“I don’t know how to help you, but I know people who do.” With those words, my pastor gave me the telephone number for Outpost Ministries. I had approached him after about a year-and-a-half of attending the little south Minneapolis Presbyterian church near my apartment. My desire for God and a life of holiness was conflicting with my addiction to finding satisfaction in sexual encounters with men.
I was ready to acknowledge that I had a problem and needed help out of it, but I wasn’t quite ready to make the phone call. That took another nine months as my sexual addictions continued to spiral out of control. In January 2006, I finally made an appointment to meet the Youth-and-College-Age Director at Outpost Ministries, Nate Oyloe.
I told him my story just as I had my pastor: I had been addicted to pornography since I was ten. I came out when I was 16. I spent my college years in Madison, WI going to gay bars and hooking up with guys for one-night stands. After graduation, I started to see that living this way was not getting me the Mr. Right I longed for. I had seen that all the Mr. Rights were addicted just as much as I was. I saw that I needed to change. Addiction ruled my life. I didn’t want to hit rock bottom—whatever that meant. My childhood love for God was re-emerging, and I was torn.
“I’m gay and I’m not interested in changing but I’m addicted, and I want more of God. Can you help me?” Nate responded that he definitely could help.
After that initial meeting, I wept in my car as I considered my life up until that point. I felt compelled to participate in what Nate graciously offered me. So I sobbed, “God, I’m jumping into whatever this is! If you don’t catch me, I’m going to be really angry with you!” I was going to take Him at His promise that I had read in Isaiah: to the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths, and choose what pleases Me, and hold fast My covenant, even to them I will give in My house and within My walls a place and a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off (Is. 56:4-5, NKJV). I felt like a eunuch and a foreigner cut off from God.
Four months into mentoring, learning about many of the reasons for my sexual struggles, succumbing to temptation yet not wanting to give up, Nate challenged me to attend a weekend inner-healing conference. During the Saturday morning session, the main speaker quoted from Luke 6:46, Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and not do what I say? He linked that phrase to another: If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him (John 14:23, NIV). His teaching challenged me.
I was annoyed, and I raced out of the auditorium. I said quietly, “Am I one of those people who calls You ‘Lord’ but doesn’t do what You say?” I sensed the presence of God as I heard a gentle “Yes” in my spirit. Immediately, one Scripture pounded on my memory—if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will go in and eat with him, and he with me (Rev. 3:20).
The language of dining captured me. At the time I was working at a boutique wine shop in Minneapolis and had spent several years studying the finer points of wine appreciation. Having God dine with me was a powerful image. I responded, “You’re the Master of the Universe; You made me. I’m like a house, God, but I’m a squatter in this body—why don’t you come make Your home with me?” After crying, confessing and feeling released from much of the anger and bitterness I had carried for so long, I returned to the conference. I felt cleansed from all those years of seeking love and strength from the bodies of other men. God became the Master of my life in a new way that day.
At my session with Nate the following week, he noted that I looked different. I felt different. “God didn’t make me to be gay,” I said, but I had no idea what that meant. I tried to explain what had happened to me over the weekend. I wept profusely as I faced leaving behind my gay identity of ten years and my same-sex attractions of almost twenty. What would I be—who would I be without homosexuality?
Surrendering to the Master did not take any of my struggles away in an instant. I failed frequently with my old friend, pornography. Each time, though, I was learning to listen to the voice of forgiveness. I had to trust that His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness (II Peter 1:3-4). Though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again (Proverbs 24:16, NIV). Healing was getting up again and again after each failure and recommitting to the renewal of my mind. Same-sex attraction lost its power to name me as I repeatedly surrendered to God, the only One who has the authority to define me.
Two years into my journey of healing, Nate approached me with another challenge—to partner with him in ministry at Outpost. During this season, My Bible reading one day landed on the story of Nehemiah who was the cupbearer to the king (Neh. 1:11). A man who managed the king’s wine and food felt the call to help build the wall of desolate Jerusalem. I felt a similar pull to strengthen people in their walk with God. I jumped again and joined the staff in January 2008.
As part of my work, I learned to pray as Paul did for the Ephesians: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him (1:17-19). Singing and praying this and other Scriptures almost daily for the last seven years has caused my love to abound more and more (Phil. 1:9), keeping my heart on His path. As I walked it out, He wrote his Law on my heart. I chose what pleased Him, and He fulfilled those promises I had read in Isaiah.
Seeing that agreement in prayer works, two years ago I began to fervently pray that I’d be able to identify with Adam’s statement: This now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh (Gen. 2:23). I felt it was part of my inheritance as a man created in God’s image to love a woman in strength. Amazingly, God moved a woman here from Kansas City, MO to be part of Living Waters. She started attending Outpost’s daily prayer meetings, we began to talk, started to date, and then we moved on toward fulfilling the conclusion to Genesis 2: Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother, and cleave unto his wife (2:24). We were married in September 2013 and are expecting our firstborn in June!
Now, just as God called Abram to leave his country and his family and he learned how to trust (Gen. 12:1), God has been confirming His call for me to keep jumping. I have prayed and sought counsel as I have considered another jump into the unknown. And so, I have resigned from my position as Vice-President of Corporate Operations to be available for the next season of God’s leading. The calling remains—teach My people the difference between the holy and the unholy, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean (Ezekiel 44:23), but the assignment—the place where the calling happens—is in transition.
I now feel very much like Jacob returning to Canaan: I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant; for I crossed over this Jordan with my staff, and now I have become two companies (Gen. 32:10). I don’t quite yet know where God is leading, but He has proven Himself to me as He has renewed my strength according to His Word. I will continue to agree with what King David said, I will run the course of Your commandments, for You shall enlarge my heart (Psalm 119:32).