Sunday, February 5, 2012

Lessons in Leadership Part 11( Failure)

As human beings we don't deal with failure too well. We don't even like the word spoken around us. For some it has a lot to do with their upbringing. For others, it has to do with the western mentality of being driven and succeeding at any cost.  Western Christianity teaches us that if a church is not growing or not in a building then it is a failure. It also teaches that a pastor is only successful if he has a large crowd following him. Many churches have the desire to become the next Mega-church. It is their goal and personal drive. All of this is foolishness before the Lord and not from Him. We are the dummies that come up with such notions! Many Western Christians could not last 5 minutes in another country and endure the hardships that Eastern Christians endure each day. I am not sure that I could.  If Jesus lived during our time, he would be branded a failure as a minister. He would have large crowds following him but they would  all disappear once He reached Calvary. The Bible tells us that over 500 people saw Jesus rise up into Heaven, but only 120 took Him at His word and waited for the promise to come. People are fickle. One minute they are your best friend and lifting you up to others. The next minute they are back biting you and putting you down. Trust me I have seen this first hand. There will always be immature Christians in the body of Christ because many people don't want to see the true discovery of themselves.

2 Corinthians 10

Tearing Down Barriers
 1-2And now a personal but most urgent matter; I write in the gentle but firm spirit of Christ. I hear that I'm being painted as cringing and wishy-washy when I'm with you, but harsh and demanding when at a safe distance writing letters. Please don't force me to take a hard line when I'm present with you. Don't think that I'll hesitate a single minute to stand up to those who say I'm an unprincipled opportunist. Then they'll have to eat their words.
 3-6The world is unprincipled. It's dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn't fight fair. But we don't live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren't for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.
 7-8You stare and stare at the obvious, but you can't see the forest for the trees. If you're looking for a clear example of someone on Christ's side, why do you so quickly cut me out? Believe me, I am quite sure of my standing with Christ. You may think I overstate the authority he gave me, but I'm not backing off. Every bit of my commitment is for the purpose of building you up, after all, not tearing you down.
 9-11And what's this talk about me bullying you with my letters? "His letters are brawny and potent, but in person he's a weakling and mumbles when he talks." Such talk won't survive scrutiny. What we write when away, we do when present. We're the exact same people, absent or present, in letter or in person.
 12We're not, understand, putting ourselves in a league with those who boast that they're our superiors. We wouldn't dare do that. But in all this comparing and grading and competing, they quite miss the point.
 13-14We aren't making outrageous claims here. We're sticking to the limits of what God has set for us. But there can be no question that those limits reach to and include you. We're not moving into someone else's "territory." We were already there with you, weren't we? We were the first ones to get there with the Message of Christ, right? So how can there be any question of overstepping our bounds by writing or visiting you?
 15-18We're not barging in on the rightful work of others, interfering with their ministries, demanding a place in the sun with them. What we're hoping for is that as your lives grow in faith, you'll play a part within our expanding work. And we'll all still be within the limits God sets as we proclaim the Message in countries beyond Corinth. But we have no intention of moving in on what others have done and taking credit for it. "If you want to claim credit, claim it for God." What you say about yourself means nothing in God's work. It's what God says about you that makes the difference. 

Paul the Apostle was not like the other Apostles who knew Jesus personally. He did not walk around with Christ for three years and get first hand exposure to the working of the Lord. He did , however, meet Christ on the road to Damascus. Paul said many times this qualified him as an apostle. Paul was a compassionate but straight forward guy. He would hit the hearts with the truthfulness of the gospel. He was not afraid of losing a congregation. The Gospel was the Gospel and he was not going to water it down like it is done in our day and age.  Many want to hear the good, skip in the meadow, messages that make you feel warm and fuzzy inside ; but to hear a message that reveals the truthfulness of heart. UNHEARD OF! OFF WITH THE PASTOR'S HEAD!!!!!!

Paul was facing scrutiny because there were others who were more boisterous leaders who would tell the Corinthians how great they were. ( Hey, sounds like our TV evangelists today) These leaders were popular and probably had big, visual ministries and taught a popular message. It was easy for the Corinthians to run to them. Ew ! Ew! tickle my ears Please!!!!! 

How we rate failure is totally different with how the Lord rates failure. I wanted to encourage the leader today. In any person's life there is always going to be some failure involved. Failure is a part of life. It is what we do with that failure which makes a difference. Failure can be the fertilizers for our soul or the poison in our heart. We make the determination.

“And God Said If”
If you never felt pain,
Then how would you know that I’m a Healer?

If you never went through difficulty,
How would you know that I’m a Deliverer?

If you never had a trial,
How could you call yourself an overcomer?

If you never felt sadness,
How would you know that I’m a Comforter?

If you never made a mistake,
How would you know that I’m forgiving?

If you never were in trouble,
How would you know that I will come to your rescue?

If you never were broken,
Then how would you know that I can make you whole?

If you never had a problem,
How would you know that I can solve them?

If you never had any suffering,
Then how would you know what I went through?

If you never went through the fire,
Then how would you become pure?

If I gave you all things,
How would you appreciate them?

If I never corrected you,
How would you know that I love you?

If you had all power,
Then how would you learn to depend on me?

If your life was perfect,
Then what would you need me for?

We are going to fail and when other people are involved the possiblity for failure increases that much more. As pastors and leaders, the possibility of failure becomes part of the program. We can't allow failure to stop us from pressing forward with the things of God. In fact, you and I need to learn how to embrace the failures we have. Below are some key points.


1. Create an enviroment which allows failure.
2. Learn from failure by creating COE's ( Correction of Errors)
3. Forgive yourself and allow God to forgive you.
4. Understand the different types of failure. ( Sin Failure, Leadership failure, Personal Failure, or situational failure.)
5. Understand it is a Dog eat Dog world and the World isn't fair at times. People can be brutal.
6. Understand God's definition of failure
7. Don't worry about what immature Christians might say about you. ( It is always funny how people who are not in leadership can tell you how everything is supposed to work.)
8. Surround yourself with wise counsel and get clear advice.
9. Let your failure be a stepping stone for you to move forward.
10. Understand the success and failure rises and falls on the leader or senior leader. 
11. What you say about yourself means nothing in God's work. It's what God says about you that makes the difference. 

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