Casio Jones has a passion for the Lord that spills into every part of his life. He is a body builder and founder/owner of three businesses that seamlessly flow from his relationship with the Lord. In each of his enterprises, his mission is to communicate the gospel.
CQ: Casio, how did you become a body builder and get into the health and fitness business?
CJ: My mother was always the health and temperance person when I was growing up. She taught me about vitamins and herbs. I always had healthy food, even though I didn’t want it. I was the kid who always brought the healthy lunch to school with the whole grain bread and raisins. I would throw it in my locker because I wanted to be like everyone else.
I especially became interested in weight training when I was in high school. I was a scrawny kid. A good friend of mine was the quarterback of our football team and he received a football scholarship to Nebraska State. One day when we were messing around, he had me pinned down and acted like he was going to spit in my face. I couldn’t move, and I felt so inadequate. I determined then that never again would I be so vulnerable. The next semester, I took weight training in gym class. Ever since then, I’ve been in love with weight training. After high school and a stint in the military, I went to the University of South Florida and got my degree in exercise science. From there, the Lord opened the doors for me to have a job in a corporate [wellness] environment. All along the way, He kept opening doors.
CQ: What event or series of events made you decide to open your own health and fitness business?
CJ: There I was in the corporate environment, and people were coming to me for help with an exercise program. And as they talked to me, I realized they weren’t just telling me about their eating and lifestyle habits; they were talking about stress and emotional and spiritual issues. Then I realized I wasn’t just talking to them about exercise and diet; I was witnessing to people.
So I prayed, “OK, Lord, I see what You’re doing here.” Then, my employers challenged me on Sabbath issues. The corporation wanted me there on Sabbaths, and I didn’t want to be there. So I said, “OK, it’s time for me to go.”
I asked God to open doors for me if He wanted me to minister to people. Very soon after that, I was opening the doors of my own business—Body Jones Health and Fitness Services—in an exclusive area of South Tampa, Florida. I opened with one client.
CQ: It must have taken real faith and courage to believe you could meet the monthly rent payments if you had only one client to start with!
CJ: My mom told me, “Pay your tithe and keep your Sabbath.” Six years later, we’re still open. We’ve never missed a rent payment or a mortgage payment, and the Lord has always been there.
Also, the Lord opened the doors for me to have an exercise program on television. I’m the fitness guru for Channel 10, a CBS station in Tampa. I’ve been their guy for the past four and a half years. I’m on television every week.
God continues to bless us. I have a beautiful wife and two children. We own our home. And I’m able to use my business as a testimony. We aren’t afraid in our business to tell people about the Lord because you cannot do anything in this world without Him. So people come to Body Jones because they want to improve their well-being. We like to say, “Don’t leave your well-being up to chance; you must take action.” One of our favorite taglines is “Action is a pre for life.” Everything in life takes action. Without action nothing happens—good or bad. Action must come first!
CQ: You really do have a “holistic” message—and not in the new-age way!
CJ: Yes. Sometimes my clients will say to me, “You know what, Casio, you’re the closest thing we have to Jesus,” because they don’t go to church.
We also started Body Jones Wellness Ministry in 2001. My mother died from diabetes in 2001, and what hit me was that I’m realizing that we have a health message, yet brothers and sisters still have cancer. They still have hypertension and all sorts of diseases that often are the direct results of their lifestyle choices. As Adventists, we believe in being vegetarian. But that doesn’t mean we eat healthy foods. At potlucks, half the buffet table is lined with desserts and processed foods.
Not everybody can afford my services, and there is a need for proper information. So I tookknowledge and ministry to the streets to teach people about practical exercise and healthful living. I’ll speak about nutrition and health anywhere people invite me.
CQ: How do you use our health message to teach people about practical health?
CJ: Our health ministry fills in a gap that needs to be filled: the vegetarian cooking; the healthy herbs; and how you eat; and how to cleanse your system—that’s already offered by many ministries. We bring in another dimension, because we understand training and exercise. We teach people how to go from A to B. Once you understand that, you’re empowered, you want to exercise, because you know how.
CQ: I know you’re also excited about another ministry you’ve started. Tell us about that.
CJ: “1 Hope 4 All” (www.1hope4all.com) is an Internet community for Adventists that was a vision given to me about three and a half years ago. I woke up one morning and searched on the Internet for an Adventist community. There were a lot of different Christian sites, and as I went to them, I noticed that they had Adventist communities. But the problem I saw there was that many people were there just to bash us. So the concept was to create the ultimate church site online.
Through a mutual friend, I met someone to help me with my Internet dream. Mario Pino is an Adventist, who as it turned out, is also the vice president of Endavo. Endavo is a platform used to deliver video to the end user. Mario always had a dream to use his technical skills for the church. During our telephone conversation, “1Hope 4 All” became a reality.
CQ: What does this mean for the subscriber to “1 Hope 4 All?”
CJ: Imagine MySpace.com combined with video delivery. We have the ability to deliver DVD-quality video to the desktops of members of our community. As a denomination, we create thousands of hours of content each week. Our churches around the world are recording their pastor’s sermons, special musical or mission events, seminars, and so on. But the problem is, all of that great material cannot be easily accessed by all our members. There are plenty of excellent resources created by the church and by supporting ministries that don’t always make it to the individual church member or to the broadest audience of Adventists.
With our technology, we have the ability to bring in the content from all over to one central location and then deliver it to the individual user in a way that has not been done before. Subscribers to “1 Hope 4 All” won’t have to wait for their church or conference to clue them in to all the ministries and resources available in our church. They can access these resources directly through our Web site.
CQ: How will the interactive part of your community work?
CJ: When a member joins “1 Hope 4 All,” they are registered to the community side where they will receive an email address. Subscribers will be able to post their photos, and they will have the option for a personal directory and a business. We will have a business directory called “Recycling God’s Money” where Adventist business owners can advertise their services, and members will have the choice of giving their business to fellow Adventists. Given a choice, we all like to give our business to people we know and trust.
CQ: Is there a membership fee to join “1 Hope 4 All?”
CJ: The cost is $48.00 per year, and that includes up to 60 hours of Adventist content to your computer each month. The community side is free. The fee is just if you want to access all the videos available from our Web site.
CQ: You obviously have poured yourself into this Web site ministry. What was the guiding passion behind it?
CJ: I really care about seeing young people finding a relationship with Christ. The whole site is really designed to reach young people between 18–35 years of age. We are losing the battle for this generation. Lucifer is beating us. And, it’s not just in Adventist churches. It’s in every church. I believe that if we want to reach this age group, we have to be on the Internet, because that’s where they are.
They need to understand that they are children of God. They need to know they can have a relationship with Christ and that this relationship extends into our community and changes our community.
We need to do everything we can for them while they’re young. I hear people in our church say, “Get the young people to evangelize.” But how can you get them to evangelize if they don’t really know Jesus?
I will use whatever means I can to help our young people find Christ. I envision Christ as the Shepherd climbing over rocks reaching down into a deep crevice with any tool He can to get that one lamb. Our mission doesn’t have to change, but our delivery can change. We need to adjust our delivery so we are using the right tools to save our young adult, because what we’ve been doing isn’t working.
CQ: Where does all that passion come from, Casio?CJ: I know Jesus. I know what He’s done for me, and that’s awesome!
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