Dr. Lee Roberson was, maybe still is, the Chancellor of Tennessee Temple University. This is something he preached some years ago and I wanted to share it with my blog readers here on myspace. I have typed it just as he spoke it. I hope it's an encouragement, a witness, and a help.
"And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly." Matthew 26:75 We have all experienced failure at some time!
My first sermon was a total falure. I was called to preach at eighteen years of age. I made this known to my homechurch. I wanted to preach. I was sure I could do it.
A friend at Jeffersontown, Kentucky, arranged for me to preach at a little mission church a few miles from Louisville. I told no one about this matter. I arranged to go to the mission to preach to eight or ten people.
It was Sunday afternoo. I arrived at the little frame building. Cars were all around the building! The word got out and many people came to hear my first sermon.
The little building was packed and it was hot weather. The windows were wide open I was introduced by someone. I stood to preach. Scared and timid, I stood there. I looked at the simling faces of my friends. I took my notes from my Bible and placed them on the pulpit. The notes were typed on green typing paper (I did the typing).
I opened the Bible to read my text. A gust of wind came through the window and blew my notes all over the building. I got down to pick them up. I do not want to remember any more of that tragic sene. I failed! But, I kept on going.
That was more than seventy years ago. I have failed scores of times in these seventy years, but I have learned how to hang on to my notes and keep on going.
Yes, we all fail at times. Abraham failed. He lied about his wife in Genesis 12:10-20.
David failed. The sad story of David and Bathsheba reminds us of this. Read Psalm 51.
Moses failed. In Exodua 2:12 he killed an Egyptian and tried to hide his sin.
Peter failed. Read the story in Matthew 26:69-75. He denied the Lord-- three times.
I repeat: we all fail sometimes. We fail in Bible study, we fail in prayer, we fail in witnessing, we fail in preaching, and we fail in singing.
Yes, we fail in living for Christ. We fail to show forth Christ to others. We fail in our efforts to help others.
In our failures we sometimes lose the presence of God, the peace of God, and the power of God.
Some people fail in witnessing and give it up permanently! They quit! My friend, your failure is not final. I mentioned four men at the beginning of this message -- they failed, but they came back: Abraham, Moses, David, and Peter.
Now, what do you do when you fail?
Acknowledge your failure.
Confess it to God and to others, if necessary. Be honest with yourself. Be honest with God.
First, confess your failures to yourself. Be big enough to say, "I failed." Some people never want to do this. They are so egotistical. They do not want to confess their failures. They try to cover up.
Many seek to blame others. The husband blames the wife. The wife blames the husband. The student blames the teacher. Poor, stumbling, church members blame the pastor.
A failing man blames his employer. A failing student blames the teacher. A failing pastor blames his people.
Secondly, confess your failures to God. I have had many students come to me confessing their failures to study and prepare themselves for their classes. They made a rededication of their lives and went on. I rejoice in the success of many of them.
I have has church members confess their failures and ask for my prayers. Acknowledge your failures! Be honest with God and with yourself.
Perhaps you have failed in building a Christian home. Confess it. Acknowledge it. Do something about it! Now!
Perhaps you have failed in establishing a family altar. You failed to bring you rfamily around the Word of God and a circle of prayer one for the other.
Perhaps you have failed in your educational program. Don't blame others- blame yourself! Remedy the situation. Go to school- ngiht school, day school, and correspondence school.
Perhaps you have failed in your work program of life. Face it. Come to God. Seek His help.
A graduate of Tennessee Temple sent me a book and in it I found this: Abraham Lincoln struck out eleven times before he was elected president. He failed in business in 1831. He was defeated for the legislature in 1832. He had his second business failure in 1833. He suffered a nervous break down in 1836. He was defeated for speaker in 1838. He was defeated for elector in 1840. He was defeated for congress in 1843. He was defeated for congress in 1848. He was defeated for the Senate in 1855. He was defeated for Vice President in 1856. He was defeated for the Senate in 1859. But, he was elected as President of the United States in 1860.
Was Lincoln a failure? No, failure is not final. Keep pressing on! If you fail, get up, get right, and go on! All men fail at times. The winners are the ones who arise and go on.
In years gone by, I had a very good friend who lived in the city of Louisville, Kentucky. He was a man with a super memory. He had a good personality and was a splended speaker. But, he failed! He was called to four churches in Arkansas, but he failed. I found a location for him in Mississippi, but he failed. He was a great young man, talented speaker with a phenomenal memory. He died a failure. I went to the funeral. There were perhaps fifteen or twenty people present. He was a man with a good education, and a good personality, but he was a quitter! Keep pressing on! God wants to use you and God wants you to be happy in His work. Do God's will!
My concluding thoughts:
don't glorify your failures. Don't brag about them. Don't let failure stop you. Don't failure give you a complex. Don't let failures make you a critic of others. Keep right with God and keep going on for His glory!
" In my opinion, the great single need of the moment is that light-hearted superficial religionists be struck down with a vision of God high and lifted up, with His train filling the temple. The holy art of worship seems to have passed away like the Shekinah glory from the tabernacle. As a result, we are left to our own devices and forced to make up the lack of spontaneous worship by ...bringing in countless cheap and tawdry activities to hold the attention of the church people." ~ A.W. Tozer