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.”

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Bearing Your Cross - All In or Nothing

So if you read my introduction and first post, "My New Walk with a Loving God", I had mentioned that I was healed for the most part by the Miracle of God, however I also made note that I was not 100% healed and still struggled with a few things.

My true Christian walk only started about 10 months ago and I have been so frustrated that I wasn't hearing from God. Is it because I am Gay and I am not afforded that opportunity? Am I kidding myself that God does even love a wretched Gay person like me? From talking to others in my Bible Study Group, some hardly ever hear from him and some took years, so why did I expect to get anything so soon? I just needed God to scream out loud to me with a clear voice, that despite being gay he truly loves me, forgives me and that he will work out the remainder of my struggles.

This week at church was a major turning point for me and I realized that God had been speaking to me all week. Last week in church, I decided to go up for prayer at the end of the service, to ask God to help me get over the last hump of my struggles. I won't go into detail here what those struggles are, but what used to be daily addictions for the most part went away when I started going to church back in October of 2012, but they seemed to still get at me once a week, and I just couldn't stop it all together. After my prayer, I was told by one of those whom had prayed for me, that they were inspired that I had jumped All In  just a few short months after starting to go to church. And I told them, well it's not like I am doing that much that takes any real effort. Greeting people as they come in to church, willing to help out with a few other minor things.. Group Bible Study, a few days a month commitment to charity. Not really any effort..

It really got me to thinking, am I really All In ? If I was then I would be able to resist these final temptations and bear the cross as Jesus tells us to do.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

Hence my first post that I went public with on Saturday before church on Sunday. I felt that I needed to start going public which would hopefully hold me accountable to start bearing that cross.

While on my way to church on Sunday, as always, I was singing my heart out to Christian music and the two first songs hit me hard... "New Man" by All Things New... and "Your Love" by Brandon Heath.. I turned off the radio and started crying uncontrollably that I hadn't done enough for all he has done for me and blessed me with.. I started screaming and pounding my steering wheel, "God God.. I am so sorry... I can do this, I can beat this, I have been to weak, I promise God to be All In". There it was again, for the third time this week. The words All In.. what gives?

Phillipians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

I arrive at church with tears in my eyes, walk in, say Hi to all my wonderful friends, sat in the front, in our usual seats with my best church buddies, and the worship starts.. Once again, the music was so powerful, tugged at my heart and had me crying thru the entire 30 minutes of singing out my heart again. Lifting my hands to God in his praise (never done that before, but something compelled me). The music was so powerful that I had to sing it all again in 2nd service.

So the sermon starts and mind you, I have no idea what the sermon is going to be. It starts and I sit there telling myself, You have to be kidding me.. What was the sermon you ask? "All In". I highly recommend a listen to the sermon here... Okay God, I get it. And I realized that God has finally spoken to me and I finally heard him clearly. 

The sermon ends, the lights go down and we stand up for one last worship song.. Another tear jerker.  Upon finishing, as always those who need prayer are asked to come up if they are in need of it. Our Pastor also asked, "If you have decided today that you are All in, I ask you to come up to the front and kneel before God and profess to him, that you are All In.... There I am in front of everyone down on my knees looking up, praying my heart out and crying to God that I am sorry. 

Yesterday at church August 18th was a new beginning and was the most Powerful, Joyous, Transitional and defining day for me. It's much like a person in AA, whom always remembers their first day of sobriety, the day they were re-born into a new life.

Now mind you, if I fall again to my temptations which of course I have been thinking about all day today, but I refuse to give in and if I do,  I have not lost the battle. I am, just as you are, forgiven.
But my promise to God was to not just give in, but to fight it off as long as I can and Bear that cross. I always heard that if you can fight an addiction for 30 days or something like that, the chain has more of a chance of being broken.

Nobody said that being Christian and following Jesus would be easy. Its easier to be of this world and do whatever makes you happy. How difficult do you think it was for Jesus to know that he was going to be ridiculed, spit on, beaten, whipped to a bloody pulp, then to have to carry that heavy piece of wood, thirsting for water as if in the desert for days, nailed to a cross, and stabbed with a spear while hanging on the cross? None of us could have done that, even for our closest family member... He did that for you, me and everyone that has ever lived or lives on this planet.
I will say it again as I did in my first post. If you are a gay man or woman. Your sin is no worse than any other, and every person is a sinner, and every sin is forgivable.

Every sin will lead to eternal condemnation Romans 6:23 . All sin, no matter how “small,” is against an infinite and eternal God, and is therefore worthy of an infinite and eternal penalty. Further, there is no sin too “big” that God cannot forgive it. Jesus died to pay the penalty for sin 1 John 2:2. Jesus died for all of our sins 2 Corinthians 5:21. Are all sins equal to God? Yes and no. In severity? No. In penalty? Yes. In forgivability? Yes.

Step in and get your feet wet. Not every church is a perfect fit for you, so search until you find the one that feels right. Once you find a church surrounded with loving people such as mine, you will start a journey that is beyond compare.

It will take a lot of asking questions, reading the bible and immersing yourself in the truth, but it is worth the ocean full of water that is about to surround you. You know how great that shower feels every morning? All that water surrounds and cleanses all the dirt from your past and refreshes you for a new day as is a new walk with an all loving God. Notice I say, "an all loving God" He is not full of wrath such as you have always been told. Taste & See that the Lord is GOOD...

Jesus is the only answer, the only truth and the only way to the light. I am not embarassed or ashamed to proclaim it.
John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Just being a good person is not enough.. You must believe, proclaim it and try your darndest to follow in his footsteps. As long as you are moving forward in his direction, you have won the race. Your in my prayers.

Revelations 2:7
Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.


Saturday, August 17, 2013

My new Walk With a Loving God.. "Hallelujah"

Since the age of 15 (1979) I have struggled with being different (although I knew very much earlier in life) that something was not quite right. But my true struggle with God began at 15 after hearing from my Church and the rest of the world that being gay was a sin, and my true destiny after death could only be the lake fire of Hell. 

I didn't think much about it, until around the age of; I want to say 25. When I decided that if this was my destiny; then there was no forgiveness and I might as well just enjoy myself while I was here. So the drinking, partying and what not took me to many low levels of disgust and depression. The full non-support of  a few family members at this time, and the whispers behind my back all through school, not to mention what I had been told by my church all while growing up, was a leader to the default in my life of going to HELL!!. I just wanted it to end, and on many occasions had thought that suicide was my best way out. Although God frowned upon suicide, I was going to hell anyhow right? So why not just end it myself. 

at 27, I got the chance to move to San Diego and I took it.. Had to get away from it all.

For a decade and 1/2 (25 years to be exact) I would call my best friend in the whole world at least twice a week. Mom. She knew my struggle as we had gone through many struggles together, and often told me that, "Jef... you are going to be just fine. I find it hard to believe that God would make you this way, as well as the countless others, if he was so against it." I am sure that I drove her insane with my drama, (and usually when having been inebriating myself thru alcohol). But just as God has always done, she stood thru it for all those years and re-assured me that all was okay.

And yes, I was born this way. If you haven't lived in my shoes or the millions of others who hear the crap every day that this was our chosen lifestyle. I beg you to Stop, Stop, Stop, it right NOW!!!! Enough already!!! Why would we choose a lifestyle that was against god, made us loathe ourselves, to choose to be ridiculed for our entire life, and to always just want to die. Not A Chance in Hell.. so to say.  Did you choose to be Heterosexual? No.. It was just the way you were born. As was I. Many scriptures reference that God knew us before we were even knit in our mother's womb. He knew who we were, and who we were to become. 

Psalm 139: 13-16 
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
      I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 
             Your eyes say my unformed body: all the days ordained for me were written in your book  before one of them came to be.

 There is truly a reason for my existence as a gay man.. I had yet to find it. 
For those 25 years, I had felt that God was not there, didn't hear from me, and could care less what happened to me. The funny thing is, now that I have begun this beautiful walk with Jesus, I now realize that all those times I was crying out to God, "Why did you make me this way, just to send me to hell.... " that Jesus was actually and continually tugging at my heart to come back to him. Jeremiah 31:3, "...Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee."

In early 2009 the company that I was working for since 2004, had had enough of my foul mouth and my anger (which by the way had been going on since the age of 15) instead of firing me. They realized that I needed help and gave me the choice to to see a Psychiatrist once a week (at their expense) to figure out why I was so hate filled; in order to fix the problem or lose my job. I reluctantly took their advice. About 6 or 7 sessions into it I had an epiphany that I didn't need a Psychiatrist to help me. What I was missing in my life was God. So I stopped going. 

Needless to say, after a drunken stooper one night and waking up hung over, I called my job and told them that I just couldn't do it anymore and was resigning from my job... That is another story all together.. My job had become unbearable. Original office was shut down after 5 years. I was moved to another office, where I was responsible for three different jobs and 4 different managers all pulling me different directions. It truly was hell on earth.  

The good news which I didn't realize at the time until years later, is that it was perfect timing. God had opened a door for me to work for myself from home doing the exact same job. I was making three times the money that I had been making with my previous company (which was barely enough to live on in California) and better yet.. I get to spend my days with those that gave me the most unconditional love (just as Jesus does). My dogs... 

Sorry.. I know this is getting long here. Bear with my final thought for today...or if your tired at this point.. scroll down to the end..

Although it took me two more years to finally start seeking out churches; in late 2011 I sought out churches who were gay friendly and found one that I liked. The people were nice, but I didn't really remember their names or vice versa. I got as involved with the church as I could, but the sermons & music was to say the least very uninspiring, not to mention that the constant stand up and sit down for music and the word was ridiculous and tiring.  I did that for just about a year. During that time, I was continually asking God to bring Matt (my partner of 11 years at this time) back to Jesus. Matt finally decided to attend my church and didn't like the church that I was attending AT ALL. 

We had reluctantly attended a church years before while visiting his family in Ohio called the Vineyard Church which we actually enjoyed. Sermons were great and were actual life lessons on the true walk with Jesus. Not the legalistic rules and works that most churches teach that you have to follow in order to receive the final glory of God. Read the bible.. Not True to the word of God. (I highly recommend you listen to the sermons from Vineyard Columbus at

Fast forward now to October of 2012... We both started attending the church at Coast Vineyard and we were quite surprised at how welcomed we were at this church from the very first day of attendance. It's as if they knew who we were and who we are and didn't care. And they still don't care. In fact they have welcomed us even more. We have since started going to a bible study home group since Jan 2013, I volunteered to be on their welcome team, have gotten involved in their charity ( dived all in and have gotten to know so many wonderful people. This church is so full of love, understanding and truly caring for each other that I am blown away. 

The most beautiful thing about this whole story so far, is that I could not stop thinking about the next drink.. and it was a daily thing. (I am amazed that I didn't die of Cirhosis). Once I started going to church, the need for that next drink and every other thing that took me down the path of destruction, just seemingly went away. Without even trying at all... Jesus had for the most part fixed me. 

Psalm 30:2 O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.

So not to sound like a Hypocrite and that I am 100% healed. DO NOT get me wrong here... I still struggle and I do still fall. But through the grace and mercy of Jesus dying on the cross for my sins, and the shedding of his blood for me, and the entire world, I will get thru it one day. Regardless, I am forgiven and finally set free of the baggage from my past or even my failings that may befall me in the future.

My favorite saying is, "1 cross + 3 nails = FORGIVEN". Like it so much that I placed it on the back of my car, to pass the good news on to all those who see it and take it to heart. Not to mention that It makes me a better driver. Don't flaunt it, if you can't show others that you are a happy and anger free driver and follower of Jesus right?

At this point I know your saying.. get to the point already... Here it is...

We all need to agree to stop telling those whom are homosexual that it is a sin. All this does is turn them away from Jesus for a life time of a troubling life. Being homosexual is not the sin. The sin, just as it is for heterosexuals is a life of sex and promiscuity without marriage. Does that mean that gay marriage should be instituted? You decide.. I am not going there at this time in my walk with God. 

If you would truly love those whom are gay, and show that you are a true and loving Christian without all the legalistic stuff thrown in, stop telling us that just being homosexual is a sin, and just be a good person in showing how awesome the walk with God is... don't you think that more people in this world would be scratching at the door of Jesus for his love and forgiveness?

The true story here for me was that I kept wanting God to fix me first. The truth was that God does not expect you to be fixed before you start following him. He wants you to come into a relationship with him first, and then he will work his most beautiful miracles from within you. I found that I couldn't work thru my sin, until I found Jesus again first. Once I started that walk, I could admit that I was a sinner, and thru the Grace of God he started healing me with no effort on my part. It just happened.

And today.. I know why god knit me in my mothers womb to be the gay man that I am today. To hear the word of God, and to give the good news to those whom live in my very shoes that an eternal life with Jesus/God is not just for the heterosexuals, or those who claim to be perfect. It is for every single person whomever was and whomever is on this planet.

I pray that if you haven't found God today, that you truly accept his free grace and mercy for you. That he truly did shed his blood and died for all of your sins yesterday, today, and tomorrow. All you have to do is believe.

But do find a church that teaches the TRUE word of Jesus and you will start to experience an entire new life of freedom and true love. Don't listen to everything you hear. Jesus is not hate.. Jesus truly is fully love, fully forgiving, fully loves you just as you are.

 The only sins God can't forgive, is the one you won't take to Him and not believing in his existence. 

Ephesians 1:7, "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;"

 Proverbs 28:13, "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy."

 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness."

Christ's death on the cross was not just a symbol of God's love for 'good people', but for those who were living in the world! John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

This post is dedicated to my new wonderfully made friend, true follower of Jesus, my confidant, my healer and best gal pal.... Kindra Green. Whom I love, look up to and admire with all my heart and soul. Thanks for listening today and giving me a new look at the true nature of his love for me.