Prayer is not just for moments of desperation. Rather, it is a daily conversation from which you gain inspiration and not just medication.

Perhaps if our meditation focused more on His continual Narration, our situation wouldn’t need as much clarification.

Instead there would be more celebration and less frustration because of a greater appreciation for His Navigation and not just the Help He gives in response to our supplication.

Trusted Messengers | Part I

USA Today | August 6-8, 2021

This is Part I of a two part series that uses some data and testimonies that don’t get a lot of air time where the Coronavirus is concerned. 

In Part I, we look at the response from Insurance companies to the claim that a death benefit can be denied if the deceased passed away as a result of the COVID-19 vaccine. Fact is, there are several situations where a beneficiary can be denied their claim based on clauses buried with the policy. And however obvious the cause of death may be, the manner in which the dispute is categorized as an ambiguous irregularity will effectively prevent it from ever making it to the internet.

In addition, we’ll look at some of the inconsistencies that have characterized the way in which the virus has been defined and mitigated which make it very clear that the question on the table isn’t whether or not the virus is real as much as it’s the extent to which it’s been exploited. 

Fact is, the virus is now a part of the human experience. The vaccine is not a bottom line, there will be additional variants and mandatory booster shots.

This is not going away. 

But the things that will go away include the privacy, the security and the opportunity represented by a free, Democratic society.  And if you read that last sentence and catch yourself scoffing – believing that to suspect what appears to be a logical and necessary collection of preventive measures as a godless power grab on the part of sinister parties, keep reading.

There was a rumor being circulated recently that said if you passed away as a result of getting the COVID-19 vaccine, your beneficiaries would be denied your death benefit.

Fact-checkers and official statements from Insurance Agencies rushed to deny such claims and if you were to base your perspective solely on what you can find on Google, you would have no real reason to be concerned.

For example,

In March, the American Council of Life Insurers responded to a social media post that said payouts were denied to beneficiaries when the insured received a vaccine.

“Life insurance policy contracts are very clear on how policies work, and what cause, if any, might lead to the denial of a benefit,” said Paul Graham, the organization’s senior vice president, in a statement March 12.

Whether someone received COVID-19 vaccine is not a consideration for life insurers deciding whether to pay a claim, he said. (USA Today)

But here’s the problem…

In many ways, credibility has been mortgaged on several fronts where the COVID-19 virus is concerned. Whether it’s the CDC, the WHO or the White House, the mixed messages and forever changing standards have created a population that is not willing to accept something as being true just because the media insists that it is.

And they’re not wrong.

It’s not just the mask nor is it merely a matter of getting vaccinated. It’s the way certain treatments have been demonized, the manner in which some medical professionals are silenced and even in the way some have been killed.

Recently, President Biden stated that there was a plan being considered by the Federal Government to enlist “Trusted Messengers” to go door to door into the communities and encourage those who yet to be vaccinated to go ahead and get the vaccine.

Trusted Messengers…

That’s the problem.

There are no Trusted Messengers.

We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. Public health authorities define a significant exposure to Covid-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic. (New England Journal of Medicine)

Mixed Messages

On one hand, you have physicians and virologists saying that COVID-19 is a real threat and justifies everything from masks to total economic shut downs.

On the other hand, you have medical professionals who insist that the disease can be treated successfully and to continue processing everything as a legitimate reason to isolate one’s self and destroy our collective ability to purchase food, pay our bills and fund further research is neither practical let alone accurate.

While the virus is real and people have died, statistically you’ve got a better chance of passing away in a car wreck than you do from COVID-19. But you don’t hear that perspective from the media. Instead, it’s a non-stop enumeration of death tolls and new cases as opposed to recovery rates and effective treatments.

In addition, there’s credible voices out there that will tell you that masks are not effective, social distancing is pointless and shutting down the economy is more about destroying Trump’s past accomplishments than it is about preventing the spread of the virus.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg…

  • In February of 2020, Fauci recommended that you not wear a mask

Masks are really for infected people to prevent them from spreading infection to people who are not infected rather than protecting uninfected people from acquiring infection. The typical mask you buy in the drug store is not really effective in keeping out virus, which is small enough to pass through material. It might, however, provide some slight benefit in keep out gross droplets if someone coughs or sneezes on you,” Fauci wrote. “I do not recommend that you wear a mask, particularly since you are going to a very low risk location. Your instincts are correct, money is best spent on medical countermeasures such as diagnostics and vaccines. (gateway pundit)

The CDC is now stating that even vaccinated people should be wearing masks. This despite the fact that other experts will say that that wearing a mask has done very little as far as mitigating the virus in general.


  • Bars were allowed to remain open while churches were shut down.
  • Trump’s rallies were ordered to be canceled, yet BLM rioters were accommodated.
  • The Washington Examiner published an article in March of 2021 saying that the World Health Organization has recommended not to use Hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19. This, despite the fact that a study by the Henry Ford Heath System, showed Hydroxychloroquine to be capable of significantly cutting death rates among COVID-19 patients.
  • Those physicians who are able to successfully treat their COVID-19 patients with tried and true medications are being demonized
  • CNN’s Don Lemon recently suggested that anyone who doesn’t get the vaccine should be restricted from buying groceries 
  • However the vaccine is being promoted, the fact of the matter is an unvaccinated person doesn’t pose more of a risk than someone who is vaccinated. (see quote below)

Both Joe Biden and Kamela Harris previously stated that they would not get any vaccine until it had been approved by the FDA, yet now…

The 3 clinical trials for Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson clearly state that neither transmission of disease nor infectivity (risk of getting COVID infection) were studied or were endpoints. So the shots they claim only possibly help the vaccinated individual avoid severe disease. Getting an experimental vaccine helps no one else. You can download their clinical protocols from their own websites. (Denise Sibley, MD FACP)

Both of them are now vehemently insisting that everyone should get a vaccine despite the fact that the vaccine is not yet approved.

Confused yet?

It’s not a question of whether or not the virus is real. The question is how do you mitigate the risks in a way where the preventions don’t become more of a problem than the virus itself.

Here we go…

Death Benefits

First of all, you can be denied a death benefit from a Life Insurance Company in certain circumstances. The best place to go to learn what those circumstances are is not an Insurance Company’s website. Instead, you want to go to the site of a legal firm and look at some of the cases they’ve had to adjudicate.

For example, Life Insurance Lawyer identifies several  scenarios where a beneficiary was told they would not be receiving any benefits. While there is generally no problem, there are, nevertheless, situations where some Insurance companies will try to deny a benefit based on ambiguous clauses buried within the policy itself.

You see this potential in the “Critical Illness” clause of a Life Insurance policy. 

Critical illness policies allow the policyholder to receive payments in case they are diagnosed with certain diseases or conditions such as a heart attack, kidney failure, organ transplant, stroke, or cancer. Most life insurance companies do not include COVID-19 as a covered condition under their critical illness policies. Unless your critical illness policy includes the newly discovered coronavirus, your critical illness claim will be denied. 

So, while a person may think themselves to be covered, their surviving relatives may find that, depending on the way the policy is worded and the extent to which COVID-19 is covered, what they may be rightfully entitled to will be withheld in a way that sounds both legal and compelling. 

And what makes it so toxic is that their scenario won’t be found on the internet nor acknowledged as a reasonable dispute because of the way the Insurance Carrier will categorize it as an irregularity that has nothing to do with the virus despite the fact that it was COVID-19 that caused the death of their policy holder.

Bottom Line

When you’re dealing with a fearful person, you can convince them to make concessions they wouldn’t otherwise make. And they can be even more vulnerable if you can show them by not agreeing to your proposal, they’re hurting innocent people. 

But the good news is that those kinds of campaigns become more and more obvious as the rule of law, the Hippocratic Oath and the Bill of Rights are overruled in the name of something “necessary.”

The only thing that’s necessary now is a fair hearing of those that risk their reputations and livelihoods to champion a sound, medicinal approach that doesn’t require a toxic dependency on government and a retooling of the human race. 

In addition, those that recognize that there is a man behind the curtain need to push back and you’ll see more of the reason why in Part II.

Three Questions

I believe the way you answer the following three questions do an excellent job of revealing the “practical reality” of your walk with Christ (Col 3:18). By “practical reality,” I mean either those times when “ministry” includes working alongside dynamics that aren’t agreeable or safe, or… you’ll see what I mean.

Here we go:

1) If you had to create a billboard that promoted a relationship with Jesus Christ and you couldn’t mention anything about heaven or hell or how Christ helps you with your problems, what would your billboard say?

2) You’re the Good Samaritan. But instead of encountering the victim after they’ve been beaten and robbed, you encounter him as he’s being beaten and robbed. What does your ministry look like?

3) Your neighbor’s house is on fire. You’re working alongside several people put out the blaze when all of a sudden you realize that among those you’re working with, there are several whose lifestyles you seriously disagree with. Do you keep working to put out the fire or do you walk away believing that it’s wrong to be a part of any effort involving people who don’t believe as you do?

If you had to create a billboard that promoted a relationship with Jesus Christ and you couldn’t mention anything about heaven or hell or how Christ helps you with your problems, what would your billboard say?

It’s not “positive thinking,” it’s “profound thinking.” And you’re not using Him or His Word to forward your agenda as much as you’re following His Lead in order to accomplish His Purpose, know His Peace and wield His Power in way that translates to a game winning strategy regardless of what race you’re running.

Pray Big!

Your “ministry” is not just what you do at church. It’s the way you excel and achieve by doing the right thing at the right time in the right way for all the right reasons regardless of where you are or what the circumstance may be. That includes the way you show up to work on time, the way you love your family, the way you vote, the way you work out and even the way you mow your lawn!

Paul says in Colossians that you need to be doing everything in a way that merits Christ’s Signature. When you make a point of doing everything “…with all your might” and couple that with the moral excellence that characterizes the believer who’s on top of his spiritual disciplines, you’re not the kind of employee that people hire, you’re the kind of person people promote (consider the story of Joseph).

Do it right and you are perpetually poised on the threshold of great things as a believer because you’re processing every moment as an ordained opportunity and not just another task to get done. He created you to make a difference and not just an appearance. Put that kind of approach into place and you won’t look at a Monday morning the way way ever again!

How does Jesus help you succeed? That’s the question you need to answer in this exercise. It’s not just how you “deal” with life, it’s how you “succeed” in life. Messages like:

  • Don’t just be smart, be wise (Jas 1:5)
  • Don’t just be happy, be fulfilled (Ecc 12:13; Jn 4:32; Gal 5:22-23)
  • Don’t just be right, be effective (Lk 12:11-12)
  • Don’t just be confident, be certain (Matt 7:24; Phil 2:13; 1 Jn 5:13)
  • Don’t just prosper, succeed (Josh 1:8)

You have the Mindset, the Manner and the emotional Muscle of God cruising through your veins. In other words, His Spirit lives in you. That’s the Divine Trademark that’s been stamped on your life (2 Cor 1:22)! You have the ball! Move it down the field and put some points on the board!

He’s not just a Divine Emergency Kit. He’s also a Divine Tool Kit. He doesn’t say you’ll never be broke, nor does He say you’ll never lose or be sad. What He does say is that if you stick with Me, I’ll make you wise (Jas 1:5). If you make Me your priority, I’ll make your Strong (Is 41:10; Phil 4:13). And if you follow My lead, I’ll make you the kind of person who lights up the room when you walk in (Job 29:11; Matt 5:16; Jn 5:35; Phil 2:15; 4:8)!

There are times where something tragic has happened or you’re up against the wall and, apart from God, you have absolutely no other options. In those times, should someone come alongside you and suggest that if you had more “faith,” you wouldn’t be as concerned or as sad, you’re not listening to someone who’s sensitive as much as you’re hearing someone whose approach to Scripture is based on a handful of verses as opposed to the Bible as a whole.

We are to, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” (Rom 12:15) Denying yourself or others what amounts to a healthy emotional response to a loss or a threat is neither holy nor compassionate. We don’t grieve like those who have no hope (1 Thess 4:13), but we do grieve. Courage isn’t the absence of fear as much as it’s the strength and the confidence to do the right thing regardless of how scared you may be.

We have access to that Strength and Confidence  in Christ (Is 41:10), but Jesus wept just before He raised Lazarus from the dead and He also sweat just before Golgotha.

Yes, there’s rest and healing to be had and it’s important to remember who you are apart from Him and how utterly dependent you are on His grace (Jn 15:5). But He’s created you to make a difference and not just an appearance. Because of Who He is in you, you lack for nothing as far the resources needed to achieve and excel (1 Tim 4:8; 2 Pet 1:3).

What we’re talking about here is not the minimizing of the holy compassion and the divine charity that is needed to strengthen and comfort those who are hurting. What we’re emphasizing is the fact that you are more than your wounds and better than your sin because of Who it is that lives and moves within you. That said, yes, there is a time to hurt and a time to heal, but there’s also a time to win and you don’t want to let yourself become more preoccupied with what you can’t do instead of what it is that He can do through you. That’s motivating and that’s the kind of thing you want to have on your billboard! Things like:

Don’t Just Try. Win. Do It Right Dream Big, Pray Bigger Don’t Just Make an Appearance, Make a Difference


Your situation is not something to be processed merely as a random collection of walls and warnings. Rather, it’s nothing but doors and directions when you allow His Truth to shape your perspective.

Do it right and you are perpetually poised on the threshold of great things because you’re processing every moment as an ordained opportunity and not just another day to get through. Put that kind of approach into place and you won’t look at a Monday morning the same way ever again!

Go God, boo devil! Make a Difference!

For more reading on one’s “billboard,” click here.

You’re the Good Samaritan. But instead of encountering the victim after they’ve been beaten and robbed, you encounter him as he’s being beaten and robbed. What does your ministry look like?

Life isn’t always sectioned off in a way where the resulting shapes are characterized by straight and even lines. In order for the Truth to make an impact, you have to follow Christ’s example and communicate it in a way that addresses, not just the situation in general, but the unique “shape” of the situation to include the personalities that are involved, the topic being addressed and the setting that you’re in.

Rarely are you going to be in a spot where only one verse applies. Instead, there will be several verses to consider which is why it’s so important to be taking your cue from God’s Spirit and His Wisdom as opposed to a collection of guidelines and techniques that you manufacture on your own based on a portion of God’s Instructions as opposed to the whole Handbook .

Standing up for what is right is not always done in the absence of a physical / violent altercation. There is an evil out there that doesn’t respond to a gentle rebuke or even a stern warning. And to twist Christ’s admonishment to “turn the other cheek” or God’s command to not take revenge on someone for a wrong they’ve done to you in order to justify not standing up to Goliath or to insist that Jesus was talking about a pocket New Testament when He told the disciples to go purchase a sword, is an irresponsible and inaccurate application of God’s Word.

‘Turning the other cheek” is the biblical response to an offense, not an assault…

As in much of Jesus’ teaching, pressing his illustration the wrong way may obscure his point. In fact, this would read Scripture the very way he was warning against: if someone hits us in the nose, or has already struck us on both cheeks, are we finally free to hit back? Jesus gives us a radical example so we will avoid retaliation, not so we will explore the limits of his example (see Tannehill 1975:73). A backhanded blow to the right cheek did not imply shattered teeth (tooth for tooth was a separate statement); it was an insult, the severest public affront to a person’s dignity (Lam 3:30; Jeremias 1963:28 and 1971:239). God’s prophets sometimes suffered such ill-treatment (1 Kings 22:24; Is 50:6). Yet though this was more an affront to honor, a challenge, than a physical injury, ancient societies typically provided legal recourse for this offense within the lex talionis regulations (Pritchard 1955:163, 175; see also Gaius Inst. 3.220). (“Avoid Retribution and Resistance”, IVP Commentary, accessed April, 2 2009)

And to suggest that the New Testament somehow nullifies every Divinely sanctioned use of force in the Old Testament is to suggest that God changes His mind when it comes either swinging your fist or firing a weapon.

He doesn’t change His mind.

Ever (Num 23:19).

Judges 3:1-2 makes it clear that God placed a premium on making sure that the Israelites knew how to fight. It makes sense, given the number of times Israel was called upon to strap on their swords and do battle with the enemies of God.

In the New Testament, while Jesus does make it clear that to be reckless and hasty in resolving to remedy any and all disputes with a weapon is foolish (Those who live by the sword, die by the sword [Matt 26:52]), and He encourages believers to respond to insults and offenses by “turning the other cheek,” the context and verbiage of His admonishing the disciples to arm themselves taken along with God’s obvious endorsement of military force in the Old Testament compellingly demonstrates the Truth and Biblical place of “sanctified violence.”

So, if you were to come on a scene where bandits were beating and robbing someone, you’re doing the right thing by stopping them however you need to in order to stand up for what is right and protect those who may not be able to protect themselves.

Your neighbor’s house is on fire. You’re working alongside several people put out the blaze when all of a sudden you realize that among those you’re working with, there are several whose lifestyles you seriously disagree with. Do you keep working to put out the fire or do you walk away believing that it’s wrong to be a part of any effort involving people who don’t believe as you do?

Solomon followed the example of his father in that he contracted King Hiram of the Phoenicians for laborers and building materials. David used the cedar logs, stonemasons and carpenters provided by King Hiram to build his palace (2 Sam 5:11). Solomon used the same resource for the cedar needed to build the Temple (2 Chron 2:3).

King Hiram resided in Tyre and ruled over a people who were descendants of Canaan. Canaan’s father was Ham  who was the son of Noah that had demonstrated an outrageous disregard for God in the aftermath of the flood. Noah saw the same belligerence in Canaan and rightfully prophesied that his descendants would go on to become perverse idolaters and wind up being the object of God’s Wrath in the context of the Israelites conquest of the Promised Land.

Tyre, however, was a boundary and not a target (Josh 19:29). It’s not that the Phoenicians were a God fearing people (Ezekiel 26:2; Lk 10:13). They were descendants of Canaan, but those that resided in Tyre were able to somehow distinguish themselves in the sight of God as being undeserving of the punishment that was doled out to Sidon and other neighboring Canaanite cities. Perhaps that was one of the contributing factors that allowed for a friendly relationship between Hiram and David and then, later, Solomon.

Their true, spiritual colors would be revealed later when they cheered as Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Israel and for that they themselves would be destroyed, as Ezekiel prophesied in chapter 26.

The point being, however, that God can, and often does, use unconventional means and a variety of spiritual dispositions to do His work. In those moments, you want to support His efforts and not question them any more than you would refuse the cedar coming from Hiram simply because he was a Canaanite. Yes, he was an idolater, but he was used by God to do good nevertheless.

At one point, the disciples were agitated by the fact that some people were casting out demons in the Name of Christ, yet they weren’t a part of Christ’s inner circle of disciples…

38 “Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”

39 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, 40 for whoever is not against us is for us. 41 Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward. (Mk 9:38-40)

However petty the disciples may have appeared to be –  as far as feeling like they were only ones capable of doing any good, being that they were a part of Christ’s inner circle – it’s not an uncommon complaint.

Appearances can be distracting. A person’s manner, their background – if it doesn’t line up with tradition or convention – it can be mistaken for something sinister.

Fact is, the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it (Ps 24:1). Everything that was created was made by Christ and for Christ (Col :16;Rev 4:11), so however dirty or different the glove may be, it’s the Hand inside the glove that’s doing the work and you don’t want to be so preoccupied with appearances or qualifications that you fail to appreciate how God uses different people to do His bidding.

That doesn’t mean you throw caution to the wind and assume everyone is reading from the same page of music. 1 John 1:4 says to test the spirits, but that’s not always accomplished by focusing exclusively on a person’s checkered past or a vulgar outburst.

King Cyrus is a great example of how God can use someone that doesn’t have a relationship with Christ and may even be a little offensive in their manner to do God’s bidding.

The Jews were in exile and their city was a mess. The Temple was a heap of rubble and the walls were completely torn down (see 2 Chron 36:15-19). God had said that the Jews would be allowed to return, but if you were to look at an aerial photo of Jerusalem, you’d be pretty skeptical – especially given the very unlikely scenario of your enemy permitting the reconstruction of your city let alone financing it.

King Cyrus of Persia would put things in motion by paying for the rebuilding of the Temple and issuing a decree that would allow any willing Hebrew to return to Jerusalem to get it done.

Here’s the thing:

Cyrus is addressed by name in Isaiah 45. God refers to him as someone He has anointed for the sake of his people. He also says of Cyrus:

For the sake of Jacob my servant, of Israel my chosen, I summon you by name and bestow on you a title of honor,  though you do not acknowledge me . I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you,  though you have not acknowledged me  so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting men may know there is note beside me. I am the Lord, and there is not other. (Is 45:4-5)

Cyrus didn’t believe in God, but that didn’t change the fact that God used him to accomplish the reconstruction of Jerusalem.

The same thing applies to us be it a politician, a doctor, a contractor or any kind of service provider. No, you don’t applaud their sin but you do support them in whatever role they’re playing in accomplishing God’s Purposes. In other words, you vote for King Cyrus, you make the appointment, you go with the best option and you don’t sneer at the cedar that’s being delivered to your doorstep for the construction of whatever God is building because its being delivered by a bunch of idolaters (see sidebar).


There’s a difference between compromise and wisdom. Basing your convictions on personal preferences seasoned with some carefully selected Scriptures that can be taken out of context and made to sound like a solid biblical reinforcement of your prejudices is not the same thing as basing your outlook on Scripture as a whole and refusing to allow your life’s experiences to replace the Word of God simply because you’re more comfortable with your opinion than you are with the Truth.

Discipleship is not being accurately presented if it’s taught as something that only applies in the context of a crisis. Standing up for what is right is not always accomplished by a mere rebuke. David defeated Goliath with a sanctified response that included both a weapon and a word (1 Sam 17:45-47). And however rough around the edges God’s human instrument may be, Scripture proves over and over again that your focus needs to be on the Plot and not the players in order to determine who you should support and who should resist.

There is, and always has been, an aggressive campaign in place to exchange the Truth for a lie (Jn 8:44; Rom 1:25; 1 Peter 5:8). If the author of that campaign is to be defeated, not only can we not afford to be petty, we don’t have the time to watch our countermeasures fail because they were based more on tradition than they were on the Substance of God’s Word.

And even when your convictions are on point, your delivery has to be just as Inspired if the end result is going to be a legitimate win (Prov 15:23; 25:11; Mk 13:11; Titus 2:7-8).

The bottom line is this: You’re here to make a difference and not just an appearance. Christ is the Filing Cabinet and not just a file folder and to restrict His Instruction and all the advantages that accompany obedience to those times that line up with your traditions is to gut His Word, kill your witness and give the opposition all the more opportunity to do some damage.

On the other hand…

Be the kind of workman referenced in 2 Timothy 2:15 and you’ve got a winning strategy in place that will benefit you and everyone He puts in your path because instead of you working without Him, He’s now the One working through you.

Did They Practice?

snareI taught for five years at the Armed Forces School of Music. You can provide a student with the instrument, the curriculum, the encouragement and every resource and facility they could possibly need or want…

But did they practice?

Today’s Socialist / Activist wants to insist that every student is a studio quality musician. They believe that if the government provides a Concert Grand Marimba or Yamaha kit, the sounds coming from those two mediums is going to be exceptional.

But that’s not the case, because the hardharger in question doesn’t know the difference between the Musser Grip or Matched Grip and couldn’t tell you what it is to prep and kick a big band.

They didn’t practice.

So, the government takes another step and adjusts the definition and the standard of a “studio musician.” Now you don’t have to worry about the metronome or the key you’re in. Just hit something and you’re going to be applauded.

Still doesn’t sound good. They didn’t practice.

So then they say the audience needs to adjust their musical sensibilities and criticizes anyone who doesn’t give a standing ovation for what amounts to a performance that is fundamentally lacking. Excellence is demonized and anyone who has worked and prepared is categorized as corrupt and guilty of having somehow exploited others in order to get to a place where they can deliver a quality performance.

And then it gets even worse.

That Socialist now comes back to you and me and insist that we change the way we grade and the way we teach. They introduce an “approved” curriculum in the name of “equality” and “compassion.”

But what if they don’t practice?

Here’s what happens…

You have a paradigm in place now that processes everyone according to their “group identity.” However they practiced doesn’t really matter – it’s not what an individual strives to achieve or fails to do. Rather, all absolutes are now dictated by the Socialist – they “achieve” equality by changing the Standard by which excellence is gauged.

And, inevitably, that Standard includes Truth and even God Himself.

In this country, the issue is rarely whether or not you have “opportunity.” Saying college is impossible is not true. I can testify in that my father went to prison my senior year in High School – there was no money for higher education. But I was able to complete my degree while serving in the USMC. It’s not whether or not you “can,” as much as it’s about whether or not you “will.” And that doesn’t mean it’s easy, but to twist what’s difficult into a form of systemic oppression is to adopt a disposition that is as cowardly as it is nonsensical especially when every systemic criteria you would point to as being responsible for an individual’s situation is inevitably revealed as an emotionally packaged strategy to distract from the one question that Socialists in this country will not tolerate…

Did they practice?

What If…?

bible-with-boots-on-colorWouldn’t it be great if there was a resource out there that got your entire congregation genuinely interested in studying the Word of God, spending time in prayer and being genuinely engaged and not just present when it came to church attendance?

I want to believe that what I’m getting ready to propose could do just that.

Now, I know what you’re thinking…

You’ve been leading long enough to know that campaigns and strategies rarely deliver when it comes to facilitating an enduring commitment to spiritual maturity.

I know.

But let me ask you a question: If you were to create a billboard that promoted a relationship with Jesus Christ and you couldn’t reference heaven or hell or how Jesus helps you with your problems, what would that billboard say?

Most people find it hard to come up with something right out to the chute. Intuitively, they know there’s more to Christianity than just a “go to” Resource when you’re at the end of your rope. But conventional church culture typically predicates everything it does in terms of evangelism and discipleship on the assumption that you’re in desperate need of Divine Assistance.

And we are.

Anybody with even a rudimentary knowledge of God’s Word can reference Romans 6:23 and John 15:5 as far as our being destined to eternal damnation and the fact that, apart from Christ, we can do nothing.

But more often than not, that’s where our “marketing” stops. And while it’s absolutely needful to recognize our spiritual and practical destitution apart from our Redeemer, it’s just as crucial to embrace the Purpose, Peace and Power He makes available to us that’s designed to be applied in a way where we reek of excellence in everything we do, think and say.


If you were to apply Colossians 3:18 in the way you perform at work, you would be more than the kind of person an employer would hire…

You’d be the kind of person they would promote.

Second Corinthians says that God is able to make available to you all that you need so that you can knock it out of the park in “all things at all times.”

Salvation was never intended to be relevant only in the context of your funeral arrangements or as a Divine Emergency Kit. You want to be on top of your spiritual game so that at the end of the day, you’re…

  • …not just smart, you’re wise
  • …you’re not just busy, you’re productive
  • …you’re not just moral, you’re excellent

You’re the kind of person people want to work with and work for. You light up every room you walk into and it’s not because of who you are but because you’re given the One Who lives inside of your free reign over every aspect of your life.

Do you see where this is going?

Christianity is not just playing defense where you’re constantly bracing yourself for the next temptation or the next attack. It’s about moving the ball down the field, putting points on the board and not being satisfied with merely being “nice,” but being stronger, deeper and better than you could ever hope to be on your own.

And that is how you get the masses fired up about reading the Word of God and drawing nearer to their King! You show them the Practical Result of Discipleship so they’re perceiving prayer and Bible Study as invitations and not just obligations. Show them that billboard that has things like…

  • Prepare to Win
  • It’s All Good
  • He Will, He Can, He Does and He Is
  • More Than You Know
  • On Your Feet

And mind you, this is not a “prosperity gospel!” In the end, it’s not about you. It’s about Him in and through you and it’s that ever increasing desire for more of Him that translates to a greater degree of excellence in the way you perform, the way you speak and in the way you think.

And that’s what Muscular Christianity is all about.

It’s not just fitness. It’s a paradigm.

We’re not looking at diet and exercise as yet another means by which we can gratify ourselves. We’re establishing a Source of Inspiration that motivates us beyond that point where we would otherwise make concessions.

We’re making a point of ensuring that everything we do, think and say rates the Approval of our King and that’s going to apply both to the gym and to the dinner table.

We’re going to surround ourselves with Accountability Partners and in that way deploy a Biblical strategy that applies to every discipline we engage and not just our workout schedule.

And we’re going to pop the hood on the Word of God and get to a place where we can explain what we believe and why we believe it. We’re going to develop a perspective that intentionally blurs the lines that would otherwise distinguish the sacred from the secular and we’re going to unpack the Reality that says we become and we accomplish so much more when we realize that it’s not about us and it’s all about Him.

You ready to do this? You want to fly solo or do you want to do this in a group setting? You want to kick this off with an introductory session, or how about a Sunday morning service?

Click on any of the links for more information.

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Remember Why!

usmcHere’s a recent letter I wrote to a hardcharger that’s just now hitting the real challenges at Parris Island.

While it pertains specifically to a military paradigm, it resonates regardless of what the challenge may be.

And it’s Biblical, too!

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Gal 6:9)

Enjoy and get it done…



…even when you can brave the physical and mental tests of Basic Training, you still have to keep it together in your gut because that’s where everything else is getting its fuel from (see Prov 4:23).

By “gut,” I’m talking about your heart. It’s where you answer the question, “Why?”

Scripture talks about it in the context of what it is that makes you tick – what it is that makes you the person that you are. In the most practical sense, it’s where you answer questions like:

  • What do I believe and why do I believe it?
  • Why am I doing this?

You can endure pretty much anything as long as you can mentally default to a “reason” for what it is that you’re having to contend with that makes it worthwhile.

One of the reasons people wind up pursuing their fitness goals rather than realizing them is because the inconvenience of the gym and the discipline that goes along with a strategic diet becomes a burden and they just quit.

On the other hand, the people who wind up losing weight and getting in shape are those that have a reason for getting ripped that goes beyond their reflection in the mirror. Athletes are training for a victory, actors are training for a role…

…and you are training for a title that you’re going to have for the rest of your life.

That title represents discipline, fitness, patriotism, sacrifice, maturity and a host of other noble characteristics that you find in all branches of the military but the Marine Corps especially because of the way in which the USMC Basic Training is constructed.

And you’re feeling it right now.

People who are interested in nothing more than a pretty uniform and an impressive title aren’t really interested in anything other then their vanity.

But guys like you see more than that.

You see the legacy of the Corps, you see the purpose for the USMC and the reason WHY training has to be like it is in order to ensure someone who’s mentally, physically and – wait for it – spiritually prepared for your career as a Marine.

I say, “spiritually,” but it’s your heart, your gut – it’s that place where you have answered the question, “Why!” And because you can answer that question, you can keep moving forward with a legitimately positive disposition…

  • when the DI is on your back
  • when you’re feeling sick
  • when you’re missing your family
  • when you’re missing your wife and kids
  • when you’re in a lot of pain
  • when your fellow recruits are acting like total butt socks…
  • when you don’t get the job

You get the idea.

Remember why you’re doing this and be intentional about removing those things that are self serving. Not because “self serving” is necessarily bad all the time, but because gratifying yourself is a lot easier in the context of quitting or overeating or being lazy. Even if your subconscious doesn’t process it that way, it’s a hidden cancer that will short circuit every goal you ever establish in life.

Remember why and get it done!

Go get ‘em, hardcharger!

Let me know when you get home so we can go to Red Robin!

Semper Fi, Devildog!

You’re almost there!

Muscular Christianity T-Shirt and Book Special Offer!


The “Muscular Christianity: 90 Day Workout Plan” features:

  • tips on how to eat right and not just eat “light…”
  • the “Loose Cannon Fitness” audio workout system – military style program that you run through your iTunes – amazing!
  • 90 days of devotionals that will have you in a place where you can explain what you believe and why and recognize the difference between “practicing” your religion and “living” out the Reality of Christ in your life
  • extra materials that allow you to put a group together and do this alongside some motivated, like minded individuals

If you buy the book through Amazon, you’re spending $15.00…

The T-Shirt isn’t sold online. Rather, it’s made available as part of the “Six Pack Seminars” that are done from time to time and they’re sold for $15.00. So, rather than spending $30.00 (and the T-Shirt isn’t even available apart from the seminars and this offer), you’re only spending $20.00!

Just click on the button to the right, email me at and give me your shirt size and that’s all there is to it!

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The China Study | Part IV – Heart Disease

chinaSo, what is heart disease and how can diet and nutrition not only prevent it, but reverse it as well?

Whether your family has a history of heart attacks or not, buckle up! What we’re getting ready to discuss, while it’s focused on heart disease, inevitably applies to a myriad of conditions and diseases that can be treated by simply changing your diet. While that might sound a little over the top, the data says otherwise.

You ready?


While the word, “fat” tends to resonate as a negative, it’s absolutely necessary for good health. But when a specific type of fat starts to accumulate in your arteries – oftentimes because of a bad diet –  that’s when things start to go south.

Before we get into that, let’s go over a couple of terms:

Epidemiology (eh-pih-DEEM-ee-ah-low-gee) – the study of diseases as far as the way they surface and are treated in specific people groups

Cholesterol – a white, waxy substance that is not found in plants – only animals. It is an essential component of the membrane that coats all our cells, and it is the basic ingredient of sex hormones. Our body need cholesterol, and it manufactures it on its own. We do not need to eat it. But we do, when we consume meat, poultry, fish and other animal-based foods, such as diary products and eggs. In doing so, we take on excess amounts of the substance. What’s more, eating fat causes the body itself to manufacture excessive amounts of cholesterol which explains why vegetarians who eat oil, butter, cheese, milk, ice cream, glazed doughnuts, and French pastry develop coronary disease despite their avoidance of meat.

Lipids represent a category of substances that have one thing in common in that they don’t mix with water. Cholesterol is one type of lipid. Another kind of lipid is Triglycerides. Triglycerides are a type of fat that is found in your blood. It’s the combination of Triglycerides and Cholesterol that forms what is referred to as “plaque” in your arteries and can lead to
Atherosclerosis (eh-thir-ah-skler-OH-siss), or, the hardening of the arteries.

Medicine subdivides cholesterol into two types. High-density Lipoprotein (LIP-oh-pro-teen), or HDL, is sometimes known as “good” cholesterol. Medical experts do not know precisely how, but it seems to offer some protection against heart attacks – by collecting excess cholesterol and carrying it away from the arteries to the liver, which can break it down and dispose of it. As total blood cholesterol rises, you need more and more of the HDL cholesterol to protect you against heart disease.1

Low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, is “bad” cholesterol. When too much of it is present in the  bloodstream, it tends to build up along artery walls and helps to form the “plaque” that narrow blood vessels and can ultimately may clog them all together.

The thing is, it’s not just LDL that’s present in an artery that is forcing it to narrow. It’s a combination of LDL, Triglycerides (see box to the right) and other “sticky” substances combined with white blood cells.

Here’s Where it Gets a Little Gross…

As the plaque is formed, a fibrous cap begins to develop at the very top. That cap begins to erode because of the initial white blood cells (macrophages referenced in the diagram to the right) that are now spewing chemical substances that erode the surface of the cap. As blood continues to flow through the artery and race past the eroded plaque, it can rupture which initiates a catastrophic sequence of events.

Screen Shot 2019-04-10 at 1.23.00 PMThe ruptured plaque registers as an emergency and platelets are activated in order to form a clot around the damaged area. The healing process the body is attempting to apply, however, often proves to be lethal in and of itself in the way the clotting forms a blockage in the artery itself…

…and this is what’s known as a heart attack.

Pause for a moment and ponder the essential ingredients that constitute the recipe the for disaster described above. You’ve got fat and…


Fat is a good thing, like we talked about before. Cholesterol is a good thing. Our bodies need it, but we get all that we need from our liver. The problem starts when we eat animal products that not only contain high amounts of cholesterol themselves, but are also high in fat. The fat triggers the liver to make more cholesterol than it would normally and that’s where you start having problems. It’s not the cholesterol that’s coming from plants, it’s what we ingest from animal based foods.

Doesn’t that sound like something that points to a pretty obvious solution?

But rather than adjust our diets, most will default to surgery and pharmaceuticals. There’s a problem with that approach, however, and the following comes from Dr. Campbell, author the book, “The China Study.”

The mechanical interventions that we use in this country are much less effective than most people realize. Bypass surgery has become particularly popular. As many as 380,000 bypass operations were performed in 1990, meaning that about 1 out of 750 Americans underwent this extreme surgery. During the operation, the patient’s chest is split open, blood flow is rerouted by a series of clamps, pumps and machines, and a leg vein or chest artery is cut out and sewn over a diseased part of the heart, thereby allowing blood to bypass the most clogged arteries.

The costs are enormous. More than one of every fifty elective patients will die because of complications during the $46,000 procedure. Other side effects include heart attack, respiratory complications, bleeding complications, infection, high blood pressure and stroke. When the vessels around the heart are clamped shut during the operation, plaque breaks off the inner walls. Blood then carries this debris to the brain, where it causes numerous “mini” strokes. Researches have compared the intellectual capabilities of patients before and after the operation, and found that at stunning 79% of patients “showed impairment in some aspect of cognitive function” seven days after the operation.

Why do we put ourselves through this? The most pronounced benefit of this procedure is relief on angina or chest pain. About 70-80% of patients who undergo bypass surgery remain free of this crippling chest pain for one year. But this benefit doesn’t last. Within three years o the operation, up to one-third of patients will suffer from chest pain again. Within ten years half of the bypass patients will have died, had a heart attack or had their chest pain return. Long-term studies indicate that only certain subset of heart disease patients live longer because of their bypass operation. Furthermore, theses studies demonstrate that those patients who undergo bypass operation do not have fewer heart attacks that those who do not have surgery.2

Here’s the thing, though. Consuming additional fat and cholesterol is an obvious problem, specifically in the context of eating animal based products.

But it’s not just the fat and cholesterol.

Fact is, animal based protein is even more of a problem:

Although dietary fat was found to induce formation of early atherosclerosis in experimental rabbits, animal-based protein (such as casein) proved even more effective. As early as 1909, Dr. Alexander Ingatowski attributed the formation of atherosclerosis to animal protein. Review of this early literature report that animal protein was substantially more effective than cholesterol in inducing the formation of early heart disease.

Yet somehow animal protein has remained in the shadows while saturated fat and cholesterol have taken the brunt of the criticism. /these three nutrients (fat, animal protein, and cholesterol) characterize animal-based food in general. So isn’t it perfectly reasonable to wonder whether animal-based food, and not just these isolated nutrients, causes heart disease? (If only this research on the importance of animal-based protein in heart disease been taken seriously over the past century, progress in understanding the dietary cause of heart disease would have been far greater, with much less confusion and dispute!)3

The solution is not represented by the scalpel or the pharmacist. Both of those have their place, but if heart disease is going to be effectively treated, you have to address the cause and not just relieve the symptoms. And oftentimes, merely relieving the symptoms does nothing to stop the damage that’s being done. And how is it going to be done?

Wait for it…

Heart disease is primarily caused by the fat, cholesterol and protein coming from the animal products that we eat.

There have been several studies that compared the rate of heart disease in the United States with other countries. The difference, in many cases, is significant. Why?

“Quite simply, it was a case of death by food. The cultures that have lower heart disease rates eat less saturated fat and animal protein and more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. In other words, they subsist mostly on plant foods while we subsist mostly on animal foods.”4

That’s it! Eliminate the animal products in your diet and you’re now eating in a manner that’s consistent with those areas in the world where heart disease is virtually non-existent. And it’s not enough to just eat animal based products “in moderation.” Especially if you’re trying to keep your pipes clean.

In Moderation?

Your typical fast food meal contains an enormous amount of animal fat. While that sounds unhealthy, there’s more to it than just having to loosen your belt a few notches.

The Endothelium (end-oh_THEE-lee-um) is the lining of our blood vessels and our heart. Your typical American meal injures the Endothelium which is what produces the nitric oxide that keeps the inside of your blood vessels slippery. By keeping it smooth and slick, the chances of anything  getting stuck (i.e. cholesterol, fact, calcium, cellular debris [plaque]) becomes far less. But a meal that is high in fat compromises normal nitric acid production by the Endothelium cells for up to six hours.

That’s a problem and that’s one meal!

Imagine that affect spread out over multiple meals every day for 365 days a year for several years?

Every mouthful of oils and animal products, including dairy foods, initiates an assault on the Endothelium and the membranes that together work to promote healthy heart function.  Having an ice cream sundae as a treat isn’t a deal breaker. Nor is having a steak on a rare occasion going to send you into cardiac arrest. But making animal products a staple in your diet is not healthy.

It’s not healthy.

It’s. Not. Healthy.

Good News

Whether you’re just interested in being healthy or you’re in a spot where you’ve been identified as someone who is at risk of having a heart attack, this is all good news. And it’s not just about heart disease, although that is the number one cause of death in the United States. A whole foods plant based diet has been objectively linked to preventing and even, in some cases, reversing diabetes, cancer and even some neurological disorders.

But if you’re curious about the disease that tips the scales when it comes to causing the greatest amount of deaths in our country, including my Dad when he was only 60 (see sidebar), then this is really good news and I’ll let Dr T. Colin Campbell have the last word..

The future is filled with hope. We no know enough to nearly eliminate heart disease. We know not only how to prevent the disease, but how to successfully treat it. We do not need to crack open our breast plates to reroute our arteries, and we no not need a lifetime of powerful drugs in our blood. By eating the right food, we can keep our hearts healthy.5


China Study | Part III


1. “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease”, Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., M.D., Penguin Group, New York, NY, 2007, p30-31
2. “The China Study,” T. Colin Campbell, PhD, with Thomas M. Campbell II, BenBella Books, Dallas TX, 2004, p123
3. Ibid, p109
4. Ibid, p105-106
5. Ibid, p130

Drum Lessons – Whatever is Worth Doing is Worth Doing Right!

home_page_snare_drumAnything worth doing is worth doing right.

That sounds pretty obvious, but when it comes to fitness, it’s not always easy to discern what constitutes the “right” way to do things.

The fact of the matter is, most people pursue their fitness goals rather than realize them. In 2013 the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that 57.6% of American citizens were overweight or obese. The organization estimates that 3/4 of the American population will likely be overweight or obese by 2020.1

The thing that makes this statistic intriguing is that fitness industry in America is booming! ”

According to the IHRSA (International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association), the $30 billion health and fitness industry in the U.S. has been growing by at least 3 – 4% annually for the last ten years and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. If anything, it’s accelerating. Currently about 20% of American adults have a fitness club membership…2

How is it that the fitness industry is as popular as it is, yet the rate of obesity is increasing almost exponentially?

It comes down to one thing which can be illustrated by…

Drum lessons.

Drum lessons?

Yes, drum lessons.

I teach drum lessons and have been doing it for several years. On occasion, I’ll be listening to an assignment I gave the student and it will be sound horrid. I’ll ask them if they’ve practiced, at which point they’ll assure me that they practiced every day. We’ll spend some time going over the way they practiced and it will become evident that they didn’t practice correctly. Rather than playing the exercise the way it needed to be performed, they just glossed over the discrepancies resulting in a situation where they were just rehearsing mistakes.

The same thing applies to any kind of discipline. Be it continuing education, the development of a new business or physical fitness.

“Going to the gym” is no different than “I practiced every day.” Just because you’re going through the motions doesn’t mean you’re going through the process. And the best way to tell whether or not you’re doing things correctly is to take an inventory of your results.

There is an enormous amount of information out there and a host of applications and resources that you can choose from. Regardless of what approach you take or what tool you choose to use, if you’re going to build muscle and lose weight, they you’re going to have to do so according to a standard that won’t always be comfortable or convenient.

Be intentional about the number of calories you consume. Calculate what you need and don’t eat anything beyond that caloric value. Be healthy but don’t be afraid to be hungry. That’s part of being disciplined.

When you go to the gym, have a plan and have a goal. Allow yourself to be held accountable by other like minded individuals. Flying solo is not impossible, but it’s not always a wise strategy because working out by yourself, for yourself and answering to no one other than yourself affords you the opportunity to make concessions that can short circuit the regimen that would otherwise lead to success.

Just because you practiced, doesn’t mean that you’re better. Just because you’re busy, doesn’t mean you’re accomplished. Going through the motions isn’t the same thing as going through the process. Whatever effort you’re putting forth has to be done in the context of a standard that translates to success, otherwise you’re merely frustrated rather than truly successful.

Whatever’s worth doing is worth doing right.

Go get ’em!


1. “The 10 Healthiest States in America”. University of Illinois at Chicago. 2014-07-15. Retrieved 18 September 2014.
2. Forbes, “The Six Reasons the Fitness Industry is Booming”, Ben Midgley, September 26, 2018, , retrieved April 2, 2019

The China Study | Part III

chinaDoctors vs Dietitians

Doctors don’t get a great deal of academic training when it comes to the way in which one’s diet can prevent and reverse some of the more common diseases that plague our nation’s populace. This, despite the way it has become increasingly clear that diet plays a major role in the way a person can be cured and treated in a manner that is far superior to pharmaceuticals and surgical procedures. And it doesn’t matter if your inspiration is to eliminate sickness or just body fat, you want to align your approach to fitness with the way in which your body functions as opposed to the way it will react to a scalpel or a drug. From that perspective, it can be wise to enlist the help and counsel of a Dietitian.

Still, it can be daunting, and even a little exasperating, when you attempt to sort through all of the information that is out there in an effort to ascertain the ideal diet and exercise regimen that translates to results and not just routines. How do you discern the difference between facts and truth, especially when an authority can be ethical without being completely honest or a resource can be knowledgeable without being totally informed?

You Can’t Argue With Success

I remember once asking my Dad why our family subscribed to the religious practices that we did. Given my father’s propensity for a lengthy response, I was surprised and forever impacted by his response…

“It works.”

That coupled with, “You can’t argue with success” – another “David Gust-ism” – has become a highly effective filter through which I can feel confident in separating facts from fiction, regardless of how compelling either of which may sound.

If you want to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than what you consume. Regardless of how you facilitate that dietary deficit, you must have a deficit of some kind. If your current dietary regimen is not yielding the results you’re striving for, change it. And remember: Starving yourself and / or denying your body the nutrients that it needs may translate to some short term gains in terms of a reduced waistline, but ultimately you need a healthy lifestyle and not a detrimental habit. Not only is that healthy lifestyle going to give you enduring results, it will also provide a number of ancillary benefits that go beyond general aesthetics.

If you want to build muscle, you have to tax the muscles you’re wanting to develop. What you need to accomplish is something called “hypertrophy” (pronounced “high-PURR-truh-fee”). Hypertrophy is defined as “inducing an ‘over-load’ on the working muscles with various training techniques during a bodybuilding workout.” While there is a difference between discomfort and damage, just like to create a dietary deficit, you’re going to be hungry, if you’re working out correctly, you’re going to be uncomfortable. It doesn’t happen by itself nor does it happen in the absence of profuse perspiration.

Those are your bottom lines. Follow those absolutes and you’re well on your way to becoming fit and trim. And as far as the inevitable minutiae that can sometimes surface as seemingly dramatic distractions – what to eat and what not to eat, how to train and how not to train – remember, “It works!” and “You can’t argue with success.” By using those two phrases and ensuring that your  approach can be labeled with both of those statements, you can filter out the news from the noise.

To get to that point, however, from time to time you’re going to have to do a little digging. And by “digging,” I mean some research and not just “google-ing.”

Eggs cause cancer in terms of the dietary cholesterol they represent.

But it’s not just the cholesterol.

Animal protein is accurately touted as a necessary element in a person’s diet that is wanting to build muscle mass because it’s composition is very similar to human protein. In that way,  it represents a very efficient way to build and repair our muscle tissue. However, efficiency is not the same as quality. With animal protein, you’re also getting Cholesterol, Carcinogens and, in some cases, an exorbitant amount of fat.

The natural variety of plant proteins that you encounter every day, however, provides all of the essential amino acids we require, while simultaneously avoiding all of the detrimental effects of animal based protein.

Let me give you an example…

Grab a Shovel – The China Study Debunked?

I’m coming out of the gym and I see a table set up where the staff dietitian had some questions displayed in an effort to get people engaged. One of the questions was: Are eggs a good source of protein? Because I was reading “The China Study” at the time, I confidently responded by saying, “No.” At that point, I was told that I was wrong and I shouldn’t trust the advice of my cardiologist – the “advice” in this instance being that I should read “The China Study” by T. Colin Campbell, PhD and learn how nutrition can prevent and treat heart disease.

Her disposition is not unique, though.

“Get Inspired” is a website featuring the advice and commentary coming from Angela Pifer who is a Functional Medicine Nutritionist with multiple academic credentials and an impressive array of professional accomplishments. She vehemently disagrees with the notion that animal-based protein products are a contributing factor to cancer, and that includes any kind of dairy products. And her web page is but one of a slew of medical journals and professional publications that insist animal protein is not a factor at all when it comes to treating and preventing disease.

Here’s what she says about Dr Campbell’s research:

Let’s dive into the idea that dairy causes cancer – casein and whey are the two proteins in milk. The China Study book, clearly states that dairy causes cancer. What he is basing this off is rat studies. Here is what he presents: in this study rats were either fed a 20% casein diet or a 5% casein diet (so one group of rats is on a 20% protein diet and the other group is on a 5% protein diet). What he and the film Forks Over Knives state is that the rats eating a 20% casein protein diet acquired cancer and saw increased tumor growth on this diet. The rats eating the 5% casein protein diet, did not get cancer. Furthermore, when the rat’s that were eating a 20% casein diet were reduced to 5% casein, the tumor growth slowed. This sounds convincing, doesn’t it?

What he failed to mention is this, in these studies the rats were injected with the highest level of Aflatoxin allowed by the FDA in animal studies. Aflatoxin is the toxin associated with peanuts that cause peanut allergies in some humans. The dose of Aflatoxin administered to these rats was equivalent to a human eating over 100,000 peanut butter sandwiches. The Aflatoxin is what caused the tumor. In fact, if a study is being designed to test a medication, chemical or nutrient on a tumor, Aflatoxin is one of the ways to induce a tumor that you would then test your hypothesis on.

The Rats Eating Less Protein (less casein) Died Faster

What was also not presented was that the rats eating 5% casein actually died at a faster rate than the rats eating 20% casein. Why did this happen? Because detoxification is protein driven and the rats eating the 20% casein protein were kept alive longer by being fed a higher protein diet – long enough for the tumors to grow. Dairy does not cause cancer. Casein does not cause cancer.

Grab a Shovel – The China Study Debunked? Not So Much…

Here’s what I learned by reading “The China Study” myself:

The research project she was referring to was a program that began as a way to combat malnutrition in the Philippians by teaching mothers how to best nourish their children with the most ideal, locally grown foods with an emphasis on protein. Peanuts were the most accessible sources of protein, especially for those who did not live along the coast where fish could be conveniently caught and consumed. There was a problem, however, in that it wasn’t uncommon for peanuts to be contaminated with a carcinogen called “Aflatoxin” (AF).

Before focusing on nutrition, they chose to first investigate AF since that was prevalent in peanuts, their preferred source of dietary protein. They found it to be very common in peanut butter and the affects of the contaminated legumes were seen primarily in children in the form of liver cancer. As they continued their research, however, a pattern began to emerge that went beyond the consumption of peanuts. Liver Cancer was not limited to those who were malnourished or had unwittingly ingested the AF carcinogen in the form of contaminated peanut butter. It was a common disease among children, yes, but many of the children that were dying before they reached the age of ten were coming from the best-fed families that were consuming more protein than the majority of their peers.

At this point, the focus changed. Those parts of the world that had the most cases of cancer were also among those that were the most malnourished. It was therefore assumed that the better the diet, with an emphasis on protein intake, the better the chances of a person not getting cancer. But now, what began as a strategy to combat malnutrition by promoting a diet rich in protein intake, was being retooled to find out if animal based protein was actually a catalyst for the growth of a cancerous cell as opposed to the long held belief that protein prevented the growth of cancer cells.

For a scientist, this was not a popular, let alone a career enhancing, path to take. In addition to cultural convention and scientific tradition, there was also a huge industry behind things like beef, poultry, fish and eggs. To uncover anything truly credible that revealed animal protein as a detriment to good health would be a significant blow to those profit margins associated with meat, chicken and dairy products.

Still, you go where the evidence takes you and this is what lead to Dr Campbell’s three decades worth of well documented and thoroughly researched conclusions that compellingly decries the consumption of animal products.

Angela’s first criticism of Dr. Campbell’s book, “The China Study” implies that it was AF that caused the cancer and the varying degrees of protein consumption had nothing to do with the growth or the deterioration of the cancer cells. She’s correct in saying that AF was the dietary villain that caused the cancer. What she fails to acknowledge is that the amount of AF was fixed in both scenarios…

One group was given AF and then fed diets containing 20% protein. The second group was given the same level of AF and then fed diets containing only 5% protein. It was not a trivial difference; it was 100% versus 0%. This was very much consistent with my observations for the Philippine children. Those who were most vulnerable to liver cancer were those who consumed diets higher in protein. 1

Later, Dr. Campbell facilitated a study that allowed for the adjustment of the AF dosage. They found they could turn  the growth of cancer cells “on” and “off” by adjusting the amount of animal based protein being fed to the laboratory rats.

Angela again takes aim at Dr. Campbell’s research again by saying the rats eating less protein died faster. Frankly, I’m not sure where she gets this information as “Appendix A” of Dr. Campbell’s book provides additional information about the experiments on the laboratory rats including the overall health of the rodents on a low-protein diet.

Many researchers have long assumed that animals fed diets this low in protein would not be healthy. However, the low-protein animals were healthier by every indication. They lived longer, were more physically active, were slimmer, and had healthy hair coats at 100 weeks, while the high-protein counterpart rats were all dead.2

But here’s the kicker: Not all proteins are created equal.

Here’s another snippet from Dr. Campbell’s book:

If you have followed the story so far, you have seen how provocative these findings are. Controlling cancer through nutrition was, and still is, a radical idea. But as if this weren’t enough, one more issue would yield explosive information: Did it make any difference what type of protein was used in these experiments? For all of these experiments, we were using casein, which makes up 80-85% of cow’s milk protein. So the next logical question was whether plant protein, tested in the same way, has the same effect on cancer promotion as casein. The answer is an astonishing “NO.” In these experiments, plant protein did not promote cancer growth, even at the higher levels of intake.3

Plant-Protein-DanielHenryFitness-1While animal protein would be considered “high quality” because of the way it is so readily synthesized by our body, it brings with it cholesterol, carcinogens, added hormones and bacteria. On the other hand, plant based protein, while it provides all of the 9 essential amino acids, doesn’t include the aforementioned problems and instead includes healthy fiber, antioxidants and a variety of vitamins and minerals.

You Can’t Argue with Success…But Does it Work?

So, back to my original “filter” – You can’t argue with success! That statement seems to apply…

…but does it work?

Consider this:

Dr Caldwell B. Esselystn, Jr is an incredibly accomplished surgeon who works at the renowned Cleveland Clinic, one of the premier cardiac treatment facilities in the world. At one point, he wrote:

Eleven years into my career as a surgeon, I became disillusioned with the treatment paradigm of U.S. medicine in cancer and heart disease. Little had changed in 100 years in the management of cancer; and in neither heart disease nor cancer was there a serious effort at prevention. I found the epidemiology of these diseases provocative, however: Three quarters of the humans on this planet had no heart disease, a fact strongly associated with diet.4

He was inspired to launch a revolutionary approach to heart disease treatment by having his patients engage a plant-based diet with minimal medication. Within the 8 years leading up to the study, these 18 people had suffered through 49 coronary events, include angina, bypass surgery, heart attacks, strokes and angioplasty. In the following 11 years, there was exactly 1 coronary event of the 18 he started with. In addition, 70% of his patients saw a reversal of their heart disease.

However dogmatic someone might want to be in their criticism of a plant based-diet when it comes to fitness and the prevention / reversal of terminal diseases, it becomes suspect when you look at the people who have changed their dietary habits and been able to benefit dramatically by avoiding animal products.

It works…

Bottom Line

Again, there is a great deal of information out there and it can be a daunting task to sort through the data and locate a credible bottom line. But that bottom line does exist. Does it work? Beyond the “facts” and the “statistics,” does the information translate to real results? You can’t argue with success. If the information is credible and lines up with the truth, it will yield results that go beyond debates and even academic credentials.

To lose weight you have to burn more calories than what you consume. If you want to build muscle, you have to tax that muscle to the point where it’s uncomfortable and not just mildly challenged. And if you want to avoid the liabilities that go along with animal-based proteins, switch to a plant-based diet and you get all the benefits without the consequences.

It works and you can’t argue with success!

 China Study | Part II <- -> China Study | Part IV


1. “The China Study”, T. Colin Campbell, Thomas M. Campbell, BenBella Books, Dallas TX, 2016, p28
2.  Ibid, p371
3.  Ibid, p51
4. Ibid, p115-116

Postscript: There have been some very outspoken critics of Dr Campbell. In some instances, he’s refuted some of their criticisms and you can read some of his responses by heading out to Chris Masterjohn and Denise Minger

Also, when God first put man on the planet, he gave them fruits and vegetables to eat (Gen 1:29). Meat wasn’t on the menu. That came later after the flood (Gen 9:3). While meat is obviously permissible, with some exceptions (Leviticus says “No” to Pork and Shellfish along with some other meats), I’m willing to subscribe to the idea that eating fruits and vegetables is consistent with the way we were originally designed and that’s enough for me to embrace it as a credible way to thrive and stay healthy – especially when dairy and meat products have been linked to diseases that can prove to be toxic. I don’t think eating a steak is going to put you in the grave, but I think if make it’s a staple rather than a treat, you’re placing a burden on your health that doesn’t need to be there.