CHORUSpondence from Gene LeVasseur
Jack LaLanne, the popular fitness and nutrition guru and motivational speaker, opened the first modern health spa in 1936, and launched the first live exercise television show in 1956. Jack celebrated his 70th birthday by towing 70 boats with 70 people for a mile across Long Beach Harbor, holding the rope in his teeth while handcuffed and wearing leg shackles. It’s safe to say Jack was one of the greatest fitness enthusiasts ever!

The word enthusiasm comes from the two Greek words: en, meaning in or within, and theos, meaning God. Enthusiasm is therefore “God within.”

I have the privilege of working with an amazing staff and congregation at Our Savior’s, and one thing that is consistent with those that participate in ministries here is their enthusiasm. I believe that God is within all of us, and folks are somehow finding strength regardless of their human limitations. I recently came across a book I read many years ago, Life Wide Open by Pr. David Jeremiah. He outlined five suggestions on how to keep the fire burning inside of us:

1. Stretch beyond your comfort zone. There have been so many times I’ve observed fright in the eyes of musicians I gave a challenging selection to. Each time I’ve watched them step up and give their all, growing through the process and feeling great joy when the task was accomplished.

2. Spend time with kids. I am the oldest of five siblings, a teacher for 24 years, a parent and grandparent, and I continue to have the honor of working with children at OSL and as a clinician in schools. What a blessing it is each and every second I spend with kids! Toni and I are empty nesters, and if I sense she needs a boost in joy we find a way for her to have grandma time—and it works every time! Her joy is returned and overflowing!

3. Seek out exciting experiences. It’s one thing to dream about what we would like to do, and it’s another to seek out a way to actually do them. I hesitate to confess this but I am a huge fan of the TV series “Survivor.” (I’m sure I just heard a groan from Pr. Randy’s office) I’ve auditioned more than once and will keep auditioning. While I’m waiting to be cast, I intend to seek outdoor adventures that will become my own personal “Survivor” seasons.

4. Surround yourself with passionate people. Passion is contagious, and at Our Savior’s we are blessed to have passionate people in every area. I spent last Saturday morning in the woodshop with six men who love to work with wood but, more important, love God and love people. They worked hard, talked about how to help others in need, had fun, and were filled by the fellowship. It was a great morning, and I see this happening in all ministries at OSL!

5. See the big picture. I was blessed to be raised in a family that stressed the eternal. The more I learn about God the bigger my view of the world becomes and the smaller my personal problems become.

Mark Hall and Matthew West composed a song, “Thrive,” that sums all this up beautifully. Here’s the refrain: Just to know You and to make You known, we lift Your name on high. Shine like the sun, make darkness run and hide. We know we were made for so much more than ordinary lives. It’s time for us to more than just survive. We were made to thrive!

And so we were!

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