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A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Radiant Hope

Let the afflicted hear and rejoice…Those who look to the Lord are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.’ (PS 34: 2, 5)

Sunrise Photo by Elvert BarnesExodus International (North America), the once humble and fruitful expression of hope for persons with same-sex attraction, is no more. President Alan Chambers announced its closing last week. Why? Over the last several years, the very organization that coined the term ‘change is possible’ conceded the hope of change. Its salt became savorless. Exodus deteriorated and God in His mercy put her out of her misery.

Strangely, I received that morbid news amid the joyful hope of transformation. Gathering with the dozen or so ministries that make up the newly formed Restored Hope Network, I marveled at the living miracles surrounding me. These are time-tested miracles, men and women, single and married, who have emerged out of the domination of same-sex attraction. Surrendered to Christ Crucified, these wounded healers live through Him to make known His transforming power.

Many of these ministers have endured much affliction to gather and create a new network. The deceiver has worked hard to discourage and distract. And yet, here in Oklahoma City for our second annual conference, the fragrance of the Cross-centered life was evident.

No affliction, be it persecution or loss of colleagues, family members and income, has deterred us. Each stumbling block has become yet another opportunity to fall on the Rock and to break more fully. How else can He become our hope unless we are brought to the end of our own aspirations and securities?

Consider Denise who grew up under the chaotic auspice of a transgender father and who now lives to extend hope to those crying out for Jesus in their gender chaos. Or young fathers Jason and Nate (both SSA overcomers) who now lead scores of young men and women out of homosexuality. Or Jim who alongside his wife offers hope to married couples dealing honestly with one spouse’s same-sex attraction. Or Jan and Ted who lost a child to the gay lifestyle and who have now become surrogate parents to destitute ones seeking Jesus’ way in their SSA.

Consider Minister Stephen Black who was among the first to recognize the deception going on in Exodus. He lost his daughter to an unexpected death on the eve of his exit from Exodus. Like a plough crushing seed in the earth, these duo tragedies broke and reduced him to Hope alone. All year he has sown in tears yet this season, as host of our RHN conference, he is beginning to reap songs of joy.

Consider RHN’s director Anne Paulk who for years alongside her husband John embodied the hope of change (both came out of the gay lifestyle). John has since re-identified as a gay man, a decision that tore up a family. In the hope that has always sustained her, Anne is more committed than ever to make a way in the wilderness for sexually broken ones who seek Hope.

Hope has a name: Jesus Christ. Exodus faded out due to a desecration of this Hope. But Hope endures and insists on finding a people for Himself. I am grateful to stand with the Restored Hope Network as we together seek to embody and extend that Hope. Please check us out at restoredhopenetwork.org.

See darkness covers the earth, but the Lord rises upon you and the glory of the Lord appears over you…Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy.’ (IS. 60: 2, 5)

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Scouting for Snakes: Exodus, ‘Kinky’ Cannes, and the Deceiver

‘I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.’ (Luke 10:19)

Scouting for Snakes: Exodus, ‘Kinky’ Cannes, and the Deceiver snake photo by vladebSatan is the master of disguises. He couches things sweetly; he kills us softly. He makes good appear evil and evil good and plays upon the pride of those who refuse submission to anything other than their immediate desires. Most importantly, he plays upon real injuries; he empowers the damaged to do damage. Deceived into believing that God cannot restore them, wounded people become strong in self-defense and unwitting arms of evil. The deceived become deceivers.

Drawing upon their own experience of alienation and isolation in childhood, gay activists have ruined the Boy Scouts of America. Now the Scouts must bless and honor the self-confirmed gay identities of its underage members. Sound just? Since when have we given 12-year-olds the authority to define themselves according to an adult sexual identity? The Scouts have done just that, throwing out any sense of reason when it comes to defining masculinity. Having lost the right to define its young members accurately, they have given up their authority to call confused boys into manhood.

Though we rarely look to the popular arts for moral excellence, last week was a new low. Broadway bestowed unprecedented honors (6 Tony Awards) upon ‘Kinky Boots,’ a new musical about Lola, a black drag queen who revives a dying shoe factory by assembling fetish-style footwear with the help of fellow drag queens. Most of the numbers feature guys in lingerie and you guessed it, kinky boots. No big deal you say, a trifle for Broadway’s effete audiences? Just wait til ‘Kinky Boots’ is playing at a high school near you.

The most prestigious film festival in the world, Cannes, gave its top prize to a lesbian porn film: ‘La Vie d’Adele’. Gone are the days when graphic sex was viewed furtively then disposed of shamefully. Now the world’s sophisticates honor porn as an expression of human nobility. When the judges were criticized for pandering to people’s worst voyeuristic impulses, they pointed to France’s new ‘gay marriage’ mandate, as if the film punctuated the dawn of a new day for France. See how free we are: we can welcome perversion as a pleasurable, unqualified good. The deceived become deceivers.

Yet the most disturbing deception for me was not played out on a 36-foot screen or on a Broadway stage or even in the fracturing of the Boy Scouts. It occurred in a church basement in Los Angeles, where Exodus head Alan Chambers gathered with a group of ‘ex-ex-gays’ to apologize to them for hurting them. With doubtless good intention that has now exposed itself as the deception that it is, Alan has sought to placate them for the last couple years.

I am troubled by Christians who now claim that God made them gay and cry victim at anyone who believes otherwise. Doubtless some have been treated heavy-handedly by churches or promised quick cures by homely, uninformed ministries. But instead of submitting their wounds to God and trustworthy healers, these ones allow bitterness to transform them into the most virulent proponents of gay identity and practice. And in Jesus’ Name and Authority! The wounded become deceived then deceivers.

These ones do not want friendship with Alan or Exodus; they want the demise of any ministry that claims transformation of persons with unwanted same-sex attraction. The sneak preview of Lisa Ling’s taping of the whole ridiculous affair demonstrated this beyond a doubt. One ex-ex-gay blasted Alan: “Exodus needs to be shut down—not tweaked, not improved, but shut down!” His demonized plea is becoming true as Exodus staggers along the untenable path of seeking to reconcile good with evil.

‘I urge you to contend for the faith…for certain men have secretly slipped in among you, godless men, who change the grace of God into a license for sexual immorality and deny Jesus Christ as our only Sovereign and Lord.’ (Jude 3, 4)

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