Friday, February 22, 2008

Does Clutter Make you Fat?

I am so ripping off Robin's title (Does clutter make you fat?, February 9th). It's a great title. I've written at least three entries for this title so far (two explaining why it does and one detailing why it won’t), but deleted each one. Today, during my class, I wrote six pages of notes so that I can finally post something.

Does clutter make you fat? No. But it will keep you fat. Ever since Robin wrote that blog entry, the title has been rolling around in my head. What is clutter? Around the home it’s either necessary items not in their proper place (school books scattered in the hall) or it can simply be too much of things we really don’t need (I’m not a big fan of the ‘knick-knack’). In our lives, it’s pretty much the same.

I’ve been trying to clean up the clutter in my life, all the things that are not in their proper place and all the things I really don’t need. Things like Emily, the kids, my job, even my health are all necessary responsibilities with which God has blessed me. But they all need to be kept in their proper place, namely second to God. Still other things (tv) need to trimmed back (or removed all together) especially if I am working on the responsibilities I mentioned as necessary.

One big thing lately is my health. For a while I’ve tried to use Emily and the kids as a motivation to lose weight and be healthier, but it took the competition at work to kick start me. Exercise and diet will not guarantee a life without trouble, but the odds are it will be longer and a better quality. For so long I could not see beyond the momentary satisfaction of sautéed shrimp over rice, or pancakes, or snicker-doodles. Exercise, whether jumping rope or walking at the Y, and learning to just say no to brownies, has really been lousy during the moment, but, boy, after losing almost twenty pounds, I feel so much better. One of the guys in the competition has been able to quit his insulin because his sugar’s been okay. It’s that kind of thing that keeps me plugging along.

I’m not saying I’ll never have another brownie, maybe after I get my weight under control. God wants us to enjoy his creation. But like an alcoholic, I’ve used food as an escape from the moment. I convinced myself that I’d done something to deserve that Reese’s cup. Also like an alcoholic, going cold turkey is the best way for me; cold turkey slices over a bed of baby spinach leaves.

But I need to clean up the other clutter, too. Especially any clutter I’ve stacked in front of God, clutter I use to escape. Even my pursuit to lose weight can become an idol. Too many of the things that provide an instant, temporary joy become idols to me, such as sleeping in, tv, web surfing, movies, etc. They’re not necessarily evil on their own, but once I give them a better seat at the table than God, they’re clutter.

God must be first. He has decided to bless me in so many ways. I know He is sovereign, but I am called to be a good steward, even with His blessings.

Lord, help me identify and smash the idols cluttering my view of You. And Lord, please help me rest in Your grace while serving obediently. Be my escape. Amen.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Pastor Brinkman taught on missions today during the education hour. I'm ripping this point off him. He credited the source correctly on the power point, but I cannot remember.

Our conversion is three-fold: 1) our commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ, 2) our commitment to the Church, and 3) our commitment to the world.

In other words, are you passionate about Christ? Are you passionate about the Church? Are you passionate about the world?

He went on to quote several other folks (John Piper stands out the strongest) to present the idea that missions is foundational to good theology. I believe it was Piper who said you are either a Goer, a Sender, or Disobedient. If missions is not on your theological must-do list, it's time to re-evaluate the list.

I did not take good notes so if you want to hear it for yourself click here.

(Emily told me to add a weigh-in update from last Wednesday. I won last week, losing just over 4 lbs from the week before. I'm currently in 2nd overall with a weight loss of 19.2 lbs and under 200 lbs for the 1st time in many years. I never thought I could do it. There's a cost. I haven't had more than a couple pieces of bread since the first of the year, and maybe a couple bites of pasta and ice cream, oh, and a couple cookies. Do not be discouraged. God is good and will give you the will power. If you really want to lose weight, just like if you want to give your life over to Him, it WILL require sacrifice. It will cost you. Commitment, in almost every case, requires a radical restructuring of your priorities. Some say weight loss is not worth giving up desert, bread, or pasta. Some say they can focus their life on a holy God while not avoiding the trash on tv or in movies (I hate having to give up movies; I so wanted to see Jumper) such as sex outside of marriage and sexually suggestive humor. I'm down to only one tv show, Lost, and the previews for next week look like I'm going to have to give it up also. I don't want to come off legalistic or self-righteous or harsh. I fail in every way I've mentioned above. Let me repeat that, I fail in every eay I listed above, and more. But I am trying to be practical. The old programmers maxim works outside of writing code: garbage in, garbage out; physically and spiritually.)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Quick Update

Still losing, down 14.6 lbs so far. Donnie and Ray both went up, a little, from last week. Curtis is still chugging along, winning the past two weeks, for a total of 19.2 lbs. He's almost reached his goal of 180. Maybe that will slow him down so I can have a chance to catch up and win a week or two before the end on April 2nd. Since Donnie gained the most, his desk is now host to an ugly wooden budha holding a hot dog. I'll trying to get a photo. It's really ugly.