Summary: This sermon takes a look at the character John Mark and how he came back from failure.

Turning Failure Into Achievement

Acts 13:13 -- “Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem.”

Acts 15:35-41 -- “Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.” “And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do.” “And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark.” “But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.” “And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus;” “And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.” “And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.”

2 Timothy 4:11 -- “Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.”


-One of the greatest things about God is that He continues to work with men despite their own limitations and failings. Too often men do not allow God to complete what He starts within them.

-What is it that makes the difference? Why are there some who seem to accomplish so much with their lives? Is it. . . . . .

Family Background – Having a good family growing up is something to be grateful for, but it’s not the reliable indicator of accomplishment. High percentages of great men have come from broken homes.

· Wealth – Some of the greatest men of accomplishment have come from households of average to below-average means. Wealth is not an accurate indicator of high achievement, and poverty is no guarantee of low achievement.

· Opportunity – Opportunity is a very peculiar thing. Two people with the similar gifts, talents, and resources can look at a situation, and one person will see tremendous opportunity while the other sees nothing. Opportunity is in the eye of the beholder.

· High Morals – I wish it were that simple and that this were the key, but it’s not. I’ve known people with high morals but were low achievers and I have known scoundrels. . . . rats who were high producers.

· The Absence of Hardship – For every success who has avoided tragedy, there’s a Helen Keller who overcame extreme difficulties or a Viktor Frankl who survived absolute horrors.

-None of these elements, I believe are the key. I believe that the difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.

-One must always remember that the difficult takes time, the impossible a little longer.

-Nothing is great in the beginning stages of when God first starts working in a man’s life. That man’s prayers will be elementary. His efforts will be clumsy and uncoordinated. His whole sense of walking with God will be spent in the shallows. But if that man refuses to give up or if he refuses to give in, if his desire and determination and his sense of purpose will capture his emotions, then God will work with his life.

A. Thomas Edison and His Light Bulb

Thomas Edison did not give up on his first efforts to find an effective filament for the incandescent lamp. He did countless experiments with countless materials. As each failed, he would toss it out the window. The pile reached the second story of his house. Eventually, he sent men into many different countries such as, Japan, South America, Asia, Jamaica, Ceylon, and Burma in search fibers and grasses to be tested in his lab. One weary day, on October 21, 1879, after 13 months of repeated failures, he succeeded in his search for a filament that would stand the stress of electric current. This is how it happened. Casually picking up a bit of lampblack, he mixed it with tar and rolled it into a thin thread. Then the thought occurred to him, “Why not try a carbonized cotton fiber? For five hours he worked, but each time it broke before he could remove the mold. Two spools of thread were used. At last a perfect strand emerged, only to be ruined while being placed in a glass tube. However, Edison refused to be defeated. He worked non-stop for two days and nights without sleep. Finally he managed to slip one of the carbonized threads into the sealed glass bulb. When he turned on the current, he beheld a sight that he had worked so long for, the bulb burned and provided light.

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John Meissner

commented on Mar 26, 2009

Very good message with a lot of illustrations.

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