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.
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Romans 15:13. Someday I’ll do a whole blog series—or sermon series—on the salutations Paul closed his letters with. They always catch me because they feel so personal. Maybe because at times the Bible does not feel personal. I also believe there is a lot of depth in these closing remarks that are too often glossed over. But for now once again I’m back to my favorite one, Romans 15:13. I’ve referenced this one before. And I will again because of these life words of hope, joy, peace, and trust all are a part of a brave life. They are all rolled into one blessing here! May you be completely filled with joy and peace. I wish it were a simple blessing but this is a deep and brave one. To begin let’s start with this oft-quoted verse from James 1:2-3, Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Joy in the midst of trials? Joy in the midst of pain? As […]
“But things are different now, and doubt is a luxury we can’t afford any more, Sweetie. You have more power than you realize. Don’t think, and don’t worry. If the time comes, you’ll know what to do. It’s in your blood.” –Elastigirl Finally The Incredibles are returning to give us another story! We are seeing it at a drive-in theatre with our grandkids. Many reasons to be excited! The quoted words above are from the first The Incredibles and are the words Elastigirl says to her daughter as she prepares to leave her and their son, Dash, in enemy territory. Whew, are those words good! Fear is everywhere and here is this truth: “If the time comes, you’ll know what to do. It’s in your blood.” May I hyperspiritualize this truth for a moment? When we are Christians, we get the Holy Spirit as our advocate or paraclete (my favorite word for this!) or comforter. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with […]
Let me start by saying I’ve been listening to Cory Asbury since his early days at IHOP in Kansas City. I’ve led a handful of his songs over the years at churches, night watches, David’s Tent in Washington DC and in other settings. So my opinion here is not based in anti-Asbury bias or any other sort of spirit-led, harp and bowl or generational biases. Those settings are my wheelhouse as a worship leader, musician, songwriter and worshiper. God is NOT Reckless Webster’s Definition of “reckless” 1: marked by lack of proper caution : careless of consequences 2: irresponsible, reckless charges God is NOT Reckless I should also say that I’ve read Cory Asbury’s explanation of the term “reckless” as used in his song “Reckless Love.” And I’ve read the justification explanation of the song’s use of the word “reckless” by the litany of its apologists. Essentially they all say the same thing. “God Himself is not reckless. But he chases after us with reckless abandon for His own safety.” What safety are we referring to? Is God not safe in everything he does? Is there anything that is a threat to God’s safety? I’ve also seen people use this […]
Do you remember your 8th grade year? Do you remember desiring to stand out or trying to do everything you can to fit in? For me it was trying to get that Farrah Fawcett hair to fit in. Yes, I certainly dated myself with that reference. I never came close to that look back then and then laughed at myself when I accomplished it in my 40s. Look at these shoes. These are chartreuse hi-tops with psychedelic flowers and a teddy bear head attached to the strap that comes across the front. Do you see the teddy bear head? I have never seen such a thing. On my days off I am a substitute teacher at a middle school I love. I’ve been doing this since 1991. (Last day of school is tomorrow!!!!! I rejoice like every other teacher!!!!!) An 8th grade boy at my school has worn these throughout the year. Not because his mother made him. Not because they are hand-me-downs from his sister. These are his choice. His look of choice. Which he wears confidently–as an 8th grader. That is bravery which comes from not being afraid to be vulnerable. This boy truly believes he is worthy […]
I did 95 percent of my dating being a pastor. Try that introduction when someone wants to meet you. I was just not the pretty girl in the crowd. After our introduction that guy got the reality of this pretty girl in the crowd is also a pastor. Can I date a pastor? How do you date a pastor? This means everyone I dated was a Christian. Or so they said. They all said they were a Christian, like over half of America says they are, but who they were as a Christian was not the kind of Christian I was. To most of these guys credit, they tried to figure out how to date a pastor at least once. I give them brave props for that one. But now after being married to John for 21 years I can’t even remember their names. I still want to give them brave props for trying. As I learned, and I’m sure you know, anyone can say that they are a Christian. Anyone can do some of the behaviors expected of a Christian. Maybe you are one who says you are a Christian but don’t live your life by the principles of […]
Finding love is a special thing. Because vulnerability is involved! And that is no small thing. Timing and time (they are different) and chemistry are also involved to create this very special emotion with someone else. But love is not enough for a relationship to be a good match and move into marriage. I have been in love three times before John. Love that still makes me smile when I think of it. Love that is still triggered when I hear “our song.” But for valid reasons our love was not enough to be a good match. Because these valid reasons really matter. Are we living in the same location or can we live in the same location? Are we too young? Do both of you recognize the call on your life? Is there a non-negotiable that you can’t grow to? (This one takes a daring deep look.) Is one of you a taker? (Now that this problem has been revealed to you, this one is easy to look over.) Is someone’s finances a mess and are the reasons a red light? What do both of you honestly think about children? About parenting roles? In my story up front I […]
I most always preach out of the New Living Translation. It is written at a 4th grade reading level so I believe everyone I’m teaching to will understand it. So today’s verse I’m using is found in Galatians 5:19-21. When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. That’s quite a list. There are some biggie sins listed and then there are some what? sins listed. You look at this list and see how you yourself have failed. You don’t like this list because you don’t want to learn how you have failed. You also learn the judgment of your choices that are on this list. You will not inherit the Kingdom of God. That is for here on this earth and on the new earth in the life after. Even here we have a chance to live someway better because of the grace of God […]
My local paper, the Washington Post, just ran a story with the title “Why are young adults the loneliest generation in America?” Besides a recounting of the latest research (all of America came across as lonely) the answer that was offered is that young adults prioritize activities that achieve goals, not meaningful connection. So much to say about this but I will summarize with this: This is the fruit of turning our tweens and teen years into overachieving accomplishments and not finding the time in the schedules to simply play and be with friends. My job in my life is a youth pastor for over 35 years. I’ve seen this not-healthy trend up close. From a survey by Match.com of over 5,500 singles of all ages, ethnicities, and walks of life: 57% of Millennials say they are lonely. Another interesting stat: 65% also don’t find dating advice useful. Oh dear. That’s not good for me. I’m going to give you advice–that I believe is useful. (Source.) I’m sorry that you are lonely. But I also don’t find you diseased. I don’t find you as having something wrong with you. Loneliness is normal. And it sucks too. But you won’t only […]
When you hustle for your perfect life, you still don’t feel like enough. So you start wearing a mask. Those of you wearing masks right now know exactly what I’m saying. With your mask you get this painful truth: only your mask receives love. Maybe you made it to the “in group” but no one still really knows you—or really loves you. You still feel like you are not enough. You are probably making decisions that you right now have regrets over as you are still keeping up your hustle to stay in the “in group.” Feelings of not enough, feelings of regret, feelings of shame, feelings like you can never get off this path you are on are holding this mask up to your face. At times you feel suffocated. But you can’t leave your house without this mask. You don’t remember any other way of life. Here’s a true and sad list for you. It comes from this recommended book The Cure by John Lynch, Bruce McNichol and Bill Thrall. The cool part of the book is it is part allegory or parable. It starts with this story of a man having to make a choice of which […]
Whew. It is a good thing I married a giver. Before I was married I did 15 years single as a full-time minister. I was not about to give up this call on my life to get married. This was always a major factor in deciding who I would date. Every guy who asked me out got a chance but he always had to understand that I was called into full-time ministry and I was not budging. Many guys bailed quickly. Many guys tried to be persuasive—whom I now see as takers. And then there is John. He never wavered on this non-negotiable I had. I married him. Twenty-three years later I read about this dating truth about takers and givers. I see John in a whole new light yet again. I am grateful to God yet again for bringing John into my life. John, whom I thought for so long was not my type, has never wavered in his support of me as a full-time minister and has been a catalyst for growing my online presence. He believes in me and my calling. He has made my world bigger. As a youth minister I am still in relationship with […]
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.