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Trying to Count it all Joy

28 Aug

I’ll be completely honest with you:  the devil is attacking.  Right now.  All around Ebenezer I see and hear signs of his work.  That tells me that he doesn’t like what is going on around here.  He stepped up his effort on the very day we voted to build a new worship center.  And he is attacking a variety of leaders in a variety of ways.

And, honestly, he didn’t leave me out of his fun.  But I read a Facebook post yesterday from a fellow pastor that has meant more to me, and enlightened me on something James wrote:  COUNT IT ALL JOY!!

James 1:2-4 says “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”  

God never promised that we would live life without problems… Without obstacles.  In fact, Paul reminded us in Ephesians 6 that the enemy WOULD INDEED ATTACK US.  That is why God gave us HIS ARMOR!!!  Now, James reminds us that even when we face hurt and disappointment, to COUNT IT ALL JOY!!  Because God will use it to strengthen us, our faith, and our dependance on Him.  So, even when we face attacks, temptations, problems, we need to learn to LEAN ON HIM and ask Him for strength, for wisdom, and for what we need to face the trial.  Because if we do not, WE ARE ALLOWING THE ENEMY TO WIN.  PERIOD!  And, when we DO ask Him for these things, He promises that He WILL PROVIDE.

So … it’s not always easy, but James is right!!  I need to count it all joy when I face these things!!  AND SO DO YOU!!  Praying for you today!!!

A confession (well, sort of)

6 Aug

This morning in my devotional reading, Provers 28:5 was the focal verse:

Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand it fully.

The devotional illustration talked about how those who seek a relationship with God should have a deeper understanding of justice and do not have the “luxury” of ignoring wrongdoing.  That we also should understand there will be a FULL accounting for every sin committed by every person, even if that doesn’t seem to happen on this earth, it WILL happen at the end of time.  And the sins of those who know Jesus Christ will be paid.  And for those who do not know Him, they will pay themselves.

For me, this brought back something that has been on my heart for a few days now.  Once again, I am reminded that when I go to Honduras for 10 days it kind of resets my bearings.  When I go and worship in sweltering churches with tons of people who are just FILLED with the joy of the Lord and happy to be there, and then return to the good ol’ USA, I am reminded of how different we really are.  We are a very selfish culture.  Honestly, it grieves my heart because I believe it grieves the heart of God.  But that is another blog for another day (and probably for an anonymous site, to protect me from death).

Reading this devotional entry today reminds me of why I value honesty.  I really appreciate it when someone is honest with me, but when I find that they haven’t been honest, I struggle with that relationship.  I struggle to trust someone who is not honest.  Lately, as I have prayed about this in my heart and life, God has reminded ME that 1) DAVID WIKE is a pretty selfish guy too.  And 2) Where some around me might have flaws that really bother me, DAVID WIKE has flaws too!!

WAITAMINUTE … I AM NOT PERFECT????  Is THAT what God just said to me??  (I hope my Ebenezerites don’t find out … Because they will run me off for sure!!)

God has no price tag

1 Jul

I’ve got to be honest here:  The title, and some of the thoughts I will express this morning were inspired by my Blackaby Spiritual Leadership Network devotional email.  It’s funny, today’s entry continues a thought I was having last night as I stared into the face of a hot grill while preparing supper …

I will be the first to confess that I am not perfect.  I make plenty of mistakes, and you can ask those closest to me and this will be verified.  One shortfall I’ve noticed lately is this:  My tolerance for those who claim the name of Christ and refuse to live for Him is becoming smaller and smaller.  And this is a problem for a pastor.  God and I are working on this.

I know no one is perfect.  I know we all make mistakes.  But this thought is more specific to those who will tell the world “I am a Christian” and/or “I am a member of Ebenezer” and yet they seem to go out of their way to live in ungodly lifestyles.  They never seem to acknowledge God in their lives in any way.  And seem to be very happy with this lifestyle.  Why does this bother me so much??  Because, as a pastor, sometimes I see this and have to come to terms with my own failure to shepherd.  Then God reminds me that I cannot make every decision for every member of God’s family, and my role is to do my best to follow HIM as a man AND as a pastor, and when I do make a mistake, confess it and make it right before Him.

The writer of today’s BSLN devotional hits the heart of this when he wrote “Today, God’s people act as if God must adjust Himself to their tastes and schedules.  We determine what our offering to God will be and assume He will be pleased with it.”  If we become like this, we are NO DIFFERENT from the world.  But “God has NO PRICE TAG.  He does not compromise His standards based on the … gift He receives.”  He is more concerned with our hearts AT ALL TIMES…  In worship, in service, in our offerings …  It is ALL about our hearts!!

Our relationships with God can never be about our comfort or preference.  We need to take a step back and realize how fortunate we are that God even ALLOWS us to have a relationship with Him.  He clearly reveals His terms for the relationship in His word.  And these terms are not a terribly heavy yoke to bear … In fact, they are much more favorable to US than they are to Him.  Why do we always try to redefine these things to our liking??

The last quarter

2 Jun

Ok, so the last 27 pounds are proving to be the hardest.  I guess that is always the way it is.  I am at 75 pounds right now and still working hard!  In fact, I am writing this blog because Keith White encouraged me to share it.  The kitchen part of this diet, for the most part, is in a good place.  The workout routine is getting there, and one of the first things of which I am reminded is that it doesn’t need to be a ROUTINE.

I am very much a creature of habit.  I think that is why I migrated towards IT and did so well in it before I surrendered to ministry.  When I talk about comfort zones, I am very much talking to myself FIRST and FOREMOST.  I like consistency and normalcy in everything in my life.

HOWEVER … to keep my metabolism off guard, there HAS to be a level of variance.  The experts around me tell me that if I work myself into a rut in my workout, my body will adjust and will not burn calories efficiently.  They are correct.  I lift weights three days a week and, due to my left arm, I cannot vary that too much.  But I haven’t mastered that by any means, so I am guessing that one is okay.  On days that I lift weights, I do 40 minutes on the elliptical machine as my cardio.  Again, I can vary speed and resistance to help with that.  On my non-workout days, I do speed interval (alternating between walking and running) on the treadmill for 45 minutes.  Again, I can vary the times I run within that workout so it seems to be helping.

AND THEN … Lane Johnson of Anytime and I were talking a few weeks ago about how to help the gut situation I have.  The ol’ gut it getting smaller, but I need to work on it.  I know you cannot target train for fat loss, but what I’ve had going on in that area is not good and has not been.  We talked about the crunch machine, a machine that I can use every day.  Lane challenged me to get to the place where I could do 100 crunches a day.

The first day, I did 40 and thought “NO SWEAT!!”  The next day I did 60.  On day three, I literally could not do ONE.  It was so sore I could barely move.  So I took a day or two off.  That led me to the following Monday, where things seemed to turn a corner.  I was able to do 100 that day but it took forever.  From that point on (it was several weeks ago), I have been able to do 100 a day for six days (I do take Sundays off from workout to allow my body a day to rest.  Plus, there is so much else going on every Sunday that I just can’t pull it off).  In the last couple of weeks I have increased the weight and I constantly vary the number of crunches in a single set.

So, I am still working on all of this.  I have gone from a size 44 in pants to 36.  And I am still working on it.  Slowly, but surely.

Motivation

26 May

One of the most often-asked questions of my quest for fitness is “How do you stay motivated?  What helps you keep it going?”  I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately, and here is a shot at what I think helps me keep going …

1.  It all started with me finally hitting a place where I was SICK OF BEING SO BIG.  I hit an all-time high on the scale, and honestly started thinking about life and how short it might be if I continued on that track.  Life is a huge motivator.

2.  Diana and I are doing this together.  We are eating basically the same foods.  Makes it so much easier to accomplish since we have the same goals in mind.

3.  THE SCALE.  In the 75-ish pounds I have lost to this point, I have had a few setbacks, but not many.  Haven’t hit any hard walls yet, although I’ve come close.  I am finding if I stay true to the plan, eventually the roadblocks come down.

4.  CLOTHES.  It feels really good to be able to walk into a store and buy clothes off the rack THAT FIT.  Not have to order shirts or search for the shirts I like in extra huge sizes.  It is also a great feeling to try on a pair of pants I bought in March because none of my old jeans fit anymore, and now I find that they look just as bad.  And are falling off of me.  (And I am getting rid of my fat clothes this time.  NOT KEEPING THEM as a fall back, because I really do not plan to get that big again.)

5.  PEOPLE.  People notice.  Some have been encouraging me for months.  Some are just noticing.  Just this week, two different people asked me “Are you losing weight?”  My response:  “A little.”  LOVE IT!!!  All in all, it helps!

6.  I FEEL BETTER.  The more I work out, the more energy I have and the more I am able to do.

And, even if I have a big setback, I KNOW I can do this.  And I know deep down that God wants me to be in good health.  And, honestly, people are much nicer and friendlier when you weigh under a metric ton.

Philippians 4:13 (NIV)  I can do everything through him (Christ) who gives me strength.

A Hard Day turns around

19 May

Yesterday was a hard day for me.  And I KNOW other parents have done the same, but it was a first for me …  (In fact, I told my mom last night that I know how she feels when all of your kids load up within a matter of hours and go far away …)  And that is what we did:  Sent Drew to Brunswick, GA, and then three hours later saw Krissy off to go back to Clemson.  WOW….  Harder than I thought.

Krissy has been doing the Clemson thing ever since the fall of 2009 when she enrolled at Clemson.  She is now living there, graduated last year, and working on getting into PA school.  I’m kind of used to her leaving after 5 years.

Drew is another story.  He has been gone before, and even been far away, but I’ve never packed him off for an entire summer!!  So yesterday morning there was this feeling in the pit of my stomach all morning.  He left after church and drove down to begin his summer with Golden Isle Ministries.  It was a melancholy day until RA recognition service last night.  As I watched the video of their year in review, I saw pictures of RA camp.  It was the picture of our boys “sinking canoes” that brought it all back to me.  That little fellow with his buddies sinking canoes in Lake Chillywater as me and the other dads watched.  It made me think not only of Drew but about Alex Pettigrew and Matthew Andrews, who are serving down at Garden City Retreat Center (not as far away, but gone for the summer just the same).  I thought about these three young men who have been active at Ebenezer since they were babies and how they have grown up hearing about living God’s will and finding your calling.  And it hit me:  Even though I am sad about not seeing Drew every day this summer, he cannot HELP but do this.  He has been training for this moment for his entire life!!!

So … knowing that he is pursuing God’s will REALLY IS greater than feeling sad about his being gone.  Suddenly there was a peace about this I never had before.  Love how God can take even a hard day and turn it around to His glory!!

Working in the gym

30 Apr

I read the other day that you lose weight in the kitchen, you tone and build muscle in the gym.  That is VERY TRUE.  Because I have been doing cardio and lifting weights (at times) in the gym since 2001.  I can only imagine how HUGE I would’ve been if I had not been doing that.  But here is a glimpse at what I’ve been doing since January 3rd, because I DO believe it has a direct impact on my weight loss.

Six days a week, I have a goal to burn 500 or so calories.  On the days when I lift weights (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) I try to burn 400-450 calories on cardio.  I usually do 40 minutes on the elliptical machine at Anytime Fitness, Florence.  I am constantly reminded to mix things up and not get into too many routines, even while doing cardio.  When the body naturally adjusts to what you are doing, even cardio doesn’t have the same impact.  The best thing you can do for your body is mix the routine up.  On days when I am NOT working out, I sometimes mix up the elliptical and treadmill, or walk on the treadmill for 45 minutes, or walk/run on the treadmill for 45 minutes.  If I am unable to get the gym, I walk in my neighborhood and use the Runkeeper app on my iPhone to track distance, time, and calories burned.

WHEN I STARTED cardio, it was all I could do to do 30 minutes at a time.  You have to work your way up, and you CAN do it.  I have found the longer times and distances to be much easier now that I have lost a small village of body weight.

As I wrote before, I lift weights three days a week.  And before you hit the weights, PLEASE talk to someone at your gym for direction.  I have been at Anytime for over two years now, and when I started with weights I had a session with a trainer who was aware of my arm breaks and the hardware that I still carry in my left arm.  He showed me some things I could do that would make an impact and yet not goof my elbow up.  When I was at the Florence Y, the folks there were always ready to help with a machine or schedule a weight orientation.  I cannot stress enough the need to use machines properly and NOT mess your back or other muscles up.  It’s worth taking the time to learn to do it right.

Right now, I am doing a couple of different arm curls, a chest press, an overhead press, leg curls,  and a leg press.  I started small and have worked my way up.  I have also discovered recently that I can now do a push-up.  For a long time after I broke my arms, I could put very little weight on my left arm.  I could only push very little with my left elbow and the pressure felt wrong.  The fact that I can now do a pushup is a direct testament to lifting weights.

If you are looking for a gym, I STRONGLY RECOMMEND Anytime.  Lane Johnson and his staff want to see you succeed!!!  They will show you machines and exercises, challenge and motivate you, and they are all great!  My biggest encouragement is for you to find a gym that you like.  I like Anytime!!!  You find your place…  (If you want a pass to Anytime, email me at davidrwike@gmail.com and I will help you out!!)