Friday Discussion: Should Christians Flash Lights?

A reader sent me a great question recently. He wrote: Do you think Christians should flash their lights to warn of cars on the road of an approaching radar patrol or police car?

I don’t know…but I think it’s a good question. I thought I’d let you help answer.

What do you think?

Do you think this is a gray area or is it cut and dry?

How do you make decisions for situations like this?

Are there other issues like this where you think Christians have to think through in this way?

How I Lost 10 Pounds in Less than 2 Months using LoseIt

I believe physical health is important for the leader. I have written about this before HERE. I know there are times a leader can’t do anything about his or her health, but if there is an option, the leader should strive to be healthy. It makes me more productive when I feel better physically.

Recently I lost 10 pounds to get in even better shape.

A short history:

I’m 47…I feel good…and I’m in good shape physically. I run almost everyday. I monitor my weight and I eat semi-healthy. In my mid thirties I got slightly overweight, about 15 pounds, and decided to do something about it. I worked hard to reach my ideal weight and stay there consistently for almost 10 years. In the last 18 months, due to stressful, fast-paced living, and lots of traveling, I added back another 10 pounds. I tried what had worked before to lose the weight, but nothing seemed to work.

Some call it a middle-aged spread.

The story:

On March 30th of this year, I had lunch with my friend Michael Hyatt. I hadn’t seen Michael in a couple months and instantly recognized how well he looked. He had obviously lost weight. He is slightly older than me, so I knew he would probably struggle as I had, so I asked him for his secret. Always a teacher, Michael shared with me that he had been closely monitoring what he eats using the LoseIt application. I had tried this application, but never disciplined myself to actually use it. Michael is one of the most intentional guys I know and a tremendous mentor, so I knew if he was recommending it I should do this!

This time I was determined. It worked!

Here’s how the LoseIt application worked for me:

I loaded the application on my iPhone, iPad, and laptop. I wanted it easily accessible and thankfully it cloud syncs with all three.

I set a goal in the application of where I want to get to in weight. Based on my age and height, the program figures an estimated calories I can eat per day to lose the amount of weight per week I say I want to lose. Right now I’m set at 1.5 pounds per week. You could do 1 pound or 2 pounds. I took the middle number. This gives me an estimated date to reach my target.

Before every meal I look up the foods I’m about to eat. I also use the MyFitnessPal app, which seems to have more foods available, but they are not always as accurate. This decision alone saves me hundreds of calories a day simply in awareness.

After each meal I enter in the foods I have eaten. LoseIt has many of them pre-loaded and once I save them I can always go back to that food easily. Most of us repeat meals and foods we like, which makes this feature helpful. By the way, the picture is a stock photo, not mine. I actually cut out most sodas and junk food too. This process makes me think healthier to save calories.

Following any exercise I add the time spent, which figures a calorie lost value and adds that number to my daily calorie allowance. This is huge motivation to exercise more, even if it’s simply walking.

Everyday I add my weight for the day and it shows me my progress towards my goal. You can choose to add your weight whenever you want. Some want to do this daily, but some want to do it weekly.

In less than 2 months, I’m at my desired weight again. I’ve actually set a lower than desired weight gaol I’m working on now so that when I fluctuate I gain towards my desired weight, not above it.

People say they don’t want to be that strict with their eating habits. I agree, and I don’t intend to be forever either. I like to eat what I want to eat, but I do plan to be smarter about what I eat and this process has helped me form healthier habits. I would, however, remind you that if you went to Dave Ramsey for money advice, he would first have them write down everything they spend. It’s the same with what we eat. If we don’t know, we are likely to overeat, eat the wrong foods, and will struggle to remain a healthy weight.

Want to accept a challenge to get healthier? Are you serious about this process?

Join the fun!

May 21, 2011 Came and Went

“In that day I will restore David’s fallen tent. I will repair its broken places, restore its ruins, and build it as it used to be” (declares the Lord) Amos 9:11 NIV

Yesterday I posted my thoughts on Harold Camping’s now failed prediction of the end of the world on May 21, 2011. (You can read that post HERE). We know that prediction didn’t come true, and most are relieved, but I can’t help but wonder if some are disappointed.

Do you have any broken places in the “tent” of your life? Are you ready for them to be restored? What Camping was promising would have been relief for many believers.

It seems hardly a day goes by that I do not encounter someone going through a struggle in life. That’s among those people inside and outside the church. We are experiencing the heartache and pain of a broken world.

May I offer this as hope as we continue in this path of life: Restoration is on its way! In the meantime, God’s Spirit stands ready to assist you in your time of need!

Jesus is going to return! At the very breath through the Father’s mind, Jesus will mount a great white stallion, whose rider is called Faithful and True, and He will, in a mighty display of His glory, bring victory to the people of God. The broken places will be made whole. Everyone will finally know that there is but One God, and He is Maker and Ruler of all things.

Jesus will come quickly, with a shout, and we will be brought before the Throne of the Almighty, where God will permanently and personally wipe every tear from our eyes. We will be with the Lord forever!

Are you ready for that glorious day? It didn’t come yesterday…but it’s coming!

Top 10 Tweets This Week

I got to thinking this week…the life of a Tweet is so short…

It’s there a few minutes…then gone forever…

I decided that sharing them here gives them more life.

Here are my top 10, most re-tweeted, tweets this week:

  • Don’t mistake what you cannot understand for what cannot be true.
  • The view from “the top of the world” is even more glorious when you’ve had a perspective from the bottom
  • Truly broken people have the advantage of always being able to look up & aim higher.
  • Every time you push through a fear you gain more confidence & grow your faith
  • What if we only had to forgive others one less time than God has forgiven us? Would anyone be left unforgiven?
  • You’ve got less chance failing if you do nothing…but you’ll accomplish nothing, have no fun, miss the excitement, be boring…etc
  • Don’t confuse a short-term setback with a long-term failure….
  • Owing a debt you cannot pay requires a penalty or a pardon.
  • The world would be a better place if we were less concerned about getting even and more concerned about granting pardon
  • Sometimes hidden in your greatest fear is an opportunity for God to display His greatest glory.

Which of these would you re-Tweet?

Are you on Twitter? Share your Twitter name here so my readers to follow you.

My Last Blog Post Ever?

Will this be my last post ever? It will be according to a recent prediction. It’s been the buzz all week, so perhaps you heard it.

Christian radio host Harold Camping states that the Rapture (the taking up into heaven of God’s elect people) will take place on May 21, 2011 at 6 p.m. local time.  The rapture will sweep the globe time zone by time zone) and that the end of the world as we know it will take place five months later on October 21, 2011. (This according to a Wikipedia article.)

It’s been the subject of jokes, and teasing, and possibly some concern. What if it were the end?

I’m not jumping on a bandwagon of people making fun of Camping, nor am I going to assume no one is impacted by Camping’s prediction. The issue of End Times is serious business. It’s a sobering subject for some, as the subject should be.

I’m reminded of the concern of Jesus’ disciples following the resurrection. Consider Jesus’ answer in this passage from Acts 1:6-8:

So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

For the believer, this should never be a time of stress. I’m leery of anyone claiming to know a date, but Jesus said it would be soon and we would know the signs. He also reminded us, however, that we should not be afraid, that we could cast all our burdens on Him, and that He was with us to the ends of the earth. I’m not stressed today, not because I don’t believe Camping, even though I don’t, but because I have a faith in the person of Jesus Christ, who raised from the dead!

If you are not a believer; a follower of Christ, let this moment soon to pass cause you to question where you stand with your Creator. Eternity is not a laughing matter. Call on God now and ask Him to save you. Place your faith in the risen Christ! I would refer you to another verse in Acts 2:21: “But everyone who calls on the name of the Lordwill be saved.”

If you serve a risen Savior, let me hear a hearty AMEN!

Friday Discussion: Sometime in Life You Need To…

Some experiences’s just mold your character faster than other experiences…

Today, let’s share those experiences with each other.

Let’s do that by completing this sentence:

Sometime in a person’s life they need to experience __________________________________.

I’ll share 2 of my answers as examples….

  • Working in retail at Christmas…
  • Having to fund a weekly payroll for other people…

What’s your experience you would share?

Megabus: Innovation in Bus Transportation

There is a fairly new player in the transportation industry that I knew nothing about until recently. I love innovation and change, so I find this company encouraging in numerous ways.

It’s called Megabus.

Have you seen them?

Megabus is basically an updated Greyhound. When I was young, people didn’t fly as much as they do today. Instead, many people used the Greyhound bus system (and others) to get from city to city. I bus transportation is still popular traveling from big city to big city, but I see far less of them on the roads these days. I once rode a Greyhound bus from my home in Tennessee to visit family in Kansas. It was a long trip, but I enjoyed keeping a record of every city we in which we stopped along the way. Over the years, as airline competition made prices more reasonable, bus transportation seems to have become less popular. That may change with companies like Megabus.

Last week, while traveling to Chicago to pick up my son Nate from college, I saw several Megabuses on the road. I wasn’t familiar with them, so I asked my son. He knew all about them. Apparently, many students from his school use them to get to and from home.

What makes Megabus different from Greyhound? Well, the good looking modern fleet, double decker buses come equipped with comfortable reclining seats, courteous drivers and free Wi-Fi. Each seat is equipped with outlets to charge your phone or plug in a DVD player. Tickets must be purchased online in advance, which means most customers are often students or professionals. I passed numerous Megabuses on my trip and they were neatly painted, attractive and easy to spot. The couple Greyhound buses I passed honestly needed a paint job. Megabus is able to provide their services at a very reasonable rate, certainly cheaper than air travel and some seats starting at less than $5.00 if bought far enough in advance.

Megabus as a company is encouraging, because I see innovation working to save an industry. I’m not sure I’m up for a long bus ride anytime soon, but I see where it could be an alternative for many people. I don’t think about bus transportation often, but if you had asked me about it a few weeks ago, I would have said the bus industry was not a place where we were likely to see growth or change…almost a dying industry. Megabus reminds me that sometimes you simply have to think outside the norm and do something different and better than others are doing them. My suspicision is that the folks at Greyhound are paying special attention to Megabus and the competition will encourage positive changes that are good for all customers.

Just curious…can you think of any other industries/organizations that could use some “Megabus” innovation?

Did you ever take a Greyhound bus ride? What about a Megabus ride? Share your journey with us!

Why I’m a Solo Runner!

Most people who know me well know I like to run…

I have lots of other runners around me…

I get many invitations to run with other people…

I occasionally do, and have enjoyed the conversations…

But I generally prefer to run alone…


Running is my down time…

It’s where I think the best…

It’s where I unwind most…

It’s where I’m freed of technology, and conversation, and stress…

It’s where God sometimes chooses to speak to me…

I run alone because it one way I’m made a better person…

What is that one thing you do best alone?

Let’s Write a Story Together…Two

Let’s write a story together!

We did this last year and it was a lot of fun. You can read our finished story HERE. Several asked if we could repeat it. I’ve picked up a few readers since then, so this is new for some of you.

Here is how this works: (Please read carefully)

  • I will write an opening set up sentence.
  • You add the next line.
  • Read the other comments first, to see how the story is flowing.
  • You can only add one line until someone else adds a line.
  • Please don’t try to write one long sentence that really is a paragraph. The fun is getting the different inputs and imagination to work together.
  • You can add as many lines as you want, but only one at a time, and only with someone else having a line between yours.
  • Please try to keep the story flowing. Your sentence can be light-hearted, funny, or even tragic, but please DO NOT add a sentence that stops the story or takes it in a bizarre direction in an effort to disrupt the story serious that commenters are writing or take it in an awkward direction. (There’s always one like this and I reserve the right to delete the comment if it appears that’s what is happening with the comment.)
  • I will not be able to use crude or vulgar comments. (I realize that will limit some of you from participating, but…)
  • Please add your sentence here on the post as a comment, not on Facebook and Twitter. This is the only way it will be added to the final story.

The goal here is to be creative and see where our imagination and the story takes us, yet write a credible, interesting story. After comments seem to be slowing, I’ll post the entire story in a separate post. If you leave your full name, I’ll give you credit in the excerpts. If you have a blog link when you add your comment, I’ll link to you also.

Have fun!

Here is the first sentence:

Steve chuckled under his breath as he watched the strawberry blonde-haired little girl playing in his backyard.

Go! Your turn!

To make this even more fun, tweet or Facebook share this post to get more involved.

Words of Wisdom from Chuck Swindoll

If I had to name one senior person in ministry who has most impacted me from a distance as a believer, it would probably be Chuck Swindoll. I grew in my faith listening to his radio program and reading his books. He was contemporary and applicable in his preaching and not afraid to be innovative in reaching people.

I recently read an article in Leadership Journal interviewing Swindoll on his newest book, The Church Awakening. I haven’t read the book, but the article says some things that caught my attention and I intend to read it.

He says things like:

  • “When a church is spending more of its budget on media than shepherding, something is out of whack.”
  • “We must make sure that new things actually help people grow in the truth, that they edify the saints and build them up.”
  • “We try to keep it simple so that the pizzazz doesn’t become the reason to bring a neighbor.”
  • “I let people see the cracks in my life. We can’t be phony. We’ve got to keep it real.”

Read the article HERE, then come back to this post and reflect on what Swindoll is saying to younger pastors and church leaders.

I’ll be honest, I don’t know at first glance that I agree with everything he said, and I’ll read the book for more clarity, but I did read the article and Swindoll makes some bold statements. I believe in listening to the wisdom of elders too. Could there be a word here for the church?

What are your thoughts about where the church is now or is going in worship planning?

Are we putting too much emphasis or spending too much money on technology?

How do we balance the tension of reaching people uninterested in the church, yet making sure we always honor Christ in worship?

Is this a word from the wise or a dear wise pastor who is also struggling with the changing times?

Let me hear your thoughts.