Pastor Chad's Itinarary

Friday, June 27, 2014

"My Journey So Far..."

"My Journey So Far..."
     This blog page has been largely reserved to share the gospel and to give hope to those who are in need of Christ. However, I want to take a moment to encourage others, especially pastors to take control of their lives physically. After moving to northern Tennessee almost 5 years ago I tipped the scales at 290 pound wearing a size 46 pant. After a year and a half of pastoring, facing trials of various sorts, and alot of stress I felt as though my life was spinning out of control. I went to the doctor for a check up where he said I was borderline diabetic, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. I needed to DO something.
     That is when I began walking. The journey started out by being unable to walk a half a mile. However, I kept pressing forward and being as consistent as I knew how. I did this for several months and signed up for my first 5K. By this time I had worked my way up from walking to jogging and losing a few pounds. After completing my first 5K life happened and I quit for a few months. But, I quickly realized I needed this discipline for my life. So, I began to research and study more about running and set a goal to run a 'half marathon.' It was then I started running more consistently in order to finish my first 'half marathon.'
     This past October ('13) I did finish my first 'half marathon' in 2:31:50. Not real good, but I did finish in the cold rainy weather of TN. After completing the 'half' I hurt so, so, bad and everywhere. I had cramps and felt terrible all day long. I knew I had not trained properly for this event. I mean 13.1 miles is a long way! So, I spent some time considering what to do now. Of course, after I healed up. I thought I wanted a new challenge. Maybe a marathon?  Maybe triathlon? But, I knew one thing. I didn't know what I was doing.
     That is when I decided I wanted to find someone to help me in training and weight loss. I stilled weighed around 260 pounds when I contacted Chris Borden. Chris Borden is a dentist in Haleyville, AL, but is also an endurance athlete who helps coach others. You can read his blog here: . His wife and I went to the same high school together in the 90's (shhh...don't tell anyone that I'm that old!). He came recommended to me from an ex-boss of mine who had just completed his first Ironman (140.6 miles), which Chris helped in his training. So, I began the journey with Chris to become a better runner and lose more weight. Since joining his team I have lost 55 pounds in about 6 months and I have become a more proficient runner. I finished my second 'half marathon' in Tuscaloosa, AL in March with a time of 2:02:12 and I didn't hurt like I did after my first 'half.' That was a great blessing from training properly.
     So, after few months of run training I ended up buying a used bike to do some cross training. This helped give my legs a break from all the pounding. After riding for a little while I  thought I would compete in a triathlon (swim, ride, run). And so, I signed up for my first sprint triathlon called 'Storm the Fort' in Kingston, TN.

Me, Chris, and Dylan prior to race
 Thanks to this guy in the last 6 months I've went from a 11:00/mile to 7:40/ mile today in my very first triathlon. Not to mention I've dropped 60 lbs. since December too. He's been an awesome coach answering all my silly questions, from equipment to nutrition. Not only does he answer my questions, but he works as hard in his own training, as he crushed 'Storm the Fort' half IronMan finishing 1st place overall. He helped me out during my pity party Thursday before the race, when I told him I wasn't comfortable swimming 600 yds. He told me I might not need to do the race (reverse psychology, I think?), lest I drown. Since running my first half marathon I desired to try and complete a triathlon and he has helped me to do that very thing. By the Lord's grace I finished today without drowning! Although I didn't earn any hardware (medals), I finished 8th in my age division and with an overall time of 1:31:23 (600 yrd. swim, 13 mile bike, 4 mile run). Who knows I might try an Ironman one day? I am grateful most of all to Samantha Smith Beck and the Beck boys for cheering me on along the way. It was a great Father's Day weekend!        

Me and the Beck boys

My precious wife who supports me so well.

YES! The finish line of "Storm the Fort"

I understand most people will never have a desire to run 'half marathons' or do a triathlon, but if I could encourage just one person to get out and be active it would be worth it all. The benefits of my physical activity has been incomprehensible. Here are a few things I have personally benefited from by being active:

1. For starters, it has caused me to be more discipline in my time. I always said, "I didn't have time for exercise. I am a pastor and people needed me. However, I realized how much time I wasted on trivial things. Someone asked me, "how much time do you spend on exercising?" I said, "less time than most people spend watching television in a day." However, I have to spend my time wisely and be focused on what I am doing. So, exercising has become one of my priorities in my life and has helped me immensely in my time management. I encourage you find 30 minutes a day just to get out and walk. Make it a priority. Just like my quiet time in daily reading of Scripture, or the time we set apart to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, set your time for exercising, as well.
2. I have been able to incorporate my family in a healthy lifestyle. When I ride my bike for 20-30 miles I will stop by the house afterwards and they will do a cool down ride with me. We don't go fast, but we are able to talk and enjoy our time together. When I go to swim they go with me. My boys love to swim, just not like I do! So, we enjoy the ride there and back. When I run sometimes they are able to go with me for a mile or two or catch me on my cool down walk. My wife has even began walking along with me. I encourage you to get out and go for a walk with your children or your wife in the evening.
3. I have benefited in losing 85 pounds since I began this journey 3 and a half years ago. Needless to say I am no longer borderline "anything." I feel better than I can every remember. Plus I have more energy than ever before as well. Exercising and nutrition is the key to a healthier lifestyle. My family and I are have been blessed to use a all-natural botanical superfood which we receive all the nutrition we need and don't get in our processed food. It is call "moringa." For more information click here:
4. I have learned as well that is alright to set goals and to work toward them.
Here are few goals I am tossing around in my head now. I will do 2-3 more triathlons this season. My next race will be Clarksville, TN on August 23rd. Next May 2015, I want to do the "Half-IronMan" in Panama City, FL, where I will swim 1.2 miles, ride 56 miles, and run 13.1 miles. My long, long, long term goal is to do a full "IronMan" (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile, 26.2 run).
5. The last, but not least and most important benefit is I am closer to the Lord today than I was 3 and a half years ago. As I am exercising, I often meditate on the passage of Scripture I will preach the coming Lord's Day. Or I will pray for my people who the Lord brings to my mind. Sometimes I will stop and talk to neighbors around our community as I am running. I am also taking care of the temple in which he has entrusted to me. I want to prolong my days and to be used for God's glory wether its preaching the gospel, visiting shut-ins, or doing triathlons. I have more energy than before enabling me to do the work I have been called to and to do it with great joy!

     I pray this blog I "threw" together would be a blessing to God's people, especially for pastors who have busy schedules and find time to take care of themselves. May the Lord receive the glory that is due Him!
Let me know what you think?

"The Faithfulness of Elijah"

Today's chronological Bible reading is taken from 1 Kings 17-19 (click link to read).

There are many events in these chapters one could focus on. However, the Lord has drawn my attention to the overarching theme of Elijah's faithfulness. Elijah served as a prophet of God to heal and speak on behalf of God. God used Elijah to heal and give hope to the "widow of Zarephath." God used Elijah not only heal her son, but to bring her to faith in God.But, Elijah was used to heal and speak for God, but also to confront false prophets of the day. He not only confronts King Ahab, but challenges the peoples false worship of Baal. Elijah calls out their false worship by challenging the false prophets of Baal and defeating them. Elijah's was a "man's man." He drew his strength from the Lord to stand in the midst of a wicked generation.

But, like most men of God there comes time where they become weary in well doing. Elijah not only was used to heal and confront false prophets, but there was tremendous resistance against him. While he is serving the Lord by healing the dead, and confronting idol worship, Jezebel is ready to kill him. Elijah has been faithful and now his life is on the line. How can this be? Elijah says to the Lord, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” Elijah is saying how can this be? I have been faithful and now my life is being sought after. And the Lord tells Elijah, "yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” In other words, Elijah, you are not alone!

Have you ever felt like Elijah? You have served the Lord faithfully, visiting the sick, feeding the hungry, ministering to the poor, and standing for truth, but you are being attacked by everyone. Be of good cheer. You are not alone. For the child of God to serve the Lord there comes the blessings of trials, tribulation, and persecutions. Yes, I said the blessings. Listen to what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." You are blessed when you suffer for Christ. Unlike Elijah you may not be persecuted for your faith by being fearful for you life, but you co-worker may want to speak with you because you shared the gospel or family member ignore you because of your love for Christ.

As I close I want to direct your attention to the lovingkindness of God to Elijah. He gave him a helper in the midst of his struggles. His name, Elisha. The Lord is gracious in given us other brother and sisters to come along side of us in midst of our struggles. But, greater than brothers and sisters, He has given us Himself (Gal.2:20). He has given us the Holy Spirit, which resides in every true believer. The Spirit enables us to persevere, to pray, to worship, and believe by faith in the Son of God who never leaves us, nor forsakes us. The Spirit gives us the ability to be faithful in the times of great struggles and persecution.

So, today what is your great struggle? How will you over come it? By the arm of the flesh or by the Spirit that lives inside of you as a believer? May I encourage you and myself to remain faithful to the Lord walking in the Spirit and not the flesh. 1 John 4:4, "Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world."