Change Is Pain for the Brain

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 3.50.19 PMWe’re all for change…as long as we don’t have to change. While people are all for the idea of change, it’s the actual change part that we have issues with.

Now, there’s scientific explanation as to why that is.

John Medina has been studying how the brain works. In his book, “Brain Rules” he tells us that when people are hooked up to machines to record how the brain is functioning, a change event looks identical to a pain event. As far as the brain is concerned, change is pain for the brain.

That’s why every smoker knows that smoking is bad for them. But they have a difficult time quitting because change is pain for the brain.

I know that I need to lose about 25 pounds. And yet those 25 pounds are so difficult to lose because I like food. Change is pain for the brain.

What is true for individuals is also true for institutions and churches. Whenever change is necessary for the church, it is imperative that leaders understand that what they are doing is creating a pain event. That’s why churches and institutions know they need to change but have such difficulty actually changing.

The only way people change is when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of changing.

When leading change, it is absolutely vital that leaders advocate for and articulate not only for the change, but why staying the same is unacceptable and undesirable. In fact, a leader will have to convince folks staying the same would be even more painful than changing.

Change can happen, but if you are leading change, remember this simple rule: change is pain for the brain. Articulate both why the change is necessary, why staying the same is unacceptable, and why staying the same would be way more painful than changing.


Problem People and People with Problems

Every church has them.

Every church, every time she gathers, is filled with people with problems and problem people.

They are not the same people.

People with problems are people who are hurting, searching, and needing guidance. People with problems are needing God to show up through the church to comfort, heal, correct, nurture, and to love them.

Problem people, on the other hand, are a totally different breed. Problem people really don’t want to solve their problems. They are not seeking guidance or direction. They are not seeking God’s correction. They are seeking attention.

Guess which one of these two are louder? People with problems rarely want to share their problems with others. And too often, they are hurting in isolation. Problem people? They thrive on attention and sympathy by telling as many people as possible. They will schedule meeting after meeting with the pastoral staff, leaders, anyone who is willing to listen and give them the time and attention they so seek.

The leadership task is in having the wisdom to distinguish between the two. How we deal with the two are different. But in the end, both people with problems and problem people need God to show up to heal them. The reason why we act and behave the way we do is because we are all hurting, seeking, and needing guidance and correction.

May God use you and your church to bring healing and wholeness to the people God has put you in charge over.


All is Meaningless —– If You Don’t Know Jesus

All is meaningless…

I get that.

I just returned from visiting with my uncle in South Korea who is dying of throat cancer. He has been battling the disease for a couple of years and the disease is getting the better of him. This once vibrant, strong man is literally half the man he used to be. He has a tube in his throat so he can breath, and a tube to his stomach so he can eat.

My uncle is a good man. He is a good husband and a good father. He is also a wealthy man. My grandfather left a sizable inheritance to all his children.

He has everything that a man could want.

Yet, as I spent time with him while cancer is destroying his body, I couldn’t help but wonder how non-Christians deal with the most important questions: the questions of life and death.

If this is all there is to life, this existence, this life…if this is all there is…all is truly meaningless.

If this is the end…if there is nothing more after my uncle finally loses his battle against cancer, then all this – his wealth, his life, his current suffering, his current struggle to fight against cancer – all this is absolutely pointless.

There is one more thing about my uncle who is dying of cancer…he’s also a Christian. He has no doubt about where he will be once he draws his last breath. He knows that he is merely passing through in this earthly life. Whether the cancer gets him now or later – this is not his home. He is created for eternity.

The aim of his life is to bring glory and honor to God in all that he does, all that he has, and all that is strives for…even his dying. It’s all for the glory of God.

I really feel bad for those who don’t know Christ as Lord and Savior. I don’t know how people can cope with death if earthly life is all they know.

But that’s just the thing. You too can trust in Jesus. You too can become a child of God by receiving Jesus as your Lord and Savior by confessing that you are a sinner in need of God’s grace and receive God’s gift of forgiveness and eternal life.

What’s there to lose. If I am wrong about the whole Jesus thing, you still end up living a good life. But if you are wrong about the whole Jesus thing, you will end up losing everything.

All is truly meaningless…if you don’t know Jesus.