Archive for November, 2008

26
Nov
08

Something to be thankful for :-)

turkeys1

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26
Nov
08

God runs to the broken

“Broken I run to you” it says at the top of my blog site here on http://www.abrokencup.wordpress.com (in case you’re reading this on Facebook). And it’s a piece of deep truth that I am broken and run to God, but a few weeks ago God reminded me of an even deeper truth. He runs to me. God runs to me, the broken one. God runs to those of us who can’t make life work. God runs to those of us who have messed up our lives. God runs to those of us who really think we should know better. God runs to those of us who walked away in rebellion, wishing God to disappear. God runs to those of us who are tired, who cry and who don’t feel we’re worthy to be with God. God runs to those of us who think we are failures. 

And he throws his arms around us. Around me. He puts a ring on my finger, gives me a beautiful set of clothes to wear, and he throws a party for all my friends and loved ones with my favorite food and drinks. He tells me that I’m silly to assume that he is disappointed with me or mad at me. He confirms me as his son. And he confirms you as his daughter. 

He is so excited to have you and me with him. He loves for us to spend time with him. He knows we still go astray and wallow in the mud with the pigs from time to time, but he calls us to embrace more and more who we are – princes and princesses of heaven! God’s chosen children. Co-heirs with Jesus Christ himself.

I know all this is true because of the wonderful story from Luke 15, where Jesus tells of the Prodigal Son. 

“When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him”

Here are two wonderful songs about this amazing piece of truth by Phillips, Craig and Dean. First When God Ran

…and then A Place Called Grace

 

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

Blessings, Torben – who over and over again comes back to the undeserved beauty of being a child of God. I am fully embraced, loved, accepted and worthy of life with God, because of the new creation I am!

25
Nov
08

I hope you dance

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I don’t dance much. My wedding dance was closer to giving me a parking ticket than awarding me a dance contest trophy…It just doesn’t feel natural for me to dance. I feel extremely awkward, and while I admire other people with a sense of rhythm who can dance, I have accepted that I most likely won’t be a contestant on a TV dance show…

But it seems like God has something going on with me and this topic of dancing. These past nine weeks of training we’ve talked a lot about spreading our wings, embracing that we as Christians are meant to soar like eagles and not pick around in the dirt like turkeys. But we’ve also mentioned dancing. Dancing with God. Allowing him to lead me in a dance where he’ll take me where he wants me to go. 

A simple country song was played the first day of my internship, and it has been in my head ever since. It’s an encouragement to choose to dance in stead of sitting on the sideline. It’s a call to live a passionate life, and to choose to not play it safe. It’s an exhortation to not sell out, to not compromise what you truly believe.

I want to live a life worth living. And that life can only be passionate. It’s a roller coaster ride where you experience some hard, and gut-wrenching lows, but you also get to experience the highs that take your breath away. It’s going to both the valleys of the shadow of death with Christ, but also to the still waters with him (Psalm 23).

I want to dance with God. I am free to be who I am in Christ. I thank him for the invitation. And I thank him that he is the one leading me, since I have no clue where we need to go together. 

Here is the song I hope you dance

And the lyrics:

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder. You get your fill to eat, but always keep that hunger.

May you never take one single breath for granted, God forbid love ever leave you empty handed. I hope you still feel small when you stand by the ocean. Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens. Promise me you’ll give faith a fighting chance

And when you get the chance to sit it out or dance…I hope you dance, I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance, never settle for the path of least resistance. Living might mean taking chances, but they’re worth taking. Loving might be a mistake, but it’s worth making

Don’t let some hell bent heart leave you bitter, when you come close to selling out..reconsider! Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance. 

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance

I hope you still feel small when you stand by the ocean. Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens. Promise me you’ll give faith a fighting chance

And when you get the choice to sit it our or dance…DANCE! I hope you dance! I hope you dance!

Blessings, Torben


22
Nov
08

Thanksgiving

I haven’t been blogging for a little while, but now I’m back in business. Inspired by my wonderful wife who wrote a lovely blog entry about our Thanksgiving experiences the past five years, I thought I would start out with a few words about giving thanks.

I’m looking forward to my first Thanksgiving here in the United States. It’ll be a great time of turkey, fun,games, and fellowship with family. But it’s also an opportunity to stop and think about all we have to be thankful for. So I’ll just go for it, and make a little list in random order of things, experiences, realities and people that I’m thankful for. I am thankful for….:

  • what God has been doing in my life these past nine weeks. I am thankful for him bringing me to the end of myself and showing me how to embrace who I am in Christ, and inviting me to experience abundant life in him
  • God’s patience. I learn so much, and so often I don’t live it out. So often I waste my time and engage in life stealing in stead of life giving activities. How beautiful that God never gives up on me, and that he keeps calling me to him!
  • God’s provision. We’re amazed that in the midst of this financial crisis, and a general raise in expenses and drop in support for us, we’re doing just fine. We have a wonderful car, we have a great place to live, and we have everything we need, and lots more!
  • Jeannette. I continue to be amazed of the beautiful gift she is. She is truly my best friend and a perfect wife for someone like me. She is caring, loving, gentle, fun, but she also knows when to tell me to shut up and get on with life in stead of going into self pity cycles
  • my calling. I enjoy what I’m called to do, and I’m looking forward to see what my near future with Grace Ministries International and Marietta Vineyard will look like
  • Coca-Cola, oats with raisins and milk for breakfast, Papa John’s Pizza (without cheese!), Zaxby’s,our local dollar theater, M&M’s and other great stuff I get to enjoy here in America
  • getting the opportunity to play football (soccer) again on a great team. I have enjoyed every game, even though we still haven’t tried playing with a full team…!
  • family and friends, and I’m sad that I get to spend so little time with so many of you, but I know that that’s one of the costs of living the life I live
  • Skype and cell phones so I can stay in touch with family and friends
  • my six year old black New Balance 474 shoes! They really should have been thrown out three years ago, but I will continue to faithfully wear them until all my toes hit asphalt…! 
  • our car. I love our dark silver grey Nissan Sentra. It’s amazing that we own our own vehicle!
  • the DVD recorder that I got myself early for Christmas that will be at my sister’s who will tape F.C.Copenhagen games in the future and send them to me wherever in the world I may be 🙂 

….I think I’ll leave it there. Thank God, I could go on and on! What are you, dear reader, thankful for?

Blessings, Torben

12
Nov
08

Embracing my humanity

I’m lying here in my bed with my right leg elevated. I got myself a calf strain in this Sunday’s football (soccer) game and have to accept the fact that walking is a difficult discipline these days…Friday my nine week discipleship training program with Grace Ministries International ends. I have so much I need to spend more time evaluating, thinking about, processing and praying through from these past few months. They’ve been incredibly rich, and I can only say that one of the big things that God is starting to show me more and more is that it’s okay to be me.

It’s okay to be myself. To just be Torben. It’s a process of embracing my humanity. Embracing what I like about myself, and what I’ve enjoyed in my life. But also embracing what I would prefer to change and what has been difficult in my life. Getting to know who you are in Christ, and experiencing his life in you, doesn’t mean that your own personality and uniqueness is eradicated. Jesus is not interested in little Jesus-copies running around. He wants unique expressions of who he is through each of his children formed and shaped in a unique way. I have spent much time this past 1,5 years wishing that I was “better” at living out some of all the exchanged life/identity in Christ stuff that I’ve been learning. I have wished I was better at being quiet, so I would be more reflective. I have wished I was better at hearing God’s voice or getting pictures from him, so I would feel closer to him the way I see other people experience closeness. I have wished that I was nicer and more friendly, so I wouldn’t end up scaring people away from me. 

I have looked at the grass of other people, and as it is always the case when we move down the well-worn and death producing path of comparison, my grass came up short. It simply wasn’t green enough. 

But my grass is my grass. My life is my life. My personality is my personality. When Paul exclaims his majestic and life giving/changing verse in Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” he is not saying that my personality and my unique expression of who God is died on the cross with Christ. My old self, my dead, unregenerate spirit died with Christ. My sinful self died, and I am now a new creation in Christ: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2. Corinthians 5:17).

I am free. Free to be me. Free to embrace my new identity in Christ and free to explore who the real me is. I’m free to express myself the way God has created me. I’m free to look the way God designed me. I’m free to use the gifts God gave me. I’m free to lead, teach, train, write and challenge, because that is what God has called me to do. I’m free!!

I’m free to love myself. And I’m learning more and more about that. Embracing my humanity means loving myself. “Love your neighbor as yourself” is mighty difficult to do if you don’t love yourself. How can you love other people unconditionally, if you only love yourself when you live up to your own standards (or what you perceive as God’s standards)?

I’m free to accept my limitations. I’m free to receive my weaknesses and accept that God loves to work through my weaknesses and show his strength. I’m free to forgive myself for wrong choices 10 years ago, yesterday and today, because I have been forgiven for all sins past, present and future. I am free to say yes, and I’m free to say no to people. I am free to not try to save or rescue people, because I don’t have nail marks in my hands, and that means it’s not my job anyway. I am free to experience the lightness of burden and the peace that Jesus promised his followers.

I am free to freely forgive people when they hurt me, because I don’t allow other people to determine who I am, so at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what other people think of me. Only God’s opinion matters, and he thinks I’m great! 🙂

I am troubled by the enormous amounts of people I know and love who don’t know who they are in Christ. They are forgiven. They are believers. They are headed for heaven. But they don’t know who they are, and their lives are not expressions of life and joy. I want to help. But I acknowledge that only God can bring about the revelation of who we truly are in him. That’s what he is in the process of doing with me. For 30 years I had no clue who I really was. For 30 years I thought that I was too hard a nut for God to crack. But God knew when he could start getting to me. God knows best.

I know most of my blogs land on this sentence these days: God knows best. But I guess it’s not a bad place to end. 

Blessing, Torben

Faith is the courage to accept our acceptance“, Paul Tilich

The poverty of uniqueness is a lonely yes to the whispers of our true self, a clinging to our core identity when companionship and community are withheld. It is a courageous determination to make unpopular decisions that are expressive of the truth of who we are – not of who we think we should be or who someone else wants us to be“, Brennan Manning in “Abba’s Child




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