Today I want to start a short series looking at how we can break through the glass ceilings of our lives.

2 Samuel 5:1-3 (ESV Strong's)
Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “Behold, we are your bone and flesh. In times past, when Saul was king over us, it was you who led out and brought in Israel. And the Lord said to you, ‘You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over Israel.’” So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel.

Why is it that Saul had limits that ultimately defeated him, but David broke through and conquered his limits? That’s what I want to look at in this series, because like glass Ceilings, we can see beyond our limits, see through them to where we should be, but this invisible barrier seems to stop us every time.

 

GLASS CEILINGS

 

When people use the term "The glass ceiling", they are referring to an invisible barrier that prevents them from attaining the success they see others around them achieving. You know what that's like, when you try and try but you just seem to bounce of this invisible barrier.

 

So what is your "glass ceilings"? We have so many things we can do for the Lord, and really none of us are at our full potential, but if we are to reach God’s potential for our lives, we must realise that we all have "glass ceilings" in our lives, and that to move ahead these need to be shattered.

 

Over this series I want to look at the lives of these 2 kings, and learn the truth about the "glass ceilings" in life and how they can be broken forever.

 

Ephesians 3:20 (ESV Strong's)

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,

 

God’s plans for us don’t have ceilings, and He promises exceedingly abundantly more, but never the less these ceilings exist, not in God but in our minds.

 

STEPS TO BEING A SMASHING SUCCESS

 

The thing about a glass ceiling is that you can see through it, but you can’t smash your way through it. You can see where you should be, but every time you try and reach for it, you hit this barrier. I remember running into a glass door because it was so clean I couldn’t see it! This is why I rarely clean windows at my house.

 

Psalms 138:8 (ESV Strong's)

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.

 

God wants to fulfil His purpose for you, and he doesn’t want you limited by glass ceilings and barriers in your life. He wants you to conquer them, not by your own strength, but by His power. So let’s examine some steps towards overcoming glass ceilings in our lives.

 

1.      ACKNOWLEDGE GLASS CEILINGS EXIST

 

Most people cannot see the glass ceilings in their lives because they’ve trained themselves to ignore them. I remember reading Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and when a space ship appeared above a Test Match at Lord’s Cricket ground, no one could see it because it had an SEP field around it. That stands for “Someone else’s problem,” and the writer stated that people’s brains dismissed the image of a space ship because it wasn’t their problem.

 

Many of the glass ceilings we face are as a result of society, and society’s standards and expectations. We are not even aware of these ceilings, because our world tells us these barriers are normal. You can’t become an evangelist because religion is personal and we don’t talk about that. You can’t bring children up in the Lord because that’s brainwashing them. You can’t make more of your life because you’re just a worker, just a mother, or you have this sickness, or you’re too old, or too young, or divorced or disabled.

 

Romans 12:2 (ESV Strong's)

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

 

Part of renewing your mind is a acknowledging that these glass ceilings even exist, but also recognising that though they may limit us, they won’t limit God! The first step in overcoming them is simply admitting they exist.

 

Why does it seem so hard for us to admit that we are not perfect? Why do we want to paint on a happy face when we come to church, and pretend that all is well, when in fact, there are many areas in our lives that hinder us and cause us to stumble? Our "glass ceilings" will never be broken until we first accept the fact that they exist!

 

2.      IDENTIFY YOUR GLASS CEILINGS

 

The next step is to identify your ceilings. What are the invisible barriers you face to spiritual maturity? You may not even see them, so you may need to ask God where they are.

 

As we explore this over the coming weeks, we are going to identify the barriers Kings Saul and King David faced. Like them, we all face glass ceilings in our lives, and it’s important we identify where and what they are.

 

Is it fear, impatience, denial, stubbornness, your upbringing, your finances, or your spouse? Is it your job, your church, your need to control, or your need to be needed? What is it that becomes a ceiling in your life that stops you becoming the person God wants you to be? God says,

 

Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV Strong's)

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

 

He has great plans for your life, your ministry, your part in His great plan of bringing our nation to Him. But He hasn’t put ceilings in our lives, we have, and if we trust Him and look to the future, if we are obedient and serve Him, we can and will break through those self imposed ceilings.

 

3.      DECIDE THAT IT’S TIME TO BREAKTHROUGH

 

While you are pondering these ceilings in your life, let’s look at the 3rd step… Make a decision that is time to smash these glass ceilings.

 

I remember years ago meeting a young lady in Pune, India. Serving on the mission field with 2 small children. She told me she was a single mum, with no fixed income, and there she was in missions. I asked her how she managed this, and she said she didn’t see why being a single mum should stop her from what God had for her.

 

I meet so many people who want to serve God, want to make a difference, want to win their community to Jesus, but other things demand their attention. Some of you here know God has great things for you, but you seem to hit a barrier every time you try to move ahead. Sometimes its the tyranny  of the urgent, many times it’s you wanting to do something else first.

 

People say to me, just let me build my business, just let me bring up my family, just let me buy that house that car, that at computer first, then I’ll serve God. Then I’ll get involved in church. I’d love to be more involved, but I have things I need to do. But Paul says,

 

2 Corinthians 6:2 (ESV Strong's)

Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

 

Stop offering excuses, instead of your body as a living sacrifice! It’s time to stop letting other ultimately less important things in eternity stop you from fully engaging for God right now.

 

Money, work, family, careers, houses, possessions, reputations, all these are important, but none of them, not a single one is more important than obedience to God. And here’s Jesus’ promise… If you put Him first, and serve Him first, you get the lot…

 

Matthew 6:31-33 (ESV Strong's)

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

 

So today I urge you  to stop putting it off and decide to break through the glass ceilings go for it!

 

4.      TEST THE CEILING

 

When you  detect a ceiling in your life, this is when you need godly wisdom. Any boundary can be broken through, but there are ways to do it and ways to not do it.

 

Don’t just dive off the high board and hope you make it. Solomon wrote,

 

Ecclesiastes 11:6 (ESV Strong's)

In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.

 

There are always a number of things you can do to break through your glass ceiling. Some things are more effective than others, some more costly. I don’t know the best way for you to breakthrough in your situation, and neither do you… But God does!

 

So try things, test them, see what works.  But if you want to fast track the process, and minimise the pain and the cost, seek God’s wisdom, not man’s. Come to church, listen to the sermons, get into the app, seek godly advice, read His Word, if you’re smart you will do whatever it takes to gain godly wisdom and insight and fast track your breakthrough…

 

James 1:5 (ESV Strong's)

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

 

Get God’s wisdom and perspective, and start testing the boundaries of your ceiling to see where the likely breakthrough points, might be.

 

5.      START AND KEEP GOING

 

Many people fail to breakthrough their glass ceilings because they give up. They pray, they ask God, they try for a time, but they get tired, get discouraged and give up, often just as that ceiling is starting to crack!

 

Toughened glass is chemically or heat treated to make it super tough. A mega hard surface makes it Toughened, and they use to use this glass in windscreens. But what happens if you hit it hard enough or hit the same spot several times? Once that skin is penetrates the entire glass panel implodes into hundreds of tiny pieces.

 

In your quest to smash through that ceiling in your spiritual life, you need to not lose heart and not give up. Some of you are so close, so keep going. When you look back from eternity the ceiling that now seems so strong and so limiting will be as nothing. It’s temporal, it’s temporary and it’s there to be smashed through…

 

2 Corinthians 4:16-17 (ESV Strong's)

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,

 

6.      BREAKING THE GLASS CEILINGS LEADS TO MORE BREAKTHROUGHS

 

Here’s an exciting thing… once you break through your ceiling, once you one rate the barrier, you open the door to even more breakthroughs, and you’ll be amazed at what follows.

 

In 1956, Roger Bannister was the first to break the 4 minute mile. Within a few years, more than 20 other people had achieved this feat. Today, over 1,400 athletes have done it, and the current record is 3.43.13.

 

Fiona and I suffered tremendous financial loss 10 years ago, and for a long time it seemed nothing we did could even start our recovery. We worked hard, saved heaps, prayed loads and tried everything we could, but it felt like we had a glass ceiling. We continuously believed that God would restore our finances, and we kept slugging away, with few results.

 

The ceiling was smashed through after some years, when on Fiona’s birthday we opened an envelope which contained a cheque from what we though was a lost investment, for $55,000. After this we started to move ahead financially, and God is restoring what the locusts have eaten even today. Trust God, honour God, keep going and let Him break through those glass ceilings…

 

Malachi 3:10 (ESV Strong's)

Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.

 

IT’S NOT WHAT YOU KNOW, IT’S WHO YOU KNOW!

 

When it comes to breaking through those ceilings in your life, you can fight, you can smash, you can hit, you can scream, you can blame others and worry and fret and get discouraged. The world will say, “Come on, you can do it,” But I’m saying no you can’t, there’s a better way.

 

The better way is this… Seek God! That’s what made David different to Saul, he was a man after God’s own heart. When it comes to breaking through these glass ceilings, it’s not about you, your abilities and your hangups. In fact, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

 

The answer for breaking through whatever ceiling you are facing right now is knowing God more. The more you know Him, the more He will give you His power to live the life He has called you to live.

 

The more intimately you know Him, the more He can lead and guide amd direct your steps, and those ceilings, that seem so strong now, will be smashed to smitherines!

 

Today I want to challenge you to identify at least one of the glass ceilings you currently face. If you’re on the app, write it down, because I want to hear testimony after testimony in a few months time of the amazing shattering of these ceilings.

 

Today I want you to identify the ceiling, then come forward and give it to the Lord. Whatever it is, finances, relationships, fears, resentment, give it all to Jesus today.

 

Hosea 6:3 (ESV Strong's)

Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord;

his going out is sure as the dawn;

he will come to us as the showers,

as the spring rains that water the earth.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

to hinder you, or will you conquer them? In the end, it's all up to you!

Once again we had 3 preachers at Ignite, and this was awesome because it brought 3 perspectives on the topic Shining Jesus in a hurting world.

Shining Jesus is not All Talk

All three of our preachers considered the topic of how we as believers can shine the good news of Jesus to a world that is hurting, and clearly in crisis.

Paul West, Leanne Shewan and finally Pastor Keith Heale were able to bring unique and challenging perspectives to this topic which all of us should be considering.

In an age where many consider the influence of the church waning, our preachers went beyond just talking about it, to show us that every one of us has a chance to shine for Jesus.

So listen and enjoy the unique and wonderful perspective each preacher brought to this question, and ask yourself what God has called you to do, and how your life can always be shining Jesus to a hurting world.

 

Rebellion is how I want to finish my series on brokenness, by looking at our response to it. I’d love to tell you that most Christians yield to the will of God, that they willingly allow brokenness to shape and form their character, trusting and knowing that God has their spiritual maturity in mind, but that is simply not true.

All of us naturally rebel against God, if we don’t like what He is doing. We all have a rebellious streak in us, stubbornly wanting our own way, wanting our will not God’s. Jesus said,

Luke 6:46 (ESV Strong's)

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?

 

But we need to understand that God does not treat rebellion lightly…

 

1 Samuel 15:23 (ESV Strong's)

For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry.

 

People today believe they can run away from God, resist his claim on their lives, do their own thing and then ask God to bless them. They believe they can sin and escape the consequences of that sin. They are wrong. A price must be paid for rebelling against God.

 

JONAH- RUNNING ON REBELLION

 

Jonah was OT prophet and God asked him to prophesy repentance to the city of Nineveh, an evil and wicked people whom Jonah thought unworthy of forgiveness. Jonah was racist, he hated these people, and wanted to see them punished, not forgiven, so he ran away from God and the task God had for him.

 

Jonah went and bought passage on a ship headed for Tarshish in Spain, pretty much 1000 miles the complete opposite direction! It wasn’t fear that drive his rebellion, it was anger, anger against God, and resistance to God’s will.

 

How many times in your life has God asked you to do something and you’ve actively rebelled and run the opposite direction? I know I have, especially if I’m angry at God. How many times have we bought something, or pursued someone we know is not right for us, but we want them anyway? You can call it stubbornness, strong will or determination, but God calls it rebellion.

 

JONAH- GOD GETS HIS WAY

 

So Jonah fled on a ship, but a huge storm arose and he was revealed as the one rebelling against God. At his own request he was thrown overboard, God is merciful and arranged for a huge fish swallowed him, and after 3 days in the fish’s belly, he finally relented, got sick of playing sardines and prayed for God’s help. Then he was thrown up by the fish on dry land, went to Nineveh and preached.

 

Jonah 3:10 - 4:1 (ESV Strong's)

When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it. But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry.

 

The reluctant prophet then got mad at God’s compassion for saving a wicked people that he thought deserved to be destroyed. Then God used a vine to drive the point home.

 

Jonah 4:9-11 (ESV Strong's)

But God said to Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry for the plant?” And he said, “Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.” And the Lord said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?”

 

Jonah was so mad he wanted to die. People matter to God, and they must matter to us also, and matter more than our opinion!

 

I’m always wary of phrases like “That’s not fair”, or “They don’t deserve that,” because it indicates that we think our opinion is superior to God’s. Today, people honestly believe their opinion is more important that anyone else’s, just look at Facebook and you will see this.

 

So next time, before you start an argument on Facebook about something trivial, ask yourself, do you want to connect with people to win them to Jesus, or do you want to win an argument.

 

THE ROOTS OF REBELLION

 

We say that we love God, we claim that we serve Him, yet this stubborn rebellious streak runs a mile wide though our hearts. When being martyred, Stephen accused the Jews, God’s  chosen people, like this…

 

Acts 7:51 (ESV Strong's)

“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you.

 

Interestingly, Paul uses a Greek word sklēro-trachēlos; which literally means stiffnecked, stubborn, headstrong, or obstinate.  Sometimes I wake with a stiff neck, unable to turn it, and to try and look where I want to look encounters not only resistance but also pain. And that’s a pretty good analogy… Rebellion is going to cause pain, sooner or later.

 

So where does this rebellion come from, and what is the root of it? Here’s 4 roots…

 

1.      PRIDE

 

Pride is the basis of rebellion. Whenever we choose to do something our own way and rebel against God’s call, we are saying, “I know better than you know, God.”

 

Sometimes when God calls us to salvation, we say “I don’t need you God, I can save myself.” When God calls us to live a holy life, we say, “I know better than you God how to live my life my way, so what right have You  got to tell me how to live.” When God calls us to serve Him, we say, “Don’t tell me where I should serve, I know what I’m good at.”

 

Proverbs 16:5 (NIV-WS)

The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.

 

When we resist God’s methods and means and instead choose our own way, we are in prideful rebellion, and will not go unpunished, but you will be broken.

 

2.      FEAR

 

Fear is a huge factor in rebellion. Jonah feared the vicious Ninevites, and he also feared that if he preached repentance they just might repent, when he thought they deserved death and punishment, not a second chance, so he rebelled and ran!

 

So many today are controlled by fear. Fear of pain, fear of failure, fear of rejection. Yet as FD Roosevelt said to the American people as he took office in the middle of the Great Depression, “we have nothing to fear except fear itself.”

 

Psalms 34:4 (ESV Strong's)

I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.

 

Fear is false evidence appearing real. Most of what we fear never happens, but it is fear that controls our thoughts.

 

A few years ago I learned SCUBA diving, but on one dive my air stopped 18 meters under the water. I could have died, but my life was spared, yet I have had fear ever since. Last week I dived again, and had to conquer this fear. I felt the fear as I went under the water for a few seconds, had to control it, and then I was able to enjoy the dive.

 

Fear ruins lives, it sucks enjoyment, peace, unity, love and everything out of your life, but

 

1 John 4:18 (ESV Strong's)

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

 

Sometimes we resist God’s direction out of fear, but

 

2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV Strong's)

God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

 

3.      KNOWLEDGE

 

Knowledge can be another source of rebellion, and knowledge is often good, but sometimes we kind of know too much, and this saps our faith and causes us to rebel and try and figure things out on our own. Paul writes,

 

1 Corinthians 8:1 (ESV Strong's)

“knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up.

 

As a medical person, sometimes I know too much. We talk about Dr Google at times, because people are googling conditions and not believing their physicians. Sometimes a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and when we think we know better than God does, this is actually called rebellion.

 

4.      STUBBORNNESS

 

I’m not stubborn, I’m just determined! If you ask my wife, she will tell you the opposite. Have you ever made a bad decision, and kept pursuing it hoping it would all turn around. You know it’s doomed, but you keep digging your own grave, right? That’s stubbornness.

 

Psalms 81:11-12 (ESV Strong's)

“But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels.

 

When we stubbornly rebel, when we insist on our own way, God’s chastisement or discipline if you like, is often just to give us what we want.  Sometimes God gives you that girl or guy you want so much, or that investment, or that house, or that job, He gives them to us, even though He can see the disaster that’s coming like a freight train!

 

When He reveals His will to us, we need to listen and not be stubborn.

REBELLION IS A PRICE YOU CANNOT AFFORD

 

I always wanted a Ferrari, but I said I couldn’t afford one. That’s not true… If I sell my house, cars, business, and maybe a child, I could afford it, but I just don’t want one that bad.

 

In the same way, rebellion is a price you simply cannot afford! The price for rebellion is too high,  and the consequences too great.  But God in His love and wisdom allows us to experience the consequences of our stubbornness and rebellion, to teach us obedience.

 

With kids sometime you have to let them experience the consequences to teach them not to do things. A huge problem in our society is that the courts, and schools, and governments insist on removing consequences for actions.

 

Like the Israelites in the desert, if you rebel you get to go round and round the same mountain until you get it right. You get to experience the pain of your rebellion, trying Plan B, Plan C, on and on until you exhaust all your stubborn ideas, and finally give in and let God rule!

 

That’s right, if you don’t learn the lesson, God will never write you off. You just get to resit the exam over and over again.

 

Psalms 32:8-9 (ESV Strong's)

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.

 

We need to recognise that God wants the best for us, but the amount of pain and brokenness we face is pretty much determined by how quickly we learn the lessons. So let’s not be the stubborn ones He has to curb with bit and bridle, but let’s be willing follow and yield to the plan He has for us, even if we don’t understand.

 

NO EXCUSES, CALL IT WHAT IT IS!

 

You  can dress it up, you can say I’m just headstrong or I’m just stubborn, but I believe if you’re going to get mad at God and decide to do things your way, we need to call it what it is… Sin, and rebellion!

 

God doesn’t want you to offer excuses, He wants you to offer your life to Him as a living sacrifice. Jesus said this,

 

John 14:21 (ESV Strong's)

Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me.

 

All excuses aside, it boils down to this… If you  love Jesus, you will obey Him. You might feel broken, you might feel pain, you might have questions about what God is doing, but you need to trust Him and be obedient. If you disobey Him, if you take control of your life in rebellion to God, then I’m sorry, you don’t really love Him. I didn’t say it, Jesus did!

 

As humans we are so good at playing the blame game, and we love to make excuses instead of taking responsibility. But excuses are usually just well planned lies. God says, don’t cover up your sin, own up and let me cover them over with my love and forgiveness.

 

UNDERSTAND THAT GOD TREATS DISOBEDIENCE AND REBELLION SERIOUSLY

 

Mankind seems to admire and like rebellion, mankind thinks “I did it my way” is a mantra for success in life, but God treats rebellion seriously…

 

When Jonah rebelled against God, God showed great compassion and restraint in dealing with him, but God never was deflected from what He wanted. And that’s the thing. Your rebellion is futile, because God will have His way, and if you truly rebel and refuse to obey, He will find someone else or some other way, and you will miss out.

 

Rebellion comes down to a simple choice… Will I obey God, or not?

 

1 Samuel 12:15 (ESV Strong's)

But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then the hand of the Lord will be against you and your king.

 

YOU CANNOT RUN

 

Are you willing to decide for obedience and against rebellion, and to allow the decision to be obedient become your guiding light? God loves you so much that He longs for your obedience so that He can lead and guide you into the destiny He has planned for you. But He cannot lead you if you refuse to obey and insist on rebelling and doing things your way.

 

Perhaps, like I’ve done at times, and like Jonah did, you want to run. Maybe you’re running from God right now. We’ve all done it at times, but King David learned this,

 

Psalms 139:7-10 (ESV Strong's)

Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.

 

Some of you have been avoiding God, or doing the bare minimum and hoping He doesn’t require more of you. Some have been actively running from God, unprepared to trust Him with what He wants you to do. It’s all rebellion, folks, and you are destined for brokenness, heartache, pain and disappointment if you keep in this path.

 

IT’S TIME TO CHOOSE

 

When it comes to obedience, I find it helpful to make a general, rational, carefully thought out decision in principle, rather than decide on a case by case basis. Hebrews says,

 

Hebrews 3:15 (ESV Strong's)

“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

 

Israel spent years suffering because of rebellious decisions, and the smart move is to figure that out at the beginning. As Moses challenged them,

 

Deuteronomy 30:19 (ESV Strong's)

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,

 

So rather than deciding whether to obey God at the time He asks me something, I’ve decided to make one, overriding, exceedingly smart decision that is my default position…  that I am going to obey, no matter what.

 

John Calvin said, “For there is no one so great or mighty that he can avoid the misery that will rise up against him when he resists and strives against God.”

 

Join me now and let’s make the pronouncement that we will be obedient, no matter the situation and no matter the cost. This colours every decision you make. Be obedient in reading His Word, be obedient in how you speak and act. Pledge to be obedient, and trust God to lead you and produce fruit in your life that lasts for eternity.

Brokenness 4- Pruned for a Purpose

Are you being pruned for a purpose? God often uses painful times of brokjenness to prune us so we can bear greater fruit in the long run...

I’ve been talking about brokenness as a way the Lord can shape us or mould us into our full potential. I’ve described brokenness as the crucible in which God heats us up and slowly purifies is, until the process is complete… when He sees His image in the molten metal.

This process of making you complete is called spiritual maturity, and for the believer, it is the result of brokenness, experiences and learning. His aim is for us to become mature and complete.

James 1:2-4 (ESV Strong's)

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect (mature NIV) and complete, lacking in nothing.

 

So, as we go through seasons of brokenness, as we begin to yield every aspect of our lives to Jesus, we grow and we mature in the things of God.

 

What does this involve?

 

1.     CHANGE

 

Growth involves change, and some of us don’t like change very much. But we cannot hold onto old ways, old ideas or old concepts of God and expect to grow. It’s not saying we blindly accept every change, but we must be open to change of we are to grow.

 

Isaiah 43:18-19 (ESV Strong's)

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.

Behold, I am doing a new thing, now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

 

2.     GROWTH

 

Not all changes result in growth, but all growth is marked by change. A plant only matures when it grows beyond the seed, into the soil and into the air. If it stayed contented as a seed, it would never know the fruit of maturity. Our church is experiencing growing pains. But if we refuse to change and grow, if we don’t have faith to step out, we will stay the same and never reach our potential of fruitfulness.

 

We have to embrace change and also growth, because God wants us to grow to maturity…

 

Ephesians 4:15 (ESV Strong's)

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,

 

3.     BROKENNESS

 

Brokenness is the 3rd essential, because as we are broken, God challenges us to yield areas of our lives to Him. You cannot grow into maturity in Him unless you yield to Him. A plant, left to its own powers will grow at all kinds of crazy angles, but being broken and yielding to Jesus is the stake that directs our growth.

 

Ephesians 4:14-15 (ESV Strong's)

We may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,

 

MOSES: BROKEN INTO GREATNESS

 

There is not greater example of brokenness leading to greatness than Moses. The great leader. The humblest or meekest man on the earth (Numbers 12:3), did not start off that way.

 

Moses was born a Hebrew, when Hebrews were despised, and baby boys were to be slaughtered. His mother placed him in a baskets, and the Pharaoh’s daughter rescued him, then called upon his own mother to raise him in the royal courts of Egypt.

 

The headstrong young man was Egyptianised, thinking, speaking and acting like an Egyptian. When he saw a Hebrew slave being mistreated by an Egyptian, he killed the Egyptian, and when he discovered his crime had been witnessed, he ran away to the Midian desert for 40 years.

 

That 40 years broke Moses, it forced him to change and grow less like an Egyptian and more like a leader God could use to save His people.

 

In breaking Moses, God stripped him of everything he had known as a child and young man. In the process of being driven into the desert, Moses lost his family, his palatial home, his privileges, his prominence, his prestige, his power, his pride. He lost everything.

 

Painful? Yes. It was a long, gut wrenching, soul sapping experience, but it broke off Moses the things that would hold back his maturity into the greatest of leaders. Then one day after so many years of humility and brokenness, God called Moses to greatness from a burning bush

 

Exodus 3:10 (ESV Strong's)

Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”

 

BROKENNESS PRUNES AWAY EVERYTHING NOT OF GOD

 

If God loves you, and He does, if He has a plan for your life, and He does, then He will prune you. In pruning, a savvy gardener cuts away the non productive parts of a plant, to increase its growth, its move towards maturity and ultimately, its fruit.

 

Brokenness is God’s pruning shears, painfully preparing the potential for production.

 

John 15:1-2 (ESV Strong's)

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

 

The other week Raymond told me, “I pruned back the chilly bush and I think I killed it.” But I showed him, already, even in his drought, little shoots are growing back. Being broken in areas of our life might feel like God is killing us, but He’s just pruning us, preparing a great harvest! He’s stripping back everything that can stop us from maximum fruitfulness!

BROKENNESS IS COUNTERCULTURAL

 

Brokenness runs contrary to everything our culture stands for. We are told to be independent and self confident, to set our goals and see them through no matter what.

 

But spiritual maturity strips all of the trimmings of Egypt away. God asks us to yield every part of our life to Him, not to hold bits back, and not to do God’s job for Him. Stand back Lord, I can take it from here! Our culture says fight, and claw and achieve, take and get and succeed, but God says give it all to Me and trust Me.

 

Psalms 55:22 (ESV Strong's)

Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.

 

God’s not calling you to seek greatness, seek riches or seek success, He’s calling you to

 

Matthew 6:33 (ESV Strong's)

seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

 

So today, whatever it is that God is breaking within your life, however hard and painful this pruning, you need to yield it to Him and believe that the Master gardener knows what He’s doing!

 

Why are we pruned? Let me finish with 5 reasons why God is pruning you and the results of pruning you can expect in your life…

 

1.     PRUNED FOR PURPOSE

 

God has a purpose for your life. People are born, grow up, go to work, have a family and one day die. They make plans, try to live a comfortable life, care for a few others. But you’re better than that! God has a higher calling for you! You’re not an accident, you’re not a failure and you’re not just another consumer, so stop acting like that! He says,

 

Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV Strong's)

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

 

He prunes you because He has plans and purposes for your life…

 

2.     PRUNED FOR PRIESTHOOD

 

You at being pruned to become someone great in the Kingdom of God. As you yield areas of your life to the pruners blade, so your potential for supernatural ministry will explode. We all have the potential to serve in supernatural ministry, God can and will use each of us to touch lives supernaturally.

 

You might think, you’re a pastor, it’s easy to see God using you. But I’m just a guy, flesh and blood just like you, sinful, selfish, strong willed and in need of pruning.

 

I’ve tried to be faithful with what God has asked me to do. I’ve been pruned, often painfully. I’ve experienced brokenness, and have had to learn and grow. But so have you, each of us are on that same path somewhere, some further along than others. None of us perfect, all of us broken and all of us learning to yield to Jesus. There’s no priesthood and laity here, just servants and more humble servants…

 

1 Peter 2:5 (ESV Strong's)

you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

 

3.     PRUNED FOR POWER

 

So many Christians I meet are half hearted in their commitment. They love Jesus, but they also love other things in their life equally or more. The evidence is best seen in the time they devote to the things of God, and the priority they place on serving Him.

 

James 4:8 (ESV Strong's)

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

 

If you want to be a powerful Christian, if you want to look back on your death bed and know you have been an incredible servant for God, someone who made a difference, who impacted lives, saw people saved and grown to maturity, saw miracles and incredible provision, start by being whole hearted for Jesus. Let Him prune you for power!

 

Acts 1:8 (ESV Strong's)

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

 

Problem is most people do not let the Spirit come on them in power. Even those of you who have the gift of tongues, most of us do not let the Spirit truly come upon us. The Holy Spirit is ready and willing to come up in us in power… the problem is not Him… it is us!

 

2 Chronicles 16:9 (NIV-WS)

For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.

 

Trouble is, we are simply not fully committed to Him, but we are selfish and self serving. But God is looking throughout the earth, throughout this room, for hearts that are fully committed to Him. Are you that person, or are you holding back on God?

 

 

4.     PRUNED FOR PEOPLE

 

Ever wonder why we don’t just give be our heart to Jesus then get whisked off to heaven? I mean, why should be be broken, and pruned and moulded into maturity? It’s because God has a purpose beyond just saving you! So it’s not all about you!

 

God’s purpose for saving you and leaving you here, breaking you and pruning you and bringing you to a place of wholeness and spiritual maturity is this… So that He might use you as His tool in bringing others to wholeness and spiritual maturity.

 

Matthew 5:16 (ESV Strong's)

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

 

People are watching you, yes even in your times of pruning.

 

When you face brokenness, and you do this with genuine faith, still loving those around you, still giving ‘til it hurts, still focussing on the needs of others, then they see you, how you behave and see Jesus shining in you.

 

 

5.     PRUNED FOR PRODUCTION

 

Ultimately, we are pruned not to hurt us but to make a way for more fruit production.

 

John 15:5 (ESV Strong's)

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

 

He teaches us so that we might teach others. He gives wisdom that we might share it. He comforts and encourages us so that we might provide comfort and encouragement to others. He gives us spiritual gifts so that we might use them to help others. He gives us financial prosperity so that we might bless others.

 

Some people, some of you here, are content to just fall over the line and make it to heaven. It’s like bargaining with God. God, what’s the lowest price I can get to heaven for. What’s the minimum outlay I need to pay to just make it? No wonder God prune this despicable, selfish attitude out of us!  My aim in life is to make it to heaven, and  take as many people as I can with me! What’s yours?

 

You are pruned to bear much fruit, not just to squeak into heaven, so I urge you to not waste your one life satisfying your own desires, but step up and do something great for Jesus!

 

2 Corinthians 5:10 (ESV Strong's)

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

 

The judgement seat of Christ is for Christians, that’s for you and I! We must all give account, and I for one want to give an account that causes Jesus to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”  God prunes us to bear much fruit, and at Ignite I want to give you the opportunity to step up and become part of the miracles that God is doing right here.

 

Are you ministering for Him at your full potential? Is there more? Ask yourself that now… has He been pruning me so that I can step up and bear more fruit? If so, how can I do this?

 

I am now placing this church at your disposal, to provide the vehicle for you to serve Jesus to your full potential.

Join us at Ignite for an exciting morning looking at truth, love and purpose with the Principle of Nambour Christian College Geoff Van Der Vliet.  Geoff shares this important message on how God is moving in the world today.

Truth, Love and Purpose in God

As Geoff opens up Acts 3 for us, revealing how Christians can encounter a community in need shining God's love into their hearts and making a difference in the lives of those who need to hear it.

An exciting and wonderful message from an exciting and faithful man of God... showing truth, power and courage to a needy world.

You are Broken to be Beautiful. I’ve been speaking about brokenness, and many have told me how they have felt something shift deep in their spirit. We all face brokenness at some stage, and it is never pleasant, but in God’s economy it’s often necessary to allow Him to shape and form our lives. We talked about the potter smashing down the clay to reshape something beautiful, and we likened brokenness to the crucible within which God refines us as silver.

But many of us don’t see brokenness as a positive at all, but rather as a negative, something some might endure, but many just fall apart in. Today I want to look at brokenness as God’s pathway to maturity.

Romans 5:3-4 (ESV Strong's)

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,

 

BLINKERS ABOUT BROKENNESS

 

The fact is, for many of us, brokenness is inherently negative, and we have blinkers on with regards the plans and purposes God has for brokenness in our lives. Blinkers stop a horse from seeing the big picture, and only allow them to see a small portion of their vision straight ahead. Likewise, we sometimes have blinkers on and only see brokenness as bad, and so we miss seeing the big picture God has for us.

 

Even our speech gives this away… We talk about mental or physical problems, we call it a breakdown. When we talk of relationship collapse, we call it a break up. When we suffer financial loss it is called going broke. Brokenness is all around.

 

So what kind of barriers stop us seeing brokenness as a crucible within which God refines us for future glory and service?

 

TRUSTING THE WRONG THINGS

 

In life, we all need to trust somebody or something. You trusted that your car would start this morning. You are trusting that chair you’re sitting on to hold you up.

 

Proverbs 3:5 (ESV Strong's)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

 

As Christians we would claim to trust the Lord, but frankly very often our actions contradict what our mouths say. God’s purpose in brokenness is for us to fully trust Him, and anything else we trust in, intentionally or unintentionally, becomes a flaw in the clay as He shapes our lives.

 

So what kind of things do we trust in that cloud our vision of brokenness?

 

1.     WEALTH

 

In our society, wealth often brings with it power, and these two are something we often trust in.  Those with money or possessions usually turn to them instead of God.

 

It is not wrong to be wealthy. Wealthy people can bless and use money to God’s glory, so money itself is not evil. John Wesley was once criticised for taking dirty money from bars and brothels, and he said, “Give me as much dirty money as you can and I’ll show how clean I can make it!”

 

1 Timothy 6:10 (ESV Strong's)

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.

 

It doesn’t say money is, it says the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Why? Because when we love money we rely on it, we trust in it. But wealth cannot buy you out of trouble. Take the blinkers off, and realise that if you have wealth, you are blessed, but Wealth can disappear in a heartbeat.

 

I have an income in Optometry, and most of my peers are wealthier than I, and all they think about if making more money. But God has shown me that even my ability to earn wealth is from Him, so I must rely on Him not my profession.

 

Deuteronomy 8:18 (ESV Strong's)

You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth.

 

If you have money, great! Use it for the Lord, but never lose sight of the fact that God gives you the ability to earn money.

 

2.     IMAGE

 

Most of us care about our image or appearance. We generally look in the mirror at least once a day, we pay to have our hair done, and some pay for cosmetics or even cosmetic surgery. Going to the gym is often not about fitness, but about appearance. But beauty fades, folks, even with lipstick and makeup. Any coat of paint on an old barn helps, but it’s still an old barn!

 

Proverbs 31:30 (ESV Strong's)

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

 

If you’re beautiful, good for you, but don’t trust in beauty or appearance, because it fades.

 

3.     REPUTATION

 

Many people don’t see brokenness God’s way because they are really trusting in their reputation. It might be built on your family, your success or your accomplishments, but reputation is precarious at best, and can be destroyed in an instant.

 

Proverbs 22:1 (ESV Strong's)

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favour is better than silver or gold.

 

Having a good reputation is wonderful, but we should not rely on it. In several occasions in my life, I have had to entrust my reputation to God when others have attacked me, because trying to defend it makes you look guilty. Take the blinkers off and realise that your reputation is nothing without God.

 

4.     TALENTS AND GIFTS

 

Very often the most gifted people struggle the most with brokenness. They are determined to succeed, and see their talents as tickets to becoming someone special. The problem is not in having talents. It’s in relying on them. Talented people usually trust their talents instead of God, and God will use brokenness to realign their perspective.

 

As a singer I cannot tell you how many times I have been broken as an singer, or a pastor for that matter. I have received aggressive, accusing letters and emails, criticising and demeaning my abilities and talent. Through brokenness and humility God has taught me to not trust the talents He’s given me. Here’s the correct perspective on your gifts and talents… don’t trust them, trust God.

 

Ephesians 2:10 (ESV Strong's)

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

 

WE ARE ALL CONTROL FREAKS!

 

Without doubt, you and I are control freaks. We would rather rely on ourselves, our own abilities and our own efforts rather than God. Even as Christians, we say we trust in God, but we tend to yield “almost all” of our lives. Lord, I give you everything, oh except this small bit. I want to control that myself!

 

So then we tell God how to bless us rather than trusting Him that He knows best.  We control our lives and decisions, then blame God when it goes wrong.

 

Proverbs 19:3 (ESV Strong's)

When a man's folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord.

 

The biggest blinkers we wear are our own inbuilt need to control our lives, and the only way to remove this or any of the blinkers we have is to be broken, as painful as that might be!

 

If a child has a favourite toy, and you try and gently take it from them, hey almost instinctively snatch it closer.  Our natural tendency when God begins to target an area for breaking in our lives is to cling to that area even more.

 

Generally speaking, most of us know what it is that we must yield or submit to God. Whether we consciously acknowledge it or not, we kind of know when we are withholding an area of our lives. We reason it away, but deep down, we know we’re holding onto control!

 

I remember Fiona describing the time God asked her to give up chocolate. She fought, who wouldn’t, and eventually prayed and said, “God, it’s only chocolate, it’s not a big deal.” He replied, “If it’s not a big deal, why won’t you give it up!”

 

So today God is asking you to yield to that area to Him. Not just to speak it, but to do it. To yield every area of your life to Him, including that one.

 

James 2:17-18 (ESV Strong's)

So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

 

He’s not saying you’re saved by works, but he is saying that genuine faith is accompanied by works. Saying you yield to the Lord is one hint, living a yielded life is another.

 

What is it He is breaking within you right now, that you need to yield to Him and say, as Jesus said,

 

Matthew 26:39 (ESV Strong's)

“My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

 

BROKEN TO BE BEAUTIFUL

 

I once had a horse called Sasha, and she was wild and out of control. I realised she needed to be broken in, so my dad and I spent a lot of time gaining her trust, and eventually got the bit in her mouth and the bridle on, then this saddle. I remember standing in the saddle, and my dad said, “Go on Son, throw your leg over.” I did, she went ballistic and I was thrown off, diving for cover beneath her kicking legs.

 

But we persisted, and eventually she was broken in and we were able to ride her. Unbroken she was useless, even dangerous, but broken she was useful and even happy. I broke her stubbornness, but it never broke her will. She initially refused to yield to my will, but when she did she became a blessing to everyone around her, she was more productive and she was even happier.

 

James 1:2-4 (ESV Strong's)

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

 

Take the blinkers off today and see brokenness as the crucible within which God is lovingly refining you. Can you trust God that He will not allow brokenness in your life to hurt you, or destroy you, but to create His own masterpiece in you? He longs to take the pieces of your broken, shattered life and put them back together, creating something far more valuable in the process.

 

BRING THE PIECES TO JESUS TODAY

 

There are areas of my life where I struggle to yield control to the Lord. Finances especially. I add things up, then see how I can solve God’s problem for Him! As we look to our future as a church, I have to yield this area to God!

 

Kingsurgi is an ancient Japanese art of repairing broken bowls using a special lacquer laden with gold. This repair method celebrates each artefact’s unique history by emphasising its fractures and breaks, instead of hiding or disguising them. The result is that the repaired piece is even more beautiful and valuable than the original, revitalising it with new life.

 

This is God’s reason for allowing brokenness into your life. He does not want to destroy or harm you, but He longs to take the shattered pieces of your life and create something new, something more beautiful and more valuable. But he cannot do this until you bring the broken pieces to Him, until you give them to Him and let go!

 

Today is the day for you to truly yield everything to Him, to take the broken pieces of your life and allow God to repair it and make something more beautiful and valuable.

 

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (ESV Strong's)

He has made everything beautiful in its time. (Your time may not have come yet, but it’s coming!) Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

 

You may not know what God is doing, you cannot see the beginning from the end, so you mustn’t trust your own control over His.  It’s time to let go and let God, because He longs to make something beautiful out of your pain and your brokenness.

 

Stop trying to control that problem area you struggle with. Stop trying to do God’s job for Him, and just yield it. Give it to Him, step back and let God be God.

 

Some of you here have specific areas of control in your life that you have held onto for years. You love God, you’ve committed to serving Him, but there are areas where you choose to retain control, and where you are scared to give control to God, fearful He’ll take them away.  God needs these areas broken and yielded to His will, and then He will work the miracle. Can you trust Him, knowing His ultimate desire is to build something more beautiful and valuable in you?

 

Something beautiful, something good, all my confusion He understood, All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife, but He made something beautiful of my life.

 

Today I’m asking you to stop controlling the shattered pieces, and bring them to God. Let Him repair you with His gold. All it takes is a decision to yield, truly yield to Him.

 

Father's Day 2019

I was just at the Father of the Year announcement, for Father's Day 2019, and one of the things that struck me is that families across our great nation are in disarray, and for most people the word Father carries with it not peace, acceptance and care,  but harshness, fear and disconnectedness.

Now I had a great dad. And I hope you did too, but the fact is many of us have not had stellar fathers. Probably the biggest complaint is not that they were bad or evil, but just that they were distant, disinterested or disconnected and that they never seemed to convey unconditional love.

And these are all characterisations that our society feeds into, because dads are mostly absent, working hard for the family, and generally not as directly involved as mums. No wonder so many people feel remember their father as absent, a harsh disciplinarian or a disinterested bystander to their lives.

 

I’m sure on Father's Day 2019 many have mixed emotions, perhaps a little like Luke Skywalker, who after so many movies fighting Darth Vader, he suddenly hears Vader say, “Luke, I am your father.”

 

You don't get to choose your father, good or bad, you just get him when he begets you.  You had no influence over what he did for a living, how he treated people, the hang ups he had, the upbringing he had, the things he did to you, the influences he tried to bring into your life.

 

Yet with the inadequacies of human fatherhood, God still chooses to reveal His heart as that of a father, the perfect loving, perfectly accepting father most of us never had! And the Bible says that there is a blessing in honouring both your mum and your dad, regardless of how good, bad or ugly they may have seemed.

 

Ephesians 6:2

“Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise),

 

 

If you feel like there is a barrier between you and your father on Father's Day 2019, be he alive or dead, then this Father’s Day is the day to remove that barrier and deepen your love for him again.

 

LOVING AN IMPERFECT FATHER

 

When my girls were young, they each told me they would like to marry me. I took that as a huge compliment because in their childlike innocence it told me they trusted and loved me.  Yet I assure you I am far from perfect as a father.

 

The reality is that you may not feel overwhelming love towards your father, and your confidence in him may have taken a battering at times, so I want to share steps as to how you can fall in love with your father this Father’s Day all over again. For some of you, this might make you mad, but please hear me out, because there is a blessing in loving your father, no matter how imperfect he is. So what does loving your dad involve?

 

 

1.      LOVING YOUR DAD MEANS ACCEPTANCE

 

Your dad loves you, despite what he may have said or done in the past. But or course, he is not perfect, probably far from it. Things is, last I looked, neither are you!

 

Romans 3:23

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

 

You cannot be perfect and neither can your dad,  but because God loves and accepts us so much that He sent His Son Jesus to die in our place, we need to be accepting of others, warts and all…

Romans 15:7 (NIV-WS)

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

 

Loving your dad on Father's Day 2019 means accepting him, as good, bad or ugly as he may have been, and this brings praise to God.

 

2.      LOVING YOUR DAD MEANS FORGIVENESS

 

Loving someone means forgiving them, even if they have hurt you, even if they have rejected you. So many people I meet hold onto the pain and mistreatment they feel that have received at the hand of their father, but holding on to us forgiveness is like drinking poison hoping the other guy dies! Jesus said,

 

Matthew 6:14-15

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins

 

If you don’t forgive someone, then like it or not they have power over you, and you are hurting yourself. That’s why Jesus implores is to forgive, especially those who should be closest to us, who should have loved us, who should have known better. Loving someone means forgiving them, and this could be the greatest gift this Father's Day 2019.

 

3.      LOVING YOUR DAD DOES NOT MEAN AGREEMENT

 

Some people feel that if they forgive another person they are actually agreeing with the wrong that has been done towards them. That’s simply not true.

 

Forgiveness does not mean you agree with what’s been done to you, it means you’re released from the power of what’s been done to you.

 

Romans 6:14 (ESV Strong's)

For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

 

Listen, whatever you feel towards your dad for Father's Day 2019, don’t give any sin he has committed power over your life by not forgiving him.

 

4.      LOVING YOUR DAD MEANS GIVING UP GETTING EVEN

 

When you forgive someone, you have to give up the right to get even!

 

Romans 12:19

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

 

Listen to how the message puts it...

 

Romans 12:19

Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do. "I'll do the judging," says God. "I'll take care of it."

 

If you have been wronged by your father in the past, it’s time to act like Elsa and let it go! Do you want to feel justified in your anger at what he had done to you, or do you want to feel free? Give up the right to get even, don’t try and punish him, just forgive him. And if you’re a dad, give up the right to control your children, and just forgive them, whether you agree with them or not.

 

Loving your earthly father means forgiving him, just and Christ forgave you…

 

1 Peter 4:8 (ESV Strong's)

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

 

5.      LOVING YOUR DAD STARTS WITH A DECISION

 

You may be saying, well I don’t hate my dad, I kind of love him, but I’m not going to show him or tell him, because he never showed me.

 

You can make this Father’s Day the best one ever by simply making a decision. You can decide today to love your father, no matter what he’s said or done in the past. You can decide today to forgive him, and he may keep hurting you again and again, but you can keep making the decision to love him.

 

Matthew 18:21-22

Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.

 

I know it’s hard continuing to forgive, especially when someone has let you down over and over, but you need to decide to forgive, 7x70 times of necessary.  You can make a decision today the be the one who reaches out to your dad.

 

DADS, HOW CAN YOU LOVE YOUR KIDS ON FATHER'S DAY 2019?

 

And you fathers, how can you love your kids on this Father’s Day? Well, it all starts with a decision to show your children the same love God has shown you in accepting you, and forgiving you of your sin.

 

In our society, and possibly in your family, most people’s love is conditional. I love you because you’re so pretty, so successful, so talented. I love you if you do well in school, or if you win, if you’re well behaved. Dads, you need to recognise that this kind of love tells your children that your love for them depends on their performance. If they make you happy, you love them. If they don’t, you distance yourself and they feel rejected.

 

This is normal love in our society, but it’s not God’ love. I believe as fathers we have a higher calling when it comes to loving our kids.

 

Dads, the way to truly love your children is to love them unconditionally, what the Greeks call agape love, the highest form of love. If your love is guaranteed and without conditions, it becomes a constant in the life of your child,  life, whether they win, lose or draw in life, whether you agree with them or not.

 

My father, who passed away a few years ago, was a good example to me of such love. But the ultimate example of unconditional is God’s love for us.

 

I know if I let God down, if I hurt Him, if I’m selfish, His love for me is a constant. This gives me tremendous security in my relationship with Him, and dads, your children will experience the same level of security and peace in your love if you love them unconditionally, no matter what.

 

God’s unconditional love as a father is here for you today, no matter how inadequate your earthy father’s love was. God’s forgiving heart, His total acceptance and forgiveness is beautifully illustrated in perhaps my favourite parable.

 

A selfish son defies his father, takes his inheritance and squanders it in sinful living. When he finally blows the lot and comes to his senses, he is employed to feed pigs, and wishes he could eat their slop. He decides to return home, tail between his legs, hoping the aggrieved father would just take him on as a hired hand. Let’s pick up the story…

 

Luke 15:20-24 (ESV Strong's)

And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

 

The father, despite the son’s sinful, selfish actions, never stopped loving his son.  This father waited day after day for his son to turn back to him. He kept no record of the loss, he bore no grudge, he didn’t rehearse a suitable punishment, he waited, and was ready to rush out and accept his wayward child home. This is the heart of the father, because your Heavenly Father is perfect and He is ready to forgive you and accept you home this very day.

 

However strained your relationship with your earthly father, recognise that there is a perfect father in heaven with arms outstretched to you right now.

 

YOUR DADDY WANTS YOU HOME THIS FATHER'S DAY 2019!

 

There's a Spanish story of a father and son who had become estranged. The son ran away, and the father set off to find him. He searched for months to no avail. Finally, in a last desperate effort to find him, the father put an ad in a Madrid newspaper. The ad read: Dear Paco, meet me in front of this newspaper office at noon on Saturday. All is forgiven. I love you. Your Father.

 

On Saturday 800 Pacos showed up, looking for forgiveness and love from their fathers.

 

And some of you are there right now. You have been hurt by your father, let down or feel pushed away. You might feel he’s been unavailable to you. You might feel him too harsh. You might feel like no matter what you do, you could never gain his approval. You’re looking like all those Pacos for love and forgiveness.

 

But your earthly father, whether good or not so good, can never be perfect like your Heavenly Father. Right now this Heavenly Father is searching the horizon, waiting, looking, longing for you to turn to Him. His arms are outstretched to you. He’s saying, “Your Daddy wants you home.”

 

You dads, maybe the Lord is telling you to reach out to that child you don’t feel connected to this Father's Day 2019 and show them unconditional love. For some of you, maybe it’s time you reached out to your dad, forgave him and showed him unconditional love.  The Bible says this…

 

1 John 4:11 (NIV-WS)

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

 

You see, the true source of love is God, because

 

1 John 4:8 (ESV Strong's)

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

 

You probably feel it unlikely you could change your father’s opinions, or his ways, or if he’s dead, his legacy, but today don’t focus on what cannot change, here’s something you can change… I want you to focus on your Heavenly Father.

 

Romans 8:15 (ESV Strong's)

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

 

Today. Cry out abba Father with me! This Father’s Day, I want to ask you to give the best gift ever to your Father… give your Father in Heaven your whole life.

 

 

3 Preachers- The Leading of God

The Leading of God is the topic for this exciting first for Ignite Church.

It features Dean Macpherson, Joshua Gibbs and Melva Majewski

The Leading of God

For the first time, we have a panel of preachers and this exciting concept features Dean Macpherson, Joshua Gibbs and Melva Majewski.

So check out this wonderful morning, where we hear from three of our up and coming preachers, and get three different perspectives on the same message.  Sit back and listen to the incredible wisdom and insight from three wonderful and compelling preachers...

Brokenness 2- What God Wants

What God Wants is important when it comes to your life… tell me what you want, what you really, really want?

When difficulties come into our lives, most people ask the question, “Where are you, God?” In asking this question, we make an assumption that God either must not have known what was about to befall us or else he would have prevented it. Or we assume that God must not love us, because if he loved us, he would keep us from all hurtful times and hard experiences.

Both assumptions are wrong. So why knows What God Wants?

 

The fact is, God knows. And God loves. So what’s going on then, and what is the Lord after?

 

JOB… WHAT GOD WANTS

 

To look closer at this, consider Job. Job was a good and godly man, yet he was on the end of a bad deal.  When pain, turmoil or disaster comes our way, many ask the question, “Who caused this, God or Satan?”  What we see in the book of Job is that Satan causes the pain, but God, in His infinite wisdom, at times allows bad things to happen to good people.

 

Job 1:8 (ESV Strong's)

And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?”

 

God rejoiced in Job’s faithfulness, but then Satan stepped forward and accused Job, saying he is only righteous because he gets what he wants. So we need to know What God Wants.

 

So God gave Satan permission to touch Job’s possessions, but not his body. Satan attacked, and Job’s sons and daughters, flocks, herds and servants were killed. Did God kill them? No, but He gave liberty for Satan to do it.

 

Job 1:21 (ESV Strong's)

And he said, “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

 

Despite the pain and loss, Job refused to blame God. So Satan was given permission to attack Job’s body. How many of you know that brokenness often leads to sickness. Also, those he loved turned on him. His friends tormented and accused him instead of encouraging him, and his wife said,

 

Job 2:9 (ESV Strong's)

Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.”

 

God knew that Job was broken. While we may not understand why God allowed it, or What God Wants, we do know that God never abandoned Job, not even for a moment. God knew of Job’s afflictions, but He also knew how these would serve to refine and deepen Job’s trust in the Lord.

 

The thing is, no matter how broken we might feel, God sees the beginning and the end of our lives. He has a good future designed for us. He has a hope that can drive us on in the toughest of times. We may not know what our future holds, but we know who holds our future, and we can trust Him.

 

In all this, Job learned not to question God, but to yield to His sovereign will. Job never accused God, and he never dictated terms, he submitted to God, and as he yielded to God, God saw fit to restore his fortunes, twice as much as he had before.

 

WHAT GOD WANTS IS MOTIVATED BY LOVE

 

We need to recognise that God does not allow brokenness in our lives because he is ruthless, cruel, heartless, or without compassion. No! To the contrary. God sees the beginning and the end, He sees the full potential for our lives, and what God wants is that He deeply desires an intimate, loving spiritual relationship with us. Paul writes,

 

Romans 8:38-39 (ESV Strong's)

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

God loves you so much, He cannot bear to see you continue in your sin, to see you remain in a lukewarm spiritual state, and He will not stand idly by and watch as His plans and hopes and dreams for you go unfulfilled. God is not about meeting your demands, He’s about meeting your destiny!

 

What God Wants is to bring about His best for us, and for us to experience Him in the fullness of His love, wisdom, power, strength, and goodness. He allows brokenness in our lives in order to bring about this blessing… a closer, deeper, more mature walk with Him.

 

DISCIPLINE OR PUNISHMENT?

 

Brokenness is often confused with punishment, but the Lord’ discipline is not the same as the Lord’s punishment.

 

Punishment is for unbelievers. It is an expression of God’s wrath, and is what someone who rejects Jesus faces. Eternally there will be punishment in hell, and many experience some of that even here on earth. Punishment is not designed to rehabilitate, it’s designed to be the just and fair consequences of our sinful actions.

 

Ephesians 5:6 (ESV Strong's)

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

 

Discipline, on the other hand, is for believers, it’s for you and I, and God’s purpose is to lead a believer to confront, remove, or change any habits, attitudes, or beliefs that keep the believer from growing more like Jesus. Discipline is a training tool that God uses to make us whole and spiritually mature. It is God’s method for preparing us for a supernatural, Holy Spirit inspired ministry of service.

 

Hebrews 12:11 (ESV Strong's)

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

 

Punishment flows from God’s wrath, but discipline flows from God’s love for you.

 

GOD’S PURPOSE FOR BROKENNESS... WHAT GOD WANTS

 

God loves you, and has a plan and a purpose of your life. Yes. He will allow brokenness in your life, but His motivation is love.

 

Hebrews 12:5-6 (ESV Strong's)

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

 

God’s purpose is not to break our spirit, but to break the stubbornness of our wills. Have you ever met a child who has never been disciplined? Undisciplined children grow into egotistical, self centred, self serving, narcissistic adults. Loving parents discipline their children. Why? Because they love them and want them to grow up into kind, beautiful people who bless others. Some people cause happiness wherever they go, while others cause happiness whenever they go.

 

And so God, our perfect Father, allows pain and difficulties and even brokenness into our lives not because He delights in our pain, but because He is shaping us into the destiny He has planned for us. These painful circumstances and situations are tools that God uses to bring us to a position where we are willing to surrender and yield our lives completely to him.

 

VICTIMS OR VICTORS?

 

So can Christians see themselves as victims? The whole modern world see themselves as victims. Nothing is ever their fault. Even criminals blame their past, their upbringing, peers, substances or anything else except their own poor choices! All of these may be true, but in the end, each one chooses.

 

Deuteronomy 30:19 (ESV Strong's)

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,

 

If you are going through brokenness today, you can choose how you see yourself.  When you see ourselves as a victim, you live in the past and wallow in your pain. But if you choose to see yourself as dearly loved by a God who is preparing you for a special future and service, which He alone knows, then you will find strength to endure the past pain and move forward.

 

Victims blame circumstances, but victors rise above circumstances. The choice is yours, but you know what God wants.

 

Romans 8:28 (ESV Strong's)

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

 

All things, even the bad, even the painful, even the things that leave you broken, God can bring about good in your life through these things, and all it takes is for you to choose to trust Him.

 

I was once ripped off for a large sum of money by someone I trusted. I remember the night this all happened, how I sat in a room thinking I was going to lose my home, and I was completely broken. I remember feeling numb, like I had no emotion, almost like I had no soul.

 

But then I realised that I had a choice. I could choose to be the victim, and I was being victimised by someone I loved, or I could choose to be the victor.

 

This brokenness could have affected me for the rest of my life. I could have got mad at God, I could have got mad at myself. But I chose at that moment to trust the Lord. To step up and be the person He wants me to be. To be a victor!

 

Today, if any experience in your past is defining you—other than your salvation experience—then you have serious work to do. If you are still finding your past is controlling you, then you very likely are allowing yourself to be victimised, rather than allowing yourself to be redeemed and healed by the love of God. As long as we see ourselves as victims, we cannot embrace the wholeness God has for us, but today we can choose to become victors!

 

HINDSIGHT IS 20/20 VISION

 

They say hindsight is 20/20 vision. In other words, looking back I can see what God was doing. At the time, however, and at the moment of brokenness, you cannot see from God’s perspective, because the pain blinds you to what He was doing.

 

In the heat of the moment, it’s so hard to see what the Lord is doing. If He is a God of love, why does He allow me to hurt so much? When it’s over, however, we can begin to see the truth, the perspective that God has had all along. If you’re broken right now, if you’re hurting, if you’re in pain and there seems to be no hope for you, then God is not standing afar, He is right there, and He’s hurting too!

 

Psalms 34:18 (ESV Strong's)

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

 

The word “crushed” in the Hebrew means destroyed, or ground into powder. And some of you here feel exactly like that… crushed into powder, not just beaten down or hurt, but utterly pulverised into fine powder. But the Bible says,

 

Psalm 147:3 (ESV)

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

 

Isaiah 57:15 (ESV)

For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.

 

Do you need reviving this morning? That's what God wants.

 

When I look back in my life, I can see clearly how God has changed me. At times I’ve  been broken, shattered, beaten, smashed, pruned, and chiseled, and frankly I didn’t like the feeling of brokenness any more than you do. But I can tell you this—I thank God for what he’s done. Every chisel blow, every hammer blow, every cut of the knife, every slice into my innermost being, every tear, every pain, every hurt, every loss, every disappointment, every disillusionment, every moment of despair has been worth it, because I trust my Lord, and I know God has refined me, and out of the crushed and broken spirit He is building something great for His Kingdom!

 

SILVER REFINED

 

We call our church Ignite, because we recognise our need of the purifying flame that God uses to refine our lives.

 

Proverbs 17:3 (ESV Strong's)

The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.

 

Isaiah 48:10 (ESV Strong's)

Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.

 

The process of refining silver is an ancient art. The brokenness you feel is the result of affliction, but it’s this very flame of affliction that God uses to purify or refine your life.

 

The refiner’s fire is not a wildfire, or an incinerator, it is a specific flame at a specific temperature and it burns for a specific purpose. The silver must be held in the middle of the fire, because that’s where it is hottest. It is heated and liquifies, and then impurities, what is called dross, floats to the surface, and are scraped away.

 

This process is repeated again and again, up to 7 times, and each time the silver is heated hotter and hotter, and each time dross is removed.

 

The silversmith watches closely, because he knows that if the silver is left in the flame for even a moment too long it can be destroyed. The flame is carefully set, carefully controlled, and the master silversmith carefully watches and waits.

 

And if you ask the silversmith how he knows when the silver is fully refined, when it is truly pure enough he would smile and tell you…

 

“It is fully refined when I can see my image reflected in the silver.”

 

Psalms 17:15 (ESV Strong's)

As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.

 

This brokenness, this trial, this test you are experiencing is to purify you so that Jesus is reflected in your life.  If the furnace seems hot right now, remember that God is not punishing you, but allowing affliction so as to lovingly refine and purify you. The purpose of all this, the reason He is working all things for good, is so that He can see His image reflected in you.

 

Ephesians 4:22-24 (ESV Strong's)

to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

 

If you’re going through a furnace right now! In your marriage, in your finances, in your relationships, in your walk with God, then let us share the journey with you.

Brokenness... This could be the most broken, anxious and dejected generation in history. Around 20% of all Australian’s aged 16-85, 1 in 5, suffer from anxiety and/or depression, that equates to around 3.5 million of us clinically depressed.

We have more things, more ways to communicate and more opportunities than any generation in history, yet more of us are more anxious, depressed and utterly broken by life than ever before.

 

When something is broken, we generally don’t equate that with blessing. Oh, I lent you my car and you broke it… wow, I feel so blessed! The love of my life just broke my heart,… awesome, I feel so blessed! Yeah right.

Brokenness, in our life or in anything, is usually associated with pain and loss. So to start a series equating brokenness of spirit with blessings seems paradoxical, but it can become reality for you.

 

We all experience brokenness in our lives at some time. The overwhelming feeling that your entire world is shattered. You don’t want to raise your head off the pillow, you feel like the tears will never stop flowing. Sometimes there’s a void in your heart that seemingly cannot be filled, a sorrow that cannot be comforted, a wound for which there seems no healing.

 

And you’re not alone in feeling like this. I just spoke at a Junior High camp, and one of the leaders who is a Youth Pastor told me that more than half of his youth group is being medicated for anxiety and depression.

 

If you get knocked down enough, you can feel broken and crushed in spirit.

 

BROKENNESS IS NOT ALWAYS BAD

 

Hosea 10:12 (ESV Strong's)

Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.

 

Fallow ground is long term, it’s hard and crusty and like cement. Over the years, many of us become tough and  hard, set in our ways and unwilling or unable to change, even to grow, and unresponsive to God.

 

Though it may not feel great at the time, Brokenness exposes the real you underneath. It’s painful, it’s hard work, but we must keep our eyes not on the depressive pain of the moment but on ultimately what God has in store for us.

 

Jim Wilson writes,

Brokenness isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A farmer doesn’t plant his crop in cement; rather, he chooses good soil, breaks it up, and then sows the seed. Unbroken soil does not produce abundant crops, but broken, cultivated soil incubates life. A butterfly could never flutter in the spring air without breaking its cocoon and neither could an eaglet emerge without breaking its shell.

 

Jesus could not feed the four thousand until he broke the bread (Mark 8:1-8). The sinful woman could not pour the costly perfume over Jesus until she broke the alabaster box (Luke 7:37).  We could never know salvation without Jesus’ broken body (1 Corinthians 11:24).

 

In many ways, we are not useful until we are broken.

 

 

LIFE INVOLVES BROKENNESS

 

Life often involves brokenness. Often there’s a combination of many causes which add together to form debilitating and overwhelming condition we recognise as brokenness.

 

Someone might hurt you, let you down, attack you or speak ill of you. A situation might break your heart, or a loss, or a fear. Then you lose sleep thinking about it, so you find yourself tired and flat and run down. Next up, your immunity is compromised, so add sickness on top of everything else, and so your misery compounds.

 

Listen, if you’ve experienced this you are not unique. Everyone does at some time, and often there is no immediate cure. I cannot wave a magic wand this morning and make it all better, but we can covenant to walk the road with you. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s not an oncoming train!

 

Psalms 34:18 (ESV Strong's)

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

 

I can’t make your brokenness heal quicker. I can’t solve your life’s problems. But I can offer you a firm hope, and that is this… in my experience, if you turn to the Lord in your brokenness, He is close, closer than ever before, and He is ready to save your crushed spirit.

 

So don’t focus on the path of brokenness you are currently walking, focus instead on the fact that it will not last forever, and when you come out the other side, the blessing will be greater than ever before.

 

WHAT PRICE BLESSING?

 

Most of us want blessing in our lives, we want to be mature, successful, godly and have blessed family, finances and life.

 

I once saw a Ferrari, and I thought that’s a beautiful car. I thought to myself, I can’t afford to have a car like that. But then I stopped and reflected… if I sold my business, my house, my computers and maybe a child, I could probably afford that car. Thing is… I don’t want it that bad.

 

So how bad do you want to be blessed? The Psalmist wrote

 

Psalms 71:20 (ESV Strong's)

You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again.

 

So how bad do you want to be blessed of God and used to bless others? In an age where most Christians seem to think that God is their personal slave, to get them the prosperity or healing they want, any talk about brokenness seems to fly in the face of popular preaching.

 

But God is more interested in changing what we desire, far more than he is in giving us what we demand. God is constantly refining us, fashioning us, and making us into the people He has destined us to be. But like a sculpture, the process involves chipping bits of stone off us, and that’s painful. Yet as we are broken, but by bit, an new, better, beautiful you emerges.

 

GROWTH IS A PROCESS

 

Growth is a process. It includes setbacks, failures, pain, hard lessons, and yes, brokenness. It involve both spiritual growth, and the renewal of our minds and emotions.

 

Old habits die hard. Old desires cling to us despite our best efforts. Old sins, old struggles, old relationships, all of these take time, and pain, to overcome. But while the process might be painful and difficult, the result is none the less good.

 

So, instead of running from brokenness and avoiding it at all costs, I’d encourage you to take your pain to the Lord. Today you can look beyond your brokenness to the blessing that will come if you fully yield your like to the Lord.

 

James 1:2-4 (ESV Strong's)

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

 

BROKENNESS TO CREATE A PERFECT VESSEL

 

Jeremiah 18:3-6 (ESV Strong's)

I went down to the potter's house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.

Then the word of the Lord came to me: “can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand

 

Have you ever watched a potter at work. If he creates something that is flawed, perhaps a design fault or a bubble in it, then he doesn’t try and accommodate the flaw… he just breaks it up again, smashes it down into the wheel, and starts afresh.

 

The potter’s purpose is not to destroy his work, but rather, to make a more beautiful, more perfect work—to shape and fashion something more wonderful and more functional.

 

And that’s also how our heavenly potter shapes our lives. Sometimes He can repair a small imperfection, but often times He sees fit to break that piece of clay back to its original form and start again building something far better. I know it hurts, but let the pain drive you to God, not away from Him.

 

If you’re feeling broken, feeling flat, feeling let down or tired or sick or just miserable, then you need to step back and let the potter have a His way. You can try and shape your life, sure, but it won’t be as good as what the master can do.

 

ALLOW THE POTTER TO RESHAPE YOUR LIFE

 

The purpose of this first message in the series is simply to ask you to yield to the hands of the Master Potter.

 

Most of us are pretty self sufficient. We know what we want in life, and we shape our own pot and follow our own destiny. And sometimes brokenness is a wake up call to say, hey, stop trying to shape yourself and let the Master have a go.

 

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

 

When you come to Jesus, it’s a new start, but it’s not the end, it’s only the beginning of your new life.  The growth, the moulding, the shaping, the maturing takes time, takes effort, takes discipline and it takes pain to become what God wants.

 

This is why Paul could write,

 

Romans 8:28 (ESV Strong's)

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

 

All things, even the pain, even the brokenness, even at your lowest point, He is there.

 

Psalms 23:4 (ESV Strong's)

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

 

Overcoming brokenness and being shaped into the person God wants is not a passive task on your part. You’re still involved, but the difference is you need to yield to the Lord, and not be in control.

 

Yielding means that instead of getting angry at God, getting bitter, or jumping to solve everything yourself, you trust in God and rejoice in the fact that, despite the pains He is shaping your life into something beautiful.

 

Amy Carmichael tells the story of being in an Indian potter’s workshop. He asked her to to try and make a pot. She tried, but was a dismal failure. He asked her to try again, and she refused, but he insisted. This time though, the potter asked her to relax her hands completely, and he sat behind her, and he placed his hands over hers. Then as the wheel turned, the potters hands guided hers, and a beautiful pot was formed. He congratulated her on making a perfect pot, but she said she hadn’t done it, he had. Oh no, he replied, there’s no clay on my hands, you are the one who made it, not I.

 

IT’S TIME TO LET GO

 

Remember that old song… something beautiful, something good, all my confusion He understood. All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife, but He made something beautiful of my life.

 

That’s the challenge if you are broken today, even if you have been for a long time. Maybe your heart has been broken, maybe your health, your finances, your family or your life. If you feel crushed, if you’ve suffered loss, if you’ve tried and tried and done your best, but you still feel broken inside, and your tired of the struggle.

 

Today it’s time to let go, to let your hands go limp and allow God, the Master Potter to guide you and create the beautiful destiny He has in mind for you.  You can trust Him, you can let go and allow Him to mould and shape you into your destiny.

 

I know some of you are tired. You’re flat, you’re broken, you’re down. Sometimes you just want to cry, or run away, or just stay in bed. But don’t stay broken a moment longer than you need to. Don’t blame God, because He doesn’t bring pain to your life and He’s hurting too. But yield to Him, and let Him make lemonade out of the lemons life has handed you.

 

It all starts with a decision. A decision to let go and let God take control of your hands on the potter’s wheel.

 

Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV Strong's)

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

 

If you’re weary, burdened, bruised or broken, if you’re tired of the fight, tired of the seemingly endless brokenness, then this morning God is calling you. In brokenness there is hope, the incredible hope of blessings. It all starts with a decision…

 

It’s time to yield to Him.