One of the most important things my dad ever said to me.

My heart was deeply sadden this morning when I heard the official news that a very influential and visible mega-church pastor had been dismissed from his church because of a moral failure.

The only recourse I see is to fervently pray for this dear man and his family and his church family.

However, when I heard the news it took me back to a conversation I had with my dad many years ago.

The call centered around the time I called to inform my dad that I had been approved by the congregation of the Fort Mill Church of God to be their pastor.

This was back in 1995 and by any standard could have been considered an opportunity of a lifetime for me. I was so excited and I wanted to share the news with my dad.

When I told him, there was silence on the other end of the line for a long moment, then my dad said something that I have never forgotten, and at the time, honestly, it made me mad. My dad said, “Well son, I guess I am going to have to start praying for God to keep you humble.”

I’ve never forgotten that statement. Dad didn’t say, “Wow son, I am proud of you!”, or “Congratulations, you deserve it!”, no, his first words had to do with my character.

My dad is not a mean-spirited and critical man; he has always been one of the most supportive and affirmative men I’ve ever known. But dad understood a few things that day that I did not.

First of all, dad knew that with every success, promotion, and blessing comes a character test. Success is a double-edged sword which can propel you beyond your character strength and can end up being the very thing that does you in. Which leads me to the second thing dad understood…

There is something far worse than failing and that is falling.

Failure for me has always been a good thing. It can build character; it can inspire and instruct others if it is handled correctly, and it can be the launching pad for the next level.

In the words of one of John Maxwell’s books, I have truly lived the principle of “failing forward.”

But a moral failure…Oh the tragedy!

Yes, grace is available and mercy can be given and life and ministry can go on, but without fail, when we fall something dies, damage is done this side of eternity that cannot be repaired until we get to the other side.

I’ve lived long enough to witness (and participate in!) a lot of failures and I’ve lived long enough to witness many great men and women in all fields fall. There is a world of difference.

Dear friend dare to dream big but guard your heart while you do so.  Attempt great deeds but don’t lose your moral compass.  Strive greatly to succeed, I will applaud you all the way, but be sure your heart stays pure.  Have fun!  Enjoy life, go for the gusto, dare to take risk and don’t be afraid of taking the big step forward.  But in all this, take heed least you fall.

1 Corinthians 10:12 (NKJV)
12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.






















david l. kemp


1 Corinthians 10:12 (NKJV)

12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.


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