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.