The Worst Timed Blog Ever - Gluttony

overfed.jpg

Let me prepare you. This is a blog in regards to gluttony. Thanksgiving is right around the corner. You might want to wait it out and read this after. 

As someone who has 20 plus years of experience in fitness industry, I would say that 80% of those inside these health clubs rarely change aside from weight gain. You see, you can workout all day long but weight loss or getting into better shape is mainly a product of the food we put into our bodies. Yes, there is genetics and health issues that certainly play a part as well, but for the most part, nutrition is the key. I would also confess to always being genetically thin and 'falling into' the gym business as a career....plenty of advantages from the get go. Not sure if I have the 'voice' for this blog but here it goes.....

I've had two very interesting jobs. I spent 20 plus years managing health clubs helping others physically then the last 5 years as a Connections Pastor here at Fellowship Church, helping others spiritually. Interestingly enough, I have yet to 'conquer' either. They both take a lot of discipline and passion. Years ago, I'd often run into people at the supermarket and hear the reasons why there was Doritos and Pepsi in their carriage ("oh, it's for the kids."), now I hear why they haven't been to church in a while ("the kids, etc")   

Physical and spiritual health will change your life. They truly coincide. When you really grab hold of one, it can really affect the other. When I eat better and exercise I have more energy to read Scripture and spend more time with God (without falling asleep!) When I am spending more time with God I learn the value of health, my body being a temple and how being healthy gives me more years to do His work and more years to have with my family. 

Here's the problem: We live in a country where food is everywhere. It's advertised on TV far too often, all of us have a fast food place within minutes of our house, and it's even at our jobs (there always seems to be a birthday cake to celebrate!) Ever try to eat good at a work function? 

Scripture really does have a lot to say about eating, or overeating (gluttony). 

Proverbs 23:2 and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.                                      No other sin says to “put a knife to your throat”

Proverbs 23:20-21 NCV Don’t drink too much wine or eat too much food. Those who drink and eat too much become poor. They sleep too much and end up wearing rags.

Most people have heard the term gluttony before and are certainly aware of the dangers that come along with it health wise. When we overindulge in anything, it can be dangerous. I know people that work too much, exercise too much and serve too much! 

We live in a country that has made overeating way too accessible. Most meals at restaurants today can feed 2-3 people. We have supersize options and many of the drinks we order have more calories than some of the food! 

If your Thanksgiving Day is anything like ours, the cooking and prep take forever and the eating part takes about 10 minutes. We eat far more than what we're comfortable with eating, then we fall into a food coma and blame the tryptophan. 

I read a fascinating book recently where the author interviewed hundreds of older people in their 70's and up. They had so many thoughts on health. They often said that it's not dying we should worry about, it's chronic disease. One couple said if they did it all over again, they would watch what they ate and exercise because for the last 15 years the wife was taking care of her ailing husband dealing with diabetes and lung cancer from a life a overeating and smoking. Can you imagine being in a wheelchair on oxygen for 15 plus years because of a love for french fries and cigarettes? We often have to remember that when you're ailing, others ail with you. Someone has to take care of you. Spouse, parents or even children sometimes pay the price for a life of carefree intake. 

I've learned in my life that everything I take in affects me in some capacity. For me, sugar makes me tired, too many carbs makes me want to take a nap and salty foods make me want more salty foods. When I am not eating very well, I am not as productive. This goes for my walk with God. Try reading your Bible after a large breakfast! 

"We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. " 1 Corinthians 10:5  Sometimes food can be a proud obstacle. 

Our appetites are always threatening to take over our lives, and satisfying them becomes our obsession. 

Satan has hijacked God’s good gift of food to try to destroy us. In fact, I believe satan's plan was to keep this gluttony thing hush hush. The less people know the better. We certainly don't talk about it at any church! Gluttony feels like the 'accepted sin' in church.

My challenge though is to be aware, knowing the ease of overeating. Most of us are emotional eaters. We eat to celebrate and we eat when we're down. Clearly God gave us the gift of taste and the variety of foods to eat for a reason, so let's hold tight to the truth of Scripture and celebrate God’s goodness through His gift of food without abusing or overindulging. It's not easy!         

Clearly, we have all been fooled into seeking lasting comfort and fulfillment in temporal pleasures that will never satisfy. (Money, sex, food and drink) Like any of these, our appetites have been targeted by our enemy in an effort to thwart God’s good plan. Satan will use whatever tool he can to distract people from seeking satisfaction in God, and if money, sex, or power don’t hold any sway over you, then French Fries or chocolate milk shakes just might.  God promises us not just a taste of His goodness, but that we will find complete satisfaction in Him. 

Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:35 . 

When we are truly leaning on God, trusting Him and seeking Him daily, we won't have to find our fulfillment in temporal pleasures

Proverbs 25:28 A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls. Practice self-control. Call sin what it is. Repent.

I cannot finish this blog with that. It's the holidays. Enjoy them. As Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 5:18:  "Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life." To an extent.....

 

 

 

 

 

A Thanksgiving for the Community

Thanksgiving Drive pic.jpg

Have you ever prepared Thanksgiving dinner for a houseful of people?  20 people?  30 maybe?  Can you imagine shopping and putting together Thanksgiving food for 1,000 families? That would be quite a challenge, but that is exactly what Fellowship Church and the Middletown Community Thanksgiving Project (MCTP) has done for the last several years!

 

     Though challenging, it is quite rewarding as well. During a time when all we hear in the news is negative, it’s refreshing to see something so great happen right here in our own community and we are so thankful that FC can be a part of it!

 

     The Middletown Community Thanksgiving Project Committee has been working for months behind the scenes contacting companies and organizations that are able to donate food to go in the baskets.  In the next 2 weeks that food will begin arriving and taking over the atrium at our church.  If you haven’t been at FC the Sunday before Thanksgiving in the past…. you’ll want to be there this year.  It’s something you can’t imagine until you see it.

 

   In addition to this project providing the baskets of food to 1,000 families here locally, we here at Fellowship Church, have seen God do amazing things in other ways. We have several people in our church that are here because of the Thanksgiving project.  They came in past years to volunteer or to receive a basket and were so impressed with the love and generosity here that they knew it was a place they wanted to be each Sunday. 

 

    It is awesome to see the love of Christ our FCers have for others.  When people come to FC on November 21st to pick up their baskets they will be greeted by a friendly parking team, a short line and a team of volunteers who will wish them a Happy Thanksgiving and personally carry the baskets to their cars.  The volunteers (and there are a lot of them) all have an attitude of joy as they are able to serve others in their community and be the hands and feet of Jesus.

 

So are you ready to prepare Thanksgiving for over 1,000 families? Can you help with the challenge?  Bring a pie…or two… or three, to FC on Sunday November 19th.  Pies must be store bought (not frozen) and have an expiration date of Thanksgiving or later. Be a part of something special and help us help others!

Want to get involved by serving? Click here and make a difference!

   

Something was Missing

Vinnie Marotta pic.JPG


GUEST BLOGGER: Vinnie Marotta

I grew up in a Catholic family. By that I mean that my parents professed to be Catholic, sent my brother and I to church each Sunday and CCD each Tuesday. The problem is that somewhere around 4th or 5th grade, I realized that there was no God. He didn’t exist. I didn’t believe that there was no God, I KNEW IT. I could refute all of the arguments for His existence. I learned all about evolution, and the Big Bang theory, and it fit perfectly together. God didn’t exist because, he didn’t need to exist. The Universe worked just fine without Him. And I went on for years and years living without Him. Except, I didn’t. I spent my whole life searching for… something. All of the usual things, drugs, drink, sex, whatever vice you could imagine, I’ve tried it. But, it wasn't only bad stuff. I volunteered at the food pantry, submerged myself in work, went back to school, ran for public office, I tried everything I could think of to make life mean something. But it didn’t. It wasn’t a depression kind of “life has no meaning”, it was just that there was always something missing, something unfulfilled in me. And as much as I tried to chase it, I couldn’t find it. 

People have stories of hardship, and a tough life, mine was fine. No horrifying tragedies, childhood trauma, my life was fine. Just empty. I met a friend of a friend at a party and spent the whole night talking about God and her church. My mind wasn’t changed, and I still knew that I knew too much about the universe to believe in God, but I agreed to come to church with her that next Sunday. And I went the following Sunday. And I kept going. You see, the people I saw at church had something. I didn’t know what it was but I knew that I wanted it. I listened, I read, I thought about it but it still didn’t make sense to believe in God, even though I was wishing that I did. Then one day, I just did. Suddenly, God made sense. Could the world have happened accidentally? Sure. Could God have made it happen? Also… sure. Then it hit me that either way, there wasn’t proof. You had to have faith in something. And it was my choice in where I put my faith. I chose God.

Something clicked. I wasn’t empty anymore. I wasn’t trying to fill that void in me with a whole bunch of other stuff. You see, I had a God-sized hole, and I was trying to fill it with anything but God. And that just doesn't work. What happened, what I figured out, is that God is so enormous that nothing else will ever begin to fill that hole and you’ll always be searching. What I figured out, what I found, was the thing that all of those people in church had. God.

I wasn’t searching anymore, I was found. I wasn’t running after anything, I was running TO something. God, filled the empty, lonely, dark places in me with love and joy and wonder. He never gave up on me and He'll never give up on you.