Tag Archives: new year’s resolutions

Working Out In God’s Gym

Most people don’t know that I went to college on an athletic scholarship…they paid me not to play athletics. (rim shot)

Despite my highest hopes and most fervent desires, I wasn’t endowed with natural athletic ability. I like to tell people that when I played intramural basketball in college, people would ask me after the game, “Ever thought about becoming a bricklayer? Because you shoot nothing but bricks.”

Nevertheless, I’ve always enjoyed watching sports. And in my study of Scripture, I’ve discovered that Paul was a sports junkie like me. Reading through his epistles, it quickly becomes apparent that he enjoyed track and field events.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 1 Corinthians 9:24–25 (NIV)

You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? Galatians 5:7

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7

I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 1 Corinthians 9:26

A couple of weeks ago, one of his sports-related comments jumped out at me:

 Train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 1 Timothy 4:7–8

Paul was offering instruction to his protégé Timothy, but I think all of his can benefit from his words.

God’s Gym Can Work For You, Too! 

Interestingly enough, the Greek word for “train” is gymnazo, where we get the English word “gymnasium.” The word can also be translated “exercise.” Last year I delved into this Scripture passage in-depth in my post Exercise Naked

Mulling over the idea of exercise, I realized that getting in shape requires a plan. Despite my lack of athletic acumen, I still try to stay in shape. But if I lack a plan, it simply won’t happen.

Our walk with God works the same way.

This led me to ask to ask myself two questions:

  1. How often do I work harder at getting in physical shape than I do at getting in spiritual shape?
  2. What’s my plan for getting in spiritual shape?

Let’s be honest: growing in godliness doesn’t happen on its own. Our relationship with Christ doesn’t naturally deepen over time.

Plan The Work And Then Work The Plan

As we enter the New Year, I invite you to join me in prayerfully assembling a plan for growing in your walk with God. Obviously, your plan won’t resemble mine. Rather than over planning and setting yourself up for failure, try to establish a plan that you can reasonably follow. Perhaps you may want to spend 15 minutes a day reading the Bible, or set aside 15 minutes a day to prayer and listening to God. For other ideas in growing in your walk with God, click here.

I’m curious to know what your spiritual plans are for 2012. Please share them with the rest of us by commenting at the end of this post.

As I conclude the final Neighborhood Café blog post of 2011, I offer you my sincerest thanks for joining us. On behalf of Eugene Scott, Michael Gallup, and Brendan Scott, thank you for taking the time to read our posts.

May you encounter the presence of the living Christ in new ways in 2012.

Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, Colorado with Eugene Scott. By looking at his office desk, you can tell that 2011 was overly busy. He hopes to slow down in 2012.


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In Search of The Rebooted Life

by Michael J Klassen

Years ago, while I was working fulltime as a freelance writer, I purchased a Compaq laptop that I loved. In fact, the first 14 months, I wore out two keyboards.

The only problem with the computer was that it rebooted at random times during the day. Back in the day, software wasn’t near as adept at automatically backing up our files on the hard drive. So, I could lose an hour or two of work if I hadn’t typed “control s” regularly enough. At times, I would be adding the finishing touches on a sentence or paragraph that, I was convinced, was a work of art in its own right, when suddenly the screen would go blank and the computer would start all things new. On more than one occasion, I nearly threw my beloved laptop into the concrete wall in my basement office.

Yet, other times when my computer would start slowing down, rebooting was the answer to my problems.

New Year’s Day is all about rebooting. Many people make resolutions this time of the year. “I don’t make resolutions, I make goals,” someone commented to me earlier this week. But what’s the difference?

The packed gyms in my community this first week of the year prove that more people than me make a commitment to reboot their lives and start losing weight. But by the end of the month, the number of people in the gym revert to pre-New Year’s Day figures.

All of us are wired with the deep desire for new creation. Movies like Groundhog Day and 50 First Dates call out to that deep desire. Countless times growing up, I wished I could start over on the semester at school. I just wanted to reboot my backlog of homework.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could truly reboot our lives whenever we wanted, just like we can reboot our computers?

The good news for all of us is this: God is all about rebooting. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22–23). Every morning, God pours out his love and forgiveness on us.

And here’s further evidence of the God who reboots: Paul wrote, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Not only does God pour out his love on us every day, but we also live every day as a new creation.

So what does it mean to live the “rebooted” life?

It means that God’s forgiveness of us is complete. The sins of our past have been completely erased by the blood of Jesus. Our past no longer needs to haunt us. We get to start over!

When we give our lives to Jesus, we get to start over every day! Reboot.

Conversation Starter

  1. Share a time when you got a chance to reboot.
  2. What does the rebooted life look like to you?

If you’ve found The Neighborhood Cafe helpful, share it with your friends! Forward your daily email or send them a link to http://www.bibleconversation.com.

If you’re reading this blog on FaceBook and you’d like to join the conversation, click here. www.bibleconversation.com

Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church with Eugene Scott in Littleton, Colorado.


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Pressing Your Reboot Button

Sometimes—actually about once a week—I wish my life resembled a computer: logical, unemotional, and equipped with a volume button that I can turn down. Way down.

You understand if you live in a house with as many as four women. I love all of them dearly but they don’t always make sense, they insist I join them on their terrifying emotional roller coaster rides, and at times their volume level is stuck on “YELL!”

Did I mention that I love them dearly?

All joking aside, the aspect I admire most about the computer is its ability to reboot. Back in the day when I was enslaved to a PC, I observed this ritual on a daily basis. Now that I work on a Mac, I still follow the practice on an irregular basis, just because it feels good to start over. And on those occasions that even my Mac gets stuck, I know I can press the power button for 10 seconds and everything will begin anew.

When my life gets cluttered and confused, or I get frustrated with the person I’ve become, I long for a reboot button. The closest thing we have to this amazing function is New Year’s Day.

New Year’s Day is really like any other day. The sun comes up in the morning and sets in the late afternoon. The weather may or may not resemble the day before or the day after. It does offer a panoply of college football games. But it’s just another day.

Except that it also offers a new start. Despite all the great New Year’s resolutions people make involving weight loss, education, self-improvement or getting out of debt, I believe the greatest goal is the commitment to get closer to God. But without a plan, it likely won’t happen.

Your Can Reboot In Two Days (actually, you can reboot whenever you want!)

In two days we’ll begin reading through the Bible in a year. Every morning, very early, this blog will supply you with:

  • An online link to four Scripture passages—a selection from the Psalms, a selection from Proverbs, and readings from the Old and New Testaments;
  • Tips for understanding that day’s readings;
  • Reflections on how they speak to my heart; and
  • An opportunity for you to share with our online community how it speaks to yours.

You can also receive a daily email with everything in it. Just sign up on the main page.

I hope you’ll join me.

If you read consistently and listen with your heart, you will be changed. The word of God is too powerful not to.

This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD.
Jeremiah 9:23-24 (NIV)


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The Key To Making Positive Change

Are you ready to get in shape?Four years ago, I was overweight and out of shape. Tying my shoes required some tricky gymnastics moves while holding my breath because I couldn’t reach my shoe laces. My morning cup of joe included equal parts coffee, half-and-half, and sugar. And walking up any flight of stairs left me breathless.

Something needed to change because, as I was entering my 40s, I knew that my lifestyle choices would soon take its toll on my body.

But despite my best intentions, I just couldn’t muster up enough discipline to do something about it.

However, when my wife Kelley decided that she wanted to pick up the pace of her workouts, I found a workout partner in my own home. We also decided to eat leaner, healthier foods. And she consistently encouraged me.

Which made all the difference.

Over the next five months, I lost 40 pounds while getting into the best shape of my life.

Some of those lost pounds have found me since then, but now we’re training to run a marathon in the Spring. Without her, though, none of this would have happened.

If you were overweight and out of shape, and someone offered to work out in the gym with you four times a week, would that give you a little added motivation to get in shape?


We all need encouragement when making changes in our lives. And finding a partner to join us in that change gives us added motivation. Often it’s the key to making positive change.

Our daily workout begins in four days

In four days—on January 1—we’re going to begin reading through the Bible. It’s a strenuous workout that requires commitment and perseverance over the course of an entire year. You’re going to need to set aside at least 20 minutes a day.

But the good news is, you’re not alone.

Reading through the Bible with a community of people can be the key that makes the difference…and helps you get into better spiritual shape in 2010.

Just look at this as your daily spiritual workout, because that’s what it is.

Here are some added benefits of reading through the Bible in a year with a community of people:

  • You have a forum to share what God is speaking to you through your reading.
  • If you need help understanding or applying a passage of Scripture, you can post a question.
  • If you struggle finding  motivation that day, or nothing jumps out at you in that day’s reading, the insights of other people from the community can get you headed in the right direction.
  • You have daily workout partners who are following the same workout schedule.
  • Best of all, you are participating in a community of people with a common goal.

For a community like this to develop, though, we need your participation. So, as we begin, please share your insights and thoughts with the rest of the community.

If you haven’t subscribed to the daily email, do it today! It serves as a great reminder and motivator.

Between now and then, why not find some partners to join you in your daily workout? Just point them to www.bibleconversation.com and encourage them to subscribe.

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