3 Excellent Verses – The Truth About #Eclipse2017


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The day of waiting has finally arrived – #Eclipse2017. Here are three excellent verses for you to consider as you enjoy the first full eclipse in the continental United States in almost 100 years. These verses certainly help you set the context for all the spectacular sights of the day.

Psalm 19:1

The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.

As you watch the sky today, observe the glory of God. There is a God, the Creator of the heavens and earth. He is powerful. Today, as you look upwards, you need to pause to consider the glory of the Creator God.

Matthew 6:22-23

The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

No doubt you will shield your eyes from damage today. Consider what the Bible has to say about how important your eyes are in life. They are useful for not only physical seeing, but Jesus used this metaphor to emphasize your heart. When you walk with Christ in your daily life, you enjoy the light that comes from Him. When you have a spiritual heart problem and there is no light, how great is that darkness! On a day you are concerned about your eyes and the eyes of all those watching with you, take a moment to reflect on your walk with Christ and your spiritual eyes.

Luke 21:25-28

And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars…Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.

The context of this passage of course has nothing to do with #Eclipse2017; however it stands as a reminder of something that will happen in the future. There will be a day when the sun, moon, and stars proclaim the coming of Jesus Christ. As you look upward today to see the sun and moon align, remember that someday soon Jesus is coming again.

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Three amazing thoughts to help capture your attention as you meditate on your day and your relationship with God. Today helps us to remember the glory of God, the importance of our hearts in our walk with Christ, and that Jesus is coming soon.

How aware are you today of the presence and glory of God?

Pastor Kevin’s Blog | Walking together through life as friends in Christ sharing wisdom along the journey


Two Mistakes to Avoid for a More Vibrant Spiritual Life


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We all make mistakes. Some are harmless. Others really cost us. I can just begin to think back on some mistakes and immediately begin to sweat. In other cases, my mistakes have just created a big laugh.

That’s all well and good until it comes to your spiritual life. When we begin to talk about our relationship with God, we can afford fewer mistakes. Yet, we all tend to make them. It could be mistakes that lead to poor or unwise choices. Even worse, it could be mistakes that lead to sin.

Do you want to increasingly enjoy your life as a Christ follower more? Do you want to better honor God in your daily living? If yes, here are two common mistakes to avoid for a more vibrant spiritual life.

  1. Don’t be very satisfied with simply knowing the Bible.
  2. Don’t be too impressed with your common sense.

The Context:

God wants us to grow in our love. He wants it to abound more and more (Philippians 1:9). God knows that when our love grows, we profit in two ways. First, we have a more intimate relationship with Christ. Second, we share our love and the benefits of our more intimate relationship with Christ with others. This is a win–win. We enjoy Christ more and others enjoy us more.

The Apostle Paul describes this process. “Let your love abound more and more in knowledge and all discernment…” (Phil 1:9). Our love grows in two ways: in knowledge and in all discernment. In this process, both knowledge and discernment are inextricably connected. This means that as you grow in your intimate knowledge of Christ, you also should grow in your discernment or practical living.

Think of a boat. When the water level changes, a fully operational boat rises and falls with the water level. A boat is in trouble if that is not the case. If it fails to rise as the water goes up, it will ultimately sink – which is bad. If it fails to fall as the water goes down, it will eventually be grounded – which is also bad. The best situation in every way is that the boat naturally rises and falls with the water level.

How does this help us with our love growing in knowledge and discernment? Surprisingly, it is very similar to the boat. If you grow in knowledge without growing in discernment, you are in danger. If you grow in practical wisdom without growing in knowledge, you are in seemingly even greater danger. Both are mistakes that are bad for you. Both mistakes cause you harm. Both mistakes you want to avoid.

Don’t be very satisfied with simply knowing the Bible.

Bible knowledge is not enough. God’s goal for you is to know Jesus better and enjoy your life in Him. Yes, we grow in our experience of Christ through God’s Word. However, just growing in knowledge of the Bible does not mean that you are necessarily growing in your walk with Christ. The Bible warns about knowing the Bible without applying it in our daily living. Paul teaches that knowledge of the Bible without lovingly applying that knowledge to living life for God’s honor is dangerous (1 Corinthians 8:1; 13:2, 4). This leads to pride and arrogance.

What is the mistake then? The mistake is not knowing the Bible or getting to know Christ better. On the contrary. You need to know the Bible and especially know Christ increasingly more and better. The mistake is failing to apply what you know in love in your practical living. You must take what you know and let that lovingly impact what you do.

Therefore, do not be satisfied with simply knowing. Seek to lovingly apply everything you know about Christ and your Bible in daily living.

Don’t be too impressed with your common sense.

Beware and be warned if you have great common sense and logic, meaning that you have incredible insight into most situations. You give advice easily. You see the big picture and the implications of circumstances without much effort. You foresee danger. When asked, you provide helpful advice to another person. You may even wonder how others can’t seem to catch it, figure it out, or understand the issues in a particular situation. Many times you see this when people are impressed with their leadership ability. In fact, often leadership is taught as a stand-alone issue.

As I said earlier, this could be even more dangerous. What is the mistake then? The mistake is living life as a seemingly wise person or leader without allowing your insight to flow out of your knowledge of Christ. Your advice and insight help you at the common sense level. Others may even view you as helpful; you may be known as a wise person or a great leader. However, this kind of wisdom without any connection to your relationship with Christ is false wisdom, wisdom from below, and not wisdom at all (James 3:13-18). Solomon makes it clear that true wisdom always begins with the fear of God, that is, a growing, functioning, and intimate relationship with God (i.e., Proverbs 1:7). In other words, true wisdom, insight, and leadership are always connected to a growing and vibrant relationship to Christ – becoming Christlike in our character and conduct. To think otherwise is to make a mistake.

Therefore, do not be too impressed with your common sense. Seek to lovingly think and share wisdom as it flows out of everything you know about Christ and your Bible in daily living as you seek to become more Christlike.

Abounding in Our Love for God and Others includes Growth in Knowledge and Discernment

Learn all you can. Learn the Bible. Walk with Christ. Grow in your intimate knowledge of Jesus.


Seek to apply all you know about Christ and the fruit of walking with Christ to your daily living. Let your relationship with Christ inform you wisdom, insight, and leadership.

Avoid these two common mistakes and
enjoy a more vibrant spiritual life!

Join the Conversation

Where have you tended to make these mistakes? Are you too impressed with your sense of knowing? Or are you too impressed with your sense of wisdom or leadership?

Pastor Kevin’s Blog | Walking together through life as friends in Christ sharing wisdom along the journey


One Sure Way to Improve Your Day and Someone Else’s Life


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Wouldn’t it be nice if you could focus on one thing and both improve your life and the lives of those around you? Many of us pursue a better life through various means such as diet and weight loss, a different job, a change in relationships, relocation to a different city, among other ways. Often what we find is that after we have tried again, there is very little change. The reason for that begins in you. We look and pursue a better life through circumstantial change rather than personal change because we assume our circumstances are the problem.

Let me give you hope today that improving your life and the lives of those around you is possible. If you learn to focus on this one thing it will help your day initially and then will benefit others.

So what is it?

The Bible says, “Let your love abound more and more” (Philippians 1:9-11). In the book of Philippians, Paul helps his readers understand true joy and how to rejoice in adverse circumstances. Early in the book, he connects joy in life to growing in your love. You could say, one of the secrets to improving your life is to let your love grow.

Here’s the full passage:

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

In what context should your love grow?

Essentially, the Apostle Paul identifies two areas in which your personal love should grow more and more. 1) In your personal relationship with Christ (knowledge) and 2) practical wisdom (all discernment).

Your Personal Relationship with Christ (knowledge). In order to grow in love, we must know the God of love, in other words, to understand His love. As we experience knowing God through Christ in an intimate way, we learn Christ’s love. He sacrificially gave His own life to benefit others (Phil 2:6-8). He considered the needs of others (us, those who needed salvation) as greater than His own (giving up the glories of heaven to live as a servant on earth, ultimately being obedient unto death).

The more we focus on Jesus Christ and walking with Him every day, the better we understand Him and His love. As we grow in love with Christ and know Him better, we learn what it means to love sacrificially. We begin to have the same mind as Christ (Phil 2:5). The more we think like Christ, the greater our capacity to let our love abound more and more.

Practical Wisdom (all discernment). Practical wisdom is the ability to apply what you know in particular life situations. You have the insight and skill to take what you know and express it in situationally appropriate attitudes, words, and actions.

As you walk with Christ and grow in knowledge of Him, you take what you know about Him and have experienced with Him and apply it in particular circumstances. Two decades ago it was popular to ask, “WWJD – What would Jesus do?” Although this became a cliché, the idea fits this passage well. When you are faced with decisions, you consider Christ and seek to apply what you know about Christ in the particular incidence.

What is the purpose and result growing in knowledge and all discernment?

The goal of knowing Christ more and seeking to apply that knowledge with all discernment is to evaluate carefully what is best in a particular situation (“that you may approve the things that are excellent”). To approve something means to test it, to determine if it is legitimate. This term was often used when someone would test gold. The question becomes, “Is this best or excellent?”

Discernment moves past the simplest question of “Is this right or wrong? Is it a sin?” to “Is this best now in this circumstance?” Discernment helps you get past just what is merely good. Instead, you seek to ascertain what is best or excellent.

Why? You seek to determine what is best in order to live life with pure motives (sincere) and without offending others around you. In the various life circumstances, you maintain sincere motives and a holy lifestyle that does not offend God or other people around you because you determine the best response to have based upon your understanding and experience of Christ (knowledge) and how that applies here and now (all discernment).

Your Improvement Helps Others!

In the process you live a life full of righteous fruit. With a sincere heart and a non-offensive lifestyle, you make decisions that reflect Christ. Paul uses the illustration of a tree full of good fruit as the sum of all your godly decisions. You choose to apply what you know about Christ in the midst of particular circumstances seeking to determine what is best from a sincere heart committed to non-offensive living. The result: righteous living.

How is this possible? Paul says it is possible because Jesus helps us live this way. We make the right choices in Christ that produce righteous fruit. Those around us, who live life with us, enjoy the benefits. Each time decisions are made out of a pure motive, concerned about what is best, based upon our knowledge and experience of Christ, the people around us benefit. Their lives are improved based upon our excellent decisions in Christ.

Our love grows more and more because it is informed by our knowledge of Christ and applied in specific ways that ultimately benefit those around us. In the process, we bring honor and glory to God. Your day will be improved as well as those who around you.

Join the Conversation

How have people in the past who know Christ benefited you?

Pastor Kevin’s Blog | Walking together through life as friends in Christ sharing wisdom along the journey


9 Reasons You Should Fight for Your Marriage


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Blog-9-Reasons-You-Should-Fight-for-Your-Marriage-08.04.17Should you fight for your marriage? Is it worth the trouble? Simply, yes.

Here are nine reasons why you should fight for your marriage.

  1. God owns your marriage. Jesus said, “What God has joined together, let not man separate” (Mark 10:9). When at the alter you say “I do” to each other and make a marriage covenant together, you uncover God’s design for your life. In every wedding ceremony the officiant asks if you will make a promise to live together in marriage. The vows may be worded a bit differently for each person, but in every case you are pledging your love exclusively to this person for life. This is your choice.

God’s sovereign plan for your life is revealed as you make this freewill choice together. The covenant created on your wedding day stands. Jesus says that God keeps the authority exclusively for Himself for the dissolution of your marriage. What He put together through your individual choices, He expects not to be dissolved.

  1. Remaining faithful to your wedding covenant imitates God. The Bible says that each person should strive to live like God. “Therefore, be imitators of God as dear children” (Ephesians 5:1). One of God’s primary and most treasured attributes is covenant faithfulness.

The Old Testament term for covenant faithfulness combines several key values of love, faithfulness, mercy, grace, and kindness. God always lovingly remains faithful to His covenants. Promises that God makes, He never breaks. God acts for the benefit of the covenanted one without asking, “What’s in it for me?” God never looks for the simple way out. God chooses covenant fidelity and faithfulness over covenant dissolution or infidelity. In the Bible, insurmountable evidence points to God’s enduring faithfulness: consider God’s promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph; the infidelity and unfaithfulness of Israel; the beautiful love story of Ruth with Naomi and Boaz; Hosea’s marriage to Gomer, and others.

  1. Christlike, sacrificial love toward your spouse obeys God. After the reminder that all Christians are to imitate God, Paul continues, “And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Ephesians 5:2).

For the Christian, as we have received Christ’s love, we are to walk in it. To walk in love simply means to live lovingly as Christ in everything we do. How does Christ love? Christ’s love looks outward not inward. Christ’s love sacrifices willingly for God’s glory and the benefit of the other person. Christ’s love works even to its own harm. Christ’s love moves toward the other person even when there is a cold response in return. Christ’s love stands ready to forgive. Christ’s love provides what is best to grow and flourish. Christ’s love sacrifices. This is the standard and goal for love in marriage.

  1. Your marriage is an earthly picture of the relationship between Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:23-33). Imperfect picture – you bet. Marriage perfection evades all of us. Therefore, an imperfect marriage or spouse fails as an excuse for lack of involvement in your marriage, or worse, for leaving your marriage.

Instead, the opposite is true. If you have an imperfect marriage, then sacrificial love and covenant faithfulness demonstrate the best picture of how Christ loves the church. Jesus married the church which is made up of sinners like you and your spouse. Yet, in spite of the ups and downs, sensitive and non-sensitive responses, good days and bad days, the selfishness and thoughtlessness, Christ still loves, forgives, remains sensitive, and endures. As you do the same, you provide a picture of the love between Christ and the church.

  1. Your emotions fail you. Regardless of how you feel right now about your spouse and your marriage, what you know concerning God’s desires for you is greater. As a Christian, God provides through the power of the Holy Spirit in you the ability to persevere. Our emotions often say, “I can’t…!” or “I won’t…!” or “Because you did, I will…!” Your emotions fail to point you toward truth, grace, and perseverance.

Instead, our emotions want us to take a break, demand fairness, be served rather than serve, get my own way just once, and the like. Your emotions want to just be happy, to not have to fight for marriage, for marriage to be simple, for your spouse to be what you want, for your spouse to change, etc.… Your emotions say, “My will be done!” instead of “God’s will be done.”

For all these reasons, emotions are to be considered but not followed. Your emotional upset serves as a warning light on the dashboard of a vehicle that lets you know something is not right, that something needs attention. Therefore, your emotions serve you to make positive changes in your marriage, not to provide you the motivation to give up on your marriage and on your spouse.

  1. Incompatibility is an excuse not a reason. Everyone’s circumstances leading up to marriage are different, like length of relationship, length of engagement, and marriage preparation. You date the salesman. Pre-marriage is not the same as post-marriage. What seemed cute often wears as real life together happens. Real pressures build. Disappointment happens. Circumstances change. New circumstances happen. Happiness seems to wane.

Before long, couples begin to think that they are incompatible. Often the thinking goes like this, “Since God wants everyone to be happy, and we seem so incompatible, the best thing we could do for each other is just leave our marriage.” This is an excuse on multiple levels.

To do what God forbids is never good for you or your spouse. Compatibility and incompatibility are empty categories. All you need to remain in marriage is a spouse. With hard work, using the resources God provides for you, you can persevere. Strive for friendship. Spend time together. When you embrace God’s purpose for marriage and for your individual sanctification, you will find that you are compatible because pursuing God’s purpose as one flesh means you are compatible.

  1. When marriage fails, no one wins. In the moment of marriage frustration, struggle, and dysfunction, it is understandable to believe that another spouse would be better. You may not want to win personally, per se, but you can’t stand to think your spouse will win.

Reality is this: a new marriage does not make life any easier or better for anyone. It takes energy to be divorced. Divorce adds more pain on top of your initial pain. Divorce dishonors God. Divorce discourages God’s people. Divorce distorts the picture of Christ and the church. Divorce complicates the lives of those you love – especially your children and extended family. Divorce minimizes God’s grace, forgiveness, and power in your life. Divorce does change things, but leaves no winners, only waves of hurting people.

  1. Imperfect marriages benefit you and your family. You may be wondering, “How is this true?” This is true because God uses pressure-filled circumstances in our lives to help grow us into Christlikeness. In God’s providential control of your life, He utilizes pressure in His plan to help you change, mature, and strengthen (Romans 8:28-29; James 1:2-18).

As you turn to Him in humility, prayer, and repentance, He uses His Word, His people, and your circumstances to transform you into a better person. Therefore, when you embrace your marriage struggles and see them as sanctification builders, growth opportunities, and part of God’s gracious plan for you, your attitude will change. Instead of complaining and living with constant despair, you build contentment, begin to welcome the challenges, and recognize God’s provisions in the midst of the struggle.

God provides grace, the power of the Spirit, the presence of Christ, the encouragement of His people, and the promises in His Word to help you. As you persevere, you grow, your family benefits, you demonstrate the covenant faithfulness of God, and help other people who observe the process.

  1. You have hope in Christ. As children of God, God is working in you both. If your spouse does not have a relationship with Christ, you can still rest in the fact that God is working in you and in your circumstance. For the latter case, possibly God will use your faithfulness to help your spouse become a follower of Him. If the former, you can have confidence in truth.

“Being confident of this very thing, He who has begun a good work in your will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). Here, Paul identifies the good work God has begun in them, He will complete. This is true not just in the kindness of the Philippians to Paul; this is true in all those who follow Christ. In a different letter, Paul writes, “You are His workmanship” (Ephesians 2:10). God is at work in you. God is at work in your situation. Whatever you believe and see is going on in your situation today is not the totality of the story. God’s work is greater than what you can see. Do not be weary in well doing (Galatians 6:9). God is with you and for you.


Fight, that is, for your marriage, not with your spouse.

If you are in the midst of struggle, get help. Ask your pastor. Contact a biblical counselor. Talk with a trusted friend. Work on your walk with Christ, that is, your daily relationship with Christ. Pray. Get started fighting for your marriage.

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Consider how your story has either changed in the past or could change by God’s grace.

Pastor Kevin’s Blog | Walking together through life as friends in Christ sharing wisdom along the journey


The Church of CrossFit


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To say the least, I am not the gym type. Although I like walking in the mornings, I have never experienced a morning where I wanted to wake up and get to the gym. For sure, it would help me. It has just never been part of my daily routine. I see the benefits of it and appreciate those who diligently make it part of their regular routine. No doubt it is a great life habit to form.

Recently the Atlantic ran a thought-provoking piece by Julie Beck “The Church of CrossFit: Gyms and other secular communities are starting to fill spiritual and social needs for many nonreligious people.” As a church guy myself with many good friends who enjoy the benefits of CrossFit (and have often invited me to go to no avail), it got my attention. In response, Al Mohler also turned his attention to the issue. His piece built upon Beck’s and stimulated my own thinking further. I believe there are some great ideas here to consider.

Here’s my point: this is both good news for the church and serves as a warning as well.

The good news…

First the good news. Although the world has changed and many people consider our society as a post-Christian society, these articles demonstrate that the image of God encourages people to follow something. We were made for worship. CrossFit demonstrates how people become disciples. It comes complete with enthusiastic evangelism, visitation, accountability, corporate gatherings, fellowship, encouraged authenticity, even childcare and discipline. Many describe it as “addicting” and the CrossFit experience provides them the worldview through which they experience life.

So how is this good news for the church? Simply because we understand that who we are and what we do both inherently flow out of a heart that desires living for something bigger and that enjoys community while doing it. Various media for years now have reported that Millennials are past the church. Millennials are leaving. However, you realize that their fundamental urge in life still moves them toward the same goals.

This of course is not new. Today for many it may be CrossFit. In some communities it has been the Masonic lodge, political party affiliation, social clubs, national sports teams, collegiate sports teams, children’s sports leagues, the local bar where “everyone knows your name,” and the like. The observations about CrossFit essentially are not new. CrossFit provides what many other organizations and activities have provided for secular individuals. These are the same things that the church should provide too. Individuals may be leaving the church, but the good news is, it is not because they are not prone to religion.

The warnings…

There are three levels of warning from my perspective as a pastor.

First, we must ask ourselves at the church-level, is CrossFit doing church better? Are they fulfilling this religious role, albeit secular, for some Christians as well? Possibly as churches, we are being out-churched by secular organizations. The ideals that should be true to every church and for every follower of Christ may be so poorly done that we are losing people to what they view as better. The values for which we long and often enjoy, such as a caring, authentic community, find a better home at a “box” than they do a church.

This is the advantage that CrossFit and other organizations has over the church. In the church, the expectation is Christ-like love which flows from a genuine authenticity without hypocrisy or partiality. As disciples of Christ, the genuineness and humility of Christ are to flow from and through individual Christians. Therefore, the opportunity for true disappointment and loss of hope is even greater. When a follower of Christ begins to learn Christ, love Him, and live like Him, this person begins to change, becoming a better person in every way. However, as sinners, the best Christian still has bad days. For this reason, the Apostle Paul said Christians yearn for heaven where there will be no more sin and inconsistency (e.g., Romans 7:14-25; 2 Corinthians 5:2). On these bad days or seasons, it is not hard for others to see the problem and make the claims of hypocrisy, lack of genuineness, and failure. There are expectations for followers of Christ and churches that are simply not expectations other places.

For the church then, we must be careful to 1) never present ourselves as perfect, 2) never think we have the corner on the market for religion, and 3) never settle for inconsistency. Instead, we must always strive to enjoy Christ, worship Him truly, walk with Him, and live consistently with others from genuine humility.

Second, it reminds us we are all worshippers. We all live for something. For the Christian, our lives are to be arranged around Jesus and the family of God – passionate followers of Christ together. However, our lives can be arranged around something different, such that the energy God gives us every day can be used on many things which do not profit the kingdom of God, do not encourage our growth in Christlikeness, and do not honor God. This can be just as true for hobbies of every sort, sports of every kind, and our vocations as it is for CrossFit though. As people we tend to chase idols.

This of course is not CrossFit’s problem; it is our own. The problem isn’t CrossFit or exercise or enjoying people at the “Box.” The problem is at the heart level of the individual. As Christians, we must always ask ourselves, “What is my true passion?” First and foremost, is it Jesus? As it flows out of our worship of Christ, is it the family of God, the body of Christ? Further, what motivates me? Why do I want to exercise (or anything else, fill in the blank here)?

Third, our excitement must always be of first order for Christ and His work rather than our latest distraction. Again, not to be too hard on CrossFit, this is true of anything in the world from our most recent favorite restaurant, to the new favorite job, to the newest favorite convenience store drink, to whatever it is that captures our attention and energy. As followers of Christ, our evangelistic efforts must be eternity-focused and not earthly-bound. Our speech must be others-centered and not self-centered. We must naturally want to talk more about Christ, the benefits of our union with Christ, and helping people see the glories of walking in Christ more than anything else in the world.

The reality is that we talk about whatever it is on our minds. We love to share pictures. We enjoy making connections with people with similar passions. After a good run, often people snap a selfie, provide the route, tell the distance, and rejoice in feeling tired but better. Many who go to CrossFit often speak of similar things. They share their WOD, tell of aching muscles, and rejoice in their accomplishments. There is nothing inherently sinful in any of these practices – no more so than sharing pictures of children and grandchildren, showing a recent fish caught, or telling a funny story. We simply share whatever it is on our minds. Here are two challenging questions for each of us: how often is CrossFit or something else on our minds more than Christ? How often do we share our relationship and experience of Christ?

Enjoy CrossFit but enjoy Christ more. I am truly grateful that many of my friends have found CrossFit as a place for exercise and health. On another level, I too am jealous that they care for their bodies better than I. However, this is also potentially true regarding CrossFit and anything else in the world, what is good for us can also beguile us. These articles pointing to CrossFit as an alternative secular religion provide each one of us as Christ-followers the opportunity to consider our authenticity, our worship, and our evangelistic appeal. Is it possible that I am drawn away and distracted from Christ rather than walking more closely with him?

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Where else do you tend to get distracted? (Possible answers: sports, hobbies, political parties, family, and so forth)

Pastor Kevin’s Blog | Walking together through life as friends in Christ sharing wisdom along the journey