Posts Tagged ‘brokenness

18
Mar
10

out of rebellion

Since today is the day where abrokencup has had more than 25,000 visits I thought it appropriate to write a couple of entries. Where to start….hmmm…these past couple of weeks have been significant in my life, and, dare I say, truly life-changing. God finally got through to me and showed me how I’ve lived in rebellion towards him and his will for my life. People who know me might read this and think: “what on earth are you talking about? You don’t live in rebellion…!”. But God knows the truth. I know the truth. And my dear wife knows the truth. And the truth is that I have lived like the prophet Jonah who was told to go to Nineveh and speak words of judgment on the city that would lead to repentance and life. But Jonah decided to try to run away from God. When that failed, you know the Sunday school story of Jonah in the whale and all, he finally did speak what God wanted him to speak. But even after seeing Nineveh’s people repent and turn to God, Jonah was pouting, angry at God and didn’t reap any of the blessings and benefits of God working through him, because he continued in his rebellion and refused to surrender to God and his plans.

That’s how I have lived. It’s been ugly. It’s been self-centered and filled with sin, mediocrity, pouting, self-pity, aggression, anger, blame…you name it. Ugly stuff. Ugly consequences of not choosing to surrender fully to what I knew and know God is doing in me. I know I’m very much still in the process of brokenness that God started in me five years ago. I know he has been wanting me to surrender more fully my personal ambitions and (ministry) goals to him and let him be more fully in control. But I refused to surrender. I decided to fight him instead. And at times simply ignore him. But he is not easily ignored, and I have made my life difficult by my rebellion.

A few weeks ago God finally broke through, and started showing me what’s been going on. I cried many tears. Tears of sorrow over seeing my sin and my mistakes and how they have stolen life from me and from people around me. A lot of nasty stuff was coming out. It was like opening up an old wound filled with bacteria. It hurt. It certainly didn’t feel good. But it was good. It was needed. And I was finally ready to choose to let God do his work of cleaning out the wounds.

I chose to surrender, and life is easier now. Nothing has changed in terms of my circumstances. Other people haven’t changed either. But I know I have. It’s an internal change that’s gonna take me to new places with Jesus. He wants to teach me to live in a closer relationship with him. He is inviting me to genuine friendship. I’m cautious about that. It’s hard for me to grasp that Jesus cares about me in a friendship-kind-of-way. But he does. And I believe that he’ll show me how that looks like as I continue to surrender to him and his ways and his plans for my life.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55: 8-9)

Here is an absolutely beautiful and truth-filled song from Selah‘s latest and excellent CD You Deliver Me. The song is called Unredeemed. Watch the video and let the truths of this song wash in over you. God’s heart is always to redeem.

Blessings, Torben

16
Oct
08

Liberating brokenness

Here is a wonderful quote by the American, Christian author and psychologist Larry Crabb about Brokenness. It’s from his book “The Pressure’s Off

You begin to enter the ‘New Way of the Spirit’ as you begin to feel the painful liberation of brokenness, not over the hurts in your life that you cannot relive, but over the pride in your life that you cannot eliminate. 

Brokenness is the path to freedom. When we see in ourselves things we wish were not there and realize we can do absolutely nothing to clean up the dirt we find, we enter into the liberating experience of brokenness

It’s so true what he says that the liberation of brokenness is painful, but it’s equally true that the the experience of brokenness is liberating! When I’m broken, I don’t have to strive and try harder. I can rest in God’s perfect will. And I get to experience freedom!

Romans 5:6 “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly”

Blessings, Torben – who is done blogging for today 🙂

15
Mar
08

Thoughts from the journey

The Discipleship Training School is over here in Kiev. The two outreach teams came back from Uzhgorod in Western Ukraine and Georgia (the country not the state) and we had a great week of debrief together as one school again. We were celebrating all the wonderful things God had done in the students and staff and through them during the past three months of outreach, and we took time to remember some of all the revelations God has been gracious enough to give us over the last six months that the whole DTS lasted. 

It was a wonderful week. I love hearing about what God has done in us and through us. Our theme for this DTS has been the same as the title for this blog: we’re broken cups! We’re perfect in Christ. Our spirits are perfect. But we’re broken. We make mistakes, we misunderstand God and people, we’ve been hurt by people and circumstances, our flesh and Satan attacks us and limits us. We’re broken AND God loves us just the way we are. God can speak to and through people who are broken and who are aware of their brokenness. 

We have focused on honesty, real honesty, not religious keeping up appearances-honesty, but the kind where you know who you are with the good, the bad and the real ugly, and you’re done pretending. You can look at yourself and say: this is who I am and I’m loved by my Father just the way I am, so I renounce the desire to judge myself and to pretend that I’m something I’m not! I don’t have to defend or promote myself, I choose to rest in my Father and let him love, life and forgive through me in my brokenness. 

A couple of the verses we kept coming back to over the last six months were (of course!) from the wonderful Gospel of John. “Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires? Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:28-29). Jesus gets a wonderful opportunity to tell everybody all the things they need to do as Christians, but instead of giving a long list including quiet time, witnessing, Bible study, mercy ministry, choir practices, reading Christian books, going to the lost, etc. he just says: THE ONLY WORK YOU NEED TO DO IS TO BELIEVE IN ME! That’s it! Nothing more, nothing less. This simple message is revolutionizing my life. It sounds too good to be true. It doesn’t sound right. “But….surely Jesus….there must be more we need to do….surely Jesus you didn’t mean this like that, you must mean we believe and then we do all the other things…..” I have heard many Christians protesting against this simple truth expressed in Jesus’ answer. But this is it. This is the essence of the Gospel. All I need to do is to believe, to remain in Christ (John 15), to simply hang loose in him as a grape on the vine. I do nothing to grow, to serve, to love, to live, to change myself or my neighbor, Christ does it all through me! It’s all about Christ doing all through me. It’s never about me pulling it together. It’s never about how much devotion I have. It’s about me surrendering, as a broken cup and let Jesus love and live through me just the way I am: “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him” (John 7:38).

Jesus wants to flow through me. He gives his living water to me and gives me life, but what was true for the Israelites in the Old Testament that they were blessed to be a blessing (Genesis 12:2-3), the same is true for me. I’m blessed by Jesus’ life and living water (John 4:13-14), but since I’m broken cup, I can’t contain the water, and it spills out to people around me. That’s how Jesus is changing the world. Through his children, through his broken cups. So stop thinking that you need to patch yourself up and go and buy more band-aids, or more string or duck tape to fix yourself. Stop listening to the lies of the world, and unfortunately much of the 2008-Church that you need to fix yourself. You need some self-help books (potentially with a little Christian twist and some Bible verses thrown in to make it appear spiritual…) and follow the formula and then your life will work. 

Your life will never “work”. You and I are broken, and we always will be on this side of the new earth. And it’s not a problem. It’s freeing. I can be who I am. I can allow God to work through me just the way I am. I can experience his forgiveness and friendship without having to try to stitch fig leaves together to try to cover my nakedness, failure and shame. I can embrace other people just the way they are when I see them with Christ’s love: “To love a person means to see him the way God intended him to be“, Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote. (And I will allow Dostoevsky’s wonderful quote to be quote of the week 🙂 )

Hmm…is this turning into a longer sermon? Maybe, but I felt like giving a little insight into what I have focused on these last six months with my wonderful staff from Ukraine, USA and Russia and my beautiful and unique students from Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Germany and the USA. We started out the school by choosing Ephesians 1:17 “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you  may know him better“. And God has been good to all of us. He has revealed himself. We’re further in our journey with him than six months ago. We know more about who God is and who we are in him, and we have experienced more of the true experience of freedom that ALWAYS come when we encounter the Truth (John 14:6 and John 8:32).

I stand in awe of the fact that God can use me. I stand in awe of his forgiveness and the fact that he delights in me as his broken cup. I am amazed that he doesn’t cut me off when I fail him over and over again. I am amazed that even when I feel that I should be farther down the journey with him, that I really should understand more of who he is, and I really should trust him more, he doesn’t shame or reject me. He loves me. He reminds me of who he is and everything he has done for me. He reminds me that as far as the east is from the west he has cast away my sins, my weaknesses, my lack of trust, my unbelief and everything else that hinders me from experiencing life in him.

What a wonderful journey we’re on. And how great it is that none of us are walking alone. He is always there with me, even when I feel alone, abandoned and misunderstood. Thank you, Father.

Torben – did I mention that the Gospel of John is my favorite book in the Bible?:-) 

14
Jan
08

Man of no reputation

One of my all-time favorite songs is a song written by Rick Elias and performed by the Ragamuffin Band on the amazing cd The Jesus Record that was recorded as a tribute to the late Rich Mullins If I had to pick my top 5 cd’s. This one would definitely make the cut. Unfortunately I can’t find the song on youtube, but here are the lyrics for it: 

It was said this man was of no reputation

Yet He could stop the rising storm

With a gesture of His hand

But He chose to use His hands to heal

Hearts of darkness hearts of stone

Just like mine would be revealed 


 

He was a man of no reputation

And by the wise considered a fool

When He spoke about faith and forgiveness

In a time when the strongest arms ruled 


 

But this man of no reputation 


Loved the weak with relentless affection 


And He loved all those poor in spirit just as they were 


He was a man of no reputation 



 

It was said this man brought only confusion 


That He’d achieve his ends by any means 


And the truth that it brings revolution 


And for once they were right 


The truth set us free 


 

The hearts of the captive were his only concern 


And the powerful knew their days were ending 



 

He was a man of no reputation 


And by the wise considered a fool 


When He spoke about faith and forgiveness 


In a time when the strongest arms ruled 



But this man of no reputation 


Loved the weak with relentless affection 


And He loved all those poor in spirit just as they were 


He was a man of no reputation 



 

One day soon the gates of heaven will open wide 


And the Prince of Peace will come back for His bride 


But for now we live on these streets 


Forbidding and tough 



Where push always comes to shove 


And it’s said love’s never enough 


Where a prophet in rags gives hope to a fearful world 


No injustice no heart of darkness 


Will keep this voice from being heard 



 

He was a man of no reputation 


And by the wise considered a fool 


When He spoke about faith and forgiveness 


In a time when the strongest arms ruled 



But this man of no reputation 


Loves us all with relentless affection 


And He loves all those poor in spirit come as you are 


To the man of no reputation

 The song often brings tears to my eyes, and makes me rethink my life. Am I willing to, like Jesus, be a man of no reputation? Am I willing to walk away from fame, prestige, security, admiration, etc. and choose the road less traveled and walk with the Man of No Reputation no matter where he leads me? The road of brokenness, the road of poverty in the spirit, the road of abundant and fulfilling life with Christ – is that my road in life?
Torben – if somebody can find a link to a place where people can hear this wonderful song, I would definitely appreciate it.   

06
Jan
08

New blog

Dear blog readers!

Welcome onboard my new blog with the new name “a broken cup”. The idea of a broken cup has become very dear to me over the last year. God has taught me a lot about who I am. I know more today about who I am in him. And I know that my brokenness, my faults, my weaknesses are not problems. It’s okay. It’s me. 

So often I’ve tried to fix the cup that’s me when cracks have appeared. I’ve tried to show people that I’m in control, that I know what to do, that I know all the answers, even when that was certainly not the truth.

But God has showed me that it’s okay for me to be who I am. It’s in fact just the way he wants me to be. I’m broken. I’m a broken cup. And God can fill me up with his life, truth and love and it’ll spill out to other people around me. That’s one of the ways the kingdom of God breaks forth. God’s love and life spilling over through us broken cups.

So welcome to more thoughts and ideas from one of God’s broken cups.

Torben  




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