Dream Vacation…

It took me a while to figure out what God wanted me to write about for this verse… Even more so it took me a while to work through the conviction in my heart for this.

The reason why is simply this; the psalmist has such a love, appreciation & deep relationship with God that he would rather spend just ONE day near God, then a thousand anywhere else.

Think about your dream vacation… whether it be Hawaii, Tokyo, Seattle, Canada, Australia, etc… If you had the option to sit in God’s presence for one day or spend a thousand days in your dream vacation place ALL EXPENSES PAID… which would you choose?

At first, as a Christian we will answer God’s presence! Duuuuuuh… but yet we reject His presence daily for much less. What I mean is this; we would rather watch TV for an hour to “relax” then we would rather sit in God’s presence to pray, worship or read. We would rather invest a ton of time & resources into a hobby over investing that time & resource into getting closer to Him.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying those things are bad BUT when left unchecked they become idols. We can do hobbies & things for God’s glory and come closer to Him!

My thing is CrossFit and fitness in general. I genuinely love working out, but I have to keep it in check. If I start doing it for the wrong reasons it can actually take me away from God & His purpose for my life. There have been moments during my workouts where the Holy Spirit is wrecking me & it’s wonderful. There have been relationships formed, lives changed & ultimately my relationship with Him has improved. On the flip side, there has been times where my pursuit of physical excellence has out weighed my pursuit for spiritual excellence. To where I was spending 2+ hours a day, 6 days a week pursuing CrossFit & not truly focusing on God.

When I was meditating over this verse this morning God really convicted my heart. Because on a daily basis I choose other things over His presence. I choose other choices over sitting with Him for even a moment. I analyzed my day yesterday & realized I spent more time scrolling through Facebook & Instagram then I did in His word. I realized I spent more time talking to other people then I did with Him. I realized I spent more time mentally thinking about things that do not edify my spirit then I did on things that do…

You see. Every moment of each day we have a choice to sit at God’s feet. Even in the midst of fitness, parenthood, being a spouse, working a job, being a student, etc… we just need to be intentional about our hearts in the midst of what we are doing.

I’m here praying for each & every one of you. I hope that God blesses your time with Him.

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Always Ready…

I love the timing of this verse. Especially for all my Crossfit fam… For those of you who don’t know what CrossFit is, it is a fitness program, in essence, but each year the best of the best throw down in the Open, then regionals & then the games.

All year athletes live & breathe CrossFit to try and prepare themselves for the open. They train countless hours, they spend an extensive amount of time/resources on recovery, they structure their lifestyles around their training, etc… being a games athlete takes an indescribable amount of dedication. It takes this much because they know each year they are going to have their fitness tested. They know that each year Dave Castro has methodically planned to try and make them break. He has put together some grueling workouts that are designed to test their capabilities.

Some athletes go into the open each year pretty confident… why? Because they have put the work in & know that they have done everything they possibly could to be prepared for what the enemy (Dave Castro) has planned. They’ve equipped themselves in every possible way. They’ve done everything they possibly could to be ready so that when it comes time to attack the open they are ready…

So then, why is it that as believers we don’t put this kind of year round effort into God. I mean, we have the great deceiver tirelessly planning our destruction. He has spent thousands of years planning the demise of humanity. Doing whatever he can to try and destroy everything that God has for us. The Bible tells us that we need to be fully prepared for whatever the enemy throws at us, but yet many of us don’t put in nearly the amount of devotion & effort required to thrive. If we spent our entire existence working our lives around God & what He has for us then this world would be dramatically different…

Long story short, there is a very real enemy. That hates you & is doing everything he can to try and destroy any future that God has for you. Why in the world would we not do everything we can to be prepared for it?! Why would we not take the time to fully equip ourselves with the armor of God?! It’s downright silly.

He has greatness in store for you, but you still have to do your part. Be prepared. Stay ready.

Proclaim…

Our lives are meant to proclaim God’s goodness to us all! Sadly, many of us don’t walk around with the joy of the Lord oozing out of us!

It took me a really long time to realize that the way I act externally in the midst of situations is a reflection of God. When trials hit, did I fully believe that God would come through. I may proclaim it with my mouth, but was I proclaiming it with my life.

You see, that’s the key to it all. People don’t want to hear about it, they want to see it. Think about all the commercials & ads you see for training programs, diet programs, etc… the main thing that attracts people to those is the RESULTS from the program.

Why in the world would we think it would be different for God?! If we are to be truly proclaiming God’s goodness it needs to be with our actions. Instead, a lot of the times we proclaim one thing with our lips & another thing with our actions.

Think about this today! Are you proclaiming God with your lips or your life?

Who Are You?

This is a huge question I’ve been asking myself so far this year. As I traveled to Seattle a big part of me was looking to take the time to recharge, talk with God & truly start to dig into the deeper truths that God has for me.

I think it’s a very critical question we all need to think about. Who we are? What are we allowing to define us? Does “who we are” line up with who we want to be?

If it doesn’t, what are you & I doing to change it. For years, I did the yo-yo dieting. Wanting to be a healthier individual, but never changing anything.

For years, I wanted to make the time to travel & explore. Wanting to get exposed to other cultures, but never changing anything.

For years, I felt myself yearning to TRULY look myself in the mirror and NOT want to look away. To be able to look myself in the eyes & know that I am valued and I made changes.

Regardless of where you are at right now. If you can figure out who you are & who you want to be then you can start heading in the right direction.

Before any goals & plans can be set in motion we have to take the time to find out who we are…

Would You Be Satisfied?

It starts with you…

Something interesting happened to me today in Church. I was in Seattle, so I decided to join ChurchHome while I was in downtown.

Judah Smith was kicking off their 6-week study on the book of James & it was incredibly encouraging to see what God is doing in Seattle!

This post realistically has nothing to do with what Judah spoke on, but during a portion of his message he painted a picture of the reunion of James & Jesus. The joy & beauty of that union and how Jesus will be so very proud of all that we did.

My heart broke. I sat there & for some reason I quickly became flooded with the realization that we do not have much time on earth. Within this limited span of time it is my hearts desire to bring all that I can to God. To bring forth everything I did on earth as an offering. Not as a way to “get” a better place into to heaven but to simply say THANK YOU for it all. I want to utilize every possible resource, moment, talent & passion as leverage for building His kingdom!

What broke my heart is the idea of ALL the opportunities I may have missed when I wasn’t focused. All the moments that passed me by when I was so focused on my own hurts that I didn’t take the time to look for others who are hurting. I sat there thinking, “If Jesus took me home right now, would I be ready.”

And the answer was NO! There is no way I’m ready to go home yet. There is an abundance of young men & woman walking around in this world desperately seeking love, acceptance, community, etc… in all of the wrong places. Whether that be jobs, relationships, hobbies, Crossfit, drugs, alcohol or whatever! And when I say “this world” I AM talking about believers as well.

As a Church, we should be different in all the best ways. Sadly, we aren’t. If anything, it is the complete opposite. As a church we have done a TERRIBLE job of creating a safe space for people… The Church should be known for our crazy radical love, our incredible generosity, living with complete abandonment for those around us.

The big question would be trying to figure it where to start! But realistically that is simple… it starts with ourselves. The simple choice of living & loving everyone in the best way we can. Tipping a little extra for the waitress or waiter after you eat. Holding the door open for someone, waving & smiling at strangers, asking how someone’s day is going in a LEGIT manner instead of as a bridge to start conversation, etc… it’s simple.

The church doesn’t need some 10 step plan on how to bring our best to God. We should be so incredibly in love with God & His grace that we can’t help but offer the same love and grace to all of those around us!

It starts with you…

Power to Speak

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I have been doing CrossFit for about two years now give or take. In the sport of CrossFit, it is normal for a person to go that extra mile to be even 1% better. Whether that be a double day, staying after class for accessory/technique work, reading books on efficiency, taking classes for gymnastics or Olympic lifting, asking the coach for advice and tips on a daily basis, going to bed early to wake up early, saying no to unhealthy foods, prepping meals for the week to stay on track, etc… You get the point right? SO much time, effort, energy, and money get poured out to get even 1% better.

Seems like some serious dedication right?! The sad truth is that all of that dedication and time is getting put into something that can be taken within a few moments. I know this from experience. I was WAY overdoing it. Doing CalStrength Olympic programming, Misfits Crossfit Programming, AND a Russian squat program. To make it worse I wasn’t taking the proper recovery time with my training, wasn’t eating right, was getting 4 or so hours of sleep, etc… During some strict Hand Stand Push Ups, I tweaked my shoulder and BAM… During a set of squats, my hip got SUPER tight. To the point of not being able to do an air squat without pain. Set me back 6+ months. I couldn’t bench the bar, couldn’t fully extend my arm overhead, could hardly Power Clean, etc… It was bad. Thank the Lord it was nothing serious, but it still set me back.

During this time of having to take steps back, God really started to work on my heart. I was putting SO much effort into something that doesn’t make a difference. Training anywhere from 90-120 minutes a day, 5-6 days a week. I really felt the Lord calling me to ask the question about where my spiritual fitness was and if I was putting in that same amount of effort into growing as a man of God. That was a HARD no. I definitely was NOT putting in the time I need to grow in something that has ETERNAL benefits.

I sat back and started thinking about how deep my knowledge of God and my security in Him could have been VASTLY changed if I put the effort I was putting into CrossFit into Him. If I went the extra mile to be even 1% stronger in Him, to save just ONE more person, to have just ONE more conversation with someone, give just ONE more percent to the church, etc…

Where this is all leading to is the point of a coach. For a vast majority of my walk with God, I have not had a coach, and I have not had any athletes to coach. In Christian terms it goes like this, I have had no one mentoring/disciplining me and I have not been disciplining anyone. Jesus was very clear when He gave us all the great commission. You see, the verse today is about testing who we are letting pour knowledge into our lives. To test if they have the spirit of God in their words. We SHOULD have people in our lives that test POSITIVE for the spirit of God in there lives, and they pouring it out into our lives. How can we know if the words they are speaking are Godly words if we don’t know what the Word of God says?!

WHICH leads me to express the simple fact that until we KNOW what the spirit of God sounds like in a person life, we will be VERY vulnerable to false prophets speaking into our lives. We will be gullible to whatever tickles our ears and fits our lifestyle.

Take the time today to see where you are going that extra mile to grow. Is it in something that will last into eternity? Or is it into something that can be taken at a moments notice? At the end of the day, none of us want to wholly and fully devote ourselves to something that can be taken without notice.

You Must Commit

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“Commit your work to the Lord , and your plans will be established.” 

How much time have we spent living in a state of disappointment over NOT getting the results we want. I know for myself I have felt this state of multiple times… Whether that be with my diet, my workouts, my walk with God, my finances, etc… Almost every time this disappointment comes from a lack of commitment on my end.

I cannot think of any times in my life that a goal has fallen through purely based on something outside of my control. Yes, there are things in life that happen that are outside of our control but when we are committed to a goal we make the necessary adjustments. It’s with that Godly COMMITMENT that we are able to accomplish so much. When we commit to things that truly matter to God and truly matter to us we are able to make incredible changes in our lives.

The bible says we must count the cost before we commit. (Luke 14:28)

Let’s talk examples:
When it comes to dieting there will ALWAYS be temptations around. Sadly, we do not live in a world where overindulging in foods we do not need is rare. It’s actually the complete opposite. Our culture today is VERY well fed and typically within a 5-minute walk, we can get something that is absolutely terrible for our bodies, but so very good for the momentary satisfaction. It’s easy to make excuses as to why you can’t eat healthily, but although the upfront cost is MUCH less, the return is much more costly. If we would put the effort into eating good healthy foods & say no to things that are not good for our bodies, the return would be AMAZING. Losing weight, feeling better, energy levels being normal, strength going up, endurance going up, adding years to our life, etc… So although it may cost more upfront when needing to put the effort into meal prepping, saying no to things you shouldn’t eat, fighting off cravings, having to order something healthy from an amazing dinner place, etc… the results listed above are SO worth it.

When it comes to your workouts! One of the things I absolutely LOVE about being involved in Crossfit is that all gyms operate in a similar manner. In a 1 hour class, you have a coach that tells you what to do, how to do, how long to do it, and gives you advice along the way. It’s as simple as the walk in, do what you’re told, give maximum effort and walk out feeling amazing. Recently, I have had a desire to push myself a little bit harder! So I started to follow “CompTrain” for my workouts. I have seen some great results so far, but there was an upfront cost. In order to not obstruct the 5 am class, I need to get up at 3 am, get to the gym and be warming up by 3:30 am & be ready to start the workout for the day by 3:45. Waking up that early means I need to get to bed early. Pushing myself harder means I must be better about my recovery. There are countless sacrifices that need to be made, but the results from the commitment are UNREAL.

When it comes to our walks with God. The upfront cost of denying ourselves and our selfish desires is rough. There are a lot of things our flesh wants us to do. There are a lot of things this world tells us to do. The way the world tells us to live is completely counter to the way Jesus says we need to live! The upfront cost cannot be compared to the end result of that commitment. Whatever that commitment may look like for you, that does not matter. What Jesus has to offer us at the end of the commitment is not something we can count.

Whatever it is you are doing with this “new year”. Commit it to God. Commit to yourself. Commit to making sure NOTHING will hold you back from your goals. I can assure you that the promises of God are worthy of holding onto. Even in the midst of the darkest of hours, His light will continue to shine brightly.