Father Pfleger: "Failure is the price of success"

‘Christ fell three times, but he got back up’

By Chinta Strausberg


Saying you should not harbor fears, Father Michael L. Pfleger Tuesday said “failure is the price of success” and just because you failed does not mean you are a failure.

Never define yourself as a failure, Pfleger said during Tuesday night’s bible study class. “Don’t let a temporary fall define your future.” Pastor said Jesus fell three times and that he had to get up. “He was born to die and three times he fell down but God said ‘Get back up. You got a salvation to give.”

“Our falling means we are human. Your getting up is what makes you great,” Pastor said. He reminded us that the great Michael Jordan failed but he too got back up.

Pfleger gave himself as an example. Referring to the time when he was having severe pains in his head and how he went to one doctor who recommended performing exploratory surgery. Pfleger looked at the doctor and told him, “Are you on drugs? The doctor said I could have Multiple sclerosis or Alzheimer” and other possible conditions.

Pfleger looked the doctor in his eyes and told him, “I am going to another doctor. You tell me all this negative stuff. I told him to take my hand, and said to him, ‘Stay tuned. This is not a one-night show. Come back next week.

“When things go bad, you have to look in the devil’s face and say, ‘This ain’t over. Stay tune, devil. I may fall out, but I will get back up.”

Pastor also recapped last week’s bible study saying, “God is a progressive, living God. He is going to keep working. If we become stagnant, we will miss him because he is a progressive God.”

Pastor spoke of the importance of being able to imagine that you have to get with God. He quoted Acts 16, “Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia.” Acts 16:10, “After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.”

“When God gives you a vision, you have to move on it, but first check to see if it is a God” vision because just because you say it is a God vision doesn’t necessarily mean it is so.

Pfleger said you must get close to God in order to know when he is talking to you. With him, Pastor said, “God gives me a still sound voice. You have to be decisively be tuned into God…and to be close to him to know His voice.”

“If you are waiting for chairs to start flying, that may be the devil and you better get out of the room,” he said referring to some people who are looking and waiting for signs of God’s presence.

He told the class that (1) when God gives us a vision, we have to move on it but (2) check to see if it is God. (3) God moves you for a vision to further God and his kingdom. (4) Cut off hindrances. He said baggage costs. (5) Stay the course. (6) You got to be a person of prayer. “Your prayer cannot be a 911 prayer,” Pfleger said. “You don’t just go to God only in an emergency.”

Pastor said we have to learn to walk with God every day but that we must come to the realization that we cannot walk alone.  (7) Don’t lose your character. Maintain your character and your witness and don’t get arrogant. Don’t get a big head. (8) God wants to touch your heart. He gave as an example his mentor, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who understood “we can change laws but until we change hearts, we do not change society.” (9) There is no vision without opposition. When you do things for God, you understand you will have opposition,” he warned.

And Pfleger said that means, “The devil will come to try and test you to see if you are for real.” Pastor said you must ask yourself, “Who am I going to trust?” (10) You have to continue to be fruitful and be a producer. Leaves and branches are not enough. Fruit has to be beyond yourself,” he said. (11) “Don’t waste time. Understand the value of time. Understand the value of your time and destiny.” (12) We cannot take our time for granted. Understand that life is not granted to us,” Pfleger said giving Senator Mark Kirk’s recent stroke as an example. “Tomorrow is not promised to you. Don’t waste time and wander like the Israelites.”

(13) God will hold you accountable for your destiny…for your purpose he created. (14) Pfleger cited Luke 14 and said, “You have to count the cost. You don’t go to war without having an army. Make sure you count the cost and have a strategy for it… If you are going to be effective, you have to have a strategy. You cannot expect what you don’t inspect. God had a strategy for the creation and how is it going to come into fruition. “

(14)  Once you have a strategy, write it down and make it plain and make it personal to you. Don’t try and copy someone else’s” plan,” said Pfleger. “God gave you a unique personality so use it. Don’t try to be somebody else but you. Grasp your uniqueness. Until you do that, you will never love yourself because you will always feel inadequate.

“You got to know what you are good at…,” said Pastor. “Use your gifts and your talents. Write it down and make it personal and be specific. What does God want you to do? Don’t be a Wal-Mart. Be a boutique. Be specific. Your vision is not a hussle. If God gives it to you, your God will make it successful.

“Be faithful and don’t try to jump up so quickly. Walk slow and do it right,” Pfleger advised. Pastor said the question is do you want to have longevity or “be the flavor of the month.”

“You must be positive about your destiny. Don’t speak more about the negativity…. You got to be positive. You got to speak about the positive, about your vision. You have to believe in your vision. Don’t ask me to co-sign to have prayer and for your healing if you don’t believe you can be healed,” said Pfleger who said he does not want any “pity parities. You have to believe in your purpose and your destiny.”

Pfleger also said you have to take authority in your house. “I will stand with you, but I am not going to do what you won’t do. Talk about your destiny with passion. You cannot expect anyone to be more excited about your destiny than you,” he said.

“You ought to be measurable,” said Pfleger. “If you don’t know where you are going, you don’t know if you got there. If I want to be a doctor, then you have to have a benchmark….:

“We have to prioritize the area as we move to your destiny that needs the most attention.”

Pfleger said, “We do not need a big church.” He said he could have a storefront store and two people to come together and “move a mountain.” Pastor said there must be a process like that of Saint Sabina church, which grew slowly through, a process predicated on primary needs.

Pastor said it is important to “let the Holy Spirit breathe on them in the Upper Room…or it will not be effective.

When Pastor preaches, he does not want to provide you with entertainment rather he wants you to be transformed. When you leave church, he wants you to be “drunk” with the word so much so that you are armed with the Holy Spirit and can walk out and say “I dare you, devil.”

Referring to Proverbs 16:3 “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed,” Pfleger said, “You are guaranteed to win. You cannot lose. You fight to win and you fight until you win.” “Give to God, and you will succeed. When the Holy Ghost is in charge, it will give you the wisdom you need to make life decisions.”

“We will make some mistakes because we are humans because we are wrapped in this flesh, but some mistakes you don’t have to make if you get some wisdom.” For example, Pfleger said, “If you drive down the same street over the same holes every day, you are stupid. Get another street in the city….”

“God is so awesome,” Pfleger said. “He dwells in us…. If you believe God has sent you to a job, you should be there on time and doing your best for a full day and you be the best worker in the place…. There is no room for mediocrity or craziness….”

Pfleger said God would give you wisdom and direction but that “you got to get the guidance of the Holy Spirit and submit to Him every day.”

Referring to Proverbs 16:9, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps,” Pfleger explained how when he came to Saint Sabina 36-years ago how he had a vision of how a then shuttered McMahon Hall would be transformed into a Fellowship Hall and the message God gave to him. “He said ‘believe in the not yet.’”

Pfleger remembers standing at the door of the then closed and unheated McMahon Hall and wearing a coat and gloves told a few people, “One day we will be in there and the heat is going to be on. You have to believe in the not yet that your future, your destiny that God has spoken to you.

“If you are going to reach your destiny, you must develop an over coming spirit. Let people call you arrogant. You have to have an over coming spirit, but don’t be afraid of falling down. You will fall on the way to your success. Nobody reaches success without some falls,” Pfleger said.

He reminded us that “failure is the price of success” and that the victory in failure is the ability to get back up and to then become the “over-comer.”

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.