Most effective when dealing in passions…

Pastor Tom did such a wonderful job preaching yesterday, and one thing I realized about it was that how effective he was being because he was preaching about something he was passionate about.

I’d like to share one of my developing passions – this is an area I’ve been praying about maybe leading and helping others in. I’m not ready yet, but this is an area that God has helped my life to change in, and I’ve been a more effective husband, father, pastor, human being, etc….

That area is…<drumroll>…fitness! Yeah, can you believe that? Me? Fitness?

Here’s some pictures from a few years ago on a missions trip:














My physical condition was contributing to the miserable state I was living in, and it was affecting every area of my life – from being in the ministry, being effective on missions trips, being a role model for my children, and being an example of a pastor with self-control.

I certainly don’t say this to condemn anyone – these are the convictions that I am dealing with for myself. I just really came to the point where I realized that it was hypocritical for me to ignore what was a huge sin to me – a lack of discipline, self-control, and an embrace of gluttony.

To date, I have lost 52 lbs in 4 years, with about 30-35 of those lbs since moving to Florida in October of 2010. When I reach my goal weight (I have 28 lbs to go), I am going to pray about how this passion might evolve into a ministry of helping others reach the same results I have been able to reach, with God’s help and my family’s constant encouragement.

Here I am about 15 lbs ago (the most recent picture I have that is any decent):










I’m not there yet, and I have a long ways to go spiritually, mentally, and physically. But I do enjoy the benefit that taking care of myself has produced on my body and my family, and I hope to see more of those benefits positively affect others as well. Given our culture’s obsession with instant gratification without consequences, I believe it advantageous to live a life above reproach, in order to be an effective witness, pastor, father, husband, teacher, leader, missionary, friend, counselor, shepherd, etc. Ultimately, follow the model of Christ in these areas is by far the best thing we can ever do – but letting myself go for 10 years certainly had the adverse effect.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’m sorry for such the long delay. I have a hard time writing when I’m in a spiritual funk, and the last few months have been…busy, and such.


Pastor Harvey


15 thoughts on “Most effective when dealing in passions…

  1. Isabel says:

    Congratulations on losing your weight. Mine has been an awful struggle for many years, but at least now I am dedicated to ”running” around the park here locally and that has made me feel tremendous. What’s your secret in losing weight? I hear its easier for men to lose weight than women… figures, we’re the one’s who worry about it the most. But honestly we should all worry. I recently got some blood work done and it seemed as though my health was on a precipice of disasters: heart disease, diabetes, cancer, lung stuff, liver and kidney. Gosh, I sure didn’t feel as bad as my blood was giving off all the warning signs: change or go bust. Like Jonah, I ran the other way. Slowly I’m fighting my internal rebellion: Fat Isabel to Skinny Isabel. 30 pounds to go!!!

    • Harvey Earls says:

      Right now, I’m still pretty basic – I run 4 – 5 times a week, 30 mins to an hour each time (walking would do too). And I watch what and when I eat. We also have permanently resolved to skip fast food and any beverage except for water, and we’re saving alot of money and health by doing that. I would suggest starting with a good app to help watch what you eat, and another good app to help get exercise a part of your life, if it isn’t already. Check out myfitnesspal Calorie Counter for the 1st, and for the 2nd, I’d reccommend any C25k app (couch to 5k). As far as strength/gym training, I’m not really experienced enough to reccomend anything yet. The secret is this: Baby steps!

      • Isabel says:

        Well I’m watching calories — except for bread, which I can’t seem to give up: Publix had whole wheat raisin bread, two loaves for the price of one. I hate that place!!!! I am running the old grannie trot about an hour every other day, but trying to increase it. Could never afford junk food. But I will try the Calorie Counter site — My big problem is portions. My idea of a portion is to use my foot, not the palm of my hand. Sad joke.

      • Harvey Earls says:

        There are some good methods. Only eat 75% of what’s on your plate. Divide meals with significant others, or for future meals (make a restaurant meal be lunch AND dinner (or a snack). As for bread – there is a good premium reduced calorie bread our local Publix carries that is about 90 cals per 2 slices. And it’s not expensive at all. Let me know how I can help!

      • Isabel says:

        good advice Harvey — we are a country obsessed with our weight, work-a-holics, and fast food addicts… but we’re waking up! Our park is filled will people all day long!

      • Harvey Earls says:

        The most walkers/runners I ever had to dodge tonight on my run as well!

      • Isabel says:

        I just saw your reply and I am sorry for being practically 6 months late… good thing God isn’t like that! Well my biggest downfall is portions and the sugar thing. I think if I sew my mouth shut, that will be the cure… for a lot of things…. but mostly just prayer. I’m in bible study again and we are studying Acts (I think it might be the third time for me) and its finally dawning on me that I can ask God to fill me with the Holy Spirit. Today when I was washing my dishes (I get a lot of good thoughts around water — hmmm) I asked God if the Holy Spirit was something I could ask more, more, more of and I could feel Him smiling — so that’s what I’m doing… but all i seem to do is thank God and praise God for that luxury; and pray for world peace in all the troubled areas, peace for our soldiers and their families, a closer relationship to Jesus, and a turning to God for everyone. I thank God for tempering the way I bring the joy of Jesus into conversation so I don’t make people defensive or upset with me. That is not God’s way: intimidation or such. So I still have the weight, but I exercise more. And the fat is shifting around.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    You’ve touched on a subject that has held me in bondage for the majority of my life. I can remember back as far as my early teens being plagued with the constant thoughts regarding my weight, and when I look back on it now, I wasn’t even heavy then! I don’t know when, or why, I became so hard on myself. Even when I’d lost 50 lbs it still wasn’t good enough.(Which, by the way, I lost while involved in a Christian based weightloss program, and kept it off for over 10 yrs) I can’t recall a day that I was ever happy with how I’ve looked. Now, since being married, and putting on extra pounds, weight is on my mind constantly!!
    For some reason I have a very difficult time motivating myself to start a program alone. I do much better with a partner(s). If you ever do feel lead to start a program to help people learn about health and incorporate a weightloss program within it, I’d be one of the first to sign up! It would be very motivating to be in a group with others dealing with the same struggles. It’s also very beneficial to be in a group where there is accountability, support and encouragment.
    I’m glad that God has laid this on your heart to share. It was definitely something that hit home with me. Thanks!!

    • Harvey Earls says:

      I will keep your remarks in mind about a future program, Elizabeth. I’ve had several folks tell me this lately, some unsolicited just from observing my weight loss. Maybe something will come sooner than later? Pray with me about this area and meanwhile, you should talk to Sarah – she’s doing alot of this stuff too and what you described as your feelings may resound with her as well. I’ve been thinking about “advertising” my normal weekly runs recently so that others could join me. I’ll continue to think, ponder, and hopefully be an encouragement.

  3. Bob says:

    Way To Go Harvey, I’m Proud of you.

  4. Sarah says:

    I’m really proud of you Harvey! I couldn’t keep going without your encouragement. So glad we are doing this together. Love You 🙂

  5. Ellen says:

    Awesome job Harvey!! I have put on 40lbs over the last 8 years and it is very frustrating.Eddie and I have both been trying a new eating program(the Pink Method)-basically healthy eating, I struggle with exercising and agree that having accountability “friends” is very helpful. Encouragement and support from others makes a difference. I will certainly pray for your continued success and that God guides you in your decisions regarding this as a ministry. I would definitely be interested in being involved if there was something at church that emphasized the importance of taking good care of our bodies and the benefits of a healthy weight vs the detriments of being overweight. Take care and thanks for sharing :))

    • Harvey Earls says:

      Thanks for reading and replying Ellen! I will be praying for you guys as you seek ways to improve the quality of life together. There’s not a better partner than a motivated spouse!

  6. Isabel says:

    I just thought I’d poke my head in here from outter-space as it were, and share some of the “motivational” things I do to get exercising:

    1. When I know I should exercise and I don’t want to ”get out there” – I put myself into robo-cop. I become the ‘bad cop’ and say: “Isabel! Put on your socks!” and like a robot, I do it. “Isabel! Put on your shoes!” “Isabel, get your weights, iPod, sunglasses and baseball cap and get out that door!”

    I stop thinking and start doing, in very baby steps, and I really, really reprimand myself.

    The second I’m out there, I feel great and thankful to God for every step of the way.

    2. I consider my weight/exercise problem as serious as when I quit smoking. I never give up trying to break my bad habits in one way or another. I eat healthy but my portions are the size of my foot, not the size of the palm of my hand.

    Then I know a few things:
    My metabolism is like a furnace.Once it gets started, it can’t stop. My nutritionist said walk an hour every day. I ended up learning how to trot, which I do every other day. I’m trying to increase that. She says exercising does not lose weight: eating less food and eating the right food does.

    So while I’m not exercising I’m thinking about the lesson God has for me in this. I am rebellious, disobedient, willful, stiff-necked, mean and cruel to the temple God gave me to do good works. Wow! I can really beat myself up.

    Here’s the key that I learned: NOW when I start acting out in all those ways, it sets off an alarm: “Oh! It must be time to exercise! Then I ask robo-cop to come in and help me out the door.

    As dorky and “certifiable for the nuthouse” this probably makes me for sure, this outsmarting myself method is work…. and of course, all the praise goes to God. Being healthy is a Godly thing. It was one of the things that made me hate myself after church — eating all those delicious goodies! I have no control. I could have taken one thing only. But how? Each and every single home baked gem was begging for me to taste it! In church, my weight went up 20 pounds. You know how that goes: the one who is complaining is the one who should leave. (But I also have anxiety, so that is the biggest anchor – I freeze up…. so after the weight comes the overcoming of anxiety. One step at a time…. God works wonders, both large and small!)

    God bless and I hope no one minded me butting in!

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