By Brad Bloom, Publisher, Faith & Fitness Magazine
I like a good cup of fresh roasted coffee. How about you?
OK, not everybody likes coffee. However most everyone can identify a good something or other and tell you with considerable detail what makes it the best. It might be the best company to work for, the most comfortable pillow or softest sheets, the best city in America to live, the most amazing vacation destination, the ultimate car, the smartest investment and even what makes for the most amazing intimate relations.
I like the word ROBUST because as a single word it includes so many qualities: strong and healthy, hardy, vigorous, tough, powerful, full-bodied, flavorful and “sinewy” (having the character of the tendon or ligament – the thing that gives a structure or system it’s strength and binds it together).
Dan Gentile, in his article The Definitive Top 10 Coffee-Growing Countries In The World, Ranked By Experts, does a rather convincing report that places Ethiopia as #1. As he says, “There's a reason great coffee comes out of Ethiopia year after year: it's truly the birthplace of coffee.” If you’re Ethiopian you don’t have to even try to defend the distinction. It’s a birthright. The coffee beans are naturally that good. As one person states in Orthodoxchristianity.net, “Upwards of half the coffee produced in Ethiopia is still WILD! It is simply coffee the way God created it.”
There is a difference between STRONG coffee and BOLD coffee. Strong coffee is based on the coffee to water ratio. Bold coffee on the other hand depends on coffee type, roasting and preparation. For me, a good cup of coffee is both strong and bold.
FAITH AND FITNESS THAT ARE BOTH STRONG AND BOLD
Tomo Marjanovic is featured on the cover of the December 2017/January 2018 issue of Faith & Fitness Magazine. Why him? AND – what is the theme, The Birth Of Boldness, all about? Tomo is pure Serbian by blood and proudly American by birth. He is a committed and hard working police officer for the city of Clearwater, Florida. Marjanovic is also an NPC Classic Physique Competitor. In each of these areas of his life: ethnic heritage, national identity, vocation and physical fitness, Tomo is strong. One look at his physique and it’s undeniable that he is indeed very strong.
Tomo doesn’t need Jesus to make him strong in any of these or other areas of his life. In fact there are likely a considerable number of people that would tell Tomo that his strengths are all that really should define him. They would try to persuade him that making Christ central to his life will only weaken his influence and dilute whom he is. Tomo has over 10,000 followers on Instagram. He doesn’t need Jesus.
But, Tomo isn’t just strong. He is bold. And --- Jesus is exactly the reason Tomo’s boldness has all the qualities of being robust. His faith is the rich flavor you experience when you get to know him. It is infused into every aspect of his healthy lifestyle. His love for God makes his ethnic and national identity full-bodied. Christ’s example is what drives his vigor and toughness as a cop. It gives him the ability to be a powerfully influential bodybuilder. Tomo knows that Jesus is what makes him sinewy, binding all of his strengths together.
WHAT MAKES BOLDNESS SO BEAUTIFULLY PUZZLING AND CRAZY
James Wood writes in The Radical Origins Of Christianity in The New Yorker how Emmanuel Carrere the French author of The Kingdom, is puzzled by a tiny sect’s (Christianity) against-all-odds triumph that led to a global religion. It’s a rather in-depth examination into “blind faith” and those in Christ’s kingdom that have the courage to believe. He offers eloquent reasoning as to why, “for most of us this is no choice at all” because “eternal life does not exist; we do not choose, because we haplessly inhabit, what is over what is not.”
But, should you choose to have the courage to believe then you’ll find that Christ’s birth, life, death and resurrection are all part of God’s bold plan to make the future and forever of eternal life shaped by what you boldly do today.
The pursuit for positivity, hope, beauty and life isn’t crazy. It is the ongoing prayer to God by those all around us. They may say, “Oh Lord” and then shy away from or even deny that the ‘more’ for which they long is the everlasting God. To be bold is to be the one that sets them free to dance into His presence.
I talked to two men at a YMCA recently. Both are Christian and both are over the age of 50. One wears a church t-shirt with a nice but vague message. He says, “This shirt is my outreach”. The other consistently owns a table in the lobby where people can see him reading his Bible. When people come to him he’ll talk and even pray with them. Both are living their faith differently. It’s not my place to judge how effective they are or how obedient they are being to God’s calling in their life. However with certainty we all know that with each passing day we have one less day to impact others for Christ.
As the publisher of Faith & Fitness Magazine I’m fortunate to be contacted frequently by people wanting to do something more with fitness. Some just want to hustle the Christian market and make a buck. However, most share with me something similar to what one woman told me last week, “I tried to come up with excuses, reason it away, argue with God and outright fight it, but He won’t let it go – He won’t let me go.” This isn’t so much a blind faith to try and defend. Boldness is your birthright. It is simply the way God created you.
THIS IS THE BIRTH OF BOLDNESS
It’s happening in major YMCA associations among CEO’s and others.
It’s evident in a new gym opening at 7th and Oregon in South Philadelphia.
It’s a miraculous development taking shape in Raleigh, North Carolina.
It is burgeoning enthusiasm in South Africa.
I see it in the stories of those who attended the 2017 Redefined Conference who are boldly moving fitness forward.
Yeah, in a world being strangled by hate, exhausted by despair, and thoroughly corrupted by nasty and evil selfishness there is the unmistakable evidence of God’s bold presence.
In his article, The 8 Habits Of People Who Live Out Their Faith Every Day, Neal Samudre makes eight brilliant observations. Bold Christians:
2. Make love a reflex, not a blocked off time.
3. Consider character.
4. Cultivate community.
5. Honor roles.
6. Cherish the little things.
7. Suffer in godly ways.
8. Talk about spirituality.
If you’ve ever talked with or observed a bodybuilder or fitness enthusiast you know what Neal says is true, “We talk about the things we truly love.”
You are born to be bold. Wear that on your shirt. Then, speak up, talk to many often, do a lot of good and BE the life of Christ to others.
Train strong in Christ,
-Brad Bloom, Publisher