Monday, August 23, 2004

More good news on dieting

I'm excited that yesterday, I had to buy a smaller pair of trousers, and that I can now fit into some in the wardrobe, which I was inclined to throw out!

I have now lost 14 centimetres and 11 kilos!

Sunday, August 15, 2004

The rest of my life

I think I have just discovered what I am going to do for the rest of my life. It is not really a surprise, but I am hoping that the next however many years will be productive, as I seek to support indigenous missions in Asia through organisations such as Gospel For Asia.

Through reading my free copy of Revolution in World Missions I have come to realise how little of the previous 50 years has been spent in bringing the good news of Jesus Christ to the 3 billion people in the world today who have never heard it.

There is a lot of talk in Christian churches about the 10/40 window, but Gospel For Asia is doing more than just talking, with their 14,000 indigenous missionaries and 133 bible colleges training those dedicated folk.

I am praying God will use me to enlist many others to support our brothers and sisters doing this strategic work.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Dieting that works

I have been overweight for most of my adult life. When we lived in Brisbane in the late 70s, I managed to lose 20 lbs over the summer, when I was doing a Father Christmas job! I stopped eating snacks and dessert, and ate a lot of rabbit food, and the heat helped!

But since then I have steadily gained weight, and have not seriously tried to diet.

For the past 4 years I have had an enjoyable, but sedentary job teaching piano, and ended up weighing 99 kilos, and finally did something about it, when my wife, Joan, decided to diet.

The most helpful thing for us has been writing down what we eat in a diary, which doesn't give you much room! We got ours from Alan Borushek and also bought his Pocket Calorie Counter.

We haven't bothered to sign up for his diet club, but the simple act of writing down what we eat and weighing ourselves each morning has been beneficial.

So far I have lost 10 kilos and about 8 centimetres around the waist. This is as much as 3 large drink bottles of juice. I can't believe I was carrying that around all the time!

We have done this gradually, by cutting out fats such as butter, drinking less juice and eating less fat-free or fat-reduced food, which is usually loaded with sugar and often contains only a tiny bit less calories than the non-fat reduced stuff!

We have reduced the amount of food we eat, such as having 2 franfurts isntead of 3, or 2 slices of bread instead of 4.

We have stopped having desserts, and eat a piece of 2 of fruit instead.

We also drink more tea, more water and less fruit juice, which seems to have about as many calories as soft drink!

We have not found exercising to be a good way to lose weight: in fact taking up skipping was fun, but soon gave me a very sore knee.
I previously tried to lose weight by doing a regular walk, but only managed to reduce by a couple of kilos.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

The Treasure Principle

The best thing about Randy Alcorn's The Treasure Principle is his six points. They were a great impetus to changing my attitudes:

Principle #1- God owns everything. I am His money manager.
Principle #2- My heart always goes where I put God's money.
Principle #3- Heaven, not Earth, is my home.
Principle #4- I should live for the line (eternity), not the dot(short life on earth).
Principle #5- Giving is the only antidote for materialism.
Principle #6- God prospers me not to raise my standard of living, but to raise my standard of giving.

Thoughts on Christian Giving

Last year I was asked to preach on 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 in our little church in Bathurst [3 hours west of Sydney, and a thousand kilometres from care!] In preparing for this I read the relevant chapters in Scott Hafemann's NIVAC Commentary on 2 Corinthians and Craig Blomberg's wonderful Neither Poverty Nor Riches. Reading these books challenged me to reassess my own giving, and later encountering Randy Alcorn's The Treasure Principle was also a great stimulant to my thinking.

Here are a few thoughts I have about giving:
1. Jesus, Paul and other NT folk teach generosity, not tithing, but to use this information to give less than 10% would not seem to be right for a person who has received God's gifts so freely!

2. Giving to your local church is primary, but it must not end there. For one thing, most local churches spend almost all you give them on themselves, and only a tiny amount ends up supporting God's work beyond your local area.

3. It seems to me that Jesus' words in Matthew 25 about kindness to his brothers and sisters who were hungry and thirsty, needing clothes, in prison or needing a welcome is a good guide to Christian giving. I think we should support Christians in need or being persecuted for their faith, without neglecting giving to causes that ameliorate suffering of people of all cultures, races and creeds.

4. Craig Blomberg's challenge of giving more as God blesses you has led me to seek to increase my giving a little each year, and this experiment has been a joy which has worked well for the past 2 years. I have begun by increasing my giving by a tiny amount each year, with a view to supporting my local church more faithfully, Christian missions which my church sponsors, a humanitarian Christian organisation which loans money to the poor, and a ministry which supports persecuted Christians. My next project is to begin giving to indigenous Christian missions in Asia.