Christian Living


The Benham Bros. on Being 'Bold and Broken' in an Unforgiving World

Chris Carpenter - Director of Internet Programming

Bridging the gap … it’s a time-tested expression we have all heard and likely used to describe a way to connect the qualities of two different things. In other words, it’s a way to fill the space between two areas to bring together as one.

Real estate executives David and Jason Benham believe that God wants to use people to be the bridge that connects heaven to earth.  From this connection, God can and will use anybody to draw someone closer to Him.

In their latest book, Bold and Broken: Becoming the Bridge Between Heaven and Earth, the brothers demonstrate the “bridge” concept through inspirational stories and sound biblical teaching.

I recently sat down with David and Jason to discuss what it means to stand in the gap between heaven and earth, why God wants use our boldness and brokenness to achieve His purposes, and how to respond to His call when you have no clue where to start.

What was the catalyst for your new book Bold and Broken?

JASON BENHAM: We had already written three books and all of them kind of touched on being bold and standing strong in the culture. Our publisher came to us and said, ‘I really feel like there's another angle for writing a book on boldness in the culture. So I started to pray through it honestly.

I was like, “Okay, well Lord, what would you say?” Early one morning I was up praying and I felt like God wanted me to pray the Lord's Prayer. And so I started to pray that. ‘Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done.’ And then I got to the phrase where it says, ‘On earth as it is in heaven.’ And I kept repeating that … on earth as it is in heaven. I began to see that there is a gap between heaven and earth. We know that spiritually Jesus bridged that gap through His death on the Cross. But now Jesus is telling us, I want you to pray this prayer, ‘Your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.’

And I realized it's not just a prayer, it's about participation. Jesus did bridge it one time and it doesn't have to be bridged again like that. But now, we as God's people take part in connecting God with the people that He's created on earth as it is in heaven. It reminded me of Ezekiel 22 where God said, ‘I looked for a man who would stand in the gap.’ Then I thought of the Lord's Prayer. There's the gap right there. When you choose to stand in that gap, you become the vital bridge. You become the link between heaven and earth. Standing in that gap is simply connecting God with the people that He's disconnected from. We can become that bridge between heaven and earth.

How can believers in Christ be both bold and broken at the same time?

JASON: It starts with humility. It starts with repentance, recognizing that God has created you in His image. And He wants you to stand boldly for Him. We know that all throughout Scripture … Fear not … Stand bold …  these scriptures teach us to be courageous. What we know is that you cannot be truly bold and become the bridge that connects people with God without a loving attitude, or without humility. A harsh word stirs up wrath, right?

How can I then be bold and not stir up that wrath at the same time? Well, that comes from brokenness. In other words, I am no worse in possibility than the worst criminal is in actuality. It's approaching people from that mindset of, ‘You know what? I'm with you and I'm just like you. I'm just as much a sinner as you are.’ But look, God has a better way.

DAVID: Our Dad used to say, “Only those horses willing to be broken by their master are fit to pull the king's chariot. The rest are left to pasture.” That's submission, right? Submit yourself to God. That's the first thing. I submit myself to the Lord. I believe in the authority of God's Word. I filter my experience through God's Word. I do not filter God's Word through my personal experience. I am not the authority, God is. That's step one.

Step two is boldness. In the book of James 4:7 it says, “Resist the devil. Submit yourself to the Lord.” Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood. It's not against men and women, blacks and whites, conservatives and liberals, Republicans and Democrats. That's what the media wants you to believe. The ultimate struggle is good and evil, truth and lies, light and darkness. We know that Satan is the father of lies. He's the ultimate one that we're battling against. So we have to boldly see every opportunity. When lies have captured somebody and their identity, someone's identifying what their sexual behavior is, that's now their identity. They've surrendered themselves to their identity is not to Christ. If anyone is in Christ, he's a new creation. The old things are passed away. Behold, all things have become new. People course correct, their lives begin to align correctly with God's design and not their own.

You were talking earlier about the importance of standing in the gap.  What does it mean to stand in the gap and to take that a step further, be the bridge between heaven and earth?

JASON: That's such a great question because what we say is first you have to recognize that God wants to use you as a bridge. A lot of Christians don't even get there.  They expect God to do everything. Like if God wants to save somebody who's going to save that person? Well, God will, but He wants to use you. It's like when Moses saw the burning bush and heard God's voice. God said, ‘Okay, I'm going to deliver the Israelites. Now you go.’ God just said, ‘I'm going to do something.’ And then He said, ‘Moses, you go do it.’ That's the key -- to recognize that God is first going to use you as the bridge. And then once you recognize that, you just use that awareness in your everyday life. Wherever you go, there will be people that will be disconnected from God. God wants to use you to be that bridge. It may be an encouraging word. It may be a sharper view. It may be praying for someone. It may be to just do your job really well and pray that the Lord will give you an open door to actually witness to somebody. Whatever it is, you just need to have this awareness that you are the bridge.

Do you have any examples from your own life? How does God want to use our boldness and our brokenness to serve His purposes? 

JASON: That's a really good question that we've discovered that we need to ask ourselves in every situation, where we feel like, hey, you know what, maybe this is a situation where I could become the bridge between God and the person needs to be connected.

For example, last night my Uber driver was talking about gender identity and sexual expression. As Christians, we need to be well versed in that. He was a Christian but he was sharing some stuff that was off the wall wrong. He said that God is okay with this stuff. In that moment, I felt genuine compassion for this young man. And I told him, listen, your theology is off and I want to show you where it is in the Bible. But the reason I'm telling you this is because I want to help you, so the next time you're in the car with someone who's talking with you about this, you'll be more equipped to give them the truth. At the end of our conversation he said, ‘Thank you so much.’ So that's what compassion looks like. I've done that with other people where they got really mad at me. I can't control that.  The same boiling water that hardens the egg softens and carrot.

After people have read Bold and Broken what would you like readers to take away from the experience?  What is your greatest hope for the book?

DAVID BENHAM: We want believers to get in the game.  So many believers are on the sidelines and they're just watching. We were blessed to be a blessing. We were called to be conduits, not cul de sacs. God wants to use us. As Jason has mentioned, God tells Moses, I'm going to redeem my people. Now you go. It's like, hey, hold on a second. You said you were redeeming people but I'm going to use you. God wants to use us. We want Christians to be both bold and broken, to be that bridge to connect the people that God has placed in our sphere of influence. I'm not telling you to go around the world. God may tell you to do that, but I'm not telling you to go get on stage or do something that other people are doing. Just be a bridge right there where God has placed you.

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