Steve Bezner Profile picture
20 Nov, 13 tweets, 3 min read
The house is quiet now, so story time.

Our topic tonight: Brokenness.

Yesterday one of my college buddies came to town and asked to meet. We sat in lawn chairs outside the church building and talked for quite a while.

He and his family have had quite the time of it.
Without going into too many details, there has been employment drama, kid issues, family stress, financial worry, and a few other sensitive things mixed in.

And yet…there has been an inescapable sense that the Lord is walking with them every step of the way.
That’s what I'm driving at when I talk about brokenness—spiritual brokenness leading to humility—the Presence of God in the midst of the valley.

This is something unique--something that marks people who I greatly admire.
Lots of people have bad things that happen to them, and yet, somehow, they never experience brokenness leading to humility.

I’m not sure why.

Instead of becoming humble, they become bitter. Or arrogant. Or angry.

But there is beauty in humility borne of brokenness.
My friend has lost everything by the world’s standards, and yet he is hopeful. He is at peace. He is finding joy in his family. He is believing daily that the Lord is working something good for His purposes and glory.

And, with each day, he becomes more pliable and humble.
I am convinced God works to humiliate those who follow Jesus so that we can lose our pride.

Jesus was humiliated, hanging naked on the cross. He did so out of love for others.

Our pride must be destroyed, and humiliation is the tactic.

We must die to the opinion of others.
If you’ve ever walked through this, you know: the humiliating circumstances are so outlandish, so ridiculous that they must be from the hand of God.

And so you walk this odd tightrope: You do not *enjoy* being humiliated, and yet you know that the Lord is allowing it to happen.
So what do you do? You (eventually) discern that the Lord is doing a work—a work of the soul within YOU. He is humiliating you so that you will stop being so prideful, so that you will trust Him, so that you will listen to His voice.

And so he humiliates until you are broken.
In the process, you have the sweetest times with the Lord. Your time of reading the Bible is lively. Your times of prayer are sweet. You sense Him with you during the day.

It’s a living version of the Parable of the Gardener. The poop is being piled on so you can bear fruit.
And so, despite the putrid smell, you are grateful for it, because you know it will make you stronger in the long run. You will have deeper roots. You will bear more fruit.

This is the path of brokenness.

And this is where my friend was.
We talked for a long time. We prayed. We both recognized what was happening.

And so we were not—and are not—worried.

We are working to fix the things we can.

But we are trusting that God is working something to the good.

And I can hardly wait to see what it is.
All of this to say: If you are in a moment right now…if you have the *ahem* fertilizer piling on…if you feel that your circumstances are insane…

you might stop to see if it is the Lord breaking you, humbling you.

Because it would be a shame to waste all that pain.
Embrace the breaking.
Allow your humiliation.

Walk with the Lord.

And prepare for the fruit.

Peace and grace. And good night.

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More from @Bezner

5 Oct
Lately I've been trying to ponder and circumvent the way (predominantly evangelical) church economics unintentionally hinder our effectiveness. Below are some observations. Would love any suggestions you may come up with.
I am on the board of an organization that works to start new churches in the city of Houston. I love the organization and believe it is one of the best things going in my city. Over the last five or so years, we have started several dozen churches. But, a problem arose.
We began to notice that it was very difficult to start new churches in economically depressed areas of the city. This is not because people didn't believe in the mission. Quite the opposite. It was because there was not enough funding in the neighborhood to support it.
Read 16 tweets
5 Oct
John 11 today.

What are the limits of Jesus’ power?

Mary says, “If you had been here,” Jesus, Lazarus would not have died.

Mary assumes that Jesus is limited by death.

But Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life.”

His power can bring new life, even in death.

Many of us find ourselves in situations that seem hopeless.

We think, “If only I had prayed sooner.”

Then maybe things would be better.


Then again, maybe you should call out to him even now.

He is able to enter in, even when it feels too late.

He is the life.

Oddly, many people—including Christians—will read such thoughts and quietly think, “How quaint.”

This is one of the prominent dangers to Christianity in the 21st century.

In our rush to become “respectable public intellectuals,” we have forgotten:

Christianity is foolish.

Read 6 tweets
3 Oct
Enjoyed this interview of Camille Paglia by @clairlemon. I've long appreciated Paglia's insight and wit. Money quote from Paglia: "As an atheist, I have argued that if religion is erased, something must be put in its place."…
In the same question from @clairelemon, Paglia argues that "secular humanism has failed." The fascinating thing to someone like myself (clergy/semi-academic) is the thought that any form of humanism ever *could* replace religion.
Western culture is so formed by Judeo-Christian ethics and sensibilities that it literally could not imagine a way of being in the world the wouldn't import copious amounts of Christian assumptions. Simply put: humanism doesn't have the inherent goods to create such a framework.
Read 14 tweets
2 Oct
John 10: 14-15.

Jesus: I am the good shepherd.

He guides us where we need to go. He provides. He protects.

He tends to us like a shepherd.

He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
Jesus: I know my own, and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.

You can know Jesus the same way he knows the Father.

The relationship Jesus describes is intimate, knowing.

It is an invitation to friendship.
Jesus: I lay my life down for the sheep.

This Jesus has given everything to show you his love. He lays down his life.

To protect. To preserve. To save.

He is worthy of our adoration and following.
Read 4 tweets
1 Oct
Thread on John 9.

Jesus heals a man who has been blind from his birth.

The chapter centers on an obsessive question from the Pharisees:

Who is the sinner in this situation?

They are *determined* to answer this question.
Who is the sinner?

Was it the parents of the man being punished for *their* sin by having a blind child?

Or was it the man himself somehow being punished?

Or was it Jesus using the powers of the devil to heal?

In the end, Jesus says the sinners are the Pharisees themselves.

Because they see themselves as God's appointed judges over everyone else.

Because they believe they can spiritually see, they reveal themselves to be spiritually blind.

If we want to know the power of God, we must begin with our own blindness.
Read 5 tweets
23 Sep
"Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken."--Hebrews 12:28

Brief thoughts on "building the Kingdom," as it has appeared in a few headlines.

First: "The Kingdom" is not synonymous with where you go after you die.
If you read the New Testament, you'll see that Jesus is saying the Kingdom is "at hand." You'll see that the Kingdom is "good news for the poor." You'll see the term "Kingdom" is in the New Testament more than the term "gospel."
In short, the Kingdom is when those who choose to follow Jesus live their lives under the rule and reign of Jesus right now. They are not waiting for death. They are embracing the surprising and countercultural Way here and now.

Love of enemies, peacemaking, forgiveness, etc.
Read 13 tweets

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