Steve Bremner

Author, Podcaster & Writing Coach

The Old Fashioned “Year In Review” Blog PostThis post is a 10 min read

Or “The Year of I Told You So”

Well, I’m finally writing an update.

It’s the end of the year, again, and I find myself over here in Brantford, Ontario visiting extended family and my grandparents on both sides of the family, like I seem to always be doing every year around Christmas. I don’t mean I do the visiting every year, because I do that regardless. But I mean the introspection and seeing where God has brought me over the previous year, only this time it’s not home from the mission field, but well, home has been the mission field, since other than a 6 week trip to Peru, and a 2 week trip back to Holland in the summer, and a weekend long trip to Lakeland Florida (funny how fast that went into oblivion and almost nobody is talking about it anymore….), I’ve been almost all year in Canada.

Right now, I just want to write something–anything. I don’t know what about or to whom in particular, but just that I need to write something. On here. For who knows who that will read it and wonder if I’ve gone half daft. It’s like how earlier in this week, I went through my cell phone and just called a few people to talk to someone–anybody who would listen. I feel the same impulse about writing something, anything, regardless of who will read.

I’ve not really sat down to write a post on my personal blog in months, and once you reach a certain amount of time of not having written, it becomes more and more daunting, and the updates you could post become too many to adequately update on. But I’m going to just try to pretend you want to know, and that you’ve been aware of my life in the last few months.

I was working at Craaytech Painted Plastics since Sept 28th—the same place I’d worked in July before returning to Holland. They demanded much overtime of their employees and us Manpower temps this summer and fall, so I’d put in 6 day work weeks about half of that time. I also moved out of my parents to rent a room the same week I got hired back on, and I also got more aggressive on the fund raising and a little bit of itinerating for Peru. Due to working afternoons, oftentimes 6 days a week, I saw a noticeable difference in my social life and my ability to really do anything to communicate with the outside world about what I was doing to get there and how much help I needed to get there, other than using the internet.

They laid me off on Monday, which was expected and assumed when I took Saturday’s shift, that that one might be my last, and I wasn’t so worried about it. However it did kick start the fiery week I wound up having anyway….

If I ever come of the mission field (which I feel my back up against the wall about not going back on even now…) then I’m going to finally start preaching and writing about integrity in the form of finances and being a People of God who do what we say we’ll do [with our money, time, talents, etc…], once I no longer feel the need to bite my tongue for fear of offending people into not helping me—what’s the point of worrying anyway? I used to out of a conflict of interest because if I’m trying to raise support, I don’t want to anger people into not helping me, but if people aren’t going to keep their word, why is that a reflection of my integrity? It makes for good sermon material, but it hits you even more like a freight train when you’re the one depending on people keeping their word. It has sharpened me into being so ridiculously careful of not saying I’ll do anything or set myself up for an opportunity to disappoint–if I can help it, I’m obviously still far from perfect–with so much as neglecting to make a phone call or answer an email (which I’m still working on with the things in my inbox I get anymore!)

Three years of this, and one would assume I wouldn’t be so naïve, eh? But, me and thinking the best of God’s people, instead of being suspicious…

Besides, I’m beginning to suspect the real reason most people teach and preach about tithing and curses coming on people for not tithing, or things about offerings, is because some people need the security of knowing the mortgage for their church will be paid. Or that their personal helicopter will never stop being paid for. I’m not saying all pastors are motivated this way, but I’ve talked to some who’ve admitted to me they understand that temptation to look at what bills need to be paid in church and the temptation to preach guilt on the congregation in order to not get into debt. I know this because of the experience of needing the help from the rest of the Body of Christ for myself. I’m telling you as an insider, I’m pretty certain this is the case a LOT of the books and teachings on tithings have been birthed out of.

I know of some people who need their whole year to be scheduled in advance, and knowing those places will take up minimum amounts of offerings for them. And I feel sorry for them. I envy the point they don’t have to worry about money for the year, but I feel sorry for them that THAT is their sense of security instead of the Lord, who is sustainer and provider of all things, no matter what the year may hold….

I don’t preach any topic from a place of getting people to feel guilty about what they’re not doing or doing, but wrong. I try motivating and edifying INTO what I’m talking about, but money and what we do with it has always been a tough one for me b/c of the church game I’m already forced to play. God forgive me if I ever reach the place I where I beat the sheep because of my own life and lack of security in trusting Him and feel the need to make it other peoples’ problem…And the idea that people would think I have an ulterior motive. Problem is that since I don’t, then the real motive becomes fear of what people will think or speculate. Ridiculous isn’t it? But if I quit the mission field, and work full time, then I’m turning loose on the Body of Christ and going off in my realms of influence (blogging and podcasting) about that as hard as I have about faith and healing. Heck, why wait till I’m off the mission field?

This year has also been the year of “I told you so”. I’ve probably not heard those words uttered to me so many times in life by people in my life such as my parents and some (not all) close friends. Trying to reach my departure date of early February for Peru looks more and more daunting the closer I am to it, and the more work I’m seeing still needs to be done. But the “I told you so“s are in all sorts of forms.

I take consolation in the fact God loves it when we make those kinds of mistakes–mistakes that are the result of assuming the best of people, and giving them the benefit of the doubt. You know who says I told you so a lot? The accuser of the Brethren, to God, about us all the time–constantly finding fault. So since God doesn’t listen to satan, and gives me chance after chance, that’s how I’ve tried to pattern my life with His other children.

Oh heck, this entry will be my ‘year in review’ post after all since I’m already spilling it out this way. 2008 has been hard, hard, and more hard. I repeat… hard. To sow and sow into things seemingly looking like they are for nothing at all….to taste the calling of God on your life even deeper, only to wonder if He is dangling a piece of carrot in your face He’s not letting you grab, but yet you’re reaching and reaching for with all your strength. To listen to person after person and how they offer help (usually financially regarding support for the field) only to wonder statistically speaking and based on past experience, if they are just blowing smoke up my butt since most people don’t follow through anyway….is hard, and not getting easier the more I have to witness it, listen to it, or experience it.

By the way, God doesn’t dangle things in your face to not let you have it—but to help you reach it. Somehow everything is located in His Spirit realm and requires us reaching into it and obtaining it. When that sick person doesn’t get well after you prayed a bunch for them, or that money doesn’t come in after trusting Him repeatedly and putting your hope in Him and not people or paychecks; or something that’s His will as plain as day doesn’t seem to be manifesting, it’s never that He’s playing “keep away”. So don’t even write me such bizarre theology to tell Him He’s seeing how much I’ll go for it.

I’m letting Him do a work in my heart to be so wholly dependant on Him, and lay my plans and ambitions on the altar, and if I get to go to Peru, I do, if I don’t, I don’t. But I’m content in Him and will make myself useful wherever my feet are planted. But I’m only getting to Peru in February if God comes through. I’ve laid that on the altar, and if He wants to burn it up and destroy it, He can, but if He wants to give it back to me and make it work out, then He can. I’ve come so far and so much on the line that if I’m not there, then it will become much harder to pick up the pieces and get there later. It might take a while, like a year. If it comes through, I won’t be able to take any credit, because I’m telling you right now, only God can and He will be glorified…

Lurkers and voyeurs who are reading my blog to know about my life but not ask me about it; I trust HIM. I’m not usually so personal online, on something like my public blog. But I’m so desperate for more of HIM in my life and nothing else, I don’t mind who knows it. And besides, it gives you an opportunity to witness whatever He does in the midst of the fiery trials I’ve been going through, so that you can watch HIM at work and be glorified. I’d rather be in a place where once the shaking is done, I’m still standing strong with my integrity.

But I’m fine with that. And if I’m really not, then I’m closer to being fine with that than I was before.

Merry Christmas everybody.

About Steve Bremner

Steve the coffee drinker is a Canadian missionary to Peru, who is called to raise up disciples who flow in the power of the Holy Spirit within a missional community named Oikos. If you like Steve's blog, you'll also like his Kindle books. Note: this post may have contained affiliate links of which the author receives a small commission if you purchase something recommended in the post.