So grateful to have Ryan Burke on this podcast. If you are interested in his amazing guitar podcast you can find it at
Here are the notes we worked through. Didn’t get through all of it but there are some good notes and tons of quotes about failure in here.
When you give a message on failure in church you expect that the message would sound something like this. Stop failing. Stop sinning. Stop those bad habits, stop gossiping. Just stop it. Stop failing. The bible is a list of rules and we are supposed to obey the rules so go out and do it. Stop failing.
My challenge is to fail more. To fail better. To fully embrace failure. Because here’s the deal. Life is failure.
Norman Cousins put it like this. “The essence of man is imperfection.”
Marriage is fraught with failure. I’m not saying your marriage will fail. The odds are pretty stacked against us married people, but I’m not saying your marriage will fail. But marriage will introduce you to failure. You cannot stop yourself from failing in marriage.
Marriage is filled with failures.
You said the wrong thing at the wrong time
You solved instead of listened
You check you’re phone for a game score during a date night
You bought your wife a vacuum cleaner for her birthday
(By the way I did not make up that last mistake. I actually bought my wife a vacuum cleaner for her birthday)
Parenting is failure. It’s hard. Plus, if you have only one kid you only get one shot at getting it right. And you won’t get it right. Just about the time you think you’re getting the hang of it then bam, junior high.
If you have more than one child you would think that you would get a decent shot at kid two, but turns out kid two is totally different than kid one. None of the same rules apply. You have to start over again.
Some might think that the answer is to have more kids. First off, that person doesn’t have kids. We all know that kids are like money. Mo kids, mo problems. Plus, the older they get the higher the stakes get.
School is failure. We write bad papers and get bad grades and take four years of Spanish. We can’t speak Spanish.
Let me give you one more area of our life that is filled with failure. It’s probably the area you fail the most. Christianity. Following God. This God journey that we are all on is riddled with failure. Let me help you point out just some of your failures real quick.
As you know in the old testament God called Moses on to mount Sinai and gave him the ten commandments.
Thou shalt not kill
Thou shalt not steal
Thou shalt not lie
Thou shalt not commit adultery
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. Matthew 5:21,22
Well, have you someone a name? I was with you when that guy cut you off on the freeway. Raca would have been an upgrade.
There is no achievement without failure
There is no growth without failure
No progress without failure
You cannot reach your full potential without failure
There is no innovation without failure
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy
“Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.” – C.S. Lewis
“Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be” – John Wooden
I also believe that if we are not failing we probably aren’t attempting anything great.
Woodrow Wilson once said “I would rather fail in a cause that will ultimately succeed than to succeed in a cause that will ultimately fail”
Not talking about Moral Failure
Be honest with our failures
Do you know the reason why so many of us have a hard time deal with failure? It’s because it’s so hidden. We all fail all the time and make huge mistakes. But we hide them. We don’t lead with our mistakes when we are in conversation. I was at a party last night and I didn’t start any conversation off with “Did I tell you about the house I bought that lost money for 7 straight years and I had to sell in a short sale.”
When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. 5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. Psalm 32:3-5
We need to learn to fail forward
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill
“No human ever became interesting by not failing. The more you fail and recover and improve, the better you are as a person. Ever meet someone who’s always had everything work out for them with zero struggle? They usually have the depth of a puddle. Or they don’t exist.” – Chris Hardwick
One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13,14
Make sure you are failing at the right thing
God is always about people. He may not really care about what your company does, but I can tell you he really cares about the people you work with.
God is always on the side of the poor and oppressed. Whether they are in Haiti or Belize the inner city or at the corner of Westview and Mira Mesa. He is always on the side of the down and out.
God is a God of family. Prioritize them
God is always excited about reaching the next one. Neighbors, co-workers, family members.
God’s into generosity. He never applauds selfishness. He is proud when we use our resources to make a difference.
Readers digest ran an article about a Veterinarian and a Taxidermist. He has a sign on his door: “Either way, you get your dog back.”
C.S. Lewis in the book “The Screwtape Letters” outlines Satan’s strategy:
He get’s Christians to become preoccupied with their failures; from then on, the battle is won.
The great inventor Charles Kettering suggested that we must learn to fail intelligently. He said, “Once you’ve failed, analyze the problem and find out why, because each failure is one more step leading up to the cathedral of success. The only time you don’t want to fail is the last time you try.”
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