How I’ve Lost Over 20 Lbs Since June 8th! (And How You Can, Too!)

scales“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” Paul to the young Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:8

I used to be “okay” with being the pudgy little man who played guitar and sang worship songs. As long as they made jeans in bigger sizes, I wasn’t too concerned with how much I weighed. In fact, I used to quote Paul from the verse above saying, “See, even PAUL didn’t think it was important, at least for long, to exercise. Being a godly man is most important!”

I was really just covering up for my laziness. It’s true-if you HAVE to choose between physical fitness and godliness, well, then being more like Jesus wins out. But, most of us don’t have to make that choice and often don’t even make either of them. Like me, many people are satisfied with being average, living average lives, and being “just healthy enough” and “just holy enough” to get by. Well, I’m done with that.

You see, I was using food and drink to cover a lot of emotional pain in my life. I was eating too much of the wrong foods and drinking too much of the wrong drinks to give my body the nourishment it needs. I wasn’t just a couch potato. I was past that. The roots of my pudgy potato self had sprouted and were coiling down through the couch cushions. I was about to become a full-on potato patch if something didn’t change. Thankfully, something BIG changed. My thinking.

On June 8th, Donna, my wife, and I made a quality decision to do a 10-day Daniel Fast. No sugar, no meat, no alcohol, no desserts, no bread, and nothing but whatever you can harvest from the ground with water to drink and a lot of soul searching in the meantime. We added in walking briskly around our little neighborhood the first day and have walked almost every day since. It didn’t take us long to begin jogging short distances and pretty soon we were jogging the entire neighborhood. No one has been any more shocked than us that we’re actually running again!

Before June 8th, I was sluggish, unhealthy, unhappy, and pushing 200 lbs, a weight that is considered obese for my height. Today, only two months later, I’m happier, healthier, motivated, and taking massive action to use everything in my life, even a healthier body, to make Jesus known to as many people as possible. Plus, I weighed in at 175.7 lbs this morning and my clothes are fitting again. Donna’s loving my newfound energy and inspiration, too!

A friend of mine says, “Angels talk to those who walk.” For me, it’s more like the Spirit of God wells up from somewhere deep in me as I’m out walking and running, assuring me that He is with me, has healed me, has already secured my future, and that He is walking and running with me all the way. I can’t encourage you enough to start where you are, today, by trying a Daniel Fast and even a short daily walk. Don’t do too much, but do what you can do. You might be surprised at where you are only two months from now!

ChizBESTJohn Chisum is an internationally appreciated worship leader, songwriter, mentor, and clinician. Click here for information on The Worship Leader’s One-on-One Coaching with John Chisum. For information about booking John for a worship seminar, worship concert, or special event, contact him directly at john@johnchisum.org, or call 251-533-5960.

How God Uses the Worst Things Imaginable

IMG_0402“Our greatest ministry comes out of our deepest pain.”                                                                                   ~Rick Warren in The Purpose-Driven Life

There’s a joke about three young boys bragging on their fathers one day in the school yard. The first one says, “My dad owns the bank and  we have a million dollars!” The second chimes in with, “Yeah? Well my daddy owns a big company and WE have a million dollars, too!” The third boy, whose father was a pastor at the small local church, thought for a moment and then finally blurted out, “Awwww, that’s nothing! My daddy owns HELL ‘cuz he said the deacons gave it to him!”

Whatever the deacons were angry about with this third’s kid’s pastor-dad, chances are it constituted both a trial and an opportunity for him, as these things do for all of us. Trials, tests, and troubles are “equal opportunity employers” and hit each of us throughout life and every time one comes we have the opportunity to let God do His wonderful work in our hearts and behaviors. How will we react? Will we let the character, nature, and attributes of Jesus shine through us as we react to the anger of others, a cancer setback, or a relational meltdown?

In every situation there lies the hidden struggle of control-surrender, hope-despair, and sometimes even life-death. If we’re consumed with our own needs and wants, it’s all too easy to miss the bigger picture God has in mind for us and to disregard the admonition from The Book of James to, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:2-4).”

In my new song Mercy in the Fire the chorus sings, “There’s a mercy in the fire and there’s a promise in the pain/There’s a wonder in the weakness when we find His strength again/In every trial, test, and trouble hides the purpose He desires/And the gold will be revealed as we find mercy in the fire (Words and Music by John Chisum, Copyright 2015 by Donnaluv Music/ASCAP All Rights Reserved).” The mercy we can find in the fires of life, if we take time to look for it, is nothing short of the presence of Christ. The ultimate purpose of every trial is to reveal “Christ in us” (Colossians 1:27) and to reveal more of His love and power to us, in us, and through us as a testimony to the world of His overcoming power.

God uses the worst things imaginable in order to bring us to completeness and maturity in our faith (see James). He doesn’t cause them, but He uses them. Trials are always on the menu in the cafe of life, but our loving Father is discontent to let them destroy us if we will only trust His higher purposes to reveal His goodness, faithfulness, and loving presence through everything we go through. Remember – there’s always mercy in the fire, no matter how hot it gets.

ChizBESTJohn Chisum is an internationally appreciated worship leader, songwriter, mentor, and clinician. Click here for information on The Worship Leader’s One-on-One Coaching with John Chisum. For information about booking John for a worship seminar, worship concert, or special event, contact him directly at john@johnchisum.org, or call 251-533-5960.

Widening The Circle of Suffering

circles“I am happy to suffer for you now. In my body I am completing whatever remains of Christ’s sufferings. I am doing this on behalf of his body, the church.”    Colossians 1:24 God’s Word Translation

Donna and I were hiking in east Tennessee today. The weather was nice, mid-80’s with moderate humidity. We were talking about a sign I saw in a Nashville area coffee shop recently that reads, “People are going to hurt you. You have to decide which ones are worth suffering for.” As we managed the occasionally rocky and steep climb back up the path, we were discussing just who we would suffer for.

We named each other, for starters. Good married people begin there and work out. Our daughter made the list, of course. A few in-laws and friends later we were out of specific names of people we would choose willingly to suffer for. I then remarked, “That’s a pretty small circle of suffering. I’m glad Jesus’ circle of suffering encompassed all of humanity for all of time, including us.” We then spoke of missionaries, especially, that wonderfully selfless breed of people who intentionally widen their circle of suffering to include people groups and communities they have no familial connection with for the sake of the Gospel. The world has been changed by missionaries.

Not five minutes later, we passed a young lady on the path with a t-shirt that read, “Pray for Nigeria.” She had a beautiful dark-skinned girl with her, obviously not her own. Since I will be in Lagos next week for a worship tour, I spoke to her and questioned her about the country I’ve come to love. Turns out, she and her husband are missionaries in Jos, a city in northern Nigeria fraught with danger and Christian persecution, where they help young women there find freedom from human trafficking.

I’m just going over to sing. Maybe it’s time to think about widening my own circle of suffering. What about you?

ChizBESTJohn Chisum is an internationally appreciated worship leader, songwriter, mentor, and clinician. Click here for information on The Worship Leader’s One-on-One Coaching with John Chisum. For information about booking John for a worship seminar, worship concert, or special event, contact him directly at john@johnchisum.org, or call 251-533-5960.