QRC Disappointments

November 26, 2012

That time of the year is coming again, you know when we can
sit around our television sets and watch people’s hopes, dreams and aspirations
crushed and ground into the dust.  It was
advertising guru Roy Williams who wrote “Every dream
of the future is a seed. But until your dream falls into the ground and dies,
it cannot burst from the ground and deliver the harvest you seek.”

If that is the case then there will be a lot of seeds
falling into the ground when American Idol airs again in January.  And some of those dreams will recover and
others will remain shattered and dormant. 
Many of you know that I am a huge Harry Chapin fan and one of my
favorite songs is the story of Mr. Tanner. 
And the song opens with these lines
Mister Tanner was a cleaner from a town in the Midwest.
And of all the cleaning shops around he’d made his the
best.
But he also was a baritone who sang while hanging clothes.
He practiced scales while pressing tails and sang at local
shows.
His friends and neighbors praised the voice that poured out
from his throat.
They said that he should use his gift instead of cleaning
coats.
And so one day Mr. Tanner took the plunge, this was long
before the days of American Idol so he found an agent in New York booked a hall
and poured all of his resources into his opening performance. 
We’ll let Harry Pick up the story.  Video Clip from Harry Chapin singing Mr.
Tanner. 
(He did not know how well he sang, he only heard the flaws.
But the critics were concise, it only took four lines.
But no one could accuse them of being over kind.
(spoken) Mr. Martin Tanner, Baritone, of Dayton, Ohio made
his
Town Hall debut last night. He came well prepared, but
unfortunately
his presentation was not up to contemporary professional standards.
His voice lacks the range of tonal color necessary to make
it
consistently interesting.
(sung) Full time consideration of another endeavor might be
in order.)
He came home to Dayton and was questioned by his friends.
Then he smiled and just said nothing and he never sang
again,
excepting very late at night when the shop was dark and
closed.
He sang softly to himself as he sorted through the clothes.
Wow, that’s gotta hurt. 
Have you ever been disappointed?  Have you ever had your dreams snatched
away?  Maybe a love scorned? A child who
has chosen a path that is diametrically opposed to the way you brought them
up?  A career that you love, that ends in
a crash or a whimper?
This is week five of our series “QR-Codes for your
Life”  QR-Codes or QRCs are those ever
present bar codes that seem to pop up everywhere.  And their purpose is to make the retrieval of
information easier for those who are interested.  So if you go to a Tim Horton’s and you want
to comment on their service you simply scan this QR-Code with your smart phone
and it takes you to this site where you can make comments on their service.
The QR-C on the back of your bulletin will take you to our
Web-site where you can find all kinds of information about Cornerstone Wesleyan
Church.
And when I introduced this topic back in October I commented
about how great it would be to have QR-codes that would give us information
from God’s word when we were facing certain issues and situations in our
lives. 
So three weeks ago we looked at
what to do when we are tempted to do wrong, where we should look for that
answer and our QRC directed us to 1 Corinthians
10:13
The temptations in your life are no
different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow
the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will
show you a way out so that you can endure.
The week after that we talked
about failure, when we feel like we just can’t go on, that our feet have been
kicked out from under us and we feel that we just can’t give anymore and we
want to quit.  And as a response to that
we looked at Galatians 6:9 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the
right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.
And last week I spoke about the
need for forgiveness in our lives, what happens after you’ve been betrayed or
hurt.  When someone you love turns
against you, or someone you hardly knows says or does something that hurts you?  And our QR-code last week took us to Colossians 3:13 Make
allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you.
Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
But what happens when you are
disappointed with life? When it doesn’t give you what you expected or gives you
what you didn’t expect? 
Not the failures that I spoke
about two weeks ago, but setbacks, discouragements, disappointments.   If I was to offer you up a QR-Code today it
would take you to
2 Corinthians 4:7-9 We now have this light shining in
our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great
treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from
ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We
are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never
abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.
We are never told that as
Christians that we won’t have disappointments or discouragements.  What we are told is that we have a power that
is not from ourselves, what we are told is that we will not be crushed what we
are told is that we will not abandoned by God and we will not be
destroyed. 
When Angela and I were first married, late in the last
century, we owned a couple of kittens. 
And one day the male, Mick, discovered a balloon on the floor of our living
room and he started playing with it.  He
would bat it and then chase it across the carpet,
he was having a ball.  Now I knew what
was going to happen, but having a
slight nasty streak decided to let things progress on their own.  Well eventually Mick cornered the illusive
beast and pounced with every one of those needle sharp kitten claws
extended.  And with a bang his prey
disappeared.  The bang set him back a bit
but the look of disappointment on his face when his plaything disappeared was
so sad. 
If you have ever tried at one time or another you’ve had
your balloon pop.  At some time or
another in your life you have had dreams come crashing down.   You’ve
been there you know what I’m talking about. 
Perhaps it was a job or promotion that didn’t materialize like you
thought it would, or a dream that
you’ve never seen fulfilled.  Maybe it
was just a delay or maybe it was a complete stop.
I am convinced the more vivid the vision the greater the
disappointment should the vision fail to materialize.  Author Eric Hoffer
said “Disappointment is a sort of bankruptcy — the
bankruptcy of a soul that expends too much in hope and expectation.”  Bankruptcy of a soul that expends too
much in hope and expectation, if you’ve felt it you know how apt that
description is. 
If the disappointment isn’t crushing then maybe there wasn’t
enough passion in the dream.
We’ve all had disappointments,
in our education, our careers, our marriages and our spiritual lives.  But how we deal with our disappointments will
determine whether they destroy us or make us stronger. 
1)  Disappointments Sometimes are Just  Delays. 
Who says that every setback has to be final?  This wasn’t the first piece of property that
we put an offer on to build this church. 
And this wasn’t the church we first intended to build, and when things
didn’t work out on property 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 I was disappointed.  But in retrospect this was better than all of
the other ones and if we had of gotten 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 we wouldn’t have had
this property.
Even though you may not be able to enjoy the taste of
victory today doesn’t mean you won’t taste it tomorrow.  You may have to reshuffle your plans, you may have to rearrange your priorities, but disappointments don’t have to be final.  The anticipation can be as much fun as the
arrival.  That delay may give you the
extra time you need for more planning. 
2) Disappointments Should
be Educational
Many times we can actually learn from our setbacks.  I never make a mistake that I don’t try and
learn something from it. And I am convinced that we never learn nearly as much
from our successes as we do from our failures. 
Now I know that it’s a lot more fun to learn from our success, but we
don’t learn as much.
As many mistakes as each one of us makes, as many disappointments as we experience in our
lives it would be one of the greatest wastes of resources in the world if we
failed to learn from those mistakes and disappointments that come our way.  Sometimes the delays that we experience
provide time for reflection and self-examination and in that it provides us
with a learning opportunity. 
In 1990 we uprooted our family and moved from the booming
metropolis of Truro to Brisbane Australia with a population of 1.75 million
people who all drove on the wrong side of the road.  Now not being one to shun a challenge we
immediately made plans to drive into the centre of the city, actually the plans had already been made for us
but we were game to try.  So armed with
our trust refer-dex, which was
simply a fancy name for a book of street maps we ventured into the valley, as downtown Brisbane was called.  And it was there that I discovered the
benefits of stop signs and red lights. Although they did slow me down they
allowed me to sneak a look in the book and find out where we were.  Because with traffic going in all directions
I needed the opportunity to stop and get my bearings.  Sometimes the disappointments in our lives
are stop signs that allow us to get our bearings.  And sometime they prevent us from continuing
in the wrong direction.
It is only when you can’t learn or are unwilling to learn
from life’s disappointments that they become failures.   And when we stop we need to look at what we
have experienced and ask the big question; Why? 
What caused this to happen?  Can I
correct it?  If it can be corrected then
do it.  Maybe the reason you didn’t get
that job you wanted was that you showed up in ratty clothes needing a haircut
and mouthwash, you can learn from
that experience and change things for a more favourable outcome.  Or perhaps you wanted to play basketball in
the NBA but you’re only 5’2’’ then you might want to look for a different
calling, because some things you
can’t change.
3) Disappointments Can
be Times of Adjustment 
Too many
times life becomes boring and routine. 
We are in a rut and we all know what a rut is right?  Right,
a rut is simply a grave with both ends kicked out.
Day after day we do the same thing.  Day in and day out we are content to simply
continue doing the familiar.  And it’s
only when disappointments come that we look at these experiences and
re-evaluate the way we’ve been doing things. 
Some of our greatest moments happen because we are forced out of our
pattern of repetition by a disappointment. 
11 years ago we had a series of events that resulted in down
turn in our attendance and revenue at Cornerstone, it was a disappointment for
me.  In order for us to continue we
decided that the best option was for me to look for an outside source of
income.  That was a disappointment for
me; I didn’t really relish the thoughts of having two jobs. 
As a result of that setback I ended up writing for six
different magazines, something I would never have done without that
disappointment, and I was also offered a position as adjunct faculty at our
Bible College in New Brunswick and now I still teach there part time which has
led to me teaching in Ghana.  And I
discovered that not only do I enjoy teaching, but I’m not bad at it
either.  I’ve been looking for a place to
quote Red Green and this looks like the spot. 
Red Green says “You
are not good at something just because you enjoy it. Karaoke has proved that.
To my way of thinking, you are not
good at something because you enjoy it; rather you enjoy something because you
are good at it.”
The disappointment that lead to those offers wasn’t fun I
did not enjoy it one little bit, but the adjustments that we made as a result
have been a real bonus for Denn. 
At the time of a disappointment it’s always wise to examine
the events surrounding the disappointment and see if you need to make
adjustments. Many churches and pastors have chosen to accept disappointment as
the norm, rather than changing
traditional behaviour. Anytime we begin to fail in evangelism, in seeing people won to Jesus Christ, in attracting people to our church we need to stop
and ask: Why?  Tradition is good as long
as tradition is effective.  And it doesn’t
have to be old to be tradition.  Cornerstone
has only been around for eighteen years but we already have our own traditions.
It is an unfortunate that many people through the years have
gone to hell because ineffective church programs have become sacred cows.  And there are times we need to discover that
sacred cows make the best hamburgers.
Every program,
every custom, every tradition and
every facility must be examined from time to time to make sure they are still
doing the primary function and objective and that has been, and should remain to be glorifying God and
bringing a lost and dying world to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. 
And sometimes it takes a disappointment in a program before
we make a change.  And sometimes it takes
a disappointment in your job for you to evaluate your position and your
performance.  And sometimes it takes a
disappointment with your children to adjust your child rearing techniques.
We have to be able to recognize those disappointments and
instead of whining, adjust.
4) Disappointments Can
be Pace Setters
.  Often after a
professional athlete has injured their self they return to their sport too soon
only to discover that the injury still hurts. 
Although the pain is a disappointment it is essential to set the proper
pace for the athlete’s development and complete healing.
At first they are disappointed because their fastball isn’t
as fast as it used to be, their slap shot isn’t a hard as it used to be and
their jump shot isn’t as high as it used to be. But it will through time and
care eventually heal to pre-injury capabilities.
But sometimes there is a physical healing but not a mental
healing. When I was a teenager I owned a horse, a fact of which my daughter
reminded me of constantly, usually with words like “How come I can’t have a
horse you used to?”  To which I remind
her that my horse was a free horse, at least that was the initial cost, as my
father is fond of reminding me.  The reason
Extra Time was a free horse was because he was a standard bred race horse who
had been hurt.  In 1972 his best time was
2 08 for a mile but during a race he stumbled and fell and pulled his chest
muscles.  The vets claimed that he was
completely healed but he never got his speed back.
Sometimes we get hurt emotionally or spiritually and we
never get over the disappointment and we don’t ever grow any further unless we
take the time to recover.
In the growth cycle of a church, they usually grow, plateau,
grow, and plateau and so on.  Plateaus
will always be disappointing and sometimes if not corrected will become a
downward trend. But the reason that churches plateau is that it’s pace
setting.  If a church grows too fast for
too long they get out of balance and become top heavy with new Christians.  But after a church takes the time to disciple
and assimilate those people they are ready to grow again.  What was a disappointment actually helps in
their growth. 
5) Disappointments Sometimes
are Necessary
I love good weather, I love the sun and I love the warmth.  I’m not totally a Grinch when it comes to
weather, I love a white Christmas, in my world it would start to snow midnight
Christmas Eve and then warm up to 27 degrees Celsius on December 27th.
  
The year we moved to Australia we had 93 days without seeing
a cloud.  I thought I was in
Paradise.  The result of that beautiful
weather?  The grass got brown, the
flowers died, the water supply got low, the farmers of Queensland weren’t
nearly as impressed with the weather as I was. 
Nature cannot survive as we know it without rain.
In the 1970’s there was a song out the lyrics were “I beg your
pardon, I never promised you a rose
garden, along with the sunshine
there has to be a little rain sometimes.”  And such is life.  For total complete full development we need
to have different types of experiences come our way.  There is no way we can exhibit the fruit of
maturity in our life without the rain of disappointment.  A land without rain is called a desert.
Some of life’s greatest virtues: faith, hope, patience and
perseverance only come our way through disappointment. Only then will you
discover that every problem has a solution. 
Only when you have met with disappointment and overcome it will you develop
the ingredients in your character to seek a solution instead of being perplexed
by the problem.
6) Disappointments
are Normal
Don’t take disappointments personally.  Our normal reaction is “Why?” or “How could
this happen to me?” 
Way back when Canadian Idol first began my Cousins’ daughter
auditioned and didn’t make the cut and I’m sure that when Jackie didn’t move on
to the next level of competition she wondered how it could have happened to
her.  Well it also happened to over 800
other people, Jackie Guptill wasn’t the only person to go away disappointed
that day.
When things go wrong it doesn’t mean that God’s out to get
you.  That’s life, disappointments
happened.  But disappointments do not
have a negative or a positive impact in themselves.  Instead it is our reaction to those
disappointments that make them either negative or positive.
2 people can have exactly the same disappointment and end up
with two completely different outcomes. 
It is how we handle our disappointments that will determine our
success.  Some people are motivated by disappointments;
others are destroyed by their disappointments. 
How you act and react to life and it’s many disappointments
usually indicates who you are and what you can become.  Henry Ward Beecher stated
“Ones best success comes after their greatest
disappointments.” You don’t have to guess how he dealt with
disappointments.
I wonder if Mario Andretti the race car driver ever had to
face disappointments?  I wonder if he
ever lost a race?  Listen to what he said
“Circumstances may cause interruptions and delays, but never lose sight of your goal. Prepare
yourself in every way you can by increasing your knowledge and adding to your
experience, so that you can make the
most of opportunity when it occurs.” 
How do you view disappointments?  As stepping stones or as stumbling blocks? Do
they strengthen your faith or weaken your faith?  Do they draw you nearer to God or push you
farther away from God?  The choice is
yours and yours alone.
I don’t know what
disappointments you are facing today but I’d like to pray for you.  Because here is God’s promise for you today Psalm 30:5 Weeping may remain for a night, but
rejoicing comes in the morning.
Did you catch it? 
Weeping may remain for a night.  Maybe, but for sure, rejoicing will come in
the morning.