No Pain, No Change, No Gain

The following entry is taken with permission from the People Matter Ministries blog, authored by Dr. Dan Erickson. I had the privilege of meeting Dr.Erickson this spring at a conference hosted by the Iron Sharpens Iron organization. You can read and subscribe to Dr. Erickson’s blog at

FRIDAY, APRIL 27, 2012

No pain, no change, no gain


When I was much younger I played in a variety of sports including baseball, football, basketball and wrestling. I didn’t have natural talent, so I had to work hard to find any success. I know all my coaches meant well, but what I hated most about practice was the constant challenge to move from what felt comfortable to what would bring out my potential. They wanted me to hurt.

They all said the same thing but in different ways:

  • “No pain, no gain!”
  • “It will hurt, but it will hurt so good!”
  • “Exchange short-term pain for long-term fame!”

In “The Problem of Pain,” C.S. Lewis wrote, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts to us in our pain; it is his megaphone to arouse a deaf world.”

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap (pain) to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down but what he did in fact was push me to my knees. No danger then of me walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift and begged God to remove it (my pain). Three times I did that and then he told me, ‘My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.’

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap (my pain) and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size – abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.”(2 Cor. 12:7-10, The Message)

When I started in ministry in 1973, I was fired from my first three churches. My college training had ill-equipped me for the challenges of serving on a church staff, trying to make ends meet and being the husband I needed to be. Everything seemed so hard and so painful. But the pain of my circumstances actually led me to a place where I understood that I needed to change and that I could not do it alone. Christ became my strength and began to lead me into a process that would transform my life and world. And this transformation is continuing to this day.

So like many before me, I have learned the hard way that pain is where your potential and destiny collide. You can’t move forward without it. Like my coaches, we can shout from the megaphone:

  • God allows pain in your lives according to your needs.
  • God is more concerned with what he is doing in you than with you and through you.
  • God knows if he can change your heart he can change your life and so your destiny.
  • God uses pain to transform you into the image of his Son, so don’t fight it when you should embrace it.

The facts are clear: If there is no pain there will probably be no change, and where there is no change there will be no eternal gain. Pain is the process God uses to transform us and so transform our world. It really does hurt so good!

Where do you need pain? Where do you need change? Don’t fight it, don’t flee from it, embrace it and imagine the possibilities!

Taken from

NCAA Football Week 3
Week 3 features some marquis matchups in the top 25

#18 Florida @ #23 Tennessee
The Gators have taken 7 straight from the Volunteers and UT has an opportunity to reverse the trend at home in Knoxville. The Vols have one of the best quarterbacks in college football in Tyler Bray, but the game will come down to just how much the running game has improved since last season. Florida’s Mike Gillislee has already accumulated 231 yards and 4 touchdowns on 38 games this season.
Florida – 27, Tennessee – 26

#2 USC @ #21 Stanford
What a honey of a game for each team’s Pac-12 openers. Neither team has played a strong group of opponents thus far, and both have struggled in a game against an inferior team. USC, behind Heisman candidate QB Matt Barkley, has shown to have the more potent offense, notching 91 points and 920 yards of offense, to Stanford’s 70 and 653. Stanford has the advantage of home field for Barkley’s first significant test.
USC – 41, Stanford 23

#20 Notre Dame @ #10 Michigan State
The Irish and Spartans will square off in this week’s top non-conference game. These teams match up very well, with both defenses allowing less than 14 points per game, and both offenses bringing a very good run/pass balance. The Irish may have to rely on defense and special teams, as the Spartans have not allowed on offensive touchdown so far.
Michigan State – 24, Notre Dame – 20

#1 Alabama @ Arkansas
Five days ago, this would have been the game to watch, both teams sitting in the top 10. However, Louisiana-Monroe’s Warhawks put a damper on that, taking out the Razorbacks on the road in overtime. Arkansas had play through three significant injuries in that game, one being the starting quarterback Tyler Wilson, the other two carted off the field on stretchers. The biggest thing to remember about games like Arkansas and ULM is that it is as never as bad for the losing team or as good for the winning team as it seems at the time. Wilson’s status is still unknown, but if he’s able to go, don’t count the Razorbacks out.
Alabama 30, Arkansas 27

Navy @ Penn State
These two proud programs have started the 2012 season in disappointing fashion. Navy dropped it’s only game of the early season 50-10 to Notre Dame in Dublin, Ireland, and we all know about Penn State’s struggles. If either team wants to turn it’s season around, this is where it will start. The Midshipmen and Lions match up well in terms of rushing and passing – as well as ball security. Navy turned the ball over 4 times versus Notre Dame, and Penn State recorded 3 turnovers against Ohio, and missed 4 field goal attempts against Virginia. Saturday’s result will depend on which team can take care of the ball.
Penn State – 20, Navy – 14

Middle Tennessee State @ Memphis
Not one of the big games this week, but it pits two teams who lost in week 1 to FCS oppenents, MTSU to McNeese State, Memphis to Tennessee-Martin. The Raiders won their Sun Belt conference opener against a weak FAU team in week 2, while the Tigers lost to defending Sun Belt champion Arkansas State. This is as close to must-win as you will find for a non-conference game in week 3.
MTSU – 37, Memphis – 27

Last Week’s Results: 3-2
Season Results: 3-2

NFL Football Week 2

Chicago @ Green Bay
The oldest rivalry in the NFL kicks off tonight, with the Packers coming off a disappointing loss to San Francisco, the Bears a big win over Indy. Both teams have capable quarterbacks, the advantage going to the Packers’ Aaron Rogers. The Bears, however, have a decided advantage in the running game: veteran Matt Forte rushed for 80 yards and a touchdown against the Colts, while the Packers were led by Rogers with 27 yards. And thus far, there is little sign of improvement from the Pack’s revamped secondary.
Bears – 24, Packers – 20

Detroit @ San Fransisco
Handshake Bowl II!!! With the Packers and Giants stumbling out of the gate, these are two teams with a chance to establish themselves as the team to beat in the NFC. This game features strength on strength between the 49er defense and the Lion offense. Look for another thriller, the winner likely to be whichever offense can take care of the ball.
49ers 33, Lions 31

New Orleans @ Carolina
Both teams in this NFC South matchup are coming off tough losses in week 1. Drew Brees and the Saints were upstaged by Washington rookie QB Robert Griffin III, while the Panther’s were done in by the Bucs with some costly 3rd-quarter mistakes. Neither team could run or stop the run, which sets up a battle between Brees and the Panthers’ Cam Newton.
Saints – 35, Panthers – 30

New York Jets @ Pittsburgh
Back in the preseason, no one would likely have given this game a second look. Now, with the Jets dropping 41 points last week against the Bills and the Steelers’ offense tied for #23 in the league, the game takes on a little more luster. The Steelers should be able to move the ball on New York, who allowed 195 rushing yards against Buffalo. We’ll have to wait and see if the Jets’ week 1 offense will be consistent of a one-week wonder.
Jets – 31, Steelers – 20

Last Week’s Results: N/A
Season Results: 0-0

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