The B2 3-Step Diet Plan

America’s favorite winter pastime is dieting. Following Halloween candy appetizers last fall, the nation went on a holiday eating binge. Ounces became pounds as clothes mysteriously shrunk on their hangers.

The weight-loss industry is big business. However, most diet plans are too complicated. Few possess the discipline to sustain a Doctor-Jenny-Low-Carbohydrate-South-Beach-Rotation-Nutri-Weight-Watcher-Atkins-Craig regime.

I possess NO qualifications to give advice about weight loss. Lack of expertise and experience, however, never stopped other diet gurus. Therefore, I am marketing the B2 3-Step Diet Plan!

Step One: Eat less.

After extensive study, scientists have linked food consumption and caloric intake! The serious weight-watcher must eat less food. Less food leads to less calories and less weight.

Step Two: Eat better.

The US government spent a gazillion dollars designing a Food Pyramid. Allow me to summarize. Eat more fruit, vegetables, grains, and stuff that tastes like cardboard. Eat less salt, sugar, saturated fat, and deep-fried Twinkies.

Step Three: Exercise more.

Historians will link the decline of Western civilization to the invention of the TV remote control. We have become a sedentary society. Study after study, however, shows the benefit of aerobic exercise. Most experts recommend a vigorous workout a minimum of three times weekly. However, simple steps like walking more and climbing steps can help.

The best results come from combining Steps One, Two, and Three. If you eat less, eat better, and exercise more, then you will lose weight and feel better. Results guaranteed, or your money back!

The Cruelest Month

T. S. Eliot described April as “the cruelest month.” With apologies to the poet, a British April cannot compare to a Georgia January. The first month of the New Year is dreadful, dreary, and dull.

Post-holiday blues fade to black. After the extraordinary holiday season, ordinary days feel so bland and boring. Gifts charged during December visit us like Ghosts of Christmas Past. Stores that offered easy credit now expect cold cash.

North Georgia’s climate is no winter wonderland. Temperature and humidity yoyo. Shirt-sleeve weather follows down-coat storms. If you don’t like the weather in Georgia, just wait—it will change tomorrow!

However, January could qualify as “the kindest month,” too. The New Year offers fresh starts and new beginnings. The future glows bright with promise. With a little discipline and determination, resolutions can come true.

The bleak landscape boasts a beauty all its own. The fractal outlines of oaks against a winter sky are breathtaking. The intricate etchings of frost rival the grandest artwork. Seeds nurtured in Mother Earth’s womb prepare for birth in the spring.

Southern comfort can be found beside a warm fireplace with a mug of cocoa. Simmering vegetable soup served with piping hot cornbread nourishes the soul. When snow threatens, lining up to buy milk and bread makes the season merry and bright.

Every season has a beauty all its own that is enhanced in comparison and contrast with the other three seasons. Winter, spring, summer and fall—along with every season of life—possess both cruelty and kindness. Our perspective determines what we experience.

January? There’s no finer time to live in Georgia!

Fit!

Each fall I prayerfully choose a focus that will serve as a churchwide emphasis for the coming year. In 2021, the Northside Church’s theme is Fit! During our January Fitness Challenge, we are exploring how the Holy Spirit makes Christians “fit for service” mentally, fiscally, relationally, physically, and spiritually.

I selected Luke 9:57-62 as the primary Scripture for the series. The passage describes three would-disciples who wanted to follow Jesus. The Lord challenged each one’s reservations and conditions.

Jesus harshly told one man, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

Christ’s response troubles me. I have never done any plowing. However, a cursory examination of my spiritual life would reveal times that I’ve looked backwards, sideways, up and down, in fact, any direction except forward. Words from an old hymn cut to the heart of human inconstancy:

Prone to wander, Lord I feel it,

Prone to leave the God I love.

I constantly rediscover the essential need for divine grace in my life. Although Christian disciples seek to make ourselves fit for service in God’s kingdom, we cannot succeed on our own. Thank God, we are not on our own! Divine power infuses our human efforts; and the first and last word of the gospel is always GRACE!

Join us onsite or online each Sunday at Northside Church as the Holy Spirit makes us Fit!

New Year’s Resolutions

New Years REsolutionsOn January 1, many of us made New Year’s resolutions. During the holidays, we overindulged in too much of too much. The birth of a New Year inspired plans of diet, exercise, and thriftiness.

Resolutions born at midnight on December 31st, however, seldom survive the first weeks of January. Habit is a hard master to overthrow. By mid-month, the new and improved model greatly resembles the old and not so improved model!

We can scoff at the idea of spontaneous resolutions leading to lasting change. However, we serve a God of fresh starts and second chances. Today can be different from yesterday; and tomorrow can be different from today.

In 2 Corinthians 5:17, Paul declares: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.” Our “re-creation” in Christ is both event and process as we grow into the image of our Savior.

Jesus began his ministry preaching the message, “The time has come, the kingdom of God is at hand, repent, and believe in the gospel.” The time has come for repentance rather than resolutions. This year can be new in more than name alone!