Rick Warren - God's Promises When You're Afraid of Failing
Now, if you take out your message notes inside your program, this weekend I want us to continue our series on God's amazing promises. Over 7,000 of them in scripture. And I specifically this weekend want us to look at one that you may not think it's really appropriate for you until I explain it, and that is God's promises to you when you're afraid of failing. When you're afraid of failing. Now, you may not think that that's a problem with you, but we don't always realize how big a deal it is. So I wanna begin with a little quiz. We're not always self-aware about the fears that are inside of us. So let me read you nine tests of do you have a fear of failure. Number one. Do you ever worry about what other people think about you? That's the fear of failure. Do you ever worry about your ability to go after a dream or a desire that's in your heart but you thought maybe, "I don't know if I can do that or not, I dream of doing it but I don't know if I could"? That's the fear of failure.
Do you ever worry that people will lose interest in you? Maybe people who are close to you, people who love you. Maybe, do you ever worry that people won't think you're smart or competent? I've gotta hide, I don't want people to know that I really don't think I'm that smart. Do you ever worry about disappointing people whose opinion you value? Have you ever told anybody beforehand that you don't expect to succeed in a project in order to lower their expectations? That's the fear of failure. Do you ever get last-minute headaches, stomach aches, or other physical symptoms while preparing for something you think's important? That's the fear of failure. Do you ever get distracted or often get distracted by things that prevent you from completing your preparation which were not as urgent as they seemed at the time? You get distracted. Number nine, do you tend to procrastinate and run out of time when you have to prepare for something? The fear of failure is behind most procrastination.
These are nine common symptoms of the fear of failure. No matter how successful you are in some areas of your life, there are others that you're scared to death about and you fail at. In fact, you fail in more areas of your life than you succeed, all of us do. Nobody can be good at everything. And so you're only good, really good at a few things. So that means most of the things in life, you're not good at, you're a failure at. And we often don't want people to know that and that anxiety causes us great, great problems. Now, the fear of failure will paralyze your potential. It will keep you from becoming all God intends for you to be. It will limit your purpose in life. The fear of failure is deathly. It will kill your dreams, if you let it. It will rob your happiness. It will prevent your success. It can keep you single if you wanna get married. The fear of failure. I can give you a 100 negative things that the fear of failure does in your life.
And so what I wanna do today is talk about God's promises for the fear of failure. Now, this is so important, Jesus told a whole story about the fear of failure. It's called the "Parable of the Talents". Now, we actually get our word talent from the story. Today, when I say the word talent, you think of abilities, like a musical talent, or a mathematical talent, or a mechanical talent, or a sports talent. But we actually get the word talent from this story in the Bible, but in the Bible days the word talent was actually a measurement of gold. Specifically a talent of gold was the amount of gold equal to the weight of a normal human being. So we're talking about an enormous amount of money. One talent would easily be worth over a million dollars. A talent of gold is an exorbitant amount of money, not just now but in those days too. And Jesus tells this story about a fear of failure to represent how we're supposed to handle it.
Let me read you the story. It's right here in Matthew chapter 25. Jesus told this story. "A business owner was going to leave on a long journey so he called his three servants together and he entrusted his wealth to them. To one servant he gave five talents of money". That's a lot of money, maybe five million or more. "To another he gave two talents of money, and to a third servant he gave one talent of money". That's still a million bucks. "And he did this each according to his own ability. And then he, the master, went on a journey. The servant who was entrusted with five talents went at once and used his money to gain back five more talents". In other words, he doubled his money. He made 100% on his investment. Pretty good, pretty good investment. He had five, now he's got 10. "In the same way, the servant who was given, entrusted two talents put his talents of money to work and he gained two more".
Again, he gets 100% return on his money, doubles his money. "But the servant who had been given just the one talent did nothing, he did nothing. He went out and he dug a hole in the ground and he buried his master's money to keep it safe. After a long time, the master of those three servants returned and he asked each servant to give an account of what they had done with the money they had been entrusted with. The man who had received five talents brought the other five that he'd gained and he said, 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five talents, and see I've gained five more for you here.' His master replied, 'Well done. Well done, you good and faithful servant. You have been faithful with a few things so now I'm gonna put you in charge of many greater things.'"
Now, you know this is a parable and Jesus is talking about he's invested in you and he's asking you when you get ready to come to heaven, "What did you do with what I gave you"? My job as your spiritual coach, my job as your pastor is to prepare you for the day when God says, "What did you do with what I gave you, what I entrusted you, what I loaned you, the talent that I loaned to you"? And he said, "I've doubled it". And he said, "Well done, good and faithful servant. You've been faithful with a few things, now I'm gonna put you in charge of more. A greater responsibility. Come and share your master's happiness". That's what I want God to say to you when you get to heaven. "Then the man who had received two talents gave his account. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with two talents and I've gained for you two more.' And his master said, 'Well done to you, good and faithful servant. You also have been faithful with a few things so now I'll put you in charge of many larger things. Come and share your master's happiness.'"
The last part of the story is there on your outline, if you're taking notes. "But the servant who had been give with just one talent said, 'I was afraid I'd lose it.'" If you're taking notes, circle on your outline the word afraid, 'cause this is the fear of failure. He said, "I was afraid I'd lose what you gave me. So I hid your talent, the talent that you gave me". In other words, nothing ventured, nothing gained. He played it safe. "I went out and I buried it in the ground". Some of you have buried the talents that God has given you and you're not using 'em. You're not using God's talents for his glory. "I went out and I buried it in the ground, and now I'm handing it back to you". Now, what's the master's reaction? "That made the master mad and he said, 'You lazy and wicked servant. You should have at least put it in the bank where it would gain some interest. You didn't even put in the bank, you just hid it in the ground.' He said, 'But you did nothing with what I gave you.'"
Okay, everybody look up here just a minute. My greatest fear in life would be that you stand before God some day and God says to you, "You did nothing with what I gave you. You did nothing with the talent I gave you. You just used it on yourself. You didn't make a difference in the world, you didn't make the world a better place, you didn't serve anybody else, you just served yourself. You did nothing with what I gave you". It is my responsibility to make sure that doesn't happen to you, and it is your responsibility to make sure that doesn't happen to you too. He says, "You did nothing with what I gave you". So the master, this is God, says, "I'm taking back the one talent I gave you and I'm gonna give it to the man who multiplied the 10 talents that I gave him. To those who use well what I give them, they will be given even more".
This is a principle of the universe that God has established. Whatever you use well in life, God will give you more of it. If you use your time well, God will give you more time. If you use your money well, God will give you more money. If you use your energy well, God will give you more energy. If you use the talent that he's put in you, he will give you more talent. On the other hand, if you don't use it, you'll lose it. Talent that sits on the shelf rots. It wastes, it goes away, and you lose it. And God says, "I'm gonna give it to the guy out there who's using the 10 talents and now he's gonna have 11". This is a principle of the universe. And so you've got to get rid of the fear of failure. "I was afraid and I hid it in the ground". This is a pretty harsh reaction, if you look at it. He says, "You're lazy, you're wicked. And I'm gonna take away what I gave you in the first place and give it to somebody else 'cause you're not using what I gave you for the way I intended it".
Here's the point of the story. You never please God by playing it safe. You never please God by playing it safe. Now follow me on the logic of this. If you don't take any risks in life, you don't need any faith. And if you don't have any faith, then at that point you are being unfaithful. Let me say it again. If you're not taking any risks in your life for the benefit of other people, for the glory of God, you're not taking any risks, then you don't need any faith. And if you don't have any faith, then at that point you are being unfaithful. And God says, "That's wicked. It's not just lazy, it's wrong, it's evil. I made you to make a difference with your life, not just live for yourself".
So you can see how important it really is for us to get rid of the fear of failure in our lives so we're not hiding our talents in the ground. How do I that? Well, the Bible has a lot to say about this. A ton to say about it. What I wanna do today is just give you a quick overview and we're gonna look at four things you need to remember, four truths to remember, and then four action steps to take on how to reduce the fear of failure in your life. This is a good week for you to come to church. Take out a pencil and write these down because I don't want you ending your life and having God say to you, "You did nothing with what I gave you. You didn't use it the way I intended you to do". So what God gives you is his gift to you, those talents. What you do with your talents is your gift back to God. So, how can I neutralize the fear of failure in my life? Well, first, there are four things you need to remember. Write these down, number one.
First thing to remember is that everybody fails in many ways. That's a fear reducer when I realize I'm not the only one, everybody, every single person in the world fails in many, many different ways. The failure rate of human beings is 100%. No one is perfect, we are all flawed. If there was a club for failures, we could all join. We're all qualified the join a club for failures. If at first you don't succeed, you're normal. If at first you don't succeed, you're human. If at first you don't succeed, welcome to the human race. Everybody fails in many ways. Now here's what the Bible says. James chapter three verse two. "We all stumble in many ways". How many of you have ever stumbled? Can I see your hands? All right, that's a 100%. How many of you have ever stumbled in public in front of other people? Could I see that? Has anybody ever stumbled at a graduation, you're walking across stage and you're oop, you fall? All right, a few of you, God bless you. All right. Any of you ever stumbled at your wedding? Anybody stumbled at their wedding? A couple people here, all right.
Now, what happens when we see somebody stumble, they're walking across stage and they fall flat on their face? We wince. We all sympathize when people stumble, why? 'Cause we've all done it, and we all know how humiliating and how painful it is to stumble publicly in front of other people. Everybody stumbles, we've all stumbled in many ways, and so we identify with them. Ecclesiastics chapter seven verse 20 says this. "There is no one on earth who always does what is right all the time and never makes a mistake". We all stumble. You know, in baseball, if you only strike out seven out of 10 times, you're a superstar. That means if you're batting 300, which means when you go to bat seven out of 10 times you strike out, you're the guy who gets paid $300 million. Why? Because even superstars strike out more than they get on base. If you're in the NBA, you're a basketball player, if you make 50% of your shots, you're LeBron James. You're a superstar. That means you miss 1/2 the time. And that makes you the best 'cause you only miss 1/2 the time. So the Bible tells us that everybody fails in many ways. So welcome to the club, it's not a big deal. We overstress the importance of failure. Failure's not a big deal. Everybody fails every day of their life in many ways.
Number two, remember no failure is final unless I give up. No failure is final unless I give up. Now, failure is not fatal, it's not gonna kill you. It's not terminal, it's not deadly. Failure is not fatal and failure is not final unless you choose to go, okay, I'm giving up, I'm not even gonna try. And that's your fault. The fact is the fear of failure is far worse in your life than failure. Failure is not a big deal. But the fear of failure is a really big deal, it's worse than failure. You fearing failure is worst than actually failing, why? Because failure is a one-time shot but fear of failure just goes on and on and on. It haunts you for hours and days and weeks and months and even years. The fear of failure can haunt you your entire life. Failure is short term. Fear of failure is long term. And when you have the fear of failure, then you don't even try, which makes you a failure, so you might as well go and do it. Did you follow the logic of that? Okay. If you fear it, you're not even gonna try, which means you're gonna fail, so the fear just guarantees, it was a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Now, here's one of my favorite verses in the Bible. Proverbs 24 verse 16. "For even though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again". Now, what I like about this is it says even good guys stumble. Even righteous people fall, even godly people make mistakes. He's saying righteous people fall and they don't just fall once, they fall seven times. What makes a righteous people, righteous? They get back up. They don't stay down. This is the quality of resilience. Bouncebackability. And he's saying if you wanna be a righteous woman of God, if you wanna be a righteous man of God, one of the things you gotta learn is resilience, which means you're gonna stumble but you get back up. A righteous man, he stumbles seven times, he still gets back up. It's the unrighteous person that says, "I quit. I tried once, it doesn't work, I give up".
See, there are a lot of factors in your life that are beyond your control that can cause failure, but if you get back up again, who knows what's gonna happen. I did a study this week of famous failures who kept going and wouldn't quit. I could give you about a 100 of these people but let me just give you a few, 'cause history books are filled with biographies of people who failed and failed and failed and failed but would not give up, and then they succeeded. Here are few of 'em. General George Washington. You know, first president of the United States. Lost 2/3 of all the battles he fought against the British in the American Revolution. I've studied the American Revolution and the first couple of years of the Revolutionary War, Washington lost almost every single battle. He's backing up, he's retreating. He's retreating, he's retreating, retreating 'cause he doesn't have the man power to take on the British. But he would not give up. He lost two out of every three battles in the Revolutionary War. Lost more than he won. But he eventually won the war and became the first president and founder of our nation.
How about Napoleon? Napoleon graduated 42nd in his class. A class of 43 people. Not exactly a brilliant guy, okay. But then he went on and conquered Europe, okay? How about Albert Einstein? You're not gonna believe this. But Albert Einstein did not learn to speak, he didn't say a single word, until he was over four years old. Any parent who has a child who doesn't say its first words until four years old, you think something's wrong with this child. They're probably stunted in their intellectual ability. Einstein did so poorly in school, all of his professors, all of his teachers said he'd be a failure. In fact, he failed at math. And he did so poorly in school that at age 16 he failed to pass the entrance exam for the Swiss Polytechnique School. When he finally did get accepted into a college, he struggled so much that he nearly dropped out. And then he reinvented science and math.
Babe Ruth hit 831 home runs in baseball but he struck out 1,330 times. For years, Babe Ruth led the league in strikeouts, not just home runs. The Bible tells us no failure is final but a righteous man gets up and rises again. Look at this next verse Galatians 6:9. "We must never get tired of doing good because if we don't give up in the struggle we will get our harvest at the proper time". If you keep on going, you don't let failure be final, you never know what's gonna happen.
Let me read you about this guy. At age seven, this man, this little boy, at age seven his family was forced out of their home and he had to go to work to help support the family. At seven years of age he went to work. At age nine, he's still a shy little boy, his mother died. At age 22, he lost his job as a store clerk. He wanted to go to law school but his education wasn't good enough. Age 23, he went into debt to become a partner in a small store. Three years later his partner died, leaving him a huge debt which took years to repay. At age 28, after dating a young woman for four solid years he asked her to marry him and she said no. In his 30s he ran for public office and he lost. A couple years later, he ran again, and he lost again. At 37 years of age, on his third attempt to run for office, he's finally elected to Congress. But two years later, when he ran for reelection, he lost again and he had a nervous breakdown as a result.
At 41, in an unhappy marriage, his four-year-old son died. At 42, he ran to be elected as the Land Officer and he lost. At 45, he ran for the Senate in the United States and he lost again. A few years later, he ran for vice-presidency and he lost again. At 49 years of age, he ran for the Senate and lost again. And then at 51 he was elected president of the United States. His name was Abraham Lincoln. What if Lincoln had said, "I'm just gonna give up on the first time I ran for office"? He lost eight or nine times before he finally was elected president of the United States and saved the Union and saved the history of America. You don't know what's in store for you. All of those past failures could be just prologue for your future. Failure is not the worst thing that can happen to you. There's a lot worse things than failure. So don't exaggerate.
Here's the third thing you need to remember. First, remember everybody fails in many ways. Second, no failure is final 'til you just choose to give up. Third, remember that failure is the path to success if I'm humble and willing to learn from it. If I'm humble and willing to learn from it, failure is the path to success. Now, there is no other path to success except through failure. Failure is the door to success. It's how you become a success. Nobody just had success without any failures unless you just get lucky once and that's the last time you're gonna do that. It's something that you learn from. If you don't learn from your failures, well then that really is a failure. Proverbs 28 verse 13 says this in the Bible. "A man who refuses to admit his mistakes will never be successful". Okay? You're not learning from 'em and you're not admitting 'em. "But if he confesses and forsakes them," in other words, you learn from your mistakes, "he gets another chance".
There are some things in life you only learn from failure, you can't learn 'em any other way. So if there's some things you only learn from failure, you should stop calling it a failure and start calling it an education. Some of us are highly educated. We've had a lot of failures in our life but that's how we get our education. There are actually many, many benefits to failing in life. You say, like what? Well, let me give you three or four. First thing is, failure shows us what doesn't work. And if you're gonna learn what works, then you have to fail to know what doesn't work. What was it that Thomas Edison tried, what, a 1,000 different elements before he discovered that tungsten was the right element for the incandescent light bulb? And if he'd stopped at 999, there would be no light bulb. But he goes, "I know 999 things that don't work". It shows what doesn't work.
Second thing it does is failure develops our skills. Nobody gets good at something without failing at it first. How did you learn to ride a bicycle? Get on and never have a crash? Or a skateboard, never fall off and skin your knee? Or anything else. These all-start Olympic athletes who do amazing gymnastic feats and do in ice skating triple loops backwards, they're put in harnesses and they'll do that triple loops maybe 10,000 times and do it wrong before they ever get it right. That's the only way you learn a skill, it's by doing it and over and over and then you get good at it. Most of you know that when I started in ministry I didn't start as a preacher, I actually started in music ministry. I played guitar and drums since I was a kid, had a garage band growing up, loved to sing. The only problem was nobody liked to listen. And pretty quickly I figured out okay, I'm not wired for that. I like music but I'm not wired for it. And I quickly switched to speaking. And then people go, "You know, when you talk, God uses that. It's like you're talking to me".
Now, was I always that clear? Of course not. My first sermon sucked. I wanted to get up and apologize and say, "Everybody go home, God's not here, it's real obvious. Let's just go home. Sorry, let's go get some ice cream". But the only way you get good at something, the first time you do anything you're not good at it. You're not good at anything the first time but you get better at it, whether it's cooking or anything else. You just get better. And the way you develop your skill is through failure. You go, I'm not gonna do that again. And if you're learning from it then failure is always the stepping stone to success if you keep trying. And if you analyze it you go, okay, what did I do there that didn't work? If you don't analyze your life, if you don't look at your life and go, why did that project not work out? Why did that job opportunity not work out? Why did that interview not work out?
If you don't analyze it then you didn't learn anything, it was a failure. But I have learned, being pastor of this church now for almost 40 years, there is no such thing as innovation without failure. They go together. We actually innovate out of our failures. Well, that didn't work. Here at Saddleback, we'll try something, that doesn't work. We'll try something else, that doesn't work. We'll try something else, that doesn't work. We'll try something else. We try 99 things that don't work, number 100 works. Then we go out and teach a seminar and pretend like we knew what we were doing. Truth is, we're not that smart. We're just not afraid to fail in this church. I tell my staff, I said, "Everybody, I want everybody making a big failure every week in your ministry". 'Cause if you're not failing it means you're not trying anything new. You don't get fired from the staff at Saddleback Church for failing. You get fired for failing in the same way over and over, which means you're not learning.
So I said, "Go out and fail this week and make it a doozy. Make it a really big. Not the one you did last week 'cause that's dumb, that's older. You repeat that, you're not learning. But learn something new and fail that way". You say, why do you want people failing? 'Cause I don't wanna take all the blame myself. I wanna spread it around. I know I'm gonna make mistakes, I know I'm gonna fail. And if I'm gonna fail I wanna share the blame, I want you making some of 'em. So I'm telling every member of our church, "Go out and fail this week". Try something new you've never tried before. And guess what, you'll probably fail at it, but then learn from it and get better and get better and get better. That's how you do it. So I'm telling the whole church, I tell the staff this all the time, "I want you to fail fast, fail often, and fail cheap". Don't spend a lot of money doing it but fail fast, fail often, and fail cheap. That's how you innovate, that's how you grow, that's how you'll learn. Benefits of a failure. It helps me develop my skills.
You know what, it helps you discover your talents. It helps you discover your true shape. I could've taken all kinds of tests and not known that I was good at teaching 'cause I'd never done it. There are things in your life that you're really good at and you don't even know you're good at it, why? 'Cause you've never done it. You've never done it. And so you gotta try a lot of different things, that's why we have Class 301. If you haven't taken Class 301, what are you waiting on? Which is discovering my shape for ministry. It'll help you in your job searches. It'll help you get in the right career, not just the right ministry for your life, when you know what you're shaped to do. But the way you do it is just try. You go, well, that wasn't me. And I tried that, that wasn't me. So you just call it an experiment, call it an education. It's not a failure.
You know, Nathaniel Hawthorne was probably one of the greatest writers in American history. He wrote that book, "The Scarlet Letter," and many other books you probably had to read in school. Great American writer. He failed as a customs clerk. He was fired from his job. And he came home totally discouraged, totally depressed, and he says to his young wife, "Honey, I am a total failure in life and I can't even support us. I just lost my job as a custom clerk. I mean, how bad was that? I'm nothing". And he just felt like a total failure. But his wife was brilliant and loving. And she took him by the hand and she led him over and sat him down at the kitchen table and she put a piece of paper in front of him and got an ink well and an ink pen and said, "Look, you've always wanted to write. Now you've got time to do it". And it's because of his wife that we have all of Nathaniel Hawthorne's great novels. Somebody said, "I believe in you. I believe you could do this".
Who do you need to say that to? To your husband? To your wife? To a friend, to a child, to a parent? Somebody that you love? And they're all down because they failed at something, it just means they're not in the right place. Colonel Sanders was a total failure at everything he did until at 84 years of age he figured out how to cook chicken under pressure. And that was finger-licking good. And now it's all known all around the world. He didn't become a success 'til he's in his 80s. You know, it's really funny. One time I was in Beijing, China, and they were doing a state dinner for me in People's Hall in Tiananmen Square. And in People's Hall is Mao's tomb and by law nothing's supposed to be taller than Mao's tomb in Tiananmen Square because it gives honor to that former leader. But if you stand at the southwest corner and look back at Mao's tomb and Tiananmen Square, towering behind it is a circling KFC bucket. Because the largest Colonel Sanders in the world is in Beijing, not in America.
In fact, China has 8,000 KFCs, far more than America does. It's finger-licking good in China. I don't know why I shared that but I'll just throw it in there. I wonder if that will make it on the Internet. That's probably the only thing people'll remember. But you discover your shape through ministry and through trying all different things. But I think the greatest benefit actually of failure in your life is it just makes you a little bit more humble. And it makes you a little bit more loving and more gracious. And you're a whole lot less judgmental of other people when you've had some hard knocks yourself. When you've gone through tough times then you're gonna cut some people some slack 'cause you know what it's like. That's why I won't hire anybody on my team who hasn't either, A, had a major failure in their life, or been through, B, major pain. 'Cause if you've never had any major pain in your life or never had any major failure, when you're around people in pain your attitude is basically, "Well, get over it".
It's very unsympathetic, it's very unkind, it's very uncompassionate. But when you've been through the ringer, you just have a little bit more grace. And when you've been shown grace by God, you're more gracious to other people. So, pride is put in the toilet when you fail, and failure can actually restrain arrogance and restrain your pride. It promotes humility. I mean, if you had an unbroken string of successes in your life, you would be insufferable. Nobody would wanna be around you 'cause you'd think anything you touch turns to gold. And that unbroken string of successes, you would be impossible to live with. Now, not only are we to learn from our own failures, but let me give you a little tip, we're to learn from the failures of everybody else. And if you learn from the mistakes of others, then you don't have to make them all yourself.
Have you heard this phrase, it's wise to learn from experience? Well, of course it is. If you don't learn from your experiences then your experiences are wasted. Of course it's wise to learn from experience. But it's wiser to learn from the experiences of other people, why? 'Cause I don't have time to make all the mistakes myself. If you have to learn everything by personal experience, you're gonna die before you learn it all. But if you can read a book and learn from others and listen to the testimonies and study the Word of God and you learn from everybody around you and you go, "I don't wanna do that," you just not only save time but you save yourself a lot of pain. It's wiser and it's also easier and it's also less painful to learn from the experiences of others. Which is one of the reasons God gave us this book.
There's not a single person in this book that they don't talk about the problems of the person along with the good parts. Which is why I know that the Bible is the Word of God 'cause it always tells the truth, it doesn't lie. And when it tells the good parts, it also tells the bad parts, why? 'Cause you can learn from both. Learn from both, look at the next verse. This is one reason God gave us the Bible. This verse says, "These things," in other words, the things that happened to people in the Bible, "These things are warnings in the Bible written down so that we don't repeat their mistakes. They came before us but we are just as capable of messing it up as they were". Everybody say amen to that. Yeah, yeah, we're just as capable of messing it up as all the people did in the Bible. So, everybody fails, no failure's final, but failure's the pathway to success if you learn from it and if you're humble.
Here's the fourth thing to remember. No matter what happens, God promises to use it for good in my life. No matter what happens, God promises to use it for good in my life. Now, this is not a promise for everything, everybody. It's only a promise to believers who love him. We're trying to live according to his purpose. One of the most famous promises in the Bible, we're looking at promises in this series, is Romans 8:28. "And we know that in all things," that means even my failures in life, even my sins in life, even my bad, dumb mistakes in life. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who've been called according to his purpose".
Now, again, this is not a promise for everybody. Everything is not working for good in everybody's life. If you're running against God, you're running away from God, everything's working for bad in your life. It's not working for good in your life. God is not obligated to work everything for good in your life if you're running the opposite direction. But if you're saying, God, I wanna learn to love you and I want your purpose for my life, then even when I make dumb mistakes God says, "I'm gonna use 'em for good". So if I'm business man and I love God and I'm trying to do the right thing and I get an idea for starting a business. And I go out and I start this business and a year or two later it falls flat on its face and dies. God says, "That's okay. I can still bring out the good out of it in your life. And I will".
That is a dramatic fear lowerer. Because I know I can't lose, I can't lose. If I do something in faith and it works out great and it's successful, then it's successful. But if I do something in faith and it doesn't work out the way I thought it was gonna work out and it fails, I still can learn from it and God says, "I will work it for good in your life". I can't lose. That means my fear of failure goes down dramatically. That even if it doesn't work, God will still use it for good. Look at the next verse. 2 Corinthians chapter seven verse 11. "Look at all the ways in which your distress has goaded you closer to God". Are you closer to God when you're stressed out or when things are going great? When you're stressed out. People turn to God when they're in pain, when they're going through tough times. When things are going great in your life, you forget God. It's when everything starts going bad you go, "God, I need your help".
I've seen more guys get serious about God when their wives said, "I'm walking out". And they were totally oblivious to God until their wives said, "I'm walking out". And now God has their attention. So he says, "Look at all the ways in which your distress has goaded you closer to God. You're more alive, you're more concerned, you're more sensitive, more reverent, more human, more passionate, more responsible. Looked at it from any angle, you've come out of this with purity of heart". I love this message paraphrase of 2 Corinthians 7:11. It says, you see, while you're interested in what you do, God's interested in what you're becoming. You're interested in your conduct, in your contribution, God is interested in your character. And God says, "I'm much more interested in what's happening inside you. Are you becoming the man I want you to be? Are you becoming the woman I want you to be"?
You're more interested in your accomplishments, God's more interested in your character. And he goes, "Look, even the bad stuff that's happened in your life, I'll use it for good. I'll build character in your life from this". Today, I've got a couple stories I want you to hear. One of them Kyle Cherrick. Would you give him a warm welcome? I want you to hear his story of dealing with the fear of failure. Give him a warm welcome. All right buddy. Hey Saddleback family. From a young age, I was passionate about entrepreneurship. Growing up, my father planted the seeds for dreaming up newer, bigger business ideas. At a church camp in junior high I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior and dedicated my life to him. At the time, I knew that life would have its ups and downs and I knew I needed him to help me through it all. And he actually gave me a verse during this time that I didn't know why.
James 1:2 through four. It says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. And perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything". Okay Lord. I went to college specifically to study entrepreneurship and began honing my skills at building early-stage companies.
In 2007, I led a team and wrote a business plan for a solar energy project development. And after graduating I joined a startup here in Orange County based on that plan. When we arrived in OC, my wife Nebai and I were excited to learn that we lived just down the street from Saddleback Church and we quickly jumped into the 20s and 30s Ministry group and went through all four classes. Over the next three years, the solar startup I had joined grew into a successful business and we were eventually acquired by a larger publicly-traded competitor. Things were going great. I had a new role with a successful company. I was doing everything I loved. But just a short year later, the layoffs started. I distinctly remember meeting with my two bosses and when it became clear they were letting me go, I remember saying, "If I'm not gonna sell solar for this company, what am I gonna do"?
The company was considered an industry leader and I'd taken on their brand as part of my personal identity. After being let go, I felt burned by people. And I feared that I would be viewed as a failure in my work. I wasn't sure I wanted to stay in the solar industry and so I pursued my interest in electric vehicles, and went through several rounds of interviews with one firm but was ultimately not selected for the job. My wife Nebai and I prayed for months for the Lord to open the door to a new opportunity. Meanwhile, I began growing impatient. From there, I began to pursue opening my own small business. Until I quickly realized that I didn't wanna be a one-man operation responsible for everything.
So at this point I had no clue where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do anymore, and that led to internal panic. Over the next few weeks, my mental state deteriorated and my behavior changed as my mind began racing to resolve the situation. My wife noticed and she voiced concern, but there was little she could do to help me. I was stubbornly focused on my need to rebuild my identity as successful in my career and get back to building something great again. I felt completely inadequate. Despite my deteriorating mental state, I reached out to an old contact at a national solar company based in Phoenix, and he invited me out for an interview. My wife strongly advised me not to go, but I pressed on despite her concerns. During that trip, I went into a full mental breakdown and I ended up walking out of the interview only 10 minutes in.
The breakdown was so severe I couldn't even get on a plane to come back home. Fortunately, my brother was able to drive me home where my parents and my mother-in-law flew in to help me and help us get my life stabilized, a process that would last several months and began with me seeking guidance from our Saddleback pastors who advised me that I likely needed professional help and they committed to walking with us through this difficult time. By God's grace we were able to find a very good doctor and began the path to treatment through both medicine and counseling. And it was during this process that I was finally able to let go of the control I wanted to have over my life. I needed to be open to whatever came next.
The recovery I experienced over the next three months was nothing short of a miracle from God. Our whole family prayed to Jesus continuously for my mind to be healed. My wife would later describe this time as not being able to breathe without praying for an end to this trial. Jesus answered those prayers and we began to see relief. And I started to look for work again. This time, it didn't really matter what job. I just needed something to keep me busy. A small group friend said she knew of a Starbucks manager who was hiring. Was it a job? Great, I'll take it. A few weeks later I got a front desk job at a hotel. Then in my spare time I organized an electric vehicle marketing event. After seeing some success with that event, I began going back to solar industry networking events. At the first one I went to I made a connection who later call me about an immediate opening for a consulting project, and I took it. Just days later came an opportunity which I had been hoping and praying for.
I received a call from a recruiter representing a fast-growing solar equipment supplier who was looking for a sales manager for the entire Western US. I was hired for that job as well. And remember that interview that I bombed right in my mental health breakdown? I ended up winning their business and they became our largest customer. Since then, the Lord has continued to bless my work and startup endeavors as I continue to seek his guidance in each decision, with ups and downs along the way. Looking back, I realize I had allowed my career to define too much of my identity. And when I experience public failure, I let that failure define me. I was paralyzed by the fear of being viewed as a failure. After going through some dark valleys, God showed me that my worth and my identity is in Jesus and they're not tied to my success in my work or anything else on earth. My identity is in him, he loves me, and has a plan for my life greater than I can possibly imagine. And because my identity is in him, I choose not to let that fear of failure direct my life or define my identity anymore. Thanks for letting me share my story with you.
Okay, so I've given you four things you need to remember to lower the fear of failure in your life. Now let's look at what to do, okay? Number five, the fifth thing in these eight things to do. Number five is refuse to compare myself to others. The Bible has a lot of say about this because this is the root of the fear of failure. When we're comparing ourselves to other people, we always get in trouble.
Now, in today's world, we have made comparing an indoor sport, and we compare everything. And the number one cause of comparison today is social media. 'Cause you look online, well, they just had a beautiful meal. I'd better have a beautiful meal. And they just bought some new clothes, I'd better buy some new clothes. They don't ever show when they've got diarrhea. And they're farting and their hair's a mess and their clothes are undone over here. They're showing their so-called perfect life, which is a total lie. But everybody's trying to top each other in social media. My dog's cuter than your dog. And parents are now trying to compete through their kids and they get their own self-worth our of competing through their kids. Like the bumper sticker that says, "My kid won student of the month this year at this school". I go, I want a bumper sticker that says, "My child was inmate of the month at this prison". Or "My kid beat up the student of the month at your school". It's so ridiculous. And they're living their fantasies through their kids in sports.
Have you gone to a soccer game recently? You'd think it's the World Cup. There are dads on the sidelines having heart attacks, screaming at their children. It's just a game. They're supposed to be having fun, not beating their brains out and, you know, "Kill that sucker"! Really that competitive spirit comes from comparison. The Bible warns over and over again that you are unique and you should never compare yourself to anybody else 'cause there's nobody like you. You could compare submarines and tangerines 'cause they sound alike but they're totally different. And you're as different from somebody else as a submarine and a tangerine. When you get to heaven, God isn't gonna say, "Why weren't you more like somebody else"? God made you to be made you. So you refuse to compare yourself to other people. Every time you do that, the fear of failure.
What happens when you compare yourself to others? One of two things happens. One, you find somebody who's doing a better job than you or making more money than you or is prettier than you or whatever and then you get discouraged. Or two, you find somebody you're doing a better job than and you get full of pride. Either way you're dead in the water. So God says don't do it. Don't compare your lawns, don't compare your kids, don't compare your spouse, don't compare your house. The Bible says it's dumb. Let me show you what scripture says. God made you unique. Galatians 6:4. "You should judge your own actions," in other words, it's okay to evaluate yourself by yourself, "but never compare yourself with others. Then you can be proud for doing your best," in other words, without comparing yourself to anybody else.
So there's a legitimate kind of pride when you go, you know what, I did my best. Maybe somebody did it better, it doesn't matter, I did my best. You can be proud of that, that's a legitimate kind of pride. So you judge your own actions but you never, never, never compare yourself to anybody else. You just gotta stop this. When you do start comparing yourself, would you agree that fear can make your imagination run wild? Have you ever had this happen? Yeah, you have, you're just not thinking about it.
I remember one time years ago, I was in my early 30s and the great preacher Billy Graham held a conference in Amsterdam in which he hand-picked 1,300 world leaders to come to this conference. And he invited me to speak at it. I'm gonna speak after Billy Graham. And I'm barely out of my 20s. And it scared me spitless. I was scared and my mind started playing games with me and I got in a cold sweat and I started imagining how people might compare me to Billy Graham. And I'm going, "What if I get up and I tell joke and it doesn't translate in all these different languages and it just bombs? Or what if people start falling asleep on me? What if they start walking out on me? What if they start booing me in their own language"?
I don't even know if that's possible but I was just hyperventilating until I remembered a Bible verse. It's the next verse on your outline, and it's 2 Corinthians 10 verse 12. "We don't dare to compare, we don't dare to compare or classify ourselves as some do. For when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are unwise, acting foolish". Do you realize that any time you compare your job to somebody else's job, you're acting foolish. Any time you compare your kids or your appearance or your salary or your talent to somebody else, you're acting foolish. Fools do that. God says, "Don't compare yourself, you're incomparable. You're unique, I made you to be you. I don't want you to be them so start comparing yourself". That will lower the fear of failure in your life.
Number six, redefine the meaning of failure. If you wanna get rid of the fear of failure, give it a new meaning. Redefine failure for your life. Not for everybody else's life but for your life. Think of failure in a new way. Here's how I want you to think of failure. Failure is not missing a goal that you set. Failure is not missing a goal, failure is not having a goal. You're not gonna make all the goals you have in life but at least you're trying, and that's a success. Failure is not missing a goal, failure is not having a goal. If you don't have a goal for your life, you are failing in that area. 'Cause you're just coasting through life, you're just letting life happen to you, you have no goal. Failure is not being unable to do something, failure is being unwilling to try. You do your best, you try. And if you're trying and you're doing your best, you do it in faith and love, then you're a success.
I think it was Lowell who said, "It's not failure but low aim that is the crime". My dad used to always say, "Son, always aim for the moon even if you hit the fence post". I like that. So if you're aiming for the moon and you only hit right here, that's okay. But you're aiming for the moon. I would rather attempt to do something great with my life and fail than attempt to do nothing with my life and succeed. And that's where most people are. They aren't doing anything with their life. They're drifting through life, they have no goal. Failure is not not meeting your agenda. Failure is not having an agenda. Not making the effort, not trying. My dad's motto, I heard him say it many times growing up, was this, "I'll do the best I can with what I have for Jesus Christ today". I like that. I'll do the best I can with what I have for Jesus Christ today, not tomorrow, that's a pretty good life motto. I'll do the best I can with what I have for Jesus Christ today.
Hebrews 11:6 says, "Without faith it is impossible to please God". Faith means I'm gonna try. I'm gonna set a goal and I'm gonna go after it. Faith requires taking that risk. If you're doing something in faith, then you're already a success because it's pleasing to God. Whether you reach your goal or not, whether you meet the challenge or not, whether you hit the pinnacle peak or not is irrelevant. You're doing it in faith. That is pleasing to God. And if what you're attempting is for the glory of God, then you can't be considered a failure no matter what happens.
When we started Saddleback, when I started it with Kay almost 40 years ago, I told the kids and I told Kay many times in the early years what I wanted written on my tombstone was four words: at least he tried. Because the jury was still out and I wasn't sure if this thing was gonna work or not. And so I said, "Just put on my tombstone, at least he tried. I had a great goal, great vision, great vision. I may not have reached but at least he tried". I can't put that on my tombstone today 'cause now it'd look like false humility 'cause it worked. It worked, we're all here. But in the early days of a project, it's okay for you to say, "At least he tried". I'm gonna start this new business, at least he tried. I'm gonna start this new ministry, at least she tried. That is faith. You redefine the meaning of failure.
Life is a marathon. The Bible says in Matthew 9:26, "According to your faith it will be done onto you". So if you have faith, then you're gonna move forward and God's gonna say, "According to your faith, you get to choose how much I bless your life". But this life is a marathon, it's not a 50-yard dash. And in a marathon only one person wins. There might be 20,000 people running. People do not run a marathon to get first place 'cause only one person's gonna get first place. They run a marathon to finish. To say, "I did it, I did it". Life's not a 50-yard dash. You're not gonna be number one in most things in life, neither I am. You're just not gonna be number one, there aren't enough things to be number one in. But what really matters is, did you finish the race? Or did you cop out and quit too soon or coast the latter part of your life? Or did you run hard and fast for Jesus Christ to the day he took you home? That's the question. The question is not, will you be number one? The question is, did you finish the race God put you in? And you can't run anybody else's race either. I want you to hear another story of a family that took risks stepping out in faith to banish the fear of failure. Would you give a warm welcome to Valerie Neeley? Bless you.
Valerie Neeley: Thank you. Fear is something I'm all too familiar with from early on in my life. From fear of rejection, provision, direction, facing my past pains, to not having control over life's unexpected events. At the same time, pushing past my fears with the help of God has been an amazingly terrifying, frustrating, gloriously wonderful journey. Being a young mom at 16 years old I was filled with fears for the future, especially with what I was being told by those around me. Much of the statistics of teen moms did not look good for me or my daughter, all of it sounding like a pretty hopeless future. I was introduced to Saddleback Church at 19 years old when I was sitting in the passenger seat of my husband's car driving down Portola Parkway and looking up just in time to see the street sign that said "Purpose Drive".
My mind quickly went to the book "Purpose Driven Life" and I turned to see the Saddleback Church signs. I was ecstatic. And I thought of the line from "Purpose Driven Life" that had impacted my own life greatly that went something like, "There may be illegitimate parents, but there's no such thing as an illegitimate child". That line gave me hope for the future for my daughter. So immediately my husband and I attended our first service. We sat as far back as we possibly could for a false sense of security of not being noticed. As we listened to the sermon, it was amazing. And then Pastor Rick said it. He said the line from "Purpose Driven Life" that meant so much to me. So from then we started to attend.
A couple years go by and we were regularly attending as a family, and then Saddleback finally sent a member to every nation in the world. I remember that day, watching the video reel on the big screens here at the Lake Forest campus. I remember sitting in my chair in awe of the amazing things our church was doing around the world. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. What was I doing here, just sitting in this church that does all these amazing things around the world for the glory of God? I wanted to be a part of making a difference here, there, everywhere. I prayed the prayer that Pastor Rick said was the most dangerous prayer to pray: Lord, use me. I honestly did not take Pastor Rick's warning seriously, and of course he was right. By that time I was in my early 20s with two kids. I wanted them to grow up thinking of others and not themselves, so we jumped in and volunteered.
We volunteered with the Motel Ministry, Compton cleanup, Beautify Saddleback, and anything their little hands could chip in with. Then my family and I felt led to serve globally. We weren't quite sure what it would like and considered serving long-term as a family in Rwanda. Our family stepped outside of our comfort zone and sacrificed many things during that time. I'm a complete control freak, so the thought of facing the unknown with no line-by-line, minute-by-minute itinerary was scary to me. We knew God was moving but it was awful not having the whole picture of where, when, or how. So we as a family did what we knew and moved forward. Things started to get even scarier as we stepped out of our comfort zone to prep us and the kids for a big trip like that. We served on peace trips to Mexico and then the Navajo Reservation. God was confirming with each trip that we went on that we were meant to serve. Each trip brought different fears for us and the kids. We had no idea at the time that we would also be ridiculed by much of my husband's family. My husband even received a very hurtful email from his dad disapproving of all the work we were doing and the goal of the long-term service in Africa.
As we continued to pursue God and our service in him, we finally went as a family and served in Rwanda as our own peace team for a short-term three-week trip. It was amazing. It was uncomfortable, having to be fast, fluid, and flexible. But it was an amazing experience serving as a family. When we came back from that short trip, it seemed that God had other plans for us that did not include serving long-term over there. It was devastating to us 'cause we had so much training and we had been working for years, selling our home, quitting jobs, moving the kids, to accommodate a goal that we thought we should be going towards. But of course God's plans are always better than ours. From stepping out in faith onto a path that we couldn't see ahead of, step by step God held our hands, guiding us to be used in ways that we could've never have imagined. We've learned so much along the way, and though things didn't go the way that we expected, we have learned to walk each day open to what God has to hold.
If we as a family had decided to let fear hold us back from pursuing where God was leading, we would have never experienced the joy of living out our purpose. Because we stepped out in faith, we now have served as a family for several years on the Navajo Reservation, with my husband and I as co-leaders. I've gone out on my own a few times serving at refugee camps in Greece and the Middle East with our Saddleback Relief Ministry. My husband has been called to become a pastor, which is his own journey and battle with fear. And my daughter who is now 13 stepped out on her own faith journey and went on a trip to Rwanda with the Junior High and High School Ministry. If you were to tell me many years ago when I was pregnant with my daughter as a teenager that this would be my future, I would've thought you were crazy. Our God is bigger than any fear and he's shown me that if I trust his leading, he turns those fears into a life filled with so much more than I can imagine. Thank you.
Rick Warren: Fantastic. Thanks. Okay. So, if you say, how do I get started in taking risks? Well, just find some place to serve. It doesn't matter where it is, just find some place to serve. Volunteer, start trying out. Go, is this me, is this not me, and do that. Now let me give you the last two, I'll give 'em to you quickly, just write them down.
The seventh step in overcoming the fear of failure is to refocus on God's love for me and others. And both of them are important. I refocus on God's love for me first, how much God loves me, and then I focus on my love for other people, why? Because love is the antidote to fear. A lot of people think the opposite of fear is faith. It is not. The opposite of fear is love. And love lets go of fear, love moves against fear. When love comes in your front door of your heart, fear goes out the back door. You can't be afraid and loving at the same time. Not with real love. Fake love, you can. But if you have real love in your heart, you don't have any fear. Why would people run into a burning building to rescue little children? Not because of faith. They would do it because of love. A mom would do all kinds of things and put her life at risk because she loves her babies. And a dad will put his life at risk to protect his family, his wife and his kids. He'll do that and not out of faith, he'll do it out of love.
And so if you make love the motivation of everything you do, fear is gonna disappear. Here's what the Bible says. 1 John 4:18. "Wherever God's love is, there is no fear". Circle that, there's no fear. "Because God's perfect love drives out all fear". Now, love never fails but we do fail at loving. And the Bible says here, "Wherever there's God's love, there's no fear". So when you start feeling fear rise up in you. You've got a project, you've got something you gotta do that's making you a little nervous, you're worrying, "Am I gonna be able to do this or not"? You need to pause and at that moment start going, "God, you really love me". And you start focusing on how much God loves you. You say it aloud, "God, you really love me. You're on my side, you want me to succeed at this. It's not like you want me to fail".
God doesn't want you to fail, he wants you to succeed at what you're doing in life. "God, you love me, there's no fear in love". You've heard me say many times, at every service I come out here I go, "God, I love you and I love these people. And you love me and you love these people. And these people love you and these people love me". There's no fear in love, perfect love casts our all fear. This is not an audience to be, I'm no afraid of you, why? Because this is not an audience to be feared, this is a family to be loved. And love gets rid of all fear. And the more you're filled with love, you're focusing on what other people need, not yourself. When you're fearful, you're focusing totally on yourself. That's not love. When you're loving, you're not focused on you, you're focused on what other people need. And the more loving you are, the less fearful you are.
So if you make love your motivation for everything you do, you're not gonna be afraid to do it. The Bible says, "Perfect love casts out all fear. Make love your motivation". Now, in 1 Corinthians 13:7 and eight we have five characteristics of real love. "Love never stops being patient. Love never stops believing. Love is always hopeful. Love never gives up. And love never fails". Circle that last, love never fails. Which means this. I don't care what you attempt with your life. If you do it in love, whether you succeed in human terms or not, you cannot be considered a failure because you did it in love, and love never fails. You're not gonna reach all your goals in life. You're not gonna be everything you think you oughta be. You're not gonna accomplish everything you think you oughta accomplish.
But if you become a great lover, a lover of God and a lover of people, then your life is a success because love never fails. And in God's book, it doesn't matter how many accomplishments or how many achievement you have, but if you really learn to love, love God with all your heart, love your neighbors and yourself, love never fails. You cannot be considered a failure. Everything else may fall apart, but love never fails. You are not a failure because you loved God with all your heart and you loved the people around you and you loved people who needed the Lord.
Number eight. The last one's real simple, I'll just read the verses. Replace my fear with faith in Jesus. Now, if you take the fear out of your heart, it leaves a vacuum. You can't leave a vacuum in your heart so you have to replace the fear with something else. I replace my fear with faith in Jesus. I'll read these three verses and we'll close. Philippians 4:13. "I have the strength to face all conditions," even the ones that scare me to death, "by the power that Christ gives me". My faith is not in my own power. My faith is in Christ power inside of me. And when I know what I'm being called to do, I'm gonna do it not in my power but in God's power, then I'm not afraid because he gives me the power to do it. Here's another great promise. We've been looking at promises all day.
Isaiah 41:10, God says this to you. "Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, and I will help you, and I will uphold you with my righteous right hand". You can go to the bank on that one, friends. God cannot lie. He says, "I will be there for you". Saddleback is a church of big dreams. We've had big, big dreams. If you're gonna be a part of this family, you need to learn how to dream big. And if there's anything I want you to do, if you're gonna be a member of this church, I want you to dream great dreams for God this week. As your spiritual coach, as your pastor, I'm begging you, dream great dreams for God. The nice thing about it, I've told you this before, it doesn't cost anything, it's free. Dreams don't cost anything. I dare you to dream great dreams for God.
What do you wanna see happen in your life this next year? Ask yourself this question. What would I attempt for God if I knew I couldn't fail? And let that expand your mind. Dream great dreams for God 'cause God says, "I'll give you the strength, Christ will be in you. And I'm gonna be with you and I will strengthen you and I will help you and I will uphold you with my righteous right hand". 2 Timothy 1:7, last verse. "God does not give us a spirit of fear that makes us afraid. Instead he gives us a spirit of power and of love and of self-control". In the King James original English translation, it says, "Gives us a spirit of power and love and a sound mind". Self-control, sound mind, same concept.
I know this one from experience. Kay and I got married very young, we were both 21 years old. Three months after we got married many years ago, I just had a total breakdown. Physical breakdown, emotional, mental breakdown. I ended up in the hospital. And I was filled with the fear of failure and I thought, "My life is over". It hadn't even started yet but I thought at 21 years of age, "My life is over. I'm married but I can't even last here. I'm three months and I'm in the hospital, depressed and discouraged". And the psychiatrist in that hospital came to me and said, "You need to take a month off". And so we went to my parents in Northern California who lived up in the Redwoods, and I felt like such a failure as a new husband and just in my life. I just thought, "I can't handle anything". Everything made me upset and made me nervous.
And I remember one night I had a dream from all the tension of feeling such a failure, and all I can say is it was a demonic dream, it was evil. And I woke up in a cold sweat. And as I was laying there in bed, kind of breathing very fast, I heard the phone ring in my parents' house. And my mom picked it up and the guy in the phone said, "Is this the house where Rick Warren is"? And they said, "Yes". He said, "Could I talk to him"? She said, "Yes". So she called me, I got out of bed, I came and I got the phone and I said, "Yes"? And he goes, "Rick, you don't know me, we've never met. How I got this number doesn't really matter. But I live in San Diego and God told me to call you and give you this verse, and it's this verse. 'God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind.' And Rick, you have a right in Jesus Christ to a sound mind," and he hung up.
You don't think God uses people like that? Well, he does. It could've been an angel but it didn't have to be, it just have to be a person and God said, "Call that guy". And for whatever reason, he called. But I held on to that verse in that year of depression, when I thought I was such a failure. My life hadn't even started yet. And he's done a few things in my life since then. And what I wanna say to you as somebody who loves you, as your pastor who prays for you all the time, God is not done with you. God is not done with you. I don't care what you've been through, I'm sorry for all the pain, really, I am, but God is not done with you. And you cannot let fear hold you back. And I as your pastor will not let you let fear hold you back, and I will push you to say trust God, and everything you do, do it in faith and do it in love. And if you do it in faith and you do it in love, it doesn't matter how it turns, you're already a success because without faith it's impossible to please love. And love never fails. Let's bow our heads.
Dear God, we're all just normal people and we've all got habits and hangups and hurts and we all have our secret fears and our anxieties and our insecurities. But the good thing is we know where to bring 'em. To you, you are the healer of minds, like you did with Kyle. And you are the healer of hearts, like you did with Valerie. And you are the healer of hurts and so many other things if we'll just trust you. We want our lives to be dominated by love and faith, not fear. Forgive us for small thinking and petty believing. Forgive us for not attempting great things for you and expecting great things from you. We don't wanna be the guy who goes and buries the talent in the ground. We don't wanna be lazy or wicked. That would be evil. You have a made a deposit in every person's life here and you didn't intend them to just use it on themselves. I pray that in this next year every person here will begin to find a place of ministry, of service, where they will be giving back, making a difference in the world with the talent that you gave them.
If you've never invited Christ in your life, say:
Jesus Christ come into my life right now. I'm turning it over to you. You're the manager, you're the boss. From here on out, I wanna go your plan, not my plan. Please, save me, Jesus. And I humbly ask this in your name. Amen.