Introducing Outpost North!

Outpost NorthWe have been waiting for the right moment to announce our new branch Outpost North in Brainerd, MN! Outpost North offers our Foundations course to anyone struggling with unwanted same-sex attractions, family members, and pastors and ministry leaders who want to learn more about Outpost and the healing journey. They have also started an Elijah Company group for parents, family and friends of gay-identified loved ones.

Our Outpost North Coordinator, Angie, has a beautiful testimony of the Lord pursuing her, even in the midst of her sin and brokenness. She now has a husband and a little girl—a little girl who would not exist had the enemy succeeded in his plans to keep Angie from her true identity and destiny in God.

Angie understands by experience that it is the Father’s desire to restore the broken-hearted and restore the family. Malachi 4:5-6 says, “’Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse” (NKJV). Seeing the restoration of the family is our vision at Outpost Ministries and TCJHOP because we believe that it is the Lord’s end-time strategy to bring healing to families, to the family of God and to our society. Thank you for partnering with us in this mighty work the Lord is doing among us!

Broken Pieces Made Whole

broken glass. . . 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 Christ and in the Spirit of our God (Corinthians 6:11, NASB).

What a powerful statement to be said over someone’s life: “and such were some of you.” I resonate strongly with this passage. However, I first had to wrestle my way through 1 Corinthians 6:9, especially the part about homosexuality.

I grew up in the church, hearing Bible stories most of my life. I have led youth groups, Christian school groups, and I even went to seminary. I loved Jesus passionately, but I lived a double life. I did not know there was an escape plan that Jesus was offering me, “and such were some of you.” I thought I was a lesbian and that there was no way out. There is a plan, however; there is a way out, and there is Someone who can redeem our brokenness and make us whole again.

I guarantee that there are people among your family members, co-workers, friends, and among the people who sit next to you at church and in your small group who are struggling with SSA (same-sex attractions). I believe that most of these people want out but don’t know there is a way. I was one of those people who just wanted to be “found out” by anyone because I desperately wanted out. I knew I needed help.

My story begins on a family farm in rural Iowa where my family consisted of a dad and mom and four girls. We literally had three TV stations, and the smell of farm manure was the smell of money. I loved growing up on that farm with my family. I loved working outside, the smell of dirt, hot summer afternoons, working hard and spending countless hours shooting hoops in the driveway with my sisters. Every Sunday, my mom would drag my sisters and I to church; my father would stay home to attend to the chores.

In the midst of everything that I loved, I remember being a hurting little girl who was struggling in relationship with her parents. I was swimming in a sea of anger and rage, trying to keep myself afloat. Because of their own brokenness, my father was harsh and unemotional, and my mother was weak and submissive. I grew up disliking my dad and being mad at my mom for not standing up for herself or for us.

Fast forward to my third year of college after a Chicago missions trip. I found myself falling “in love” with one of my friends. We entered into a very emotionally enmeshed friendship that turned physical very quickly. I was shocked at what I was doing, but I also enjoyed this new relationship.

It was a new adventure that seemed to whip me off my feet. I had found someone who accepted me, who loved me unconditionally, who gave me worth. She understood the depths of my heart as we became more and more emotionally enmeshed. It seemed that both of us were made for this type of relationship. My feelings reminded me that I had felt this way for as long as I could remember. I secretly concluded that I must be a lesbian.

This new adventure was actually counterfeit love and acceptance. It was a counterfeit that wore the perfect mask and said the perfect things, but it always left me disappointed and cleaning up the mess. It literally left me hating myself. The adventure was filled with lust, wrong motives, control, codependency and emotional enmeshment.

You need to understand how Satan will present things to people. He will make things look good and look loving, but behind my partner’s words was emptiness and a dark void. Please know that even my words to her were counterfeit and empty, just as much as her words were to me. Her words could never sustain me, and my words could never satisfy her.

It was strange; as our relationship seemed to flourish, as we lavished each other with love, tension grew. Sin is only pleasurable for a season. We began to fight more and more and tried to control one another. I was left with a dark cloud of guilt, pain and depression. During my fourth year of seminary, I spent days in bed and hours on the internet viewing pornography. I was looking for a quick fix, something to numb out all of my pain and shame.

I couldn’t hear God’s voice anymore. I would pray for a way out, for someone to find us out, for someone to call me out. No one took a stance against homosexual behavior; everyone was accepting it, even our Christian friends. Even with all of this acceptance around me, I could not stop the aching inside. It was consuming me. I thought of ways I could kill myself as the dark cloud around me became more and more suffocating. Sin became a cancer in my body; it was eating me up.

Then God spoke!

One night as I cried out to God, I heard the Holy Spirit say, “Angie, tonight you will either choose Jesus or choose your sin.” I told Jesus, “I choose You, but I want to be free from homosexuality, lust, pornography and rage. I don’t care if I ever teach or preach again. I just want to be free.”

The next day, I went to an art exhibit in a church basement in downtown Minneapolis. There, the Holy Spirit spoke to me again through a piece of artwork. The art piece was large; it stood taller than me. As I went closer, I saw that it was the face of Jesus made out of small, broken pieces of mirror. I felt the Holy Spirit nudging me to go forward, and I hesitated. I asked the Holy Spirit, “Have you seen what I’ve embraced? What I’ve laid with? The darkness I’ve slept with? The darkness that’s consumed me? I cannot go closer. I am dirty, too dirty!” But I went closer, and as I saw my reflection in the broken pieces of mirror that made up Jesus’ face, I heard the Holy Spirit, “I will make you whole again!” With hot tears streaming down my face, I knew I was going to be made whole again and set free from sexual perversion and sexual brokenness.

That day in 2001 marked the beginning of a journey of healing and restoration in my life that continues to this day. My husband Scott and were married in 2013. As I rock our little girl to sleep at night and gaze upon her wonderfully-made frame, my heart declares, “My God, You are faithful in all things!”

After the birth of our daughter, Scott and I found ourselves moving to Brainerd in north-central Minnesota for his job. We had no clue what God was up to but knew we needed to be here. My husband and I are excited to tell you about the beginnings of Outpost North. Outpost Ministries’ long 40-year history in the Twin Cities has now come to Brainerd to offer the same ministry of healing and restoration while helping individuals and families experience freedom in Christ.

Outpost North started programming in January. We offer the Foundations course and have started an Elijah Company group. Foundations is a four-week introduction to Outpost and the healing process and is open to anyone struggling with unwanted SSA, parents and family members, as well as pastors and ministry leaders. Elijah Company is a support and prayer group for parents, family members, friends and co-workers with loved ones who identify as gay. We are also seeking opportunities to speak in area churches, especially to youth groups. It is my hope that someday we can offer one-to-one coaching and discipleship for individuals seeking freedom from unwanted same-sex attractions.

We are excited about what God can and will do here in the Brainerd Lakes area. We are excited to see lives transformed, families restored, marriages reconciled and captives set free. Our culture has done an excellent job of normalizing homosexuality. This, however, is not God’s design. It is time to stand up and help those who are struggling and lead them to a place of restoration and reconciliation.

It is our delight to be here in the Brainerd Lakes Area and to be the voice of Truth regarding this subject. This Iowa farm girl is excited to see God go after ones just like me and to set them free. It is our privilege to serve the Lord and to serve Outpost Ministries.

Interested in joining Outpost North’s Foundations class or Elijah Company group or inviting Angie to speak in the Brainerd Lakes Area of MN? Contact us.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

The Road Less Traveled

I was the middle child of five in a Catholic family. Our church in the 50’s and early 60’s was all about fire, hell and damnation. I don’t remember hearing about the mercy or love I longed for. Coming from a Scandinavian heritage, I learned at an early age that boys don’t cry and never share their painful thoughts. I had plenty of painful thoughts, as I had been sexually abused as a toddler.

As I grew older, I felt different from other boys. I was called a sissy by my peers and ignored by my older brother. I was also a super sensitive young boy, and I perceived, erroneously, that my father was ashamed of me and didn’t love me. I detached emotionally from him.  I got involved in theater in high school, and it was my major in college. My father just had no interest in those things, so I thought he had no interest in me as well. My mother was bipolar during a time when there was no such diagnosis; she could be verbally abusive.

I want to make it clear that I don’t blame my parents for the sinful choices I made. They did the best they could with a son they didn’t understand. Later in life, God showed me many happy times in my childhood and that my parents had indeed loved me.

When I got to college, I discovered pornography and began to act out with other men. Diane, my high school girlfriend, and I were dating and later married.  I continued to act out, unbeknownst to her.

I remember the first time that I went into a gay bar, and I was in awe of all the attention I received. For the first time in my life, I felt important, needed, and affirmed.

One day I was in a bathhouse, and a very old, fat, ugly man in a disheveled suit approached me and asked if I wanted to have sex. I said, “No.” He said, “I’ll pay you $20.” Again I said, “No.” Then he said, “I’ll pay you $20 if you just give me a hug.” I told him to keep his money.  I gave him a hug and went home. I looked in the mirror, and though I was 26, like a veil being lifted, I saw that one day I could be like that old man.

I believe that man was an angel. He opened my eyes, and I had a new revelation of myself. I realized that my homosexuality was not about sex at all, but it was all about being accepted and affirmed.  I got on my knees and cried out to God, “Lord, please change me.”

I struggled with unemployment for a season, and within a year, Diane and I moved to our cabin in Wisconsin.  We joined a prayer group, and they loaned us books.  One night, Diane and I were reading Ephesians out loud. The scriptures jumped off the page at me, and I soon realized that God was speaking to me. In Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV), we read, “For it is by grace you have been saved . . . It is the gift of God—not by works,” and in 2:10, my life verse, “We are all God’s work of art” (The Jerusalem Bible). For one suffering from self-hatred, that was music to my ears. Ephesians 5 says, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness,  but rather expose them. This is why it is said: ‘Wake up, O sleeper, Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you’” (vs. 8, 11, 14, NIV).

I fell on the floor weeping and asked God for forgiveness for my sinful ways. I also wept for joy because I finally understood what Christ did for me at Calvary and realized that the Father’s love for me is unconditional. We gave our lives to Christ that night. I thought my healing journey was over, but it was only the beginning.

We moved back to Minneapolis, and I finally got a job. We joined an interdenominational Christian community, and for the first time in my life, I began to relate to men in a healthy way. We also discovered we couldn’t have children. Diane miscarried three times, and each time, it was like a death in the family. We adopted the first of our two children, a special needs child. Though God would work a miracle in my son’s life, healing him from hydrocephalus, he had to endure severe migraines for the first 11 years of his life.

The stress at work and home was too much to bear, and I sought out those old patterns of medicating.  I now knew what the Bible said about homosexuality, and I just felt more guilt and shame. The shame fueled my acting out, and it became a cycle.

Homosexuality was not talked about in the church unless it was condemned. All the recovery books were yet to be written. Jesus was going to have to lead the way, and lead He did. He called us to join a non-denominational church with some of our friends, and God showed me how those relationships were key to my healing. It gave me great comfort and strength to know that these men accepted me and respected me and would not reject me. Still, I was not ready to divulge my secret sin.

One Sunday, the pastor spoke on anger and then invited people forward and prayed over them to be released from the clutches of anger. I went forward. Another Sunday, I went forward to be prayed for to be released from bitterness and unforgiveness. God revealed to me my hardened heart toward those who had wounded me in my youth. I was led in a prayer to forgive all of those people—my parents and my tormentors. I even had to forgive God for not allowing me to father a child. My desire to act out decreased considerably after each of those times of prayer ministry.

Later at a men’s retreat at my church, God spoke to me in my quiet time, “I have given you friends to encourage you, I have dealt with the root cause of your sinfulness. The next step is up to you.” I knew what He meant. I needed to expose the darkness and end my double-life. The truth needed to be shared. At the large group gathering, trembling, I shared briefly, “I have struggled with homosexuality most of my adult life, and God is doing a tremendous thing.” I did not get the rejection I feared but applause and acceptance.

That fall I went to my first group meeting at Outpost Ministries for Christian men struggling with unwanted same-sex attractions. I finally began to talk about my brokenness. Shame and guilt lost its hold on me, and along with it, my desire to act out with other men. No more pretending. I went to Diane and shared with her my years of infidelity. I said I was sorry and asked her for forgiveness. Initially in anger and tears she said, “No,” but God spoke to her at that moment. He told her He had forgiven her of her own sins. She then grabbed my hand and chose to forgive me.

I went through Living Waters, a Christ-centered program with teaching, prayer, and small group interaction. God showed me many other areas I needed healing. Living Waters brought me to the cross where I experienced a deeper level of healing for my sexual brokenness.

Diane and I gave our testimonies for the first time publicly at our home church in 1999.  Around that time, God called us to help other couples impacted by homosexuality in their marriages.  We formed Simon Ministries, named after Simon of Cyrene who carried Christ’s cross on the way to Calvary. Diane also gave her testimony at a national conference in San Diego in 2000.  I will always remember those two events as highlights of our ministry.

We worked out of our home, holding group meetings for both husbands and wives and running Living Waters at our church.  We were under the authority of our church until 2011 when we closed Simon Ministries and joined forces with Outpost. I came back to where it all began. Our group is now called Simon Refuge. In total, we have been ministering to married couples impacted by homosexuality for 16 years. We will be celebrating our 45th wedding anniversary in September. One of my favorite scriptures from Psalm 34:4-5 (NIV) says it all, “I sought the Lord, and He answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”

To quote Robert Frost, we took the road “less traveled, and that has made all the difference.”

The Undeniable Power of God

My family consisted of a mom, a dad, and two sisters. My father had set his heart and focus on providing for his family. He provided everything from a nice house to food on the table to, of course, fun toys for his children! Both Dad and I were clueless about the need for emotional connection with each other. With Dad’s time spent traveling for work, I remember distinctly when he’d return home. For two days, I would barely recognize him. How could I engage with him emotionally? My desire to connect with him, to be the apple of his eye, to make him proud of his little boy was stunted, leading to doubt and confusion.

The eight years that followed had me wrestling and searching for connection with males. Only now can I see just how ill-equipped I felt in relating to men. While I turned up empty-handed in this area of my life, I had no problem connecting with women. It’s all I could do growing up in a house full of them.

I believe this all contributed to my later torments in school. I was an easy target for ridicule as my peers teased me for my girlish behaviors, feminine sounding voice, and girly walk. At the tender age of ten, I could do nothing but fall for and, yes, even embrace these taunting lies as truths of my identity! As I did, I arrived at a new place of prescribed clarity: I must be gay!

At the age of 14, I came out as gay to my mother. We had been sitting together at night when I turned to her and unleashed my secret. Her words to me that evening sowed seeds that would later lead to changing my life forever. Her response to my secret was one offered in honesty, not judgment. She simply said to me, “Brad, nothing that comes from God will leave you confused or unsatisfied.” I couldn’t fully grasp what she meant in that moment, nor did I care to try. With my secret out, I was excited to get started on living my life as an openly gay young man.

Five years down the road, I had managed to acquire many sinful experiences, all in pursuit of happiness and love. I was ultimately looking for someone who would provide for, care for, and support me. In the end, my unhealthy relationships just exposed my emptiness and desperate need for fulfillment. The good feelings I came across would evaporate as quickly as they first appeared.

A game of tug-of-war began in my heart at the age of 20. God purposely ignited a slow-burning passion within me to have a family: a child and a beautiful wife. My gay partner could not offer this nor argue against it—men are meant to create! For the next two years, confusion set in and buried me. To speak out any of my new yearnings would directly contradict my “identity.” Drugs, promiscuity and isolation became the methods I used to interact with the world. I had attained everything I had ever wanted, yet here I was unsatisfied with a desperate need for more.

At the point when my life was the darkest, I found the light of salvation shining very brightly! The hope of Christ, however, had me pinned; mercy had come but with it, a choice. I could leave my lifestyle, move in with my parents and search for the abundant life God had promised my heart. Or, I could remain in the ruins I had created with my very own hands. After what felt like a full 24 hours of weeping, I surrendered to Jesus, and reached out to receive the hand of the Lord on April 20th, 2008.

The door of my parents’ house greeted my weary soul with a calming hush. My family rushed in and surrounded me with the unconditional support of their presence. God’s peace met me and welcomed me. I would need it for strength to commit myself to the unknown journey ahead. I realized quickly that God never intended me to fight alone, so I made the heavy-handed phone call to Outpost Ministries.

I spent three years as a participant at Outpost finding healing through:

  •  Real people who understand this issue. I couldn’t do life without community, especially without transparency, vulnerability, and others carrying the burdens of my heart (Galatians 6:2).
  •  Men standing strong with me, linking arms with me through the Holy Spirit, giving me support and encouragement through the Word of God.
  • Healthy masculine relationships. We are wounded in relationship and we are healed in relationship! The more I communicated with men and opened up, the more I felt my own masculinity being called forth. God placed a very specific group of men around me as Christian brothers. This was beyond powerful for me because I needed to know I was enjoyed and appreciated by other men.
  • Learning to rejoice in my weaknesses.

 “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

As I started to give God thanks through my trails, temptations, and afflictions, I gained the strength and power of the Lord.

  •  Listening to the voice of the Lord to obey His Word. Slowly but surely, He peeled back layers of my heart exposing pain and discomfort. My heart ached but God gave me perfect mercy and grace. God healed my heart as I heard His voice. He exposed me to my pain, allowing me to feel it. He didn’t leave me in the pain for long but used it to propel me forward with a stronger, fuller heart. It’s God’s desire to repair and restore the years the locusts have eaten.
  • Not focusing on the healing of unwanted same-sex attractions (SSA) but instead on the holiness of Jesus. The goal of healing from SSA is holiness, nothing else. If one has any other goal, it will lead to a disappointing and even destructive end. But the good news is that as we are transformed into the righteousness and holiness of Jesus (Ephesians 4:24), we are healed from SSA—over time.

My friends, the transformational power of God is undeniable! He has transformed my broken heart, searching for love and hope in all the wrong places, into a heart lovesick for Him, being filled with every blessing and revelation!

I have been serving on staff at Outpost for over three years now. I started Elijah Company, our support and prayer program for parents, friends and family with loved ones struggling with SSA, and I currently serve full-time as our Chief Operations Officer.

Today, seven years after God turned my disobedience to the wisdom of the righteous (Luke 1:17), He has blessed me with an unbelievable wife for whom I would joyfully give up my life. He has given me a double portion for taking up my cross to follow Him.

Even If

“God, if this relationship is truly wrong in your eyes and you really want me to let her go, please help us get out of our relationship.”

I prayed this half-hearted prayer in June 2011, and my life has since been forever changed.  The Lord answered my prayer three weeks after I prayed it. My girlfriend’s family found out about our secret relationship, and she retreated to them.  I didn’t chase after her as I knew that the exposure of our relationship was clearly God’s answer to my quiet plea.

After the breakup, my heart was broken beyond what I thought could be repaired.  I expected God to come at me with crushing truths such as, “I told you so,” and, “You deserve this pain for disobeying my commandments.”  He would have been absolutely righteous in doing so. I had always known the truth about homosexuality, that God’s Word forbids its practice.

Instead, however, the Lord comforted me in a supernatural way.  I could feel His distinct presence holding me close as snot and tears ran down my face each day that summer.  Instead of accusations, He whispered gently to me.  “I’m so sorry.  I’m sorry that you lost someone you loved, and I’m sorry that you struggle with same-sex attractions. I love you more than you can possibly imagine, and we will get through this together.”

After several months of simply mourning the loss of my girlfriend with the comfort of my Father and my family, Jesus nudged me back to Outpost Ministries.  I had been there in the past but with a chip on my shoulder and a hardened heart.  I finally gave in and made an appointment with Nate Oyloe.  I will never forget sitting in the prayer chapel with him and pouring out my pain and brokenness.  When I was done telling my tale, Nate asked me one simple question.  I thought he’d say, “What are you willing to do to become straight?”  Instead, he gently asked me, “What are you willing to do to get back your relationship with the Lord?”  After pondering this unexpected question, my heart answered for me as my lips said, “Anything.”

My answer launched me into an intense year-and-a-half of healing. I met with Nate each week, I endured and allowed myself to be remolded by the Living Waters program, and I spent hour after hour with the Lord, reading His Word and listening to the Holy Spirit speak life into me once again.

At the beginning of my healing journey, I still wasn’t sure if I really could be healed of my same-sex attractions, and I wasn’t sure that I would follow God if I couldn’t be healed. Soon enough, however, the Lord spoke to me through the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the book of Daniel.  These men were about to be thrown into a fiery furnace unless they bowed down to King Nebuchadnezzar’s golden statue.  These men’s response changed my faith.  They said,

If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us.  He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty.  But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up (Daniel 3:17-18, NLT). 

 This was it!  God was calling me to surrender my life in this same way.  That fall I declared, “Lord I believe that you will heal me of my same-sex attractions, but even if you don’t, I will never again bow down and worship the idol of homosexuality.”

Our Lord is a jealous God.  He desires our full affections and allegiance.  “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching,” Jesus declares in John 14:23.  From the point in which I declared my allegiance to Jesus Christ, my healing really began to take place.  I would follow Jesus into any fiery furnace because my love for Him from my youth had returned.  I now loved this God-Man with everything that I had.  He has never let me down.

Once my heart was with fully committed to the Lord, I began to trust and love Him in a new way.  As I began to relearn His character through time spent with Him as well as with Outpost’s life-changing help, He slowly began to restore my identity as a woman.  He began speaking truths to me such as, “You are my daughter.”  “You are my princess.”  “I have made you a woman and have said that it is good.”  For the first time in my life, I began agreeing with God.  Romans 12:2 became reality in my life as I allowed the Lord to transform the way that I thought.

Although I am still healing and transforming, the Lord conducted speedy recovery in my gender identity and sexuality in about a year-and-a-half.  In the fall of 2012, He called me to work for Outpost Ministries, the ministry that had quite literally saved my life.  I quickly refused as I declared, “God, I will NOT fundraise!”  After being denied application after application, month after month, for what I thought were “real jobs, I finally gave in to the Lord’s calling on my life.  I began to fundraise to help others impacted by homosexuality.  Just as God provided healing for my identity and sexual healing, He also provided for me financially.  I trained for nine months under Nate Oyloe as I sought to learn the work of Outpost.

For two years, I have been meeting with women to help them overcome what, at first, seems to them like impossible situations.  Alongside this responsibility, I have also worked as Outpost’s Office Manager.  At the beginning of this year, I was offered the position of Community Fundraiser since my individual fundraising efforts had been flourishing.  I smile as I think of the irony of the situation.  A once extremely stubborn, “non-fundraising” woman now raises funds for the ministry she holds dear to her heart.  I am excited to share the good news about the healing and restoration that Jesus Christ has to offer as I envision many to financially support the miracles that happen at Outpost on a daily basis.

Confronting “Gay Christian” Theology

I have been a part of Outpost Ministries for almost 20 years. During this time I have watched the cultural landscape shift radically in regards to the issue of homosexuality. Nowadays, the “gay lifestyle” is embraced, accepted and even celebrated in all spheres of life. It is normal to see gay couples get married or engaging in sexual behaviors on prime-time television. This was not the case all that long ago. The shift came quickly and took many in the Church by surprise.

Now I am watching the landscape of the Church change in this regards as well. In the same way, the shift is coming quickly and is taking many by surprise. Most mainline denominations now more than tolerate—they ordain gay clergy, marry gay couples and encourage same-sex attracted youth to embrace their “gayness” as a gift from God and a blessing to others. What is even more shocking is now, once stalwart evangelical churches and organizations are falling prey to “gay Christian” theology—the thinking that it is okay to be a Christ-follower and embrace a gay identity. While there are different expressions of the “gay Christian” (some choose celibacy while others marry their partners), the bottom line is clear: to embrace the gay identity in any way is an affront to the image of God in men and women, and it is contrary to what God has commanded in His Word.

God’s creation is heterosexual (Genesis 1:26-27). Within God’s heterosexual creation, there are two genders: masculine and feminine. In God’s created order, there is always one and then the other. In the macro understanding of this principal, we have God who, in the masculine, initiated a love relationship with the Church, His Bride. We see the macro played out in the micro: married love between a man and a woman (Ephesians 5:31-32).

“Hetero” is different from the prefix “homo” which means “same.” There is, not two, but one. The good news for the same-sex attracted is that in God’s creation, there is no such thing as a homosexual, only heterosexuals, however broken he or she may have gotten in this world. We all have to live in the flow of the reality God has established, regardless of our feelings or attractions.

Gender is a way of categorizing characteristics. The historical meaning of gender is “things we treat differently because of their inherent differences.” Biblical gender is the compilation of characteristics that make up who God is and how He acts within relationships. It includes the distinction between God’s being and His activity.

Right away in Genesis 1:1, we see God as a gendered being—In the beginning God (being) created the heavens and the earth (activity). God continues to make distinctions as He creates: light and dark, day and night, land and sea, the heavens and the earth. God solidifies distinction within Himself—He IS and He DOES. He creates for six days (activity) and on the seventh day He rests (being). Distinction is important to God.

God continues to make distinction in Genesis 1:26-27:

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

In God’s creation, unity or union does not do away with distinction. There will always be a distinction between God and man, man and creation and male and female.

Paganism always tries to do away with distinction. The goal of paganism is that all would become one; God and man, man and creation, male and female, etc. are simply “one with the universe.” We see this lack of distinction being played out in human culture’s many sordid expressions of sexuality. It seems anything goes these days! Culture wants to do away with any gender distinction or the gender binary. Dr. Peter Jones, author of The God of Sex, says that when the primary binary (God and His creation) is eliminated, all other binaries crumble.

Homosexuality has its roots in paganism. This is why the movement to promote homosexuality is so powerful. It is not just about sex, or even whom you choose to love; it has a spiritual component. When the creature is worshiped rather than the Creator, demons are present.

To take on a gay identity is to step outside of God’s created order and out of the flow of reality. It is to reject one’s sense of belonging in God’s creation. Taking on a gay identity essentially shuts down the healing process and hinders receptivity of future blessings the Lord has in His heart for the struggler. It is letting the “old man” remain and refusing to walk in righteousness and holiness.

20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:20-24).

These words may seem bold or even harsh, but now is the time for boldness and courage, Church! I believe that “gay Christian” theology (in all its varied forms) is the greatest danger to the Western Church today. It threatens the very foundation of our understanding of God, His creation and our place within His creation. It is an assault on the image of God and the distinctions He has established between Himself and creation.

Let me conclude by clarifying a couple of issues. First, one’s temptations and life-dominating issues do not determine salvation. Most of the individuals who come to Outpost are born-again believers, yet they still struggle with unwanted same-sex attractions. We are saved by God’s grace available through Jesus Christ, not by our ability to keep His Law or to avoid temptation.

Second, God loves everyone within the “gay community”. His heart is burning to see His children return to Him.  Many individuals have been wounded and rejected by the Church’s poor response to their struggle with same-sex attractions.  A compassionate, biblical understanding of homosexuality within the Church has been needed for a very long time.

With that said, the current “gay Christian” conversation and shift that is now taking place within the Church is not based on a biblical understanding of homosexuality. The Church is sorely lacking a scriptural understanding of gender and the image of God.

We must be firm in our convictions in this hour. We must dig deeply into Genesis 1:26-27 and seek the Lord for wisdom and understanding of His image. We must stand for truth, for there is much at stake. As the kings of the earth cast off restraint, let us with even more resolve humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord and bow our knees to the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Strengthened According to His Word

“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).