Distance Yourself

"He who walks with the wise grows wise, but he who walks with fools suffers harm." --Proverbs 13:20

Read: Proverbs 13

Leading up to her third marathon, my wife had a simple plan: find her pacer and stay close to him or her no matter what. See, most marathon organizations provide the runners with all sorts of tools and techniques to help them through the grueling course -- from seminars on stride, tactics for tackling hills, and perhaps most notably, they offer the runners a pacer.

A pacer is a man or woman capable of finishing the race at an exact time. And when I say exact, I mean exactly that. Kevin (pictured here) ran through the finish line at three hours and 35 minutes -- just what he was asked he'd do. Now, Kevin didn't know who was counting on his pace. All he knew was that someone would be relying on his experience, strength and endurance to help them along their way toward their goal.

In our daily pursuit of spiritual and physical stewardship, we all need pacesetters. People who God places in our lives to help us stay the course. Not only that but God may, in fact, bless us with the privilege of being that for someone else, and it's an honor we can't take lightly. Like Kevin, we may or may not know who is, but someone is depending on us to know the way and show the way. So let's take inventory. Who are we running with? And more importantly, who's setting the pace? Is he or she helping us make Godly choices when it comes to our life and health? Are we helping them with theirs?

--Jimmy Peña

P.S. Kevin was a little surprised when I asked him for a photo. Perhaps it's typical for the pacers to be invisible after a race. But I had to ask him to stop, especially when I read the back of his shirt. "Distance Yourself" it said. Wow. Perfect for our verse of the day. Thanks for inspiring us Kevin. We want to keep up.


Yesterday on Twitter I was asked if I thought yoga was a conducive form of exercise for the Christian. It's not the first time I've been asked the question, but I've never addressed it here. So, for the fitness section today, we're talking yoga.

My first true experience with yoga came not too long ago. I wanted to improve my core strength, flexibility as well as pelvic floor issues in the weeks and months leading up to my spine surgery. Now, mind you, this is a former heavy-lifting, chalk-flying, barbell-hoisting (you get the picture) kind of guy, so I definitely felt like a fish out of water.

I started at home with a beginner's DVD on core and flexibility. It was good, tough and I felt like I was getting stronger. So I decided to take it up a notch and buy a membership to a local studio. With mat in hand, I marched myself into class. My first class. And here's where my thoughts on yoga kinda begin.

The first thing the instructor did after we were all in place was to begin a chant. I'm not sure what language it was in -- I really didn't care. all I know is that I started talking to the Lord; and fast. I hope I don’t offend anyone by saying this, but it was offending my spirit. The instructor continued to chant and I remember going so far as to say the Our Father. True story. Anything I could say to the Lord in my mind to help me drown out what I knew wasn't being said to Him. Alas, before the chant was over, I quietly and discreetly rolled up my mat and left. They didn't miss me.

Now, I tried a few other classes that month, the ones without any hint of chanting, and I enjoyed the instructors and classes and I know I was improving physically. Then came the surgery and almost three months later, here we are.

All of that to say this: The Lord sees the heart, and if something’s not right, you know it. He knows it. Trust me, there’s enough going on in weight rooms to fill a dozen entries, so I’m not trying to single out yoga as something that nobody should do. I think the physical benefits of yoga are outstanding! But me, personally, I would rather do yoga with other Christians and listening to Christian music if I have the choice. Speaking of, I do know of some amazing and wonderful Christian yoga experts, some of which I’ll be speaking alongside in September at the International Christian Wellness Conference, and I’m thrilled.

And it’s not to say that I won’t try yoga classes in a limited way as I recover from surgery, but here it is: Any teachings intended to infect the heart and mind that aren’t biblical shouldn’t be anywhere near the Christian. And if I can avoid those situations, I will. I know that sounds narrow-minded, but we’re on a narrow road. My health is a means of praise and my center is Jesus.

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