Sermon Notes: How to Wreck Your Life. Week Three. Why do we Settle for less?

**These sermon notes were cut and paste right from my google doc. That’s why there are cues to when the slides go up. 

***This was also one of my favorite messages ever at Thrive! 

Message Notes    |    |

Slide # 1…Series Slide

    • Good Morning Thrive Church! How are we doing today?
    • Today is the day. The last Sunday at Celebration Cinema.
    • It’s both sad and happy, It’s both emotional and exciting.
    • Today is the day we close one chapter of our Church and we move on to the next.


  • I can remembering spending time on Sat mornings praying around this building before they even approved us to use it! It seemed like a GIANT ask of God. I mean, so many people thought there was NO WAY they were going to let us use this.


  • I can remember so many times I have seen people just cry sitting in these seats. I can remember so many times when we have laughed in this room.
  • As you know, laughter and fun are a big deal to us. We just don’t buy the lie that says you can’t laugh in church. I believe that JOY entered the world when the stone was rolled away!
  • So, with that, I want to show you something. Every once in awhile I’ll walk by Matt and Dave’s office and they will just be laughing. You know, working for a church is awesome. It’s also ridiculously difficult. Sometimes, you have to laugh.
  • Sometimes, Matt will put my sermons on slow speed and they will just laugh and laugh and then they will call people into their office.

VIDEO: Drunk Jason

In the office, we call these drunk Jason videos. Now, I don’t even drink and we’re not making light of alcoholism. But, it’s pretty funny! Hahah.

  • I can remember so many times when people greeted me in the hallway and said, I never thought there would be a day when I stepped into Church, but here I am.
  • I can remember the time someone brand new to church was leaving theater one and he came up to me and he yelled…I LOVE THIS F’ing Church!
  • I can remember the hundreds of times I have seen one of our elders, David Stevens praying for people the green room.
  • I can remember the hundreds of times I have seen my dad and Bryan Huntoon, and Ethan Gage and Brian Hull and all the Road Crew folks unload trailers and set everything up.
  • I can remember the first time this place really started to fill up and Matt and I looked at each other and said…ONLY GOD.
  • I can remember the times when I’ve stood up and casted a big vision and I could see the ‘what is he talking about’ looks and then somehow, someway God shows up. Money is raised. Like we did in December of 2014. We raised 15k for our youth and kids. In March of 2015 we raised 14k for shoes. In April of 2016 we raised 24k for shoes and now, our biggest and most successful campaign ever has raised $41,000 for the move to CMU. If you still need GOD confirmation that He’s leading us that way, I’ll give 41000 reasons and soon, I BELIEVE, I will be able to give you 50,000.
  • I can remember the time we had a homeless guy out front and so many Thrivers talked to him and he told someone that he needed a watch and he was then offered 20!
  • I can remember hundreds of times when I walked down the hallway and I’ve prayed for all of our volunteers and begged God to bless them.
  • I can remember the first time we did baptisms in here and we baptized a student and all his friends were in the front couple of rows cheering!
  • And, today, we celebrate all that God has done here in this place.
  • The title of this message is: Why do we settle for less?
  • So often we do, right?
  • Except for things we really care about?
  • When it comes to food, some of us will send back the plate multiple times at the restaurant if the food isn’t just right. Which after working at restaurants for 6 years, I would strongly advise against that.
  • When it comes to our cars, some of us do not settle.
  • When it comes to our technology, some of us are Apple snobs.
  • But, sometimes, when it comes to our eternity or our walking with Jesus or our church, we settle for less.
  • We have to stop settling. We have to want more out of our walk with Jesus. We all should do everything we can to make our Church the BEST is can be. We all should reject the notion that’s it all about us and daily, do everything we can to make this place better for people who haven’t even come here yet.
  • So, do you settle?
  • Are you fine with…well, it’s good enough?
  • Well, I’m not. I want this Church, I want my relationship with Jesus to be the BEST it possibly can be.
  • I love what Mark Batterson said in his book…The Circle Maker. Which, chapter two is where I found some of the inspiration for this message! Mark says…

Slide # 2…‘God does not answer vague prayers’ ~Mark Batterson

  • Right in chapter two he says…Bold prayers honor God, and God honors bold prayers. God isn’t offended by your biggest dreams or boldest prayers. He is offended by anything less.
  • If your prayers aren’t impossible to you, they are insulting to God.
  • Why? Because they don’t require divine intervention. But ask God to part the Red Sea or make the sun stand still or float an iron ax head and God is moved to omnipotent action.
  • There is nothing God loves more than keeping promises, answering prayers, performing miracles and fulfilling dreams. That is who He is. That is what He does.
  • So, stop settling for less.
  • I hope you walk out of here this morning and remember…

Slide # 3…Big Idea: There is so much MORE LIFE available to you

  • Ok, let’s go to the OT part of the Bible for a minute, to the book of Duet.

Slide # 4…

And the Lord said, “Now get up and cross the Zered Valley.” So we crossed the valley.

~Duet. 2:13 (niv)

  • At this point, the Israelites (God’s chosen people) have been wandering the desert for 38 years. Why were they wandering? Because that generation of people didn’t trust in God and weren’t allowed to enter the promised land.
  • Moses lead them out of slavery in Egypt, and even though God did miracle after miracle, they just doubted. Even though God promised them, THEY SETTLED FOR LESS.
  • I mean, they started to miss slavery. That’s settling!
  • So, here they are and have been wandering for all these years.
  • And then finally God speaks and says…get up and cross the Zered Valley.
  • This was a huge moment because this was the start of the end of the wandering. The promise land was coming soon.
  • The crazy thing is though, they didn’t need a sea to be parted. They didn’t need food to fall from the sky like it had. They didn’t Moses to hit a rock for water.
  • God just says, cross this valley. Here’s the deal about the Zered Valley. It’s tiny. All they had to probably do is a little robe holding up to cross it.
  • And, the cool thing is, in the Hebrew, Zered Valley means Exuberant Growth.

Slide # 5…Zered Valley = Exuberant Growth

  • It got me thinking about how many times in my life I’ve settled for AS IS or the way it’s always been done and EXUBERANT GROWTH could have been right around the corner.
  • We don’t say that word exuberant very often.

STORY: Kai in the pool

  • I took Kai swimming the other day at SAC and he has this life vest and I’ve taught him to lay back and then I’ll spin in circles as fast as I can.
  • You should hear this little boy laugh. If I stop, in his words, he just asks me and asks me for more. So, I spin more. And, he’s experiencing JOY and I’m experiencing JOY and it’s amazing!
  • That’s what it’s like to experience EXUBERANT GROWTH.

Big Idea: There is so much MORE LIFE available to you

  • One more story from the Old Testament, from the book of Joshua.
  • Fast forward a little bit of time and now Joshua is in charge of the Israelites and they are marching toward the first city in the Promise Land, Jericho.
  • The first glimpse of Jericho was both awe inspiring and frightening.
  • They were in the wilderness for 40 years, they saw nothing like this city.
  • The closer they got, the smaller they felt. They finally understood why the generation before them felt like grasshoppers and failed to enter the Promised Land because of fear. Which, the interesting thing is, Moses originally sent in 12 spies and only two of them (Caleb and Joshua) had positive things to say. The rest were like, it’s too big, those people are giants.
  • Now, 40 years later, Joshua is leading the people and they are going to take this city.
  • The walls were 50 feet high and 6 feet thick and encircled the entire city. The mud brick walls were so thick and tall that the 12 acre city appeared to be an impregnable fortress.
  • Seemed like God had promised something impossible and His battle plan seemed nonsensical.
  • March your entire army around the city once a day for 6 days. On the 7th day, march around 7 times. Oh, and be quiet.
  • The first time around, the soldiers must have felt foolish.
  • With each circle, a holy confidence was building pressure inside their souls. By the 7th day, their faith was ready to pop. They arose before dawn and started circling at 6 o’clock in the morning.
  • At 3 miles per hour, each mile and a half march around the city took a half hour. By 9, they began their final lap.
  • In keeping with God’s command, they hadn’t said a word in 6 days. They just silently circled the promise.
  • They the priests sounded their horns, and a simultaneous shout followed. 600,000 Israelites raised a holy roar that registered on the Richter scale, and the walls came tumbling down.

Slide # 6…

When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city. ~Josh 6:20 (niv)

  • After 7 days of circling Jericho, God delivered on a 400 year old promise.
  • He proved once again, that His promises don’t have expiration dates.
  • And Jericho stands, and falls, as a testament to this simple truth: If you keep circling the promise, God will ultimately deliver it.
  • Our prayers NEVER die.
  • Now, don’t confuse wimpy prayers with courageous, bold, praying with every ounce of your being kind of prayers!

Illustration: Prayers

  • My parents prayed for 20 years for my spouse. Tracie is an answer to prayer.
  • I have prayed for 17 years for Bekah’s future husband. I pray every day that he is a Jesus loving man who will keep his hands off her till they’re married!
  • I have prayed for 14 years for Bobby. When Bobby was born, a leader at my church told me she had a dream about Bobby. In her dream, she said she saw my dad teaching dozens of kids. Which, he was my youth pastor. She saw me teaching hundreds and she saw Bobby teaching thousands.
  • I have prayed for Zach for 12 years that God would heal him of his pku.
  • I have prayed for Madie for 9 years of the same thing.
  • From the moment we knew that Kai was our son, I have been praying the same thing.
  • I pray for God to use each of them for His kingdom at school and wherever they go.
  • So many people want the miracle RIGHT NOW. They want the ANSWER RIGHT NOW. But, like the miracle at Jericho, that promise took 400 years.
  • We’ve been praying for CMU for 2 years. Our Elders got together last May, after Easter and started praying for CMU.
  • So, what’s your Jericho? What promise are you waiting on?
  • How much MORE LIFE could you be living?
  • What kind of EXUBERANT GROWTH could you be experiencing?

Big Idea: There is so much MORE LIFE available to you

Slide # 7…Know exactly what you want God to do.

  • More than a 1000 years after the Jericho miracle, another miracle happened in the exact same place. Jesus is on His way out of Jericho when two blind men hail Him like a taxi. The disciples see this as in interruption. Jesus sees this as a divine appointment.

Slide # 8…Luke 18:35-43

As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging.36 When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”

38 He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

39 Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

40 Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?”

“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.

42 Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.”

  • This guy KNEW exactly what he wanted Jesus to do.
  • Lord, I want to see.
  • What do you want to see Jesus do in your life?
  • Are you asking humbly?
  • Are you asking for something inside of God’s will?
  • Are you willing to put in the prayer time?

Know exactly what you want God to do.

Slide # 9…Each step requires your whole heart

Slide # 10…Duet. 6:4-9 (niv)

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

  • Does Jesus have your whole heart? Be honest!
  • What’s holding you back?
  • Someone said to me once, I want to experience the miracles you seem to experience. And, I have experienced GIANT miracles. The house I live in is a GIANT miracle. The 3 old little boy running around my house is a miracle. Both cars in my garage were given to us and are miracles.
  • I simply responded with…do you really want to experience miracles. Because sometimes much pain comes along in the process of experiencing miracles.
  • We almost lost Kai in November because we were $8000 behind to our Adoption Agency. I stayed up all night and paced my house. I cried to God. I shouted to God. I begged God. I sang to God. I got on my knees. I raised my hands to God. I walked silently. I quoted scripture for hours that night. I finally fell asleep and knew that the next day I might have to tell Tracie we lost Kai.
  • Then, God sent a miracle to us in the form of our friend, Lindsey. She had this idea for a puzzle and she paid for it. And people could sponsor pieces. By the end of the week, we raised the 8k and we could keep Kai!
  • When we started this Church, I was traveling as a speaker. In 2012, my adjusted gross income was something like 9500 for the year! Someone God got us through. As my speaking began to grow in 2013, we were able to save some money. But, when we started this church, we needed a lot of money. So, Tracie and I gave everything we had. And, that included our retirement account. Not too long after that, 4 Detroit area churches gave Thrive 75k to get off the ground. A miracle!
  • Even last week, I prayed for one of those, oh my goodness God, will you help us out here kind of miracles. To be super crazy honest, we knew it would be a lot to adjust financially after Kai, but wow. And, don’t get me wrong, I feel so blessed at what the church pays, but with 5 kids and 3 with PKU, it’s a lot. But, many years ago, my plan would of been to stop giving or drastically decrease what we gave to God through this church. But, the miracles I have experienced since Tracie and I made tithing a priority is unreal. And, for us, we believe the starting point to tithing is 10% of our income before taxes. Then we sponsor 5 kids through Compassion and whatever is left, we give to a few organizations that are close to our hearts. Adoption and PKU and Church Planting are close to our hearts.
  • But, the last couple of weeks, we were hit with a few, ‘didn’t see those’ coming bills? You know the kind?
  • So, Friday morning, I’m at the SAC swimming and praying for help. Then, I do a prayer walk around Warriner. 7 times. Each time around I just keep getting a deeper peace.
  • I come to the Hub to pick something up and I stop at the mailbox. Inside it is an envelope to me from a couple that I’m performing a wedding for next month. In it is 3, 100 gift cards!
  • This is after my parents bought my PKU 175 dollars worth of PKU food!
  • I lost it! I sat in my car and cried like a baby! I just thanked God!
  • Does God have your whole heart? Do you lock Him out of parts? Have you only given Him a little bit?

Know exactly what you want God to do.

Each step requires your whole heart

Slide # 11…Spell out your Jericho

Slide # 12…‘Don’t just read the Bible. Start circling the promises. Don’t just make a wish. Write down a list of God-glorifying life goals. Don’t just pray. Keep a prayer journal. Define your dream. Spell your miracle.

Slide # 13…Well-developed faith results in well-defined prayers, and well-defined prayers result in a well-lived life ~Mark Batterson (The Circle Maker)

Big Idea: There is so much MORE LIFE available to you


  • It’s time to circle your promises! It’s time to start praying well defined prayers.
  • It’s time to start experiencing the LIFE that God has for you.
  • These are my journals for when I started praying about starting this Church! Maybe it’s time for you try something new if you’re not experiencing the LIFE that God has for you!



You were handed a circle at the beginning of this message.

Today is the day to start writing down some of these prayers.

On one side, write down personal prayers you have for your future.

Mine includes Physical Health and Financial Blessing. Our family has also been praying for a larger vehicle. And, I’m asking God that my kids would still be passionate about Him and the Church after they graduate from high school!

The other side is for our Church! Write down how you want God to use you. Or what you would like to see God do.

I’m writing down fill Plachta. I’m writing down for us to do 5 Schools in a year for the shoe project. I’m writing down a Big Rapids and Midland Campus for Thrive. I’m writing down a budget that fits our vision. I’m writing down 1200 Seats sponsored for the SAVE A SEAT Campaign.

Before I ask some folks to come up and pray for our next chapter at CMU. I just wanted to remind you why Thrive exists!

Slide # 14…

Mission Statement  [what we’re called to do]

Thrive Church exists to help people find and follow Jesus.

We want to make this easy as possible.

Vision Statement  [Why we’re called to do it]

To create environments that people who are done with church and God will find irresistible.

We want to be prepared for Guests. We want to be ready. We exist for people who don’t yet know Jesus as their Savior. That means those of us who buy into this vision, we’ve decided that Church isn’t about me.

That’s why we go out of our way to use whatever tools we can to reach people. That’s why the music rocks. That’s why we use clips from movies. That’s why we dress like comfortable people.

Slide # 15…DNA  [This is what drives our vision?]


  • Lost people matter to God.
  • Create irresistible environments.
  • Make bold moves.
  • Teach for life change.
  • Intentionally develop leaders.
  • Unleash a culture of generosity.
  • Circles are better than rows.


Slide # 16…What every Thriver can do…

[Show Up, Jump In, Do Good] Graphic

I’m challenging and asking you to Lean in to our church like you’ve never have before. If you’re at 50% come up to 100%.

For our Next Chapter to be as successful as possible. We will need more than 25% of us carrying the load.

It’s time for you and I to experience MORE LIFE and stop settling for LESS!


180 Weeks equals an amazing Chapter One for Thrive Church!

Having a hard time putting into words how I feel about tomorrow morning. 

You see, its not just another Sunday morning!

Not one Sunday morning is just another Sunday morning! They are all special. They all mean the world!

Tomorrow is Thrive’s last Sunday at the theater we’ve been using for 180 weeks!

The night before our first Sunday (October 5th, 2013), I wrote this…

blog post.

To be honest, not much has changed since that Sunday! We’re still extremely passionate about being a Church for people who have given up on God and Church! We still exist to help people find and follow Jesus.

But, we’ve grown. We’ve matured as an organization. We’ve had unbelievable highs and super deep lows. Through it all, God has been so faithful!

So, I can’t wait.

I really believe to my core that Thrive’s next chapter will be our BEST YET!

Next Sunday we will move to the campus of Central Michigan University. Which is a miracle!

In Two Sundays, we will experience EASTER! Which is always tremendous!

In Three Sunday’s, we have our first baptisms on campus!

In Four Sunday’s, we are cancelling our morning experiences and heading out all over Central Michigan to serve!

I can say whole heartedly…

The Best is Yet to Come! 

How to REALLY support your Church

The ‘Church’ is extremely important to me. I operate under the premise that because of Jesus and when it is working right…

The Local Church is the Hope of the World! 

The church isn’t a social club. The church isn’t an inward focused organization. The church isn’t a religion check mark.

Jesus died for the Church. If it was that important to Him, it is that important to me.

So, how do we go about supporting our local Church? Here are a few ideas.

A few ways to really support your Church

Actually devote time to pray for your Church. Yup, do you spend time every day praying for your Church. For your Pastor? For the staff and leaders? For God’s hand and favor upon it?

Move forward with your Church. Churches are notorious for refusing to change. So many are stuck in the past. And, the only forward movement they have is to try to relive the glory days. One of the best things you can do for your Church is to move forward with it. Don’t try to hold it back.

Have a financial plan to support your Church. So many Christians argue about tithing. Regardless if you believe the tithe is a New Covenant command or an actual 10%, we are still encouraged by Paul to give. Pray over a percentage to give that’s already planned between you and God. And then give faithfully and obediently and then see what happens in your life.

Get your kids involved. For my family, its just not an option for my kids to NOT be involved. So, we attend on Sunday’s. We all serve on Sunday’s. My teenagers are involved with youth group and our younger kids are a part of Thrive Kidz.

Represent Jesus and your Church online. The thing many people forget is that they are actually carriers of the mission of the Church. So, represent Jesus and your church wherever you go. Especially online. LIKE your Churches Facebook posts. LIKE your Pastor’s posts. Write encouraging comments.

Leave the best seats for guests. When you do gather on Sunday, leave the best seats for guests. Sit in the middle of a row. Leave the outside seats for guests.

Fight the urge to disappear. You will cause so much hurt if you just disappear, especially if you’ve built relationships with people. You think that if you just disappear quietly, it will cause less pain. Here’s the reality, when you disappear, you will cause pain. So, don’t. Fight the urge to disappear.

Honor your Pastor and Each Other. This is HUGE! Raise the culture of honor in your Church by actually honoring each other. Be kind and compassionate. Be loyal. Be ready to help.

These are a few absolute GREAT ways to Support your Church! 




Can 7 Sunday’s really be all that important? The next 7 at Thrive are just that…


Sunday is coming! I am extremely EXCITED about this Sunday! Why?

It’s Thrive’s last Sunday at the theater!

I have been praying for this day for over 2 years and I can’t wait! Don’t get me wrong, I will miss the theater! I am sad!

But, I am more EXCITED and EXPECTANT and EAGER than I am sad!!


Save a Seat Campaign

Have you had a chance to save a seat? If not, there are still seats to sponsor!! Right now **986**seats have been sponsored! That still leaves a few hundred that need to be sponsored!!

If you want to help, THANK YOU! Just head to and select CMU fund. Or text, 84321, the amount and CMU!!


I can’t even begin to explain how important the next 7 weeks are for Thrive Church! I know we’re all busy. But, I’m asking you to consider making these weeks a huge priority, here’s why.

March 26th…Our Last Sunday at Celebration Cinema! Let’s CELEBRATE together! Popcorn, Memories, the most IMPORTANT message ever, Communion, a time of prayer and the band has been putting in extra work on some very special songs.

April 2nd…First Sunday at CMU. 930 and 11am.

April 9th…Palm Sunday. A GIANT Sunday!

April 16th…EASTER SUNDAY [Look Again]. The super bowl of all Sundays.

April 23rd…BAPTISM Sunday at CMU!! Our first ever baptism on the stage at CMU. If you have never been baptized through immersion, please check out this link.

April 30th…The Church has Left the Building! We are not meeting for our experiences, but we will meet at CMU and then spread out all over the area and serve!

As you can tell, wow, this is our MOST IMPORTANT SEASON ever as a Church!!

Thank you for Stepping UP! For Showing UP, for Jumping In and for Doing Good!


2 Sunday’s Left + Powerful Message on Forgiveness = Great Sunday ahead at Thrive!

Thrive Church has 2 Sunday’s left at Celebration Cinema! I just can’t believe it!

2 Sunday’s LEFT!!!!17239772_1272002792895032_6456453576232013364_o

It’s been an amazing 179 weeks! Next Sunday, March 26th, will be our 180th and final Sunday.

We are GOING to PARTY!!!

You’re invited this morning to hear a powerful message on forgiveness! I guarantee it will change your life and cause you to think differently about the people in your life you’re having a hard time forgiving!

Next Sunday!! 

I so hope you will join us next Sunday at Thrive Church for our final Sunday in Celebration Cinema! We have some HUGE surprises in store, the band has been preparing some special songs (Trust me…you don’t want to miss those), we have communion together and we will end our time at Celebration Cinema in style!!

Here are some pictures from our first couple of Sundays at Celebration Cinema!!




How many SEATS have been sponsored? This is just freaking nuts!

956! 17240093_1268313153263996_5826771072144264197_o

956 seats have been sponsored! That means that there is the possibility for those people who sit in those seats to FIND and FOLLOW JESUS!! How awesome is that?


I can’t even believe it…to be honest! The goal of having 1200 seats sponsored at $40 a seat was a HUGE goal! We prayed, we threw it out there and then waited!

Yes, a few people questioned it. Yes, some have told me they have doubted if we’ll even come close. But, here we are! Just…

244 Seats to Go! 



If you haven’t sponsored a seat yet, will you? EVERY SEAT MATTERS! EVERY AMOUNT MATTERS! Please don’t believe the lie that just because you’re only sponsoring 5 seats it doesn’t matter!

If Thrive Church is your HOME! If you believe in our vision and mission. If you serve. If you’re in a small group. Then, don’t miss out.

Help us pave the way for our future! 

You can give HERE or you can text to give. Just text 84321, the amount and CMU. You will get a text right back, press on the link, fill out the info and BAM! You’re done!

And, come join us on Sunday, April 2nd as we start our new chapter on the campus of CMU!


Sermon Notes: How to Wreck Your Life. Week One. ‘Be afraid to Fail’.

Good Morning Thrive Church! How are we doing this morning?17038628_10158473396200235_138093799698539258_o

  • Who has ever FAILED at something?
  • Who has ever felt like a FAILURE?
  • Well, if you answered YES to either question, you’re in the right place.
  • Today, we look at a way to utterly and positively WRECK YOUR LIFE.

But, here’s the reality, there are a ton of ways we can WRECK OUR LIVES! The decision is all ours.

Make poor decisions, and you will begin to wreck your life.

  • Kind of a downer, right?? But, I can’t even begin to count how many conversations I’ve had over the last 20 years with people who feel like they can’t move forward with life because of failures.
  • Failures with relationships, or jobs, or finances. People get stuck and when Life brings disappointments, we sometimes feel like we can’t move forward.


  • Crazy thing about success and failure. 90% of the world’s best athletes never win a medal at the Olympics!?! And so often, the Silver medalists feel like failures because they were so close to Gold!
  • But, so many of us though, have been stunted from life. We just refuse to try new things or move forward because of how bad life has hurt us. The sting of failure keeps us away from trying!

Failure is Everywhere

  • Failure is everywhere, right? Work has not become what we had hoped. Things do not turn out as were led to believe. Marriages that began in hope, end in tears. Our kids are a constant concern and then they make horrible decisions.
  • Friendships are betrayed. Prayers do not seem to be answered.
  • Some of us are really struggling because we thought we would be farther in life. Thought we would be married.
  • Then, even sometimes, the things we do manage to achieve often disappoint us.

Winston Churchill said…

  • Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
  • Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.
  • The sense of failure is never far from the surface.  

Thrive STORY

  • Story about person telling me that Thrive would never make it with me as pastor.


How to Wreck your life? Be Afraid to Fail

Failure is a bruise not a tattoo

Big Idea: Failure does not shape you; the way you respond to failure shapes you

You are not defined by your worst day!

  • What you attempted may have failed, but you are not a failure in God’s eyes.
  • See, here’s the story of God, he’s in the redemption business! He is in the reconciling business.
  • God’s plan involved saving His people from the beginning. He created them perfect and gave them the most amazing life. They had one rule, just don’t eat from the tree. They had everything. They choose to break the rule and sin entered the world.
  • They were immediately banned from his presence. They knew they were sinful. They were embarrassed because of their nakedness. They had to work. Pain entered the world. Sickness entered the world.
  • They failed!
  • But, God is in the REDEMPTION business.
  • Paul wrote about it in Romans 5:8, and this is a verse we should all have memorized and thank God for everyday.
  • ‘But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us’!

  • Sin blocks us from having a personal relationship with Jesus and that’s bad news because we cannot gain access to God or be close to him because He is Holy!
  • But, God’s plan is amazing. He sent Jesus, for us. To die for us. To take our sin and to pay the penalty of it with his life, on the cross! For each of us!
  • And, when we acknowledge and repent of our sin, we confess it. God, I’m sorry. I ask for your forgiveness. I give you my life. I surrender my heart to you. We become followers of Jesus! Children of God. Friends of Jesus. And, we gain entrance to the Kingdom of God. Both on earth and in heaven after we breath our last breath!

Big Idea: Failure does not shape you; the way you respond to failure shapes you

  • Actually, this is illustrated and lived out for us in an amazing way in Luke 22 with the story of Peter.
  • Real Quick, let me catch you up on Peter. Son of John, had a brother named Andrew (also an apostle). We first meet him at Simon Peter. Jesus was teaching and he hopped in his boat and afterward they go fishing. Jesus tells them what to do and they caught a HUGE load. They followed Him.
  • Jesus’ first words (when he started his ministry) were to him, ‘Come, follow me’. His last words were ‘You must follow me”.
  • One of Jesus’ 12. We looked at Peter last week. This is the guy who took the step out of the boat! This is also the guy who tried to defend Jesus and pulled a sword and cut off an ear! 
  • Huge Failure. Crucified under Emperor Nero upside down because he didn’t think he was worthy enough to be crucified the same way as Jesus.
  • He’s guy who stumbled a ton, but he kept following Jesus.
  • He was a fisherman. His name was Simon, and Jesus renamed him to PETER which means…ROCK.
  • He didn’t always live up to his name, but Jesus was looking for models, he was looking for real people.
  • He kind of became the leader of Jesus’ disciples and he was a part of the inner three with James and John.
  • He was brash, he spoke without thinking, impulsive.
  • But, we learn from Peter, you can’t be defined by your worst day

LUKE 22:55-62

54 Then seizing him, [that’s Jesus, Judas had just betrayed him] they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. 55 And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. 56 A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.”57 But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said. [One time] 58 A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.”“Man, I am not!” Peter replied. [Two times] 59 About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”60 Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed.  [Three times] The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.

Big Idea: Failure does not shape you; the way you respond to failure shapes you

  • Even Peter Failed! But, you don’t have to be afraid to fail.
  • That fear of failure will paralyze you!


  • I’ve failed plenty in my life! Oh my gosh, I’m like the poster child for failure! But, I’ve learned that we can find great beauty in the pain of failure!
  • You are not defined by your worst day! Failure is not final! You can overcome it. You can get victory over it. you can heal up from it.
  • So, if you’re going to NOT be defined by your worst day, understand a few ideas.

ONE…Recognize that everyone fails.

  • Nobody is perfect and everyone fails.
  • We all face defeat and realize that just because you fail at one thing, it does not make you a flure.
  • Even Peter, who was absolutely confident of loyalty and strength, even that guy failed!
  • Peter failed to keep his promise. He failed his loyalty to Jesus.
  • Just like us, right? We have the best of intentions. We start out well. We have the best of intentions.
  • Just remember…


  • I love what Thomas Edison said about this.

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. ~THOMAS ALVA EDISON

TWO…God’s love and forgiveness is not dependent on your success.

The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” ~Luke 22:61 (niv)

  • For me, the first 10 years of my ministry career was all about success! Having a ton of kids at events, speaking at different events and then it all came crashing down!
  • A bunch of years ago, I started a book called ‘A field, a pedestal and a shattered heart. Because it was in a field, where I was knocked off my pedestal and my heart was shattered into a million pieces.
  • Sometimes its just when you’re at lowest point, that’s when you can figure out that you are not defined by your worst day.
  • And, for so many people, there trying to earn God’s love and forgiveness by doing stuff for Him.
  • They make their relationship a check list. Now, yes, we’re called to love and serve others. But, when it becomes a show and you do it for the acclaim, and to brush up your chosen trophy, that’s when God turns away.

‘The LORD turned and LOOKED straight at Peter’

  • Verse 61 is powerful. ‘The Lord turned and looked at Peter. IN the original language of the NT, Greek, it’s defined like an intense look.
  • We all know intense looks. Our moms, our wives can save a lot with their looks.
  • We can also say a lot to our kids with our looks.
  • What kind of look did Jesus give Peter. A look of joy, sadness, compassion or understanding?
  • This was a turning point in Peter’s life though.

THREE…You have to Grow and Learn from your failures.

  • Take advantage of your failure, don’t waste it. Learn all you can from it, every bitter experience can teach us something!
  • And, know this, God is very interested in how you respond to failure.
  • What you call failure, God may call a window of opportunity for learning. In times of failure:
  • You may be given a new opportunity
  • A new open door
  • Chance to move out of your comfort zone
  • Respond in love
  • Verse 62 says that Peter wept bitterly.

‘And he went outside and wept bitterly’

  • That means great remorse.
  • Sometimes we screw up. We make horrifically awful decisions.
    • Getting wasted.
    • Losing a job because of lying or stealing.
    • Getting romantically involved with someone who is not a follower of Jesus. Then, if it doesn’t work out or your faith is always a matter of contention, you wonder why?
    • Failing with finances and you wonder why?
  • See remorse is not enough, Paul says in 2 Cor. 7:10, ‘For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation’


  • Lastly…

FOUR…Move on!

  • Have you learned? Are you ready to focus your life more on Jesus? Are you ready to give him the bad habits that got you there?
  • Then, move on!
  • I love the verse of the week, this week…

‘for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again’ ~Proverbs 24:16

Big Idea: Failure does not shape you; the way you respond to failure shapes you