Quit Staring At Your Muffin Tops

Let’s just get this out of the way, shall we? It’s New Year’s Eve, and I suspect, by the new muffin tops spilling over the edge of my yoga pants, I may have eaten too much again this year.

Shocking!

Last night, I made my yoga students hold Warrior II foreverrrrrrrr, while telling them to leave the self-loathing over holiday gluttony on the mat. “It’s a waste of our time, ladies! You’re strong and beautiful, and you’re here getting stronger and more beautiful. So good! Three more breaths.”

Warrior II. Photo Credit Tim Cigleske

Warrior II. Photo Credit Tim Cigleske

A teacher of mine is fond of saying: You cannot be selfish and happy, and that’s why I think New Year’s resolutions, particularly those surrounding weight loss, slip off us like soap in the shower.

We want to get in shape, because we think it will make us happy, and to a degree it’s does, but I’ve been at my “goal weight” and seen all the muscles in my arms, and guess what? I just found something else that needed fixing. Relentless discontent dogs me when it’s all about me. In other words:

I OBSESS ABOUT MY MUFFIN TOPS WHEN I STARE AT MYSELF IN THE MIRROR.

So in 2014, I’m going to quit staring at myself and stare at somebody else instead.

Like the couple in church who, despite having at least three, sometimes five, kids, just swooped into CPS-land and got four more. It is a proven fact that helping them makes me happier than losing ten pounds.

Or perhaps I will stare at another family I know that’s a little short right now, and run to Sam’s Club for them. That plan bubbled up at Love Dinner Saturday night because there is a need, we know what it is and we can meet it – simple.

The Love Dinner gals have been cooking this in their own kitchens for months now. One of them used a Macy’s gift card she got for her birthday to buy new clothes for a Hispanic woman living with her three kids at the crisis center. Another helped an older woman clean up her child’s vomit in Taco Bell. Another gave a young mother pushing a stroller in the dark, a ride to the grocery store and back home.

See, the LD gals know that the Love of God must be attached to hands and feet. This country is drowning in theology while the world dies of hunger. How can that be when the Bible says, “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” James 2:26

Muffin Tops Cannot Survive this Pose! Photo Credit: Flashflood

BTW – Muffin Tops Cannot Survive this Pose! Photo Credit: Flashflood

The good news about love and service is that it feels good. When somebody’s life is demonstrably better because you showed up, it’s exhilarating and holy because you sense there’s something larger at work. Though you can’t see it yet, you are building great amphitheaters and skyways and rose gardens in the eternal Kingdom of God.

And it’s easy. Look around.

Does some kid in your neighborhood need a trusted adult? Is there an elderly widow who needs a cup of tea? AIDS orphans surely need a sponsor, and Mercy Ships needs a lot more doctors, nurses and dollars for the new ship.

So go ahead lose the ten pounds here’s a tool I like, and come to yoga in Mineola; then unhand the muffin tops and go get happy helping someone else. Let me know how it goes.

Happy 2014!

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Please Don’t Give – Invest.

If you know anything about venture capitalism, you know angel investors don’t dump a million dollars on MIT kids in a garage just to be nice. They do it because they believe in the idea or an undervalued company and expect to reap boatloads of cash.

Which got me to thinking about my soon-to-be friends Telise and Fidelise in Zambia.

Six years ago, Telise and Fidelise were orphans in the capitol city of Lusaka. They were passed from family to family because nobody could afford to raise them. Finally, their grandmother left them with Pastors Jasper and Zion Mutale – the people I am going to work for in July.

This was them six years ago.

'07 both (180)

This is them today.

Picture 3

Jasper and Zion poured the love and mercy of Jesus Christ into them. Now, Telise (left) dreams of being a pilot or an engineer. Mama Zion says he’s intelligent, really funny and has learned to play the guitar.

But this is where my heart skips.

Take a look at the top picture again. Look at Fidelise on the left, look at her eyes. Zion said she doesn’t talk about it much, but during her orphan days, she was “mistreated” and it affects her confidence. Do you know what Fidelise dreams of doing with her life? She wants to be a lawyer and defend poor people and orphans.

My friends, these companies are undervalued.

These kids have the potential to do massive damage to the enemy that messed with them. They just need some angel investors, people like us who can help get them to the private high school, where they can get an education befitting a future lawyer and engineer.

I’m not asking you to give toward their educations which cost about $1200 a year each, I’m asking you to invest because there’s something in it for you.

Jesus said:

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. Luke 6:38

The Apostle Paul said:

Let us not become wearing in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:9-10

Malachi the prophet said:

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. Malachi 3:10

Of course, you might donate just because it feels good to give or you’re an attentive follower of Jesus. But if you want to give just to see what will come back, God says in Malachi it’s ok – give it a whirl.

Online fundraising for Team Kirk to Zambia 2013

In July, I’m going to meet these kids face to face and I’m going to tell them about you, by name – Americans who want to help them go to school.

Will you join me? If you click that little widget and make a tax-deductible contribution to SCRUBS Medical Mission, you’re not kissing your cash goodbye, you’re sowing seed into the ground, investing for your future harvest.

Meet The God of Water.

Pouring Water

(Photo credit: peterjroberts)

You are the glass – God, the water.

Fill up daily.

Your glass is more useful than special.

Use it. Fill it. Empty it on

a thirsty, beaten world.

What else would you do with it?

Bedazzle and shelve it with the other pretty vessels?

Fill it with poison and sell it?

Smash and shatter it into angry little bullets?

Why, when you can water God’s flowers?

Douse their drooping heads

with a cool drink from the eternal spring.

Your glass can hold only so much privilege.