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An open letter to Christian leaders about health and longevity.

1_19_Home_When_Preachers_Suffer_from_Pulpit_Anxiety__413640232Dear Christian Leader,
I really want to chat for a sec about something that is an enormous obstacle in the Church today. The body of Christ is kind of ignorant about supernatural health right now, and I believe that together we can change that. Some stats to let you know kind of where we’re at right now:
  • A study by Purdue University shows that fundamentalist Christians are by far the heaviest of all religious groups, led by Baptists at a 30 percent obesity rate, compared with Jews at 1 percent, Buddhists and Hindus at 0.7 percent. The lead researcher from Purdue called churches a “feeding ground” for gluttony and obesity. (Well…that’s kind of gross…)
  • The Pawtucket Heart Health Program discovered a similar finding with people attending church more likely to be 20 percent overweight and have higher cholesterol and blood pressure numbers than non-church members. In yet another study of 2500 clergy in 2001, 76% were overweight or obese compared to 61% of the general population during that year.
What is the solution for the obesity epidemic in the church? The Church.

– Ken Ferraro

Well ok… it’s easy to say that we are the solution… But what do we do with that? Does the church have any business teaching and preaching about health and nutrition? YES. YES WE DO.

As a matter of fact, if more pastors and leaders began speaking publicly about nutrition, it wouldn’t exactly be a new “thing” for christianity. In 1 Timothy 5:23, Paul tells Timothy, “Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.” The fermentation that happens in wine is actually benefitial to the health of your stomach, and so it’s good to drink a little wine regularly in order to balance the bacteria and improve the gut flora in your stomach. Paul is giving Timothy some health advice in this letter.

Some scholars claim that the dietary laws that God gave Israel under the Old Covenant were actually for their health benefit, and that due to many factors during that day, God simply wanted His people healthy. He just wanted them to thrive. I am not recommending that anyone go back to the old covenant. The book of Hebrews makes it clear that Jesus came and died in order to create a new and better covenant. My point here is that God’s heart for His people was and still is for them to walk in health. 
In Genesis 1:29  God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.”
3 John 1:2 Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.

I think we can all agree that God wants His people to be WHOLE beings… Healthy in their mind, in their body, and in spirit… God’s ultimate will for His people is supernatural health. Yes, we live in a fallen world, but we are Kingdom advancers. We are ambassadors for a Kingdom that is not of this world… So does it really make sense for us to be in worse shape with our health than the world? It doesn’t make any sense to me. The Church should be on the cutting edge of every field, IMO. The Church should be putting out the best music, flowing straight from Heaven. I can’t give you a scripture that says exactly that, but I can tell you that we are called to do everything with excellence, and that if the Holy Spirit lives inside every believer, you’d think we could tune in, and start solving the big problems of this world with heavenly inspired ideas.

I believe that God wants you to be in optimal health. You have a calling on your life. You have a ministry to lead, a business to lead, a family to lead, people to equip, and a world to impact. So when you’re sick, not only are you not functioning at your best capacity, you’re miserable, but also the world is missing out on the glory of the Kingdom that flows through you when you are not able to be healthy and minister. It best suits the Kingdom of God when you are functioning at optimal health. God wants you healthy? So why are so many of us so sick? Can’t God just wave His magic wand and heal us all? Let’s talk about that.

Here’s the part where I want to shift gears and explain to you my nutrition philosophy. I didn’t just dream it up. I created this nutrition philosophy after years of reading books, studying, prayer, and trial and error in my own life.

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Before I tell you my personal nutrition philosophy, I’d like to explain something…. I think we would all agree that God created our bodies. I know not everyone believes that, but I do, and most everyone who reads my blogs probably already believe that. So I’m going to assume you already believe that we were created by the Creator. The Creator God, He’s very smart, you know. He’s brilliant. He not only created humans, but He also created plants, herbs, and animals and He declared that it was nourishment to these strange creatures called humans (See Gen 1:29). God created humans to nourish themselves with the food He created. But if you go to the local grocery store and buy so much as flavored YOGURT, if you look at the ingredients label, you are going to see something (many things, most likely) I call NONFOOD…. You’ll find all kinds of ingredients that aren’t found naturally in nature. Artificial coloring, preservatives, and stuff that would make you gag if you knew how it came into being… That’s because God didn’t create it. It’s artificial. It’s NOT REAL FOOD. And because it’s not real food, it was never meant to be ingested. Your body was not meant to be feuled by nonfood. It was created to run off of the nourishment that God created. Your body doesn’t recognize it, and it’s stored as fat. Fat is only one problem created by eating nonfoods though. Ultimately if we want our bodies to function like God intended for them to function, then we need to nourish it with the nourishment that God created.

Let me ask you something? If you take a diesel truck and you try to put regular unleaded gasoline in it, do you know what will happen? Let’s just say it’s not good. The same thing is happening to our bodies, only it takes a little longer to destroy our health (most of the time) than it does to ruin a truck by putting the wrong fuel in it.

YOUR BODY WAS NOT MEANT TO BE FUELED BY NONFOODS.... And it’s causing major problems. It’s causing sickness for believers that were never intended to be. I would like to propose to you that the majority of sickness and disease is caused directly by eating nonfood.

Now, are you ready for my nutrition philosophy?

Eat the food that God created, in as close to natural state as possible, most of the time.

I don’t make rules for myself or stress over food, or become legalistic about it. I read the nutrition labels and just eat real food. And let me tell you…. It has revolutionized the health of my entire family. We are rarely sick anymore. In fact, we have not had to see a doctor for sickness (we have been in for well visits) in over 3 years. Just by eating real food most of the time, we have reduced the amount of sickness in our house hold to around 2-3 colds/viruses a year, MAX. I don’t know about you, but I find that amazing.
I believe that one factor missing from supernatural health is eating real food regularly. I bring this up because I want to see Christians excel in their health. Consider this information a tool. I pray that I’m equipping you with information that will help you break the bonds of sickness off your life and help you flourish and excel, but I also pray that I’m equipping you with information that you will put in the hands of your congregations and people who you are equipping. That’s when we will see great progress and change. The people we lead, need this information. The world needs this information.
From one leader to another.
Amber Picota

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My name is Amber Picota. I am a wife, pastor, published author, and mother of 3 amazing children. My husband and I moved to Virginia 3 years ago with a dream placed in our hearts by God to plant a life giving church. That church is Streams of Life Church in Winchester, Virginia. I married a crazy guy. And by crazy I mean ridiculously awesome and handsome. I see that he has stolen my heart taken me far out of my comfort zone, and shook me out of a life of complacency. Seriously, had I not met this wild man, I wonder if I wouldn't still just be living in a tiny little town, in my tiny little world, caring nothing for the big world out there, content to just not have anybody rock my boat. But then Rene came along... rocking my boat and such. I'm so glad he came along and shook things up. He awakened something within me, and now we're a dangerous combination of boat rockers. Together, through our authority in Christ, we are a force to be reckoned with: rocking boats, challenging the status quo, planting this church, and believing God for the miraculous. Together we bring heaven to Earth. My kids are awesome little world changers, and it's my pleasure to teach them and train them up in the Kingdom of God. I believe they are history makers, who were born for greatness, and I plan to train and disciple them accordingly. Who knows where God will take it from there, but I am passionate about training leaders to walk in power and authority. I have a desire to see the Body of Christ bring heaven to Earth. I have a desire to mobilize God's people into their dreams. There is a move of God inside of every believer, but most people have been stifled and silenced by dream killers. I want to stir those dreams back up because I believe those dreams are your move of God in the Earth.