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His Work, One Year Later

"But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." --Romans 5:20

Read: Romans 5

Jimmy-backDon't bend, twist or lift anything heavy. Avoid slipping and falling. Those were my instructions 365 days ago. See, by sticking to those rules, the odds were in my favor for solid fusion between the new hardware and bones. Simply, the surgery needed to take. No pressure. The doctor did his thing, but now it was up to me. Stick to the rules, and I won't ruin his work.

I can't tell you how many times over the last year I wondered if I messed things up. Did I twist too much at the waist? Bend down too far? And yes, I stumbled a time or two. Oh the fear that set in. I wanted to go back to the surgery date and start over. This time with no mistakes, no tumbles, no wrong turns.

Have you ever wondered if grace "took?" After a mistake, a tumble, a stumble, have you ever thought, "Surely God can't forgive me again" or "When I got saved, did I mean it enough? Like, enough enough?" After my slip and fall, the first thing I imagined was that I ruined the doctor's work. He gave me a brand new chance and I blew it. But I have good news. Yesterday at my one-year check-up when my surgeon looked inside, he saw fusion, healing, and progress. Grace happened.

Aren't we glad that God gives us a brand new heart? His. And thankfully -- gracefully -- when God looks inside and looks at your life and mine, He doesn't see our sin, He sees the blood of His Son. He doesn't see a heart held together by a very thin thread; as if one more fall would sever the relationship. No, when you and I accept Him as Lord, there is perfect, permanent fusion; based not on our ability to stick to the rules but all because of what He did at Calvary. We try to avoid slipping and falling, yes, but there is peace in knowing that grace took. We can't ruin His work.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: I think the fact that our health is our responsibility is a healthy reminder that we can't earn grace. A show of hands of those who feel motivated to take better care of themselves physically because of what God did for you spiritually? Is there a better reason to take care of ourselves? I guarantee there isn't.

BRING PRAYFIT TO YOUR CHURCH

Jimmy Peña's message of health as a means of praise is being well-received by congregations around the country. His storytelling approach to how a healthy body can strengthen the body of Christ and inspire abundant living is a message you don't want to miss. For speaking appearances, ministry assistance, media inquiries, write us at info@prayfit.com. Share this information with pastors, elders and influencers with the knowledge that there is never a speaking fee for churches!

"Let Us Use Them"

"Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them." --Romans 12:6

Read: Romans 12

If you have any classical music at the ready, go ahead and cue it up. (This reads better with it.) Ready? Now, imagine him. With only a candle to light the room, Mozart furiously scribbles with one hand while playing the piano with the other. His fingers can't keep up. Face buried in the music, he puts the finishing touches on a masterpiece. Although he's alone, he can hear every instrument lending its unique sound to the opus. Before a soul ever hears a note, he raises is head, closes his eyes and then...he's conducting.

Mozart left us his sheet music to follow, but if we play it out of key, it not only sounds wrong -- making dissonance out of harmony -- but it's not what the composer had intended. God -- the body's builder -- gave us the instructions on how we should build our lives and how these bodies support that purpose. Are we being worthy craftsmen, fulfilling His intentions? He certainly didn't intend for us to worship ourselves in the mirror, but we also weren't designed to sit idle in front our TVs.

No, some of us are the hands -- the reachers and the helpers. Others are the feet -- the seekers and doers. You may be the ears, the good listener or the tongue, a fine speaker. But whether yours is the back that carries, or you have the shoulders that bear burdens, we are the body. And like the bible says in Romans 12, "Let us use them."

--Jimmy Peña

NUTRITION: THE PERFECT BREAKFAST

There are a lot of strong options for your breakfast table in the morning. But when it comes to starting your day, you don’t want to tinker with anything that is less-than-effective at fueling you up right. This breakfast combo works incredibly well by providing starving muscles with the amino acids they need, while also topping off your fuel stores for whatever the day has in store for you. Powerful protein and long-burning energy, with great taste to boot. This is pretty close to perfect.

>> You're one click away from breakfast...

Out Of The Pits

"You intended to harm me, but God meant it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." --Genesis 50:20

Read: Genesis 50

Left out, left behind, left for dead. Young Joey could do no wrong in his father's eyes, so his big brothers squinted theirs. In a jealous plot, Joey's brothers took him for a long walk off a short pier. The next thing this favorite son knew, he was lying in a pit, listening to the sound of clanging silver in exchange for his life. And before long, he was in a foreign land full of foreign faces that spoke a foreign language.

Your boss gives the promotion to the one who sleeps in his cubicle. Someone else gets the credit for the work you did on the school group project. We may not be shipped off to another country, but we sure do know our way around the pits. But a neat thing about young Joey is that although the breaks got rough, they didn't break him. He made good. Learned the language, made friends, stayed focused. It wasn't long until the king alone out-ranked him.

In our week of looking at great life-closers, Joseph's story is unavoidable. From pit to prime minister. Of everything I draw from it, two things jump off the page. First, despite his circumstances, Joseph honed his unique, God-given gift. Everything around him might have been foreign, but the same God he knew at home was the same God in Egypt. So Joseph resolved to cling to his dreams, literally. (If you're a dreamer, keep it up.) And second, he chose to forgive. One snap of his fingers and his begging brothers would be begging for their lives. Nobody would have blamed him, but Joseph knew that what some people mean for bad, God can make great.

See, Joseph was a closer. Written off in chapter one, his rough start made for one great conclusion.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: What do you love about the story of Joseph? What can his faithfulness and forgiveness teach us about our lives, our health, our perspective? Do you feel like you need a tighter grip on your dreams? Have you ever felt like you're in Egypt? Are you there now?

FAITH & FITNESS AT YOUR CHURCH: You have a house full of believers -- devout in its faith, dutiful in its service. But how is the physical health of your church? Is stewardship of health a topic of discussion? If not, it may be time to add a new message to the mission of the congregation -- one that places a higher value on abundant living, one that charges members to care for the body that carries the soul. PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña is hitting the road in the coming weeks and months to help spread this message of faith and fitness, of health and a heart for service. Click play below for more on this message and write us today at info@prayfit.com to find out how you can bring Jimmy to your next church or community event.

You Don't Have To

"Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are good." --Psalm 25:7

Read: Psalm 25 Earlier this week I received the most incredible and undeserved invitation. Details to come, but later this Fall, Loretta and I will be special guests at Baylor University, my alma mater. In the days leading up to a special Saturday event, we'll have the unique opportunity of speaking to students, staff and the community. We're so blessed and excited. Can I get a "Sic'em Bears?"

You know, the idea of going back and showing Loretta some of my old stomping grounds after all these years is already making my heart pound. I've even started taking notes on things I want to be sure and discuss with the students in particular. Oh man, to be able to go back and talk to a younger Jimmy Peña.  What would I tell him? (Other than to enjoy his hair line while he can and to eat more fiber. He'll just have to trust me on both.) So many things come to mind. But one thing I know, I'd make sure to find my way to old Russell Gym. I'd stand right next to young Jimmy as he eyed his next lift. While the gang of Russell Rats yell and scream in one ear, I'd whisper in the other, "You don't have to. You don't have to lift that much weight."

Carrying the weight of the past gets heavy, does it not? Yesterday's mistakes can feel heavier than a 500-pound bar across your back. I know, because I've carried both. But like the old Gaither hymn reminds me as I type this sentence:

"I'm free from the fear of tomorrow. I'm free from the guilt of my past. I've traded my shackles for a glorious song. I'm free. Praise the Lord, free at last."

If you're carrying yesterday's burden today, the Cross of Jesus says we don't have to. And we have the most incredible and undeserved invitation to embrace it.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: Even though I know I would change some things in my past, I believe the good Lord has worked it all out. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if I hadn't gone through some of my mistakes and wrong turns, I wouldn't be living the life I live today. Share your story. Give us your comments below. And have a great weekend everyone.

LISTEN, WATCH, INVITE: Life is not about the body. Our health is a means of praise. This fundamental message, which has become the heart of PrayFit in the last several years, has always been at the heart of Jimmy's philosophy on exercise and nutrition. But to put it in a paragraph here doesn't do it justice -- to hear it from the man himself is a convicting experience for anyone who has the opportunity. Use the links below to explore what we mean...

Listen >> Many of Jimmy's favorite devotionals are available here as audio files. Click here to "hear" PrayFit's founder articulate his passion for your health.

Watch >> The mission of PrayFit isn't six-pack abs -- it's stewardship. Click here for a video compilation of Jimmy's heartfelt message about caring for the bodies that carry these souls.

Invite >> Finally, if this is a message that you feel your family, your church or your community, then reach out to us today to find out how you can bring Jimmy to your next Sunday service or event. Click here for more info.

For additional PrayFit resources, such as books or DVDs, click here.

With Your Health In Mind

"Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, 'Why couldn't we drive it out?' --Matthew 17:19

Read: Matthew 17

When the disciples asked the Lord why they couldn't do certain things, notice He didn't say, "If only you had more self-confidence. If only you felt inspired, motivated, thought positively. If only you really wanted it." No, and aren't we blessed He didn't say any of those things? Because after all, some days those resources are plentiful and other days pitiful. But He talked of faith. The only thing that can accept grace. And if we accept grace through faith, we've conquered the world through Christ; not by anything we've done, can do or will do. And when inspiration sputters and motivation wanes, our faith in Christ and the truth that our lives are covered in grace just soothes.

Speaking of soothing, it's Friday. How was the week? Any mountain-top moments? What are we celebrating? Any pitfalls or valleys? What are we conquering? As I glance back on the week on PrayFit, we talked about how our health is unearned. And then about how we as prodigals came home to take care of our inherited health. And yesterday we used worn-out tools to rebuild for the cause of Christ. If it's been some week, say "Amen."

And with that, I would just like to take a second and thank you for spending these few minutes with us each day. If there's a place where you can go knowing that the message was written with your life and health in mind, I hope you know it's here. Much love to you all. I think that puts the button on the week, don't you?

--Jimmy Peña

PRAYFIT ON THE ROAD THIS FALL: IS YOUR CHURCH ON THE TOUR?

Jimmy Peña's message of "Life is not about the body, but health is a means of praise" is being well-received by congregations around the country. His story-telling approach to how a healthy body can strengthen the body of Christ and inspire abundant living is a message you don't want to miss.

For speaking appearances, ministry assistance or media inquiries, write us today at info@prayfit.com!

I'll Say, "No"

"Though he slay me, yet will I trust him." --Job 13:15

Read: Job 13

My wife is the runner in the family, so I typically don't read her magazine, but the cover blurb on her Runner's World caught my eye: "The Most Inspiring Runner You've Never Met." And I can tell you that if he's not, he's close. Hit by a car at the age of six, Bret Dunlap spent weeks in a coma. His first word when he woke up? "No." Seems he knew he had more life in him. And while he doesn't remember saying it, the 39 years after the accident simply prove that he meant it.

And while I won't give anything away, there was something his mom said to him that stuck with me. She said, "God never said anything about fair. He said you got a chance." This she said to a boy who suffered brain damage, paralysis, a colostomy, and who's face freezes, and who's mind forgets what he learns; just to name a few of his afflictions. But this she also said to boy who would teach himself several languages, give 12 gallons of blood over the years as a volunteer, play the piano left handed, hold the same job for over 18 years and eventually, run. Oh my friends, he may finish last, but he runs his race; one floppy foot over another. The rest of the story is miraculous, and sad, and gut-wrenching, and funny, and unbelievable and well, convicting.

Have you ever wallowed? Ever thought, "Why me?" or stomped your feet and said, "Not fair!" I know I have. I know I do. But it's stories like that of Bret that help give me perspective. And hope. And courage. And it's stories like that of Bret that always seem to remind me of grace and what Jesus did for me on the cross. Like our verse reminds us today, God's grace really is all I need and want, so whatever else I have in life is a gift. And when the enemy tries to convince me otherwise, when he tries to blind me to blessings, when he tries to discourage my personal calling, when he reminds me that my body is failing, I won't let it steal my joy. I'll just steal a line from Bret and say "No." What about you? What is your answer today?

--Jimmy Peña

Question: What are you doing to show the Lord and everyone around you how grateful you are for the gifts you been given? Is your life a statement that says, "Faith" or a question that wonders, "Why"?

It’s not just a tagline: Milk does do a body good. So do cheese, yogurt and cottage cheese. A new study showed that women who followed a regular exercise program on high-protein, high-dairy diets lost more total fat –- and more from their abdomen –- than those on adequate-protein, medium-dairy and adequate-protein, low-dairy diets.

>> For more detail on the study, click here.

Jimmy Peña's message of "Life is not about the body, but health is a means of praise" is being well-received by congregations around the country. His story-telling approach to how a healthy body can strengthen the body of Christ and inspire abundant living is a message you don't want to miss.

Bring Jimmy to your church this year! Contact us here: info@prayfit.com

The Silent Symbol

"By this all men will know that you are my disciples, that you love one another." --John 13:35

Read: John 13

Fingers crossed. Early Christians, in order to avoid persecution when they prayed in public, as well as to quietly identify themselves with other believers, would cross their fingers. Can you imagine if the only way you and I could share our faith was in such a way? Or even more unbelievable, by making that quiet gesture our predecessors risked their very lives.

What in my life says believer? If I couldn't say a word, what in my life would be that silent symbol, alerting another Jesus-follower that I am one of them? What about in yours?

Over the course of the last few weeks, I've been doing a lot of radio, hoping more and more churches would invite us to speak or that listeners would look to find our new DVD. And the most common question I get from radio hosts isn't about the DVD itself. No, they routinely ask me why Christians are known to be unhealthy. That question always makes me pause. Is that how we're identified by the rest of the world? By risking our lives through neglect? Is that our silent symbol?

I hope not...fingers crossed.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: Realizing that God only sees the heart, how is our approach to health a way to witness? Can someone be too far involved with how they look that they actually hurt their witness? We think so too. Also, shouldn't we be known for something other than things physical? Like our love for one another? Our giving and serving? Share your thoughts with us below.

ENERGY SYSTEMS 101

Your body is relying on three energy systems to replenish ATP, or adenosine triphosphate (the energy within our cells) to accomplish any task. The systems -- creatine phosphate (CP), anaerobic glycolysis (AG) and oxidative metabolism (OM) -- literally get us through the day. Basically, the sum of all three systems work simultaneously to supply the energy needs of any activity (athletic or otherwise) we choose to perform.

And while each system is constantly at work, the kind of activity will determine the relative contribution of each energy system. If you’re in the middle of a long run, for instance, you’re relying predominantly on oxidative metabolism. But if you’re shooting for a grueling set of squats or 40-yard dash, you're relying heavily on the CP system.

So mix it up. Have fun. Compete with yourself to improve day in and day out.

>> Looking for more fitness wisdom? Visit our fitness page by clicking here.

Your Mission

"I hope you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit." --3 John 1:2

Read: 3 John 1

I remember like it was yesterday, scrounging through an old box of books while whispering to myself, "Your mission, should you choose to accept it...." I'm smiling as I type this sentence. Great memories. See, in 1996, the movie of the year was the first Mission: Impossible, and I was bound and determined to see it. But as a young married couple, times were tight. With both of us working and in school, we watched every penny. I knew that in order for us to see the show, it was up to me. (Light the fuse, cue the music.)

Long story short, the sign at the end of the street read, "WE BUY BOOKS!" And fortunately, I kept every schoolbook I'd ever read (from every class). So if they were buying, I was selling. When Loretta got home, I greeted her with a kiss, a grin and two tickets. Special times.

That story came to mind recently when someone requested PrayFit resources for their church. Seems I'm still selling books. Only now it's for what many see as an impossible mission: to conquer the obesity epidemic in our homes and churches. But I think John said it best. In his third epistle, the first thing he said to a man named Gaius was, "I hope you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit." (v. 2) A worthy hope he had for his friend, especially considering the times in which they lived. And it's still a worthy hope today; a hope that defines our purpose at PrayFit. Is your church in need of help? Does someone you love need encouragement to be healthy for the right reasons? If so, we're on a mission, and we're bringing books.

--Jimmy Peña

THE RIGHT GADGETS FOR YOUR MISSION

The protagonist in the Mission: Impossible films, Ethan Hunt, was successful due to his vast experience in the world of espionage...and a few choice inventions. From voice-replicating throat chips to explosive gum, the tools of the trade were always vital to the mission. Same applies for you and yours. Try these resources when it comes to confronting health issues in your home and community:

>> READ: Our first book, "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 33 Days," provides two 28-day exercise programs, a complete diet plan and biblically-inspired devotions to keep you motivated each step of the way.

>> WATCH: PrayFit has partnered with Lionsgate Entertainment to bring you two home-based workout DVDs -- the second more challenging than the first. Train along with founder Jimmy Peña as you work to become stronger, leaner and healthier, all from the comfort of your living room.

For more information on these and other products, click here.

Here I Am To Worship

"I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart." --Psalm 138:1

Read: Psalm 138

Here I am to worship. If it's been a while since you've been to the gym, whisper it to the Lord as you open that door. If you're starting to walk after work with your spouse, pray it together as you take that step. Maybe you're about to take a swim, go for a jog or start your at-home DVD. Whatever the case, say it: Here I am to worship.

And as you do, remember -- it's not about the mirror, or lower bodyfat, or the muscle. Those things may happen, they may not. If they do, consider them gifts of obedience and blessings of diligence. But we believe it warms God's heart when we take care of ours. So go ahead. Lift, run, walk, swim, stretch. Have church. After all, you are a temple.

--Jimmy Peña

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Push-Up Practice The push-up is one of the most fundamental exercises you can build into your program for increasing upper body strength. But not everyone can hit the deck and give us 50. No matter where you are on the push-up power continuum, this scaled workout will allow you get better at it...fast.

>> Click here for the workout.

For Those Who Can't, Stand

"...Cheer up! On your feet! He's calling you." --Mark 10:49

Read: Mark 10

Yesterday on Facebook, I posted something I witnessed on Sunday:

"I sat behind a man in church on Sunday, paralyzed from the neck down. It was interesting to me that when the choir director asked the congregation to stand and sing, you could feel the reluctance and see the slow-moving crowd rise to their feet. I thought to myself, I wonder how fast this sweet man would stand if he could. The next song we sang was 'Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me, bless His Holy name.' You know what? This man's voice was the loudest one around me. Plainly said, when we were asked to stand, he already was. Folks, life is not about the body, so if you have health and ability, use it as a means of praise. And believer, if you're called to stand and sing -- and you can stand up and sing -- stand up and sing."

The responses to our post had us in tears and awe. We wanted to share a few of them with you.

Renee Foster: "We have a young boy in our church who has been wheelchair bound his whole life and yet, when we sing he raises his one hand by just bending it at the wrist from his wheelchair armrest. It's all he can do so he does it. Imagine what an example that is for us."

Tricia Weaver Cross: "Thank you so much...I have a 13 yr old daughter that is wheelchair bound with a brain injury. I know that if she could stand and sing she would, with hands raised in praise. One day...one day!"

Isabelle Kafarela: "My father is paralyzed. What he wouldn't give to have the use of his legs! We thank GOD every day for my father's spirit as he lives with pain daily! Lord, please give my father Niko Kafarela strength in spirit to live Your Purpose daily!"

Bud Krueger: "The next time I stand, guess who will be there in front of me...Jesus, God, Holy Ghost. Amen"

No words, right? Well, I have a few for us. "Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me, bless His Holy name." And for those who can't, stand.

--Jimmy Peña

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Chicken Sausage & Pepper Flatbread

Looking for something that tastes way worse for you than it really is? Try this savory recipe from PrayFit contributing nutritionist Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC.

>> Recipe - Click here

For more PrayFit recipes and healthy eating tips, visit our nutrition page.

A Strong Church

"For physical training is of some value, but training in godliness has value now and in the life to come." --1 Timothy 4:8

Read: 1 Timothy 4

Many of you know how much I appreciate Dr. Charles Stanley of First Baptist, Atlanta. And outside of my sweet Brother Henry Powell who led me to Jesus, I consider Dr. Stanley a trusted pastor and mentor. Well, I had the pleasure of visiting his church again last Sunday. His topic: What makes a strong church? I grinned with anticipation in my chair, because I like it when he gets practical. And while I won't list all of the qualities he mentioned, I wanted to share a few.

Doctrinally sound. He said that if the church neglects the Word of God, we're weak.

Faith beneath the surface. He said that every Sunday in a room below the pulpit, a group of men pray for him and for the audience.

Genuine, committed and organized. Genuine love for each member, committed to the purpose of spreading the Gospel, and practically organized to deliver the message.

As he finished preaching, he asked two questions: "What are you doing to contribute to the strength of your church?" and "If others followed your pattern, will the church be strong?"

And now you know why I was grinning. Because I believe that our lives, our bodies and overall health could benefit greatly if we treated them like a church. If you're with me say "Amen." Consider the practical parallels.

1. If we neglect the Word each day, we are absolutely weak. Our might is not in our muscle or bone, but in our spirit. 2. Without faith beneath the surface, there is no service. Pretty is as pretty does. 3. With a genuine, committed and organized approach to honoring the body that God so lovingly designed, we can be even more effective in serving others with our God-given message.

And so humbly, if you would allow me to do as Dr. Stanley did and ask you two questions: What are you doing to contribute to the strength of your church? And if others followed your pattern, would their church be strong?

–Jimmy Peña

Commit: Spend 10 minutes each day reading God's word and praying. Then and only then, pursue physical goals. Will you make this commitment?

WORKING OUT AT HOME

Convenience of exercise is one of the greatest determining factors in program adherence. In other words, the easier a workout is to get in, the less likely you will be to skip it. For a great many people, home workouts are best. Team PrayFit's two workout DVDs provide challenging, results-driven, at-home workouts that are guaranteed to help you build a stronger, healthier body -- without having to venture out to a franchise gym. So far, the reviews on our latest DVD -- the PrayFit 33-Day Body Toning System -- are outstanding! Click here to read what others are saying! For a sneak peek at what you can expect in our newest offering, click the video player below. To order now, click here.

A Gentle Tug

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” –-Proverbs 16:3

Read: Proverbs 16

Well, here we are. Friday. For some, it's the end of a glorious week. Each route you ran made sense, and each plan proved you're a genius. But for others, today marks the end of a not-so-glorious streak of five lost days tied together with a thick band of disappointment. You didn't begin the week feeling this way. You had different plans...much different.

For thousands of passengers aboard Carnival Cruise Triumph, the week was anything but triumphant. Drifting powerless, they too had different plans. Their hopes of food, fun and relaxation, were replaced with hunger, boredom and stress. Adding insult to injury, their ship had to be pulled to safety by tug boats at a blazing 7 mph. Misery took its time.

Friends, God knows our weeks. He knows our weak weeks. Your plans fail, my plans fail, and we drift. We're a group of wide-eyed strangers who boarded the big boat of life on Monday only wanting to jump ship by Wednesday. And even though we're "saved," seeing land on Friday took way too long. But we can take today's sunrise as a reminder that the tug -- His gentle tug -- is enough. It really is enough.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: Concerning your health, are you drifting? Does your shore seem so far away that you're losing hope? Whether self inflicted or out of your control completely, we want to help you with either practical advice or practical prayer. You choose, but we're here.

>> INVITE US: We are so glad that you're reading this. The fact that you are means that you feel God's gentle tug on your heart strings about better physical stewardship. And we want to help you tow the rest of your congregation into port. This video (click the player below) offers a glimpse of the message your church needs to hear. Contact us today at info@prayfit.com for details on how you can bring Jimmy Peña to your next Sunday service!

Price of Admission

"Then Peter answered and said to Him, 'See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?'" --Matthew 19:27

Read: Matthew 19:23-30

I love the story that Pastor Rick Warren tells about his epiphany of the importance of his health. For those who may not know, Pastor Rick is a wonderful man and leader of one of the largest churches in the world. His commitment reaches millions. Well, one day a few years ago as he became exhausted while baptizing dozens of his church members, he realized two things: 1) His congregation was heavy, and 2) he was out of shape.

That sparked the beginning of a remarkable ministry called The Daniel Plan, which I'm blessed to be a part of. But Pastor Rick's sense of urgency toward better health was risky. The idea of spending time talking about the body in church is as popular as it is practiced. But we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Pastor Rick and other leaders whose lives are a stirring testament to God's call for healthy stewardship.

The brutal truth is, we can't blame our deficiency of health on the bible's deficient plea to honor it. And how serious we are at honoring the body is directly correlated to how serious we think God was when He commanded it. So make no mistake, for Pastors to admit that the body is something to honor and to address the issue within the confines of their church, there's a cost. It may mean they themselves will have to change eating habits or set an example of a more active lifestyle, and/or it may mean some tough sermons to deliver. But in the end, those who are inspired to obey God in this area are merely the ones willing to pay the price of admission.

--Jimmy Peña

WHAT ABOUT YOUR CHURCH?

As we've established, the message of our health as a means of praise is sometimes a tough one to hear -- but that doesn't make it any less necessary. Look around. Is your congregation in need of a heart check in the care of the bodies the Lord built? To find out how to bring PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña's convicting health evangelism into your next Sunday service, write us here! And to get a preview of the man and the message, click here.

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: 5-10-15 Build muscle and test your mettle with this quickie workout Push-ups. Squats. Crunches. These three foundation movements, when performed in the same workout, will hit most of your major muscle groups. And the more muscle you train, the greater the change in your body you provoke. This week's workout simply calls for you to perform these three exercises in order, as many times as you can in 10 minutes. Follow along with us:

5 Push-Ups 10 Squats 15 Crunches --As many rounds as possible in 10 minutes.

It's as simple as it looks. Do five push-ups, 10 squats, then 15 crunches. Flip over onto your chest and start the entire sequence again. The goal is to complete as many rounds as possible in 10 minutes, taking as little rest as you can along the way. By keeping the pace high, you get the strength-building benefits of these resistance moves while also amping up your metabolism. Try the routine -- again, it's only 10 minutes -- and post your thoughts and experiences to the comments section below.

NOTES & TIPS: Perform this workout twice per week on non-consecutive days. Once you can get 10 rounds in 10 minutes, take your goal to 11 minutes and/or add one rep to each exercise. If you feel lightheaded, terminate the workout and try again tomorrow.

>> To see how these exercises are performed, click here.

Alone in a Crowded Courtyard

"If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also." --John 15:20

Read: John 15

Yesterday's post stirred my heart. Here's how I see the same scene. When Jesus was taken into custody and led to the home of the high priest, Peter followed, wanting to stay as close to Jesus as he could. He did so at his own peril -- if the guards had realized that he was one of the twelve, Peter could have been on the fourth cross at Calvary. But that was Peter...a bold, brazen and unapologetic follower of Christ. Then they entered the courtyard.

Peter sat there, the glow of the firelight on his face, his mind racing with ideas on how he could be used to help his captive Savior. Just then, the flames betrayed more than his concern -- they revealed his identity. Recognized by someone from across the fire, Peter began to shrink from his steely determination and quickly denied who he was and who He was there for. A second mention of his association with Christ brought knots to his stomach. Again he denied. And the third put an arrow through his heart -- because at this denial, he caught the eyes of a crestfallen Christ. Though He knew Peter would disassociate himself, the denial didn't hurt any less.

Whether it's in the court of public opinion or our family's Sunday dinners, we can sometimes feel like loners in a crowded courtyard. Persecuted for who we follow, we can find ourselves absorbing the whispers and suspicious scowls of those across the fire but we can rest on two unquestionable truths: 1) He said it would be this way. 2) Peter became the rock upon which the Lord built His church.

Being alone in the crowd isn't comfortable...just an honor.

--Eric Velazquez

>> VIEWER TESTIMONIAL: If you're not yet convinced that PrayFit can help you change the way your body looks, feels and performs, consider this testimonial from Rich in Memphis, Tennessee.

"I did it! Day 33 is over....I finished strong!

PRAYFIT DVD: $15 Weights and Equipment needed: $0

19-point drop in systolic blood pressure, 10-point drop in diastolic blood pressure (at 41 years old, now into 'Normal Range'), dropped one pant size, found my abs, water has become my beverage of choice, avoiding processed foods more, consuming more fruits and vegetables, fish and lean meats, feeling less stress, better focus, more discipline starting my days with PRAYFIT Daily Devotions...closer to GOD: PRICELESS!

AMEN."

>> If you want to see what the PrayFit 33-Day Total Body Challenge can do for you, visit www.prayfit.com/dvd.

WHAT IS PRAYFIT? Watch the video below, and if you think your church and community can use a faith-and-fitness makeover, contact us at info@prayfit.com.

"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.

 

 

 

 

HIS IDEA

September 26, 2011Read: Psalm 124

God’s strong name is our help.”  Psalm 124:8

Forget the idea that when we're healthy, we're better at work. Try to ignore the fact that when we take care of ourselves, we're better for our families, kids and spouses. Block all that out for a second. Focus on this short and simple command: "Honor God with your body." Vain, you say? Petty? Too temporary? It would be if it were my idea. But it isn't. It's His.

Yesterday at church, we sang praises. We listened to a sermon about the importance of praise. Then we offered Him praise through the giving of our tithes and offerings. All good. All expected. All right. But then the Pastor returned to the podium, rubbed his oversized stomach and jokingly bragged about the oversized meal and game he was about to enjoy.

Now, maybe I'm sensitive. I admit, perhaps my feelings are exposed because my life's work revolves around health as a way to praise God. But friends, listen up. Our best effort at health is not a good idea because of the benefits it brings, it's a good idea because God said it. In the end, we're not loved because we succeed at it, nor because we plead forgiveness if we fail at it. He loves us regardless. But shouldn't we be doing one or the other?

Join us this week as we put our health in perspective; a heavenly perspective.

--J.P.

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: TOTAL BODY 10 Train most major muscle groups in less time with this bodyweight-driven workout

Recently, a well-respected fitness coach said that losing weight may not be as simple as "move more, eat less." Rather, he says, we should "train harder, eat smarter." While it's true that attention to energy balance -- the old "move more, eat less" mantra -- has some value and can be effective, it is entirely more productive to simply give your best effort day in and day out while continuing to eat a balanced diet that will support your training.

One way to constantly challenge yourself, and therefore effect change in your body, is to outdo your previous performance. And to do that doesn't require a gym -- just the willingness to push. It should be noted that training at higher intensity is relative -- your max effort is entirely unique to your body -- but this workout allows novices as well as experienced trainers to draw equal benefit, training your upper body, abs and legs in 10 minutes flat.

5 push-ups

10 crunches

15 squats

--Set a timer for 10 minutes. Perform these exercises consecutively with no rest in between moves. Do as many rounds as possible of these exercises in the prescribed order in the set 10 minute period. The total number of rounds you complete is your "score" for the day. Partial rounds may count as thirds -- i.e. if you only get through five rounds and then only complete the five push-ups on the sixth round, you've done 5 1/3 rounds. Rest at least 24 hours between workouts. To allow for better recovery, perform this workout no more than three times in a seven-day period.

Advanced Training: If you can complete 10 rounds in 10 minutes, increase the workout length by one minute. Add a minute to the workout each time your number of completed rounds equals the number of minutes trained for sustained progression.

THE VERY IDEA

July 18, 2011 Read 1 Corinthians 9

"No, I beat my body and make it my slave." --1 Corinthians 9:27

Last week I had the unique opportunity to be interviewed by The L.A Times on the subject of faith and fitness. Whether or not my input makes the article, I'm not sure, but it was an honor to be asked to participate. During the course of the conversation, the subject fell upon "why." Why the recent surge in the church toward taking care of the body? First the government, then schools and now the church. Together we named famous pastors that are now leading their congregations toward abundant health, and it dawned on me: We shouldn't even be having this conversation. Healthy living is not a new concept.

Long before PrayFit wrote its first devotion, and well before Rick Warren committed to losing weight, the very idea of taking care of the body that carries the soul was God's. It was His plan all along. We have no right, no stake to claim, and no sense of ownership to the idea that something so fearfully and wonderfully made deserves better attention and upkeep. Sure, Abe Lincoln might have been honest, but he didn't invent the truth. Mother Teresa gave to the poor, but she didn't design love. Our bodies were given to us so that we can serve God in all we do. The fact that the church is just now paying attention to the idea doesn't make us leaders, it makes us late.

--J.P.

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: BOXING

You may not have any interest in the Sweet Science, but the fact remains that boxers are some of the best conditioned athletes on the planet. They have to be. The whole-body demand of jabbing, slipping, bobbing and weaving for any length of time, over time, makes them stronger, leaner and tougher than those who practice other sports. PrayFit partner and endorser Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero boasts a physique that is equal parts form and function from all of his years spent in the gym. But if you don't have the dough, or desire, to dive headlong into a franchise boxing gym membership, you can use this 12-minute, at-home solution to start building a pugilistic physique.

Why 12 minutes? Well, here, each minute will represent one "round" -- and high-profile, championship fights are always 12 rounds.

Straight punches - 1 min.

Crunches - 1 min.

Straight punches - 1 min.

Bicycle crunch - 1 min.

Straight punches - 1 min.

Plank - 1 min.

Using a stopwatch or timer (www.gymboss.com), go through this workout circuit-style, taking little to no rest between moves. After the final move, stand up and get right into the entire circuit once more, for a total of 12 rounds. Perform this workout three times per week for max results.

Straight punches: A series of jabs and crosses (lefts and rights) delivered at eye level at an imaginary target at arms length. Throw as many punches as you can with good form in the scheduled minute of work. For more detail on boxing punches, click here.

ADVANCED OPTION: Finish off your workout with three sets of push-ups (any style) to failure, resting no longer than a minute between sets. Tally your number and try to beat it next time out.

DID YOU KNOW?: High-intensity boxing workouts can burn 750-1000 calories in one hour. Find a gym near you at www.boxinggyms.com.

Robert Guerrero handling Michael Katsidis in his HBO Pay-Per-View televised bout back in April. Photo by Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions. (www.hoganphotos.com)

 

POWER AND STRENGTH

January 26, 2011 "We can be tired, weary and emotionally distraught, but after spending time alone with God, we find that He injects into our bodies energy, power and strength." --Dr. Charles Stanley

In "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days," we advocate spending a few minutes each day working on faith and fitness. No matter what time of day you choose to do this, life can make it difficult to muster the motivation to work on either. Long work days, kids running you ragged, all-night study sessions, brutal commutes, bad sleep -- even amidst the status of a life lived well, cracking open your bible and then working up a sweat may seem such an extraneous and wholly dispensable chore. But by making that time and keeping that morning meeting with the Lord, you will be amazed at what you are able to accomplish, not just for the workout that follows, but for the day ahead. Energy, power and strength -- byproducts of a commitment to faith and fitness. Dr. Stanley was on to something.

WE'RE PACKED AND READY

During a recent interview about the book, we were asked if we traveled to churches and groups to discuss faith and fitness. And our answer was a resounding "Yes." And so we'd like to share the same with you. Please talk to your Pastor or church leaders. Give them a book and reach out to us to discuss the Prayfit Team visiting your community. We're packed and ready to help you and yours take back your health for the Lord. Remember, something so fearfully made deserves more attention and upkeep than what we as a nation of believers are giving. And we want to help.

>> PRAYFIT JETSETTERS: To invite PrayFit to your church, or for help setting up your own PrayFit ministry, contact us at info@prayfit.com.

BY THE NUMBERS

215: Number of calories burned in 30 minutes of rigorous weight training.

Source: American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)

COURAGE TO SHOW UP

January 4, 2011Read: John 14

"In my father's house are many rooms..." --John 14:2

I couldn't help but notice today--from Twitter to Facebook to chain emails--the avid exercisers mocking the new faces at the gym. And they all had the same, general theme: "Oh those resolutions. I wonder how long they will last..."

Aren't we glad God doesn't say the same about us? "Oh, here's Jimmy again. Same sin, same confession, I wonder how long this commitment will last."

If it helps, think of the new face at the gym like a visitor at a crowded church on Christmas day. Acknowledge them, welcome them and tell them you'll see them next time. You never know, your words of encouragement might be just what saves their lives. Remember, it took courage for them to show up. Now, it's your turn.

--J.P.

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: HIIT PARADE

If you tackle both weights and cardio in the same workout, always do your cardio after your weights. Research shows that your resistance training will be hindered if preceded by intense cardio, however, your cardio will not be hindered if preceded by weights. Also, you burn more fat and calories if you follow your weight training with cardio. And remember, volumes of research show that high intensity interval training (HIIT) burns more fat and calories in less time than the slow, long bouts of traditional, steady-state cardio.

So if you need a tough HIIT session to burn some unwanted fat and calories after a tough weight workout, try this quick blast.

Warm-up: 3-5 minutes

Run for 1 minute

Rest for 1 minute

Run for 45 seconds

Rest for 45 seconds

Run for 30 seconds

Rest for 30 seconds

Run for 15 seconds

Rest for 15 seconds

--After 1 minute of rest, repeat the entire sequence backwards, starting with the 15-second intervals.

WHAT PLAN B?

December 3, 2010Read: Joshua 1

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." --Joshua 1:9

Chances are good that you've heard the expression, "Burn the boats!" They say Cortez was the first to make that announcement when he arrived in the new world. Upon reaching land, setting the ships ablaze sent a message to his men and his enemies that retreat never was an option -- that whatever the odds, a fight was coming.

Do you believe Christians should be the example of honesty in the workplace? Of course. Would you also agree that Christians should be best at showing love to neighbors? Without a doubt. So why are we so reluctant to take a stand on the subject of better health? Shouldn't Christians strive to be some of the most health conscious people on earth? Some might argue, "Well, Jimmy, the Lord looks at the heart." True, but doesn't that mean it's the effort that matters? And to be honest, not caring for the body that carries the soul just might be a heart issue after all.

So if this is an uncomfortable subject, mark it down. Because this will become an increasingly sensitive topic the bigger and bigger we get. But I believe it's the church's responsibility to lead the fight. A fight that we are losing. Where's Cortez when you need him?

Lord, we love you. Help us as believers become better stewards of our bodies. Help us learn to make better choices in what we eat and what we do. Help us commit to taking care of ourselves, not only so we can serve you better, but to be examples for the rest of the world. Amen.

--J.P.

FIT IT IN A few things to ask yourself as you work toward a healthier you

In what ways are you making positive change in the area of food choices? How have you been able to modify your meals to accommodate your goals? What are some ways that you're not winning the battle? Any specific struggles? What time of day is the most convenient for you to train? Are you making it a habit to fill that time with exercise? What's most important to you, eating right or exercising? If you could only do one, which would you do?

DID YOU KNOW? Eating late at night won't automatically make you gain weight. If you have not exceeded your recommended daily caloric intake and you've kept your daily expenditure high, eating right before bed will not cause weight gain.

>> NEW! Check out our new fitness and nutrition pages, then be on the lookout for more updates to our homepage this weekend.