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.
For much of our decision making, we lean hard into our intentions and pay very little attention to the direction of the path we’ve chosen… It breaks my heart how many people I speak with who don’t connect the dots between the choices they make and the outcomes they experience. People like this believe the popular notion that as long as their intentions are good, as long as their hearts are in the right place (whatever that means), as long as they do their best and try their hardest, it doesn’t matter which path they take. They believe somehow they will end up in a good place. Somehow. Yet the problem is they are on the wrong path. –Andy Stanley, The Principle of the Path, p. 20 If this is all you read this new year, go buy this book. You’ve already gained something. While you are at it, go buy this book too. Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life by Tish Harrison Warren. So Bravester. It’s the first book I’m reading this year. It’s beautifully written and talks honestly about the bumps, failures, and the ordinariness it is to live this Christian life. I created this […]
Interesting fact about me. As a youth pastor for 36 years I have never read the book I Kissed Dating Goodbye. Never. I knew the moment I saw it that it was bunk. I have long been a believer in dating. I write all about that over on Brave Dating Coach. I wasn’t even tempted to read it to get to know the argument for it. I knew then that it was stupid and a set up for disappointment. This does not mean that I am gleeful to have this book come full circle and the author admit he was wrong. It does mean that I am the smartest youth pastor ever. Maybe? Josh Harris, the author, has recently given a TedX Talk about what he has learned from this culture shaper he was in the center of. It is worth watching all of it. And you are having anxiety over the mistakes the lie you’ve been telling yourself has led you to?! So evolving personally always involves the death of something. As Josh Harris pointed out, “Think about what evolution requires…There is a lot of death that takes place. Natural selection is a traumatic thing. We talk about the […]
Last New Year’s I wrote here: Happy New Year to you, brave one. This is your starting point for today and for this new year. God believes in the story He’s writing through you. So what is your story? God does believe in the story He’s writing through you so do you know your story? This New Year I have a brave question to ask of you. What is the lie you’ve accepted about yourself? That you will never be able to truly trust someone because your trust has been taken advantage of too many times? That you will never find a good man until you lose the weight? That God doesn’t really love you because you can’t see Him as a father? That you are unloveable and you are lucky to have the few people in your life who act like they love you? That experiencing true joy is something for others but not for you? That your life is far better than your mother’s life so your barely-there existence is enough for you to get by with? I can never lose this weight because I have health problems? That you will never be loved and married again? What […]
Last year, I was in such a fog of grief, that I hardly remember Christmas. Losing someone right before a holiday is really hard. In a lot of ways, it almost feels like this is our first Christmas without dad, even though it’s the second. My childhood Christmases were wonderful and full of tradition. My sister and I always had new Christmas nightgowns and fresh Christmas dresses with black shiny shoes. We did my Grandparents on my mom’s side Christmas Eve after the Christmas Program at church. We ate Sloppy Joe Sandwiches and Christmas goodies while we listened to Bing Crosby crooning Christmas songs from the “blue room” record player. We couldn’t wait to rip into comic covered paper that my Uncle Larry would always wrap his gifts in. My Grandma Wurl always had a beautiful Christmas table set full of her wonderful Christmas bakes. Then Dad and Mom would load it all up in the car and we would head home late Christmas eve to open our Christmas presents at home. I remember nights where it was so cold in the car, mom had thrown her many afghans or quilts in the back seat so we would stay warm […]
“The glory of the human condition is that we are made in the image of God. And yet in his ingenious and bewildering design, God saw fit to place the regions for creation and excreting together. As Saint Augustine famously put it, ‘We are born between feces and urine.’“ Jennifer Grant and Cathleen Falsani, Disquiet Time, p. 29 I’ve already written one blog about this quote but this quote still stirs within me. It is such a mind-blowing quote. God planned for Jesus to be born between feces and urine. Yes, our Jesus! Jesus was born between feces and urine to enter into our painfully broken world to create beauty from this yuck. That is the story of Jesus. This is where it all begins. Beautiful Jesus entering between the feces and the urine. Then the angels sang and one angel declared, “Don’t be afraid! I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.” Luke 2:10. Great joy to you too. That newborn baby, lovingly cleaned up by human hands after He entered between the feces and the urine, had this declaration declared in the heavenlies to all who would hear, “Don’t be afraid! I bring […]
Are you praying for your spouse? No I’m not. I only think about this day-and-night and it never once occurred for me to pray. Yes, I’m using sarcasm. God only blesses you with a spouse when you learn to be content in your singleness. Then Lord knows (literally) that I would have never gotten married, because frankly, I was not really okay with a lifetime of singleness. I thought for a season that this was my future but I wasn’t okay with it. Nor did I force myself to be okay with it thinking I was making a deal with God. My wrestling self knew that myself was not in the way of meeting John because I was living my life to the full. It’s okay to be discontent through singleness, but it’s not okay to let that discontentment rob you of your very life. Or to lead you to “make deals” with God. Or lead you to compromise your soul. Wrestle with this discontentment. The world needs the heartbreak you risk. It will happen when you least expect it. What this really means is it will happen when you just stop worrying about it. It will happen when you […]
I love this quote about prayer: I’ve spent my entire career sitting across from people, listening to them tell me about the hardest and most painful moments of their lives. After fifteen years of this work, I can confidently say that stories of pain and courage almost always include two things: praying and cussing. Sometimes at the exact same time. –Brene’ Brown, Braving the Wilderness, pp. 24-25. Prayer tweaks our vulnerability. After all prayer is an act of dependence. Out of that vulnerability sometimes all you can do is cuss. Praying and cussing at the same time. I’m okay with this. And I believe God is too. God is not shocked by you. Christmas tweaks at our vulnerability. You may have already noticed that you’ve been cussing more. Time to start praying more. To help you pray, here is a written prayer. We like these at Bravester. Dear God, I almost want to say I hate Christmas But I really don’t. I’m just so sad. So stressed. So anxious. It has not been a good few months. Or a good year. I know you already know that because you’ve heard my prayers of desperation. I know you’ve heard my cussing […]
What is ‘singleness?’ What does it mean to be single? Any dictionary definition will have these words, or synonyms for them: ‘to be separate, unique, and whole.’ Would you like to stop being whole or a unique person? Would you like to lose your identity? Of course not. So what is the problem with singleness? There is no problem. The problem is with our definition, which has been given to us by a cultural socio-economic system under the rulership of satan, the god of this ‘world order.’ (2 Corinthians 4:4). The world’s definition which the Church has adopted, opens the door to hurt, rejection, and even self-hatred. We have confused singleness with “being alone.” Will there ever be a time, and has there ever been a time when you will cease to be “separate, unique, and whole?’ Should there ever be a time when you cease to be a single being who is unique and whole? If your answer is ‘no,’ then the next question is: Does getting married do away with this definition of being single? When you marry, do you stop being a single individual who is unique and whole? Myles Munroe, Single, Married, Separated, Life After Divorce, […]
I remember standing at the foot of my dad’s bed in the ER that Monday morning December 5th. My sister, Valerie, was next to me and my mom had stepped out the room for a moment. Dad looked at us both with those steel blue eyes and his two pointer fingers flew up and he pointed at us. I knew he meant business as through the 38 years of my life I had been on end of that pointer finger and look many times. It meant, “Stop! Listen! I have something important to say!” I think I remember a lurch in my stomach, and thinking, “Oh Lord, what is it.” He simply said, “Take care of your mom. “ after a pause he added, “Cause I have one foot on a banana peel and I am going down.” (Just like my dad to mix the serious with a little bit of humor.) My sister just replied, “We will dad. You raised us well, but we’re gonna get you better.” I don’t think I spoke, words couldn’t be formulated…I just remember thinking, “I’m wearing a Snoopy Christmas shirt and this is a serious moment.” We made a plan that I would […]
Yes, God is everywhere at Christmas. And yes, so is Santa. And elves. And reindeer. And hot cocoa. And Hallmark Christmas movies. Yet God is still everywhere out front and up front because every Christmas story, even those with Santa, is about how something supernatural blesses our lives and changes our circumstances. This is the story of Jesus coming to us with skin-on. Jesus. Coming. To. Us. Yet God is still silent to you. Why? The Christmas story has a lot of whys. Why is God promoting unmarried teenage pregnancy in the Christmas story? Why use the forbidden practice of stellar divination to announce the Savior’s birth? Why make physically unclean shepherds and spiritually unclean Gentiles the most important visitors to see Jesus? Why was there radio silence from God for 400 years while the Greeks and then the Romans invaded the Promised Land? Why is Jesus forced to flee his home country as a child and not grow up in peace and safety? Why are you going through what you are going through? In all of these whys there is discomfort. We want the discomfort to end with a loud and clear declaration. Something understandable. Something I can put […]
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.