A Message to Pastoral Care Leaders Processing The Gospel and “Gay Christianity.”by Stephen Black, Executive Director, First Stone Ministries
The Gospel according to Jesus Christ is the same message for a gay-identified person, an idolater, an adulterer, a fornicator, a pornographer, a liar, a thief, a gossip, a slanderer or a murderer. The message of good news–redemption into a love relationship with God–is the same for all sinners. Many “Christian” leaders [see note 40 ] communicate a message that is not Biblical, but instead is deceptive and eternally dangerous. It is certainly not a message of love to lead a person into a false hope. Unfortunately, this misleading message of “gay Christianity” is spread by perhaps well-meaning but Biblically-illiterate leaders who present a message based not on the truth of the Bible, but on a man-made theology. Other leaders purposefully and deceptively spread this message, which is a much graver offense. Deception–which leads people astray–is not love; it’s evil. I share this concern with the same grief-filled compassion as expressed by the Apostle Paul to the Romans in Romans 9:1-3 when he wrote “with a great heavy heart and many tears.” Sincerely I write this article after much heart-ache and many tears. Paul reminded us that many will fall away from the faith in the last days. This perversion of The Gospel is an example of the message of ease, love of pleasure and living unrepentantly with which many will go astray. This article is equipped with many end-notes of Biblical references to back up the emphatic statements and is a Bible study with over 150 verses. Please read the Scripture references with this article and let God’s word be your guide.
GOOD NEWS or BAD?
The Gospel is Good News from Creator God, the Father in Heaven revealed to us through Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is an amazing message of love given to fallen humanity. By truly believing in and being in Christ, believers’ relationship with Holy God is restored to the way it was before “the fall.” The Good News is that God the Father has made a way for all mankind to be restored to His original divine intent of an intimate loving relationship that is greater than any we will experience in this fallen world. His desire is for this relationship to be forever with Him. Many proclaim a message that totally contradicts the Gospel of Jesus Christ: that you can be a practicing sexually-immoral person or a practicing homosexual and go to heaven. The Bible speaks directly to this, with uncompromised clarity. The truth expressed in Ephesians 5:5 is clear: you can know with certainty that no one who practices sexual immorality will go to heaven. Interestingly, the Bible often follows these types of passages with the reminder that we should NOT be deceived by people giving us empty promises or words that contradict the truth. Jesus came to save us from and out of our sins, not leave us in them. A person who struggles with and against sin differs from a person who embraces and freely practices sin. The Good News is Jesus died for the sins of the world and rose victoriously over death, hell and the devil. When Christ rose from the dead, He gave us the promise of the Holy Spirit of Grace, assuring us that the Holy Spirit would come and live in those truly born of God unto eternal life. The Holy Spirit of Grace empowers true believers to live holy repentant lives in a devout relationship to Jesus Christ as Lord. However, the Spirit does not live in people who are hostile towards God and disobedient, walking in and embracing and practicing sexual immorality. The Bible tells us He–the Holy Spirit–is given to those who obey God. The Bible also tells us that all sexual immorality grieves God. Holy God revealed in the person of the Holy Spirit will neverabide with, or approve of any immoral behavior. God opposes the proud and gives His grace, the Spirit of Grace, to those who humble themselves and see their need for Christ. Anyone who says otherwise is not teaching the Whole Gospel of Jesus Christ and would be giving bad news instead of the good news.
The Son of God’s Beginning Message: “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at Hand,” Should also be Our First Message
God’s message, revealed to us in human form through His Son, Jesus the Holy One, is very simple: turn from your ways and turn to Me. Biblically we know that turning or repenting is the evidence of true faith and a belief in God that ultimately produces obedience to God in a loving relationship. Through repentance, we replace our belief systems, our worldly thoughts, the flesh and the devil’s ways, and our minds are renewed by God’s word and by His Spirit. This “believing” in the mind and heart turns the behavior away from the way of the flesh to the way of the Holy Spirit. This is what it means to BELIEVE in Christ for salvation. Believing and repentance may unfold differently in each person, depending on his or her history, but God’s grace is truly amazing as it will produce a life becoming more and more like Christ. His grace always convicts the real believer of sin, and reminds the believer of the righteousness of God and the judgment to come. If this heart-change does not happen, self-examination is in order to see whether or not you are truly born again. True faith in God is believing the Word of God and believing in Jesus Christ; such beliefs will result in a changed and righteous life. Paul’s letter to Timothy makes it clear that the Gospel Message must be based upon the sound words of the Lord Jesus Christ, which conforms the soul to godliness. The goal of this message is to mature the hearer into having pure love, an undefiled clear conscience and a sincere and devoted faith. I rely on Jesus’ words for leadership and filter all teachings through His words. Jesus said, “Narrow is the way that leads to life and FEW find it. Broad is the way of destruction and MANY will go on its path.” I also rely on Jesus’ statistics. In the parable of the sower, Jesus’ statistic is only 25% would actually bear good fruit after hearing the word of God. Shouldn’t we teach the same narrow way that leads to eternal life? If anyone–and I mean anyone–teaches otherwise, they are NOT teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We should never teach people that they are justified to live in sin and an unrepentant life, a belief that is completely contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ. Yet, many leaders today teach contradictions. John, Jesus’ beloved disciple, warns of this danger in his epistle, 1 John. “This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light,as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned,we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” “Whoever says “I know Him” but does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps His word, in him truly the love of God is perfected.By this we may know that we are in Him: whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He (Jesus) walked.” (1 John 1:5-10, 1 John 2:4-6). John also reminds us of the importance of obedience in his Gospel, in the very words of Jesus: “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light (Jesus) has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light (Jesus), for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil (practices) hates the Light (hates Jesus), and does not come to the Light (Jesus) for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light (Jesus), so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” “He who believes in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:17-21 v. 36)
Follow Me to the End
My story of true conversion began in February 1983. After praying with people that were completely surrendered to Christ, I was confronted with the Word of God in many ways, two of which I’ll share here.
First, Jesus spoke to me in the power of His Spirit. I didn’t understand what was happening to me; my heart was pounding and I felt very strange. I heard in my mind a voice I know now as the Holy Spirit, telling me that if I did not surrender to Christ, I was going to die. The fear of the Lord gripped my heart. I knew in my soul that I did not know Jesus Christ like these people. They spoke in terms of a relationship with God that I thought was crazy. They told me that Jesus was answering their prayers, speaking to their hearts, that He was consistently known and felt in their home. I had never experienced Christ in that way, but I wanted to. They prayed with me to receive Jesus Christ as Lord.
Later that evening in the car going home, my friend who had been with me and witnessed my surrender to Christ, asked me; “Does this mean you will stop being gay?” I told her I didn’t know for sure, that I wanted to follow whatever Jesus had for me. At home that night I got out the big table-Bible, our only family Bible. Holding it my lap, I prayed and asked God to show me in His Word whether homosexuality was a sin. After all, the gay Catholic priest from my parent’s parish had told me God loved me just the way I was as a gay man; and he stated all the more reason to visit him at mass. God heard my prayer for truth and revealed it to me through His Word found in the Holy Scriptures.
Secondly, Jesus spoke to me through the Bible. As I opened the Bible, it fell directly upon Leviticus with the heading, “Laws on Sexual Immorality.” There it was right before my eyes: chapter 18, verse 22. It was undeniable that God detests homosexual behavior. Initially, I was angry. I could clearly see that I was worthy of death. However, I also understood now that Jesus Christ paid for all my sins in His death on the cross and that He loved me. He saved me from destruction and death.
In the summer of 1983, we began to hear of a strange disease being reported by the news in Oklahoma City hospitals. At that time, the doctors were calling it G.R.I.D.–Gay-Related Immune Deficiency (syndrome)–or G.R.I.D.s. Many of my friends, people who had seemed so vibrant and healthy, were now dying. In fact, more than half the people I knew in the Oklahoma City gay community died within the next few years. In the midst of this tragedy, the fear of God instructed me and gave me life. God spared me and revealed His mercy.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Anyone claiming to declare the Gospel, but excluding the fear of the Lord–the very beginning of wisdom–is immediately suspect to me. I look first to see if a messenger/teacher knows and demonstrates the fear of God, as this is how the Gospel was presented to me by the Holy Spirit. Does the messenger teach that God is holy? Does the teacher instruct that we must turn to God in intimate relationship to become holy because God commands it? These questions must be answered with an emphatic “Yes!” We must respect the word of God. Yes, we must know the kindness, but we also must know the severity of God, for no immoral person or idolater will be in Heaven.
Many times I have been asked if I ever considered returning to the gay lifestyle. I decided in 1983 that I would rather live celibately than return to a life that clearly is not God’s divine intent. However, I am married now with three adult children, and grandchildren. I truly believe God’s word concerning homosexuality. I know He is holy, and I tremble when I think of the fate of people who choose to continue to live in immorality. The Scripture is very clear. No one who practices sexual immorality will go to Heaven. Yet, false teachers, under the guise of hope and kindness, persist in spreading a message that is contrary to God’s Word. Therefore I embrace the words of Jesus Christ for clarity: “And many false (pastors) teachers will arise, and lead many astray (they will tell you can be a gay Christian), and because lawlessness (the practice of sin) will be increased,the love (real love) of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matt. 24:11-14.
Will you endure to the end with me and the many others who will never go back to sexual immorality? We must endure to the end in a love relationship with Jesus Christ, who is the pearl of great price. Even if we live to be 100, this life is a mere vapor. I will never be sorry I embraced Christ, His word and repentance from all immorality. Even if I am wrong, even if there is a remote possibility that a Christian could be gay, I have merely denied myself in pursuit of obedience. But, if the gay Christian or teacher of gay Christianity is wrong, the consequence may be eternal death. That’s not a gamble I am willing to take. Are you? Even if you struggle with homosexual temptation to the end, if you deny the fleshly desires out of love for Christ, isn’t eternal life better than hell? Isn’t loving Christ instead of the world or our pleasure the better choice?
Assurance of Salvation and Answers to Prayer
You can have assurance of salvation. The Bible is clear we can have security IN Christ. If you repent of your sins and put your faith completely in Jesus Christ for your salvation and you continue in this faith in Him, you WILL have eternal life. The promise is found in 1 John 5:13-15: “…to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.” Unfortunately there are doctrines and traditions of men and churches that communicate a relationship with Christ by praying a prayer, or being a member, or being present in an organization. Jesus never taught praying prayers to receive Him as Savior; He taught discipleship and Lordship. Although we should pray to receive Christ, it is not merely praying a prayer that gives us an assurance of salvation. A devoted relationship, a sincere faith in Christ resulting in righteous repentant living and becoming His disciple are the Biblical truths for an assurance of salvation. Assurance of salvation to a sexually immoral person may begin by praying a prayer, but if not accompanied with a sincere faith producing the fruit of repentance, giving an assurance of eternal life would be a very dangerous teaching in leading people into a false hope. Would you like to be prepared on judgment day to give an account of leading people into a false hope of salvation based upon the traditions and doctrines of men? Would you like to give an answer to God for giving a message that actually sent people to hell?
What Will Be The Message? A Biblical Message or Man’s Theologies?
Several church leaders embrace the emergent message of gay Christianity and present a gay Gospel. Their teachings are not based upon the sound doctrine of the Gospel of Jesus Christ or New Testament Biblical instruction. They choose to embrace a false social gospel of a more palatable feel-good-God, a man-made theology, yet they do ‘good things’ under the banner of Christianity. Unfortunately, rather than embracing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, a gospel of self-denial that produces a Spirit-filled life that really does do good, they are embracing a man-made theology promoting gay Christianity. Which gospel message will you embrace? Will you follow a Biblical message that allows the human heart and soul to be transformed by the Word of God or a man-made theology that allows men to live in self-centeredness and indulgence? Shall we teach people that just praying a prayer and being a part of a community saves them eternally? Or shall we teach a true belief, that accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and following Him in discipleship will result in a life of righteousness? Which Gospel will you teach or follow? The true gospel of Jesus Christ, which leads to life, or a gay gospel according to man’s words, which leads to death? “There is a way that seems right to man, but the end leads to death.”
More Recommended Reading on this topic:
Dr. Robert Gagnon’s Online Library of Articles <– Excellent Resource
Mastering Life Ministries Online Library of Articles and Video’s by Pure Passion TV <– Excellent Resource
End-notes: (Please read the following scriptures in context of this article:)
 – i.e. Adam Hamilton, Tony Jones, Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, Jay Bakker, Ray Boltz, Andrew Marin, Troy Perry, Mel White, Tony & Peggy Campolo, Reba Rambo-McGuire, Gene Robinson, Alan Chambers, Justin Lee & Neill Spurgin (Neill Spurgin Coffman)
I was recently introduced to this amazing short film: The Butterfly Circus. It’s message is very powerful. I highly recommend that you take a small block of time, an uninterrupted 20 minutes to watch this short film. It gives helpful perspective and helps with true identity and good attitude in life. If you don’t have time to watch it now, please come back and watch this in it’s entirety. I pray and hope that this short film will bless you as much or more than the blessing I received in watching it myself. I am so grateful to God for the wonderful courage and fantastic attitude of Nick Vujicic. Please watch the Butterfly Circus now… it will bless your life!
On the week that centers on Christ Crucified for millions around the globe, the USA has acted in a most unholy manner. Palm Sunday to Good Friday was marked by daily advances of ‘gay marriage’ forces in our land. Our Bridegroom King, whose very image is manifest in male and female, and who is returning for a Bride, spotless and true, is being crucified afresh.
Consider this: I read on Palm Sunday that Iowa’s unanimous Supreme Court decision to legalize ‘gay marriage’ deliberately excluded any ‘religious’ interference. According to the justice who wrote the Iowa decision, the Judeo-Christian structures on which our entire judicial system is built should no longer inform marriage. Left in the hands of secular servants, marriage mutates. We crucify Christ afresh.
On Monday, Rick Warren, arguably the most influential Christian leader in the USA, said on national TV that he never really supported a ban on ‘gay marriage’ in CA. (He clearly had and did.) He claims that he called all of his gay friends and apologized for any perceived support of the ban, underscoring that he has ‘never been and never will be an anti-gay marriage activist.’ Deceiving, confusing, political back-pedaling: Warren is rewriting history and has bought the lie that to support marriage is ‘ant-gay’. And he is backing off entirely from standing for marriage when it is most in peril. We crucify Christ afresh.
On Tuesday, Vermont became the first state in the union to allow same-sex marriage through legislative action instead of a court ruling. That empowers nine other legislatures that are considering marriage measures this year, including New York, New Jersey, Maine and New Hampshire. Activists in New England are unashamed to admit that they are choosing states where organized religious opposition is the weakest. We are now aware and without excuse: there is a systematic, targeted effort to establish a same-sex marriage stronghold in the Northeast. We crucify Christ afresh.
On Wednesday, I read of Obama’s appointment of a gay political activist and ‘Christian’ to his advisory board for ‘Faith-based Partnerships.’ The appointee, Harry Knox, was previously head of Religion and Faith for the biggest gay advocacy group in the nation (the Human Rights Campaign), and has been instrumental in reinterpreting scripture in a gay-affirming manner for churches throughout the USA. We crucify Christ afresh.
By Maundy Thursday, I was beat up. I needed my feet washed from the idolatrous ground of my nation; I was hungry for Jesus and I partook of Him heartily at the communion table that night.
As we gathered for Good Friday as a church, I looked around the body and saw Gideon’s army, a humble band of men and women whom the Crucified has rescued from the idolatry of this world: husbands and wives, singles, old and young, heterosexually and homosexually broken and yet being made new, ‘an army whose weaknesses are being turned to strength and who are becoming powerful in battle, able to route foreign armies.’ (Heb. 11: 34)
I felt hope. Isn’t that what Good Friday is all about? In the darkest hour, at the time when men extinguish the light, God prepares the most glorious expression of His light. N.T. Wright says: ‘The cross is not the world’s victory over Jesus, but Jesus’ victory over the world.’
Jesus death is the ground on which resurrection power is manifest. So is our surrender to His purposes. Let man’s efforts to crucify Christ afresh through ‘gay marriage’ have its perfect work. Raise from the dead a Gideon’s army, O God. Let a repentant, empowered people arise.
Let us arise out of fear or intimidation of the dark powers. Let us hold fast to Him as the One who makes a way for us to make Him known. We do so by upholding His image in humanity and by refusing all efforts, however winsome, to distort that image.
Marriage matters. It represents Christ on earth more clearly than any other relationship. While we have the light, let us live with integrity what it means to bear His image and insist on its clear representation in the land. We cannot afford to be unclear or uncommitted towards marriage in this perilous hour.
We do so in and through Him, His resurrection power rooted in our very weakness. May we emerge out of this dismal winter of ‘gay marriage’ advances and into the spring of upholding God’s design for all. Consider man for woman, woman for man-the awesome dance of masculine strength and feminine beauty. It’s worth fighting for.
Post by Andy Comiskey — Copyright © 2009 by Desert Stream Ministries
Click here to: Read Andy Comiskey’s Blog
April 4, 2009
While we were sleeping, the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously overturned the state’s ban on ‘gay marriage’ on grounds that it was unconstitutional. Most believers I spoke with in and around Iowa knew little if anything about the Court’s deliberation. Those who did seemed sleepy in their response. And uncertain. Even getting information about the case was difficult and yielded little. To most, ‘gay marriage’ seemed outside the realm of possibility in Iowa.
Time to wake up. Marriage has now been redefined in the heartland: the ruling represents the mainstreaming of ‘gay marriage’ in the USA. As one activist put it: “If Iowa with its common sensibility can do this, why can’t we do this in other states in the country?”
Just as halting ‘gay marriage’ in CA inhibited such action elsewhere, Iowa’s brash judicial action will quicken the resolve of activists to overturn ‘gay marriage’ bans in other states.
How did a state in the heartland become only the third in the nation to redefine marriage for its citizens? And the first in the Midwest?
The answer lies in the power of gay legal activists who target states that look like good prospects. Like Iowa. In spite of its 10-year-old ‘gay marriage’ ban and ‘common sensibility,’ Iowa has a liberal political history, including gay adoption. Iowa also makes it hard for citizens to overturn any Supreme Court decision with a constitutional amendment. State lawmakers must approve any proposed amendment twice over a two-year period before it gets to voters. That means that the earliest Iowans can vote to overturn ‘gay marriage’ would be 2012!
Enter Lambda Legal, a New York-based gay rights organization. Vying for a date with the state Supreme Court, these activists in 2005 filed a lawsuit on behalf of six gay couples who could not marry in Iowa due to its ‘gay marriage’ ban.
A lower court heard the case in 2007 and ruled that the ban was unconstitutional due to the judge’s belief that ‘homosexuality is unchangeable’, that ‘gay parents will not impact the development of their kids’ and that ‘homosexuals are politically powerless.’ All false, especially the last point: gays in Iowa have Lambda Legal, the most powerful reps I know.
The lower court’s ruling was ’stayed’ then appealed to the Supreme Court, which heard the case last January. I could tell by the hearings that the Court was more inclined toward Lambda Legal than the traditional voice. On Friday, the Court announced that it had unanimously redefined marriage. One decision by one court and the most basic institution of the state changes for all of its citizens.
Lambda Legal is currently servicing other states in passing ‘gay marriage’ provisions. In the Midwest, Minnesota and Wisconsin would be the most vulnerable to ‘gay marriage’ due to its liberal political traditions. Like Iowa, their Courts are primed for the likes of strategic activists like Lambda Legal.
What can we do?
1. Wake up! ‘Gay Marriage’ bans can be overturned. We need to be aware of what is going on in our states and take measures to ward off the strategies of groups like Lambda Legal.
2. We need Constitutional Amendments that define marriage for good. We can pray and fight for Iowans over the long haul as they begin the long push toward overturning the Court’s decision with one such amendment. The majority of Iowans and the rest of the US public are still not in favor of ‘gay marriage.’
3. Make the truth known about why marriage matters. Our focus is not ‘anti-gay’; it is pro-marriage. Tell the truth about how marriage best represents to kids; they need man and woman together in order to grow into wholeness. And how God can restore homosexuals to wholeness. If we don’t tell the truth in love, false justice built on false presuppositions advances.
4. Pray. This is in truth a holy war, based on love and reverence for God’s design and the Designer Himself. In a month, Desert Stream will release ‘Honor Marriage for the Good of All’ , a prayer-guide for churches who want to pray wisely for marriage in our land, while seeking God’s heart and strategy for broken people who need healing.
5. Seek true justice and compassion: in this Holy Week, let us pray that we might be please Jesus in surrender to His purposes, including His heart for marriage. Join Desert Stream this week as we pray and fast that neither New England nor other targeted states in the Midwest will fall to ‘gay marriage.’ Also, that the CA Supreme Court will uphold Prop. 8. (Its decision is not yet known.)
“All that it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke
“Since we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men.” (2Cor. 5:11)
“And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber.” (Romans 13: 11)
USED WITH PERMISSION © 2009 DESERT STREAM MINISTRIES
This article is from Andy Comiskey’s blog.
Dr. Robert A. J. Gagnon has written an excellent article on answering five arguments for homosexuality from a Biblical view. This is an excellent resource for those who really desire to analytically think through the arguments for the “gay Christian” and that there is no condemnation of homosexuality. Ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and those who love our Lord and Savior and desire to defend the truth will enjoy this article.
Dr. Gagnon’s five points are:
1) Answering the pro-gay conclusion that Jesus was silence on the subject of homosexuality – Was Jesus really silent on the issue of homosexuality?
2) Do eunuchs reveal the acceptance of homosexuality in the Bible?
3) Answering the Claim that: The Bible’s prohibition of homosexual practice in Romans 1:24‐27 applies only to exploitative and hedonistic forms of homosexual practice such as sex with slaves, prostitutes, and adolescents.
4) Answering the Claim that: The closest analogies to the Bible’s opposition to homosexual practice is the Bible’s support for both slavery and the oppression of women and its opposition to divorce, all positions that we now reject.
5) Addressing the idea of “Significance” ~ Answering the Claim that: The Bible is not particularly interested in homosexual practice as evidenced by the fact that it is only mentioned on a few occasions.
I have found this article to be very help and highly recommend reading for those who are seeking the Truth.
You can read the FULL article in PDF: What The Bible Really Says About Homosexual Practice: from Dr. Gagnon by clicking here. <– PLEASE READ!
Today at my church home, Bridgeway, our pastoral leader, Alex Absalom shared a message on being a Person of Peace bringing influence into our world. The Lord used this message as a reminder of His mandate on those who wish us harm. We overcome evil by doing good. Pastor Alex didn’t share this particular verses found in Romans 12:20-21. His message was the “Definition of a Person of Peace” and his text was Mark 5, and Acts 10 a look at Cornelius’ life. You can listen to this message by downloading it from the Bridgeway Church web site or iTunes, key search “Bridgeway Church Podcasts” and there you will find several excellent messages.
Pastor Alex’s message: “Definition of a Person of Peace” was: 1) shows Receptivity – (be friendly and outgoing, make a way), 2) has a good Reputation – (being relational to influence the surrounding community) and 3) having Referrals – (a life of peace will manifest a testimony by where people in your community will see real help, lives changed, God’s grace & mercy poured out, answers to prayer and the miracles of God). Anyone living in the context of these three R’s will have no problem with evangelism.
Pastor Alex then brought the challenge! How do we make a difference in these economic challenging and chaotic times? What sacrifices are we willing to make as individuals and in our church community? Good question!
He challenged us to make a difference in sacrifice by asking us to consider prayerfully more soul-searching questions: What preferences are we willing to lay down? What desires need to become secondary to others? What fears do we need to overcome about certain individuals, like people who are sworn faithful to fundamental Islamic beliefs? What expectations must we lay down, and what should our expectations be?
My Personal Challenge
I was personally challenged by the Holy Spirit to look at the fruit of kindness. I immediately thought of the verse about overcoming evil by doing good (Romans 12:20-21) and being kind even when certain individuals and groups of people are hell bent to make your life miserable. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not communicating a boundary-less existence, on the contrary, overcoming evil is to have godly boundaries, but with a gentle meek and kind heart. Those who know me well, know that I am a very direct prophetic choleric personality type and do not back down from a conflict. Conflict doesn’t scary me, I can even create it to bring a healthier relationship if I believe it is helpful.
However, I am excited about the grace of God today being poured out to overcome evil by doing good through His love. This takes asking the Lord about where people are from His perspective. Perspective can be everything. If we can see the deception and brokenness from God’s perspective and what the possible outcome of where a person will end eternally, the heart can be graced into Christ-like compassion and kindness. Attitude is 90% of the victory, as God gives us the victory by faith (or attitude) in Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 John 5:4-5) & (1 Cor. 15:57). I thank God for ministering to my heart with His grace and challenge today. May HIS perfect Ways found in the Holy Scriptures, HIS Truth and HIS Life be yours!