God, I know You give grace to the humble so I ask you, God, to do a deep work in my heart and break me. Break me of my pride. Break me in my selfishness. Break me of anything that keeps me from knowing You, as hard as it is to ask God, do whatever it takes to break me.
If you were with us last week, actually, I said at the beginning of the message that I believe for many of you, one of the three prayers that we're praying will have a significant impact. In fact, last week, I explained that for some of you, one of these messages might become, what I call, an anchor message. In fact, as I look back over my relationship with God over all the years, there are three or four messages that I actually heard and experienced when someone else is preaching, that really had such a deep spiritual impact on my life that I was significantly different after being in the presence of God, hearing His word. I call those anchor messages. I can remember the moment, I can remember the time, I can remember the message, I was transformed in those messages.
Today though is going to be the most difficult. If there is one that is by far the most dangerous of all three, it is the prayer we're going to talk about this week. I want to warn you and just tell you upfront, some of you will not like this prayer. Many of you will refuse to pray it. I'm simply not going to pray this prayer. I'll tell you upfront, it's not a common prayer. It doesn't feel good. This prayer is not consistent with the, “God will always make your life better,” version of Christianity. This prayer though, it does have the potential to open your heart up to the work of God in such a way that it can forever change your life. The prayer that I'm going to ask you to consider praying is the prayer Break Me. Break Me, God. Break Me.
I want to ask you to consider praying a very dangerous prayer. Not all of you will. You don't have to. This isn’t like you have to pray this, but to consider giving God permission to do a deep work in your life, God, break me. To study this today, what we're going to do is we’re going to look at two different stories in the Bible which is really cool as they're both side by side. They're in the very same chapter in the book of Mark. There's one story immediately followed by another story.
The first story deals with a prostitute…Let us try to get into the mind of what it would have been like for this woman because nobody in the first century wanted to be a prostitute. One like, “Hey, hopefully by the time I'm twenty-one, I'll be in the top 10% of prostitutes in the community.” Nobody wanted to do this. In fact, if you were a prostitute, it’s only because life dealt you cards that you felt had no other way to play except for this desperate plea, because they were hated, despised, they were full of shame. Who knows what would have led this woman to this. Maybe she was a single mom and had no other way of paying for the bills. Maybe she had been abused by men, knew nothing else. Whatever it was, she was hated by every woman and used by many men, full of shame. One day, she met a man that treated her differently. Maybe for the first time from a male, she was shown honor, she was shown respect, he treated her with dignity, and he loved her appropriately. It so transformed this woman that she wanted to worship Him in the most sacrificial way that she could imagine. Her extravagant act of worship completely confused everyone else in this story.
s ays this and it's interesting to me, “While Jesus was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman,” and this is the sinful woman that we know from Luke's Gospel, this is the simple woman comes in, “With an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume.” Now, first thing I want you to know, whose home was Jesus sent? He was in the home of Simon the Leper. Everyone else would run from lepers. Jesus would befriend them and healed them. That’s pretty cool. You got a Rabbi Jesus. This sounds like a joke. You've got a Rabbi, a leper, a prostitute in this house along with some other disciples. She comes in with very expensive perfume.
Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard. She broke open the jar and poured the perfume over his head.
Now, before I go on, I want to explain that perfume to you. This perfume was so valuable, we find out later in the Gospels that it was valued at like a year's worth of wages. Just imagine what you make in a year and imagine it being that valuable. Why was it so valuable? It’s valuable because it was incredibly rare, really difficult to come by. Ordinary women did not wear perfume because they could not afford it. Who wore perfume? Basically, it was like the calling card. You invested your money into the perfume so when you're walking by and some guy was, “Oh, I see,” you're sending me a message that you're available. This was very, very expensive, what a year's worth of wages. It was essentially the marketing tool to draw business.
She's got this incredibly expensive perfume and in the next part of the verse says this, “She did what with the jar?” Let's all say aloud. She broke the jar. Everybody say it again. What does she do? She broke the jar and then what does she do? She poured the perfume on Jesus' head. She broke and pour. She broke and pour. Say it with me. What did she do? She broke and she poured. Now, some people, as we read on the story, freaked out. Don’t do that. Stop. You imagine it in slow motion. I'm diving on it. It’s so valuable.
This act of worship was more extravagant than you can imagine. Essentially, she was saying, “I'm giving you my whole life. I'm giving you the most valuable possession I have. This represents my past and this represents my future. In other words, I'm leaving my past life behind. I'm giving my future source of income and my life savings away. Jesus, you have loved me so that I will break open the most valuable possession that I have, what represents my livelihood, I will break it and I will pour it, all of it, pour it out in one selfless extravagant moment of worship.” Broken and pour it. Broken and pour it. That’s the first story.
The second story is right after the first story in the same book of the Bible. In this story, Jesus is having His last meal. He’s gathered together with His closest friends. He knows what is coming that He's going to give His life on the cross. This is how Mark tells the story. Same chapter verse , “As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it.” Then, what did He do? Say it aloud, , then, what did He do? “Then, He broke it into pieces and gave it to His disciples, saying, take it, for this is my body. And He took a cup of wine and He gave thanks to God for it, and He gave it to them and they all drank from it. And he said to them, this is my blood which confirms the covenant between God and His people.” He said, it is, what? Everybody, you want all the need to say it aloud. He said, what? He said it is poured out as a sacrifice for many. It's broken and is poured. Broken and poured. My body is broken for you. My blood will be poured out. My jar is broken in an act of worship and I pour it all out because I'm giving you everything I am and everything that I have. Broken and poured.
As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take it, for this is my body.”
Luke reports on the same story. Luke was at the table. Mark was there. Luke was there. The rest of the disciples were there. Luke wrote about it and he told the story in almost the same way but he added and picked up on something that Mark didn't point out in Mark’s writing. This is what Luke said about it. In , he said basically the same thing, Jesus took bread, gave thanks, and did what? There it is again. He broke it, gave it to them saying, “This is my body given for you.” Then, what did He say? He said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” Do this in remembrance of me. Do this in remembrance of me. Well, what is this? Most of us would agree that as followers of Jesus, we gather together and we take the Lord's Supper. We take bread and we take wine or we take juice and we do this in remembrance of Him. We celebrate the death and the resurrection of Jesus by doing this. Do this in remembrance of me.
He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
All scholars agree that this refers to celebrating communion or the Lord's Supper. Some scholars argue that to do this means more than just that. I tend to agree. Jesus says do this, what does it mean? Well, certainly it means to celebrate and remember what He did but perhaps, it could also mean, as He was broken and as He was poured out, we should do that as well as the ritual. Not just the ritual but live as He lived. God calls us to live as Jesus lived and to love as Jesus loved. We’re to die to ourselves daily so that we can live for His glory.
When the Gospel says to do this, what if perhaps, Jesus was saying, “Don't just do an act to remember but may you also be broken and poured out in such a way.” Even as Paul said, “I'm poured out like a drink offering, giving everything that I have for God's glory.” Broken and poured. God will break you.
We started the church. First year went by, it was really tough. Second year, I had to lessen staff, go to the church. I’ve gotten to several hundred people and it was essentially only …
I just said, “Something needs to change. I need you.” A little group of people, they all came up. I didn't preach. I couldn't finish the sermon. The whole little group of people prayed. On that day, the crowd became a church. We became a church. Something was different. We were broken together. I said this before. We impress people with our strengths but we connect through our weaknesses. I’ll say it this way this time. We may impress people with our strengths but we connect most deeply through our brokenness.
I was teaching at a church called Council Road Baptist Church on a Tuesday night, Bible study for young adults. I remember the name of the message. I was teaching a message called Loving Those You Don't Like. In the middle of the message I'm teaching, I was like, I just was kind of hit. I was like, I just stopped and said, just told everybody because that's kind of what I do sometimes, for better or for worse. I just said, “I just recognized that there's someone very dear to me and we haven't spoken over something and so when I get home tonight, I'm going to call him.” This was before cellphones and such. I drove home and I was like, “We're going to do this, we're going to do this, we're going to do this.” I got home and we had answering machines back then. If you don't know what that is, just Google it. I pressed the answering machine and it was Jay's wife crying. She said, “I just found him and he had taken his own life.” That was a Tuesday. His family moved in with us. I think it was a Friday that I did the funeral. I knew something more than what I would had shared at the funeral. I carried the weight and the guilt of, “What if I had done something different?”
That Sunday, I stood up before the little crowd of people because that's all it was at that point. It was just a little crowd of people. I broke down and I cried like crazy. I'm going to describe like crazy because when you're broken, you don’t care what anybody thinks. I just let it all come out and said, “I was overwhelmed before this. I can't continue. I need your support. I'm doing what I can do and I can't do this. We're all broken right now. We're all grieving because everyone knew him.” I just said, “Something needs to change. I need you.” A little group of people, they all came up. I didn't preach. I couldn't finish the sermon. The whole little group of people prayed. On that day, the crowd became a church. We became a church. Something was different. We were broken together. I said this before. We impress people with our strengths but we connect through our weaknesses. I’ll say it this way this time. We may impress people with our strengths but we connect most deeply through our brokenness.
Sometimes, when somebody saw good at things, yes, you don’t even like him, right? To be honest, I hate her. Why? She’s so perfect, walks around, never has a problem. Then you find out she has a problem, like, “Oh, I like her. She sucks too. She’s insecure too. I like her.” We impress people with our strengths but we connect to our brokenness.
We've never been closer as friends, because you impress people with strengths but you connect through brokenness.
Back when Gary said, “God will break you,” I would have had the same exact response that almost everybody here is going to have. I don't want to pray that because at the time, I couldn't have known what I know now. Everything got to show me the other side of that broken moment. Just to make you feel better, being broken is not only just one moment but it's an ongoing breaking as God breaks you of your own sinfulness and continues to teach you to depend on Him. I had no idea at the time but I'll say it and believe it and stand by it with all of my heart today that life's greatest breakings often lead to God's greatest blessings. I want to say it again and you don't need to clap. I just want it to just sink in, that life’s greatest breakings often lead to God's greatest blessings. When Gary told me God would break me, I didn't realize the significance of that.
What I'm going to say now is my own theory. When I look at the people in the Bible, this proves to be true. Peter, who said, “Jesus, I'll never deny you,” denied Him three times. On the third time, Jesus is looking at Peter as Peter is denying Him. Peter broke. Peter also, after forgiven by Jesus, after the resurrection, was chosen by God to be the guest speaker on the day of Pentecost. That was a pretty big gig. Three thousand people born in the family of God. Those whom God uses the greatest are often those who've been broke in the deepest because God never ever waste a hurt. He never ever waste a hurt.
There's somebody right now, you don’t want to be broken, you don’t want to be or you never want to pray this, that's okay. It's not … You don’t have to pray this to be a follower of Jesus. There's some of you though, you could preach a sermon better than me right now because you're in the middle of it. There's a group of you and either right now or at some point, you're going to get to the place where you are breaking and everything is crumbling around you and you may be tempted to fight to keep it together. What I would always say to you is just go ahead and fall on the rock and break. Just break. Just break like I'm broke and say, “I need God and I need His people and I need more of those people and I need you and I want to be there for you and I need His Holy Spirit and I don't care what anybody thinks. I just need you, God.” When you get to that moment and you will, life guarantees it, you can either run to God or unfortunately, some people run from God. My greatest advice for you is just break wide open, fully depend on God, and let Him do a healing work for you.
Understand this. This is not advanced Christianity. Honestly, it’s Christianity 101. This is like, “I'm coming to Jesus. Break my body. Break my sin. Break me of me that I could serve you, Jesus, with all of my life. I surrender it completely to you.” The Gospel is an invitation to come and die. Die to yourself so that Jesus can live through you. You see, when the sinful woman broke open the jar, she poured it all, symbolizing, “I'm giving you my whole life.” Broken and poured. When Jesus’ body was broken, it was broken for you and it was broken for me. His blood was poured out that our sins might be forgiven. Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” I can't prove it but I believe it, that this doesn't just refer to a ritual, that this refers to let our lives be broken and poured out that we can serve Jesus with all of our hearts.
Our mission at this church is to love God and Love People and Impact the Community. I believe with all my heart that it represents the heart of God. The reality is many of us are not fully devoted followers of Jesus but partially devoted followers of Jesus. We do it when it's convenient for us. If you find yourself at any point being partially devoted to Jesus, let me encourage you to consider praying a very dangerous prayer. God, break me so I could be fully dependent on You. Whatever it takes, God, I want to know You intimately and serve You faithfully because I trust You, God. Do whatever it takes. Break me that I could know You.
let’s take a moment and pray. Father, we ask that in the next few moments, You would do a significant work in the hearts of many people. I thank You, God, that there are going to be some, this is an anchor message, that even right now, your Holy Spirit is doing a deep work in their hearts. We choose to trust You. All of our churches, nobody looking around. Let me just say it this way. I'm not afraid to push you and I will push you as I hope you'll push me. At this point today though, I'm going to give you a little breathing room. I'm going to give you a little bit of room to breathe. there are those of you, you're like crazy all in. You trust God enough to pray an incredibly dangerous prayer. God, break me. Whatever it takes, break me. If that's you, more power to you. Go full on, all in, but I don’t want today 90% of you to walk away and just say, “Well, that one wasn't for me.” That's unacceptable for me. I always want a higher percentage of that hearing from God and applying it to the lives. What all do is I'll give you an introductory version to that prayer.
It goes like this. Pick something in your life, , you're praying search my heart, O God. Show me that there's any offensive way in me. Whatever God showed you that’s offensive to Him, that’s displeasing, that shouldn't be there, just make that your broken prayer. Break me of that, God, whatever it is. Break me of my pride. Break me of my anger. Break me of my self-sufficiency. Break me of my lust. Break me of my impatience. Whatever it is, let's just start there. When God breaks you of that, what you're going to see is on the other side of brokenness are the blessings of God. Life's greatest breakings often lead to God's greatest blessings so have the courage to start wherever you want to start and say, “God, brake me of this because I trust You are a good God. If I need breaking, then there is a blessing I have not yet experienced so God, I trust You with this.” At whatever level you want to start, start. If you want to go all in and have no qualification, break me wide open, God. I trust you whatever it is. If you will pray this week as we prayed search me God last week, if you’ll pray every single day, some prayer this week, let’s pray some dangerous prayers because we have an amazing God that we can always trust.
If you will pick your own version, maybe even tell your life that this is what I'm praying, this is what I'm praying, I'm believing and trusting God. Would you have the courage to pray your version of that dangerous prayer so would you lift up your hands right now? lift up your hands. Lift every hands.
Father, thank You for people that really want to trust You. God, I know this is a difficult one but I pray that we see answers to these prayers. I pray, God, that we see specific answers in these small specific things we ask. Break us of this, whatever it is, God. Ultimately, God, I hope we’ll recognize that we, without Christ, are already broken.
Whenever life starts coming apart and we experience difficulties, God, I pray that we would all have the faith and the courage just to break wide open and said, God, I totally and completely need you and I need your people. We need each other so God, break us. Break us to the point where we know we have nothing else to hold on but You. Then, we’ll recognize that all along, You are all that we really needed in the first place. God, do a work. You're working our church. For those who have the courage to pray this dangerous prayer, I pray that on the other side of the breakings, they will see indescribable blessings because that's the kind of God that You are. We trust You, God. We Trust You. AMEN
nobody looking around. This is so amazing to me. Jesus sat around with his best friends and He lifted up bread. He said, “This is my body broken for you,” and with only a matter of hours, that's exactly what's going to happen. Jesus' body was broken. He held up a cup and in it was wine. He said, “This is my blood spilled out for you, poured out for you for the forgiveness of your sins.” Jesus shed His blood that we could live. Here's the amazing thing and I hope you recognize this. Without Christ, you're broken already. You are broken already. I am broken without Christ. We are broken people. Look at your life. You make sinful decisions. Why? Because we're broken people.
Listen. We can't heal ourselves. We can never get better on our own. That's why Jesus is the Great Physician. He is the Son of God. He was born without sin. He was perfect in every way. He went to the cross. His body was broken. He shed his blood. He died and rose again. Why? So whosoever, and that includes you, who calls on His name would be saved, forgiven, and transformed. Honestly, that is why many of you are here. You are, you recognize you are broken and you need His healing and you need His forgiveness. Today, you call on Him. When you do, He will forgive every sin that you've ever committed and you will be brand new.
That's why you're here today and you know it. you say, “Yes, I need His grace. Yes, I need His forgiveness. I surrender my life to Jesus.” “Yes, I give my life completely to Him.”
. Pray, Heavenly Father, I surrender everything broken and poured out, take all of my life, forgive all of my sins. I surrender to you. Jesus, be my Lord. Be my Savior. Fill me with Your Spirit so I can follow You always. My life is not my own. Today, I give it to You. Thank You for new life. Now, you have mine, in Jesus’ name I pray. Worship God. Welcome those born into His family.