A New Creation

This article originally appeared on CHANGED Movement’s Love & Culture blog in April 2022. used with permission.

“From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

2 Corinthians 5:16-17

Several years ago, I was part of a small group of men. We all struggled with issues around sexual purity and identity. We met weekly to encourage and support each other. During one of the meetings, after rejecting most of their encouragement regarding God’s love and view of me, one of the men confronted me.  He asked, “Are you so arrogant to believe everyone here is wrong and you are right?” The truth was, yes. In fact, I was that arrogant. In that moment, the Holy Spirit spoke to me clearly saying, “They see you like I see you, they see the real authentic you. Rodger, your vision is distorted by lies, you don’t see that you are a new creation.” See, I saw myself through the distortion of self-applied    labels and identities. I didn’t recognize the new man. No wonder walking in newness of life felt impossible.

The Old and New Testament speak of the hope that one day God would come and save His people. This salvation wouldn’t just be rescuing them from the evil surrounding them but it would be a salvation that completely changed the person who had faith in God. While this is fantastic, He promises to do even more. God said His Spirit would live in his followers, empowering them to live a righteous life, a righteousness that flows from the inside out1. The Prophet Ezekiel wrote, I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”2 The Old Testament hope has become the New Testament reality. Paul writes “the gospel is the power of God to save all who believe.”3 That is, when you believe this good news you encounter the power of God and it changes you, it changes everything!

Knowing and experiencing this power is central to Christianity. Paul asked God to give the Ephesians “the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened so that you would know…what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe…” Paul continues, it’s the same power (his great might)  “that he (God) worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places…”4  WOW, breathe that in a few times, it’s intoxicating in the best way!!! The very same power that raised Jesus from the dead is at work in us. Because of this we are saved, born again, resurrected into new life, adopted as daughters or sons, and we’ve been released from slavery to sin and death and set free to live a righteous life. This power is so powerful that it has made each of us a new creation. And, the Holy Spirit lives in us!

In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul writes about the ministry which he is, indeed, we are all called, the ministry of reconciliation. Paul states, “From now on we regard no one according to the flesh….”. He stopped assessing or judging people according to their appearance, what he could see with his eyes. He had initially done so with Jesus (and the fledgling church) and it didn’t work out well. Thankfully, this kind of vision problem can be healed by encountering the Risen Christ.

The effect of this change is we no longer see with distorted vision. Instead of seeing the distorted person, we see the authentic person who is in Christ; we see the new creation. Paul writes, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”5 Again, this is a good time to stop for just a few seconds and think about this truth. When we came to Jesus we were made a new creation. The word he uses for “new” means “all things are new, previously non-existent, far different from what they were before.”6 This is outrageous; I am not the man I use to be! Christianity is not rehabilitation for those addicted to sin. It’s not therapy to piece together a fragmented psyche. No, the old Rodger died, he was buried. Now, by faith in God, His power has made me a new creation, born again, resurrected into new life. And, so are you.

I may not feel or behave like a new creation, but I am. As a new born baby, born again into this walk of faith, I will develop and mature. It is by faith that we are saved! And it is the fruit of this faith in his grace, love and power that we mature in him. With faith that I am who God says I am, I challenge other voices that identify me as something other than what God says in Scripture. I recognize that my appetites, desires, or lust don’t define. My body’s sexual response doesn’t define me. God defines me and I see myself through His eyes. I see that I am a new creation. And, with hope in Christ and the testimonies of others, I “run the race set before me.”7 

Now that you are a new creation, do you see through those new eyes? When you look at others, how do you see them?  When looking at followers of Jesus, do you see the new creation?  Many disciples continue with the labels they had prior to faith in Jesus. They continue with labels that are no longer true. No worries. These labels are like “yellow sticky notes” stuck on a woolly sweater. With just a breeze, those labels are blown away. You don’t need to try to rip off the labels or confront the person, but rather love the authentic person Christ made them to be. Jesus will bring a breeze at just the right time. I encourage you to see with new eyes. Look for the authentic in others. For believers, this is always their new creation. For those yet to come to faith in Jesus, ask the Father to see them as He does. Never label someone with a label the Father would not give them.8 Ask the Lord who they really are and interact with them from that perspective. Honor them and love them as the Father does.

I pray that you encounter the love and power of God so intimately that nothing causes you to look back but that you see everything as lost for the sake of the gospel. I pray you no longer see yourself or others “according to the flesh,’ but as God sees. I pray you see yourself as a new creation and engage how different you are. You are not who you were! You are a disciple, a follower of Jesus, a Christian. This is your authentic self. Nothing else identifies you. I pray you and others are able to see in you the fruit of intimacy with Jesus, His righteousness, peace and joy increasing in you and through you!!!

1 See Matthew 5 In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus “raises the bar” regarding righteousness. “You have heard it said…but I say….” The righteousness of the Kingdom of God flows for inside out; it is not measured only by action but by one’s heart, feelings, fantasies and attitudes. 

2 Ezekiel 36:25-27

3 Romans 1:16

4 Ephesians 1:17-19

5 2 Corinthians 5:17

6 The mean of “new” from the Strongs, https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g2537/esv/mgnt/0-1/

7 Hebrews 12:1; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 2 Timothy 4:7

8 Kris Vallotton, one of the senior leaders at Bethel Church, Redding, one day had an encounter with a young man who had shared the labels he had applied to himself. When Kris spoke to the Lord about the young man, the Lord said to Kris, “Never label people with labels I would not give them. See them as I do.”

Knowing the Love that Surpasses Knowledge

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

Ephesians 3:14-21 (NIV)

Dear friends,

I am amazed at the prayers of Paul in the New Testament. Paul had a keen sense of the Christian life and our deepest needs. Ephesians 3:14-21 is no exception. What strikes me about this passage is that Paul prays for Christ to indwell Christians. However, doesn’t Jesus already indwell Christians by the Holy Spirit? Yes, but Paul also prays for Christians to know the love of Christ “that surpasses knowledge.” Paul is making a distinction here between knowing about God’s love for us and knowing God’s love experientially.

Why does this matter? I believe it is a matter of life and death.

First, let’s look at the straightforward way this difference matters. To know about God’s love for you through the Gospel is not the same as to have received it yourself. The Gospel requires a response through repentance and faith; knowing the truth of the Gospel alone cannot and does not save anyone. To be led out of spiritual death into life, each one of us must chose to receive the Gospel. That is, we must each know it in our heart and spirit as well as in our mind.

The second way this matters is more complicated. To know about something and to experience something are not the same. Jonathan Edwards once talked about the difference between knowing that honey is sweet and actually tasting its sweetness. To know about something without actually having experienced it leaves us with a sense of disconnect. The same disconnect is true in relationships. I might know about a certain celebrity, but that is not the same as having a personal relationship with that celebrity.

Where am I going with this? In my Christian walk, this passage in Ephesians has been significant to me because of its implications for my relationship with God. If God’s love is abstract to me, it does not affect me at all. If, however, God’s love is something I experience deeply and regularly, my capacity to respond to, love, and obey God from a place of fullness is greatly increased.

It’s not just my story, however. Both in Joshua Fellowship (JF) and Living Waters, I have heard participants share that deep down, they are not truly sure God loves them. I can relate to that belief; I believed for years that God deeply disliked me even though I was saved. Learning about Jesus is not enough. One must “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8) in order to know Jesus’ love in the center of his or her being.

That is why I love being a part of JF and Living Waters. I get to participate in God’s work to see men and women freed from the shame and lies that keep them from experiencing God’s presence and love for them. That is why I am excited to see how God uses the remainder of JF’s Strive summer course to bring the young men into deeper freedom and joy. And that is why I look forward to the upcoming Living Waters book study, where men and women will dive into God’s love and acceptance of them through the breaking of lies and healing of wounds. Praise God, for He is able to do infinitely more that we can ask or imagine, to the praise of His glory! Amen.

Hope for the Hurting

When my wife and I joined Elijah Company (EC) we said, “We need help and hope.” We were so broken and hurt. Going into our first meeting, we felt like the Samaritan woman at the well, and Jesus was asking us for water (John 4). We were reminded of Jesus’ words to her in verse 10: “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” However, we didn’t feel worthy of God’s help. Like many, we wanted a reset button for our family. Instead, we received the gift of living water from God: words of truth that bring us the hope and healing we needed.

Focusing on God’s Truth

This month, I’d like to share a couple of these words of truth that we have learned and are learning through the ministry of EC. First, we need to keep our eyes fixed upon God’s truth. One of the most common thoughts a parent has when a child identifies as LGBTQ+ is “I must have done something wrong.” Parent guilt is real, and it is from the enemy. I have battled this myself, and it is one of the reasons we got involved with EC. In these times, it is important to direct ourselves back to God and His Word. An important scripture to claim daily is Galatians 6:9: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” This truth brings us hope and helps sustain us through the struggle.

The Battle is The Lord’s

Second, we must remember who is the actual enemy. In one of our EC devotions, we studied Deuteronomy 20:1-4. The Living Bible says it this way: “When you go to war and see before you vast numbers of horses and chariots, and an army far greater than yours, don’t be frightened. The Lord your God is with you…For the Lord your God is going with you. He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you the victory.” As parents and family of loved ones identifying as LGBTQ+, we can easily feel that the whole community is the enemy. That is not accurate. Truly there is a high degree of organization in the LGBTQ+ community, especially through social media and chat rooms. Oftentimes, our loved ones are coached in their words and behaviors. However, our enemy has always been the evil one, Satan. Peter identifies this for us in 1 Peter 5:8 where he names our enemy as the devil. In other places, he also refers to the devil as Satan, slanderer, and adversary. The LGBTQ+ community is filled with sons and daughters who have been told lies from the evil one. Every one of them needs our prayers. Let us remember Ephesians 6:12: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Let us respond as in Ephesians 6:13: “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

Joyful Hope

As I close, I’ll say what we in EC remind each other of regularly. We claim the words of Paul in Romans 12:12 when he says, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.” These words represent the essence of what we experiences in an EC meeting. We acknowledge the hurt we carry for our loved ones. We are joyful in the knowledge our Lord has a plan, a future, and a purpose for our loved ones. The truth of God’s Word sustains us in our grief. Finally, being faithful in prayer maintains our hope.

Thanks be to God!


Elijah Company is a prayer-based support group open to parents, families, and friends of loved ones who are overcoming unwanted same-sex attractions, who struggle with gender confusion, or who identify as LGBTQ+. Each time we meet we have a devotion and time to share and update one another on our lives. Then, most of our time is dedicated to praying for our loved ones. If you are or someone you know is interested in joining the group, contact the office.

All Things New

As an avid gardener, spring is one of my favorite seasons. In springtime we watch as the muck and grime left by winter is washed away by cleansing rains. The rains in turn nourish fresh green sprigs of new life. This is a beautiful picture of the transformation experienced by those of us who have found freedom from unwanted same-sex attractions and other forms of sexual and relational brokenness. Our new lives of joy in Christ are as different from our past life of sin and sorrow as bright blooms and blossoms are from the dreary grey of winter. The new life of spring reminds us each year of the joy and freedom we’ve found. We remember that Jesus breathed new life into us when we thought we were beyond hope.

Tending to Growth

As any gardener knows, however, a beautiful and fruitful garden is only achieved through much hard work and consistent attention. The soil must be tilled, the weeds pulled, the rocks dislodged, and the garden plot protected from pests. Once new life sprouts, it must be carefully tended, watered, and fertilized for it to mature and produce fruit. So it is with the life of a believer. If we do not dislodge the lies of the enemy from our minds, uproot the selfish desires from our hearts, and allow the Spirit and Word of God to minister to us and teach us, we are not likely to see much growth or transformation in our lives.

The Tools for Growth

The Joshua Fellowship (JF) program is specifically designed to help young men struggling with sexual and relational brokenness achieve victory over sexual sin and receive a renewed identity in Christ. While this work is taking place throughout the year, over the summer we place a special focus and emphasis on doing the hard work of healing. We focus on practical tools for defeating lies, fighting temptation, and overcoming sexual and relational brokenness. Overall, we point participants back to the source of abundant life: Jesus.

Our Summer Strive program and the Encountering Jesus Internship provide young men the opportunity to confront their challenges head-on with the encouragement and support of the JF community of men. We take on passivity and addiction, replacing them with action and service. We reject lies and sin, filling ourselves with the truth of God’s Word and joyful obedience. This hard work changes the young men who go through our program. The summer Strive program is credited by many current and past participants as the turning point in their journey out of sexual brokenness and confused sexual identity.

Growth Produces Fruit

What makes the summer Strive program so powerful is that it reconnects men with their God-given identity. In today’s culture of gender fluidity and androgynous sexual identity, many men struggle to connect with who they were designed to be and what makes them thrive. That’s why we started Strive. We want to help men reconnect with their masculinity–not as culture defines it, but as God does. Overcoming a life-dominating issue like same-sex attraction is not a purely self-focused act. It is a generative act that spreads life and the fragrance of Christ to many others. When men rediscover the truth of their identity, gender, and sexuality, they are empowered to be good gifts to their community. Men who devote themselves to being transformed into the image of Christ go on to become movers and shakers in the Kingdom of God.

Growth Comes From God

How do we do this? We meditate on the character of God as displayed in scripture. We offer thanks to God in all circumstances. We pray. We worship. We look to the wisdom of those who have walked this path before us. We entrust ourselves to Jesus and let go of control. We fight alongside our brothers. We get up when we fall. And above all, we rely on the God who is over all things, and on the sacrifice of His Son for our salvation. What it really comes down to is this: we don’t do it, God does. As the Lord spoke through the prophet Isaiah, his Word will not return empty, but will accomplish the purpose for which it was sent. His work may still be in the early stages of growth—almost imperceptible to the untrained eye—but given time it will spring forth to abundant eternal life. May God’s work be accomplished in your life and the lives of those for whom you labor in prayer.

Thanks for Being There

From the 2022 Spring Banquet. Used with permission.

Constant Change, Unchangeable God

As you already know, Outpost has been through several changes in the past few years. We have a fun new change for you: a new logo! Heraclitus said, “The only constant thing in life is change,” but, unlike this Greek philosopher, we Christians have a deeper understanding that God is the constant over and above any change.

There is a paradox in this, though. During the Christmas season, we remember that God was and is incarnational through Jesus Christ. The changeless God and His changeless Word took on flesh and experienced human growth. There is a mystery in how the infinite and always-the-same God sought to make Himself known and communicate His eternal message to us finite and ever-changing humans.

Changeless, yet Dynamic God

While God is changeless, He is not static—He’s dynamic! His Word and Truth never change, even as our culture and society do. What does change from time to time, era to era, culture to culture, person to person, is the packaging and style of communicating God’s Truth and Gospel. Again, God and His Word are incarnational—meaning somehow His Truth remains the same even as it is expressed differently in order to be understood in many diverse contexts.

Simplify and Clarify

All of that to say—we are still the same ministry with the same focus. With this logo change, we hope to communicate our message in a clearer way! A lot of my role here as the director of Outpost has been to simplify and clarify who we are and what we do. That was the main purpose behind the core values—Honor, Humility, Honesty, and Healing—as well as behind articulating our mission “to love God, declare freedom, and establish outposts of restoration for the sexually and relationally broken Body of Christ.”

Image of our new logo, described in the article.

Our new logo is, likewise, meant to help us communicate who we are more effectively. Part of the impetus for the change was a desire to make a more memorable logo. We want people to think about us and pray for us often! The basic design shows the letters “O” and “P” combined as “OP,” which is usually our abbreviation for “Outpost.” The black “O” is meant to represent the kingdom of darkness where sin keeps people trapped in an endless loop of despair. The red shape that turns the “O” into a “P” is meant to represent a house of refuge or “outpost of restoration” for those that have been called out of darkness. The Cross is the bridge that breaks us out of the endless cycle of sin and brokenness.

We also have a new slogan or way of articulating our mission: “Encounter. Equip. Establish.” or “Encounter God. Equip the Church. Establish outposts of restoration.” Each of these ties directly to part of our mission statement, articulating it in a succinct and memorable way.  Now let’s talk about this slogan, and how it specifically relates to each part of the mission statement.

Encounter God

This ties to the phrase “love God” in our mission statement. We believe loving God ought to lead to encountering Him, and encountering Him to loving Him. Encountering God’s love is essential to starting and sustaining the healing journey, which is why we emphasize it and try to create spaces for our participants to encounter God.

Equip the Church

The longer form of this phrase could say, “equip the Church for a deeper evangelism” (if we wanted to add yet another “e”). This is another way of saying “declare freedom,” since we are seeking to equip churches, ministries, and Christians to proclaim the Good News of God’s transformative power—that there is hope and freedom from sexual and relational brokenness!

Establish Outposts (of Restoration)

Another way to say this is “establishing transformative community.” The reason we are called Outpost is because an outpost is a waystation, the furthest reaches of a territory or kingdom. We are meant to be a place of refuge for those defecting from the kingdom of darkness as well as those who have wandered or are wandering away from the kingdom of light. An outpost is not someplace where you live forever. Our goal is to see participants learn and grow in this transformative community for a time, but ultimately be sent forth into what God has for them.

Speaking of being sent forth, there is another major change coming—I (Jonathan) will be stepping down from my position at Outpost in April. I am following God’s leading and call to an executive pastor position at a church in another state. This decision was not easy since I believe Outpost is such a gem and a treasure—there really is nothing else quite like it! And I’ve loved the ministry I’ve been able to do here. Still, I’m trusting God knows what He’s doing, both in my life as I walk in obedience, as well as for this ministry of His. I have always felt my role here was a transitional one, and it’s been such a blessing to serve alongside the staff and volunteers. They are amazing and are more than capable of ensuring Outpost continues serving the brokenhearted through this transition of leadership and beyond!

Now more than ever we need your continued prayer and support. We are actively looking for my replacement, so please pray that God will call the right person to help lead this ministry in its vital work. Thank you for your prayers!

Celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Bread of Life!

For the Bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. Jesus said to them, “I am the Bread of Life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst”

– John 6:33, 35 –

But in all the land of Egypt there was bread. ―Genesis 41:54, ESV

This may seem an odd passage for Christmas, but let’s take a closer look. Egypt often represented slavery and oppression in the Bible. However we also see that God repeatedly used Egypt to deliver or save His people, particularly from starvation. Abraham AND Jacob independently sought “salvation” in Egypt because God directed them to the provision that was there. This salvation, however, was limited to physical life. Thus, Israel would ultimately require a Deliverer to set them free because she had settled into complacent dependency upon Egypt, which eventually led to oppression.

Further, do you recall that Jesus Himself sought refuge in Egypt? An angel appeared to Joseph in a dream saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” (Matthew 2:13, ESV) Let’s not make too much of this theologically, as Jesus was a small child requiring 100% care, just like any other. So, Jesus, the Deliverer also entered into Egypt for deliverance at this time. This was prophesied in Hosea 11:1, “out of Egypt I called my son.” (See also Matthew 2:15.)

Jesus as our Deliverer came to do more than merely save our physical lives. He came to save us wholly: body, soul, and spirit. We are then empowered to live out our salvation in service to God and others. Who serves food to the poor? Most rescue missions are run by Christians. Who heals the sick? Many hospitals and medical missions are run by believers. Even the oppression by 18th century slave traders was ended largely by Christians declaring “Freedom!” to slaves. These are messianic (though limited) works that Jesus began, saying, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven…, not like the bread their fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” (John 6:51,58 ESV)

May you be fed and strengthened by the Bread of Life this Advent season!

Merry Christmas!

Dan P., Senior Pastor

Dan's Signature

Seven C’s: A List of Helps for Struggling Loved Ones

Dear Friends,

This month we have a special article for you from a long-time friend in ministry. Andrew Comiskey (M.Div.) has worked extensively with the healing of the sexually and relationally broken. He is the Founding Director of Desert Stream/Living Waters Ministries, a multifaceted outreach to the broken. Andrew’s ministry grows both out of his own commitment to overcome homosexuality and his experience as a husband to Annette, father of four children and grandfather to five grandkids. He is author of Pursuing Sexual Wholeness (Creation House), Strength in Weakness (InterVarsity Press), Naked Surrender: Coming Home To Our True Sexuality (InterVarsity Press) and the Living Waters healing program. Andrew seeks to equip the Church to be whole and holy, a bride ready to receive Jesus. Andrew serves at St. Thomas More Parish in Kansas City, Missouri. After over four decades of ministry, Andrew still loves receiving and extending mercy to sexual sinners like himself.

Conversion:

The realization that a loved one has assumed a false identity invites you to go deeper in Jesus; it may well become more about your conversion than his or hers. Perhaps it challenges your current ‘standing’ in Christ. All you may be able to do is fall face down and grieve over your sins and the sins woven deeply into our culture. The two are related. You are woven into the fabric of an idolatrous culture; He invites you to repent unto Himself as the way ahead for your integrity of faith and humanity.

Compunction:

This involves the uneasiness or anxiety you may feel for wronging others or causing them pain. It may have to do with brokenness before God for failing to be true to your faith in a culture that now celebrates over 50 gender ‘identities.’ Have you been complicit in allowing friends and/or children to grow distant as you proceeded on with your own life? You may also need to grieve how you have not stood for truth in the public square: contraception, no-fault divorce, rampant porn use, ‘gay marriage’ are all predecessors to today’s gender meltdown.

Compassion:

Jesus hears your cries for mercy. He never fails in His love for you and always responds with deep compassion when you cry out to Him with a broken and contrite spirit. All He is after is your heart. He wants to give you His heart, His compassion, and is intent on using everything, including a loved one’s delusion, to bring you into Reality. Compassion is His way of doing so. He wants to make you compassionate like He is.

Clarity:

With tear-washed eyes, you can behold with clarity your beloved confused one. You possess true vision: he or she possesses a gender of God’s design that the Creator always upholds. So can you. Your sight summons what is mighty in him and lovely in her whether or not they believe it or even want it. Given the lousy self-definitions one can adopt in our day, you can hold fast to the fact that in Christ, according to one’s baptism and confirmation, our beloved one is either a son or a daughter of the Heavenly Father and need not be tossed around by lies (Gal. 4:3-7).

Constancy:

In prayer and in care, keep knocking and seeking the Lord to make known to the beloved His tender, almighty love; at the same time, choose to keep the door open to the beloved. You can seek to be a point of loving continuity in his or her life, the welcome of a home on earth for this weary wanderer. You can set good boundaries when necessary but always with a prayerful, caring spirit that wants only the best for your loved one.

Communication:

Prayerful ones who speak more to God than to the beloved are primed to be led by the Spirit when it comes to what and how much to say. Each confused soul is different but most can be irrationally defensive when it comes to considering his or her delusion. So you can walk and talk in the Spirit concerning the beloved; trust God for brief moments of clarity where compassion and truth meet and you are able to convey your heart’s desire for his or her best.

Consider:

The patience of God towards you in all your wanderings and pride and bad relationships and bad religion, how He simply loved you and waited until you were ready to hear Him (1 Tim 1:15-16). When you broke and bowed down and cried out for mercy, He gave Himself to you freely and fully. He had mercy on you. Wait in patient expectation that He will lead your loved one to repentance and the gift of His almighty mercy.

Originally published as a blog post on DesertStream.org on September 13, 2021. Reprinted with Permission.

Give to the Max Day!

Give to the Max Day Logo with trees, hills and the state of MN.
https://www.givemn.org/

Dear Friends,

November is arriving, and with it comes chilly air, holiday gatherings, and our annual invitation for you to join us for Give to the Max Day. As many of you are aware, Give to the Max Day is specifically set aside in Minnesota for financially supporting local non-profit organizations, like Outpost/TCJHOP. In years past, we’ve asked our supporters to consider giving a little extra this month. This year, however, we are doing something different: inviting new people to contribute to our ministry. We have so many who regularly pray and give, but to do all the work before us, we need to bring more people into this community of support.

Inviting others to join in is inherently biblical. Consider the story of Andrew and Philip in John 1. These men were disciples of John the Baptist when he pointed them to Jesus and said “Look, the Lamb of God!” (v.36). Both men began following Jesus that day. Scripture tells us the first thing Andrew did was go and get his brother Peter, saying, “We have found the Messiah” (v.41). Likewise, Philip went and got his friend Nathanael, telling him to “Come and see” (v.46). What prompted Andrew and Philip’s actions? They had found the Messiah, and they couldn’t wait to bring others to Him.

Have you have been blessed by the ministry of Outpost? Then we encourage you to be bold like Andrew and Philip to say “come and see!” to a few friends or family members. What do we mean? Think about what God has done in your heart, your mind, and your life to bring you hope and healing. Consider who you know that would be blessed and encouraged by hearing your story. Tell them your story and ask if they would like to help us bring that same hope and healing to others.

Our goal is to welcome 50 new donors into our community through Give to the Max Day. Here’s how you can help:

  • Visit givemn.org and create an account.
  • Visit our organization page at givemn.org/organization/tcjhop and click the “Fundraise” button.
  • Create a fundraising page using the provided template.
  • Talk with people and invite them to give through your fundraising page from November 1 – 18.

Andrew and Philip boldly and speedily invited Peter and Nathanael to follow Jesus. This could not have been easy and, as we know, certainly cost them greatly. But it also brought them a great reward. Sharing your story of healing with others may feel daunting, but the reward is also great. Find one or two trusted people you can share with. Tell them what God has done and is doing in your life. Invite them to help us continue providing help and hope to others. And may the act of invitation bring you strength and encouragement to continue sharing your story so others can come and see the hope and healing of Jesus the Messiah for themselves.

Yours,

signature of author

Wendy

A Summer Ministry Update from Joshua Fellowship

Young men in a Bible Study group

Dear Friends and Family,

I think it’s safe to say summer is officially over. I know fall isn’t everyone’s favorite, but personally, I love this harvest season. Looking back, this has been a whirlwind of a summer for me. I graduated from seminary, celebrated my one-year wedding anniversary, and witnessed the birth of my daughter–becoming a new parent! Additionally, summer is typically the busiest time of year for Joshua Fellowship–Outpost’s young men’s group—as they have an annual summer curriculum called “Strive.” With my daughter coming a couple weeks before this curriculum started, I really had to trust my leaders to oversee this program while I was on leave for most of the summer. This trust became an overall theme for the summer and was made easier because I knew I could trust God to be working in and through these leaders.

Even before summer started, the leaders and I had been trusting and praying for God to bring in new people to Outpost, and He answered that prayer with some men being clearly Holy-Spirit-directed to our ministry. One changed his plans to move internationally to pursue what God was doing in him. One just happened to hear about the ministry through a cousin who had heard about us through a dance teacher (whom none of the current staff know). Still another, a “pre-believer” at the time, found us through a Facebook group and dove into the process. The Holy Spirit is the best marketing director we could have!

During this summer, God moved powerfully within the men of Strive. I wish everyone could see that transformation we leaders get the privilege of witnessing over the summer. We see the men break through strongholds of shame and passivity and embrace their identities as dearly beloved sons of God! We saw almost a dozen men as participants choosing to love God with their whole selves—sexuality included. From worship time to times of hard work and breakthrough, they chose love again and again. Throughout this process, there were moments of transformation in which these men experienced great freedom, especially to be their authentic selves. Every year I’m blown away by how God comes through!

Outpost also got to see God spreading the DNA of our ministry in this summer. We were blessed to have a director of a sister ministry visit to observe what we do in our final weekend intensive. What’s more, a couple of men on the leadership team are moving on to other ministries in this next season. Though we will miss them, I also know they are taking their skills to continue establishing “outposts of restoration” in their new ministry contexts as well.

Strive is just one great example of how Outpost is truly living out its threefold mission to love God, declare freedom, and establish outposts of restoration for the sexually and relationally broken. So, while we are ending a great season of harvest this summer, I believe we are just beginning to see how God is moving in and through this ministry. I pray the seeds we now sow will multiply both now and in the future.

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