Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Breakthroughs in Our Brokenness

Chris Carpenter - Director of Internet Programming

Michael Catt, senior pastor of the Sherwood Baptist Church, has had a tremendous amount of success in recent years as the executive producer of several movies including, Facing the Giants and Fireproof.  As is the case with each and every one of his movies, revival is the number one priority.

Believing that revival is the key to our survival and spreading the Gospel, Catt has written a series of new books focusing on the overwhelming power of God.  The first is called The Power of Desperation: Breakthroughs in Our Brokenness.

CBN.com Program Director Chris Carpenter recently sat down with Michael to discuss why revival is so important to America, what possibly could be good about being broken, and why God sometimes allows people to sink to pitiful depths before restoring them.

What was the inspiration for writing this?

As I was studying Scripture and reading the miracles, the miracles always, in great moments in biblical history, happened around desperate times: the Exodus, the wilderness, Joseph, Job, the woman with the issue of blood. You just look through it: breakthroughs happen in moments when it seems there’s no way out.

I understand this is part one of a three-part series of books.  What are the three parts?

Power of Desperation deals with brokenness.  The Power of Persistence is about intercessory prayer.  And the third one is The Power of Surrender, which will deal with revival, personal and corporate revival.

Why is revival so important to this series?

I believe it’s the only hope for America. If we don’t have a spiritual movement in this country, every indicator of post-modernism in our culture and the secularism in politics, the humanism—I mean, just make the list. If we don’t have a breakthrough of God in this country, which we haven’t seen in over a hundred years, we’re destined to destruction.

You mentioned that The Power of Desperation is about brokenness.  What could possibly be good about being broken?

Well, the first answer to that is we live in a culture that talks about a self-made man and picking yourself up by the bootstraps and making something of yourself. And what God’s trying to do is make us nothing so He can be everything.  Brokenness takes all the me out of me.  What people need to see in a believer is Christ, my personality under the influence of the Holy Spirit, my gifts under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Not my gifts, not my personality. That’s what the world offers.  In brokenness we realize that I don’t have anything to offer except what the Holy Spirit has done inside of me. And it’s Jesus living in me and coming out of me in such a way that people say, “Why are you different?”

The book is called The Power of Desperation. My question is what is the power of desperation?

I think there’s power with God. Let’s take Jacob, for example.  He was a wrestler. He was a conniver. He was a twister, always scheming. And he was broken. He wrestled with the messenger of God. And his name was changed to Israel, which means “power with God and power with men.” Jacob tried to have power on his own and never had it. When he walked with a limp, which was a reminder to Jacob the way up is down, every time he took a step his hip went down, and it came back up. It was a reminder, “I go up by going down.”

It seems like there are more and more people who are broken and desperate, many of them Christians. Why do you think that is? In other words, when we accept Christ we’re supposed to be new creations, yet it seems like many people, fall right back into the same old place.

I think some of that is a misconception of what the Christian life is, that when I come to Jesus, all my problems are gone, not understanding that there’s a dying daily to self and a taking up the cross daily. We’d like to eliminate those parts of the Bible and just talk about the blessings and the abundant life. But the abundant life is one side of the coin; dying to self is the other side of the coin. And I try to say to people that when you get desperate, you realize that it’s not either/or; it’s both/and. I have abundance in desperation. Some of the richest people in Christ I know are not rich by the world’s standards. Some of the most blessed people I know that are the greatest blessing to me are not people that the world takes note of.  They are men and women of whom the world is not worthy, because they’ve walked through valleys.

How does a person know when they are at the bottom of themselves?

I think it is different for everyone.  I think when you hit bottom you find out it’s solid ground. As long as there’s one more way of escape, as long as I can make one more phone call, send another email, call in another favor, I’m not desperate. I’m desperate when all the doors are shut and all the windows are locked and it’s just me and the Lord, and I’ve got to go to Him because He’s my only way out of this situation.

You have been quoted as saying, “Most of us never seek the Lord until we are forced to,” Why do you think that none of us think about the Lord until we have to, and we’re there?

It goes back to “be all that you can be,” “you deserve a break today,” “have it your way,” all the slogan philosophies of life that have infiltrated our faith. It is in abiding. It is in surrender. It’s in the power of the Holy Spirit. And sometimes we relegate the Holy Spirit to worship. We want the Holy Spirit to be in our worship services, but the Holy Spirit wants to walk with us Monday through Saturday. There’s not a dichotomy in our theology between what we do on Sunday and what we do during the week. And when you get to the end of yourself you realize, “I can’t function without God putting me one step in front of the other. I cannot function without Him.” And as long as you think you can, which the children of Israel thought they could—they get to the edge of the Promised Land and they said, “Well, we don’t know. We’re going to take a vote on that,” which is the only committee God ever allowed, “We’re going to take a vote on that.” And then when Moses tells them the consequences of acting in their own self-interest and according to their own opinions, they said, “Oh, we’ll go take the land.” He said, “You’d better not, because God’s not going to go with you.” The same thing happened in Ai: this great victory in Jericho when they realized they were totally inadequate, and then they say, “Ah, there’s just a little town over there. We’ll just send a little militia. The rest of us will sit by the shore and drink lemonade.” And 37 got killed. Why? Because they thought that they could win that battle on their own.

Why does God sometimes allow people to sink to such pitiful depths?

We live in a fallen world. We have an enemy that fights us, resists Christ. I mean, Christ suffered, the sinless Son of God suffered. And He said, “In this world you’re going to have tribulation,” and I think that’s a reality. That doesn’t mean that God doesn’t bless. It doesn’t mean that God doesn’t heal.  It doesn’t mean that God doesn’t intervene in miraculous ways, but it is in those crisis moments that we have a greater witness

Final question, how can we as believers in Jesus Christ, reach out to someone who’s desperate, who’s suffering from desperation?

I think the greatest thing we do with people who are desperate is we just love them, we’re there for them. They don’t need speeches from us. They need an arm around their shoulder. They need to know we’re praying for them. And sometimes they just need to see us sitting in the corner praying. I think we try to say too much. We try to be profound. And we don’t need to be profound. I’m sure that Barnabas, when he partnered up with Mark, Barnabas probably just sat there and put his arm around him and just said, “It’s going to be all right, son.’

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