Miracle in a Dry Season    Dangerous Passage





Begin With Christ

The Advocate

Begin With Christ: First Place 4 Health Bible Study Series

Reviewed by Carol Kurtz

"This book can be your game plan, your daily marching orders in a highly interactive workbook format, and Scripture and verse memorization are truly the backbone of it all."

If you’ve read the foundational book “First Place 4 Health” you already know about this balanced weight loss program designed for Christians who struggle with their flesh and weight. Wouldn’t you love to have your own personal First Place life coach or group leader who stays by your side all day as you work the program? That’s what “Begin with Christ” is to those of us who need that customized support.

This book can be your game plan, your daily marching orders in a highly interactive workbook format, and Scripture and verse memorization are truly the backbone of it all. Each week has a “Begin with Christ” spiritual theme with a Scripture verse for each day. Although it would have been nice if each day had a page of its own for easy navigation, there are Bible studies in daily doses with space to put our own thought out answers about how the verse applies to our lives. There are some especially powerful affirmations derived from the Bible that we write in the first person, the “I am” statements are a great esteem builder.

Why can this program work when so many others have failed us? Carole Lewis explains, “Part of our problem in the past has been foolishly putting our trust in people and programs that were not worthy of our confidence. ...we are going to learn more about Jesus, the One who is altogether faithful and completely worthy of our trust.” Therein lies the principle behind the entire program - spiritual food satisfies far better and longer than physical food ever can; therefore when we develop a rich relationship with Christ it’s easier to live with our flesh in its rightful place and to control it.

Seventy seven days are addressed in 11 weeks’ of application to rubber-meets-the-road issues like compulsive eating, low self esteem, anxiety, obedience, temptation, and what to do with family members who might not support our new lifestyle. For example, we’re asked to anticipate who might actually oppose our efforts to become healthy and why. “Remember that others close to you, others who are not motivated to change, will be impacted by your new lifestyle and behavior. Eating healthy meals and exercising is not what they want to do right now! Others may oppose you because to admit you were right would convict them of their own need to change. Some may be envious, secretly wanting a healthy, balanced lifestyle, but not being willing to do the hard work. Perhaps those close to you are afraid you will not care about them, or you will not continue to meet their needs...” By anticipating possible opposition we are less likely to be derailed by it. Then we study Christ’s example of how He encountered opposition.

The Live it Tracker at the back of the book helps you record how many of the macronutrients you manage to get each day - how many servings of vegetables, fruits, grains, etc. and if you aren’t quite ready to join the “100 Mile Club” there’s a handy calorie burn conversion chart to count your normal daily activities towards walking 100 miles. This alone is a wonderful tool to get us moving without ever setting foot in a gym, as many are loathe to do. Then you can check off the miles on a fun chart on the last page. And possibly the best part of the package is the attached CD with workout music full of the Scripture verses. An effortless way to memorize Scripture and get you moving.

The First Place For Health Program is right on as it teaches us that commitment breaks the world’s mold. Truly the First Place belongs to Jesus, and once we put Him there it’s easy to have a healthy relationship with food, our bodies, and our health.

Carol Kurtz Darlington is a certified personal trainer and a certified group fitness instructor who works with people who want to lose weight as well as those who just want to enjoy better health. She enjoys empowering and encouraging others to reach their health and fitness goals, feel better about themselves in the process, and enjoy more energy to stay active in all areas of their lives. She is the founder of Totally Fit With Carol, a Christian weight loss website featuring workout videos, health tips, exercise advice, and more. She loves her morning cappuccino and her beloved grand-dog. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and haunting Starbucks.