rebelling against low expectations

Jesus Wants the Rose


A powerful reminder that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

NOTE: Some readers have expressed concern with the fact that Matt Chandler says something about the church being an “enemy of conversion.” Outside the context of the complete message it could come across as if the Chandler (and subsequently, Alex and I) are promoting an anti-church perspective. That is absolutely not true. The video is awkwardly cut. Chandler is sharing the story of how he came to reject that mindset. If you listen to the entire message you’ll understand. Sorry for the confusion.

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About the author

Alex and Brett Harris

are the co-founders of and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.


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  • Alesia: Hmmm…. Have you been able to watch the other YouTube videos we’ve posted (e.g. the “Numbers Don’t Lie” abortion video, or the “Don’t Let Them Despise You” John Piper video)?

  • I undestand what Matt means when he says that Jesus wants the rose (He sure does!) , but He also loves purity (Psalm 24:4), so let us not sin that grace may abound (Rom. 6:1).

  • I don’t think your area has anything to do with it. I am in North Carolina, and it won’t let me watch it.

  • wow…that made me tear up! it’s so true! that’s all i want to tell my friends who are borken and hurt! that even though they feel worthless Jesus still wants them and loves them more then they will ever know. I agree with Chandler. That man was completely wrong to say those things. I hope he was convicted of that. Those “roses” are the reason Jesus came.

  • Ya I have Brett, and now the video will show that it is loading, but it’s taking forever to play. I’ll play around with it and see if it’ll start working

  • The passing around of the rose he spoke of actually illustrated the point of the value of abstinence well. If we as young people do not preserve our purity, our heart will be tattered worn out by the time we are ready for marriage. I think that it’s sad that the man Matt spoke of apparently forgot that Jesus still loved His “roses”.

    It’s amazing that God still loves us and wants to be our friend and Father, even while we have sinned and rejected Him. We should love him even more for that.

  • Wow!! This is such a powerful reminder to me of man’s worthlessness in light of God’s greatness. How He decided to die for us sinful people. . . who can fathom?

  • Well, after about 30 mins of playing around with the video, it still won’t work , unfortunately =(

    Its odd because it worked for all the other videos.
    Maybe my computer is messed up, I don’t know…oh well….From the comments I can tell it was a good video =)


  • I am one of those “roses”. Though not in the area of sexuality, I came to the Lord broken and powerless. I finally gave up and realized how wicked I was, how wicked my heart was, and how much I needed God. God was loving me back to himself. He forgave me and is taking those petals and is remaking me. I still have to deal with consequences of past choices but there is peace and joy and hope in Christ Jesus alone.

    Praise Jesus Christ!

    Romans 2:4

    Ezekiel 3312-13

  • I agree with Rachel that the pastor actually had a good illustration, but he used it wrong. There’s sin and there’s grace and if you leave out one you ruin the message. If you don’t talk about sin you don’t fight sin. If you don’t talk about grace you turn judgemental and forgert that Jesus came for the “roses”. I can definitely see why Matt was so angered by the sermon. I love the way he is so passionate when he exclaims, “Jesus wants the rose. That’s the point of the gospel…”. Great video!

  • There are two really good sides here (two sides to the same coin, perhaps???). One side is that Jesus Christ will accept you no matter who you are and what you’ve done, and I love the way Matt Chandler illistrates that. The other side he didn’t really mention, and while I won’t charge him for it (his message was awesome), I think we should nevertheless be aware of it. The other side says exactly what Giancarlo mentioned, that even though God is awesome to accept us as failures, he asks us to strive to live for him.


  • Wow…amazing. It means a lot to me, because even know while I’m 15 I’ve been ministering to some friends of mine. There’s one in particular that really thinks she’s…junk. I keep trying to tell her that GOD DOES NOT MAKE JUNK but she has yet to believe it. Maybe I should send her this video…

  • i sw this video on youtube almost a month ago! It is so true! God wants the rose:-) He wants to change us and give us an abundant life. he wants to take the rose and allow it to live again:-)

  • Wow!!! That was a great video. I’ve struggled for a long time believing that because of all my faults, that no one would like me. I mean ‘like’ as in as a person, friend, sister, etc.
    When I was a little girl that rose was my emotional state. Ever since I was a year old (that’s when my parents divorced)until I was seven, court battles were waged over me. My mom wouldn’t let me go, and yet, I wanted to live with dad and stepmom. My birth mom was a Christian, but she had fallen away. My dad and stepmom were Christians, and I’m serious, I had more fun in the four days a month I was allowed to live with them than I EVER had the rest of the year. The things I had to see when I lived with my were just terrible. A six year old girl should NOT be watching her mother date guys like they were a pair of shoes, to be worn when wanted, often replacing them for new ones. She had two more husbands after my father, and that was all BEFORE she left me when I was seven years old. I have never seen or heard from or about her in ten years.
    How do you think all this left me? Well, I was battered and broken, and at seven, eight years old, I was finding Jesus like most people don’t until they are in their teen or adult years. Honestly, it was one of the best times of my life, spiritually. The hard times always are. I am truly left breathless as I watch Jesus at work in these times, as he picks us up and encourages us. Even with all the good feeling, Satan still whispered to me “Your a bad girl, Jesus doesn’t want you. Jesus is too good for you.” Now I know JESUS WANTS THE ROSE!!!
    In my heart I’ve always known it, but sometimes it takes an outsider to truly confirm what’s in your heart. Thank you, Alex and Brett, for posting this!!!
    ~Kay Morris
    P.S. Every story has a happy ending (in some way, or another) and mine is that I live with my VERY loving and forgiving dad and stepmom, and am the proud oldest sister of eight brothers and sisters. I am very happy now (most of the time;) ) and from all that happened to me, I am a lot stronger emotionally. I learned a lot from that time, forgiveness mostly, and now I try to use what happened to me to comfort, encourage, and teach others who are going through similar situations.

  • I am as old as most of your readers’ grandparents – I am that damaged rose – but restored, revived and joyous because indeed – Jesus wants this old handled too much rose and makes it fresh and new. Thank you for sharing this – y’all can trust the gospel when the world is SO wrong!

  • Hm, I can’t see the video. Do you know what’s wrong? If not, do you think you could post think to it. Maybe that will work. Thanks.

    Be blessed,

  • Would someone associated with this site please explain to me why this video was posted on a Christian site when the other message it sends is that “The Church is the enemy of conversion?!” I see his point that the rose example was a really crumby speach, but from that to draw the conclusion that a witness should not be a “Church Man” (as he says in such a derrogatory tone) is completely obsurd and absolutely HERETICAL.

    The lesson to be learned from hearing about this crumby rose speach mentioned in the video is not that “The Church is the enemy of conversion.” What I gather from the video is that the speaker was from a non-centralized church, where teaching is inconsistent. That’s why the speaker didn’t know that Jesus wants the rose: because like Matt Chandler, the speaker was from a non-centralized church, which makes heresy easy to start and hard to stop because there is no center to which to look in times of uncertainty.

    Why don’t we all become secular Christians?! After all, any fool can talk about salvation without belonging to a specific church. I have been a Rebelutionary for a while now, but that was before I knew that the Rebelution preached heresy.

    I will be praying for the Rebelutionaries, for Matt Chandler, and for this site, that this may be cleared up and the Rebelution may be pure again. Until that time, the best thing I can hope is that this heresy dies a horrible death like so many others!

    God bless you all,
    Eleanor V. B. H.

  • This is the most real, honest, powerful message I have heard in a very long time. I’ve grown up in the Church. My dad is a Pastor, so I have had the privilege of knowing the inside scoop on the hypocrisy in the Church. What I’ve come to learn (recently) is that some, not all, people in the Church want money and praise for their work, when they are, in truth, filthy, torn-up roses themselves, taking away the true meaning of a Church family. Believers and non-believers need to hear this message. Christians do care, you just have to find the true followers of Jesus Christ amidst the churchgoers.

  • WHOA!! That was INCREDIBLE!! I listened to that at least five times and it’s still amazing!

    I love how Jesus wants the rose, beautiful or droopy, blossoming or limp. Thanks for this great reminder. <3

  • CLARIFICATION: The video is awkwardly cut. He does say that the church is the enemy of conversion, but only in the process of telling the story of how he came to reject that mindset. If you listen to the entire message you wouldn’t get an anti-church message at all. Sorry for the confusion.

  • Wow. Jesus wants me. One who stumbles daily, without realizing it, wants me. Why? I look at myself and don’t see a person who is worthy to go around the world to share the gospel. How can they believe, how WOULD they believe, if only they knew how much I wrong God?? Yet He still sends me. It’s His way of reminding me, “Annie, you are yet young! You are still fragile though you have become so strong. I will make you stronger. Who are you to decide who I send??! All other Christians mess up! But that is why I offer you amazing grace!! That is why I died for you!!! Do not dispair, young child. I have you in my hands. ‘No one can snatch [you] out of my hands.’ Through me, you will grow stronger. Through me, you will learn to become more like Christ. It’s the Refiner’s fire that works in you: bringing out the hidden trouble and scraping it off. Cling to me and I will make you whole! Satan has no power over you!”

  • Whoa. That was an awesome video! Also, Amen Annie. 🙂 I like how you say “I look at myself and don’t see a person who is worthy to go around the world to share the Gospel.” because as humans, our eyes are blinded by veils of doubt and sin. And Jesus is the only one who can break that veil so we can truly see our true potential.

    I like how Matt says that he’s a college freshman yet befriends and ministers to a 26yr old woman. It shows that if you’re going to be used by God, its not always going to be inside your comfort zone–if ever.

    @Rebekah: First of all, you have an interesting blog. Secondly and more relevant, you should send this video to your friend. Hah, I have a few people in mind I’m going to send this to who are supposedly “worthless” 🙁

    God Bless all who read this,

  • Alex, Brett, thanks for your assistance in this matter. Having known Matt since April, 2004, in regularly attending The Village Church and eventually becoming a covenant member, I have heard him unapologetically preach the Word and God has been VERY instrumental in working through his life and messages to help others come to both know Him better and walk closer to Christ, with the constant message of glorifying God and Him alone!

    Thank YOU for your ministry. I look forward to the upcoming book!

  • Great Video. That guy with the rose should have thought a little bit more about the sermon he was giving. Great talk given by Matt Chandler

  • My youth pastor spoke about this. Cool that you guys found it too. Thank goodness Jesus wants the rose!

  • That video is so true. I used to think that making mistakes makes you a terrible, ugly, un-Christian. But all that is is a lie by the devil. Jesus will take your broken spirit and make you new again. He wants you, he wants the rose, and it’s sad to think that some Christian think of failure in a negative instead of, as Alex and Brett put it(not the exact wording) “failure just builds muscle, preparing you for next time.”

  • Oh my goodness, i heard this same illustration at a youth conference a few months ago! And in a way, i do agree with Chandler. Jesus DOES want that rose! But as others have already pointed out on this blog, the Bible says, “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid.” But the point of the original illustration is that we should keep ourselves pure. If we don’t–if we allow members of the opposite gender to touch and handle us like that rose was touched and handled (i.e. kissing, holding hands, physical contact, etc. before marriage)–that isn’t fair to our future mate. My husband will want someone pure and untouched, just as no one wants a rose that’s been passed around the room and handled by everyone. Yes, God does forgive, and yes God can–and WILL–make the handled rose useable again…but that doesn’t clear all the consequences that the “rose” has to deal with. I have been praying for a husband that has kept himself pure and untouched, just as I have kept myself pure and untouched.
    I do know many people that have not done the same however–and i know God WANTS so badly to use them. I pray they will allow Him to fix their broken lives and make them useable again! He does want the broken rose!! But the rose has to WANT to give themselves to God. That’s what a lot of my friends are having problems with. They don’t want to give themselves wholly over to God. God wants them, but they won’t give themselves to God.
    Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say is that we should strive to be the pure, untouched rose. God forbid that we continue in sin that grace may abound. But God still does want the handled rose–but that handled rose has to also want God. I pray that those “handled roses” in my life will soon turn to God!!

  • Jesus did not symbolize us as a rose.. Rose thorns prick.. Roses
    lure man to it and then gives him a nasty rash called
    Sporotrichosis.. For all I know, the preacher was symbolizing man’s preemptive desires and that’s not what God wants.. He wants us to repent.. Not commit sin and then repent.. That is why we have a conscience… People in America act like victims.. They do anything they want and then say “I’m sorry”…. They want all their intentional sins wiped clean like bankruptcy…

  • Hi! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this website? I’m getting fed up of WordPress because I’ve had issues with hackers and I’m looking at options for another platform. I would be fantastic if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

  • Anyone who cannot seethe the point of this is probably not a true believer. How can you possibly hear such a CLEAR and PASSIONATE description of the truth of the gospel and not be moved? The thought that the church might be in the wrong, and missing the point of the gospel is not only possible, but is a theme repeating itself through history. Christ died for sinners and tax collectors, not hypocritical virgin pharisees. Purity is WORTHLESS without Christ.

  • Eleanor…you totally missed the point. You don’t think the church has sent the wrong behavior modification message to a world that can’t change themselves? You preach grace…or you’re not preaching the gospel!!!!

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →