Sunday, July 27, 2014

Lions! Tigers! And Gays! OH MY!! Part 3

No Where To Go.  No One To Trust



Jesus said, to the Jewish leaders:

 Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? 37 Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. 38 But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”
John 10:36-38

We keep expecting LGBT people to believe what we say, but we can’t show them how God administers the life giving gospel of the life, crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ to them.  Jesus doesn’t do what we do today.   Jesus  points to the work of the Father in and through him, and says, “Look at the works only God can do, and believe me, because the words I speak and works I do prove each other!”
The only people who believe Jesus are the tax collector, some Roman soldiers,  half-breed Jews (Samaritans), and prostitutes:

Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.
Matthew 21:31-32

The irony here is  these religious leaders of Jesus’ day are actually very moral and upright, but the prostitutes and tax collectors truly are not.   They do not go near tax collectors and prostitutes.  They can’t free prostitutes and tax collectors from their sins and give them new lives.  All the religious leaders can do is look down their noses at all those sinners, and put them out of the temple and synagogs.   Funny, Jesus comes along and a man can hardly find a hooker or a Jewish tax bully anywhere he’s been teaching and healing!

LGBT people should never do what we tell them to do.   If after 45 years we don’t know God’s answer for homosexuality then no one should believe us.  Is Matthew Vine an evangelical and a game changer?   Yes, I’d have to say he is, and why shouldn’t we consider him one of us?   He’s showed as much knowledge and ability to bring gay people to the homosexuality overcoming power of God as John Piper, Al Mohler, John MacArthur, Mark Driscoll, Rick Warren.   And look at Rob Bell, he’s way out ahead of the curve.  He says he’s for love no matter what it looks like.   And why shouldn’t Bell and Vine hold to their positions on homosexuality?   Who among evangelicals knows how God desires to work freedom and change in the lives of sexually broken people??   Christians can’t show LGBT people the world overcoming work of the Holy Spirit because they think it’s easier and just as acceptable to God to stand against sin.   The thinking goes something like this:

“If I stand across the street with a picket sign at a Gay Pride Parade that should be sufficient to show God I’m against sin.”

 Few of us ever go among the sexually broken.  We’re all  afraid of being judged by the religious leaders of our own day.   We’re also concerned that people might start getting the idea we’re gay if we start hanging out with gay people.  Christian guys are afraid if they reach out to help a gay guy, the homosexual will develop a crush on them.   (I’ve had to explain to more than one Christian man, that gay men have standards and exceptional taste, so very few Christian men are in danger of attracting a gay crush).    No one who has the cure for a terrible disease wastes time condemning the illness.   Jesus wasn’t afraid the sinners he hung out with were a threat to his way of life or thinking.   Jesus didn’t hesitate to go to the worst of sinners.  Jesus brought the cure to the world and he didn’t sit around ranting or raving about Nero (Obama to many of today’s Christians).   Jesus came to find what was lost, and to offer eternal life.  If after 45 years you’re still standing around like the religious leaders of Jesus day,  condemning sinners and excommunicating them, then how can you possibly expect  people to trust us?

I’ve had many many Christians tell me I should be among LGBT people, because my story of God’s work in my life is so powerful.  I can’t go to gay people and tell them how God changed my life.   Where would I send them after I told them how great God’s salvation is??   I’ll tell the gay people and the Church will simply prove me wrong.   All my life I’ve watched Christians destroy the faith of others because they show no love, no understanding, no faith that God will change the sinner.  they don’t reach with love and faith that God can overcome sins.   I’ve watched Christians do it time and time again, someone reveals they are gay and they are shunned, refused opportunities to work in their church.   And God help the sexually broken persons who showed any kind of interest in youth or children.  People who’re living lives which bear good fruit for all to see have received death threats if they get too close to children/youth ministries.  There are so few safe places, in the Church,  for people struggling against same-sex attraction.

People who leave homosexuality are in danger from the LGBT community, but the Church hasn’t offered a safe place for them to remain safe and pursue the life and freedom God will freely give them.  The Church is as dangerous a place for those dealing with same-sex attraction as the LGBT community is.   No one is going to listen to a voice which offers life, relationship, peace and eternal life, if all the evidence proves  those words false.

The Church had better stop worrying about Obama’s executive order and start learning about God’s orders.   If, increasingly, no one can tell the difference between the traditional evangelical and the Matthew Vine kind of evangelical then that will be all the proof God will need, and he will start believing there is no difference between the two parties.  God overcomes, the Church…er, perhaps I should say church (lower case “c”) because the evidence of God’s overcoming power is lacking.   Great is the wisdom of God!   When we stand before God we’ll either be conformed to the image and likeness of Jesus, or Matthew Vine, or Fred Phelps.   God isn’t going to have to point any fingers, he’ll see Jesus or he won’t.

Lions! Tigers! And Gays! OH MY!! Part 2



THE BAD NEWS AND THE GOOD NEWS


The good news is Jesus Christ has overcome the world.   Also in the good new column: God says something incredible about those who believe in the saving grace and life transforming power of God:  “In fact this is love for God: to obey his commands.  His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world.” 1 John 5:3-4.   So now here’s the thing…God desires to overcome the world in and through you.   Still in the  good news column:  The truth that God can and will overcome homosexuality.  Remember 1 Corinthians 6?   “And such were some of you.”   God has got the answer though he really doesn’t give the answer in 1 Corinthians 6.    While you might find that a problem I most certainly do not.  My not knowing the answer to the problem isn’t the problem.  The Holy Spirit has the answer to all sin problems and I’m his house.  I live with the person, the Holy Spirit, who knows how to fix, cure, save, free, deliver from sin.      In other words the answer is to allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through you to love people to the freedom found only in Jesus Christ.

THE BAD NEWS:

There is a new young evangelical out there, and he’s written a really terrific book, called,  God And The Gay Christian.  His name is Matt Vine.  Ok, it’s not a terrific book, in fact it’s completely derivative.  There is nothing original at all in the book.  I was reading the stuff in Vine’s book nearly 30 years ago.  I do like the way he packages the book, it’s easy to read, you feel a connection to the writer though not the material.  Well you might get a connection with the material, I can’t get into what Vine writes because it’s just such truly bad theology, and his conclusions are simply pulled out of his ear or the same place all bad theology comes from the broken, unwashed, deceived human heart.   Vine isn’t the angry, accusing sort of gay religious type.  He attempts to approach his audience with respect and kindness.  He is relational, and I honestly like and appreciate the approach.  He makes several dives at the Gay utopia speak.  He claims that gay people can’t ever change and then as his absolute and irrefutable proof he holds up the failure of Exodus International (Gay Utopia Speak are those things gay people say about being born gay, that gays can’t change, and any attempt to change is harmful and dangerous, and etc., and etc., ad nauseum.   I honestly feel sad for Matthew when he points at Exodus International and claims its failure is 100% proof gays can’t change.   Exodus International was doomed, not because gay people can’t change.  Exodus International failed because, “Birds of a feather flock together.”  If all you know is homosexuality, and all the person you’re trying to help to freedom, from homosexuality, knows nothing but homosexuality then all that can be known is gay.   Exodus International was the blind leading the blind, so where else could a bunch of blind gay people end up but in gay christian relationships??


People like Rachel Held Evans, author of, A Woman's Year Of Living Biblically, and another younger neo-feely evangelical named Brandan Robertson call Vine, “a game changer.”  I find Brandan Robertson’s claim that Vine is a game changer a bit more believable than I do Evans’, but then I don’t trust the neo-feely evangelicals.  Brandan claims that after having lunch with Matt Vine he realized that Vine is an evangelicals like the ones he’s known all his life.

I must admit, at first I thought Robertson had lost his mind.   But as I started to think about Robertson’s assertion I realized he is dead on target.  Matthew Vine isn’t any different from the lion share of evangelicals I’ve known.   Vine doesn’t know what to do with homosexuality and he cherry picks the verses he likes to support his position.  Vine’s arguments come from the same old sources gay theology has always been dependent on and all the other evangelicals I’ve known use the Bible as an excuse not to reach out and help homosexuals come to God for God to change them.  Unfortunately I’m going to have to admit that Brandan Robertson is right about Matt Vine:  Vine is an evangelical.  This is  VERY VERY BAD NEWS!
  
If evangelicals can’t see the difference between Matthew Vine and any other evangelical then there is a very strong possibility there are no vast differences to speak of.   What sets the Church apart is both the words and deeds of God done in us and through us.   If we can’t find the path to God for LGBT people, then have you really found the way of life?   Claiming Jesus can change homosexuals is a far cry from proving it.   Jesus tells us he could prove what he said, and he proved the words he spoke by doing the works Father called him to accomplish.   “And such were some of you, (1 Corinthians 6:11).”   If you don’t know how to minister Christ’s life to LGBT persons “such were you,” is meaningless, for at least some of the sinners mentioned in 1 Corinthians 6. 

So what shall the evangelical movement do now?   Here come the LGBT evangelicals, and if you think the body of Christ is polarized now, you ain’t seen nothing yet.   One of the things I find most off putting about Vine’s book is that all of his arguments are the arguments of mere unwashed, untransformed man.  Vine is suggesting you and I take his special theology, you know  "Gay rose colored glasses" and read the Bible through them, so that we see what Vine desperately wants us to see.  Vine wants you and I to see the Bible, God, and Gays differently.   This is where Vine’s book falters badly:  The problem isn’t persuading me to read the Bible his way.  Because, in and of myself, I am a mere man, and I can certainly see the value and the pull to that.  The problem for Vine and every other religious homosexual is convincing God to view his Bible from there perspective.   Changing my views is worthless.    If God doesn’t change his thinking about homosexuality, adultery, single straights bumping uglies, and all the other “immoral” acts then Vine’s book is worthless.   Vine’s book fails not because he fails to be convincing, but because no one has ever succeeded in changing God’s view of sin.   

The failure of Gay Theology, Feminist Theology, Fascist Theology, and every other special theology is that true believers in Jesus Christ believe the Bible because it contains the teachings of God, and those words have powerful life altering effects in our lives.

This post is long enough, so I hope you’ll come back for the next part of this series of posts.    So be looking for:

"Lions! Tigers! and Gays!  OH MY!   Part 3."

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Lions! Tigers! And Gays! OH MY! Part 1

FIND A MIRROR;

Placing Blame Where Blame Properly Belongs


Well President Obama went and done it!  He's opened a can of worms all over the sizable religious movements in this country.  Didn't someone get Obama the memo that America is a Christian nation?  Maybe the cause of the problem isn't Obama.  Maybe the Executive Order prohibiting organizations, including ahem...religious organizations, with federal contracts from discriminating against employees who identify themselves as gay, lesbian, or transgender, isn't the problem.   Maybe LGBT persons aren't really the problem for Christians in America.  Maybe the problem with and for Christians is Christians.   Perhaps if Christians had been obeying God's teachings, and if Christians had sought God's kingdom first, and if Christians hadn't been cherry picking favorite verses while ignoring other very important Scriptures, Christians would be very different, and there wouldn't be this problem with  Gays.   Maybe the real problem is that the Church is suffering a terrible identity crisis.

For more than 20 years I've been asking Christians, leader and laity alike, "Why can't the Church minister the eternal life giving, world overcoming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to gay people?"   The answer I always received was exactly the same, and I mean word for word the same:  "We don't know what to do."   Well it was 45 years ago that the Stonewall Riots in New York City kicked off the modern Gay Rights Movement.   You've had 45 years, so, just between you, me, and God, when do you suppose Christians are going to arrive at an approach to homosexuality?   Can you give an ETA?

What if the topic under consideration here we're curing cancer and not homosexuality?    Would Americans put up with a medical/scientific establishment which hadn't done anything about furthering their and our understanding of cancer?   And more to the point would Americans put up with a medical/scientific community which simply said, "We don't know what to do about cancer."?  Would the world let our medical/scientific communities get away with almost 50 years of inaction and excuses?    We know none of us would put up with a medical/scientific community which gave us 45 years of inaction and continued ignorance.   But then cancer is all about beating cancer and outliving it's incredibly powerful death grip.    Homosexuality is, well it's not cancer, but according to Scripture it is life stealing, and the eternal outlook for homosexuals isn't very bright if Scripture be believed.   The most important question for Christ followers should be:  If the world wouldn't put up with the medical/scientific community, refusing to advance knowledge and treatment of cancer, how is it Christians believe God would accept the Church's empty and useless response to 45 years of the Gay Rights Movement?   Doesn't God love Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, and Transgendered (better known by the letters LGBT community)?   We know that God does love LGBT people, and Jesus tells us so:

"FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD HE GAVE HIS ONE AND ONLY SON..."

Surly that covers LGBT persons since they are in and of the world.   God clearly knows how to love, even those, we who call ourselves his children ignore or merely attempt to shame into "proper" behavior.   Perhaps the most important question to ask of all is, "Does God know how to overcome; defeat; put away; end the power of homosexuality and all the baggage associated with the sin?"  That is among the most important questions, but the answer creates more questions and propagates more puzzlement.

"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?
Do not be deceived.  Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor
nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards
nor revilers, nor extortioners, will inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were
some of you.  But you were washed, but you were, sanctified, but you were justified
in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of God.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
(Bold text is my addition).

"And such WERE some of you."   Look at that, do you know what that is?   Perfect present past tense of "to be"..."were."   At one time you 'are' but now you are, eternally, "were", as in "You are homosexual, but now God has made you "were homosexual", perfect present past tense of 'to be'.   You 'were' tells us what is no longer in your present, and what will not be in your future.  'Were' tells us what is in your past and will stay in your past.  God has changed everything for you, and for eternity you will not be defined by 'were' but by what God has given you and by what God has made you:  A New Creation.

Clearly, plainly, indubitably, without doubt, with greatest assurance God knows how to overcome homosexuality, and move it into the perfect present past tense for all of eternity.   God doesn't tell us how he does that exactly.  God doesn't tell us the step by step instruction for leading people to freedom, but he does tell us what to do.   Yes that's absolutely right...Jesus tells us what he wants us to do.   If you would say, "I don't know what to do with or about LGBT people or their sinful situation," know that God proves you wrong.

"Do to others what you would have them do for you."
~ Jesus of Nazareth

It's only been in the Bible for over 2000 years, so Church you have no excuse, and be assured you will not stand before God and say to him, "I didn't know what to do."  God will prove to you that you are a liar.  So lets beat the heavenly judgment, and fix our real problem right now.   Take a good hard look in the mirror and say, to that man or woman there, "I am the real cause of my own ignorance."   Say to yourself, "God has the solution, the cure, the fix for LGBT people, and God calls me to be part of the solution."

If you will take up this one little exercise you will see the truth of the matter, and that the Church's problem is herself.   Christians have no excuse for 45 years of ignorance about how God overcomes the sin of homosexuality.   When we start obeying the teachings of Christ God will not fail to lead us to that place..."And such were some of you."  God calls us to reach with his eternal love with a relational approach.   God will show you the right road to freedom when Christians start down that road.  The road to obedience is always the road where Jesus waits for us to join him in his work.  Jesus has been longing for us to join him on the road to eternal freedom for LGBT persons.   Join him, and you'll find the love which overcomes the world.

Stay calm!  There is more I have to say on this matter...  After all God has defeated homosexuality in my life, and God's ways work better than you or I could ever ask, hope, or think.

HOLD TIGHT AND DO NOT WORRY!!

Look for the next post in the series

Saturday, January 18, 2014

50 YEARS

I turned 50 on December 31, 2013.  I've tried writing about it, but the posts get too long.   There is a lot to say with 50 years under your belt.

I guess I'm a little depressed.  Not because of turning 50.  I actually like being 50.  I'm just in God's refining fire right now.   The work I'm doing right now is simply awful, but God has many purposes with it.  One purpose, for the job, is to ensure I don't ever try to return to it, or jobs like it.   When God wants to make sure I don't return to something there is a long drawn out burn time.   When things get too hot I like to run back to what feels safe.  The problem is what feels safe to me isn't ever really safe.  What feels safe is settling for less than God.

Of course what God wants isn't safe.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer very eloquently said, "When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die."   God is not at all safe.  Again I'll hand the keyboard to Bonhoeffer:   "Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God's will."   OUCH!

We like to focus on what we see as the "good for me" portions of the Bible.   We like to make the Bible tell us, "Wealth and health show how much God loves us!"  But Jesus never teaches us such things.   Jesus, instead promises us,  "In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart I have overcome the world," John 16:33.    Wealth, health, and youth are what the world desires, and much of the Church in America has hopped on the world's bandwagon.    Honestly how can anyone argue that God hasn't greatly blessed the healthy, wealthy, and young?   But Jesus tells us, "But take heart for I have overcome the world."   Jesus desires to overcome what the world values and promotes.  Rather than embracing the way the world measures what is important, we need Jesus to overcome the world in us, and through us.

Jesus commands us, "A new command I give you:  Love one another.   As I have loved you, you must love one another.   By this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you love one another,"  John 13:34.   Some will say to me, "Well God can bless us with health, wealth  and we can still love one another."   That would all be good, but the truth is, we don't love as Christ commands.  What is more Jesus promises us he has overcome the world.  To overcome the world means he has destroyed the world's ways, systems, desires, sins, and power to enslave and destroy human beings.   Health, wealth, and youth are the world's desires, and God sent his only Son, to overcome what the world loves, values, and promotes.   Jesus came to save us from health, wealth, and youth.   Jesus came to give us true wealth, health and life.   "Now this is eternal life: That they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent," John 17:3.   Jesus has come to give us relationship with God, and so that we may have relationship with our fellow humans.   In God' economy wealth and health is measured in relationship with him, and the humans Jesus came to love and die for.    Better to live a short, sickly life with the promise of eternal  relationship with God than to live rich, die old, and lose your immortal soul.

"There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it is the path to death's house."  Proverbs 14: 12.   Honestly, there is nothing more dangerous or mean than a Christian who has convinced him/herself  that God blesses with things.   God's blessings are rich relationships and an eternity with him.

Don't know what the next years will bring to me, but I hope the pursuit of God in relationship will become all consuming!!

Friday, December 20, 2013

WHAT'S A CHRISTIAN TO DO?


The Real Problem With Anti-gay Comments from Duck Dynasty's Daddy Phil

First, why is Phil Robertson in GQ Magazine?  Anyone take a look at how Phil dresses and grooms (or more accurately, 'doesn't' groom) himself?   I've been reading GQ for many years and 'Redneck Sheik' has never been acceptable for GQ, so why now?  It just goes to show you that GQ is more likely to appeal to guys who are, well, into other guys sexually.  Sure there are the few guys who really are 'Metrosexuals', but I've always believed, and have seen ample evidence, that for many the prefixes, "Metro" and "homo" are more likely to be interchangable.   But before opening that can of worms further, let's get to the point...


Is Phil Robertson being true to the gospel of Jesus Christ or is he simply another in a long line of hateful religious jerks?   Technically, Phil is absolutely right.  Homosexuality is called a sin in the Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments.   Telling the truth about sin is one things, but we're told in John's gospel the law came through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  (John 1:17).   Am I just bantering semantics here or is there something really different between what God brings through Moses, and what Christ brings when he comes on the world scene as the God/man?
It isn't simply a matter of semantics there is a vast difference between the Law of Moses, and the "...law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus..." (Romans 8:2).   With the Law of Moses comes death.  The only answer the law gives for sin is death.   In Leviticus 18:22 we're given perhaps the most damning of all pronouncements against homosexuality in the Bible.   "You shall not lie with mankind as with woman kind: it is abomination."  (Leviticus 18:22, KJV).   The proscribed punish for breaking the law spelled out in Leviticus 18:22 and again in Leviticus 20:13, is death.   "Do not pass 'GO', do not collect $200, go straight to Hell."  All the law can do, through Moses, is kill.  The Holy Spirit, through St. Paul, explains it to us... "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."  Simply put, "No one, having sinned, can expect good from the Law of Moses.

Now if we stop at the Law of Moses then Phil Robertson's comments would be perfectly acceptable.   Well, Phil's comment would actually be wrong, because all his comments do is  cause God's judgment to come upon Phil.  Phil by merely pointing out the sin of homosexuality condemns himself.   Phil is calling out sin, by pointing to the Law of Moses, but we know that Phil is a sinner himself.  Phil even admits he was a sinner, before coming to Jesus Christ for salvation.   Was Phil saved by keeping the Law of Moses?   He was not saved by through the Law of Moses.   Phil plainly confesses that he is a sinner, and alluded to Jesus Christ being his savior.   The problem with, or for, Phil is that he's a hypocrite.  He points to the Law of Moses when speaking of the sins of LGBT persons while at the same time saying he was saved by Jesus Christ.   Either we all live (and die) the law, or when offered, we accept salvation and the lordship of Jesus Christ.  Christ followers can't have it both ways.   We go with the law or we go with grace and truth.   There cannot be grace and truth, through Jesus Christ, for Phil, while Phil pulls out the law on LGBT persons.   If Phil gets grace and truth, then so do LGBT persons.

Now someone will say to me, "Yes, but Phil is only pointing out the truth, that God condemns homosexuality."   That sounds good and proper, but in the end it doesn't work.  First, let me reiterate, the Law of Moses only has one answer for sin: DEATH.   Where is the grace in the Law of Moses?   There is no grace in the law.   Second, we're told in John 1 that in addition to grace Jesus brings truth.   Now  many will argue that the Law of Moses is truth.   How can anyone argue that the Law God gave Moses isn't truth?    The Law is for law breakers, that's why God gave the law through Moses.  The Law of Moses is sent not to task humans, but to show humans that they are past, present and future law breakers, and completely enslaved to sin, without hope of ever being anything else.
The grace and truth of Jesus Christ are the new law, The Law of the Spirit of Life.   The grace and truth of Jesus Christ is eternal life, eternal freedom, and eternal relationship with the triune God, and his born again children.  These children are born of the same Spirit who created Jesus' body in Mary's womb.  (Jesus has always existed as the second person of the God head, but only as spirit with the rest of the God head).

What does this new law mean for me, a person guilty of abomination, according to Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13.   The Law of Moses means death to me, but bring the grace and truth of Jesus Christ to this  life ending law and suddenly what once gave death becomes something new.   Before God drew me to his Son, and the Holy Spirit convicted me of sin, righteousness, and the judgment to come, I was a hopeless and helpless lawbreaker.    But when God found me, and by his prevenient grace enabled me to make the first freewill choice I'd ever truly made in my life.  When I'd accepted God's forgiveness and grace by faith, then God made me born again, transforming me from a dead lawbreaking slave to a new spiritual creation in the likeness and image of Christ Jesus.  The truth of God in Jesus Christ always frees; the truth of God in Christ always brings eternal life; the truth of God in Jesus Christ always brings eternal relationship with God and his new creation children, the  Church.

When I was a dead slave to sin, what we might call a zombie today I was an object of destruction.  I treated other men as objects of my lust, and objects to be used sexually.  I also accepted that  I was a thing to be lusted for and used sexually.  And like mere objects we were meant to be thrown away after being used up.   With the salvation and Lordship of Jesus Christ, the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2).    In Christ The Holy Spirit has made me alive to God.  In Christ I am not a thing of lust, I am a beautiful humanized creation enabled to love and serve God.  I am free to turn away from lust and the abomination I'd created with my sexual immorality.   No longer does Leviticus 18:22 give me death.  Leviticus 18:22 is now a continual reminder that God has made me free, that God has overcome me, my sin, my sin nature, and the power of the world to conform me to the life of a slave to sin.   There is no death in Leviticus 18:22 for me, now there is the joy of being made new, clean, and free by God.

I cannot agree with Phil Robertson, Duck Commander, or not.  Papa Phil isn't telling the truth of God in Christ.  For the truth of God in Christ is freedom from sin, not judgment and eternal punishment.  Anyone who gives the Law of Moses without the truth and grace of Jesus Christ, is not telling the truth at all.   When we give law, but not grace and truth we  cover the face of Christ; we bury the truth under a pile of rules none of us can keep; when we give law we deny the slave the face of the merciful, loving, and gracious master who frees slaves and then adopts them into the very family of the only true God.    The Law condemns but the grace and truth of Jesus Christ always brings life, hope, peace, and eternal relationship with God.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

There are not enough words to express my great gratitude for you and your husband.   What you are doing is the work of God and shall prove it to you.

Not long after salvation I started work at the soup kitchen my church had opened in one the poorest and dangerous parts in my home town.  God had saved me and pulled me out of homosexuality.   But simply saving me didn't fix the brokenness in me.   Saved or not I didn't know how God take out of me all the "abomination" I had chosen to give myself.  You know the "abomination" of which I speak don't you?   Leviticus 18: 22,  

"Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."

 I was filled with fear, hopelessness, bitterness, and the rejection of my fellow Christians.  When I told my first pastor about my past I thought I was telling him about the most amazing freedom God had already worked into my life.  The night Jesus Christ saved me he showed me what he was offering through eternal relationship with him.  I had a little vision of this small silver wrapped box, with a beautiful silver bow holding closed.   So real was this vision that I simply asked, out loud to, an empty room, "What's in the box?"   Immediately words seemed to well out of a place within me.  I didn't sense the thought originated in my mind.   It was a simple thought, but it destroyed my life in homosexuality as sure as nuclear bombs obliterate all life.   The thought said, "This is My gift to you:  Unconditional love, unconditional understanding and unconditional acceptance.   (What Jesus meant by unconditional acceptance didn't mean Jesus affirmed that he created me to be gay.   Jesus accepted just as I was, and he would take the sin out of me.)    BUT HOW?!  How can even God change an abomination into a child of God?!!   

A couple of years later God sent me to work in the soup kitchen my church ran in one of the worst and most dangerous neighborhoods in my home town.   Ministering at that soup kitchen was incredibly difficult to do.  I didn't look down on the patrons of the little soup kitchen because I'd made my life an abomination, so I certainly could condemn anyone else.   There actually was one group of frequent visitors: the hookers.   

The worst hooker was a woman I always call "Lilly".   Lilly had AIDS, but she kept selling sex.  At first I hoped God might have sent me to be in the right place to catch Lilly in the act of selling sex to someone, so I could turn her in and then act as witness against her in a court of law.   Lilly just needed to be thrown in jail to save lives.   

Instead Lilly became the key to unlocking how God can free a man who'd made himself an abomination.   Lilly was the hardest human I'd ever met.  There was nothing of human spark in her.   When she looked at me there was never any recognition in them.   She show me she hated me, and she didn't try to sell me her wares.   There was nothing in the eyes looking at me.  She was seeing through me.   She deserved whatever punish came her way, including Hell.    The evidence of her life condemned her.   Lilly never spoke to me once in the 4.5 years I ministered the gospel at that little soup kitchen.  I did have the chance to hear parts of the stories other hookers talked about among themselves.    Some of those hookers were very bold saying right to you face.  "I do this (prostitution) cause I love sex and I love money."   Funny thing was I'd over hear them talking about how they hated men and that all men are pigs and dogs.   For people who loved money and sex they hated the men who supplied them with both. 

One of the greatest things God taught me through hookers is:   Hooker might love sex and money but they hate men using their bodies.   Money changes nothing, no one wants to be made into an object for other people to use, abuse, and throw away.   Actor Charlie Sheen said it the best: "I don't pay prostitutes for sex I pay them to leave."  

as I overheard pieces and parts of the hooker's life stories I was able to piece together their early lives.   The men and women who should have loved and cherished them raped, beat, prostituted them for money or drugs.  To survive these women took control of their own lives and did the only thing they knew how to do.   The most important people in their lives treated them like so much garbage.  For some of these women if they'd stayed where they came from they'd have ended up dead and literally thrown their dead bodies into dumpsters or shallow graves.   I started seeing the hooker's lives in a very different light.   One day when Lilly came in God powered more light on situation.   This thought welled up from inside me,  "I want Lilly to be my daughter.  I never intended men to use, abuse, disease, and then throw her life in a dumpster, like so much trash."    God loved Lilly!  God wanted Lilly to become his beloved child.   The people who should have loved and treasured Lilly treated her body like it was a trash can.   All Lilly did was embrace the message her abusers given her, "You are a trashcan."  Lilly went out and continued the use and abuse of herself living up to the identity her abusers had given her; TRASHCAN.   Not only did Lilly trash herself, but she trashed every man she could get her hands on.   They used Lilly as a trash can, she trashed the men who used her, and the men who used her, likewise, trashed themselves with her.   

Another great lesson God taught me through hookers:  The person who objectifies, uses, and abuses other people makes himself into an object.   It is impossible to make a fellow human being into an object, for lust and use without being made a similar object by lusting and using.   

This understanding was the key to God teaching me about Leviticus 18:22
This thought welled up from inside me,  "Lonnie you are not an abomination.   

"I have saved you and you are no longer a "thing to be used."  I have created in you a new human life.  You are the object of my love and fatherly pride.   You are not a "thing" you are my child in and through Jesus, my Son.   I have taken away all that you were, and that includes the abomination.   I have taken all you are and placed it upon my Son hanging on a cross.   I have taken all the worth, beauty, holiness, righteousness, and perfection of my Son; my very heart and all of my wealth, and placed it on you.   You are no longer a thing for I have made you alive, free, and clean."  

THAT IS LEVITICUS 18:22, not as it was given through Moses, but rather through the grace and truth of Jesus Christ.   I love Leviticus 18:22, for in Christ the law which killed me has become the life giving law of the Spirit of Life.   I'm not a thing to be killed by the law, I am a child of God made brand new so that instead of being an object of destruction I am made new for eternal  life and eternal relationship with God and his other former
 abominations.   "God gives beauty for ashes..."

Keep giving this man God.  Your friend is called to relationship with the beauty of God (grace).   Your friend has lots of ashes, but the beauty of God you give through acceptance, understanding, and God's world overcoming love will utter consume all his ashes.

This is an excerpt from the book I am writing:  EVERYTHING I NEEDED TO KNOW ABOUT GOD'S LOVE HE TAUGHT ME THROUGH HOOKERS
    

  


Monday, October 14, 2013

EXCERPT FROM MY BOOK

EXCERPT FROM MY BOOK


FROM CHAPTER 5


“This leads to another realization God taught me through hookers:  Whether conservative or liberal, Christians don’t want to deal with the brokenness in sexually broken people.  Condemning and merely swallowing sins are different sides of the same coin.  The truth is we don’t want to deal with “those” people.
Condemnation and acceptance are the way we get past, around, or avoid people Jesus came to serve and save.  The Religious Right removes Jesus Christ from his cross so the sinner may be crucified in his place.  The Religious Left removes Jesus from the cross, because where there is no sin there is no need of a suffering savior.  Jesus says in Matthew 23:13, “You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces.  You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.”  And again in Matthew 23:24 , Jesus says, “For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.”  Sexually broken people deserve the opportunity and invitation to know, “…Jesus and him crucified.”  Condemnation and acceptance add up to the same thing:  People  are refused Christ.  When we deflect broken people through condemnation or acceptance of sin then we, without thinking, have shut the door of heaven in the faces.  We are tying up heavy burdens for these people because we demand they free themselves, or by demanding that they merely accept their sin because of the specious argument that “nature” made them that way.  Their sin is to heavy for the to carry, but Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  We can’t say to the hooker “Lilly”, or the LGBT person at work or school, “You made the choice, so make a different choice,”  and we also can’t simply say, “Well God just made you this way, so you need to just accept that.”   Jesus says the opposite of what Both the Religious Right and Religious Left say.   Jesus came to open the gates of the kingdom of heaven and to take away the heavy burden. “
Can you help a brother out?   Does it make sense?   Are you getting the gist of what’s written here?    Do you agree or disagree, and why do you agree or disagree?    Do you think  the verses from Matthew 23 fit the context or can rightly be fitted to the context of the excerpt?

I’d honestly appreciate your input!!

Forgive the formatting error, I don’t know how I did it and I don’t know how to fix it.