soup for the soul

in about 10 days, i’ll be hanging out with my four best buds from college. as with most guys my age, one of the more frequent topics of conversation is health and weight. during my junior year at carolina, i roomed with two of these guys, and we were nearly identical in size, which was convenient when i forgot to do laundry.

twenty-five years later, there are still some real similarities in our build and our bellies. given that we are all still highly competitive, recent weeks have had me restricting my caloric intake with fervor, hoping not to be the heaviest of the bunch.
i know it’s about health, not image, but hey, call me a little vain.
five weeks ago, tol – one of the 4 – and i were together over lunch. he took the opportunity to ask me what i weighed, and we discovered that we were within a pound or two of each other. 
game on!
the very next morning at starbucks, i overheard a guy telling a friend about losing 40 pounds. God is good! i was about to discover the way to beat tol in the weight loss competition before our next get-together! 
the guy told me that first of all, it involved a bet. so far, so good. tol and i had made one the day before. 
next, he said, he did a lot of cardio. so tell me something i don’t know. i hate cardio. fortunately, so does tol. so what else?
finally, during the week before the deadline, he purged. he went on the sacred heart diet (formerly known as the cabbage soup diet, among others). it’s nothing more than taking the chance to get rid of a bunch of built-up toxins in your system, and gradually replace them with better stuff, healthier stuff. in the process, one also gets leaner.
so… the bet is on. caloric intake has been reduced. i’m trying cigars instead of cardio, which has had surprisingly positive affects. and next week: purge-time! anybody up for a little soup?
the past two months of sundays at threshold have been a theological version of this process. our series has been called GOD, and my hope has been that you have purged your heart, soul and mind of some of the toxins that have perhaps built up inside over the years. we all have a habit of creating God in our image, even though his word clearly tells us that it’s the other way around. so every once in a while, it’s good to simply revisit the truth about the nature and character of God. i hope that these talks have either confirmed things you already believed or challenged some that need to go. and either way, i hope that you are more fully aware than ever that God’s chief passion and pleasure is his own glory, and that he is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in him.
i used three primary sources for the series, and i want to strongly recommend you read at least one of them in the coming months. the first two would make a fantastic resource for cells to discuss. the third is for the academics among you.

1. the pleasures of God, by john piper
2. knowing God, by j.i. packer
3. systematic theology, by wayne grudem

ultimately, it’s not about what anyone else thinks about you, it’s about your health – whether physical or spiritual. my passion for you is your spiritual health. i hope the purging and refilling i’ve tried to share has you leaner, less encumbered by the things that keep you from enjoying the best life you can live as a child of God. 
and heck, if someone else notices, nothing wrong with that!
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