Archive for the ‘Evolution’ Category

Remember the pictures?  In case you forgot, here they are again…

“Before” 1/6/08 End of Competition Photo

Now here are the numbers.  Be warned, some are pitiful, some are good, and some are shockingly awesome.  I am particularly proud of the muscle growth numbers for my shoulders, arms, and legs.

Weight: Then 178.2

Now: 179.9 lbs

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Well here is a picture of me from 12 weeks ago…

“Before” 1/6/08

Here is me now…

End of Competition Photo

So here they are side by side…

“Before” 1/6/08  End of Competition Photo

The corresponding measurements will be forthcoming, when I have the time to sit at the computer and post them.  However, right now I have a full day of daddy duties ahead of me.  Check back in soon, for the FULL results…

Today is a slow day for blogging, and I am phoning it in with this “Best Of” list based on your votes (well your clicks). According to your visits these are my top ten posts of ALL TIME (well, since February)…

10. Ask John. The place where if you have questions I might have answers. I make no guarantees about the quality of those answers.

9. Training for Ninja Warrior. Well by now most of you know I am training to compete on Ninja Warrior. This goal has a large impact on how I train my body. Admittedly, there is a lot more I need to do to get ready for the show.

8. Warning: Cute Baby Pictures. My amazing daughter being cute.

7. The Double F Workout. Don’t do this unless there are no kids around or you bring your own child. Otherwise you look creepy.

6. My Unconventional Weight Loss Tools. Cheap stuff, made easy, and it works well to drop the pounds and build up muscle.

5. Weight Loss Tracking Chart. I have no clue why so many people visit this post.

4. Photo Evidence. Something about me shirtless seems to drive up hits to this blog. Weird.

3. Sexercise. The title says it all.

2. How Many Push-ups Does it Take to get to the Center of an Awesome Body? I am not sure why this is so popular. I am especially curious how this is more popular than sexercise?!

And the number one page of all time on this blog….

1. Update: Before and After Pictures. I would like to think it is my tan body or my handsome face that brings in all the visitors, but I am pretty sure it is the term “before and after” that keeps them coming.

Visit Yahoo! Answers to find the answer to millions of different questions.

This Yahoo! Answers badge is really getting me angry. I am supposed to have a really nice looking badge that shows various questions I have answered on Yahoo Answers, but yet the best I can get is the sentence above. So I think I will highlight some questions I answered on Yahoo! Answers by reposting them here (and crossing my fingers that Yahoo! doesn’t mind).

Question 1: Cheery! asks, “Global Warming: Interesting/boring? why? I want to talk about Global Warming in the Oral exam which we are allowed ot prepare beforehand for. I know that alot of people are going to speak on this topic. So does anyone have any interesting facts about global warming so that i can engage the examiner’s interest? And if you find Global Warming boring, why?”

Answer: Although it doesn’t directly answer your question, I would suggest you find a new topic. If there will be several presentations on this subject in a classroom setting you run a very high risk of boring even those interested in Global Warming.

No matter how many interesting facts you find, if you are the fifth or sixth speaker on this topic most will have tuned out by then. So I would encourage you, if you have the ability, to find a new topic.

Personally I find the topic interesting, but if I had to listen to several students give speeches on the subject I would probably…(Continue reading here).”

 

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I find it useful to retake these tests every now and again. I found a good (and free) test over at humanmetrics.com. The results? I am a “mastermind.” Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Here is the description of a Mastermind…

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 Here are my updated before and after pictures.  The pictures on the left (your left) are from February 8, 2007.  The pictures on the right (your right) are from June 6th, 2007.  Almost exactly four months to the day from when I began this weight loss journey.

feb17croppedfrontphoto.JPGjune-6-front-double-crop.jpg

The guy above (the old me) had a 42 inch waist.  Now, as of today, my waist is 34 1/2 inches.

feb8backcropped.JPGjune-6-back-double-crop.jpg

See all those rolls of fat on the left hand picture?  That guy weighed 206 lbs .  Think of how big my fat cell’s must have been.  Now, I weigh 169.2 lbs- less than 10 lbs from my goal weight. What a difference losing 36+ lbs of fat can make from all perspectives.

croppedsideviewfeb8.JPG june-6-side-double-crop.jpg

The old me had a gut that hung over my belt.  That 42 inch waist was a miserable traveling companion.  It popped numerous button from the front of some great khaki pants.  Now, when I put on my fat clothes they hang on me like  a trash bag, and my old, old, old clothes fit perfectly.

june-6-front.jpg

The guy above is a much healthier, happier, energetic man.  Praise the Lord for positive change and for the strength to endure.

I love the beginning of a new week. Each new week carries with it the promise of a fresh change, a new start, a chance to get over the day you ate two donuts- the chocolate kind that are covered in chocolate frosting. But ideally, my view (our view) of each day should be the same. Heck, why not each minute?

All of us would transform and grow at a more rapid pace if we could put our shame behind us quicker. Too many of us wallow in our mistakes and end up repeating them over and over. We bear shame that is far too heavy for our shoulders and as a result we keep our faces in the same dirt that brought us shame in the first place.

For some it is that day they went overboard and had a whole pizza, with BBQ wings, regular (not diet) Coca-Cola, and half an apple pie with ice cream on the side. After that day they (possibly you) say, “Why bother? ”  That voice of shame says, “You’re not going to be able to control your appetite.”

For some it might be the lies they told or the sheer weight of their own sin, that bears down on their back. That same voice of shame whispers in our ears, “You’ll never be good enough. You don’t deserve (insert here whatever your goal might be).”

Luckily, that voice of shame is wrong. You don’t blow a whole diet by eating poorly one day- heck you don’t even blow it by eating poorly one day a week. Step back and look at the totality of your choices. You might blow it one day a week, but what about the other six? None of us is perfect. So if your life is marked (for the most part) by positive movement toward your goals you haven’t blown it.

Because it isn’t that one day, that one mistake that ruins our diet, that ruins our walk with God, or our career. Most often it is the inordinate amount of time we spend dwelling on that mistake, refusing to learn from it, and consequently repeating it over and over.

Leave your mistake(s) behind you. Don’t forget them, but learn from them, and move on with your life or your diet. There is something at the other end that is well worth the pain and self-denial. I can tell you from where I stand, right about half-way, I am so happy about all I have achieved. I am also so excited about all the mountains left to climb.

When we hope we look forward to something with confidence or expectation of its attainment[1] Something that is hoped for is almost never a negative or bad thing, but something that will in some way enrich our lives; Captives hope for freedom, drunk men for libations, poor men for some cash, and weak men for power. There is not a man who lives without some hope- for once hope has departed life soon follows. It is what men hope in that defines them, and is the measure of their desires and character.

When Simeon of Antioch the stylite (388-459) stood upon a pillar twenty meters high and two meters wide for thirty-six years with very little sitting or lying down- preferring to bind himself to a pole so he could sleep standing- he certainly had an incredible amount of hope in something.[2] Then saint Simeon Stylites the younger (521-597) came along and sat upon a similar pillar for almost twice as long- sixty-eight years.[3] These men are two examples out of many men and women who devoted (although I would argue in a flawed interpretation of Christ’s commands) their life to God in the best way they knew- and should elicit some degree of respect for their resolve. If only modern Christians had the same resolve of these men to stand by their convictions with strength.

Would a modern Christian submit himself to such severe deprivation for the sake of his Lord? Would a modern Christian deny himself the pleasures of the world? I said earlier these men were flawed in their thoughts, I say such because they separated themselves from the world entirely- living apart the anchorite lifestyle. Yet, to endure such deprivation, such pain, such discomfort (imagine the blazing Arabian sun in Syria burning down directly on you for thirty-six years) was a task that could not be completed without a sure and certain hope. A hope that transcended the flesh and it’s base desires.

Now, over 1,600 years later, what is our hope? Where is the evidence of our hope in God, in Christ, and in God’s word? It is easily understood how we could not endure the life of a anchorite or stylite, but how much discomfort would we endure for Christ? Would you be willing to lose your family?[4] Would you be willing to be hated by the world for the sake of Christ?[5] Would you be willing to endure imprisonment?[6] Would you be willing to die for Him?[7]

We must all answer these question for ourselves. But as best I can guess, many believers will turn away due to the hardship. For today few in our nation suffer imprisonment, torture, abandonment, or death for their Lord- as believers in other parts of the world currently endure courageously. Could we as believers in America endure as much? I doubt it.

I doubt because so many of us are already too concerned with the way the world, our neighbors, and the media view us that we compromise scripture to avoid being stereotyped as a fundamentalist or evangelical Christian. We avoid confrontation on those parts of our beliefs and scripture that we are unable to defend, conceding ourselves into a more limited form of Christianity. A Christianity that isn’t defined by God or His word, but by man and his views- or his scorn of us as believers.

But why lay our trust and hope in men? Why value their opinions above those of the Lord? The great apostle writes, “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.”[8] As believers we are admonished to, “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”[9] But are all our thoughts obedient to Christ? Or have we adopted the wisdom of the world because we are ashamed of our perceived foolishness?

There is a simple equation that explains why we should not trust secular men to dictate our views as Christians. That equation is: No God = No Hope. If our secular friends win in persisting us they are right, if there is no God of the creation, no redeeming death of Christ from the fall, and no judgment and eternal life for the believer- then there is no hope. Men great enough to build pyramids currently slumber in museums and under the ancient sands of the Egyptian deserts, but their power, wealth, and privilege mean nothing to their rotting (or preserved) bodies. They know no thought, no judgment, no pain- only a constant void of existence. A similar fate finds kings and jesters, CEO’s and janitors, doctors and carneys.

We are free to hope in man all we want, but in man we will always find death. For even should man discover how to live 200, 1000, or even 10,000 more years he would still ultimately find the cold visage of death awaits him at the end of his journey. We will all discover at the final judgment that death is the result of sin and its entrance into our world. For as Paul writes that by one man sin entered this world, so by one man (Christ) we will be freed from sin.[10]

So we should never be ashamed to espouse our full and unfettered faith to friends, family, and strangers.[11, 12] For Christ is not ashamed of us when He stands before the Father to present our case as our great defender.[13] For when through a fear of shame before man we compromise our hope and faith in Christ and His creation- we show the world we respect them more than we do our own Lord. What image does that give unbelievers of our church, our faith, and our certainty in salvation?

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13

Hollow, a silhouette, symbolic, vain, and social. These are all words that could well describe our Christian faith in the West (and the U.S. specifically). I came across this story today on-line:

“Woodrow Kroll of Back to the Bible says a new survey shows biblical illiteracy is one of the biggest problems facing the Church in America. According to the Christian ministry president, research shows that the average American owns three copies of the Bible, but doesn’t read any of them.” [1]

Not convinced we have a problem on our hands? Read this:

“[T]wo-thirds of Americans believe that the Bible holds the answers to all or most of life’s basic questions. Yet, only half of the adults in this country can name one of the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and most Americans do not know the first book in the Bible (Genesis).” [2]

Three bibles. Many can’t even name the four gospels or the first book of the Bible- unbelievable. While people all around the world thirst (and bear beatings, torture, and murder to receive God’s word) we have an abundance of Bibles and show little to no interest in reading them. Much less do we seem interested in living a biblical and Christ centered lifestyle.

Earlier I described our belief in this country as hollow, a silhouette, symbolic, vain, and social. And in this day it has become as much for many believers who not only sit in pews, but those who hold positions within the church. I am not qualified to judge people individually on this ground, that is something each of us must do introspectively and retrospectively guided by God’s word and thoughtful prayer.

That being said, I would like to present what might be the single most common reason why our beliefs have become hollow, symbolic, and vain in many instances.

Compromise– We are quick to avoid confrontation, like Peter following Christ (after his arrest) to the home of the High Priest. But instead of outright denying any knowledge of Christ (like Peter) we simply deny the biblical Christ in favor of a Christ more friendly to the world (and the true Bible in favor of a worldly scripture). There are many reasons for this compromise: avoiding confrontation, a lack of knowledge, seeking worldly acceptance, rationalization that a more PC Christ will draw more people to the Church, etc.

Whatever our reasons, all too often we compromise Christ or His word in order live an easier life- a life free from serious disputes with the world around us. I can tell you from experience that a life of uncompromising acceptance of the scriptures isn’t easy. It is downright hard. The world will call you foolish and stupid, many will hate you for what you believe. It won’t be an easy road.

“Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” 1 Corinthians 3:18-20.

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools” Romans 1:20-22.

“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” John 15:19.

Now I would ask you to look to your own life. Where have you compromised? Do you retreat in horror when the topic of evolution and creationism rears it head? Do you remain silent when the issue of homosexuality within the church is a part of the conversation? Do you quietly abide while others talk about the many paths that lead to God? Did you do any of these things because a thorough search of scripture convinced you they were correct, or did you do these things because you felt uncomfortable (or simply wanted the world to be more comfortable with you).

I can tell you that such a look into your own heart is profitable and beneficial to your walk. How do I know? I was a compromising Christian at one point in my life. My own problem wasn’t a lack of knowledge, but a fear of being ridiculed by my peers and mentors in the academic world.

“The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” John 12:25-26.

If Christ expects me to die for my beliefs, how can I be so weak as to compromise them just to gain acceptance? If believers around the world are willing to die for Christ, why can’t I simply endure the scorn of my peers?

After all this inward searching, I learned that Jesus was right when He said, “if you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own.” I compromised Christ so much that the world accepted and loved me, and in the process I lost my love for Christ. The world was glad to accept me as long as I embraced it’s desires and repudiated those aspects of Christianity that it found offensive. But when I changed, when I embraced Christ fully, I found my reception was much different. Threats, slurs, and intimidation are but a few of the responses of this world those who won’t compromise their firm faith in Christ.

“When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.” Proverbs 10:25

“All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Matt. 10:22.

“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Matt. 24:12-13.

“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58.

“[I]t is by faith you stand firm.” 2 Corinthians 1:24.

Love Christ because of what He has done, love Him for who he is, or love him because He first loved you. Whatever the reason, know why you believe what you believe. And be ready to respond to those who question your faith.