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.
Leader: God is good all the time. Response: All the time God is good. We say this often. Sometimes with exuberance. Yet sometimes we don’t believe it. Some of us never believe it. Because how can God be good when my life hurts so much? How can there be any good in me because I know my shame? How can God be good to me? This entire word “good” doesn’t belong in my broken life. Or I work so hard at “being good” that I’m exhausted and still feel unloved. Yet goodness is a fruit of the Spirit. Goodness should be a part of our Christian life. We should ooze goodness. But it is easier to try to be good. To do those good works as a means to show our worthiness (so maybe you can believe you are really worthy). Goodness becomes yet another way we try to control our faith. Instead of simply living our lives out of the truth that we were created good. Worthiness is our birthright. You were enough the minute you were born. You are going to be asked to take another brave and vulnerable look at yourself. That’s where this series on the […]
As you probably already know a good part of last year I was on sabbatical. After 20-plus years at our church, Brenda and I felt God leading us to something new. And after much church-visiting we found a new home in January at Spirit & Life Church in Montclair, Virginia. We are both on staff at Spirit & Life, I as worship leader and Brenda as Family & Youth, and it’s been energizing and a blessing to both of us. Within just a few weeks of taking on the role as worship leader the new band and I began recording a three-song Lent/Easter CD called Even the Earth Wept. The title song tells the story of the last minutes of Jesus’ life and ends with several choruses of “Hosanna,” expressing the joy, praise and gratitude we have for His sacrifice. The goal in recording the song was to try to tell this amazing story lyrically as well as musically. The minor key, instrumentation (cello, viola, percussion), tone, melody, and tempo were recorded with a sort of theatrical feel that I hope sets the mood for a different kind of worship experience. “Hosanna, we’ve come to worship You.” Below is a […]
Our View of Ourselves “I am bad for having boundaries.” “I am selfish for owning my own life.” “My wants are not important.” “My wants are the only ones that are important.” “I must have everything I want.” “I am responsible for others.” “I must do whatever anyone wants of me.” “Whatever goes wrong is my fault.” “Nothing is my fault.” Our View of Others “They will hate me for saying no.” “People will leave me for having my own boundaries.” “People are controlling and want to manipulate me.” “Others will resent my assertiveness and requests.” “They will leave me if I don’t make them happy.” “Others are responsible for me.” “People are selfish if they do not do what I want?” “People are unloving if they say no to me.” “People expect me to be compliant to their wishes.” “Others are responsible for my behaviors.” Our View of God “God doesn’t want me to own my life.” “God doesn’t want me to have anything of my own.” “God wants me to have everything I want.” “God thinks I’m selfish when I say no to others.” “God wants me to allow others to do whatever they want to me or […]
Earlier last year I heard the phrase “Unspeakable Joy” and I just loved it. I don’t know what it was about it that just made me smile, but I am pretty sure it didn’t have anything to do with thinking about loss. I imagined it being something that caused so much joy, you just didn’t have the words to describe it. There’s been this video floating around the internet and Facebook which I thought was so very touching…..(you mind need a tissue). Oh my goodness, when I saw it I had tears in my eyes. Her response is true “Unspeakable Joy” isn’t it? Such gratefulness and love coming from that sweet little girl. You can’t help but just cry right along with her! But what I noticed at the beginning of the video is that it says she lost her cat and her best friend. She lost something so deeply important to her, that no doubt her parents saw the ache in her heart over her loss. Because of their fierce love for her….they wanted to mend that broken heart and restore the joy. I remember so well sitting with my dad in his last moments and feeling such great […]
People are going to break your heart. Recently I wrote this in a letter to my son who is in prison, “There is that stupid saying, “You only hurt the ones you love.” It is overused and misused. But the truth of it is you get hurt by the ones you love because you keep making yourselves vulnerable to them because you love them. We will get through this. I know it. “ Kindness is our fruit of the Spirit this week. We’ve gone through Love, Joy, Peace, and Patience. Kindness requires bravery because there is risk involved. People are going to break your heart. We don’t think kindness requires bravery because kindness is a behavior we learned back in kindergarten. It is a simple behavior all humans should extend. It is a behavior that affects and blesses everyone around you. Kindness should be a part of anyone’s Christian walk. It should be a fruit of your life. But to bless someone, give to someone, extend yourself to someone has the inherent risk that your heart will be broken. You can’t simply show kindness to someone, particularly a vulnerable someone, without your heart being attached to it. Unless you are […]
In the previous blog I described an unpleasant scene too many of us have been a part of. The “bitch sessions” of women who are angry at men. Or men who are angry at women. Or young adults whining about their parents. Or a wife complaining about her husband. Each and every one of these complaints comes when a personal boundary is crossed. The crossing of that boundary falls under your responsibility. It is so much easier to whine, complain, and bitch. The reality is when your boundaries are crossed, you get upset. You feel violated. You feel not appreciated. You feel less than a person. Some of you in response turn into the victim. Sometimes you dramatically want to play the victim. Sometimes you don’t even realize you are playing the victim. Lots of blame is cast about in these “bitch sessions” yet it is quite likely that this person being bitched about doesn’t even know he/she has crossed a boundary with you. You would rather bitch and stay in this relationship where you don’t know where you start and where you end than do the uncomfortable thing—and grown up thing—to make and keep your own boundaries. It is […]
I’ve realized grief has a funny way of showing itself. Sometimes you think you’re really okay, only to find out, you’re not really okay. Sometimes it takes people closest to you to tell you, “Maybe you’re not really okay.” Thankfully, I have a pretty amazing husband who encouraged me to leave him for a month, spend money on a ticket and fly back to the US to spend some more time with my mom and sister. (I am pretty sure he’s kicked himself several times for agreeing to this! Watching three kids alone is no picnic!) I’ve been stateside for about a month now and I feel like I am in a better place mentally. I wasn’t in such a great place when we returned to Botswana the beginning of January. I thought I could move on and that maybe even the normalcy of my life there would help me move past some of my grief. Instead I found myself in a dark spot and even the normal things seemed to overwhelm me. I wanted to just crawl inside of a hole and really just be left alone. Thankfully, I was in my head enough to know that was not […]
God, give me patience!!!!!! What we are really saying when we pray this is or scream this (let’s be honest) is, “God remove me from this tension that I am in. I don’t like it.” Tension is uncomfortable. Tension is vulnerable. Patience creates tension. This is part 4 of our series on the vulnerability that is a part of each of the fruits of the Spirit. Like we learned with love, joy, and peace, we use patience as a way to control our faith. When we’re bringing our prayers to God again and again, we all grow tired of waiting. All of us. Not just you. It soon begins to feel like our prayers are falling onto deaf ears. Or just to the ceiling. Our reaction to the silence is to then take control or just “do the best you can” for the situation. God’s seeming silence is tension inside of us. So then we add to our prayers a prayer for patience. This seems like the godly and wise thing to do in this uncomfortable situation. And yet we still fail to really have the patience. The tension is so uncomfortable and taking control is easier. Asking for patience […]
“The most compassionate people I have interviewed over the past 13 years have also been the most boundaried.” –Dr. Brene’ Brown Another Dr. Brene’ Brown memorable quote—that comes from research. Coming from research is important to me. I just don’t want to give you platitudes to encourage you and challenge you. I challenge you from how God leads using the word of God and research. Check out the entire 5-minute interview. I’d like to parse this teaching 5-minute video even more with you. Dr. Brown goes on to define boundaries as “what is okay and what is not okay.” That is pretty simple. So when I encourage you over and over and over again to have boundaries for your life, I am simply asking you “what is okay and what is not okay.” When it comes to your dating life, “what is okay and what is not okay.” It is worth every minute of prayer and time and conversation you have to figure this out for yourself. What are boundaries for you may not necessarily be the same boundaries for 33-year old woman or a 55-year old guy. I can’t give you a list of boundaries you should have because […]
Someone (many “someones” actually) said a Christian shouldn’t be singing or playing blues. After all, Christians have a “hope and a future” and knowing that should preclude us from singing or playing that genre of music, right? Count me as one that doesn’t follow that logic. Christians have the same emotional ups and downs as anyone. We experience the same pain, the same hurts, the same sicknesses and the same everything else good and no-so-good. Pain is your beginning. It’s the beginning of a journey that will take you to the other side. Brenda speaks about this very topic in her latest Note To Self Video that you can watch HERE. Yes, we have a hope and a future. And we have the blues. Both help me reach the other side.
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.