Tag Archives: failure

Do We Need a Bigger Boat?

 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.  And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, it is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.  But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.  And he said, Come.  And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.  But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.  And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?  Matthew 14:24-31

Isn’t it amazing how far God will lead us if we are willing?!  In my previous post, we can imagine Peter launching out into the deep almost as a kind gesture.  “Okay, I’ll do it, but I’m telling you we’re not going to catch anything.”  He was not only willing to fail, but probably expecting it just to appease Jesus’ request and prove he knew what he was talking about.  It was the obedience we discussed earlier with little faith to speak of.

Now we see a very different Peter who is still willing to fail, but this time he is willing to fail with a faith few have ever possessed. 

In both cases he found himself in the midst of the sea.  In both cases there were people watching.  But now it didn’t matter.  He was willing to do something no one had done before; something that couldn’t be done just to be where Jesus was.  We don’t know how far Peter got.  To be honest, it doesn’t matter.  If only for a moment, Peter proved to everyone on that boat at God’s command, if we keep our eyes on Him, He will do things through us and with us that can’t be done.  But we have to be willing to get out of the boat.

I could tell you that I have spent most of my life on the boat, but that would be a lie.  Most of my life has been spent on the dock watching the boat go by.  Getting past what people thought just to get on the boat was a big step.  But I have seen God’s power.  At times I have felt His love and Spirit consume me.  I have wept at the thought of what He has done for me.  And now it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks or says; I don’t care if I fail.

I want to get off the boat and be where Jesus is.  How ‘bout you?

Article by C.S. Depew

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If You’re Not Growing, You’re Dying…Really?

You’ve heard it a hundred times – if you’re not growing, you’re dying. And if this statement ever was true, it is simply no longer reality. Life IS about growth, but it’s not ALL about growth.

This post is part of the series – What Ever Happened to Personal Responsibility?
Would You Return to Your Organization?
If You’re Not Growing, You’re Dying…Really?
Leaders are the Most Creative People on the Planet
Great Leaders Serve
Is Fear Taking Over?

I’m passionate about growth. I’ve written much about planningvision, and growth. For much of my life, anything short of growth I considered failure…until few weeks ago.

In a recent post, Chris Patton included a simple phrase that caught my attention – life is not all about prosperity.

Just a few hours before reading the post my wife and I had engaged in an emotional discussion about her moving forward with some decisions she needed to make. (I know what you’re thinking – but it was in a restaurant, so it wasn’t too lively.)

Sarah is steady, supportive, consistent. I am creative, innovative, impulsive. So I questioned whether Sarah was putting off some decisions because she was waiting for circumstances to improve. Or because she was hoping for more certainty.

After reading Chris’ post, I found myself questioning MY perspective – is life all about growth?

Here are three things I noted about growth from this experience –

1. Growth comes in many shapes and sizes

Reflecting on my conversation with Sarah, I realized that she IS experiencing growth. Among other areas, she is growing in patience – with her circumstances and with me.

Growth is not always bigger. It’s not always quantitative – measured the way you or I think it should be measured.

Here’s a great question for determining whether or not you are experiencing growth – Are my current situation and my resulting behaviors adding value to my life and work or to the life and work of others?

2. You can grow through pain

From a long-term perspective, maybe the old adage is true – If you’re not growing, you’re dying. Let’s face it – in a world of constant and rapid change, maintaining the status quo is quite simply passive regression.

But, on the surface, constant growth just doesn’t seem possible. Life is about dormancy, setbacks, and pain. It’s about disease, loss, and grief. It’s about uncertainty and unknowns – challenging projects at work, strained relations at home, in between jobs, waiting for word from the doctor, mounting medical bills.

And while it seems that life is about more than growth – life’s incredibly uncomfortable moments are, in reality, opportunities for explosive personal growth.

3. You don’t have to prolong the pause

It’s true – life is full of difficult moments. But it’s also filled with hope. With vision. With dreams. With legacy.

Life isn’t all about prosperity, but it can be about growth. If you are going to grow it will have to be on purpose. You must choose.

So whatever you’re going through, deal with it intentionally. Process it. Get help. Don’t prolong the pain any more than is absolutely necessary.

Decide right now – What one step can I take today toward closing this chapter in my life and opening a new chapter?

Life is a series of new beginnings – and today is the beginning of the rest of your life. Make it a great one!

So, is it true – am I dying if I’m not growing? What have you learned about growth? Leave a comment – let us know what you think.

Article by Michael Nichols

@michaelenichols

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When God Goes Silent

There is absolutely NOTHING that creates a greater sense of despair and hopelessness than feeling that God has quit listening or speaking to you. Everyone has felt it — and if we were to be honest, most people LIVE with that feeling. Is that what God wants?  How can that be possible when Hebrews 13:5, which is referencing Joshua 1:5, says, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee….”?  Was He lying? Does He take pleasure in seeing His children squirm, hurt, and cry? The Psalmist asked that exact same question in Psalm 102:1-2

1  Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my cry come unto thee. 2  Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily.

Again, look what David said in Psalm 55:6-7 … He wished he could sprout wings and just leave all of his problems:

 And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.  Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah.

Depression sometimes got so bad for some in the Bible that they wanted to just die right there. Look at the cries of Jonah and Job:

Jonah 4:3  – Therefore now, O Lord, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.

Job 3:11 – Why died I not from the womb? why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly?

In all actuality, very little is said as to what goes through the mind of God when He does place Himself on “Mute” in our lives. In my studies and own experiences, I feel that the reality of the situation is this: WE are the ones who pressed the “Mute” button — we just didn’t realize it! It is not an act of defiance against our Creator, but rather it just happens — Has anyone accidentally rolled over and pressed a button on the remote? IT’S THAT SIMPLE — Most of the time, when God is Silent, we simply need to find the “remote” and get to enjoying life again… Look at an example of this in the life of Elijah the Prophet from 1 Kings 19.

1  And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. 2  Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time. 3  And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beer–sheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. 4  But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.

1. You Are Not Alone

The GREATEST heroes of Faith and Men of God suffered great depression and even wished for death! During times of “silence” and depression, never give in to the lie that you are just a poor Christian and no one else suffers. Just one chapter earlier, Elijah had called down fire from Heaven! That just goes to show that anyone, at anytime,  can fall into a “spiritual funk” if you will. Since we all experience seasons of “silence” at times, WHY does it happen at all? Point 2 …

2. It is hard to ACCEPT that which you do not UNDERSTAND

After the battle against Baal in the previous chapter, Elijah was confident that he was God’s man. He was on the “Mountain Top” spiritually, so to speak. What happened next no doubt took him by surprise: an execution order from Queen Jezebel! Certainly Elijah pondered about how this could be happening. When he didn’t have the answer HE RAN; unable to accept or understand this next chapter in his life.

Our “Execution Order” can come in variety of ways: Job Layoffs, Financial Turmoil, Family Issues, Illness, Loss of Loved Ones — The list goes on and on. When whatever the given situation hits, and we realize that it is BIGGER THAN US, we roll away from God. It is at that moment, that we accidentallyhit “mute” on God. I sometimes call it the “Recoil Effect” … A quick, knee-jerk reaction AWAY from who apparently “caused the pain”.

3. Routes of DELIVERANCE always open after our DEEPEST DISCOURAGEMENTS

The toughest part of an “escape route” is realizing that it actually is one…

 And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. 6  And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. 7  And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.

Before God showed up to answer Elijah, He sent an angel. It would be 40 EXCRUCIATING DAYS before Elijah would have a one-on-one conversation with God. During the “Silent” mode, God knows that He is on “Mute” and wants to help. However, the help He sends often isn’t what we are looking for.  At times our “Angel” sent to refocus us may be a loving spouse. Other times it may be an event, an opportunity, a sermon, a visit … Whatever it is, it’s not the “answer” to our problem and we  far too often reject it. That is why the Angel came TWICE; because Elijah didn’t get it. He told Elijah in a sense, “Hey, I’m here to help … Eat and get yourself together!” It was the Angel that was sent that got Elijah to realize that he needed to get to God!

8  And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.  And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?

4. FAILURE to FULLY rebound will FORFEIT God’s perfect plan for your FUTURE

Around our church I sometimes preface a point or principle as being an “IMO” or “In My Opinion”. This point would fall into that category because it is a little controversial. It seems that whenever you deal with GOD WILL, people get real defensive on what it all entails.

Elijah gets his audience with God and pours out his heart. He was upset that he felt like he was the only one trying to do right and serve God. In an amazing display of power, God sends a strong wind. Next, He follows it up with an earthquake, fire, and the “Still Small Voice”. After that display, God asks Elijah the same question He had asked earlier:

13  And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?

Elijah, after an amazing display from God, had left Him on MUTE! Nothing had changed in his answer … And IN MY OPINION, Elijah turned in his “two weeks notice” as the Prophet of God. He was unable to shake the discouragement! IMMEDIATELY after that exchange, look what God commands:

15  And the Lord said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: 16  And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel–meholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room.

With the exception of calling down fire one last time before he is taken to Heaven, Elijah performed no more miracles. With the exception of confronting Ahab over Naboth’s death, Elijah prophesied no more. There would even be an “unnamed” prophet doing Elijah’s work before turning the show over to Elisha.

We all have down times and dark days. There are times when we question whether God is listening at all. Just remember, God IS LISTENING — and the reason we can’t hear Him, is simply because we don’t want to…

Give ear, O Lord, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me. – Psalm 86:6-7

Article by Kevin Crozier

@kevcrozier

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Fall Seven, Rise Eight

You are only a failure when the number of times you have fallen is greater than the number of times that you have gotten up…

Back when the Miami Heat was a real basketball team and not the spectacle it is today, Dwayne Wade was considered the best player in the league. After winning the NBA title in 2006, he got a TON of endorsements. One of which was his own pair of shoes from Converse known as “The Wade” — Real original right? — What I liked however was the slogan for his shoe. Real simple, but real catchy: “Fall Seven, Rise Eight”

Although it can be applied to basketball, that slogan is an actual Biblical principle from the book of Proverbs:

For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief. – Proverbs 24:16

What King Solomon is telling us in this passage is not only profound, it is also ENCOURAGING!  Everyone falls down and has heart ache, it’s just a part of life. However, it’s what you do while you are down that makes or breaks you as an individual. We have a natural impulse to stay down when we do fall. In our mind, it is easier to stay down and not take the risk of falling again when you finally got up. I say that ANYONE can fall … but it takes a strong person to stand up, look their adversary, addiction, depression, or fault in the eye and press forward!

Staying down only further damages you. It does not let you heal. You heal by working through it and gaining confidence each day to overcome! As you have seen on Animal Planet, the Lion never goes after the running gazelle, it goes after the one that is weak, fallen, and hurt. If you do not pull yourself up, Satan will get to you and ENSURE that you never get back up:

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: – 1 Peter 5:8

Is it embarrassing to fall? Of course, but we all do it. And as we looked at earlier, it’s an even bigger embarrassment to not get back up.

 

Article by Kevin Crozier

@kevcrozier

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Regrets

Regrets. Failure accumulates as the years roll by and what grows with it? Regrets. You know, those things no one knows. Or even worse, those things that someone well knows. Those things for which we grab the eraser only to find you didn’t write it with pencil but the strongest ink.  How are you and I to deal with regrets?

Paul had regrets. You can sense at various places in the Epistles that they had the potential to haunt him were it not for the fact that he had learned some things about dealing with them. Take for example, Philippians 3. He begins the chapter rejoicing and speaks with passion about a life of serving Jesus Christ. By verse 10 he reduces the focus of his life to the simple idea of intimately knowing Jesus Christ. As he continued it was mingled with reflection. As said before, things that he didn’t really like to think about rushed again into his mind like a wave races across the sand on the seashore.

In verse 12, though a great man, he let us in on the cold hard facts of his existence. He had not “already attained”, which is like saying he hadn’t fully arrived. Nor was he “already perfect”, which is not so much perfection as it is to be complete in his maturity. He was saying, “I’m not finished yet. I’m still a work in progress.”

Then he said “But I follow after”. Compare that to “press forward” in verse 14 since it is the same idea.  In verse 13 he confesses he doesn’t understand everything, but he has one thing down pat. It turns out to be the secret to getting beyond regret.

It’s rather simple:

1. Forget. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin including the very guilt of it that so fuels our regrets.

2. Press on. The meaning is not stroll on down the road, but a vigorous and speedy travel. Reach forth for those things that are higher, higher than the living you did in forming your regrets. It’s the “high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

As you press on and reach up remember that the One Who called you to this higher call is the One Who best knows, even in vivid color and detail, the things you did that made for regrets. If He knows and calls you still to live for Him, why can’t you go on past regrets today? Let’s take Paul’s secret and use the transforming power of Jesus Christ!

Article by Jimmy Reagan

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