The Final Coutdown

So the days are getting few until I make the biggest change in my entire life. Bigger than going to college or getting a new job. Even bigger than moving to a new place. That’s right boys, I’m getting married.

July 27th marks the day I don a small metal ring around my finger to symbolize the union of two people becoming one. It’s a big deal, one that the other writers on this blog have gone through and I’m showing up to the party, fashionably late as usual.

Meghan and I have been engaged for 14 months now, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. We’ve had our great times and stressful times but they always end with us communicating very well and understanding both sides to come to a mutual agreement (mature right?). The wedding planning is crazy, but I’ve made sure that we took the time to enjoy the process as well. We often stop and say “holy crap, we’re getting married” in the midst of deciding which bows to tie onto the programs (it’s that detailed fellas…prepare your patience).

I can’t tell you how excited I am though. Lots of guys have the classic response to marriage…”you’re signing a death sentence dude” or “say goodbye to your freedom forever” but that’s not the case. How can there be death in a new life together?

Marriage is a gift of God, don’t get it confused with just some legal contract. And guess what gifts of God provide? Fruit. Not bananas and apples. Come on guys. I’m talking about blessing your relationship more than you can imagine. The focus is God first, relationship second, because that relationship with God is what fuels the latter. Keep that at the front of everything you’re doing with your girlfriend, fiancé, etc. It’s essential.

So today I’m just a dude. A bachelor on the loose. And a week from now I’ll forever be “her dude” and I couldn’t be happier about knowing that.

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The Quest For Better Health

Today at my company’s quarterly meeting we heard from a speaker by the name of Joe Dillion. Joe is a world renowned trainer of world class athletes and has committed to educating people about healthy lifestyles. Some people might think that its ironic that the guy (me) who works for the potato chip company is listening to a fitness trainer, but what better an audience to speak to right?

He talked about some basic tips that can help us to be more healthy and also touched on why Americans are so un-healthy. His message was simple…human genetics haven’t changed since creation and while we as a species were hunter gatherer societies we were our most healthy. There was no heart disease, stroke, cancer or diabetes. It just didn’t exist. So without repeating the hour long presentation, here’s what you can do to become healthier:

1. Eat a higher protein diet. A portion of protein with every meal (meaning chicken, fish, whey isolate, etc.) the size of your fist will help you exponentially.

2. Eat less carbs and focus on slow burning carbs. Slow burning carbs meaning veggies and fruits while keeping whole grains to a minimum (not totally eliminating them, just being more mindful of them.

3. Drink more water. How much though? Take your body weight, divide by 2 and equate that to ounces…then drink up.

4. Exercise!

Simple right? It really is. And it’s information that us guys here at MCM follow pretty close (Jason is a trainer him self with multiple certifications and can vouch for this).

Here’s to feeling better!

~MB

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Daily Thought – Proverbs 18:2

A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions

Proverbs 18:2

Today, think about listening more intently to others and learning. Look, we’re guys and we want to hold a position of power on 99% of situations we are in. It’s really easy to just tell everyone what we think and why that’s the only correct opinion. Be more like Christ and learn, understand then give your opinion when there is appropriate time. You may even learn something new…

~MB

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In Christianity you just can’t say the “F” word

Sunday At church, the pastor read from Colossians 3. She used an extended metaphor of putting on different “clothing articles,” that were actually different virtues, and “taking off,” certain vices. I admit that I didn’t totally get the metaphor, but the message was very practical. On the ices, she mainly focused on Colossians 3:8,

8But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth

What I thought was interesting about this verse in particular was the ending. I had heard that Jesus proclaimed you shouldn’t “curse,” but I often dismissed this as a little curse, or wishing ill of somebody. I justified say cuss words with the usual Christian crutches, saying it may not beneficial, but it is certainly not harmful, or I would say I was being a Gentile to the Gentiles so to speak and “fitting in,” with them, heck most of the time I just thought it wasn’t that bad. Here’s the click moment for me though, Jesus specifically told us not to do it. Its hard to argue that cuss words don’t fall under the category of ‘obscene talk.’ The pastor went on to discuss in detail cuss words, and other such talk (lude jokes, sarcasm, cutting people down, etc.) and threw out a dagger to my heart in the form of Proverbs 18:21,

21 The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit.

 

That’s really what hit me and has started a change in me. I am trying to better control my tongue, and I urge you to do the same. The Word makes it pretty clear.

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Uplifted Spirit

Over the past few months I found myself in a situation of heartbreak. Now I have to preface this with a disclosure; this heartbreak was not a real problem, but an obstacle in my professional life. You see, that obstacle looks a lot bigger when I focus on it but a lot smaller when I realize the significance it has on my life. I do not want to go into detail about this problem because I think it will give you a chance to insert yourself into my story. This was the first time that I really found myself with no control over my situation in a long time. It became really hard for me to be happy with my situation when I felt completely depressed every single day about it. This was not something I could just look beyond, it was in my face every single day. I knew I had to find a solution but that would turn out to take 6 months. In the meantime I knew I needed an escape, if not for my own sanity, for my wife’s.

I found myself praying intently on this issue and I found that to be a great foundation. While attacking that front, Jason turned me on to a book called “Born to Run”. This book is a really great read and I encourage everyone to take a look at it. The reason I mention this book is that it inspired me to take the streets and run. I started out slow, 2 mile runs 3 times a week. I found myself in pain and I realized why never really liked to run in the first place. The problem was, I wanted to get my mind off my issue so I kept going. After a couple of weeks, I started to run at lunch as well as at night. I started to increase my distances as well, running 4 miles at a time. After 4 weeks of this I found myself able to run 6 miles with no problem. This is when I found my solitude, and my escape. I found myself meditating and talking to God, but more importantly, listening. I was able to clear my head and really start to attack the issues in my life and find peace in them. I truly believe that the running is not what did this to me. I found a way to get out of my head and spend time praying and listening to God for more than a couple of minutes at a time. It gave me clarity and purpose as I ran through a tough obstacle in my life.

I am now on the other end of the problem I am facing and able to run upwards of 2 hours at a time. I know that not everyone can go for a run to clear your head and really meditate, but maybe its worth weeks and weeks of discipline to get to a point where you can be completely focused with no distraction. The point is that we all have a need to reconnect with God. This will make you a more powerful warrior for Christ, if you have a chance to strategize with the Master. I found my way to do it, you need to find yours.

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Words to Live by

Philipians 2: 14-17

14Do all things without grumbling or questioning, 15that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud thatI did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.

If there were a contest for blueprints on how to live then I would have to imagine this would be among the top. Reading these verses can do nothing but encourage the Christian in his/her faith. Serve others, hold fast to the Word, know Christ, sacrifice. Paul paints a picture of a life well lived. When I read these words my heart breaks over the mistakes I have made in the past, but is filled with the everlasting love of Christ. I wish it were as obvious to the secular world as it is to me that this is a life worth living. That life is not simply a timetable of events, but an opportunity, a calling. I pray these verses speak to you as they speak to me, and incinerate you hearts with the fire of God Almighty.

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of Life and Death

Philipians 1:19-26

“Yes, and I will rejoice, 19for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 20as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, 26so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.”

The youth group I help lead is doing a series on Philipians this month, so I thought in order to better teach them, I would revisit Philipians this month. This is my favorite passage from the first chapter. In it, Paul is imprisoned and discussing the two possible outcomes of his circumstances. He may die there, or somehow be released and live. What is interesting, is that he finds both options to be desirable. If he dies he considers it a great joy as he will be with Jesus in heaven. If he lives, he knows he will have the he can further preach the Good News and save more souls. I think many Christians get caught up in the personal side of their faith, and forget the joy in living to bring others to the salvation of Christ. Its not to say one is more important than the other, but that the joy of knowing Christ and your salvation should bring about the will to spread that here on earth. What would the world look like if more people had the attitude of Paul? Neither fearing death nor life, but rejoicing in both for the love of Jesus Christ. I feel as though if I could dwell on this thought even just minutes out of the day I could change my surroundings and deepen my faith, let alone hours or entire days. Just something I have been thinking about today.

J

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