Emotional

You Are Worth It!

You Are Worth It!

In 2010, a week after I reached my healthy weight, I flew to Houston, Texas, to attend my first Summit. Each year, FP4H hosts this two-day event with success stories, breakout sessions on leadership, nutrition, spiritual growth, and a keynote speaker to inspire us. I marveled at the vast size of the facilities at Houston’s First Baptist Church. I’d never been in a mega-church before. It resembled a community college, and I needed a map to find my way around the campus. Even though I attended one of the largest churches in Pittsburgh, PA, it was dwarfed by this 4,000-seat worship center. In 2010, starstruck, I met leaders and teachers I’d watched on the DVDs and read about in books. The speakers challenged my perspective: Vicki Heath, then associate director, shared: “If you do not quit, you will succeed.” Becky Turner, emcee and breakout session speaker, said: “Say ‘no’ so

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Joy Busters

Joy Busters

“If you only knew my circumstances.” How many times do we defend a poor choice because of a pothole we encounter on our journey? The enemy works hard busting our joy with challenges to our life’s order. He intends to convince us that we should abandon our healthy habits when life gets tough. The world’s faulty thinking teaches us to approach our problems on our own with self-reliance. We are told to pull up our own bootstraps. Then when we falter, he works overtime with feelings of shame and inadequacy. We isolate ourselves as we try to “deal with it” on our own. Jesus understood this when he said, “…the cares of this world… choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful” (Mark 4:19). Jesus understands what it feels like to be overwhelmed. He challenges us not to be caught up in our cares and no longer focused on the Lord.

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The Joyful Journey to Health and Happiness

The Joyful Journey to Health and Happiness

How do you picture joy? After turning in my manuscript for my newest book, Discovering Joy in Philippians: A Creative Bible Study Experience, I thought I would create some lovely photos with inspiring verses on them. I opened my graphics AP and typed in “JOY.” What I anticipated seeing were images of giggling children, cozy families, faces of smiling friends, maybe some inspiring nature shots, breathtaking sunsets or perhaps a strong, fit person reaching the pinnacle of a mountain top. NOPE. What I saw were pictures of sugary desserts: cookies, cupcakes, seven-layer chocolate cakes, ices cream, cheesecake—more and more sugar! Righteous indignation rose up within me. “Satan, you are such a LIAR! That is not JOY. These foods lead to bondage and brokenness.  God wants to give us JOY!”  Phil 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice. (Phil 4:4 ESV) To rejoice is a verb,

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Stronger Every Day

Stronger Every Day

By Janet Holm McHenry I should have known better. When the surgeon had discharged my son after his knee surgery, the doctor had said, “Be careful as you lift his movement and ice machines, so you do not end up in surgery yourself.” And there I was a week later, flat in bed in extreme pain, unable to move. Day after day I had done what the surgeon had said not to do—lifted the heavy machines from one room to another, even though my back was aching. The straw that broke my back was a large dictionary. I had leaned over to pick it up just prior to our daughter’s sleepover party for her tenth birthday and then could not move the rest of the evening while girls giggled and ran through the house. It was not how I had planned my half-year sabbatical—taken to write a book about praying

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It’s Time to Stop

It’s Time to Stop

Lately, the Lord has been showing me it is time for me to stop talking and listen for understanding. Stephen Covey says, “Most people do not listen to understand; they listen to answer. While the other is talking, they are preparing their reply.” The scripture says, “Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.” (Proverbs 18:13, NLT) The more a leader talks, the more we concentrate on thinking about what we are going to say next. We are more likely to miss important information or clues or promptings of the Holy Spirit if we are doing all the talking. When we take time to listen and ask the Holy Spirit to guide us in leading our group, we are gaining a complete understanding before we speak. The 80/20 rule of active listening says that we should spend 80% of the time listening and only 20% of

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Bringing Joy to Others

Bringing Joy to Others

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. HEBREWS 10:24 ©     Volunteer and give donations. Volunteer to serve a holiday meal to needy families and give donations to a food pantry. You could even give a gift to someone in another country through organizations such as Samaritan’s Purse (see www.samaritanspurse.org). ©    Send cards to military service personnel. Visit www.anysoldier.com for more information. ©    Send Christmas notes to at least six people who blessed you this past year. For example, you could send a thank-you note to your First Place 4 Health leader or an other member in your group who has encouraged you. Be specific as to how they have helped you this year. ©    Call someone who may be feeling sad this holiday season. Call a friend who has endured some form of crisis this past year, such as a death in the family this year

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Bringing Joy to Others

Bringing Joy to Others

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. HEBREWS 10:24   ©     Volunteer and give donations. Volunteer to serve a holiday meal to needy families and give donations to a food pantry. You could even give a gift to someone in another country through organizations such as Samaritan’s Purse (see www.samaritanspurse.org). ©    Send cards to military service personnel. Visit www.anysoldier.com for more information. ©    Send Christmas notes to at least six people who blessed you this past year. For example, you could send a thank-you note to your First Place 4 Health leader or an other member in your group who has encouraged you. Be specific as to how they have helped you this year. ©    Call someone who may be feeling sad this holiday season. Call a friend who has endured some form of crisis this past year, such as a death in the family this

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My Place for Discovery

My Place for Discovery

Human beings have struggled with behavior since the beginning of time. In the Garden, Adam and Eve made a disobedient choice to eat the wrong food. Throughout history others chose the wrong path, too. Even while fiercely following God, Moses, Noah, Sampson, and others disobeyed and failed. Finally, King David cried out, “Search me O God and know my heart….” The majority of us don’t need medical or clinical help—because we have a physical problem with a spiritual answer. While we at First Place For Place aren’t psychologists or doctors and never offer medical or clinical advice, we have the Living Word as our guide and our doctor. So, we have developed four My Place for Discovery books. Each book is designed to be completed during one12-week session. Book One – Searching Myself: We will discover how life experiences and personal traits contributed to unhealthy living. Book Two – Searching Life’s Lose and Weight

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Has God Moved Your Cheese?

Has God Moved Your Cheese?

In Spencer Johnson’s book Who Moved My Cheese? four characters: two mice “Sniff” and “Scurry,” and two humans “Hem” and “Haw.” live in a maze. They return day after day to the same location consuming their delicious cheese. One day, they are at a loss when someone moved their cheese. Every FP4H session seems a new opportunity to hunt down a new location of sustenance for my soul. I am successful when I willingly embrace whatever changes the Lord has planned. Do you need help with the changes planned for your life? Are you ready to do something new? My honest response most often is No. I want the transformation without the disruption to my routine. When I am stuck in a rut, everything slows. I need to intentionally “move my cheese.” Here are three areas in which you can stop hemming and hawing, and kick start your wellness journey.

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My Place for Change

In 2005, my sister lost forty pounds. I wanted to know, what had changed? She’d told me the First Place program was an answer to prayer. When I first heard about the program, I didn’t want to listen. I’d decided there was no hope for me. In the past, when I worked on my weight problem, I would struggle, give up and gain more weight than I lost. I convinced myself I was better off doing nothing and accepting my fate—fat forever. It took me another year before I realized running away from God’s plan is not the best plan. I could not conceive how God would use an obese woman who had failed at weight loss countless times to lead a First Place 4 Health Group. At 274 pounds, I had no idea the wonderful changes God had planned for me. I ordered a Group Starter Kit and was

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