DUCK DIVING ACROSS AMERICA

“Duck Diving” is a surfing term.  When paddling out and a wave is coming your way that is  foaming and screaming threats of washing you all the way back to shore, you duck dive, which means you paddle as fast as you can, start a pushup and then push the nose of the board down, guiding it underwater and forward, underneath the threatening wave.  That usually works.

Duck diving is how our drive across America felt like.  In our ’98 Buick we were pulling a 5×8 foot trailer with the minimum amount of stuff we thought we’d need to get started over in Chula Vista, CA.  Just north of Jacksonville I noticed the heat gauge was a bit higher than usual, but no where near hot and probably not to be worried about.

Our first stop was Greenville, SC, where Leah and family lives.  80 miles from her house the engine was hotter but still not to the warning track, but it simply turned itself off—on the Interstate.  I guided it to the shoulder and stopped.  We had the car towed to Leah’s and no we don’t have AAA but we did have Progressive insurance and they towed it—but for only 15 miles.  The rest was on us. Thank God we had it.  We dove under that wave of opposition but the Buick was dead and is now at rest in Leah’s backyard, hoping one day Rob will tinker around with it and raise it from its grave.

We were there 5 days dealing with the Buick and had to rent a moving truck, load our junkelantra in there and head west again.  We are so grateful for those broke down days because we had a great time exploring Greenville with Leah & family.

Behind schedule, we went to Mobile to one of our best friends ever—I’ve known her (another Jackie), since I was 14.  She has a granddaughter, Cassie, and Cassie was about to inherit a 2006 Hyundai Elantra from Jackie but opted to give it to us instead.  Their family got together and took a vote and we did indeed become the owners of a Hyundai.  Hyundai now on dolly behind truck, we headed west again.  How grateful we were to see that car in our rear view mirror.  We weren’t exactly sure what we were going to do about a car once we got here.  God did.

Leaving Mobile you go across Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana in just a few hours and think, “CA is just on the other side of Texas.  I’ll be there in no time.”   When you see a sign that says your city of destiazmountainsnation is 827 miles and it’s still in Texas, it’s a bit challenging.  But first we had to get through Houston during rush hour with our car clinging for life to the back of the truck.  I thought Orlando had traffic challenges but it’s like driving through Whigham, GA, in comparison.  Never heard of Whigham, right?  No traffic at all.  We did get through eventually to a smaller town and pulled into the Everest Motel, tongues hanging out and worn out from the day’s drive.  Little did we know what a dive it was.  Beautiful on the outside.  We slept on top of the bedspread and got out as early as possible.

Our 2nd day in Texas was gorgeous.  We were on I-10 with the sun behind us and mountains surrounding us the whole day.  When we stopped for gas or food we were greeted by friendly people and blessed by cooler weather (than Florida) and God’s presence.  The roads were good, the traffic light and our spirits refreshed by God’s grace.  We streamed an Orthodox Liturgy I have on Google Music and were able to join in for the next 1.5 hours, worshipping and interceding and God’s presence was so in the  cab of that truck we nearly stopped right there to live.  We spent the night a bit past San Antonio in a Motel 6 (cleaner for sure).  Their rooms are bit crammed with stuff and the microwave sat on a stand and was about 5 feet high.  The  cat, who traveled with us, got up there somehow (she is so fat I don’t know how she jumps) and leapt unto the bed while we were sleeping and hit me like a 22 pound cat would feel.  I thought someone was making off with me in the night; Jackie jumped up, heart racing and wondering who was trying to mug me.  Cat fled, we went back to bed, she did it again and should be dead, but we were able to laugh and she continued the journey with us.

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The road was long

Our 3rd day in Texas was shorter and still filled with the glory of God, friendly people and a pleasant goodbye to us as we pulled into Arizona.  We were again blessed by mountains and beauty and cool weather, though it was warming up as we headed toward the deserts ahead. We made it all the way to El Centro, CA and decided to call it a day, leaving a 4-hour drive for the final day of travel.  California was not that pretty to begin with.  There was mostly scrub bushes in patches of dirt, a 55MPH speed limit on the Freeway (It had been 80 through Texas and 75 in Arizona) and HOT.  We had A/C in the truck and it ran…and ran.  We got through that and hit the sand dunes and that was pretty cool (actually hot) so we felt a little better; then we got into the mountains and were once again refreshed by the beauty.  The roads, going up and down and up and down, put quite a strain on the truck, but we made it here on Friday the 14th.  The Brewsters met us, took us to our new condo and we had two fold-up single beds and two bar stools Leah gave us and that was our furniture in total.

Twice a year a community (comprised of multi-million dollar houses) has garage sales.  It caatlastjust happened that the 15th was one of those days.  We kept the moving truck and went garage sailing with Ron and Jeanette.  Our couch in FL was sold for $250 and we furnished our condo with $225.  We were able to get a love seat, couch, 3 dressers, night stand, 2 coffee tables, queen size bed, a swivel chair, a rocking chair that is ancient, and a small bookshelf.  It took us all day to load and then unload and get it up the stairs, but on our 2nd day we were ready to live.  We still need a table to eat at and and chairs, but we are patient.

The first week was settling in and it was a lot of running around.  Today, the 21st, we are going to see Nathan and Becka, who are in town at a BeachBody conference, and will then roll to Monday and get into the work of the ministry we came here to be involved with, Homes of Hope.  Next blog, I’ll give you an update.  May need a month or so.

California, Here We Come

What an amazing turn of events that has come our way since last May.  Jackie was told there was no longer a place for her where she had worked since 1997.  To say that was shocking would be an understatement. To say it hurt Jackie and brought a black cloud around her world would also be an understatement, but the statement that rang much louder and with much more love than either was the one from our Lord Jesus:  “I will never leave you.” That turns those dark clouds into the puffy white ones we like!

Shortly after that we heard from friends at YWAM (Youth With A Mission) San Diego/Baja and from YWAM Montana that they would love to have us on their staff.  Really?  We aren’t 37 and 30 years old like we were when we joined YWAM in 1987.  Didn’t matter.  We read their offers and kind of found it amusing, like perhaps it was one of those things you just say.

Then Leah came along and bought three tickets to MT and said, “Come on, we are going on vacation together.”  Coincidentally, the dates picked for our YWAM/MT visit coincided with the dates that our friends from CA would be there, too.  So we had the opportunity to spend time with those who made offers in the same place.  After talking, quite honestly our heads were spinning with the opportunities before us.

After that we were flown to San Diego to see first-hand what God was doing with Homes of Hope on the Baja Peninsula.  Wow, what an eye-opener it was.  We were staying in Chula Vista and a 15-minute drive south into Tijuana was like going from high society down to your local slum—or worse.  The poverty was overwhelming.  It’s been a long time since Jackie and I have been out of the country and in the middle of that level of living.  And right smack in the middle of it was the evidence of God at work in the homes that were built by YWAM’s Homes of Hope ministry that we are joining.

Watch this short video and you’ll see what has stolen our hearts and drawn us to make a 2-year commitment to once again be on the YWAM road. 

  How awesome was that?  Today is August 28th and we are hoping to be out there in October.  To say we have a lot to do is another one of those under stated facts of life.  How do you move 2574 miles in your 1998 Buick Century with your cat, dog, each other and the things you need to live in an 1- or 2-bedroom apartment? We aren’t sure either.  We do know we will live in Chula Vista, CA, most likely, and we will live in a 1 or 2-bedroom apartment and serve as logistical staff for all the teams that come in to do the ministry in Mexico.  Yes, we will go down too, but we won’t be living there.  I think neither Jackie or I are qualified to build a house, but we can help now and again.

So…once again we are calling on you, our friends and prayer partners, to pray for us as we embark on a new adventure in YWAM.  We will rent our house to our grandson, so that’s taken care of.  I have my social security income and rent so that’s about 2/3rds of the support we will need.  I am grateful for being so old!  Ha.  Believe it or not, it’s quite expensive to live in Southern California—not our 1st choice for a place to live, by the way—so we are hoping to raise another $500 – $700 a month in support.  If you wanna help, we won’t deny you such joy!  We are once again self-employed YWAM staff and paying our own way with the help of all of you and of course by God’s marvelous grace and mercy.

Just write or email us if you think this is something God wants you to help us with.  Regardless,  please pray as we are going like crazy to get going.  We need lots of wisdom and packing skills.  More to come as we proceed.  Stay tuned.

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What World Do You Live In?

I woke up the other morning around 4:00 AM and this question was going through my mind, “What world do you live in?” My answer, “The one I created for myself.”  I’m guessing that some of you have been asked that same question or some variation of it.   For the next couple of hours that question and I danced down many trails, trying to come up with an answer.

The World God Created

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Think about this for a couple of minutes.  At some time in eternity, which there isn’t any (time), God the Father and Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit were talking about nothing when One of them said, “Let’s make something.”  Of course all there was, was God, and there was only nothing to create with, so out of nothing the Holy Trinity said:  “I want a billion stars scattered throughout the universe in perfect harmony so that none of them collide and destroy what I create.  I want them all to sing and I want the colors to be mind blowing.”    And it happened in a word.  We know that from there creation continued until God said, “Enough, that’s all we need.”

Here’s how Clement, the Bishop of Rome in 92 AD, tells what God can do with nothing:

The heavens, revolving under His government, are subject to Him in peace. Day and night run the course appointed by Him, in no wise hindering each other. The sun and moon, with the companies of the stars, roll on in harmony according to His command, within their prescribed limits, and without any deviation. The fruitful earth, according to His will, brings forth food in abundance, at the proper seasons, for man and beast and all the living beings upon it, never hesitating, nor changing any of the ordinances which He has fixed…The seasons of spring, summer, autumn, and winter, peacefully give place to one another. The winds in their several quarters fulfil, at the proper time, their service without hindrance. The ever-flowing fountains, formed both for enjoyment and health, furnish…for the life of men. The very smallest of living beings meet together in peace and concord. All these the great Creator and Lord of all has appointed to exist in peace and harmony; while He does good to all, but most abundantly to us who have fled for refuge to His compassions through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom be glory and majesty for ever and ever.

That’s what God did with nothing.  Now, go and look in the mirror and realize that you were made in His image and ask God what He can make out of you.  Spend some time meditating/contemplating the implications of what I just said.  I’ve said this before, but here it is again:  Your potential is in your will and the will of God is your potential.

The crown of creation was you and me, made in His image and likeness.  It is because of that image we, too, can create.  Before our ancestors ate the fruit, they could do about anything they pleased, spontaneously filling their days in the Garden of God tending to the birds and animals and fish and all the foliage.  I don’t know if they built a shelter or not, but they must have “created” some place to live, under a tree or something.  They were spontaneous in their decisions because there were no competing choices:  “Should I catch some fish today for dinner or maybe go to the club and cruise for a chick?”  There were no choices to make when it came to spending them on sensual pleasure and self-love. Before the Fall, whatever they chose to do was God centered.

What’s amazing, though, is this:  Now, after the Fall, we create entire worlds that we inhabit with rules that direct the way we live.  We build on the basis of what we think to be true and then move inside that world and feel safe and secure. If someone tells you your world is a bit out of whack, you might take offense and say, “No, your world is out of whack–mine is perfectly made in my image.”  And it is.
My World

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The problem, of course, is that our worlds are made with finite brains that struggle to keep the harmony of our spirit, soul and flesh in sync.  When we create, it is imperfect because we can only create with the knowledge we possess.

I’m a bit color blind.  Jackie will tell me something is green and I’ll argue with her it’s gray and I’m wrong every time.  I confirm I’m wrong by asking others if it’s true the shirt I have on is a shade of green and sure enough, it is.  My color world is a bit fractured, but it still works for me.  After all, who really cares if my color perception is lacking in accuracy?

Unfortunately, there are other issues beside the shades of green I  could be wrong about.  If I can’t correctly see green,  what else am I doing incorrectly?  That old saying about what you don’t know  won’t hurt you isn’t true, is it?  Truth is, what we don’t know is what we never incorporate into our worlds and therefore they may be lacking important components.  Can you imagine living in a house in Florida that’s not air conditioned?  You’d be miserable for most of the year.  What spiritual aspects of your world are missing because you built it with incomplete knowledge?

My brother-in-law died of cancer because he never went to the doctor to investigate the symptoms that his body was throwing out to alert him of a problem. When he had to be hospitalized because he could no longer breathe, it was too late to do anything but die, and that’s what he did.  You may be spiritually weak right now because of something you built your world out of.  You know there are 1000s of people who are dying or died of asbestos poisoning because it was thought to be a safe product to insulate with.  They didn’t build with the intention of compromising their health…they just didn’t know any better.  Have you built with toxic material?

Don’t worry, you can go to the doctor right now and find out what it is your symptoms are screaming about that need attention.   You just have to figure out what doctor you are going to see. Don’t go to a knee doctor if you have eye problems.

For me, I have a lot of good friends who are very wise, loving and just a whole lot smarter than me.  I can go to them and ask if they see something in my world that is out of whack. But what if their world is out of whack too?  Guess what? It is.  Everyone’s world is out of whack–some to a greater extent than others.  We all build with finite knowledge. Is there someone who can help?  Let’s look at building materials first.

1 Corinthians 3:11 – 13   For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.  We’ll simplify this and focus on gold and straw as the materials we  build with.  Fire purifies gold but it eliminates straw.

In today’s world, “Straw” is satisfying sensual pleasure, chasing after things fueled by self-love. Straw competes with the will of God and takes away our focus, watchfulness, prayerfulness, good works and eventually silences our ability to hear our spirit and soul.  In other words, when we build with straw, our flesh begins running at full speed, unhindered.  When we build with straw, which is the striving after things rather than God, we are like the little pig living in a straw house, only this straw house will have to deal with fire and God.

Vitally important is to know the difference between straw and gold.  It seems like that would be easy to do, but the evidence of how our world is spinning right now defies that thought.  Jesus said this in MT 25: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food,   I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”  That’s why we are to love our neighbors–they are living icons of Christ.

So where do you go to find the correct way to build your world, the place that shows us the difference between straw and gold, the striving after things instead of God?

Read your Bible.  The challenge with that is this: Do you understand what it means?  For the first 350 years after Pentecost there was no New Testament.  It was 100s of years after that until individuals starting getting their own copy.  In the early Church, the Bible was read and studied corporately.  There was no personal interpretation like it is today, no “I just think.”  The 3 most dangerous words in the Christian vocabulary are these:  “I just think….” Take out the “I” and put in: The Bible, the Church and her traditions think this…. That’s far safer to build with than “I just think.”

A trusted Priest/Pastor/Friend.  Oftentimes others can see more clearly what’s going on around us. Listen and pray about what they see.  At least that way you can say, “WE just think.”

What you believe to be true will govern how you live your life, and how you build your world. If you believe the world is going to end tomorrow, you won’t worry too much about paying your electric bill today.  So build with gold, build with eternal value as your qualifier and guide.  If what you are building with doesn’t glorify God and precede you into heaven, it’s probably straw.

If a 1st century Christian walked into a Protestant church today, he most likely would not know what was going on or if he were even in a Christian church at all. Here’s what I’ve been doing to discover gold–Reading the historical writings of the ascetics and early church fathers. They will take you to another time, unaffected by our modern norms, filled with advice you won’t get from the writers of today, about building a house of gold rather than straw.  We are called to become like Christ as we sojourn here on earth.  Those writers will give you invaluable insights into doing that.  I’m not going to tell you what they say—you will have to go to the fountain and drink for yourself.  You’ll find the water is pure, as pure as gold purged by fire.

 

 

 

 

CHANGES

About this time 29 years ago Mark and Marcia Benkert asked us if we wanted to go with them to Montana to do a Discipleship Training School (DTS) at the Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Base.  They began by telling us it was a 5-month program …and I turned off my hearing with the thought: “I have a job, 2 young kids, and a nice house 5 minutes from the beach that needs to be paid for.”  Jackie and I did talk about it and considered it too far-fetched for us to do.  Maybe lateDSCF1006r.

YWAM 1987

Within a  couple of weeks we had determined we must be crazy because we were selling stuff, getting a leave of absence from work, renting out our house and making our plans to go with them to Montana.  What a great decision that turned out to be.  I was 37 then and Jackie was 30.  That 5-month school turned into a YWAM ministry from 1987 – 1996 and then from 2003 – 2007.

That was 30 years ago.  Kids are grown and gone; house is paid for; grandkids are still around and that pulls heavily on our decision making and future plans.  I’m healthy, Jackie has had a heart attack and knee replacement and joint pains and couldn’t run out of a burning house.  Her spirit is intact, focused on God and she wonders, as I do, what are we thinking? Start over?  Again!  Have we lost our minds?

usSDdreaming.jpgTwo weeks ago we were in Montana and it was a time of rekindling old friendships

30 years later: same dreams but a lot less youthfulness

that run  deep and true; friendships with those we served with in YWAM for so long.  The encouragement was so strong for us to jump back in to YWAM we could barely resist saying “yes” on the spot.  But sometimes wisdom kicks in and emotions settle and a decision can actually be prayed about.

 

Before you click out of here because you know us so well and think you know what we are going to do, there’s a twist that came our way we hadn’t expected.  Homes of Hope, based in Chula Vista (San Diego), CA, is a ministry we were aware of and by chance (do you believe in “chance”?), leaders from that ministry were in Montana the same time we were and suggested they fly us out to see Homes of Hope and how  we might fit in there.   He was in the same DTS as we were in 1987 and his wife was one of our students in 1990 when we led the DTS program. You can see Homes of Hope and read about it here:  http://www.ywamsandiegobaja.org.  There’s a link to People Magazine at that site that has a brief history of Homes of Hope you can also check out.

August 18th we fly out to taste and see if this is indeed what God has for us.  As an added bonus, the man who led me (Bob) to Christ lives 30 miles from where we will be and has walked with us in our God adventures for 44 years. We will be able to spend some time with him and his wife, and I know that his prayers are going up on our behalf as I type.  And that’s why I’ve invited you to our blog:  We want your prayers too.  Starting all over again gets more difficult each time we do it simply because it’s just not that easy a task to shut down your home, load it all into a 1998 Buick, tell your kids and grandkids to come and see you and then drive to California.  And then there’s the little factor of how we pay for this.  The first time we went into YWAM we left Florida with $400 a month in support.  For a family of four, that’s pretty slim.  God provided.  Now there’s just the two of us but it is 30 years later and we won’t be getting paid to teach English as we were in Thailand to fund our adventure there.  We’ll be living in Chula Vista, about a 10 minute drive to the ministry in Mexico, and I hear it’s a bit more expensive than in Florida.  So we’ll have to raise a little support and figure out a lot of stuff over the next couple of months IF God leads us there, or to Montana.  We have invitations to go back there as well as Hawaii.  Oh my…sometimes options aren’t that helpful.

Please put us on your prayer frig (list) and ask God to speak to us in a way even we can hear!  Thanks so much.  We are thrilled about what comes next.

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MERRY CHRISTMAS

Xmas2015.jpgChrist is Born!  Glorify Him. What a joyous time of year this is.  We pray our Christmas greeting finds you all well and abounding in God’s mercy and grace.  We are grateful for all of you and your friendship over the many years.  We are well, living in the same place since 2007, which is a record, and looking forward to our coming King.  Kids and grandkids are all fine, xmasCounter.jpgas are we.  Jackie continues to dance and each year she thinks it might be the last one her knees will go, but they continue.  I still find a way to make my body conform to a surfboard and enjoy the ocean, which is good since it’s only a few miles from our house.  The dog and cat continue to make us crazy and fill the house with hair, but they make good companions and keep us active cleaning it up!  trekking.jpgLife is good.  God is more than faithful and we hope to see you one day.  Our house is small but we can always make room for a traveling friend.  For you who haven’t seen us in a while, here’s some more ffamily.jpgamily photos to fill in the gaps.  I’m not sure what was wrong with Jake (funny face I guess).    When Nathan and Becka take a selfie, it comes out better than when I put my camera on a tripod.  Here BeckaBubs.jpgthey are individually along with Cadence.  Nathan is drumming in a band once again and he’s really thrilled about that.  No, it’s not ZZ .  Just some guys who play together in Orlando.  BecknateBecka.jpga is “put a challenge in front of me and I’ll conquer it” girl.  She’s done so well with BeachBody that it’s amazing.  Her crew on FB is awesome.  I got to meet a few of them at a retreat they had and I was so impressed by their integrity (yeah, cuties, too) and commitment to doing something that helps so many people get healthy.  

The next one is Boom, Glynn, Wayla and Winter.  We are including ALL our family here, at least all who call us mom or dad.    For you who don’t know the story, we met Boom when she was a student at the university I (Bob) taught at in bum2015xmas.jpgThailand.  Glynn was interning and helped me in my classes for a bit and met her and they fell in love and got married and now live in Birmingham, Alabama. 

Dow2.jpgHere at the end of the line is Dow.  She’s another one of my students who hasn’t moved over here (yet?) that we dearly love.  She came into my office one time and told me her growing up story and with tears in her eyes asked if I’d be her daddy.  Oh my…heart melt down and honored above description.  She was a Buddhist then but has come to Christ.  So there we are.  If anyone else wants to adopt us I’ll remind you we are getting old and will need someone to take care of us one day!  ha.  I pray that all who read this are blessed by our Lord and Savior and Friend, Jesus Christ, Son of God.  wave.gif

What if…

Single, clueless and didn't care.  Hawaii 1969

Single, clueless and didn’t care. Hawaii 1969

“What if?”  There are a lot of what ifs in our lives, aren’t there?  You bet there is. “What if I would have gotten that degree,” or “What if I would have said no,” or “What if I left the house for work 10 seconds earlier.”  We look back and second guess and wonder if we’ve done the right thing.  We experience consequences for decisions made and dread we didn’t ask someone for some advice or simply gone a bit slower, or maybe faster.  But there’s no going back.  There’s no second chances.  The accident you were in won’t be avoided no matter how many times you wonder “What if I would have left 10 seconds earlier?”

Newly married and safely in God's hands.

Newly married and safely in God’s hands.

I love this verse from Proverbs:  A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps (16:9).  Part of the beauty of that verse is that as a Christian man, or woman, our hearts are given to God and He changes them.  Even so, we often make plans and find ourselves somewhere we never dreamed of being.  The reason for that is God is faithful and desires only the best, from His perspective, for our lives.  When Jackie and I were married, we never planned on giving our most financially prosperous time to live to do volunteer work with very little earnings, but that’s exactly what we did.  Consequently, we’ve arrived at our “golden years” with very little in retirement–not even a year’s worth of savings.  We had planned on working, being involved in Christian ministry and having some loot put away for retirement.  What we did have, which wasn’t a gigantic stash, lost 70% of its value during a stock hiatus.  So here we are today in those delightful “Best years of our lives” with no nest egg to sit on.  Are we bummed about this?  Not even a little.  We’ve had incredible lives thus far and been on so many adventures and seen so many people’s lives changed for the better that all the money on earth couldn’t buy what we have stashed in our memories.  We are happy, delighted, blessed, by God’s faithfulness and great care for us.

42 years married and not looking back

42 years married and not looking back

Psalm 37:25 says this:  I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, and Psalm 34:10 tells me this, The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek theLord shall not lack any good thing.  Our hope is in God.  Money runs out, stocks go busted, retirement plans get messed up when the pension you thought was coming was suddenly ponzied away.  But that which is eternal lasts throughout eternity and those born of an eternal God go on with Him.  We make plans, God directs our steps.  Thank God for the “paths of righteousness” we have to walk upon.  For you who may still be thinking about
“What if,” I would encourage you to go to the only One who has the answer, the Lord Jesus Christ, give your heart to Him and look ahead.  If God needs to walk you into your past, He can do that just as easily as He can direct your steps into the future.  wave

LIVE LONG AND PROSPER

How many of your friends are on a diet?  I bet I know why.  Most of them are overweight.   Obesity has outrun malnutrition as a cause of death.  Nearly 20% of the people in the United States die from the effects of obesity.  When you read these statistics it encourages you to go on a diet.  How many of your friends went on a diet and actually lost weight that wasn’t regained within a few months?  Not many.  I know why:  Dieting doesn’t work.  In fact, if you cut your caloric intake enough, you will greatly slow down your metabolic rate and guess what?  You don’t lose weight at all.  You just get hungry and cranky.

Mr. Spock made famous the “Live long and prosper” quote, but in a way it’s not a blessing.   Perhaps “Live a long and healthy life” would be a better blessing.  The wages of sin is death (that’s in the Bible) and eventually everyone is going to die.  So I’m going to die but I’m going to make it my goal to get to death as healthy as possible.

After the age of 30 something happens to our bodies, both men and women.  Muscle mass decreases; reaction times slow down, metabolic (calorie burning) slows down and a pound or two that used to come and go comes and stays.  After 10 years that 2 pounds is now 20.  At 40 you look in the mirror and hardly notice, but when you see some of your old photos you do!

When Jackie and I were jackbeachmarried, she weighed 87 pounds at 5’1″.  Forty years later she was still about 5’1″ but weighed nearly 130 pounds.  When she weighed more than me, she got ticked off.  She dieted, and it didn’t work.  We did a 7-day juice fast and she lost about 5 pounds but that came back shortly afterward.  All along, she has done some kind of exercising and teaching a ballet class, but it wasn’t affecting her weight gain.  What she didn’t have was a plan.  There are all kinds of plans–some really good ones and some that aren’t good at all.

Jackie got on the scale yesterday and came out and said, “It says 118.4 pounds.”  She was beaming with joy.  She took a picture of herself in a dress she hadn’t been able to get in for 2 years.  How did that happen?  Our beloved daughter-in-law, Becka, met a much more giant of a challenge than Jackie and overcame it and we watched.  She had our grandbeckason, Cadence, and gained 70 + pounds, was depressed and fixed that all up by eating and being more depressed.  That went on for a time and then she saw a Beach Body Challenge video and something clicked in her heart and she jumped in.  Here she is after losing that 70 pounds.  She told us what she did so Jackie said, “I can do that.”  Becka suggested she order the Beach Body 21-Day-Fix program, so she did and was off on a new adventure.  The 21 days came and went and we made some amazing discoveries.  She was no longer taking blood pressure medicine.  She was doing exercises that she never dreamed of doing and did them without killing herself (though she sure can sweat!).  And here’s the most amazing of all:  She didn’t have a single migraine while doing the program.  Jackie has had severe migraines for 42 years (hmm…that’s how long we’ve been married).  Exercise was one of many triggers that caused them and when she would work out, she’d get a migraine. Just prior to starting the 21-Day-Fix, she had had a migraine that lasted 5 days.

After completing the 21-Day Fix she lost some weight and inches and said, “I’m gonna do it again.”  She is doing a modified version of it right now, but in June she is going to do the full program again.  It doesn’t teach weight loss, it teaches life-style changes that lead to better health and, as a bonus, you lose weight if you need to.  If you don’t, like me, you just get healthier.

Live long and prosper.  I don’t think so.  I say live healthy, long and give away the treasure God has put in your life.  One of our treasures to share is Becka’s support group that you can participate in starting in June if you want to jump in with us. They have a great time comparing stories and sharing triumphs and set backs.  If you want, you can participate in it, too.  We’re easy to find: bobandjackie@gmail.com or find us on Facebook.  Yes, it costs money to buy the products and yes we benefit from it if you buy through us.  But that’s not why we are doing this.  The plan worked.  Jackie and Becka are the proof.  They are both in better shape; healthier; more energetic, confident and Jackie is off her blood pressure meds and has had a single, one-day migraine in the last 7 weeks.  That is amazing for her.  When I found out that “God so loves the world…” I tried it, it worked and I’ve spent the last 45 years telling others.  If it doesn’t work, I won’t tell you to try it.  Email us if you want to start a new health adventure and be part of the June group.  There’s still room for a few.

I’m entering the middle section of my Beach Body challenge, the P90.  I’m soon to be 66 years old and in good shape, but I’m suffering from “furniture’s disease,” that malady when your chest drops to your drawers.  The P90 starts out slow and easy but over the 90-day course it progresses to greater challenges.  There’s weight work, aerobic work and ab work.  Yes, it hurts a little.  But like I said, when my time comes to move to the eternal dwelling, I want people to say, “But he was perfectly healthy.  He was still surfing, running and biking.”  And then I want to hear these words from Jesus, “Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord.”  Come join us.  Who knows where we will find ourselves next year?