Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Fallen on the Rock

Leslie Basham : In 1995 Nancy Leigh DeMoss spoke to the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ in Ft. Collins, Colorado. Her subject was brokenness.

Recording of Nancy Leigh DeMoss in 1995 – Campus Crusade: When confessing their sin, proud people tend to deal in generalities, but broken people are able to deal under the conviction of God's Spirit to acknowledge specifics.

Leslie Basham: As Nancy spoke, God was stirring the hearts of that audience. Here's Dave Warn.

Dave Warn: When Nancy DeMoss finished speaking, something happened in that room that is hard to put into words, even to this day.

Kathy Helvey: People were starting to weep.

Leslie Basham: This is Kathy Helvey.

Kathy Helvey: They were starting to get out of their seats and kneel by their chairs. People were holding people as they were crying.

Dave: And there was a sense where the Holy Spirit descended on the whole crowd at once.

Kathy: People were getting up out of their seats, going across the auditorium, and hugging people, making things right with people.

Dave: There was a sense of conviction that was more powerful than anything I'd been a part of up to that point.

Kathy: And this went on, not for twenty minutes, but for hours.

Fernando Ortega singing:

Pass me not, O gentle Savior; hear my humble cry.
While on others Thou art smiling, do not pass me by.
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Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It's Wednesday, August 3, 2011.

Fernando Ortega singing:

Savior, Savior, hear my humble cry.
While on others thou art calling . . .
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Leslie Basham: This week we’ve been listening to a message Nancy recorded in 1995 for the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ. That message had a big effect on the audience that day and I think you’ll get a lot out of it as well. If you can at all possibly help it, stay with us for the next 20 minutes or so as we continue exploring the important topic of brokenness.

Fernando Ortega singing:

. . . do not pass me by.

Recording of Nancy Leigh DeMoss in 1995 – Campus Crusade: Are you a broken person? You say, "Where do I start? How do I begin in this lifestyle of brokenness?" First certainly, we need to come to see God as He really is. The closer we get to God, the more we will see our own need.

I think of Job, a righteous man. He endured intense suffering as part of that cosmic plan of God and the warfare between heaven and helljust a bit player in a sense. But under the philosophies and input of his friends, Job began to reveal a heart of self-righteousness. He spent many chapters defending himself and protesting his innocence.

He talked on and on and on until finally God said, "I'd like to speak." And for chapters God began to reveal Himself and His ways to Job who, when God finished, Job could barely breathe. He said, "Oh God, I had heard of you with the hearing of my ear, but now my eye has seen you. And now I abhor myself. And I repent in dust and ashes" (Job 42:5-6). No more self-righteousness, rather a broken man pleading with God for mercy.

I spent most of the last 7 months in the book of Isaiah, and how God has met with me there. You read the fifth chapter and see Isaiah, this great servant of God, pronouncing woes (Isa. 5:8-30).

  • Woe to them who are materialistic!
  • Woe to them who are proud!
  • Woe to them who are sensual!
  • Woe to the hedonistic pleasure seekers!
  • Woe to the immoral!

He had the list down.

Then we come to the first verse of chapter 6. Isaiah sees the Lord high and lifted up. "Holy, holy, holy" (v. 3). And no longer is Isaiah seeing himself in the light of all this sinful wicked people around him, but now he sees himself in one light only, and he's in the light of the holy, high, and lifted up God.

He says, "No longer woe to them." The first words out of his mouth as he sees God are, "Woe to me. Woe to me" (v. 5). See God as He is. Get into His presence, and in His presence we will see ourselves as we really are.

Then fall on the Rock. Jesus said, "I am the rock and if anyone falls on this rock, he will be broken. But anyone on whom the rock falls, it will crush him to powder" (Rom. 9:33 paraphrased). Don't wait for God to break you. Fall on the Rock, on Christ Jesus who was broken for you and begin the habit with the publican of crying out, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner." With David, "Have mercy on me, Oh God."

Then I find such a practical step in developing a lifestyle of brokenness is the need to acknowledge and to verbalize need, both to God and to others. To God, that I might live with the roof off saying, "Oh Lord, it's not my brother; it's not my sister. It's me, O Lord, standing in the need of prayer." To cease my blaming. You see, there is no brokenness as long as the finger of blame is still pointing at another.

When I acknowledge my need to God I say:

Nothing in my hand I bring.
Simply to thy cross I cling.
Naked come to thee for dress.
Helpless look to thee for grace.
Fowl I to the fountain fly.
Wash me Savior or I die.
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I'm learning not only to acknowledge need to God, but to acknowledge need to others. You see, there is no brokenness, no true brokenness, where there is no openness. Does that mean every sin I confess needs to be confessed to every person I meet? Certainly not. But I tell you, the broken person is willing for others to see him in his point of need. He's willing to be transparent, to be honest. He's willing to say, "Will you pray for me? I have a need. God's dealing with me in this area."

A number of years ago God's Spirit brought deep conviction to my heart that I'd developed a pattern in my life of exaggerating the truth. God began to show me that it was lying, that I lied to make myself look better; to make a better impression on others than was honestly true. I found myself in brokenness before God coming to confess that sin, looking to Him for cleansing and victory.

I'll tell you friends, the victory did not come in its fullness until I was willing to find two godly people and confess openly my sin before them and say, "Would you pray for me that God would deliver me from the sin of lying?"

I want to tell you, with that brokenness and openness before God and before others, as painful as it was at the time, came unbelievable freedom and deliverance to speak the truth to every person and every situation regardless of the cost. Brokenness brings release of His life through us.

Finally, to be broken, to live that lifestyle of brokenness, to do the very thing that you know God wants you to do, but your flesh least wants to do. The heart attitude of humility and obedience says before God, "Yes Lord, I will obey You."

There's a chorus sung frequently in some of the student revivals we've been talking about:

Pass me not, oh gentle Savior.
Hear my humble cry.
While on others thou art calling.
Do not pass me by.

I think of that blind beggar who heard that Jesus was coming his way and he cried out, "Oh Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Listen! Proud, unbroken people won't pray that way. They see no need for mercy. Those who are rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing will not cry out for mercy. But those who've been face to face with the crucified Savior, a holy God, can cry out for mercy. That's the cry of the poverty-stricken heart that acknowledges its great need.

Brothers and sisters, Jesus is passing this way. He wants to visit us. He wants to release His Spirit through us and He can and He will when He finds humble, broken, contrite hearts that have been emptied of self that He might fill with Himself.

(Singing)

While on others thou art calling, do not pass me by.1

Leslie: We’ve been listening to a message Nancy Leigh DeMoss delivered in 1995 on the subject of brokenness. Everyone who wants to follow Jesus needs to grapple with this topic. If you missed any of it, you can listen at ReviveOurHearts.com. I hope you’ll follow up by getting a copy of Nancy's book, Brokenness: The Heart God Revives. We’ve packed it along with two other books from Nancy called, Surrender and Holiness. We’ll send you this hard cover trilogy in one volume when you donate any amount to Revive Our Hearts. Get all the details at ReviveOurHearts.com.

When Nancy first delivered the brokenness message to the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ, it had a profound affect. The response of those gathered is an example to us as we get ready to take any needed steps towards brokenness. Bob Lepine is the co-host of the radio program FamilyLife Today. He was in the audience in 1995 when Nancy delivered the brokenness message. He talked with Nancy about his memories of that day.

Bob Lepine: The first thing that struck me as I listened to you speak, was how thoroughly biblical what you were saying was. The theme was certainly biblical but it wasn’t just a biblical theme you were expounding on. You were speaking God’s Word to us. You were taking us to passages, and you were showing us how the Lord had spoken to your own heart about these passages. As I turned in my Bible and followed along with you, there was a fresh sense of understanding of how important this theme of brokenness is to the heart of God.

I remember specifically as you described how a horse is broken, using that illustration.

Recording of Nancy in 1995: Even as the horse that has been broken is surrendered and sensitive to the direction and wishes of its rider. . . . It's a lifestyle of saying, "Yes, Lord. Not my will but Yours be done." Brokenness is the shattering of my self-will so that the life, the spirit, the fragrance, the life of Jesus may be released through me.

Bob Lepine: We tend to think of brokenness being a crisis.

It's a crushing. It's something that is . . . well, if an appliance is broken, it doesn't work. But a horse that is broken goes from being a horse that is untamed and wild and self-directed to directed by the rider. That was a perspective on brokenness that was fresh for me and gave me an understanding that we're to live our lives in a perpetual state of brokenness.

Recording of Nancy in 1995: Brokenness is a lifestyle of responding in humility and obedience to the conviction of God's Spirit and the conviction of His Word. And as His conviction is continuous, so my brokenness must be continual.

Leslie Basham: Tim S. was in the audience that day as well.

Tim S.: I think that the part of her message that God used to set off His revival that happened afterward was when she contrasted a broken, contrite heart with a prideful heart.

Recording of Nancy in 1995: Proud people have an independent, self-sufficient spirit, but broken people have a dependent spirit and recognize their need for others.

Tim S.: I keep that list in my Bible today and occasionally will look at it during a quiet time. It's hard to not go through that list without seeing some aspect of sin ooze up out of the surface and the Holy Spirit point His finger at you and say, "That's real. That's active in your life right now. You need to deal with that."

Recording of Nancy in 1995: Proud people claim rights and have a demanding spirit, but broken people yield their rights and have a meek spirit.

Leslie Basham: Here's Bob Helvey and his late wife, Kathy. They heard the brokenness message. Here they are recorded in 2005.

Kathy Helvey: As she started saying, "And this is what a proud person is . . ." She'd list something, and then she'd list the opposite of a broken person.

Bob Helvey: The differences between the two were so great. It was like a fog just kind of lifted from my eyes and gave me the opportunity to be honest with myself about what kind of person am I really.

Recording of Nancy in 1995: Proud people have a subconscious feeling, "This ministry is privileged to have me and my gifts."

Kathy: And I sat back to my shame kind of smugly thinking, "Well, that's not me. I can tick that off. I'm not that one. I'm not that one either. Well, maybe that one." But as she started rolling with that list something happened within me, an honesty, facing issues in my life right there in my seat. I started thinking, "Oh no. Yes, yes, I'm that. Yes, oh yes, I've done that. Oh, that is me."

Recording of Nancy in 1995: Proud people are defensive when criticized. Broken people receive criticism with a humble, open spirit.

Kathy: As she read off that list, I remember feeling this devastation. One after another, there must have been thirty, thirty-five, forty examples of a proud person. And I had to be honest in thinking, "Now, I am almost every one of those, but I don't want to be. I want to be on that other side where the brokenness begins."

Recording of Nancy in 1995: Proud people have a hard time saying, "I was wrong. Will you please forgive me?" But broken people are quick to admit their failure and to seek forgiveness when necessary.

John Elliott singing:

When we are broken, we can be mended.
In heart confession, we can be healed.
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Recording of Nancy in 1995: When confessing their sin, proud people tend to deal in generalities, but broken people are able to deal under the conviction of God's Spirit to acknowledge specifics.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: About ten minutes before I finished speaking, out of the corner of my eye I saw two men come down out of the stands, come down to the front of that auditorium and kind of make an altar out of that platform, and just knelt there. To this day I don't know who those two men were. I don't know why they came. I don't know what God was doing in their hearts. There was no invitation given at that point, but in humility and brokenness, those men just stepped out and responded to God's conviction without any human prompting.

Kathy: Even during the talk people were starting to weep. They were starting to get out of their seats and kneel by their chairs. People were holding people as they were crying.

Nancy: People began slowly, quietly, with no major direction to begin to respond to the Lord. Some began to go to other people in that auditorium and to deal with some of the pride issues that had caused barriers in relationships.

Kathy: People were getting up out of their seats, going across the auditorium, and hugging people, making things right with people. This went on, not for twenty minutes, but for hours.

Bob Helvey: This sorrow started to well up in my life, and I started to cry. I'm the kind of guy that when people start sharing things and they get a little teary-eyed, I roll my eyes. Maybe that's being a little judgmental or something, but I just don't like people getting emotional in front of other people that way. I remember that I was saying to myself, "Now Bob, what's going on here? You're getting a little misty." But that passed really quick because after awhile I was just crying like a baby.

Nancy: And all this time the staff, the leadership of that service were sitting back and saying, "What do we do next? What is God saying?" They, wisely, didn't want to shut down the moment. There was a sensitivity to the fact that God was moving, and we wanted to let Him have freedom to do that.

Bob Helvey: I'd been at meetings before where there's been this kind of repentive orchestration going on. I always thought, or I've been to meetings where I always thought, this was kind of orchestrated, maybe that's the best way to put it. I thought it was manmade. I didn't think it was from the Spirit. It was a good thing. It was a good exercise. There was nothing wrong with it, but it just didn't really feel like God was in this.

This was different. I could tell right from the very beginning and even more so as time went on, this was something special that God was doing. I've never experienced anything like this before. I'm kind of hard-nosed about those kinds of things. So that was really helpful to me to see that this was a genuine, special act of the Holy Spirit that I had never witnessed before.

John Elliott sining:

Joy comes like the morning. Joy comes like the morning.
Joy comes like the morning, bright and clear.
Yes, joy comes like the morning, bright and clear.
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Bob Lepine: In the days and weeks that followed, what were you hearing from those who had been at the meetings? Were you getting letters? Were you getting reports back from people that the work that God had begun was in fact bearing fruit in their lives?

Nancy: You know, there was a lot of that and within days, weeks, or certainly months, tens of thousands of copies of that cassette (in those days they had cassettes) went around the country, around the world. I learned later and people began asking immediately for copies of “the list.” But as people were asking for copies of this there were some Christian media outlets that were asking for interviewswhat did God do?

All of a sudden, I had been ministering for years in relative obscurity, very happily most of the time. All of a sudden I was getting invitations that I’d never had before. I was getting letters telling testimonies of what God had done, “My life will never be the same,” et cetera. It took me into a realm of testing in my own heart and in my own walk with the Lord in a place I’d never been before.

I think initially it wasn’t so hard because I was so conscious that this was all of God, but over a period of months, very subtly, I began to revert to something that had been a battle in my life years earlier, and that is a love of the praise of man. I confessed it to the Lord as I talked about in the message, you know, “roof off” and you confess it to God. But then I realized this was a stronghold in my life, and I was being defeated by the very thing I had just challenged others about months earlier.

In keeping with that message, I finally realized I needed to let the walls down and share this struggle with some other believers who could pray for me, hold me accountable. The Lord has led me in the years since to take some other practical steps.

Any time God makes me aware that that pride, that love of praise, that drive for approval, is getting a foothold in my life, I find I am quicker to get accountability, to take the roof off, to let the walls down and say, “Lord, what can I do, what step can I take, to express brokenness and humility and let You pour Your grace into my life?” which is what He does every time we humble ourselves.

Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss tells that story towards the end of her book, Brokenness: The Heart God Revives. The story left a big impression on a woman who wrote Nancy not long ago.

Nancy: A woman named Julie wrote and said, “I just finished reading your book on brokenness. I must say the best part of the entire book was your personal testimony at the end.” While reading this book, Julie had been watching God bless her ministry and she said, “I struggle with some of these same temptations. It is an opportunity for me to die to pride and all that goes with it.”

Now the fact is, every one of us struggles with pride no matter what we do or how God may be using us. And that means every one of us needs to develop a walk of humility and brokenness before the Lord. So I want to encourage you to not only listen to this message but to read the book on brokenness. It is part of a trilogy of three books, Brokenness, Surrender, and Holiness that we’ve packaged together in one volume.

We would love to send you a copy of this special book when you donate any amount to Revive Our Hearts.

Leslie: Ask for the trilogy Brokenness, Surrender, and Holiness when you call with your donation. The number is 1-800-569-5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com to make your contribution and receive your book.

Thanks to all the Campus Crusade for Christ staff members who told us their stories of hearing Nancy's message on brokenness. We didn’t have time to air all the moving stories of repentance, but when you order the CD of this series, you will get a much fuller version of the story. You can order the CD at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Now, we keep telling you about this trilogy, Brokenness, Surrender, and Holiness. We’ve covered brokenness so far this week. What is the big deal about surrender? Nancy will talk about that tomorrow. Please be back for Surrender on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

1 Fernando Ortega. "Pass Me Not." Fanny J. Crosby.

2 "Rock of Ages." Augustus M. Toplady.

3 "When We Are Broken." John Elliott.  

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