Happy Monday 🙂 A friend of mine sent me an email today, and what it was about was so consistent with what I’m trying to do through this blog, I thought I’d pass it on to you. The blog post she emailed me was written by Dr. Daniel Amen, a well-known doctor specializing in brain health.
My friend told me about him several weeks ago, and I checked out a couple of his books from the library. I’m hoping to write a review on one of them in the next few weeks. Because his blog posting below is somewhat long, I won’t write too much more. Please send comments on what you think about what Dr. Amen wrote. Here’s the post:
While I was writing my new book and public television show, The Amen Solution: Use Your Brain to Get Thinner, Smarter and Happier, scheduled to come out in February, I went to our church with my family. I told my wife I would save us seats while she took our daughter to the children’s church.
As I was walked toward the sanctuary I passed hundreds of doughnuts for sale.
Then I walked by bacon and sausage cooking on a grill and started to feel really irritated.
Then I passed hundreds of hot dogs being prepared for after church.
As I sat down, the minister was talking about the ice cream festival they had the night before.
I was so frustrated that when my wife found me in church I was typing on my phone … and she gave me that look that only your wife can give you that said, “Why are you on that thing in church!?”
Then I showed her what I was writing:
“Go to church …. get doughnuts … bacon … sausage … hot dogs … ice cream … They have no idea they are sending people to heaven EARLY.
We need to help them become a brain healthy church.”
During that service, once my nervous system calmed down, I asked God to use me to help my church and others like it to be part of the solution to our national health epidemic, rather than part of the problem. I do not think it’s God’s plan to send us to heaven early!
Then, about 6 weeks ago I got a call from Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. Saddleback is one of America’s largest churches, with an attendance of up to 30,000 people a week. More importantly, they are connected to tens of thousands of churches around the globe.
Pastor Rick has invited me, along with esteemed physicians Mehmet Oz and Mark Hyman, to help his congregation improve their health. It’s all part of a project he calls the “Decade of Destiny”—an initiative to make the next 10 years the best years of his congregation’s life—emotionally, mentally, financially, spiritually, and physically.
Dr. Oz, Dr. Hyman, and I are working together to help Pastor Rick and the Saddleback Church members lose weight, get fit, and boost their brain health.
Pastor Rick knows how hard it is to lose weight. He’s had his own struggles with an expanding waistline. Like many of us, he was brought up in a family where the dining room table was the centerpiece of every family get-together.
At a recent weekend when Pastor Rick kicked off the Decade of Destiny, he said, “Every happy memory of my life growing up is connected to food. Every bad memory in my life is connected to food. Everything between those two extremes is connected to food.”
Can you relate? I’ll bet you can. And so can many of the thousands of members of Saddleback Church.
That’s why Pastor Rick has launched The Daniel Challenge, a customized program Dr. Oz, Dr. Hyman, and yours truly have teamed up to create to help him and his congregation to get thinner and healthier.
The Daniel Challenge
In the first chapter of the book of Daniel (Daniel 1:3-16), Daniel and his three friends, Shadrach, Meshach and of Abednego, along with other young men, were commanded to eat from the King’s kitchen of rich foods and wine. Daniel and his friends were determined not to defile themselves by eating the rich food and wine. He asked the chief of staff, Melzar, for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods. But Melzar implored Daniel to do as he was told, so that he, Melzar, would not be beheaded for going against the King’s orders because Daniel and his friends looked malnourished.
Daniel then gave him this challenge:
“Please test us for 10 days on a diet of vegetables and water. At the end of 10 days, see how we look compared to the other young men who are eating from the King’s food. Then make your decision in the light of what you see. Melzar agreed to Daniel’s challenge and tested them for 10 days. At the end of 10 days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who were eating the food assigned by the King. So after that Melzar fed them only vegetables instead of the food and wine provided for the others. God gave these four men an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom.”
Pastor Rick thinks we can all learn a lesson from Daniel. I do too.
In collaboration with the church we are working on developing a 52-week program. We plan on systematically studying our efforts, and hopefully demonstrating how a church-based project can change the health of its members and community. They have about 5,000 small groups that will have the opportunity of engaging in the program.
Pastor Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life has sold 30 million copies and he has enormous influence. I think this will be a very special project and we will help change many people’s lives by giving them the right motivation and information.
I am very excited to be part of this important project and will keep you updated on its progress.