Archive for July, 2010

GAY ADVENTISTS ? Confused?

Posted by on July 20, 2010  |  8 Comments

In the nearly 40 years I lived as a gay guy, being gay simply meant that one preferred sex with the same gender.

It has been extremely difficult to breach the topic of same-sex attraction within the Adventist denomination. Terminology is the first place where everyone needs to be on the same page if we are ever going to come to any reasonable understanding of one another.

In a casual setting when someone tells you, “Oh … He’s gay,”  you immediately know that this person is not interested in a member of the opposite sex. Your next thought, if it wasn’t the first thought, is that this person enjoys sex with the same gender.   Same-sex attracted at least spells out that it is an attraction. Not a follow through on a world-wide accepted term such as ‘gay,” that insinuates sexual activity.

In coming out of living gay, God rescued me from just that.  He asks that I come apart from the world and its social adaptations.

I am saddened to see people grasping onto terms that identify non biblical behavior. This is a huge disservice to those choosing to do God’s will and live according to His Word. I certainly do not want to be identified as Gay, when I have surrendered my life to Christ. If I said I was a Gay Adventist, this would certainly indicate there was something about being gay that I am not willing to let go of.

I have asked multiple people both straight and gay what “gay” means to them.  All of them have told me that they considered that to be one who prefers sex with the same gender.  Gay Adventist would be the furthest “tag” I would consider as a Christian.

This is a about as conservative of a Christian denomination as one will find. To start wandering through church congregations and saying , “I’m a Gay Adventist, would be a huge and unnecessary hurdle to put in front of those who don’t have a clue about same-sex attraction to begin with.   

In my discussions, talks and associations in the church, when talking about the thorns in the flesh I deal with; I have identified as same-sex attracted.  Many have taken issue with my continuing to identify this way.  It was hard for me to know what terminology would appropriately convey my current status.  I’m a child of God being drawn to holiness.  A temptation would be same-sex attraction.  I did not go under the water gay and come up straight. Nor did I remain gay. I die to sin by choice.

In my opinion there is a great deal of stormy confusion ahead if those who are convicted by the Holy Spirit still claim that they are gay.  It has taken decades to begin to get the church to open up to reaching out to those who have suffered from a life of homosexuality. 

I would be very careful in choosing how you identify. Creating unnecessary walls to stand in the way of connecting with those who are learning to better communicate God’s love, hope and message of salvation seems like a huge set back.

Not a Seventh Gay Adventist.

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E X P E C T A T I O N

Posted by on July 15, 2010  |  No Comments

So you’ve confessed your sins and you’ve asked Jesus to take control of your life. You’ve accepted His will in place of your will. But exactly what is His will for you?

Change will occur from the moment you dedicate your life to Him. What are His expectations of you? What are your own expectations? What is the expectation of the church you have become a member of? What are the expectations of your family? What do your friends expect from you?

When you place your life in the hands of Christ, it doesn’t matter who expects what, because when He is in control of you, you are at His mercy and grace. He will mold you into the person He sees best for you to be.

Shortly after I was baptized and began to be vocal about God’s change in my life, I began to realize that the changes didn’t match up with the expectations of others.  It quickly became evident that some were under the impression that when I gave my life to Christ and was baptized, I would go under the water gay and come up straight.  If it were that easy, I would have been straight a long time ago and so would the majority of those of us who prayed and prayed for God to take away the same-sex desires and make us all heterosexual.

Quick miraculous change according to peoples expectations usually does not occur. When we turn our life over to Him, we then allow Him to bring about the changes He sees fit for our lives.

A member of a pro-gay theology organization accused me of mandating celibacy for every same-sex attracted individual that gives their life to Christ. This is not true.

I choose to live in accordance with God’s instruction for me. He instructs those who are single and are not married to a member of the opposite sex, to be celibate. I choose to surrender to God’s will. In doing so, I die to sin, as Paul writes, and let Christ lead me.

Peter also wrote:  He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins  and live to righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.  1 Peter 2: 24.

As with any single individual following God’s will, it is possible that He may lead me to a member of the opposite sex. I don’t expect it. I don’t consider it likely. But if I get in the way and take control instead of God leading, I am no longer following His will for me and will miss out on the blessings He has in store.

Surrendering to Christ is moment by moment. We cannot set up expectations that dictate the beliefs and desires of others. We need only to listen to Him and let Him guide us in the way He leads while we are here on this earth.

Another expectation that many have, including ourselves sometimes, is that we will no longer be tempted with the desires we had prior to turning our life over to Him.  This is not usually the case. I have encountered some who would not admit to being tempted by thoughts or feelings of their old lifestyle.  If these statements are true for some, that is an incredible blessing. But I don’t think that is a common or likely occurrence.  I believe as long as we have a sinful nature, which is the duration of our lives on this earth, we will be tempted however Satan may choose to tempt us.

But by abiding in Christ continuously, by seeking Him in prayer and by developing a close and dependent relationship with Him; we will not likely struggle with the temptation as we used to. Much like one who has given up a bad habit. Yet we have available to us, the power of Jesus Christ to sustain us and protect us.

Do not let discouragement eat at you. Do not fall to the pressure of expectations. Take everything to Him in prayer. Be drawn to holiness. We become more and more like what we hold up and give praise and honor to. Our loving Lord, Jesus Christ.

Remember that while Jesus lived a life of example on this earth, he was tempted and he endured. He surrendered and abides in His Heavenly Father. That is exactly what He asks of us. When we are in alignment with Him, we have nothing to worry about.

II Corinthians 3:18 says:  “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

Wow!  That is an incredible promise. Unveiled faces. In our depth of sin and shame, there begins to become a likeness of Christ as we live our lives in accordance with His plan.  I like that a lot!

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Your Opinion – It Counts – Delicate Balance

Posted by on July 11, 2010  |  4 Comments

Discussing sensitive topics from the front of the church, can pose a bit of a challenge. While the goal is to reach as many hearts and minds as possible, one has to consider the journey and the audience present.

The topic of  “Homosexuality”  and “Same-sex Attraction,” presents itself much like the study of sex education in the school system.  That topic has been under debate for many years.

Part of the dilemma comes into consideration because parents don’t always choose the same age as other parents to convey this information to their children. Some never breech the subject at all.

My presentation is centered on recognizing a people in need of love and forgiveness, more than going into deep unnecessary details about what is involved in sexual behaviors. But through the course of presenting such material, it is likely that references to adolescent mutual sexual explorations would be briefly mentioned, in order to reach into the adults past  and bring about a higher level of understanding how someone simply did not move on from that exploration, but got stuck in it.

It is also important to note that because many did move on, they, in their adult life, do not want to be reminded of that time. The discussion of this topic becomes uncomfortable for men to consider.  If they delved into such explorations as an early teen, they learned that it was taboo and not acceptable  by Bible truths, or under societies unspoken guidelines. They moved on, obtained a girl friend and eventually married.   Reflecting on those early times, brings up guilt. Reflecting God’s love in accepting a gay or same-sex attracted individual into God’s family becomes a major deal, because the male often thinks he will also become the focus of unwanted attention by association.  This is an area that makes bridging the gay a challenging and prayerful venture.    This has contributed to the “fear factor.”

If terms such as homosexuality, gay, same-sex attraction and sex are used in a sermon where children of all ages are present; how does one maintain a delicate balance?  How does one prevent parents coming up afterward and expressing disapproval simply because they had not had such a conversation with their child yet?

I don’t think I really started paying attention to sermons or portions of sermons until I was 9 or 10.  This is an age to me that actually is appropriate to start discussing what kinds of feelings and behaviors might be recognized or observed by a child and appropriately discussing them with his or her parent.

I would be very interested in and appreciate your comments and observations.  Please leave a comment below.

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His Exacting Truth – Can we bend it just a little?

Posted by on July 9, 2010  |  No Comments

For the last few months, I have been studying the Old Testament.  I believe God provided it and the lessons taught in it for all time.  I hear some people say, oh you’re an Old Testament Christian or you’re a New Testament Christian.

Somehow, many believe that when Christ died for us and provided us with Grace and Mercy, along with that came permission to deviate from His original plan for man. God does not go back on His Word.  He instructs us for all time.

Truth …God’s truth … has brought about discomfort in the lives of many. Why? Because many have become accustomed to doing and following the will of self, instead of the will of God.  There are so many examples in God’s Word where this resulted in great peril.

By turning and twisting His Word, or by ignoring it, we put our selves on very dangerous ground.  I specifically refer to an example where God instructed Aaron and his sons of the burnt offering He outlined. Because the sons decided to provide the offering in their own interpretation of how they wanted to present the offering, they were immediately destroyed.

God has told us His plan for salvation, and His instructions for those He created. We have His Word right in front of us to guide us. We need not question His Truth, because He had clearly revealed it. Because of our sinful nature of which all of us were born with, we must sort through feelings versus truth. Only the power of God and the Holy Spirit can convict our hearts to follow Him. Our natural inclination is sinful.  Many fail to consider this simple fact when deciding the course for which choices can be based if we don’t align ourselves with God and His divine instruction for us.

Amongst many of God’s truths to consider, I  of course am also referring to Pro Gay Theologies.  Stating that a church or organization wants to provide love and support, is not an automatic approval for sinful behavior, but actually deliverance from the behavior and an enhancement of one’s personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Each of us has a unique orientation to life. While we desire personal road map from Christ, we sometimes fail to see or even choose to overlook specific direction from Christ that is very personal. God addresses the things we will face in life and gives advice and direction for them through His Word.

In the Old Testament He expresses His disapproval for homosexual behavior very clearly. He does the very same thing in the New Testament, and even tells us that in the final days of this earth, how man will disregard Him and His intent for us by men laying with men and women laying with women.   It is perfectly clear. Yet those who find pleasure in doing their own will instead of God’s will, will still pretend to give glory to Him by altering The Word for their own pleasure and comfort.

While as a church or as a devout believer of Christ, we may not approve of clear and distinct sinful behavior, Christ has commissioned us to minister to ALL sinners by teaching His Word, spreading the gospel and reflecting His love. We can not change the heart or the behavior of sinners. He no where tells us that we are capable of such things. ONLY the Holy Spirit can determine those who truly want God as leader in their lives and will convict their hearts and provide strength to give up the sinful and deceptive desires of this earth.

God tells us we will be tempted in all kinds of things. Of course they will FEEL right. But by knowing His Word, we know that they are not right, but a deception of Satan to pull us off course from our Creator and loving God.

Choosing truth, obeying God, letting go of the world are all not easy. Not at all. But God promises this over and over throughout His word.  If we don’t stand apart from the world, we have not grasped the gospel.

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43: 1,2

Keep praying for those you love. Give way to the power of God through the Holy Spirit.

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What’s Missing? – Seventh Gay Adventist Dilemma

Posted by on July 4, 2010  |  4 Comments

A sad realization drew me to some serious contemplations after reading Daneen Aker’s (Producer of Seventh Gay Adventists) article on Spectrum. The film is suddenly and not surprisingly met with a request from the General Conference, to cease and desist the usage of or play on words if you will of “Seventh Day Adventist” by titling the film “Seventh-Gay Adventists.”  Anyone with a limited knowledge of the making of this film, could probably have seen this coming.

A short time ago I was asked by Daneen Akers to write a letter of retraction, due to the mention of her film in my article, “Reaching  Out” in The April 15, 2010 Adventist Review.  Of note, should be the fact that millions of personal opinions are put in print every day without the permission of the one for whom is mentioned.  My reference to the film, was my personal opinion and observation.

The mention did serve as a red flag to readers, in hopes that they would also question the intention purpose of the film. To begin a process of asking themselves where they stand on this issue.   Here is where it all begins to get very complicated.

Adventists, via the General Conference have not successfully reached out to this particular sinner, but held this sin above all others and in the process of ignorance, alienated thousands of precious souls deserving of God’s love as much as any other sinner. However the truth is that none of us deserve His love. We are given this gift without being able to earn it.  But by accepting His love, He asks that we do His will instead of our own.

Ms. Akers film, again … in my opinion,  is set to present the injustices and sorrowful results the church has unintentionally/intentionally put upon gays. I am a living example of what it was like to grow up in the church and never find help for how I felt. Emerging as a homosexual.  In hindsight, it was not so much that the church wanted to alienate me or make me feel bad, they were and continue to be simply ignorant.  We are trailing significantly other churches who are learning to reach out and demonstrate God’s love, forgiveness and direction for the same-sex attracted individual.

But Ms. Akers who seems to be  closely aligned with SDA Kinship, another organization whom the General Conference failed to succeed at dropping the “SDA” portion of the name; is producing a film that could be set to promote and expose many of those living in opposition to the teachings of God’s Holy Word.  Recently she conveyed to me that they had considered interviewing me as a focus individual who has chosen to live a celibate life. But have since decided on someone else.  The mere mention of the fact that there would be “a” person of focus who chooses to live celibate, immediately confirmed the slant of the film to persuade other Christians that God does not call people out of homosexuality, let alone, to be celibate.

There is likely to be a significant storm on the sea considering one has not actively reached out to homosexuals and the other wanting to reveal injustices which have led to measures as severe as suicide.  By presenting these touching, if not heart breaking stories; a stage is set to promote a gay rights agenda such as in prominent within the  SDA Kinship organization.

As a result, each individual should sincerely pray for God’s guidance over this long overdue discussion of and help for those dealing with same-sex attractions.  Pray and ask for the Holy Spirit to guide you in searching scripture for God’s truths and what He asks of us, as well as what sinners He offers love and forgiveness to.

The call of conscience will be individual. It is another definite end of time marker when we witness man trying to make his will, God’s will.  SDA Kinship professes that God’s Word is not the single source of spiritual guidance when considering same-sex attraction and behaviors.  This is a sad fact and is largely where diluted pro-gay theology begins to head into murky waters.

Kinship and other partial truth organizations can be credited with providing a “waiting room” if you will, for accepting truth, inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit.  There is no doubt, a significant amount of love and care being poured out to those confused, distraught and deceived.   My prayers are that many who are open to God’s truth, will rededicate themselves to Him and accept the cross all of us must bear with His strength, to accept self-denial.

More than ever, those God has blessed with leadership, must acknowledge the call God is making to them to reach out and reflect His love. Fear of this sinner is unjustified. It is much like a homosexual would fear he or she would become heterosexual by association. Many have undoubtedly wished that would be the case.  But we are all born of a sinful nature and tainted from birth. However God has given us His Word, His truth, and a choice to obey Him or be deceived. No one can force our decision.

II Peter 1: 3,4 says: “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”

I am prayerfully calling upon the General Conference and the Seventh Day Adventist denomination, to seek God’s divine guidance in ministering to those who are lost, confused, compromised and seeking God’s truth, love and forgiveness.

It is perfectly understandable for the Church and it’s biblical beliefs, not to want to be misrepresented. But we should stand firmly on God’s Word offering the story His love and salvation for all. We should welcome every sinner to the foot of the cross where the ground is level for all sinners.  We will certainly be held accountable for our decisions regarding this matter.

I encourage everyone to share their thoughts and I plead that all of you would pray for God’s guidance and direction. Maintain the highest level of a personal relationship with Him as possible.

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