Even If It's Dirty

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit." --Matthew 28:19

Read: Matthew 28

There was something in the water yesterday. Twenty-five people were baptized in the late service alone, with more in both the early service and evening service to follow. Oh my friends. One by one, their stories of how they came to know Jesus were read. One woman had a learning disability and yet she learned the most important thing in life. Another man was being baptized one year to the day of a traumatic brain injury and he needed special assistance throughout. And even though I was a weeping mess, none of them hit me quite as hard as did the images from the prison ministry.

Perhaps much like yours, our church has a state-of-the-art mobile baptistry, equipped with viewing window and dual enter and exit staircases. Each person that was baptized was greeted with a warm towel as they walked into the open arms of loved ones. It's always a beautiful service. But then on the big screens we saw images of inmates being baptized in trash cans and dumpsters; each man raised out of that dirty water only to be thrown the same prison-issue shirt they had taken off minutes earlier. A grim reminder that they were still bound by bars for the crimes they'd committed. Isn't that a picture? Guilty inmates turned prisoners of grace.

You know, because there's power in the blood, there's just something in that water. Even if it's dirty.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: Have you committed your life to Christ? If so, have you taken the step of obedience of baptism? I remember when I was baptized by my sweet preacher, Rev. Henry Powell. Not before or since have I ever felt "so clean," if that makes sense. I'll never forget it. And neither will you. Much like we talk about how our approach to health -- not how we look but our heart toward health -- is a way to praise the Lord, baptism is a way to publicly profess your faith. There is something in the water. Share your thoughts below and have a great and awesome week.

P.S. On our Pastor's blog he's posted a letter from an inmate. It's a must-read. Click here for the amazing story.

THE HEART OF PRAYFIT Rather than start the week off with a workout -- as is the custom -- we want to serve you with our core message. We're sure you'll train with heart today. This video gives you a glimpse of ours.

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May 3, 2011 Read: Mark 13

"Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back." --Mark 13:35

My wife Wendy and I live in a house of toddlers which means that at any given moment, our little home can look like hurricane-force winds blew through, tossing about everything that isn't nailed down. Toys are scattered, clothes are strewn over the furniture and...is that string cheese ground into our rug? We try, sometimes to no avail, to keep up with the cyclical mess.

However, once I get word that my mother-in-law is coming to visit, a new side of me emerges -- an unrelenting, super-cleaning alter ego that is intent on spot-shining the house into model-home glory. You see, not only did her and my father-in-law help us buy this place, but Ethelmarie keeps a pretty tidy household. And while she may not be bothered by the mountainous pile of juice cups in my sink, I still don't want her to see it. But my inner Mr. Clean -- the one that speedily washes fingerprints from windows and mops floors -- really only comes out when I know she's stopping by. And while her visits are usually announced, we love that she will occasionally just stop by. As a result, Wendy and I are now doing our best to keep the house Ethel-ready (as much as Mya and Ella will allow, that is) at all times.

We all have houses to keep -- both brick-and-mortar and flesh-and-blood. And you never really know when company's coming.

Lord, we are so grateful for the bodies that house our souls and do not take lightly that we were made in your image. Please help us find the daily motivation to be faithful stewards of the physical gifts we've been given. Amen.


ON TARGET: LUNGES FOR HAMSTRINGS The workout of the week may not target the muscle groups you think it is

When most people think of lunges, they think of sore quads. Sure, lunges work your quadriceps -- the large muscles that cover the front of your thighs -- but new research indicates that this functional exercise may primarily target their antagonist (opposite) muscle group.

Swedish researchers had competitive soccer players perform four sets of 12 reps of the walking lunge twice a week for six weeks. And when they tested the subjects at the end of the study, they found that the athletes had gained a 35% increase in hamstrings strength. Their average increase in quad strength, meanwhile, was zero which indicates that the lunge may be more of a hammie move than you thought.

The catch is that the study included walking lunges. This week's workout included the stationary version of the lunge. Both varieties are effective for targeting hamstrings, although the stationary lunge may provide a small amount of additional work for the quads because of the step back to the start position.

Source: Jim Stoppani, PhD

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