Homosexuality: How Do We Respond? Seminar October 11

Sojourn CampusHomosexuality: How Do We Respond? Church, 310 18th Ave SE in Minneapolis, is organizing and hosting Homosexuality: How Do We Respond?  A half-day seminar on a biblical response to same-sex attractions. Topics include: The Bible and Homosexuality, Root Causes and Healing, A Practical Response and a Q & A time with speakers. The seminar is on Saturday, October 11, 10:30 AM-3:30 PM, with registration beginning at 9:30 AM.  Admission is free; pre-registration is recommended. For more info and to register, visit www.sojourncampuschurch.net.   Parking is available at the 4th St. Ramp, 1625 4th St SE, Minneapolis (cost will range from $6-$12).

JHOP Expands Tuesday Hours!

We are excited to announce that JHOP will now be open every Tuesday from 8 AM until 10 PM beginning October 7!  As a result of the JHOP Launch Party and related events, we now have the strength and resources to add a full day of live worship and prayer to our prayer room schedule. In addition to our Tuesday hours, we are open every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 8 AM until noon. We look forward to adding more hours as resources allow!

It’s Time

As a junior in high school, I attended a youth conference. At this conference, one of the speakers challenged us to spend one hour each day in prayer. At the time, such a challenge felt impossible. To me, prayer was boring; it was something you did simply out of duty. I could not imagine a prayer life that was enjoyable or life-giving.

Upon graduating from high school, I moved to the Twin Cities for college. I was struggling with unwanted same-sex attractions and desperate for God’s intervention in my life. It was also in college that I found out about Outpost Ministries.

At Outpost, I learned that God is still speaking and that He wants to have the kind of relationship with me where we talk to each other. The Creator of the universe wants to talk with me?! I was blown away. I learned that this dialogue with God, rooted in His written Word, was the essence of true prayer.

Suddenly, an hour of prayer each day seemed too short. I couldn’t get enough of the voice of the Lord. I was amazed at how much joy and peace and life one could find in the place of prayer. It was at that time that my journey into wholeness in Christ was profoundly accelerated. The Word of the Lord was healing my heart.

Several years later, I attended another conference, this one specifically on prayer. At the conference, we were challenged to spend extended times with the Lord in the place of prayer. It was at this conference that I heard the Lord challenge me to spend two hours of my day with Him prayer. Interestingly enough, I once again thought such a challenge was impossible. After all, I was busy with ministry!

Needless to say, the Lord won this wrestling match. Every day, I went to my church and spent two hours singing and praying the Word of God. It was during this time that I fell in love with God’s written Word. I was deepened as a lover of God, and my ministry finally began to bear fruit.

Several years later, the Lord once again challenged me, this time to spend three hours of my day in prayer. I wish I could say I had learned my lesson, but once again I fought the Lord. My ministry had really taken off. I was busy about advancing the Kingdom! Where was I going to find another hour for God in my busy schedule?

In faith I said yes to this next challenge, and I began to give the Lord three hours of my day in prayer, worship and study of His Word. It was clear that the Lord was jealous for my time. What an amazing reality to comprehend. God is jealous for me and wants to spend time with me! Three hours each day became a very small price to pay in exchange for the glory of a deeper knowing that I am the Lord’s beloved and He is mine. Interestingly enough, the more time I gave the Lord, the more I actually accomplished in a day.

Now I choose to live a lifestyle of prayer. Half of my workday (four hours) is spent in prayer, worship and study of God’s Word.  What’s more, I believe that God is calling His Church to a lifestyle of prayer and worship in this hour. This is the only way we will survive and thrive in the face of the coming storms. I have committed myself to building the house of prayer, a place for God to fellowship with His people. This corporate expression of unceasing prayer and worship is God’s strategy for overcoming the darkness in our land and releasing justice to His people.

Beloved, it’s time for 24/7 prayer and worship in the Twin Cities. It’s time to push back the darkness. It’s time to partner with the Lord in releasing His justice in the earth. It’s time. The Lord is raising up houses of prayer all around the globe right now in an unprecedented way. Will you join the Father in what He is doing? Will you join the prayer movement? Will you join us?

A Voice in the Wilderness

For those of us who cling ferociously to what we call “traditional biblical values”—that is, families which have two grown-ups in charge, a him and a her—the modern age has grown bewildering. The gay lobby now exerts immense influence in the public sphere, the LGBT community has taken the place of the Christian church as ambassadors of all that is considered right and moral, and Facebook members will find that their profile page now offers them 51 gender options to choose from.

Does all of this seem to you like something you’d rather not talk about? It did to me too. I found this whole topic to be depressing, frightening and generally unpleasant. Until, that is, I got to know Outpost Ministries.

Outpost is an outreach to men and women who are choosing to confront unwanted same-sex attraction. I’ve known about and supported Outpost for many years without thinking about it very much because a staff member is a close friend. It seemed a viable, worthy cause—you know, like the Food Shelf or Toys For Tots. A niche ministry among many.

But more recently, my understanding has deepened and my tune has changed, to the point that I’ve just accepted an invitation to join Outpost’s team. I’ve come to see Outpost as one of a small group of Christian organizations which are taking a stand and leading a charge against a strategic, global campaign of our Enemy. I believe now that what they (we) are doing is vital and urgent. It is so central and important to our Church as a whole. In fact, if they or somebody like them don’t do the kind of work they are doing, then our nation is headed pell-mell into chaotic darkness.

That’s a very large claim. It is either grandiose or true. To defend it, I must beg a little patience while I explain. Here’s how it works: we humans exist to love and be loved by God. That was God’s purpose in creating us. It is His great risk because in order to stand a chance of receiving back the kind of love He gives us, He had to make us like Him—able to choose.

And because we are like Him, we have the same choice in loving one another as we have in loving Him. God put us on the earth and gave us each other to love so that, in doing so, we may learn to love Him. That’s where the fun starts.

The human creature begins as a baby, a cute, little cherub full of needs but with absolutely no idea what love is or how to do it. He/she must be taught. By whom? Obviously, those people on whom the little tyke must depend for his/her every need, the caregivers. Ideally, a mom and dad.

As God does with the Church, the parents reach out in love to their little one. This begins on day one, and even in the womb. Baby responds in kind, and a mutual bond of trust, affection, identity and ownership begins to grow. And from this essential, primary bond, the child can then branch out to loving others and God.

But this scenario presumes that the parents in question live in a perfect world. They know what love is, how to do it, and are capable of teaching it to their child—perfectly. If they don’t, then even though the child may get fed and clothed and outwardly seem well-adjusted, one possible result when he/she grows up is—you guessed it—same-sex attraction.

At Outpost what we’ve found is that our clients come to us with versions of this same story. The result is that those children grow into adults who have a desperate need—because we’re all made that way—to love and be loved, but they can’t because they lack the ability to bond. They are often well-versed in social skills and forms of religion, but on the inside they are brutally isolated—from others and from God.

Well, that’s a sad story, but how is it a large-scale catastrophe? What makes it a battlefield (in what we loosely call “spiritual warfare”) is that through stories like this, our Enemy gets what he really wants: human beings who, through their inability to bond, are cut off from God, functionally unable to respond to His love. And because of this, the Enemy has moved every resource he can find in support of this dynamic.

The result is that in recent years the gay lobby has steadily gained in political, social and moral ascendancy; to the point that now, in the US and even in the Western world in general, to disagree—to advocate for biblical values—is considered virtually indistinguishable from a hate crime.

And the outcome—what the Enemy gets out of all this—is the destruction of the family as the foundational institution of human existence. And without a family, primarily a loving mom and dad, how can children learn to respond to God’s love?

I grew up in a small town called Bemidji, MN, and I miss it, partly because it’s such a safe, rational, sane place. If you live in a place like that, or go to a church like that, it probably seems like a very normal place. But it isn’t. Not any more. It is now one of many, shrinking pockets of relative sanity in a larger culture which seems grimly intent on shredding itself into meaninglessness.

A sad part of this story is that throughout this macro upheaval, the Christian Church has remained largely silent. In fact, many main-line denominations, responding to political pressure, have begun to waver and have even made declarations against biblical values. And many church leaders, while privately sticking to their beliefs, are unwilling to take a visible stand because they fear the storm of invective which may come their way if they do.

Outpost is one of the very few Christian organizations—a voice crying out in the wilderness, as it were—which is in the business of saying “No!” to these designs of the Enemy. And yes, we’ve paid a price. We’ve been misquoted, maligned and vilified in the press, vandalized, etc., but in the process, we’ve seen many men and women walk a path of humility and healing which results in new hope, restored gender identity, and families where their own kids are learning how to love.

But of course, Outpost is bigger than that. It has to be. Whether we really wanted to or not, by default Outpost carries a very public banner which says that all is not lost, the family as an institution is not an outmoded myth, and God still works through moms and dads to raise up children unto Himself.

That is why I think Outpost is so important. This isn’t just a worthy cause, this is vital. The need is vast and urgent, and we need workers.

And we need you too. We need you to open your hearts to the tearing need which inhabits the world outside our homes and churches. We ask only one thing from you: that you get with God and ask him what part he wants you to play. Will you do that?

Running with My Father

Confession: ten years ago I was a couch potato. I enjoyed occasional activity, but for the most part after a long day at the office, I preferred to lay around and veg. I remember prior to getting married, Candace was concerned that it was like pulling teeth to get me to take a walk with her!

Then I got one of the greatest gifts I have ever received: my father called me and asked me to run a race with him. There was going to be a 10K race (6.4 miles) in my home town, and my dad wanted to run it with his kids. He got two bites: my wife Candace and me. Training was hard, but as I pressed in, endurance began to grow. More and more, I was actually enjoying running.

On race day, we were up early preparing, stretching, not sure what to expect. The race was challenging for a beginner, running a section of the course uphill against a North Dakota wind, but I pushed through. Even though both my dad and Candace beat me to the finish line, finishing the race was one of the most life-changing moments of my life. I was now a runner—a slower runner, but a runner nonetheless. Training for the next year began almost immediately.

It was then that running became not just physical but profoundly spiritual for me. My father asked me to run a race in the natural; my Heavenly Father has asked me to run the race of faith. Both require training, endurance and pushing through when the going gets tough.

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. —Hebrews 12:1-2a

Since my first race, I have mined some precious spiritual realities from running:

I encounter God when I run. He speaks to me. Often times I will see Jesus running along side of me, encouraging me on. I have found that Jesus is the ultimate trainer. For me, it is a great illustration: at those moments when running feels hard or I want to quit, I draw strength from seeing Jesus running with me.

What’s true for the body is often true for the soul. When my spiritual life becomes difficult, I must do as the writer of Hebrews counsels us and “look unto Jesus.” He is not passive in His dealings with us. He is with us, always working toward His goal of finishing the good work He began in us.

I remember one year on race day as I looked at the sky, there were rain clouds on the horizon heading our way. I was concerned that we were going to get rained out. Then the strangest thing happened. The clouds seemed to remain in place except for one lone thunderhead extending from the bank of the clouds. The race began. As I came around the corner, I was running straight for this lone thunderhead extending towards me. I looked up at the thunderhead, and as I did, two loud peals of thunder burst from the clouds. Then the clouds retreated and the sky was as clear as a bell. Revelation 4:5 says, From His throne proceed lightnings, thunderings, and voices (NKJV). I knew the Father was with me cheering me on!

I break through when I run. I have found running to be my biggest asset in the natural in spiritual warfare.

When under attack from the enemy, our fleshly inclination is passivity. The enemy wants us to feel intimidated and weak in his presence. Many times, we let oppression hang around instead of standing in our authority and fighting.

Running is my way of breaking out of said passivity. I need to get into my body and get aggressive. There is something about doing this in the natural that helps me connect with the deeper spiritual reality. In the body, I am running and praying warfare prayers; in the spirit I am warring against powers and principalities. I echo King David’s words in Psalm 18:29, For by You I can run against a troop, by my God I can leap over a wall.

I long for the finish line when I run. I have continued to run the race with my dad every year since. In fact, it has become a family event every July. My favorite part of the race is just before I get to the finish line. As I come around the corner, my children and all of my nieces and nephews are waiting to run with me the last several hundred feet. Everyone is cheering! It is a moment of great joy.

I like to imagine a similar scene before I cross the ultimate finish line. The great cloud of witnesses is there cheering me on, some ready to run with me the last bit of distance. Those who have gone before me are waiting with great joy. At the finish line my Prize is waiting—the most joyful of them all—JESUS, my eternal reward. Therefore, I heed the Apostle Paul’s exhortation, Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it (1 Corinthians 9:24).

I have an earthly father; I have a Heavenly Father. Both have invited me to run a race. To both I have said, “Yes!” with all my heart. I am eternally grateful to both for the invitation—to my dad for giving me the gift of health and the greatest asset to my spiritual walk, and to my God for giving me the gift of faith and the opportunity to practice my faith on this race toward the eternal finish line. Now that I am a father myself, I will be inviting my children in the same manner as I have been invited. Just like my earthly father and my Heavenly Father, I want to run this race with my kids.

In running in the natural and in the spiritual, I find great joy. Yeah, it’s not always easy. But I have much to be thankful for—starting with two legs that can run!

Strategies for Practicing Joy

Every human being on the planet wants joy; after all, it’s what we were originally created for. As believers, we are commanded to practice it. But more often than not, joy is elusive and seems out of reach. Joyfulness can be especially hard to hold on to in the midst of trials and tribulation. For the past two months, we’ve discussed the necessity of embracing joy in the healing journey and why it is the key to our success. This month, I want to continue on this subject by sharing with you five practical strategies for defeating negativity and living out the God-intended joy for your life.

We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. –2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV)

1) In the flesh, we are prone to evaluate our lives as going from failure to failure. This is a huge hindrance to joy! The Bible teaches us that the Lord evaluates our lives differently. From the Lord’s perspective, we as believers go from glory to glory.

Get a journal and begin to reframe the past 24 hours with the help of the Lord. Write out His evaluation of it. Ask the Holy Spirit to highlight moments of victory and glory. Trust me, when He looks at your life, the Lord sees more glory than you could ever imagine. Getting glimpses of God’s perspective of your life will make you joyful!

Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving . . . –Colossians 4:2

2) Always include thanksgiving in your prayer life. This is the opposite of doubt and double-mindedness. It is the fullness of belief, and it gives you access to more joy.

The voice of my beloved! Behold, he comes leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills. –Song of Solomon 2:8

3) SEE GOD. So often in the midst of a difficult circumstance, we lose sight of God’s presence with us in the situation. Our focus is stuck on the blocked goal, resulting in frustration and disappointment. If we would only redirect our focus and look up, we would see that blocked goals are nothing to the Lord—He leaps upon the mountains. We would also see the power of our relationship with the Lord. Our faith moves mountains. This new perspective fosters excitement and joy because life becomes an adventure with God on your side.

 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord. –Psalm 27:6

4) At the moment you feel pulled toward negativity, offer a sacrifice of praise. Joy can be difficult; it can be a sacrifice. These are the “hallelujahs” that mean the most. It’s easy to praise God in seasons of blessing when joy is abundant. It’s much harder when we are suffering and joy seems scarce. Nevertheless, Jesus is worthy of our praise regardless of the circumstance. Sacrifices of joy interject strength into the situation—not just for you, but for all involved.

You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions. –Psalm 45:7

5) Learn to laugh with God. Jesus is the most joyful man! God has a happy heart, and He has a sense of humor. We learn to cry with God, but rarely do we learn to laugh with Him. Ask God to reveal His sense of humor to you. Ask Him to make you laugh. The Lord’s humor is certain to brighten your day and bring you joy.

Joy is a powerful weapon in the hands of the believer. It is our strength in the battle. (No wonder the enemy works so hard to steal it!) I pray that as you implement new strategies in your life, you will have more joy, peace and victory.

The Key to Our Success

Salvation is a moment of awakening. We are made alive, having been dead in sin. Life is breathed into us for the first time. We receive the knowledge of God that opens the door to us experiencing eternal life—beginning now. All of this satisfies a longing in us that nothing else in all of creation has been able to gratify. Our eyes are opened to the reality that this world is not our home. And in this moment of awakening, something wells up within us that will be the key to our success as a Christ-follower: gratitude.

The Psalms teach us that gratitude is the doorway into the presence of the Lord. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name (Ps. 100:4, NKJV). In the presence of the Lord, there is the fullness of joy (Ps. 16:11). Gratitude is the key to finding joy, and joy is the key to living victoriously as a Christian. Remember, the joy of the Lord is [our] strength (Neh. 8:10b).

Unfortunately, gratitude does not come naturally to us. In our flesh, it is far easier to focus on the negative. We complain. We grumble. We whine. We may not even voice it aloud, but consider for a moment your inner dialogue—the conversations you have with yourself. Is it a struggle to think and feel the best regarding situations you find yourself in? Trials and tribulations come, and in those moments it is hard to “consider it all joy” as we have been exhorted by the Apostle James. Insults and persecution happen, and our natural inclination is not rejoicing and gladness as Jesus has counseled us. Gratitude is a discipline.

In order for us to practice this said discipline, we must have a vision of what gratitude affords us: joy in the presence of the Lord. Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint (Prvb. 29:18a). Our hearts need to know the why behind the what. As a parent, I know this full well. How often have I told my two sons to do something and have been met with the response, “Why?” We are commanded in the scriptures to be thankful in all circumstances, but in the day to day of life, our hearts need to be reminded of the why. God as the perfect parent understands this reality of the human heart.

The Father desires to continually envision our hearts to joy. So does Jesus. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full (Jn. 15:11). Yes! One of Jesus’ objectives in conversation with you is the fullness of your joy. He wants a joyful Bride because a joyful Bride is a strong Bride!

A lack of gratitude to the Lord leads to slavery. Consider the words of Moses to the Israelites: Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness of heart . . . therefore you shall serve your enemies (Deut. 28:47-48). Making this more specific to the work of Outpost, the only time the scriptures give a root cause for homosexual behavior is in Romans 1. Guess what it is—a lack of gratitude! Because although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened (Rom. 1:21). I am going to make a bold statement: for the man or woman walking in the fullness of joy, homosexual behavior is impossible. Thankfulness to God increasingly leads to holiness. In contrast, a lack of gratitude leads to envy and all sorts of foolish ways of being and doing—homosexuality included.

If you are wanting the joy of your salvation restored, begin by thanking God for saving you, and not just once, but throughout your day. Stick with it UNTIL you break through to joy. Put off negativity and put on gratitude. Thanksgiving, praise, delighting and rejoicing are all hallmarks of the new man.

I have set a goal for the Outpost staff: at the beginning of 2015, I want us to be the most joyful ministry in the Twin Cities. I invite you to join us! Jesus is worthy of a joyful Bride. Therefore, let us continue to passionately walk humbly with God with gratitude in our hearts.

Embracing the Journey with Joy

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. —Romans 1: 20-21, NKJV (emphasis added)

This past January, I charged the Outpost Ministries staff with a mission: by January 1, 2015, I want us to be the most joyful ministry in the Twin Cities. In our line of work of dealing with sexual and relational brokenness, joy can be difficult at times. We deal with people’s sin and pain on a daily basis. We see firsthand the negative impact a changing society is having on the next generation. We face persecution and constant spiritual warfare. But in all of this, scripture’s exhortation remains, My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials . . . (James 1:2).

Trials are certain, regardless of your line of work. Joy in the midst of these said trials takes some effort. It doesn’t come naturally. Joy must be intentionally embraced. We must cast off the negative thought patterns that so easily entangle us and choose to set our minds on things above. We must choose to walk in gratitude.

I am finding that gratitude is the doorway to joy. When people do not walk in thankfulness to God, their thoughts become foolish and their hearts become darkened, which is not very helpful in the midst of the trials of life! But those who choose gratitude are given clarity and light in the midst of the storm. When our hearts are overwhelmed, there is a Rock that is higher than us.

And with right perspective, we have joy. God is still on the throne, still in control and very close to the brokenhearted. God is a promise keeper. We can rest in His love. We can trust His ways. He does not leave; He does not forsake the ones He loves.

Negativity is exhausting. Joy is energizing. Negativity can make us sick. Joy heals our souls. Negativity is viewing the present circumstance with God out of the picture. Joy is seeing God with you in the midst of life’s ups and downs—an ever-present help in times of trouble.

For more joy in your life, try this exercise: for the next week, set aside three times each day to thank God for five minutes.  You could do it breakfast, lunch and dinner. Write down what you are thankful for and declare it back to God. Or, to make it even more fun, sing it to God. Make up little songs of thanksgiving that you can carry with you throughout your day. You don’t have to be a singer; God loves a joyful noise! You could even shout your thankfulness to God. The point is to put on an attitude of gratitude.

This is spiritual warfare, as the enemy loves to keep us bound up in negative thought patterns. He loves to disempower us by stealing our joy. He loves to interpret our pain. Fight back by letting your thankfulness to God abound.

Beloved, will you join us in our pursuit of joy this year? Jesus is returning for a JOYFUL Bride. She won’t be offended or grumbling or crabby. She will be glorious and prepared and abounding in thankfulness to the Father. Therefore, let us fight for joy in ourselves and in others. Jesus is worthy of a joyful Bride.

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).