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 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 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 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 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 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!

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  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.

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.”

Facing the Climb

On a typical Saturday in June, hundreds of people will head to the base of Long’s Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park to begin what could be the most physically demanding day of their lives.  Some will begin as early as 2:00 a.m. in an attempt to scale the massive peak that overlooks the plains to the east and the Rocky Mountains to the west.  Fewer than half of them will succeed in reaching the summit.  Dangerous storms, physical demands, high altitude and lack of sufficient daylight will cause many to turn back.

Those who reach the summit have achieved an accomplishment of a lifetime.  When their heads hit their pillows at the end of the day, most will be completely spent, but there will be few regrets.  They will have purchased the “I Climbed Long’s” t-shirts and bumper stickers and will share their stories over and over.

My journey out of unwanted same-sex attractions has been like climbing Long’s Peak.  The journey began when I moved to Minneapolis in 1985 and contacted Outpost Ministries.  It wasn’t going well for me on my own, and I knew that I needed help.  I found it through this ministry then, and I am blessed to be part of its staff now 30 years later.

It is certainly true that I never would have chosen to have same-sex attractions.  It hasn’t been easy, and I’m still on the mountain.  But God has given me many a gift on this trail, and I can now say that I am completely thankful for it.  Yes, the Lord could have taken away same-sex attractions in a moment when I placed my faith in Christ (as He has for some).  Instead, I have a long list of blessings that have resulted from this satisfying journey.  Whatever “Long’s Peak” trek that the Lord has given you, I would like to offer you some encouragement to persevere.

Never, never, never give up.  “Never give in–never, never, never, never . . .” Winston Churchill told the students at Harrow School in 1941 in a speech entitled “The Unrelenting Struggle”.  Let this be your resolve.  Of course it would be easier to stop climbing and head downhill.  The culture is constantly telling you to embrace a gay identity, find a same-sex partner and live out your desires.  Family members, friends, and others believe that you are denying your true self.  Sadly, some churches have the same message.  Along with these voices, the desires of our flesh scream for satisfaction.  But Jesus said that the “gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction” (Matthew 7:13, ESV).  Though there are hardships and setbacks, unfulfilled longings and loved ones who don’t understand, keep climbing.

It gets easier!  If you are scaling Long’s–particularly the “Keyhole” route–the most difficult stretch is at the summit, where there is a treacherous two-mile climb.  Those in our ministry report that the opposite is true in the journey out of same-sex attractions.  Our participants become “students of gender” and come to understand how a gender-related wound or deficit contributed to the direction of their attractions.  As they seek healing and growth from the Lord in the area of gender, most experience a decrease in the frequency and intensity of their same-sex desires.  Some who have come through our doors have gone on to experience joyful marriages; others, on to victorious and fruitful celibacy.

You are not alone on the journey.  You have a traveling Partner who will never leave you or forsake you.  The Lord is with you every step to help you up when you stumble and fall, to keep you in His grip as you traverse a dangerous ledge, to teach you valuable lessons of mountaineering, and to encourage you in the midst of fatigue.  On the cross, He purchased your perseverance and will see you through to the summit.  Praise the Lord for His constant companionship on this journey!

Strength is made perfect in weakness.  It is easy to have high expectations about how our journeys will progress and easy to fall into discouragement and disappointment when our expectations fall short.  Many have foolishly given God a timetable to “take away” their same-sex attractions, and then have walked away when their timeline was not met.  But just as the Lord didn’t take away Paul’s thorn in the flesh despite his pleading, so the Lord might draw out our journeys for His purposes.  His response to the apostle:  “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 2:19).  Though you’d like to be past it by now, your still being on this journey is providing you a strength that you otherwise would not have.  Be patient with His timeline, and trust that He is sanctifying you and working in the waiting.

God has a purpose and a ministry ahead for you.  Our journeys are not without meaning.  They are not a dead-end but rather an avenue to bring instruction, encouragement, and comfort to others on the same road.  With the recent sudden changes in the culture and the capitulation of some lukewarm churches, the need for strong men and women in our ministry is greater than ever.  As you experience transformation and victory, God has a ministry in store for you so that others coming after you will stand on your strong shoulders.

Cling to your eternal hope.  As Francis Chan has said, all that matters in this life is that you are ready for the next one.  Same-sex attractions are a difficult and unwanted experience, but, as the Apostle Paul tells us, “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).  He calls our hardships in this life “a slight momentary affliction” which are “preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17).  It is true that you might be living with unfulfilled desires now, but before you know it, you will be experiencing pleasures beyond what you can now imagine, and to them there will be no end.  The longings that believers have for paradise will be satisfied completely. . . just not yet!

Take heart, fellow mountaineers.  Never, never, never give up!  Jesus said the way is difficult that leads to life.   Yes, It is a long trail and challenging climb, but it is worth every step.

Fixing Our Eyes: Strategy for Persecution

Overcoming the life- dominating aspects of unwanted same-sex attractions (SSA) is difficult.  Homosexuality is rooted in deep woundedness and driven by pain and anger; at times, it can feel like the prison door will never open.  Add to that the shifts in our culture, and freedom can seem even more elusive.  Nearly all spheres of life are now supportive of embracing and celebrating a gay identity, including much of the Western Church.  Someone who chooses to walk away from unwanted SSA in this day and age is a target for much opposition and even persecution.  We at Outpost Ministries are very much hated by the world in which we live.

But we do not lose heart.  Jesus warned us of such hatred and persecution.  In fact, His counsel was to not be surprised by such things; the world hated Him first. “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you” (John 15:18).  We are in good company.  He goes on to say, “If you were of the world, the world would love its own.  Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (15:19).  The hatred of the world is a testimony that we are not of the world.  We have been chosen out of this world!  Hallelujah!  Therefore, we do not marvel at the world’s hatred of us but at the reality of God’s love and that we are now His children.  We do not fix our eyes on hatred but on love.

Where we choose to fix our gaze will determine whether or not we move well through persecution.  The devil loves to pull away our focus.  In many ways, his primary goal is the persecution of the saints—to get their eyes off of Jesus, the author and finisher of their faith.

King David understood the importance of gazing upon the beauty of the Lord in times of trouble.  Psalm 27 is a prime example of his warfare strategy.  In verses 1-3, he declares that the Lord is his light and his salvation in the midst of impending war.  His confidence came from what he saw in the light:  a strong God who was fighting for him.  What did he have to be afraid of?  God was on his side.

In 27:4 he proclaims,One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek:  that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.”  David did not want to be caught up in what he could see or hear in the natural realm.  He wanted to behold the beauty of the Lord and to talk to God about the many issues he was facing as the new king of Israel.  What a profound strategy and life vision!

When I fail to see God in my circumstances, I quickly lose hope.  I mean, let’s face it, no one wants to experience hatred.  We certainly weren’t created for such an experience.  Persecution for our faith is beginning in our country and will most likely increase in the coming years, but I refuse to let self-pity or fear rob me of my glory as a son of God.

King David made good on his life vision.  After he was anointed king over all of Israel and established his throne in Jerusalem, he brought the Ark of the Covenant to Mount Zion and established a worship center.  The sacrifices offered in this tabernacle were very different from the tabernacle of Moses; they were sacrifices of praise, joy and thanksgiving (Psalm 95:2, 100:4, 141:2)*.  David hired and paid out of his own pocket for singers and musicians to worship the Lord day and night.  David and his kingdom were blessed and protected.

In this evil age, I have taken a page out of David’s playbook and established a House of Prayer with the goal of offering the sacrifices of praise, joy and thanksgiving as well as our petitions to the Lord, day and night.  I am convinced that this is the only way to operate wisely in the changing culture.  Like David, we believe we will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13).  I believe we will be blessed and protected.

Fixing our eyes on the Unseen can be difficult.  It definitely takes practice.  I have learned to quiet my heart at different points throughout my day and simply ask the question, “Jesus, where are You?”  I am not doubting He is with me but reacquainting myself with the reality of His presence.  This has been called “practicing the presence of God” by saints of old.  Ultimately, it is about doing my day with God, from the mundane to the serious.

Practicing God’s presence has been a saving grace for me on many occasions, especially during various forms of persecution.  Knowing God is with me and for me truly is, like David said, the strength of my life.

It has also been the key to my working with mentees.  Often times, the issues of struggle and opposition they report are quite overwhelming.  One can wonder how in the world they will overcome.  But as I remember that not only is Jesus with me, but He also lives in me, I have hope to offer them.  Christ in me is the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27)!  If Jesus lives in us, there is always hope for overcoming unto glory.

Times have changed.  Persecution is beginning for Christians in this nation, but God is still on the throne.  He is still sovereign, and He is still beautiful.  If the shifting culture has gotten you down, turn off the news, open your Bible and gaze upon God’s endless beauty.  “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord” (Psalm 27:14).

*Johnson, Bob. “A Short Catechism on the Tabernacle of David.” Tabernacle of David. ZionSong Ministries, p., 2000. Web. 15 May 2015.