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.
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 […]
I still struggle to know what a life of prayer looks like. I don’t think I pray all that well. It’s clumsy. It’s me-centered. It’s a list. I ramble. I get sidetracked. I get so sidetracked that I forget that I was actually in prayer. It all feels so unholy. Yet the teens in my church recently commented on how much my life centers on prayer and that inspires them. What? My life of prayer inspires them? This unholy way I pray? Maybe this is more of what prayer actually looks like? Maybe I am comparing myself to a false image of prayer? I have a lot of praying people in my life whom I greatly respect. Do they also feel clumsy and wander and ramble? My first thoughts when I heard this group of teens say this was I need to get them around so-and-so and her too. How can I get my teens close to these great praying ladies I admire so? My second thought was, Am I one of those same praying ladies? Gasp. Could it be? This prayer request came through a prayer group I’m involved in. This is how I pray (when I can get […]
Have you ever wrestled with the idea of prayer? Does God really care about my prayers? Does God intervene in this life because of my prayers? If you ever voiced this thought out loud you probably at least once have received this answer in return. God answers prayer in three ways: yes, no, or wait. If God says yes, you get whatever you were praying for. If God says no, then you don’t. If God says wait, then you keep praying for your desired outcome, knowing that God’s timing is different than your own. God’s timing is different than my own. Time is a part of everything. But the problem with this “Christian answer” is that it covers every possible outcome. Things either happen now, later or not at all. There is no other possibility. So how can you be confident that prayer works if there is no scenario that could prove that it does not work? Hmmmmm. Does that make you a bit uncomfortable? How do you trust God when this answer doesn’t make sense. Yet I’m confident that prayer does work because I know know know that this God of Maybe is for me. My time in this […]
Don’t ask someone out by text. Not for the first date. Not for the second date. Not after you are in a relationship for six months. Maybe occasionally when you are in a committed relationship but use text more for such things as “I’m on my way” or “Thought of you when I woke up this morning.” Be brave enough to call on the phone and have a real conversation. We feel special when you rouse up your bravery and call us on the phone and use words and full sentences we can hear with our ears. Yes, I know that texting each other is a real part of real relationships. I’m a youth pastor. I have real conversations by text with my teenagers all the time. Often deep conversations. I now also have a written record of these deep conversations. This has been useful many times. Another real bonus is my mother can’t hear very well. Texting is often one of the best ways to talk to her. My best friends and I text more than we talk. This is because we know our phone conversations are hours long so it is better to text the latest happening so […]
This “rule” is just begging for its own blog post. Because, men, there is gold to be found in you. This rule comes from the list of the rules the Anti-Flirt Club of the 1920s created to protect women from the lounge lizards who would use false intentions for their personal gains. Men, you are more than lounge lizards. Or slick dandified cake eaters. I believe there is gold in you and you are a worthy catch. (Even if you like to eat cake too!) Note: I went to Urban Dictionary to get the real definition of cake eater. I found out that this is personal to me! The definition is “A cake eater actually refers to Edina, MN, saying the people in it are so rich they can have their cake and eat it too. It could also refer to rich white suburban kids in general, too. And BTW- Mighty Ducks was filmed in Minnesota, so he’s probably literally calling that kid a cake-eater from Edina.” Source. I grew up in Minnesota. I know Edina. In my teen years we made fun of Edina while secretly dreaming of dating someone from Edina. John’s best friend lives in Edina now. […]
The ugliness of our past is buried in that dirt. The hurt. The anger. The loss of innocence. The rejection. The fear of inadequacy. The shame. The regrets. The dreams lost to “what if…” But if we don’t do the painful work of digging those things up and go through an intentional “death” experience of facing those negative things, a resurrection can’t happen. The dirt does not allow the flower to grow. Yes, you probably already feel some apprehension about reading this blog. You have done a lot of work to keep your life comfortably numb (this work has exhausted you more than you realize). Or you are used to the roller coaster of disasters in your life and you’ve finally stabilized your life to be safe. You just want to stay in this safe season a bit longer. And I’m asking you to dig through your dirt. Of course, I’m asking you to do a brave thing. Dealing with the bad stuff in the dirt causes two things to happen. First, you will be ridding yourself of the pain and/or sickness you have been carrying around and the effects it is having in your life (besides the exhaustion you’ve […]
No, this is not a club I have started. No way. This is not a brave dating practice. Read It’s Okay to Flirt. And Some Tips to Flirt Wisely. The Anti-Flirt Club was an American club active in Washington, D.C., (where I live) during the early 1920s. The purpose of the club was to protect young women and girls who received unwelcome attention from men in automobiles and on street corners. Source. Over time this has still proven to be a problem, huh women?! This club was complete with its own rules. Oh the cleverness of these rules! Don’t flirt: those who flirt in haste oft repent in leisure. Don’t accept rides from flirting motorists—they don’t invite you in to save you a walk. Don’t use your eyes for ogling—they were made for worthier purposes. Don’t go out with men you don’t know—they may be married, and you may be in for a hair-pulling match. Don’t wink—a flutter of one eye may cause a tear in the other. Don’t smile at flirtatious strangers—save them for people you know. Don’t annex all the men you can get—by flirting with many, you may lose out on the one. Don’t fall for the […]
You will have noticed that I continually mention a relationship with God as part of a brave life. Because life is a broken road of faith. It is hard. With God you have a chance to know that you are loved therefore you are worthy and valuable. You were purposed before you understood you were purposed. God has always been for you. Because second, Christian values give you direction to know how to live better and resist temptation. Temptations—with their immediate gratification–are attractive to people with pain and rage. Because third, a Christian perspective is outward-focused vs. a victimhood perspective which is inward-focused. With the love of a God who pursues you it is hard to remain a victim to your life. You desire to overcome. From this basic Bravester truth I’ve created this checklist for you of Biblical truth. This is a bit lengthy even as I cut out so much. Because there is a lot of truth for you. God is for you. What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Romans 8:31 Yes, the Lord is for me; he will help me. Psalm 118:7 […]
Opinionated I am! But it is personal to me. I’ve been a youth pastor nearing 37 years. That is a lot of teenagers I have loved. That is a lot of teenagers whom I have walked through broken hearts with. Many of these teenagers I’ve been privileged to walk with them all the way to marriage and even when they started having children. I have grown teens who now have teens as children. We’ve come full circle. I have been a part of healing a lot of broken hearts. One of the aversions many adults have to teens is the part of their development where they experience real emotions for the first time. It’s simply brain development stuff but this means that when they have their hearts broken for the first time it is a major because it has never been broken before. I’ve gone through this first major with so many many teens. I have also had my heart broken over the choices some of these teens have made. I’ve watched teens with a growing faith make decisions in the area of love that changes their innocence and too often their futures forever. Those broken-hearted times have probably shaped […]
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.