Just Plane Strong

January 29, 2015

Just getting back from Florida guys. Such a neat time with amazing people and churches. And guess what, I flew in the emergency exit row. Here’s why that’s cool. Some of you may remember this story, but it wasn’t long after my second spine surgery that I consciously booked the emergency exit row. At that time I needed the ability to extend my hips as much as possible, so what better place on a plane than in the exit row? Well as I got to my seat, I realized that I needed help getting my carry-on in the overhead bin. I’m shaking my head as I type this, but a sweet flight attendant assisted me. Thing is, just as soon as I said thank you, I knew I didn’t inspire much confidence from her. With everyone else already in their seats, she asked, “Are you sure you should be sitting in this row?”design 3

Freeze frame. In that moment, my mind traveled back to when Loretta and I first got married. Back then I was impenetrable. I felt like Superman. We had a tiny little apartment on the second floor and we had bought a stackable washer dryer for the unit. We were so proud of it. The only problem was I had nobody to help me get it upstairs. So what did I do? I put it on an upright dolly and then attached my hands to said dolly with my pulling straps, and I proceeded to deadlift it up each step. Strong legs, back, core and heart. Speaking of, Loretta’s heart was in her throat, and yes, that day my brains were in my biceps.

Where was I? Oh, yes, the plane. Well, no longer Superman, I knew right away that the flight attendant had a point. And the point was that the emergency row wasn’t there to meet my needs, it was there so the needs of others could be met. Of course, back in my 20s and 30s, I could’ve pulled the door plum off the side of the plane, but alas, I switched seats.

Friends, isn’t it something? Our health in so many of life’s circumstances isn’t about us at all. It’s about what we can do for others. I guess that’s why as I boarded the plane this week, it felt like the scene in Superman II, when Clark Kent goes back to that diner after regaining his power. When I was asked if I could perform the duties required to help others, I adjusted my glasses and stole Clark’s line with a grin…”Yes. I’ve been working out.”

–Jimmy Peña

UPDATE: So grateful for your prayers as I traveled. What are you grateful for today? Let’s praise the Lord together.

Stay Hungry

January 28, 2015

“And I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way.” –Matthew 15:32

I bet they couldn’t get enough. In fact, the sun had set three times and I wonder if they even noticed. Who was this man? The words, the wisdom, the…grace! Indeed, I bet they couldn’t get enough, which is probably why they didn’t leave to eat.

The Bible says that the crowd remained with the Lord for three days. Now granted, you and I have heard some amazing sermons. We’ve been in the presence of wonderful teachers. But a three-day, non-stop lesson? Even Max Lucado would lose me and Charles Stanley would excuse me. But this wasn’t just any teacher referring to Jesus. This was Jesus on the subject of Jesus. This was Love teaching how. The face of grace was offering it. And I think that explains a lot about the crowd. Each morsel of forgiveness was a feast, and they were famished. They were starving for salvation. Oh yes, they were too hungry to eat.IMG_0360

Friends, we all have our agendas. School, work, ministry, health. Our plates are full. But from everything we can take away from the sermon Jesus gave over those three days, let’s also learn from the crowd. Let’s follow their lead and stay hungry. Before we conquer the gym, the road or even the world, let’s pause to devour the words they heard. Remember, there was plenty of time to eat after they were full.

So don’t go too soon. Jesus is talking. Let’s not leave because we’re starving for the things this life can offer. Let’s stay because we’re too hungry for the things it can’t.

–Jimmy Peña

During The Storm

January 27, 2015

“Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” –Mark 4:38

The disciples knew what to do. Isn’t it true? They knew what to do, and they were the first to do it. Do what exactly? Well, they did literally what you and I do metaphorically. They praised Him in the storm. We know the story. First came the wind, then the waves. And with teeth chattering and knees knocking, the terrified bunch woke the only one who could put the sea to sleep.

This week is such a good reminder for me that Jesus may have been asleep in the boat, but He wasn’t asleep at the wheel. And it’s not that the storm wasn’t threatening, or that the disciples were silly for being scared. No, the storm that night was real. But Jesus took their fears seriously.

Of all the things we can learn from this story, it’s that Jesus didn’t hush the storm to prove its insignificance. He hushed it to show their significance to Him.

Your storms are real. Our fears are real. But when your teeth chatter and my knees buckle, we can follow their lead, amen? They knew what to do. We can too. In many ways, we’re in the same boat. Brings a lump to my throat to think He’s patiently waiting for me to wake Him up.

–Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: Prayers for anyone in the storm today. Let’s pray for those less fortunate and the homeless during this strong winter storm. I was traveling this weekend speaking in Florida and what a time. God bless you guys today.

We Can Take It

January 23, 2015

“We are well able to conquer it.” –Numbers 13:30

Of the twelve spies to survey the promised land, the Bible says that only two came back positive that they’d be victorious with God’s help. Two dream chasers. Two true believers. When everyone else was negative, these two were wide-eyed and hopeful. We can take it, they said. (You know how I am with a good theme.) Well, for a couple of days next week we’ll learn from Joshua and Caleb and what it meant for them to stay faithful and true to what God had called them to do. Their story of courage is both spiritual and physical and one that I know we’ll be able to apply to our daily lives.

Speaking of chasing a dream, we are less than three months away from PrayFit RISE 2015; a non-profit grace, faith and fitness event here in Los Angeles. PRAYFIT-RISE-SPEAKERS-TONEDb-010515We have some wonderful preachers, teachers, writers and experts along with their ministries joining us. Some of you have asked how you can help from afar, well, if you can’t be here in person, you can still be a crucial part of this conference by signing your name on the sponsor wall! Here’s how:

With 100% of the proceeds going to non-profit ministry, charity and missions, the PrayFit Prayer is available in the store. The banner is made of strong vinyl, so it’s perfect for your home, church facility or local gym. (Currently available in 3 colors.) Order before March 31 and your name will be added to the sponsor wall at the conference! Join Pepperdine University, I AM SECOND Students, Think Eternity, Holy Yoga, Revelation Wellness and PrayFit Ministries in supporting PrayFit RISE Los Angeles 2015!PFBanner

And please join me next week. Guys, when God puts a dream in your heart, you fight for it. Thank you for the inspiration, Joshua and Caleb. Oh how we want to apply your kind of faith and courage in our lives. We can take it.

Have a good weekend, dreamers.

–Jimmy Peña

Grace and Truth

January 22, 2015

“Living by grace means daily affirming our unworthiness. We are never thankful for what we think we deserve.” – Randy Alcorn

Recently I was asked to attend a leadership study group at church being led by our pastor, Shawn Thornton. There’s roughly 15 people in the group, and we’ve met for a couple of weeks so far and we plan on meeting for another three or so. It’s been wonderful. A real honor and something I find myself looking forward to deeply.IMG_2776

Last week pastor gave us homework and asked us to read The Grace and Truth Paradox by Randy Alcorn. It’s a tiny book. I finished it in a few hours. But guys, few books have made as much of an impact on me as this one. I hope to someday dedicate a full week’s worth of devotions as it relates to health, but I admit I can’t get my head around its thesis: Christlike balance.

My summary of the book? Truth is the price tag of our redemption. Grace pays it. The paradox? God hates sin as much as He loves sinners. (Like I said, it’s baking my brain but my heart loves it.) Jesus was perfect in grace and truth, and He is our example as leaders. And if I may add, as husbands, wives, employees, bosses, parents, fitness enthusiasts and the not-so-enthused.

When it comes to PrayFit Ministries, I want nothing more than to follow Jesus in all we say and do. For years, we’ve tried to keep a balance of grace and truth in our approach to health. Never putting too much emphasis on the body while being careful not to put less emphasis on it than God would have us.

The Conclusion? We need the direction of truth about our bodies to help us do what we need to do for His renown, and we need the constant reminder of grace that allows us to achieve any of it. – Jimmy Peña


Light Your World

January 21, 2015

We’re people watchers — me and my best pal, Ms. Josey Wales — and last night was no exception. Sitting outside Trader Joe’s waiting for mama to finish shopping, we watched all sorts of people. Some of them even noticed Josey’s grey beard and eye brows. We took it all in. But then we watched a sweet older couple arrive. He slowly got out of the driver’s side only to reappear with a wheelchair and proceeded to help her out of the passenger side. After getting her situated in front of the store, moving slowly himself, he went back to close all the car doors and she simply sat there in the entry way, alone. As if the scene wasn’t tough enough, what happened next really got me.

As if she were sitting in the middle of a busy subway station, most were completely oblivious to her as they passed by on both sides. Some rushing along their way, others had their faces in their cell phones. But who would blame them? Probably just anxious to get home to their families and begin their night. We’ve all been there. But then a woman with her young son walked out, and here began the lesson.

As she and her boy walked by, the mother immediately noticed the elderly woman sitting there. Letting her son push the cart, the woman would look back with nearly every step. By the time she got to the parking lot, it was just too much for her to handle and she sent her son back to check on elderly woman. Sweet boy, too. With super thick eyeglasses, he walked up to her and after a quick, bashful glance toward his shoes the little gentleman asked, “Are you alright? I mean, um, do you need any help?” I couldn’t quite hear her reply, but the little boy just nodded, smiled and ran to catch up with his mama. (Bravo, mama.)

Now, you’ll forgive the long entry, but I don’t know who was blessed most. Maybe the woman in the wheelchair; someone cared to ask. Maybe it was the older husband; that little boy checking on his girl was just fine with him. Maybe it was the mom; her mother may have special needs, too. Or perhaps it was the little boy; learning to notice others as well as develop courage to reach out. Yeah, I don’t know. For all I know, it could’ve been the sentimental fool sitting on a bench with his dog.

–Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: I love moments. I think the Lord does too. And isn’t that what our health is for? To live in the moment? Make it a point today to notice something and then light someone’s world. Who’s in?

Heal The Wound, Leave The Scar

January 20, 2015

Recently on Twitter, one of my favorite authors and PrayFit RISE keynote speaker, Scotty Smith, had such a neat question for us. He said, “In the new heaven/new earth, I want to sing like Steve Perry, love like Mother Teresa and paint like Makoto Fugimura. You?”

I spent the better part of the afternoon trying to fashion my response. “Dance like Fred Astaire,” made my list. So did “Tell a good story like Max Lucado” and “Play baseball like Derek Jeter.” Hey, it’s Heaven! And while Loretta and I laughed together, I began to wonder what Paul, John, or a battered Job will be doing in eternity. Right? I mean, the Bible is full of men and women who endured life — individuals who really lived lives of faith, and have the scars to prove it. Reminds me of the old song that said, “Heal the wound, but leave the scar. A reminder of how merciful you are.”BodyLife

Friends, I don’t think for a second Paul will ever forget being blind. Or John his loneliness. Or Job, those boils. Each of them built altars with the broken pieces of their lives and worshiped. May that be our week’s perspective. Let’s stay on our knees, remember His mercy, bathe in grace, and let the dream of Heaven be the reason we work so hard for a healthy lifestyle on earth.

–Jimmy Peña

Walking On Rooftops

January 19, 2015

Yesterday Pastor Shawn Thornton gave a wonderful sermon about the prideful heart, and he used King Nebuchadnezzar as an example. Loretta and I couldn’t take notes fast enough. For those of you attending PrayFit RISE here in Los Angeles on April 11th, you’ll have the opportunity to hear Shawn Thornton teach. You’ll love him. Our church has a simple mission statement; to be a church that lives and loves like Jesus.

Well, as far as King Nebuchadnezzar, he let his pride get the better of him. As he walked along the roof of the palace in Babylon he boasted, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” Notice a theme in his words? Which I have built…by my might…for my glory…of my majesty.

It’s easy for us in our industry to go wandering out onto the roof of our palaces, isn’t it? Oh we may not be tyrants, but we forget where our gifts come from, and we tell the world that hard work justifies pride, vanity and arrogance. But Nebuchadnezzar – one of the most powerful rulers the world has ever known – said it best. After 7 years of living like a beast, walking on all fours and eating grass, this once self-praising and prideful king proclaimed, “I praise the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just, and those who walk in pride He is able to humble.”

Guys, this week, let every meal, every rep and set, every run and lap, let each element of training help us as temples – God’s church on earth – live and love like Jesus. If that’s not our mission statement – if that’s not the purpose of our effort – we might be walking on the roof.
Jimmy Peña


For Discussion: The world tells us it’s all about self: “It’s your body that you built by your own might and for your glory. Show it off.”
What can Christians in our industry do to show the world we’re not listening?

Missing Faces

January 15, 2015

The fact that you’re getting this email today can only mean one thing: I didn’t make my plane. Friends, thank you so much for your prayers and wishes for healing. After a tough, grueling few days of prayer, rest, medicine and consideration, I thought it best I stay back. Yep, I’ve said it before, but God doesn’t need our health to get His message around the world. We do.WeDo

When we don’t have our health – for whatever reason – it’s tough to get out there, amen? And as much as I wanted to share the stage with the other honored guests, it turns out the best way for me to honor God with my body is by staying put. I doubt anyone will throw their arms up in protest or demand a refund, but in case anyone notices the program is missing a face, I hope they know I missed seeing theirs.

But suffice it to say that of all the things our health exposes, our frailty is one of them. Our world is in God’s hands, even when it’s wrecked by the common cold. I’ve been through worse, so have you, but the things we’ve talked about this week concerning our unique God-given traits and gifts could not have come at a better time for me. And with that, I’ll wish you a good weekend. I think my hot tea is just about ready.
Jimmy Peña


Norman Rockwell, Josey Wales and Castor Oil

January 15, 2015

I confess, I tried to avoid it. Honestly, I did everything I could, but I just couldn’t shake the flu that bit me last weekend. So yesterday – with my speech in Iowa just a couple days away – I dragged myself to the good doctor. Had a good streak going, too. I hadn’t been to the doctor for something normal in a while. And yet, this is me making a bluuhhhhh sound. Not good guys. I’m sick.

But aren’t you thankful for good doctors? Granted, I avoid medicine like Ms. Josey Wales avoids the veterinarian, but if you’ve read my latest book, The PrayFit Diet, you know I have a great spine surgeon as well as colon surgeon (both of whom I kept well-clothed and fed over the last five years) but I also have an amazing general practitioner. His office is lifted right out of a Norman Rockwell painting; minus the castor oil and lollipop on the way out of course. “Neeeext?!” My name is called, and I know help is near.

Is it just me or does simply describing symptoms to your doctor make you feel a little better? Before anything is administered, as we sit on that bed and that thin, weird paper, just verbalizing what’s going on inside seems to help. I don’t know, maybe it’s chemical. Maybe it’s the assurance we get from the row of diplomas and degrees on the wall behind him. Or maybe it’s because I trust him and he really knows me. Not sure, but simply expressing my hurt is healing.

Must be one of the reasons God wants us to pray without ceasing — even on days when we can’t pray without sneezing. Next? He’s calling us. Help is real near. Let’s tell Him where it hurts. His healing never ends. Have a great weekend everyone. Here’s hoping I make it to Iowa.

–Jimmy Peña

bestpal2P.S.For those who aren’t familiar with who “Ms. Josey Wales” is, here you go. She’s helping me get all better. #mybestpal

FAMILY CIRCLE: Social networks are like our extended digital family and we’d like to invite you to invite others! So “like,” “join,” “tweet” and “watch” PrayFit through our various channels. Click the links below to get plugged in with the rest of the PrayFit community in 2015!