F3 Knoxville

The Monsters Men Fear

THE SCENE:  65 and clear.  Perfect for an IPC beatdown.

Warmup OYO while we talk through the workout.


IPC Week 3




Me and 6 of the best men I know


I have a routine that I follow when I leave the house in the morning.  I make a cup of coffee, pack my lunch, grab my stuff, and I’m out the door.  In one hand, I have my duffel bag with a change of clothes and my lunch – in the other hand I have my morning coffee.  I leave through the back door, walk across the deck and down the steps, turn the corner around the house, and get into my car which is sitting in the driveway. That’s my routine…and it almost never changes.

A few weeks ago – on a Tuesday before F3 – my routine did change just a bit.  For a reason now long forgotten, I didn’t make coffee that morning.  That meant that I had something I almost never have when I leave the house – a free hand.  And I used that hand to do what I almost never do – shine my phone’s flashlight to light the dark path through the backyard and around to my car.  I remember having a sense that morning – a sense that I wanted to see within the darkness – like something was there that I needed to be on a high-state of readiness for.  A skunk? A raccoon?

I used my flashlight to shine across the deck, down the steps, across the yard, to my car.  Nothing…my instinct was clearly misfiring.  I turned off the flashlight, put my bag in the backseat, got into the front seat, and turned the key in the ignition.  Then, in the bright glow of the headlights, I saw…A PERSON STANDING IN FRONT OF MY CAR AND STARING AT ME.  For a moment, my blood froze, and I was stiff with the shock.  It quickly thawed when I realized that the wild-eyed pajamaed person was my 7-year old son.  He’d heard me leaving the house and ran out to say “goodbye” and “have a good day”.  Sweet kid – but he startled me half to death at five in the morning.

Driving to meet you guys for the workout that morning, I was reminded of a couple of things.  The first was a bit of scripture that I am working with that 7-year old to help him memorize; “2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.”  The second thought came from a book that I read him each night for a few weeks earlier this year, Sails of Capri.  In the book, the characters fear sailing their small ship into a cove which is said to be cursed.  Local myth was that man-eating sea monsters lived in a cave within that cove.  The reluctant adventurers finally sail into the cove and into the mouth of the cave, where they discover a breathtaking blue grotto (the real Grotto Azzura in Capri).  One of the main characters reflects about their adventure with these words, Most of the monsters men fear are in their minds.  They would vanish like smoke if we would only let them”. 

Let’s talk about monsters that we fear.  No – not bats, or snakes, or spiders…  Here are the five most common fears that men have.  

  1. Failing.
  2. Being Incompetent.
  3. Being Weak (or Being Perceived as Weak).
  4. Being Irrelevant.
  5. Looking Foolish.

I can relate to each of those.  When I’m being honest with myself, I’ll admit that those fears manifest in a facade of coolness or disinterest.  Ultimately, what those fears cost me is deep intimacy in relationships.  Why wouldn’t I be silly with my kids or dance with my wife?  Fear of looking foolish.  Why wouldn’t I lean in and be a better mentor of that younger man at work?  Fear of being irrelevant.  Why the heck do I find it so hard to consistently lead my wife spiritually?  Fear of being incompetent.  If you are like me, the irrational fears that you harbor are keeping you from enjoying your relationships to their fullest potential. 

Yet… “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” – Joseph Campbell.  When I do allow myself to be unguarded with close relationships, I find that the fear was all in my mind and that my loved ones delight in the most unguarded version of me (bad dance moves and all).  The closeness that I crave was there all along – masked by insecurities which ended up being paper monsters.

When I saw that apparition in the dark a few weeks ago, I was afraid.  Then it turned out to be my son, and I realized that there is nothing more precious to me than that figure standing in front of me (which I first feared).  Likewise – when you courageously step through your fears and experience healthy relational intimacy (which you thought was a monster) – it may, in fact, lead to something that you cherish deeply.

Most of the monsters men fear are in their minds.  They would vanish like smoke if we would only let them”.

Here’s 2 Timothy 1:7 again, this time from The Living Bible translation, “For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them.”

Be willing to let down your guard with those closest to you and experience relational intimacy.



Do it again this Friday at JUCO – Wanderer is hosting IPC Week 3, his VQ!

Hardship Hill

Protect Your Critical Infrastructure

THE SCENE:  72 and clear.  Perfect for an IPC beatdown.
 Warmup OYO while we talk through the workout.
MARY:  None
COUNT-OFF & NAME-O-RAMA:  23 of the best men I know


We remembered this morning, the 2,977 lives which were taken 19 years ago in New York City, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania.  That number incudes 343 firefighters and 60 police officers who worked desperately to evacuate 25,000 people from the World Trade Center buildings before they collapsed.  Those lost were not just our countrymen – citizens of 78 different nations died in those tragedies.  It was a solemn day for the world.

After we mourned our dead, our challenge was to learn and apply lessons from that tragic day.  The events of Sept 11 exposed vulnerabilities in the national systems which protect us.  The Department of Homeland Security was created and charged with preventing future terror attacks – and the FBI has cataloged at least 42 major domestic terrorist attacks which were prevented in the nineteen years since 9/11.  In February 2003, a year and a half after the Sept 11 attacks, the White House released a report titled, “The National Strategy for the Physical Protection of Critical Infrastructure and Key Assets”.  Airports, interstates, powerplants, bridges – can you imagine a nation without them?  No, they are critical infrastructure – and they are vulnerable.  After the crisis that we went through, federal leadership recognized that we must dramatically improve how we protect these important assets from disaster and sabotage.

Let’s talk an application to your life, a specific challenge to think about, and a plea…

  • The Application:  Think about your personal “critical infrastructure”.  I’m not talking about your house…  I’m talking about your mind, your heart, your eyes, and your mouth.  These are essential to your vitality.  Can you imagine your life without them?  No – and they are vulnerableWe must dramatically improve how we protect these important assets from disaster and sabotage.
  • The Challenge:  What do you need to do to better protect your critical infrastructure?  Which one of these resonates with you?  Maybe you’re like me and they ALL hit home…
    • Your Mind: Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things”.  What are you filling your mind with?  What do you think about day in and day out?  How do you allow your thoughts to persist – constructive or destructive?  What changes are needed for you to better protect your mind?   
    • Your Heart:  Proverbs 4:23 “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.”  What do you spend your energy, time, and treasure on?  What are you devoting yourself to?  Is that thing or cause worthy of your heart?    What changes are needed for you to better protect your heart?   
    • Your Eyes: Matthew 6:22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light”.  Do you feel full of light? What do you watch for leisure? Murder, adultery, pride – these are things that our God hates.  Are you consuming them as entertainment?  Do you gulp through your eyes fake pictures of fake naked women and fill your body with that counterfeit romance?  What changes are needed for you to better protect your eyes?   
    • Your Mouth: Proverbs 13:3 “Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin”.  Proverbs 15:4, “Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”  Do the words that come out of your mouth bring life and sweetness to a conversation?  Are you careful with your tongue – or do you wield that powerful weapon like a fool?  What changes are needed for you to better protect your mouth?   
  • The PleaDON’T WAIT UNTIL DISASTER HITS BEFORE YOU EVALUATE YOUR CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE AND MAKE THE NEEDED IMPROVEMENTS.  Don’t wait until you’ve been gut punched before you protect your mind, heart, eyes, and mouth.  Don’t wait until your marriage is falling apart before you finally admit that consuming pornography is mental adultery – and it has a very real and terrible impact on your relationship with the most important woman in your life.  Don’t wait until your kids are grown, gone, and want nothing to do with you before you realize that you were foolish with your tongue and that the destructive words you spoke over them brought death to that relationship. Don’t wait until you are laying on a bed one day breathing your last, to look back with regret and realize that you spent your thoughts and gave your heart to things which have no significance in eternity.

Evaluate your critical infrastructure and make the needed changes.  Break habits and start habits today.



Valley Church is launching this Sunday – 5:00 pm at HVA.  See Booster for details.

Dream Come True

THE SCENE:  67 and clear.  Perfect.
F3 WELCOME & DISCLAIMER:  Administered.


  • Reach for the sky!
  • Let it hang!
  • Abe Vigoda – IC x 8
  • Cherry pickers – IC x 8
  • Mountain climbers – IC x 8
  • E2K L/R – IC x 10


Mosey to the recruitment center.  Grab some CMUs and head to the cinema.

Stairway to Seven:  Perform all exercises then carry the CMU to the next line.  First line is 3 reps of each – each line increases the number of reps by 3 (e.g. 2nd line is 6 reps, 3rd line is 9 reps…7th line is 21 reps – total of 84 reps).

Exercises are;

  • Curls
  • Goblet Squats
  • Overhead presses
  • Jumpovers

Carry to the next line – increase rep count by 3….

Early finishers do some ab work.

At line 7:  Turn around and go back down the stairway – starting with 21 reps (each line decreases by 3 reps).

Exercises are;

  • Tricep extension
  • CMU Lunge
  • Upright row
  • Calf raises

Finished early to move on…

Mosey to the cinema steps for Diego

Partner 1 runs to the top of the stairs while Partner 2 does exercises.  Switchero.

  • 100 – Split Merkins
  • 150 – Overhead press
  • 200 – Heavy LBC
  • 250 – Curls
  • 300 – Squats w/ CMU




Me and 5 of the best men I know


“Dream come true”.  Have you ever said those words?  Maybe about a vacation? Or about working from home during the pandemic?  Or about fatherhood?  Or after a purchase that you’d anticipated for many years?

For my family, last Saturday was a day of dreams coming true.  For my sons’ entire young lives, they have desperately wanted a dog.  My reluctant wife finally relinquished, and we picked up our Bernese Mountain dog mix named “Rose”.  Romping through the house, chasing and being chased – for my sons, it is their dream come true.

My wife and I have a dream of one day traveling in an awesome RV – staying in national and state parks, seeing all the countryside that our beautiful nation has to offer, meeting people, exploring…that is a dream of ours.  On Saturday – the same day that we picked up our dog – we also made arrangements to buy a small travel trailer and a truck.  We took one small step toward our dream coming true.

In Genesis Chapter 28, we read about a strange dream.  Jacob, running from his homicidal brother and alone in the wilderness, laid down to sleep.  In his dream, he saw a stairway stretching from the earth to heaven and angels were ascending and descending on it.  At the top of the stairway stood God and He said to Jacob, (paraphrased) “I will give you this land.  Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth.”  When Jacob woke up, he did a couple of things.  First, he showed wonder, “What an awesome place this is!”  I can imagine him thinking – God, you’ve met me here in the wilderness when I thought I was abandoned and you showed me the blessing of my future – what a dream come true…  Then he took a stone and made a pillar to commemorate the dream.  Then he poured oil on the stone.  Finally, he made a vow to God.

I want to ask you to think about your dreams in two ways this morning.

First – what in your life is a dream come true?  What – if you didn’t have it – would be something that you’d say, “if only…that would be a dream come true”.  Maybe your health?  I know if I were terminally ill, I could hear myself saying, “If only I was healthy…that would be a dream come true”.  What is it for you?  Your marriage?  Your good job?  Whatever that thing, I’m challenging you to have fresh gratitude for it today.  Like Jacob after his dream, say “how awesome!” that you have this in your life.

Second – what is a dream that you have for the future?  What do you look out at and wish, “Dream, come true!”.  When Jacob woke from his dream, he set a stone.  Years later, he would return to that stone and build it into an altar – but that day, he set one stone.  What is one stone you can set – one thing you can do to advance toward your dream?  Jacob poured oil on the stone – a sacrifice, a financial investment.  What is one small thing you could do to invest in your dream?  Finally, he made a vow, a promise, he talked about his dream.  Maybe you can tell your dream to a trusted friend.  Words are powerful.  Speaking words out loud is powerful.  Telling a friend, speaking those words, seeking advice, making a plan – that is a step toward your dream.  Proverbs 15:22 “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.”  What dream can you look at and say, “Dream, come true”?  Take a small step toward making it happen.

Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no VISION, the people perish

Proverbs 20:5, “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.

“Vision without execution is delusion”.  Thomas Edison


Proverbs 16:9, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

What Judge Said

THE SCENE:  73 and clear.  Perfect.
F3 WELCOME & DISCLAIMER:  Administered.


  • Reach for the sky!
  • Let it hang!
  • LBAC F/B – IC x 8
  • Hillbillies – IC x 8
  • Abe Vigoda – IC x 8
  • Tempo squats – IC x 8
  • Knee Slap Merkins – IC x 10
  • Pickle Pounders – IC x 20
  • X and O
  • LBCs – IC x 20
  • Sleeping Hillbilly L/R – IC x 10
  • Hello Dolly – IC x 20
  • Projectivator from 15


Mosey to the curb for

Jelly Legs:
Hold Al Gore 30 sec, 30 Squats, Run, Repeat.
Hold Al Gore 20 sec, 20 Squats, Run, Repeat.


Jelly Arms:
Hold Merkin at 6inches 30sec, 30 Merkins, Run, Repeat.
Hold Merkin at 6inches 20 sec, 20 Merkins, Run, Repeat.


Totem Pole:
Perform exercises in descending order at indicated numbered reps (12-1), Run. Upon return do the same but eliminate the top exercise on the list.



Sprints:  1st place leads ab exercise after each sprint.  In subsequent rounds, 1st place finishers do three burpees before running.

Finish with a nice long set of pickle pounders.



19 HIMs and 4 2.0s



Today’s workout was a repeat of one that Judge Judy led last year on August 11.  He was signed up to lead today – most of you know that Judge planned to hand the flag off this morning to Spotter.  But he had to back out due to illness.  So, I picked up his Q – and, because Judge Judy is not here, I chose to do something that he would never tolerate if he were…I boasted on Todd Celeste, aka Judge Judy.

Todd started posting at F3 almost two years ago.  Within about a month he was leading Qs.  I was here in August of last year when Booster handed the flag to him.  To a man, everyone standing here thought or said, “oh yeah, he’s going to be good”.  Over the past year, he has challenged all of us physically, relationally, and spiritually.  He inspires the exhausted to push farther and harder than they thought they could.  He provokes the unwilling to jump in and lead a Q.  He prompts us to lead, and serve, and give to the community.  He encourages us to reject indifference and lean into our roles as a friend, father, and husband.  That dude has led this group very well.

One thing that I appreciate about Judge is how he shares during the Word.  He is open with his heart and his weaknesses, so that we might prevail where he struggles.  He speaks God’s Word over us and brings it alive with applications which are relevant to all of us.

Hebrews 13:7 “Remember your leaders who have spoken God’s word to you. Think about the impact of their lives and imitate their faith.”

I read seven things that I’ve heard Judge say while standing right here on this parking lot.  Remember…think about their impact…and imitate the faith that you’ve seen lived out right here;

  1. “Blessed are the Peacemakers for they shall be called children of God.”  Are you a Peacemaker? Or do you help stir dissent as I often find myself doing… Stirring dissent, whether it is engaging in gossip or complaining about someone, ruins your witness for Christ.”
  2. “Don’t give in to fear.  Be a slave to Grace instead, maintaining an eternal perspective on daily fears. Place everything with Christ and the hope we have in Him.”
  3. “Take the highroad when you receive harsh criticism undeservedly.  Follow what God says about these situations: rich in kindness, slow to anger. Then let Him work through you.”
  4. “What kind of leader are you? Do you go home after a long day and expect to be served? Or are you serving?”
  5. “Leadership sometimes can be a simple act – you don’t need words.”
  6. “The life not wasted is one focused on lovingly serving others in a way that magnifies God’s glory.  Let that be our daily, even hourly, focus.”
  7. “…consider your words wisely, use them to build others up”

That’s solid gold!  I am thankful for the man that Todd is and the leader that he has been for this group.


I closed with a thought about leadership that I think reflects Judge’s style.  As you lead in your own circumstances (as a father, husband, boss, mentor…) consider this; a leader leads, he doesn’t just point the way.  Actions speak louder than words.  If you want those in your sphere of influence to remember, think about your impact, and imitate youdo, don’t just say, and work to be worthy of imitation. 

Hebrews 13:7 “Remember your leaders who have spoken God’s word to you. Think about the impact of their lives and imitate their faith.”


Prayers for MC Hammer and Sty’s friend, Jeff.

Spotter will get the flag and be our AOQ soon – that dude is going to be good!

Custom Fit

THE SCENE: 68 and clear.  Perfect.
F3 WELCOME & DISCLAIMER:  Administered

  • Moroccan nightclubs (for our boy, Erector) – IC x 8
  • Cherry pickers – IC x 8
  • Ranger merkins – IC x 8
  • Mountain climbers – IC x 8
  • X and O


Mosey, sprint, and bear crawl our way to “The Half-Pipe” (two sets of 15 steps that face each other).

Perform exercise at the top of staircase 1, run down, across, and up staircase 2.  Perform the same exercise at the top of staircase 2, run down, across, and up staircase 1.  That’s one round – repeat with the following;

  • 20 Bobby Hurleys
  • 20 Flutter Kicks 4-ct
  • 20 Ranger Merkins
  • 20 Mountain Climbers 4-ct
  • 20 Lunges
  • 20 Hello Dolly 4-ct
  • 20 Carolina Dry Docks
  • 20 LBCs

Mosey, sprint, and bear crawl our way back…


  • Freddy Mercury IC x 20
  • Hello dolly IC x 20
  • Sleeping hillbilly L&R IC x 10
  • Jailbreak!


SEVEN:  5 HIMs and 2 2.0s


Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4

Many of you have heard me talk about a sad time that our family recently went through.  My wife was 10 weeks pregnant and we lost the baby.  I’ve spoken before about the grief that followed – but this morning, I want to commemorate one part of that season which impacted me in a positive way.

We got the bad news from the OBGYN on Monday, May 18th.  We heard that the pregnancy was not viable and that a miscarriage would happen after some time – that might be days or weeks.  It occurred on the day which we’d dreaded most – May 20th, which was also the 4th birthday of our youngest son.  So instead of joyfully celebrating him, our family was devastated, and my wife spent that day in agony.

In that terrible moment… Mailbox’s wife (S.O.S’s mom) texted my wife to check on her.  Knowing our situation, his wife asked this unexpected and deeply moving question, “can we come decorate your home for your 4-year-old’s birthday?”  The family brought balloons, streamers, and homemade signs – they made our living room look awesome.  They brought Chick-fil-a for lunch, gave him a personalized tee-shirt, sang Happy Birthday, and had him blow out a candle on a cookie.  They brought all of our kids to the park for a play date…. For our 4-year old, it was a good birthday.

They came to meet a need that we didn’t even know we had.  They came to make our son’s birthday special, when we could not even think about it.  I will remember their kindness for the rest of my life.  We were so moved by this gesture (I tear up writing about it almost 3 months later) because it was incredibly thoughtful and tailored specifically to our need.  

That action has inspired me to seek out opportunities to meet the needs of others in a way that is customized to their need.  I’ve challenged myself to not only offer those around me, “if there’s anything I can do, just ask…” – but rather to look deeper into their situations and offer something specific.

Takeaway:  Search for opportunities to serve others in a way which is customized to their circumstances – and offer them specific, not general, support in their time of need. 

You’ll need to be observant and thoughtful.  What’s more, you’ll need to be creative to identify the needs of others that they may not even realize they have.  Are you up to that challenge?

Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4



  • The Word was inspired by Mailbox’s awesome crew; C, K, C (S.O.S.), and K – you guys are so thoughtful and special! T-Claps! T-Claps! T-Claps!
  • Prayers for Erector’s family
  • Speedy and full recovery, Rocket!  See you in the gloom again soon, brother!
  • Where on earth has Samaritan been?