How do we embody the Gospel for persons enslaved to the false liberties of our day? We pray, and ask God to give us mercy, vision and boldness to make known His transforming love to them.
The other day, I encountered a person staffing a drive-through window who could not be discerned as either male or female. Tempted by shock, I composed myself and recalled instantly a dream a few months back in which Jesus encountered an exceedingly fragile woman and said to her ‘I only want your best.’
Right away, I knew this was Jesus’ heart for His daughter, and for the entire creation, beginning with His church. He wants her best, which means wholeness, chastity, integration. I blessed the exceedingly fragile woman at the window; as I drove off, I wished I would have said more.
We need to find our voices. Now. In order to become good news for fragile persons being bludgeoned by today’s gender myths, we at Desert Stream Ministries are calling a 40-day fast/prayer vigil starting October 11th-Nov. 19th. Included in this blast is the entire 40-day devotional schedule. The DSM staff will be praying through this together at 3pm cst each day. Please join us!
Jesus employs almighty mercy to reconcile us to His best. And He is calling us to be His effectual messengers for persons who need to know what the ‘best’ is and how He helps us to discover it. Our prayer time together will include reflections on how Jesus is the answer to the gender mess we are in, and how we can become vessels of His transforming love to the people we face daily.
Let’s become answers to the prayers of persons who cry out for loved ones subject to dead-end ‘gay’ liberties and the gender-bending chaos that ensues. Let’s find our voices today, endowed with the Spirit and motivated by love. Check out this prayer guide and join us for ‘Becoming Good News for the Gender Challenged’ from Oct. 11th-Nov. 19th.
My pastor recently implored us to love this country (or whichever one is ours); he argued, ‘we only seek to save what we love. What we hate we want to destroy or at least be rid of.’
I agree. I work hard to save what I love. I rally around people whom I want to reclaim for God’s Kingdom—my kids, spiritual kids, people whose divided lives and marriages need healing. I hate deceitful attitudes and mindsets designed to bar people from God’s Kingdom; I want to expose what blocks genuine mercy.
But my country? I feel divided toward her, neither hateful nor impassioned with love for her well-being. I am at best detached from her, due in part to Obama’s treachery in courting American voters in 2008 with a pro (real) marriage ticket then revealing his hand in a series of gender-bending power plays over 8 long years. Hillary will quicken the slide into inhumanity (at least she’s honest about it), unless she is Trumped. I muse at the absurdity of choosing either candidate—the wall-building bully or the ‘empowered’ woman who uses her strength to close the womb or kill its fruit.
But I remember America’s goodness too: her beauty, her generosity, how her citizens have fueled Kingdom efforts throughout the globe. I am grateful, and realize that no amount of bad politics can snuff out the simple power of the Gospel that her citizens have extended with clarity and ingenuity.
I confess I don’t know how to love America, any more than I know how to vote in November. But I will seek to love her by fighting for the law written in every American’s heart (Rom. 2:15), raw treasure that Jesus still seeks to provoke and fulfill. I will fight to save what is good and true and just about my country.
‘If we are to evangelize the “prostitutes and sinners,” it demands that we be secure enough and mature enough in our own freedom to not be evangelized by them.’ Christopher West
Exposed by loving eyes and primed with living water, the Samaritan ‘bride’ raced off to tell others the good news about Jesus. Newly kindled faith made her fearless. All she wanted was for her friends to know ‘this man who told me everything I ever did.’ (Jn 4:29)
And guess what? ‘They came out of town and made their way toward Him’ (v.30); many became believers as they heard Him and attested to the fact that ‘this man really is the Savior of the world.’ (v.42)
Jesus really is the Savior of the world—beautiful and strong enough to draw real sinners and transform them through the miracle of His dynamic presence. On paper, few Christians disagree with this but in practice we doubt His power. What else explains our fear-based approach to sinners?
I have seen a retreat among many colleagues of mine in the day of ‘gay marriage’ and litigation for any act that can be interpreted as ‘anti-gay.’ Our blogs and Facebook posts are full of disturbing new gender-bending advances. We talk about the holy remnant, the shrinking faithful, and the need for higher firewalls to protect the few from infection.
False liberties tempt us to create a ‘we-them’ mentality. When we conceive that temptation, the faithful retreat in fear and strategize ways that the church can withstand the deluge. I understand this, and some caution is not unwarranted. The gay agenda is just that and seeks to rout out truth, especially from the church.
But the Church is the Church, against which hell will not prevail. We have Jesus’ transforming beauty on our side! We do not need to construct a more water-tight ark; we need to equip and commission simple rescue boats to save lives enslaved by many lovers. I am convinced that a generation weaned on gay-friendly everything is crying out for living water. ‘Gay’ freedom kills. Jesus saves.
Weary veterans of the culture wars need to reenter the waters of Life again. Like the Samaritan ‘bride’, we need to hear the voice of the One who exposes our fearful, self-protective ways and who gives us mercy in exchange. Let mercy alone guard us. May mercy overcome fear and motivate us to proclaim the freedom only Jesus Christ offers.
‘There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives our fear…The one who fears is not made perfect in love.’ (1 Jn 4:18)
Please join us as we pray for:
- Northern California: Peter Kockelman – Coordinator: For continuing strength and vision for Peter and group leaders in the region.
- Living Waters Lithuania: For the Lord to continue to strengthen and protect the leaders Vilma Karveliene and her team; for translation of the revised Living Waters guidebook to go forward smoothly.
- Encourage: Bob and Susan (National Overseers) – For grace to equip and unify chapters of Courage around the country.
“Courage for Pastor Phil Strout (National Director Vineyard USA), that he would ensure that the Church becomes a clear fountain of transformation for persons with same-sex attraction!”
‘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)
We 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.
- 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.