Brave and Beautiful Work with Words

Sara Bareilles’ hit song “Brave” boldly proclaims: “You can be amazing, you can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug . . . Say what you wanna say, and let the words fall out. Honestly, I wanna see you be brave.”

Sara’s lyrics provocatively remind us of the power of our words to accomplish some things rather wonderful. This should not surprise us when we consider that our Creator, the first and foremost worker, originally labored with skillful words. Genesis 1 paints a masterful picture of God’s extraordinary, skillful design of the world and humans. Marvelous to remember, his primary modus operandi was his word.

“And God said . . .” is the leading phrase. And at the culmination, on the sixth day, he created humans to reflect his very image.

My own hermeneutical training encourages me to understand this section of Sacred Writ as a blend of literal, historical account conveyed with beautiful, poetic utterance. Hence, God’s own work with words joins with the subsequent work of human writing, producing a powerful picture of words at work!

As an author and speaker in the twenty-first century, I am terrifyingly tasked with trafficking in words. Consequently, I can deeply resonate with Bareilles’ sentiments. There are times my words may be a weapon; other times, a drug. And many days, they fall out as just sloppy and floppy, rather harmless, hopeless, and ho-hum.

I am oh-so-grateful for the supportive, endorsing words of five different friends, oh-so-kindly supplying a thumbs-up for my recent book Henry’s Christmas: A Story for Discovering God’s Joyous Work at Advent.


I’ll be featuring their comments in several upcoming posts, but I’ll share Chris Horst’s right now to get us started:

“The bookcases of most leaders are full of books on faith, work, and charity. But few of these books are as fun to read as Henry’s Christmas. In this festive tale, John Pletcher explores life’s most important questions—and our deepest longings—through the lens of a story. This spirited book is a fresh and engaging guide to the Advent season.”

—Chris Horst Vice President of Development, HOPE International, author of Mission Drift, and founder of dadcraft

chris-horstGreat thanks, Chris, for such a hearty endorsement! Reminiscing, I recall eight words, written atop a term paper’s final page during my senior year of college. The prof simply penned: “This is good writing! God can use you!” The day I read those words, they sank deep and did something very solid in my soul, spurring me to be brave, to dare to traffic in words.

Personal app: How will your words accomplish very good work today? How will you encourage someone, express gratitude, or verbally share something beautiful, bold, and brave?