So far I have shared my story from childhood to being called into full time ministry, so what next? A few people have asked me if I have any plans to make the blog into a hard copy. I had not really thought about that until people started asking me. I don’t know anything about how to do that personally but I have some friends who may be able to point me in the right direction.
Having never attempted anything like this before it is important that I seek good advice from others who know me and also have some experience of the does and don’ts. I do not know if what I have written already has enough content in it to produce a hard copy, hopefully I will find out soon and proceed accordingly. Perhaps those of you who have kindly followed the blog to date would like to share your thoughts through the church web site by going to the home page and click on contact us.
Sometimes the Lord will speak to me through showing me pictures of things in my mind and often I see the title of a sermon before I start to work on it. Some time ago I was having a conversation with someone and at one point during the conversation I said innocently that I could write a book on what we were discussing. The person took me completely by surprise when they replied, “Why don’t you”? The thought of it frightened me. There is a title that I believe God has shown me and I feel that he would want me to continue this blog under the title, “The other side of the Pulpit”.
During this past week someone who I know well contacted me and asked me how I overcame the fear of failure in my life. I had to be honest with them and tell them that I am not sure if I have fully overcome it. A couple of weeks ago I conducted my second wedding, the first wedding was in the church the second was outside the church at a beautiful hotel. There were quite a few guests in the room where the wedding was to take place, some of the people I knew but the vast majority were complete strangers to me. I had prayed about the wedding and had asked my friends in and outside my church to pray for me. I was petrified that somehow I would mess up and ruin the wedding for this lovely couple and their families.
I truly felt God’s presence with me and all the comments after the wedding service were kind and positive. Fear of failure has paralysed my life in the past and has prevented me at times from entering into God’s Promised Land for my life. The difference between now and then is that even though the feeling of fear is real and powerful, the belief that God will help me through is even more powerful. Fear paralyses faith enables. When the twelve spies were sent out to spy out the land and they came across the giants in the land ten of the twelve spies were afraid and gave a negative report to Moses and the people.
They were if you like part of the CAN’T family. Fear of the giants had paralysed their thinking, they themselves could not overcome the giants but they had somehow forgotten that God had promised to give the land to them. All they had to do was walk into it and trust him to sort the giants out. When young David faced the Giant Goliath that was exactly his attitude. People were scoffing at him, including family members, they were telling him what he couldn’t do but he knew what God could do through him. He knew that the battle was the Lords, he did not need King Saul’s armour.
It is interesting to note in that story that the Kings armour was not suitable for David. It did not fit him. Whatever battle the Lord sets before us we can be certain that he will fit us for the battle. What suits others will not suit you but you will be given tailor made resources for your situation. When the battle is the Lords the battle is won. David and the two spies who brought back a positive report concerning the Promised Land were a part of what I like to call the CAN FAMILY. The CAN’T family did not enter into the Promised Land, the CAN family did. David knew he could defeat the giant because God was with him, Joshua and Caleb knew that they could defeat their giants because God was with them also.
I was asked during an interview with a panel of Ministers how I handled failure. It was a question that I had never encountered before in my life. I felt a bit under pressure because I was trying to think of a specific failure that I could apply an answer to. I struggled to come up with a specific situation where I had failed and what I had done in that situation. The problem was not that I had never failed but how I had reacted to the failure. For some reason my mind went off in an entirely different direction and before I knew it I was asking a question to the panel.
The question that I asked the panel was to “Define failure”? As I asked the question the Lord once again decided to speak to me with a very vivid scene. In the scene I was lined up with Usain Bolt, the quickest sprinter in the world. The starting pistol fired and we both went flat out down the track. As we crossed the finish line there was quite some distance between us and surprise surprise I finished behind Usain. When I crossed the finish line I had no sense whatsoever of feeling that I had somehow failed by coming second to the fastest sprinter in the world.
I am not sure if the people in the room understood why I asked that question because I was not sure at that moment in time why I asked it. Eventually it started to make sense to me. The simple application to what God had shown me was this. The most important thing was not winning the race but running the race. The writer to the Hebrews talks about running with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Heb 12:1-3) He goes on to encourage us to fix our eyes on Jesus so that we will not grow weary and loose heart.
I think what God was trying to teach me was to keep running the race that he has marked out for me no matter what my or others perception of failure might be. When Jesus asked Peter to step out of the boat and he began to walk on the water towards Jesus as long as he fixed his eyes on Jesus he did not sink beneath the waves. It was only when he took his eyes of Jesus and focused on the storm all around him that he began to sink. A laps does not make us a failure. Peter had a few lapses during his service for Jesus.
Jesus did not say to Peter, “You of no faith”, he said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt”? A little faith will get you out of the boat, no faith will keep you in it. When you exercise muscles they will grow and when we exercise faith our trust in God will grow. Personally I really pray to God that he will make me and keep me a member of the CAN FAMILY. I have spent too many years in the past as a member of the CAN’T FAMILY.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.