“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Restoration and Downtown Buildings

     I have two of the coolest bosses in Owensboro. (Actually, in the world.) Larry and Rosemary Conder. Two of the sweetest and most generous people I have met. I admire them for so much and one thing that they do (that is so cool) is they restore downtown buildings. They take run down, beaten up, nasty buildings and turn them into something beautiful. They are rebuilding quite a few buildings downtown for business and condo/apartments currently in Owensboro. Everything that they work on downtown ends up absolutely beautiful and accomplished in excellence.
     I was thinking this week on how great of a job they do at restoring buildings and the Lord spoke to me and said, "Nothing is too old, beaten down, or ugly to restore." It hit me. Nothing is too difficult for the Lord. While the Conder's specialize in buildings the Lord specializes in people. He can take the most rotten individual and with enough work, rebuilding, and change  they have the possibility of turning into delightful individuals. He believes in you and sees your potential. Psalm 51:7 says, "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." The Lord desires to restore his children. He wants to see them come back into His plan, be cleaned out, wiped clean, and given an opportunity to shine. He wants His children to shine. When Rosemary goes and looks at a building I am sure she doesn't think, "What can I do with these broken windows and walls with holes." Instead she thinks, "These windows can be replaced with some windows I saw the other day that were so pretty. We can move that wall this way so we can build an apartment."
     We need to see the potential in ourselves and begin a walk of rebuilding and restoration. I don't have a 5 step plan..... I just know to seek God, pray, and marinate yourself with His scriptures. It's never too late to turn into something beautiful. Not for a building, and not even for a person. Now is the time.

While working at the coffeehouse, the Conders have taught me several things. I thought I'd share! :)

1. Always look at potential and not what you initially see. 
2. Hard work pays off.
3. Give generously.
4. It's okay to have maintenance work. Just fix it right the second time. 
5. Work hard. You are never too dressed up to work hard. (I have watched Rosemary work in heels and Sorreli jewlery. Impressive.)
6. You just do what you have to do. They never relent, even when they are sleepy. 
7. Love the people around you. Rebuilding buildings isn't worth it without loving the people that come into them afterwards. 
8. Help others accomplish their dreams. I've been blessed with Rosemary in my life- she pushes me to get out of my comfort zone and excel in the things I'm called to. 
9. Share your stories and laugh. 
10. Enjoy life. See the good in every situation. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011


     The world does not need you to be an every-day "American" Christian. The mundane, medirocre and sad excuse for Christianity must end. This world doesn't need it. It's actually hurting it more than it is helping the world. The world needs you on fire for the things of God. They need you to be burning. They need you to be passionate. They need to see you live out a relentless pursuit for the things of God. The glory of God must be our focus. And if you can say you are pursuing that while marking off your check-list of "I didn't cuss today. Check. I didn't get drunk today. Check. I kept my cool instead of socking a guy in the face. Check." Those days are over. It doesn't pass for enough for God.
     Actually, God detests it. If you are living a mediocre lifestyle for God- he isn't pleased one bit. He actually wants to throw you up. (Rev. 3:16) I am so sick of being scared of being a "fanatic" for the Lord. I refuse to step down to the world's standard of Christian. I refuse to sit in the same seat every week, putting a polite smile on my face, and clapping at the good performance, and shaking hands and living a mundane & boring lifestyle. Damon Thompson hits on this a lot.... and since I've been listening to his podcasts quite frequently that's probably where this stems from. But- he says this often, "God is not boring. You are boring." How can the God of this universe who created stars and people be boring? He can't! He isn't! He is not boring!
     Once you begin to taste the reality of who God is, hear His whispers in Your ears, live a life of faith and stepping into the things He has for you, and ultimately laying your life down so that He can lift you up and pull you into a life that is better than any high from this world- you will realize that He isn't boring.
     The only way I know how to tell you to start to burn is to choose to burn. If you haven't been in church or been in the word in a while that's fine..... dry wood burns better. You have to simply begin to pursue the Living God. Get in His word. Surround yourself with people that burn. (There's a whole group at PromiselandMetro Church :D) Worship Him. Find Him in the everyday things.
     That's my favorite thing about Him. He is in my everyday activities. He speaks to me through every-day life. He can make food an analogy of the things of God to me. I can run into a door and He'll speak to me. You can read about it here.
     The bottom line is this. Jesus and His disciples were not ordinary people. They didn't get up, go to work, come home, sleep and repeat. They lived it out. They couldn't contain themselves. They laid hands on the sick- and they were healed. They fed the hungry. Clothed the naked. They loved to do the work of the Father. They served. Your works don't save you- but they could touch someone else who ends up falling in love with their Creator because they saw you live it out.
     Once you start to burn. Burn confidently. Your confidence in your burning will push others into burning. They will see that you can burn, be a crazy person that loves the Lord, be a fanatic, be  radical and still be confident. You don't have to hide the fact that you love the Lord.

     Burn!!! The worlds needs you to burn for the things of God. They need to see that God is who He says He is and that He will do what He says He will do. They need to know who to go to for answers. They'll go to the burning ones- because they know they can count on them to be on their faces in prayer for them in times of need and trouble. And that they will be beside them rejoicing in the good times. Get on fire! Live it out.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Basketball & Snickers. Just Believe.

     I am so blessed by some of the connections I have, especially blessed by my connection to Madison, Mississippi. Two weeks ago I took off on my summer adventure. Camp Leader for RAMP for Metro's youth for the first of the week then jumping on a flight to come to Mississippi to help out THE Terre Jasper. THE Terre Jasper is the Children's Pastor for Pinelake Church in MS, she was also my youth leader at Bellevue for my entire Middle and High school years. I came to MS to visit, but also to help out with her Kids Week. My life is forever changed.
     I have grown up in church and have been on plenty of mission trips and helped out with numerous camps an I have found that it's normally one child that changes my life. And that's exactly what happened this week. His name will remained unmentioned. But he was not my easiest child, he was actually my most difficult. He didn't behave, he had a bad attitude, and he didn't have a respect for authority. All three of those things clash BIG time with me. After the first day I was pretty frustrated that he was on my basketball team with 6 other 2nd/3rd graders. The Lord spoke to me while attempting to punish him and told me to not give up.
     I began to disect and pick apart his actions and behavior. After he bit my assistant coach, I decided it was time to chat. I began to ask him about his home life.... and it finally hit me. He was always acting defeated because he grows up in an atmosphere where no one believes in him. Tears were at the edge of my eyeballs and instead of making him sit out, I made him hug me. Not a short hug. But a hug. A hug from your g-ma that hasn't seen ya in a while. I hugged, hugged, and hugged the poor child. He looked at me and said, "Miss. Brennen, why you hugging me!?" And I told him I loved him and believed in him.

Everyone needs someone to believe in them. Everyone needs someone to love them. 

     That's what this precious child taught me. I ended up bribing him to behave. I have no idea if that was the correct thing to do, but he was amazed that I would spend a dollar on a yellow snickers. Bless his heart, he couldn't make it the last day and didn't even get it. But, I hope that I left him with something way better than a Snickers. (You know that's gotta be good.) I pray I left him with hope and that he knows someone believes in him. Even if they live in Ky. You better believe that on our last day together when he improved  17 points on his "HotShot" score I was jumping up and down like a proud momma.

Who are you believing in? Who was the last person you hugged and told them how much they meant to you? Reach out. Three days of playing basketball with a child who doesn't behave changed my life.