Sunday, March 1, 2009

"The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread"

Last Sunday, Craig Cortright spoke about a very common question that everyone has: “Who am I?” Do you define the question by your occupation? Your status? Your stuff? Are you who you think you are (or who others think you are)? Who are you?

The answer to the question depends on where your focus is. Do you identify with the world, or with Christ? Do you chase after the wind, or do you chase after God? Only one pursuit leads to life and joy. The other is merely a dead end.

If we want to know who we are, we got to passionately pursue that question in the right direction. What actions we take in knowing and pursuing our purpose will hinge on who we believe ourselves to be. Craig gave us a good example. He told the story of the guy that founded Upwards Basketball. He wanted to give every kid a chance to play, and the chance to hear and know that they are a winner and that Jesus loves them. To make a long story short, the program just started booming! It got to the point where they ran out of space and had to put kids on a waiting list. It was soon pointed out that if any child had to be put on a “waiting list”, they were pretty much being told to go to Hell. When the creator of that program realized this, he knew he had to do something. So, he made more room and saw to it that ever kid got to play. When they were once again out of room, the next step was to expand the program and get more churches involved. Now, we have the Upwards program (basketball, cheerleading, football, soccer) in churches nationwide (in fact, my son participated in basketball for the first time and the end of the season awards ceremony is tonight)!

If that man didn’t know who he was and what he was purposed to do, he could have very well been beaten down by the fact that he was shamed and criticized for the “waiting list” he had had. However, he didn’t get “offended” and pick up his stuff and move. He decided that he was going to listen to what was said and do something about it. He KNEW in His Spirit that that was the right thing to do because just as he knew his own worth, he knew that every child was worth it too! Therefore, he had to make sure no one was left behind!

How can we learn from this? Well, Craig pointed out something rather amazing. He showed us that in Matthew 26:26, Jesus took the bread, broke it, and gave it to His disciples. He alluded to the fact that we are “bread.” We are God’s children (John 1:12) and we are blessed as such (Galatians 4:7, Ephesians 2:8). Though, what good is bread all by itself? Bread is meant to be broken, shared, and used for nourishment. Can bread do all those things if it stays in the basket? Do we just “get saved” and that’s it? No, we are meant to share ourselves with the world by fulfilling the purpose for which we are created! Every talent and trait we were given is to be shared with others for their benefit and nourishment!

The key element that Craig wouldn’t let us forget is that before bread can be shared and given for the benefit of someone, it HAS TO BE BROKEN! I know, it’s painful. Being broken isn’t exactly “desirable”; but it’s necessary!! How would the hurting ones get help if not for someone who had already been “broken in”? We who have experienced pain (and subsequent deliverance) can readily share that brokenness with others that are broken. In my case, legalism, self-worth, and food addiction would be but a few of the “broken” things that I have to share with others who are broken by the same bondages. How would I be able to relate, share, or help others through those things if I hadn’t experienced them myself? It wouldn’t be the same! It’s kind of like when women (and men) share their abortion stories with me. I feel for them, and I pour out my love and compassion on them, but I have not been where they have. I can only go so far. However, my other friends who have been through it can minister to the hurting ones even MORE because they have that same pain in common. They have walked in their shoes and therefore, they have those scars to bear and share with others that are marred by the pain (my kudos to those brave friends of mine - you know who you are!!!).

What’s your pain? What brokenness do you have to offer the world? Craig said we discover that brokenness in prayer with God when we are all alone. Then, we place that brokenness under the blessing of knowing who we are. It is then that we will know what to do with all those broken pieces. God will reconstruct them into something more beautiful!! It’s kind of like a mosaic; the jagged and broken pieces come together for a much bigger picture. The broken becomes beautiful!!

I leave you now with a song that most of you probably know. It’s by Mark Schultz entitled (what else?!) "Broken and Beautiful". Be bread everyone!! Discover your brokenness in your time with Jesus. Then, allow Him to make the brokenness beautiful as He distributes you throughout His Kingdom to bless and nourish others!! Let your testimonies be the greatest thing since sliced bread. Well, you know what I mean! ;) Grace and peace to all of you!!

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