Tag Archives: Kansas City

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Flyover?

Kansas City. Cowtown? Coastal flyover zone? C’mon. We are the champions.

As a focused Kingdom-minded guy, I am not that partial to geography or football. While celebrating our friend Tracey Bickle’s 60th birthday a couple months back, I ran into her brother Mike (founder/director of International House of Prayer, aka IHOP) to whom I nodded when he asked if I still could care less about the game.

What a difference a Superbowl makes. Something overtook me. Maybe it was my rabid fan base of a family—each member donning any bit of red fabric they owned. My pastor son Nick even wrote this prayer, tweeted all over town: ‘O God of Conquest, You train our hands for war, our fingers for battle; we pray You so guide Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes and our fledgling run defense, that the 49ers might be destroyed and Chiefs fan everywhere may drink deep of the sweet marrow of victory; through the only Name under heaven by which we are saved, win or lose, now and forever.’ Amen.

Maybe it was the team itself: yeah, great players but kind of humble, a super team-centric band of brothers; thoroughbred Mahomes looking a bit coltish, like his status has not quite caught up to him, coach Andy Reid more like a clerk at Quik Trip than a coastal supermodel.

Maybe it was the day of the game itself. 63 degrees, my running buddy Marco and I ran alongside Blue River for miles experiencing Kansas City at its best: trees glimmering silver and bare in the sun; kind, expectant-of-good-things families and couples and singles blessing passers-by. Peaceful. Traffic-free. Primed for war.

The game itself was a glimpse of what we all should do when the enemy takes ground: not give up, rally harder, slap down passes, vie for miracles of grace that God grants guys like Mahomes. For His good pleasure. And ours. I lay prostrate before the TV blathering in tongues as we overtook ‘em.

I love this city. Decent. Pretty godly. Humble but unafraid to smash the opposition. We could not do what we do without the Bickles and IHOP. I would not have become a Catholic anywhere else. Nowhere else do I see this kind of a diverse faith base intent on victory under fire. Flyover KC? No way. I’ve landed.

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fasting knocking on heaven's door

Fast Fruit: Knocking on Heaven’s Door

‘Because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice’ (Lk. 18:5).

Prayer and fasting are not sexy. As this 40-day ‘Becoming Good News’ ends, I am hungry and ornery, more inclined to fantasy donuts than holy apparitions. We as a staff have chosen weakness, a downward mobility, a reduction. We have gone without and prayed a lot. We are sensitized to the foul air of a clueless culture and worldly Church. And we have positioned ourselves near the Source, the oxygenated stream where ‘living waters’ first gushed and still flows.

Reduced to Jesus alone, we knocked. We admitted our defeat. ‘Unless You act, we’ve no hope.’ We remembered His saving action and bothered Him: we asked and asked and asked for Him to extend that victory to specific loved ones, to churches, to city hall and national courts. Here is some ‘fast fruit’ from the staff.

Like most of you, we knocked for family and friends dazed by the rainbow. And God answered. During last year’s ‘Becoming Good News’ fast, I had fought daily for a young man who was seeking Jesus but had no intention of giving up his ‘gay’ self. Early on in this year’s fast, he questioned me about what it might mean for him to begin pursuing women. Hah! Fluidity works both ways.

Amanda rejoiced that a woman she loves at her Living Waters group just let go of her ‘lesbian’ self in favor of Jesus’ reflection of her. Daniel’s chosen loved one just left a ‘gay’ marriage; he’s praying that Jesus would stir up her baptismal waters and reveal Himself as unfailing Love. Marco cast a vision of transformation for a couple worldly friends who are considering Jesus’ healing for their broken lives.

Dana was nearly overcome by a deepening experience of Jesus’ heart and sight for her lost loved ones. During the fast, two of them went from darkness to light—hitting bottom and asking Jesus how to live out of His kindness. Ann had a Spirit-led breakthrough with a neighbor and Dean who prayed for several families rocked by LGBT+ realities said they experienced a spiritual ‘overflow’ resulting in renewed hope and courage to engage estranged members afresh.

We knocked and God opened (or we trust, WILL open) effective doors of ministry. We broke through to a couple of key communities with whom we have sought partnership; we prayed big for bishops overseeing areas where we want to dig deep wells of ‘living water.’ Amber has experienced an upswing in her ministry to young adults who are seeking help for shameful areas of their lives As the therapy ban hit Kansas City at the onset of the fast, therapist Abbey began to reach out to colleagues who like her love Jesus and clinically serve teens. She was provoked by the fact that most are now worldly and theologically disintegrated in their care. Erin, a grad student in a clinical Christian program, has taken up this burden as well. Her fellows are clueless about how to apply their deepest Christian values with their care of persons. We prayed together for effective engagement with conscientious peers. A smog hovers over the clinical community; we ask King Jesus for an awakening.

And we knocked relentlessly for Kansas City’s ordinance to be overturned. Our ministry rallied the only opposition to the bill–friends of DSM/LW made up half of those attending the City Hall battles, LGBT+ persons composed the other. A river of ‘living water’ ran through our efforts and gave us an ease and grace that would have been impossible without this prayer stream. Our good-natured joviality contrasted beautifully with the lamenting ‘victims’ draped in rainbow flags; one confused man dressed as a woman seethed an “I hope you burn in hell!’ at me. And I thought we were pegged the ugly fundamentalists…

We keep knocking. Doors of effective legal warfare are opening for us and we will see this battle through to the end. Like the persistent widow, we will pound at heaven’s door until justice is served. He answers. He will answer. Our hope is well-placed and sure.

‘Will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones who cry out to Him day and night? He will see that they get justice, and quickly’ (Lk. 18: 7, 8).

You can purchase “Becoming Good News” in book form directly from Desert Stream or get it from Amazon for your Kindle.

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Kingdom Clash 1: Fighting City Hall

We met in front of City Hall next to the Lincoln statue, featuring Abe and his son Tad. Fitting. Here we were, Christians of all stripes, diverse yet united in the love of our Father who listens and stoops down to make us great. Buttoned down Catholics, earthy Jesus people, young Latinos with sassy Pentecostal authority, clear-eyed Baptists who advocate on their knees for His-Kingdom-come, agreed together: ‘Be glorified in our witness of change, a choice every teen deserves…’

We were preparing ourselves for the public hearing on Kansas City’s near slam-dunk efforts to pass a counseling ban for teens seeking change. On the steps slightly above our prayer group, rainbow activists ranted ‘We’re here, we’re queer’… Yeah, we know. In truth, the rag-tag group screaming their intercessions rule the social-political landscape of Kansas City. They shout their laments from every roof-top, the City Council nods dully, and no-one questions.

Standing room only in the City Council chamber: evenly divided between the rainbow set and Christians surrounding Desert Stream. As the stories of torture at the hands of diabolical pastors and therapists wore on, I could not help but notice a disturbing sameness (revisionist history, anyone?) to the plot-lines: innocent teen, wicked helper, now fractured adult whose vengeance is asserting political pressure to make sure every teen experiences the ‘joy’ of adding another bizarre adjective to one’s sexual identification, be it pan-sexual, non-binary, or pre-trans.

As a parent, I could not help but discern the lack of any real fatherly presence/guidance in these young people’s lives. Now subject to one another’s distorted gender identities, these poor ones don’t have a chance to grow through life-giving community. They are vulnerable, not because of ‘conversion therapy’, but because of the weak solutions afforded them by the clinical community and greater culture.

The Father loves them and only wants to heal them. He keeps reaching, but these celebrated rainbow ‘victims’ cannot or will not see Him. Who needs God when your side is carrying the day? The chummy repartee between witnesses and the committee suggests that the Council has bought the LGBT+ lament: ‘we have been hurt and you have to stop everyone from hurting us further.’

Two hours later, we shared our perspectives. My time came. Overcome by a greater power, I combusted and demanded real justice: ‘Why should the LGBT+ freedom to morph into whatever gender variation one wants bar persons who understand freedom differently? Why should persons who want to be reconciled to their biological gender, or to overcome same-sex attraction, be denied good psychological care? I insisted that conversion therapy is a bogeyman argument designed to hide the agenda driving the bill: walk our LGBT+ way or the highway.’

At that the rainbow set went ballistic. They stood up shouting and waving rainbow flags. Behind them, Christians stood and prayed: a few raised Bibles. Kingdoms clashed. The moderator demanded order in her court. Dark powers manifested and nearly lunged at me.

Lines are drawn. Today’s LGBT+ activists criminalize other ways of perceiving and resolving sexual identity issues. Christians are on the firing line. We must be willing to take a stand in the public square for how we understand choice and the freedom to secure good advocates for our choices.

Please pray: the KC City Council will vote this Thursday the 14th on the counseling ban. If this hearing is any indication, the Council has already made up its mind. Pray that the excellent legal intervention of Liberty Counsel will make a difference. Pray for our awakening to Jesus’ relevance for all gender-confused youth and how a wounded few are trying to obscure that truth. We must convey His Kingdom-come as never before, come what may.

You can purchase “Becoming Good News” in book form directly from Desert Stream or get it from Amazon for your Kindle.

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

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open letter to mayor quinton lucas of kansas city teen conversion therapy ban

Open Letter to Mayor Quinton Lucas of Kansas City

Bless and thank you for your good service of our city. I voted for you because I respect your story. Please hear mine and many whom I represent.

I know you are leading the City Council to vote on a citywide measure that would ban any counseling for minors who are seeking to overcome same-sex attraction and/or to be reconciled to their birth gender. You are following the example of nearby Columbia MO; its City Council instituted a ban last Monday on what was framed without opposition as coercive and dangerous efforts to change people.

Mayor Lucas, no-one advocates for manipulative charlatans who harm young people by engaging them against their will and employ techniques that guilt or shock the ‘gay away.’ These abusers should lose their licenses. Period.

We are simply asking that in sexual matters–this profound and turbulent area of young lives—teens be given a range of clinical options as to how they choose to identify and relate to others.

As a ‘gay’-identified teenager in Los Angeles, I was told ‘once gay always gay.’ It was fun until it wasn’t. I became a Christian and began to realize that I had options beyond homosexuality. Part of this was based on my faith decision. Another part involved facing real psychological issues in order to build non-sexual male friendships and to love women honorably. I was vulnerable, not to bad therapists, but to finding any therapist who would help me achieve my goals. I did find one, and that reinforced my commitment to marrying a fine woman.

The clinical community (in schools, hospitals, social services, and private practices) now insists that teens with same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria have only one course of action—embrace the ‘gay’ self or ‘transition’ into the other gender. I determined for myself that transitory feelings would not be my destiny. Yet the clinical world insists otherwise. Teens are now given one option.

Your expressed goal, Mayor Lucas, is to make Kansas City ‘a place that is welcoming to anybody.’ Why then are you insisting on a bill that forbids teens from exploring life beyond homosexuality and gender reassignment? Don’t invoke diversity when you are legalizing only one way for teens to resolve their sexuality.
Please give youth the dignity of choice by dropping this counseling ban.

Readers, FYI: The Kansas City Council may vote on this ban as early as Thursday the 24th. Please pray that we are given an opportunity to express our stories and our respectful difference with Mayor Lucas personally before a vote is taken. For any Kansas City-area resident, I urge you to call his office at 816-513-3500 and convey your desire that this ban be dropped.

You can purchase “Becoming Good News” in book form directly from Desert Stream or get it from Amazon for your Kindle.

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

Download PDF

Zeal for His House has Consumed Us (and our finances!)

We are on fire and need fuel to stoke the flames. Help us with a one-time gift.

Here’s the deal. We have been burning with passion for the Church as never before, starting with our 40-day fast last fall for the gender broken then blazing trails in congregations on the west and east coast. Most passionately, we fought hard to ignite a blaze smack dab in the middle. Our Gender Matters conference in February broke all expectations with over 20 different churches represented–both Catholic and evangelicals—from which two Living Waters groups started, upping our number to five churches now on fire to heal the broken in Kansas City.

We are burning! And broke. Last week we paid all of our debts only to discover we were overdrawn at the bank. In all of our fire-starting, we lost sight of how low our funds had become, resulting in pay cuts, failure to print valuable resources, and discouragement (if we let it). Bleech.

So help renew our passion. We are consumed with zeal for the Father’s house and seek only to burn brightly for Him, thereby starting a host of fires. We burn because you fuel us. Better put, God puts us on your heart and you throw a log on the fire. That’s how we blaze.

For over 38 years, Desert Stream Ministries has prayed, encouraged, and helped restore persons who realize only God can answer their deepest cries.

We are in need of $20,000. Please help.

Between now and November, we are gearing up for six week-long Living Waters Trainings throughout the world. A one-time gift would help us get our bearings and launch out with renewed passion. YOUR HELP MATTERS. Give today.

Please give a one-time gift of _______. May zeal for His house consume us afresh!

Andrew

 

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