Posts Tagged ‘jesus


Death, sorrow, baby einstein, sundresses and hope

In the midst of reading about an abortion doctor crushing innocent babies because their parents decided that the babies were an inconvenience, and thinking about lots of personal and family related problems that require much attention, prayers and miracles, I was sitting on a public bus going through the streets of Copenhagen, Denmark with tears in my eyes. Tears of pain. Tears of anger. Tears of frustration. But also tears of hope. My iPod was playing a song that seemed so out of touch with what I was thinking about, Steven Curtis Chapman’s Our God Is In Control from his majestic album, Beauty Will Rise. God is in control? Really?

As I sat there and pondered this, a beautiful 5-year old girl smiled at me. I had noticed her running to catch the bus with her dad who looked like he had the day off. They made it, and the little girl in a flowery dress was beaming with pride when she walked through the bus and found two available seats. They sat and talked, and got off at the center of the city, ready to explore. She smiled at me, jumped down from the bus, and walked happily away with her daddy. Just the way life should be.

Early this morning Marcus and I were watching a Baby Einstein DVD about colors while eating breakfast together, and my 15-month-old son got very excited when the color yellow was presented with a picture of a field filled with yellow, perfect daffodils. He was so happy. So out of touch with everything that was going on in his daddy’s head. He came with books and toys for us to play with. Laughing, smiling, ready for a new day.

“This is not how it should be. This is not how it could be. Our God is in control. This is not how it will be. When we finally will see. We’ll see with our own eyes. He was always in control”, the song was playing in my ears. It’s true. This isn’t how it should be. Death, disease, pain, lack of finances to pay for health insurance, fear of losing your job, intense loneliness, fear of going through life all alone and depression. None of this was part of the original package. Sin, destruction and death entered the world. And it’s so easy to be swallowed up by the existential hopelessness that is our lot if we don’t know God. If we don’t know someone who is in control. In control even when it sure doesn’t look like he is.

The little girl is right. Marcus was right. Life is good. Yellow is a wonderful color. A day out with daddy is wonderful. It’s epic. It’s eternal. It’s what will last. Yellow daffodils will last. Death and sorrow will wither and pass away. Wearing a sundress with daddy and laughing at his old jokes won’t.

And life is found in the midst of this tension. The tension between aggressive diseases, unbelievable cruelty, loneliness, shipwrecked marriages and daffodils, teddy bears, sundresses and wonderful, patient dads. Hope and light is breaking through. Jesus is real in the midst of this mess we call life.



though i feel alone

A great song to remind myself of important truths!


Blessings, Torben


Fear – part of the human condition

Fear…Most people feel it from time to time. Some people feel it all the time. A lot are crippled by it. Some have overcome some of it. The majority of people experience lots of fear, but would deny it, if you asked them. Jesus talked a lot about fear. “Fear not“, he said over and over again, seemingly understanding that his disciples both then and now need endless repetitions of this simple, yet difficult invitation.

Lots of believers feel embarrassed when they experience fear. They quote 1. John 4:18 that talks about that perfect love casts out all fear. So if I feel fear, it must be because I don’t know Jesus (enough/at all?), they reason.

I’ve come to see fear in very different ways recently. Fear is fear, and fear is a part of me as a human being. To deny that I’m often afraid, is to deny my humanness. Jesus is not against my humanness. Jesus isn’t troubled by it. Jesus isn’t ashamed at me or mad at me when I give into fear and paranoia. He understands. He has created billions of people who have all experienced fear. He was surrounded by disciples who often made decisions based on fear. He experienced fear himself. Fear of what was lying ahead when he was crying out to his Father in the Garden of Gethsemane.

If there is no room for fear, there is simply no room for me to be me. I admit that I have fears in my life. Right now, it seems as if I have lots of them. I look to the future filled with huge, unanswered questions, and I experience fear. I am okay with that. I don’t believe that it has to do with lack of faith. I know Jesus is. In me. In my life today. And he is in my future. I know his perfect love will cast out all fear. I know he’ll cause me to walk through decisions and realities that I’m afraid of. Even when I feel terrified, I know he’ll be in me and accept me. My level of fear doesn’t affect his level of love and acceptance for me.

Jesus doesn’t shame me when I feel fear. Jesus doesn’t question my commitment to him. Jesus doesn’t attack me. Jesus comes alongside me. Jesus is with me in my fear. He is not afraid. But he understands that I am. And he invites me to trust him in the midst of it. He wants to show me that he’ll bring me through what I’m paralyzed thinking about. He will rarely take a short-cut. He seems to like walking through the mine fields and go the most complicated paths. I would choose otherwise. But I’ve allowed him to be in charge. He knows that. And he knows that my fear and my worries are not indicators that I don’t want him to be in charge.

So I cling to him, and with my brother, Rich Mullins, I cry out to Jesus:

Hold me, Jesus, cause I’m shaking like a leaf. You’ve been King of my glory, won’t  you be my Prince of Peace

Blessings, Torben



i will trust you

Hopes turned to fear. Joy turned to tears. Life turned to death. And I sit here again. Not knowing what to do. Not knowing what to say. Not knowing what to feel.

Lost in time. Lost for words. Thinking ahead makes no sense. Thinking about yesterday hurts. So today is all I’ve got. I feel like hiding. I feel like hibernating. I feel like disappearing. But here I am.

Your plans are good. Your plans are perfect. Your love is perfect. You are perfect. You love me. Just the way I am. You don’t judge me in my darkness. You call me into the light. I want to come, but I can’t. Not yet. Not now. You wait. You invite me. It’s okay to say no.

You will always be there. You will always guide me. Even when I don’t believe that you will. You are not mad at me. You embrace me in my disappointment. You cry with me. I cry so much. Tears are tiring.But tears are all I have.

I can’t express what I feel. What’s there to say. Nothing I say will change what happened. It hurts. But I will trust you. I choose you God. The ball is back in your court. I trust that you will bring life, joy, and hope back in me again. I don’t have it in me. But you do. And you will give it to me. The way you see it’s best.

I know trust is shattered. It’s okay. You don’t judge me for my apprehensiveness. You will rebuild the trust. That’s your job. Not mine. You are the one who works out my salvation. Not me.


Thanks for being here. Somewhere. I will trust you!




jesus meets me there

I’m glad he does.



The healing power of forgiveness

There is nothing quite like it. Nothing that has the same power to set you free. Often there is nothing quite so difficult. Often you have to practice it over and over again. Often it doesn’t produce change in anybody else but yourself. And yet, it’s always well worth the agony of doing it. We’re talking about forgiveness!

It’s essential to forgive to live in freedom. There is no way around it. I know many people who don’t live in forgiveness with other people and who are suffering because of that. I have been in situations where I didn’t forgive people. I was also suffering. A wise person once said these clever words:

Unforgiveness is the poison I drink while waiting for someone else to die!

These are powerful and true words. It’s always sad when you see people who choose not to forgive. So often it’s small things that hinder deeper and more fulfilling relationships. Words were said, value statements were put on people, and people choose to hold a grudge, stay in a place of self-righteousness, and the cancer of bitterness grows inside of you. It’s always like this. Whether you agree with this or not. Whether you are a Christian or not. Unforgiveness is a cancer that kills. It slowly takes life out of you. Whatever person you choose not to forgive, you’re tied to. You give the other person power. Power to control your life. You think about the other person, and you know that you lack peace and joy inside of you. It’s the power of sin. As Christians, as children of God we are forgivers per nature. We have been given a new nature, the very nature of Christ. And since he forgave us of everything, we are free to forgive other people for whatever they may do to us.

It’s the way of freedom. It always brings life. It always builds up relationship. It’s the road of brokenness. It’s the road less traveled. It’s always easy to find people, inside or outside the church, who will agree with you that it’s not reasonable for you to forgive, and that you’re right in holding a grudge. But the truth is that forgiveness has nothing to do with ‘fairness’. It’s a choice of life or death. If you forgive, you experience life in your relationships to God, yourself and other people. If you choose not to forgive, you experience bitterness and a lack of life.

Is forgiving easy? No, it rarely is. True forgiveness is painful. Often very painful. But it’s also freeing. I let go of the right I feel to judge and condemn other people, and I’m free to just be me, a human being who is aware of the fact that I often make mistakes myself and hurt other people and need their forgiveness.

Unless you’ve been broken by God and understand the power of living as a broken cup and relying on his strength and not your own, it’s nearly impossible to forgive. Why would you? You can always finds reasons why you shouldn’t take the first step towards forgiveness. Your flesh will tell you that your anger and lack of forgiveness is well justified. And other people will too. Misery attracts company, so it’s often fairly easy to find somebody to sit and whine with. It doesn’t bring any life at all. It just fans the flame of bitterness inside of you. Forgiveness is the highroad that’s painful, but life-giving to travel. It’s the road where Christ is and leads you. “Forgive them Father, they don’t know what they’re doing” were some of Jesus’ lasts words. He left us an example of how to live our lives. We are free to forgive, because we’re forgiven. Forgiveness, like anything else of great value in the Christian walk, is a response. We forgive, because God forgave, just like we love, because he first loved us, and we can draw near to him, because he first drew near to us.

I encourage you to forgive whatever wrong people may have done to you. It will bring life. Guaranteed.

Blessings, Torben

I love one of the first lines in this song: “You are strong when you feel weak, in your brokenness complete”


God of this city

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend when Passion 2008 World Tour hit Kiev a few weeks ago. I understand from my wife and several others who attended that it was a wonderful evening of focusing on Christ and celebrating life and hope in him together with each other. Jeannette introduced me to this song, God of this city, originally written by the Northern Irish group Bluetree, but covered by Chris Tomlin for the Passion World Tour. It’s a powerful song of intercession and hope for our cities, our nations, our families, our friends.

It may look like the kingdom of God is weak and is not winning against Satan and his darkness. But the kingdom of God is slowly breaking forth more and more. It may look like great revivals are a thing of the past, and most people don’t think they need God any more. But the truth is that millions each year accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and get to experience the abundant life that Jesus promised. It may seem as if people will not agree with a statement like: “You’re the God of this city. You’re the king of these people. You’re the Lord of this nation. You are“….that doesn’t apply to people in my city….you may think! But it does. The song is a piece of intercession and a song of hope. The only hope for all people is to recognize Jesus as their Lord and King! Share the good news with great joy – allow Jesus to live his life through you and shine his light through you. He is the hope. You and are not. He is. And one day every knee shall bow and hail Jesus as Lord. Some will, unfortunately, not do it as an act of love and adoration, but because they will have to do it on Judgment Day (Romans 14:9-12 and Philippians 2:10-11). There may be many people you know who reject Jesus these days. That may be the truth for right now. But don’t give up. Don’t despair. Jesus’ kingdom is breaking forth. In your city too! I have listened to this song daily the past week or so. I need to be reminded of the truths in it. Christ is changing this world. Christ is changing peoples’ lives, and I shouldn’t stand in the way of what he is doing with a negative, Satan-inspired things-and-people-will-never-change-where-I-live-perspective that so many believers unfortunately buy into.

Greater things have yet to come, greater things are still to be done in this city!



From the kids’ room :-)

Heard in the kids’ room when I visited my brother and his wife this past weekend: My nephews Christian and Jakob were talking about something, and this dialogue played out:

Christian (9 years): “I know that! I know how to do that too!

Jakob (6 years): “You don’t know everything. Jesus is the only who does. He even knows what 10×10 is!

Torben – 🙂 I guess there was really no point for Christian to argue with that. Jesus surely is the wisest person to ever live, and he even knows what 10 times 10 is..! 



Friend of God

I have had this song in my head the past couple of days. What a wonder it is that God calls ME his friend! Me…..fragile, doubtful, fearful, self-righteous, self-pitying, crazy, unstable me….God is perfect in his being, in all his ways and he chooses to call me his friend. Just like he did with Abraham who believed God and God credited it to him as righteousness and called him his FRIEND (James 2:23). I have my righteousness in God. Christ is my righteousness, and I’m God’s friend. Jesus put it this way to all his disciples: “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last” (John 15:15-16).

Christ wants to change this world through his disciples, through his friends, and it all happens because of him not because of us and what we can pull together in ourselves. Jesus calling his disciples friends comes in the same passage in John 15 where Jesus explains how life, growth, and everything else in the kingdom of God takes place. He does it all. He does it through his children, through his friends. And all we are called to do is to REMAIN IN HIM and bear fruit – fruit that will last! He is the vine, he is the power, he is the the source of life in us, he brings forth life in us and through us. We are his broken cups, but we are his friends!

I love the story of Peter meeting Jesus after Jesus’ resurrection (John, chapter 21). Peter had deserted Jesus and had denied that he ever knew him. Jesus is on the beach, and calls out to Peter and the other disciples who are out in their boats fishing (they probably figured that they had to get started with their normal pre-encountering-Jesus-jobs). Peter immediately jumps in the water and swims to the shore. And Jesus doesn’t meet him with a “what have you done, Peter….I’m so disappointed with you”, instead he meets Peter with a “let’s have breakfast”. He is being Peter’s friend and after their beach breakfast he reinstates Peter as the disciple he had chosen as the leader of the first church. No condemnation. No “now I know that I can’t ever trust you”. Jesus and Peter both know that Peter is broken. That he will be known as one of the disciples who deserted Jesus. And that’s one of the good reasons for appointing Peter to be the leader of the church. Because he is broken. Peter doesn’t have the same faith in himself and in his strengths and abilities anymore, and others won’t look to him as being perfect in all his ways. But Peter is Jesus’ friend, and Jesus knows that Peter will remain in Jesus and get all his strength from him and Jesus can start building his Church through his broken and humble friend. 

Torben – who wants to learn much more about what it means for me to be God’s friend. It’s a mind blowing mystery, but I trust that God will continue to reveal and unpack it for me


Turn your eyes

A wonderful song about where hope is always to be found, in the man who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Torben – who often finds himself looking everywhere else than to the only one who can answer my questions, and give me the life, hope, joy and peace I’m searching:-(

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