This is an article that wrote for the San Antonio Express News.
So let’s be honest. I was fat.
And when I used to tell people this, they’d shrug and say, “Oh no, you’re not fat …,” implying other people exist who are heavier than me.
But the truth remained.
I ate whatever I wanted. I drank all the Dr Pepper I wanted. And I was fat.
Yet, as a Christian and pastor, I have told people for most of my life: We should strive to follow Jesus better.
The New Testament in Luke 2:52 says, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” So as I see it, Jesus grew in four different areas: mentally, physically, socially and spiritually.
Jesus is our model for life, but the fact is we are all broken. From the beginning, Adam and Eve launched a rebellion against God.
God dealt with our brokenness by sending Jesus. He died on the cross and rose from the dead. So, we don’t have to be broken anymore. We can pattern our lives after Jesus. That’s Easter in a nutshell, and we can grow in all four areas.
And yet, I failed fundamentally to follow Jesus in healthy physical growth. At my core, I believed, yet my life did not match the truth that I believed. I weighed 262 pounds. My blood pressure had risen to unmanageable amounts without medication.
One year, I made a resolution that I would lose weight. I lost 11 pounds. Not enough. So this year, I decided to follow Jesus in establishing health in my physical life.
Around the same time, I got an email announcing that Genghis Grill was having a contest. They wanted to help people get healthy by losing weight, and you get to eat there once a day for 60 days.
I figured this could help me follow Jesus better. It could help me to show my family, my church and my community what Jesus wanted when it comes to our physical bodies. It could help me be healthy. God doesn’t want athletes. He wants health.
My battle with my weight took a very public turn the morning I announced this contest to my wife. I announced it to my prayer group. I announced it to my church. I began announcing it to anyone who would hear me.
While I had varied responses to my announcement (shock to encouragement), I needed the accountability of people. I needed people to know.
My first resolution wasn’t public enough. I did not let enough people into my struggle, and I suffered the consequences of letting my fear get the better of me. God doesn’t want us to live in fear. He wants us to know that Jesus’ sacrifice makes anything possible.
Did you hear me? God wants to remove fear and implement capability into your life.
On Feb. 1, I weighed in at 251 pounds. I started eating at the Genghis Grill in the SeaWorld area. I started to work out four times a week. I started to see results. I had to see results. Everything I held dear was now on the line: my health, my reputation and following Jesus as effectively as possible.
This Sunday, when I get up to preach at Hope Community Church, I will have completed the competition.
We have a ton of things happening in the next week leading up to Easter. On that day, we will drop eggs from a helicopter. We will celebrate Easter. And I will celebrate being 23 pounds lighter and 100 times healthier.
Most importantly, I will celebrate a life restored, a life resurrected.