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The Acoustic version of “Cast My Cares” from May’s Bridge Box. An intimate, introspective look at our need for God’s tenderness in the midst of our weakness.
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A new Jed Brewer worship song given the hard rock treatment!
“When I Sin” is a reminder that God’s love in the midst of our screw ups.
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What does it really mean to keep the Sabbath?
Some folks talk about “keeping the Sabbath” which, as you correctly point out, is kind of vague and confusing. The verse they are referring to, Exodus 20:8, says “remember the sabbath day by keeping it holy”. That may seem just as complicated, but the word “holy” is a huge help. The word holy basically means to be set apart, to be different. So to keep this day holy is to set it apart from other days.
The concept of the Sabbath comes from Genesis when God is creating the universe, the seventh (sabbath) day was different. The reason it was different was because God rested on that day. So it makes sense that that is how God wants us to set the day apart, by resting. Some people take this to the point of doing all their cooking on saturday because cooking might be work and you don’t work on the Sabbath.
I don’t think God will smite us for technicalities, but I think the concept of rest is very important. God commanded the Israelites to let their land rest by lying fallow every seventh year. They ignored that for 70 years, so God made the land not produce for 10 years to fulfill that law. We work in the same way, getting a little bit of rest every week is much better than going until you collapse and have to rest just to catch up.
The idea of taking a day of rest is in itself set apart from the thinking of the world. Worldly thinking says that rest is wasted time. Since you aren’t earning money, or studying, or gaining a skill, then it is worthless. But God says differently. God says that your rest is important and you should put in the effort to making sure you get it.
The Christian ideal is to have the Sabbath on Sunday. Which is perfectly fine, though not an iron clad rule. For people in ministry for example, that is impossible because they work on Sunday. In the Bible, Jesus healed people on the Sabbath even thought the religious leaders said He was sinning by doing so. Most pastors have a day off during the week instead of Sunday, which is perfectly fine.
You are much better off in your walk with God, and in life, to take a day of the week to rest. It will make the rest of your time more productive and more focused. God designed us that way.
-Matt from The Bridge
If you were looking for righteous men
Then you know I wouldn’t stand a chance
But you said wanted sinners
so here I am
If you were looking for worthy men
Then you know I wouldn’t stand a chance,
But you said you wanted me
So Here I Am
from “Here I Am” a Jed Brewer worship song.
A rocked out version of a “Here I Am”, a Jed Brewer worship song that we sing at THE BRIDGE
Thank you God, for love I don’t deserve
Thank you God, for love I did not earn
I don’t know how to say this, but it feels as though I am facing a crisis. I am 22, I have never had a boyfriend, never been on a date, and it feels as though around me, all my friends are in relationships, getting engaged, getting married, and having babies. I want that too, but it feels as though I will be single and alone forever because no guy has ever approached me, and I don’t know what to do anymore. I was wondering if online dating was a good idea, but that seems so intimidating. And I don’t know if anyone would find me and actually like me anyways. But I really don’t want to end up alone forever. I don’t want to continue burning with lust either. This is very difficult. I want to have a relationship, get married, and have a family and kids, but it seems as though I am totally stuck and hopeless or doomed. Help?
Ok, take a deep breath and relax. There is a lot of panic going on here, and that is actually pretty normal. It seems like a massive percentage of Christians who graduate college unmarried assume that they will never be married. I have certainly struggled with that feeling (I didn’t go on my first date until I was 24 to be honest). The simple fact is, almost everyone gets married, even though it is easy to feel like you are the one person it is never going to happen for.
There are two things that people buy into about singleness, both of which you mention, that don’t make sense when drug out into the light.
The first of those is that more dating experience means you are closer to getting married. While it is true that you can’t get married without having been in at least one relationship (well I guess it’s possible, but rather complicated), it’s not like someone who’s first date is at 12 is more likely to get married by 25 than someone who’s first date is at 22. It is about when you meet the right person and at the right point in your life.
The other lie that people buy into is that getting married younger means you win at…life, or Jesus, or something. Because we culturally associate marriage and parenthood so much with maturity, we tend to see singleness as some kind of indictment of our adulthood. So on top of all the feelings that dealing with singleness breeds, we add feeling like God sees us as immature. Meeting your spouse is not the pot of gold at the end of the spiritual maturity rainbow. God does not work that way.
I am aware that neither of those logical arguments get to the heart of what is an emotional issue. The enemy here is letting your circumstances define your self worth. Believe me that your situation is not an isolated one, there are tons of wonderful Christian gals your age who have not been asked on dates. It is as if an entire generation of Christians decided to kiss dating goodbye…no that is too absurd an idea to even consider. Nothing about this means you are not person worthy of love or desire. Going into a pity party is the worst possible thing you can do, though again, I totally understand the impulse.
The online dating thing is a fine idea, but if you go into with the attitude of “I bet no one will like me, see no one likes me, told you”, then it will probably not be a successful venture. You are correct that it is a good idea to put yourself out there, be that online or meeting new people or just asking a guy you like if he wants to hang out. If, however, you have a defeatist attitude, then it probably won’t go the way you want.
I know you want to be in a relationship. But you don’t just want to be in a relationship, you want to be in an awesome relationship. Panicking about being alone will lead to making bad decisions. If you think being alone sucks, try being in a bad relationship. God loves you, He isn’t punishing you with singleness. This is a season of your life and wasting that season on panic will only create a negative spiral.
So start thinking about what you want (more specific than “a boyfriend”) and start taking a look at yourself and doing some work on yourself. Insecurity will wreck this whole thing faster than any other factor. Make it your goal to establish who you are in Christ so that you can take that identity into a relationship that, believe me, will come in time.
-Matt from The Bridge
Do I have to have complimentarian beliefs to be a Christian? How do I deal with churches and popular evangelical ministers with these beliefs when I have doubts, questions, and disagreements? Do I stay silent and/or find other Christians who think like me? I’m having a hard time understanding the New Calvanist movement and its strong alliance with complimentarian views. It’s as if the gospel also has “male lead ministry only” in fine print. Am I less of a Christian if I accept egalitarianism?
Firstly, let’s define the terms in play here. Complememtarianism says that men and women are equal, but that they have different roles from God. Egalitarianism says that men and women are equal and there are no God-defined separate gender roles. The different theories mostly manifest around two topics: the man as spiritual leader of the marriage/household and female church leaders.
Complementarians take their view largely from Ephesians 5 where Paul talks about dynamics of marriage and 1 Timothy 2 where he says that women should not have authority over men in the church. Egalitarians point out that Jesus and the early church where both very progressive in their views toward women. Jesus appeared to women first after the resurrection, women are often thanked by name, alongside men, by Paul for having an indispensable role in his ministry.
There is no 100% definitive answer on the issue, and even among people who subscribe to one view or the other there is a huge range of practical ways to apply that to real life. One important thing to point out is that what both schools of thought agree on is that men and women are created equal in God’s sight, that is not a debatable point. That needs to be said because it is not unheard of for people who are just plain sexists to try to hide behind theological smokescreens. That is not complementarianism.
The real issue in your question is the idea of being “less of a Christian”. What makes someone a Christian is a relationship with Jesus. That doesn’t come at the end of filling out a survey of every little bit of theology, it comes from saying “yes” to the offer of His death for your sins on the cross. The major points are: God created you, Sin separated you from Him, and Jesus took your punishment for Sin on the cross so that the relationship could be restored, and we are called to love others because of that great love we have been shown.
As for disagreeing with public figures and ministries, you may have to just agree to disagree. And that’s okay, if you are on the same page with the foundational stuff. Quite frankly I am a little suspicious of a person in ministry who has a platform and uses it to talk about things other than the love and grace of God.
Let me add the note that I am aware that I, as a man, am looking at this through privileged eyes. No one is telling me that I can’t be a pastor, or have any other job. I know it’s not fun to hear, but the people who disagree with you on this have a valid interpretation of scripture. While it is a good thing to question and to pursue your calling, if you do that at the expense of serving and loving, then it can be a tool for division within the body of Christ. The important thing is not to lose the sense of perspective on what is eternal and what is earthly.
-Matt from The Bridge
I recently started a new job & already noticed how different I am from my coworkers. They usually invite me out to bars for drinks, but I’m always hesitant. I don’t think there’s anything wrong w/having one drink because my intention isn’t to get drunk. My relationship w/God has grown a lot lately & I’m loving what he’s done. I want to be able to connect & eventually share the love of God no matter the environment. How can I stop from feeling uncomfortable or afraid of being seen as hypocritical?
It’s good that you notice differences between yourself and people who are of the world. It’s also really good that your response to that difference is to want to connect and share with people who don’t know the Lord. It sounds like you are totally on track, but you are letting fear knock you off a bit. Which is something that happens to everyone.
You are right on that there is nothing wrong with drinking. According to the Bible, it is getting drunk that is the problem (Ephesians 5:18) and if you are underage, then drinking illegally is a problem (Romans 13). However, just because it isn’t a sin doesn’t mean that you have to do it. If you have no interest in drinking, then don’t drink. It is not something you have to try, or a sign of maturity or anything. I know people who don’t drink because they don’t care for the taste, because they think it’s ludicrously expensive, or for any number of reasons.
The thing you very well might find if you go to a bar and order a diet coke, or a water, or whatever, is that people don’t care. People get pretty wrapped up in themselves and often don’t worry too much about what other people are doing, especially after a long day at work. Someone might ask why you aren’t drinking and normally a “just not into it” will suffice for normal, decent people. If someone really makes you feel uncomfortable about it, then you can bail on the bar trips and know that you gave it a shot. And if you feel like saying it is because of your beliefs, then that might plant the seeds for conversation down the line.
It seems like the thing that’s making you uncomfortable is the fear of the unknown. Wanting to maybe give this a shot but having misgivings is perfectly natural, especially if you’ve never done anything of the like before. The best way to get rid of that discomfort is to try it. If it works out and you have fun, then great; if you end up not liking it, then you continue not going, but at least you know, no big deal. As for the feeling hypocritical thing, I don’t know how anything you are doing or thinking is hypocritical. You aren’t doing anything wrong, you are just trying to figure some stuff out. That’s not hypocritical and anyone who judges you for that is not someone who’s opinion should care about anyway. Some people just want to find fault in other people, particularly their spiritual life.
Figuring out how to walk as a Christian is tough, especially in worldly environments. There is no rulebook for these gray areas where nothing sinful is going on. You just need to find out what’s right for you and making some false starts and missteps along the way in perfectly fine. That’s how you learn.
-Matt from The Bridge
When I was young, my parents filed for separation due to infidelity. The divorce was messy and I despised my dad for ruining my life. Though I no longer see him anymore, I now fully forgive and love him, because he’s still my biological dad. We all make mistakes. I now live with my mom and my step dad whom I’ve known for about 6-7 years. And I’m ashamed to admit that, even to this day, I still can’t accept him as a father figure. It’s gone to the point where I avoid talking to him and even eye contact. I have nothing against him as a person, but as a father figure, I can’t accept him. I pick out every single flaw he has and hold them against him. I don’t get why I’m still holding on to these feelings of bitterness, antipathy and anger. How is it that I’m able to forgive and love my dad, but I can’t even accept him as a member of the family? I know I’m supposed to love and forgive everyone like Jesus does, but this is impossible for me to do when it comes to him. What’s wrong with me?
There is nothing wrong with you. It’s just that this forgiveness thing is a lot more complicated than it seems. It seems like you may be taking some emotions about your parent’s split and focusing that negativity on your step dad, instead of your dad. So what makes those situations different in your eyes to cause that? The things that make it easier for you to forgive your biological father are: you want to forgive him, and he is not around.
You point out that the reason that you can forgive him is “because he’s still my biological dad.” You have the the motivation to forgive him because you want to have peace about your relationship with him. It seems like you feel that you owe your father forgiveness because he is your father. You appear to not have found that motivation about your step dad. And that doesn’t make you a bad person, it doesn’t make you a bad Christian, it’s just something you need to look at and try to understand and work on.
The other big difference between your biological father and stepfather is that you don’t have to be around your father everyday. It’s probably not that your stepfather has annoying quirks whereas your dad doesn’t, it’s that you don’t have to be around your dad to notice his. When you have to be around someone on a daily basis, and you have decided that you dislike them, it becomes easy to project negative feelings onto whatever they do. It is a little easier to have affection for someone when you aren’t exposed to the little grating daily things about them (that everyone has). Not having to deal with those messy details and the messy emotions that come with them makes it easier to forgive someone and focus on what you see as the positives.
It is a very mature and powerful statement when you say “I know I’m supposed to love and forgive like Jesus does”. We need to think about how Jesus loves us. Jesus loves us even though He is under no obligation to, His is a love of choice. He also loves knowing full well our mess and weaknesses. Jesus doesn’t love an idealized, best version of us. He loves the real you. Those are the things that make the love of Jesus so unique and so different from others.
One important thing you can do is keep in mind the kind of love and forgiveness that Jesus has shown you, and try to hold on to that when you feel negativity welling up towards your stepfather. It might also be good to make sure you have totally dealt with the emotions towards your dad about his infidelity and his leaving. Just deciding you have forgiven is not the same as going through the real work to get there. You have the right heart, you have the strength to do it, you just need the right perspective.
-Matt from The Bridge