BODY FOR GOD
January 27, 2002
Body for God? You might be thinking, “Why talk about the human body in church, Ed? Isn’t church supposed to be a place where you talk about spiritual matters?”
The body is mentioned countless times in the Scriptures. Sadly, in all my years growing up in church, I have never heard a series of teachings on the body in my entire life. At Fellowship, though, we are changing that, because we have been totally ambushed by how many times bodies are talked about. I’m talking about our flesh.
Over the last several weeks, we have learned a lot about our bodies. We’ve discovered our bodies matter because God created them. He hand-made them. If you read about the creation, he spoke everything else into existence except man. When he came to human beings, he actually rolled his sleeves up and really got involved. He breathed his life into us.
Our bodies are also important, we learned, because Jesus Christ wore one. The Bible says that Jesus became flesh and he lived among us. So, we don’t serve some detached deity. We serve someone who has been there.
Often times, people think, “Jesus can’t identify with me. He can’t connect with me. He doesn’t know the stresses, pressures and sufferings that I am going through right now.”
That’s wrong. Christ has been there.
Our bodies also matter to God because they are housing for the Holy Spirit. Once we bow the knee and ask Christ to come into our lives, Jesus places the person of the Holy Spirit in the depths of our being. The Christian life is lived from the inside out in this body.
Another reason we must understand why our bodies matter is the fact that flesh is important on this side of the grave and also flesh will be important on the other side of the grave. The Bible says that we will have new and improved bodies in eternity. Our bodies will be phenomenal. Words cannot give them justice. That is how great they will be.
We talked about the fact that our bodies are engineering marvels. They are like Porsches. It is like God has handed you and me the keys to this engineering marvel. If we had a Porsche, we would take care of that awesome sports car. We would put the right fuel in it. We would run it. We would exercise it. We discovered that all of that is part of worship.
Here is what Jesus said. In fact, the last words that he uttered in his body on earth were these words recorded in Matthew, Chapter 28, “Go and make disciples of all nations.”
Say the word “disciple” with me. This word “disciple” comes from the word “discipline.” Part of discipleship is being a disciplined follower of Christ from the inside out.
In 1 Corinthians 9:27 (NLT), the Apostle Paul said, “I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.”
Over in Exodus, the Old Testament, Chapter 20, the first of the Ten Commandments says this, “You shall have no other Gods before me.”
That’s what the Lord told Moses. For a lot of people, food is a god. It’s a stumbling block. For many here, we struggle with overeating. For some, you struggle with anorexia or bulimia. Food is fuel. Food was created by God. He has given us these taste buds for a reason. We must get a proper read on our bodies, especially concerning how to treat them and what to do with them.
We are fortunate in Dallas/Ft. Worth to have one of the top experts on food and nutrition living in our fair Metroplex area. I decided to travel to Southlake to talk to this guy. Here is what he said about food.
(Larry North video)
That’s Larry North. I think it would be safe to say that he is the international expert. But I want to bring on the stage my expert, as far as diet and nutrition, my lovely wife, Lisa. Lisa, come on out.
She has in her hands some cathead biscuits. Remember we talked about cathead biscuits a while back? I’m from the south. I don’t eat this very much, but I love cathead biscuits. They are so big; they are as big as a cat’s head. Look. They are really great.
Lisa: Actually, these are 100% whole wheat. This recipe is in the bulletin this morning and is posted on the Web site. All the recipes that we are doing today are in the bulletin and then there will be future recipes on the Web site. So, let’s get started.
Ed: Let’s get started, because we are going to do some cooking and we are going to have some fun.
Ed: Lisa…yes, let me put this on.
Lisa: He has got to wear his apron.
Ed: While you are doing some cooking, I want you to talk about your whole journey as far as nutrition and how you see it as an act of worship. A lot of people are thinking, “This is odd. We are talking about food in church.” Again, I remind you, we are talking about discipleship. I truly believe when we graduate from this life to the next, and we have that one-on-one conversation with the Lord, I think he is going to ask us what we did with this engineering marvel? “How did you treat my Porsche, my temple?”
A lot of us will say, “Hey, I honored it with the fuel and the exercise.” Others will kind of bow our heads and say we trashed it.
I think for some, Lisa, God is going to ask, “Why are you here so early?” I’m serious, because of the diet and lack of activity.
Lisa: Well, for me…
Ed: I thought that was funny.
Lisa: It is funny, but it’s early.
Ed: It is early.
Lisa: I always laugh at you, honey.
Ed: Thank you, I know.
Lisa: With you.
Ed: With me.
Lisa: My journey began at Florida State University. I was a home economics major, hoping to teach home economics in high school. We had to take food chemistry, the same classes that dieticians in hospitals and nurses take. I learned the break down of food. I had this one professor in particular who had a passion for teaching her students the content of the foods we eat and how we tend to destroy food that is found in its natural form. She was not a Christian. Her passion was to teach people about food for fuel.
I just became convicted because here I was, having accepted Christ into my heart and I was his temple since the age of nine, and I thought I should be more concerned than anybody about this. So, that’s where my journey began. People have this conception that we eat tree bark, tofu and juice at every meal. We do not do that. Ed and I are very balanced. We have tried to have the philosophy that we do the best we can in the situation that we are in.
We have decided that in our family there are three different things to look for in our foods that we take note of. The first is the chemical content. We have a saying around our house that if you don’t know how to pronounce it, then you don’t need to eat it, like the ingredients on the label. That’s just something we watch for. We watch for the fat intake, the fat content, and the sugar content. Let me just say a word about the fat content. We have gone on this pendulum swing about no fat diets and all that. Our bodies need fat. You know why I know that? Because God created fat. He produced nuts and different things that already have fat naturally in them. That would be the fat that we need to consume. Crisco is not the fat that we need to consume.
Ed: How about Krispy Kreme donuts? To me, that seems like the fat that we should consume.
Lisa: But, Ed, where were we, where was our family the day that Krispy Kreme opened in Colleyville? Where were we?
Ed: We were there.
Lisa: At 5:30 in the morning.
Ed: All of our kids. They had their bathrobes on.
Lisa: They did. We took the kids in their pajamas to the grand opening of Krispy Kreme. So, you know, you have got to have balance. But we are going to take a peek at two pantries. This is what we try to think of in our house. We want to go with the pantry on the left. This is the Saint’s pantry. This one is the Sinner’s pantry.
Ed: Saints and Sinnners.
Lisa: In the Sinners pantry, you have got your sugar cereals. You have got your powdered sugar donuts, which seems to be Ed’s favorite. But Cocoa Krispies is mine. But you know what? We don’t buy it. If we don’t have it in our pantry…
Ed: On special occasions, like our anniversary, you would buy me these powdered donuts. I take these things and dip them in milk and they are sinful.
Lisa: A lot of people think, “Oh, I have a muffin for breakfast so I am healthy.” These Otis Spunkmeyer muffins, and I don’t know who he is and I don’t mean anything against him, but one of these muffins is two servings. A half of a muffin is one serving. So, when you read the fat content and calorie content on the back, it is 18% fat, 11 grams of fat. It’s got saturated fat. The cholesterol is pretty high. The calorie content is 210. If you ate one, it’s 420. So, a lot of foods can be deceiving.
Let’s move on down. We have some other things here. We have a better choice. Here is Oreo’s. If you just have to have your Oreo, this is the lower reduced fat. That’s better. These soups, processed foods, a lot of soups and salad dressings especially, contain a chemical called monosodium glutamate, MSG. It’s a flavor enhancer in foods, but it is the number one chemical cause of migraine headaches in people.
Ed: Yes, even like in Doritos…
Lisa: Doritos have MSG.
Ed: Yes, whenever you have this many ingredients, like a whole paragraph, don’t eat it. It’s sinful. It really is. MSG, other names I can’t even read.
Lisa: But there is an alternative. Go with the Guiltless. Here you have chili lime, which has a lot of the same flavor. The first time you eat it, you are going to say it taste like a substitute. But it takes approximately two weeks, which is a very short time, to change and train your taste buds. So, try it. It may be different at first but you can make the switch.
Ed: You know, Lisa, the verse I have been talking about in Romans 12:1-2, talks about presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice, it says, “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” That word “transformed” in the Greek is the same as our word “metamorphosis.” Isn’t that cool? So we can have a transformation of our minds and even our taste buds when we eat God’s food, God’s way, when we eat clean. I liked it when Larry North said, “Eat clean.”
Lisa: What has happened is our society has done what it thought were improvements to food, but we have taken what God created and made perfectly and changed it. That is where we need to take a little rewind and go back.
Ed: That’s right.
Lisa: I wanted to quickly go over the breads. You have got white bread here and then a wheat bread which is a little bit darker color than the white, but not that much benefit as far as the value of the food. There is white rice. I know it’s a change to go to the whole brown rice, but what has happened here is they have just stripped the color and stripped the value of the food and made it into the plain white rice. So, always chose this. You can train your taste buds. It’s a nuttier flavor. The sugars, apple juice. When you give your children straight apple juice, you are giving them mostly sugar. You can juice on your own. We juice sometimes, but we don’t always juice. Or, you can dilute this with water. Water is your drink of choice always. It’s incredible. You have got to be able to go into a restaurant with your family and just order water. You don’t have to have soft drinks. Number one, it’s going to cut down on your ticket, your bill, when you leave. Number two, you have done something good for your body.
Ed: Lisa, talking about that, I want you to tell them what happened last weekend after I began this whole series. I was in the second weekend of Body for God and I talked about Daniel as a teenager eating properly. Tell them what happened.
Lisa: We went to California Pizza Kitchen after church and our little area of restaurants are places like Asian restaurants, California Pizza Kitchen, or Carrabba’s. We know that those are great places, because you can make a healthy choice there. We conscientiously try to choose a place where you can do that. I came in late, because I had to do some things here at the church. I walked into California Pizza Kitchen, over to where the rest of the family was, and the first thing I saw was LeeBeth with a Coke.
I said, “LeeBeth, Dad just finished preaching about not drinking Cokes and trying to be healthy.”
She just looks at me and says, “Well, I’m just a teenager.”
I said, “Well, LeeBeth, don’t you remember the story that Dad used about Daniel and how he had to make the right food choices, and he said that he was a teenager?”
She said, “I guess I wasn’t listening to that part.”
Ed: Yes, that really meant a lot to me. We just talked about nutrition and then the fifteen year old is guzzling ice cold Coca Cola.
Lisa: Just a footnote about Coke. The thing that you have to think about with teenagers, especially women, is a certain ingredient that Coke has, I believe it’s sodium bicarbonate. It is so important for women to have calcium in their bones. Sodium bicarbonate is known to take away whatever calcium absorption into the bone is taking place. Sodium bicarbonate in the form that is found in soft drinks pulls it out. So that is why it is very important. Teenagers are guzzling soft drinks by the gallons. It’s not just the sugar or caffeine content. It’s also because of what is happening that we can’t see.
Quickly, and then we are going to move on to our cooking. The drink of choice is going to be green tea, chamomile tea. Go with sugar in the raw, honey. Sugars that you want to consume are going to be in their more natural state. You can find salad dressings that don’t have MSG in them. You have to look for it. Let me tell you something. It was a piece of cake to fill this pantry over here. It was much more difficult to do this one, but it was there. It was in your normal grocery store. We did not go to Whole Foods or any place like that.
Also, with pancake mixes, and things like that, you can go with the whole wheat. You know what? When I make cathead biscuits, I use unbleached white flour. You don’t want to go with bleached white flour. Why do you need bleach in your flour? I don’t know. You want to go with unbleached. You just want to have a balance. We have learned that for our family. I examine recipes and I love to cook. So, we cook. But you can also eat out, if you are too busy to cook, maybe you are just a little bit too busy.
Ed: What Larry said was great. Related to this whole car thing we have been talking about throughout this series, we talked about the blind spots the first weekend, how we had this glaring blind spot as far as physical authenticity toward God. Then we talked about the whole Porsche thing with the fuel and the exercise. Larry takes it to the next level. Larry says that when you are shopping at a grocery store, stay on the perimeter of the store. Think of the store as a racetrack, I like to say. You go around and around and that is the best place for a racecar on the racetrack. You always mess up when you go into the infield, don’t you? Whenever you go into the interior of the grocery store for the most part, you mess up. So, stay on the exterior.
Lisa: Right. As we move on this way, one last thing I was going to say about the bread. Hold the white bread or the little bit darker wheat bread in your hand and then put this 100% whole wheat in your other hand. It’s amazing. The whole wheat is heavier. Why? It has more in it that is good for you.
Ed: It’s like a 25-pound weight compared to a two-pound weight.
Lisa: We are going to start cooking and I also want to tell you about recipes. The recipes that you find in your bulletin, one of them is macaroni and cheese. It has been adapted from a family recipe that we have. I love to adapt recipes. I just added olive oil here, but sometimes I don’t even use the oil. It just depends. Olive oil is always going to be your oil of choice. We are doing a recipe where we are not using all the fresh ingredients. When I make this at home, I use fresh ingredients just because that is our thing and I enjoy doing it. I home school, so the kids can chop vegetables and do things at home with me.
Ed: And I really help a lot around the kitchen, don’t I?
Lisa: Yes, you did not even know how to put the apron on.
Ed: That’s true.
Lisa: Because we hear so much from people that they don’t have time to cook, we decided we are going to do this recipe in the easy fashion. So, instead of soaking my beans like we might do at home, we use Progresso black bean. Also, the enchilada soup recipe that is in there is a great thing to serve with these black bean enchiladas. So I have done the onion, the garlic, the cumin and the red pepper. We are just going to sauté this for about a minute. You can put the black beans in the processor, honey. Also, as far as making time to cook, I have this George Foreman grill. I don’t know if you have one or if you are a big backyard griller person. We are not that great at that. I cook up chicken. If we are going to have grilled chicken one night, we will do a batch that you can’t even imagine. The family pack just doesn’t even cover our family. We’ll grill a whole bunch, chop it up and put it in freezer bags and freeze it. Then we have it to use for the tortilla soups, for the fajitas or whatever.
Ed: Plus, it will give you a shot of protein. If you want a snack or something, why not nibble on some chicken pieces.
Lisa: I think where people make their biggest mistakes is they don’t prepare. For example, if I am making black bean enchiladas, I am not going to make one pan. We are going to make three pans. We are going to triple this recipe, freeze it, and then I have it so that I can go and have fun and not be in the kitchen cooking.
Now we are going to add the sour cream. This is fat free sour cream. We are going to process. You are doing great!
Ed: Thank you.
Lisa: If you are going to have a job outside the home, another great appliance is the slow cooker. If you work outside the home, or if you are a stay at home Mom, you can put stuff in the slow cooker in the morning and then you have everything ready in the afternoon. This recipe we fixed here is literally a dump in recipe. It stays all day long.
Ed: Lisa, wouldn’t you say that we try to eat clean, God’s food, about 95% of the time?
Ed: Then again, you can cheat. That’s what I loved talking to Larry about at Southlake a couple of days ago. But Larry has this great line. He says, “Ed, when you cheat, make the cheat count. Don’t cheat by ordering chicken fajitas. Because if you order chicken fajitas regularly, it has oil and all this grease on it, make your cheat count. Go to Krispy Kreme or have this giant pizza with all the cheese, anchovies and pepperoni. So, when you cheat, you have a flat tire, but don’t knife all the other tires. Don’t go off your diet. The next day, go back on your diet. We do that all the time.
Lisa: Back to the family. I wish I could rewind and go back to the point when our children were babies and start them off on some more natural things and never let some things cross their taste buds. But we can’t do that so it’s hard. But what we can do is protect them now. They are going to whine and complain and say they don’t like the heavy bread. Mine still say, “Can we have white bread?” When I buy sour dough bread, they think it’s white bread. But they will get used to it.
Ed: Sometimes you just have to force feed them.
Lisa: My philosophy is you want to present to your child on a plate at least one thing that you know they like. If they like strawberries, make it strawberries. Then, introduce some other things and give it a chance. They say it takes about ten days for them to get used to it when you introduce foods as a baby. Start slowly and do the best you can. I love what Larry said because this hits home with anything in life. If you want your children to be a part of a healthy lifestyle, then you be a part of a healthy lifestyle. Our children will say to us on occasion, and we talk to them about health and fitness, “I really don’t like the way I feel after I eat a Krispy Kreme donut.” That didn’t just happen. It transcends.
Ed: That’s a teachable moment that you can use to talk about the importance of diet. We talk to our children about eating properly. It’s not a vanity thing. It’s a value thing. It’s not about vanity. It’s about who we are before God.
Lisa: That’s an important thing. Being the mom and dad of a teenage daughter who is very strong willed, and that is going to be a good thing one day, it’s important that she sees me living out what I talk about. And I don’t talk about it so much as a diet. Do you know the word “die” is in diet? That’s how I feel whenever I try to lose weight or do something like that. I feel like I am just going to die if I have to eat another piece of celery. But you want to make it a lifestyle, not a diet. So, it is important to teach her healthy living.
Now what I am doing is adding the black bean after processing it just a little bit, and I’m adding it to the vegetable mixture. I used canned corn but, for example, when we boil corn, we boil many ears of corn, take it off the cob and then keep it in the refrigerator to use in recipes in the future. I cook on the weekends and make enough to where we will have stuff available throughout the week.
Ed: Lisa, do you mind if I talk about exercise now?
Lisa: Exactly, go ahead.
Ed: It’s one thing to talk about diet, and fuel is huge, but, also, exercise is major. If you read the Gospels, especially, it’s amazing to see how many miles Christ and the disciples logged over a two or three week period. Those men ate healthy. They ate God food that didn’t have any additives, and they walked and walked. Lisa and I are not golfers. We are not part of a country club. I don’t own a motorboat or anything, but we decided about three years ago to invest in a personal trainer. In fact, a guy who is in our Home Team, our small group that we lead, is a trainer for a gym in the area. Lisa and I have been training with him..
Lisa: I have been training with Henry for four years.
Ed: Four years. That has been the best investment we have ever made. Also, too, as far as cardio and aerobic exercise, Lisa and I do a lot of different things. I think it is important to choose something you enjoy. For example, yesterday I was really tired, because we had this conference with about 1300 pastors who came to Fellowship Church from all over North America. I had spoken for about four or five hours and was a little bit emotionally drained. So before the service, I thought about just going into my office and lying down on the floor and taking a nap. Then I thought, “Hey, I’ve got a jump rope in my office.” So, I skipped rope for about twenty minutes. And the great thing about that are the endorphins, the hormones, that are released into your bloodstream. It’s like a natural painkiller. It balances your mood and gives you more energy. I really think God knew that we were going to live in a sinful environment. He has given us exercise, working out, weights, cardio and all that stuff to help us.
Lisa: A lot of time people say they just don’t have time. I think we have to be careful about giving excuses. Do we not have time or do we not make time?
Ed: You have got to make it.
Lisa: If you work, you have an hour lunch break. Why don’t you just eat for twenty and exercise for forty? Another thing, when you have young children, and I know how hard it is. We have twins. When we had twins, EJ, our son, was two. We had jogging strollers and Ed would push EJ or the twins in a jogging stroller, and we would walk or run. Now, I walk more than run. That leads me to another point. Not only can you do it, but husbands and wives, make it a recreational activity together. Ed is great. He likes to run, but he will even go walk with me. It’s easier for me to stay on target if Ed is on target.
Ed: Walking is really better than running for you anyway. Some of these guys think they are not macho if they have to walk. You try to walk. I have a hard time keeping up with Lisa.
Lisa: This is what we do. We weight walk. We have five-pound dumbbells in each hand and it looks really funny, but while we are walking we do side laterals with our arms. Try a hundred side laterals while you are walking without lessening your pace. It can be a great workout.
Okay, the enchiladas are here. If your bean mixture is a little bit runny, you can add a tablespoon of wheat flour or unbleached white flour. And then we are adding some low fat (50%) Mexican cheeses to this. It’s going to go into the oven. We have got our enchilada soup ready.
Ed: Now, Lisa, there is something else. Larry talked to me about fuel, but he also talked to me about working out. Here is what he had to say about pumping the iron.
(Second half of Larry North video)
Ed: All right, I smell the black bean enchiladas. Is that beautiful? That’s great looking. They are healthy. They are good. Someone needs to taste these black bean enchiladas. Lisa, I tell you what. I have got the perfect guy, Larry North. Larry, come on up here, man. Larry North is here at Fellowship. Good to see you. Let me get the microphone for you. Have a seat, Larry. You are under pressure, Lisa, with Larry North eating and trying the black bean enchiladas. Larry, great to have you.
Larry: Well, it’s great to be here. I have to tell you that that was wonderful, by the way. Great tips, great suggestions. And last night when I went home, I told my wife, “Melanie, I have found the church for us.” This is my kind of place, let me tell you that.
Do I have time to add to what you said, just three quick tips about soda, chips and ice cream?
Ed: Yes, I want to hear it.
Larry: How many of you have had a soda in the last week, show of hands? Of course, okay. Here is a simple take home tip. It says 40 grams of sugar on a 12-ounce soda. We use metrics. We use household measurements. All you have to do is divide by 4, so that is ten teaspoons of sugar in a 12-ounce soda. If you had two 12 ounce sodas, that would be 2/3 of a cup of sugar. Imagine if you had a Big Gulp.
You know the chips you get in the Mexican restaurants?
Larry: One gram of fat per chip. Oh, it gets better. You are a Krispy Kreme guy.
Larry: I am an ice cream guy. Half of a cup of ice cream, let’s say Ben and Jerry’s Chubby Hubby, has 300 calories and 19 grams of fat. But let me ask you a question. When was the last time you had a half of a cup of ice cream? The last time I had a half of a cup of ice cream, I said, “That was really good. I think I will have a bowl!” No one eats a half of a cup.
So anyway, you want me to taste this for you? Would you say the blessing for me?
Lisa: Yes, no pressure.
Ed: All right, I’ll say a blessing for you, too. God thanks so much for this meal. And Lord, I am thankful that we can thank you for this meal and bless it to the nourishment of our bodies because it is good food. I thank you for Larry and his life and we look forward to great things there. In Jesus name, Amen.
Ed: Lisa, you are under pressure now.
Larry: One thing, it looks fantastic.
Lisa: Good. That’s important.
Larry: Good healthy food can look really good.
Lisa: Yes. You want to look at color, content, and all that. Creativity.
Larry: The first two words that I uttered when I was a baby–my mom said she knew I would have something to do with food when I grew up—weren’t Mama or Daddy. They were, “I’m hungry.” Here we go. That’s Fantastic!
Ed: Now, Lisa, seriously, that is pressure.
Lisa: When I found out that Larry was actually going to be here and sample the food, you talk about the pressure going up. I was really concerned that we make sure to use the healthy recipe and all that. Then it dawned on me that if I feel pressure with Larry sitting here and sampling this food, then I should be even more concerned with the fact that Christ is sitting here. He dwells in this temple, my body. And I should be concerned, because that is the most important relationship to me. I want to please him in everything that I do, including how I eat.
Ed: That is a great dessert. Let’s pray together. Father, may we see like we have never seen before that eating properly and exercising our bodies is an act of worship. Lord, these temples are so precious, and I pray, God, that we see them as you see them. And I pray that we understand the energy and the octane, that we will gain from eating properly and working out, is energy to better serve you. We voice this prayer in Jesus name, Amen.