"Who knew that in America on one weekend one church says anything goes and on the next weekend another says Jesus forgives and redeems sinners." (Mark Culligan, New Hearts Outreach)
What two weekends? March 21, 2020 and March 28, 2020:
Saturday, March 21:
Dare to Love: A Biblical Approach to LGBTQ Inclusion and the Harm of Conversion TherapyAbout this Event In the church today, there continues to be a debate regarding the expectations for those in the LGBTQ+ community. Should they be welcome? Should they be expected to change? Should they be allowed in ministry?
Saturday, March 28, 9 AM
“Stand Up for Truth” Series
NHO (New Hearts Outreach) Rhetoric Vs Reality
Baypoint Christian Church
2001 62nd Ave. S.
St.Petersburg, FL 33712
"Glorifying God by Connecting the Sexually & Relationally Challenged to Jesus Christ." "New Hearts Outreach offers a range of support groups tailored to different ages and needs. Whether you are personally wrestling with sexual or relational challenges, or whether you are close to someone who is, there is a safe, confidential place for you to encounter the support and encouragement you require."
These two conferences show the division in churches/ministries. As most are aware, the Methodist Church and other denominations have split over the issue of how to approach and minister to the LGBTQ population.
How do we live out true love, the Gospel to all?
I find myself wanting to make a real difference.
Two quotes/tweets today solidified my desire to write this blog:
I. "You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you." (CS Lewis)
This quote initiated the question: What am I (are we, as believers) willing to die for?
I pray I am, (we are) willing to die for Christ and the cause of Christ, it is all for Jesus, In Jesus, or nothing. John 15:5.
The second tweet/quote:
II. “It's time for people who do not agree with theses type of behaviors and attitudes to stand up and be the salt and light that Jesus told us to be. Amen”
What types of behaviors and attitudes is a real question at stake. (The tweet was removed. It had been about what the author thought was sexual perversion and against pedophils.)
This tweet initiated more thoughts and questions for me because yes, we want to stand against victimization and sexual abuse and perversion. But, how to do so in Christlike ways? So often the responses are hateful, threatening, full of prejudice, disrespect, violence and core attitudes, actions and beliefs that are often unethical.
Perhaps the wrong responses, fear and ignorance has fueled the two clear divisions in the church today?
It seems that:
1. There are different opinions on what the Bible teaches. What constitutes sin is in question. And how to love sinners as Jesus would is in question also.
2. What is legal and what is not is continuing to change/evolve.
In my limited experience I need more help to understand the dynamics of these two sides and determine how I can best be more like Jesus and offer the bridge of Christ’s Cross.
I wonder if others are like me in needing more help to navigate the church and culture?
I wonder if most people feel sad
That so many people have been sexually abused and today are still fighting to recover but find no safe place. Some are sexually struggling or have been affected in ways they do not want.
That so many broken hearted people are outcast from so many churches.
That there is a side that is being truly hated and treated as a lepers by people that are supposed to love like Christ loved them while they were in their sin.
That there is a radical side that wants to use children and people for their own evil pleasures.
That there are laws being made to PREVENT HELP TO THOSE WANTING HELP! See *** below
That our religious freedoms and individual rights are in jeopardy and threatened greatly (sadly perhaps by some on each side?)***
That so many people, cities and states are affected...and so many people are not aware of what is playing out in these situations.***
That most individuals, Christians namely, are not sure how to make a difference or how to respond as Jesus would. The WWJD of today seems muddied, unclear to individuals, in families, in churches and places of faith and in society as a whole.
A real consideration in all this is how to live like Christ to “religious haters” and LGBTQ people?
This past week what is at stake became even more personal to me. I received the following email that said this:
"The LGBT community doesn't like what the Bible has to say about their lifestyle, so they want to ban it. Tomorrow morning, I will be in court fighting to keep Bible-based Christian counseling legal.
So far, 80 cities and states have passed unconstitutional and ungodly laws banning people from receiving Christian counseling to fight unwanted same-sex attractions and dysphoric gender identities. In Otto v. Boca Raton, that Florida city has chosen to bow to the anti-science, anti-God LGBT agenda which seeks to silence anything — even the very Word of God — that might be used to dispel the LGBT lie. Not only has the city chosen to silence Christian counselors — they went so far as to mandate that even if patients want Christian counseling, they are not legally allowed to receive it.
While on the surface this case appears to only deal with homosexuality, if allowed to stand, these counseling bans will be used as a precedent to ban other forms of Christian counseling as well as Christian speech itself.
If we lose, this case will help set the legal precedent to apply Christian counseling bans across all sectors of counseling — marriage, child rearing, social behavior and even God's order for the family and home. In short, this ban is a key strike in attempting to remove God's Word from the public square — by preventing people from seeking Godly counsel.
WE CANNOT LOSE THIS CASE. Our very religious freedom is truly at stake!
(a portion removed)
Liberty Counsel is one of the few public interest law firms focused on religious freedom. We are at the very epicenter of the battle for America's soul and few cases exemplify this better than Otto v. Boca Raton. I will be in court tomorrow morning at a Court of Appeals arguing to stop this unconstitutional attack on religious freedom....
(a portion removed)
... Liberty CounselPO Box 540774 Orlando, FL 32854 407-875-1776
Why do I share all this?
1. We need to see the sides in the churches/ministries more clearly and also how fast the legal system is moving. We need to be aware, awake, educated to the facts, prayerful and pleading for God's interventions. We can all ask: What would you have me to do LORD. For me, this blog is a step.
2. I grieve over how unloving and how little grace, mercy, acceptance is in most churches/ministries today.
3. I especially grieve over the
Lack of FOCUS ON JESUS N HIS FINISHED WORK and being born again teaching of John 3.
4. I grieve that GOD’s Word is used as a weapon of hate in stone throwing instead of hearing Jesus’ words:
"If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone..."
4. I grieve that there is so little free and real help for those struggling sexually and so much hopelessness. (However, in my experience, I did get free and real help at New Hearts Outreach, Thank God! Prior to that it was years of very expensive therapy.)
Plus so many other reasons, too many for this blog now.
In conclusion, a line seems to be drawn in the sand but is it from Jesus? Jesus knelt and wrote in the sand. O how we need His wisdom and Gospel living! For such a time as this!
Please check out the websites of these two weekends and pray...
DEAR LORD HELP US! Help us live true to Jesus and HIS WORD and WILL and WWJD living!