I have never been "athletic". I know that may surprise some of you. (if you didn't catch the sarcasm in that, allow me to clarify I am being sarcastic). I peaked in 8th grade when I was a part of the award winning 4x4 relay track team that won first place for the Eldon Mustangs, at an event where there were only three teams entered. As we called it the "fat man relay", because it was the add on event for the "non-athletic" members of the team, it was literally the only sports award I ever won. EVER. I think that qualifies me as a champion.....right? (cue a Queen song, or Katy Perry song, depending on your generation).
Recently I climbed onto the scales, the the number I saw was staggering. Bothering. Disturbing. I've never been a regular exerciser, or dieter. I have always just ate when I was hungry. However, Matthew is not a youngster anymore, and he as has to watch his health. :-)
Over the past few weeks, I have really committed to being healthy. Notice I didn't say "I am trying to lose a bunch of weight". Seems like those are two different things in our culture. I have been working out 4-5 days a week the past few weeks, doing cardio and some light leg and arm work. I have also, through the use of a great Iphone app called "Sparkpeople", watched what I eat. I am trying to eat less gluten, due to some stomach issues as well. I have seen amazing results thus far. I have lost 6 pounds, and I have to tell you that I feel wonderful.
While this may seem like a simply physical thing, it goes much deeper. I want to live a long, healthy life, so that I can lead my family down a road of honoring God missionally and fulfilling the Great Commission. I want God to use me effectively not just in my young years, but lifelong, for His glory. It is not easy. Working out is not natural to me. (believe you me-ask my body...it's screaming on a daily basis right now). But God is giving me strength to do this, along with strength to eat healthy meals and not just junk fast food and grease. Amazing what happens when you put healthy, quality fuel in your body. This same effect happens when we discipline ourselves in the Word of God spiritually as well. It's hard to do it at first. It feels awkward, and we don't know how to do it well. But keep going. Do it. Spend time. Allow the Word of God soak into you, and God will use it to change your heart and life.
Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the bi-annual "Together For The Gospel" conference in Louisville, Kentucky. It was an amazing week. I got to hear from many trusted men that I regularly go to for guidance in the scriptures. However-I must tell you that one of my favorite times of the week was the worship. There were not any fancy lights. There were not any fancy effects. There actually wasn't even anyone on stage leading. Just one man, leading worship, from a piano in the middle of some seats of the arena. Many times, he would get us started with the piano, and 7000 pastors from all around the country would just sing. It was simple. We would sing old songs and new. All very Gospel centered, and very glorifying words to God. My wife, who volunteered at the very first Together for the Gospel in 2006, told me I would love it. She was very right. I would highly recommend you go and listen/watch the main sessions. The website is www.t4g.org I highly recommend the messages by Matt Chandler, John Piper and David Platt. It was a refreshment to my soul, and I was thankful I was able to attend. I also was able to spend time with some of Second Baptist's church planters that we support around the country. What an incredible blessing to see them bring men they are developing into leaders to plant churches. The Lord is at work!
Matthew is 34 years old and currently lives in St Louis, Missouri with his wife Leslie. He serves as the Associate Pastor at The Groves Church, in Webster Groves, Missouri.