Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I'm just a few days away from ending one of the wildest set of 40 days in my life. I have not eaten since Sunday night, May 21st. I was part of a church planters retreat that weekend and God spoke to me as clearly as I have ever heard Him before and He "told" me that I was to fast for 40 days with no food.

I knew that He was after me about my weight. I had allowed my weight to sky rocket after getting married and I have slowly "worked" on it for two years now. Really my "working" on it was more about me "talking" about "working" on it. Basically I have been into power lifting and I have been faithful to the gym 2-3 days a week, but power lifting is not exactly fitness training. Heavy weights and low reps are great for strength and that does have incredible health benefits to it. The health nut world is now really starting to appreciate the benefits of strength training and most fitness trainers instruct their students to add strength training to their work out schedule. So, I have gotten stronger, which is really good for me, but I was/am still way to big.

People who have been praying for me have been asking me what God has showed me during the last 37 days since I last ate. He's shown me too much to even blog about, not today at least. The first thing I've learned is that after a few weeks of nothing but V8 and tomato soup your throat will start to hurt from all that acid in tomato based stuff.

But seriously, let me be real honest with you about what He has shown me. God has shown me how utterly sinful gluttony is. He has shown me how hypocritical many pastors, just like me, really are. How many pastors do you know who stand (or, like us trendy pastors, sit) before their congregation or even on TV and declare that Jesus will "set you free" from addictions and sins and yet many of us (myself on the top of the list) are totally bound by gluttony?

As many of you know, I'm a church planter. Southside Christian Fellowship has just blossomed into this incredible community. We truly are a “worshiping community of missional theologians”. That is not a slogan, it’s a reality. I love being with the church on Sunday nights in worship. I love our men's Lifegroup. I love the passion our people have for worship and for reaching our community for Christ. In all honesty, I’ve never been part of anything like it. It has taken on a life of it’s own. So many lives, real lives of real people, have been changed by the power of the Holy Spirit, I’m just amazed and grateful.

But to be real honest with you, I just don't understand why we have not grown as one would assume we would have by now. It really does not make sense. We have a moving, spiritual, intense and raw worship gathering. We are very active in outreach. We have an awesome ministry each week for the kids. Our small group ministry is rocking… yet it feels like we spin our tires a lot. The Lord has been showing me that my hypocrisy has kept more growth from happening at Southside and I'm telling you, that broke me. My life has not reflected the message I preach. I've preached about the power of the Holy Spirit, yet I have not allowed that power to manifest in me. I've preached freedom from sin yet I've not walked in it, I'm a glutton. This is not the type of thing that I can hide either, the results of my sin is plastered all over my fat face! Our whole mission is to reach unchurched and unsaved people. In our culture, when someone is looking into this whole “Jesus thing” they want to know if it works, if He is real. I don’t know who, but the Lord has shown me that there have been several people who have come to the conclusion that this Jesus guy must not be all I say He is, cause if He is then why is it not “working” for me, the preacher? I can not tell you how broken that was to learn and how difficult it is to share it with you. People have walked away or turned the TV off thinking “yeah, he can sure preach” but at the same time having the word “hypocrite” on their mind. The truth really does hurt sometimes.

The past 37 days have been about repentance in me. I've been chastened for 37 days by God. I have been rebuked as a glutton and the Holy Spirit has exposed me to the truth of it. I have been broken and I have repented. God has forbidden me from living as a glutton in His Word. He has filled me with His Holy Spirit, one of the fruits (or proofs) of that filling of the Spirit is self control. He has shown me that I need to stop praying for something I have. I don't need self control, I have self control cause I have the Holy Spirit. He has shown me for 37 days how much self control I have. I have sat with everybody else as they ate and it has not killed me. I went to a cook out on Memorial day and I sat and watched everybody else eat and it didn't kill me. I went to our men's camp out and watched them eat all night long and it didn't kill me. The self control I have is not of my own, it's a Spirit filled and Spirit empowered submission to the will of God.

This journey ends on Friday night but in a real way it is just beginning. I must lean on Christ, every single day...every single meal, for the self control I need to honor this temple He indwells. God has given me a range for where I'm supposed to be and the thought of it is crazy because I’ve always been a big guy. No more. I'll be back in the gym again on Monday and until I’m at that range, I’ll only be eating no more that 1,999 calories a day. Period. When I get where I’m supposed to be then I’ll be speaking with my doctor to find out what my caloric intake needs to be in order to maintain my weight while being a physically active person.

God has promised me a couple things and I guess I might as well share it here. First, this blockage that we have experienced at Southside will begin to clear as I continue down this road of obedience. He has promised me that He will use my testimony to help other pastors who are guilty of a gluttonous lifestyle once I've stayed on this road of obedience. He has also promised me that if I do not continue on this road of obedience He'll drop the hammer again and I'll have to fast for another 40 days and He'll continue to drop the hammer like this until I do stay on the road of obedience. So believe me, I don't want to do this again!

For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach,... Philipians 3:18-19a NIV

Everyone is also asking me how much weight I've lost. I have no clue cause I didn't weigh myself when I started and I have not weighed myself now. My best guess is around 50 pounds, maybe a few more. 5o pounds may sound like a lot, but when you are a big power lifter guy like me, it really isn't all that much. It's a start and it is noticeable, so that's cool. I would say that Naomi can't keep her hands off of me now, but hey, that's always been the case...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have the same problem with my wife...