Tag Archives: California

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Authority to Heal

A disgruntled ‘gay’ activist, Mathew Shurka, testifies in legislatures around the country that conversion therapy did not work for him; he did not change and he doesn’t want to change. And he doesn’t want anyone else to change either.

Me thinks he protests too much. A recent NY Times articles quotes him: ‘It’s still the same question—“Can someone change?” This is the source of all LGBT rights.’ In other words, Shurka and like-minded ones hang all their LGBT aspirations on the fragile hope that no-one can overcome the domination of lust and actually begin to experience what God designed his or her body for–fruitful engaging with the opposite gender.

Mathew’s grousing may help win some legal battles. But he has already lost the war. Justifying one’s right to exist on the grounds that no-one with same-sex attraction can successfully choose a path different than one’s own is a losing proposition. Two choices remain: close your eyes to others’ transformation or claim that they are lying.

Mathew lives under a low ceiling, which he seeks to extend over everyone, including the faithful. Make no mistake—the issue here is not only ‘conversion therapy’—it is about halting any person with same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria who seeks new sexual direction. And Shurka is not alone. Evan Low in California who last year initiated #2943 is ramping up for a ‘better’ bill in 2019 that he hopes will eradicate choice of change for any Californian.

Now we can see why ‘change’ is such a threat to the LGBT+ set. It exposes the quaking ground of ‘selves’ built on the fault-line of sexual fatalism. From that tight controlling place emerges a selfish, non-generous spirit. How else can you describe legally forbidding persons to aspire to authentic sexual creativity?

Thank God for the authority to heal—to become the fruitful man or woman of His design. The Church of Jesus Christ understands this. Not because she cites the LGBT+ set as those most in need of healing. She simply knows that all persons who seek freedom in Jesus’ name will find it because He is the healer!

Last week the Denver Archdiocese sponsored our Gender Matters Conference. Archbishop Aquila opened the time with two interwoven truths: the magnificence of the human person made in God’s image as male and female, and the authority of Jesus Christ to restore persons to that original dignity. We adore the God who heals.

Jesus brought a ‘new teaching, and with power’ (MK 1:27). Most of His time was spent delivering persons from oppressive spirits then restoring men and women to their original dignity. Of course He only did this for persons who wanted it. He was known to gently ask: ‘What do you want?’ or ‘Do you want to be whole?’ Even so, He contended constantly with naysayers who were so threatened by His Almighty Mercy that they put Him to death.

He lives to resurrect that power in us. In spite of diabolical efforts to stamp out ‘change’, no power on earth has authority to void His power to heal. It is His prerogative and now ours. We—faithful members of Jesus– have authority to heal.

‘Faith in the Lord’s real Presence and in His transforming power decides everything. If this faith is firm, the Church’s doctrine about human sexuality will be comprehensible and equally firm. If it evaporates, then repentance, conversion, grace, and sanctification evaporate with it.’ Dr. Stephen Oster

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

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2943 Withdrawn from CA Legislature! Long Live Freedom of Choice!

In an unexpected move, Assemblyman Evan Low withdrew his bill on the last day of its eligibility. Had it passed, Living Waters would have been outlawed in the state of California. The bill is now dead. Low engaged with many Christian leaders this summer and understood that the bill overreached its aim by treading on sacred ground. He acted with integrity and stopped the bill before it went to the governor who would have signed it. Thank you, Evan, for your humility and wisdom. Thank you Jesus for all the intercessors and witnesses You united throughout California to declare that Your way for our sexuality dignifies all persons who seek it.

More to come on this, but wanted to let you know this glorious news!

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California’s New State Religion

‘In this world, God loves nothing more than the liberty of the Church.’ St. Anselm

AB 2943, which prohibits churches from selling resources that helps members live chaste lives, sailed through the Assembly and (barring a miracle) will do the same in the Senate in the next few days.

Not only does this bill prohibit citizens from resolving gender identity problems according to their faith, it imposes an immoral standard upon them. California may become the first state in the nation to demand that citizens with same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria resolve their conflicts according to state-determined (im)morality. When it does, California will effectively roll out, in the words of David French, a new state religion of sexual libertinism.

How could this happen? The California legislature is controlled by a handful of special interest groups, none more powerful than the LGBT+ juggernaut which regularly composes and pushes through outrageous acts of legislation (their new sex education mandate for all California students is a doozy). AB 2943 takes this a step further by silencing the voice of the Church as it pertains to sexual identity.

We all know now that this group is guided by a popular bias, supported by junk science (whenever any group claims absolute authority based on a handful of psychological studies, stop listening), which wants us to believe that those vulnerable in their sexual identities will be irreparably damaged by any effort to restrain and redirect their same-sex attraction. Similarly, this group holds to the dubious claim that anyone who hates their birth gender, especially children, do violence to themselves by being reconciled to their gender. This is nothing short of a new morality, a new vision of human dignity and freedom, in essence, a new religion.

You can see now why AB 2943 wants to silence the Church; she holds the opposite view. To be defined and driven by one’s same-sex attraction is an act of violence against the person made in God’s image, and to mutilate one’s body under the pretense of changing genders (an impossibility) is at best delusional. Given the fact that many in our ranks experience diverse temptations related to sexual identity, we cast ourselves upon the One who took the hit (2Cor 5: 21) for us and who alone has power to unite us with our truest, most authentic selves.

AB 2943 creates an alternate morality and outlaws the Church’s. If the bill passes:

Our eight Living Waters groups in California may become illegal.

Any books by Christian authors which highlight transforming power of Jesus in the area of sexual identity may be banned.

Conferences that include such witnesses may be prohibited.

Let’s not write AB 2943 off as west coastal silliness. California is on the vanguard of progressive politics for our nation. Her courts overturned the citizens’ choice to ban ‘gay marriage’ (Prop. 8) which in turn became the case that went to the Supreme Court, redefining marriage in our nation forever.

Please pray for miraculous intervention in slowing done or stopping this bill. California citizens would do best to call Gov. Jerry Brown directly at 916-445-2841 and simply stating their opposition to AB 2943.

Please pray that the Church in California wake up and unite in her radiant truth. I am not a political animal, I am a Christian who believes in another Kingdom that surpasses both right and left. Nothing is more essential to God’s heart than His will for humanity made in His image as male and female, and California politics today desecrates that image in the name of ‘freedom.’ Real violence will be done to our most vulnerable by AB 2943. May we as the Church arise and answer the cries of persons in identity crises.

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Mercy 16: Cross of Mercy

‘There is no other way except through the Burning Love of Christ Crucified.’ St. Bonaventure

I grew up in the shadow of the Cross. To paraphrase the words of John Paul ll: ‘It was the gate through which God unceasingly entered my life.’ The rather arid Episcopal Church in which I grew up had one thing going for it—a magnificent stained glass of the Cross, with Jesus the Good Shepherd at its center. That image never ceased to burn bright in my heart, a light unquenched by all my demonized wanderings! Read more »

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Mercy 9: Merciful Memory

‘Do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, forbearance, and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you to repentance?’ (Romans 2:4)

merciful memory 9 berlewWe live in a day of contempt for God’s plan for human sexuality. In a California restaurant recently, I endured a group of women at table next to mine groping each other while leering at the evidently gay wait staff. Having struck down Prop. 8 and all restraint, the ‘golden state’ now leads the nation in gender-bending chaos. ‘The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men’ (PS 12:8).

Sinners’ contempt for holiness can tempt us to disdain. We can close up the ark of our hearts, pronouncing judgment on the rebels. Or we can open our hearts and ask God to have mercy on them. It helps to remember the mercy He had for us in our contemptuous ways.

I am reduced to tears whenever I read Luke 18: 9-14, the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. Luke wrote it specifically for those who ‘were confident of their own righteousness.’ He describes a Pharisee whose prayer is ‘about himself’ (v. 11): a hymn to his native virtue that sets him apart from obvious sinners.

In the glare of that verse I am exposed. Chaste now for years and oriented squarely toward my wife and adult kids, I am tempted to view that holiness as a product of my good choices, not ‘His kindness, forbearance, and patience.’ (Romans 2: 4) Such distortion primes me for unholy judgments toward the lost. Wow. Have I forgotten His kindness towards me when I strutted with the worst of them? Do I lose sight of the quiet sins I still commit: little ones like murder, hatred and lust of heart?

Mercy prompts me to remember the torturous fear that ‘this time I had gone too far’. And the generous wave of blood and water that rolled like a river on my pathetic life, serving justice through Love alone.

While the Pharisee prayed smug self-congratulations, the tax collector could only cry out: ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ (v. 13) God heard him because of his awareness of the gap that only God can fill. My prayer? Help me to remember that gap, Jesus. And the mercy that made all the difference.

Prayer Points:

    • Desert Stream/Living Waters: New York/New Jersey, Garry & Melissa Ingraham, Regional Coordinators. Please pray for the Ingrahams as they work to strengthen Living Waters and help start new groups throughout the NY/NJ area.
      • Restored Hope Network: The Portland Fellowship, Portland, OR. Jason Thompson, Director. Specialty: curriculum for struggling adults and youth, family and friends, wives/spouses, and speaking outreach.
        Carolina New Song, Columbia, SC. Bud Phaup, Director. Specialty: groups for men and families.
    • Courage: Please pray for those on the verge of assuming a gay identity and /or acting on their SSA, may God illuminate their minds and fill their hearts with His love.
  • Cor Project: Please pray that we would have the financial resources necessary to fulfill our mission.
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