Deciding to live vulnerable with God
* A little ending that fits on almost any word to increase its cool factor.
Deciding to live vulnerable with God
* A little ending that fits on almost any word to increase its cool factor.
This is not click-bait to raise your already jaded attitude towards church. This is a fact. A Pew Research Center study released in 2017 found that 42% American adults are living without a spouse or a partner. That number is up 3% since ten years ago in 2007, when it was 39%. The biggest change was found in adults under 35. Today, 61% of adults under age 35 are single. That’s five points up compared to where it was a decade ago, at 56%. Singles make up a significant portion of our population. Source. But do these single people go to church? Because I know you believe you are not seeing that many singles at your church. Another Pew Research Center number. Married people make up 68 percent of all weekly church attendees between ages 24 and 35. Source. Putting these two numbers together and I’m guessing there are quite a few single people who are over the age of 35 in church. And they may not be your crowd. Another reality that makes you feel like church is all about married people only. Your church places a large emphasis on children’s ministry. This is because 69% of adults say […]
To live this brave life it is one brave decision to the next brave decision. Too often combined with moments like this. Sometimes a cute animal Youtube video is the encouragement you need. Keep on making those brave decisions. Be brave. (photo credit: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00y4ghj/p00y4g84)
I went through a desperate time in my life when I turned 30. I was not married yet and I was sure God and I had a deal that I would be married before 30. By that time I had already served in churches for 12 years. In exchange for that I was supposed to be married by then. Especially so because some people in the church and a lot of people outside of my church family had a big problem that I was single. There was always suspicion. Suspicion with no grounds because I had pretty big boundaries. Yet I still had to navigate suspicion simply because I was single. As you know, too many people don’t know how to handle strong single called people. Turns out God and I didn’t have a deal. Now with hindsight wisdom there were a ton of reasons why I had to wait til I was 33 to get married. With hindsight wisdom I’m so glad I waited for the right one. But six months before my 30th birthday I was desperate. My “supposed-to” didn’t happen. I took my desperation out on God. In my desperation I didn’t contort myself into a lesser […]
I’ve been having an email conversation with my son, Terrill, lately. I have lots of these but this one has taken an interesting turn. He has issues of trust. He has not trusted us. He is currently finishing up his longest prison sentence yet so he has a lot of biding time to do. He is also open to finally work on his trust issues. While he sits in prison which is a world where trust is a rare commodity. Self-protection is the survival game. But Terrill has been missing having real conversations with people. Isn’t that a true need? So I’ve challenged him to walk into some vulnerability (in prison!) and trust some people. Here is what he wrote back: I needed to hear that confirmation! There’s a young guy I work out with who I was just talking to about getting burned and craving a normal conversation. He was a little upset from my venting in the presence of some questionable ears in the area, but I didn’t care and he’s still kicking it with me. He goes to church, by the way. Oh! Last night I gave him one of the pictures I drew. It was the […]
This is a true story. A woman moved to a new area and started attending a new church. Boy spots her on a Sunday morning. Boy also notices her when she starts attending the small group he is also involved in. It is not long before boy asks the girl out. Their first date is a coffee on the way to small group. Girl is excited about this possibility. He has a lot of good qualities she has noticed while being in small group together. He’s cute. And he was pretty quick in letting his intentions be known. This is how it is supposed to be, she thinks. At their first coffee date boy DTRs the relationship. This is what the whole coffee date is about. (This is not our idea of a coffee date.) The purpose of this coffee date for the boy is to go over his rules (which are boundaries which we support) with the girl. Not too surprisingly his rules are similar to her rules. This is how it is supposed to be, she thinks. Boy and girl have their real first date. It is a romantic one. This is how it is supposed to be, […]
You are with a bad match. Your friends and family know it. Your team knows it (you do have a team, right?). Sometimes you know it. Sometimes. But instead of facing the sad ending which needs to be made, you have contorted yourself, you have compromised yourself, you have cried and prayed to God, you have put “what God told me” as more important than what you are discerning, and you have lied over and over to yourself. You are now the liar in the relationship. You play this trick on yourself–I will only think of the good parts of him/her trick. Every time you think about breaking up, you begin to miss someone who does not exist. You focus just on the part that you like and fail to look at the whole of the person, which includes the negatives which time has revealed to not be a match for you. You never make the ending because you feel like you are losing something wonderful. But this person you are really in love with does not exist. This is the lie you tell yourself. You are now the liar in the relationship. Love without truth is a lie. Too […]
“I know one thing I want,” Meg sighed. “I don’t want to be afraid anymore. But I’ve been afraid for so long, It’s in the air I breathe. I just don’t know how to get rid of my fears, Katherine. And I need to get rid of my fears so I can follow Jesus.” Katherine smiled kindly. “Lay that burden down, dear one,” she said. “We’ll always be a mix of fear and faith.” Meg furrowed her brow in bewilderment. That wasn’t the answer she had expected. She had thought perhaps Katherine would give her a strategy for overcoming her fears so she would be able to travel more freely and lightly with Jesus. “You mean I’m not supposed to try to get rid of my fears?” she asked. That didn’t make sense. Wasn’t the Bible filled with commands about not being afraid? Meg had broken all those commands. “Faith isn’t about not being afraid, Meg. Faith means we trust God, even when we are afraid. Especially when we’re afraid.” Katherine peered at Meg with intense gentleness. “Don’t worry about trying to rid yourself of your fears,” she said slowly. “Instead, let your fears do the hard work of revealing […]
Question for you. How many lies will you accept as being okay in this relationship? How many white lies will you accept as being okay in this relationship? How big do the lies have to be before you decide you don’t want to be with a liar? The answer should be none. Right? But what is the truth now about this relationship? How many lies have you accepted, excused, and justified to stay in this relationship? Why are you putting up with a liar? Because you are still in the early growing stages of this could-be interesting relationship? Aren’t these lies red lights you shouldn’t want in a relationship? Because you are in love? Is this rational? You are in love with a liar? You are in love with someone you cannot admire and trust and respect? Love is all about those three. When this person tells you he/she loves you why would you even believe him/her? Are you lying to yourself to stay in this relationship with a liar? Are you hoping that over time and with your unconditional love that your liar will get better? Will have less reasons to lie because he/she has your love to make […]
Last week I read these oft-quoted verses again. They are beautiful yet again. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 This helps makes sense for the purpose of some of our suffering. Sometimes. I wish it was comforting for more times but suffering has its unique toll on each of us individually. I am not one who can wish it away with a platitude that my suffering may comfort you. That is still a truth though. At the same time I read this […]
Do you do this? Do you think that If you are really nice, accommodating, and self-sacrificing towards your other, then he/she will be really nice, accommodating, and self-sacrificing towards you. However when this silent deal is not met, you turn into a guilt-tripping, passive-aggressive, emotional manipulator. When all along this was your deal that you made and you allowed your boundaries to be trampled. Even nice guys you date will end up losing interest in you because your actions will communicate how little you value your own needs and wants. Yikes. This is not the deal you made. This is not your intentions at all. Have a little vanity. Be more hard-to-get. First I need to clarify what I mean by hard-to-get. This is based in identity, not gameplaying. This is not gameplaying at being “hard to get” only to totally cave once you’ve gotten the attention you need. Hard-to-gets know who they are (hopefully embracing that their identity is in Christ and all those beautiful traits that are birthed in that) and know their boundaries. Hard-to-gets are alluring because of their independence and freedom. You know exactly what you get from that person. You are not this blurry mess […]
Brenda has been teaching the messages of Bravester for over 25 years. She is available to come to your group event. People have found her vulnerability and storytelling mixed with the Bible to be inspirational and life changing.
“You have had a significant influence on how I view brokenness, forgiveness, and the role God plays through all of that through a very difficult time in my life. Since that year at CRC, I have taken significant steps to getting bitterness out of my heart… You have had a significant impact on my life. I really do not think I would be the woman I am today if it were not for the lessons you taught me. You are a strong instrument of God and his word.” –Sara, former camp counselor and now inner-city missionary
Brenda can be joined by her husband John. They have a back-and-forth dialog that mixes in John’s beautifully written music. John is also available to lead worship for the event.
From Brenda’s 35 years of youth ministry experience, she has become a Brave Dating Coach. She has a lot of good things to say to help her many grown teens be coached into marriage. She is also available to teach on these many good things for your group event.