Mephibosheth: Broken People

Scripture: 1 Samuel 20:14, 2 Samuel 9:1-13
Date: 07/01/2006 
This sermon speaks of broken people with a focus on the Bible character Mephibosheth. We are all like Mephibosheth, broken before God because of sin. We are crippled and need help to walk in the ways of God.
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

This morning I'd like to talk to you about a simple subject that I think is biblical and worthy of our attention and it would be this, broken people. I remember a few years ago, we needed to take a picture for a magazine cover, and we were trying to find some way to depict this theme of the different parts of the body of Christ. And someone suggested, “Let's get the Mr. Potato [copyright symbol] and take him apart.” We didn't want to be gruesome, but we wanted to talk about how the body needs to be together. And you know, I even felt sorry for Mr. potato when I saw that he wasn't together. Sometimes we're not together. And God wants to fix broken people.

There's a story in the Bible that I would like to use as a springboard for this theme. If you turn in your Bibles to the book of I Samuel 20:14. Let me give you the background. King David is being hunted by Saul. He's already been anointed by Samuel to be the next king and Saul got wind of that. And King Saul is very threatened that this young Benjamite is going to take his place. I'm sorry he's not a Benjamite. He's from the tribe of Judah, Bethlemite, I meant. Jonathan, the son of King Saul, he's in line to be the crown prince, but he knows that God has chosen David and he's okay with that. Jonathan had the right spirit and the right attitude. And the Bible tells us that Jonathan and Saul [David] just had that bond; they loved each other. Jonathan knew someday David would be king. And it was typical that when someone came into power and they were king, it was almost understood and expected that they would exterminate all of the relatives and the descendants of the former king so there was no threat to their throne. So Jonathan asked for a covenant, a covenant to save. And here you read in I Samuel 20:14, “And He said, Thou shalt not only while I yet live show me kindness of the Lord that I die not, but also that you will not cut off your kindness from my house for ever.” Jonathan is saying to David, “I know that you’re going to be king. Do not cut off your kindness from my house,” meaning my descendants. “No, not when the Lord has cut off all the enemies of David from everyone from the face of the earth. So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David.”

Now the name Jonathan, it’s easy for me to know because I named our last son Nathan. The word Nathan means gift. Jonathan means gift of Jehovah. He’s a type of Jesus in the Bible. You know how Jonathan died? He was pinned from heaven to earth on the walls of Bethshin [?]. He was the son of the king who died suspended between heaven and earth. He was a good king. No record in the Bible of Jonathan doing anything wrong. Fought the battles of the Lord. And here he’s saying, he’s making a covenant to save.

Now we’ve got to fast-forward. After a lot of things happen in the Bible, David is now on his throne. And in the interval of one of the battles when Jonathan was slain, when his father Saul was slain, and Jonathan’s brothers, something happened to Jonathan’s son. Jonathan had a son by the name of Mephibosheth, and he was crippled by a fall. Now notice that. I’ve underlined that and I want you to think about it. II Samuel 4:4, “Jonathan, Saul’s son, had a son who was lame in his feet. He was five years old when news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel.” Now that news was the Philistines had conquered, they’d defeated the Israelites in battle. And when all the people of Israel heard that they got up and they ran from the region, the towns where they lived. And this young boy, Mephibosheth, was crippled in his feet, five years old. Just the time when you’re really enjoying being able to run around, you’re not tottering anymore. And he loved running around and climbing on everything. But as his nurse picked him up to run she stumbled, dropped him and evidently in the fall it broke his feet. And because the kingdom had just been overthrown by the Philistines there wasn’t time maybe for the right medical attention and his bones set, without being tended to, in a crooked, deformed condition. So Mephibosheth grew up that way. He moved to a part of Israel called Lowdebar [?]. The word Lowdebar means to him a word. And he grew up somewhat maimed. He kind of stays off the radar screen until this time in the story.

Now you read in II Samuel 9, jump to chapter 9. David now is established as the king. He is the uncontested king of not only Judah, but of Israel. And he’s beginning to think about, “Have I done what I have done to thank and honor those who have gotten me to where I’m at?” And he’s thinking about his friend Jonathan. Jonathan’s dead, but David misses him so much and he looks for the day when they’ll be together in the kingdom. And he remembers, “I made a covenant with Jonathan. I promised to take care of his family after [he] is gone. I don’t even know if he has any family. I don’t know what became of them.” In the coming and going between the war and the fight between the people of Saul and the house of David, he wasn’t even sure what the status was. And so here you find David asking in II Samuel 9:1, “Is there still anyone who is left from the house of Saul that I might show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” He wants to show kindness to someone who really deserves death for Jonathan’s sake. Now you and I get kindness we don’t deserve for Jesus’ sake. “And word is told him, saying, yes, he does have a son by the name of Mephibosheth, but he’s lame in both his feet. And David says, send for him.” And you get to 9:6, “Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul,” in other words, he’s the grandson of Saul, the son of Jonathan, “he came to David. He fell on his face and prostrated himself.” And you can even just see the picture.

David’s in his reception hall, he’s on his throne, his attendants are by him. He says, “Send for Mephibosheth.” The scribe is there taking notes of this encounter. Mephibosheth makes his way up the hall and you could hear the drag, clop, drag, clop as he puts his crutches down. And they open the doors and there he is leaning on his crutches and he drags his gnarled feet in. And he comes before the king and he’s thinking, “You know, I’m expecting death because here I am the son, I am the next one in line to be king if Saul was still king. And David is probably thinking that I’d better get rid of him.” And he falls before David hoping that his life will be spared. “And he fell on his and he prostrated himself, saying, I’ll worship you as king. And David said, Mephibosheth. He answered, here is your servant. And David said, do not fear.” He knew what he was afraid of. “For I will surely show you kindness, not that you deserve it, but for Jonathan, your father’s, sake. And I will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather.” “You’re going to restore to me the land of a king?” “And you shall eat bread at my table continually.” And then it goes on to say in 9:13, “So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem, for he ate continually at the king’s table. And he was lame in both his feet.” Not one foot, both feet.

This is such a beautiful picture of salvation. Are you getting it here? Here you’ve got this young crippled prince. He’s still not very old because David’s only been on the throne; he’s in his late teens, early twenties. He’s expecting to be executed because he’s the crown prince. He comes before the king trembling for his life and David says, “You don’t have anything to fear. Though you may have been a threat in other cases and been deserving of death because you were from the former regime.” Remember Saul sought David’s life for years. They were enemies. He says, “I’m not only going to forgive you, I’m not only going to let you live, I’m going to give you back everything that Saul had. I’m going to reward you, I’m going to give you an inheritance and you’re going to eat with me at my table like one of my sons.” What a beautiful picture of acceptance and forgiveness and salvation.

But the point that we often miss is he was invited in though he was broken. And like Mephibosheth, we’re all broken. We’re all defective. There’s something wrong with us. Sin has broken us. And by the way, we’ve all broken God’s law. And every time you break God’s law you break yourself. And the more you break it over the years you just crumble inside. We’ve all sinned, we’ve all fallen short, we’re all broken, we’re all lame in our feet. In the Bible the feet represent your walk. And when a person’s walk is crippled it denotes there’s something wrong with their walk. I’ll walk, we shuffle, we’ve got crutches, we’re crippled.

I remember years ago after becoming a Christian I talked to my Dad, tried to share my faith with my mother and father. Not at the same time because they were living in different parts of the planet. Let me just tell you, when you are a new convert to Christianity, be patient before you share with your parents. Make sure you’re rooted. Take a class in Christian diplomacy. I came on really strong and I don’t know if they ever really recovered from that. But I remember sharing my faith with my father one time and so enthusiastic that he should accept Christianity. And my Dad sort of devastated me and he said, “Christianity is a crutch for weak people.” Now I had enough sense not to say, “Well so is alcohol.” His problem was alcohol and he was an alcoholic. But I didn’t say that. But I thought afterward, “Well, it is a crutch and we’re all crippled.” Everyone’s crippled and everyone needs the crutch. The cross is a crutch because we’re all broken and we can’t walk without it.

So here Mephibosheth comes in, “and he restores to him all that was his father’s.” You and I get this great inheritance of a king. Not only forgives us when we deserve death, but he gives us the inheritance of a king. And then he says, “You’re going to eat at my table.” Luke 22:30, Jesus said, “that you might eat and drink at my table in my kingdom.” Isn’t’ that the promise of Christ? And so we are like Mephibosheth. We’re all broken. We’re all crippled in our feet. We all need a crutch. Jesus is the crutch, the cross is that crutch. And the good news is that God accepts broken people. We like Mephibosheth are all broken, but we can come to Him just like we are and He accepts us. Mephibosheth came like he was and what David said to Mephibosheth is the same thing that Jesus said so many times. He said, “Don’t be afraid. Do not fear.” So often when we surrender ourselves to Jesus we’re so afraid and He says, “Don’t be afraid. I mean good to you.”

Now our world is broken. The Bible tells us at the very beginning that man fell, the human race is fallen. Thorns and thistles came out; animals began to eat each other. Disease broke out. The whole creation was perverted. Paul says in Romans 3:10, “As it is written, there is none righteous, no not one. There is none who understands. There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside. They have altogether become unprofitable. There is none who does good, no not one. The whole creation groans and travails together.” Our world is broken. And the humanistic idea is that if we just had better politicians they could fix it, right? No one here believes that? The problem is the government. And if we would just elect the right people they could fix our broken world. No. I’ve got proof of that. “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. And all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again.” All the politicians, they can’t fix it. Our world is broke. The reason our world is broke is because you’re broke and I’m broke. And you and I help contribute to the whole world being broke. The whole creation’s broke. It’s not just you. Even the animals, the planet. Do you know that we live on what they call continental tectonic plates that are broken pieces of earth floating around and that’s why we’ve got earthquakes? The whole world’s broke, it’s fractured. The good news is God accepts broken people. You can come to Him just like you are.

I heard about a sign out in front of an optometrist’s office and it said, “If you don’t see what you’re looking for you’ve come to the right place.” Another sign outside a muffler shop said, “No appointment necessary, we’ll hear you coming.” Sign on the side of a garbage truck said, “We’ve got what it takes to take what you’ve got.” A church sign, “Don’t give up, Moses was once a basket case.” And I think if God had a sign out in front of His office it might say, “I can’t fix it until it’s broke. But if it is broke I can fix anything.” All things are possible with God. Now we’re all broken, but some of us don’t know it. And we’ve got to come to the place where we are aware of, we recognize our brokenness. You notice in our scripture reading it tells us that, “a broken and a contrite spirit God will not despise.” When we humble ourselves and we realize our brokenness it’s at that point that God can begin to fix us. But we’ve got to realize we’re broken people. So often we put on a façade of perfection, we boast our goodness like the Pharisees. And who is it that goes down to his house justified? It’s the publican who smites on his breast and he bows his head and he says, “Lord, have mercy on me a sinner.” He recognized he was broken and Jesus said he went home forgiven.

We’ve got to come to the place where we realize that we’re broken. Jesus said, Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The ones who realize that we’re bankrupt. Then we can make a withdrawal on God’s bank. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden.” Can I put my spin on that? Blessed are the broken, theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Come unto me all you who are broken and you’ll find rest for your souls. Now we all know where and how we’re broken. We’re all broke in different ways. Some of us have broken hearts, not only because maybe of romantic disappointment, but it comes different ways. I heard about a man who had a real broken heart. You’ve probably sung many of his hymns, a Christian songwriter, George Matherson. When he was a young man he was engaged to be married, a beautiful girl, very much in love with her. He was having some eye problems. Went to the doctor. The doctor, after examining him, sat back, sighed and said, “We don’t have anything to help you.

You’re going to be blind completely in a few months.” It was a disease for which there is no treatment. Keep in mind, he lived many years ago. He didn’t think it was fair to marry his fiancé without telling her about the doctor’s prognosis. So he went and sat down with her. He took her hand in his and he said, “Honey, I’ve got some bad news.” He said, “I just need to let you know that by the time we get married I understand I will be completely blind.” She heard that, she twitched and coolly pulled her hand out of his hand and said, “Oh, George. I just don’t think I could marry a blind man.” So here his heart is broken because he’s told he’s going to be living in the dark the rest of his life. But he thinks, “I think I can handle it because I love this girl so much.” And then it’s compounded by her saying, “I don’t want to marry you.” He went from that experience and he wrote this song: “Oh love that will not let me go. I rest my weary soul in thee. I give thee back the life I owe that in thine ocean depths its flow may richer fuller be.” Some of you know that song. What a beautiful song, beautiful words. Well it sprang from a broken heart. He knew, “Well, I may be in the dark, but Jesus will be my light. Human love may fail, but God’s love will not fail.”

Some are broken hearted through disappointment. Life has not fulfilled the dreams they had in their youth and it’s broken their hearts. There’s been some change in their course and their relationships, in their career, and it’s left them deeply disappointed, even to the point of being broken hearted. Psalm 34:18, David understood this. “The Lord is near those who have a broken heart. And He saves such that have a contrite spirit.” Are you broken hearted? God can’t fix it unless it’s broke and He’s near those that have a broken heart. Psalm 147:3, “He heals the broken hearts and He binds up their wounds.” God can heal even broken hearts. And what was the principle ministry of Jesus? The Lord defined His ministry; Jesus gave the definition of His ministry as He began preaching. He quoted from Isaiah 61:1, “The Spirit of God is upon me because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor. He has sent me to heal the broken hearted.” Like the woman at the well, or Mary Magdalene, or Peter after weeping bitterly. Jesus came to heal the broken hearted. We’re all broken, some are broken hearted.

We minister best after we’re broken hearted. The most beautiful poems, some of the most beautiful songs and music have come from people who are writing from a broken heart. They have put into words tremendous emotion. Somebody once said, “The richest fragrance comes from the crushed flower.” Some recognize broken relationships. And that may not just mean in the context of love. Not getting along with somebody. They’re at odds, there’s friction. It could be in the family, with someone you work with, a neighbor. And Jesus tells us that He can help even those with broken relationships. I remember reading in the Bible, it was after Jacob wrestled with God, and the Lord touched him and he was crippled from wrestling with God. After Jacob was broken he goes immediately from that experience and he’s reconciled with his brother he has not talked to in over 21 years. After he realizes his brokenness then there’s reconciliation.

Jesus says in Matthew 5:23-24, “When you bring your gift to the altar,” you’re going to come before the Lord and ask for forgiveness. If you’re going to claim the forgiveness and the blood of Christ, “but you remember that,” you’ve got a broken relationship, “your brother has something against you, leave your gift at the altar.” Christianity’s about reconciliation. “Go your way, be reconciled to your brother, then come and offer your gift.” Some of us are broken in our relationships. It could be in the family. God can heal those broken relationships. Could be with a brother or a sister. It could be with someone you work with or just someone you live near. Ask the Lord to give you grace to know how to heal broken relationships. Jesus does that. Did the disciples have arguments among themselves? Heaven forbid, but we know it’s true. Even within the church, sometimes we’ve got broken relationships. “Leave your gift at the altar.” “All men will know we are His disciples by our love for one another.” Amen? We’ve got to forgive each other just as we want Christ to forgive us.

Some are broken and it’s demonstrated through depression. Just broken hearted, broken minded. Now I’ve heard several sources, and I probably should have cited some of them more clearly, but I understand, heard it yesterday on a Focus on the Family radio program that one of the most common diagnoses connected with physical maladies that doctors are making now is for depression. So many people are saying, “I’ve got this medical problem and this medical problem. I’m not sleeping. I have no energy,” and they’ve got a number of symptoms. And the doctor will ask a series of pointed questions and then say, “It sounds like depression to me.” And it’s almost like there’s an epidemic of depression. I’m sure it’s a combination of the incredible stress that people live under in our age today. All our conveniences and we’ve got more stress than we’ve ever had. Probably some of it is the diet and the things that we eat and the mental diet, the things that we watch. When I see what some people spend their time reading and watching, it’s no wonder they’re depressed. The evening news could do it to you if you watch it often enough. But a lot of people are mentally broken. And they’re discouraged. And I know that some things are chemical and there might be family history and medical reasons for these things, but I’m here to tell you today that God can heal those who are broken minded, those who are depressed. He came to lift us up, the Bible says. And you humble yourself, you realize you’re broken and come to the Lord, He can lift you up.

He can heal even that. Proverbs 5:13, “A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance. But by sorrow of heart the spirit is broken.” And this broken spirit, this depression, a lot of people get so discouraged that even Christians, (it’s hard to comprehend because it’s the dumbest thing in the world to do), commit suicide. In my reasoning, why would a Christian want to ever commit suicide? Because, when you think about it, you say, “I just can’t live anymore. My circumstances, I am so depressed.” But to take your life, how does that improve things? Because your next conscious thought is even more depressing. Isn’t that right? If you’re a Christian, and you understand. We’re saved by faith and of a person takes their life, and if it’s a sin to kill. I know there may be exceptions. I’ve got to hasten to say that, but in most cases, suicide is the result of someone who’s lost hope, they’ve lost faith. And then the last act is murder of themselves. Do you think you’re going to wake up in a better situation? The Bible tells us that a living dog is better than a dead lion. Where there’s life there’s hope. Hang on. God can help you with your broken mind and your broken spirit. The help is not in people. Sometimes depressed people go around telling everybody how depressed they are. You might want to share these things and ask for prayer, I believe the words of Tommy Lasorda, the former coach of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He said, “I found that it’s not good to talk to everybody about my troubles. 80% of the people who hear them don’t care. The other 20% are glad you’re having trouble.” Some people care and you’ve got to pick those folks carefully. But cast your cares upon the Lord, amen?

Now one of the things that I think is really important in this message is to first establish that we’re broken. Have I established that? That you can come to the Lord if you’re broken. Whether you’re broken minded, you’re brokenhearted, broken in body, your health can be broken. Jesus can help in all those things. But brokenness often precedes greatness with God. I already talked a little bit about Jacob. After he was crippled by the Lord, that’s when God promised to give him the Promise Land. Not only was he reconciled with his brother. Joseph, thrown in a pit, sold as a slave, thrown in a prison, and when he reaches the bottom and understands his brokenness, humbles himself there, then God lifts him up and he becomes a world ruler, leader of an empire. Before Job’s estate could be doubled he lost everything. He lost his children, servants, possessions. Talk about a broken man. The only thing left was Job’s wife. And she was there to tell him to commit suicide. So the devil even used her. She might have been a good wife. I’m not trying to pick on her, but she was discouraged, too.

He lost everything, and from that point God could rebuild him so that he ended up with twice as much as before. And before he had his calamities he was the richest man in the land. But it was through his brokenness that God could bless him even more. Before Peter preached to 3,000 and saw their conversion, he went out and wept bitterly. Before God used him in a great way he was broken. Before Paul could bring the Gospel to the Gentiles, God had to knock him off his horse on the road to Damascus. And he spent three days, he was blinded. And after that God could use him. Sometimes when we are going through our lion’s den or some storm, and we wonder why is the Lord allowing this? And it might be some crisis in your life, where you work, with your family, with your health, and God is saying, “Look, before I can remake you I’ve got to break you.” And that’s what God does. He breaks us so that he can remake us. Sometimes a person has to reach rock bottom, and then they’re broken. Luke 20, it says, “The stone that the builders rejected, the same became the head of the corner.” Then this is a very interesting statement of Jesus. “Whoever falls on that stone shall be broken, but on whomsoever it will fall it will grind him to powder.” Of two things happens with Christ, the Rock. You either fall on the Rock and you are broken. Tradition tells us the there is a rock at the Garden of Gethsemane. And Jesus, when He cried on that rock, that’s where He completely surrendered for the Lord. And His greatest moment of glory was there on the cross. Peter went back to that very spot and he wept bitterly, fell on the rock and was broken, so to speak. All of us must fall on the Rock and be broken. The alternative is to have the Rock fall on us in judgment, and it grinds us to powder. As in Daniel 2, all the lost and the nations of the lost are ground by that stone to powder. So I would choose to fall on the rock and be broken rather than have the rock fall on me in judgment. God breaks us, so He can remake us.

I heard a story about a wealthy man, lived in South America, and he had a pet monkey. And in his mansion where he kept this beautiful rose every day, the pet monkey was hopping around. He went up to this beautiful vase that held this rose that was placed freshly every day. And the monkey started fiddling around and somehow he got his hand in the vase and got it stuck and they couldn’t get it out. Pretty soon they called the master of the house. And he said, “ That’s a beautiful vase. I want to save that at all costs.” He put some soap around it, couldn't get the monkey out. He tried to wiggle it free and couldn't get the monkey's hand. Finally, in order to get the monkey's hand out of the vase they had to break the vase. Well, he was holding, of course, the rose in his hand. The monkey had taken this rose bud, dropped it in a vase, reached in to get it, grabbed it and couldn't get his hand out and wouldn't let go. That's an imperfect illustration, but it makes me think of the only way that you can ever get the Devils hand out of your life is to break the vessel and release the rose. And you might think, “Is that what you've got to do to save the rose? Break the vase?” But the only way that you can really be set free from the Devil’s claws in your life is to die, spiritually. And when you surrender and you take up your cross. When a person says, “I’m willing to follow Jesus, no matter where He leads me,” what can the devil use against you if you're dead?

One of the early Church fathers, and I'm not sure what his name was, he was brought before Caesar and told to give up his Christian faith. He said, “I’ll not give it up.” He said, “We’ll take away all your property.” He said, “You can't take my property, it's in heaven.” He said, “We’ll torture your body.” He said, “No problem. I'm getting a new body when Jesus comes back. Do what you want, to this one.” He said, “We’ll kill you.” He said, “You can't kill me.” He said, “I have everlasting life.” It just so frustrated the Caesar. He couldn't think of anything to use against him because he didn't care about anything in this world. All his treasure was in heaven. Sometimes the Lord has to bring us to the place of brokenness before we’re really set free.

Jeremiah 18:4, he talks about this potter he was taken to see making a vessel. And in the process of making this vessel it was marred. Marred means it was broken or disfigured in the hands of the potter. So he made it again into another vessel. Took the same material and made it again. So don't worry about the vessel being broken. God is the potter, we are the clay. He can make a new vessel, right? In his hands He molds us and makes us and shapes us and makes something beautiful out of us again. Psalm 31:12, “I am forgotten as a dead man, out of mind. I am like a broken vessel.” All of us are like broken vessels. But that's not all bad. Because the Bible tells us the Lord uses the broken to reach the broken.

I used to think, “Oh, Lord, I can't wait to get to the place where I am an educated theologian-saint, and I can share my faith. And as time went by I realized I never was going to be ready. The Lord had made a lot of changes in my life, but I always saw more still to make. And so I wondered, “How am I ever going to get the place where God can use me?” And then I read a verse in the Bible, you've heard me quote it many times, but for me it was a profound revelation. It’s where Jesus says to Peter at the end of his 3 1/2 years of following Christ, it's at the end of many years of Jesus sending Peter and the others out preaching, using them. And then Jesus said, “Peter, Satan has desired to have you that he might sift you as wheat, but I pray for you that your faith fails not, and when you're converted strengthen the brethren.” How could He say when you're converted? He's been using him. That's why Jesus said Peter was broken. He saw Jesus fill his nets and he said, “Lord, depart from me. I'm a sinful man.” He says, “Follow me. I'll teach you to catch men.” As soon as Peter humbled himself and said, “I am no good,” Jesus said, “Oh, I can use you because you realize how weak you are.” I heard someone say one time, “You’re never too little for God to use, but you could be too much for God to use.” God uses the broken to reach the broken.

I remember reading about this young man named John Pounds. He was a strapping, tall young man who worked in the shipyard. One day when he was up on top of this mast in England he stumbled, slipped from the mast, fell some distance to the deck below and broke a number of bones in his body. He was just a bag of broken bones. They picked them up, and they laid him on a bed where he stayed for months. He didn't have the money for medical attention. This is in the 1800s. His bones fused. He was in agony. His bones fuse in a distorted, twisted condition. And while there, someone gave him a Bible. To deal with the monotony, he began to read and he found new life even though his body was deformed and twisted. Eventually he gathered enough strength to crawl out of bed and to hobble. He could never work in the shipyards again. He found a cobbler that had pity on him, and he could sit at this cobbler's bench and he learned to make shoes. But now that he had Christ in his heart, he began to feel sorry for these poor children on the streets of England. There were millions of them back then.

They called them the street urchins. They didn't have the orphanages. That's the same time that George Mueller developed the orphanages in England. The streets were swarming with these children. John Pound’s heart went out to these children. He began to make free shoes for these children. And then he started taking his spare money and he'd give them bread. Then they started coming to his cobbler booth and pretty soon, he did well enough, God blessed him, he got his own cobbler shop. And it became a ministry where he not only supplied shoes, people would give donations to him and he would supply food for the kids. Pretty soon he was supplying medical conditions. Then he opened a home. And they had a name for it. [end side one] The called it the ragged school because it was surrounded with these ragged children. And it started a new movement called the ragged movement. And all these people began starting these movements for the ragged children. And the whole franchise of schools for orphaned children were started because of John Pound’s doing what he could do with his brokenness and he was able to reach a lot of other broken people, broken lives. He preached Christ to them, they were educated, and they grew up as Christians. God uses broken people to reach broken people. You know what that means? That's good news. He can use you, can’t He?

And it doesn't matter where your brokenness might be. Have you gone through some terrible tragedy? I've done a lot of funerals. It's part of a pastor's job. I think my compassion during a funeral. I remember the first few funerals I did as a young whippersnapper pastor. I was a lot more interested in how I was doing as a pastor than how the people were doing who were suffering. But then you start burying family members, brother, mother, father, and everybody in your family starts dying; lose a son. You do funerals, it's different. I'm not so concerned with how I am doing as the pastor preaching at the funeral, but you really start to think, “I wonder how they are doing, because I know how they feel.” God uses broken people to reach broken people. Maybe you've been sick; you've been in pain. You're a lot more compassionate to someone else who is sick and in pain. My brother had cystic fibrosis. He was sick his whole childhood. He was born broken. At 24 hours old, they cut him from bow to stern for an abdominal surgery. All through his life, in and out of the hospital, breathing under a tent, taking medicine, the other kids laughing at him because of his size. You know what he did? Opened a summer camp for kids with cystic fibrosis. It's still going today. God uses broken people to reach broken people. Which means He can use you. Amen?

I read that in one of the cathedrals of England, there's a beautiful windows through which the sunlight streams and it's got all of the pictures of the different Bible characters in history. And this particular beautiful stained glass window was made of all the broken glass left over from the other windows in the church. It's the most beautiful. They had all these spare parts left, and they couldn't afford any new stuff to be cut so they used all of the broken pieces. A lot smaller, but a lot more facets in it, and a lot more light.

Paul says in II Corinthians 12:10, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecution, in distress, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then, I am strong.” You might be thinking, “My brokenness and my experiences and my trials disqualify me.” When you commit your life to Christ those things can be used by the Lord to reach others. I knew a person who thought, “How can I ever share my faith? I can't even read.” So you know what he did? He got a pastor to underline all of the proof texts in his Bible. This was in Burma. The pastor told me the story. And he would go from one educated person to another and say, “There’s a verse here and I can't read. And I love it. It means so much. Will you please read it to me?” And he'd hand them his Bible and they'd read it to him. “Oh, there's one more. Please read this to me.” Pretty soon he’d get them involved. He’d give bible studies to other people and he couldn’t even read, but he knew where they were. The guy’s name was Precious Flower. I never forgot that. A guy named Precious Flower in Burma. And he gave bible studies. God can use us even though we might be broken.

When did the light shine brightest for Gideon? After they broke the pitchers. The light shone from the broken pitchers. And you know, that's when our lights really begin to shine. When we fall on the rock and we are broken. We realize our weakness. God can use us to reach others. So whatever trial you're going through, and it might even be depression. God can save you from that and you’ll be ministering someday to others and you’ll say, “I know how you feel. I was in that valley of the shadow of death once myself.” It might be a health problem; it could be a family problem. What ever it is, you know what your brokenness is. It could be a combination of all of the above. And God can lift you up. He can heal the broken hearted. And when He heals you He's going to use you. You may not realize it now, but He will use your trial to help others. You know who has the most successful prison ministry? The pastors who come out of seminary? Prisoners who are free that go back to the prisons, not as inmates, but to minister. They typically have the. They can relate. They say, “I was where you are.” God uses the broken to reach the broken.

I remember a few weeks ago, we had our Amazing Facts board meeting. And just before the board meeting, Nathan was out at Amazing Facts. He fell and broke his arm, broke his wrist, right hand and he’s right handed. And I got there and our board members are there. Just as I get there and we’re getting ready to start our board meeting I hear Nathan crying and I go out to look at him and his hand looks like spaghetti. I looked at it right away and I’m one of these fathers where if I don’t see a lot of blood I don’t go to the doctor. And I looked at that and I said, “We’d better take him to the emergency room.” I could tell it was broke. So the board meeting did fine. That wasn’t a problem. So I took Nathan to the emergency room. The nearest hospital was there in Roseville. Have you ever been to the emergency room? It’s an oxymoron. Because you get there and they don’t act like you’ve got an emergency because there’s all these other emergencies ahead of you. You’re better off making an appointment and going to see your doctor next week. It’s not that bad, but I’ve been there before. [story of Nathan as baby with injury] so we’re waiting there and he’s holding his hand and he’s crying and pretty soon they came over and they’re writing our information down. Nathan’s in pain, he hasn’t had anything for his pain yet. Eventually they gave him a $50 Advil. Right about then the most uncanny thing happened. The door opens, a mother comes in with a pretty little 9 or 10-year-old girl who’s holding her right spaghetti wrist.

The same arm, the same way. I looked at that and I thought, “My.” And I overheard the mother say to somebody there, “She’s broken her wrist.” The only difference was she had skinned knees as well. And Nathan’s sitting next to me, I said, “Nathan, see that little girl over there?” And he’s crying, he’s nursing his wrist. I said, “She’s broken the same wrist.” Now at this point Nathan stopped crying. I was very proud of him. And I said, “You know, she looks just really scared.” She did. She looked terrified. I said, “Maybe you should go talk to her.” His legs were fine. I wish I had thought to take out my camera and take a picture of that. You should have seen it. He walked over and he goes, “It’s not so bad.” And pretty soon she stopped crying. And he’s there; he’s ministering to her. He’s got his broken wrist; it’s not even set yet. He hasn’t gotten his Motrin yet or whatever it was. And this little girl stopped crying. And the mother, you could tell, was so appreciative that there’s this other kid with the same broken wrist and he’s commiserating with her and she stopped crying. She started again after he left, but it helped at least for a little while. And it occurred to me that that’s sort of how we are. Even in the midst of his brokenness he was able to help somebody else. So no matter where you are right now God can use you to reach out to others.

The good news is Jesus can fix the broken. It takes broken soil to produce a crop. Broken clouds to produce the rain. Broken grain to give bread. It was after Jesus broke the bread He performed the miracle. It’s broken bread that gives strength. It’s Mary’s broken box of perfume that anoints the head of the Savior. It's the broken apostle Peter, weeping bitterly, who returns with greater power. God is able to mend broken hearts, broken homes, broken hopes, broken health, broken joy. It doesn't matter what it is, Jesus came to heal broken people. Amen? How many of us would be included in that promise? We are all broken. We’re all dysfunctional. And I'm so thankful for the good news of the Gospel that He heals us and then uses us to help other broken people. That's the good news, friends.

Would you like to ask God to heal your broken heart? You know, one of the first things we must do is realize that we are broken. “The humble and contrite spirit,” a broken heart, “God will not despise.” You come to Him, just like you are. And some of us need to ask the Lord to shake us and break us. Like that proud Pharisee, we need to bow our heads like the publican and say, “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.” We need to see that we’re broken and then God can fix you. They've got that expression, “If it ain't broke don't fix it.” You know how God says it? “If it ain't broke, I can break it.” If you don't think it's broke, I can break it. Or at least He can help us recognize our brokenness.

Please turn to 567, and let's sing this familiar song, Have Thine Own Way. I'd like to make an appeal during this song. Let’s stand together as we sing. [verse]

Before we sing the next verse, I would like to make a specific appeal here. There may be some of you here today that, you may have grown it up in church, you may have been doing all the right things and wondering why you don't have that peace of heart or not being used of the Lord. Maybe you've never really repented of your sins. That's what this brokenness is all about. Maybe you've never humbled yourself in the sight of God that He can lift you up. You've never acknowledged your lostness in order that He might save you. Like Isaiah said, “Woe is me, I am undone.” And as soon as he prayed that prayer God said, “I can use you.” Perhaps God is speaking to your heart and you know, the need to fall on that Rock and be broken. You'd like to experience that brokenness so God can lift you up. If that's your prayer, maybe you've never accepted Christ, and you're visiting here today, we'd like to pray with you. Come, as we sing the next verse and we’ll have special prayer. Come to the front. [verse]

Before we sing the last verse, I'd just like to generally ask, are there some of you here sensed that you are broke, that you'd like to say, “Lord, I am a broken vessel. I need to be made over again. Create within me a new heart. Heal my broken heart. Give me soundness of mind, my body is broken, it's failing. Heal my body.” The Lord can do all of those things, can't He? And ultimately He's promising us a new body. Is that your prayer? Just say, “Lord, I'm broken, but I want you use me, use my brokenness. Help me to recognize it.” And then He can lift us up. Let's sing the last verse. [verse]

Before we leave this place today, I just really want you to know and believe that Jesus can fix, that He can heal the broken. And I'd like for you to claim His promise, His power to heal. The reason that Jesus came is to heal the broken. And you can see a lot of cases in the Bible where everybody that came to Christ with their brokenness, He healed them, He lifted them up, He forgave them, and then He gave them something to do. Whatever you've been through, whatever your area of brokenness is, God wants to use you to reach and to touch other lives. Ask Him to give you His Spirit to help you do that. And that's one of the best ways to feel better your self, and to heal your self. Amen?

Eternal Father, our loving Creator, we are very grateful for this promise that Jesus can fix even broken vessels. And that being broken, being aware of our brokenness is the starting point for repair and for healing. Lord, we know we can't look to the governments of the world to fix this broken world. It's only Jesus who is going to save the world and save the people. And I pray, Lord, that you will start by healing in our hearts. Help us to have the mind of Christ. Heal us in our bodies, where we are broken. Heal us in our minds. So many are discouraged. They’re spirits are broken, they're depressed. We pray for healing in relationships and families, with friends. We asked, Lord, that you bring healing into our church family, that we might be a mighty power for Christ because of our love for one another. And help us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, and remember that He's with us wherever we go. Thank you for the promise that you can heal broken people, and we trust that you will do this because we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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