I have never met Pastor Steve Willis. But there is something that he said that is haunting me. And I hope that it will haunt you too. Pastor Steve’s call to action is powerful, timely, and the shoe surely fits our community. We were poisoned by our public water system. But we can recover. Our children can recover. But the problem, at this point, is not someone else’s problem. It is our problem. We have the solution and Pastor Steve’s challenge is a call to step up and do something about hour health.
The fight for good nutrition was never more real to me than when I watched my kindergarten-aged son struggle with adapting to his physician-prescribed, mind-altering drugs. Lucas had been having discipline problems in school, would frequently struggle with the ability to focus on tasks at hand, and found himself well below grade level in many academic areas…This is more than a health issue; it is a social justice issue. Millions of our children are not reaching their God-given potential because we, as adults, won’t take the steps necessary to get them the nutrition they need. For the church, this problem has to be seen as a moral issue. For the sake of our children and our nation’s future, we have to do better. 1
I agree. We have to do better. Teachers, healthcare professionals, counselors, clergy, and others are anticipating the first part of Pastor Steve’s story to be a common story. Children with higher concentrations of lead in their bodies are prone to exhibiting behaviors that are not conducive to learning, including lower cognition. The only known solution is available to us. But not in a drive-through or at a liquor store.
But how is a community that sits in the middle of one of the least healthy counties in Michigan going to be able to regroup and move forward with the necessary changes to help ourselves and our children?
First, we are going to admit that we are incapable. We are going to stop making excuses for ourselves. We are going to quit pointing to some other power, whether it is the force, the ineffective excuse, “I’m spiritual, but I don’t go to church” and the hundreds of other absurd claims that I hear every year as to why I don’t see people on Sunday mornings. We are going to repent — that is, we are going to change. Our lives matter. Our children’s lives matter.
I found myself making a declaration this past week that I have declared before. I wrote and said that responding to God’s will for our lives is a human right. And as a human right, we need to treat this right in the same way that we protect other human rights. But it is very difficult to respond to God’s purpose for us when our health is less than it needs to be. The Daniel Plan is not the solution on its own, but it is a roadmap that points to and can help us pursue the solution. But the solution begins with God. Without God’s power any plan is a non-starter.
Make a New Year’s Resolution for 2020 to commit to The Daniel Plan
By the way, Pastor Steve’s son, Lucas, soon was off the drugs and today he is an A student. This story is not a one-of-a-kind, never to be repeated miracle. It is the sort of miracle that God offers everyone of us. It is the miracle of making better choices. It is the miracle of taking care of ourselves and each other.
We will begin on Sunday, December 29, by writing down a resolution for 2020. For most of us, our resolution will begin in the same way. “In 2020 I will make my health and well-being a priority by participating in the Daniel Plan.” And then we will write down a goal for each of the five areas: faith, food, friends, fitness, and focus. During the first five weeks of 2020, we will learn about each of the pillars of success, possibly modify our goals, and meet regularly with others who have made this same New Year’s Resolution.
Join us each Sunday and invite your friends and neighbors. I lead a short Bible study in the Asbury Café at 9:30 am. Dusty 2.0, the musical, will be performed on Christmas Eve at 6 pm. We are praying for a big turnout, and that most of our visitors will return to participate in the Daniel Plan.
1 Warren, Rick. The Daniel Plan. Grand Rapids: Zondervan;