ministry

They Knew What To Do

"Teacher, don't you care if we drown?" --Mark 4:38

Read: Mark 4

The disciples knew what to do. Isn't it true? We try and relate to those great men on so many levels, but for some reason, this week's theme on fear seems especially relatable. They knew what to do, and if you think about, they were the first to do it. Do what exactly? Well, they did literally what you and I do metaphorically. They praised Him in the storm. We know the story. First came the wind, then the waves. And with teeth chattering and knees knocking, the terrified bunch woke the only one who could put the sea to sleep.

Of all the things that we talked about this week, what did you connect with? For me, I think the truth that He takes our fears seriously has been a source of comfort. Take a look at our story today. Jesus may have been asleep in the boat, but He wasn't asleep at the wheel. And it's not that the storm wasn't threatening, or that the disciples were silly for being scared. No, the storm that night was real. But Jesus took their fears seriously.

Of all the things we can learn from this story, it's that Jesus didn't hush the storm to prove its insignificance. He hushed it to show their significance to Him.

Your storms are real. Our fears are real. But when your teeth chatter and my knees buckle, we can follow their lead, amen? They knew what to do. We can too. In many ways, we're in the same boat. Brings a lump to my throat to think He's patiently waiting for me to wake Him up.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: Even though He was asleep that night, I like to imagine Jesus asleep with one eye open waiting for us to call on Him. Maybe even with a little grin. I don't know, but His face, His grin makes our worries cease. Whatever you're going through, I hope this week blessed your life and the lives of those you love. If you missed any of this week's entries, we hope you find some time to go back and review. Many of us are in need of comfort and prayer during times of fear, so please lift some names up.

SCHEDULE A FAITH & FITNESS WEEKEND FOR YOUR CHURCH!

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, media inquiries, write us at info@prayfit.com.

What We Do In Life...

"She extends her hand to the poor, and she stretches her hands to the needy." --Proverbs 31:20

Read: Proverbs 31

Brother Henry and Sandy Powell

She was always there. Where he went, she went. The constant encourager and supporter to one of my life's most special friends. For nearly 50 years, she stood by his side, sat and watched him preach, traveled with him and taught with him on the mission field. Together they were non-stop servants on a non-stop gospel-giving, soul-saving parade.

When the Lord took Brother Powell home suddenly just over a year ago, my life and that of many others was shaken to its foundation. I wrote about it and shared it with you in an entry called "In Loving Memory." But today I'm writing about her -- our dear Sister Powell. Because there she is, doing exactly what she does. With unexplainable strength, she's now in Cambodia -- encouraging, supporting, teaching others about Christ. With incomparable grace, Sister Powell is reaching as many as she can with her life. Talk about someone who knows what her health is for.

Yesterday from the mission field, Sister Powell commented on the site and she quoted Gladiator. (She's mighty cool, isn't she?) And it's true Sister Powell, like you said: What we do in life, echoes in eternity. But I didn't learn that from a gladiator. I'm learning it from you. The sweetest picture of strength and honor this side of Heaven. And on behalf of every reader of PrayFit, I salute you.

--Jimmy Peña

NOTES TO SISTER POWELL: Hey everyone, Sister Powell (one of our most faithful readers and dearest friends) won't read this until tonight since she's halfway around the world in places with questionable internet service, but you'd bless me and I know it would bless and mean a lot to her if you prayed for her. If you feel inclined, jot down a quick hello to her in the comments section. Let's fill her room full of notes of encouragement and prayers.

DID YOU KNOW? When the diet does not have enough calcium for our body’s needs, calcium is taken from the bones? That’s a less-than-stellar fact that more people should consider. (Source: American Osteoporosis Foundation)

Leland Family Ministry

FloridaHomeless. Orphan. Addict. Lost. These are just a few of the words you could use to appropriately describe Libbie Combee's first 30 years of life. But stand among the rows of freshly grown produce she gives to the hungry people in her community, or sit in a Bible study she leads for those recently freed from prison, or watch as she encourages those struggling with addiction, and you'd describe her last twenty years a little differently. In fact, if you combine the grace that Paul preached with the works that James demanded, I think you'd get Libbie Combee and the ministry she founded.

Last week, I had the unbelievable honor of speaking at The PrayFit Banquet hosted and produced by the Leland Family Ministry. I assure you folks, I was blessed and fed more than I blessed and fed others. I left Florida wanting and needing to do more with my health and my little company because of this group. It's been said that you never know how far away you are from your goal until you're standing right next to it. Well, standing next to Libbie, I promise that statement is certainly true. As we start a new week, let the example that Libbie -- who makes it look so natural -- be the standard we follow. Let's use our health to serve.

Simple. Significant. Selfless. Servant. These are just a few of the words you could use to appropriately describe Libbie Combee. If you would like to learn more about her and the ministry she founded, please go to their website. You'd bless us if you would. Have a great week everyone. Let's go to work.

--Jimmy Peña

P.S. Pictured above is the PrayFit Banquet venue from last week. What a tremendous time together of fellowship, praising the Lord and serving each other. Can't wait to go back!

 

Stay Hungry

"And I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way." --Matthew 15:32

Read: Matthew 15

I bet they couldn't get enough. In fact, the sun had set three times and I wonder if they even noticed. Who was this man? The words, the wisdom, the...grace! Indeed, I bet they couldn't get enough, which is probably why they didn't leave to eat.

The bible says that the crowd remained with the Lord for three days. Now granted, you and I have heard some amazing sermons. We've been in the presence of wonderful teachers. But a three-day, non-stop lesson? Even Max Lucado would lose me and Charles Stanley would excuse me. But this wasn't just any teacher referring to Jesus. This was Jesus on the subject of Jesus. This was Love teaching how. The face of grace was offering it. And I think that explains a lot about the crowd. Each morsel of forgiveness was a feast, and they were famished. They were starving for salvation. Oh yes, they were too hungry to eat.

Friends, with the new week beginning, we all have our agendas. School, work, ministry, health. Our plates are full. But from everything we can take away from the sermon Jesus gave over those three days, let's also learn from the crowd. Let's follow their lead and stay hungry. Before we conquer the gym, the road or even the world, let's pause to devour the words they heard. Remember, there was plenty of time to eat after they were full.

So don't go too soon. Jesus is talking. Let's not leave because we're starving for the things this life can offer. Let's stay because we're too hungry for the things it can't.

--Jimmy Peña

Questions: How important is it to you to eat right today? To feed and build your body? Is it just as important to you to feed your spirit? If you compared the time you spend in the gym with the time you spend in the word, would you have to change your answer? Reading and praying is a discipline issue; one we all need to work on. Won't you start today? Remember, Jesus knew the crowd first needed their spirits fed, but He also had compassion on their physical hunger. What does that teach us about the balance He allows for in our lives?

10-MINUTE WORKOUT: INTERVAL BURN Burning fat effectively, while preserving as much muscle as possible. It's the key to improving body composition over time. This 10-minute workout, which can be done on a treadmill or out on the trail, gives you a great option to get busy burning this week.

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Your gracious purchase will help us continue the mission of PrayFit.com. We are very much in your debt and thankful for all you do for us.

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?

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

Distance Yourself

"He who walks with the wise grows wise, but he who walks with fools suffers harm." --Proverbs 13:20

Read: Proverbs 13

Leading up to her third marathon, my wife had a simple plan: find her pacer and stay close to him or her no matter what. See, most marathon organizations provide the runners with all sorts of tools and techniques to help them through the grueling course -- from seminars on stride, tactics for tackling hills, and perhaps most notably, they offer the runners a pacer.

A pacer is a man or woman capable of finishing the race at an exact time. And when I say exact, I mean exactly that. Kevin (pictured here) ran through the finish line at 3 hours and 35 minutes -- just what he was asked he'd do. Now, Kevin didn't know who was counting on his pace. All he knew was that someone would be relying on his experience, strength and endurance to help them along their way toward their goal.

In our daily pursuit of spiritual and physical stewardship, we all need pacesetters. People who God places in our lives to help us stay the course. Not only that but God may, in fact, bless us with the privilege of being that for someone else, and it's an honor we can't take lightly. Like Kevin, we may or may not know who is, but someone is depending on us to know the way and show the way. So let's take inventory. Who are we running with? And more importantly, who's setting the pace? Is he or she helping us make Godly choices when it comes to our life and health? Are we helping them with theirs?

--Jimmy Peña

P.S. Kevin was a little surprised when I asked him for a photo. Perhaps it's typical for the pacers to be invisible after a race. But I had to ask him to stop, especially when I read the back of his shirt. "Distance Yourself" it said. Wow. Perfect for our verse of the day. Thanks for inspiring us Kevin. We want to keep up.

WORKOUT: RUNNER'S RESOURCES

Some may think that running is simply a matter of putting one foot in front of the other. To others, no performance tip is insignificant. In either case, running is an activity that can be improved upon, provided that you have the proper coaching. Build a stronger stride, better endurance, a leaner physique and a runner's heart by bookmarking some of these trusted resources on the web. Enjoy your runs this week and remember to post your distances to your workout journal on the PrayFit forums.

MarathonRookie.com: Tips for novices looking to enter half- or full-distance marathons

Runner's World Magazine: From shoe selection to race day decorum, the authoritative source for all things running

Jeff Galloway.com: Practical training tips from one of the industry's top coaches

Mapmyrun.com: Track your distance runs with this easy-to-use mapping tool

Josh Cox: Christian ultramarathon runner, TV personality, author and believer

Rattle Some Chains

"Then I heard the Lord asking, 'Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?' I said, 'Here I am. Send me.'" --Isaiah 6:8

We often pray for God to send us where He wants us to go. You've probably said, "Here I am Lord... send me." Well, when Paul was put in prison, he kissed the walls. He figured he had a captive audience. If this is where God wanted him, he was gonna rattle some chains.

So take a look around you. Do you have a captive audience? Oh, you may not be in prison, but perhaps God has cleverly placed you right where He wants you. So do like Paul and kiss the walls. Go ahead, throw away the key and rattle some chains. When you pray, "Here I am Lord, send me", maybe He already has.

--Jimmy Peña

Lord, as we begin a new week, help us see those around us (family, friends, co-workers and fellow gym-goers) as the audience that needs to see You, through us. Help us be obedient, leaving the consequences to you. In Jesus' name, amen.

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: 10 Minute Abs

After a fun afternoon Super Bowl Sunday with family and friends -- and more buffalo wings and nachos than you care to admit -- a shock-and-awe abdominal routine might sound rather good today, so here you go. Take 10 minutes and crush your midsection with these simple yet effective moves that target your upper and lower abs, obliques and innermost core musculature. The order is more random than you're used to, so pay attention to the rest periods as they come sporadically and less often than would be typical for an abs workout.

Reverse Crunch - 30 seconds Standard Crunch - 30 seconds Double Crunch - 30 seconds Rest - 30 seconds Plank - 1 Minute Rest - 30 seconds Plank - 1 minute Rest - 30 seconds Double Crunch - 1 minute Standard Crunch - 1 minute Reverse Crunch - 1 minute Plank - 30 seconds Rest 30 Seconds Double Crunch - 1 minute

>> VIDEO: For video demonstrations of these exercises, click here.

PRAYFIT 33: Step up your training with the PrayFit 33-Day Total Body Challenge DVD from Lionsgate. This home-based workout, led by PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena, MS, CSCS, will help you build strength and burn fat, all from home and always honoring the one who made you. Click here for more info, or to order.

 

 

 

40 DAYS & NIGHTS

March 9, 2011Read: Luke 4 "...man does not live on bread alone." --Luke 4:4

Moses spent 40 days and nights atop Mount Sinai before bringing down the law. Elijah walked 40 days and nights in a valley on his way to the mountain. And most importantly, Jesus fasted and prayed for 40 days and nights in the desert before He began His ministry.

Of the many lessons these stories teach us, I think it's the fact that no matter where we are -- mountain-top moments, life's lowest valleys or the day's deserts -- it's God who meets us there and prepares us for what lies ahead. Truth is, it's our availability, not our ability, that matters most in all our days and nights.

--J.P.

10 WAYS TO COOK CAJUN

By Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC

Looking to spice up your food Cajun-style? The sassy mix of black pepper, red pepper, garlic, paprika and dried herbs is good for more than just gumbo and jambalaya — here are 10 ways to add some Cajun to your cooking.

1. If you don’t have some on hand, make your own Cajun Spice Mix.

2. Sprinkle over freshly popped popcorn.

3. Mix with canola oil, brush over salmon, then grill.

4. Mix with ground turkey breast or 90 percent lean ground beef, Dijon mustard, and finely chopped red onion for a jazzed up burger.

5. Give oven fries a kick when they’re hot out of the oven.

6. Whisk with low fat ranch dressing to serve over a grilled chicken salad.

7. Make a one-pot Cajun shrimp dish – ready in less than 10 minutes!

8. Mix with nonfat Greek yogurt as a dip for veggies or baked potato topper.

9. Combine with crabmeat and cream cheese for surprisingly delectable party food.

10. Use on its own or mix with other favorite spices to make a dry rub for chicken, fish, steak, pork, corn on the cob or thick slices of vegetables.

TELL US: How do you use Cajun spice blend?

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC is the nutrition expert for Food Network.com and the Healthy Eats blog. She is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

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)