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3 Keys to Healthy Change

082018_healthychange

I love CGLCS for so many reasons. One of my favorite characteristics of our community is that we are willing to talk, challenge, and love one another through hard subjects. I pray you have enjoyed “The Healthy Life” sermon series. “Enjoy” may be the wrong word choice. I pray you have been challenged (yes, challenged is more appropriate) to look at your holistic health. I pray you are well on the way to prioritizing the weekly goals you are setting. I pray new habits are being formed. Most importantly, I pray you are growing deeper in your faith in Jesus, and that you have found numerous positive friends through this journey. The healthy life is truly the best life.

There is so much I’d like to say on Sundays in sermons.  I’m sure you are thankful I don’t, and some of you may wish I said less. Here are excerpts of what did not make it fully into my sermon.

I truly believe healthy change starts with knowing your identity in Christ, and then daily claiming an abundance and growth mindset.

Identity

Our identity in Christ is the foundation for all healthy lifestyle changes. You are unconditionally loved by God. Jesus died and rose for you. Your baptism connects you to the death and resurrection power of Jesus. You have been made God’s child and nothing can change this fact.

Your identity is not found in the mirror. Your identity cannot be found on the scale. Your identity is not in what you eat or do not eat. Your identity is not determined by being a “fitness freak,” “gym rat,” or “court connoisseur” (I made that last one up. I should have kept it to myself.). 

Whenever I preach somewhat prescriptive and specific sermons as I have done the past few weeks, some members in Christ’s body may think, “Oh man, if I don’t eat or workout like Pastor Tim, he disapproves of me.” Brother or sister loved by Jesus, I love you as you are. I accept you as you are. I am proud of the journey Jesus is leading you on to daily mirror Jesus to the world. Yet, honestly (how else should we speak), my acceptance and approval of you pales in comparison to the unconditional acceptance and approval of Jesus through faith in His finished work on the cross. 

You are also not alone. You are a valuable part of Christ’s body at CGLCS, just as you are. May Peter’s words remind you of your individual and communal identity. 

I Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

Abundance

What is your mindset going into every day? Honestly, it probably varies, just like mine. Some days I am pumped and optimistic for what lies ahead. Other times I am fearful and worried. Sometimes I have a “scarcity mindset” which says, “There is only so much good and I pray I find it.” I daily yearn for an “abundance mindset” that says, “There is so much good from Jesus all around me! Wow! Jesus help me to steward all the good well! Yes, there are troubles, but you’ve overcome them through the cross and empty tomb, Jesus! Thank you!”

I’ve found that the more consistent my morning rhythms are, with the foundation being God’s Word, the more I begin my day with an “abundance mindset.” 

Here are a few of my morning abundance statements. 
“Today is a gift from Jesus.”
“Today, Holy Spirit, help me resist worry and fear. Jesus has conquered both.”
“Today show me how to best love others, Jesus.” 
“Today is a Divine adventure with the God of the universe.”
“Today is a day to laugh and discover joy.”

Here are some of my foundational Scriptures that help lead me toward an abundance, rather than a scarcity mindset. 

Isaiah 40:31 - Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Joshua 1:9 - Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

John 10:10 - (Jesus says) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Try to read verses like this and have a “scarcity mindset.” Your God has abundantly given you good gifts, He desires you to daily delight in His best gifts of forgiveness of sins, life to the full, and salvation. May the Holy Spirit give you an “abundance mindset.” Oh, and if you self reflect and realize you are prone to the “scarcity mindset,” make a new friend that has an “abundance mindset.” They are all around at CGLCS.

Growth

With your identity secure in Christ, and with an “abundance mindset” centered in Christ, you are now ready to invite the Holy Spirit to help you grow.

Here is the beautiful thing - we get to grow and learn forever. I truly believe that if I stop learning my spirit will start dying. I don’t want to ever become an “expert” at anything. Being an expert means that I’ve “arrived.” I’ll never arrive and stop learning in any area of life until Jesus returns. A lifetime of growth and learning makes me so excited. 

That’s why we share our recent good book reads in our sermons. Jesus has changed or helped to reframe us and we want to share. I love it when you share your recent reading list. This sort of curiosity fuels our growth. 

God has created so many vibrant leaders in our world. Many of them are not Christian. Nonetheless, they were still created by the Creator, and often are speaking about how the Creator’s creation works best in arenas like the workplace or home. They are speaking truth, even though they do not believe in the Truth, Jesus. We can still learn from these leaders. 

One of our biggest struggles as Christians is getting into a narrow mindset that says, “If I do not share their same belief in one area (i.e. a point of doctrine or theology) then I cannot receive anything of value from them.” This mindset hampers continued learning. If pressed deeply enough we all can find differences. May our differences make us curious, rather than lead us to build relational walls. 

I’m not saying that all content is created equal. It’s not. You know this. Discernment from the Holy Spirit is needed. 

Therefore, with this in mind, I’m closing this blog sharing 2 books and 2 podcasts from secular leaders. The last recommendation is from a Christian. I’ve been blessed by their wise and researched counsel in the areas of leadership, culture and holistic wellness. I pray they bless you. If not, I’m sorry. Oh, and let me know what you’re learning that is changing your perspective. I look forward to growing and learning with you. 

“The Happiness Advantage” a book by Shawn Achor
Shawn shares research to display happy people thrive in the workplace. People who reach high levels of leadership are often not happy. 

“Big Potential” by Shawn Achor
This is Shawn’s follow up to “The Happiness Advantage.” In this book he shares the incredible power and joy that is found in dynamic teams in all different environments. 

“The Chalene Show” podcast with Chalene Johnson
Chalene has fantastic energy and is passionate about sharing practical leadership and wellness tips for the home and workplace. Alexa turned me onto this podcast. 

“The Model Health Show” podcast with Shawn Stephenson
Shawn goes deep into researched health and wellness tips. He shares many leadership strategies. He also has a silky smooth voice. Ha!

(You can find the above two podcasts for free on iTunes or Spotify.)

“Lead Time” with Tim Ahlman and Jake Boessling
We are starting a podcast in September on leadership and wellness from a Lutheran perspective. We will perform many interviews. Should be fun. Give it a listen.