In this week's podcast we hear from Dana Buck. Dana is a Sew Powerful board member and author of 'The Sew Powerful Parables,' both in book and podcast formats. Today's engaging talk is one he recently shared with the congregation of Renton Christian Center. Dana focuses on John 12, verses 20-24 to help us understand how the broken can become beautiful. Listen for the story of the truck driver with a bad heart and the young widow with a life insurance policy. Then you will probably need a tissue, I know I did, as Dana reads his original work, 'Broken Teacups.'
Broken to Beautiful with
IN THIS EPISODE
Jesus, broken people, seeds, Greeks, God, Lazarus, Philip, oxymoron, Sweetly Broken, Renton Christian Center, Sew Powerful, Sew Powerful Parables
Sew Powerful Parables, by Dana Buck, ©2019 by Dana Buck, all rights reserved
Bible References: Book of Isaiah, John 12:20-24, Psalm 34:17-18
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The Sew Powerful Podcast shines a light on the people behind the mission to keep girls in school and create purposeful products in Zambia. Join us every week for a new 30-minute episode to meet new people, hear inspiring stories, and learn how you can join us in this global movement. Whether you sew or not, make purses or not, you will find something to enjoy in every episode. Listen today.
Host: Jan Cancila
Guest: Dana Buck
Dana Buck, Guest 00:00
If you're feeling, not even humility, if you're feeling depressed, or if you're feeling your self-worth is down, you're feeling like dust, remember, it's dust that God uses to make beautiful things. And if you're walking around like all this and a bag of chips, and confidence, remember you're dust. Remember you're dust, and so humble confidence, what would seem to be an oxymoron, God puts together into the way he would have us live our lives, doesn't it? In humble confidence. Humble because I know all good things come from God. Confident because I know all good things come from God. See how that works? I mean, it's just yeah. So, when we start to let God fit stuff together, that in the in my, you know, earthly or worldly point of view might not make any sense to me. But in my, in my view, point of view through my relationship with Christ, suddenly it all makes sense.
Jan Cancila, Host 01:03
Welcome to the Sew Powerful podcast. This is your host, Jan Cancila. You know, the sound of my sewing machine means it's time for another episode. So, let's get started. In this week's podcast we hear from Dana Buck. Dana is a Sew Powerful board member and author of The Sew Powerful Parables, both in book and podcast formats. Today's engaging talk is one he recently shared with the congregation of the Renton Christian Center. Dana focuses on John 12, verses 22 to 24 to help us understand how the broken can become beautiful. Listen for the stories of the truck driver with a bad heart and the young widow with a life insurance policy. Then you will probably need a tissue- I know I did- as Dana reads his original work, "Broken Teacups." Please enjoy. Here is Dana Buck.
Sweetly broken that saw Brandon I hang out every Tuesday night together. We work on a podcast together. And he's awesome and great engineer and makes me sound pretty, you know, pretty lead pretty understandable. And so he asked me what I was, you know what I was going to talk about and I told him why I had to send something to Annie because Annie to put something on the website. So, I said is going to be "From Broken to Beautiful." And I kind of love oxymorons. Oxymorons are kind of fun, you know: jumbo shrimp ....... military intelligence. Yeah. That was a good one. Hot water heater. It's already hot. Why do you heat it? Makes no sense. But oxymorons are always kind of fun. And so when the worst of humans practicing and there's just a little time of just kind of setting the tone this morning. And Kevin got up and kind of close that time. And he said, I have two words for you. He says humility, and confidence. And so when you kind of look at those two, like or I could shorten it into humble confidence. Humble confidence, which, to the to my non-Christian years would sound like an oxymoron. Well, that's one of those oxymorons. But when you live in the kingdom of God, you realize the kingdom of God is full of oxymorons. Alex said one today. Find, you want to find life, lose it. You want to be beautiful, be broken. Kevin's whole thing of bring it up was, Hey, if you're feeling incredibly humble, and you just realize, you know, because they were just doing, you make beautiful things out of the dust, that you're just dust. But remember, that's what God makes beautiful things out of. So if you're feeling, not even humility, if you're feeling depressed, or if you're feeling your self-worth is down, you're feeling like dust. Remember, it's dust that God uses to make beautiful things. And if you're walking around like all this and a bag of chips, and confidence, remember your're dust. Remember you're dust, and so humble confidence...what would seem to be an oxymoron, God puts together into the way He would have us live our lives, isn't it? In humble confidence. Humble because I know all good things come from God; confident because I know all good things come from God. See how that works. I mean, it's just yeah. So when we sort of let God fit stuff together, that in the in my you know earthly or worldly point of view might not make any sense to me. But in my in my view, point of view through my relationship with Christ, suddenly it all makes sense.
One of the things, we're going to jump back into the book of John, this morning, because that idea of broken to beautiful, actually fits really nicely. Let me just say this about going through a book going through a book of the Bible. Here's what we usually do pastors usually do it speakers usually do. I do it, everybody does it. You carve out a section of Scripture, right? A story of Jesus, or a principle or whatever, and you carve out that section of Scripture, and you read it, and then you talk about it in context. Nothing wrong with that, right? Nothing wrong with that it happens all the time. And it's a way for us to learn the precepts of God and the stories of Christ and who we are in Jesus. But there is something really, really valuable about understanding the context of these stories in the Bible as they unfold, particularly in the Gospels. Now, you can definitely pull these stories out individually and, and and read them and preach on them and learn from them. But when you do that in context, that's why I'm so appreciative that Kevin is taking us through the book of John, not just, you know, helicoptering, you know, droning down on certain verses, but taking us through, because I think it's really valuable to see and understand the context in which these things are happening and unfolding.
So Jason talked to us last week, when last we left our players, right, Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead. They had a big party, and they celebrated Lazarus resurrection. And Mary in this wonderful, amazing act of worship, you know, breaks the...anybody, remember what that perfume was called? Nard? Yeah, the nard. Doesn't sound, particularly beautiful. Nard. But she breaks it and anoints Jesus and wipes his feet with her hair. And, you know, Judas gets all upset, hey, we could have sold that. And Judas said, basically says Judas was the guy that was dipping into the till.
But Jesus says, you know, leave her alone. That was something that was important for her to do. She was he was she was preparing Him. This was the same type of spice and perfume that they would use when somebody died. And that she was preparing him for that. And so, and it basically says that the Pharisees were seeing all of this, that they saw, you know, Lazarus was raised from the dead. And they saw that the people were overwhelmed by that. But all they could think of was they want not only wanted to kill Jesus, they wanted to kill Lazarus, because of the witness that they had. See, to see, you see this story kind of unfolding as like, you know, Jesus has fed the 5000. He's healed. He's preached. People have heard him. Now He's raised Lazarus from the dead. That's really got the buzz going. And after this, after he has this party with, with Lazarus, and his family, and all these people are there, the very next thing that happens in the Gospel of John is the triumphal entry. Jesus enters into Jerusalem. Now John, in his gospel, doesn't really make much of a fuss about it. It's kind of just, you know, a few lines before he goes into kind of the next story. But he talks about how the people came, and they wave the palm branches as Jesus entered into the city of Jerusalem. And then this next story occurs, which we're gonna go into in a second.
But I want to I want to kind of back us up a little bit, because the people of Israel were waiting for a Messiah. The people of Israel have been waiting for a messiah for 1000s of years. The people of Israel were under the oppressive rule of the Romans. They wanted a Messiah. And suddenly this guy comes along, who raises the dead, heals the sick, all the prophetic things in the book of Isaiah that they said the Messiah would do. And he raises Lazarus from the dead. So when he's going to enter Jerusalem, I used to wonder is that you know, again, when you helicopter the Bible a bit, here's what I used to wonder. Like, why? Because when we celebrate Easter, it's like Palm Sunday. And then what's the next Sunday? Easter. So in between those two, what happens on Friday? They kill him. And I remember I used to, like go, where these people that were like waving the palm fronds on Sunday, and now all of a sudden Friday, they kill him? Like Pilate brings Him out before the people. And it says it's customary during your Passover, to free a prisoner who's condemned to death. Here is Jesus Christ and whom are not Christ hit but here's this Jesus, who I find no fault in. And here's Barabbas a murderer, a crazy dude, you know, whatever. Who do you want? Free Barabbas. Free Barabbas. I used to look at that and go, What? These are the same people waving the palm fronds that were saying, Free Barabbas. Free Barabbas. What happened in that period of time? What happened at that period of time was they didn't understand who their Messiah was, that their Messiah was going to be the suffering servant. What did they want? They wanted the conqueror. They wanted the man to ride in, they wanted the sword, they wanted the Romans eliminated. They wanted the restoration of the kingdom of Israel. They want that's what they wanted. And that's what and when Jesus came riding on a donkey's colt humble. And as we're going to see, talking, and preparing his disciples and the people for the fact that he was going to be killed. That's not the Messiah they wanted. So on Friday, they were done with him. Give us Barabbas, crucify him, give us Barabbas. And a lot of that was egged on and was you know, didn't have social media. Imagine if they had social media back then what the Pharisees would have been posting, right. Oh, see, we told you is fake ..... Lazarus wasn't dead. He was, you know, bah, bah, bah, he's a phony. But that's what happened word of mouth or whatever. Sunday, he was the Messiah, Friday. Free give us Barabbas. And so like what happened between those? And and so the story that we're going to read here is, is part of that. So I'm going to be in John 12. And I'm going to start in verse 20.
Now, there were some Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast. They came to Philip who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. Sir, they said, We would like to see Jesus. Philip, went to tell Andrew, and Andrew in turn told Jesus. Now, this is one of those verses that, you know, does anybody here have a red letter Bible in your lap right now? Yeah, I do to my red letter. This is one of those verses that we just ..... because I want to get to the red letter. I want to get to what Jesus said. So we just got .... Philip. Great. And what does Jesus have to say? But hold on there because this is kind of important. Now these Greeks when we read that they probably weren't from Greece. You remember that the Roman Empire inherited the empire of Alexander the Great. Alexander the Great conquered the known world. Alexander the Great died. He did it by the time he was 33 years old. He died. There was no successor; he had no son; there was no kingship to pass along. Alexander had five generals that were his key generals, and the Empire of the Greeks was parceled up amongst these five generals. So, it became actually five smaller empires. And so when Rome rose Rome, picked those off one by one. So, Greeks could be anywhere. And Greeks was almost a transferable term to the Jews for like a Gentile. Oh, you're not Jewish, you're a Greek. Well, these were Greek converts to Judaism. Now, did they live in in Jerusalem? Did they come in for the feast? They probably came in now they could have been from Greece. It could have been from Athens, who knows? But they probably weren't. They probably came in from one of the surrounding regions. They hear this buzz about this guy, Jesus and ... so. So, isn't it interesting that the Greeks go to Philip and say, Hey, we want to talk to Jesus? Do you know why they want to Philip? Because Philip is a Greek name. Alexander the Great's father was Philip. So, the Greeks wanted to see Jesus and they said let's go ask this dude Philip because he's got a Greek name. And maybe that's going to be some way for. So, when you understand all these little nuances, right, it's like these are human beings that are navigate that we forget that have motives and plans and whatever. And so, they go to Philip and they say, we really want to see Jesus. We want to meet with Jesus. Does Philip like Oh, awesome. Let's go. I know, right where he is. Let's Let's go see him. No, Philip like, goes and talks to Andrew. Like, what's that all about? Why does Philip go talk to Andrew? And then Andrew and Philip together, go talk to Jesus. So obviously, Philip wasn't sure if he should do that. And so, Philip goes to Andrew and and they discuss it together and then you know, they finally do go to Jesus, but there's several reasons for that. And we remember the Messiah belonged to the Jews. That was their mentality. And then suddenly here were these they were they were Jews by by religion because they had adopted Judaism, but they weren't Jewish by ethnicity. If they would have taken the You know, 23andme, they went past it, right? They weren't Jewish, by ethnicity. And suddenly, this sort of non-Jews wanted access to Jesus. Not only that, but the Pharisees, were just looking as we know, we're just looking for anything. They're constantly trying to trap Jesus in something so they could arrest Him. And, and Philip probably knew, like, Holy smokes, man, if I bring these Greeks, these non-ethnic Jews, to the rabbi, and he starts teaching them, what are the Pharisees going to do with that? We're cooked. Oh, my gosh, what am I going to do? Because I don't want to deny access to somebody that wants to see the teacher. That's not the right thing to do. I know, I'll go ask Andrew. Andrew's a smart guy. That must be what he did. And Andrew said Oh, geez, man, I can see why. You know what, dude, let's just go ask Him.
So, they don't bring the Greeks In fact, you never even hear the Greeks after that. It's like, let's, um, let's go ask Him. Let's go see what He says. So now we get such the setup for this conversation that Jesus has with them. And I think they probably thought it was going to be this discussion about do you want to meet with the Greeks or not? That's what they thought. Do you want to see these Greeks or not? You know, here's the risk. Here's the rewards. What do you think, Lord? And Jesus, ever done this was somebody? Like you, like, ask him a question, and they just go sideways, somewhere? Jesus kind of just go sideways. They probably asked him this very straightforward question. And instead, he goes into this metaphor. Let's, let's kind of see what that is. So, here's, it says Jesus replied, so they ask them, Hey, these Greeks want to come see you. What do you think what should we do? These are probably the risks. You know, blah, blah, blah, here's what Jesus says: The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified. I tell you the truth. And this is what Alex shared from the top. Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Jesus, do you want to see these Greek guys because they want to come meet you. And then Jesus tells this story. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me. Where I am, my servant will also be. My father will honor the one who serves me. He doesn't even answer their question. But what he's preparing them for is, guys, it's going to be different. From this point on, it's going to be different. And then he tells them the story about this wheat. As you know, with any seed or whatever, you take a seed, it's a single seed. And you it's almost like a it's almost like a burial. Well, it is a burial, right? Dig in the dirt, you put the seed in, and you cover it just the same as we would if we were, you know, interring an individual or whatever. So, the metaphor Jesus uses is saying it dies. Now we know you know, the seed isn't dead, obviously. It still has the capability of life. But if that seed, if I had just hoped I could make this is the coolest seed ever.
So, I have a bird feeder in my backyard, right? And I put the I put the bird seed in there. It's this mix of bird seed. And I'm sitting on my patio yesterday. And this I and I can hear something like it's like it's raining. And I'm like what's going on? And I can, I can see the ground and all this bird seeds like falling on the ground. And I'm like, What in the world? And I get up to look and there's a squirrel. And he's, he's digging through the stuff he doesn't want to get the seed he does want because there's sunflower seeds in there and stuff like that. So, all the other stuff he's ...... But then he gets the seed he wants. Oh, that's the one I want. And then he sat there and ....., And it was a baby squirrels only like this big. So, I just let them have it. Whatever. Yeah. So, if I'm like that squirrel, I, this is a cool seed. I love this seed. Seed, it's awesome. I'm never gonna plant it. I'm just gonna hold it. I'm just gonna hold it and enjoy it and look at it and rub it because it's nice and smooth. Is that seed ever gonna produce anything? No, it's not. That seed has to go into the ground and be covered. And then Jesus said, If that happens, and again, he uses a wheat seed because they can understand that it could be any seed. If that happens, it's going to grow, and it's going to produce many seeds. What he was basically saying to them is, if I am going to be put into the ground, it's because I am going to produce many seeds. And in the context of them coming to him and saying these Greek guys want to meet you. What do you think? This was what Jesus was explaining. It's not just about you, 12 dudes, it's not just about, you know, the little villages around Galilee that we've been wandering to. It's now going to be about the whole world. And he's explaining to them that the son of [man] and and then he puts himself in the role of that seed. The son. This is what will happen to the Son of Man. But then he does something that probably shook them up if they understood what he was saying, because he turns around and says to them, the man who loses his life, a man who loves his life will lose it. While the man who hates his life in this world, we'll keep it. And I don't know that Jesus actually meant love and hate there. And like the ..., I hate, you know, my daughter used to do that. You know, she broke a nail, she'd go, I hate my life. That was her like thing, I hate my life. I was just her little exclamation. I don't think Jesus meant it like that. Not that I hate my life. But it's like, do I love this seed so much that I'm just going to hold on to it? Or do I realize a greater truth about life and how life works. And I'm actually going to plant that and release this thing that I think I love, and do what appears if you don't understand the, the, how, you know, planting and harvesting and growing works. It's like, he must hate that seed. It was so beautiful. It was so he you know, he stuck it in the ground. Now he did stick it to the ground. He covered it with dirt. He must you know; he must hate that seed.
That's what Jesus was talking about. In your life do you love this life so much, that you're not willing to be broken. Because he was going to be broken. And then he basically says, if you're going to follow me, then you're going where I'm going. And they didn't all the way understand what that meant yet. They were going to understand what he meant about going where I'm going. But they were starting to get it because he was laying out the clues. If you're going to follow me, you're going to go where I'm going to go. If you're going to follow me, you're going to be broken. And that wasn't just for Philip and Andrew, when he said if you're going to follow me, he wasn't just talking to Philip and Andrew. He was talking to all of those that would follow him. If you love this life so much, then you're going to lose it. The oxymoron. Try to save your life, lose it. Give up your life. For my sake, find it. One of those beautiful, awesome oxymorons of faith. You want to save your life lose it? This is the answer that He gives it to Philip and Andrew when they say hey, do you want to meet the Greek guys? Broken to beautiful. What Jesus was explaining in that little metaphor about this he was he was explaining the concept of broken to beautiful. Man, I just want you to think for a minute on those words, those three words broken to beautiful. And I want you to ask God to bring something to your mind where you saw maybe in your own life, maybe something happened to you or maybe somebody around you where you saw broken to beautiful.
There was a video that I should have looked this up and I should have Maybe another time we'll do it. But Kevin did this for the youth group. And I'm going to get some of the minor facts wrong. So excuse me that I do this, but it was a video and it was a girls’ softball game. And it was a champ some kind of championship game. And the team that was at bat, ninth inning, bottom of the ninth, two outs. Runner on first; they're down by one run. This girl's up to bat. Last at bat of the game. And this championship on the line. This girl hits a home run two run home run. And as she's leaving the batter's box run to first base, she tears her ACL and falls flat on her face in the dirt. Now the rules of softball are she has to complete the circuit of the bases in order for that run to count. If she can't complete the circuit of bases, she's out and the game is over. Her teammates cannot help her. That's against the rules. They can't come do anything. They can't bring another runner in for her at that point anything. She's laying in the dirt about four feet from first base where she's blown out or ACL in the championship game. The other team's gonna win. Other teams got it, they're gonna win. Two girls from the other team come out onto the field and get on either side of this girl and they pick her up, one under this leg with their arm around this way and another girl on that side. And they walk as you might see in this video? We got we got to show it. They walk this girl around the bases and touch her foot on the base first base, second base, third base home plate and then she gets in an ambulance and goes to the hospital. Those and those girls lost the championship but what did they gain? That young lady that blew out her knee was broken. But that event was beautiful. And without the brokenness, you don't get the beautiful. You know what if she'd hit that home run, and traipsed around those bases, and jumped into the arms of her teammates at home plate as she crossed the plate, that would have been a wonderful moment for them, and for their fans and their family and whatever. And then the next day, that moment would have been gone. And life would have continued. But I'm talking about something that's five years ago, six years ago. This happened five or six years ago, and I'm talking about it right now.
Brokenness in Christ leads to beauty. And we curse brokenness, don't we? We do. We avoid it. We don't want it when we're in it. All we want is out of it. Brokenness brings beauty. Sweetly Broken, one of my favorite songs. Total oxymoron. Total oxymoron. Think about it. I'm sweetly broken, I'd rather not be sweetly broken, I'd rather be sweetly whole. Yeah, sweetly broken is one of those beautiful oxymorons. He makes beautiful things out of the dust. Oxymoron.
I've had the privilege in my life of helping to facilitate some sweetly broken moments. And want to tell you just two stories. So when I was at World World Vision was a World Vision many, many, many years. And and I was a new fundraiser, you know, I moved from I had a career in human resources. And I decided I wanted to switch careers. And I went into fundraising. And I remember having like the dark night of the soul, when you like, switch your career, I know you switched careers, you know, that feeling? And I remember talking to a buddy at work, and I said, Oh my gosh, man, I think I made a big mistake. Because I was like the expert at World Vision, human resources. I mean, everybody came to me for everything. And I wrote all the policies. I mean, I did all that stuff. And I walked away from that and thought I was going to be this fundraiser. And so, I'm telling this guy, oh, man, I think I made a big mistake. I made this career suicide, what am I doing? And he asked me to go, so you feel inadequate untrained, ill equipped, blah blah blah why go to all of those things. He goes, you're right where God wants you. Best word I ever got in my life. So, I was like, Okay, and so I took this job. And I remember the boss that hired me. It was a brand-new department. They were just starting this new fundraising thing. And I went in there, and I, here's what I expected. This is what happened when they bring in new fundraisers. They go, here's your list of donors. And this is the group that you work. And this is you know, what you do, and you raise money from these folks, and blah, blah, blah, it's like, okay, great. Well, that's what I thought was gonna happen. So, I walk in, and she like goes, there's no list. That this group has no donors. We have to just do it from scratch. So, I'm like, Wow. Okay. And you know, what I knew that when they bring a new fundraiser in into the established fundraising areas, they had about 18, they weren't expected to hit any kind of an income goal for about 18 months, because that's how I took to find your feet and build relationships. These are major gifts, like gifts that are, you know, five figures, six figures, that's how long that took. And I knew I knew my organization well enough to know that they didn't have a lot of patience when you weren't hitting goals. And I thought, Oh, my goodness, this is something. So, I thought, okay, I just got to figure this out, I'm going to do this. So, I was really good friends with the person that ran the Phone Center at World Vision. I said, here's what I want you to do. Any phone call, you get that you don't know where to send it, because World Vision at all these programs, right sponsorship and clean water and.... on this. And you know, people call in, you know, they knew where to send those. But occasionally somebody will call in, you're like, Oh, I don't know where to send this call what this person wants to do. And I told them, I said, anytime you get that call, send it to me. And I used to call that panning the ore. I would pan the ore to find the diamonds, right? There were diamonds. There were diamonds. There was a lot of ore too. But there were diamonds. And so this one day, I get a message from the phone center. And so, we got a phone call from this truck driver in Gig Harbor and he wants to talk to somebody from World Vision. Can you give him a call? Yeah, so I actually he was close to Gig Harbor said why don't you know why don't you come on, and let's have coffee? And we sat down and his name was Mark Wagner. This was 2000, 2000 maybe? I took the job in 2000. So, it's probably that year. And so, Mark and I have coffee and Mark was 30 37 years old, I believe, truck driver. And again, this was in the early 2000s. Mark had a failed valve in his heart.
Now that surgery now is like an appendix surgery. I mean, they replaced valves now all the time and the success rate is, what is it Toby 98% or something probably. That's become a very standard surgery. In 2000, it wasn't. The survival rate was the success rate was about 50/50. The survival rate was not, you know, wouldn't make you optimistic. Let's put it that way. And so, Mark had had to have this surgery. So, he goes in, and he has the surgery, and it's a success. Mark's a Christian. Yeah, it's a success. And Mark says, Man, I got it. Because what was happening was he was he was tired. He couldn't, he couldn't, you know, he would walk, you know, six feet, and he have to sit down. And because this blood wasn't circulating properly, and they told him unless you have this surgery, you're probably not going to live. And so, Mark went had the surgery. And so, Mark said, I just wanted to celebrate life. And so he goes, I ran a marathon, I trained, and I ran a marathon. And he was the first person ever to run a marathon after this surgery. That was awesome and so, and he told me, he goes, I ran that marathon for me. He goes, I want to run the next one for God. And I said, was that mean? He says, I want to run a marathon. He said, I want to use that marathon to raise money to help the poor. Can you help me? We have any program. And by this awesome woman that worked for me to get to know the world, Lori Humphreys Laurie was my Lori was the brains I was the good looks. Lori was the brains, basically. And so, we said I was just so taken with him. And I just said, because he told me he goes, I've called the American Heart Association. I've called I've got this is when racing for charity was very, nobody was doing it. There was a few really small ones out there. But there there really wasn't that. And so, I said, Well, Mark, we're gonna figure out so he says, I'm signed up for an event in Vancouver Washington or Vancouver, Vancouver, Canada, no, Victoria, Victoria, Canada. I'm going to run this marathon. And that's the thing. So, Lori, and I put our heads together, like we got to help this guy realize his dream. So, we had nothing automated. Well, we made up forms that he could take. And he went and spoke in churches and told people what he wanted to do. And people would fill out a sponsorship form to sponsor, you know, Mark in his marathon. And we tied it to children suffering from HIV AIDS in Africa. So that's what his money was going to go towards. And so, the day of the race came, and so my [wife] Grace went with me, great. We and Karen Cardis, a really, really good colleague of mine at World Vision, we all went up to Victoria to watch Mark run. And Mark ran his marathon. And I think he raised you know, $8,000, just on these forums, going to churches, asking people to sponsor him. And that was awesome. And so, we had this little debrief with Mark afterwards. Invited him in the office, and I wanted him to meet certain people, you know, and so with this little debrief, and so we can do that at a lunch, and I'm thinking we're done. You know, Mark, awesome job. And this always happens to me. And then Mark pulls me aside and he goes, Dana, there's tens of 1000s of people like me who would do this for charity, if they had something that they could plug into and do. And then he challenged me. He said, there's thousands of us out there. And so long story short, Lori and I and Karen created this program called Team World Vision, which allowed athletes that we're doing any kind of, of athletic activity, to be able to create a website, you know, now this is as common as you know, mashed potatoes, create a website, ask people to sponsor you online, and then go run your race. And Team World Vision at World Vision is going to celebrate its 20th anniversary next year. It's the largest faith-based racing charity in the world. From Mark Wagner. From this one guy. They actually wrote a magazine article on him. They called him runner zero. He was the he was the very first guy from one seed, a guy a 35 year old truck driver with a bad heart. That's who God would pick though, isn't it? God wouldn't pick some Olympian or whatever. God would pick the 35-year-old truck driver with the bad heart. And out of one seed became many. World Vision now uses that program to raise money for clean water. And they've provided clean water for hundreds of 1000s of people around the world through these races that people run. Broken to beautiful.
So, I'll tell you about one more person, somebody that's really dear. Her name is Kelly Sim. Kelly. Her husband Jonathan worked with me at World Vision for many, many years. And several years. This was oh, gosh, how many years ago was this? This is probably about 2004 2005. There was a severe famine in North Korea. I mean, people were dying by the thousands every day and World Vision was doing. It was a very tenuous, very dangerous, very controversial program to provide feeding for starving people in North Korea because North Korea is the enemy, right? But, you know, Jesus, what does Jesus say to do with your enemies? Feed them love them, right. So, Jonathan was constantly flying from Seattle to Korea, to monitor and do this cross border feeding program. And Jonathan got a blood clot in his leg that you can get from sitting on these long flights. And the blood clot moved, broke loose from his leg and it went to his brain. And he lost consciousness and was taken to the hospital. And I got a phone call. Jonathan's in the hospital. And so, I go to the hospital. And Kelly, his wife meets me outside and she says, I need to talk to you privately. So, I said, okay. So, I didn't know Kelly that well, I knew Jonathan really well, Kelly and I met a few times, but I didn't know her that well. And so, Kelly pulled me aside and she said, I have to go into the room and make the decision to take him off the life support machine. She said, I have to go do that right now. Because she says there's no brain activity, there's no hope. And, you know, she's telling me this, and I'm like, What? And she said, I want his life to count for something. And she said, so we have 14 sponsored children that they would did as a family. He said, Would you look at our, the villages where our children are, would you find a village that needs a school, and I want to build a school in my husb... And this is while our husband is still on life support. And she's got to go in and, and they have two small kids, and their kids were two and four at the time. And she said, I want you to find me a village that needs a school and I want to build a school in my husband's name. And so, I gave her a hug, Kelly went in, they took Jonathan off life support. I went back to World Vision, looked up their donor record, saw the villages, grabbed a buddy named David Shaiman from the Africa region, and said, help me find something. And so, there was there these these prospective projects that would be written by these different programs around the world. And there was a Chikanta, Zambia, there was a little village that needed a high school. They had no high school, and the kids would have to walk 15 miles to the nearest High School. So, they would walk on Monday, 15 miles, go to high school. Stay in abandoned huts and houses and then walk back on Friday. That's how they did school. And so this village, this community needed a high school. So we got in touch with that community told them kind of the story. They say we will name it the Jonathan Sim Legacy School. And Kelly, Jonathan had a life insurance policy, Kelly tithes out of his life insurance policy, got the ball rolling, she did fundraising brought... I'll tell you that's that's a whole other story brought some other fundraisers in alongside of Kelly. And we were able to go to Zambia and cut the ribbon on that on that high school. And it's still there today, the Jonathan Sim Legacy High School. From broken to beautiful. And now these kids, it's one of the most modern high schools because Kelly wanted to do. It's got solar power. They have labs so the kids can do science. It's one of the it's one of it is in the middle of nowhere. I mean, Chikanta is nowhere-ville. But this beautiful high solar powered High School is in this community. And it's just an amazing and amazing place from broken to beautiful, from broken and beautiful.
I want to read you guys just to close this want to read you guys a story. This may be my favorite of all the ones that I've written. But this one, this story is called Broken Teacups. And I just want you to think broken teacups. And I just want you to think about that concept of broken to beautiful as I read this story to you, okay?
Psalm 3417 through 18 says the righteous cry out and the Lord hears them. He delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. He's talking about us. This isn't stuff He does for other people. He's talking about us.
Once there was a little house set on a country lane, some might call it ordinary, nondescript or plain but that would be deceiving. For in truth, we all know well, sometimes the simplest dwellings have the grandest tales to tell. And so, it is this morning as we venture through the door and to a lovely parlor with exquisite oaken floors. A room that's set aside, exclusive, proper, and held dear, considered extra special by the lady living here. This space so intimate has felt her decorator's touch from the fine handcrafted table to the maple china hutch. Resplendent in simplicity and always clean and neat, it serves as her daydreaming place, asylum and retreat. For here upon a papered wall, a shelf is firmly hung, holding treasured symbols, memories to which she's clung. Fragile, dainty teacups, quite exotic and antique. Each could tell a charming tale if only they could speak of 40 years of marriage, as her thoughts cascade and drift to her kind and thoughtful husband, Jim, and unexpected gifts. Teacups were her favorites. He'd surprised and he'd say I bought this for my darling just because it's Saturday. They'd laugh and he would hold her. Then he'd whisper in her ear. Each time you see your teacups, know how much I love you, Dear. All those special moments had become this fine collection. Precious now that she was left with only recollections. Illness in its time had finally overcome her Jim. And so she loved her tea cups, for they made her think of him.
Down the road a mile or so from where resides our lady lives a quiet shy young man whose given name is Brady. Brady is an artist. Well, at least he tries to be, painting portraits, landscapes, sometimes selling two or three. His art income is modest, nothing left for fun or frills. Commissions are infrequent and they rarely pay the bills. And so, he chases other work, odd jobs that may arise bringing in the money for his paint and art supplies. Today he'll be a handyman for someone he adores. The lady living down the lane. He'll wash and wax her floors. She keeps him rather busy, and he suspects the reason why has more to do with loneliness than skills he will apply. Every week she has a task. It could be lawn or gutters, fix and oil a hinge upon a squeaky door or shutter. She'll call him to the parlor there present his modest fee. Invite him to sit down a while and have a cup of tea. She'll ask about his painting, any news of sales or shows and what he's done and doing those she well already knows. For each of them their solitude these moments interrupt and Brady fancies tea with her out of her fancy cups.
Arriving at the front door Brady smiles and rings the bell. Our lady quickly answers in a voice that he knows well. Moving to the parlor as they visit and they chat, she gets a mop and bucket while he hangs his coat and hat. She tells him she'll be upstairs changing sheets and pillowcases and he can wax the parlor till they both can see their faces. They share a hearty laugh. She mounts the stairs, adjusts her shawl, and Brady moves the furniture from parlor into Hall. He's just a bit distracted as he clears the chairs away. He's thinking about the painting that he started yesterday. The color scheme he chosen, the dimensions and the scale. He dips the wrinkled mop head and the warm and soapy pale.
Perhaps a different texture, I could finger paint he jokes and starts to move the mop around with long and sweeping strokes. As he ponders whether oils would contribute or corrupt, he barely missed the edge that holds the saucers in the cups. Pulling back the handle, elbow cocked and carried high he barely missed the edge as he conceives a painted sky. While planning where the clouds he'll paint will fade from gray to black, he pulls upon the mop and takes one fateful half step back.
The handle hits that shelf just like a swinging wrecking ball and lifts it from the hangers fastened to the parlor wall. Floating for a nanosecond frozen in midair, the shelf and cups and saucers almost seems suspended there. But this is not enchantment, or a wizard’s magic hex. No spell can change or alter what is going to happen next. Brady with a face as white as England's Cliffs of Dover watches helplessly as fate and gravity take over. And 40 years of memories of love's exquisite lore of time and tears and tenderness come crashing to the floor. Brady stands immobile, unbelieving in despair, as quick and urgent footsteps loudly echo down the stairs. Then moving to the door while Bray then moving to the doorway there to stand with mouth agape, the lady let's a mournful Oh, and choking cries escape. Brady cannot find his words for what heartfelt expression do you utter when you smash someone's most prized possessions? I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, hung ineptly in the air. The lady moved unsteadily to sit upon a chair. Maybe I can fix them. I'll go get a broom and a box and broom. Brady leaves the mop and pail and rushes from the room. Running back and urgency and sweating like an ox Brady gently sweeps the shattered pieces in a box.
He turns to face the lady where she sits with wounded grace. Tears have left the grist glistening trail of grief upon her face. I have glue and towels and tweezers and a magnifying glass. He's stammering and stumbling speaking anxiously and fast. I know it looks impossible, but maybe I he pled then carried in mid sentence when she sadly shook her head. Brady, as she choked her words, her voice had cheerless grown. There's nothing you can do now. And I think you should go home. He stood there just so miserable. His feet like granite blocks. Stiffly he extends his hands and offers her the box. No, she said now distantly defeat infused her eyes. Please dispose of that for me. Then bowed her head. Goodbye.
Time, the plodding healer. In the nights and days gone by hasn't yet removed or dulled the thoughts that made her cry. It's not the loss of things themselves. No, that was not the treasure. 'Twas what they brought and mood and the thought that always was the pleasure. And now there's just an emptiness, an effort to recall the beauty that once found itself there on her parlor wall. She knows that gloom and moping won't reverse these aching hours and so she plans to spend the day outside amidst her flowers. Putting on her bonnet and a pair of gardening gloves she ambles to the porch to leave the thoughts of things she loved.
Standing in her doorway, something there catches her eye, sitting on the topmost step in paper wrapped and tied. She lifts it from the platform holds it firmly in her hands, is pulled back in the house by curiosities demands. Entering the parlor on the table sets the thing, retrieves a pair of scissors, oh, so gently cuts the strings, tears the wrapping paper where it's firmly taped behind. Then stares in silent wander as amazement fills her mind. A beautiful mosaic lies within the lacquered frame. A single ornate teacup is the image there ordained. Reds and blues and turquoise seem to shimmer and to dance. Appearing carved by purpose with purpose and not fragmented by chance. Skillfully assembled by an artist's loving hand, she's never seen a work of art so elegant. so grand. She leans upon the table for a careful, closer gaze, and what she then discovers she'll remember all her days. A gasp of exaptation from a joyous heart erupts. This masterpiece is fashioned from her broken, shattered cups. And lying with the paper, something she'd not seen before, a small and sealed envelope, the front her name had bore. Removing a handwritten card, she teared up as she read words that touched her very soul. And here's what it said, My friend, I'm just so sorry for my awful careless act. I made 1000 wishes that the deed I could retract. But knowing I can never change the past and make it right, I hope that you'll accept this gift that peace it will invite. I trust that God most merciful does surely understand. He takes our broken pieces and within his loving hands, the fragments that are jagged, sharp, unusable, discarded, when rearranged by Him, become redeemed and well regarded. So may this humble effort made of porcelain and glass reminds you that his faithfulness will comfort you and last. These words brought such tranquility and healing to Our Lady. For at the bottom, it was signed, Affectionately, Brady.
She finds herself emerging from the sadness that encased her and feels as if Almighty God himself had just embraced her. Now filled with new excitement she attends to one detail, bringing to the parlor, both a hammer and a nail. Placed with great intention as her gloom and sorrow flea, she hangs the bright mosaic where her tea cups used to be. She wouldn't trade this gift for all the paintings in the Louvre and knows within her heart of hearts that Jim, he would approve. With joy as her companion, she retrieves the card and pen smiling to herself, she thinks about a special friend. Then sitting in her parlor, there is no place she'd rather be. She starts a note, Dear Brady, won't you have come, won't you come and have some tea.
From broken from broken to beautiful, amen. God is the master artist. And and what we think is broken and shattered and unusable and destroyed and unfortunate and pick your adjective, in the hands of a master artists, God will take those broken pieces, and reassemble and that's what that song means, Sweetly Broken. That's what it means the our brokenness rearranged by the master artist into something beautiful. Isn't that awesome? That's what God does. And that's his promise for every one of us. Broken to beautiful. Lord, we just thank you that you are you are the God of oxymorons. You don't conform. The the world just doesn't recognize you doesn't understand you thank you so much that you give us a chance to get a glimpse of who you are, that our brokenness can become so beautiful, when we offer it to you. So Lord, I just would ask that wherever we are, in our lives today that we offer all that we are whether it's we're feeling joy and wholeness or whether we're feeling brokenness, and and that shattered feeling. God may we look with confidence to the master artist who is going to rearrange the pieces of our lives into something incredibly beautiful, not just for us, but for the world as well. For if the seed dies, and falls and it is buried, it will grow again and it will bear much fruit. Thank you that you let us be a part of your kingdom. In Jesus name. Amen. Amen. Be joyful. As you go today broken beauty. Amen. Amen, amen.
If what you've heard today inspires you to want to make a difference. I urge you to explore the Sew Powerful website at www dot Sew powerful.org that's SEWPOWERFUL dot ORG. The website has great information about the organization. It's where you can download the free purse patterns or even make a donation. We hope you will join us again next week when we bring you another Sew Powerful story. Thanks for listening. Now, go out and have a Sew Powerful day.
ABOUT THE HOST
Jan Cancila has been making purses for Sew Powerful since 2014. She serves the organization as Director, Global Volunteerism, the Area Manager for Shows and Events-Mid/South USA and as the Houston Regional Coordinator. She was a public speaking major at Hanover College and holds an MBA from Our Lady of the Lake University. Jan had a 25-year career with The Coca-Cola Company before owning and operating a linen and party rental business in Houston. She is married with two grown sons, a lovely daughter-in-law and two remarkable granddaughters. Jan’s published work includes more than 100 online articles for Examiner.com. Reach Jan with comments or suggestions at email@example.com.