The Squeezings of my Brain Grapes.
How Do I Stop Feeling Like I’m Missing Something?

strangest-child asked you:
Hey there! I would first want to say what an awesome job you are doing. Keep it up. I wanted to ask. How do you get completed by god. Without seeking something else to complete you? And how do you know when and how to ask for it?

Jed Brewer replied:

Hey my friend,

Thanks for your kind words!

So, how do you get completed by God?  Well, now, that’s an interesting question.

The immediate Bible answer comes from the book of Philippians:

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil 1:6, NIV)

Here, Paul is saying that God is at work inside of you, changing and shaping you, and that His work will reach it’s conclusion when we go to eternity to be with Jesus.

But, if we dig a bit deeper on your question, what I hear you asking is, “How do I get to a point where I don’t feel like I’m missing something?”  And that’s a great question.

The truth, my friend, is that we live in a fallen world.  Even when we start walking with Jesus, we still have a sinful nature inside of us, and things are always going to feel at least a little bit off.  We’re still going to experience a certain amount of loneliness, discouragement, and dissatisfaction.

As you hint at, a lot of folks turn to destructive things to deal with those feelings.  Sex, drugs, and popularity are the obvious ones, but academic success and work promotions are used just as often.  And none of them actually do the trick.

The key thing, when we feel incomplete, when we feel off, is to take that feeling to Jesus.  It turns out that Jesus understands what we’re going through, and wants to give us the strength we need in that moment.  Here’s what the Bible says:

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16, NIV)

You asked about God completing you, and making you whole.  The truth is that he’s doing that – he’s at work on it right now – but it’s a process, and one that will take your whole life.  But you need peace, and grace, and joy, and strength along the way. 

You mentioned wondering about when to ask for what you need.  The answer is: right now.  Go ask for that peace and joy and strength to deal with feeling off.  He wants to give it to you.

I Can’t Prove There’s A God, And It’s Freaking Me Out!

kchel-sea asked you:
Hello! How does one prove the existence of God? I mean, I know God exists. But how do I explain that to those to the really smart, scientific people who need evidences and theories and such to believe? Sorry if this is a nonsense question, I just don’t know how to explain it to them. They don’t believe in a testimony, and they most certainly don’t think ‘faith’ is reliable. They say that there should be logic and science and philosophy and yeah….

Jed Brewer replied:

Hey Keren,

Great question!  That isn’t nonsense at all.

I think that, sometimes, we can feel overwhelmed by our own inabilities.  There are a lot of tough questions out there – “How do you know there’s a God?”  “How do you know your religion is the right one?”  “What if you’re wrong?” – and, when we face up to those tough questions, we realize that we don’t have an airtight response ready.  And that can be really scary, because it makes us start wondering, “Man, what if I am wrong??”

Well, here’s the thing: nobody has an airtight answer for these questions.  In fact, those kind of answers don’t exist.  We could talk philosophy and theology and science all day, but we’re going to keep coming back to that sticky word, “faith.”

Faith believes because it does.

In that, faith is exactly like love.  Love desires because it does.

It’s not that faith and proof can’t coexist; they just don’t have anything to do with each other.  If you told a mother that her child was beautiful, she wouldn’t say, “Well, that’s reassuring!”  No, she’d say, “You better believe it!”

So it is with faith.  If you told a Godly person that science had just proven the existence of God, they wouldn’t sigh and say, “Wow, well that’s a relief!”  They’d say, “Took ‘em long enough!”

With all that in mind, let’s return to your question.  How does one prove the existence of God?  Simple.  You can’t.  Now, of course, it should be said that your skeptical friends can’t disprove the existence of God either.  And it seems a bit like that leaves us with a stalemate.

Except for one thing.  The huge vast majority of people on this planet believe what they believe for emotional – not intellectual – reasons.  In other words, people believe what feels true to them.  If you grow up and encounter a bunch of mean-spirited people who all go to church, it would feel true that religion is a lie and there is no God.  People believe in narratives, in stories, and stories are about emotion.

If you want to help your friends reconsider their views on God, you need to give them a new story to consider.  And the one story you have control over is your own.  Your life.

If you live a life that demonstrates – with actions, not words – the incredible love of God, the incredible grace of Jesus, and the overflowing joy of a Christian, your friends will take note.  If you volunteer at the HIV clinic, they will notice.  If you befriend the gay couple on your block and help them move their furniture, they will notice.  If you are there for them when they need it and do so without judging or condemning, they will notice.

It may take a long time, but the story of your life will be swirling through their brain.  And when they’re ready for something new, they’ll ask you how you managed to be the person that you are.  And, at last, in that moment, you can tell them all about God, and you’ll find that they are more than ready to hear it.

Does Faith Ever Stay Around?

bmentzer asked you:
I’m not used to seeing positive Christian things on tumblr - Maybe I wasn’t looking for it but I’m glad I stumbled onto this! I guess my question would be is does “It” ever stick? do Faith/Beliefs ever stay around? I’ve had so many ups and downs in my journey that I’ve found that it’s easier to to not expect my relationship with God to go anywhere. Maybe this is an experience vs relationship issue?

Jed Brewer replied:

Hey sis,

Well, in terms of positive Christian things on Tumblr, we can load you up!  Check out these awesome blogs:

Thebridgechicago.tumblr.com
Unkaglen.tumblr.com
Leeyounger.tumblr.com

All awesome, and all friends of mine.

Now, then, do faith and beliefs ever stay around?  Well, I think it depends what you mean.

What I’m betting you mean is, “Do the emotions of religion ever stick around?”  Good question.

When I was growing up, I associated having a walk or relationship with God with my feelings.  When I felt “spiritual”, I figured I was doing good spiritually.  And when I felt less spiritual, I figured something had gone wrong.

The problem here is that feelings come and go.  That’s part of what makes them “feelings”.  And that here-today-gone-tomorrow quality of our emotions is normal.  In fact, when Jesus was talking about living life as a Christian, he didn’t say that the emotions might wear off, he said that when they wore off, we should be prepared.  (Check out Matthew 13:1-23 in The Message translation, and in particular verses 20-21.)

So, given this, we’ll want to base our walk with God on something stronger and more permanent than feelings.  Now the Bible answer here is that we live by faith - a supernaturally strong ability to believe God’s promises that in fact comes from God.  But, practically speaking, how does that work out?

Well, see, one of the promises God has made – including to you – is that there is a point and purpose to your life.  (Check out Ephesians 2:10.)  The way that we get to that destination is by following God’s lead, regardless of how we’re feeling about it at the moment.

If I could suggest something to you, it would be to begin looking for – and asking God for – a burden to serve other people.  With spiritual stuff, it’s really easy to get stuck in our own heads.  This much I know: God’s purpose for your life revolves around serving others. 

So, start serving others.  Let your walk and faith become less about whether or not you suck (you don’t) and more about hooking up people going through a rough time.  If you’ll do that, I bet you’ll find that the ups and downs don’t bother you the same way they used to.  And I bet you’ll start to find a conviction and sense of calling within you – a whisper from the Holy Spirit – that doesn’t come and go.

I Just Can’t Believe In Jesus

Anonymous asked:
I believe and trust in God but I cannot seem to believe in Jesus. I try repeatedly to read the Bible and accept Jesus as my savior but I just can’t seem to get it. I can’t believe the stories that are told in there. Also, I don’t agree with the whole homosexuality is a sin thing. I believe that God loves all of his children and should be accepted. Will God not love me because I can’t find belief in Jesus?

Jed Brewer replied:

I dig your honesty, and you’ve got a good heart.  And I can relate.

Look, let’s speak plainly for a second: there are an enormous number of people who call themselves Christians and act like complete idiots.

Growing up, “Christians” made my life miserable.  They told me I was evil to be into what I was into.  They told me God was ashamed of me.  They told me I didn’t belong. 

And I believed them.  For a long time, I believed them.

And, of course, they used Jesus to make me afraid.  His words were the proof of how bad I sucked, how terribly I didn’t measure up.

Until, one day, I realized that Jesus was talking about them.  Here are some examples:

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”  (Matthew 18:6)

“Jesus replied, ‘And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.’” (Luke 11:46)

“For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:20)

Anon, to boil it down, here’s what Jesus is saying, “Holy cow do a lot of you religious people suck!”

And here’s the thing: you agree.  And so do I.

When you start a relationship with somebody, you don’t need to be on the same page about everything.  You actually can’t be – that’s not how relationships work.  You start out with some point in common, and you go from there.

You think a lot of religious people suck.  So does Jesus.  You think religious people treat folks in the LGBTQ community shamefully.  So does Jesus.  You think love, mercy, and acceptance are beautiful.  And so does Jesus.

So, if you’re wanting to develop a relationship with Jesus, start there.  Guaranteed: you will reach points where the two of you don’t agree.  Jesus has that effect on all of us.  But don’t worry about that.  Start where you agree.  Start reading what Jesus said to the fancy religious people of his day, and see how much that resonates with your own feelings.  Start reading what Jesus said about justice and mercy and compassion, and see if you don’t feel the same way. 

He’s not scared of your doubts, and he’s impressed with your heart and your honesty.  And I think the two of you would love hanging out together.

If you’re struggling with doubts, take a few minutes to read this post.  It rocks.

leeyounger:

Anonymous asked:

So, I have always loved God my whole life, but recently I have been struggling with doubts. I just don’t know… like, what if I’m wrong about all this? Who knows? I mean, I believe, but sometimes I struggle with whether or not it’s really all real or if I understand it….

Should I Tell People About My Depression?

thebeautifuladdiction asked you:
I’m almost positive I have moderate depression, but I don’t want to tell my parents…I’ve been praying, but that desire and fire I once had, just isn’t as strong. I know only God can pull me through this. But still, I feel really lost, I need advice.

Jed Brewer replied:

Hi Madi,

Thanks for your question, sis, and I’m sorry you’re going through a rough time.

I can understand not wanting to talk to your parents about this.  And truth is, depending on your parents, it may not be the best idea anyway.  (Parents vary pretty widely in quality.)

But, here’s what I know for sure: you’ll want to tell somebody.  And I’m talking about somebody there in your actual real life.  (E.g. Not just folks on Tumblr.)

When we’re going through a rough time, we need other people to walk that mile with us.  And the thing about depression (which I’ve experienced no small amount of), is that it often times warps the way we see things.  That means that “getting yourself out of it” can be very difficult.  Having other people to talk to can help you get some sorely needed outside perspective.

You said: “I know only God can pull me through this.”  Well, I suppose, theologically, that’s true.  But, sis, God isn’t generally looking for you to solve problems in isolation.  And definitely not in this case.

God’s way of pulling you through this is almost certain to include a support network of people who love and care about you, some trusted advisors who know what’s up with you, and a spiritual mentor that’s helping you grow in the Lord.  In all of those things, it will be God at work, but he tends to want to use human beings as his hands and feet.  (See 2 Corinthians 5:20)

One of the reasons you need those other people surrounding and supporting you is so you can stay encouraged.   When it’s just you and the thoughts-in-your-head, it’s easy to believe stuff that doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.  Here’s what I mean…

You said: “The desire and fire I once had just isn’t as strong.”  Now, you tell me if I’m wrong, but I’m guessing that’s freaking you out, making you feel like there’s a problem with your walk with God, and making you feel guilty, ashamed, and afraid.

What other people can reflect back to you is that feelings come and go.  For all of us, without exception.  In fact, Jesus described this – see Matthew 13:20-21 in The Message Translation.  Because of this, as you know, we rely on faith, not on feelings.

The funny thing about relying on faith is it lets us be unemotional about solving our problems.  Rather than viewing things through a lens of, “Probably I’m a sinner and God hates me and that’s why I’m having a rough time”, we can say this: I have a problem, and with God’s help, we’re going to solve it.

Because we’re relying on faith, we can just figure this thing out, rather than being freaked out about it.  We can find a person who knows what they’re talking about, and share with them.  Based on that, we can begin to sort out if my depression is a normal response to events in my life, the result of something going on in my body, an outgrowth of a difficult living situation, or something else.  Then, we can begin to fix those problems.

I’m proud of you, Madi, for being brave and taking the first step in solving this problem.  Now I want to encourage you to take the next step, and find a community of people you can trust, right where you are, that can help you conquer this depression and live into the amazing life that your Father has for you.

Jed Presents: Your Verse For The Day!

The Verse!

Philippians 1:6

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

What do we know?

  • This Christian thing was all God’s idea.  He started it.
  • He’s the one who’s gonna finish it.  It’s his strength that makes this walk go, not you beating up on yourself.
  • It’s going to be finished.  He won’t give up on you or abandon you halfway, no matter what.
  • There is a day when Jesus is coming back, and every wrong thing is going to be set right.

So what now?

Take 5 minutes today to go for a walk, drink a cup of coffee, and think about this verse.  Then, ask God to give you the faith to trust in his work in you, and the courage to relax.

190 plays

This is an acoustic rock song, for fans of 10th Avenue North or The Fray.

Faith is hard.  It’s so hard, in fact, that we have to get it from God, because we can’t generate it in ourselves.  This is a song about needing faith, about trying to believe God’s promises, and trusting that he will keep his word.  It’s called, “To Take A Seed And Know.”

Should I Get Baptized?

lovedbythesavior asked you:
I am thinking of getting baptized, but recently I’ve been feeling distant from God. And some fellow believers tell me I should get baptized. Should I wait till the flame in my heart is burning?

Jed Brewer replied:

Hey Laura,

Great question.  I think you should get baptized.  But it’s important to understand why.

I bet you’ve heard this before: we live by faith, not feelings.  Most of us have heard that phrase at one point or another, but I think a lot of us struggle with understanding what it really means.

Faith is a special kind of strength that God gives us in order to choose to trust Him.  But, it’s important to note that the trust is still a decision you make.  You choose to follow the Lord, or you don’t.  He provides the supernatural strength (faith) that you need in order to do it, but the choice is yours.

Why does that matter?  It matters because most of us are waiting to be bowled over.  We want to be overwhelmed by positive feelings about God, or we want to be overwhelmed by passions for something else.  Either way, we want to be overwhelmed.

But that isn’t how mature people live, and that’s not how God wants us to live.  Mature folks take some time, consider the options before them, weigh the costs, and, at last, make a decision.  Emotions don’t enter the equation on that.

This is important because, as you choose to follow the Lord, you will face hard times.  This is a guarantee.  And, in those moments, you will not feel good about the situation.  And, at that point, you have to have something else to keep you going.  Jesus talked about exactly this phenomenon:

“And some are like the seed that lands in the gravel. When they first hear the Word, they respond with great enthusiasm. But there is such shallow soil of character that when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it.” (Mark 4:16-17, MSG)

In those moments of difficulty – which, again, are a certainty, not a possibility – faith is the thing that keeps us going.  This inexplicable, supernatural, amazing strength to keep on believing God’s promises, no matter what it looks like, and no matter how we feel about it.  That’s what drives the train.

Now, let’s talk about the other side of this equation.  The Devil, as it turns out, is a salesman.  That’s his real skill.  He can’t make you sin, he can only try and convince that you that’s it’s your best – and, really, only – option.

Given that, he will go after your feelings every chance he gets.  Again, he can’t stop you from following the Lord.  But he can – and will – chant in your ear, nonstop, “You’re a fool, this will never work out, everyone thinks you’re a idiot, you can’t pull this off, why are you even trying?”

I mention the enemy, and his involvement, because, I think it’s worth considering that, just maybe, he doesn’t want to see you get baptized.

A baptism is an outward expression of an inward change.  You’re publicly expressing to the world – and to yourself – “Yes, I am about this Jesus thing.  I’m on it, I’m not ashamed of it, and that’s the case from now on, period.”  Well, that’s a heck of a thing, and who knows what amazing stuff the Lord would bring out of it?  I know this much: it’d be pretty awesome.

So, if the Devil’s scared of that happening, his only real play is to try and mess with your feelings, and get you in a fog of, “Man, I don’t really feel that close to God, I don’t know how ‘on’ this thing I really am, maybe we should just slow it down for a minute.”

The thing I’d encourage you to do is to pray, read your Bible, and seek advice from older Christians on the question: is God calling you to go on and get baptized?  If He isn’t, than no worries.  If He is, then feelings don’t change that.  Certainly, it’d be good to talk your feelings out with an older Christian just so you can put your concerns to rest.  But, Laura, you’re the kind of girl that’s in-it-to-win-it.  That means you live by faith, and that means that when God calls you to do something, you just go on and do that thing.

Bottom line: We’re praying for you, sis, and we’ve got your back.  And we can’t wait to see a super cool photo or two from your baptism.

Faith doesn’t mean denying that there are hard times going on in your life. It means choosing to look and see what God is doing in the midst of those hard times. We aren’t called to live in denial. We’re called to live in the firm knowledge that God is bigger than the challenges that we face, and is always at work putting together the absolute best for us, no matter how it looks.
Jed Brewer