Broken Vessels

We were with Jeanne Mayo

Such an inspiring lady.

I always leave not so much inspired by what she says, but more who she is.

Sam - dementia.

How she is so open with us, in a way you'd think "well get your act together lady. you're a leader."

But the opposite is true. She has this vulnerability and brokenness that just really makes your see Jesus.

I think there's this myth in Christianity that's only the strong who impact people, and I've found that for me, often times the opposite is true. When people are big and untouchable, there's no really much for me there. But then when I end up connecting with someone on a real level, it's amazing how God's light shines in those situations.


Paul

Paul is this amazing monster of the faith.

But what's surprising, is that when you see Paul in 1st corinthians, and especially 2nd corinthians, at an incredibly vulnerable place.

But you can also see, that in my opinion, he's a little bit insecure.

In Corinth - where he's planted this small church

"So called Super Apostles" - word on the street - Do better miracles, better speakers, EVEN better looking than Paul.

People would come hear Paul, they've read what he's written.

In person - not all that impressive.

Nobody knows for sure - people who say Paul was short, small, bald, squeaky voice. You'd never leave his meeting saying he's the greatest speaker I've ever heard.

Promoting his accomplishments. - Funny.

There's a time in the letter where he's in a way promoting his accomplishments. Here's why I'm better than these new guys. But he's really funny with it.

Tongue in cheek.

  • Hebrews? So am I. Jew? Ministers - Jesus Christ?
  • "I've gotten beat up more than anyone."
  • They're a hebrews? So am I.
  • They're a jew? So am I.
  • Are they ministers of Jesus Christ? So am I.
  • "I've gotten beat up more than anyone."
  • "I've got more stripes than anybody."

Climax - The emperor was after me one time, and so my friends lower me out the window and I escaped.

"I bravely ran away."

He's making a contrast - He's bragging about his brokenness. Super apostles : never weak, never broken.

2 Corinthians 4 (Death /life)

Therefore, since it is by God’s mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart. (2 Corinthians 4:1)

For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. (2 Corinthians 4:5)

For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)

But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. (2 Corinthians 4:7)

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; (2 Corinthians 4:8)

persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; (2 Corinthians 4:9)

always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. (2 Corinthians 4:10)

For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. (2 Corinthians 4:11)

So death is at work in us, but life in you. (2 Corinthians 4:12)

So he's talking about the light that shines from the life of the follow of Christ. But notice HOW he says this light shines. The light of Christ is revealed through clay jars.

God's glory is being shown through frail, fragile people, who are afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down. But not abandoned by God.

This is how God has chosen to show his light to the world. Through fragile, frail vessels.

In corinth - known for making these cheap jars - (lamps) - clay.

People would walk around in the dark, holding these lamps. You'd put a candle in them. These lamps were tiny, and cheap, and fragile - reason for that.

The thinner the lamp - the better the light can get out.

If the lamp is cheap and cracked. - More light.

More light, less lamp. Nothing great about the lamp.

Paul is comparing himself to the thin, fragile lamp.

We are the cheap lamps. Cracked vessels.

These lamps that are so underwhelming that if you see any light coming out of it, you're not confused about it being because the lamp is so awesome. The only thing that is impressive is the light.


Beautiful idea. - Also : scary.

Beautiful idea, but also a little scary, because there's a part of me that wants to see Paul nearing the end of his ministry as bold, confident, zero insecurity,

Crazy - If you ever read Paul's letters in chronological order - the longer he lives, the more humble he gets.

It seems like the further he goes in following Jesus, he becomes more and more aware that it's not about him, and how awesome he is. He becomes more aware of his frailty, and brokenness.

I don't like that b/c I want to become someone that has so little brokenness, that when people look at me, they say 'Holy Moly! Look at that shining star'.

That was pretty much my understanding of this whole thing when I get out of bible college. All the bad, brokenness, pain, shame - that's all the 'BC' stuff, and once you've been on the journey, nothing but blue skies.

Maybe let's call that place 'There'. No fear, no pain, your kids are perfect, your marriage is perfect, everything loves and respects you, you have all the money you could ever need.

On this side of the heaven, that is never going to happen.

In a lot of ways, I think the opposite is true. As you follow God and let him expose those deep dark parts of you, you'll become ever more aware of our own brokenness.

And what's crazy, is that as we become more aware of that, the more powerfully God is able to use us.


Picture a guy - written a great deal - NT.

Picture a guy that at this point in his life has written a great deal of the NT testament - he's saying that he's perplexed, broken, feel abandoned.

Isn't it amazing: Paul goes and writes the book of Romans and everyone is amazed! But sometimes Paul goes home and he's perplexed and frustrated and weak and insecure.

Paul goes and seeing people by the thousands coming to Christ b/c of his ministry and then goes home and he has his own issues that he has no idea how to fix.

Thorn in the flesh.

Pauls thorn in the flesh.

We don't know what that is.

3 times he goes to God and asks God to fix it.

Jesus appears to Him and says 'my grace is sufficient for you.' And the thorn remains.

The guy who writes more than anybody else on the transformative power of Jesus.

Still has a brokenness in him that he can't shake.

2 Statements

"The Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you. He … will also give life to your mortal bodies."

"Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?"

The same guy that talks about the same power that raised Jesus from the dead also says 'Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?'


Other heroes of the faith

Comforting and disturbing at the same time: So often these people who are greatly used by God are profoundly broken.

  • C.S. Lewis
  • Martin Luther King Jr
  • John Calvin
  • Charles Spurgeon - Depression

John Wesley

Minister and Theologian - In a lot of ways, the founder on Pentecostal Christianity.

Inner life - wreck

QUOTE NEAR THE END OF HIS LIFE

I do not feel the wrath of God abiding on me; nor can I believe it does. I do not love God. I never did. Therefore I never believed, in the Christian sense of the word. Therefore I am only an honest heathen…

If I ever have had that faith, it would not be so strange. But I never had any other evidence of the eternal or invisible world than I have now; and that is none at all, unless such as faintly shines from reason’s glimmering ray. I have no direct witness of anything invisible or eternal."

"And yet I dare not preach otherwise. And yet I find rather an increase than a decrease of zeal for the whole work of God and every part of it. I want all the world to come to know what I do not know."


In a lot of ways, I WANT my heroes of the faith to be invincible, perfect, awesome. But they aren't.


Churches.

Man, people can exist in a church until the church turns out to be led by basically regular people. I thought this leader was some superhuman. Never are.

You get involved in the ministry, you find there's always some little man behind the curtain, who's not that impressive. This is true everywhere. The Pope.

Here's the thing: If you spend enough time with anybody, you see that everybody's a regular person. And I mean everybody. Man, I used to look at these pastors like "Wow!!!" Everybody's regular.


Still looking - people around - bright & shiny.

For many of us, we're still looking for the people around us to be bright and shiny.

Expecting things from them that they can't give to us.

Ironic: when we think about ourselves, it's "Here I am, I'm not perfect, but doing the best I can." - Others: "The people around us are just so disappointing."

Relationships.

Met someone you thought was going to meet all these needs in you, were around them long enough to see they're just a realgar person. So disappointing. But now, you've got a new relationship.

Freedom is found in realizing that God's light shines through broken people. And that's the only kind of people there is.


We can spend so much of our lives guarded from others.

We can spend so much of our lives guarded from others.

Sarcasm You just always make wise cracks at everything. It comes off super strong and confident. No chance of anyone seeing your weakness. But it stops real connection. Helping you. Helping others.

For so many of us, we think we have to have it together.

What's crazy: you think that's what you have to do in order for God to use you, the opposite is true. This need to hide and cover is the thing that STOPs God from using you.

What you think is making you more useful to God's kingdom is actually making you LESS useful.

Even though it seems maybe obvious, or even funny, it's serious bondage for a lot of people. Their need to come into this room and act like they're just doing awesome!

Act "Awesome": But when they're not, they'll either just start being fake, or and is very common, stop wanting to come around. It's easier to not come and put on the charade.


Easter

I think what I really want to say to you: For many people in here, it's the month of Easter - for you, it's not as simple as easter bunnies and easter egg hunts, and all is merry in the world.

  1. God has not abandoned you.
  2. God desperately wants to use you, and where you're at in your story, right now.

You'll never know how much God is able to shine through your cracked, fragile story.

Here's what I'm suggesting: Instead of pretending that everybody's perfect all the time, we actually come to embrace the struggle, knowing that God's light can shine is amazing ways.


Jesus.

Of course this all comes back to Jesus.

Jesus stands alone.

He's the only one who doesn't disappoint.

You see Him and it frees you from having to act like you have it all together all the time. You become like Paul, like Jeanne who's not afraid to let people see your weakness.