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Timeless truth in a changing world

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Giving

A More Effective Workout Routine

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Apparently I’ve been exercising all wrong. According to my teenage son, who fancies himself an expert on fitness, there are three phases of strength training one ought to do in order to maximize the benefits. Silly me, I’d just been following the number of reps and sets suggested in my program, gradually increasing the amount of weight for each exercise. But my son set me straight. One ought to rotate strength, hypertrophy, and endurance workouts for the best results. With a strength workout, you add as much weight as possible, enough that you can only lift 2-6 reps for each set. Hypertrophy is the “normal” workout, where you do 8-12 reps with a challenging but doable amount of weight. And endurance is a slightly less challenging weight so you can do 15-20 reps per set. All three of these work together for the best results.

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Foolish Giving

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An adult never would have done it. It wasn’t logical. In fact, it was downright embarrassing to offer such a small amount for such a large crowd. And besides, it made more sense to keep it for oneself for the journey ahead. Yet the boy didn’t think about any of that. He just knew he had some food and other people needed it. So he found Andrew and told him he had five loaves of barley bread and two fish. Perhaps the people around him snickered at how naive this child was. But Andrew brought the food to Jesus, who multiplied it to feed over 5,000 men, plus women and children.  The leftovers alone were astounding. But in order to multiply the food, first the boy had to give it away.

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When You Aren’t as Generous as You Think

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“Over half of the members in this congregation give less than the price of a Happy Meal every week.”

These words were spoken in a sermon about stewardship, and they’ve stuck with me ever since. Churches seem to be perpetually behind budget, nearly always in debt, and is it any wonder? If half of the members are giving $5 or less, how can we expect to sustain our congregations? Granted, this includes all those members “on the rolls” who don’t actually come, but let’s face it––tithing is not a common practice in our culture today. Sure, people can spend money on cable and Internet and cars and sports and lessons and… But church? Tithing is foreign to many people. So as I sat in church that Stewardship Sunday while the pastor discussed giving, I admit I felt a little swell of pride. Ah, I thought to myself smugly, but I DO tithe. I’m a faithful giver. But upon further reflection, I came to a startling revelation. I’m not nearly as generous as I’d like to think I am.

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