Tag Archives: SSA

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Unoffended?

John the Baptist, imprisoned and burning with hope for the Messiah, sends friends to check out if this Jesus is the real deal. Christ’s response? ‘Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them. And blessed is the one who takes no offense at Me’ (Matt. 11:4-6).

Why are Jesus’ miracles of transformation offensive to us? Pastor Jimmy Seibert, founder of the evangelical Antioch church planting movement, took heat recently for upholding how his congregations are helping persons with same-sex attraction ‘find out who God is and who He has made them to be…I’ve seen hundreds of people change their direction from SSA to a heterosexual lifestyle. It doesn’t mean there isn’t struggle…but there has always been grace for those who choose that.’

Yes and amen! We honor the work of Seibert and Antioch–a fresh wave of mercy flowing throughout the USA and the world in order to provide community support for persons turning from all types of false identifications unto Jesus Christ. Among them are persons rendered blind, lame, deaf, and poor by the exploits of the ‘gay self’ and who discover a whole new way of being in Christ and His Church.

Offensive. What may once have seemed like an ordinary expression of Jesus’ transforming love has now become a feast for media vultures. And sadly, as in Jesus’ day, it is often the religious establishment who join in the accusations. Remember, it was the Pharisees and Sadducees who railed against Jesus’ wonder-working power. They found His almighty mercy disruptive and intrusive; He encroached on their domain with power to set captives free. He exposed their powerlessness to call persons out of the tomb of sin and death. They took offense, and put Him to death.

Similarly, the Jimmy Seiberts are among the bold and few churchmen who do more than uphold the law of God–they champion His power to raise sinners from the dead! To be sure, breaking free of LGBT identification and becoming wholly grounded in Christ is no minor miracle. It requires nothing less than the juncture of our recognized poverty with the One whose love breaks the low ceiling imposed by our rebellion and an unbelieving culture.

Such breakthrough should seem plausible in this season of angelic visitations, pregnant virgins and guiding stars; nevertheless, I encounter Catholics and evangelicals constantly who raise their eyebrows at the prospect of Jesus actually having the power to reorder the sexually disordered.

Maybe that’s the rub. Weary and worldly, we now tend to doubt that there’s anything ‘disordered’ about same-sex attraction, or any other gender variation. To recognize another’s transformation would be to admit that maybe something is wrong—with a loved one, or with oneself. And that we are wrong for settling for less than God’s best.

And if something is wrong, then what? Does God have good things for us beyond our agreements with the status quo? Will He bear with us in our fragile and inconsistent efforts to become all that He has called us to be?

We are in the center of His heart. Advent is a time of hoping for more, of recognizing that the deserts in our lives are actually virgin territory, the very ground in which Jesus wants to impart to us the seed and water and breath to make us fruitful. A Child is about to be born; He vows to summon a host of sons and daughters from the dead of sin.

‘Then will the eyes of the blind be open, and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy’ (IS 35: 5, 6).

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ignite the torch joy of love

Ignite the Torch

‘The Church must accompany with attention and care the weakest of her children by restoring their hope like a torch carried among the people to enlighten those who have lost their way in the midst of a storm.’ Joy of Love, Pope Francis

While Pope Francis magnificently honors marriage in his recent exhortation, he falters in fueling the torch necessary to enlighten persons lost in the storm surrounding homosexuality. Yes, he exposes the lie of constructing one’s own gender ‘self’. But he falls fall short of illuminating Christ Crucified and Raised as the fire that can consume the disordered heart and win it over to holy love.

Pope Francis does not connect the dots. On the one hand he alludes to misbegotten cultural shifts like ‘gay marriage’ and the folly of being tossed about by self-serving, shortsighted desires. He highlights the Gospel passages in which sexual sinners are admonished by Jesus ‘to live more worthy lives’ as His love awakens ‘consciousness of sin.’ Yet his pastoral directives for enlightening persons lost in the gender storm are bland and dim; Francis invokes accompaniment and the law of gradualism and other references to walking with persons in pain. All good—but none adequate to awaken the soul in darkness to the saving light of Jesus.

I longed to hear Francis refer to repentance and sexual sin in the same sentence. He hesitates here. Inspired by the Spirit and commensurate with the damage done, the urgent call for repentance seems in line with Francis’ consistent regard for ‘the immense psychological burden’ that unfaithful adults impose upon children. We serve justice to kids by returning to the Father and casting off destructive identities and relationships. By aspiring to be faithful ‘gender’ witnesses, we the repentant do our part to meet the identity needs of children.

For this, we the Church need to declare the clear and compassionate call for all to turn to Jesus amid confused identities. Repentance is the base on which our eyes are opened and we can begin to make wise choices. Yes we slowly progress in our moral formation, and yes such formation is founded on the Word who exposes our chains and offers Himself as the key.

I now live in a Catholic world where the slight majority uphold gay unions, are intolerant (often cruel) to persons who lovingly refuse to bless ‘gay unions’, and whose clergy men tend to invoke a repentance-free mercy for persons with SSA. Where is the Church who blazes like a torch in order to enlighten her members? Where are the merciful lights to guide lost loved ones home? May God fan into flame a host of blazing lights to light the way in the storm that Francis describes but inadequately guides us through in this turbulent hour.

‘For Zion’s sake, I will not be silent; for Jerusalem’s sake, I will not remain quiet, until her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch.’ (IS 62:1)

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Papa Do Preach

‘All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to say nothing.’

For a Pope quick to quip about any number of thorny issues, Frances was strangely silent about the 62% of Ireland who legalized ‘gay marriage’ last month.

OK, OK, a Vatican official did declare the redefinition a ‘defeat for humanity.’ But for a Pope who insists on a merciful tone when addressing ‘gay’ issues, his omission here is nothing short of cruel.

Papa, preach on the beauty of man for woman and woman for man, and the dead-end of trying to make same-gender friends sexual complements.

Papa, preach on why the Catholic Church upholds marriage as a sacrament—a wellspring of grace to all every person who encounters a man and woman committed to lifelong unity.

Preach on why ‘gay marriage’ messes with kids by omitting 50% of what they need to become whole men and women themselves.

Papa, preach for the ones who have no voice.

Papa, on behalf of Christian families being torn apart by ‘gay’-identified members, preach on the beauty of repentance to chastity, and the thousands of faithful ministers who will walk with repentant ones to wholeness. Highlight Courage and the huge strides this most courageous apostolate has made in extending mercy to all persons impacted by SSA.

Papa, preach against the lie that ‘gays’ are an oppressed minority. Papa, preach the truth that the Irish were hoodwinked by a billion dollar gay organization from America that poured millions into Ireland and fueled a campaign based not on truth but emotional myths like all who are against ‘gay marriage’ decry human rights, economic recovery, and most of all, ‘love.’

Papa, preach on Jesus’ real love, the love that cleansed Mary Magdalene of her 7 demons and persuaded the Samaritan woman that mercy was better than sexual disorder. Preach on the splendor of mercy to supplant pagan counterfeits.

Papa, preach now on real mercy, and real marriage. Your silence is deadly.

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November 17, 2014: Glorious Sinners

‘Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.’ St. Paul Vl

My young friend Kelsie recently said: ‘If I worship Jesus above all, and He is the Lord of my desires, then of course He can change them!’ She referred to her own commitment to overcome same-sex attraction and relationships, and the progressive freedom she has discovered thus far. She is a witness of Jesus, and one voice among many that must be heard.

Nothing conveys Jesus’ tender and powerful love better than persons with SSA who are being transformed by Him. Shameful and painful histories become glorious. When my colleague and young father Andrew shares about his surrender to Jesus after multiple ‘gay’ unions, hope eclipses humiliation and one begins to think: ‘Maybe ‘gay’ isn’t the only way for persons with SSA…’

Such a witness opens a new door on what has become the close-ended ‘born this way’ view of homosexuality. Most have bought into that fatalistic mindset, even to the degree that they might actively discourage a person wanting to be free from homosexuality. Strange paradox: persons who champion ‘choice’ are often the most fascist. For them, the ‘gay’ way is one-way, with no exit.

Sadly many Christians have adopted such fatalism. When they do, they leech His light by denying others a vital option.  All the more glorious are those who expose their desires-in-conflict to Him and begin the splendid task of true reconciliation—to God, themselves, others. Jesus shines through them, as He does radiantly through my friend Christie. Now a wife and mother, she freely reveals her deep gender conflicts (and many lovers) and how Jesus and His friends helped her to resolve them. Glorious. In her clear womanhood, she offers more than the hope of change. She offers Jesus.

We now witness the first generation who has been weaned on ‘gay everything.’ In the media, their schools, their social networking, they are good with ‘gay’–until they are not. Increasingly, we are receiving inquiries from young men and women who for a variety of reasons are beginning to regret the ease with which they adopted ‘gay’ labels and lives; they wonder if Jesus is a door for life beyond homosexuality.

Will the Church be an open door for these seekers? Or will she ascribe to the homosexual fatalism of our day and obscure that door? Maybe these witnesses of transformation can help. No orthodox ‘teaching’ speaks more clearly into the questions surrounding homosexuality than persons who have been humbled by it. Jesus is raising them up, and amplifying their voices, for such a time as this.

‘I do not hide Your righteousness in my heart; I speak of Your faithfulness and Your salvation. I do not conceal Your love and truth from the great assembly.’ (Ps. 40:10)

Please join us as we pray for:

  1. Mid-Atlantic Region, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Tom Wright – Coordinator: For strength  and vision for Tom, for existing groups and to see new groups established.
  2. Aguas Vivas: Veracruz, Mexico, Analuisa – Coordinator: For them to find good church covering and for all they need to complete ContraCorriente (CrossCurrent) pilot.
  3. Restored Hope Network: Portland Fellowship, Jason Thompson, Portland, OR: God’s wisdom and direction as he leads Portland Fellowship through transition. Mid-Valley Fellowship, Duan Walker, Albany, OR: God’s leading in ministry and to balance ministry and rest.

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

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD BLOGS & PRAYER POINTS FOR NOV. 16, 17, 18, 19

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Delivered, Devoted, Declaring

Delivered, Devoted, Declaring

‘Those forgiven of much love much.’ (LK 7:47)

Amid three July gatherings of sinners desperate for Jesus—the annual Courage Conference, Hope 2014 (RHN), and the Spanish Living Waters Training in Mexico City—we celebrated the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene—bad girl made good by the delivering hand of Jesus (‘from her seven demons came out…’ LK 8:2).

How fitting. Mercy alone purged her of pretty poisons, mercy alone provoked lifelong devotion to the only One worthy of it. At all three gatherings we followed the lead of the Magdalene in devoting ourselves to Jesus due to His delivering hand in our lives, be it from the rat’s wheel of lust, from the domination of same-sex attraction, or from the controlling influence of a loved one, still captive.

Marvelous. Mary Magdalene is the Gospel figure who highlights for us how moral and spiritual affliction cannot stand before the Lord of love. Instead, we the afflicted bow down before Mercy and are inflamed by the Fire that makes pure the most perverse. Nothing matters anymore but Him—to cleave to Him, to laugh and weep with Him, to feel what He feels more than the sway of sexy idols.

Mary lived out that devotion. She spent her life on Him, joining a small band of women whom He healed and who then gave all to support Him en route to Calvary. He became her life. When He died, so did the best of her. When ‘they took Him away,’ they took her heart. Perhaps that’s why, unlike the disciples, she wept and lingered at the tomb. The delivered don’t mess around. Love waits.

Of all His disciples, Jesus chose her to be the first one to whom He appeared—Christ Resurrected. That’s why the Church refers to Mary as St. Mary, the ‘Apostle of the Apostles.’ Astounding. Jesus entrusted the most important message on earth to a bad girl, made good (JN 20: 1-2, 11-18).

Today, we the delivered seek to devote ourselves to the One. We declare ‘the praises of Him who called us out of darkness and into His glorious light’ (1P 2:9). All three gatherings were thick with the fragrance of Jesus’ transforming love, a wooing love that brings sinners home to His rest, His Church.

I have not seen that kind of willingness on the part of the delivered to make known what Jesus has done in the specifics of deep and shameful choices. No more euphemisms or veiled allusions to ‘struggle’—as surely has Jesus has forgiven our sin, we name the sin so that Mercy might have its full effect on all who hear. One Catholic man in particular announced that he was giving up all his spare time this summer to any gathering that wanted to hear what Jesus has done to break the power of SSA in his life.

It is timely that this July marks the debut of two classy full-length documentaries that highlight Jesus’ unfailing love in the lives of persons with SSA. Check them out: Desire of the Everlasting Hills (everlastinghills.org) and Such Were Some of You (purepassion.com).

In a day when ‘coming out’ into some GLBTQRSTUVW variant is nearly boring, how fitting that God is raising up a Magdalene Army. By naming our affliction and its antidote, we testify of nothing less than Christ Resurrected. Delivered, we devote ourselves to Him and declare the wonders He has done.

‘With Jesus everything; without Him, nothing.’ St. Faustina

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