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Brokeness

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Brokeness: No way around it.

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John 12:20-12:28 (NIV, NIRV, TNIV, KJV)

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No Way Around It.
John 12: 20-28

There were some Greeks in town, who had come up to worship at the Feast. They approached Phillip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee: “Sir, we want to see Jesus. Can you help us?”
Philip went and told Andrew. Andrew and Philip together told Jesus. Jesus answered, “Time’s up. The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.
“If any of you wants to serve me, then follow me. Then you’ll be where I am, ready to serve at a moments notice. The Father will honor and reward anyone who serves me.
“Right now I am storm-tossed. And what am I going to say? ‘Father, get me out of this?’ No, this is why I came in the first place. I’ll say, ‘Father, put your glory on display.’”

I want to speak to you today on the subject of brokenness.

All of us will face situations that cause us to wonder how in the world we will make it through the experience.

Tommy Lasorda, former coach of the Los Angeles Dodgers, once said, "I found that it’s not good to talk about my troubles. Eighty percent of the people who hear them don’t care, and the other 20 percent are glad you’re having trouble."

"I learned during my year out of coaching that, regardless of what business you’re in, you’re going to have problems. How you deal with them is what counts. You don’t turn your back on them." - Dan Reeves

We all find different ways to approach the bad things that happen in our lives.

A college student wrote the following letter to her parents:
Dear Mom and Dad:
"I am writing this letter on school paper because my stationary got burned in the fire. I got out of the hospital, and have moved in with my new boyfriend, Bill. He got me a job where he works-I’m a waitress at the Red Dog Saloon. Your new grandbaby is due next fall."
The next page continued . . .
"Mom, Dad, none of the above really happened. However, I made a C in French and I’m failing History.
Love,
Your Daughter."

A couple of weeks ago we read from this chapter and I preached a message on Palm Sunday. In that message I ask the simple questions: Are you a Christ follower or a crowd follower?

On that day in Jesus life, the crowd was shouting his name in praise because they thought He was going to be a King. One week later when they realized he was not going to be a great military conqueror, He became a broken sacrifice hanging on a cross.

What a great question these Greeks ask on this day. “Sir, we want to see Jesus. Can you help us?”

Brokenness is a process and maturity that often originates, with simple curiosity. (Sir, we want to see Jesus.)

Through much of His earthly ministry, Jesus would often say, “My time has not yet come.” On this occasion He says, “My time has come.” Not only had His time come but He was ready to give a lesson.

Can you feel the importance of this moment?
Jesus is on the verge of death.
He is facing a false trial. Lies and innuendos.
He is facing a beating and abuse.
He is facing an execution. (Not the politically correct kind we have today, where you lay on a table and go to sleep.)
He was facing a painful, torturous and bloody execution.

Jesus begins to teach.

He is giving a lesson on life.
Life is going to be filled with times of brokenness and turmoil.
We all will face things and events in our lives that challenge us at our very core.

He uses an illustration.
“Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that
life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.”

Generally speaking, there is no comparison to be made between the value of a diamond and that of a grain of corn., yet all depends on the disposition of the corn. Put both of them away, and at the end of a hundred years the grain of corn will still have no money value, while the diamond’s value, running up into the hundreds or thousands of dollars, will be undiminished. At the end of a thousand years the same thing would be true. But suppose, instead, we bury the grain in the warm, moist earth, and year after year throughout the centuries let it go on producing and reproducing. In that time it will have produced a store that the whole earth could hardly contain. Its production represents a money value that makes the diamond’s price not more than an atom in comparison. To save the grain of corn would have been to lose all it was capable of producing.

God uses Broken things.

It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to produce rain, broken grain to give bread and broken bread to give strength.
It was a broken perfume box that gave off a fragrance one day in the life of Jesus.
It was a broken apostle Peter, weeping bitterly, who returns to greater power and effectiveness than he ever could have imagined.

Brokenness is the surrender of our heart, mind and body to Christ.

Brokenness is what we allow God to make of us.

God uses broken things:


1. Brokenness Brings Wholeness

Dwight Moody said that one of the happiest men he ever knew was a man Dundee, Scotland, who had fallen and broken his back when a boy of fifteen. He had lain on his bed for forth years and could not be moved without a good deal of pain. Probably not a day had passed in all those years without acute suffering. But day after day the grace of God had been granted him, and when Mr. Moody was in his room it seemed as if he was as near heaven as he could get on earth. When Mr. Moody saw him, he thought he must be beyond the reach of the tempter, and he asked him, “Doesn’t Satan ever tempt you to doubt God and to think that He is an unfair Master?” “Oh yes,” he replied, “ he does try to tempt me. I lie here and seem my old classmates driving along, and Satan says, ‘if God is so good why has he kept you here all these years? You might have been a rich man. Then I see a man, who was young when I was, walk by in perfect health, and Satan, whispers, ‘if God loved you, couldn’t He have kept you from breaking your back?’” “ And what do you do when you are tempted to feel like that?” Ah I just take him to the cross and I show him Christ, and I point out the wounds in His hands and feet and side, and say, ‘Doesn’t He love me?’ The fact was that this bedridden man had found a way to be full of the grace of God.

He was made whole.
His life was full even though his circumstances left much to be desired.

It is not unusual for people who go through great times of brokenness and suffering to find that they are closer to God than they have been in years.


2. Brokenness Empowers

In Discipleship Journal Navigator staff member Skip Gray writes:
When Joseph Ton was a pastor in Romania he was arrested by the secret police for publishing a sermon calling for the churches to refuse to submit to the communists government’s demand for control over their ministries. When an official told him he must renounce his sermon he replied, “No sir, I won’t do that”
The official, surprised that anyone would respond so forcefully to the secret police, said, “Aren’t you aware that I can use force against you?”
“Sir, let me explain that to you,” Ton said. “You see, your supreme weapon is killing. My supreme weapon is dying . . . You know that my sermons are spread all over the country on tapes. When you kill me, I only sprinkle them with my blood. They will speak 10 times louder after that, because everybody will say, ‘That preacher meant it because he sealed it with his blood.’ So go on, sir, kill me. When you kill me, I win the supreme victory.” The secret police released him, knowing his martyrdom would be far more of a problem than his sermon.

Brokenness can empower us in ways that we never thought possible.



3. Brokenness Helps Us Identify with others.

John Pounds, a tall muscular teen laborer at the ship docks of Portsmouth England, slipped and plunged from the top of a ship’s mast, pitching headfirst into the deck below.
When fellow workers reached him, he was nothing but a mass of broken bones. For two years he lay in bead as his bones healed crookedly. His pain never ceased. Out of sheer boredom he began to read his Bible. After some time, John crawled from his bed a new man. He began to look for something to do in his broken and horribly twisted condition.
A shoemaker hired him to sit a bench and make shoes.
Eventually he made enough money to purchase his own little shop. He began making shoes for crippled children and soon his shop became like a little children’s hospital.
His burden for children grew and it wasn’t long until he began receiving homeless ones, feeding them, teaching them to read, and telling them about the Lord. His shop became know as the Ragged School.
John would limp around the waterfront, food in his pockets, looking for more children to tend. During his lifetime, John Pounds, rescued 500 children from despair. His work became so famous that a Ragged School movement swept England, and a series of laws were passed to establish schools for poor children in John’s honor. Boy’s homes, girls homes, day schools and evening schools were started all over England.

One man, with a broken body turned his brokenness from bitterness to helping others.

I have watched the parents of some of the teens killed at Columbine High School, in Colorado. I have listened to them as they talk of God’s grace that has helped them through the dark days and nights. Without the terrible tragedy they would have never had the forum to share the message of hope that Christ gives us.
Columbus, prayer breakfast, Governor, Mayor, Senators and fifteen hundred other people.


Shortly after the death of their daughter Robin, Roy and Dale Rogers met a pale little boy who stuck out his hand and said, “Howdy Pahtnah!” He had been abandoned in a Kentucky motel, and was physically and mentally disabled.

Roy and Dale adopted him, calling him Sandy in honor of his hair. He was bright eyed and good-natured. During a Billy Graham crusade, Sandy became a Christian.

Enrolled in military school. Enlisted in the army to prove himself. Worked hard won respect. He was sent to Germany then volunteered in Vietnam. One day he wrote, Put your faith in the Lord because he’s always around you when you need him.

One day returning from a trip, Dale Evans learned the tragic news. Sandy had been killed. After 26 days of maneuvers his army buddies took him out for a night of celebration. They needled him to prove his manhood. Sandy who could not tolerate alcohol, had given in. They fed him hard liquor until he collapsed. He was found the next morning dead in his bunk.

Dale Evans survived the sorrow only by drawing strength from Scripture. She wrote during that time, “Tragedy is a refiner. God has not promised an easy way, but peace at the center of the hard way. The clouds of sorrow have been heavy, but I have reached the point of no return I my Christian life, and I with Job will cry, THOUGH HE SLAY ME, YET WILL I TRUST HIM!”

Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.
“If any of you wants to serve me, then follow me. Then you’ll be where I am, ready to serve at a moments notice. The Father will honor and reward anyone who serves me.
“Right now I am storm-tossed. And what am I going to say? ‘Father, get me out of this?’ No, this is why I came in the first place. I’ll say, ‘Father, put your glory on display.’”

Some of you endure the pain of life on a daily basis.
A lost marriage.
A broken home.
Death and seperation
Sickness and pain.
Children that have rejected what you believe about God.
Lost jobs.
Lost loves.
Lost joy.

The mountain you face seems unbearable.

Psalm 34:18-19 (Message)

“ If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath. Disciples so often get into trouble; still God is there every time.”

Brokenness connects us to God.

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