2014 Year End Review and Fitness Goals for 2015

2014 was a great year for myself and for my family! I was able to commission as a Chief Warrant Officer (Two) in the US Navy, we moved to a wonderful new base in Mayport, FL, started new schools, and many other things.

Personally, this year represented a lifestyle change for me. I lost 30 pounds, ran two half marathons, and passed two US Navy body fat composition assessments and subsequent physical readiness tests. The year was great for me professionally, spiritually, and physically.

More than just running those half marathons, I set a personal record of 2:01:20, just shy of my ultimate goal of beating 2 hours. Those half marathons were part of 490 miles run in 2014.

I’m also very happy that my resting heart rate is in the high 50s. While I’m still a fairly large man, I’ve made some good strides to get completely healthy in 2014, and I’m really looking forward to continuing that in 2015.

Unfortunately, not all is rosy. After working very hard to pass the fall body fat composition assessment, and doing so with flying colors, I’ve let my body fat rise from 20% to 28%. While I haven’t gained pounds because of it, I’ve lost definition in my arms and my belly is flabby. I haven’t stayed strong on strength training (pun intended) and my core workouts have slipped horribly since my last Navy weigh-in. I’m grateful that it didn’t equal a falling off of the wagon weight wise, but there is definitely some work to do in order to get where I want to go.

I have a vision of where I want to be this year, and I’d like to share it now:

Half Marathon time: 1:49:00
Navy PRT 1.5 mile time: 11:20
Navy PRT pushups: 61
Navy PRT curlups: 96
Resting heart rate: 55

The PRT results will get me an “Excellent” rating, which I haven’t had in a long time. The pushups will be difficult with my wrist, but I think I can train to that weakness and beat it.

In order to reach these goals, I will need more victory over gluttony, else I’ll just out-eat my gains. It’s a sad state of life for me. I enjoy food more than I burn the calories it brings. I’ll also need to do a better job of drinking water. When I get lazy, I drink soda or coffee, things ready made that take very little effort and honestly taste better than water.

So, in the end, it comes down to whether I want to do better with weight loss or if I want to remain in the status quo. Today, I’m choosing to change.

To learn more about the battle against gluttony, check out my short volume on the subject at Amazon. It’s on sale for $0.99!

Becoming a Bible Hacker

I love reading the Bible. It’s a desire I received from my grandparents. I’d often see them digging around in the scriptures. Unfortunately, I can’t really read my grandmother’s handwriting, so I don’t know many of the notes she wrote, but both of them taught me how to get into the Bible and dig around. I remember calling my grandfather about some verses in Genesis a few weeks before he passed away. They were my go-to people for digging around in the Bible.

In essence, they were Biblical hackers. Grandpa understood scriptures and could maneuver between verses, chapters, and books to drive home his point. Grandma could make sense of verses in her daily reading, and proved it in the notes she wrote for herself in the margin.

There are people in this world who’s life calling seems to be digging around computer systems, tinkering around with them to make things work the way they want it to. These folks are hackers, and while the media tried several years ago to turn the word into a negative, true hacking is as pure as the code the individual works on.

Hacking is most commonly found in the Linux operating system, but is also found in app development for Android and iOS. These hackers can break down code in ways I could only dream of, all in the name of tinkering to make things work better. Facebook made this mainstream with their publicized “hack-a-thons.”

Yet for whatever reason, this sort of digging into the scriptures, to better understand the “code” of God’s word, to make our lives work better, is shunned by more people. They would rather be fed from the pulpit and maybe get a devotional that they can follow. In neither case does the believer actually learn how to handle God’s word. They do not become hackers. They are simply operators. They can sit with a Bible, but they cannot make it work in their lives.

Choose today, dear believer, to become a hacker of God’s word. Do whatever it takes to learn how to dig through the Bible with a goal to learn who God is for yourself.

It’s not difficult, but I would offer the following piece of advice: Get a good commentary to help you out. Even once you become proficient at scriptural study, you’ll need the learned writings to delve deeper into the native languages of the Bible. I value Matthew Henry’s commentary as well as the NIV Application commentary series. John MacArthur’s commentaries are a good place to start as well. My first assistance in the Bible came from the notes in my Scoffield Reference Bible. He’s fallen very far out of favor now days as dispensationalism has moved forward, but it helped me a great deal.

Another recommendation is to have more than one version of the Bible available. This is as easy as clicking a few buttons on your tablet or smartphone now days, thanks to modern technology. I use ESV for most daily work, but quickly switch from that to NIV, KJV, and HCSB to see how different scholars see a word or phrase.

Start with these two tools (a commentary and several versions of the Bible) and get started in hacking today!

MPW #5: Pray for Children

It really is the children who suffer most during the military career. Despite the fact that I have been as involved a father as I know how, I know right now that I’m not giving them what other fathers can. There is a unity that they can’t see between my wife and I, though I try to show them what I can, and there is a presence they can’t always see in their lives. It is a simple fact that there is only so much I can do to show them how involved I am in their lives.

At times I go days without contacting them directly while on deployment. I’m grateful for what I do have, however, as it is so much more than the fathers who deployed before my time. Yet there is more I wish I could do. This career is a minefield of missed opportunities and broken promises. I’ve learned to be careful about making promises. It’s too easy to not deliver.

So we take a few moments today to pray for the children, particularly of deployed service members, but really children of any service member. We pray because the stresses are different, the possible pain is different, and the future is different.

In praying for the service member, we must understand that many times we are praying for a unit, a family man or woman who has a spouse and children. It is those children who need us badly. And so we pray.

Heavenly Father,

Children are some of the greatest gifts you’ve given to us as a people. They bring us joy and they challenge us, but above it all, they are gifts from you. Today we pray for the impact a military life makes on them. We pray that the deployed member will stay present in their lives and remain in communication as best as he or she can. The kids need you, dear Father, and they need their service member. Today we pray they get both!

In your son’s name,