It's not part of the Genesis account, but I understand from at least one (questionable!) source that Adam's words to Eve as they left Eden were these: "Darling, I perceive we are living through a time of radical change."

Okay. Even if one of the original pair didn't say it to the other, it was true nonetheless. And it has been true ever since. The one thing that doesn't change is that everything is always changing. Papyrus yields to computer, donkey to jumbo jet, garlic around your neck to penicillin — these changes in how we communicate, travel, and treat disease are known to all of us. Most of us are smart enough to be thankful to live on this side of all those discoveries.

Yes, there have been some not-so-positive changes for which some of us are not so grateful. Families seem less stable. A what's-in-it-for-me attitude appears to push aside concern for the common good. And, while people have always done evil things, they seem to be done not only on a grander scale but also with little sense of conscience or remorse about the consequences.

Change, however, is the rule of life. We are grateful for some changes and are quick to adopt them. Others upset us, and we try to figure out how to hold back the tide of negative change. The one thing nobody can do is ignore it. Pretend it doesn't happen. Think her or his life will be unaffected by it.

Whether you own a business, build widgets, teach third grade, perform brain surgery, greet customers at Sell-A-Lot, or have been unemployed for 16 months, you can't put your life on automatic pilot. Doing what you've always done in the ways you've always done it is likely a straight path to irrelevance and failure.

Ever hear someone talk about "reinventing yourself"? Did you laugh at it? You'd be much wiser to take it seriously.

Reinventing oneself is simply learning, growing, and adapting. On the one hand, you must identify the values and life-commitments that are non-negotiable for you; these are the things for which you will "take a bullet" — honesty, keeping your word, family and friends, etc. On the other hand, you test the waters of change to find out what customers need, what is hurting your family, or what is holding back your church; then you take immediate steps to change some things.

General Eric Shinseki put it this way: "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less." And the Bible's call to change is heard repeatedly. Scripture puts it this way: "Repent. Or you will miss the kingdom of God."

Jesus made it clear that it was the essential move of anyone who would follow him:

"The right time is now here. God's kingdom is near. Change your hearts and lives, and believe the Good News!" (Mark 1:15 ERV).

Resources for Further Thought and Reflection

Long-time friend of, Gary Skidmore, has a very good blog post about the importance of change and innovation and its importance for leaders, especially those who lead in the marketplace. We believe it is a great companion piece to Rubel's article today. Check it out here: The Kodak Moment ... Up for Sale.

For a group leadership exercise, why not sit down and brainstorm with your team or small group things we recognize as being more valuable after change. Here's a few examples to get you started:

  • Seed to plant or tree
  • "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less."
  • Caterpillar to butterfly
  • Crawling to walking
  • Dead plants to compost

What is the difference between change and transformation?

What do these passages have to say about change and its value to us as followers of Jesus?

  • Matthew 18:3
  • 1 Corinthians 15:50-54
  • 2 Corinthians 2:17-18
  • 1 Corinthians 4:16-18

The "Easy to Read Version" of the Bible is written to be understood by those who do not have English as their primary language and for those who have not read the Bible or been around religious terminology. It translates the word "repent" with the phrase "change your heart and life": How does this better capture the true meaning of repentance and what is required of all of us as we seek to live for Jesus in a changing world?