Tag Archives: The Church

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Abuse and Authority

The Church’s authority to restore sexually broken people with the power that raised Jesus from the dead hinges on her repenting from abusing the most vulnerable.

I just returned from what has become one of my favorite nations—Poland. Theologically, St. John Paul ll paved the way for my conversion and St. Faustina permeated his take on gendered humanity with Almighty Mercy. These two Polish patrons ushered me into relationship with perhaps the finest Christians I known in the Living Waters world. Our third training there clarified the import of the Catholic Church to Poland. Hammered on all sides by cruel foes, the nation has looked to the Church as a bulwark against indignities that span centuries.

She now faces new challenges. Outside Church walls, LGBT+ activists bang on her doors with accusations that she is unloving and irrelevant; inside her walls, adult children of abuse are now claiming that her ‘fathers’ corrupted them and must be stopped if the Church is to be faithful to Jesus. Both challenges were palpable at our gathering; I saw both ugly defensiveness and beautiful repentance.

The threat to Poland of a ‘gay’ agenda fired up a rigid traditionalism in some participants. A few expressed contempt for anyone ‘homosexual’, not knowing that they were surrounded by ‘them’ in their small group. Mercy melted machismo as these ‘super’-Catholics realized that their training peers had no political agenda other than repenting unto chastity. All found level ground at the Cross: one people under one Merciful Source. Hardened hearts softened, calloused hands dropped stones. Instead of adopting a Noah’s Ark attitude—close the door and let the wicked drown—repentant ex-abusers committed to becoming Jesus’ hands for all persons.

Add to the mix very recent clerical abuse allegations in Poland. Under this now familiar shadow, LW training participants were troubled, confused, and incredulous. Some coped by denying the charges, claiming anti-Church conspiracies of varying kinds. I would not have it. For every one brave soul who dares to break tradition by confessing how a cleric broke his or her body, there are a hundred more. In a flash I saw clearly how prideful denial of the Church’s capacity to violate the most vulnerable is the essential tool God gives His enemy to fetter the Church’s capacity to heal sexually fractured persons. No confession from the top, no splendor of the Kingdom for the broken below.

So we repented. I veered off my teaching and we as a group wept at the damage: real people, faithful sons and daughter of the Father, picked off by demonized fathers. This spirit of repentance longs to rest on us until every secret is exposed. I contend we must bear that spirit prayerfully until we see Him face-to-face.

Yes we repented, and yes we must seek a posture of repentance. After a while, I felt led to ask all persons sexually abused as children to come forward (if they so desired) in order to receive prayer. I discerned that God was pleased by our posture, as I could smell the fragrance of healing. A dozen came forward, including two priests. In an unprecedented way, the Holy Spirit permeated these brave souls with a dense mist of grace, flooring many. People could not get up for around 15 minutes. I did nothing but watch while others prayed. When the glory lifted, relief and joy and lightness overtook the receivers. The Kingdom came. God gave tomorrow’s blessing that day. He healed the broken-hearted.

‘Restore our authority to heal, O God. Let not prideful self-protection get in the way of Your-Kingdom-come for the abused, persons most in need of Your touch.’

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

California’s New State Religion

‘In this world, God loves nothing more than the liberty of the Church.’ St. Anselm

AB 2943, which prohibits churches from selling resources that helps members live chaste lives, sailed through the Assembly and (barring a miracle) will do the same in the Senate in the next few days.

Not only does this bill prohibit citizens from resolving gender identity problems according to their faith, it imposes an immoral standard upon them. California may become the first state in the nation to demand that citizens with same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria resolve their conflicts according to state-determined (im)morality. When it does, California will effectively roll out, in the words of David French, a new state religion of sexual libertinism.

How could this happen? The California legislature is controlled by a handful of special interest groups, none more powerful than the LGBT+ juggernaut which regularly composes and pushes through outrageous acts of legislation (their new sex education mandate for all California students is a doozy). AB 2943 takes this a step further by silencing the voice of the Church as it pertains to sexual identity.

We all know now that this group is guided by a popular bias, supported by junk science (whenever any group claims absolute authority based on a handful of psychological studies, stop listening), which wants us to believe that those vulnerable in their sexual identities will be irreparably damaged by any effort to restrain and redirect their same-sex attraction. Similarly, this group holds to the dubious claim that anyone who hates their birth gender, especially children, do violence to themselves by being reconciled to their gender. This is nothing short of a new morality, a new vision of human dignity and freedom, in essence, a new religion.

You can see now why AB 2943 wants to silence the Church; she holds the opposite view. To be defined and driven by one’s same-sex attraction is an act of violence against the person made in God’s image, and to mutilate one’s body under the pretense of changing genders (an impossibility) is at best delusional. Given the fact that many in our ranks experience diverse temptations related to sexual identity, we cast ourselves upon the One who took the hit (2Cor 5: 21) for us and who alone has power to unite us with our truest, most authentic selves.

AB 2943 creates an alternate morality and outlaws the Church’s. If the bill passes:

Our eight Living Waters groups in California may become illegal.

Any books by Christian authors which highlight transforming power of Jesus in the area of sexual identity may be banned.

Conferences that include such witnesses may be prohibited.

Let’s not write AB 2943 off as west coastal silliness. California is on the vanguard of progressive politics for our nation. Her courts overturned the citizens’ choice to ban ‘gay marriage’ (Prop. 8) which in turn became the case that went to the Supreme Court, redefining marriage in our nation forever.

Please pray for miraculous intervention in slowing done or stopping this bill. California citizens would do best to call Gov. Jerry Brown directly at 916-445-2841 and simply stating their opposition to AB 2943.

Please pray that the Church in California wake up and unite in her radiant truth. I am not a political animal, I am a Christian who believes in another Kingdom that surpasses both right and left. Nothing is more essential to God’s heart than His will for humanity made in His image as male and female, and California politics today desecrates that image in the name of ‘freedom.’ Real violence will be done to our most vulnerable by AB 2943. May we as the Church arise and answer the cries of persons in identity crises.

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!”


November 2: He Sees, He Seeks, He Saves

And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that I shall lose none of all that He has given Me…For My Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal Life…’ (Jn 6: 39, 40)

Jesus saves the lost: homeless ones on whom God’s favor rests. To do so, He employs the Church—clear-enough icons—to look with eyes of blazing love on them. Though the Gospel passage (JN 6) points to the sinner’s need to look to Jesus, such repentance is a response to the Eyes of love which scour the universe and lay claim to His wayward creation. How kind of God to help us to see the lost as He does—wanderers looking for home.

My amazing mother looked with eyes of love on me when I declared to her my ‘gay self.’ She looked with tearful compassion and simply said: ‘I wanted more for you.’ ‘More?’ I thought, ‘What lies beyond my new sensational world?’ The mystery of ‘more’ quietly highlighted my malaise and prepared me for the One who never ceased to see me, and seek me, as His son.

The prevailing lie in the gay community at that time was that the Church was a liar’s prison—a hateful, repressive place that created hypocrites. The enemy had blinded our eyes to the One who looked at us in order to secure us in love. Today I seek to be a true icon of the Church—a welcoming, trustworthy window—that grants sinners a glimpse of the One longing for their return to Him.

I have formed a friendship with a ‘gay‘-identified man who like most of us has work and family-related troubles. I pray for him often and give him occasional words of encouragement from the Father. The other day he replied: ‘I did not think God cared about my life.’ The Church knows otherwise and has the responsibility to clear such debris from lost hearts.

We must ask Jesus for renewed passion in looking for the lost, and seeing them with His eyes. The sure mark of lukewarm faith is a failure to care about other’s eternal destinies. Self-concern causes us to lose sight of others. Lukewarm Christians also can assume falsely that everyone ‘makes it to heaven’ (a popular myth in Catholic culture) or simply by assuming that such an effort is God’s business. It is the business of the Church.

With urgency, let us pray that we as the Church would become a clear and compassionate icon of the God who sees, seeks, and saves the lost.

‘Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I take no delight in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!’ (EZ. 18: 31, 32)

Please join us as we pray for:

  1. Conferences: For our 2015 conferences, scheduled in Reseda, CA and proposed in Chicago, Virginia and Ohio
  2. Aguas Vivas: Bocono, Venezuela, Betsy – Coordinator: Grace and all they need to run their group in the midst of a highly unstable political climate.
  3. RHN: Apokata Psychotherapy, Robert Brennan, San Francisco, CA: Divine strategy for encountering resistance in clients that is backed by strongholds. Also for more of God’s presence in the counseling room. New Hope Ministries, Howard Hervey, San Rafael, CA: Lord’s direction for the ministry; new vision and purpose for New Hope. Also for growth for their support group.

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


How Then Shall I Fast

“We at Desert Stream Ministries are positioning ourselves before Christ Crucified for 40-days of prayer, from October 15th to November 23rd. Our purpose is to welcome Him afresh into our depths, that we might more nearly grasp His heart for the one He loves most, the Church, His bride. For each of the 40-days, the Desert Stream staff will pray at 3pm CST for specific themes and needs. Will you prayerfully consider joining us? ” Andrew Comiskey

“First, let fasting be done unto the Lord with our eye singly fixed on Him. Let our intention herein be this and this alone, to glorify our Father which is in heaven.” John Wesley

As Wesley beautifully states, fasting is about the Lord: to glorify Him and join with Him in prayer on behalf of His purposes. Whatever sacrifice we make is unto more time to be in His presence and pray. This sounds wonderfully easy. Yet following these clear and simple guidelines requires forethought, grace and discipline!

Now is a good time to begin to pray and consider what type of fast the Lord is asking of you.

What might you give up in order to give God room to make your heart more like His? He may be inviting and challenging you to sacrifice beyond what you feel able. This might involve you fasting on water and a minimal amount of food.

A water fast requires major adjustments in one’s schedule, allowing adequate time to rest and planning to do less physically and socially.

Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, author of Spiritual Disciplines Handbook lists some of the things fasting includes:

*abstaining from food, drink, desserts, chocolate, to intentionally be with God.

*abstaining from media: TV, movies, radio, music, email, [Facebook, Twitter], cell phones and computer games to allow space for listening to the voice of Jesus.

*abstaining from habits or comforts: elevators, reading, shopping and sports in order to give undivided attention to God.

I have also heard pastors call their congregants to fast criticism, judgment and cynicism; a fast we could all benefit from, especially if we turn instead to Scripture and prayer.

The encouraging and challenging truth is that we all can fast in some way. We each have something we can abstain from for forty days in order to pray and spend more time with God. Remember, our self-denial is “in order to intentionally attend to God in prayer.” Calhoun, p 218

Fasting clears us out and opens us up to intentionally seeking God’s will and grace in a way that goes beyond normal habits of worship and prayer. While fasting we are one on one with God, offering him the time and attentiveness we might otherwise be giving to eating, shopping or watching television.

Fasting reminds us that we care about “soul” things. We care about the church. We care about the world. We care about doing God’s will. Thus we willingly set aside a little comfort so we can listen and attend to the voice and nourishment of God alone. For God can give us grace and comfort and nurture we cannot get on our own .” Calhoun, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, and be thankful. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. ” Col. 3:15, 17


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