[ Statement 2: We are all broken people who are being restored[i] and we value everyone who shows up. ]
I’m kicking myself because I forget[ii] that we have an enemy
Who lies and steals and cheats and kills and destroys[iii]
And manipulates and twists what’s good and true until it appears
Our world is bursting at the seams and falling apart[iv]
It’s breaking apart into a million pieces that I cannot put back together again[v]
But I know who can… And we belong to Him[vi]
When Satan sows destruction we’ll reap restoration[vii]
And I’m not saying it’s all sugar and spice, yeah there’s ups and downs in life[viii], but we’re saying[ix],
“You’ve got no business getting up in our business, you’ve got no right trying to steal our fullness of life”[x]
We’re here to take it back[xi]
We’re not naïve enough to think that anything we do amounts to anything without you[xii]
We’ve all got a bit “shady” in our past, but what’s done is done and we’re not looking back[xiii], no, we’re holding on to the truth that
That when there’s sadness, we still have joy;
That when it all seems hopeless, we have a Hope;[xiv]
that never ceases and meets us in our weakness;
That we have a peace[xv] that stands as an act of defiance[xvi] against the storm;
That there is so much more to life that we have yet to see;[xix]
That there is so much more that we have yet to be[come];
That we are deeply loved and infinitely valuable;
That you are deeply loved and infinitely valuable.
[i] The Salvage Yard Church was founded on the idea that we were to rescue and restore broken people and release them into lives of ministry in the name of Jesus. I always want to say right from the get to, sure, people are broken, but the word restored is the one in bold, not broken – let’s keep the emphasis there!
[ii] Over and over and over again I need to be “transformed by the renewing of my mind” (Romans 12:2) so that I am present in the spiritual realities that I live in. We are so steeped in ways of thinking and patterns of living that are counter-Bible, counter-Jesus, and counter-revolutionary faith. It irritates me that I settle in and forget simple truths – “We have an enemy…” for just one example – but as I apologize to God, spend time with him in prayer and studying the Bible, he does transform me and renew my mind, and things like this do start to become second nature. It’s not demeaning. It’s not shaming. It’s liberating! It’s a weight of my chest! It’s literal metamorphosis: “a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means” – Oxford Dictionary
[iii] John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. Watch Come&Live’s Columbia documentary through 41:00 minutes for a further example and explanation of this (and then watch the rest… it’s awesome!).
[iv] Sickness, injury, other infirmities, sadness and grief, depression, anxiety, fear, death, suicide, chemical abuse, addiction, physical, mental and emotional abuse, distrust, dishonesty and lies, broken social relationships, struggles for power, greed… yeah, it appears our world is falling apart.
From another angle, Sally Lloyd-Jones’ Jesus Storybook Bible offers an incredible perspective into the idea of a broken world (that is being restored!) that is woven into the story from cover to cover. It starts like this, though, with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden: “They had broken their wonderful relationship with him [God]. And now he knew everything else would break. God’s creation would start to unravel, and come undone, and go wrong. From now on everything would die – even though it was supposed to last forever…” It’s worth reading from start to finish to put the brokenness and restoration in context of the WHOLE story.
[v] Shoot… I have a tendency, especially when put in leadership positions, to think that I need to fix things in my own strength. I have to constantly fight against that inclination – it is impossible to fix what only God can fix. More on that in the song Jupiter.
[vi] Not “I know”, like “I have the correct information about who can do that,” but “I know”, like, “I have a relationship with that person.” And furthermore, we belong to him – he calls us his own and gives us the tools to fight and overcome, namely his Spirit, but also ways to live that counteract the lies of brokeness.
[vii] Take your pick: the list from footnote four, vs. healing, joy, peace, hope, freedom, courage, wholehertedness, trust, honesty, reconciliation, mental clarity, purpose, collaboration, generosity, honor, integrity, kindness, love… We ALL were broken, and there will be things that need fixing, but this is who we really are; we are heirs of this legacy. And moreover, it’s a work that God is doing through people here and now, not only reserved for after we die / heaven.
To see one of the ways that the brokenness is undone in the Jesus Storybook Bible (footnote 4), take a look at Mary as she runs back to tell the rest of the disciples that she has seen Jesus, back from the dead: “And it seemed that morning, as she ran, almost as if the whole world had been made anew, almost as if the whole worked was singing for joy – the trees, tiny sounds in the grass, the birds… her heart. Was God really making everything sad come untrue? Ws he making even death come untrue? She couldn’t wait to tell Jesus’ friends…” Again, it probably is much more worth reading the whole book for a richer context.
[viii] I mean, really. We know that it is only by having faults and failures and struggles that we know what it is like to have strengths, successes, and victories, right? Shoot, one thing that is promised to us is that we will be persecuted, so it’s definitely not like we’ve got it easy breezy. Jesus said, “In this world you WILL have trouble,” but then he said, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:23) Let’s focus on the awesomeness of the overcomer, not the lameness of the struggles in the way. For more on this, see the Salvage Yard sermon from Acts 21.
[ix] Saying this to Satan
[x] A key element of transforming our minds is realizing / remembering that the devil may have the ability to steal our fullness of life, but he has no authority to… he’s a thief and a liar, remember? For more teaching on this, listen to Curry Blake’s DHT. You can find a specific reference to this concept at about 53 minutes but it’s well worth getting the wider context.
[xi] The long story: Molly and Tim approached the elders of the Salvage Yard Church and asked them to pray over them because, try as they may, they were unable to become pregnant. As the elders prayed, Molly said she got a picture of a seized motor in her belly starting to spin. A month later, they told us they were pregnant! Praise God – this baby was prayed into existence! However, there were some complications when she was born which threatened her life and her mental development, and extended her stay in the hospital by weeks. After getting her home weeks later, Molly wrote and said that she felt like Satan had been trying to destroy this baby, in response to the testimony of her conception. It’s like he wanted to respond to her name–My God Has Answered–by saying, “No he didn’t.” And while she made it out alive, Satan had stolen a lot in the process. “Enough is enough!” we said. It was there, in the worst of times, that people at the Salvage Yard gathered around them together. We prayed with and for them. We spoke truth to come against lies. Jen played “Take Back” from United Pursuit band for worship and together we proclaimed, “We’re gonna take back all the enemy has stolen”. For me, I found myself standing firmer against the enemy and, looking back, I see this as a formational kickstarter in my/our reliance on God in the very texture of my/our living – thinking, acting, speaking – and in declaring his kingdom as being here and Satan’s as being defeated. But it’s not just for the Salvage Yard – his kingdom is alive and able to redefine the lives of all believers.
[xii] Nearly quoted verbatim from David Pierce speaking at Steiger / Come & Live’s Provoke and Inspire Minneapolis 2016 conference. Coincidentally, two years later Ben Pierce says in his book Jesus in the Secular World, “It’s incredibly naïve to think that we have the skills or the resources required to make a lasting difference.”
[xiii] Something that I’ve been learning (far too slowly) is a better perspective on brokenness. That everybody’s got it without Jesus and it’s all put right with him. And that, as one who possesses the Holy Spirit, I don’t need to be impressed or intimidated by anybody’s brokenness. Too often, I skirt around issues or just freeze up around, you know, “messy stuff,” instead of having compassion and living in the truth and freedom of Christ and just being like, “Yep, shoot. I had some of that too once… and I still screw up but God is bigger than that!” That’s, like, the guts of our Who-We-Are statement – That it doesn’t matter where we came from, it matters that we’re ALL being restored and we value ALL the people that show up to be a part of that process together. Our identity is now found in Christ. Scripture throw down! Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, they are new creatures; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” And Philippians 3:13-14: “…forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
[xiv] Namely, Jesus
[xv] Wait, check this out… Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” When writing this, I just picked three things that were in high contrast to the despair, hurt, and anxiety that I see so much of, but it turns out it’s the same things that are in this verse, that we can abound in through the power of the Holy Spirit!
[xvi] Not just bears up against the storm, but stands up in active defiance. A key shift in our thoughts and actions happens when we see Christ and his kingdom advancing as proactive instead of reactive. John Wimber’s Power Evangelism says it like this, “Who is attacking the territory of the other, Christ or Satan, and what difference does the answer to this question make to Christians? The difference affects our attitude and stance towards Christian life. If Jesus is the invader, Satan is consigned to the defensive. We become offensive soldiers, taking territory and redeeming lives—we are Christ’s co-belligerents.”
[xvii] We must never forget who we are in Chirst. But because we know who we are, we can know how much he loves others. This is SO important. Jesus LOVES other people!
Dan Mohler from Best of Power & Love 1 again: “Who pays $100,000 for a $20,000 car? You’d be a fool, right? But yet the blood of Jesus was spent for you. So the gospel reveals your amazing value.”
[xviii] Mark Johnson speaks from the grave! One time, Mark visited the Salvage Yard while speaking at Crown College. He referred to this line from his talks at Crown (it’s message 2) and an interview form Radio New Zealand (the Crown talk lends itself better as a resource to this song). It stuck with me and I always wanted to write a song about it. It seemed to fit both themes of being personally loved and valued, and carrying forward the value that God has for other people – “we value everyone that shows up,” not because you’re cool or you belong to some scene, or because you earned your value somehow, but because you simply are valuable.
[xix] Again, this can be much more richly captured in the entirety of Josh Garrels’ Father Along, from which I nearly ripped off these lyrics: “There’s so much more to life than we’ve been told and it’s full of beauty that will unfold and shine like you struck gold my wayward son…”