Those of us with pets, know that when we bring our new pet home, it needs to be house broken, or taught how to live in the home, to do it’s “business” outside, and not wreck the place.
Got a horse? It needs to be broken before it can be ridden.
There’s a story in the Bible about Christ riding into Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey. Let’s refer to Luke 19:29-31:
When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’”
There’s a reason Jesus wanted a colt. A full grown donkey, a traditional animal for royalty to ride in those days, was already broken – but a colt – or a foal, now that was something completely different. If someone tried to ride it, it would kick and buck, the rider would be thrown from the animal.
But Jesus wanted the colt, and when He mounted that colt, it was completely calm, and supernaturally broken. Jesus was able to make His triumphant entry into Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey.
Jesus can break anything and anybody.
How many times have you heard testimonies from people who were delivered from drugs, alcohol or poverty, or maybe a life of crime?
These people had to come to a place of brokenness. There was only one place to look, and that was up – up to Christ.
I was at a pastor’s retreat at the end of last week an into the weekend which had the theme of “Broken and Brokenness” – where there were many takeaways.
This past year has left many pastors and churches broken, with the China plague (my name for it). Churches had to resort to other means of reaching people such as online virtual services, and the use of virtual meetings using Zoom.
In fact, that’s how the Hebrews 10 Church was born. Permit me a little history here.
A group of believers got together on an online space called Parler, needing to fellowship with other believers during the pandemic. We started the hashtag #Heb10 in order to find others postings as there were no “groups” like are found in Facebook, and many of us were censored on Facebook.
When Parler was shut down, God opened up the opportunity to meet on Telegram, where we still share. It’s open to the public – you can join us there at https://t.me/Heb10Church
We now meet on Telegram to share postings, but we now have quite an active prayer team, and we have biweekly meetings via Zoom, to share on a chapter of the Bible we’ve studied the prior two weeks, as well as make intercession for those on our prayer list.
Call it a prayer meeting.
Many would not call this a “church” in the traditional sense. True, there aren’t four walls and a building – but there’s a pastor, a shepherd keeping the sheep together. There’s hierarchy as shown in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, and two or more of gather…Matthew 18:19-20:
Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
So yes, the pandemic may have broken churches, and many have been able to recover, but this brokenness has also given rise to other forms of evangelism and opened new “churches.”
We’ve touched almost every nation in the world and have consistent activity in at least 57 different nations. I guess that makes us a different kind of church.
No, we don’t have four walls, nor do we have a praise and worship team (we share online videos), but there’s a pastor and soon, an ordained elder to support the pastor, and an active prayer team. Do we need more?
The church, in the traditional sense, is failing. I’m not referring to specific churches, I’m referring to the church in general.
The church, in general, is doing a lousy job of evangelism. Jesus came to spread the gospel – the good news. He who believes in Him – His life, death for our sins, and resurrection as His victory over sin, will be saved.
Is the church preaching that? No, they’re preaching that this is “your best life now,” or that you’re going to be prosperous, if you just have faith (and plant that financial seed) – never, that being a Christian is hard, and that there will be challenges.
Heck people, James preached that! He starts out his book with it, starting in the second verse of the first chapter.
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.
Note that it doesn’t say if you meet trials, it says when. This means it’s going to happen, you’re going to meet trials and troubles.
You may face trials that are easy to deal with, or those that will take you to a point where you have to look up.
I have a confession to make – I’m at that latter point.
As most of you know, I suffer from Parkinson’s Disease, a neurological condition that affects motor function, from which there is no known cure.
I had a visit with my neurologist yesterday, which didn’t go very well. Suffice it to say, my wife had to get in “pastor’s wife” mode, get in my face and get me out of that funk. She’s a good woman who the Holy Spirit uses to keep me uplifted.
Our prayer team is good at this too, but they haven’t heard about this yet. (They have now).
Satan tries to take us to this level of brokenness, and God often allows it, to test our faith.
Heck people, just read the book of Job. He’s my hero, for crying out loud. I’m just glad I don’t have a wife telling me to “curse God and die.”
Just the opposite – it’s “I’m not giving up,on you, you’re not giving up on yourself, and God’s sure as heck not giving up on you. He’s got a lot of use for you!”
It seems that as you’re being successful for the Lord, Satan attacks with even more brute force. Having a good spouse, a good mentor, or as pastor, good elders and prayer team behind you, is a necessity.
As James said, when trials come… being born again isn’t a cakewalk. There will be trials, and you will be taken to a point of brokenness at various times. How you handle the trials, and especially the brokenness, is of utmost importance.
You must rely on, and have faith in, the Lord Jesus Christ to get you through it. That’s the whole theme of the first chapter of James.
God uses brokenness in many ways – to get His way. Remember, God is sovereign over all. When we wants His way to occur, it will happen, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.
He uses brokenness to reach an unsaved person.
He uses brokenness to reach a saved person who has backslidden, that one sheep out of that 100, that Christ looks for, to bring them back.
“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
Check out the prodigal son, Luke 15:11-32
And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.
“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 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.
“Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”
God uses brokenness to test our faith. Jesus said of his return, in Luke 18 … Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?
Where is your faith? When Jesus returns, will He find that you had the faith He was looking for?
When you said Yes to Jesus, you became a full time soldier in His army. Like any army, it’s not easy sailing, and like any soldier in basic training, you will be broken. Like any soldier, during your enlistment, you will have periods of brokenness.
The disciples had their periods of brokenness over a three year period, as well as their apostolic period after Jesus was crucified.
How will you handle your periods of brokenness?
How you handle them, and who you ultimately turn to, will say volumes about your faith.