Posts Tagged ‘fitness’

Energy Is a Foundation for Leadership

October 28, 2016

A second-rate night club lounge singer from Las Vegas witnesses a mob crime, runs away, and hides in a convent disguised as a nun. She is persuaded to become the choir director, rocks the church, and performs for the Pope.

Who in the world would ever believe a story line like that? Well, it became a move starring Whoopi Goldberg called Sister Act.

I stared at our small collection of DVDs last night for some reason and the red title caught my eye. What was the essential element the Goldberg character brought to that convent?

It was energy. Her energy was contagious. It had been a lethargic and unmotivated group of women. She not only rocked the choir, she also got them involved in a number of neighborhood projects.

Don’t the best leaders you’ve known exude energy?

It shows in different ways.

  • They truly enjoy the work they are doing
  • They encourage everyone around
  • They see things that could be accomplished
  • They are prepared
  • Wherever they go, they promote the cause
  • They may be intense but never negative
  • They are not afraid to try new things, break new ground

Feel the need for some caffeine right now? This energy doesn’t come from chemicals in that manner. But energetic leaders do things such as:

  • Care for their bodies through good nutrition and exercise
  • Care for their souls through reflection, prayer, meditation
  • Care for their minds by constantly reading and learning
  • Listen to other people
  • Develop intense curiosity both about work issues and a variety of outside interests

Energy–the foundation of the universe. Capture some and pass it on.

The Body Is The Temple of the Spirit

April 6, 2016

While I am on a physical development trend right now, let me bring up an article I found in The New York Times. It seems a study shows that few people actually do the four pillars of a heart healthy lifestyle.

Let me preface this meditation with a few words from Paul, the Apostle:

19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20  New International Version (NIV)

The article in The New York Times stated:

Most Americans know that a heart-healthy lifestyle includes eating a healthful diet, not smoking, being physically active and keeping weight and body fat down. But a new study found that fewer than 3 percent of American adults could claim all four healthy elements.

Only 2.7 percent of the Americans in the study were nonsmokers who ate a reasonably good diet, including eating plenty of vegetables and whole grains and avoiding saturated fat; got at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week; and had a healthy percentage of body fat, defined as up to 20 percent for men and 30 percent for women.

Actually, there is no guarantee that you will live longer if you follow all the advice. But you will live better.

Do you ever find yourself without energy in the afternoon or evening (or both)? Do you have trouble focusing for long periods? Are your relationships falling off the track?

How do you think you can be a witness and servant of Jesus if you don’t have the physical stamina?

How can you maintain the disciplines of study and prayer and meditation with the lack of energy caused by an unhealthy lifestyle?

Eat primarily vegetables with some added lean meat and whole grains. Reduce fats and processed foods (especially white flour and sugar–we get way too much of those in our diet). Add some daily exercise–running, walking briskly, some sort of weight training, Yoga or Tai Chi.Watching what goes into your body includes eliminating smoking (anything) and reducing alcohol to just a couple per day.

Turn your body into a true Temple for the Holy Spirit. Build it day by day.

Teach About the Whole Body

October 15, 2015

The Christian church, especially the Protestant tradition that I’ve grown up in, focuses almost exclusively on the “soul”. Most Protestant denominations, at least in the US, focus on salvation messages.

Thanks perhaps to Dave Ramsey, more and more churches are beginning to discuss money not in terms of law–you should give more money to the church–but in terms spiritual development. How you manage your finances is an important part of your overall spiritual focus and development.

I hear almost nothing about taking care of your body. This “temple of the soul” as Paul says.

It’s not like the Bible is silent on the issue. Many of the Mosaic laws are in reality health laws. Of course, like all religious laws they quickly get taken to the extreme and the initial reason lost.

There is the “Daniel diet” that has gone around. You know, when the Babylonian king picked a group of Hebrew young men to join his leadership academy, they asked to stay on a healthy diet rather than the foods rich in fat and sweet and alcohol. After a trial run, they proved to be more healthy than the others, so they were allowed their own diet.

If you take care of your body, you are in better shape to pursue your spiritual development.

Taking care of your body does not mean that there is no illness or physical debilitation. Some of that is unavoidable genetics. Some accident. 

All of us can be like Daniel and watch what we eat. We could be vegetarian or allow ourselves some meat. Either works. But eating more of your diet from plant sources, eliminating excess fat and sugar, eliminating sodas, eating until 80% full, drinking more water, dining rather than gulping down your meals (like I did last night proofreading some PowerPoint slides while eating) all work for the betterment of our bodies. We can practice this no matter what we have.

Even those who have physical challenges can get some form of exercise. For those who can walk, few things are better than long walks in nature. For those who can run–run. Resistance exercises like some form of weight lifiting build muscles and bone. Mind/body fitness like Yoga, Tai Chi, or Pilates tone the whole body. Yoga is good for people with a number of chronic physical problems who can’t exercise any other way.

Lots of things contribute to our spiritual health. We need teach about mind, body, and soul so that we are fit for the race set before us.

Read With Mindfulness

April 22, 2015

Did you miss National “Pot” Day? 

Sometimes I wonder about all these “national days”. Or “national months”.

We are in National Overeaters Month. Did you know that?

Paul, the apostle, talked of keeping the mind and body fit along with the spirit. But Christianity often became just a theology rather than a complete way of life. If we are bringing our entire selves as a sacrifice to God making our body a Temple of the Spirit, then overall fitness should be part of our daily habits.

The reason I know that it’s National Overeaters Month is because among all the sources of information I digest daily are writings on health and fitness.

One such source discussed how we eat–indeed, over-eat–due to a response to our emotions. When we feel down, we eat. Doesn’t a big bowl of ice cream seem especially delicious and enticing when we have bad feelings?

Aside from opinions about religion, no other topic has such a diversity of views (and mis-information) than health. Especially nutrition. No carb, who cares about carbs, high fat, no fat, eat as much as you want, starve yourself, and on and on.

Most of us know that in America one of the greatest national diseases is piling our plates too high with food. I just returned from 9 days in Europe. The emphasis was on reasonable portions of high quality food.

One woman said to me following our first dinner served on the river boat, “The amount of food on our plates looked incredibly small. But after I ate, I was satisfied.”

The one buffet on board was for breakfast. I noticed people taking an omelette, a couple of scoops of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, cereal, bread. Wow. I found an omelette with a couple of the small hard-crusted rolls sufficient for the entire morning (considering that this week, breakfast is just an English muffin).

Neither my wife or I gained weight over the 10 days we were gone.


Scanning my nutrition news yesterday, I ran across an article that said be careful of limiting your portions. You may not be getting enough to eat. This was an American source writing to Americans (this blog is read globally, so I try to differentiate). 

I would hate for someone to read this and use it as an excuse to pile the food on higher so as not to starve!

When you read, read mindfully. Be aware of context. Be aware when someone is just filling up space. Even when reading the Bible, be mindful. Don’t just grab a verse at random. Read it in the context of the paragraph, the story, the whole of the Bible.

Be as fit as possible within your capabilities and constraints–emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually. Take your entire body to God as a worthy sacrifice.

To Get Spiritually Fit You Must Practice

January 2, 2015

A friend recently spoke against “Spiritual Disciplines” because he saw them as a list of check boxes–sort of like tasks to complete on your way to salvation.

My response is that if anyone views disciplines, or practices, that way, then they have missed the “spirit” so to speak of the practice. These practices–study, worship, prayer, mediation, celebration, fasting, service, and the like–are things you can do to strengthen and deepen your spiritual life.

Paul often uses athletic language to instruct us in that regard. He tells Timothy (1 Tim 4:7) to train in godliness” for example.

Dallas Willard writing in The Spirit of the Disciplines says, “Just as with the physical, there is a specific round of activities we must do to establish, maintain, and enhance our spiritual powers. One must train as well as try.”

Another way of looking at this is to consider these as habits you’ve intentionally cultivated.

I have an ecosystem of practices that help me exercise daily. It involves going to the gym and then showering and getting physically ready for the day. It’s something I do to maintain as healthy a body as I can.

Similarly with spiritual life. Rising a little earlier (for the past few years, it’s been 5:30 am–without an alarm), I have time for study, meditation, writing before going to the gym. Study, prayer, meditation are woven into the fabric of my morning. Worship, celebration and service happen intentionally at other times of the day or week.

One key is intention. I am intentional about maintaining this routine. It is not rote habit, but habit intentionally chosen and reinforced.

I still have many personality problems to overcome, but this routine has changed my life over time. I expect it will continue to do so.

One thing that it really does is deepen my faith. To be spiritually fit, you have to practice.