Thomas

In Loving Memory

I held his wrist. As an 8th grader, I walked the isle at Cielo Vista Baptist Church and committed my life to Christ. A week later, I waded into the water of the baptistry in front of my family and friends and listened as my Preacher asked me, "Jimmy, do you know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?" And then I held his wrist with one hand and pinched my nose with the other. I've never felt cleaner then the day I came out of that water.

Last week, various heroes of the faith remembered and honored the life of Reverend Henry Powell. From funny memories, to countless and blessed congregations from around the world, I sat and unsuccessfully fought back tears. And nothing I heard was as amazing as the eulogy written by his wife of 49 years, Sandie (my Sister Powell) which was read aloud by their son Tim. I'll never forget it. And while I know Brother Powell is with the Lord today, I couldn't help but think about his still, sweet body. If those feet weren't tip-toeing through the house to deliver Christmas gifts to grandkids, they were in the dangerous underground of China quietly delivering bibles and leading other pastors. If those hands weren't rooting for the Lobos, they were rooting for snotty-nosed kids just like me to live right. And if that heart wasn't beating in honor of his wife, it was breaking for the lost to know Christ as Lord.

You know, in ceremonies like these, we've all heard someone say that "It's not him" or "It's just a body." Well, I can't help but humbly and respectfully disagree. Especially when you consider that God made it, and all of the people who won't be reached without it. In fact, what did Jesus show Thomas in the upper room? And what didn't they find when the stone was rolled away? That's right. Not just a body. So you see, it's no wonder God said to honor that which carries and protects the soul. And that's why, when it was my turn to stand near and say goodbye to my sweet preacher who introduced me to Christ, I held his wrist...one more time.

--Jimmy Peña

P.S. Brother Powell would often urge us to "Do what you can. Do ALL that you can. And do it now." May that be an instrument you and I use today and each day to serve the Lord and others. I know I am. I know I will.

Should friend's desire, memorial contributions may be made to:

Outreach to Asia Nationals P.O. Box 2440 Winchester, VA 22604 or visit

www.outreachtoasianationals.org

Unlock the Door

"They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers." --Acts 1:14

Read: Acts 1

Peter denied. Thomas doubted. Fear filled the upper room. Both the cross and the tomb were void of any sign of their allegiance, so they hid. But then they heard His voice, felt His scars and were filled with the Spirit. Before long someone said, "Unlock the door."

You and I? We deny. We doubt. And boy do we ever let fear fill our days. But the same reasons that sent the disciples underground -- an empty cross and tomb -- are why we have faith in the first place. So as we begin a new day, take a few seconds and pause. Stand in the room with Peter. Imagine for a second you're with Thomas and the others. Look around at everyday men and women with an extraordinary mission. See the look in their eyes? Like them, beyond your door is a world that needs the gospel according to you. Could be at work, at the gym or even at school, but as you leave your room, imagine the disciples doing the same. Same Jesus, same mission.

Now, somebody unlock the door.

--Jimmy Peña

[exercise in focus]

Yesterday's Workout of the Week included a move that many are unfamiliar with: the straight-arm plank. This challenging core move -- which also lights a a bit of a fire in your shoulders and triceps -- is worth a closer look today.

Straight-arm plank | Target: Core

The straight-arm plank is basically holding the top portion of a push-up. Hold the position as long as possible, keeping your abs, lower back and glutes tight. Within the context of this workout — following push-ups and squats — this move is incredibly difficult. Planks are thought of as an "abs" move but they emphasize the muscles beneath your six-pack -- the transverse abdominis. And by training these deep muscles harder, more regularly, you can better tone and flatten your entire midsection while also adding greater core stability.

Try this: Challenge your core by beginning in a straight-arm plank. Once you reach failure, go into a standard plank, again holding the position to failure. Once you fail on the standard plank, simply drop your knees to the floor and go as long as you can. This three-position plank series will fry your midsection from the inside out -- literally.

Unlock the Door

"They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers." --Acts 1:14

Peter denied. Thomas doubted. Fear filled the upper room. Both the cross and the tomb were void of any sign of their allegiance, so they hid. Then they heard His voice, felt His scars and were filled with the Spirit. Before long someone said, "Unlock the door."

You and I? We deny. We doubt. And boy do we let fear fill our days. But the same reasons that sent the disciples underground -- an empty cross and tomb -- are why we have faith in the first place. So as we begin a new week, take a few seconds and pause. Stand in the room with Peter, Thomas and the others. Look around at everyday men and women with an extraordinary mission. Like them, beyond your door is a world that needs the gospel according to you. Could be at work, at the gym or even at school, but as you leave your room, imagine the disciples doing the same. Same Jesus, same mission.

Now, somebody unlock the door.

--Jimmy Peña

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Delts & Abs

To start the week, we present a shoulders and abs workout that provides silhouette-enhancing benefits for both men and women. You begin the workout with a total-body move and work your way through progressively more targeted work.

"You start out in the strongest possible position, utilizing your entire body to train the shoulders and slowly begin isolating the different delt heads," says Jimmy Pena, MS, CSCS, founder of PrayFit. "The result is a better v-taper. Stronger shoulders give the visual appearance of a slimmer waistline."

DELTS Dumbbell Squat-Overhead Press* Dumbbell Upright Row Lateral Raise Front raise Bent-over Lateral Raise

ABS Standard Crunch Reverse Crunch Double Crunch

--Perform three sets of 10-12 reps on each exercise in the order listed, resting no more than 60 seconds between sets.

Dumbbell Squat-Overhead Press With a pair of dumbbells, kettlebells or even soup cans, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed out slightly. Hold the dumbbells at shoulder level. With your abs tight, chest up and back flat, squat down 10-12 inches then press through the floor to extend your legs as you press the weights overhead to full arm extension. Lower the dumbbells back to your shoulders and repeat.

>> NEWS & NOTES: PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena just completed a Texas tour, hitting several events in El Paso. Get the story, which appeared in the El Paso Times, by clicking here.

>> PHOTOS: Hey Facebookers! Be sure to stop by the Official Facebook page to check out pics of Jimmy Pena's visit to Cielo Vista Church. Then share it and tell friends to do the same.

Gracias A Dios

"Then he said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.'" --John 20:27

Read: John 20

"The usual?" she asked with a smile. The sweet lunchtime waitress and I have grown accustomed to each another. I'm greeted, not with a menu, but with a name. By now, she knows I don't like ice in my water, and that I prefer egg whites. Probably in her late sixties, she speaks beautiful Spanish and forces me to practice mine. I know she likes my PrayFit hat and goes to church just around the corner. Today, however, she lingered longer than usual after showing me to my booth. I knew immediately she was more empty than my stomach.

"Do you ever doubt?" she asked as she straightened her apron and adjusted her bifocals. Before I could answer, she began to serve up her hurt, and as she phrased it, the need to "see Him" in her life. A glimpse. That's all she wanted. Something to feel, something real. I didn't presume to have all the answers, but we chatted. By the time I ate and payed my bill, my friend was assured of two things: 1) she wasn't alone in her doubts, and 2) she wasn't alone at all.

Friends, Jesus understands. That's why when He showed His scars to Thomas, He showed them to you and me. In order to reach us, He let us touch Him.

Gracias a Dios.

--Jimmy Peña

THE POWER OF FAITH Jimmy Pena talks PrayFit in Chicago Sun-Times feature “We are bold to declare faith can move a mountain, and yet we doubt it can help us move a muscle," Pena tells Sun-Times writer Sandy Thorn-Clark during a recent interview.

The feature, which ran today, also discusses how PrayFit has managed to differentiate itself from other strictly-fitness products on the shelf today.

"After noticing communities — especially churches and schools — suffering physically 'at an alarming rate,' the native of El Paso, Texas, decided to use a gym as his pulpit in an effort to challenge Prayfit participants to do their best each day," Thorn-Clark writes.

>> To read the full article, click here.

>> YOUR TOWN OR BUST!: Fitness as a means of praise. Slimmer waistlines as a byproduct of obedience. The evangelism of fitness is catching on and your community could be next. Contact us at info@prayfit.com to bring PrayFit to your church or community event, or visit our online store to purchase books or DVDs to set up your own fitness ministry or small group.

GRACIAS A DIOS

October 20, 2011Read: John 20

"Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." --John 20:27

"The usual?", I asked with a smile. The sweet lunchtime waitress and I have grown accustomed to each another. I'm greeted, not with a menu but with a name. By now, she knows I don't like ice in my water, and that I prefer egg whites. Probably in her late sixties, she speaks beautiful Spanish and forces me to practice mine. I know she likes my PrayFit hat and goes to church just around the corner. Today, however, she lingered longer than usual after showing me to my booth. I knew immediately she was more empty than my stomach.

"Do you ever doubt?" she asked as she straightened her apron and adjusted her bifocals. Before I could answer, she began to serve up her hurt, and as she phrased it, the need to "see Him" in her life. A glimpse. That's all she wanted. Something to feel, something real. I didn't presume to have all the answers, but we chatted. By the time I ate and payed my bill, my friend was assured of two things. 1) she wasn't alone in her doubts, and 2) she wasn't alone at all.

Friends, Jesus understands. That's why when He showed His scars to Thomas, He showed them to you and me. In order to reach us, He let us touch Him.

Gracias a Dios.

--J.P.

KIDS & ASTHMA

Want to keep your kids lungs healthy? Keep them at a healthy bodyweight. Research shows that overweight or obese children are 50%  more likely to have asthma than children who maintain a healthy weight. But even if your child is heavy, keep them eating a sensible diet and make sure they still get 60 minutes per day or more of moderate to rigorous physical activity. Increased physical activity can actually work to improve lung function, so the benefits far outweigh the risks. More severe cases should be monitored more closely, of course, so be sure to consult with your family physician before starting your child out on any structured exercise program.

 

 

 

 

DAD HANDS

July 28, 2011Read: John 20

"So the other disciples told him, 'We have seen the Lord!' But he said to them, 'Unless I see the marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.'" --John 20:25

The older I get, the more my hands are looking like my dad's. I'll be typing or writing something, and I'll pause to look at my hands and immediately think of his. But unlike my clumsy paws, Dad can actually put his to work. He can fix everything or put anything together. Weld it, untie it, prime it, paint it, dig it...you name it, if we put it in his hands, he's able.

It's funny...despite that knowledge, I've often handed something to Dad for help, and immediately began to tell him how to do it or what I think should be done next. To which Dad simply says, "James, am I doing this, or are you?" (Gulp)

I think we have the tendency to do the same with the Lord. We pray for His guidance, ask for His help, and we "give it to Him" yet we never really let go of worry, doubt or control. (A show of hands of those who can relate...)

But we need to remember that the very same hands that reached for a sinking Peter on the water, assured a doubting Thomas in the upper room, and rubbed mud into the eyes of the blind, are the very same hands that still reach for us today. They assure us in hospital rooms and lead us through the dark times. He can hold us like a newborn baby in one hand, while holding off Satan's army with the other. Big or small, He wants us to bring Him our knots each day. It's what He does. After all, He's got Dad hands, and He is able.

--J.P.

EXERCISE IN FOCUS: Power Push-Up

Once you've mastered the standard push-up...then what? We ask, we answer. The power push-up is a great way to build some dynamic, athletic activity into a stale routine.

Power Push-Up | Focus: Lower chest, shoulders, back, abs | (VIDEO)

Get into a push-up position with your body in a straight line, feet together, hands wider than shoulder-width apart and your eyes focused on the floor. Explode yourself up to full arm extension, allowing your hands to leave the floor. Catch yourself with your hands on the floor and decelerate yourself to the start and repeat. Don’t bounce your chest off the floor, but rather start each rep when your chest reaches an inch or so away from the floor.

>> For a video demonstration of this and other exercises, click here.