In Case You Missed It

At The Blazing Center, Matt Rogers wrote an article discussing 7 ways to fail well.

No one likes to fail, but we all do it. We attempt a project that produces few results. We launch a venture only to see it flame out. We try to maintain regular family devotions and do well for, like, two weeks. We fight to overcome a particular sin pattern and then fail . . . again.

 

Life is filled with failure.

 

I’ll be honest—the common counsel isn’t that encouraging to me most days. Failure is preparation for something great. All great men fail before they succeeded. Learn from your failures. Fail forward (or is that fall forward?). Either way, I’m certain there are glimmers of truth in these statements. And, maybe sometime far down the road when I’m far more mature than I am currently, I’ll process life this way.

 

Right now, I just want to fail without giving up.

 

Let’s save the silver lining around the cloud of failure for some other day. Yes, God is at work changing me through my failure. Yes, God is exposing idolatry in my heart. Yes, God is preparing me in some way for the future he has planned for me. Yes, in some weird and painfully frustrating way, failure is a path to joy.

 

But I still hate it.

 

And I still want to give up.

 

And I know that it won’t be the last time I fail.

 

So what do you do with failure? Here are a few things I am doing (or trying to talk myself into doing).

From Marty Duren comes a helpful post on an often misused fragment of Scripture: “The poor you have with you always.” Marty writes:

As muddled theology follows Joel Osteen, when the subject of helping the poor arises some well-meaning person follows with “The poor you always have with you.” It is often inserted into conversation like a wannabe theological mic-drop, but typically impresses only the one who says it.

 

This verse fragment–for indeed that’s what it is–is found in toto in the gospels of Matthew (26:11), Mark (14:7), and John (12:8). The all important context is the woman who anointed the feet of Jesus with her costly perfume, worth approximately a year’s salary. Those sharing the meal with Jesus were incensed about the incense, waving away the woman’s brave and contrite act of worship with their legalistic assertion it might have been sold as a fundraiser for the poor.

 

If that dinner was like the average church dinner more money sat greedily ungiven in the checking accounts of the cynics than the woman could have spilled on the feet of the Savior in another whole lifetime. Criticism being the blood-sport it is they harangued her.

 

It is in the face of this spectacle Jesus spoke a couple of sentences, a stinging rebuke to the legalists, an incredible solace to the “dirty” woman washing His feet. If we did not have the gospel record, we might be led to think Jesus said, “The poor you always have with you,” a detached commentary of the downside of capitalism.

 

That, however, is not what Jesus said, or at least not all of it. From Mark’s gospel we have the scene and Jesus’ full response.

At Thom Rainer’s blog, Jonathan Howe outlines four reasons why you need a communications plan for your church.

Most, if not all, churches have a plan for their worship services. Hopefully your church has a plan for discipleship. And many churches have a long-range plan.

 

But what about how you communicate to members and guests? Do you have a plan for that? Here are four reasons you should have a communications plan in your church.

Lesley Hildreth posted at the Southeastern Seminary Women’s Life blog about discerning the “Missionary” calling. Lesley writes:

In The Insanity of Obedience, Nik Ripkin writes, “our conversations about call should be focused on where we have been called rather than on if we have been called. This question should be settled at the very beginning of our walk with Jesus. We have been called to radical obedience.”

 

Like Nik, I believe that the church has been given a clear command to make disciples of all nations (see Matthew 28:18-20). It is a direct command for the church and not just for a “select few.” To “go” simply means to live. As believers, we should live out the gospel with the realization that God is the one who engineers our goings. Since we are all commanded to Go and Tell the question we should begin asking ourselves is “where” and “to whom.”

 

Not everyone will be asked to pack a suitcase and sell all of their possessions to move across the ocean to reach the nations. But some will and for those, I think there are some common things God uses to awaken our hearts to obey this specific missionary call.

Finally, from the Intersect project, here are 4 articles on how Easter transforms culture, work, politics, and cities.

At Easter, we remember Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross. But Jesus didn’t simply redeem us; his sacrifice began to redeem culture, politics, work and even the city.

 

In the following selections, you’ll see where these spheres fit within the biblical narrative — and how the cross begins the process of restoration.

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