are just asking for trouble. All you have to do is look at the news. You will see the problems.

The reason why I am at this point today is I have had a rough past couple of months. I have had a friend that was on the Dr Phil show yesterday that is really struggling and on the verge of death. I had a friend overdose and die, an accountability partner who has decided that he can start drinking again, a friend I grew up with that is in intensive care and has been for several weeks after she relapsed and the guy she was with wrecked a car then left her for dead in a field. To add insult to injury, he left the accident and went back to her house where he cooked a batch of dope then robbed her.

In the news we have a man on mushrooms ripping out his friends heart and tongue. Locally we have a 47 year old male recently released from prison on drug charges linked to a 15 year old female who was found in a lake. We have a 17 year old found with his throat slashed by another teenage male because he believed he was a snitch and he wanted his little brother to see someone die. This is crazy stuff happening. Addiction is EVIL!!!!

Yet, it is so alluring. I have hurts and things that have been done to me that are horrific. I have done things myself that I can't forgive myself for. Because of this I have no self-esteem, self-confidence or hope. I feel that I am all alone, and the only thing that I can depend on is my new God, fill in your addiction here. It numbs me, gives me confidence, helps me forget and is always there for me. But then I come down or sober up, and the pain is still there so I have to use again.

In order to stop the cycle, we have to do something. We have to find something that works, to replace our addiction. We cannot overcome anything by admitting it is not there. In order to effect change, there are 5 things we must add and 2 things we must remove from our lives:

  1. Higher Power - I need to find a power greater than myself to help me overcome what I cannot overcome on my own
  2. Recovery Meetings - I need to know that I am not alone and hear others stories of recovery to help me realize that we do get better. Great place to find hope!
  3. Step Work (Book of James) - We must have some kind of game plan to overcome our addictive behaviors and old lifestyle
  4. Sponsor (Mentor) - We need someone who is living their life the way we want to live ours that can help us begin putting step 3 into action
  5. Accountability Partners - Birds of a feather flock together. If I want to live my life better, I need to surround myself with people who are living their lives well.
  6. Old Playgrounds - You can't stay clean if your standing in the mud. If you hang out in bars or where drugs are readily available, the question stops being "Will you relapse" and becomes "When will you relapse."
  7. Old Playmates - If I continue to hang out with people who are living in addictions and engaging in criminal behaviors, I too will eventually go back to my old behaviors too.
Remember, your addiction is in the back of your head. It is lifting weights, running on a treadmill and on the computer doing research. It is getting stronger and smarter every day, looking for a way to take back over your life. YOUR ADDICTION NEVER TAKES A DAY OFF!! In order to remain in recovery, you need to do recovery oriented things every day. Go to a meeting, associate with positive people, talk to your sponsor, work the steps, read a daily devotional (the Bible, Just for Today). 


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

From Shack to Temple Weight Loss Wednesday Relapse or Failure

There are some words that I am not used to saying when it comes to myself. In my profession I say one of them a lot, and the other one I never say because it can become a label or self-fulfilling prophecy or even mimic Cooley's Looking Glass Self. The first word is relapse. I know that word well from the past, but not from my present personally. That said, I see it a lot with clients and friends. I actually have seen it with 4 of my friends in the past several months. I have also seen it in me.

Relapse is every time that I get off of work and comfort eat. Right now that is happening a lot. I have the stress of 10-12 hour days at work, then I was vlogging daily, writing a blog entry 3 times a week, my daughter's surgeries in St. Louis last week and again this week, trying to spend time with my wife, working on the non-profit BLiR (working with a website designer, meeting people to brainstorm about the direction of BLiR, setting up the next event, trying to figure out how to raise the money to file for non-profit status, etc.), spending time with my son, trying to work on my book and a whole lot more. This causes stress.

When I feel stress, I want to eat comfort food. I either stop on the way home or I insure that I have junk at home to eat. The bottom line, I am relapsing several times a week when it comes to eating. I would argue that I am relapsing daily. Sometimes at lunch, sometimes at dinner, a lot right before bedtime, even more often all of the above. I need to figure out what to do to stop this trend. Maybe I need to rejoin Weight Watchers or try out Visalus like some of my friends have talked to me about. The problem is, I don't want to pay $1,000 to join something. I don't want to sell anything. I am busy enough. I just want to lose weight!!!

Now we get to the word I don't use, failure. I am beginning to feel somewhat like a failure, but I will not allow myself to say it. That could cause a self-fulfilling prophecy to occur. Robert Merton was a sociologist who coined the term. What it says is that if I fear failure at something, in this case losing weight, my fear of failing at weight loss will actually cause me to fail. If I predict failure, even subconsciously, my prediction will influence my actions and will power and I will eventually turn that fallacious prediction into a reality. I therefore need to be positive and encourage myself instead of beating myself down.

The next social construct would be Cooley's Looking Glass Self (can you tell I have a Bachelors in Sociology? My professors would be proud!). It is predicated on people predicting how others will see us, how they will judge us based on their perception and then we begin to see ourselves as we falsely believe others see us. These are the reasons that the word or thoughts of FAILURE SHOULD NEVER BE IN YOUR VOCABULARY!!

Relapse is something that we can get over. By its very definition, it simply means to slip back into previous behaviors and/or actions. WE WILL WORK THROUGH A RELAPSE. It is temporary, but failure is not. Thomas Jefferson is attributed to saying, "I have not failed. I have found 10,000 ways that don't work," about the creation of the light bulb. He never stopped. He kept on trying!

So, I am okay with saying that I have relapsed repeatedly over the past two weeks. I have not failed, for I am still intent on trying to lose weight. I have still made it to the gym 4 days a week. I have not started 5 days a week nor have I started cardio due to the pulled calf muscle. I am hoping to begin that in two more weeks after we stop having to go to St Louis every week for my daughter's surgeries and subsequent check-ups post-surgery.

If anybody has any ideas of what I should do, let me know. Comment on my site, Facebook, tweet me, email me, what ever you want to do. I am torn between Weight Watchers, Visalus, a food journal, starting a closed group of me and anyone who also wants to lose weight were we can share our successes and get support for our relapses, or a couple of the above ideas.

So, I will see you in two weeks and I look forward to any questions or suggestions that you may have! Remember, YOU CAN DO THIS!!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Does Pro-Choice = Anti-Child Support

This is just a question that I have to ask. It may not be well received, but I am curious. If you are pro-choice, are you anti-child support? Based on your reasoning, you would almost have to be. Here are some of the arguments I often hear for abortions, in no particular order:

  1. Can't financially take care of a baby.
  2. In cases of rape and incest.
  3. Birth control failed.
  4. Baby will have birth defects.
  5. Too young.
  6. Baby is simply not wanted.
  7. If you don't have a vagina you have no say in abortions.
There are a lot more reasons for abortion, but I want to address reasons number 1, 6 and 7. If a women has a baby that the man "simply doesn't want" and he "can't financially take care of it" why should he have to if she gives birth to it? What entitles courts to make him to have to pay child support on a baby he doesn't want? The courts can't make her give birth to the baby if he is against the abortion of his child. But the court steps in, and he is now saddled with a baby that is a burden on him financially that he never wanted. How is that fair to him? 

If the women doesn't want the baby, she can do whatever she wants to do. Abort baby or birth baby. The man has no choice in the matter. That seems to be a double standard! So why, if she wants to keep her baby and the man wants nothing to do with the baby, should he have to be financially responsible? Well obviously, based on several of the arguments listed above he should not have to pay child support. And ladies, before you comment I need you to remember one thing; If you don't have a penis, you have no say in the matter. Sorry, but those are the rules.

So, given the arguments for a woman choosing to abort, does that work for a man. It may be her body that has to carry the baby for 40 weeks, tis true. But it is his body that has to work for the next 18-25 years (depending on whether the "nuisance" goes to college) so that he can pay child support for something he never wanted to begin with. Just sounds like a jacked up system to me.

In closing, why should society be able to force their morals and ethics onto somebody else? After all, it is his life, his body, his money, his choice...........period!

P.S. - To clarify, I feel that all men should always support their children, with no exceptions. I am happy to pay child support for my son. Also, I was pro-choice until after I had my first child. That event has made me pro-life. I cannot imagine how colorless the world would be without my son in it. Finally, regardless of your viewpoint on this topic, I am grateful that your mother made the decision to give birth to you.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tactics by Gregory Koukl Chapter 13 Just the Facts, Ma'am

This chapter is named after a quote by Detective Joe Friday in the old television police drama, Dragnet. It was used frequently by him when questioning a witness. Detective Friday meant that he did not want to hear assumptions or other people's statements. He only wanted to hear the facts as the person knew them. This is exactly what we should want from others, too.

In order to do this, we must only demand two things. First, is to be aware that many challenges to Christianity are simply supported by bad information and spurious claims. Second is that you know the facts yourself. The last is not a necessity, since most of us have the internet on our phones and can look up the information itself. So, let's take a look at two examples Mr Koukl uses.

The first is, "More wars have been fought and more blood shed in the name of God  than any other cause. Religion is the greatest source of evil in the world." For starters, since chaos and oppression are not duties Christians have nor do they come from apply Christ's teachings logically you cannot blame violence done in the name of Christianity. Also, if you find an older Guinness Book of World Records and go to category "Judicial" under the subheading "Crimes: Mass Killings" you find carnage of horrific proportions. YOu find 66 million murdered under Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchev; 32-61 million Chinese under the communist parties since 1949; 1/3 of the Khmers (2.7 million) in a 4 year period in the 70's under communist Khmer Rouge.

Dennis Prager says that in the 20th century alone, "more innocent people have been murdered, tortured and enslaved by secular ideologies - Nazism and communism - than by all religions in history." It would appear that the greatest evil and atrocities come not from people who follow gods, but instead from people who believe there is no God to answer to.

The next claim is, "The country of America was not founded by Christians but deists." The Founding Father's is a proper noun that is used to identify the delegates to the Constitutional Convention. Thre were 55 people that made up the core. There were "28 Episcopalians, 8 Presbyterians, 7 Congregationalists, 2 Lutherans, 2 Dutch Reformed, 2 Methodists, 2 Roman Catholics, 1 unknown and ONLY 3 DEISTS - Williamson, Wilson and Franklin." The caps are mine. So 93% of our Founding Fathers were Christian. Hard to dispute those facts!

Spotting faulty facts can be difficult at times. In order to have Just the Facts Ma'am work, you need to follow a two-step plan. Step one is to ask yourself, "What is the claim?" Take a few seconds and pinpoint the point being made by the other person. Write it down, if need be. Remember that assertions and opinions are frequently hidden under clever verbiage. For instance, saying that one has no right to oppose abortion unless they were willing to care for the babies. For starters, that is comparable to saying that you cannot oppose someone beating their wife unless you are willing to marry them. Look at the claim being made and see if it is valid.

Once we have identified the claim, we can then put step 2 into action. "Is the claim factually accurate?" Using the example about pro-lifers needing to care for the babies. A quick internet check will reveal over 4,000 national and international service providers that are pro-life who are founded on insuring the well-being of mothers in crisis and insuring they and the babies have housing, clothing, access to medical providers, food, adoption services and even counseling for women who are post-abortion. All at no cost.

A final example is when we are told, "Do not judge others. The bible says that if you judge others, you will be judged likewise." The Bible verse Matthew 7:1 is called upon by Christians and non-Christians alike. A closer look will show that Jesus was against hypocritical and arrogant judgements, but not all judgements. In fact, He says that we must first remove the plank from our own eye so that we can see clearly to take the mote out of your brother's eye.

So, in closing this week we have found that we should do two things when we hear a challenge. Ask ourselves, "What is the claim?" and once identified we ask ourselves, "Is the claim factually accurate?" If we do these two things we will better be able to see whether or not the claim is based on shoddy facts, opinions or if it is truly valid. From there, we can continue the discussion. See you in two weeks as we conclude the book Tactics.