Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Literally Speaking - Wresting with Questions About Sexual Orientation

At the beginning of each year, our pastors asks the members of the congregation to submit questions in which we are personally seeking answers to. We call it the Tough Question series. Out of all the submissions, some of the toughest ones are are picked out and touched upon in sermons for the next few months. This past week was "Sexual Orientation".

A few weeks back, I finally met with my Pastor, as we had mentioned one day that we needed to meet for coffee and just get to know each other and talk about a few questions that I had. He surprised me by popping the question, "Would you like to share your story in church?" My heart jumped out of my throat & I started shaking just thinking about it, but I was honored & up for the challenge. It was kind of my little way to get it all out there, and touch a few people; maybe change some minds or open some hearts.

I knew that this issue generally came up in Tough Questions every other year, and about 8 months ago, I had a feeling that I should start writing down my thoughts and I did just that. As soon as I got home from meeting with my Pastor, I opened it up again and started editing right away. Over the course of the next few weeks, it was changed at least 100 times up until the morning of my talk. So below is the video as well as some final thoughts I was unable to share due to time issues, and some wonderful experiences I have had from this most joyous experience.

I forgot a lot of things that I wanted to include, but if you have read my blog, you know those experiences.

If you are out there and struggling with an addiction or struggling with God not accepting you. My prayer is that this will change your mind, that you will seek God and know that EVERYONE is forgiven and EVERYONE is invited to sit at the table with Jesus. You are his child and he wants a relationship with YOU.

There are millions of people suffering tremendously and all should be able to come to Jesus without condemnation and then given a chance to accept his love or not. But when being told that they are not worthy before given a chance to know different; what a terrible loss. Salvation is a serious issue. And I sadden at the loss of anyone.
To those struggling with trying to fit being gay with being Christian and following Jesus all into the same place. It is possible and although I have and do still struggle. I never thought that I could have a freedom and joy that I now have.

God’s love is unconditional, and no matter who you are, what you are addicted to, struggling with or going thru. Forget the Past.. You Can’t change it. Don’t let it, or anyone else for that matter disqualify you from God's Love. Come to God and Focus forward. God is for you and He wants nothing but the best for you. He is not wrathful or full of hatred & despite what you have heard; that God Hates you for being a Fag, that you are worthless or that your sin is unforgivable and your sin is the worst sin there is... NOTHING is farther from the truth!!!

Don’t give up on God. He has not and will never give up on you. He loves you and wants nothing more then a relationship with you. Join a church that fits you and get to know the real Jesus. He will stand by you wherever you are at in life. And even if you backslide into your old ways. He will still be there to stand with you to hold out his hand and help you back up. His love will never fail you.

My favorite way to say it is this, “Just as that shower you take every day gets rid of the dirt and grime from yesterday.. Dip your foot into the water, get a feel for the temperature and how warm it feels. Jesus will start to clean your brokenness and your hurting. Soon you will find yourself immersed deep in the water, being fully enveloped, fully cleansed and fully washed with the grace, mercy, & forgiveness that is the blood of Jesus.

I need to give a resounding, “Thank You” to everyone within my church community whom have prayed for me, spent personal time with me, or just touched me thru a smile, a warm embrace, a weekly hello, the support and just the general good feel that I and my partner have felt in this church from day one. This is what it is all about. To accept every individual for who they are and wherever they may be in their process. With love and Jesus all things truly are possible. The first 50 years of my life have been troubled, but I look forward to the best 50 years of my life and to see what God has in store for me.

I end with this final verse:
2 Corinthians 1:3-7 The Message Version
All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.
6-7 When we suffer for Jesus, it works out for your healing and salvation. If we are treated well, given a helping hand and encouraging word, that also works to your benefit, spurring you on, face forward, unflinching. Your hard times are also our hard times. When we see that you’re just as willing to endure the hard times as to enjoy the good times, we know you’re going to make it, no doubt about it.


While taking communion; a fellow church member leaned over to me, introduced herself & said, "Jef my name is.... and I am so honored to share communion with you.
A college student said that he could relate to my story & thankful for me sharing.
Another church member stated his sister whom is in high school was lesbian, and his mother a devout catholic, which made it strained for his sister to gain acceptance. He said that he can't wait to share the video with his sister.

A good friend of mine was told by her pastor 10 years ago not to speak to a young man because he was Gay. Being young she did what the pastor said. She later found out that her gay friend got into drugs and alcohol and has been trying to find him thru facebook or anywhere, having no luck. During my talk, she all of a sudden remembered his phone number and gave him a call. They are meeting again for lunch this week.

Another fellow member posted on facebook a huge thanks for me and my pastor for touching on this issue and hoping that this video would go viral.

Another fellow member messaged me thru facebook. Thanked me for sharing. That it was great to have an actual human face-a personal connection to the issue, that he has much to learn and process, but I helped to move him forward in his thinking.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

How the Church Should Treat Those who are Considered A Marginalized Community.

This post finds me in a bit of anger at how I and the entire marginalized communities of people (gays, lesbians, transgender, poor, illegal immigrants, disabled, homeless, prisoners, elderly, prostitutes, etc)... have been treated by Religion/Christians and got me to thinking. What would have happened to me 2, 5, 10 or 20 years ago had I died in my anger at God and my treatment by Religion for me identifying myself as a gay man. How I was treated and thrown out like I was not worthy to be cared about or like an old rag doll that didn't get to play anymore?

Would I have died & stood in front of Jesus and been told that he never knew me? Hence my anger!!! Would I have died without salvation? Hence my anger!!! Why didn't you make it known to me before Jesus? Hence my anger!!! Why was religion allowed to treat me this way? Hence my anger!!! How many people have died in anger after having been told that they were destined to hell, treated poorly by Christian's or whom were never told the real truth about the unconditional love of Jesus and in their anger and confusion turned to a life of terrible sin? How many countless multitudes of people have perhaps died without salvation due to your treatment of them?

Being 100% honest, I myself am not perfect here either and I think that if anyone reading this looks deep down inside their souls. I/We are far from having treated others nicely, but I have been Outted by God and now realize that I am being made a new person and only want to live a life of pure love for others.

I left my church and religion behind at the age of 15. I was tired of hearing from my church leaders that I was less of a person than everyone else, and confused at some of them disowning their own children for being gay. And of course this was also the hatred and condemnation that I heard on TV, Radio and newspapers. That God hated FAGS and we were destined to hell. For the next 19 years I really didn't care.. I was going to whoop it up and have fun while I was here. Might as well enjoy my short time on this short life if hell was my destination. Not to mention that life on this earth was already a living Hell. But then the next 14 years were full of depression, self loathing, and alcohol binges almost nightly. Crying out to God and my mother weekly as to why... Sorry for all the pain mom.

  • Psalm 34:18 The LORD is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Now having found the true love of God and a wonderful church for one year, I now know that these are all LIES!!!!

And finally, after decades we receive a much needed response from a prominent religious leader, as Pope Francis speaks about no condemnation, having no right to judge and also states that the church is obsessed with abortions, contraception & gays. Absolutely perfect. I would hope that ALL leaders of organized churches would follow his lead. There is only one who has the right to Judge. And YES, we still have a long ways to go, but at least its a start to some much needed conversation that Christians need to WAKE UP and take a look at yourselves....

The two greatest commandments that contain the whole law of God:
  1. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with they whole mind, and with they whole strength;
  2. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
How about we stop obsessing on asinine issues and help each other heal from our broken lives. We all need to realize that we have one thing in common. That we are all broken in one way or another. I would think that all Christians would be more obsessed with their fervor for Jesus and his wonderful grace and mercy as well as the salvation of others.

Not one church should have the right to make rules and regulations regarding your right to attend a church, to join in on worship or even to serve in the church. Every church should welcome you regardless of where you are at in your life, or your identity. They should be boisterous that you are seeking and wanting a relationship with God just as they are for anyone else. My feeling is that the more legalistic a church is, the faster I ran away. These rules of don't eat this or that, prayer must be said exactly like this, church must be on this day, blah blah blah... Some churches are so legalistic and try to follow so many laws that don't matter, that their belief in salvation will never happen for any of their members, because their perfection cannot be attained.

Following too many legalistic rules takes time away from the real reason for Christianity. Focusing on Christ!!! Legalism is the attempt to please God by erecting hard and fast rules where the Bible does not give them, and then making them binding on oneself or others. It is not a matter of following those things that are commanded, or that have clear biblical principals associated with them.

God loves every single person whomever they may be or how we identify ourselves.
Some of those who choose to condemn, choose to use the following scripture to do so:

Corinthians 6: 9-11 Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Also take a look at Revelations 21:8  where the Lord said, “But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

Since most can identify will all of these except homosexuals, they seem to want to pull that out of the bible and throw it way out of context and proportion as if it is the ONLY unforgivable sin, and therefore Jesus cannot forgive you. What they forget to note is that due to these scriptures NOT ONE person is righteous enough to enter the kingdom of God. Whom in their lifetime has not told a lie? If you have looked at someone with lust you are considered an adulterer.. Hmm.. I believe that Anger at someone is considered murder... anyone? Oops.... guess my introduction of anger was a no no...

All who are in Christ Jesus have been washed and sanctified by the blood of Jesus. YOU my Friend are forgiven. To live with him eternally is by faith in Jesus Christ and what he has done for you. Works are not a condition of Salvation but if you truly love Jesus, your heart should want to do good works for those whom are less fortunate or in need of care and healing. And therefore to reach out to others to hear them, help them, care for them, and teach them the word of God and Salvation.

Simply being homosexual and having same sex feelings is not the sin. The sin is having sex outside of traditional marriage. Heterosexual or Homosexual. At this point in my journey, I do not agree that because you have a same sex marriage, that this makes it okay. I wish that was true in God's eyes, it would make my life so much easier, more pleasant and much more enjoyable. (Seeing as how I have a partner of almost 14 years, It sucks having to live as roommates, but we made a commitment and to be honest, if he was not in my life at this point to keep me moving forward, I am not sure that I would have started on or to continue this wonderful journey in Christ Jesus). Now I know in this day and age it is unfashionable to suggest that this activity is unrighteous, and trust me it is a hard pill to swallow. Is it fair?.. maybe not, but neither is it fair that people are born disabled, paraplegic or that children are born with disease, or blind, or deaf..

This past week our church had a week of prayer, where we met every day at 7 AM and again every night at 7 PM and the major theme of every morning and night was how thankful we are that we belong to a loving church and prayed that we would get to know each other on a deeper level. That we would have the courage and strength to take that love to our neighbors & the marganilized communities to show and teach them the love of God for all.

The point is, that we all deserve condemnation, but that condemnation is not to come from anyone other then Jesus. Those within the church (body of christ) that you choose, should love you regardless of your circumstances, how broken you are, or wherever you may be at in this point of your life.

The church should be there....

To Love YOU
To Guide YOU
To Accept YOU
To Listen to YOU
To Understand YOU
To Hold YOUR Hand,
Most of all to help YOU grow in the
Word of God's love for YOU.

Regardless of how you feel about organized religion, if you have a feeling that something is missing in your life, and that it may be God; there are churches out there that encompass nothing but love for YOU. My church is proof of that. I have been loved from day one, have been welcomed to serve in the church, helped and prayed for after opening up with my struggles, and still loved after putting it all out there. After all, a church is full of broken people from all different backgrounds and stories. And each story that is shared should just make the church stronger and grow in each other and God's love for us.

Keep searching until you find the perfect fit.. It is out there. I attended quite a few churches until I landed. Please don't give up. God has not given up on you, so don't cave in and give up on him.

  • Jeremiah 29:13  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart
  • Matthew 7:7  “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
  • Lamentations 3:25  The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,to the one who seeks him;
  • Psalm 40:16 But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, "The LORD is great!"

Monday, September 16, 2013

What Does "I am Spiritual" Really Mean?

So a few months back I read a comment from an acquaintance on social media similar to, "Is receiving Salvation or believing in Christ only meant for Christians"? I didn't know if I should respond or for that matter even how to respond. I know this friend states that he/she is spiritual and for the past few months I have been pondering what does that exactly mean or look like?

1 in 5 Americans identify as being spiritual, but not religious. I guess it is similar to believing in a power greater than ourselves, and not quite the religious type, disenchantment to institutions or organized religion, or for that matter God? Or maybe those whom are spiritual feel as if they don't have the time or energy to delve into a religion. It seems as though Spirituality is an emotion, religion is an obligation. Spirituality soothes, religion mobilizes. Spirituality is satisfied with itself. Seems somewhat egotistical to me.

Then I got to thinking, what is it that keeps those who state that they are spiritual from going that one step further to a belief in God and Jesus as that higher power? After all, how can you believe in a higher power and not even be sure what it is? Is it for one of the following reasons or another?

#1  You were hurt by religion and those that state they are Christian?
#2  You don't want to believe in a God that is wrathful?, or
#3  You don't want to believe that you should obey the rules of the God/Jesus as related in the Bible?

I will try to touch on my friends comment as well as the three questions above based on my personal belief. Since this is my blog. I think I have that right.

Please let me be very clear before going any further. I am not passing judgement on anyone at all or whatsoever, and everyone is free to believe what they may. I am most certainly not one to have the right to judge. This is just my place to write what is on my mind, in my heart at the moment and trying to understand.  But of course this is also a place for me to relate my journey with an ALL LOVING God, for others to read and understand my belief as well...

To answer the comment to my friend as to my belief and that of the 2,000,000,000 + Christians and growing of this world today. Salvation is the belief and full faith that God does exist and created the earth and everything on it. That he came to this earth as a separate and living human being. Being born of a virgin and was named Jesus. That he was crucified on a cross to shed his blood for the sins of humanity, and was raised from the dead and thereby, you make a life decision to follow the work and teachings of Christ... I know what your thinking.. seriously? Can you prove that? Follow this link to what I think is some  great evidence of the Resurrection.

Pertaining to Question #1... You were hurt by religion and those that state they are Christian?

I am right there with you. Hence my 25 years struggling with Religion, being gay and God. And let me say this, "I am so very sorry for the way that religion has treated you and I. Unfortunately religions of all genres haven't done too well at some of the laws that God gave us. To love your neighbor, to forgive others, and to reach out. That is why Jesus had to die for us, because not one of us is perfect and we are all sinners. If you are honest with yourself, it is hard not to judge others by the way others look, dress or act. It is just a part of life.

The most common misconception about religion is that Christianity is just another religion like Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, etc. Sadly, many who claim to be followers of Christianity do practice Christianity as if it were a religion. To many, Christianity is nothing more than a set of rules and rituals that a person has to observe in order to go to heaven after death. That is not true Christianity. True Christianity is not a religion; rather, it is having a right relationship with God by receiving Jesus Christ as the Savior-Messiah, by grace through faith. Yes, Christianity does have “rituals” to observe (baptism & communion). Yes, Christianity does have “rules” to follow (do not murder, love one another, etc.). However, these rituals & rules are not the essence of Christianity. The rituals and rules of Christianity are the result of salvation. When we receive salvation through Jesus Christ, we are baptized as a proclamation of that faith. We observe communion in remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice. We follow a list of do’s and dont's out of love for God and gratitude for what He has done.

Pertaining to Question #2... You don't want to believe in a God that is wrathful?

I used to struggle with this as well, but let me put it this way. First of all, you were created by God. But let's put this in the perspective of your parents when you were a child. Your parent's basically gave birth to you. Therefore, they have the right to make rules for you and how they wish for your life to move forward. When you break those rules, they have the right to scold you or judge you as they feel is necessary to correct you, in order to make you live a life that is righteous and fullfilled to the best that it can be.

So based on that perspective, don't you think that God, who created you and everything around us,  has the right to give us laws to live by and thereby ask us to believe in him and the sacrifice that was made for us and to follow him? Otherwise, there would be no salvation and the right to spend eternity with him? I think that is fair. Just as your parents asked of you, he wishes for you to believe in him and know that he has your best interest at heart. It's not always easy, and he never promised that. Life on this earth will still be a struggle, but if you think about it, this life is so short. After all, how fast has your life gone by? But imagine eternity in one of two places.. Eternity will never ever end.. so what is the choice that you would like to make? I know mine.

 Pertaining to Question #3.... You don't want to believe that you should obey the rules of the God/Jesus as related in the Bible?

This goes back to Question #2 pertaining to your parents. His greatest commandments were:
  1. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength;
      2.  Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

If you think about the other commandments of not to steal, murder. not to bear witness against your neighbor, not to covet your neighbors house/wife/etc... Honor your father and your mother. Does this sound like the laws that are set by the government? Laws keep us in check and help us live a more fulfilled life.

We are all sinners, and not one of us is perfect or can be. But thru the grace and mercy of Jesus dying on the cross for us, we all can be forgiven. Does that mean that you can go on sinning? Most certainly not!!!  We are to turn away from sin and try to fight it off, win the victory over ourselves, our flesh, our egos and be the best of people that we can and were created to be.

Pertaining to sin. God isn't offended if we are struggling with sin, he is more offended if we put on a front. If we act as though we are not struggling and how we behave when nobody is looking.

As I heard in a sermon from the Pastor of the North Phoenix Vineyard Church:
"If Jesus didn't rise from the dead then god did not conquer his own suffering and God didn't beat death or sin. He came down to this earth as Jesus and suffered with us. If Jesus didn't beat death and rise again then he suffered with us and proved he was loving and compassionate but not very powerful, and Christianity, which is the largest religion is just a sham. (There were just too many witnesses for this to be true). If Jesus Didn't conquer his own suffering then he didn't conquer ours either."

The good news is that the all powerful god loves us and is for us. He is not wrathful. Being filled with the love of God is one of the most wonderful and awe powering things I have experienced. I never knew that I as a Gay person, I could ever know this kind of love, or be forgiven. But I am. You can be. We all can be.

Getting saved is admitting that you need to be saved. If your willing to be forgiven you are in. Not believing is condemnation. If you don't think you need forgiveness, if you don't think you need to be saved from anything, fine, your welcome to believe what you want, but that means that Jesus doesn't really have anything to offer you. Eternal life is offered to you. If you don't want it, that's a choice you have to make.

One of the biggest breakthroughs for me this week was hearing that I am forgiven without repenting, but we should repent to show the love we have for Jesus having sacrificed himself for us. This opened me up during the middle of the week to a total open heart. My job of trying to satisfy my sinful self to God is finished, completed and been paid for. To stop trying to do more to earn forgiveness. At the end of church service today. I was asked by a good friend if she could pray for me, as she had received a feeling and an image and it spoke to exactly that moment for me this week. It was God speaking to me yet again thru someone else' praying with and for me.

If you are not a believer in Christ, I hope this little diddy either changed your mind or made you think hard about it. I would hope that everyone would accept Christ and his forgiveness, so that we all could enjoy eternity together where there will be no more sin, no more tears, depression or hatred. No more wars, no more anger, no more poverty, none of the crap that just gets in the way. It will be an eternity just filled with pure love and pure joy for one another and everything on a new earth that will be renewed, regenerated and will be more beautiful then our pitiful little brains can even imagine.

Now that is a place that I want to be, and I hope to see you there right next to me...

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Crying Out to God!!!

First I have to say that I am sorry if my posts aren't eloquent, hyphenated correctly, and go from one subject to the other, or the correct God Speak. I seem to always be apologizing for not having gone to college or seminary, being new to the Christian life & skipped a LOT of middle and high school. These are just my thoughts of the day, as crazy as they may be.  Moving forward. Hallelujah.. God quite possibly still loves me even though!!!

I have been told by a special Christian friend many times, that she see's me in the corner of a room crying out to God. How could she possibly know this about me, without me having talked about this with her?

It's as if she has a special relationship with God that Jesus truly speaks to her and gives her images as we are praying. It is so prophetic, as I can't tell you how many times that I have literally sat in a corner on the floor crying out to God so hard that my eyeballs hurt until they feel as if they are bleeding and popping out of my head.

Jesus never promised any Christian that life on this earth would be easy. But what most people don't understand is that it is that much harder trying to integrate my identity of being gay with wanting to be a good and faithful Christian. It just doesn't seem to fit in the realm of Christianity these days.

At the time of this post, I have been faithfully attending church for 11 months, and attending our Home Bible Study Group for 9 months. Crying in church every Sunday at the excruciating (which I believe derives from, "Out Of The Cross") death of Jesus on the cross for me and all of humanity. Especially on the Sunday of communion or sacrament, whatever it may be that your church calls it. Everyone in church must think that I am a consistent nut case and sinner. This day is the moment that has me shedding tears so hard, knowing that I haven't done enough for his suffering for me. How can I not even try to suffer for his sufferance. I try, but I keep giving in. DAMNIT!!!!

I will admit that I haven't been faithful about studying the word (that could be one of my main problems) or praying daily (Although I do talk to God daily while taking the dog for a walk, driving in my car, etc... I guess that is considered praying). But I don't feel connected to God or filled with his Holy Spirit as I should. Is it because I am Gay with a Gay Partner and due to that fact, I am not afforded the wonderful and Holy experience that all others are able to participate in? Or is it because I am still struggling with a few of my sinful stupidity's? I want it to be known that just because I made it seem thru my last posts that I was 100% healed, I didn't want to shield the truth, so if I did the old backslide or fell, it should be known. There is no healing in hiding the truth. It is a constant struggle.

I am trying so hard to believe that Jesus loves us all equally. From my first three posts you would think that I had gotten over this, but as most Christians, I should understand that this is a daily struggle for a lot of us. But I find myself still wondering that because I identify as a gay man, that I am trying to walk in faith of a salvation that I cannot be a part of.

I am constantly condemned for being gay, being told that I possibly chose this lifestyle thru life circumstances, (maybe, but regardless this is who I am, and I don't believe that at all) not being born this way, yet God tells us that he knew who we were going to be before we were even born. Truth be known, had I not met my gay partner of 13 years, and us both coming to a dual decision together of following Christ 11 months ago, I can truly tell you that I most likely would not be moving towards a life of Christ. I would still be stuck in my old life of terrible sin. So is it wrong for me to be gay and have a gay partner? 

Without that relationship, I would still be in a wretched state of life of not moving forward. So please God or others of this world don't tell me that I shouldn't have the right to be gay man. There is a reason that God set my life up in this state as it is now. For this very reason, I have been led to write a blog in the hope's of witnessing to those in my life circumstances, to share my struggles, yet my joy in moving towards a life in Christ. Yes, we will struggle, but it's a journey to want to finally be forgiven and come back to God who has always been calling us back to him. If we aren't moving forward towards a betterment, then what is the meaning of this life right?

Is it as true and as simple as John 5:24 "Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life"

If so then why do I keep struggling with the fact that, Oh your gay, your still living of this world of watching TV that corrupts your mind (although it doesn't change my values, it actually makes me realize more and more what a messed up world this is, and I do find myself recording more of the faith value channels) your not reading my word every day, your not spending enough time witnessing to others, not enough time helping those in need, your not fighting your sins as you should if you truly love Jesus, etc.. mentality.... Is it just the stupid legalism that has been placed in my head from previous religion and hearing the crap on TV? Am I truly forgiven even though I don't contain all of these things? Just tell me God.. Am I forgiven or not? Can somebody just sit down with me and truly help me wrestle with this please? God? Can you shout out to me? I am tired of crying out to you!!!!!

How do you not live of this world? To be honest, I just don't understand what my fellow Christians do all day? I get up and take my dog for a walk first thing in the morning when I wake up (It helps that she jumps for joy for that special time of the day with her dad), then I start delving into work until about 5 or 6 or 7 PM.. then I watch TV.. What do my fellow christians do all night and weekend long? Sure I should read the bible every day, but I can't read more than 15 minutes of anything before I get drowsy and need a nap... then what? What the heck do you do the rest of the night? This must be my problem with hearing from God and truly feeling the Holy Spirit of God!!!! What fills the rest of your night? Am I not understanding the full realm of not living in this world? And that's what keeps me from hearing? "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says"

The enemy is constantly trying to defeat me/us. And although I repent of my sins of the day, the largest sin I have committed today and this week is the unbelief of his true word, and that I/we are truly forgiven. Why can't I get that through my head?

It is because of the constant beating of religion across this country and the world that because I am gay, I am less of a person and that I can't be forgiven; that I have crossed the line of God's forgiveness and that Jesus died for all sins except for mine..  Could even the vulgar crimes of a murderer, rapist, child/spouse abuser, kidnapper, child molester be forgiven before me?  Really? Even those in prison of vulgar crimes can't forgive some of the aformentioned.

I need to keep reminding myself of having just studied Romans Chapter 1, that ALL sins are equal. None is greater then the other. So that abortion you had, that adulterous affair you had, that white lie that you told, your arrogance, your greed, your slandering, etc.. is equal to mine.. and ALL ARE FORGIVEN!!!!!

I guess the whole point of this entry into my blog, is that I have been a little depressed this week of so wanting to hear from God and feel his presence. Why do I doubt? Keep getting depressed about it? Is it a special feeling that others receive? Or is it just a knowing? Should I even expect it even though I am still sinning and gay? Please God.. talk to me.. I need you so much.. My heart and soul wants it so bad.. To know you, to hear you, to feel you, to know that you hear from me and truly care about me!!!!!!!!

I so want it with all my heart and soul, to have that special relationship, true love and knowing his true forgiveness that so many others in my church and home group feel every day and every minute of their lives.. 
Although I struggle, I never thought that I would say, that Sunday is my favorite day of the week. I look forward to it all week. I get such a high from worshiping and praising our Glorious God that as soon as it is done, the week cannot go fast enough for me to do it all over again. 

As I always have said, "Get your feet wet and step into the water deeper and deeper until it cleanses your whole body with his Mercy and Grace and washes you fully in his love".

Special Thanks!!! I want to say thanks to those from church whom have thanked me for sharing my life and journey thru this blog with them. I so look up to you all and you are all huge inspirations to me. Having heard some of your stories, isn't it nice that we are all not alone and that we all have life sores? You have no idea how much I so look forward to seeing you all every week. (Hence the reason I can't stop talking to everyone at church). I just can't get enough of you all.  I strive to have the faith in Christ that you all have. It gives me no greater joy then to know that I have found the right place of joy and worship with people whom truly care, forgive and love all others regardless of lifestyle or brokenness...Coast Vineyard Rocks!!!!!!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Giving Your Addictions to God

So I wake up this morning on a Saturday of all days at 3:30 A.M. with this post running through my head and my mind won't shut off, so I feel as if I just need to get up and get it off of my mind.
Romans 7:15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

Confused? Is there a war going on in your head?
That has been the story of my life for decades. Doing things that I didn't understand why I was doing them, and wanting not to do them, but did it anyhow. 

The good old conflict of natures. I wasn't really aware of it until my mid 30's. Before that, I just dabbled in drugs and alcohol. 

In Junior High and High School, I was lucky to have one or two friends and ended up dropping out as a Junior in High School. Before that, I was skipping so much school, it was ridiculous. School was to say the least a major disappointment. I envy those that thought High School was some of their best experiences.  I wasn't really being bullied, but always being talked about. You know.. "Oh him, he's a Fag" constantly as I walked the halls.

From the ages of 15-20 I found figure skating and had an extended family of about 40 other figure skaters, which included most of their mom's and a few dad's mixed in there as well. I spent 5-7 hours a day training. Those were some of the best days of my life. Looking back, I should have stayed a while longer, but the anger was setting in and I was actually starting to get very afraid of the triple jumps that I was having to start training on. I didn't want to break my neck after all.

But when I left all that, I was alone and didn't know what to do. So I decided to move out on my own. Started hanging out at an 80's dance club called Maxim's in Salt Lake for kids under 21 (the legal drinking age). Seemed to be the place for misfit's. I found a great group of friends there and of course ran into my very first love. Finally having a group of friends for the first time in my life, I was willing to go along with the crowd somewhat. That is when I had my first taste of alcohol, and we drank a lot of it. Most of my friends also were doing drugs. Cocaine, which I was pressured into trying once, but thank goodness nothing happened to me. I was freaking out about it. They also were dropping acid, smoking marijuana, and I am sure many others. Fortunately for my addictive personality, I never touched them other than that one time. This lifestyle lasted about 3 or 4 years and in that time lost my first love and then my true love.

At 23, again I thought I had met the person of my dreams who swept me off my feet and moved me to California. And I needed to get away from Utah in a bad way and religion in a bad way. Way too much drama at this time going on with my  family and me being Gay. At this point, Alcohol was not a part of my life. I can't remember us even going to any bars. Maybe once or twice, but just didn't appeal to me.

At 31, in 1996, I left that relationship and bought my first house. This is when it all started truly going down hill. I started drinking heavily and of course with that entails being sexually promiscuous. Might as well get it all out there. I Couldn't go one day without a drink. 
And then of course, God had to start throwing himself into the mix again and that threw me in a tailspin. So ANGRY with God for making me a FAG, ANGRY that I couldn't stop drinking, ANGRY that God hated me, ANGRY that God made this way just to be thrown in Hell, ANGRY that God wouldn't just let me die. 

Got fired from my job of 10 years, didn't know what to do now, mixed in with being thrown in jail for not only one DUI but two. Self Loathing, Denial, Depression, sex to fulfill a desire for love.  Just ANGRY and my poor mom of course had to hear every word and detail of it all. Sorry Mom. This lasted until just last year, at the age of 49.

Something was missing and it was contained in the very word I used every day... why God why.. that's it.. that's what's missing.. I really needed to find God again. 

The fact that we are broken and get upset about it, is a good thing. As in Timothy 6:12 Fight the Fight.

So, I decided enough already and along with my partner of 13 years we decided to seek out a church. As I mentioned in my last two posts, my daily addiction just seemed to lessen to a once a week thing. It's as if I had been injected with an anti addiction drug. I can't stress to you how amazing this was to me. I didn't even try to stop, it just ..... Did... maybe it was due to the fact that I was just tired of it all. But so are those in AA, but they struggle with stopping. I didn't and let me re-iterate, I was drinking every day. I couldn't wait to get home to get that first drink and obliterate myself to a non-thinking stage. I was addicted.

Now I am not saying that if you go to church that God is going to heal you right away. It does not happen to everyone. But if you find yourself angry at God and you are tired of drinking, snorting, injecting or sexually acting out against him, trust him to take care of you. But don't think that you have to be fixed first. If you find a church that tells you that you do... run away as fast as you can, and find another one until you find the church that fits you perfectly. 

Steps It took for me as a new creation:

1. Admit that I truly loved God.

2. Admit that I needed and wanted help from God.
  •  Psalm 31:14-15 “But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hand;"
3. Found a bible teaching church that fits me perfectly (one that teaches the love of Jesus & his death on the cross). (Tried 5 different churches).
  •  Romans 10:17  So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

4. Go to church faithfully - every week!!! (Be all in and engaged while there
  •   Psalm 34:1 “I bless God every chance I get; my lungs expand with his praise.” 

5. Admit to God & others that you are a sinner. (Admitting to others may be scary at first, but in doing so, I was forced by them not only to get prayer, but start being accountable for my actions, just in the case they asked). But if asked, don't lie.. if you fell again, be honest  with them.. you need as much prayer as you can get, and they may be able to offer you other help if needed thru other sources.
  •   Proverbs 11:14  “Without good direction, people lose their way; the more wise counsel you will follow, the better your chances."
  6. Join a Home Bible Study Group - this was key as we could have open  discussion or private with those I trusted.

7. G0t involved in the Church. Volunteered to help out. This was another key for me.I can't tell you the countess number of wonderful people I am getting to know whom all support me just as I am.
  •   Colossians 3:23  Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men
I know from personal experience that the more you think of and help others versus yourself, and keep yourself busy, the better it is for you to get over your addictions. If your too busy to think about them, that's a good thing. Your also doing that which Jesus has asked us to do. Stop thinking about yourself, get out there and help the senior citizens, the poor, the hungry, the broken, the hurting.. Heal through helping others, whatever that may be.

  • Luke 6:38 Give and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you."
  • Mark 12:31  The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."
  • Proverbs 19:17 Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.

If you are saying enough already and you are doing those things that you truly don't want to do, but are. Choosing one direction over the other, and what you truly want to do is stop the insanity and find the truth about Jesus. I so know what you are going thru and I am so praying for you my brothers and sisters.

  •  Colossians 3:5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 

I pray today, God that you would bless and lift up all those who come here who are hurting and trapped in addictions, that you would bring your Holy Spirit down on them right now. Let them know and feel the true love that you, Jesus have for them. That they have been given your immeasurable full grace and full mercy of you and your death on the cross and that your blood drips with complete forgiveness for every single sin in the past, the present and in the future. To know that they are loved beyond measure and compare. I pray that they will find a church filled with people that love them as much as you do Jesus, and that you will release the miracle of God's healing upon them right now. 
 You are so much more loved by him then you could know at this point in your life. You have read just a little part of my story, so you know I have been there. Right where you are, right in your emotions, right in your addictions.
I am right there with you, and I know that you can have the joy that I have today in following Christ. It's not exclusive to me. Its all out there for everyone to enjoy, and all you have to do is take that first step. Baby step, after baby step...
And if you fall, please don't beat yourself up about it. As long as your are heading in the right direction, toward's God, always seeking the truth and following him, making the right decisions more than the wrong one's then you are headed in the right direction.

Ecclesiastes 9:11 “I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.”

 Ephesians 5:15-16 “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”