Time for Testimonies: Celebrating What God is Doing

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We all know what a crazy year this has been. Outpost’s summer program, Strive, was no exception. For the first time ever, a hybrid model of live and online teachings and times for worship was offered. Staff and leaders were not sure how the men would interact once they came to the in-person weekend Confront (some who had only been there virtually all summer). Yet, I (Jonathan M.) was amazed to see the camaraderie and how much God moved. His peace was there—not a peace of submission but a peace of victory—as you’ll read in these brief testimonies below.

“This summer course and this weekend Confront were two of the most challenging but rewarding events. I believe this program is one I will remember and cherish for the rest of my days. In Strive, I learned what true masculinity is, and I had opportunities to live that out in the curriculum and in daily living. The ministry and leadership at Joshua Fellowship, in particular the Strive program, has really helped and encouraged me. My biggest takeaway from this program is the fellowship and bond I’ve created with my brothers.”

“Through Strive, it has been amazing to see how I have grown from being in Joshua Fellowship and doing Strive last summer. I have seen how God has planted in me true strength and authority to walk as a man of God. I have also seen how He has been bringing true freedom from shame so that I may truly live as a good gift to God and to the Body of Christ. I am thankful for how God continues to use Joshua Fellowship to help me encounter Him and truly grow into the healing He has laid out before me.”

“Strive has helped me see that my body, soul, and spirit are far more connected that I ever imagined. I’ve gained a sense of belonging to the world of men, which I’ve long felt disconnected from. I’ve begun to see what it means to truly be a man of God, expressing both His masculine and feminine attributes. I’ve been equipped to better fight passivity. Most importantly, I’ve continued to realize my life is not about me.”

“Strive has impacted me greatly. I have never been pushed or challenged like this before. Through it was painful and difficult, the effect and impact was far and away worth it. I honestly feel a change inside. It’s unusual, I did not anticipate such a deep, real, and powerful internal shift. My mind, heart, soul, and spirit feel a sense of real change. The activities were such a huge part of my transformation. I know there is still much to work on and experience; however, the tools and impartations that I have received gives me great hope, strength, and courage. I don’t know how to fully explain it, but I feel a genuine change inside. I know that some of the wounds of my heart have been healed and ministered to. I feel peace and hope for what can happen.”

“I made real progress in confronting perfectionism, which has been an on/off struggle for me and members of my family for-freaking-ever. I also now know I can get [stuff] done. It’s also been a good start to weeding out lies that have crept back in.”

“Strive has been the one most challenging things I’ve ever willingly done. I used to think that masculinity was just being physically strong and just doing [things]. These many weeks of learning true masculinity, [I see how] passivity is a big destroyer of men today. Finding your true self is a challenge to that passivity.”

“This weekend was really challenging in a lot of ways for me. Friday tested me physically in a way I didn’t expect. As we were going through the exercises, I don’t think I understood the point of them at first. It wasn’t until afterwards that the camaraderie really struck me. The physical exertion helped break down my feelings of self-sufficiency and pride, opening me up to growth and truth the rest of the weekend. Saturday helped me confront unspoken anger and pain that I had pent up for years and buried so deep, I forgot I had buried it. Overall, I learned that I was not created to be weak and passive, bound by fear. God has created me to step forward in His strength as a fearless man of God. My chains are gone, I’ve been set free / My God, My Savior ransomed me. 10/10–Would recommend.”

Simon Says

Dave RSimon says, “Retire!” This month, we acknowledge and celebrate Dave Rasmussen, former director of Simon Ministries, and Outpost’s Married Couples Coordinator. Dave is a man who has faithfully ministered to Jesus, his wife Diane, and to many other married couples for nearly 20 years.

Humble Beginnings

I first met Dave Rasmussen in 1997 at his intake interview for Joshua Fellowship (JF). Back then, JF was the only group at Outpost Ministries. It was for any and all men struggling with unwanted same-sex attractions who sought to align their sexuality with their spirituality. We met on the second, third, fourth and fifth Mondays of each month. The first Monday was open to anyone and all people interested in learning about and participating in Outpost programming.

After several months in JF, I asked Dave if he and his wife would be willing to share their story of faith and healing at one of the open meetings. He immediately agreed to do that. Completely unbeknownst to me, Dave was shaking in his boots—not because of the prospect of sharing his story, but because he hadn’t shared “enough” of his story with his wife, Diane.

So he scurried home, shared “the rest of the story” with Diane and started to prepare to share. Well, the open meeting was a smash hit, both for Dave and for Outpost Ministries. We have a saying around here, “There is no transformation without sharing.” Dave and his marriage were transformed because of that open meeting in 1998. It was a catalyst that propelled both Dave and Diane further in their healing journey together.

Simon Ministries is Born

Dave and Diane later started an outreach of their own seeking to help married couples dealing with issues of homosexuality. They named their ministry Simon Ministries after Simon of Cyrene, the man the Roman soldiers conscripted to carry the cross of Jesus. For 15 years, the Rasmussens would minister faithfully out of their church to these married couples, lead Living Waters groups, be the regional representative for a national ministry group, and correspond with and mentor many people by mail and email.

Joining Forces

Then in 2012, through a series of practical decisions, Simon Ministries closed its doors, and Dave came to work at Outpost. He brought the renamed Simon’s Refuge ministry to married couples with him. He has continued much of the same ministry activity at Outpost, additionally overseeing the Caleb Spirit ministry for men over 30.

Leading the Way

This month also marks Dave’s “real” retirement. He first retired from a telephone company back in 2003. Dave is actually the first person ever to retire from Outpost. In the 1970s and 80s, the ministry saw several leaders leave because of burnout. In the 90s, we saw the death of our beloved ministry leader, Joe Hallett, who had lived a life with AIDS for many years. In retiring, Dave is setting a new precedent for ministry leaders here. We are now on a new leadership trajectory, and Dave is leading the way!

Standing Out

In an age where the sanctity of marriage is disregarded, and one’s feelings, attractions, and self-determination are king, Dave and Diane’s commitment to Christ and to one another stands out in noteworthy brilliance. We gratefully acknowledge Dave’s commitment to Jesus Christ and the fulfillment of His mission alongside us here at Outpost Ministries.

Congratulations on your retirement, Dave! May you and Diane have many happy and healthy years together, enjoying all of God’s blessings in Jesus Christ!

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Blown Away

testimony

The following testimony is from a Joshua Fellowship participant after completing the Holy Aggression Masculinity Course at the end of last summer:

I went into the [weekend retreat] expecting, but not expecting much. So now I’m a little blown away and still trying to process the weekend. God met me in an incredible way, speaking to me at every turn. The weekend felt like it was the culmination of the last year God has been working in me finally coming to fruition. 

From the start, I could tell there were people praying for us. I had asked a few friends and family to pray for me throughout the weekend, but [I] could feel that there were more. People I do not even know had set an atmosphere, and I’m incredibly thankful for that.

 I found out a lot about myself and how I cope under adversity. I make compromises, and that is what has gotten me here in the first place. I came face to face with my passive self, really putting words to what had been just a vague concept. That allowed me to confront it, to take it down.

 All the while, I was having fun working with other men as broken as I am. After the weekend, I really feel like I am part of the community. I do not just feel hopeful for change, I feel changed. I have come to an understanding of what brotherly love looks like that has been so foreign to me in the past. I am so glad I committed to this summer. It works if you work it. It’s worth it.

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