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Coach Theo and Amber

IT'S NOT ABOUT US. UNEDITED.

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FAMILY

The Uncommon Workout That Can Save Your Marriage

Truth time. Most of you lie. You keep saying you don’t have time. In fact, when it comes to fitness, family, and faith, this is the number one excuse we hear. Well if fitness, family, and faith are the three most important things in your life, and you don’t have time for them, then today’s main question is: What The Heck Are You Doing With Your Time?!

Reality check. It’s time to do a time check.

I’m guilty. I used to try to lie to myself too and still sometimes do.  So I want to share a tactic I use to get myself out of this demobilizing trap.

I want to challenge you today to do my Uncommon Workout: The Triple AAA Time Inventory:

  1. Become AWARE of how you use your time by taking a time inventory.
  2. ACCEPT responsibility for how you’re using your time.
  3. AWAKEN/TAKE ACTION to change how you use your time so you can become more effective and efficient, especially in regards to the investment into your marriage.

Triple AAA Time Inventory 3 Steps

Step 1: Awareness

Take a few minutes to REFLECT on how you use your time daily. How much do you work? How much down-time do you have? How do you fill it? What do you do with your mornings? Your evenings? What’s on your to-do list? What do you put on your schedule? What should be on your schedule?

So often we spew out the initial reaction of “I don’t have time!” before we stop and think about what we’re really saying. You don’t have time but you watch a television series every night. You don’t have time but you went out drinking with your buddies. You don’t have time but you watched three football games over the weekend. Really, you don’t have time?

Step 2: Accept

What we need to do is STOP and CATCH ourselves and say, “I do have time. I just choose to use it for other things right now, like…”

There’s a saying that goes, “Show me your to-do list, your bank account, and your time inventory, and I’ll show you what you value and have time for.”

Step 3: Awaken/Take Action

Then you have to make a decision to change your daily activities so that your behaviors match your words and goals. What do you really value? How bad do you want it? Are you willing to do whatever it takes to get there?

A few years ago I was talking with a Christian brother about my marriage struggles. He shared that one of the most important things to institute in a marriage is date nights. Here’s how the conversation went.

Me: “I don’t have time.”

My Christian brother: “What do you mean you don’t have time? You don’t have time for your marriage?”

Me: “No. We have two small kids. I’m trying to build my business. I work all the time. I can barely get my workouts in. When am I supposed to find time?”

My Christian brother: “So what you’re telling me is you don’t care about your marriage?”

Me: “Yes I do.”

My Christian brother: “Then why would you schedule everything else before quality time with your wife?” Your priorities are messed up. And if you’re telling me you can’t make date nights mandatory, then you’re telling me you don’t value your marriage.”

It was a major gut check and I’ll be honest, my wife and I still catch ourselves saying we don’t have time for date nights to this day. That’s when we have to re-evaluate our time inventory and figure out how to make breathing room. It’s not always ideal and it takes some creativity. But if we just keep using the excuse that we don’t have time, then we aren’t accepting responsibility for how we use our time. And that is never healthy nor productive.

Don’t take my word for it. Take a time inventory today. Accept responsibility for how you use your time and make a choice to change it. I dare you.

And it may just be an absolute game-changer for you and everyone in your life.

#ItsNotAboutUs

Coach Theo

 

 

 

Love Her Like The First Day, Dare 18

I still remember our first real date together. We were at Olive Garden eating those ridiculously good breadsticks. I wanted to know everything about Amber.  Like an investigative reporter, I interrogated her with questions about her entire life. I was so into her and wanted to know everything about her past, present, and future.

We all do this when we first meet, trying to discover if they’re the right one. Then if you’re like us, after that 18 month infatuation period ended, comfort took over. Plans, personal dreams, work, and other distractions got into the way. Slowly we started taking each other for granted. Careers squeezed in the way. Kids drew us so close yet so far apart. Before we knew it, our marriage was merely on auto pilot.

In Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas talks about levels of marriage. Here’s my paraphrase on them.

Levels Of Marriage:

  1. You’re done and ready to walk away.
  2. You’re resentful towards each other and blame each other for “personal dissatisfaction and lack of excitement.”
  3. You simply “get along.”
  4. You have depth and “pursue a deeper meaning, a spiritual truth hidden in the enforced intimacy of the marital situation.”

If you want to be in level four and continually pursue depth, you need to take initiative and be proactive in your marriage. So what if your relationship is good now. It can always get better. Jesus doesn’t want you to be luke-warm (Rev 3:16). The results of tomorrow are affected by the work you put in today. And if one day your marriage falls apart, it’s because of what you didn’t do yesterday.

Just like when you train to get in great shape, it doesn’t stop. You don’t just get to a point where you achieve your goals and can stop working out and still enhance your results. It’s a lifetime process and what you learn from training is that you can always polish things up, fine tune, and get better.

Our marriages are no different. Like training, they require the same intention, investment, and effort. If we want stronger and more conditioned marriages that can outlast adversity, we can’t settle for maintenance mode.

We’re halfway through the Love Dare Challenge and this book is continuing to change our lives daily. Going back to Day 18, the point is to get to know your spouse better, just like the first day you met them. Here are three steps outlined in this chapter:

  • Ask questions. The bible says “The ear of the wise seeks knowledge. (Proverbs 18:15) Love takes the initiative to begin conversations.
  • Listen. “A fool does not delight in understanding, but only in revealing his own mind” (Provers 18:2) Hear your spouse, don’t just tell them what you think.
  • Ask God for discernment. “The Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6). Men and women are different and it’s hard to understand each other. God can show you what you need in order to love your spouse better.

Don’t just settle for a level one, two, or three marriage. Be proactive and initiate love. Whip up some homemade breadsticks and sit down with your spouse to get to know her better, and Love her like the first day you met her.

Don’t take my word for it. I dare you to try it yourself. And it may just be an absolute game-changer for you and everyone in your life.

Coach Theo

Saving Your Marriage, Dare 2

In Dare 1 we talked about how Marriage IS Training. And once you start to view the purpose of marriage differently, you’ll start to overcome challenges with better intentions and love towards one another.

Read Dare 1 Here

Today we’re talking about Sacrificial Service.

Sacrificial Service

Like a full-sized mirror, marriage shows us how selfish we are. Unlike any other relationship, it points out all of our deep embedded character flaws. When Amber and I went through some bad phases in our marriage, I used to tell her that she was the only one that could pull the anger out of me and make me look so hateful. Instead of accepting responsibility for the nature of my heart, I pointed the finger at her as if she controlled my reactions (insert face palm emoji here).

During our vows we all agreed that we would be there “for better or for worse,” “through sickness and in health,” “til death do us part.” But then we left the altar and things got real and we almost instantly forgot the words that just came out of our mouth.

Are you like me when you go to a wedding? I have a hard time sitting through them. Sometimes I want to stop the bride and groom before they walk down the aisle and yell “Wait, before you say I-do, has anyone explained how hard this is going to be when reality hits?!” Marriages are not fairy tales. They’re challenges. And you won’t enjoy the fruit without constant work and effort invested into them.

Loving and serving each other is easy when things are easy. It was easy when we didn’t have kids to take care of, when we didn’t work full-time, or when our workload wasn’t so much. But that’s when God wants us to serve even more, when things are hard, challenging, and exhausting.

When we come home from a long day of work, or a long day of managing our chaotic family life, and we don’t have any more energy to muster up, that’s when He wants us to ramp up our game even more.  When I’m too tired to do the dishes, that’s when I’m supposed to do them. When I’m too busy to change the light bulb that ends up only taking three seconds to change anyways, that’s when I need to suck it up and change it.

Sacrificial service is knowing that there’s always more to do. Our measurement of doing enough is not accurate in God’s eyes. Our work is never enough.

“The very definition of the word  sacrifice means that sacrifice isn’t sacrifice unless it costs us something: so men, it’s a fair question to ask, “How have I loved my wife in the past two or three weeks in such a way that it has cost me something-vocationally, financially, and with my hobbies, time, and comfort?” If we can’t come up with something, we’re not loving like the Bible calls husbands to love in Ephesians 5:25.” (Sacred Marriage, Pg. 170)

Dare 2

“It is difficult to demonstrate love when you feel little to no motivation. But love in its truest sense is not based on feelings. Rather, love determines to show thoughtful actions even when there seems to be no reward. You will never learn to love until you learn to demonstrate kindness. First.

In addition to saying nothing negative to your spouse again today, do at least one unexpected gesture as an act of kindness (Love Dare Day 2).”

It goes both ways in a marriage. Husbands and wives shouldn’t expect to be served. Both however should expect to serve. “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matt 20:28)

Don’t take my word for it.  I dare you to try it yourself. And it may just be an absolute game-changer for you and everyone in your life.

#ItsNotAboutUs

Coach Theo

Saving Your Marriage, Dare 1

Are you going through a difficult time in your marriage right now? Are you feeling like there’s no way out? Are you talking about divorce, separation, moving out, giving up, ‘hating’ each other?

Amber and I have to speak out.

We’re seeing too many marriages fall apart around us.

Do you think we’re perfect? Do you know that we’ve almost divorced multiple times? Do you realize there are times when we ‘hate’ each other?

Statistics say about 50% of marriages fail. That statistic grows for married couples who run businesses together, to 90%.

Even though FMU is a mission and ministry in our eyes, there’s no doubt at times it can be extremely straining on our relationship. We fight hard to preserve this marriage and if we didn’t have God as our center point, we would lose the fight too.

Let me first say this, no one knows your situation but you. We are not judging you or your decisions. We are also not talking about extreme cases of abuse, addiction, or adultery. But, I personally know couples that have made it through these extreme situations. So with God on your side, I wouldn’t count yourselves out just yet.

Anyways, we simply want to share some things we have learned the hard way. My viewpoint on marriage has changed drastically even just recently, as I’ve personally had to work through many things in my own mind to try to get this right.

You’ll be seeing Amber and me talk out loud about marriages more. Our hope is that something we say may hit someone right when they need it most. For now, here is one of our major takeaways that is giving us a whole new perspective on marriage. And it’s helping us see each other and treat each other the way God wants us to.

Marriage Is Training

Think about this phrase, Marriage Is Training. This phrase in itself changes your entire outlook on marriage. No longer is a good marriage something that just happens, but now something you work towards, always. The process never stops. And just like training to be healthy physically, your marriage will always require hard work, dedication, discipline, and initiative to make it better.

Marriages are difficult. But have you ever thought that a difficult marriage can prepare you for greatness? Or that it can be a training grounds to build perseverance and resiliency? When you want to get in the best shape of your life, you don’t choose an easy workout. An easy workout doesn’t challenge you to get stronger and more conditioned. Without some strain, without exertion, there is no growth.

I’m starting to see that the purpose of marriage is to do much more than to make us happy. It’s to make us Holy. We have to unlearn the teachings of Hollywood drama and fairy tale endings and see marriage through the eyes of our Beholder. God uses the difficulty and challenges of marriage to push us to become selfless, rely on Him more, become more like Him, and be an example for Him.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Cor 4:17)

This isn’t easy and takes full focus, pro-activity, and grueling practice daily. Like a workout, the strain, exertion, and workout alone aren’t what enhance your performance. The active process of how you respond with patience, humility, and tenacity are what produce growth.

When you go through challenges in your marriage, just enduring or ‘getting through the workout’ doesn’t take you to the next level. You have to actively respond with patience, compassion, compromise, understanding, and grace. It’s the major relationship in your life that requires you to become more like Jesus. And if your wife was asked, would she say she was married to Him?

“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” (1 Tim 4:8)

Maybe you’re in a difficult marriage right now.

Maybe you think your spouse is a terrible person and there’s no way you’ll ever love them the same again.

Maybe you have every reason to leave them.

I just want to encourage you that it’s never too late and you’re never too far gone.

I know how pride, selfishness, and jealousy work. I also know the powerful force against you. Just staying married, let alone having a strong marriage, can be evangelical. And the enemy hates that. He’s latching onto your back trying to bring you down at all costs. You’re not fighting against your spouse. You’re fighting against a thief that is trying to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10)

But I know an even more powerful force that can take him down. Bringing, keeping, and prioritizing God into your life is the one thing that will change everything.

Amber and I are going through the Love Dare challenge with our life group right now. I encourage you to pick up the book and take the challenge with us. We’ll be back weekly with action steps that we’re taking to invest into our marriage.

Dare 1 is to “demonstrate patience and to say nothing negative to your spouse at all. If the temptation arises, choose not to say anything. It’s better to hold your tongue than to say something you’ll regret.” (The Love Dare, Page 4)

“Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.” (James 1:19)

Think it’s easy? Or think it won’t work? Don’t take my word for it. Try it. I dare you.

And it might just be an absolute game-changer for you and everyone in your life.

#ItsNotAboutUs,

Coach Theo

Resources: Fireproof Movie, Love Dare Book, Sacred Marriage Book, Love Works Ministry, Sacred Vows Movie

 

Cleveland Ninja Warrior Competitor Hosts Kids Ninja Charity Event This Friday

Over 110 kids will be competing in the FMU Youth Ninja Championships this Friday, September 15, at FMU Fitness in Avon, Oh.

All age divisions from 5-12 years old are sold out, with a waiting list building in hopes that some slots will open up.

The championships consists of three stages that all competitors complete. The first stage is just about finishing. The second stage gets a little bit harder. And then the top five fastest times from stage two for boys and girls in each age group, move on to compete in stage three for a top 3 award.

Best of all, the entire event’s proceeds benefit FMU’s sister charity organization Smiles For Sophie Forever, a non-profit that directly supports children and families affected by pediatric cancer.

The event is hosted by Season 9 Cleveland American Ninja Warrior competitor Paul “Theo” Theodore. Known as Coach Theo in the community, Coach Theo fell on the razor’s edge at the downtown Cleveland course, nixing his chances of moving on to the city finals.

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“Either way, opportunities like this are just another chance for me to bring back a learning experience for all of my kids. This time, I came back wanting them to see that falling in the water is ok. And then I got inspired by the whole experience to make our Ninja Tournament better than ever.”

This will be FMU’s fifth ninja championships. And on Friday they are doing something they’ve never done before—setting up the entire course outside on the front lawn, in a linear set up, just like the show’s.

“It’s big. It’s going to take a lot of work. But to give our kids this type of experience is priceless and makes it all worth it. Lots of people from this community will rise up to the occasion to make it happen.” 

If you find yourself driving down Jaycox Rd. in Avon on Friday night from 4-10 pm, honk when you see the youth ninjas competing! Or better yet, stop over, make a small donation to Smiles For Sophie Forever, and watch the competitors in action.

FMU Fitness is a Christian-based youth and adult fitness training facility that offers athletic group training programs for all ages. You can find more information at FMUFitness.com

 

Live Like You’re Dying by Coach Amber

4 Powerful Action Steps to Make Every Single Day Count

What if God told you that tomorrow was your very last day here on earth? Would you have any regrets? Have you followed God’s purpose for your life? Did you take that leap of faith or run the other direction in fear? Have you been a faithful spouse or have you spent your days breaking them down? Have you been graceful with your children or do you respond to them in anger? Have you taken the opportunity to share Jesus with others, or haven’t for fear of rejection? Have you loved fully? Have you served others? Have you given willingly, sacrificially and cheerfully?

In 2015, my vivacious, 80-year-old, loud Italian grandpa passed away. He was living a perfectly normal life, before he went in to have a minor surgery on a nerve that was causing numbness in his hand. Post-surgery, he developed infections that his body couldn’t fight. He suffered for 2 months in the hospital with infections so bad his bones were literally breaking as he moved.  His energy was depleted, but somehow muttered a few words and prayed for Theo.   He told Theo to “Just keep preaching.” As he lay practically lifeless, John Mayer’s song “SAY” was playing through the hospital speakers. It was a GODINCIDENCE. The lyrics are powerful.

Have no fear for giving in

Have you fear for giving over

You’d better know that in the end

It’s better to say too much

Then never to say what you need to say again

Even if your hands are shaking

And your faith is broken

Even as the eyes are closing

Do it with a heart wide open

Say what you need to say

 I’ll never forget that song. It was a powerful message for Theo, as we felt the holy spirit working through my grandpa during his last moments here. We knew God was working through him, telling us to keep sharing the love of Jesus Christ with others. It’s not a song that you hear often. That is why, when I heard this song AGAIN randomly on August 18, 2017 there was NO DOUBT in my mind it was a sign from above. A GODINCIDENCE. This wasn’t just a normal day. It was the same day of our sweet Piper Samuels visitation, who went to heaven just 5 days earlier. A sign I had been praying for. I knew that God wanted me to Say what HE NEEDS me to say. It may not impact you, but it’s meant to share. I hope it can change the heart of at least one person.

Live Like You’re Dying is a chapter in Coach Theo’s book, Conversations With Gio. If you haven’t read it, you need to. It’s an absolute game changer. I forgot this until I was having a conversation with him this morning. I said, “Theo! I feel compelled to share this blog. God is calling me to do it.” He laughed at me and with encouragement said, “That is awesome, but you DO KNOW that is already a chapter in my book. Didn’t you read my book????” I guess great minds think alike. Great minds also think differently. In Theo’s book, he offers up questions to reflect upon. Questions like: How do you want to be remembered when you die? What matters most to you? What do you want to accomplish? In this blog, I want to offer 4 powerful action steps to take in order to live each day like it’s the last! Die to yourself. Give. Serve. Love.

#1 DIE TO YOURSELF

In order to fully understand what it means to LIVE, you first must die. Figuratively, not literally. The New Testament teaches us that dying to yourself is part of being born again. The old self dies, and the new self comes to life. It can happen once and also be a life-long process. Jesus spoke to his disciples about taking up their cross and following him. The cross symbolizes love, mercy and grace. Once you let Jesus into your life, you no longer live but HE lives within you. You must first let go of your sinful, selfish pleasures and in turn pursue what will please GOD.

This is not an easy task and something I need to be reminded of daily. A true follower, needs to follow the Lord in whatever ways he leads. Our pride tells us to focus on our own feelings, wants, and desires. But the CROSS is a reminder to focus on HIM.

My life has drastically changed since I let Jesus into my heart and started following him. My attitude, my thoughts, my actions, the words that come out of my mouth are different. By no means am I trying to portray “perfection”. Heck No. Not even close. In fact, every 28 days I think my whole family is ready to pack their bags and move to a new state! I’m still a work in progress. We all should be.

Raised an only child, I always thought life was supposed to be about me. My adolescence was filled with some hurtful memories.  Memories that consist of abuse and depression (not from my loving parents).  My old self would think, “Why is this happening to me?” Or, “I don’t deserve this.” Truly dying to oneself can free you from the hurt, pain and suffering. My new self in Christ is reminded of the precious gift of eternal life that I have been given. It has allowed me to heal, to forgive, and to be fully restored. The only person holding you back from these things is YOU. So, let go and let GOD. Pray hard, surrender the control, trust in him, seek him out and be still. It gives you the power to forgive, give, serve and love. It gives you the power to LIVE every single day like it’s your last.

#itsnotaboutyou #butitstartswithyou

#2 GIVE

We are living in a society in which everyone is trying to keep up with the Joneses. I see women altering their bodies, purchasing the latest designer bags, big houses and SUV’s, high end clothes. I can often get caught up in the same thought process. Not because I covet these things, but because it’s become a normal part of our society. More, more, more. Lack of contentment. If everyone else is doing it, then I should too right? Its then when I need to ask myself, If I were to die tomorrow would any of these things matter? Am I trying to please MAN or am I trying to please GOD? None of these material pleasures can be taken to heaven with us. It is all left here.

If you want to live like it’s your last day here, then GIVE. Give what you cannot take with you to heaven, EVERYTHING. God tells us to give. I’m not saying you can’t spend or save your money or buy things you want. But God loves a cheerful, willing giver that is done in accordance with their means. When you look at the root of why you are purchasing or desiring to have something, is it because you want to please yourself/someone or is to please GOD?

Today I experienced the Walmart grocery pick up service. Just giving it a try. I parked next to an extremely angry woman with two kids in her car. She screamed at the attendant for not having her groceries ready. As the attendant brought my groceries out to my car, I could see the lady next to me grow angrier. My anxiety started to heighten and I just wanted to get the heck outta there! My sinful self was getting really annoyed at her. Jesus wouldn’t walk away though. The holy spirit nudged me, what if one simple random act of kindness could make her smile? So, I pulled out, rolled down my window and said, “Hi there. I can tell you are very frustrated your groceries are not ready. I’m so sorry. Is there anything I can get you while you wait? Would your kids like a snack?” She proceeded to share with me that both of her kids were sick and vented for the next ten minutes.  I just listened but she SMILED and thanked me. What a simple gift to give. But its GIVING. We have been GIVEN the most precious GIFT by Jesus himself-eternal life. Why waste the opportunity to give?

Other ways you can give: share the news of Jesus without hesitation or fear, tithe at church, make a donation to a charitable organization, buy food for the homeless, pay someone’s toll, pay for a struggling family’s meal, offer to babysit, redirect gifts. Instead of having people give you birthday or Christmas gifts, ask them to donate to a certain charity instead. Smile and be friendly. You never know how great your impact can be on someone even from the smallest forms of giving. You never know what kind or hurt of painful situations they might be going through. The giving can then multiply and people will pay it forward. Sometimes giving doesn’t even have to be monetary, it can be done in other ways such as serving or loving.

#3 SERVE

“Even the son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). The bible talks a lot about serving.  Theo’s life verse is “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vein conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interest of others. In your relationship with one another, have the same mindset as JESUS” (Philippians 2:3-5).

I used to be so regimented with my own daily activities, schedule, work, workout, just to name a few. Then I had my son. I had no idea what life would be like being dictated by another little human being. I laugh now looking back. I thought I knew everything about how to care for a newborn. I was literally considered “the best nanny”. I took care of countless families and was always the first to be called on the babysitter list. When I found out I was pregnant, I knew it would be a piece of cake. I threw that out the window real fast!

Parents serve their children daily. We change diapers, prepare meals, do homework, launder clothes and sheets, take them to and from activities, cheer them on at sporting events, pay for their schooling, lead them in Christ. We are servants…. A better word might be slaves. We are slaves to our children!

In all seriousness, if you are a parent you better serve your children and then teach them to become independent servants of OTHERS. In order to make a BIG impact they need to see YOU serving others.

If today was your last day, would you be the one to help someone who has a flat tire on the side of the road? Or the one who drives by thinking someone else will help? Would you hold the door for people? Would you go out of your way to help someone even when its inconvenient? Our motto at FMU is #itsnotaboutme. We do countless service projects in our community. We do it because God calls us to do it, not because we want praise. There are so many little eyes watching and little ears listening. Make. Every. Second. Count.

There are many ways to serve. God has given you your own unique gifts and talents. Everyone is different. Start by making a list of those gifts and talents.  As opposed to your own self recognition, think of ways you can serve others with these gifts. Some of my God given gifts are being able to organize, manage and delegate. Sometimes I wonder why I couldn’t have just been given the gift of singing or the lung capacity of a long-distance runner. Of course, it’s because God has a plan and it wasn’t for me to be a good runner. While I am still a work in progress, I used to use this for my own advantage. I used to get my way all of the time, especially being an only child. While they may not be deemed the coolest gifts, I have now focused these qualities for GOOD on events like Hitman Challenge (Roc4NBCure) and Smiles For Sophie Forever Bash N Dash, raising thousands of dollars for pediatric cancer. These events benefit so many families fighting this terrible disease. Had I never starting using Gods gifts to serve, imagine all the families who wouldn’t have been helped. That is not meant to be a pat on the back because, trust me, I can always do a much better job of serving. Don’t wait until it’s too late. I challenge you to tap into your gifts and use them to serve, like today was your last.

Other ways you can serve is volunteer at charity events, stop to help someone in need, teach someone a skill you know. Teaching your spouse how to clean the toilet- ok that doesn’t count. My neighbor will sometimes have the entire neighborhood in his yard to play baseball. He is serving the kids and parents in his community and he LOVES it.  Its setting an example. I think it’s something these kids will never forget and will pass on to their children. Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds that glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16). Comfort someone in grief and help them with the healing process, lend your ear to someone who needs to vent, encourage someone who wants to get active by asking them to go for a jog/walk, cut your neighbors grass or offer to walk their dogs, and LOVE people.

#4 LOVE

We are living in a broken world with increasing violence, hate crime, racism, prejudice, drugs, and divorce. It is filled with people who hurt us over and over, time and time again. These things don’t come from love.  If we rely on PEOPLE we will never truly feel loved or be able to FULLY LOVE others. We will be endlessly searching to fill a “void”.  The only one who can truly satisfy the human heart is the one who made it.

Love, in my opinion, is the most powerful action step of all. If today was your last day would you have any regrets regarding LOVE? Have you been patient and kind or envious and rude? Do you insist on your own way, are irritable and resentful? Are you letting your own pride ruin your relationships with your spouse and family? Do you rejoice at wrongdoing or rejoice with the truth? Do you love those who hurt you the most? Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is LOVE. (1JOHN 4:8) So I challenge you to be THE PROOF of his LOVE!

“If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy

 but don’t love I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate

 If I speak Gods word with power

 Revealing all of his mysteries

And making everything as plain as day

And if I have faith to say to a mountain “jump” and it jumps

But I don’t LOVE I’m nothing

If I give all I earn to the poor or even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr    But I don’t love I’ve gotten no where

So, no matter what I say, no matter what I believe, no matter what I do

I’m bankrupt without LOVE

So, let my life be the proof, the proof of your love.”

(1 Corinthians 13)

 

The bible is endless with scripture on love. It is our duty to love because God first loved us. He loves us when we are happy, when we are sad and when we are hurting. He even loves us when we are hateful and try to shut him out. He tells us to love and pray for our enemies in Matthew 5:44. THIS. IS. SO. HARD. It’s easy to see that Love doesn’t put self-first. In fact, he puts US first. His love NEVER FAILS so why should ours? No matter how badly you have messed up and think he could never forgive you, he is waiting for you to call him back into your heart. GOD sent his one and only son to die on the cross so that we may have eternal life. Come on, it’s really simple! That’s how much love he has for us. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

My challenge to you is to be the proof of God’s love. Love with your whole heart like today were your last day. You have so much love to give, why keep it tucked away for yourself?

There are many ways you can show love to someone. Not everyone’s “love tank” is filled the same way. Tap into people, learn their story and find out what makes them feel loved. Even your enemies (insert vomit emoji). A little can go a long way. You would be surprised how some people don’t even experience a single ounce of love on a daily basis.  Hugs, compliments, notes, encouraging words, quality time, being a good listener, acts of service, gifts of appreciation, forgiveness, prayer, sacrifice, sharing the message and hope of Jesus Christ are just a few examples of how to love like Jesus. They could change someone’s life.

This brings me back to my whole inspiration behind writing this. PIPER SAMUELS. Kari, Piper’s mom shared with us at Pipers Life Celebration, just before she passed away how she wanted everyone to know just how much she loved them. Times a million. Or something to that extent. She was living proof of GOD’s love for us. Despite the amputation, countless treatments, pokes, prods and the end of it all she wanted to let people know she LOVED them. Her love never failed, his love never fails and ours shouldn’t either.

 

Final Thoughts

“Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should.” (Psalm 90:12) Life is short. God can take us at any moment. After all, we are his children. HIS creation. He wants us to choose our days wisely. We may never truly understand the impact we have in this world; and sometimes its seems as though we could be doing so much more. We have to be obedient and humble before the Lord, seeking him out every day in prayer for guidance. If you were given one final day on earth, I hope you would make it count. I challenge you to be the one who opens doors, spares their change, loves the ones who hurt you most, shares the news of Jesus, takes that leap of faith, walks humbly, is the voice of reason, prevents conflict and is an example. I am challenging myself to not just go through the motions but to LIVE IT OUT, be bold and without hesitation.

I recently gave bracelets engraved with the words LIVE IT OUT to some friends of mine. It is a symbol of our sisterhood in Christ, but also a reminder to live out our faith and to be bold about it. It is already changing their thoughts, words and actions. It is already starting conversations. Will you join us in the challenge?  (If you would like to order a bracelet for an everyday reminder to LIVE IT OUT, you can do so here: https://keepcollective.com/c/q73sb )

It’s not about you, but it starts with you. Take up the cross, be renewed in Christ, and live passionately by giving, serving and loving just like Jesus did. It may just be an absolute game-changer for you and everyone in your life.

Coach Amber

Live Like You Know Whose You Are

Dr. Suess was a genius. He decided that when he couldn’t rhyme words, he would make up his own. Did you ever read his book, “There’s a Wocket In My Pocket?” It sounds like something I made up as a kid.

Theres_a_Wocket_in_My_Pocket

“Did you ever have a feeling there’s a zamp in the lamp? Or a nink in the sink? Or a woset in the closet? Sometimes I am quite certain there’s a jurtain in the curtain.” [1]

Come on, I know I made up that word jurtain. Too bad he developed this lyrical concept before anyone else did. It propelled his work in children’s literature to world renowned popularity.  His books continue to sell in the millions each year and have earned him the status of being a regular household name.

If you’re a parent, you probably have plenty of Dr. Suess books in your children’s library. And after reading these catchy books to your children, you often become a rhymer yourself.

Years ago after reading Cat in the Hat, Wocket In My Pocket, and other Dr. Suess books to my one year old son, a divine rhyme popped into my head. It hasn’t left since.

If not me then who?

Why not me? Why not you?

Whose am I? Whose are you?

Three lines. So simple. But on the brink of a major transformation in my life at that time, God wanted me to reflect on them. Here’s how I broke them down.

If not me then who? Think about it. Somebody has to do it. You can’t wait around. If there’s a need, fill it. Don’t talk, walk. Be solution focused. Start creating.

Why not me? Why not you? What do you have that I don’t have? If you can do it, I can do it. If I can do it, you can do it. Who’s it gonna be?

Whose am I? Whose are you? I know where my identity lies. I know whose I am. With God on my side, anything is possible. If you think you can do it without him, watch what I can do with him.

Are you in a position right now where you really want to do something but haven’t yet? Are you feeling the call? Are you contemplating taking a leap? Maybe an opportunity has come your way, or maybe you found a way to create an opportunity. Are you second guessing yourself?

I get it. We’ve been there. Let me take you back to the early days of FMU. My wife Amber and I had the vision, but we didn’t have the right. We had no money, no business degrees, no experience or certifications. The economy was bad. People were losing their jobs. With a four month old child and my wife not working, I was leaving mine. On top of all of this, we didn’t have the confidence to believe we could do what God was calling us to.

Growing up poor, without much, without exposure to opportunities and certain experiences, we developed that not me mindset. “Well that’s for them, not me.” “He can do that, not me.” “Someone else is probably better suited for it, not me.”

We really had to break that conditioned mentality.  We did so by coming to terms with the fact that if something is in God’s design for us, then we have to go for it regardless of how we feel. After all, if not us then who?

At that time I also remember two distinctive things happened:

Number 1: It seemed like God was revealing other business owners to me and I started noticing that some of them were really weird. No seriously, not trying to be funny, but I am. God was pointing out that there were some interesting people making it big, with no social skills and some not even with God by their side. They were making things happen. The message rang in my ears, “If they could do it, we could do it.” After all, why not me? Why not you?

Number 2: We said to ourselves, if we really believe what we say we believe—that God is good and he will use everything in our life for His glory and our good just as He promised, and that we can trust Him with the details of our life—then we had to put our faith to the test and show it. We knew we were writing a story for our children. If we were going to tell them to live out their faith throughout their lifetime, then our words would only hold power if we did the same.  We had to die to ourselves. After all, whose are we?

When You Know Whose You Are You Become Dangerous.

It hasn’t always been easy since we took that leap. But we knew following Jesus wasn’t supposed to be safe. All the tests we’ve faced over the years have turned into life-changing testimonies and faith builders for ourselves and others. We’re truly blessed and grateful we decided to be dangerous.

When You Know Whose You Are You Go All In.

Everything becomes about what God wants for your life. It’s no longer about you or your desires, your comfort, or your recognition. You don’t worry about the finances. You don’t over analyze the what-ifs. Whatever God says, goes. All the chips on the table. You go all in.

When You Know Whose You Are You Don’t Care What Others Think.

“Your decision about whose you are changes everything. If you choose to follow Jesus, you are no longer your own. You are not living to please yourself or other people. Instead, Jesus is the only authority and only audience for every life decision you make.” [2] You no longer care about what others think.

When You Know Whose You Are You Find Who You Are.

Maybe you’re not with me on this yet. Maybe you’re still new to this God thing and still trying to find yourself. Find God, then you’ll find yourself. Finding whose you are will help you discover who you are. In case you need to know, here’s what God says about who you are [3]:

“Dearly loved.” (Colossians 3:12)

Forgiven. (Romans 4:7)

Chosen. (John 15:19)

“A royal priesthood. (1 Peter 2:9)

The apple of God’s eye. (Psalm 17:8)

“The light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14)

Heirs with Jesus. (Romans 8:17)

Friends. (John 15:14)

What else can make you feel more secure? Knowing who you are in whose you are satisfies that ultimate sense of belonging. You won’t seek it elsewhere. You won’t care if you fit in or if what you do is popular or not. You won’t seek the crowd’s approval. No stage fright. The pressure is off. You’re not the main character. Jesus takes front and center stage. There’s only one Son, no co-star. You’re performing for an audience of One and God’s rating is the only one that matters.

So stop holding back.

There’s no pressure, only motivation. When in doubt, let God wipe it out and just do what Amber and I do. We rarely know where we’re going. So when God’s story doesn’t make sense, we just pull a Dr. Seuss on life and put our own rhyme on things.

When the fear is near we overcome it with a jear.

Or when results are at stake we just smash it with a crake.

And when people are jeoples we just focus on the reoples.

When it’s time for next steps we just prep with the leps and move forward with the meps.

The point is, you will never know for certain if there’s a jurtain behind that curtain. You just need to remind yourself daily whose you are and let God overturn those doubts. He doesn’t choose the equipped, he equips the chosen. Whatever your vision, whatever your dream, whatever your goal, if God is calling you to do something, then you have to go for it no matter what and trust that it will work out the way it’s supposed to. And it’s not about you doing God a favor for following, it’s about God doing you one by inviting you.

I have a feeling that if you’re reading this right now then you’re only one decision away from living a totally different life.  What’s it going to be? Or better yet, who’s it gonna be?

If not you then who?

Why not me? Why not you?

Whose am I? Whose are you?

It’s not about us, but it starts with you.

Now get out there and live like you know whose you are today. And it may just be an absolute game-changer for you and everyone in your life.

Coach Theo

[1]: Dr. Seuss, Wocket In My Pocket.

[2]: Lead Like Jesus, Page 25.

[3]: Lead Like Jesus, Page 26.

Coach Theo’s New Year’s Sermon: Let’s Go!

Why aren’t you getting things done already?

Why do you keep saying you’re going to do something but you don’t?

Why haven’t you wrote that book yet?

Why haven’t you switched careers yet?

Why do you keep saying you’re going to get in shape but you haven’t?

Why do you keep complaining about your faults but haven’t changed them?

Why do you keep waiting for God to hand you things but you refuse to do your part?

 

I’m going to tell you the three reasons why in a second.

 

Maybe no one has told you like it is.

Maybe people keep telling you what you want to hear.

Maybe people don’t want to hurt your feelings.

Maybe you refuse to listen.

Maybe you know but you don’t want to admit it.

Because if you do, then something has to change.

And change is hard. It’s more comfortable staying like you are.

Your defenses pop up.

Your ego needs protected.

 

But can I have permission to tell you how it is?

Can I have permission to speak the truth in love to you right now?

Can I be the one that stops sugar coating things and keeps it real with you?

Can I tell you to stop playing games and just go already?

 

I love you too much to allow you to keep going like this.

I care about you too much to tell you what you want to hear.

I want too bad for you to chase what’s good for you.

Can you trust me that I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t believe it…

If I didn’t do it…

If I didn’t know you needed it.

 

I’ve come to a point in my life where I’m not really concerned about much more other than this:

How’s your family? Are your relationships strong and prospering?

How’s your faith? Are you living it out?

How’s your health? Are you making it a priority?

How’s your life? Is it where you want it to be?

If you’re not doing things that are positively influencing these areas in the right direction, then you need to stop everything else until you get them right.

Stop making excuses.

Stop wasting time.

Stop waiting.

Stop just dreaming, visualize.

Stop just preaching, practice.

Stop just praying, prepare and perform.

When you want to get things done it takes full focus and concentration on the task at hand. You need to ask yourself:

How bad do you want it?

Are you willing to do whatever it takes to get there?

Some things will have to fall temporarily to the wayside. It’s impossible to do everything at once.

Sometimes you need to say the heck with everything else and get after it.

Nothing is getting in the way.

Your family will understand.

Your friends will.

And if they don’t, too bad.

There’s a lot of things it will come down to:

Awareness: do you even realize what’s going on and what needs changed?

Acceptance: do you acknowledge and take responsibility for what you can control?

Awaken: are you ready to arise and take action?

Remember Og Mandino’s four main principles:

Count Your Blessings.

Proclaim Your Rarity.

Go The Extra Mile.

Utilize the Power of Choice.

There’s not many things in life you can control but for those that you can, the power is in your hands. Make the right choices.

You choose to live or exist.

You choose to stand on the sidelines or get in the game.

You choose to make things happen or to watch things happen.

You choose to act or react.

I feel like you should know this by now. Haven’t you heard it before? I know it bears repeating. We all need reminders. Like a gust of wind, motivation can leave just as fast as it comes in. You need to be exposed to it constantly.

You need to read great books.

Write great thoughts.

Watch great acts.

Hang with great people.

And the truth of the matter is, it isn’t going to happen from anyone or anything else. The power doesn’t come from within. It comes from the power of God—from the spirit that dwells inside you.

People keep waiting around for the secret to life. You want to know what the secret to life is—the secret is there is no secret.

The secret is right in front of you but you still keep looking elsewhere to find it.

The secret is to stop making things so complicated.

The secret is to start asking the right questions.

Instead of why hasn’t it happened yet, ask how you can make it happen?

Instead of why haven’t I received more yet, ask how you can give more?

Instead of what can God do for me, ask what you can do for God?

Jesus says ask and you shall receive. “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” (Matt 7:7 NLT)

Some of you knock but you just stand there. The door opens and you barely peek your head in. You don’t even enter.

Biblical Truth is the secret and you keep running away from it.

God gave you life.

He put his one and only Son on this earth to die for you so you can get a second chance.

When you believe this, your job is not to only accept Jesus in your heart as your Lord (master) and Savior, but to then follow his standards and live the Way He wants you to.

To love God.

To love His people.

To make disciples of all nations.

Not to judge but to accept.

Not to condemn but to forgive.

Not to be served but to serve.

It doesn’t matter what title you retain, you are a Christ follower first and before all else. No matter what role you play, what setting you play it in, and with whatever characters you’re playing with, you must stick to the script—the Word of God.

What’s it going to take to get you going already?

You can’t just keep dreaming. Dreams will get you a good night’s sleep but eventually you have to wake up and do something.

While you stand back wishing and wanting, the person next to you is going to get up and do it. They don’t have anything you don’t have.

No special opportunities.

No special connections.

No special grit or will power.

Just a dedicated desire to get up and start moving.

Who said you can’t?

Who said you’re inadequate?

Who told you that you don’t have what it takes?

Was it someone else?

Or is it just in your head?

Believe it no more.

There are typically three reasons why you’re not getting the results you want. Either you’re lying, or you’re relying on will power alone, or you’re not using your time wisely.

Reason 1: You’re Lying.

You really are. You know how many times I hear people say, “I’m doing everything that I can.” No, you’re not. If you were then things would be working. You’re not doing everything right. I can say this because I’m guilty too. We all fall victim to this lie.

In all fairness, you may just not know any better. We have a training principle in the fitness world to meet people where they’re at. Not everyone has the same knowledge, perspective, and experiences. One might truly think that eating fast-food five times a week is healthy, compared to cutting back from eating it twice a day.

The point is before you think you’re out of options, recognize that you’re not, and admit that you’re not telling the whole truth.  I always say you can lie to me but you can’t lie to yourself. We are never doing everything right. There’s always another way. To keep the power of responsibility in your hands, until you’re absolutely, positively doing everything right, don’t say that you are.

 

Reason 2: You Keep Relying On Will Power Alone.

Will power is not enough. It’s finite, not infinite. You only have so much of it and it only occurs at certain times. Extremely healthy people don’t have any more discipline or will power than you have. They just know how to channel it. They can’t push food away from the table if it’s sitting in front of their face, they know not to buy it in the first place. They follow an important nutrition principle, that if it’s not in your house then you can’t eat it.

The more you rely on will power the more energy you use. The more energy you use the more you’ll cave into those cravings and temptations in life. Think about what happens when you keep telling yourself…

No.

I can’t.

I gotta be stronger.

That’s extremely exhausting and taxing. Add that to all the other stressors of the day and by night, you’re throwing in the towel and giving up. Bye bye diet. Bye bye project. Bye bye goals. Looks like I’ll just have to start tomorrow.

You have to shape your path.

Filter the noise.

Eliminate distractions.

Reduce your chaos.

Change your environment.

You have to find your energy blocks.

We all have certain times of the day when we have more energy, clarity, and focus. You have to find yours and use them to your advantage. Some of you are morning people, others are better at night.

When you use your energy blocks to apply your focused intensity, you can get more done in two hours then if you fight the fight and try to do things sporadically throughout the day. Life isn’t most productive when you spend a lot of time doing minor things that occupy your time. You’ll find more peace, balance, and success when you spend a little bit of structured time completing those major things that push you forward in life.

Use your energy blocks to:

Prepare for great things.

Practice personal development and growth.

Persevere over obstacles.

And channel your will power to reap more from what you sew so that your habits can start leading to your destiny.

Reason 3: You’re Not Using Your Time Wisely

Let’s go back to telling the truth, admitting your shortcomings, and accepting responsibility.

You do have some extra time. Maybe not a lot, but you do. It’s how you choose to use it. Unless you’re a mother of a newborn or a single working parent, you do have time.

You said you don’t have time to workout yet you watched three hours of your favorite television shows.

You said you don’t have time to read but you have plenty of time to escape into your social media.

It’s better to accept responsibility and be honest and say “I do have time, I choose to devote it to other things right now.” Change doesn’t happen until you acknowledge this.

Time management is about prioritizing what’s most important to you.

If faith is, then why isn’t it on your schedule?

If family is, then why do you get everything else done but let them be an afterthought?

If exercise is, then why do you let other things get in the way?

Don’t take on more than you’re capable of.

Be wary of doing too much.

You’re not going to run your first marathon, start a new lifting program, and totally revamp your nutrition to a strict vegetarian diet all at once. It’s too much at one time. Try it, and in six weeks two out of three attempts, if not all three, will have ended.

Be realistic and practical with yourself.

Will power is not infinite.

Energy is not limitless.

Time is not endless.

Change doesn’t happen overnight.

Focused Intensity over Time, Plus God, equals Unstoppable Momentum (Dave Ramsey).

It’s finding those energy blocks, investing relentless and intense focus during those energy blocks, and staying consistent with those relentless and intense energy blocks over time, with God on your side, that produces unstoppable results.

My first book took over three years to complete. There was so much going on with the growth of our new business and our new family that I could only get to it in small waves. Finally it got to the point where I just knew I had to get it done. For thirty days straight I would wake up for our second newborn’s 1am feeding, give her a bottle, then hit the notepad as soon as I laid her back down to sleep. I would stay up and write my last few chapters until 4:30am when it was time to then hit the gym for my first class.

I don’t advocate losing sleep. Sleep is so essential to your vitality and the power of it is super underestimated. But there are phases and intervals in your life where the magnitude of a task is so profound, that you may have to put yourself on temporary overload to tackle the feat and attack with convincing authority to get it done.

At times it may seem like a magnificent obsession.

A burning desire.

A compulsive fixation that doesn’t go away.

That’s when it’s time to hunker down and dive in deep.

Don’t worry. Listen to what Jesus says, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28)

The next time you look at your schedule and think you don’t have time, shift your mental language. You do have time. How will you decide to use it?

Align your actions with your goals, your behaviors with your words, and your footsteps with your vision. Then you’ll begin using the hours and minutes God has granted you most effectively.

 

Where do we go from here?

The challenge of being a motivator is you want everybody to have the same passion for change and to experience the same fruit from going out on the limb.

There’s a high rate of burnout and turnover in the motivating professions because amateurs get into the field with intentions of changing the world, only to find out that most of the world doesn’t want to be changed.

Only a select few are on a true quest for life, liberty, and the pursuit of fulfillment over happiness, for significance over status, and for meaning over materialism.

All seek the answer to the universal human question, what’s my purpose in life?

But not too many do something about it.

Today has to be different.

You have to be different.

After all, you are one of God’s greatest miracles. He knows every follicle on your head and every square inch of skin that covers the intricate molecular system of your body that he miraculously designed and created.

No one has ever been, is, or will be just like you.

Implanted in you are unique God-given talents, gifts, and abilities to share with the world. Now go share them. To not will be a great disservice to others.

If you truly are grateful for this life then show it. Every day that you don’t is another day you’re taking for granted.

You woke up today.

You are alive.

You are breathing.

This simple fact alone deserves a toast and celebration.

If you don’t get on your feet and start doing something different with your life right now then you can’t feel bad for yourself anymore.

The world isn’t going to either.

If you don’t start doing exactly what God tells you to do, by following the call and mission he’s placed on your heart, then a piece of you slowly begins to die every day.

I don’t know what other reason you need to go already other than this, Because God Said So.

As a parent you expect your children to listen to your instructions and advice simply because you said so.

No questions asked.

No explanations needed.

Now just like you tell them to do, will you do the same and obey your Heavenly Father’s commands?

You’re good at giving advice, will you take it now?

Simply Because. He. Said. So.

Get out your calendars.

Schedule in your priorities.

Write down your goals of the year, month, week, and day.

Create your action plan.

Sign up for something.

Take steps.

Stick to it.

Don’t let anyone or anything interfere.

Put your hands to the plow and never look back. (Luke 9:62)

When you start to fade,

When you start to forget,

When you feel like giving up,

Remember there’s a God up there who loves you no matter what.

There’s no mistake he can’t handle.

There’s no pressure coming from Him.

He loves you just because.

He doesn’t rate you on your performance or love you anymore because of your good works, or love you any less because of your failures.

You’re never too old.

Or too far gone.

And it’s never too late.

God put His one and only son on the cross, to get scourged, tortured, and mocked, for you.

The least you can do is commit the flash of time on earth that we call life, to him.

Because at the end of the day when you walk through the gates of heaven,

And all the pain and suffering and even earthly satisfactions come to an end,

All that matters is that you sit at the right hand of God,

And you witness his arms spread wide open ready to receive you,

And you hear the whisper of His voice proclaim,

“Well done child. Well done. It wasn’t about you. And you lived like that.”

 

Coach Theo’s 2017 Blessing

From this day forth may you head out into the world and:

Workout continually.

Eat cleanly.

Pray fervently.

Serve wholeheartedly.

And repeat this every day for as long as you shall live.

Amen.

VIDEO: OUR TRIP THAT TURNED HAYWIRE

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