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 year I’m using God is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas as my daily Advent devotional. It’s taken from the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was a German pastor and theologian who lived, wrote, and ministered during the build up to World War II. After the Nazi government took control of the state church in Germany, Bonhoeffer operated an illegal seminary to train pastors in the Confessing Church movement that opposed the Nazification of the German church. He later took part in a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler. The plot was ultimately unsuccessful, he was imprisoned for his role within the conspiracy, and was executed in a Concentration Camp. One of the devotions stopped me short as I read it. Part of the devotion said this: Not everyone can wait: neither the sated nor the satisfied more those without respect can wait. The only ones who can wait are people who carry restlessness around with them and people who look up with reverence to the greatest in the world. Thus Advent can be celebrated only by those whose souls give them no peace, who know that they are poor and incomplete, and who sense something of the […]
THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (This meme comes from a Facebook page called the Adult Side of Tumblr.) It’s so, so heartbreaking how true this is. I wish judgment didn’t exist but unfortunately it does. What a sad world we live in. We can’t do or say or like or wear or have anything without being criticized. We can never win in this world; someone is always unhappy with us and our decisions. But then again, we weren’t put here to please people, only our King, Jesus. Please know that you are loved and appreciated!! You are valid and heard. You matter. Keep wearing that shirt or listening to that music or going to that place!! Above all, ignore the judgment and criticism and jealousy and the hatred AND. KEEP. BEING. YOU. You are a beautiful and beloved human. P.S. what I wrote applies to both the male and female population, of all ages (^: Your worth does not come from anything of this world. I cannot stress this enough. And I know you’ve heard this so many times that you just don’t even bother to register what the meaning of those words mean anymore. You hear the words “worth” or “more than enough” […]
Those of you who have been following my blogs know that “Choose Joy” is a phrase that is so special to me. I remember several years ago asking the Lord to help me understand what “choosing joy in all circumstances looks like. (On a side note, that’s sorta like praying for patience….He’ll put you right in the thick of it to show you. 🙂) Just when I thought I had this “joy in all circumstances” figured out…..He would show me another layer. I am convinced that till I meet Him in Glory, that He’ll keep showing me what it means…….and that’s okay because it’s wrecked me in the best possible way. Just because Christmas is a time to be joyful, doesn’t always mean we are……because life can be hard. Maybe you’re like I was two years ago, walking through a season of saying goodbye to someone so special to you, you didn’t think you would ever be able to breathe again. Or maybe you’re walking through a season of life where you just don’t understand or even care anymore. Joy isn’t like happiness….you have to fight for your joy, because it comes from a much deeper place inside of us. Today my […]
Do you realize that Jesus was always eating? Then there is this profoundly beautiful thought wrapped up in food: “At the Last Supper Jesus tells his disciples to eat in remembrance of him. Of all the things he could’ve chosen to be done ‘in remembrance’ of him, Jesus chose a meal. He could have asked his followers to do something impressive or mystical—climb a mountain, fast for forty days, or have a trippy sweat lodge ceremony—but instead he picks the most ordinary of acts, eating, through which to be present to his people.” –Tish Harrison Warren, Liturgy of the Ordinary, p. 63 I love eating food. Do you realize Jesus chose to eat his last meal with someone who would betray him? Here we are in the Christmas season. You are about to share meals with people who will betray you. Who have betrayed you. Who show their love conditionally and maybe have great joy in powering over you. Who will say that one thing which will start up that rotation of shame voices in your head…again. Who will trigger every insecurity you have ever conquered. Jesus is with you in those meals. You are about to eat some beautiful […]
Generic tech advice STINKS! “You just need to play with it. Try things out. Explore all the buttons and options till you figure the program out.” or “Oh it’s easy, all you have to do is, . . . (insert something I’ve tried a half dozen times already and didn’t work)” Ummm, yeah. . . 6 weeks later and I’m frustrated to the point where I’m snapping at my wife and kids, making glacially slow progress, and I’m on the verge of smashing my computer in a fit of pure rage. “Jesus, forget the wheel, take the **** computer!” Living in Botswana with unreliable internet means that we often find ourselves behind the times. In an effort to get ourselves and our ministry up to speed, I have been trying to update our Facebook group, (Wild Acacia), create a new website, set up online updates, online giving options, a blog, and linking all those things to each other. It has NOT been going smoothly. The most frustrating part of the whole process is knowing that what is currently taking me weeks could be done in a few hours if I could just get a few critical questions answered in a […]
What’s wrong with me? Is there something in me I need to fix? Is there something about my type I need to figure out? Am I attracted to the wrong types? Am I afraid of intimacy? If you just stop looking you’ll find the person? How do I do that? Engage with life and pursue your dreams. If you pursue your dreams you will meet the right person. Then you both can pursue God and make the triangle. If you are both looking at God you will run into each other because you are both pursuing God together. You are attractive to people with chemistry you are familiar with but it is not necessarily good for you so there is this problem that you know you are not going to be with them but there is this attraction to the wrong people so let’s reframe what your context of people you like. So now you are dating new people and the new person is supposed to be this different person I’m attracted to but this new person is not interesting to me. I’m not connecting. I’m bored. I miss dating the disasters but at least I’m interested—before everything blows up. […]
A punch in the mouth. A bloody lip. At least that’s what George Bailey got. Isn’t this why we don’t pray too? Why do it? What good is it going to do? God’s going to do what he (or she) wants anyway. And when we do get our courage up to pray, our mind fills with thoughts of not wanting to get our expectations up or we are already bracing ourselves to be let down. Maybe we are expecting to get sucker punched. Prayer moves us into vulnerability. And who likes vulnerability? For my church I organized an organized effort to pray for the many teachers in our church family. This started at the beginning of the school year. So far our teachers are having terrible years. Even our veteran teachers who don’t get rattled. This is what I get for praying?!?! We obviously stirred up the battle in the heavenlies but I didn’t mean to invite such drama for our beloved teachers. This was not my intention! I feel like I wish I never started this organized prayer so that my teachers could continue in the status quo–even though my heart filled with faith desires more than status quo […]
It’s almost that time again, a new year! Time to put aside the old and create new! Time to look at your goals and create that ever updating, ever mocking, ever reminder of falling short, never lasting, New Year’s Resolution. Or is it? My mom and I used to make New Year’s Resolutions together, sometimes they rhymed and sometimes they worked for her, but never seemed to work for me. For example, we were “Gonna lose weight in 2008” and “Gonna get organized in 2009.” I’m not sure where the idea come from, but starting in 2013 I decided to switch it up a bit and do a “focus word of the year” instead of a resolution. It had to be a positive word that had “action” to it or a “forward motion” feel. I was nearing the end of a long divorce battle so I chose the word “Overcomer!” This is also the year Mandisa’s song “Overcomer” came out on the Christian radio station and seemed as if it was my theme song. The next year was easy because it was also a Mandisa song, and having my divorce completed and behind me I chose the word “Stronger!” I […]
As I’ve shared before, I’ve been opinionated on this dating stuff for a long time. I have files of this stuff going back to the 1980s. Recently while looking for something in that file for a message I was to give I found this list written by me. Found it on yellowed paper printed by a dot-matrix printer. It’s authentic. From my 23-year old dreamy self in 1986 1. You are each other’s best friend. 2. You like each other. 3. Love to laugh together. 4. Communication is easy, natural, and free. – Can tell partner what you are really feeling without fear of judgment or putdowns – Can share negative feelings with each other – Does your partner carefully listen to you? – Does your partner seem to understand how you feel? 5. You both think marriage is a lifetime commitment. 6. You have numerous spiritual values and ideals in common—sense a solid fit between the two of you. 7. Know how to resolve conflict. 8. You feel thoroughly known by your partner and deeply cared for. 9. Your love is not self-centered—not what do I get but what I give. 10. You feel romantic about each other much of […]
My husband is 59-years old. He has the rare distinction of never being turned down when he asked someone out. Never. Not even by me. I had a rule that if a guy had the guts to ask me out I would say yes because he already knew I was a pastor. Who wants to date a pastor? Apparently John did. We’ve been married 21 years now and he is 59. That is a lot of years he did the asking and never got turned down. When I am talking to the many young adults I talk to, he voices his frustration at the excuses he overhears about why they aren’t asking people out. Or he will burst into our conversation when he is present with the bold encouragement to simply ask. It should be noted here that he did not grow up Christian so he doesn’t have any of that weird Christian messaging about dating in his head. The following is my interview with this rare man who has never been turned down who is full of opinion about this topic. His prevalent attitude about this definitely affects my advice to those who ask me. He is that vocal […]
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.