The other night I beheld a demonic power in a dream; the blob-like entity had little form and was obscured by darkness. It made a variety of sounds as if it were feeding off something. Though I could not see its target, I realized the ‘thing’ was intent on foraging off a person, any person.
In the dream, I recalled a line from a movie in which the actor said wryly: ‘I sleep with all my friends.’ This entity was open to either gender, any person who would partner with it by indiscriminately engaging in sex of any kind. It was greedy and insatiable, as if its lust could not be satisfied. It gave the impression that it intended to devour its prey, to use the person up. I went from a mild intrigue to repulsion when I realized that the unclean spirit wanted the blood of embodied souls and would employ sexual immorality to get it. I rebuked the devouring thing in Jesus’ name and woke up.
I processed the dream with my wife and then the Desert Stream staff. We thought of a generation weaned on pornography and primed for ‘friendly’ sex with either gender; we admitted the doors to lust we had cracked in our own imaginations. And we considered how illicit sexuality counterfeits as completion yet actually fractures us. In truth, lust masks itself as love but has power to destroy persons (and marriages) who welcome it. We agreed that Lent is not long enough to contend with the battle for souls being waged today by predatory lusts.
We confessed our compromises and rebuked the devourer. We did both: repent and renounce. We are dealing not only with lusts of the flesh but with principalities which want our blood. We combat lust with Jesus’ blood and the authority He gives the faithful to pray for one another so we might be healed, ambassadors of freedom for a captive generation.
‘Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith because you know that your brothers and sisters are undergoing the same kinds of sufferings throughout the world.’ (1P 5:8, 9)
‘The burning sand will become a pool; the thirsty ground, a bubbling spring… And a highway will be there; it will be called the way of holiness.’ (IS 35:7, 8)
Jim waited for me after the workshop I taught at Moody’s Pastor’s Conference in Chicago. Apparently passionate about the health of his congregants, he bore a sweet and sober countenance, and asked incisive questions about the wounds beneath immorality. ‘I could pour out my heart to this guy,’ I thought.
Then he shared deeply with me of his own moral crisis with pornography, a habit sourced in an abusive home and a divided religious life where the Spirit never quite overcame the flesh. Until a couple years ago when his world melted down. That began a long process of enlisting the help of a whole healing team, including his wife and elders, and committing to living each day in the light of Love. He has emerged from the furnace and is becoming a fountain of mercy for all who love Jesus but still live divided lives. He wants to pastor them into wholeness.
Next stop, Palm Springs. My friend Brian left the Midwest and a conservative, abusive family not unlike Jim’s and ended up in the desert. He found plenty of men like him seeking confirmation through confusing sexual bonds. He left this ‘gay’ furnace only to return a couple years later, humbled by his excesses and earnestly seeking the God of his youth whose answers he needed for his adult conflicts. He found a church that was starting to run CrossCurrent; he became an avid participant then a leader.
He also began investing in his gifts as a painter, so much so that his church put him in charge of an art gallery right in the thick of Palm Springs where he showcased his inspired work (see image). He deepened in the ‘healing arts’ as well, experiencing numerous miracles as he testified and prayed with persons in the gallery and in healing groups.
Nicole worked for the church started coming to one of the groups just to learn how to better care for all the gay-identified folks around her. She and Brian became friends and over time grew in love with each other. They were married and now have two kids.
Brian and Nicole want nothing more than to dig a deep well in their desert home, and to prime churches throughout the Coachella Valley to become evident sources of living water. They have a passion for restoring persons who seek to heal their wounds through sexual unions that only keep them wounded.
Rescued from the furnace, Jim and Brian are now fountains of life. Let mercy roll like a river through all who discover Jesus in dry and weary lands.
‘I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.’ (Ez. 36: 25, 26)
The goal of our sexuality is to become good, fruitful gifts to others. That means integrating our sexuality into the whole of our humanity. When our desires and motives for another are subject to what is truly best for that other, then we have become pure. Read more »