I’ve mentioned before that one of my favorite teaching pastors is Brad Powell from NorthRidge Church in Plymouth, Michigan. I was fortunate enough to be a member of that Church for approximately five years. There were many a times when I would sit with rapt attention and listen to Brad’s talks. He always has a conversational tone in his talks, and although I was one of thousands of people in the auditorium, I would swear that Brad was talking just to me, just as if I was sitting in a coffee shop with him having a normal conversation about God.
I used to take copious notes every time that Brad talked, some notes are listed around verses that Brad referenced in whatever my favorite Bible of the time was (I have quite a Bible collection). And, unfortunately my volume of notes got lost in one of my many moves. I miss listening to Brad live at NorthRidge. That’s perhaps the biggest drawback of pretty much living our lives out on the road, we don’t have a home church because we are not home long enough to establish a church connection. So, maybe, just maybe, we need to become online church attenders, and if so, NorthRidge Church has my vote. Now NorthRidge has many other fine people who also deliver talks that are relevant to my everyday life, including some outstanding guest teachers such as Harvey Carey, and Tim Elmore, but by far, I love to listen to Brad Powell.
Brad makes his teachings personal and brings his listeners to a common understanding. Brad always stated that of all people, the last thing that he ever expected that he would do for a living is being a pastor. As a child and young person Brad found Church boring, and non-relevant. I heard him speak many times offering examples of how time after time he failed. Yet, here he is today, the Senior Pastor, who leads thousands of believers their their own personal journey of faith. And, time after time Brad would say “Failure is not final!”
Those four fine words: “Failure is not final!,” have stuck with me over the past 16 years. They’ve served as a rallying point when I would/do get frustrated about not doing something the right way. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so I want to do everything right. I don’t like making mistakes, and I certainly don’t like repeating mistakes or failures. Yet, Brad taught me that it’s okay to make mistakes. We learn by mistakes and failures, we grow from our mistakes and failures. And, every time we fall down, we pick ourselves back up, dust ourselves off, pour our misgivings, failures, and sins out to our loving Savior, and start all over again.
I have grown in my faith, personal relationships, and even with the struggles I have within myself through those four fine words. And, believe it or not, I’ve actually learned to let a few things go and not try to make them perfect. Certainly, not something I would have done years ago.
I’ve also learned that I’ve failed others through my actions or inactions. I’ve disappointed others, I’ve let them down. I’ve not handled situations in the manner that I should. And, I’m still doing some of those same things today. But, I know, my failure on those parts lends themselves as an opportunity to start over and work to set things right. I can always strive to be the friend that others need to have, to be a sympathetic ear to someone I care about (even though mercy is not high on my spiritual gift list). I can try to be just a tad bit more patient (that’s a tall order for me). Most of all, I can still work to remember that everything does not have to be perfect. Remember, failure is not final.
And, furthermore, I can try to remember that those with whom I interface are perhaps just as flawed as I am. I would do well to extend a little grace for actual, or perceived, slights from others. They too could benefit from those four fine words: “Failure is not final.”
“You shall say to them, Thus says the LORD: When men fall, do they not rise again? If one turns away, does he not return?” (Jeremiah 8:4, ESV)