CDC

Playmakers

"The wicked flee though no one is pursuing them but the righteous are as bold as a lion." --Proverbs 28:1

Read: Proverbs 28

As I was watching the Miami Hurricanes dominate Georgia Tech recently in college football, one of the announcers referred to a player as "the playmaker." It gave me pause. What a compliment. What an honor. This player wasn’t just out there to fill in the gaps or run time off the play clock. He was "the playmaker" and everyone knew it. He was the heart of the team. All of those around him looked to him for direction and leadership and for what was coming next. Every single play, eyes on him, things were happening. There was action in the room.

When it comes to our faith, are we the real "playmakers" on the Father's team? Do we make the big plays every time the whistle blows or are we sometimes comfortable simply watching from the sidelines and cheering others on? Are we intentionally seeking to share God’s love and amazing grace with all of those around us, not only on game day, but every day?

I want to be bold. I want to be "the playmaker" for God in my own life and for those who would look to me for direction. Every single play, eyes on Him, there is action in the room.

--Allison Earnst

PrayFit's contributing writer, Allison Earnst, is a fitness expert, motivator, competitor and mother of three. She's been featured in numerous magazines including FitParent, Natural Muscle and Oxygen magazine. She has shared her fitness story on Good Morning America, Extra TV and Lifetime's "The Balancing Act." You can visit her blog by clicking here.

TRENDING IN...HEALTH

When was the last time you checked in on the rising epidemic of obesity in this country? If it's been a while, here's a heavy, disheartening update. Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 35.7 percent of adults and 16.9 percent of children ages 2-19 are obese. And, if the trend continues, every state will see 44 percent of its population hit the obese category by 2030. Several states will hit 60 percent.

Despite the many causes of weight gain, the solutions are always simple: an increase an activity and changes to diet. A preponderance of resources on exercise and nutrition in the marketplace have failed to stem the rising tide of obesity and weight-related disease. Perhaps it's time for us to stop focusing so much on "the how" and start focusing more on "the why"?

By focusing on our health as a means of praise and seeing the need to be better stewards of our physical gifts, we can commit to serious, long-term change, honoring the One that created us.

"We don't strive to be healthy to be loved by God," says PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña. "We strive to be healthy because we are."

For Discussion: Are you struggling with your own weight? What are the roadblocks to a healthier lifestyle? Do you think the Lord is pleased with the care that you have shown the body He gave you? Why or why not? Have you ever thought of your body as a divine gift that requires better upkeep?

"GO"

"He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.'"— Mark 16:15

"Tell me, Jimmy, can you talk about some before and after successes?"

Of all the questions about PrayFit I fielded on the radio this week, that was probably the toughest to answer. Not because we don't have powerful testimonies of physical change, but like I told the host, "It's too early for a victory lap." Because honestly, the day health won't be a necessary battle will be the day it's no longer our responsibility.

But right now, during this "before" called life, our souls want to go places our bodies simply can't go. And because of that, sadly, our minds don't let our hearts even dream of living abundantly. Serve on the mission field? Laugh. Participate in a charity walk? Chuckle. Make it to church? Sigh. Our physical troubles have become spiritual warfare. We're soldiers of the cross who can't reach the battlefield.

Sure, someday we'll be rescued from a body that doesn't work, but until then, let's see what it can do for the cause of Christ. After all, His great commission to us -- "Go" -- hasn't changed. It's still an action verb.

–Jimmy Peña

YOUTHFUL STRENGTH

In addition to the typical monkey bar romps and lunchtime hoops, dedicated muscle strengthening is a good idea for kids. Training for strength, contrary to a commonly-held belief, does not interfere with a child’s growth or promote excessive musculature. In fact, even a minimal amount of strength training can be beneficial for a child’s bone density, muscle growth, coordination and motor learning. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends at least three days per week of activities that include strengthening moves such as gymnastics, push-ups or jumping rope.

>> STOCKING STUFFERS: Looking for a few gifts to hang from the chimney with care? Visit the PrayFit Store to do a little digital shopping for the faith-and-fitness devotees in your life.

 

 

 

 

ELLA'S GRIN

November 1, 2011 Read: Psalm 121

"The Lord watches over you." --Psalm 121:5

Last week, PrayFit co-Founder Eric Velazquez posted this picture of his little girls. What Eric wrote as a caption was something I'm sure only a Father can truly understand, but it hit me. Eric said:

"Does Ella's grin give it away that they're not really asleep? Still, I found them in bed, sharing a blanket and laughing yesterday, and it was just one of those fun, dad moments I wanted to snap. Bonus: Mya is in bed wearing a princess dress. She refused to nap without it."

Hmm...haven't we all slept with Ella's grin? We close our eyes, pretend, and try to fool God under the blanket of the very grace He provides. But the fact is, He knows us. And He loves us despite ourselves. Call me sentimental ('cause I am), but I like to think God watches over us like Eric does his kids, pausing on moments too good to pass up...with a grin of His own.

--J.P.

Lord, we love you. And you're watching. Though we often fall asleep on Your watch, we never lose your blanket of grace. We're so glad You love us and You never, ever... stop being Dad.

Question: How does knowing God is watching over you help you take better care of yourself and your family?

HOW MUCH ACTIVITY?

As the numbers on child obesity climb and favorite after school activities gravitate more toward thumb work than lawn play, do you wonder exactly how much activity is enough for your kids? The more your child runs around, the better. But if you’re looking for a basic guideline to help them follow, look to the experts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children and adolescents need at least 60 minutes per day of activity, including some of the “vigorous” variety three times per week.

>> Commit:

Today, take stock of how much activity your children are getting each day, taking physical education at school and organized sports into account as well. Discuss the importance of regular activity with your child and make today the first day of a scheduled family “workout,” where you spend 15-20 minutes exercising, walking or playing together.

 

(Source: CDC)

 

 

 

 

EVERYBODY IN

July 7, 2011Read: Matthew 18

"For where two or more gather in my name, there I am with them." --Matthew 18:20

Among the things I miss most about playing sports in high school and college, would be those times when coach would huddle us up to give us words of motivation. We'd all take a knee, and at the end of speech he'd say, "Everybody in." He'd put out his hand, and we'd stand to put ours atop his. At that very moment, there was nothing that could stop us. I learned way back then that powerful things happen when people come together with a common purpose and a serious plan.

Speaking of small groups, we don't know what all was said among the disciples in the upper room, on shorelines, or on hillsides, but something tells me they huddled. When it was time to get everyone's attention, I like to think they brought it in real close like teams do. After all, if our faith had a team, they were the first string. And to think, what they said to each other before that first huddle broke, eventually got to you and me. Common purpose, serious plan.

Are you in a huddle for a stronger faith and better health? Maybe you have a group from church or your neighborhood? A couple of friends who hold each other accountable? Maybe it's you and your spouse. Whoever you are and however you meet, we take a knee with you and yours. We applaud your common purpose and serious plan. And when you stand, our hand reaches to the middle with yours. When teams huddle, nothing is impossible. Everybody in?

--J.P.

DID YOU KNOW?

In this country, there are just as many people who exercise regularly as those that don't. In a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2009, 35% of adults 18 years and older were found to engage in regular physical activity. The same study showed that a full 33% engaged in zero leisure time activity at all.

So if you're part of the 35%, then bravo. But this shows that some 65% of Americans do not exercise regularly.

Care for another stat? According to the CDC, 34% of Americans 20 and over are obese.

The message is clear: it's time for us to get moving.

Source: CDC

NO HILL FOR A CLIMBER

June 28, 2011Read John 6

"Then Jesus climbed a mountain..." --John 6:3

A friend of mine, Betty Gutierrez of Fitness on Fire Ministries in Grapevine, Texas, can often be heard telling her class that "Jesus would climb mountains to pray, so we know He was healthy." Her message makes me think...Jesus wasn't healthy for health's sake, but for Heaven's. In order to pray, he climbed. In order to worship, he walked. His body simply got His soul where it needed to go. His health on earth was in direct response to His purpose.

At PrayFit, we believe that our health is not so much about how we want to look, but more about what we need to do. The more fit we are, the better we live, move and serve. Our health should enable our purpose, not get in the way. To think, Jesus was often out of breath for us...when was the last time we were out of breath for Him? But then again...we don't have to climb mountains to pray.

--J.P.

DID YOU KNOW?

According to the CDC, more than 60 percent of U.S. adults do not engage in the recommended amount of activity. And approximately 25 percent of U.S. adults are not active at all.

What are you doing in your home, school, community or church to help improve these daunting statistics? Tell us what works for you. Your fitness testimony could change a life. And if we can help, please let us know. We're here.

THAT'S THE ONE

February 24, 2011Read: 1 Samuel 17

"Then he took his staff in his hand, and chose five smooth stones from the stream." --1 Samuel 17:40

Before David hurled the stone at his giant, I picture him down at the stream, tossing them up one-by-one in his hand. See, I have a feeling he measured a few before finding just the right one for this particular overgrown nuisance. Did you notice the verse? He "chose" five stones. He made decisions based on his needs and abilities. "Too light.” Toss. "Too small." Toss. "That’s the one!” After all, David knew what he was up against and planned accordingly.

What about you? In the area of health, you might be facing some big issues. Is it your diet? Your training consistency? Maybe you can’t find the right routine? Well, whatever the case, take a stroll down to the stream with David. Kneel down with him and gather some ammo. If the pebbles you’ve been flinging at your giant-size goals aren’t making a dent, then reload. You know what you’re up against. The key is to do like David did and find it. Remember, His fight was worth it and so is yours.

--J.P.

THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM What are the main causes of the obesity epidemic?

--Weight gain occurs when people eat too much food and get too little physical activity.

--Societal and community changes have accompanied the rise in obesity.

  • People eat differently:
    • Some Americans have less access to stores and markets that provide healthy, affordable food such as fruits and vegetables, especially in rural, minority and lower-income neighborhoods. Restaurants, snack shops, and vending machines provide food that is often higher in calories and fat than food made at home.
    • There is too much sugar in our diet. Six out of 10 adults drink at least 1 sugary drink per day.
    • It is often easier and cheaper to get less healthy foods and beverages.
    • Foods high in sugar, fat, and salt are highly advertised and marketed.
  • Many communities are built in ways that make it difficult or unsafe to be physically active:
    • Access to parks and recreation centers may be difficult or lacking and public transportation may not available.
    • Safe routes for walking or biking to school, work, or play may not exist.Too few students get quality, daily physical education in school.
    • Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

FIT TOGETHER

January 18, 2011Read: Matthew 18

"For where two or more gather in my name, there I am with them." --Matthew 18:20

Among the things I miss most about playing sports in high school and college, would be those times when coach would huddle us up to give us words of motivation. We'd all take a knee, and at the end, he'd say, "Everybody in." He'd put out his hand, and we'd stand to put ours atop his. At that very moment, there was nothing more important. I learned then that powerful things happen when people come together with a common purpose and a serious plan.

I thought of those old memories today because a small group from El Paso formed a new PrayFit huddle this week. They're teaming together to share faith, fitness and accountability because they know our health is an obligation as well as a means of praise.

Speaking of small groups, we don't know what all was said among the disciples in the upper room, on shorelines, or on hillsides, but something tells me they huddled. When it was time to get everyone's attention, I like to think they brought it in real close like teams do. After all, if our faith had a team, they were the first string. And to think, what they said to each other before that first huddle broke, eventually got to you and me. Common purpose, serious plan. Powerful.

--J.P.

DID YOU KNOW?

In this country, there are just as many people who exercise regularly as those that don't. In a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2009, 35% of adults 18 years and older were found to engage in regular physical activity. The same study showed that a full 33% engaged in zero leisure time activity at all.

So if you're part of the 35%, then bravo. But this shows that some 65% of Americans do not exercise regularly.

Care for another stat? According to the CDC, 34% of Americans 20 and over are obese.

The message is clear: it's time for us to get moving.

Source: CDC

>> SHOP: Looking for PrayFit in print? Read more on "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days" by clicking here, or visit Barnes & Noble or Amazon today!

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>> SUCCESS STORIES: Whether it's completing your first 5K, doing your first pull-up or getting your cholesterol down, we want to hear your success story. Share with the PrayFit community by clicking here.

THE CLOSER

October 26, 2010Read: Matthew 24 “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” -- Matthew 24:36

Seeing that my baseball season is over, I thought I’d give you another reason why I love America’s pastime: the role of the closer. The closer is someone who specializes in sealing the deal. See, in baseball you play until the game is done. Not the case in other sports. Take basketball for instance. There’s a minute left, you’re up five points and rather than drive to the basket, you run out the clock. In football, you take a knee. Soccer, hockey — you name it. Most major sports have a way to play it safe.

I think we all have the tendency to play it safe on occasion. As Christians, we can get into a mindset of “I’m saved, I can coast, I think I’ll run out the clock today.” But days can turn into weeks and weeks, years. Which reminds me, in baseball, there is no clock. You don’t know how long a life — I mean — a game can last. Thus, the need for a closer. Someone who does his best work at the end.

Recently I read that Billy Graham hopes to preach one more time before the Lord takes him home. Even though he struggles to stand, Billy still wants the ball. Talk about a closer.

Now, granted, we’re no Billy Graham you or I. Nobody’s waiting to hear our last words. Or are they? The fact that we’re reading this sentence means we’re still in the game and the ball is in our hands. So stay warm. We just never know when we’ll be needed to take the hill.

--J.P.

DIABETES: A SCARY SITUATION

No need to look for ghosts and goblins this Halloween. Those in search of a scare need only look at the latest study on diabetes released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Type II diabetes has become one of the greatest health problems facing mankind. An estimated 285 million people have diabetes in the world today. Sadly, because it's a condition that you can live with relatively symptom-free for years, people are failing to see cause for alarm. A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may change that. According to the CDC, as many as 1 in 3 Americans could be diabetic by 2050 unless action is taken.

Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in 2007, and is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults under age 75, kidney failure, and non-accident/injury leg and foot amputations among adults. People with diagnosed diabetes have medical costs that are more than twice that of those without the disease. The total costs of diabetes are an estimated $174 billion annually, including $116 billion in direct medical costs. About 24 million Americans have diabetes, and one-quarter of them do not know they have it.

To read the full report by the CDC click here: Diabetes on the Rise

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