It’s Not Ok To Be.. FAT

This post is part of a series on some things that really are not ok for pastors or ministry leaders to be. In fact these things can speak to all Christians. In this one we will look at why:

It’s not ok to be FAT.

I know, even as I write this, that some people will be offended by the title. Some may pass judgment simply based on the title. For some they may decide to comment without ever reading the post. Others may decide not to read the post because they deem the title to be offensive. If you have read this much I thank you. If you are offended by the title, then I would ask that you take a moment to click on the “ABOUT” link at the top of the page and take a look at the picture that’s there. That picture is three or four years old, but I look about the same.

I’m fat. As I write this I’m sitting at around 290 pounds. If I were like seven feet tall that might be ok. However, at 5’10” it means I am very much over weight. So, as I write this post understand that this is written first to me. I understand the struggle. I’m not saying the you can wake up tomorrow and be skinny. I’m not saying that not being fat is an easy thing to do. I GET IT! For me I would never be over weight except that food tastes good. In fact I believe that we were created in such a way to enjoy food. I believe God wants us to like food. However, like everything else in God’s creation there is a proper way to enjoy food and an improper way.

Being fat is not a sin. That’s right, I said it. Being fat is not a sin. If I feel that way, then why would I say that it is not ok to be fat? Why would I be writing post about this if I didn’t think that being fat was a sin? Well, hear me out. Being fat, in and of itself, is not a sin. However, it IS the result of sin. Proverbs 23:1-2 says,

“When you sit to dine with a ruler, note well what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.”

Is this verse suggesting that you should kill yourself if you are given to gluttony? No. The image that is being painted here is one of restraint. Imagine a scene from a movie. The bad guy sneaks up behind the good guy, reaches around and places a knife against his throat. With the knife to the good guy’s throat, the bad guy gives him instructions. The knife, in this moment is not intended to kill. If that were the goal then the knife would not have been “put to” the throat of the good guy, but would have been used to cut or stab him instead. The goal, in this scenario is to RESTRAIN the good guy; to gain control over him.

This is the same image that is being painted in the verses mentioned above. They are saying that, if you are given to gluttony, then you need to find some way to restrain yourself. Going against the instructions that the Bible gives us is sin, as I understand it.

Pastors shouldn’t be fat. If the Bible says that gluttony is sin, then how can we, as pastors, stand in front of people and speak out against any other sin if we are fat? How can we stand in front of people and preach from the Bible while we are guilty of this sin? This is the sort of thing that the Bible would call hypocrisy. I am certainly not saying that we all need to be marathon runners. I’m not saying that every pastor needs to have six pack abs. But, for many pastors, myself included, it’s not a matter of a few pounds that need to be lost. For many it is 20, 30, 50, 100 pounds OR MORE that need to be lost.

So, what’s the answer? Well, changing the way you eat and becoming more active are certainly great starts. In fact, without these things you will not conquer your battle with weight. However, I think that there is something missing from this approach. You see, to change your eating habits and to exercise makes the entire issue about YOU. If gluttony is a sin, then it is not simply about you. When someone is addicted to pornography, alcohol or drugs we understand that a major part of them conquering this is confession to God, praying for forgiveness, and asking for God to HEAL them. However, we seldom take this approach when we seek to lose weight. Seldom do we admit, even to ourselves, that being overweight is a result of our sin. I have come to believe that TRULY conquering out fatness (for lack of a better word) means we need to confess, to ourselves, to others, and to God of our sin of gluttony. Skipping this step we may be able to lose some weight and see some improvements in our health and appearance, but I fear that without confession, we will be unable to truly conquer the gluttony that is the root of out fatness.

Matt Norman

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Does Jesus Hate Starbucks’ New Cup?


 With all the discussion over the Starbucks cups it had me thinking, what would Jesus do? Ok, just kidding. I wasn’t really into the WWJD movement back in the day. But I really have been thinking about what all the hype over the Starbucks cups is really all about. Here are a few thoughts on the topic:

  • Jesus didn’t have a Christmas tree. Starbucks Christmas coffee cup has no Christmas trees on it. Well guess what. Jesus never had a Christmas tree either. So, I doubt He’s offended by them leaving a tree off the cup.
  • There were no reindeer in Bethlehem. So, by not putting reindeer on their Christmas cups they are actually MORE inline with the story of Jesus’ birth.
  • Santa didn’t visit Jesus. Again, it would seem that by leaving Santa off of their cups they are actually closer to what we, as Christians’ celebrate at Christmas time.

Ok, these are a little tongue in cheek. Here are some serious thoughts about the issue.

  • Starbucks sells coffee. At the end of the day Starbucks sells coffee. They will do what they think will help them sell more coffee. If that means a plain red cup, then they will use a plain red cup.
  • When you complain, Starbucks still wins. There is an old saying that even “bad” publicity is good publicity. When you fill up your social media feed with talk about Starbucks and their evil cups, you keep them on people’s minds. When those people want coffee they are actually MORE likely to go to Starbucks because it is on the top of their mind.
  • Jesus never spoke out against such things. In fact the only people that Jesus ever spoke out against were the “church people”. Whenever we read of Jesus interacting with other people he always did so with love.
  • Jesus probably WOULD drink Starbucks. Jesus turned water into win, AFTER PEOPLE HAD ALREADY HAD MUCH TO DRINK. He had dinner with a tax collector. He let a woman known for her sinful lifestyle wash his feet, because the “church people” wouldn’t. If He thought that there were lost people inside Starbucks, I think He would walk right up in there and order a latte. I also don’t think He would have them put “Merry Christmas” on the cup as His name. He might say, “I Am”, or “Son of God” or “Son of Man” or “Savior of the world” or maybe “Messiah”, but probably not “Merry Christmas”.
  • God doesn’t need us to defend Him. If you are a Christian then you believe in the God of the Bible. This is the God that wipe out Sodom and Gamorah with fire from the sky. This is the same God that flooded the entire earth because it had become so wicked. IF God is truly offended by Starbucks and their new cups, I think He can handle it for Himself.

 The bottom line is this. It’s just a cup. The symbols that are missing from this years Christmas cups have nothing to do with Jesus anyway. So what if there are not snow flakes, Christmas trees, or jolly fat men. Christians need to stop complaining about such things. I have a challenge for all these Christians that would have us not shop at Starbucks because of these cups. Try this and see how it works out for you:

  • Go to Starbucks. Be polite and friendly to the barista and other customers. Smile and show them the love of Jesus.
  • Pay for the person behind you and maybe even the person  behind them. In fact, just give the barista a $20 and pay for as many people as that will cover. Take it a step further and give her a $50 or $100 and buy as much coffee as that will buy.
  • Everytime you want to complain about such things stop and think about it. Instead go out and tell someone about the great things that Jesus has done for you. Share the gospel with them. In fact, anytime you feel the urge to complain about these types of things throughout your day, share the gospel with some instead. 

At the end of the day it is just a cup. Nobody is protesting red Solo cups and they have lead to more sin than a red Starbucks cup ever could. But, even if these cups were somehow sinful, the answer is not protest or boycott. Rather the answer is love and the sharing of the gospel. Noone is going to come to Christ because they like the way Christians complain or fight. However, when they see how we love EVERYONE and they hear about the hope that is possible through Jesus Christ, then they just might be willing to give this Jesus person some thought.

Matt Norman

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It’s Not Ok To Be…

OKPastors and ministry leaders are generally highly dedicated people. We are dedicated to our ministries and to the people we minister to. We are dedicated to our churches and our communities. In fact we tend to be so dedicated that our own wellbeing may suffer. This post starts a series written for pastors and other ministry leaders. In this I will cover a series of things that

It’s not ok to be…

The truth is that these things are not only for pastors. They are, in actually, for all Christians. Furthermore, they are not simply my opinions, but are based on scripture. I hope that you will find these things helpful, as I have. Much of what I write is a reflection of what God is saying to me. This series is the exactly that. As such, please know that the things that I am writing are as much a reminder to myself as they are for you. Read these and be blessed.

You can check back on this page for links to each of the posts in this series as they become available. Click on the links below to read each of them. I would also love to hear how you work to ensure that each of these areas is addressed in your life.

Matt Norman

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My Heavenly Da Da

      As Christians we tend to think of God in a way similar to how a peasant might think of a king. Of maybe we think of a child parent relationship. Both of these are accurate and have their place. Jesus displayed this when He gave us what we now call the Lord’s Prayer or the Model Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13, and in some of the other Gospels as well. However, I when Jesus Himself prays to God, the Father, in the Garden of Gethsemane, He shows us that there is more to our relationship with God the Father.

Abba, Father

When Jesus prays in the Garden He knows that His time is almost finished. He knows that He is about to face torture, betrayal, abandonment and death. It is with this knowledge that He calls out to his father. It is with his knowledge that He addresses His Father as Abba. This is not the formal address that we see in the Lord’s prayer. Rather this is a much more personal and intimate greeting. In fact it goes beyond that. This would be the form of address only used by a child addressing his father. In fact I recently heard it say that this is actually how an infant or toddler just learning to talk might say it.

Consider for a moment that Jesus was around 33 years of age when He entered the Garden of Gethsemane. Imagine a grown man addressing his father as Da Da in the way that a very small child would. My father would probably think I’d lost my mind if I did this. Still, this is exactly what Jesus did.

It wrecked me

      I have often heard and knew that the term Abba was a form of address used only by families. However, when I heard that this was more likely the form of address used by small children it wrecked me. To think that Jesus would address GOD THE FATHER in such a way nearly stopped me in my tracks, literally. When I heard this message I was on a walk in a local park. I nearly had to stop walking and sit while I contemplated it. This is not simply because Jesus shared this sort of relationship with God the Father, but because we can also have such a relationship. Not only CAN we, God wants us to have relationship like this.

In that moment I cried out Abba, Abba, Abba. I could picture myself laying my head on God’s chest as he wrapped his arms around me, comforted me and protected me. This is the relationship that Jesus demonstrates in that moment. This is the relationship that God calls us to.

Matt Norman

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