Category: Living Waters

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture
esperanza

Esperanza

‘You are no longer aliens but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone’ (Eph. 2:19, 20).

Mexicans do it better. Living Waters anyway. Attribute it to truer body/spirit integration. Or greater openness to the Spirit. Or deeper awareness of poverty, submitted to God. All I can say is that I left Guadalajara full of hope (‘esperanza’ in Spanish) for a Church with whole Fathers who welcome the broken and raise up a host of healing sons and daughters.

Maybe it was the Church building itself. Perched atop the ground level where we prepped and prayed as a team, I did not see the sanctuary until the conference. White stone floors with windows, streaming sun and ascending onto a high unfinished ceiling where birds nested and sang throughout the day–‘Even the sparrow finds a home, a place near your altar, O God’ (PS 84:3)! And the altar: simple and sturdy, hewn from yellow onyx marbled in black, a rugged wooden crucifix loomed above, complemented by ‘Bienvenidos.’

The Guadalajara Team

The Guadalajara Team

Jesus welcomed us there; we found a place near Your altar, O God. This was partially due to Father Ricardo, a young priest who spoke movingly and hopefully of God bringing him to the end of himself, then ‘living water’: God’s merciful touch through the healing community. He invited us into that community, one he developed by pioneering Living Waters groups in his parish and beyond. I marveled during the first call for healing from the evils of adultery and childhood sexual abuse—both rampant in Latin culture and hidden behind the appearance of ‘honor’—as literally all 100 participants came forward for ministry! This never happens in the USA. It does in Mexico. Glory to our merciful King.

And the witnesses of healing: Samuel whom God transformed from ‘gay-identified’ to family-defined as he now faithfully leads a wife and son (and Living Waters group in nearby Leon), Francisco and Meric who became a godly, chaste married couple with the help of Fr. Ricardo and Living Waters, Lalo for whom Jesus broke the grip of depression and released him to fruitfully serve others, and many more. Hope rose like the river in Ezekiel’s temple (EZ 47), so much so that a man locked up in shame due to years of sexual abuse and addiction wept for the first time in 10 years and declared: ‘I know God has more for me than abstinence.’

Amen. We are all works in progress, much like the sanctuary herself which awaits His finishing touch. But we aspire in hope, fed by the healing Presence which flows from the altar. Guadalajara granted me a fresh glimpse of the readiness of God to heal. All it takes is a humble clean pastor who gathers his lambs and teaches them to yield to the Father through the Son in the power of the Holy Spirit.

‘In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit’ (Eph. 21, 22).

Please take time to watch our new video and become ‘Chaste Together.’

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Safe House

‘O afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will build you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with sapphires…All your sons and daughters will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children’s peace’ (IS 54: 11, 13).

Our churches, lashed by identity politics and afflicted by abuse, need the Bridegroom to make us a ‘safe house.’ This is our last week of ‘Becoming Good News’; in truth, it is only the beginning of our becoming the Church ‘whose conventional appearance makes it a safe place into which one might take refuge,’ aka a ‘safe house.’

But how can a Church riddled with immorality become a sanctuary for the abused and identity confused? Responding to a rebuttal of his claim that the Pope and many Vatican officials covered for high-ranking homosexual abusers, Archbishop Vigano writes: ‘It is no exaggeration to say that homosexuality has become a plague in the clergy…It is an enormous hypocrisy to condemn sexual abuse, claim to weep for its victims, and yet refuse to denounce the source of so much abuse: homosexuality.’

Why pray for prodigals to come home to a sleazy celebration? Because God is raising an army of wounded healers who are intent on making that Church safe. Cowardly men in power cannot stop the Lord of hosts. He accomplishes what He wills. He wills to set captives free through His house, not in spite of it.

I write this at the end of a rocky finger pointing east off the Connecticut coast. We are lashed here by winds and rain as seasoned Living Waters leaders and new leaders-to-be gather. The range of churches–from contemplative Catholics to shaking Pentecostals—is awesome. We need each other’s gifts to become safe houses in our communities for every estranged son and daughter that Jesus is calling home. In response to our prayers!

We tell the truth about our lives—the disordered desires, abuse that divided us, shame that derided us—and the family of God whose pure hearts and clean hands helped reconcile us to the gendered gifts we are. No human powers can block what God is building. We are following His plan: humble disclosure met by Almighty mercy flowing through Christ’s members. Unstoppable. God does not need more clever administrators, more artful dodgers; He just needs willing hearts made tender and trustworthy by mercy.

We take our places–mutually submitting to bishops and pastors as we become ‘like living stones, built together into a spiritual house, a holy priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ’ (1 P 2:5) Our sacrifice? The re-offering of our wounds, now visible to all–washed, set, becoming integrated into our good full lives. I submit to you this short film—Chaste Together (click here to watch)—that describes how Living Waters helps create a ‘safe house’ in local churches for the abuse and afflicted.

My hope is in Jesus. I am not discouraged by sleazy strains in the Church. I cannot answer for the accused. All I know is that God is mobilizing a healing army that will accomplish His purposes—‘to present to Himself a radiant bride’ (Eph. 5: 27), a bride who welcomes the wounded in mercy and truth.

‘See, I will bring them from the land of the north and gather them from the ends of the earth. Among them will be the blind and the lame, expectant mothers and women in labor; a great throng will return. They will come weeping; they will pray as I bring them back. I will lead them besides streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble. For I am Israel’s Father, Ephraim, my firstborn son’ (Jer. 31: 8-10).

We are currently in a time of prayer and fasting. If you’d like to pray along with us, let us know and we can send you a book or you can get it through kindle here: https://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Good-News-Andrew-Comiskey-ebook/dp/B07F95JKP5!

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Little Monsters

The ongoing outing of men acting badly (Les Moonves of CBS, new evidence against Weinstein, Cardinal McCarrick and his cronies, hundreds of American priests who abused in the second half of the 20th century) may tempt us more to disgust than self-examination. I refer here to my brothers who may not be big players in the Catholic hierarchy or media but who are familiar with sexual disintegration—ways we have squandered our powers of life and love.

The cycle is all-too-familiar: high stress, low significance, mounting pain, decreasing words, sensational pleasure, greater shame, riskier business, escalating shame, huge-consequences-if-caught, SILENCE. Until exposed. Then the glare of public scorn burns off hope of restoration.

We may never have coerced another person sexually but our sins of omission and commission have doubtlessly wounded others. And fractured our dignity. We thank God that we are not felons yet we share in the wound of corruption common to men, disordered desire which results from mistaking random sexual release with power. Then the delusion: ‘it’s what I need’, or ‘(s)he likes it.’

This is especially tragic when paired with religion. Many of the abusive priests were orthodox in their understanding of purity. They just failed to become what they believed. Mastered by lust and shame, they learned to compartmentalize, to live elsewhere, to tune out the lament of a dying conscience and conjure an unreal world. Then religion becomes part of the defense against reality. I dreamt last night of a priest who wrapped himself tightly in scholarly and spiritual vestments; instead of guiding or cleansing him, these garments protected then mummified him, hastening a shameful death. ‘If religion does not make you better, it can make you a whole lot worse’, to quote C.S. Lewis.

What good purpose can these monstrous sins have? They can reveal our little monsters, men, and invite us to do urgently and persistently what Weinstein and Moonves and McCarrick never did: we can expose ourselves before the throne of grace and receive grace to help us’ (Heb. 4:16) so that our little monsters stay small and cease to govern us. Rather, we tame them, and learn to direct our sexual energies in alignment with the dignity afforded us by God and His friends.

We must be the first to confess our sins, to reveal our monsters before we are silenced by shame and dwell in darkness. Presumption and pride fall away, and the narrow way which leads to life becomes lit for our brothers. That is precisely what we as men accomplish together in Living Waters. We live in the light of mercy for 6 months of daily accountability; connection rather than shameful isolation begin to define our lives.

In the shaking, the exposure of monstrous things, we can fall on the Rock before it falls on us.

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Pray for 2943 and Asia

Friends,

I am just finishing a wonderful break with Annette and children and grandkids; I leave tomorrow with Abbey for our first Living Waters Training in Ubon Thailand. Ubon, near the Laos border, is a Buddhist stronghold with extremely limited Christian presence. We delight in all who will join us there, including leaders and participants from churches in six other Asian nations. Please pray for our freedom on all fronts to love and serve Southeast Asia wisely. Your prayers enable us to renew our commitment to releasing Living Waters there. Pray:

Special grace for Abbey who at the last minute agreed to lead all musical worship (as well as to lead a small group and teach.) The girl is a marvel but also human….

For Tom and Terri Wright, seasoned Living Waters leaders from Virginia who will serve us and share as a couple: this is their first international ministry trip together. Pray for extraordinary blessing on them and clarity for mission.

For our amazing leader in Ubon, Sue Hunt, who has been among the most faithful and fruitful of international Living Waters leaders. She has envisioned this training for a long time and has worked steadily and well in the Spirit to ensure its reality. Pray for her joy, stamina, and wisdom in discerning what God is doing in her land through this training.

Lastly, the California legislature reconvened this week though as yet we do not know when and how 2943 will be introduced for a senate vote. Pray for the bill’s dismissal or its extreme modification. Either could happen.

Last week the Massachusetts legislature failed to pass its efforts to ban ‘reparative therapy’ for minors due to lefty infighting. (And from the state that introduced ‘gay marriage’ to America!)

This is not a good season for any government body that imposes serious, unnecessary limits on the moral decision-making of its citizens. Keep praying and we will keep you posted.

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AB 2943 and Divine Mercy

Will California Preserve Freedom of Choice?

The California legislature tried to railroad AB 2943 through the Senate; it looked like a sure thing for a political body intent on outlawing any moral action that clashes with the state’s LGBTQ+ juggernaut. Strangely, the bill was put on hold until August 6th. Besides giving dissenters like us more time to pray and engage the powers-that-be, what happened?

Divine mercy. That’s what happened. 2000 years ago the powers-that-be thought they had vanquished Jesus. Yet His death loosed a river of life that breaks the stronghold of death in every person who calls upon His Name. The Cross is the ultimate expression of divine mercy: it set into motion the truth that cruelties of every kind, including unjust laws like AB 2943, do not have the final say. God turns them around in order to achieve an even greater good.

All it requires is for God’s people to prayerfully gather in humility and compassion. From San Diego to Redding, Christian dissenters from San Diego to Redding have amplified the truth that Jesus changes lives. Sexual wholeness outshines a ‘gay’ wedding or a ‘sex’ change any day. For the last four months, Christians in California have displayed the glorious splendor of the Kingdom. Wisely and persistently, weak people being redeemed by Jesus have countered worldly thinking that threatens free speech and action—through their own stories, they have championed citizens’ rights to choose how they will resolve gender issues.

Bethel Church Redding arose in response to AB 2943 as never before. Two members, Elizabeth Woning and Ken Williams, both formerly ‘gay’-identified, have worked tirelessly and effectively to engage with lawmakers in Sacramento and to rally churches throughout California to support choice by refusing AB 2943. I met them 20-months-ago at the onset of their Bethel-based ministry ‘Equipped to Love’ (equippedtolove.com); though clear in their call, their course of action wasn’t. Not anymore. These two are as empowered and focused as anyone in the field. Get a copy of their booklet ‘Changed’. For such a time as this.

Two women from Living Waters in Pasadena met with the representative of a key decision-making senator in Sacramento; they influenced her by telling their stories wisely and well. Many more friends of mine in California who in the past have been reticent to tell the whole truth of Jesus’ work in their lives have boldly gone before cameras and large groups to make known His merciful love in their sexual brokenness. Some have risked jobs due to LGBT+ employers. We endure shame for love’s sake, for the joy set before us.

Faithful lawyers, orthodox clinicians, and pastors of every ethnicity have joined us at every turn to offer wise support. There is an army of intrepid truth-bearers who are arising in this hour. AB 2943 provoked this army. This is divine mercy—God turning around injustice in order to achieve His greater aim.

We are undoubtedly helped by two rulings last month by the Supreme Court. Clearly now, the highest court in our land is not inclined to any group being railroaded by the government when legitimate and deeply held views are at stake, including a cake-maker in Colorado who could not in good conscience bake for a ‘gay’ wedding (his resistance was honored by the court in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. CCRC) or pro-life pregnancy centers in California who need not advertise for abortions. (Under California law, the centers were forced to do so until NIFLA v. Becerra.)

The implications of these decisions are huge for AB 2943. Christians have an objective yet countercultural understanding of sexual wholeness that has been demonized by the California legislature. If AB 2943 passes, it will make a bee-line to the Supreme Court where, in my humble opinion, it hasn’t a chance. Can the California legislature see this? If so, did that contribute to its delayed vote?

Divine mercy. When Jesus’ members humble themselves and offer bad things back to Him, He turns them around and does something better. That is good news for a world that awaits the outcome of AB 2943. Massachusetts wants to pass such a law, as does the UK and France. Will the faithful show the world a different, better way? Maybe California will preserve freedom for sexual wholeness.

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