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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Kerry Shook » Kerry Shook - Bring It To God

Kerry Shook - Bring It To God

Kerry Shook - Bring It To God
TOPICS: Brokenness

Someone last night said margaritas, so I'm glad you didn't do that. Mm-hm. Well, we all know that it's a proverb that encourages us to stay positive in the face of sour circumstances that come into our lives, and to make something sweet out of them. But I've gotta say, when I'm going through real adversity and walking through overwhelming pain and hurt, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade" sounds a little trite, like a feel-good surface-level statement that doesn't seem very helpful. And apparently, I'm not the only one that gets a little sarcastic about this saying. I came across these newer humorous twists on this little proverb, and you might like a few of these. The first one is, "When life gives you lemons, freeze them and throw them as hard as you can at your enemies". And this one says, "When life gives you lemons, squirt the juice in the eyes of the people that make your life difficult".

But here's one that really expresses what we feel like doing with the lemons that life gives us. "When life gives you lemons, chuck it back in life's face". And I think, if we're all honest, we all wish we could, but that's not an option. You don't get to choose what circumstances come into your life, but you do get to choose your response. And that's why we're starting a new series this weekend that I'm calling "Lemonade," because we're gonna look at what the Bible has to say about turning life's lemons into lemonade, and it's not about having a surface level positive attitude that ignores the reality and the depth of pain. It's all about bringing everything that comes into our lives, even the sour circumstances, and giving them to God, so that he can give us the sweetness of his peace, and he can take all my adversity, all my pain, all my heartache and brokenness, and make something beautiful out of it, for his glory and my ultimate good.

So, I want you to open your Bibles to the book of James, chapter 1. We're going to do a little study of James chapter 1, verses 2 through 4. And would you stand in honor of God's Word, Woodlands Church? And just follow along with me. This is really an eye-opening passage, because it goes totally against human nature, but yet it's supernatural, and it's powerful, and it's life-changing. "Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well- developed, not deficient in any way". You can be seated.

I want you to focus in on that first phrase in that passage. "Consider it a sheer gift". Consider it a sheer gift when lemons come into your life. Consider it a sheer gift when trials and problems and pain come into your life. He's saying you need to get a whole new outlook on adversity. You need to get a whole new perspective on the problems and pain that come into your life. See, the Bible teaches that our greatest adversity is really our greatest opportunity for God to work a miracle in our lives. The Bible teaches that our greatest problem is really our greatest possibility for God to take us to a new level and bring new paths, to bring changes, and new possibilities, and new blessings into our lives.

The Bible even teaches that failure is a gift, that our greatest failure God can use and turn it into a stepping stone to take us to true success. I really believe you can't have true success without failure first. But God can even take our failures and turn them into a gift. Really, I could've called this message, "The Gift of Pain," but I'm not sure you'd have come today if you saw that. But that's really what it is. It's the gift of pain, and that's really even hard for me to say, because I know I hate pain. None of us want pain to come into our lives. We want to avoid pain. Pain is a great gift, but it's a really unwanted gift. No one wants pain, and God uses some different types of pain as denial busters in our lives to try to break through, so we'll stop running from our pain. And the first is pressure. God uses pressure.

In James 1:2, it says, "You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors". So, the pressure just reveals the brokenness, and it forces us to face it. Now, can you imagine for just a moment that you've never, ever seen a lemon. You've never tasted a lemon. You've never seen a lemon. Just imagine that for a moment, but yet you tasted an orange. You know what an orange tastes like. You know the sweetness of an orange. You've had orange juice. And so you'd be probably thinking that this lemon tastes a lot like an orange, just a smaller version of an orange. It's just that it's yellow. That's probably what you would think.

Now, of course, when you cut this lemon open, and you squeeze this lemon, what comes out? Sweet orange juice. No. Sour lemon juice. When you cut this lemon, you squeeze this lemon, what comes out? Sweet apple juice. No. Sour lemon juice. When you cut this orange, and you squeeze it, what comes out? Sweet grape juice. No. Sour lemon juice, because when the pressure's on, and the lemon gets squeezed, what comes out? Whatever is on the inside is going to come out. And when the pressure's on in your life, and life squeezes you, whatever is on the inside those broken places, they're going to come out. But yet we blame our circumstances when the pressure's on. Maybe you have an anger problem, and then you blow up, and you say, "I don't know why I did that. I'm just under so much pressure right now. I've got so many problems, and so many stresses. I mean, that's just not like me. I just blew up because of that".

And we blame our circumstances. No, those circumstances, that pressure just brought out what was already inside you to begin with. It was already a broken place in your character that just brought it out. Or we blame others. We say, "If my wife would just change, then everything would be great". "If my husband would just stop doing what he's doing, then I wouldn't do what I'm doing". And we just blame other people. "Or, you know, it's really my boss that causes me to act this way". We say, "Well, the pressure, I wouldn't have done that without the pressure". Well, of course, it's just the pressure that brings out what's already in there; because when life squeezes you, what's on the inside is going to come out, and it just reveals the broken places in your life, and God allows the pressure in my life so that I have to face those broken places in my life, those things that were already there.

It's just the pressure brought it out, because whatever is on the inside is going to come out when life squeezes you. But if the pressure and the pain of pressure don't break through, then sometimes God will allow crisis to come into your life. That's when an earthquake hits your life, and you're stunned, and you're reeling, and you realize that you can't make it through this one. He wakes you up to turn to God, the only one who can really hold you up, when you realize that this problem is just too big, this pain is just too much to really get through this time. It can be an illness. It can be a loss of a job. It can be the breakup of a relationship, but it's that gut punch that really wakes you up to the fact that you need God to get you through, that you need God to heal the brokenness that's in your life, because this one is just too big for you to get through.

And sometimes God loves you so much, he will allow crisis to come into your life to get you to the place where you realize you can't get through this on your own. So, you realize how powerless you really are to make it through. Well, you see, if the pressure doesn't wake you up, sometimes God allows a crisis to wake you up, to break through that denial, to realize that you're broken, and you need him so desperately, and you're so dependent upon him. But if the crisis doesn't work, God loves you so much that many times he will allow a failure to come into your life. In Psalm 119:71, David said, "My troubles turned out all for the best, they forced me to learn from your textbook".

You see, sometimes God allows us, when we're going down the wrong path, to experience pain and failure and make a total mess of things, so that it stops us in our tracks, and we can get back on the right path. And David's saying here, "I'm so glad that I had the pain of failure, when I was going down that path, because it forced me to turn to God and his textbook for my life". I was writing my own textbook, doing what I wanted to do in my life, and then the pain turned me to my purpose. I wasn't thankful at the time. It seemed like the worst thing at the time, but the trouble turned out for my best. It was a gift, because now I'm looking to go God's way, and I'm finding true fulfillment.

That's why many times God doesn't rescue us from the pain of our failures. Because he's a loving God, there are times when I'm going down the wrong path, that he'll allow me to fail and feel the full pain of my failure, so that I can learn from it. It's the pain that connects us to the learning many times. It's like, I never want to go that way again. I learned from it because I've been burned from it. And by the way, really, the freedom to fail is the freedom to grow. And God gives us the freedom to fail. He doesn't rescue us. Without the freedom to fail, you don't have the freedom to grow.

Now, this has profound implications for parenting. For those of you who are parents, if you always rush in and rescue your kids from the pain of their failures every time, you do them a great disservice, because you're saving them from a little bit of hurt now, but you're guaranteeing them a world of hurt later, because they'll have to learn that lesson the hard way. They've gotta learn that lesson sometime, and many times when it's later it's much greater. But we're always trying to rescue ourselves and rescue others, but God loves you so much that he will let you fail and experience the pain of your failure. You get burned, and then you learn, unfortunately. And success can really fool you. You know that, don't you?

There's nothing wrong with success. It's just that success can really fool you to think that you don't have many problems, to think that you're not really that broken, to think that when you're going down the wrong path, it's okay because you're having some material success. You're having some worldly success. You're having some achievements. You're getting some accolades. People think you've got it all together, and that will really fool you. Nothing wrong with success. What you really need is significance, and that only can come from God when you admit your brokenness, no matter what others think about you. When you avail your brokenness, you get that healing from God, and that makes all the difference. But don't dare let success fool you. That's why so many successful people crash and burn in different areas of their lives, because success really tricks you into believing that you're not that broken like others who are failing. And God will allow failure in our life to wake us up.

Then if failure doesn't work, then God will allow a total collapse. Sometimes God will step back and let us just feel the full brunt of our dumb decisions, and our whole life collapses, so everyone can see it. Maybe it's an emotional collapse, a relational collapse, a family collapse, a financial collapse. It's when you hit rock bottom, and there's no place else to look but up to God, and you know your whole life has collapsed, and you can't ignore it any more. Everything is falling apart, and you can't ignore it anymore. It's evident for all to see it's a total collapse. And God loves you so much that he will let it all collapse, so that you can't run from the pain anymore, and you'll turn to him.

If that's what it takes, I mean, the worst thing that can ever happen to you when you're going down the wrong path is for nothing to happen to you, because that means that you are turning from God so often, and you're rejecting God's ways so often that he's not stopping you. That's the worst thing that ever happened to you. The best thing that can happen, when you're going down the wrong path, is for God to allow that failure to come into your life, for God to allow that pain to come into your life, for God to allow that crisis to come into your life, because he loves you so much, and he doesn't want you to go down that wrong path and waste your whole life. He wants you to bring the brokenness to him. He will even, if this is what it takes, allow collapse in your life, so that all you can do is look up to him.

But don't let it come to collapse. Let the pressures of life help you face your brokenness, admit your brokenness. And so the first thing we have to do is stop running from my pain and turn to God, and then also tell someone else you trust. This is really important. Get honest with God about it instead of thinking, "I'm not that bad. I can just clean up my act a little bit. I can fix it myself". No, you can't. We're all broken. We're all a mess on the inside. So you admit your brokenness. You bring it to God, but then you tell someone you trust, because that's when everything changes. You're only as sick as your secrets. And when you begin to tell someone you trust, that struggle, that sin that you're not breaking through, that's when God begins giving you victory.

When you bring the brokenness to him, he can bring blessedness out of it and then believe God can heal and restore your brokenness. Stop running from your pain and turn to God, but then you've gotta believe that God can really heal and restore you. Believe that God can really give you victory. Believe that God can really restore the broken places in your life. In Colossians 1, verse 15, it says, "Christ is the visible image of the invisible God". So, Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. What that means is if you want to know what God is like, you have to look at Jesus Christ and what Christ is like. We can't see God, but Christ lived upon this earth so that we know what Christ is like.

And there are three essential things that we see in Christ's life that really point us to what God is like and help us to believe that God really can restore and heal the broken places in our lives. The first one is really important. God knows your hurt, God knows your hurt. In Matthew 9:36, it says, "When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd". When Christ looked into the crowd, he didn't just see a crowd. He saw each individual part and each individual hurt, and he looked right into their hearts. He saw past the outside, and he saw the sour hurt. He saw the wounds in their heart, the broken places in their hearts, and he didn't judge them for that.

The only people that he criticized and he came after were those who tried to show themselves like they had it all together: the Pharisees, the religious leaders, those who didn't admit their brokenness. But the crowd, who was hurting so deeply, they knew how broken they were. They knew how desperate they were. And Christ looked right into their hearts, and he saw each individual hurt. And today someone out there is thinking, "Nobody really knows how bad my marriage is and how much it's hurting, how much pain I'm in". Maybe nobody knows, but God knows. God knows about it. He sees right into your heart, and he sees the hurt. Some of you are thinking, "Maybe nobody knows about the stresses in my business. I'm just trying to keep it all together, and I'm not sure that I can".

God knows. He looks right into your heart, and he sees your hurt. He doesn't judge you for it. He doesn't judge you for the broken places. He just wants you to bring it to him, to stop running from the pain and admit it, turn to him, and tell someone that you trust, so that you can have someone in it with you, praying for you. And someone out there is struggling with the same old sin over and over again, and you're thinking, "Hey, nobody knows the mess in my life. I look like I've got it all together. I mean, I'm a Christian. I come to church all the time, but I've got a mess in my life right now". God knows. God knows, and he's not judging you for it. He just wants you to bring it out in the open, so that he can begin healing and restoring your life.

Jesus Christ looks right into your heart, and maybe no one else knows. He knows, he knows, but also he cares. God cares about your hurt. It says he had compassion on them. His heart was breaking for everyone's heart that was breaking that he looked into. His heart was breaking for those who were trapped in their sins and their brokenness. His heart was breaking for those who had been wounded so deeply and were holding on to that hurt. His heart was breaking for every broken place and every broken heart. He cares about what you're going through. Maybe no one else cares, but God cares, and that's all that matters. But then this is really important. God can heal your heart. He's not just a benevolent grandfather somewhere in the sky that really knows your hurt, really cares about it, but he can't do anything about it. He wishes he could, but he can't. No, God can heal your broken places.

In Luke 18:27, it says Jesus replied, "What is impossible with men is possible with God". There's nothing that God cannot handle. There's nothing that God cannot heal. And don't you tell me he can't do it. I don't know what impossible situation you're facing, and I'm not talking about denying reality. I'm not going to tell you, "Oh, when life gives you lemons, just make lemonade". Because you can't make lemonade on your own with the lemons that life has given you, but you give them to God, and God will give you his sweet peace in the middle of it, and he can heal the brokenness in your life. You're not so broken that God can't bring healing. Because I don't know what impossible situation you're facing, and I think it's important just to admit it's impossible. I can't get through this problem, I'm not going to be able to carry this pain, there's no way that I'm going to get through this situation. It's just too great for me. It's just too painful.

But then you bring it to God, and that impossible situation becomes God's miracle. The mess in your life becomes God's miracle in your life. That adversity in your life becomes your greatest opportunity for God to do a miracle in your life. That problem in your life becomes your greatest possibility for God to take you to a new level, and new blessings, and a new path to get you to your purpose. That great failure in your life that you're trying to hide, that's the very thing God wants to turn into a stepping stone that will take you to true success. And don't let anyone fool you. Anyone who's experiencing true success has gone through failure. God wants to take all the brokenness, and he wants to restore it.

So, I've gotta believe that God can do it. I've gotta stop running from my pain, and turn to God, and tell someone I trust; but then, secondly, I've gotta really believe that God can restore and heal my brokenness. Because if I don't believe that, then I'm not gonna really turn to God. If I don't believe he really has the power, then I'm just gonna keep anesthetizing my pain. I'm just gonna try to keep hiding my brokenness. If I really don't believe that God has the power, and he cares about me, and he is for me, then I'm not gonna come to him. I'm gonna hide from him. But then, thirdly, I've gotta give God my brokenness and let him begin healing and restoring my life one day at a time. I've gotta give God my brokenness and just let him start the healing process and daily give that brokenness to him, so he can heal a little more, and a little more, and renew my mind a little more and a little more in his Word, and keep trusting him a little more and a little more.

In Jeremiah 17:14, it says, "Lord, you alone can heal me, you alone can save me, and my praises are for you alone". Think about that. That word "alone" is mentioned three times, because it's God alone that brings healing. It's God alone that can take the lemons that come into our lives and make lemonade. You can't make lemonade with the lemons that come into your life. Oh, you can make lemonade with lemons. Just add some sugar. Add some water. But only God can really add the sweetness of his peace. Only God can really turn your adversity into an opportunity. Only God can do that, and he loves to do that.

In Philippians 2:13, look at it with me. It says, "For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him". That is the verse I want you to meditate on and memorize this week. This makes all the difference. For God, who is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. God wants to change your desires; and when he comes into your life, he changes your heart, and your heart has a desire to follow him. Your heart has a desire to turn away from sin. But he also wants to give you the will and the power to do what pleases him. It's not willpower, because you can't make lemonade from the lemons you have. It's God's power. When life gives you lemons, bring them to God.
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