Friday, February 01, 2013

Happy 2nd Birthday, Lexie Kay Martin

To my niece, Lexie Kay Martin,       

I wrote your brother a message like this one when he was just a few hours old. So, let me start by apologizing for writing yours so late! However, I figured your 2nd birthday was a good occasion to let you know just how special you are to me and how I love you so very much!

One of the memories I have of your birth is how speedy it was! I believe I received a voicemail from your Mamaw around 8:15 PM that I checked after choir was over. Your mom was going into labor, so Papaw, Mamaw and I headed out to go experience your birth! I was all prepared for the event (I even had my tie still on from the day)! With Levi it was pretty much breakfast time by the time we left the hospital, so I remember with your birth that I was planning on stopping by Steak ‘n Shake for breakfast since I had never eaten their breakfast food. You came way before breakfast, not too many hours after we arrived at the hospital, in fact!

You were a precious baby—a good-natured, smiling, sometimes shy little one. Your grin was always so very sweet, and it gave a hint to the kind and caring personality that you will continue to exhibit, in my opinion. You were always easy to hold and seemed to take to anyone. You remind me of a lot of your mom in that way. She never met a stranger she didn’t know, and it seems you, too, made “friends” easily as just about anyone could hold you and keep you content.

Of course, my more recent memories involve you following Bubba around, laughing while he just about throws you across the room or wrestles you to the ground. You just love the attention and laugh. I think it’s a sign that you love your brother very much, and I have a feeling that you’re going to display a lot of that love through the years, the kind of love that 1 Corinthians 13 mentions.

You are also a silly one, I must admit! I love sitting at the other end of the kitchen table at Mamaw & Papaw’s while you wiggle your head or almost dance in your booster seat. I love when you gab on and on, even when we have no clue what you’re saying. In all, you’re a hoot to be around!

As you grow up, I do pray that you come to an awareness of our holy Creator and sinful state before him that deserves death, of the Savior who experienced such death in our place, and of the need to repent and trust in the One who died for our sins. My prayer is that you’ll come to Jesus at an early age and follow Him close. He is a holy God that desires to make the wonders of who He is known, and He is also a wonderfully abiding companion on this life’s journey. He will watch over, and I know that you are in very capable hands as He is your guide.

I love you very much, my little niece, and know that Melissa loves you, too! We are always here for you as you grow up. If you want to spend that night at our place, just call us. If you need a listening ear, just know you’ll always have Uncle Kenny & Aunt Missy’s attention. Whether we are in Georgia, some other state, or halfway across the world, just know that you will always be in our thoughts and prayers, even when we can’t physically be with you.

Stay sweet, my dearest niece!

With Much Love,

Uncle Kenny

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Weight Loss One-Year Anniversary

It is hard to believe, but today (March 15, 2012) marks a whole year of undergoing a lifestyle transformation.

Here is what I was at 304.5 on March 15, 2011:

Here is what I am today (roughly 95 lbs. lighter, usually hovering being 209-212):

To commemorate this one-year anniversary, I wanted to take an opportunity and answer the "How did you do it?" question I'm asked frequently.  However, due to my mother's heart attack on Monday of this week, I have spent most of my waking hours caring for her or taking care of so many of the household chores she performed when she was well.  Thankfully, the heart stints proved successful, and the Lord has granted her renewed health.  She still has a long road ahead of her as she recovers over the next few weeks and adjust to a change in diet.  Ultimately, I thank God that's she is still with us!

So, the next part of my weight loss journey will have to be written at a later date.  I'm just thankful for God's sustaining grace this past year, all the while mindful that He is the giver and sustainer of life!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

My Weight Loss Journey (Part 1-The Beginning)

The man to my left was 304.5 pounds on the day he captured this self-portrait.  He does not look healthy.  Indeed, he was not healthy!  You can venture to guess that he rarely exercised and ate whatever he wanted.  You would be right...I happen to know since that was me, as of about 7 months ago. I captured those two pictures with the self-portrait function of my digital camera.  For some reason, I truly believed that this was going to be a momentous journey, and I wanted a postcard of the trip.
As of today's date, I have lost a total of 80.5 pounds.

Thinking back, I'm not quite sure what triggered my desire to get in shape.  However and in whatever way, the Lord grabbed my attention and convicted me about the way I was living my life.  I was selfish: eating what I desired and living as I wished.  However, my poor health choices weren't just affecting me.  Physically, I got sick often during 2010 and the early part of this year.  Simple tasks would be a burden, and my stamina would not allow me to focus on physical tasks for long.  Mentally, I was often depressed and my thoughts were frequently as sluggish as my body.  Spiritually, my walk with the Lord was impacted as I struggled to maintain focus to pray while I was so often tired.

So, here is the story of my journey, and while I have not arrived, I wanted to celebrate the 80-lb. weight loss mark with a special commemoration of the trip thus far.

How I Gained So Much to Lose

While pinpointing the trigger(s) that spurred me to lose weight difficult to determine, how I gained so much weight is not.  I can easily count 3 ways that I so easily gained weight:
  1. Stress--Last year was one of the most difficult years I've faced in my years of ministry.  I had the unenviable position of being the only full-time staff member at a church in transition.  At the end of 2009, our secretary passed away and our Senior Pastor resigned.  Life became difficult.  In fact, the harder it got, the more I turned to food.  While I should have turned to the comfort of the Holy Spirit, my Paraclete, I turned to the consolation of the sugary desserts, my pastries.
  2. Lethargy--If I ever filled out a wellness survey, I could not check any box except the blank beside the word "sedentary."  You would never find me doing any physical activity that wasn't mandatory either for my job or to fulfill one of life's necessary obligations.  Getting the mail? Sure!  Walking a mile on a beautiful day?  Forget about it!
  3. Eating--I ate (almost) everything!  This was one of my biggest regular downfalls.  I used to partake of what my family and I began to call my "variety platter."  Each night, I would loung in front of the television with a plate of sugary, salty goodness.  A typical plate?  M&M candies, Cheez-It crackers, and Little Debbie swiss cake rolls.
As you can imagine, the pounds began to pile up pretty quickly.  I'm pretty embarrassed by those pictures at the top of this blog entry.  I cannot begin to claim I had a thyroid problem, bad joints that prevented regular exercise, or any other consideration.  It was all my fault!

After acknowledging my problem, I knew I had to take steps to undo the damage.  That's exactly what I did...and that's exactly what I began doing to get to this point (pictures below are current as of October 18, 2011):

Those who know me well know that I am a modest person and will rarely walk around shirtless.  However, I recognize the intrinsic value of pictures.  If they are indeed worth a thousand words, I hope that just one of that thousand may impact you if you recognize the need to change but consider it impossible.  I'm hoping that these few series of blog posts will encourage those of you that think physical change is an impossibility.  Do what you can, and seek to glorify God with whatever you eat or drink and whatever you do (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Next Entry: Part 2-Change, Change, Change!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Stumbling Blocks

During my devotional reading this morning I came across Luke 17:1-2, in which Christ reminds His followers not to be stumbling to "these little ones." I began thinking of how I might cause others to sin in one way or another, and I wanted to transparently list those out for everyone that it may spur other believers to examine their own lives as well.

Here's the information from my journal, formatted a little differently from its original. I basically saw a problem, found a Bible passage that addressed my sin condition, and wrote a short prayer for God to change me based on His Word:

Be careful not to cause others to sin. In what ways might I do that?
  • Sarcastic & critical spirit--Instead of sarcasm, give me gracious and salty speech (Colossians 4:6). Instead of a critical spirit, give me a tender heart & a humble mind (1 Peter 3:8).
  • Deeper devotion to theology than God Himself--Instead of a deeper devotion to theology [than God], help me to see Christ as preeminent in all things (Colossians 1:18).
  • Empty moralism--Instead of empty moralism, help me not to submit to legalism's yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1).
  • Lack of evangelistic fervor--Instead of a lack of evangelistic fervor, constantly stir my heart with the thrust of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20).
  • Anxiety--Instead of anxiety, remind me to be anxious for nothing but to turn to You in thankful prayer (Philippians 4:6).
  • Distrust--Instead of distrust, help me to grow in love, which believes all things (1 Corinthians 13:7).

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Donald Hustad on Singing in Church

Betty Hammett, one of our faithful senior adults, read a quote by Donald Hustad and wrote it on an index card and gave it to me some time ago. I came across it today and thought it worth sharing:
Somehow, about forty percent of churchgoers seem to have picked up the idea that "singing in church is for singers." The truth is that "singing is for believers." The relevant question is not "Do you have a voice?" but "Do you have a song?"

Monday, October 05, 2009

My Testimony (Audio)

I just found an audio file of my testimony that I gave during a seminary choir concert back in the day. Forgive my factual inaccuracies in the Wesley story (i.e. the wrong city name and inaccuracies in the Moravian conversation).

Click here to download the track.

Also, if you're interested in learning more about my faith in Christ, please see the 2 Ways to Live link on the right side of this webpage.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Outline of Matthew 5:3

Here is my proposed outline for Matthew 5:3. It's not "three points and a poem," because the text itself makes two basic assertions: it describes true believers as those who recognize their spiritual bankruptcy (and thus turn to God), and that the kingdom belongs to such folks.

The Humility of Kingdom Citizenry
--If you are a citizen of Christ's kingdom, you will have a God-given awareness of spiritual bankruptcy.

The Blessedness of Kingdom Citizenship--If you are aware of your spiritual bankruptcy, the kingdom is yours with all its rights and privileges.

Any thoughts or recommendations on preaching from this text?

By the way, I'm thoroughly enjoying Lloyd-Jones Studies in the Sermon on the Mount. I highly recommend it! I'm also looking forward to delving into a Spurgeon sermon on the passage and Jeremiah Burroughs commentary on the Beatitudes as a way to further prepare my heart for this passage. I've studied the text and hit the commentaries and will be writing the sermon soon, but I like to prepare my heart the night before a sermon by delving into some sermons and commentaries that will prepare my heart. Spurgeon is usually stirring, and I know enough of Jeremiah Burroughs to believe I'll be offered some serious points of application and meditation from his work.

Above all, please join me in praying. This week, for me, has been very trying for various reasons, so it has been one of those "out of season" sermon weeks. The need for grace is all the more apparent, for which I'm thankful to have such a reminder.