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.
To be brave enough to put yourself in a vulnerable position to draw near to God, you need to believe the truth that you are worthy of love and belonging.
Guess what. You are not dating (or will not be dating) a perfect person. Like you, the person you are dating is a continual work in progress. So how do you know what is going to turn out to be a yellow light which will annoy the heck out of you from here to eternity and what is fixable? Or a better word would be “growable.” You do know that you can’t fix someone in a dating relationship, right? My go-to guru, Dr. Henry Cloud, created a list for that too. This comes from p. 99 in his book Boundaries in Dating. These are the traits he listed of someone who demonstrates the ability to work on their imperfections: A relationship with God Ability to see where one is wrong Ability to be honest Ability to see the effects of the wrong on the other person Ability to empathize with those effects and be truly sorry for the other person as opposed to just feeling guilty for themselves Motivation to repent and change Ability to sustain repentance and change Commitment to a path of growth, a system of growth, and the involvement of other people in the growing process Ability […]
I always doubt God. Sometimes, in the middle of sermons or services, I’ll start feeling really weird. Talk to God, they say. Really? We’re all praying to absolutely nothing. Singing to nothing. Gathered here in a building talking to ourselves. And then just as quickly as the feeling comes, it passes. I have tried to become an atheist before. Really, really tried. In tenth grade, I went through a time where I felt loss and loneliness constantly. Weirdly, I wanted the satisfaction of making someone hurt for me. I felt let go of, and I wanted to be the let-goer. God was my only option, because I couldn’t have brought myself to do anything like to that to someone or something tangible. So I let go of God. I immersed myself in atheism, in science, in reason. I read articles on how to make myself stop believing. But I couldn’t. Honestly, I couldn’t shake the feeling that someone was up there. So I quit the pursuit of godlessness and just settled for “being angry at God.” I believed he was unjust, unkind, a liar, disgusting, shameful–but I believed he was. I got over the anger, though I am grateful for […]
Are any of these true for you: My life has been negatively impacted by someone who has had serious personal problems. I have had a willingness to work out/forgive, yet it has not done any good. The person who wronged me knew he/she was doing wrong, but persisted anyway. In spite of my attempts to be reasonable, I have been faced with stubbornness or repeated wrongs. I feel that my good nature was clearly taken advantage of. My sense of trust or loyalty ultimately worked to my disadvantage. My desire for a fair and pleasing relationship wasn’t matched with similar commitment or enthusiasm. As I look back upon the wrong behavior of another person toward me, I realize it was propelled by selfish or controlling motives. The misdeeds of the other person toward me could have been altered but were not. I have felt as if I was being treated as an inferior person. YES! You say. Or scream. “YES, YES, YES! That is exactly what has happened to me! And let me tell you this story to let you know this is exactly what happened to me.” Then you get to tell your story (often again) and it feels […]
We believe in this core principle, “Live your life to the full bravely following after Jesus. Now. As you are living bravely, who is keeping up with you? That is the match for you.” So how do you get asked out by lots and lots of people? You live your life to the full. When you are living your life to the full you will be mixing with lots of people. People who will notice you not because of your clothes or your style but because of how you are living your life. If you are living your life to the full you are probably doing attractive things—things that attract other people probably because you look so strong. Or so passionate. Or so smart. All of those things make you look good! So live your life to the full. Now. Here’s how to get started. What do you find that you are passionate about? Pray about this. Then search how you can get involved. It can be something with your church. It can be something outside of your church. You are needed somewhere. So get involved. Note: Your vulnerability is going to be pushed here. If you have a passion […]
From my favorite written prayer daily devotion book (which I’m on year two of using and have given away dozens). From Everyday Prayers by Scotty Smith: Dated August 17: The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18 Dear Lord Jesus, there is no Saviour like you–none so kind, so compassionate, so merciful, so very close. The brokenhearted don’t need to “buck up” and be brave when they see you coming. The crushed in spirit don’t need to pull themselves together, as though you would be greatly disappointed to find us less than conquerors. We praise you that the gospel is heaven’s declared end to all pretense and pretending. Jesus, you have no need for us to be anything other than we actually are. It’s the proud you know from afar. It’s those who need your grace to whom you are nearer than the next breath. This gives us incalculable comfort as we bring ourselves and a wide array of weary friends before you today. Jesus, we pray for our friends struggling with infertility. They don’t need any more words; they simply want a baby to love to your glory. The tragedy of […]
If you haven’t heard of Pokemon Go, you’ve been living under a rock (or a Rhyhorn). I downloaded it a few weeks ago, becoming just one of millions of players. I’m not hardcore about it; I’m only on Level 7 and I play it when I get the chance. Anyway. Today, people were rude to me at work, other conflicts arose, and I was overall just feeling really miserable. Later in the evening, I decided to triple-task picking up groceries, taking a walk, and hunting Pokemon. Usually I don’t get more than Rattatas and Pidgeys. But on my walk, I stumbled across a CP 250 Pidgeot–something I’d never caught before. Just 100 yards later, I caught a Bulbasaur. Both of my eggs hatched on my walk. One was a CP 185 Rhyhorn, and another was an Exeggcute. I had neither of those, and for a casual player who’d never hatched any eggs before, I was absolutely ecstatic. I didn’t really think much of it at the time. I got home and started feeling emotional again. It wasn’t for another few hours that I realized that maybe, just maybe, those Pokemon were a sign from God that he loves me. Many people think […]
Are you ready to forgive that awful awful awful person in your life? Probably not. This is hard. This is brave. But stay with me. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here. First let’s breakdown what forgiveness is not: Letting go of healthy forms of anger. Allowing others to continue to disrespect your needs and boundaries. Lying down and becoming a human doormat. Telling the wrongdoer that the past is no longer significant and everything’s fine now. Agreeing to become best buddies with the wrongdoer. Pretending to go back to normal relations as if nothing happened. Denying that you may still have to live with pain caused by the wrongful deed. Condoning of a bad behavior or the justifying of an offense. Waiting for an apology first, or whether the person will ever be talked to again. Demanding of reconciliation. Reconciliation, which is the coming together again of two upset parties, is not necessarily the outcome of forgiving. Losing. The easy way out. This is one of the bravest things you will ever do. Stop. Re-read. Because of the “blocks” we have in our minds when it comes to forgiveness, we have some thinking errors—thinking errors we use to […]
I have always struggled with having a deeds oriented mindset and struggling with the thought of “Maybe people will like me more, or love me more if I do more good deeds.” Or even more dangerous, “Maybe God will love me more if I do more good deeds.” Why does our society think that you have earn affection, respect, trust, love? Shouldn’t affection, respect, trust, and love all be things we freely give even to those who don’t ask? Lately, I’ve really been struggling to keep my schedule open. I jam pack it full with volunteering, work, worship, bible study, practice, you name it. Those are all good things, but why do I feel the need to have such a full schedule? Maybe I don’t feel “good” enough so I try to make up for it by doing more and more “good” things. Do you ever feel this way? I have a strong feeling that you might. A few years ago, I read the book “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World” and it wasn’t until just a few seconds ago that I recalled I even read that book! I, Emily Kerstetter, am a Martha through and through. I do all that […]
I had a date with a guy once. His name was Mitchell. He was in a band that I hired for a youth event and he was pretty insistent on asking me out. Even the teens knew he was. I said yes. On our first date he took me to a nice dinner in downtown Minneapolis. It was a nice dinner and we had a nice conversation. After that dinner we were walking on that nice summer evening in downtown Minneapolis. Then suddenly he was down on his knees before me and proposed marriage. In front of a crowd… Who stopped to watch… I said no to his proposal without even explaining why. Very loudly to the crowd Mitchell declared, “Love is like green bananas. It takes time to ripen.” The date ended shortly after that. When you practice brave dating (Dating to discover who you are. The result of this learning process will then lead you to a good match to give you that love for a lifetime you desire.) sometimes you date clunkers. This is a risk you take. But isn’t dating always a risk? Vulnerability is required. Believe it or not though, brave dating is one of […]
My Brave Dating Practices really are not just crazy talk. They come from 35 years of youth ministry experience and from my personal 18 years of dating before I got married. Plus there are many others who think like I do! Abundantly You is a blog that is one of those. We think so much alike that they published one of my Brave Dating Practices on their blog. Check them out as well as my post. You’ve “heard” it before but it is good to “see” it again. We thank Candra and team for this opportunity.
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.