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I was 16 when I began my first job working at Lowe’s Foods in my hometown of Wilkesboro, and one thing I have always done almost every year for my birthday is take the day off. The only times when that hasn’t happen is when my birthday falls on a Sunday (like it did last year). So today, I’m out of the office just enjoying the day to myself until I have a nice dinner with my wife and daughter.

In reflecting on this past year, I’ve had several ups and downs. With a change of diet and the help of medication, I’ve been able to drastically improve my A1C levels and get my Type 2 Diabetesunder control. Unfortunately, I’ve had to switch medications twice due to the awful side effects that my first two medicines caused. Here’s hoping the third time is the charm. One thing I hope to do is exercise more in the hope that perhaps someday I can remove some of the medicines I’m on.

This year also provided two big trips. The first was in July when I went to Montreal / Chateauguay, Quebec, Canada on a mission trip with JHBCYouth. It was my second trip to Canada, but it was a different cultural experience being in the French speaking side of the country. Our group did a lot of good work there and I hope to go back there again soon. The second was right after Christmas when we took MJ to Disney World. It was such a delight to be able to experience everything through her eyes, as she was excited about every princess and character that she met.

This year, I want to find more balance, mostly because I stink at it. I’ve been thinking about this over the past few days after hearing that a mentor of mine passed away unexpectedly. One of the things he taught me as I began in ministry sixteen years ago was to “savor the moments”. I confess, I haven’t done that very well because I’ve spent way too much time doing and not enough time being. I hope to change that this year.

I also want to read more, write more (since I haven’t written a blog post in a while), and focus more on experiences rather than the accumulation of stuff. So here’s to 2017 and cleaning out the clutter in preparation of celebrating when the next birthday changes two digits instead of one.

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Thinking Theologically About My Health

The following was my article for the October issue of The Announcer, the monthly newsletter of Jonesboro Heights Baptist Church in Sanford, where I serve as Associate Pastor.

For my article this month, I want to take the opportunity to say thank you to all of you who have been praying for me concerning my recent health issues. For those of you who don’t know what happened or what is going on, allow me to share.

I went for my annual physical back in early August. Through routine testing, it was discovered that my blood sugar level was abnormally high. Subsequent testing over the following three weeks revealed that I have Type 2 Diabetes. As word has got around, the general reaction I’ve received from people is shock (I can relate… I was pretty shocked myself). The second most popular response has been, “How??? You’re young… You’re thin… (thank you!)” Honestly, I don’t know what caused it. It could stem from genetics. It could have been the result of 30+ years of drinking multiple glasses of Dr. Pepper / Pepsi / Coke or sweet tea per day. For all I know, it could be revenge for all those times I made fun of those Wilford Brimley commercials. At this point, how I got it isn’t so much as important as where do I go from here.

What got me the most was a statistic I read about the severe increase of heart disease that diabetes causes. As someone who has a family history of it, that statistic alone was enough to realize that some changes needed to be made.

In thinking theologically about all of this, I’m reminded of 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 which says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” This passage can be interpreted a number of ways, but one way that hits home right now is that I need to do more to take care of this temple that is my body. It means that I need to eat healthier, exercise more, and focus on doing the things that help my body instead of hurt it. When we do this, we honor God with our bodies and fulfill the practice of loving the Lord our God with all our strength (Deuteronomy 6:4).

So from all of this, I want to encourage you to practice loving God with all your strength and take care of the temple of the Holy Spirit that is your body. I don’t know what that might look like for you, but you do. So this month, take some time to examine your habits as far as eating, working and exercising are concerned. Are there any changes that need to be made? If so, do them, so that you may honor God with your body.

As an update, since I’ve started making changes to my eating and exercise habits, I’ve lost approximately nine pounds and I feel a lot more energized. I didn’t realize how bad I felt, especially over the summer, until I started feeling better.

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Starting Over

So I’m starting the blog over again. I created a new one a little over a year ago with a few posts of things of interests, but due to circumstances beyond my control, I lost pretty much everything, including the database. Of course, it doesn’t help when you fail to back up everything.

Anyway, I’m trying this again and seeing where it goes. So stay tuned.