CCC Blog

  • Bullets

    by ben wilcox

    “Are we there yet?” is the bane of every parent’s existence when shuttling kids on a long road trip and the question my God probably is sick of hearing from...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • Where am i headed?

    by timothy ryan lewis

    My wife and I like to kid that we’re detectives sometimes. At first I was Watson and she was Holmes, but our roles changed for the sake of...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • Do you know me?

    by deborah downs

    To know and to be known - that is the deepest desire of any human being. We seek to know God and to be known by God. We seek to know others and...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING MORE

  • shadows

    by ben wilcox

    When I was a kid, you got two pizzas for the price of one at Little Caesar’s—- “Pizza! Pizza!” While this was great for obvious reasons, it could cause some...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • Chlorophyll

    by timothy ryan lewis

    I have a strong, green plant which sits on a table next to our front door. My wife gave me this plant and I’m proud of Leon. I’m happy to...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • kaleidoscope

    by timothy ryan lewis

    I always had good eyesight

    My vision was fine

    Yet I was healed of...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • You are Here

    By Ben Wilcox

    The mall maps helped me. I’m a ‘hunter’ shopper; so, back when malls were a thing, I’d walk in, head to...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • Hide and seek

    by deborah downs

    Hide and Seek. Probably the oldest of children’s games. I recall feelings of anticipation, excitement, fear, joy while playing hide and seek as a child. The anticipation and...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • inhale exhale

    by timothy ryan lewis

    “At first the river is a river and the mountain is a mountain, and then the river is no longer a river and the mountain is no longer a mountain; and then later the river is a river again and the mountain is a mountain again.” 

    Very straightforward and yet, at a glance, it appears as though little to nothing meaningful was stated. However, when placed into a relatable context, this metaphor comes...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • the welfare of grace

    by ben wilcox

    My sisters and I used to fight over the TV remote. The almighty “controller.” When the three of us kids were left unsupervised in the...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • emmanuel

    by deborah downs

    My daughter recently asked me about my Christmas memories growing up. My fondest childhood memories of Christmas are while...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • Gone fishin' 

    by deborah downs

    Every Friday I watch our facilities manager, Dave, slaving away to make our Worship Center pristine on Sunday mornings. He scrubs bathrooms, vacuums and...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • hello, neighbor

    by ben wilcox

    “What would you say to Donald Trump if you met him?” Matty asked me at lunch.

              I stalled, “What would YOU say?”

             "Hi,“ Matty replied.

    Spending time around kids is...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • noel

    by timothy ryan lewis

    December 25th is over, soon the radio stations will go back to playing their regularly scheduled broadcasts. The decorations around town will be detached from...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • This Changes everything

    by Deborah Downs

    Surrender is a dirty word. In a war torn world since the fall of mankind, surrender has meant to give up, to stop fighting, to forfeit one’s freedom. We understand the phrase “never surrender” as being an indication of strength and resilience. To surrender calls to mind images of captivity, bondage, slavery, and abuse...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • family letter focus (what now?)

    by kevin Dolbee

         We are coming to an end of our series titled “Family Letter”. Just a few weeks left and boy has it been fun. So many things we never stop and really think about as it pertains to practically living out the principles God teaches us in His Word...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • dirty work

    by deborah downs

    “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27

    The term “dirty work” conjures images for each...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • The faithfulness of god

    by deborah downs

    “I will praise You, my God and King, and always honor Your name. I will praise You each day and...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • The Miracle is in The Mundane

    by timothy ryan lewis

    Wednesday night was here again, the best part of my week. Brad and Lori invited me into their home with open arms. He and I...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • what green tea taught me about god

    by timothy ryan lewis

    God is in the details whether I see Him working there or not, sometimes I see Him soon after, sometimes I don't notice until years later. I cringe to...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • eucharisteo

    by deborah downs

    ‘Tis a season of thanksgiving. People express gratitude for the many blessings in their lives. Demeanors are gentler. Faces are kinder. Smiles are...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • Our leadership Transition

    The Transition

    Excitement, Questions, Fear and TRUST

    Often, we try to know the beginning from the end - how will the story play out? We even find ourselves gripped with fear as we venture into the unknown, fearful of things we can’t possibly know ahead of time.

    Our church family is going through some exciting changes that might feel scary. If you’re afraid, that’s totally normal - but don’t stay afraid. Here’s “Part 1” of a two part encouragement as we navigate this new season of the Christian Center adventure together, bringing Jesus to the hurting and the hopeless.

    Our dear Pastor Kitchell preached a sermon this past year titled “Trust”. She talked about how Joseph (in the book of Genesis) found himself in situations that were out of his immediate control yet he consistently trusted God, submitted to those in authority and believed God would have his way in his life. We see time and time again, all through the scriptures, how men and women of God find the faith to trust and persevere - even when faced with issues that would seemingly de-rail the mission for their life. 

    All of this reminds me of the journey the Hebrew people took out of Egypt in what is called the Exodus. The journey would test every person from the leaders right down to the emerging generation. What is going to happen? Who will lead us? What will be the outcome? These are natural questions we are all likely to ask in the face of the great unknown called our future. 

    We Walk By Faith

    We are a people who are called to walk by faith, not by sight. As we venture into this time of transition, fear of things we can’t control may begin to creep in. I want to encourage you to stand and believe that God knows the beginning from the end and that He is waiting on the other side of this season with his arms open wide ready to receive us as a church. 

    It All Hinges On Honor

    When I spoke to the congregation at the beginning of September 2015, I made this statement “Honor is the hinge the door to our destiny swings upon” - we MUST honor the past and yet at the same time, embrace the future. 

    We honor Pastor Marjorie Kitchell as she ends her tenure as Sr. Pastor at Christian Center, yet we also honor God as the author and finisher of our faith as well as our church’s story. There are many things that we will learn in this process, if we will allow ourselves to be open. Dr. Henry Could in his book Necessary Endings, puts it like this; 

    “Wisdom comes from experience, either the experience of others or of oneself. And to let experience do its work, a person has to be open to receiving the lessons that it has to teach.” 

    Trusting the Covering

    Our church is a Foursquare church. The Foursquare denomination is one steeped in rich history and faith. The story of Foursquare’s founder Aimee Semple McPherson is one filled with passion and trust in the Lord and His will for the future of a movement that is currently represented by over 8 million members worldwide.  

    Foursquare, just like most other denominations, has a leadership structure that aids the local church in its mission to reach the world for Jesus Christ. We, the leadership of Christian Center are submitted to our denominational leaders and are ready to answer the call to represent them and Christ to a hurting world.  

    Just like all of those who have found themselves running after God and His will for their lives, only to be faced with challenges beyond their control, I encourage you to rest in His peace that surpasses all understanding.  

    Your faithfulness, honor and unity will be the catalyst that catapults Christian Center Church (CCC) into its destiny, where the Spirit of God is waiting.

    I love you all very much.

    -Pastor Kev

  • new beginnings

    by timothy ryan lewis

    What are you searching for

    Or hoping to retrieve  

    In the midst of all the leaves


  • this one thing

    by ben wilcox

    Why can’t you do just this one thing?

    You should know this already!

    If you really loved me, you would …

    These are a few of the common types of...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • bottomed out

    by timothy ryan lewis

    For years I toted the same books with me from house-to-house, even from state-to-state, but I never read them. I kept them in...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • here and now

    by timothy ryan lewis

    There’s something intriguing about the life of a fisherman. Maybe it’s the danger of the sea and its mystery which...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • Who am I?

    by deborah downs

    Who am I?

    I am a writer. No, that is what I do—I write. 

    I am a pastor. No, that is what I do—I pastor. 

    I am a parent. No, that is what...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • the starting point of all giving

    by timothy ryan lewis

    What I didn’t like about tipping was the pressure to give. I felt everyone around me was doing it to meet social standards, which they...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • it takes two

    by timothy ryan lewis

    The organized dances started for me when I was in Junior High. Once or twice a year the cafeteria/auditorium would be converted-ish into a suitable environment for...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • Stay the course

    by Timothy ryan lewis

    Years ago I had a dream that I was caught in a concrete pipe. The kind of pipe I’ve seen lying on the side of the road for construction of some kind. In this dream I was tightly secured inside the pipe, my shoulders kinda squished together. I was not getting out...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • storage wars

    by ben wilcox

    “O God, I beg two favors from you before I die. First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • Back to the future

    by deborah downs

    “I noticed your band is on the roster for the dance auditions after school today. Why even bother, McFly? You don’t have a chance. You’re too much like...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • half a man

    by timothy ryan lewis

    In The Matrix the main character, Mr. Anderson, seemingly a nobody, works a dull day job and is a computer hacker by night. He clearly...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • higher ways

    by timothy ryan lewis

    I believe it’s virtually impossible to have no concern for what others think. Even if we choose to shut out the voices of our...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • Search party

    by ben wilcox

    “Search me, O God, and know my heart. Test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is anything in me that offends you, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24, a psalm of David

    Walls are dangerous. The same barriers I...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • perfect peace

    by deborah downs

    Apart from God your soul is empty, without even a flicker of the Holy Spirit in it. And even after you come to believe, you will remain largely subject to this dark condition until the eyes of your inner man are healed and open…for it is the light of faith that shows you the way of perfect freedom in spirit...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • Creation's Opus

    by deborah downs

    It’s strikingly quiet—not a manmade sound for miles. I’ve taken to solitude on my day off. I need time for my mind to refuel. I don’t need my mind to quiet; I need the world to quiet. Solitude is...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • Consider the lilies

    by kevin dolbee

    Do you ever feel like your life is spinning out of control? Things you were expecting to happen have not, while things that have never even crossed your mind seem to win the day. If this is true of you, usually thoughts begin to run through your mind like, “Why is this happening?” or “How can this be true?”  For others, we even begin to think or say “God, why are you doing this to me?” We allow ourselves to get caught up in a narrative of our own design and what typically follows is anxiety and fear. The truth is we can never really know from day to day what might happen.  Even the best planners can never account for the “human factor,” the understanding that even the best thought out plans can’t dig deep into the minds of people to understand their personal crisis and processes and thus account for what might happen. This condition I’ve described is the rule and not the exception. Most people are plagued with thoughts of fear of the unknown almost daily. I would be lying if I said I have completely overcome this pattern of thought and so would you. The reality is, we are in this unknown world together and we do not know from day to day what tomorrow brings.

    Have you ever told someone you were anxious only to have them say “Don’t be anxious?” Um, thank you for that great piece of advice; I had not thought of that yet. But this is exactly what Jesus tells us to do in Matthew 6:25. Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink nor about your body, what you will put on. Why does He say it like this? How can it be so simple? What is the formula that we can use to overcome anxiety and fear? There is NO formula, only relationship.

    Jesus tells us in John 15:4-5 to Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches.

    The one who tills the soil and takes care of the vines is responsible for the outcome or fruit. There has never been a tree or vine that has EVER felt anxiety about the fruit it produces or the process in which it is produced. What Jesus is telling us is to make sure we are planted in His garden (fully dependent on Him), trust Him for the outcome, and remember that our circumstances today are not final - there is always more to the story. Rest today, knowing He loves you and has a purpose for you far beyond today’s trouble. Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin...

  • The "easy" Way

    by Kevin dolbee

    When I was a child, my family went through a tough season that left us a bit fragmented. We all go through times like that in our own lives, times that seem to challenge us on every level. I remember a significant moment...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • She Went Looking For water

    by timothy ryan lewis

    My favorite story in the bible is “The Woman at the Well”. Although I can’t remember the first time I read it, I certainly remember when it blew me away. Its message and power, rooted in the Holy Spirit, resonated deeply, personally, within me...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • Point one percent

    by deborah downs

    “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”

    My soul hurts this week. It doesn’t feel very wonderful at all. This is actually a source of relief for me - that I can feel my soul...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • Sailing in the spirit

    by Timothy Ryan Lewis

    “No, this is not your legacy. This is not your destiny. Yesterday does not define you." 


         I really enjoy the Family Letter intro song played right before Pastor Kevin begins to share his Sunday message with the congregation: Family Tree by Matthew West. The excerpt above is taken from his song. When that chorus rings out I am uplifted...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • Cisterns

    by ben wilcox

    My first big "message" in front of Pastor Kevin was a leader-training, inspirational (I hoped), let's stay connected, type thing I was praying would go over well...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • family of Fruit

    by Timothy Ryan Lewis

    Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts.” -The Apostle Paul, 2 Corinthians 3:3


         I remember one sunny afternoon, floating with a good friend of mine, just he and I in his parents’ pool. High school was coming to an end and I had loads of time then to kill just hanging out with no concern for time. I believe that ‘losing track’ of time...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING


  • My new story

    by deborah Downs

    Life is made up of tens upon thousands of moments that comprise who we are, how we feel, and what we do. Each and every moment can be filled with a variety of emotions that span from elation to depression. Like pixels...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • Love: a covering

    by timothy ryan lewis

    I realize that movies, to some degree, are adapted from someone's experiences and very well might be exaggerated to drive a point. However, there is some accuracy to the depicted versions of big family dinners onscreen. So often in these cases...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING                         





  • i wear glasses

    by kevin dolbee

    I remember when I was about 16 or so my mom saw me squinting at the TV.  Turns out, I was having a hard time in general seeing things far away.  The clinical diagnoses is...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • The Fruit of Relationship

    by kevin dolbee

    All summer long, we will be talking about the fruit of the Spirit. What is that, you may find yourself asking, well, let me tell you. Fruit is another word for outcome. The outcome of...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • emmanuel

    by ben wilcox

                                          I can see mountains again.

                                          I can see my heart’s escape.

                                          I can see the presence of the LORD.

                                          He is steadfast, immovable.

                                          He looms in love. 

         I take chances. So, when I read a book or article that moves me...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • shine

    By Timothy Ryan Lewis

    It is the gentle hand of God which picks me up without bruising me and caresses my hurting heart. I am delicate by...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • A letter to the ccc family

    Dear Christian Center Family,

    First of all, I would like to thank every single one of you for your faithfulness, we (the CCC team) have made it through the 1st quarter, post transition.  There have been 24 new decisions for Christ, we are...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • the kindness and goodness of god

    by ben wilcox

    Grace meets me by the water. Every time I have entered a new season of life, I can picture the body of water that helped usher me into it. There is the lake at...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • Spiritual Self Defense

    by timothy ryan lewis

    “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” (Revelation 3:20)

    Following my heart used to make sense back...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • flags

    by ben wilcox

    “A disciple of Jesus holds aloft the white flag of surrender.” - Scot McKnight, The Jesus Creed

    Not my will, but yours…

    When I was a little guy, there was a...CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

  • Coach or Pastor

    Kingdom Gains

    By Deborah Downs

    Kingdom Gains


    1 Timothy 4:8 “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 


    “Take a rest day,” my husband chimes over my shoulder. “Rest day? What is that? I can’t take a rest day. I need gains!” He rolls his eyes at me, citing the scientific and medical evidence to prove the veracity of his claim that rest leads to gains. I know this – cognitively. I struggle with this - integratively.


    I am a doer, raised by doers who were raised by yet more doers. To do is to gain. To rest is sloth. It’s taken decades to unravel the knots of that formative mindset. I suffer the same weaknesses in the gym that I do in the other facets of my life. I know it. And so does everyone else. It is visible. Why then is it so hard to adapt? I can sum it up in one word – value. Paul nails it in his letter to Timothy. “Physical training is of some value.” The following clause does not negate this truth. It simply puts it into perspective. “But godliness has value for all things…” 


    Physical strength can only get a person so far in life. It has limits as does everything finite. So, if physical strength is so comparatively less than godliness (spiritual strength), why do the gains matter? 


    Gains have very little to do with strength and everything to do with how one defines success. There are a lot of moving parts to physical fitness, as there are also to spiritual fitness. We tend to measure success by the numbers. How much time did you spend doing this or that? How much weight did you lift? How fast were you able to move said weight over distance? We forget that there are other measures to success that don’t involve numbers. They are qualitative.  


    Success is in the technique, the mobility, the cardiovascular endurance, nutrition, aesthetics, and yes, rest too. I can’t pull off my best lifts every day. But I can show up every day. It’s a process. If I define my success by always having to see the heaviest weight or the fastest time, I will lose the bigger picture and the process behind the gains. I will get sloppy, impatient, frustrated, unkind, abusive, treacherous, and frivolous with my body, because only the numbers matter.  


    Technique. I have learned a lot about technique in the last few years. Technique is how we break the big lifts down into little movements that can be tuned and tweaked in order to make the big lift more effective. It’s tedious work. Repetition - over and over and over, until the body has memorized every stance and its nuances, every motion, every extension, every beat and count and breath. Technique is the theology of the workout. I love the deep things of God – the theological concepts that blow your mind and make your brain hurt. The big lifts that have to be broken down, deconstructed, fine-tuned and reassembled so as to grasp even a fraction of their complexity and fullness. I also know that lifting heavy concepts and flinging them around without technique and precision is going to get people hurt. Theology requires finesse and practice – lots of practice - and repetition until it is imprinted on the mind and heart. 


    Mobility. How easily am I able to respond to my environment? Do I have an awareness of my surroundings or the people in it? Am I aware of more than myself? Is the strain of my limits and weaknesses going to render me ineffective? Not if I allow myself to be stretched and shaped and molded to a specific end or image all the while respecting the parameters of my experience. I need to know where I can go and where I cannot. And I need to be able to switch gears quickly. One parishioner gets married another is buried. Can I show up and be present for both? I was not created to solve all problems. I was created and gifted to solve certain problems, but I often find myself called to respond to most of them. “We fail at the margins of our experience.” I have to know when to say, “I can help” and when to say, “I cannot, but I know someone who can.” The only failure is not recognizing one’s limits. Everything else is mobility. 


    “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Hebrews 12:1


    By far, the most hated aspect of fitness is cardiovascular endurance. CrossFitters hate running! But only if you give it to them in large quantities. I can program a mile run to which no one will show up or I can program 8–200-meter runs, pepper it with some lifting and gymnastics and no one bats an eye.  This leads me to believe that it’s not the distance that is problematic; it’s the way in which the information is presented. We need the information in small digestible quantities. If I firehose my faith at people or lay out the big picture or the entire vision or story for people, they are overwhelmed and intimidated. However, if I break that up into small manageable and applicable pieces and intersperse it with elements of heavy lifting and fun, everyone rushes to run the race. Same distance. Different presentation. You might get a few followers with the big picture, but you’re far likelier to get more people to the finish line if you break it up. Most marathoners do not swallow a race in one bite. They strategically plot out waypoints and milestones so as to break up an otherwise overwhelming distance into manageable bites. Why do we need to learn to run the good race? Our spiritual cardiovascular health and endurance is the evidence of our spiritual heart health and blood circulation. Can I get the supply being generated in my being to the right place at the right time? And if not, how are my hurts, habits, and hang-ups interfering with my goals? Is my spiritual heart health going to support me in the long run as well as the short sprints? 


    Nutrition. I found out rather quickly in my fitness journey that there is a wrong and a right way to fuel for the activity. I can eat whatever I want, but I can’t expect the results I want if I do. I realized that I needed the most bang for my buck – meaning, I needed to be able to eat as much food as possible without consuming excess or empty calories. I simply don’t have the metabolism for junk anymore. I can burn calories, but it’s not fuel. I need fuel. I need the thing my body can burn the easiest and will do the most good in the process. It’s like the difference between filling my car up with high-octave vs. regular gas. I’ll still run with either. I run better with the higher quality fuel.  What does that look like? Eat what the earth provides. There is a right and a wrong way to fuel my spirituality if I want to have optimal performance and efficiency. I can live off of junk and manmade processed food, but I won’t thrive. We think that because we are eating something, that it will be enough. It may cure the immediate hunger pang, but it will not prolong my life or help me to run the race. I need fresh, earth provided food to get the most out of my nutrition. Spiritually, I need food from the source. I need Scripture. I need prayer. I need gratitude and stewardship, praise and supplication. And I need to reach out to others and provide them with the information they need to feed themselves. And it has to be a way of life. It cannot be something I participate in only when I want or need something in order to get my life together. 


    Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Prov 31:30 


    Aesthetics. We all want to look good.  Aesthetics are not always an indicator of good health. I can do a lot of different things to look good. It takes discipline and perseverance to actually be good. Everyone wants a shortcut to beauty. There is no shortcut to the kind of beauty that lasts. There are seasons for everything. Seasons for bulking and seasons for leaning out. Seasons for balancing the two to get the best performance out of the body.  Seasons for setting records and seasons for plateaus.


    But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Sam. 16:7


    All movements in CrossFit rely heavily on one’s core. The core stabilizes and protects the rest of the body from overloading. When we do not have a strong core, we suffer injury. All lifts are performed with a core-to-extremity mentality. This core-to-extremity mentality is also a foundational principle of Christianity. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Prov. 4:23. Your heart is your core. It is out of your core that all movements originate. Every thought, every word, every act comes out of what lies at your core. “The things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart… out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” Matt. 15:18-19. The condition of your core will govern the integrity of your movements. Weak core, weak movements. And when we have weak movements, we not only hurt ourselves, we hurt everyone else around us. 


    Live sore. If I’m not sore, I’m not growing. Another way I like to say this is, “Get comfortable, being uncomfortable.” Growth is uncomfortable. If I am not constantly being pushed to greater depths and heights in my knowledge of grace and Jesus Christ, I’m not getting fitter. I know I’m getting spiritually fit when my exercise of grace pushes me to be uncomfortable. 


    Rest. Oh how we loathe to rest. Our culture rewards productivity and punishes rest. I struggle to rest and I know it is essential to my recovery and replenishment. Everything created requires rest to yield its fruit. When we exercise, we undergo microtears in our microfibers. As these microtears repair themselves, they increase in strength. If the muscles are not allowed to rest, they will not heal properly and over time they will deteriorate growing weaker and more damaged. If we allow for the proper amount of rest, the muscles will be restored and grow stronger. The rest that God designed for us functions the same way. Life has a way of stretching our resources and loading us down with burdens. If we do not learn to practice rest, we will not heal properly from the rigors and trauma of life. Over time we will become weaker and less productive. We were created to gain strength through rest. We work. We rest. We grow stronger. Rest is not a waste of time; it is a necessity. Just as exercise is always beneficial and no physical activity is a waste of your time, investing in your spiritual relationship with Christ is never a waste of your time. 


    When asked whether I am a pastor or a coach, the answer is BOTH! It’s the same calling in two contexts. I pour a lot of time and effort into the development of strength in myself and in others – physically and spiritually. I coach and coax them to try new and difficult things. I mentor them to challenge themselves. I celebrate success and I mourn failure with them. I encourage and exhort them to trust the process and show up every day ready to put in the work. It’s not all about weights, barbells, and pull-up bars. It’s about teamwork and friendship, trust and faithfulness. These things cannot be seen. They are unseen, therefore, eternal.


    There are plenty of unseen and eternal elements to training one’s body. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. There’s no law against these things! If we can’t extend these qualities to our own bodies, how can we expect to extend them to others? 


    I know that one day my body will stop getting stronger. One day it will age and my physical acuity will fade. My spiritual being will not. And the lessons I learn on my journey to strengthen my physical being are invaluable for applying to the care of my spiritual being.


    This body may be temporal. The lessons I learn along the way – those are eternal.