Daily Archives: April 16, 2010

Mentored By A Milker Of Cows

I’ve written an article about my dear friend and mentor, Bill Judge, for Revive Magazine. It’s called “Mentored By A Milker Of Cows.” You can read the entire article here, but here’s an excerpt to wet your appetite. If you like it, I hope you’ll share it with friends:

I knew I needed a mentor. I was busy with my career as a physician—too busy for my family. My priorities were out of whack. I needed someone who would encourage me and keep me on track. So I asked the pastors who came through the hospital, “Who’s the one layperson you know in this area who looks most like Jesus?” When I heard the name Bill Judge multiple times, I said, “This is a guy I’d like to meet.”

I called Bill and asked if he would mentor me. I was taken aback when he quietly said he would meet with me once and decide.

Early on a Tuesday morning, more than twenty years ago, I shared with Bill about my life and struggles. He responded by saying he wanted to pray about whether we would spend more time together. (I felt like I was waiting for a medical school application or something, to see if I’d be accepted!)

What I later learned was that Bill was considering committing himself to me in an unusual way, even getting up an hour before our early morning sessions to pray for me. Although his experiences of raising five daughters and nearly going through bankruptcy before committing his finances and farm to God were rich and extremely valuable to a young man like me, he wanted to bring more to our relationship than what he had done.

Bill wanted to teach me about the Creator, the Father God and His Son Jesus. He wanted me to understand what the blood of Christ and the resurrection meant. He wanted me to be indwelled and overflowing with the Holy Spirit. He wanted me to discover my gifts and to bask in the joy of seeing the Lord produce fruit in my life. So he wanted to pray about it first!

When he called back, he said yes . . . with conditions.

“The first is that we’ll meet at 5:30 in the morning, usually at Joanie’s Café in downtown Kissimmee, for breakfast. And bring your Bible.”

Next, “The first Tuesday of each month, I want you to bring your checkbook and your credit card bill so we can go through them together. The second Tuesday, I want you to bring your schedule, so we can discuss the stewardship of time.

“Before our meeting on the third Tuesday of the month, I want the freedom to be able to call your kids, Kate and Scott, so that you and I can talk more meaningfully about what type of dad you are.” (My kids loved those phone calls! Imagine trying to discipline your little boy, and he says, “I’m going to tell Mr. Bill. I’m going to call Mr. Bill.”)

It got worse, because before the fourth Tuesday of each month, he said he’d also like permission to call my wife, Barb. She looked forward to that week, and they often had long discussions about our marriage! “And when there’s a fifth Tuesday,” he said, “I’d like to be able to talk to your staff and your business partner. Will you give me that permission?”

I have to tell you, I thought long and hard about those conditions. That’s where the rubber met the road, and it was a tough deal. But I agreed, and we began the mentoring relationship.

Someone has said that mentoring is a brain to pick, a shoulder to cry on, and a push in the right direction. But for me, mentoring began as a brain to pick, a shoulder to cry on, and a kick in the pants!

But I’ll never forget that first Tuesday when we were to discuss my finances. I was nervous, because there were some things I wasn’t too proud of. Bill arrived with a little satchel, and he pulled out his checkbook and credit card bill for us to examine. Instead of just requiring me to do it, Bill showed me what it meant to budget, give, and save by sharing honestly about mistakes and victories from his own life.

That humility and transparency characterized Bill’s way of working with me. He has never asked me to do anything he wasn’t willing to do himself. His relationship with God was honest, vibrant, and fresh. And it changed my life. In recent years Barb and I have been on the road more and more, but Bill and I still talk regularly. The accountability continues.

There are plenty of New Testament examples of mentoring. Jesus mentored His twelve disciples, and specifically the three. Peter, one of the three, then mentored Barnabas, who in turn mentored Paul. Paul mentored Timothy, and also gave the pastoral admonition to train other men (2 Tim. 2:2). Men mentoring men and women mentoring women—that’s how the church began and spread.

Make no mistake, one-on-one relationships are costly and time consuming. And the difficult work of relationship doesn’t start in a church building. It starts at places like Joanie’s on Tuesday mornings.

Early in my relationship with Bill, I asked God to give me one or two men I could pour my life into the way Bill was pouring his into me. The Lord gave me two men, the first people I had ever mentored, to meet with for a year.

Eventually those men moved away, and I lost touch with them. Then recently, as I was teaching at Baylor Medical College, about fifty people came up to me as a group. One of them said, “About twenty years ago, you mentored a man for a year. He then started a business, went to seminary, and started a church in our town. He led us to Christ and discipled us. And he sent us here to learn from you and to thank you.”

I think that’s what heaven is going to be like if we’ll make the effort, like Bill, to mentor others. You don’t have to be that far down the road. You just have to intentionally get on your knees and say, “Father, would You give me someone I can mentor and pray for and love?”

Mentoring Basics

Here are a few principles for mentoring that Bill brought into our relationship:

  1. He took me to God’s Word. We did not have a time together that Bill’s Bible wasn’t there and open. He lived the principles and promises in God’s Word, and he taught me their value.
  2. He prayed with me. I don’t remember a time we met without prayer. Even now, I can’t call him on the phone from anywhere in the world that he doesn’t tell me what he’s praying for me—and of course he wants to pray with me over the phone.
  3. He lovingly monitored my progress. With every three steps forward, there were usually two back (sometimes more!). Through all my failings, I could always call Bill and find a man who was willing to accept and encourage me no matter what.
  4. He protected me. I remember a period when I was wrestling with some movies I’d watch on the road. Instead of judging me, Bill just said, “From now on, when you check in at the hotel, you have the receptionist call me and tell me that he or she has turned those things off.” I’ve witnessed some funny expressions on the faces of receptionists around the country when I checked in! But Bill loved me enough to protect me.

A Word from Bill

I milked cows for a living. I tell you that so you will understand how humbling it was for someone like Walt to ask me to mentor him. Walt has a tremendous mind. He is not only a medical doctor who built a successful practice, but he went on to become an author and television medical commentator.

What does a milker of cows have to offer a man with that kind of résumé? I certainly didn’t feel qualified to be his mentor. But I’ve since discovered that every person has something special in them that they can communicate to another person. We need each other, and whoever you are—even if you milk cows for a living—God can use you to help someone else move up.

I marvel at what has happened through Walt’s and my friendship. As we’ve met together, I’ve just tried to wait on God to give me answers to the questions he’s asked. I’ve trusted Walt, and he’s trusted me, and we’ve just walked together in that with God.

First Thessalonians 5:24 says, “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” He calls you to do it, and then He will do it. So why are we sweating? It’s Him! It’s Him in us that does it.

Praying for Our Unborn Children and Grandchildren

When Scott (our son) and his wife, Jennifer, were pregnant with their first child (Anna Kate), we were visiting with our dear friends, Boone and Peggy Powell, while volunteering together at Young Life’s Crooked Creek Ranch out in the Rocky Mountains. One morning, over coffee, Peggy asked me, “Do you pray for that unborn grandchild?” I was embarrassed to have to tell her, “No.” In fact, to my shame, I had not even thought about it.

So, Peggy gave Barb and me a list of prayers we could lift up on a daily basis for Anna Kate. Subsequently, I prayed the same for Scott and Jennifer’s second child, Sarah Elizabeth. Here are the prayers Peggy suggested and I hope you’ll be able to use them as you pray for any unborn children that the Lord brings into your life:

  • Thank you, Lord, that You are forming my grandbaby’s inward parts; that You, O God, are knitting my grandbaby together in ________________________’s (Mom’s name) womb. (From Pslams 139:13,14)
  • I give thanks to You, Creator God, for You are fearfully and wonderfully making this precious child. (From Proverbs 24:3,4)
  • I pray that the parents of this grandbaby, ___________________ and __________________, will build their home by Your wisdom, establish it with understanding and by knowledge fill all the rooms with precious and pleasant riches as they prepare for the birth of this little one. (From Colossians 2:6)
  • I trust, Dear Lord, that You will early bring this child to faith, that as he/she receives Christ Jesus, so may this child walk in Him. (From Deuteronomy 6:5)
  • How I pray, Lord, that our grandchild will love you, the Lord God, with all his/her heart and with all his/her soul and with all his/her might. (From Proverbs 1)

Here are some prayers that I utilize in praying for our grandchildren now that they are born (but, could certainly be offered before birth):

  • I fervently pray that ___________ will be wise.
  • Loving Lord, I pray that ____________ will enjoy Bible stories in these early years, (Psalm 119:36) and will want to hide Your word in _____________’s heart. (From Psalm 119:11)
  • Please, Father, prompt ___________’s parents to model before _____________ a love for reading Your word and for praying. (From 2 Timothy 1:5)
  • I pray that ________________ will gladly and promptly obey (his/her) parents. (From Ephesians 6:1)
  • And may ______________ early, O God, come to know Christ as (his/her) own Lord and Savior. (From 2 Timothy 3:15)

Here are some prayer resources that may be helpful for children ages 7 and under:

  • What Happens When Children Pray, by Evelyn Christenson, Chariot Victor Publishing. Beautifully illustrated examples to help children learn biblical principles of praying. A bible memory verse accompanies each short principle.
  • I Want to Know about Prayer by Rick Osborne and Christie Bowler, Zondervan Publishing. Practical basisc of biblical teaching on prayer is applied in current culture situations. Answers a lot of “why” as well as ” how”.
  • Teaching Children to Pray, by Mary J. Davis, Rainbow Publishers. This is actually a set of four books beginning with 2 & 3 year olds and going to grades 3 & 4. The prayer activities have reproducible art and short memory verses with each lesson.

‘No child left on his or her fat behind’

Also, while in Kearney, Nebraska, this week, a reporter from the local paper came to one of my two talks on the topic of “Childhood Obesity: Practical Tips for Busy Families.” I thought you’d be interested in seeing the article she wrote. You can see it here, or I’ve posted it below.

By the way, if you’d like more tips on how to protect your family from the obesity threat, here are some resources I have for you:

  • An autographed hard cover edition of my book SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat. On sale for $4.99 (while supplies last)
  • An autographed soft cover edition of my book SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat. On sale for $4.99 (while supplies last)
  • You can view the book’s Table of Contents here
  • You can read the book’s first chapter here
  • You can view the book’s Web site here

Posted: Thursday, April 15, 2010 2:00 pm | Updated: 12:22 pm, Thu Apr 15, 2010.

By JENNIFER CHICK Hub Regional Correspondent

HOLDREGE — Childhood obesity is a problem parents and communities can’t afford to ignore, says an author and doctor.

“There are millions of kids heading towards cardiovascular disaster that are simply just not recognized,” said Dr. Walt Larimore, co-author of “Super Sized Kids: How to Rescue Your Child from the Obesity Threat.”

Larimore spoke to community members in Lexington and Holdrege Wednesday. His appearances were sponsored by Two Rivers Health Department, Lexington Community Foundation and Phelps Memorial Health Center Foundation.

YMCA of the Prairie also had a weeklong healthy fitness challenge for school kids taken from strategies in Larimore’s book.

Nebraska ranks 21st in teenage obesity in the nation, Larimore said. Since 1990, 10 percent to 14 percent of Nebraskans have fallen into the obese category. By 2008, that number climbed to 25 percent to 29 percent.

“It is an epidemic that is not just affecting the country in general, but Nebraska specifically,” Larimore said.

The average teenage boy drinks 68 gallons of soda in a year, and the average teenage girl drinks 48 gallons per year, Larimore said. The phosphoric acid in soda can affect young women’s bone mass.

“We have women entering their 20s with lower bone masses than have ever been recorded before,” Larimore said. “So, the impact on them as far as fractures later in life may be huge.”

He said the No Child Left Behind Act forced schools and educators to reduce the amount of physical education and recess time offered in schools in favor of more academic minutes. Larimore cited studies that showed physical education and recess time increased not only report card scores, but also performance on standardized tests, especially for boys.

“Instead of the No Child Left Behind, I suggest a new law for the Unicameral Legislature in the state of Nebraska, and that is, ‘No child left on his or her fat behind,’” Larimore said, which brought a laugh from the crowd of more than 150.

Larimore said parents are reluctant to think of their kids as overweight or obese and instead refer to them as Cornhusker strong.

“It’s become so prevalent, so common, that a skinny child looks sick,” he said.

To combat childhood obesity, families must work together to change their habits.

“Family traditions are a huge part of it,” Larimore said. “This is not genetics. It’s because of the decisions that families make.”

On his Web site, Larimore provides three free tools that can help families take charge of their health: a family assessment tool, an eight-week family fitness plan and a 16-week family fitness plan, all available at drwalt.com.

“Our goal is just to help families help kids,” he said.

The fitness plan is not focused on weight loss, but on making healthier choices such as eating meals at home without TV distractions, cutting children’s screen time to less than four hours a day, reducing red meat or processed meat intake, and adding fruits and vegetables to diets.

If a family successfully completes the first eight weeks of the family fitness plan, they can then implement a 16-week plan that builds on the first plan’s success.

“The childhood obesity epidemic is here,” Larimore said. “It’s going to reduce the length of life of our kids and the quality of their life. And we, that love and care for kids, can make a difference. We just have to choose to.”

The Two Rivers Public Health Department was my sponsor and packed a lot of fruitful activity into a long day (thanks to Terry Krohn and Heather Easton for all the hard work and wonderful hospitality).

TV Interview: Super Sized Kids and Childhood Obesity

Earlier this week I was in the Kearney, Nebraska area to speak twice on the topic of “Childhood Obesity: Practical Tips for Busy Families.” The Two Rivers Public Health Department was my sponsor and packed a lot of fruitful activity into a long day (thanks to Terry Krohn and Heather Easton for all the hard work and wonderful hospitality). I thought you might be interested in seeing an interview I did with one of the local television stations. Just go here and click on the video camera icon in the upper left hand portion of the page.

If you’d like more tips on how to protect your family from the obesity threat, here are some resources I have for you:

  • An autographed hard cover edition of my book SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat. On sale for $4.99 (while supplies last)
  • An autographed soft cover edition of my book SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat. On sale for $4.99 (while supplies last)
  • You can view the book’s Table of Contents here
  • You can read the book’s first chapter here
  • You can view the book’s Web site here

Here’s the text from the NTV station interview by reporter Jessica Phinney:

“Super sized.” It’s a phrase we know well.

On Wednesday night, a nationally recognized family physician, author and former host of “Ask the Family Doctor” on Fox’s Health Network spoke to folks in Lexington and Holdrege.

Childhood obesity rates have tripled in the last three decades.

You might be thinking your child’s extra pounds are “baby fat” they’ll grow out of. Think again. According to Dr. Walt Larimore, chances are they won’t.

With recent films like “Super Size Me” and “Fast Food Nation,”  folks are weighing in on the obesity epidemic even at the White House. Mrs. Obama recently launched the “Let’s Move” campaign.

Yet, we don’t seem to be getting the message as our kids continue to battle the bulge. In Nebraska, 31% of kids are overweight. That makes the cornhusker state 21st in the country when it comes to childhood obesity.

Terry Krohn, director of the Two Rivers Public Health Department, said, “A study that was done in central Nebraska several years ago showed the children in our area are actually the heaviest in the whole state, which really did surprise me.”

In his book “Super Sized Kids: How to Rescue Your Child from the Obesity Threat,” Dr. Walt Larimore said it’s time to cut the fat.

Larimore said, “If we don’t reverse this epidemic, our children will be the first generation in the history of the United States whose life expectancy will be shorter than their parents.”

But, Larimore said there are simple things parents can do that are easy to digest. The basics including sitting down for home cooked family meals instead of ordering, trading TV and computer time for exercise and making sure they get enough sleep. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, that amounts to 11 hours for kids and at least nine hours for teens.

“There are a couple of hormones we have. One of them increases our appetite. One of them decreases our appetite,” Larimore explained. “The less sleep you get the more those hormones get out of balance.”

Larimore said it’s about taking small steps to give your kids a lifetime of health and happiness.

“We’re  the last guardians of protecting our kids. I mean, who is there besides us?” he asked.

Larimore said you actually burn more calories sleeping than watching TV.