God is good!
I am so happy and grateful to announce that my new book, ABOVE ALL ELSE ~ A Year of Increasing Wisdom, Stature, and Favor, (published by Eagle Rise Speakers Bureau with layout by Brooklyn Taylor), is now an Amazon multi-category #1 Bestseller!
ABOVE ALL ELSE reached the #1 spot in less than 10 hours of it’s pre-release launch. The only explanation for such rapid success is the full favor of God is upon this book!
Thank you to my friends and family, and my team at Eagle Rise, for the prayers, encouragement, and support over the creative process of writing this book.
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. Welcome to Episode 25 of The Greg Amundson Show. I’ve got a great message in store for you today. I’m so excited, my friends, because today we are going back in time, only a few weeks. We’re going back in time to February 4, 2018 for a live recording of Faith Works Ministry, which was recorded at my CrossFit gym CrossFit Amundson in Santa Cruz, California. The Faith Works Ministry event that we’re going to drop in on was very, very special to me. I had an opportunity to share a message that has been on my heart since the inception Faith Works Ministry. In many respects, this particular message was the entire reason I started Faith Works Ministry. One of the most profound Bible verses to me is “Seek first the Kingdom of God then everything else will be added to you.” Those were the words of Jesus Christ. The reason that particular Bible verse is so profound to me is it resonates nearly perfectly with one of the principles I learned on my first day in CrossFit, which was in December 2001.
During my very first CrossFit workout, Coach Glassman, the founder of CrossFit, began the process of imparting to me some very important athletic wisdom, which was the principle of core to extremity. Coach Glassman explained to me that as I developed myself in CrossFit, my success would be governed by my ability to align myself with a principle. This principle being a creation of power in my body through a wave of lateral contraction that originated in my core then was transferred to the extremities of my body. If I was in alignment with this principle, then the vast number of skills that Coach would teach me inside the CrossFit gym would come to me easily. I would retain them nearly effortlessly and most importantly I would be able to utilize them with great success in the workouts. Core to extremity, that has been the drum bit the rhythm of my life day in and day out through countless workouts.
Well, my friends, what’s so exciting to me is the spiritual equivalent of that very important athletic principle was thought to us by Jesus Christ when he said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God then everything else will be added to you.” Now in order to understand the significance, the correlate between the athletic and the spiritual meaning of seeking first the Kingdom of God, we have to unpack several other principles from scripture while simultaneously unpacking several other principles from the gym. That is exactly what I have in store for you on today’s episode as we travel back in time to Faith Works Ministry. So without further ado, in the words of CrossFit founder Coach Greg Glassman, come with me back in time on the famous countdown three, two, one, go.
Welcome, everyone. As I mentioned during the workout, this is Faith Works Ministry number 6. Outstanding. Some of you have been here since the very beginning; some of you are here for the first time today. Welcome if you’re here for the first time and, of course, if you are returning, welcome back.
I want to begin with two stories from my experience in law enforcement. Those of you in law enforcement will appreciate these stories. Hopefully, those of you in law enforcement can laugh at the story and simultaneously, hopefully, you’ve never experienced this yourself because these are fatal flaws in law enforcement.
I was a deputy sheriff in Santa Cruz County for almost nine years. One of my goals was to become a member of the SWAT team. In law enforcement, there’s a common saying that you’re either SWAT or you’re not. Anyone seen the movie? And I really wanted to be SWAT. I trained. I read every book I could find on SWAT. I decided to spend as much time with the deputies who were on the SWAT team hanging on every word. On one particular occasion, I was on patrol. There was a call for a high-risk suspect who had barricaded himself in the bathroom. I was one of the first deputies to arrive on scene. Even though I was one of the youngest deputies, as the first on scene that was my call. Some of the other more senior deputies began to arrive many of whom are on the SWAT team. I thought to myself, “Perfect. This will be my opportunity to show them what I’m made of. That I’ve got what it takes to be on the team.” Everyone arrives, we compile a plan. I’m second in line to make entry into this house. Stacked behind me are all other deputies who are on the SWAT team. I’ve got my Glock, my sidearm, in my hand, I’m preparing to make entry, and I think to myself, “You know what would look great to all these deputies who are on the SWAT team is if I did a high speed, low drag press check of my weapon.” A press check means that very gently you move the slide back on the receiver to look inside the barrel and make sure there’s a round in the chamber. Well, I was so jacked up on adrenaline and testosterone that the word “gently” had no place in my body. I aggressively pulled the slide back, out popped a round then I induced a malfunction in the weapon. There’s an empty round rolling around the ground, my weapon’s in what’s called a double feed, and there are six other deputies stacked up behind me. That was a huge problem. I moved to the back of the line. I’m looking around on the ground trying to find that round of ammunition, fixing my malfunction. Needless to say, that was not let down for many, many years. And it will be many, many more years until I was even remotely deemed ready to be on the SWAT team.
Another incident of a fatal flaw, this time, thankfully, I was not the only one involved in making this mistake. After nine years with the sheriff’s office, I moved on in my career and started to serve as a special agent with the DEA. Our primary mission was to find drug cartels. Once we found the cartel, we would follow the members of the cartel for months on end trying to locate the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, which is the stash house. After months and months of surveillance we had indeed located the stash house of one of the largest drug cartels in the world. It was time for the raid of that location because we had been staking out this location for so long. Once we made entry and came inside even though we anticipated drugs being inside the stash house, no one was prepared for what we saw that day. There were barrels of drugs stacked from the ground all the way up to a warehouse ceiling. Imagine Costco full of drugs. That’s what we came across. Well, needless to say, we were pretty excited about our accomplishment. And so as soon as we go in, we put our weapons on safe, let them sling, we’re giving high fives, we’re taking selfies “We struck gold.” Right around that time, in walks the main target of our investigation with a group of his body guards. By the grace of God, we were not all killed. We were sitting ducks.
In both of these instances, what I want to highlight to you is the specific mistake that I made. Granted, anyone in law enforcement is probably thinking, “Greg, you made much more than one mistake,” and that’s accurate. However, one mistake became the catalysts for every other mistake that I made. The main error that I made that particular day with the Sheriff’s Office was the same error that a collective group of special agents highly trained made the other day nearly eight years in advance. That mistake was not understanding what is referred to spiritually as our governing principle.
A governing principle in physical fitness would be core to extremity. Consider those of you that just did the workout with me. Everything we did in that workout was made possible because we were in alignment with a governing physical fitness principle, which was core to extremity: the kettle bell sling, the toe to bar, the Burpee. We were generating power in those specific movements by a lateral contraction of power from our core to extremity.
Well, the spiritual ramification of that was best thought by Jesus Christ. He said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and everything else will be added to you.” In other words, think of the implications in physical fitness. Whether or not you were consciously aware of it, everything you just did in the workout was a result of your producing power from core to extremity. If you were in alignment with that one principle, then every other point of performance such as drive your knees out, keep your weight in your heels, all these other subcategories of the governing principle were in alignment. Yet if you violated the governing principle, then no matter how much attention you were trying to bring to a weight in the heels, knees out, chest up, those other subcategories would be insignificant because the governing principle had been violated. This is what we’re focusing on today.
Today’s message reinforces the principle I call “Being Equipped for Battle.” In order to equip yourself for battle, you have to understand this principle of a spiritual governing principle. The principle that we’d violated that day in law enforcement, in the warrior tradition, is referred to as security. Security always has to be the number one governing principle in the warrior tradition. If security is violated, if security is lacking, then nothing else you do is worthwhile. In fact, if security is violated, that one principle, then the likelihood of lost of life is very, very high.
Refer back to the mistake that I’d made with the DEA. We had forgotten to leave anyone on security. There was no one watching what’s called “our back.” There was no one watching our six. We were all solely focused on the price, on the world, on the success of what we had achieved. We’d violated what would keep us alive I the world, our security.
Let’s go back into the Old Testament. The theme that we’re using with Faith Works Ministry if you recall from last month is we’re tracing through the entire biblical narrative these themes. We’re understanding the theme from the foundation of the Old Testament. Then even more importantly, we’re looking at the fulfillment of that same theme through the life of Jesus Christ. That’s what we’re up to today. We’re going back in time to an interesting part of the Bible. This is Numbers, the Book of Numbers.
To set the scene for you in Numbers, Moses is leading nearly 400,000 people through the desert. These are the years of the wilderness, the years of wandering. The Israelites are looking; they’re searching for their Promised Land. They know the Promised Land was promised to them by God. It’s only a matter of time before they step into the land of milk and honey. Here we go, tracing this theme as far back as Numbers.
The cloud above the tabernacle, which was the residing place of the presence of God, whenever the cloud lifted, now, the cloud was the presence of God, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the presiding place of the presence of God, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the Israelites would set out. Whenever the cloud settled, the Israelites would encamp. At the Lord’s command they set out, and at His command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, they stayed in camp a long time. Sometimes the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for only a few days. At the Lord’s command they would encamp, and then at his command, they would set out. It’s a routine. When the cloud is present, they listened and obeyed and encamped. When the cloud moved on, they would pack up camp and they would move on. Now, the totally of the scripture is summed up best right here. Listen to this. “At the Lord’s command they encamped, and at the Lord’s command they set out.” Part of understanding the governing principle, which we’re now taking from the word of Jesus Christ “Seek first the Kingdom of God.” and we’re arcing back to the Old Testament and we’re trying to draw a connection between what Jesus ultimately fulfilled in his life and what Moses was initially proposing as far back as Numbers, one of the very first books of the Bible. And what we see is there’s this principle of following the direction of God, of understanding the pace, the timing, or in other words, for those of us that just did the workout, the interval of when to work and when to rest. There’s a principle here that God is trying to teach us. When do we set out? When do we work? When do we rest? When do we set up camp? How do we understand when it’s time to get work done? How do we understand when it’s time to let God work on our behalf? That’s the principle in many respects of the totality of Faith Works Ministry. We’re reverse engineering our faith through the context of working out. If you just did the workout, you understood that the reason we were resting in between intervals is that we had another interval to do. And by resting even for a few moments, what happened when I said, “Three, two, one, go”? We were reenergized. And what happened during that regeneration process? What were we doing with the temple of our mind? We were repeating the word of God. Even though we were physically at rest our mind was actively repeating the word of God. That act of rest allowed us once it was time, in Numbers metaphorically, for the cloud to move on. In other words, once it was time for us to go back into work, we were ready, we were prepared. All of us faced work.
The Bible talks a great deal about being tested. Those of us who are athletes, those of us who have served in law enforcement understand the context of testing. Oftentimes those people that are involved in martial arts, you actively seek out people who are at a higher caliber than you because you know intuitively that only by testing yourself against someone who is superior to you can you ultimately raise your capacity, raise your ability. Same thing in CrossFit, some of the best workouts we have in CrossFit are when we are in the company of athletes who are at a higher caliber than we are. They can show us what is possible if we are able to remain in faith. We can see what we are able to achieve. However, part of the testing process requires our ability to remain disciplined and to see the opportunity in the test to grow in our faith, to grow in our strength because you can look at a test in one of two ways. In the context of jujitsu, you could look at an opponent who you know is superior to you as an opportunity to test yourself and to grow stronger as a jujitsu fighter. Or you could look at that same opponent and think to yourself there is no way I at this person’s caliber or level and defeat yourself in your mind. Ultimately, it is up to us. The test remains neutral. It’s our thinking about the test that we’ll ultimately influence the results of the test. For that, we moved just a few pages ahead in the same Book of Numbers.
To go back to setting the scene, we know the operational tempo. In the warrior tradition, this is referred to as battle rhythm. The battle rhythm, thus far, has been when the cloud of the presence of the Lord is over the camp the people of Moses are in camp. When that cloud moves out from camp, they pack up their belongings and they follow God. That had been taking place for years and years and years. Finally, therewithin approximately two weeks of reaching the Promised Land, the land of Canaan, they’d already been promised this land. God promised Moses this would be the land they would inherit. They were two weeks away. Imagine being two weeks away from a fight, two weeks away from a CrossFit competition and you already knew you had been promised the victory. That’s where we pick up in our story.
The Lord said to Moses, “Send some men,” we discovered it was in fact 12 men, “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan. Here’s the key which I am giving to you.” That’s a promise. The word of God is a promise. In other words, God said to Moses, “Send 12 spies,” I like to think of it as “Send 12 special agents,” “into the midst of enemy territory. Yet when you’re in enemy territory, have faith. I’ve given that territory to you. So go and explore it. Go and spy it out. Conduct a reconnaissance yet remain faithful, remain positive because the land is yours. So go see what it is you’re going to inherit.” Well, the people went out. The 12 spies, they conducted their reconnaissance then they came back. It was time to report to Moses. This is what’s referred to in the warrior tradition as “After a reconnaissance, we give an after-action review.” We recapitulate the mission. We become the eyes and ears of the people that were not in the advance element. And here’s what those people said, “We went into the land which you sent us and it does flow with milk and honey. It is the Promised Land. But,” oh, that word, “but the people who lived there are powerful and the cities are fortified and very large. We cannot attack those people. They’re stronger than we are.” Ten of the spies came back with that report. Ten spies came back with a negative report. However, two of those ten were faithful.
Caleb came back and said, “We can take those people. We can take the Promised Land. It’s two weeks away. We can collectively go. The spirit of the Lord is upon us. God is with us. If God is with us, who can be against us? Follow me. Let’s go.” Two of the ten were warriors. Two of the ten had their priorities right. Two of the ten were willing to step out in faith in the promise of the word of God. They knew despite what their eyes were trying to tell them they had the assurance of God’s promise with them.
Now, isn’t that the experience we all have in our life as we face tests? In every test I’d faced, whether it was a test on a battlefield or a test right here in our gymnasium, every test I face I realize there are two voices inside my head. One voice is saying, “Go for it, Greg. You can do it. God is with you.” The other voice is saying, “Runaway.” That’s the experience we all have. And that experience, God is trying to show us is and always will be part of our experience as human beings. That’s the tendency of our mind is to be divided between what we know is possible through faith in God and what we know is impossible by nearly relying on our self. For this reason, I believe Jesus said, “A house divided cannot stand.” What I mean is I think Jesus was trying to inspire us to realize that if our mind is divided between “I can do it. God is with me,” and “No, I can’t,” that house or our mind will fall. We have to be all in with the word of God. We have to whole heartedly believe with our mind, our body, our soul, our heart, with all our strength that we can do it. However, the key, my friends, is we’re understanding that the reason we believe we can do it is because we have the promise of God. The tendency, the temptation is to think through our own strength we can do it, and that’s the recipe for failure. In every accord of the Bible, when people set out on their own to accomplish God’s will, they failed. Yet when inferior numbers, when the odds were stacked, when naturally it would seem that there is no way this can happen, supernaturally, it did happen. And the supernatural occurrence was, of course, was because the presence of the Lord was upon those people who were adamant that they could do it through His strength alone. Testing.
We understand a few qualities of testing. The first quality of testing is that we will be tested. We will all be tested I this life. That’s an assurance. Is that the message you came to hear today? Most people go through their entire life trying to avoid testing. Imagine if you were coming into the gym and you were growing stronger physically yet I was not giving you an opportunity to add more weight to your barbell, would I be a good and faithful coach? No. In fact, as many of you know, sometimes even though you may not think you’re ready I see the readiness in you and what do I do to your barbell? I put on more weight. Why? Why would I give you more resistance? Because I know that through that resistance, through the increase of the test I know you will simultaneously, measure for measure, increase in strength. Without those opportunities to test yourself, you’ll never grow.
In the Book of James, one of my favorite parts of the Bible, James says these words regarding testing. He says, “Count it all joy, my friends, whenever you are tested, for we know that testing produces perseverance, and perseverance produces faith. Count it all joy, my friends, whenever you are tested.” Isn’t that awesome? Now, here’s the good news regarding that scripture. That is exactly what happens day in and day out in our gym. We rejoice when we’re tested. Nothing feels better inside the gym than a PR, a personal record. What does a personal record signify to the athlete? An increase in strength. We reverse engineer the increase in strength. The only reason the increase in strength was possible is there was a test that allowed you to experience the strength that you had even though you may not have realized it until the test was upon you.
Now, a few more words regarding testing before we tie everything together. Regarding testing, the Bible also says regarding testing that in all things, God is working together for our good. In all things, God is working together for our good. That’s a promise. However, consider the implications of that verse. When things seem to be going well in our life, that verse resonates well with us. When things are going well, we may think to our self, “This is great. Everything is going well. Therefore God is certainly working out everything together in a pattern for good. I can see the good all around me.” However, what about those times when things are not going well? Is the tendency then to think, “The scripture must not be accurate,” because this is clearly not good? Yet the word of God says that everything is working together in a pattern for good. But how can this possibly be good? Why I contemplated that for a long time myself. And then I came across a really powerful scripture. Two Corinthians 3:18 is expounding upon this promise and what it’s saying is that everything is working together in a pattern for good because that pattern –do you know what it’s achieving in our life?– that pattern is transforming us more into the likeness of Jesus Christ and that is good and is always good. So every test we experience is, in fact, forging or tempering us. It’s testing us. Yet we know that that test, in the long run, is transforming us –into whom?– into the very likeness of Jesus Christ.
The word testing, when it was used by James when James said, “Count it all joy, my friends, whenever you are tested.” That word “tested” is often used in the context of forging. Think about the implications of that in the context of our gym. As you walk into our gym, above the door it says, “Forging Elite Fitness.” The word “forging” is used historically in the making of swords. A sword smith, they forge a blade. The way that a blade retains both its strength and its edge is by being hammered over and over again. In addition to being hammered, that blade, that edge is put in a fire. It’s put in a fire, a furnace. It’s heated up. Then it’s brought out and it’s hammered. And in that hammering process, the blade is folded over and over. The steel is being folded back on to its self and then it’s being hammered, back in the fire, it’s brought out, it’s hammered again, back in the furnace, brought out, over and over and over. And oftentimes if you look at samurai blades very, very closely, you can see the layers of folding that took place. And it was that layer of fold that produced the edge of the revered samurai sword. That’s what’s happening in our life. Those testing processes that we go through they are sharpening us. They are tempering us. They are forging us.
Now, my friends, I want to get into this quality of being transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ because this is so important. When we look to the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, there was a remarkable moment that took place. In the Old Testament, which is where we began our ministry today, the Old Testament was governed by the law. If you recall last month, we spoke about the implications of abiding by the law. There were over 600 law, 600 rules, 600 regulations that had to be abided by in the Old Testament in order to remain in covenant with God. Well, a lawyer who was very skilled, who knew the law inside and out asked Jesus, “Master, what is the most important law?” which is a great question. In other words, this lawyer was asking Jesus what is the governing principle. We’re back to our opening story. What is the one principle that if I come into alignment with, I know all the other points of performance will automatically match? Here’s what Jesus said, “Number one, love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, all your strength. And number two, love your neighbor as you love yourself.” All the law and all the profits hang on these two commandments. With God our governing principle, our priority of work, our focus, that’s it. In other words, we could even reduce it to one degree further. If we are loving God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, with all of our strength, and if we are loving our neighbor as ourselves, we are also abiding by the direction of Jesus when he said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and everything else will be added to you.”
In terms of CrossFit, produce power from core to extremity and every other principle, every other point of performance will come into alignment with you, which leads us to a very important question: the Kingdom of God. If Jesus is telling us to seek first the Kingdom of God and if we know that when seeking the Kingdom of God first everything else will be added to us, it certainly begs the question: What is the Kingdom of God? Where is the Kingdom of God? How can I pursue the Kingdom of God? That’s the burning question on my heart. And here’s what I want to share with you. The Kingdom of God, understanding the Kingdom of God was at the heart of Jesus Christ’s ministry to his disciples. He had to help them understand what the Kingdom of God was, where it was, how to enter it. And one of the ways that he taught this was through a remarkable parable. This parable, this theme, it keeps me up at night. It’s so remarkable. I think there is so much life-changing potential when we really understand and embrace this. The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree. The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed? What? Well, consider this. We have to go to our whiteboard. It wouldn’t be Faith Works without a whiteboard.
A mustard seed is the smallest seed. It is so small in fact that Jesus even elaborated on its size. He often said, “You of little faith” to his disciples who are of immense faith. But he said, “You of little faith.” And then he said that if you have the little of a mustard seed, you can move a mountain. So he used this principle of mustard seed very often in his ministry, yet a mustard seed, it’s the smallest seed. Why would Jesus try to inspire us to have the faith of a mustard seed? I believe it’s because if we have a little bit of faith in the right thing, we can move a mountain. Yet if we have a lot of faith in the wrong thing, no amount of wrong faith will produce any positive result in our life. In other words, think about the amazing gift that God’s given us. God is telling us through his word that all we need to have is a little bit of faith, a mustard seed, in him and we can move a mountain. Yet, if we have a lot of faith in anything but him, I’ll let you fill in the blank. We’ve all likely experienced that to some degree, putting our faith in the wrong thing.
Generally speaking, in the context of understanding the wrong thing, when the disciples wanted to know where the Kingdom of God was, how to enter it, how to find it, the tendency when we think of the Kingdom of God is to also understand treasure in the context of the world. When we put our faith in the material objects of the world, that’s like looking for the Kingdom of God out there and Jesus warned against that. When asked where the Kingdom of God was, in addition to explaining this quality of the Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, he also said, “Be careful about looking for the Kingdom of God over there or over there or anywhere out there because behold, the Kingdom of God is within you.”
So now to bring everything back together, to tie up the totally of our time together today, what we’re understanding, there’s a rhythm. As we follow God, as we trust in his word, we establish a rhythm. This rhythm guides us. This rhythm is like a drumbeat. This is rhythm is like tempo. This rhythm is like a pace. This rhythm is like an interval in our life. As we draw close to the word of God, we begin to understand where God is leading us and when God is leading us. We begin to understand when God wants us to be still, we understand when God wants us to step out. When God wants us to step out, these are our opportunities to step out in faith and to face a test.
When it comes time to face a test, a challenge, opposition, a battle, it’s known by different words in different contexts, when it’s time to face that battle, we understand that that battle, that test is there for a reason. The reason is to count it all joy. Why count the test joy? Because we know that the test is transforming us into the likeness of Jesus Christ. Then we look to those qualities of Jesus Christ, that we are desirous of representing in our life. One of those qualities is Jesus had an ability to always, independent of what was taking place around him, seek God. He was always seeking first the Kingdom of God. He was inspiring his disciples and all those he taught to seek the Kingdom of God first. One of the ways that he inspired people to do that is by having the faith of a mustard seed. And now we understand that a little bit of faith in God is great because we’re putting our faith in the right thing.
Reflecting on the totality of our day, we now also understand one of the ways to build that faith is through the repetition of the word of God. In fact, Jesus said, “The word of God is that very seed.” The mustard seed is the word of God. As we repeat the word of God, it sprouts. It goes from being that little seed into a great tree in our life.
Well, my friends, thank you so much for spending this time with me today. I want you to know that I sincerely respect your time. Thank you for spending time with me on the show. You’re spending time that is well spent. This is a good investment of your time. I say that because you’re spending time understanding the word of God. Greater understanding of the word of God leads to greater appreciation for the miraculous life He has given you and I. We’re made in the image of God, therefore the more we learn about God the more we understand ourselves. The more we understand God, the greater ability we have to master ourselves. Self-mastery is a sure-fire way to be of greater service to the world. And my friends, we are all desirous of serving one another, which can best be achieved by mastering ourselves, which can only be achieved by developing a personal relationship with God, which can be enhanced through understanding the means by which God reveals himself to us. That is through the word of God in the Bible. And my friends, that is exactly what you have spent time learning today.
My friends, let’s take a moment to close in prayer. God, thank you so much for this time we have had in Your word. God, one of the prayers that’s always on my heart is from the Apostle Paul who prayed in Ephesians that You, God, would give us a spirit of wisdom, a spirit of revelation in the knowledge of You. God, the way I understand that scripture is that to really know You through Your word will require a supernatural reading of Your word in the same manner that Jesus Christ opened the minds of the apostles to understand scripture. God, that is my prayer now for myself and for the listener that, God, You would supernaturally reveal Yourself to us. God, sometimes Your voice is that still small voice, yet, God, I trust that as we earnestly seek You, that still small voice will become more and more audible in our life.
Well, my friends, thank you for joining me today. Until we meet again. May God bless you and keep you safe. And I look forward to speaking with you again on our next episode together of The Greg Amundson Show. Take care.
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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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! Welcome to Episode number 24 of The Greg Amundson Show. I’ve got a special show in store for you today, my friends. We are going back in time, a few weeks ago to a live recording of Faith Works Ministry that was recorded at my gym in sunny, most of the time, Santa Cruz, California.
Those of you that may be tuning in for the first time on the show or perhaps, you were just unaware of the fact that in addition to owning a CrossFit gym, within the walls of the CrossFit gym in Santa Cruz I started a ministry called Faith Works Ministry. The mission of Faith Works is to inspire strength in your mind, body, spirit, and greater faith in God. It’s like this, my friends. I believe that the body is a temple for the soul. That’s right out of the Bible. The body is a temple for the soul. Now, to this effect, the primary mission of Faith Works Ministry is to strengthen our core, which is our relationship with the presence of God within us.
I love this analogy of strengthening the core because, of course in a physical fitness gym, undoubtedly in a CrossFit gym, the conversation of core strengthening often comes up. Everything we do in functional fitness is achieved through a lateral contraction of core to extremity. We must develop our core. Without core strength we will ultimately fail at the margins of our experience in the gym.
Well, hopefully you can see the importance of strengthening our ultimate core, which is the presence of God within us. That’s why I think Faith Works Ministry is such an awesome concept to church plant right within the walls of a physical fitness gym is we can simultaneously develop strength in our physical core and more importantly, in our spiritual core.
The Bible verse that Jesus said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and everything else will be added to you.” That’s Matthew 6:33. Now, that Bible verse, it’s at the heart of my ministry at Faith Works because when we seek to develop our true core, which is our spirit, our soul, the very presence of God in us, then everything else falls beautifully into place. All the extremities of our life improve not by our own effort but through the grace and mercy of God.
The three-fold mission of Faith Works Ministry is this. Number one, develop faith in God by forging strength in our mind, body and spirit; number two, integrate physical fitness into worship of God; number three, it’s educate, inspire, encourage, motivate people to realize that faith works. It’s as simple as that. At the end of the day, having faith in God, it literally works. However, we have to work at that faith, and that is what we are learning in this month’s live recording at Faith Works Ministry.
So, my friends, without further ado, come with me. We are en route to Santa Cruz, California for a live recording of Faith Works Ministry at CrossFit Amundson in Santa Cruz, California. As we say in CrossFit, three…two…one…go!
I remember in 2001, the very early days the inception of CrossFit, I would come into the gym and I had a grand plan for what my workout was going to be. I was going to go into that gym and tell Coach Glassman, the founder of CrossFit, what I wanted to do in the workout. That never worked out very well. He always had another plan for me and it turns out his plan was always better than my plan.
The reason I mentioned that is last evening, about 9 p.m., I was right here Facebook Live announcing what the plan was for today’s ministry. That was my plan. I woke up this morning God had a whole new direction, an entirely new message in store for you today. God’s plan, I assure you, is much, much better than my plan. Ready?
All right, let’s begin with a word of prayer. Just close your eyes, take a deep breath. During our ministry today, every time you become aware of the breath, breathe through the nostrils. Every time you become aware of the fact that you are breathing, which is a miracle unto itself, in that moment breathe deeply through your nose.
God, thank you for this opportunity you’ve given us today. Thank you for watching over and keeping safe those of us that participated in the workout. Now, God, we’re on to the most important time of the totality of our time together: time in your Word, God.
God, the apostle Paul, his prayer for all those who would follow Jesus Christ would be that we would increase in wisdom, in revelation and in knowledge of you, God. Therefore, God, as we begin today, that is the prayer of our collective heart that we would increase in wisdom, in knowledge, in revelation of you. Bless this time that we have together, God. Amen.
I want to begin right in the Word of God in the Bible. We’re going to go way back in time to the Old Testament. Then we’re going to accelerate through the Bible to the New Testament, to the fulfillment of the Old Testament scripture. Then we’re going to do a little bit of what we call in seminary school Biblical investigation. Those of you in law enforcement will appreciate the quest that we will be on because we are going to find out firsthand in the next 20 to 30 minutes the manner in which everything that was instructed to us through the Old Testament was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and more importantly, how we can now follow Christ in everything that we do.
With that, let’s go to the Old Testament, Psalm 20:7. This was written by one of my Bible heroes. This psalm was written by David, as in David and Goliath. Those of you that were here at our first ministry — Cory, you were here, Brandon you were here, Joshua you were here, Kiera you were here — you recall we investigated the life of David, the manner in which we can embrace the warrior archetype in our life. Well, let’s go way back in time to a verse written by David.
David said, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses; but we trust in the name of the Lord, our God.” Now this Bible verse is going to prove to be immensely important as we accelerate through the Bible today. The reason is that the tendency of most people, including ourselves, unless we’re vigilant, is to put our trust in chariots, in horses. That’s a metaphor for putting our trust in anything other than God.
Now, if you recall in the story of David and Goliath, when David faced off against Goliath, seemingly the odds were severely stacked against him. He had on no armor; he had as a weapon a shepherd’s tool; he was facing a giant who head-to-toe was covered with armor. In addition to the armor that Goliath was wearing, Goliath had a shield bearer, another soldier standing in front of Goliath also wearing armor carrying a shield.
Here comes David. As David not walks, as David ran, as he accelerated towards that danger, towards that obstacle, towards that threat, he announced the faith that he had not in his sling, certainly not in his training which was severely lacking, not in the other thousands of troops assembled behind him. As he accelerated towards Goliath and started to sling and lose the rock, he said “I come to you, Goliath, in the name of the Lord.” And with that he lose the rock, it struck Goliath right between the eyes and boom, down he fell.
And now after that incident took place, several years later as David recounts his life, he thought that incident was important enough to succinctly articulate for you and I right here in this Psalm and so that we would not be confused. Because wouldn’t it be easy to look at the life of David and think what a warrior, what remarkable training he had, how proficient he was in the use of his sling. No. What David wanted us to know is that he had faith in God. That alone was his victory.
Now, we accelerate several hundred years later into the New Testament. We’re moving forward to the words of Jesus Christ, the perfect fulfillment of the life and line of David. This is a phenomenal Bible verse. Get ready.
“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. A good man brings good out of the good stored up in his heart and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.” Listen carefully, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Just breathe that in to every cell of your body for a moment. Isn’t that amazing?
What we’re up to today is assessing the Word of God, understanding how we can utilize God’s word in our life. I want to take you back in time and share with you a story about my dad. The majority of stories I share about my father are very, very serious in nature. Today I have a rather humorous one for you to help put this in perspective.
I grew up on a levee in Stockton, California. Leaves in the winter were a major problem in my life because I had to rake them. We had a lot of trees. I would rake and rake and rake a massive pile of leaves then my dad would burn the leaves. This was a customary practice among the levees in Stockton. Now, Jim, you’re a firefighter. I’m not sure if you would agree that’s safe, yet that was deemed safe because of the close proximity of water.
Well, one particular day after a massive rainstorm I was out raking leaves. Now these leaves were soaking wet. So once they were assembled in a massive pile, it wasn’t realistic to just light the leaves. My dad thought he needed some accelerant. My dad, he was a pastor, body builder, champion swimmer, chiropractor, an amazing man, yet aware of fire hazard he was not. My dad used gasoline as an accelerant on these leaves. I was a young man, yet something told me that was a way to go to heaven really quickly. No sooner had my dad lit the match and touched it, the match was still in the air and those leaves caught fire and they burned quickly.
That, I find, is a really good metaphor, a really good example for the power of our spoken word because our words are like that match; they’re an accelerant for everything that is taking place within the temple of our mind. Every time we speak our spoken word is a little sneak preview of what has been taking place within our mind. If you want to know what is in someone’s heart, listen to the way they speak. This was essentially what Jesus was teaching us. Listen, he said “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
Here’s what’s key. Throughout the entire Bible, the Biblical authors, which were inspired by God, use the word heart in a very unique way. Heart and mind were two different things. The heart was significantly more important because think about the quality of our heart for athletes, of which we all are. The heart is responsible for circulating life force through our body. Therefore, it’s one thing to think a particular way; it’s an entirely another thing to have your heart transformed because the heart is responsible for circulating character. The heart is responsible for circulating your essence through you. That is why to have a change of heart is much more important than simply a change of mind. Our thinking is constantly changing to and fro as it says in the Bible. Yet, when there’s a change of heart, when God can affect our heart, our life will never be the same.
As many of you know, I was very, very involved with the inception of CrossFit. In 2004, there was a life-changing moment for me and I feel very certain this was also a life-changing moment, if I can speak on behalf of my dear friend, Coach Glassman, a life-changing moment for Coach Glassman as well.
It was 2004; Coach and I were in Seattle. We were teaching one of the very first CrossFit certification that was outside of the Research Park headquarters for CrossFit this was a big deal. CrossFit was starting to grow; Coach Glassman was in high demand. This was a three-day certification. Three-day certification, to put that in perspective from a view, means that every single day, the athletes that were participating were being challenged, if not required, to throw down in three workouts a day. That’s extremely challenging and these were not average workouts. We just had an amazing training session. That pales in comparison to the workouts that were taking place in the early days of the CrossFit certification. These workouts were like Fight Gone Bad, Fran and Helen within a few hours of each other. This was an incredible extraordinary time with the birth of CrossFit.
This particular weekend was remarkable because there were two gentlemen who had been going head-to-head in all of the workouts throughout this weekend. These two guys had never seen each other before, yet they had nearly the same command of the physical movements within the workouts. They look the same, they talk the same, when their shirts came off they had the same build. They could’ve been twins, yet something ultimately separated these two athletes.
The final workout was upon these two athletes. Sunday evening, the certification is drawing to a close. The final workout consisted of ground to overhead 30 repetitions with a barbell, sprint across the gym floor to the rings, 10 muscle-ups to finish the workout. Extraordinarily challenging to combine those two skills together. These two guys finished the clean-and-jerk repetition 30 at the exact same time. The bar gets overhead; it drops to the ground at the same time. They start to sprint across the gym en route to the muscle-up station at the same time. They pass by Coach Glassman and I who are observing this at the same time. And as they ran by us Coach gives me the elbow and says, “Kid, this might be a tie.” They were that close.
Then something remarkable happened. One athlete, as he ran by Coach and I, said with a great deal of enthusiasm, a great deal of personal belief, a great deal of conviction, in his words he said, “I’ve never done a muscle-up before; today I’m going to get my first one.” Whoosh! Off he goes to the rings. Meanwhile, the other athlete right next to him also uses his words in a self-affirming way, yet what he is affirming in his life is entirely different; What he says is “I’ve never done a muscle-up before; there’s no way I can finish this final workout.” Off he goes to the rings.
These athletes arrived at the ring station at the same time. They stand under the rings, they reached up their arms, they secure a false grip. That’s critical to where we’re going in today’s ministry. They knew what to do. They were focused on the physical aspect of the skill. In other words they were putting their trust in chariots and horses. In the physical quality of the skill they secured false grip, key to understanding where we’re going.
They both took a deep breath then they started to pull themselves off the ground onto the rings. The athlete that just moments earlier had said, “Today I’m going to get my first one,” he started to pull and pull and pull and pull, the rings get chin level, which you know is a critical moment in the muscle-up, then all of a sudden his head comes over the rings. He’s now what we call on top of the rings, a look of not surprise but certainty on his face. He knew he would be there. Smile, presses out, he achieves his first muscle up.
Now, meanwhile the other athlete, he gets to that same critical point on the rings. He’s at the transition from pull to push, yet he never comes close to making that centimeter of a difference of change of angle to finish the technique. Meanwhile, as he’s struggling, flailing about on the rings, the other athlete that had used his words in a self-affirming way, he goes on to perform nine more muscle-ups. He only stops to briefly reset his grip on the rings. Wow!
Take a look at the whiteboard. Cause-effect, sow-reap, good tree-good fruit. We’re using the whiteboard to pull out of the Bible a visual representation of what Jesus had said in regards to “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Jesus used the example of a tree because we can all understand the nature of a tree. A tree produces after its own kind. What kind of fruit does an apple tree produce? An apple. It’s no great surprise to the farmer. The farmer isn’t shocked. “Whoa! Look, my apple tree produced an apple.” Of course it did. It’s an apple tree. It produces after its own kind.
Here’s what we have to understand. In between cause and effect, there is always a season of time. That time I can be a tremendous blessing in our life because God is graciously giving us an opportunity to change, to influence, to redirect the cause of every subsequent effect of our life. What is the cause of every affect? Well, Jesus tells us it’s ultimately our out of the abundance of our heart.
We now understand the heart in the Bible means our very character, the character of our life. Not just our surface level thinking, those habitual thoughts that we may no longer even be aware of. In modern application, the heart is the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is running your life and my life. Every affect in our life was ultimately caused right here, within the temple of our mind.
Now, I mentioned that time can be a great blessing because we have an opportunity to assess the totality of the affects in our life. In other words we can be that farmer that goes out into our field and assesses the quality of our fruit. What type of fruit is our harvest bearing? Is it good fruit or bad fruit? Jesus makes it fairly simple. If Mark Divine was here, a dear mentor of mine and Josh and Aaron, Mark Divine would say, “We assess the quality of our thinking in regards to are we feeding the dog of courage or the dog of fear.” That is Biblically sound because Jesus taught us the same principle, is your tree producing good fruit or bad fruit.
Now, imagine this. Imagine if God had accelerated time in our life and so that if everything that we thought immediately produced in our life. Whoa! That’d be an entirely another story. That can be a major problem if everything we thought just immediately produced in our life. Now I assure you if that were the case, we would have much more respect for our thinking.
Those of you who walk the path of a warrior, one of the fundamental principles of firearms is that every firearm is always loaded all the time. That’s the power of our mind. Our mind is always loaded all the time. There is always a thought entertained in our mind. Thank God that thought is not immediately producing because that could be a problem. Yet, if it were to immediately produce, that would certainly entice us to be more aware of our thinking.
Well, my friends, in many respects just because there is time between cause and effect means that that time is unknown and unknowable. Those of you participating in CrossFit, you recognize that terminology. CrossFit is unknown and unknowable. When we walk into the gym, the workout is unknown and unknowable. That’s the nature of what is known as the law of gender or the law of time. We do not know the time that a thought needs to produce. All we know is that in time every thought will produce. How will it produce? Well, after its own kind. Isn’t that remarkable? That is reason enough to become much more aware of the quality of every thought in our mind.
Many of you are involved in law enforcement. I’ve been involved in law enforcement since 1999. I love law. Law fascinates me. Law in our culture takes on many unique perspectives. There’s penal code law, there’s vehicle code law, there’s real estate law, even CrossFit abides by contract law. Law is everywhere. Law is governing our life. We’re called to abide by law. We certainly understand the implications of breaking the law, yet consider this: how many of you have rolled through a stop sign? What? So have I. We call that a California stop. We roll through stop signs. How many of you have committed a more grievous violation of the law? Grand felony type violation of the law? Likely not.
Now, what’s interesting is that in our society, because there’s a hierarchy of law, we judge law based on the severity of the punishment. If you roll through a stop sign and if you’re stopped and given a ticket, in many respects that’s an infraction. Another example is how many of you have ever driven your motor vehicle with a cracked windshield? If you were pulled over for a cracked windshield, that’s a violation of the vehicle code, yet that’s what’s called a correctable violation. You can get your windshield replaced within 30 days, take your ticket to court and it’s as if the violation never happened.
The other interesting quality of the law that we abide by is that whether or not you were aware of the law, you’re accountable to the law. For example, you may be driving your motor vehicle unaware that the cracked windshield is in fact a violation of the vehicle code. Yet if a law enforcement officer pulls you over, you’re subject to a violation. You can be criminally cited for having a cracked windshield. And if you tell the officer I didn’t know that was a violation of the law, in the vehicle code, the officer is not able to look to the code and find oh, you were unaware; therefore that’s a subsection to the law. You can go free. Have a good day. That’s not in the vehicle code, neither is that in the penal code. No law has a subset of law that forgives you for ignorance to the law. You’re accountable, and we all do our best to abide the law of man or woman, the law of society, human law. We do our best. Well guess what. There’s a much greater law that we have to abide by.
Now consider this. We’re in agreement that there’s a difference. We’ve all rolled through a stop sign, yet we are not the type of person to commit murder. And if we’re assessing two people, one that’s committed violation of vehicle code, one that’s committed a heinous act — rape, murder, a serious injury to another person — we judge those two people entirely differently, do we not?
Well, that was certainly on the mind and heart of the apostles because the law in the Old Testament was very, very important. Moses gave the people of God law they had to abide by. In other words he gave them a penal code. He said abide by this law. This is the law of God. Now that law through the Old Testament was much like our law of penal code. It dealt with things that you did. It dealt, in other words, with not the cause but the effect.
Now this is really, really important. Old Testament law was dealing primarily with this: the effect of what you did, not the cause of the effect. Then comes Jesus Christ who taught us that focusing on just the effect will never result in canceling or having any influence on the effect. You have to focus on the cause. What is the cause of every effect? Your thinking. Because when asked about the severity of the law what Jesus said was remarkable. He said it’s one thing not to commit adultery, the physical act of committing adultery. That’s one thing. If you restrain yourself from committing adultery, good on you. However, if you commit adultery in your mind, if in your thinking you lust for your neighbor’s wife, guess what? You’ve committed adultery.
There was no difference to Jesus between the cause and the effect. Why would that be? Why would Jesus see no difference between the cause and the effect? I believe it was because Jesus knew that cause would lead to the effect. In other words, if you spend time entertaining in your mind, in the temple of your mind, which is a private place, yet nevertheless, if within that private place you spend time thinking adulterous thoughts, thinking violent thoughts, thinking thoughts of theft, thinking any criminal thought or thought that violates the law, in time or in a season you would produce after that kind of thought you were entertaining. Wow! When you have that proposed, doesn’t that make you just come alive?
What’s so important is that all of us we do a remarkable job abiding by law. Even today during the workout, we were in agreement. In many respects, we set a law — we had a time duration, we had a repetition duration, we were in agreement on the order of events, we knew the range of motion, we were in agreement and aware of the points of performance. Everything that we do in many respects is focusing on the effect.
Ultimately, however, my friends, to really walk the path of a modern-day warrior, it necessitates more than simply focusing on the effects of life. Ultimately, we have to move. We even have to, if I could be so bold as to say, we have to assault the ultimate battleground. The ultimate battleground for the modern-day warrior is the mind, our thinking, because through repetition of thought, we influence our heart. Out of the heart the mouth speaks.
Consider this. Some of you, for example, Nathan Mendelsohn you are a master in jujitsu. Dr. Van Brunt, you’ve mastered the human body; you’re a doctor of chiropractor. We’re amongst masters. They’re all around us. What does it take to achieve mastery? Repetition. Repetition is the first law of learning. Everything that you have learned to do to this day was achieved by repetition.
We can use that principle to our advantage. We can discipline our self to take time every single day to repeat the Word of God. By repeating the Word of God, we can influence the quality of our thinking. More importantly, we can ultimately influence our heart. It simply takes time. It simply takes repetition and it takes memorization. Yet, we’re all capable of that. Every single one of us has the ability to memorize the word of God. We all have adequate time during the day to repeat the Word of God. And the Word of God is telling you and it’s promising us that when we embrace the Word of God, when the Word of God sinks into our heart, when it ultimately changes us, then and only then do we have the promise that the future effects of our life will be agreeable to what we really desire.
Therefore, I propose to you a Bible verse that is worthy of your memorization. You’ve got some notes with you. There’s a few on your notes that I think are really powerful. One in particular I want to help shed some light on. And for this we’re going back into the Old Testament.
If you recall, those of you that participated in the workout, what pose did we go into concluding the workout? What is that pose referred to in yoga? Child’s pose. Listen to this. Elijah, the prophet, climbed to the top of Mount Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees. That sound familiar? Child’s pose.
“Go and look toward the sea,” Elijah told his servant and he went up and looked. “There is nothing there,” his servant said. Seven times Elijah said, “Go back and look again.” The seventh time the servant reported, a cloud, as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” So Elijah said, Go and tell Ahab hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.”Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain started falling and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. Listen carefully, this is phenomenal. The power of the Lord came upon Elijah and tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.
Anything about that Bible verse strike you as being odd as an athlete? To translate or in layman term articulate what you just heard, the Word of God, Elijah outran a chariot. Now in CrossFit we get pretty excited when over the course of one minute e an athlete produces three-fourths of a horse power. If anyone has ever done Fran, the workout Fran, 21-15-9 thruster pull-up in approximately three minutes, that athlete had an average power output of three-fourths of a horse power. Yet, when God, when the spirit of the Lord comes upon us we can outran a horse and chariot. Everything is starting to come together now. The king had his trust, his faith in his chariot. He tried to ride ahead of the storm; Elijah outran the chariot.
The reason I turned to this particular Bible verse is that Elijah shows us the power of repetition. He continued to pray. He was praying for rain. There’d been a severe drought. He was on top of Mount Carmel. As he was praying, his servant went and looked seven times for proof of the result. In other words, the servant went out and looked for this, the effect of what? This. Elijah was focusing on the supernatural realm. He was focusing on the power of his prayer. He knew that in time, in a season his prayer would come to fruition. He knew it. It was only a matter of time.
And that’s what’s so powerful about this particular Bible verse is that imagine a time in your life your life when you were trying to learn a physical skill. Every single one of you walks pretty well. A matter of fact, you all run really well. I’ve seen the great majority of you run very, very well, very fast. How did you learn to walk? How did you learn to run? You fell down. Then what happened? You got back up. And that’s what Elijah did. He prayed. He sent out his servant, his servant came back and said there’s no rain. He said go back. Servant said okay, walked out, looked, not a cloud in the sky, came back, Elijah there’s no cloud out there; the sky is blue. Go back; look again seven times. That’s the certainty that Elijah had in his prayer.
The other reason I think this is so clearly articulated in the Bible is that wouldn’t it have been easy for Elijah to come into agreement with his servant? The servant comes back, Elijah, your cause meaning your prayer, is having no effect. There’s no cloud. The sky is blue. Elijah says oh, you’re right. Let’s forget this ever took place. Have you had people in your life that if confronted you despite your prayer, despite the desire of your heart, despite your intention to think positively have been a stronghold against you? Well, it’s in the Bible, so we can assure ourselves that at some point in our life, despite our prayer someone is going to tell you there’s no cloud in the sky. And that’s when you have to have faith not in chariots or the effects of the world; you have to maintain faith in God. You have to say to that person, and maybe even to yourself, “Go back! Look again.” I love the Word of God. It can change our life.
Let’s end with a moment of prayer and then we have a special treat. We have a guest to pray over our meal today. Thank you. So let’s take a moment to just bow our head, and in the same way that we began our message today, we began if you recall with just a moment of silence and a moment of breath awareness. In the Bible, it essentially says that the breath is like an anchor for our soul. The breath helps us stay in the present moment. The Bible it says that God formed us out of dust then breathed the breath of life into our nostrils. Every time we take that breath in through our nose we’re participating in that very verse. We’re inviting the awareness of God into our life, into our awareness right here, right now.
God, thank you for your Word. God, your Word is a lamp unto our feet. God, thank you for giving us the discipline to be aware of the quality of our thinking. God, thank you providing for us Scripture that we can memorize that can influence the quality of not just our thinking but of our heart. God, our prayer today is a prayer for a renewed mind, God, that you would create in us a clean heart. Elevate the quality of every thought in our mind. Create in us, God a new and right spirit.
Thank you for this time that you’ve given us, God. God, we pray that you would continue to give each and every one of us a spirit of wisdom and revelation and the knowledge of you. In your son’s name, Jesus Christ, we bring every petition of our heart before you. Amen.
Well, my friends, I sincerely hope that you enjoyed that live recording from Faith Works Ministry in Santa Cruz, California. If you’re interested in church planting a Faith Works Ministry at your CrossFit gym or a physical fitness gym that you participate in or really, if you want to bring a chapter of Faith Works Ministry into any endeavor that you feel God is leading you, my encouragement to you is go for it. In the same manner that Coach Glassman, the founder of CrossFit, a dear friend of mine, used to tell me as early as December 2001 when I first started CrossFit, he would say as I was preparing to leave the gym, “Hey, kid! When you get home, knock on your neighbor’s door and teach them how to squat or deadlift or press or any other skill I had learned that day during the workout.” Well, my encouragement to you, my friend, is that if you feel God is leading you to develop a Faith Works Ministry, then you know what? Knock on your neighbor’s door and teach them about God.
That’s clearly a part of the totality of the mission, the purpose that God has in store for you and I am here to support, encourage and give you anything that you need to further your life purpose and bring people the peace, the presence, the strength of God.
Well, with that, my friends, let’s take a moment and close together in prayer.
God, thank you for this sacred time that we have had together. God, I ask a blessing upon the listener today that the listener of today’s show, this person, God, who has spent time investing in your Word, God, I ask a blessing upon them. God, I turn to the words of the apostle Paul, such a powerful, beautiful prayer, God. And I pray, Father, those words over the listener today, God, that you would bless this listener with an increase of knowledge, an increase of revelation, an increase of wisdom of you, God. Ultimately, God, I know, according to your Word, that as we seek you first, everything else will be added to us. And therefore, God, I want to acknowledge this listener, Father, for seeking you first. And as he or she seeks you, God, I pray that you would bless every department of their life.
All right, my friends, thank you for joining me today on the show. Until next time. May God bless you and keep you safe. I will talk to you soon right back here on The Greg Amundson Show. Take care.
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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When it comes to prayer, I’ve discovered that oftentimes the answer is dependent upon the courage I have to take a step of faith, and “get my feet wet.” This principle is evident in Scripture, in particular with God’s command to the Israelite priests to “take a few steps into the Jordan river” before He would part the waters (Joshua 3:8-17). If you are waiting on an unanswered prayer, I encourage you to take that first step of faith, and then wait with positive expectancy for the miracle that God will provide.]]>
The Holy Bible opens with the magnificent words, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). The Hebrew word for create is “bara” and refers to an activity that can only be performed by God, and therefore describes entirely new productions, miracles, time-space-events, and creative potentiality.
I’ve discovered that through prayer, God can “bara” on my behalf, and help me achieve above and beyond my wildest dreams, and greatest expectations.
One of the most beneficial prayers in my life has been to ask God to, “create within me a pure heart” (Psalm 51:10). Pure hearts and strong minds do not come naturally. A pure heart, strong mind, and righteous character require the grace and “bara” of God, and are perhaps His most creative and beautiful work.
It is my prayer that you would experience God’s increasing “bara” in your life, and in your heart.
“You are my lamp, Oh LORD; the LORD turns my darkness into light” (2 Samuel 22:29).
God wants to turn your darkness into light. When you spend time basking in the presence of God, His light will envelop you. In the presence of God, you will experience the sensation of lightness in two distinct ways.
First, as God lifts heavy burdens from your weary shoulders, you will feel lighter and more full of energy. You realize that with God’s help, you do not need to work as hard.
Secondly, as God illuminates the space within your mind, the quality of your thoughts will be brightened. Your perspective will change, and you will begin to see everything through the lens of optimism and positive expectancy. As you spend time with God, He will push back the darkness around you, and fill you with His invincible light.
Stay focused on the LIGHT!
Sisu Way Podcast Photoshoot (Thank you to Scott McGee!)
In the early days of CrossFit, my dear friend and longtime mentor, “Coach” Greg Glassman once told me after a particularly grueling workout that, “men will die for points.”
Coach was referring to the “score on the whiteboard,” that my fellow training partners and I had just worked so hard to achieve. However, despite how hard I had worked, at the end of the day, a spray-bottle of windex and damp towel would erase the scoreboard, and the unsuspecting eye would have no clue the battle that had taken place.
I think the Apostle Paul would have loved CrossFit, and the effort that we put into our training sessions. Paul used athletic training as an analogy for spiritual discipline on numerous occasions. For example, in his letter to the Church of Corinth, Paul wrote that, “I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air” (1 Corinthians 9:26). Paul knew his “score” was not a temporal matter; rather it was a matter of eternity, and of the Kingdom of God.
I believe the insight is to train hard inside the CrossFit gym, but to train even harder for God’s Kingdom. Although the “score on the whiteboard,” will be wiped away at the END OF THE DAY, at the END OF OUR LIFE the Faithful will achieve the “crown that will last forever” (1 Corinthians 9:25).
Keep fighting the good fight of faith!
~ Greg Amundson
The cause of effects are your thoughts.
In other words, the outer world will always be the final outcome that was first created within your mind. The cause is within you; therefore the effect is outside of you. In order to change the effects of your life, you first need to change their cause.
The key principle is that your thoughts achieve their greatest potential when they are focused on God. This is why Jesus Christ said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God (the ‘Ultimate Cause’) and everything else (the ‘effects’ you desire) will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). A leap in consciousness takes place when you realize that your thoughts really do become things!
In my bestselling book, “The Warrior and The Monk,” I share an ancient warrior-tradition fable about the “Wolf of Courage.” The principle of the story is that within our consciousness, there is always a battle-taking place between the “Courage Wolf” and the “Fear Wolf.” Because the battle rages within our individual consciousness, we retain influence over which “Wolf” will prevail, and the outcome is ultimately determined by the quality of our thinking.
If you’re having trouble winning the battle, consider that the Word of God is “useful for correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:1). God designed you in His image, and therefore the Spirit dwelling within you is not weak, timid, anxious, or in any manner congruent with the “Fear Wolf.”
Rather, the Holy Spirit within you is a source of “power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7) that can be your greatest source of strength throughout the various challenges and seasons of your life.
It’s time to start feeding the “Wolf of Courage” by wielding the “Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).
You can do it!
I had such a great time joining my friend Ryan Munsey on the “Better Human Project” podcast. I had an opportunity to discuss my faith, and the inspiration behind my new book The Warrior and The Monk.
I was super humbled by Ryan’s gracious introduction! Check out the show for the full story and inspired conversation that Ryan and I shared.
Properly introducing Greg Amundson requires a mental gymnastics effort that parallels the physical prowess one might expect from a founding athlete of CrossFit who’s performances garnered him the nickname firebreather.
On the surface, the ex- DEA Special Agent is one of the founding athletes of CrossFit, owner of CrossFit Amundson, an international speaker and the successful author of Firebreather Fitness, The Warrior and The Monk, and several other titles.
Beyond the resume exists an extremely caring, energetic human full of passion for life and all of it’s possibilities.
We had the good fortune of spending a few hours with Greg in the Better Human Project RV outside of his gym in Santa Cruz, California. ~ Ryan Munsey
Listen to the show HERE.