3 Keys to a Successful Exercise Lifestyle

My earliest memories of “exercise” would go back to my early years (Age 7) on the YMCA swim team in Houston.  I think you start off thinking swimming is fun until you start to compete and then it becomes work!

I well remember those late evening, two-hour practices that always ended with sore muscles, wrinkled fingers and body and hair that wreaked of chlorine.  These were the beginnings of my life in a family of athletes.

Mom was a table tennis and tennis player, Dad was an avid and devoted volleyball player and eventually all nine kids found themselves with one or two areas that they really excelled in. Mike- Football (4 year college linebacker with pre-season games for the Houston Oilers) and later running, Sue – Swimming, Steve- Running, Chris- Softball, Eric-Swimming, Basketball, Football, Baseball (And now martial arts),  Mia- Volleyball, Keith – Swimming and Running, Cindy – Volleyball and Tennis, and me – Triathlon (Mostly).

As a pastor and as a former personal trainer/fitness instructor, I realize that not too many people had a culture of exercise, sport and competition growing up, so I have to ask, “Besides my upbringing what has kept me involved in a lifestyle of exercise for the last 40 plus years?”  There are many things that could be listed but I want to share with you the big “Three” in my book.

1.  Find an exercise/activity/sport you ENJOY

I will say that part of what kept me active was finding sports and activities that I enjoyed.

These have not always been the same throughout the years. The sports of my school days were: swimming, running, football, basketball and baseball. Once in college only Running and weight training were important to me.

Once I left college working out was “optional” (or so it seemed) for the first time in my life.  I found weight lifting and body building to be something that I really enjoyed. Even after I began travelling full-time I would do running and push-ups to keep active.

Later after I started pastoring my first congregation I became very active in tennis and weightlifting, then at the age of 35 I began competing in triathlon (Swim-Bike-Run). Because a foot ailment has hindered me from running I have been doing “cross training” at the gym, and hope to start biking and swimming again this winter.

My point is you need to enjoy an activity to be consistent with it.  That activity can change year to year but if you are bored with it or it is not practical eventually you will quit.

2.  Be able to measure improvement

I can’t stress this enough, if you intend to stay active in exercise you should pick something that can be measured.

I realize some people like to do “recreational” exercise (for the “fun of it”) and that is O.K. but how do you know if your “exercise” is benefiting you if you have no way to measure your progress? 

If you are a walker you should either be working to walk further or faster, if you are lifting weights you should be able to do more reps or heavier weights.

 This is one of the reasons I love to race because it’s not so much about me beating someone else (Though that can be fun too!), but about me making my times faster. Measuring your progress is one of the best ways to get motivation to do that next workout or session. When you are improving it just makes you want to do it that much more, when you are not it tells you something needs to change!

3.  Keep Variety!

As I mentioned above I have not always been involved in the same activity and these days, since my foot issue, I have had to come up with lower impact ways to get my heart rate up including running the high school bleachers, stairs, and even a little tennis! 

The good thing about variety is that you work different muscle groups and are less likely to get injured when you have muscle memory in many different parts of your body. 

Regardless of your background, age or ability , after all you are only as young as you feel and without exercise you will never feel your best!  As Christians we must see our bodies as the “Temple” of the Holy Spirit and a lifestyle of exercise is one good way to keep it healthy.

Be blessed! PK

God Uses Nancys

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” (Heb. 11:6)

When we read Hebrews chapter 11 (Often called the “faith” chapter) we read not just about the definition of faith but we read the names of those who demonstrated it and what it looks like when it is lived out.

Last week I shared with you one of my journal entries from my missions trip to Asia and today I want to share with you that it is not just the faith of “dead” people that still speaks to us today.  I was blessed on my Asia trip to be accompanied by some very special people who love Jesus very much.

Nearly all of them were from different denominational backgrounds and yet we were all there for the same purpose, to bring the Word of God to Asia.

Today I could spend a long while talking about “Lou” the single man in his 60’s who has been an absolute “machine”- bringing Bibles to Asia by leading Bible printing projects and leading multiple trips per year to Asia while training up teams that eventually go out on their own to bring the Word to different countries.  Or it would be easy to reflect on Don and Joy who are the ones responsible for getting me to go on that life changing trip.

There is Steve, Daniel, Gerry, Dee-Ann, Leena , Lee, Rose, Joshua, and Toby, all of these represent people from 4 different states and three different countries who came together for such a special trip.

But as I reflect on Hebrews 11 there is one lady on our trip that inspired me perhaps more than everyone, her name is Nancy.

I don’t know the details of Nancy’s life, but I do know that she was living the life of an ordinary young lady attending college in California when she began dealing with serious bouts of depression.  Even though she accepted Christ in her late twenties, her depression struggles made life very difficult. She said, “It was like going down a slide with nothing to hold onto”.  It threatened her marriage and strained her relationship with her only daughter.

In her early 40’s Nancy was diagnosed with Bi-polar disorder as well as schizophrenia.  A few years ago she began attending church with Don and Joy. When she heard the testimonies of Don and Joy coming back from their trips to Asia she purposed in her heart to go on a trip.

The medication she takes causes weight gain, short term memory loss, and causes her hands to “tremor” (sometimes severely).  She approached Don and Joy about going on the Asia trip and I think they attempted to share the complications of her going on a trip like this with some of her physical limitations.

After it was obvious that she had her heart set on going Don agreed to bring her on the trip. Don asked that she begin walking daily and commit to losing 20 lbs if she really wanted to go. She hit the treadmill soon after and began walking four or five times a week until she got up to 4 mile walks.

Fast forward to our time in Asia, Nancy was so inspiring to me because she never quit!  I knew that the crossings we made were at times demanding, dragging a heavy suitcase for miles, lifting it up onto buses, and sometimes carrying it up and down stairs.  You could tell she was tired but never once did she show signs of stopping.

At one crossing she was stopped and the customs agent made her open her suitcase.  He was taking the Bibles out and as fast as he could take them out she was putting them back in!

She kept telling him “I need these!”

I have no clue what was going through the mind of this Asian customs agent but he only took half of her Bibles and let her keep the other half!

Another time she was stopped and her books were seized and she was in line waiting for her seized passport amidst “pushy” and angry nationals that were in line. (They called this the infamous “Window #1)  The stress was getting the best of her when an Asian woman came and did a sign of a cross on her chest put her finger to her lips to say “shhhhh” then took her hand and prayed for her. Nancy said she had a calm and peace from that moment on.

One evening when we were all pretty tired after making several crossings, it was dark and I was ready to go get a shower and retire for the evening, I saw Nancy and she told me that she had got stopped again and had to wait over an hour to get her passport back, I assumed she was done for the evening, but not Nancy, she wanted to make one more run! Once she had reloaded she headed to the border and crossed again and made it!  I felt like such a wimp compared to her.

I said “If Nancy can keep going like that then I purpose tomorrow to make three trips in a row no matter what!”

I made no excuses for weariness or fear but kept thinking about her the whole time and not only made my three crossings but finished out the last day pulling a suitcase with one wheel at record pace!

Sometimes God uses the most unlikely to demonstrate His glory and to reveal His presence.

Nancy despite her handicaps served God and provided me and the rest of our team with motivation and courage.  I will ever be grateful for her witness, her faith and her determination.  We prayed for her often during our trip and know that God is able to heal her completely, but even in her infirmity, she remains faithful and a useable vessel for God.

I hope this week we can pray for the kind of faith that will inspire others to do great things for God, I hope we can stop praying “Lord use me” and start praying “God make me useable!”

God uses Nancys.

 

The Gospel: Free But Not Cheap

So what lessons have I learned from two weeks out of the country?

“The gospel is free but not cheap.”

The call to follow Christ can demand a cost which may include one’s life.

“Kevin Kleinhenz son of Leonard Kleinhenz lovest thou me?” How much do I love Christ? Do I love Him more than mother? Wife? Children? Do I love Him as long as I have all the other?  Do I love Him more than life? Do I accept His deep love for me? After all He has already demonstrated His love for me but what have I done? Do I show Him daily my love for Him?  Do I love others the way He loves me?  How do I show my devotion to Him? Do I love this world? Am I afraid of death? Of leaving my loved ones? What sense can be made of this world apart from Christ? What possible meaning can there be to life apart from Him?

How privileged I am to have heard the Good News, how thankful I am that my heart was opened to Him and His love. The Gospel is free but not cheap.  Oh the cost Christians around the world have paid for the testimony of Christ!  Oh the reward that awaits them all!  Though I have not always done “well” may His mercy allow me to hear “Well Done”!  May I remain faithful even when I struggle to be fruitful.

God’s people are beautiful!  No matter what country or nationality they are souls that Christ paid for with His sufferings and death.  Sin has marred so many on this planet.  The suffering of humanity can always be traced to sin. “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people!” Oh the reproach that sin brings and oh the blessings that righteousness brings!

“God whether I live another day, week, month or year it only matters that I please you, it only matters that I scatter the seeds. Help me Jesus to have a better relationship with you. Help me Jesus to love you more.”

After my first house church service I see that God is using young people.  I see passion in their worship and sincerity in their service.  They are thankful for so much and passionate for God’s presence.  The Spirit moves in their worship and His Presence is manifest.

Where is my worship?  Where is my passion? Where is my devotion? Why are we weighted down with so much? Why do we complicate the gospel? Why do we complicate the purpose of life?  “Fear God and keep His commandments for this is the whole duty of man”.

Why are we blessed if not to be a blessing to others?  Both as a nation and as individuals are we not to be givers?  Are we not to put others before ourselves?  Have we lost track of what is important in life?  Why do we fill our days with complaints instead of praises? Truly we cannot be this callous to the circumstances and hardships the rest of the world faces almost each and every day can we?

My outlook has changed on this trip.  I see the lives of men and women who give all for Christ and His cause.  I seem to give what is comfortable.  Am I inconvenienced by people? By hardships? By pain? By finances? How will I spend the remainder of my days?  I want to be a servant to God and a servant to others.  I want our church to be a serving,reaching church.  I want heavenly perspective, I want to be able to sacrifice for God as great men have.

Our doctrines in the U.S. are such that we commemorate and celebrate those who have sacrificed and those who are sacrificing but we dare not emulate them or imitate them for that would indeed cause discomfort or inconvenience and we dare not do that!  We are similar to the Pharisees who decorate the tombs of the prophets, yet by our very lives we destroy what they stood for.

“Have you eaten today?” (The greeting among the Vietnamese that is basically “How are you doing today?”)

These are the words that haunt my soul both physically and spiritually.  For in the physical realm if I have eaten (Like most) then it is a good day!  Perhaps most would at least say “I have the means to eat today” then it is a good day.  We complain about so much but if we have daily bread then it is a good day.

  • Have you eaten today? 
  • Have you spent time with the Father and have you meditated on His Word? 

If so you have partaken in the Bread of Life, you have eaten and it is a good day!

“God give me daily bread today, give me direction for today.  Help me live by faith, help thou my unbelief.

Love always your son, Kevin