My Weight-Loss Story

In the spring of 2013 I was just getting back into the groove of paintball. I hadn’t played all winter long and of course, I was a little rusty.

I know what you’re thinking. What does paintball have to do with losing weight? Well…it has everything to do with it.

I started a team with some friends and we were playing some intense games and I just couldn’t keep up. I was out of shape, I was out of breath and I was embarrassed. I went home that night and for the first time since I was a teenager, really looked into a mirror and said to myself “Holy crap, Josh. You are disgusting, fat and ugly.”

I really felt that way…I didn’t realize that over the last 3 years I had gained over 60 pounds. I went from being a skinny teenager to a fat 20 year old.
I was lazy and didn’t care about my health or weight.

One night a friend and I were joking around and made a bet. We would both diet and try to lose some weight. He wanted to lose 15 pounds, I wanted (jokingly) to lose 50…I didn’t know then but that would be the start of my year long journey.

I tried diets in the past. Low calorie, low fat, etc. I had never tried low carb, so I gave it a shot. My first week SUCKED, well actually my first month sucked. I had to let my body get used to the diet. Once my body got used to the change, it was, for the most part smooth sailing.

I will tell you now…more than likely you will not see results your first week. I didn’t start seeing results until my first month in. But as soon as I saw results, it was on.

I started my diet weighing 206 pounds. I made a goal that before July 4th I wanted to be under 200 pounds. I started my diet in April, plenty of time.

I weighed myself on July 3rd…199 pounds. You have no idea how freaking happy I was. I weighed myself probably 10 more times just to make sure it was correct. I was ecstatic.

A week later I weighed myself again, I had lost another 6 pounds. After 5 months I had lost 30 pounds. I was feeling great until….my church closed. I got depressed and went back to the only thing I knew would cure my depression….food.

I stopped my diet, ate like crap, didn’t care. All I wanted was comfort…food brought me comfort. It wasn’t until September that I realized that I was an idiot and I started my diet again, it was harder than starting the first time.

A couple months went by. Id lose 2 pounds one week, gain 3 the next. That’s when I crashed…I’m ashamed to admit it but at one point I actually stopped eating. I wanted to see results so bad that I nearly starved myself. I’d go a couple days without hardly any food just to lose an extra pound.

(Do not EVER starve yourself to lose weight. It is a terrible idea and it is very unhealthy. Stick to your diet…have patience. )

Anyway…

Fall of 2013, I’ve lost 40 pounds. I’m feeling great. My goal was to be at 156lbs by the new year. This was my last push. I really cut back, no more cheat meals, no more munching…

I weighed myself New Year’s Eve…I weighed exactly 156lbs. I was done, it was over! I reached my goal. Never have I been more proud of myself than that moment right there.

One hundred and fifty six pounds. I’m still amazed to this day to say that I lost 50 pounds. I can brag about it because I sacrificed so much and went though a lot to get to my goal.

I was done trying to lose weight, I wanted to maintain so I started eating carbs again but I didn’t go insane. I continued with my low carb diet until April of 2014. One year to date, I had lost 53 pounds, went from a size 38 waist to a size 32, went from wearing an XL tshirt down to a medium.

Wanna know what kept me going? I thought if I lost weight a certain girl (who will remain nameless) would go out with me. I thought wrong…

I also did it for myself…I did it to prove to others that I can do whatever I put my mind to. I had people the whole way tell me to give up, to stop because they wanted to see me fail.
I did it for my friends who cheered me on, that wanted to see me complete my goal.

I can honestly tell you that losing 53 pounds has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. I have WAY more confidence in myself, I feel better mentally and physically and I proved all the haters wrong.

When one of the best looking girls at work comes up to you and tells you that you look good, you look skinny and she’s proud of you…it makes it all worth it.

I can look in a mirror now and not be ashamed of what I see. I can ask a girl out with confidence cause even if she says no…I still had the courage and confidence to do it…something I didn’t have a year ago.

I also forgot to mention that one of my goals 4 years ago was to run in a 5k…I never thought I’d do it. Well…early this month I completed my first 5k…I actually had tears of joy because for the first time in a long time I felt good about myself.

To my friend Tyler Boyd. I want to thank you for pushing me to do a diet and lose weight. Without you I would still be 206 pounds. Thank you for encouraging me and believing in me.

So that’s it…that’s pretty much my story.

I will write another blog soon about weight loss tips and how I lost all the weight. I think I’ve written enough for one blog. Thanks for reading!

Below is a picture of myself from 2012 to 2014!

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Strive To Be Like Christ

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2 NLT)

If there’s one thing about Christianity that I find most annoying and hypocritical is Sunday Morning Christians. I’m talking about the type of people who are Christians one day a week. After the message is finished, after worship is over, after they’ve hung out with their crush for a few hours. They get up and go home, leaving their faith at Church.

I believe DC Talk said it best. “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today… is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is simply what an unbelieving world finds unbelievable.”

Now in no way am I saying that I’m not guilty of this. I’m a hypocrite, I’m a sinner. We all are, and the beauty of it all is that there is a God who wants better for us, He wants us to strive to be like Him.

I truly believe that if we lived in a world full of “Christians” that ACTUALLY did what God tells us to do, to read and live out what the bible says, we would have a different and better world.

There really isn’t much to do and it’s pretty clear in the bible. Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give to the poor, visit the lonely, etc… (Matthew 25:35-40, Isaiah 58:6-11)

When we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, when we ask God to come into our lives, we must truly believe in and live out our commitment to God. That means to allow God to change our lives. We need to throw away all of the wordly things that we do.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2 NLT)

We must glorify God in everything we do. We need to share the gospel, we need to be getting out into our communities and show others what living like Christ truly means. (Mark 16:15)

David is a great example of the Christian we should be like. Yeah, he had his flaws. He committed adultery, he committed murder and he even tried to run from God. But in the end, David knew that he had one purpose on earth. To glorify God. We need to be a man/woman after Gods own heart. Just like David.

He danced in the streets, he praised God’s name day and night, he sang songs to God. He loved Him with all of his heart. We need to be like that. We need to praise God 24/7. Just not at church.

The world should not know that we are Christians just by our words, but also by our actions and our lifestyle. We need to imitate Christ, we need to follow in his footsteps.

“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. (Ephesians 5:1, 2 NLT)

It’s very hard to be Christ-Like in a world that is not Christ-Centered. That’s why we need to be in fellowship with other Christians besides Sunday mornings. We need to be spiritually fed more than once a week. Being involved in a bible study is great but so is diving in the Word. Reading Gods Word helps me stay focused during the week. It helps me remember that I’m not a christian just on Sunday, but everyday.

I cannot get through the week without some kind of a daily Holy “pick-me-up.” I often get discouraged or upset throughout the week and I know that when I get into the Word I feel much better.

Like I said in my previous blog post. We can’t do anything alone, we need God. The world needs God and that’s why we need to be the Christians that God calls us to be.

Ask yourself this question. Do you read the bible? Do you read the bible and believe what is says? Do you live out what it says or do you accept the “Terms and Conditions” like you did on Facebook? AKA you didn’t actually read them nor actually agree with them you just wanted what was at the end…a Facebook account or in this case a “God Account”, you don’t necessarily want to use it all the time but you want it there when its convenient for you. Do you take in Gods word and allow it to change you or do you just want God when it’s convenient for you?

Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did. (1 John 2:6 NLT)

God Is The Comforter

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. (Psalms 46:1 NLT)

A lot of people may not know this about me. But I don’t like reaching outside of my comfort zone. I’m not the type of person who can walk into a place and immediately make friends and start talking with random people. I like staying where I am comfortable.

Well, over the past couple weeks I’ve definitely had to reach outside my comfort zone. Recently my church closed and I was completely devastated. You could say that I was pretty comfortable there. I knew pretty much everyone, I played drums every weekend and I felt accepted there.

So now that I’m trying to find a new church. I have to meet new people and talk to new people. Sometimes I’m so worried what people are gonna think of me or if I’m gonna say the right thing that I get scared. I’m scared because I’m uncomfortable.

I’ve definitely had to rely on God for comfort and to lead me in the right direction. Luckily for me, God has answered my prayers for comfort and help. (Psalms 116:1)

If there’s one thing that has really made me step outside my comfort zone was the college aged bible study I went to Sunday night. I did NOT want to go. When I was invited I had to really think about it. I eventually said yes and the hours leading up to it I was scared.

I basically asked God to help me get past my fear of meeting new people and worry of being judged. He answered me and I had a really good time. Everyone was friendly and the lesson was very convicting.

The lyrics to a song called I Have Been There by Mark Schultz have really spoken to me today. The lyrics are what God is saying to us.

“I have been there, I know what fear is all about
Yes, I have been there and I’m standing with you now.”

When we give our worries to God, he listens. God wants us to rely on him. He wants to comfort us. No man or object can give us comfort like God can. We may think that stuff like money, food or tv can comfort us but they don’t. They may give us a “high” for a few minutes but nothing can compare to the spiritual high that God can give us for an eternity.

When David fought Goliath he relied on God to help him. When David said that he would kill Goliath, Saul said that there was no way David could kill Goliath, he had been a warrior since his youth. He was far too big for David. Implying that this situation was too big for God.

Still David wanted to do it. He said that he had fought off lions and bears when they tried to attack his sheep. He would go after them and kill them to rescue his sheep. David said that God rescued him from the claws of bears and lions and that God would rescue him from Goliath.

Saul finally consented and gave David his armor but David didn’t want it because it didn’t feel right and he wasn’t used to it. (He knew that something of man would not help him.)

With the help of God, David killed Goliath. God can do the same for us. He can rescue us from our Goliath’s.

God says that if we have the faith of a mustard seed, we can move mountains. (Matthew 17:20)

I don’t think that we understand the full power of God and I don’t think we ever will. We think that our problems are too small for Him to care or not important enough or are too big for Him. That’s not true at all. Sometimes I think “This is stupid, why am I worrying about this? Why would God care about this?”. God cares about everything in our lives. Like I said before. He wants us to cry out to Him, He wants us to ask Him for help.

We HAVE to rely on God. It’s as simple as that. With God all things are possible (Philippians 4:13) and He can help us through whatever we are going through.

If you’re going through a rough patch in your life and you’re trying to use worldy things to comfort you, I challenge you to give those up and seek God for comfort. There’s no special way to ask Him. Just simply ask Him to guide you and to give you peace of mind and an understanding of the situation. The key is to completely give it to Him, don’t halfheartedly do it. Go all in.

God Is The Comforter

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus(Philippians 4:6, 7 ESV)

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Don’t Beat Yourself Up

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. (Romans 5:3, 4 NLT)

I think it’s safe to say that all musicians make mistakes or mess up. Whether it’s during practice or in the middle of a live performance. We all screw up. Don’t beat yourself up.

I remember one time when I literally just wanted to throw my drumsticks and give up. My church’s worship band was practicing for our Christmas Service and there was one song I just could not get down.

The song was called First Snow and it was by Trans Siberian Orchestra. Now, for anyone that has heard of them. You know their songs are pretty complicated. Most of First Snow is pretty easy for me to play but the part that I could not get was the transition from the chorus to the verse. It was a weird time signature and I couldn’t figure out how to count it out.

I was getting pretty frustrated and at one point I threw my sticks on the ground and walked away. I had to cool down. While I was taking a break I felt like God was telling me to read Philippians 4:13. “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13 NLT)”

I had read that verse many times but I never really took it to heart. After reading it I felt this sense of peace and confidence. So I got back up on the drums and my first try I nailed the part.

After that I grabbed a sharpie and wrote Philippians 4:13 on my snare head. That way if I would get discouraged during the rest of practice or during the live performance I could look at it and know that God was in control. I didn’t screw up again even through the rest of practice or our live performance.

There have been times since then that I’ve needed to read that scripture. Sometimes I’d have a bad day at work or something just didn’t go as I planned. I’d sit down at my drums during practice or on Sunday morning and I would read that scripture and all my worries would disappear.

I had to rely on God to help me. That’s why when you screw up or mess up a part. Don’t get mad or discouraged. Give it up to God. Ask him to help you and to give you patience.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. (1 Peter 5:7 NLT)

If you’re struggling with a song or are a new musician just starting out. Remember, we ALL make mistakes. Practice makes perfect and with God’s help you can do ANYTHING.

Thanks for reading!

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Drummers: Use a metronome

I first started using a metronome about 2 years ago and at first I was completely against it. The thought of having something dinging in my ear for 30 minutes didn’t sound like fun.

The first time I ever used a metronome was for a song called God You Reign by Lincoln Brewster. It has a simple beat but you can speed up and slow down very easily with it.

Our guitar player who was also a drummer and my mentor urged me to use a metronome because he was more than likely sick of me speeding up and slowing down. It’s completely understandable.

It was definitely tough getting used to using one. I would stop it all the time because I would get off beat and get messed up. I would get really discouraged and frustrated. But like everything in life, you have to try and work hard to get good at it.

2 years later I would consider myself “advanced” in using a metronome. I don’t like to play without one. It just feels weird. I feel more “in the pocket” when I use one.

Some people say that it’s cheating or it’s for beginners but if you go to any professional concert. More than likely the band is using what is called a Click Track. It’s pretty much a metronome but it runs through the bands in-ears (glorified headphones)

Really the only way to successfully use a metronome live is to have some sort of in-ear system. I use a make-shift one but most churches nowadays use what’s called an AVIOM system.

If you don’t have an in-ear system then just practice with a metronome at home and at band practice. It might be annoying to your other band mates but they will appreciate it in the end.

I have noticed that when my band uses a metronome we sound better, we are more “in the pocket” and we flow better.

Using a metronome not only helps your band but it also helps you as a drummer. You will feel more confident, your beats will be tighter and you will play more smoothly.

If you’re looking for a cheap metronome I recommend the app Tempo by Frozen Ape. It’s an android/iPhone app. It’s $2 in the App Store and its definitely the best $2 I’ve ever spent. You can create playlists, change time signatures and BPM’s right on your iPhone or Android. It’s an all around great app for any musician.

You can find most BPM’s (Beats Per Minute) by simply looking it up on google or just tapping the tempo in on your metronome. Most metronome’s have what’s called a Tap Tempo button.

I hope that you find this blog post useful and start using a metronome! Remember, you won’t be a pro at it right away. It takes time to get used to it. So practice!

If you have any other questions concerning metronomes or in-ear systems you can leave a comment or find me on twitter.

@JoshEbersole (Twitter)

Also you can check out my video on YouTube on how to set up a cheap in-ear system. Easy in-ear setup

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more tips on worship and music.

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Introduction

Over the past few weeks I have really been feeling like God is telling me to start a blog. So, I started a blog.

I feel like God is telling me to share my knowledge of Worship and music with everyone.

Over the past 4 years I have had the privilege to serve with an amazing Worship band. I’ve learned so much and I am great full. Now it’s my turn to share what I know.

Here’s a little history about me. I’ve been playing drums for over 10 years and I have been playing in Worship bands for over 7 years. I’ve played in small church’s, big church’s, events, concerts and just jammed in my own house.

I’ve been taught many things about worship, drumming and music in general. I credit most of this to God but also to my worship leader and my good friend Josh N. who is also a drummer and worship leader.

I started playing drums at Lifepoint Church in Findlay, Ohio in 2009. I had left my previous church and never thought I’d play drums in a church again. Well, God had other ideas.

When I started I really didn’t know much about music or even drumming. I was an “alright” musician. I know for a fact that I could not keep a steady beat and I really didn’t have an open heart for criticism. Many times I got mad when someone would call me out and try and give me advice.

They may not have known it at the time but I got pretty mad at a few people. I look back now and think of how selfish I was. They were just trying to help me.

One of the most important things I have learned in 4 years is to take criticism with an open heart. I wouldn’t be the musician and Christ Follower that I am today without the help of my church and more specifically, my worship team.

Another thing that you have to understand is that ministry is a privilege. There were many times where I almost lost that privilege because of my immaturity. At the time I thought “who cares if I get kicked off the worship team. It would mean more time for paintball.”

I definitely regret saying that because like I said above. My church and Worship band helped change my life.

In the next few months I’ll go into more detail certain topics. I wanna share my knowledge of Worship and music with everybody. I’m definitely not the smartest person when it comes to Worship and music but I feel like what I know can help others.

I know that God can use me and I am coming into this with an open heart. I don’t know what all I will be covering but God will bring me the words to say.

Welcome to my blog and I hope you stick around!

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. (Hebrews 13:16 ESV)

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