basketball

Benchwarmer

"So Sarah laughed to herself." --Genesis 18:12

Read: Genesis 18

Benchwarmer. Not something that sat well with me. But during my sophomore year in high school, I endured it for the first time in my life. See, I was a baseball player, and a good one. But basketball? I probably should've hung up the Air Jordans as a freshmen. Sitting at the end of the bench during a blowout game, I hoped my friends and family would assume I was injured; maybe I twisted an ankle during warm-ups or something. But with a little over a minute on the clock, the unthinkable happened. Coach called my name.

"Reluctant" would be putting it mildly. I literally peeled myself off the chair. I stripped my warm-up off my cold body and joined the otherwise sweaty and necessary group of kids on the court. What's the use, I thought. The clock ran out, we shook hands, and I put my warm-up on as slowly as I had removed it.

Well, leaving the locker room that night to face the awkward "good game" from loved ones, Coach stopped me. He said something that I'd carry the rest of my life. He said, "I wanted to see your reaction when I called for you late in the game. Jimmy, it's never too late to make an impact."

Maybe you're wondering what kind of influence you can have. Perhaps you think it's way too late in the game for God to use you. That family member? Too far gone. That group of friends? Too set in their ways. No way God is calling me from the bench at my age, with my past. 

Folks, God has a way of doing the unexpected. And if He noticed Sarah laughing at the news of her baby on the way, rest assured He sees our reaction. So, take a minute to consider what the Spirit is whispering to your heart. If it's too lofty, too lowly, too late...God just may be looking for our reaction to His call. Carve this into your heart...If God calls for you, it's never too late to make an impact.

--Jimmy Peña

WALKING FOR HEALTH Just an hour of this low-impact activity per day can make you 50% healthier

Watch some TV? No judgement here. We like NCIS: Los Angeles, too. Just make sure you go for a walk after. New research put out by the American Heart Association showed that an hour of walking per day can cut your genetic tendency toward obesity as a result of watching the picture box by half.

"In our study, a brisk one-hour daily walk reduced the genetic influence towards obesity, measured by differences in BMI by half," said Qibin Qi, Ph.D., study author and a post doctorate research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Mass. "On the other hand, a sedentary lifestyle marked by watching television four hours a day increased the genetic influence by 50 percent."

The study included 7,740 women and 4,564 men from the Nurses' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Researchers collected data on physical activity and TV watching two years prior to assessing BMI.

>> For the full story, click here.

I'LL HAVE TO ASK

September 29, 2010Read: Luke 11

“Ask, and you shall receive. Seek and you shall find.” –Luke 11:9

Back in high school, I had a basketball coach ask me if I’d come back to the team. It had been a couple years since I’d played, and by then I’d become a one-sport athlete. His question was as brief as it was surprising when he asked, “Jimmy, we need you back. Will you play?”

My response was only a little less expected than what he said next. I replied, “Wow coach, sounds awesome. I just need to check with my dad first.” To which he smiled and said, “No Jimmy, I was only testing you, seeing if you’d be there for us.”

He shook my hand and thanked me. (I admit, I was relieved.) A little test, I guess. Whether I passed or not, I’m not sure.  But I’ve thought about that moment over the years. His question, my response, his reply. And I remember telling my dad about it later that night; dad loved that my answer required his blessing.

You know, we’re constantly being tested and the crossroads are always before us. Which way? That way? No way!! How much better would our lives be if with each decision, big or small, we said, “You know, I just need to check with my Father first.” And as I’ve learned even recently, it’s never too late to ask.

--J.P.

PRAYFIT RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Roasted Tomato Sauce

Makes 10 servings (1/2 cup each)

Ingredients:

6-8 large tomatoes cut into large chunks 1/2 large red onion, roughly chopped 1 red chili pepper, chopped 3 cloves garlic, whole 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon dried oregano Freshly ground black pepper 1 can (15 ounces) canned tomato sauce, no salt added 1 tablespoon tomato paste 1/2 cup red wine 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place tomatoes, onion, chili and garlic on a large sheet pan; add 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, oregano and pepper and toss to coat. Roast vegetables for 25-30 minutes or until tomatoes just begin to char; set aside to cool slightly. In a large pot, heat remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and then add the roasted tomato mixture, tomato sauce, tomato paste and wine. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add basil and parsley; season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Puree sauce using an immersion blender* until smooth.

*If you do not have an immersion blender, puree in a countertop blender in small batches. Make sure to hold the top of the blender closed with a dish towel while the machine is on.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories: 80 calories Total Fat: 3 grams Saturated Fat: 0 grams Total Carbohydrate: 11 grams Protein: 2 grams Sodium: 139 milligrams Cholesterol: 0 milligrams Fiber: 3 grams

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC is a registered dietitian and is currently a nutrition expert for the Food Network, and has worked as a media spokesperson for Cooking Light Magazine. She has appeared on Good Day Street Talk, Food Network.com, Access Hollywood and GMA Health. Visit her at Dana White Nutrition.

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WHAT DID YOU EXPECT?

August 24, 2010Read: 1 Chronicles 4

Oh Lord, that you would bless me indeed and increase my land. Keep your hand upon me and protect me from the evil one, so that I may not cause pain.” –-1 Chronicles 4:9-10

Most news networks finish their broadcast on a lighthearted note, and if you missed this one, allow me. A high school basketball coach was bet by the students that he couldn’t make a shot from half court. If he made it, they’d give him courtside tickets to this year’s NCAA Final Four Tournament; a crown jewel to many a basketball fan. But in order to make it to the promised land of hoops, he’d have to make the shot…blindfolded.

Okay, I’ll be quick…he made it alright. I mean, they gave him the ball, he dribbled it a couple times and woosh…nothin’ but net. The students went crazy, partly because it was an unbelievable shot, but also because they never had those tickets in the first place (oops!). Improbable odds with an impossible prize.

You know, I wonder what Noah thought, when he felt that first drop of rain. Or the look on Peter’s face when his boat was sinking from all the fish he caught. I’m sure any doubts were either washed away or grilled.

Friends, it’s time to pray big and give God the ball. He can make our one-in-a-million shots with our eyes closed.

--J.P.

WATER: THE ULTIMATE FAT-BURNER Turns out that the clear stuff may be an effective way to lose weight -- and keep it off

The fitness industry is bursting at the seams with dollars made from fad diets, here-and-gone workout programs and pricey supplements. People are looking for the magic bullet for weight loss and while the aforementioned methods can have some benefit, it turns out that water may be your strongest ally in your war on fat.

A recent study published in the journal Obesity showed that subjects on a low-calorie diet who drank 16 ounces of water prior to meals lost an average of 15.5 pounds over three months and kept it off -- or lost additional weight -- after a year of the same regimen.

While the mechanisms aren't fully understood, it is thought that water helps to fill you up ahead of your meal, reducing the amount of food you're likely to consume at each sitting. Also, consuming more H2O means that you are less likely to guzzle calorie-laden beverages.

So if you're looking to lose weight, try drinking 16 ounces of water prior to meals, while also sticking to a modest-calorie diet and regular exercise.

Source: CNN Health

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