The key to success is not the absence of mistakes or failures, but the ability to learn from them.
As we travel the nations and work in new cultures, we have opportunity on a regular basis to make mistakes, as well as see others make mistakes. I actually carry a notebook and write every decision or incident that went wrong. Why do I spend time doing that? Two reasons. First, I do not want to repeat the same mistake twice. Second, I do not want to repeat the same mistake twice! Memories can fade so it’s good to keep a written memory of the day’s decisions. The learning curve teaches us that haste is the forerunner to mistakes.
Haste has ruined many a budding love story and many prosperous business partnerships. We live with a God who has planned the universe and He has some long range plans for you. Build your life with an expectation that He is building it with you, and don’t get in a hurry and take the detour of mistakes!
A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.
For many years in Russia we gathered as a missionary team each morning from 9 AM – 10AM. Our times were spent praying for the harvest. We were expecting the Lord to provide strategies for us as a team, and to develop divine opportunities for us to make known the mysteries of the Gospel. We discovered great value in these seasons of team prayer.
I remember specifically one morning the Lord highlighted a city on the map called Ust-Kut. We had never even heard of this place but began to pray for it fervently. A few weeks later we were ministering in Nerungry, deep in the Russian forest approximately 6 time zones to the east of Moscow. Getting to this destination took some concerted effort as we flew over about 8 hours of dense, wild Russian forest, traveled on back roads and weathered freezing temperatures. While conducting this conference in Nerungry, a Pastor from Ust-Kut approached us and told of his church planting efforts in his very isolated area off the coast of Lake Baikal. We were so excited to meet the pastor and learn of his work! Soon after this meeting we found ourselves in his region conducting a leadership conference and planting churches in towns that had never heard the Gospel before. WOW! What a testimony to the power of prayer!
Let’s remember: The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results! James 5:16b
In one of our large events in Africa, we were told by the organizers not to expect to start on time. “Here in Africa the opening night is just a test run where we work out our problems.”
Can you imagine? There are 75,000 people preparing to gather. People are already standing on the field hours before the meetings are to begin! Yet, the expectation of a group of adult men was, ‘don’t worry if we don’t start on time, well, we never do…’ So, in other words, failure is acceptable!
Ask yourself a simple question: Where have I set the standard for my life? Is failure my expectation, or is overcoming the impossible where I set my goal in life?
How would you handle a situation like this, if in just a matter of an hour you were to address this crowd and you had no lights and no sound?
Action was required, so we fired the 30 organizers and asked for 40, 14-year-old male volunteers. Why? They had not yet experienced failure! They would climb where no one else would climb, lifting lights and scaling poles! Are you willing to scale insurmountable odds?
If those 40 boys had not stepped to the line, what would have happened that night? Those 75,000 people who came looking for hope, searching for a miracle, and expecting good news would have left empty and disappointed!
The boundaries are limitless for our prayer life! If you have a concern or a problem, you have been given a free invitation to pray about everything. As children we badger our parents with every kind of question imaginable. We learn that we have open access to communicate and that no question is too silly. Over time we mature and our questions change.
As a young Christian we also have every type of question imaginable. As we mature, we learn the heart of our Father and the essence of life in Him. Our questions become more focused and pertain to the situations we face rather than about His character and His willingness to answer us.
Start praying now! The more time you spend with Him, the more you will understand Him and the lighter your load will be. Let Him carry your burdens – His shoulders are big enough!
The name of the game is NO FEAR HERE! Jobless rates, economic reports, apocalyptic projections abound from the secular press to Christian programming. What will our response be? Over the years Kevin and I have said we must plan like Jesus is never coming back but work as if He is coming tomorrow.
Allow the Lord to breathe His life and whisper His wisdom in your heart. COMMUNE with Him to pick-up on His signals. He has direction for you in the midst of difficult times!
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Tim 1:7 NLT
When I began global ministry I had two part-time jobs and attended Bible school full-time in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, but the key was my passion to begin ministry. One day the school had a guest come with a list of all the opportunities available in the world. I looked at the list, then looked at the $50 in my bank account, and decided I could make it as far as the Nevada desert where the Paiute Indians were considered a mission field.
The school said I needed to have $500 and a car in three weeks, and I told them I would have them. A few nights later I was watching Christian TV with my mother. I thought I heard a voice say to give the $50 I had to the preacher on TV. I said, “NO! I need the $50 more than he does!”
I thought about it the next day and decided that if it was God Who said to give, then there would be a blessing in obeying. If it was just emotion saying to give, then if I gave my $50 in faith with joy, there would still be a blessing. So I gave.
What happened next? Nothing. Nothing happened the next day, the next week, or the next 10 days. But after two weeks I heard a knock at the door. When I opened it, standing there was a divorced, single mother who worked at the school. She handed me an envelope with $500 in it, saying she needed to sleep. For two weeks God had been waking her up every night and telling her to give $500 to Kevin McNulty. I asked her if it was a Wednesday that He first spoke and she said yes…the Wednesday I gave the $50! Well, that got me on my way to the desert and around the world, and I haven’t stopped since!
Joseph, the man appointed second in command of all Egypt, could not be denied prosperity because he kept his heart right. If God could make a man like Joseph, who was in the chains of slavery, prosperous, then surely he can fill your life with success.
Joseph is a study in right attitudes and right believing. In the midst of tremendous trials he never lost sight of the dream established in his heart. Joseph started in a pit, thrown there by his brothers. He landed in prison when falsely accused, but he didn’t finish there.
It doesn’t matter if you start in a slum, an orphanage, a lousy home or no home at all. What counts is where you are going! And what you are doing with the dream that God has placed in your heart!
Jesus started in a manger, but he didn’t stay there!
Rome did not fall because of war, but from boredom and avarice. Alexander the Great did not die in battle, but from boredom in a drunken stupor. We are not designed to live in the safe harbor, but on the high seas. The pastors and leaders of society that fall today do not do so in the effort and struggle to succeed, but in the boredom of their success. Do not allow the hardships you may face today to reveal a crybaby within you, but rise to the task at hand and discover the way to overcome.
The great businessmen of yesterday were not those who waited for retirement and watched a clock. We don’t remember the great spiritual institutions of a different era, but we do remember and are inspired by the men and women who pioneered them in the heat of battle. There is no life marked solely by success, but by failures which rose to success.
Friends, do not dream of a safety net, but of a net that can catch fish. Your safety is in your courageous heart to pioneer new projects and new dreams. Some of you will be the tip of spear in the battle, and others will be the force behind the spear that gives it power to thrust forward. All the positions are important when you go to war.
Jesus did not pay a price for you to be weak.
Jesus did not become your substitute so you would fear.
Jesus did not fill you with His spirit for you to run from the battle.
This is your greatest hour. This is our time! Do not let the winds of adversity howl in your ears driving you to hide behind safe doors. The world is waiting to hear your voice speaking peace to the storm!
We were having a meeting in Simferopol a number of years ago and didn’t have enough ushers. We had told the pastor we would have thousands of people, but he had never been able to get more than a couple hundred people together. So here we had thousands of people showing up on the opening night of the meeting, and this group of drunks wandered in and sat in the back. As it turned out, they were drunks that had been committed to a type of insane asylum where they are medicated with as much alcohol as they would like, because that way they could at least keep them under control.
So these men wandered into our meeting, and then wandered to the altar and prayed a prayer. What happened then? When they woke up the next morning they had no desire for alcohol, they were in their right minds…they were healed! So they came back to the next meeting, and after that meeting they went back to the hospital, and then back to the tent the next night. These 6 men ended up being picked to be ushers, and they were so committed that they became our best Ushers, organizing other Ushers and security.
Alcohol had had such power over them, but after a prayer, in an instant their lives were transformed! When the doctors finally saw that these drunks were no longer taking any alcohol, even though they were offered as much as they wanted, they said, “What happened to you?” The men replied, “We got healed over there in that tent!” The doctor said, “I don’t believe you, I want to check your bodies.” So he began checking their bodies for microchips that were causing them not to want to drink! They wouldn’t believe that it had anything to do with a supernatural God who can heal, instead they said, ‘this has got to be some new computer chip technology that is controlling your urge to drink.”
Of course the doctors found no chips, and then realized that these men had been healed. They became the greatest testimony to the people coming into that tent as they stood there welcoming and seating people. The community knew those drunks, and they also saw that those drunks were in their right mind now.
What does Jesus say to us today? He says, I’ve loosed you from your bonds, I’ve loosed you from your captivity, I’ve loosed you from your sickness and disease. I set you free 2,000 years ago from the influence of the devil, and now I release you to fulfill your destiny!
One of my most important life-experiences came as I was helping Jean, a woman who attended our weekly feeding program. Our local city had issued a notice that she was to clean up her property or they would haul off all her possessions. What was so tragic is that although she owned a beautiful home, she lived on the front porch! You could not even find a pathway through her home. Though she was a gentle soul with a love for nature and a concern for suffering people, she had a serious mental struggle.
Our local outreach group organized a team to clear her property—not an easy job since to her, everything seemed valuable. I remember sitting on the street curb, dirty from head to foot, picking up seeds that had just spilled from her pouch. At that moment a car load of young people sped by, shouting, “Look at the street people!” Then I realized—they were talking about me! But as my eyes caught Jean’s, I saw joy—because someone cared enough to help her pick up her little seeds.
I have carried that experience with me to over 60 nations! Why? A well-lived life is a life engaged with serving others! If you are sad or depressed, remember there is always someone else who is sadder and more depressed than you. So go out and get busy interacting with others! Then, as Jesus said, you will discover there is no greater love than to lay down your life for another (John 15:13).
True human value is not found in serving yourself, but in serving others!