the-OneThing: on failing gracefully

Exploring life in Christ — the-OneThing

I hope the-OneThing — Jesus, the Good Shepherd — is filling your failures with grace today.

Here are 3 thoughts from me, 3 thoughts from others, and 1 question for you.

3 thoughts from me…


“Failure is an opportunity for internal and external change.”


“Failing is inevitable. Your viewpoint about failure is a choice.”


* Winston Churchill failed the sixth grade.

* Publishers rejected Dr. Seuss’s first book 27 times.

* Basketball legend Michael Jordan addressed his failures in a Nike commercial saying: “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

* Publishers rejected JK Rowling’s first Potter manuscript 12 times.

“Failure doesn’t predict success, but your response to failure will.”

3 thoughts from others…


“In basketball, you are allowed to take only two steps after you stop dribbling the ball. When you take that last step, the foot you land on becomes a “pivot foot.” That foot must remain fixed, but the other can freely move about, allowing you to spin around and find a teammate to whom you can pass the ball.

Although you are confined to where you are and how many steps you can take, at no point are you locked into any direction. That’s the beauty of the move. Even when all other opportunities are exhausted, you can always pivot.

A pivot is powerful not just in sports but also in life, because it takes away your excuses. It puts you back in control of the game you’re playing. Pivoting isn’t Plan B; it’s the only plan that works.

Because here’s the truth:

• Unexpected things will happen.

• Setbacks do occur.

• You will fail.

Whether or not you’re prepared to pivot will affect how well you weather those storms. Success, then, isn’t the byproduct of failing. It’s the direct result of failing well.

, article excerpt by Jeff Goins, a contributor at


“It’s harder to bounce back when you take failure to heart too much and make it about your value as a person. Failure doesn’t change who you are as a person or your overall worth to your community — it is simply a tool for showing you what does and doesn’t work.”


“A thought on failing gracefully — use it as an opportunity to say thank you. Practicing gratitude helps us adjust our attitudes and focus on the things that are going right in our world.” — Saudia Davis, Founder and CEO, Greenhouse Eco Cleaning

1 question for you…

What does failing gracefully look like in your life?



Until next time,



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the-OneThing: On the simplicity of childlike faith and the power held within

Exploring life in Christ —the-OneThing

Here’s 1 story from me, one quote from the Bible, 1 story from another to remind us about the impact of childlike faith, and 1 question for you.

1 Story from me

After church one Sunday morning, my three-year-old came to me with a serious question. “Why do I have two daddies?”

Bewildered by her question, because she only had one daddy, I said, “Sweetheart, I don’t understand. You only have one daddy.”

She looked up at me, a little concerned about my answer. “But, mommy, my teacher said God is my father.”

I grabbed her into my arms and held her up at just the right height so we could be face to face. It took a minute before I could stop smiling enough to respond with words. “That’s exactly right, darlin’. You do have two daddies.”

1 Quote from the Bible

“Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes.” — . Jesus later quoted this verse in after the chief priests and scribes criticized the children for praising God.

1 Story from another

After watching ten-year-old Viola using a tree branch as a microphone to mimic a preacher, Michele Perry, a missionary in South Sudan, gave Viola the opportunity to “preach” during a village outreach. Viola accepted. Later Michele wrote, “The crowd was enraptured. . . . A little girl who had been abandoned stood in authority before them as a daughter of the King of kings, powerfully sharing the reality of God’s Kingdom. Half the crowd came forward to receive Jesus” — by Michele Perry.

1 Question for you

What does childlike faith look like in your life?

Until next time,


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the-OneThing: On faith in the dark

Exploring life in Christ — the-OneThing


Emily, the main character in Dangerous Exposure, the first book in the Everton series where things aren’t always as they appear, will reach a point where all she has to do is cling to a tiny, little bit of faith, but the choice could kill her.

I think we all go through moments or even seasons when choosing faith in God over what we want most seems like it will kill us. Maybe not literally, but inside our hearts. As for me, there have been times in my life when choosing God’s way meant laying down something I desperately wanted and thought I needed.

Who knows, maybe this week you’re feeling at the end of your rope and need a tiny, little bit of faith, so you can hold out until the Lord steps in. If that is you, or for when that moment circles back into your life…

…I have some encouragement for you in the form of 1 story, 3 songs, and 1 question.


1 Story

King Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe, and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”


Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” — Daniel 3:14-20


3 Songs

Even if by Mercy Me


Help Is On The Way (Maybe Midnight) by TobyMac


Hold On To Me by Lauren Daigle


1 Question for you

What’s one tiny Truth that you can repeat to yourself today?



Until next time,



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The-OneThing: On who we are as kingdom dwellers in-between the already and not yet

Exploring life in Christ — the-OneThing


Here are 3 quotes about kingdom dwellers and 1 question for you.


“We live by faith, not by sight.” — 2 Cor 5:7


“A community of people, courageous people — on their way through the world, dust-stained, but somehow strangely illuminated by a radiance from elsewhere.” — David Bosch


“Probably there was something extraordinary and very surprising in their looks; they appeared not only undaunted by the rulers, but daring and daunting to them; they had something majestic in their foreheads, sparkling in their eyes, and commanding, if not terrifying, in their voice.” — Matthew Henry Commentary, Acts 4:5-14



1 question for your meditation

Who in my life is strangely illuminated by a radiance from elsewhere? Why?


Until next time,



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The-OneThing: On time, the present and hurry sickness

Seeking acute awareness of Christ’s immediate presence — the-OneThing.

REST is an idea I’m exploring this year. Here’s one quote and one book excerpt from others, a vignette for you to ponder with a question to meditate upon, and two ideas from me.


One quote and one excerpt from others…

“We continue to suffer from the disease of “hurry sickness.” Hurry is the greatest enemy of spiritual life in our day. Hurry can destroy souls. Hurry can keep us from living well.”— John Ortberg


Below is a short piece from C. S. Lewis’s satirical novel, The Screwtape Letters. One devil is counseling another on how best to draw his human victims out of the hands of the Enemy (God) and into perdition. This excerpt contemplates how an abnormal level of fixation on the future will lead to all kinds of devilish merriment and very little preparation for eternity.


“The humans live in time but our Enemy destines them to eternity. He therefore, I believe, wants them to attend chiefly to two things, to eternity itself, and to that point of time which they call the Present. For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity. Of the present moment, and of it only, humans have an experience analogous to the experience which our Enemy has of reality as a whole; in it alone freedom and actuality are offered them. He would therefore have them continually concerned either with eternity (which means being concerned with Him) or with the Present — either meditating on their eternal union with, or separation from, Himself, or else obeying the present voice of conscience, bearing the present cross, receiving the present grace, giving thanks for the present pleasure.

“Our business is to get them away from the eternal, and from the Present. With this in view, we sometimes tempt a human (say a widow or a scholar) to live in the Past. But this is of limited value, for they have some real knowledge of the past and it has a determinate nature and, to that extent, resembles eternity. It is far better to make them live in the Future. Biological necessity makes all their passions point in that direction already, so that thought about the Future inflames hope and fear. Also, it is unknown to them, so that in making them think about it, we make them think of unrealities. In a word, the Future is, of all things, the thing least like eternity. It is the most completely temporal part of time — for the Past is frozen and no longer flows, and the Present is all lit up with eternal rays.… Hence nearly all vices are rooted in the future. Gratitude looks to the past and love to the present; fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead.…

“To be sure, the Enemy wants men to think of the Future too — just so much as is necessary for now planning the acts of justice or charity which will probably be their duty tomorrow. The duty of planning the morrow’s work is today’s duty; though its material is borrowed from the future, the duty, like all duties, is in the Present.… But we want a man hag-ridden by the Future.… We want a whole race perpetually in pursuit of the rainbow’s end, never honest, nor kind, nor happy now, but always using as mere fuel wherewith to heap the altar of the future every real gift which is offered them in the Present.”  

— C. S Lewis, The Screwtape Letters 


One vignette about hurry sickness…

A pastor accepted a position in a large church. He called his spiritual mentor for some words of wisdom before starting the job.

“What do I need to do to be spiritually healthy?”

After a long pause, his mentor said, “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”

The pastor wrote the wise words on a piece of paper and asked a follow-up question, “Now, what else is there?”

The mentor paused a little longer this time and then said, “There is nothing else. You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”


How does hurry damage your spiritual health?


Two ideas from me…

“You are always in God’s time, even when you’re late.” 

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“Practice the present.”

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See you next time, as the story unfolds,



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the-OneThing: on setting our minds

Seeking acute awareness of Christ’s immediate presence — the-OneThing.


Here’s one idea I’m exploring, one truth from Jesus, one quote, and one practice


One idea I’m exploring…

Don’t think too hard. Instead, BE.

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One truth from Jesus…

Jesus turned to Peter and said, “You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” — Matthew 16:23


One quote…

The ultimate freedom we have as human beings is the power to select what we will allow our mind to dwell upon. — Dallas Willard, Renovation of the Heart in Daily Practice

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One practice…

Try moving through the next few hours with this idea in front of you: The first freedom is where I put my mind. Observe where you have put your mind. If you have noticed the goodness of God in the blessings around you or found confidence from ideas like those found in Psalm 23.

Don’t make a big deal about evaluating yourself.

Instead, pray for the circumstance or person in front of your eyes at the moment.

(This practice came from Jan Johnson co-author of Renovation of the Heart in Daily Practice, p. 67)




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