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Episode Sixteen – “Faith Works Ministry” | Gregory Amundson

Show Notes – “The Greg Amundson Show / Episode Sixteen”

Welcome to The Greg Amundson Show. This is a podcast where Greg will educate and inspire you to live with purpose, passion, and a burning desire to develop strength in your mind, body, and spirit. Through a disciplined use of our words, thoughts, awareness and attention, we can achieve a mindset of positive expectancy, personal belief, and an unshakable faith in God.

Hello, friends, and welcome to Episode 16 of The Greg Amundson Show. My friends, I am super pumped about today’s show because we are going to drop in on a ministry that I gave at my gym, CrossFit Amundson, located in Santa Cruz, California at the inaugural Faith Works Ministry. Several months ago, God put on my heart two really monumental ideas. I knew these were inspired ideas because I was unable to think of ideas this big and this bold on my own. These were inspired ideas that God placed on my heart. One of them was go to ministry, go in to seminary, study my word, learn all you can about me, focus on me, Greg, focus on God, seek God first, and everything else will work out.

When I really sat with that I realized in order for me to authentically, wholeheartedly, passionately pursue God, seek God, learn all I could about God I needed to go to seminary school. I applied and was accepted into Western Seminary. The main campus is in Portland, Oregon. I’ll be attending beginning next week, the first week of September their San Jose campus. And I’ve got to tell you, I haven’t been this excited about going back into an educational system since my first day as a special agent with the DEA when I sat in the front row of the DEA Academy hungry, thirsty for the knowledge, the wisdom that would be instilled in me by those instructors.

Now, several years later, I’m going back to school, and I assure you, I will be in the front row hungry and thirsty to learn all I can from the amazing instructors, ministers, pastors, chaplains that are employed by Western Seminary. I am so excited.

Now, the other monumental idea that God put on my heart was start right away. When you’re passionate about something, the inclination is to share that passion with other people. Quite frankly, that is exactly what Coach Glassman realized in me and many other athletes that were under his tutelage and coaching in the very early days of CrossFit. Glassman would tell me after I left the gym, “Hey, kid, when you get home knock on your neighbor’s door and teach them how to squat.” You see, Coach Glassman realized something really important very early on, and that is the best way to learn anything is to share it with someone else.

I spent 17 years sharing my love for CrossFit. I literally knocked on my neighbor’s door, then I knocked on the doors of law enforcement departments, of military academies, I have knocked on thousands of doors over the last 17 years sharing my love for CrossFit. I realized recently, wow, I need to start knocking on my neighbor’s door and teaching them about Christ because that, my friends, is really what it’s all about. It’s about strengthening our relationship with God, strengthening our relationship with Jesus Christ. That is when we can really tap into a part of ourselves that may have perhaps been dormant.

There’s something I love. It takes place in the CrossFit gym every few weeks. Someone gets their first rope climb. Someone gets 15 feet off the ground, and my goodness, they’re so excited. Sometimes they forget they’re on the rope, they want to start clapping their hands in joy because they accomplished something they did not realize they were capable of. They tapped into their physical strength. They realized, physically, how strong they we’re.

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And being physically strong is great. I’ve been pursuing physical strength my whole life yet that’s just scratching the surface of the real strength each and every one of us has at our disposal, and that is the strength that God has in us.

So needless to say I am extremely excited about going into seminary school, and I’m extremely excited about today’s episode because we are going to my CrossFit gym not for a lecture on CrossFit but for a ministry on one of my favorite stories from the Bible, David and Goliath.

This ministry was given at the inaugural Faith Works Ministry which is a ministry that I started within my CrossFit gym. It’s my hope and prayer that there will be other Faith Works Ministries that pop up within CrossFit gyms around the country. The premise of Faith Works Ministries is very straight forward. We began with a workout, then I lead a ministry, and I deliver the ministry in a very unique way, through the perspective of the modern-day warrior, inspiring people to become a modern-day warrior, and using the example of the life of Christ as the epitome of the true warrior.

Then following the ministry, we share a meal together. That combination of exercise-ministry meal is profound. The first Faith Works Ministry was absolutely awesome. The premise, the goals, the intention behind Faith Works is this: Number one, first and foremost, develop faith in God by forging strength in our mind, body, and spirit, number two is integrate physical fitness into worship of God, number three, educate and inspire people to realize straight up, my friends, that faith works. It’s as simple as that. Faith works.

And the reason that our first ministry was so important is that the story of David and Goliath really sets the stage for where the ministry is going because David certainly had an unshakable faith in God yet David was also a warrior, and he worked his faith.

Well, my friends, without further ado, in the words of my dear friend and longtime mentor, Coach Greg Glassman, we are headed to my gym, Santa Cruz, California, for the inaugural Faith Works Ministry. Three, two, one, go.

What’s really special is I shared with you all the inception of Faith Works Ministry, down on the beach with a dear friend of mine, joining hands, invoking the presence of the Lord into the workout, and that man is now seated right here. I firmly believe that at the right time, at the right place God opens doors for us, God brings people into our life who can speak a word of truth.

God brought Robert into my life and God brought me into Rob’s life, we believe that wholeheartedly. Robin and I have been sharpening each other. In many respects, this ministry that we’re developing started that day on the beach with Robert and I and his brother, Eric, holding hands because when we prayed that day something changed. We felt the presence of the Lord in our life in a profound way, and we knew the more often we pray together the more often we can join hands in prayer the stronger we will be, not just our physical strength which is easy to develop, that’s easy.

Anyone that comes in off the street, within a few months of doing CrossFit can become physically strong, that’s easy, yet that physical strength, as we’ll learn today, will only take us so far. We knew that the real strength that we needed to develop was in here, in our heart, in our mind, in our soul, and that the only way to get strong in that manner that makes a difference is this: Prayer, closing our eyes, inviting the presence of the Lord into our awareness, into our heart, into our mind. So Rob, thank you, and thank you for being here today.

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Many years ago when I was starting off in the warrior profession, which I am passionate about — I love warriors. I’m a warrior, you are all warriors. I love being in the company, in the presence of warriors. When I was starring in that profession one of my mentors said to me, “Greg, if you tell me the truth, I will believe you. You tell me a fact, I will listen. However, if you share with me a story, then I will remember.” My goal today is that we would integrate stories into the ministry and so we can remember, so that can share, so that we can learn, so that we can grow.

I want to take you back and share a series of stories, and through the use of storytelling we’re attempting today to identify a warrior, the qualities of a warrior, specifically the qualities of a warrior that are told to us in the holy Bible because that’s the type of warrior that I want to be. Undoubtedly, that’s the type of warrior that each one of you wants to be as well, a warrior that stands the test of time.

We go back and we study first a warrior from the Spartan tradition because the Spartans were an amazing warrior tradition. We study specifically one warrior named King Leonidas. King Leonidas was incredible, the courage, the bravery, the fortitude that he had was second to none. In fact, he was able to rally the support of 299 other Spartans who undoubtedly knew that when they marched into battle that would be their final stand yet, nevertheless, they agreed to follow that king.

They said, “We will go to the gates of Thermopylae. We will defend everything that we love against an invading army that completely outnumbers us, that will undoubtedly kill each and every one of us,” yet they agreed to go. And as they marched towards the danger, coming the other direction, fleeing for their life was everyone who these Spartans were going to defend.

One of these people as they fled by the king said, “King, you’re going the wrong way. You’re going towards the enemy. Do you know how many there are? Do you have any idea how many your Spartans are marching against?” And the king said loud enough so that the other Spartans could hear him, the king said, “A warrior does not ask how many are the enemy. A warrior asks where is the enemy.”

And to this day not much has changed. Those of you that are serving in the warrior profession, that’s the question we ask, where is the danger. I move towards the sound of danger, I thrive in that environment, that’s the calling of the warrior. Why do we move towards danger? Well, we move towards danger because inherently there’s someone else moving away from it. We have to fill that gap, we have to be willing to take a stand to say that not through me, not through me. I’m willing to take a stand to make a difference for my family, for my friends, for my community. That’s the essence of the warrior, not how big is the challenge, what’s the challenge. Not how many are the enemy, where is the enemy.

Now we turn to the Bible for one of my favorite stories that really captures the essence, epitome to me of a warrior, and we look to this warrior specifically because in addition to seeing the incredible faith in God that this warrior has, what this warrior did in many respects was faith works. He had fait, profound faith, yet he also knew he had to work his faith through tactics, through strategy, through technique. That’s faith works.

My friends, I’m talking about none other than the epic battle of David versus Goliath. I see some people nodding their heads. Those of us that know the story — this is an amazing story. Here’s the setting, my friends. There’s an army against an army, yet the defending army is severely outnumbered, and in the invading army there is a renowned beast of a man named Goliath.

It’s accounted that Goliath was likely 6 feet 8 inches tall, and that day he is armed with a lance and a sword, covered head to toe in armor. It’s a bright sunny day on that battlefield. And this armor is designed to reflect the sun, to blind the opponent. That’s a formidable sight.

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And Goliath is not just standing there. He is taunting the opposing force saying, “Ha-ha, the battle lines of God have been drawn.” He’s taunting them saying, “Come and take it. Come and get me. Who will fight me?” And everyone there that day on that battlefield is trembling.

And then along comes David. And what’s interesting about the arrival of David is David was not going there that day to fight. He was going to bring food to his three brothers who were in the fight. He was simply going to help in a way that he could. He was going to bring food to the frontline. He arrives on the battlefield and he hears the taunting that’s taking place, and he thinks to himself, “No, no, no, there will be no taunting today. There will be no disrespect today.” And he moves towards the sound of the taunting, he moves towards the frontlines of the battle, and he identifies — he clearly sees Goliath. David was a small guy with a big heart.

He sees Goliath and he says, “I can take this guy. I’ve got what it takes. I can bring this giant down.” And goes to the king and he says, “I can take it. I have it. I believe in myself, in my ability to succeed. I believe God is in me. I can take down this giant.” And the king says, “You, you can take down this giant?” David says, “Absolutely. In fact, I’ve taken down lions and bears who had my sheep in their mouth. I took them down and I can take down this Goliath as well. In fact, it’s easy, I got this.”

And the king said, “Very well. You can take Goliath, however, you can’t go into battle wearing that.” He’s wearing the robes of a shepherd. “You can’t go into battle like that. You need armor.” He gave him armor, he gave him armor. He said, “Put this on.” Anyone that’s worn body armor knows that can be a bit cumbersome. David puts on the armor, he straps the belt around his waist, puts the sword in the sheathe, and he’s walking like this. He’s like, “I can’t possibly fight wearing on this garb, all this nonsense,” specifically he says, “I can’t fight in this because I’ve not proven it. I haven’t tested this armor.”

So he takes it off and he goes down by the river. He identifies five rocks, smooth rocks. He reaches into the river and he takes those rocks, he puts them in his pouch. And then he doesn’t just walk towards Goliath. He runs. He identifies Goliath and he runs, and he runs fast. And why can he run fast? Because he’s not weighted down. He trusts in his training, he trusts in his tools, and he trusts in God, and he runs right towards Goliath as Goliath is taunting him. He runs right towards Goliath.

And I want to specifically read to you what he says. This is so important to understand that as he’s running towards Goliath, as he’s running into the battle for his life and the lives of all those whom he will defend against here are his words, “I am coming to you. In the name of Jehovah, I shall certainly take you down.” Boom. One shot, one kill right between the eyes.

Oftentimes the story of David and Goliath is like, ah, the wimp takes down the giant. David was no wimp. He was a highly trained warrior. It’s estimated ballistically that the shot that he fired from his sling was equivalent to a modern 45 caliber handgun round placed right here between the eyes. That is a warrior. He ran towards the sound of danger with the certainly that he would prevail. He used his words in a self-affirming way. I am coming for you, and certainly, I shall take you down. That, my friends, is a warrior.

We have here — I thought it would be fitting — body armor. We have a Kevlar helmet, we have a belt that many of us have trained in here in the gym, we have a sword. The reason I brought in the artifacts of the warrior is it is so easy to identify the pursuit of the warrior with the external gratification.

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Externally we recognize these are the tools of a warrior, yet these are the same tools that were offered to David and he denied them. No body armor, no helmet, no sword. He went into battle without that armor. So what armor was he wearing? What armor did he bring with him into the fight that day? What I propose is that the armor that he carried with him into battle that day is the same armor that we need to fit ourselves with every day.

We go, again, to the Bible. The Roman army was wrecking havoc against the followers of Christ. Paul, therefore, was in an opportune position to create a metaphor between this armor and this armor. And he wrote letter and he said, “Be weary of armor that you choose to put on.” I’m going to read you specifically what he said that day, it’s here on the whiteboard. I love using the whiteboard. The whiteboard can be used for a workout and for ministry. Isn’t that awesome?

He says, “Stand firm with the belt of truth buckled around your waist.” Let’s identify the significance of each one of these. The belt of truth. What does the weightlifting belt do for us in the gym? The weightlifting belt in the gym, it serves a very, very important purpose. We put the belt around our waist, we take a deep breath in and singe it in and so that that as we exert force our core has something to press against. That’s the reason for the belt is so that as we exert force with our body on the expansion of our abdomen we’re passing into the belt. It keeps our back and our core safe and strong and stable.

So first he says, “Stand firm with the belt of truth buckled around you waist.” And then he says, “With the breastplate of righteousness.” The breastplate of righteousness, the breastplate was a very important part of the Roman armor. The breastplate protected the heart, no different than modern body armor. In fact, modern body armor has extra protection around the breastplate protecting our heart, yet Paul is saying, “It’s not this armor. It’s the armor of God. The breastplate of righteousness.”

And here’s what’s so important, my friends. In the Bible the word righteousness means right thinking, the ability to conduct the affairs of our mind righteously, to think positively, constructively with faith under all circumstances even when facing Goliath. How did David speak? With righteousness.

Next, with the feed fitted, with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. We all undoubtedly have on our training shoes, Reebok, Nike, laced up ready for battle. And Paul is saying, “It’s the feet fitted with the gospel that can lead us into battle,” that’s the readiness we have to aspire for.

Here’s where it gets really exciting metaphorically for the warrior. Paul says, “Take up the shield of faith.” That’s so important to understand, the shield of faith. What the shield did for the warrior, the shield did not protect the warrior holding the shield. The shield was used to protect the warrior on the left or right. Metaphorically, isn’t that beautiful? As I take up my sword and my shield, I’m not using my shield to protect me. I’m protecting you and I’m protecting you, and you’re protecting me and you’re protecting me. So we protect each other with the shield.

Metaphorically, the shield does something very, very important. The shield creates space. The shield was held just offset from the body. And in that space, the warrior had the ability to see the battle clearly. If that shield collapsed around the warrior their vision was skewed. They can’t see anything. So the shield also created space.

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That’s so important to understand because as we use the shield of our faith we can use that shield to protect ourselves and each other. We can also use that shield to create a little bit of space, and in that space, that is when we can invite in and be aware of the presence of God, in that space.

It gets better still, it gets better still. The helmet of salvation, Kevlar. Who served in the military? One of the first things we want to do is take this off. No one wants to wear a helmet. No one wants to wear a Kevlar. In fact, in many training battalions it’s a real privilege when you get to go with what’s called soft cap. Kevlar off, soft cap on. Oh, thank goodness. Yet this Kevlar protects our head, our brain housing group as we refer to in the warrior tradition.=

The helmet of salvation is protecting our mind. This helmet will not protect you. This Kevlar will not protect you. What will protect you is the helmet of salvation which is the word of God. Our ability to invite the word of God into our mind, that is what will protect us.

It gets better still, it gets better still. The sword of the spirit which is the word of God. So these are the component. It’s here on the whiteboard. Imagine we’re briefing the workout and I’m briefing the stations of the workout. We want to know the stations that we go to in the workout to maximize our performance. These are the qualities of the modern-day warrior. That’s the battle rhythm, that’s the battle plan.

This is part of every military tradition, of every warrior tradition. Since the beginning of recorded time, warriors gather around, they agree on the plan, they agree on the rules of engagement, they devise a strategy, they utilize tactics, they bring to bear their full training. This, my friends, is the modern-day battle plan, this is the modern-day strategy, the tactics that we can utilize to be David in the face of the Goliaths of our life.

What so important to understand is that oftentimes Goliath is not out there, we’re not facing the Goliath out there. Where are the Goliaths that we’re oftentimes facing? Exactly. Right here, the Goliath of our mind. Our own thinking can severely limit us which is why Paul is saying, “Lean not on these tools. Lean on the very word of God. Lean on the presence of God. Lean on prayer. Lean on the love that God has for each and every one of us.”

Who’s heard of a fortified tower, fortified tower? A fortified tower is a very, very important part of the warrior tradition. There were two elements of defense for a city that was defending against an invading army. The first line of defense was the gates of the city, first line of defense. The second line of defense was the fortified tower. Some interesting qualities about the fortified tower. The fortified tower was located in the middle of the city walls and so that no matter where on the city walls the population had to be it was equal distance retreat to the fortified.

In the event the city was invaded an alarm would sound. Everyone would move within the safety and the security of the city walls. That was their first line of defense. They would retreat to the city walls. And from there they would make their first stand, not the final stand, the first stand. If the city walls were breached another very distinct alarm would sound. In that moment everyone would retreat further into the fortified tower. And they knew, if they could retreat into the safety and the security of the fortified tower, from there they would prevail.

That is why in many cities to this day we see no city wall yet a fortified tower, it remains to this day. That is how strong the fortified towers were built. They were made to defend and prevail against the onset of an overwhelming attack, the fortified tower.

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Historically, there was one phenomenal warrior population that neglected the fortified tower. It was the China rule. They spent 200 years building the Great Wall of China. The Great Wall of China stand over 5500 miles. It would take you 18 months to walk along the Great Wall of China. In some parts of the wall it was 25 feet tall and 30 feet wide. They had things in reverse order in order to defend against the threat who, at that time, was the invading Mongol force.

They had nine military outposts, not fortified towers. The outposts were on the other side of the wall, the wrong side of the wall. They were the first line of defense. They were designed to warn against the invading Mongol army. And in an event there was an invasion everyone will retreat to the safety, the security, the perceived security of the wall, yet the wall was effortlessly, easily breached, not breached in fact, a gate was open, and the Mongol army rode on in. The gate that the Mongol army rode in was estimated to be four feet, four feet wide. It was a gate that was built in the wall to allow peasants to come and go. One spy opened the gate, and the Mongol army rode in unopposed.

This, my friends, is a beautiful metaphor for the power of this because what this army did in all their greatness, in all their strategy, in all their training, this was a phenomenal — the Great Wall of China is one of the great wonders of the world, that’s an amazing accomplishment, yet for all that work someone opened a door and the Mongol army rode on in.

So what we find is that this wall like this armor will not stand the test of time. This armor, the helmet of salvation, our heart, the presence of God, that is our fortified tower. So if we’re putting our faith, if we’re putting our trust in the external realities of the world, in just the wall or the instruments that we think will protect us, we are on a slippery slope because we can be defeated by our own thinking.

Yet, if we’re reversing the tendency of our mind to attach on to external reality and gratification, if we’re focusing on what will be the same yesterday, today and forever — sound familiar? God — then we can do all things, then everything and anything is possible with the presence of God. So it’s not about these tools. It’s about this, prayer, fellowship, asking God into our life, that’s when things get extraordinarily exciting.

Tools and tactics for modern-day warrior, this is a huge part of Faith Works Ministry. It’s so easy to rally energy, it’s so easy to rally momentum and enthusiasm, yet what do we do when we leave. The example would be imagine if someone rolled into the gym right now and they’re like, “Oh, I heard you guys just did a CrossFit workout,” we could tell that person all about CrossFit, yet ultimately in order for that person to have any semblance of an idea about what we just did, what will they have to do? They’re going to have to do some squats, some pull-ups and some push-ups otherwise it’s just theory. They have to experience what we just did in order to understand oh, that works. If I keep doing that, that’s going to make a difference. That works.

Same thing with God. We can talk about the presence of God, we can get excited about this ministry and about going forward as ambassadors and sharing the word, yet we also need tactics and tools and strategies. And that’s what’s so important about sharing the story of David and Goliath, is David had overwhelming faith in God, extraordinary faith in God, yet, in addition to his faith, he worked, he united his faith with his works.

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He didn’t just marched towards Goliath blindly. He knew what he was doing, and that is extraordinarily powerful. When we use our faith in God and we have tactics and tools and techniques to further experience that faith in our life, then we are utilizing faith and works to their fullest extent. In the book of James it says faith without works is dead. You show me your faith by your works, and we can do that here and you can do that in every department of your life.

One of the tools that I want to teach you is a tool that you’ve had with you since the day you were born. This is one of the most important tools to invoke into your gaining intimacy with God. So the question I want to ask you is a question that was asked to me years ago by one of my mentors. How many of you know how to breathe? Julie was holding her breath. Raise your hand if you know how to breathe. I would hope every hand goes up, if not, we’ve got a major problem. Every one of you knows how to breathe because you’re breathing right now.

So in 2008 I was going through the DEA Academy, brand new special agent. A gentleman named Col. Dave Grossman, one of the most amazing warriors of our time, asked me that same question. He was giving a lecture to all these future special agents about mindful breathing. And he asked us a question. How many of you know how to breathe? And there I was leaning back in my chair, arms crossed. I’m like, “Who does this guy think he is asking me if I know how to breathe? Does he know who I am? Does he know I’m a CrossFit athlete? Does he know who I am?” My ego just flared up, and I did not listen to what he taught me that day.

Thankfully, two years later in Encinitas, California another amazing warrior leader, Mark Divine, 20-year Navy SEAL, asked me the same question. I’m standing on what’s called The Grinder, getting ready to go through what’s known as SealFit, a 50-hour full immersion course designed to mimic or exceed the first 50 hours of Hell Week. And he asked me before I began and before the other candidates began, “How many of you know how to breathe?” And in that moment I knew God was giving me an amazing opportunity.

In law enforcement we say that if people whom you respect ask you the same question more than once, that’s a clue. I needed to grab a clue that I did not know how to breathe. And so in that moment I said to myself, “I have no clue how to breathe. Mark, teach me.” Well, it turns out that Mark taught me the exact same breathing technique that two years earlier Dave Grossman had taught me. That means that two years of my life went by unaffected by the power of the practice that I’ve been taught because I did not listen, yet that day in Encinitas I paid attention, and since that day I’ve been utilizing this breathing technique with profound results.

The reason that the breath is so important — how many of you were breathing hard in that workout? I know I was. There’s the Hillsong United song that I referenced. Hillsong United, they have a song. It’s your breath in our lungs so we pour out our praise, we pour out our praise, Rob and I, one of our favorite songs. And when the going gets tough in a workout, that’s what we remind ourselves. “Hey, that’s the breath of God in your lungs.” And whoa, that changes things when you breathe in the breath of God in our lungs. And that’s what it says in the Bible. God breathe into us. Through our mouth or through our nose? Through our nose. The breath of life, and that is what created you and I, the breath of life in our nose. And we utilize this tactic here in the gym and in life.

Who’s ready to breathe for the first time? Me too. So when we believe we need to put our body into the position that can optimize the breath. Just experience this. Just roll your shoulders forward in your chair, just slouch.

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With that slouching posture, try to take a deep breath through your nose. How effective is that breath? Now try this. Sit up in your seat, roll your shoulders back, root your feet into the ground, lift the crown of the head towards the ceiling. Notice how just that posture almost invites the breath. Can you feel that? It just invites the breath. You’re welcoming the breath in.

Now just take a few deep breaths through your nose, and just close your eyes for a moment. In the Bible there are so many references to you and I being still. Be still and know I am God. Time and time again we’re reminded in the Bible, we can be still and God can fight our battles for us.

Now, in that stillness that you’ve cultivated with the eyes closed, just exhale deeply through the nose, let all the air out. Nice. Now, inhale for a four-count through the nose. Two, three, four. Hold the breath. Two, three, four. Then slowly exhale through the nose. Two, three, four. Hold. Two, three, four. Inhale through the nose, hold, exhale through the nose, hold. Two more rounds. Deep breath in, hold, slow breath out, hold. Good. Last round. Deep breath in, hold, slow breath out. Beautiful. Keep your eyes closed and just take a few more deep, slow breaths on your own.

Nice. And open your eyes and just notice how you feel. Notice how you feel the peace that comes with that breath, that stillness, almost like your mind has just settled a bit. There’s some stillness, some clarity. The imagery I like to use is imagine right now if we’ve gotten a boat and went out in the middle of the Monterey Bay in the middle of a storm. There we are in our boat, and we’re just being tossed around by the waves. And we took a 45-pound bumper plate with us in the boat, and we dropped that 45-pound bumper plate into the middle of the ocean in the middle of a storm. Would we see the impact of that bumper plate as it penetrated through the water? In the middle of the storm, the waves are too big. We’d see no difference, no impact when that weight hit the water.

Now imagine that we go into the water on a perfectly still day, there’s not even a ripple in the water. Now all we need is a two and a half pound plate. We can drop a two-pound bumper plate into the water and we’ll see the rippling effect. Why? Well, because the water is still. It’s the same thing with our mind. God is right there, his presence is right here at all times, yet if our mind is running a mile a minute we’re not aware of his presence yet he’s right there.

That’s the power of the breath. Even a few slow breaths can allow the sometimes turbulent mind to settle. Then the presence of God can become somewhat richer and more accessible in our life. Powerful, huh?

Well, my friends, we opened today with a prayer, and I thought it would be very fitting before we eat to close with a prayer. Prayer in any way, shape or form is very, very powerful, yet what we found when Rob and I were praying is that there is something about prayer in a circle that is extremely powerful, something about prayer on a circle.

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And so let’s just take a moment to stand up, and we’re going to try to form some resemblance of a circle here in the gym, and hold hands. I’ll begin and then I’ll turn it over to anyone else that would like to pray and say a few words. And once we feel that we’ve spoken what we need to speak I’ll close our prayer. Let’s just take a moment to close our eyes. And as a group, let’s just take a deep breath in and a slow breath out. Just let’s take a moment of silence together.

God, we’re really grateful. Thank you, God, for this fellowship that you’ve created today. Thank you for turning this gym into a place where your presence can be made known. And, God, thank you for giving us a context in which we can understand your word and your presence in our life. God, thank you for keeping us all safe today, for helping us to develop strength in our mind, body, and spirit. God, it is our collective intention that the strength that we develop would ultimately be used to make people more aware of you, and at the strength that we develop would be used to be of greater service to each other, God.

God, we just pray that you would continue to make yourself known to us. We’re all desirous, God, of greater levels of intimacy with you, greater friendship, greater love, greater understanding. We want to follow you, God, and we’re just hungry and we’re thirsty for your presence in our life. And, God, you tell us in the Bible through your son Jesus Christ that those who hunger and thirst are blessed for they will be fulfilled. God, we’re just asking that you would fulfill us. Make your presence known, God.

Well, my friends, I sincerely hope you enjoyed the inaugural Faith Works Ministry at my gym in Santa Cruz, California. Faith Works Ministry meets on the first Sunday of every month at my gym in Santa Cruz. And every ministry will be recorded and available here on The Greg Amundson Show. If you are local to the Santa Cruz area, you are welcome to attend the live events. If not, you can hear the ministry right here on The Greg Amundson Show.d

My friends, I would like to take a moment to pray for you. I’ve been so inspired recently by my dear friend, my yoga teacher, Rolf Gates. I’ve mentioned Rolf before. Rolf is a really interesting guy, former Army Ranger, world champion wrestler, best-selling author, expert on meditation, world-renowned yoga teacher, just an incredible guy. What drew me to Rolf was what I anticipated to be a very robust physical practice of yoga. After all, he was a champion wrestler and an Army Ranger. Yet what I discovered is the practice that God really wanted Rolf to share with me was the inner work of the warrior known in yoga as pratyahara, turning the attention inward, seeking first the kingdom of God which, of course, is within you and within me, within all of us.

I really appreciate the great mentorship that Rolf gives me to this day. In fact, Rolf preview, Rolf and I are working on a book together. More on that later because that is going to be an amazing contribution to the world of yoga and spirituality. I’m really excited about that project.

The reason I mentioned Rolf is Rolf taught me a prayer, it’s a prayer that I always began and end every yoga class that I teach with. You’ve heard this prayer before here on the show. I would like to pray this sacred prayer again.

[0:50:02]

My friends, I pray that you would be safe, I pray that you would be happy, and I pray that you would be healthy. I pray that you would discover your freedom, that you would find enduring peace. I pray that you would walk through the world with ease.

Well, my friends, until we speak again here on The Greg Amundson Show. Take care, God bless you, and I’ll speak to you soon.

Thank you for listening to the show. Please subscribe, rate, and share this podcast. You can find more info at gregoryamundson.com. Take care and God bless.

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