The Seven-Year-Old Boy

It was a cold, crisp New Year’s Day. Two young brothers, ages 7 and 10, were in their room playing, jumping on their beds, laughing and having fun as brothers often do. Suddenly they heard a loud thud coming from downstairs. The younger brother ran to see what the commotion was about, opened the door to his parent’s bedroom and discovered his daddy, laying in a pool of his own blood, and the gun he used to shoot himself laying beside him.

This unspeakable tragedy and the wounds this produced turned the little boy’s life upside down. Why did his daddy want to leave him? Wasn’t he a good enough son to make his daddy want to live? The pain and turmoil in the family was intense, and no one knew how to comfort them. Everyone was left in the darkness of their own silence, confusion and pain.

It didn’t seem life could get any harder for that family, but it did. On the day of his daddy’s funeral, the boy’s mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She had to leave the family to go to New York for cancer treatment. The little boy and his brothers and sisters were separated and sent to stay with family members. This sad, lonely little boy was left uncomforted, confused and desperately trying to deal with his pain. Those events sent that child on a search for a father, a search that  would last for almost 40 years.

The little boy started to think maybe it was his fault that all those bad things had happened. He began to take on the pain of the rest of the family. He tried to “make it right” for everyone else. That made him feel even more angry and alone because, no matter what he did, he couldn’t fix it. More and more, every day, his feelings of rejection, abandonment, pain and rage grew.

If his daddy loved him, why did he do this? If God was real why did he let this happen? The little boy began to feel very sorry for himself. Rage grew and grew as he thought, “Why is life treating me so unfairly?” The incredible pain from these wounds caused him to look for comfort anywhere he could find it, because pain always seeks to be comforted!

At a very early age, someone introduced him to masturbation and pornography which he used to try to comfort the pain and confusion in his life. Later in life he became a sexual addict, always looking for love and comfort in the wrong places. He suffered from guilt, shame, rejection and a lack of self-worth so deep he sometimes wished he were dead, like his father, and then hating himself more for even thinking such thoughts.

The boy became a young man and discovered that if he could perform well enough in sports that people would accept him and give him some of the love he craved for so desperately. He became a very good athlete, a competitor, because if he “hit the ball right” his coach would give him words of acceptance and affirmation. Even that was not enough to heal the pain in his heart, and he turned to drugs, alcohol, pornography and sex to try to comfort his pain. Those things did make him feel better for a little while, but then the pain came back, worse than ever, because now it was mixed with shame, condemnation, and intense feelings of self-hatred.

When this boy was 16-years-old, he came to Christ, but the shame, fear and rejection didn’t go away. He had a really hard time seeing God as his Father because his experience with a father only represented pain and abandonment. He always felt like an outsider, looking in, trying to be good enough to receive Father God’s love but always missing the mark. Then, when he would inevitably fail, he would become even more angry, lonely, and filled with rage.

That young man grew up, married, had a son and daughter of his own and became a pastor, but the wounds of his childhood were still there, buried deeply. Much of his life was still rooted in fear, shame and rejection. Even as a pastor he struggled with rage, lustful temptations and incredibly low self-worth.

Many years passed, and the man’s own little boy grew up. He was attending Bible school when a phone call came that again would change this family’s life forever. The son of this man had tried to take his own life. The pattern was repeating itself—but this time, the ending would be different. This man finally felt pain so intense that he had no choice but to change. He finally let some of his walls of self-defense down and let God touch his pain, the pain that had been bottled up for so many years.

Father God, the Father this man had been searching for almost 40 years, came in and began to pour comfort and healing into the wounds of this man’s broken heart. He began to see God as the loving Father who would never leave him. He began to allow Father to heal him and his family. He began to realize that God was a Father to the fatherless, and it was only in His arms that he would find true comfort and healing for his wounds.

That little boy, that young man, that father, that pastor, is me. I’ve finally found the Father I’ve been looking for all my life. He wants to comfort you, to heal your pain the same way He healed mine. He is your Father, the perfect Dad you’ve been looking for all your life!

Register now for the Power of the Father’s Love Conference February 19 & 20, 2016 or visit our Events page for more info.

Power of the Father’s Love Conference

Father's Love Conferences PostcardTCJHOP presents Power of the Father’s Love Conference February 19th and 20th with Pastor Dave and Kris Toyne of Agape Christian Family Church and Shiloh Place Ministries.

Pastor Dave and Kris have traveled throughout the world—including Europe, South Korea, Canada, Mexico and all over the United States—bringing the message of the Father’s love. Their message will encourage you in your journey as the Father’s dearly beloved son or daughter. You will be challenged and inspired as you take another step in the process of EXPERIENCING God’s love for yourself and allowing that love to overflow to those around you.  Come and experience the power of the Father’s love!

February 19th 6:30-9:30 PM (Registration begins at 5:00 PM)

February 20th 9:30 AM-4:30 PM (Registration begins at 9:00 AM)

Northbrook Alliance Church
6240 Aldrich Ave N
Brooklyn Center, MN 55430
 

Advanced Registration (before Feb. 16th) $35

General Registration (opens 5pm Feb. 19th) $45

REGISTER NOW

The Power of the True Christ

“Why would you EVER want to leave homosexuality?”

This is a question we’re often asked. Some ask it out of genuine interest. They want to understand the ones we minister to, as well as the impetus behind our ministry at Outpost. Others ask it out of ignorance, never having conceived the possibility that it could happen. Still others, wishing to skewer and disparage our efforts, ask out of animosity. In any case it’s a question we often wrestle with, and we want to give an appropriate response to each person.

We’re motivated by Peter’s admonition in 1 Peter 3:15-17 (NIV, throughout),

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.)

Peter’s instructions not only offer motivation for answering, but also suggest the modus operandi by which we go about it—gently and respectfully. This implies masculine strength under control—or meekness (which is a by-product of living by the Spirit). It is masculine precisely because it requires that truth be clearly spoken.

At any rate, here’s a brief explanation of the hope that we have which is a central component to “our good behavior,” which is more about accomplishing Moral Good than “behaving well,” which tends to focus on not doing certain uncouth things or bad manners.

Peter rightfully teaches that we first begin with setting apart Christ as Lord. And this is essential to our ministry here at Outpost. We often say, we’re not here to turn homosexuals into heterosexuals, we’re here to turn men and women’s hearts toward Christ. We assist people in their journey toward imitating Christ more clearly. We want them to be just like Jesus!

But what of this “lordship” that Peter writes about? Lordship implies worship, submission and dependence. My pastor is doing a series of sermons on the “True Christ,” and why obedience to Him is so compelling. The series’ text is from 1 John 5:21, “Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.” Here the Apostle John is writing to believers who have become discouraged in their faith. This is his parting comment.

In classic Johannine fashion, he calls them his “dear children.” Clearly, this is a reference to how he feels about them. It is a term of endearment. But we must also understand that throughout the previous five chapters, he has carefully and lovingly described what the “children” of God are. And that is, those who obey, believe and love Jesus. This obedience, faith and love is particularly evident when they’ve lost their confidence. And the three of these together describe the true believer. If one is missing, perhaps one is not worshiping the True Christ. Any object of worship who is not True, John calls here, an idol.

Certainly, these days, most Americans don’t have little statues they worship, but many do pledge their allegiance to a “god” who cannot possibly be true, and they do this for a number of reasons—most often for convenience. We know these “christs” are false because there is a breakdown in obeying, believing and loving in the life of these believers.

Though we don’t have the space to develop these ideas fully, I will summarize three false christs many worship:

1) The pushover magic wand christ is not smart and can’t tell what’s real. If you say the magic words, he’ll wave the magic wand, and you’ll go to heaven when you die, but he won’t touch your real life now. You can keep your gossip, lust and sin. This christ never calls you to obey, love or believe, let alone pick up your cross and follow him.  “It’s all cosmetic,” says this christ. “I won’t touch any part of your real life. I don’t care about the way you treat your neighbor, who you love or how you love. And your sexuality—well, do what you want! It doesn’t matter to me!”

The problem with this christ is that we need (and want) a God who knows, sees and cares about the daily struggles of our lives!

2) The tyrant christ is the one who says, “One false move and you’re dead.” This is like the abusive parent whom one obeyed so that he or she didn’t get smacked. But this is obeying out of fear, not love. And by our definition, this is a false christ because, it’s obey, believe AND love that mark Christianity. There’s a disbelief that God’s good, gentle or loving, so one guards his heart and anesthetizes himself from this christ. Unfortunately, then his outsides will look different from his insides. He becomes a hypocrite, and God can’t touch his heart.

The problem with this christ is that it’s not real. The True Christ is a loving father who does not abuse his children, but by “his divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3).

3) The tame Christ is “the Lamb of God.” Whew. We can live with this. But he is not just a Lamb. And if you live in that, you will be destroyed by the Lion that he is, too. A relationship with the True Christ is an invitation to marriage with him, not just to have and hold, but for better or worse, for rich or for poor, in sickness and in health. If you don’t get this part of what marriage is, you don’t get who He is. He’s not here to cuddle you, hug you and make you feel safe. Jesus is on a mission to destroy the works of the devil. “Come join me for the ride of your life. Let’s do this together. You better bring your faith and courage and love. Comfort? Yeah, but if this is what you want most, maybe you should marry another guy.” And if all you got was comfort, maybe you “married” someone other than the True Christ.

Jesus is many things, including love, but he is not tame. Not passive nor predictable. His highest priority and passion is not just that we all be comfortable in the suburbs. This relationship is a marriage—the adventure of a lifetime. This requires tenacious believing, bold loving, etc. This relationship will not teach you how to play it safe. Jesus is not the play-it-safe kind of man. We’re the bride, but do we have any idea who this groom is? Jesus is a bit of a wild man. Do you feel any energy next to him at all? You can’t get close to him without feeling some heat.

Dorothy Sayers said that we’ve tried to tame him by “trimming his lion’s claws.” But we can’t tame him, really, so we simply redefine him—tell ourselves he’s different.

In C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, Witch and Wardrobe, the little girl asks of Aslan, the lion, “Is he safe?” “No, but he is good. You can trust him,” is the reply.

We have trouble wading into the masculine strength of God, because we’ve experienced abuse by it from disordered men who crush, abuse and misuse people.

The real danger of a christ who is tame is that this christ will never turn your muscles into water, never ever stir you at the depth of your soul with passionate desire to love, obey, serve or listen because this christ doesn’t ever call you to that. This false christ has light, but no heat. He has no power to change reality. Nothing could be more boring than living a pious life, tipping your hat to this christ who doesn’t even exist.

“Let’s just hug.” “No! I am about destroying the works of Satan, wanna come with me?”

Jesus bids us, “Marry me! Come die with me and I will give you the ride of your life and give you your life back!”

Can you feel the heat, the strength, the passion, the love?

Whom do you want to marry? Someone nice? Some milksop mollycoddle like Casper the Friendly Ghost? Or would you rather marry someone like George Bailey from It’s A Wonderful Life, who has some passion, who has vision and goals, places to go, people to meet?

Who IS this Jesus? John 5:20 affirms that He Is the True God! He has called us to follow him and to partner with him in his quest to destroy the works of Satan. He stirs in us a passionate desire to obey courageously, to believe tenaciously, love boldly, to follow faithfully, serve gratefully, and, maybe even someday, to die willingly for Him.

And it is for this reason, this person, this Jesus the True Christ that I might die to self, leaving behind my false homosexual self.

November 12 is Give to the Max Day!

Give to the Max Day 2015

Please join us on Thursday, November 12 for Give to the Max Day, a 24-hour online giving event through GiveMN.org. Last year, GiveMN raised more than $18 million in 24 hours during its annual Give to the Max Day celebration.

Your donation on Give to the Max Day also may help us receive an additional donation of $1,000. How? On November 12, every gift made on GiveMN.org will be entered into an hourly drawing for a $1,000 GiveMN Golden Ticket to be awarded to a nonprofit organization. That adds up to 24 opportunities for you to help us receive an extra $1,000!

Two donations made through GiveMN.org will be randomly selected to receive a $10,000 Super-Sized GiveMN Golden Ticket! The first will be drawn randomly from all donations scheduled through GiveMN.org by 11:59pm (CST) on November 11, 2015. The second will be drawn from randomly from all gifts transacted on November 12, 2015. The more gifts we generate on GiveMN.org on November 12, the more our chances increase to receive that additional $10,000 donation.

Our goal is to raise $10,000, and you can help us reach it! Please consider a Give to the Max donation today through GiveMN.org!

Declaring Allegiance

The most frequently-asked question I encounter by new participants or others inquiring about Outpost Ministries is, “What is the success rate of people finding freedom from unwanted same-sex attractions?” Ultimately, they want to know, “How much is this decision going to cost, and will it really work?” I don’t blame them for asking the question; I myself asked the very same thing four years ago. I have found throughout my own healing journey, as well as through helping others on their own journeys, that there is a surprisingly simple response to this question. To individuals inquiring about healing success rates, I ask, “How do you define healing?” and “To what extent are you willing to follow Christ?”  We will experience healing and transformation through relationship and obedience to Jesus.  Our allegiance to Christ—our everyday commitment to Him through our trials and temptations—is an extremely important aspect of our Christian faith, for “. . . faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless” (James 2:17, NLT).

Defining “healing” is essential to the believer. First, he or she must know that we are forgiven and justified—made righteous—upon accepting Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross on our behalf. Inner-healing is the process that follows, agreeing with God about our identity in Him.  I have found that choosing Jesus’ lordship is absolutely foundational to the healing process.  In the fall of 2011, I declared, “Jesus, I believe that you can and will heal me from my same-sex attractions, but even if you don’t, I will not make it my god any longer. Instead, You are my Lord and the One who sits on the throne in my life, not my same-sex attractions.” From that day on, my process of healing could begin. That doesn’t mean I no longer struggle with same-sex attractions on any level, but it does mean I am free from the power to be ruled and controlled by them. Thus, I can declare healing and freedom really have occurred in my life! I may spend the rest of my life seeking the Lord and finding increasing freedom, but that is part of taking up my cross and following Him (Matthew 16:24). I don’t do this perfectly by any means, but it is my joy to lay down my temptations and struggles before Him and confess, “I want you more.”

Our culture claims that anyone who experiences any attractions towards the same sex are not and cannot be healed from homosexuality.  If this definition of healing—the absence of struggle—were transferred to other forms of addictions or unwanted behaviors, there would be an uproar among the recovering alcoholics, drug users, compulsive gamblers and anger management participants.  Although these people still experience temptation to use or even on occasion act out, they probably would not appreciate being labelled “unrecovered” or “unhealed” after their hard work towards sobriety.  Those in recovery of any sorts, including from unwanted same-sex attractions, know that their healing is not based on temptations or lack of struggle.  It is based on their willingness to get back up after sin occurs.

We have a choice as believers to continue to recover and move on from the temptations that we face, whether it be once or a hundred times throughout a day.  The process of following Christ is referred to in Philippians 2:12 as “working out one’s salvation.” The first question I ask the women I mentor is, “What is your commitment to obedience to Christ?” They quickly learn that transformation can only begin when they have committed their whole selves to the One who gave all of Himself. When we declare total allegiance towards Christ, it is not that we won’t experience temptation or decide to sin, but it is that we hate our sin, repent of it, and seek after Christ to renew us from it. It is through this process of sanctification, as well as time spent with God, that we can truly encounter Him.  When we truly encounter the Lord, it is impossible not to transform.

Though we live in a world which is unfamiliar with holiness, we must seek holiness, “for the LORD our God is holy” (Psalm 99:9). In the presence of God’s holiness, we are continually made new. For we cannot see the face of Christ and not be changed forever. Likewise, a person who struggles with unwanted same-sex attractions will experience transformation if he or she wholeheartedly seeks the Lord (Jeremiah 29:13). Transformation, however, doesn’t always occur in a timely manner or in the way in which we desire. Thank God! I used to cry out for the Lord to save me instantly from homosexuality. Now, I am so glad that He didn’t. I would have missed out on the chance to follow, trust, and obey the Lord without knowing the results! One of my favorite quotes comes from Oswald Chambers regarding this matter: “Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One who is leading.” Do you trust the One who is leading? Will you be faithful to Him no matter the outcome? Or are you offended by His statutes and plan of redemption for you?

Jesus is worthy of our allegiance. He is worthy of our praise. He is worthy of our sacrifice. Through the power of Christ’s forgiveness, we can begin our healing journey in the moment we entrust our lives to Him. Then, we get to experience the transformation that He has for each one of us on our own individual journeys with Him. The love and healing He has for you is so rich and satisfying. Don’t sell out for anything less than the deep love, forgiveness, and life-change He has in store for you. If only you would give Him your whole life. If only you would follow after Him with no conditions or expectations. The journey of following after Christ is an adventure, to say the least! It is filled with wildness, excitement, and unknown blessings. Give Him your life and just see what He can make out of your brokenness!

To Those Who Overcome

For those of us overcoming life-dominating issues such as unwanted same-sex attractions, it is essential for us to have a right understanding about what “overcoming” means and have an eternal perspective about it.  Proverbs 29:18 states, “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, but happy is he who keeps the law” (NASB). Our vision—our big-picture understanding—for our obedience to God’s Word is profoundly important when navigating through the confusion of this world.  When we lose vision, we cast off restraint.  We must have clarity about both the redemptive power of God here and now and our eternal destiny.

Sometimes believers make the mistake of thinking overcoming is the complete and total absence of struggle.  I have found, however, that healing is much more of a progressive work.  There are many moments of overcoming along the way.   I teach our participants that there are three stages to victory:

 1)  Sincere intention to obey God.  (If you only measure your life in achievements, it will result in condemnation.)

2)  Partial break through yet with a continued struggle.

3)  Substantial breakthrough with transformed desires.

 When Christians do not understand the reality of the healing journey or process, they often get discouraged along the way.  People in recovery must often remind themselves of the old adage: Progress, not perfection. For the one struggling with same-sex attractions (SSA), this understanding is very helpful.  Most likely, transformation will not happen in an instant, but it will be a journey of progressive healing.  Make no mistake, though, that a life submitted to the lordship of Jesus Christ will be transformed.  Jesus Christ has life changing power, even for the SSA struggler!

Having worked for over 15 years with men and women struggling with SSA, I have seen this transformation process happen over and over again.  I have watched these men and women come into a sense of gender wholeness and move beyond homosexuality into heterosexual marriage and family or into singleness, using it as a good gift to the Body of Christ.

In addition to having a right view of “overcoming” on this side of heaven, it is essential to have an eternal perspective of “overcoming” and the rewards given to those individuals who persevere until the end.  As Christians, our great hope is eternity with Christ, ruling and reigning with Him on the earth.

The book of Revelation gives us great insight into some of the eternal rewards for those who overcome.  Let me offer a few examples:

 To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God. —Revelation 2:7 (NKJV)

 The Bride of Christ will feast for all of eternity on the knowledge of God in the King’s garden.  In Genesis, we were banned from Eden and entered a fallen world that we were never meant to experience.  What will it be like to finally return to Paradise—can you imagine?  Take some time to think about it, meditate on it.  Get this reality into your vision for overcoming.  Our eternal destiny is not playing a harp on a cloud forever.  It is a dynamic, joyful and exhilarating life in the Paradise of God.

 To him who overcomes . . . I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it. —Revelation 2:17

 There is a new dimension of your identity that only God knows—a secret with which you can finally be trusted.  How amusing to ponder what such a new name might be.  How entertaining it will be to get to know all over again the people whom we have known and loved while on the earth.  There will be so much more to know and love!  Once again, get this eternal reality into your vision for overcoming.  It will fuel your journey.

 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations . . . as I also have received from My Father; and I will give him the morning star. —Revelation 2:26-28

 One day you will shine in the presence of God, and not just with a little glow.  You will shine like the sun in all its strength because you will live in a Light we cannot even imagine.  Jesus, the Bright and Morning Star, will give us Himself!

He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. —Revelation 3:5

 Can you imagine Jesus explaining who you are to the Father and to His angels?  I absolutely cannot wait to hear Jesus describe me to the Father!  What does He know about me that I don’t know?  What words will He use?  How will the angels respond?  What’s more, how will the Father react?

To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. —Revelation 3:21

 The government of Jesus will know no end.  The meek will inherit the earth and rule and reign with Jesus forever.

On this side of heaven we progressively overcome, and in eternity, we will be greatly rewarded for working out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).  If you have sincerely decided in your heart to obey God, you already have victory.  If you don’t quit, don’t give up and don’t give in, you will be shocked and amazed at how richly the Father will compensate you in eternity.  We will see that our troubles truly were light and momentary (2 Corinthians 4:17).  In these difficult days, let us  therefore press on toward the prize (Philippians 3:14) with even greater vigor and intensity.  It’s going to be worth it!

Join us for Called Out of Darkness on October 10!

Called Out of Darkness Celebration 2015Please join Outpost Ministries for our 12th annual Called Out of Darkness Celebration, featuring testimonies of freedom and hope from those impacted by homosexuality.  This year’s Called Out will be held on Saturday, October 10 at 7 PM and hosted by Hope Presbyterian Church, 7132 Portland Ave S, Richfield, MN 55423.  Expect an evening of passionate worship, inspiring testimonies and heartfelt thanksgiving to the One who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). Admission is free; an offering will be taken.

 

$15 Discount for the 2016 Bethlehem Conference for Pastor and Church Leaders

2016 Bethlehem Conference for Pastors and Church LeadersOutpost Ministries will be an exhibitor at the 2016 Bethlehem Conference for Pastors and Church Leaders in Partnership with desiringGod.org.  This year’s theme is Joy Set Before Us: Perserverence and Hope in the Day of Opposition.  The conference will be held January 25-27 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Get a $15 discount when you register using our special exhibitor link.  Enter code PARTNER15.  For every 15 people registered under our ministry, Outpost will receive one free admission for staff as exhibitors at the conference.  You must use our special exhibitor link in order to benefit Outpost.

 

Running the Race 5K

Please join us in our annual Minneapolis 5K run/walk fundraiser on August 25. Proceeds from this year’s 5K go toward supporting the staff of Outpost Ministries. Running the Race 5KThe evening begins with worship at 5:30 PM, the race at 6:00, with a BBQ to follow. Registration is $50 per person. The event will take place at Northbrook Alliance Church, 6240 Aldrich Ave N, Brooklyn Center, MN 55430. Contact us for more information about participating. To contribute to this event, visit our Donate page.

Finding a Refuge

God did such a marvelous work in restoring our marriage that Diane and I felt compelled to go into ministry. It was our way of giving God thanks. We had to do something! 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God” (NIV).  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.

Most couples dealing with homosexuality in their marriage do so secretly. Diane and I totally understand the desire for secrecy, but shame fuels this feeling. Couples may deal with the shame of exposure even more so than single individuals with same-sex attractions; it’s usually because there are children involved. Some of the couples we’ve ministered to have also been very active in their church; some were missionaries. The wife often blames herself, believing the lie, “If I were slender and prettier, this betrayal wouldn’t have happened.” The husband, already feeling like a failure to God, feels like a failure as a husband and a father.

It’s important for couples to get involved in a community like Outpost so they can see that they are not alone. There are other couples walking the same road. Outpost can be a safe place to share their burden with others who understand. It’s important for couples to have other trusted, godly couples walk along side them, supporting them, encouraging them, during this most difficult of journeys. We encourage couples to talk honestly with trusted friends. Acceptance and encouragement make a huge impact. We also encourage them to serve in their church or community. When we get outside of ourselves and see the needs of others, being the hands and feet of Jesus, there is little time left for pity parties.

In Simon Refuge, one of the ways we assist couples is by encouraging them to work on healthy communication skills. Husbands and wives meet separately, and in each group, we ask them to share their feelings about themselves, their brokenness and their past wounds. Our hope is that they will eventually learn to share these things with their spouses and ask for forgiveness for the sins they’ve committed against each other. Forgiveness is a key issue. If a wife can’t forgive her husband, it breeds bitterness and resentment, and a wall builds up between the couple. It makes any restoration impossible.

We also help couples in establishing boundaries. The husband must set up clear boundaries to build up trust again with his wife. The wife must let God do His work in her husband and not try to fix him. This can be difficult after many years of marriage, as the wife has usually been in charge and may not want to give that up. A husband’s lack of leadership in the home will make him feel less of a man.

Sexual intimacy is another crucial issue. Shame keeps the husband from initiating; fear and anger keeps the wife from desiring it. Sexual union is God’s plan for marriage between one man and one woman. It’s an act of total vulnerability to the other. It tells the wife that her husband still desires her; it tells the husband that she still loves him.

We want the Body of Christ to know that couples dealing with homosexuality in their marriage are not a lost cause. Jesus is in the business of changing people’s lives, and he can change people’s marriages. Don’t underestimate the transforming power of Jesus Christ. There are hundreds of couples around the world who have let go of the scepter of homosexuality.

It is a thrill to see bitter, angry, shame-filled couples on the brink of divorce transform into joyful, peaceful people. It also gives us great joy when children are finally born into a once unfruitful marriage. I wish that more of these victorious couples had the courage to give thanks to Jesus by publicly proclaiming what He has done and is doing in their lives and marriages. What a powerful voice they would have to the world!

If you are secretly struggling in your marriage, you don’t have to go through this alone. There are others who are on the same path you are. Trust in Jesus. He will show you the way.