Tag Archives: RHN

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

October 15: Looking on Him Who We Have Pierced

‘Human actions cannot help us but only the sufferings of Christ.’ Edith Stein (St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross)

We begin by gazing on the Cross. Our sins invited Him there. And He was gracious: He suffered and died in our place. Put another way, we killed Him. Each time we bypass the stern and splendid way of love we mock and flog and string Him up afresh. He died once and for all to cancel out our sin. Yet we still do it. Our flailing about like a hooked fish requires that we focus afresh on the One who died for our freedom.

We do ourselves no favors by sweetening our sin with psychological justifications, or deemphasizing our sin due to the more obvious faults of others. When we do that we empty the Cross of its power. God in His mercy gently reminds us of our sin. That slows us down and humbles us. The weight would kill us, should kill us, if He had not gone lower still to bear the unbearable—our sin. When our sin mocked and flogged and crucified Jesus, His death shattered the yoke of what was and maybe still is killing us.

He dignifies us by inviting us to participate in what only He can do for us; He opens our eyes and directs our attention to Him, ‘the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (Jn 1:29).’ Yet He calls us to behold not a concept of sin but our sin–every vile, prideful, grasping, unclean way we have bypassed Him and sought to justify ourselves. It’s our dreadful way, and God has provided the only way out on the Cross.

Key to my conversion was beholding in the Lamb the sin that crucified Him–my sin that pierced Him in order to pardon me. Tears of contrition and gratitude unite when I gaze on the Cross. I did terrible things and am still capable of the same. He acted too. He submitted to the death my sin demanded. His action trumped mine and became my freedom.

I pray for a sweet and deep spirit of prayer on us all as we begin these forty days. We will feature this choice passage in Zechariah 12:10-13:2, and more: ‘I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on Me, the One that they have pierced…’

Join us as we pray for:

1. Living Waters Trainings: For our next training being held November 1-7, 2014 that God would open the hearts of everyone involved to receive all He has for them. Health and spiritual strength for the team members.

2. Poland: Discernment and clarity as Andrew meets with Catholic leaders in Poland about a possible Living Waters group there.

3. RHN: HIS Ministry, Carl Conli, Fair Oaks, CA: God’s blessing as Carl raises up two potential young men for future leadership. Fresno New Creation Ministries, Russell Willingham, Fresno, CA: Provision and wisdom as ministry undergoes changes.

“Courage for Pope Francis, that he would ensure that the Church becomes a clear fountain of transformation for persons with same-sex attraction!”


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Faltering and Fruitfulness

My friend Kin recently texted me to rejoice in the prosperity of his two children, now faithful husbands and fathers. ‘What if I had believed the lie that had been written over my life. O amazing God, how great are Your wonders….’ Kin referred to how Jesus’ death and resurrection set him free from what seemed like his destiny as a ‘gay man.’ Decades earlier, he faltered while preparing for the pastorate and had a homosexual relationship with a fellow seminarian, a secret kept from his young wife.

The couple’s emergence from faltering to fruitfulness is nothing less than the real power of the Gospel: dying to secrets and lies, taking root in a healing community as a couple, then living in the light of Jesus’ prevailing grace. Struggles sure, but none so great as to break the bond of fidelity that Kin forged with his wife and family. Like most of us, Kin faltered, but he fell forward habitually into the One who transforms our brokenness into something beautiful for Himself.

That is in sharp distinction to last week’s Newsweek’s article—‘Ex-Ex Gay Pride’-that featured John Paulk, ex-spouse of RHN director Anne and a former Exodus leader. The article frames John’s recent public return to homosexual practice (thus breaking his vows to wife and kids) as noble, a prophetic witness of the inevitable. John and others ‘testify’ of ‘living a lie’ by not being true to their real
‘gay selves’; they employ the language of abuse and self-loathing to describe a Christian culture in which they, in Paulk’s words, ‘did not change one iota.’

The only thing that has changed is a spiritual culture that now removes the Cross from the equation of how we become fruitful disciples of Jesus Christ. John Paulk and the like have faltered unto fruitlessness and death—the flat-lining that occurs in those who fail to surrender their brokenness to the broken God who is at the same time the Risen Lord. Persons like Kin who embrace the Cross are transformed at the core of their being. To confess anything less crucifies Him afresh.

Nothing new under the sun. The disciples faltered after Jesus died. Though they had heard accounts of the Resurrection, they still did not get who Jesus actually was. En route to Emmaus, they talked a good game but could not recognize the Risen Christ walking among them. (LK 24: 13-35) Why? They had yet to grasp the mystery of the Cross: His surrender unto death in order to live, their (and our need) to surrender unto His life, whatever the cost, in order to be raised with Him.

Only when the Risen Jesus clarified to the disciples the link between His suffering and His glory ‘did their hearts burn within them’ (v. 32); only when Jesus re-presented His Crucifixion by breaking bread among them were the disciples eyes open to the Risen Christ (vs. 30, 31). Any disciple seeking to be fruitful must face his brokenness before the Crucified, often longer than he might like. We too must go through Calvary in order to discover the new life He offers us.

John Paulk and others preach good news of their own design, a gospel alien to Jesus Christ. May our hearts burn with a deeper passion for the One who transforms our faltering into fruitfulness. May we agree with Kin this Easter, proclaiming joyfully from our depths: ‘O God, how great are Your wonders!

‘The death of Jesus is nothing if we have not died with Him; the resurrection of our Lord is nothing if have not been raised with Him.’ Emil Brunner

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