A Moses Generation

house on sandIt has now been almost 20 years since the Lord spoke to me about my life’s calling. I was sitting on my porch, spending time with Him, when He spoke very clearly to my heart. “Son, raise up a generation in My love and in My power—a generation like Moses who will lead the Church out of her Egypts.” At the time, I didn’t fully know why God was calling me to raise up a generation, and I didn’t know exactly how to do it. Over the years, however, the Lord has been faithful to answer those questions.

Answering the “Why?”

The next generation consists of our future leaders. They will lead, not only the Church, but every sphere of life. They are future husbands, wives, fathers, and mothers. The next generation will lead in the market place, media, and technology. They will be our future lawmakers and law enforcers. Someone from the next generation will one day be the president of our great nation. Given all of this, what the next generation believes about God and His Word is of great importance to the advancement of God’s Kingdom in our society.

More specifically, what the next generation believes about the image of God is of great importance. It is paramount, not just to the Kingdom advancing, but to their very sense of being human and belonging in God’s created order. Without a biblical understanding of these foundational issues, the next generation—and society as we know it—will unravel. The reality that we are men and women created in God’s image is solid ground for the next generation. All other ground is sinking sand.

The question is, will the next generation wisely build society on the Rock or foolishly build it on the sand? How will they know the difference if they are not taught? Jesus was clear: great will be the fall of the house built by the foolish (Matt. 7:27). I would add, great will be the guilt of the previous generation who did not teach their children the wisdom of righteousness.

At the Center

The understanding of the image of God is at the center of the war over the next generation. If you have any doubt, simply look at where the enemy has set his sights. The image of God can only be seen and experienced within the gender binary (male/female, masculine/feminine). There is a demonic war being waged to remove the gender binary from society. Gay marriage has become the law of the land. The transgender movement has exploded.

Businesses are implementing gender neutrality into their short- and long-range plans. Target Corporation has removed any gender-based branding among children’s toys and has introduced a gender-neutral line of kid’s clothing. It has also committed to installing gender- neutral bathrooms in all of its stores. The Boy Scouts of America now includes girls and has dropped the word “boys” from its name in order to become less gender specific. Why does this matter? No boys, no girls, no image of God. That is exactly what the enemy desires, for where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint (Prov. 29:18).

We can already see the casting off of restraint in our culture. Beloved, we are really only at the beginning of what could be a great rebellion against the beauty of God’s image on the earth. In the midst of such a rebellion, men and women will not order their lives in such a way that they get to the marriage supper of the Lamb. They will no longer work out their salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12). There you have the enemy’s strategy in a nutshell: eradicate a right vision of the image of God revealed in men and women. Eradicate a right vision of marriage, a prophetic picture of our eternal destiny in God. Throw in some wrong teaching about extreme grace, and the recipe for disaster is complete. The next generation is disempowered and deceived. Demonic mission accomplished.

Not on my watch. And, I hope, not on yours.

Answering the “How?”

Early on in my own recovery journey, I connected with the prayer movement in the Twin Cities. There, I found amazing fathers and mothers of the faith who helped turn my heart to the Heavenly Father and to the wisdom of righteousness. I was encouraged to spend extended times in prayer and in God’s Word. I am forever grateful for their leadership—especially to Marylynn Christopher, founder and former director of the Twin Cities House of Prayer. For many years, time and time again, she pointed me to the Word of God. She taught me, not just how to study the Bible, but how to truly receive the revelation of the Father’s heart contained within its pages.

As I saw the fruit of a dynamic prayer life, I began to implement this strategy in my work with young adults at Outpost. The Encountering Jesus Internship was born. The program was simple. In addition to the inner-healing work they were doing at Outpost, interns spent three hours in prayer and in the study of the Word. We were not prepared for the result. We began to see our participants soaring through the process of recovery. Our staff tripled. Our budget quadrupled. God was backing up His Word with power. The Lord was granting speedy justice—healing, deliverance, provision—to those who were crying out to Him day and night (Luke 18:8).

Crystal Clear

It became crystal clear that God was going to raise up a generation in His love and power by revealing His love and power in the place of prayer.

The next generation is longing for encounter with something or Someone who will truly satisfy. As young adults quiet their hearts before the Lord, gaze upon His beauty and talk with Him, the wrong things in their lives are made right. Foundational identity is imparted. They are empowered to stand for the truth of God’s image.

Now, my calling is crystal clear: I am to raise up a generation in God’s love and power through night and day prayer and worship to stand for the truth of God’s image. And, Beloved, our nation is desperate for such a generation. Hear King David’s ancient cry: Now also when I am old and gray headed, O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come (Ps. 71:18).

Deeply Grieved

We at Outpost/TCJHOP have had our eyes on the next generation for many years, especially on those struggling with core identity issues. I am beginning to see, however, that God is doing something unique in our midst. I recently traveled to Washington, D.C. for the annual conference for Restored Hope Network (RHN), a network of ministries like Outpost. My heart was deeply grieved to see the absence of young people. Many of the ministry directors are at retirement age or older with no prospects to take over when they are gone. I continue to be the youngest RHN ministry director, and I am not that young anymore!

Furthermore, I had the opportunity to connect with a colleague who oversees like-minded ministries around the world. I asked him point blank, “Do you know of anything happening in the world for young people wanting to overcome same-sex attractions or other gender identity issues?” His response was sobering, “Nate, I know of nothing.”

Moses Generation

Something Unique

Yet God is doing something unique in the Twin Cities. And, we want to be lock step with what He is doing.

Once a week, I have the pleasure of leading a group of young men who are pursuing holiness in their sexuality and gender identity. During the summer, we always focus on biblical masculinity. We currently have 18 participants and three young adult leaders. They are jumping in with both feet and passionately pursuing Jesus. I am keenly aware that this move of God is somehow special. The Lord is raising up a standard in the midst of the wave of delusion sweeping across our nation. The testimonies coming forth in the lives of these young men will one day overcome the evil one.

Doubling Down

In the coming months, we are doubling down on our focus on the next generation to see them raised up for “such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). Not only do we need to be raising up the next generation of leaders at Outpost, but we need to find a way to help other ministries reproduce themselves. We also desire to implement similar programming for young women specific to their issues and needs. Much of this is still in the brainstorming/development stage.

As always, we need your prayers. We will be establishing a strategy to bathe this all in prayer. We welcome you to join us in specifically praying for the needs of the young men and women to whom we are current ministering and for those yet unreached. And mark your calendars: we will be hosting a visioning night on September 17 at 7 PM to pray and discuss these vital issues!

A Practical Investment

We also continue to need your financial support. A practical way to invest in these young people is by contributing funds to the Joshua Fellowship summer programming. The summer program especially costs a significant amount due to the masculine initiation retreat component in August—roughly $9,000 total for the class, or $450 per person. Most of the young men we minister to are college-age or young professionals who don’t have much money. We offer our programming at a discounted cost and provide scholarships to those who cannot pay. Would you consider sponsoring a young man this summer? Would you consider helping to offset our retreat costs? Or would you consider contributing financially to help develop and begin similar programming for young women?

Undeniable Fruit

The fruit is undeniable. This month, one of my former participants married his college sweetheart. In September, I will have the pleasure of officiating the wedding of another one of my participants. In October, I will attend the wedding of another. Now, marriage itself does not mean that someone has successfully overcome same-sex attractions, but I have walked with these guys for years. I have seen their hard work of recovery, their integrity, and their commitment to Jesus. I have seen the Lord’s faithfulness to each one of them. They are overcoming something that the world tells them to embrace and celebrate. They are better—and stronger—men because of the journey they have chosen. And one day, God willing, their children will be born. Praise God, the generations will continue despite the devil’s schemes.

This work of God is a weighty and sobering thing to be a part of. No wonder we face constant attacks from the enemy. But we are holding fast, and we are being kept by the power of the Lord. We are committed to raising up a Moses generation. Will you join us in this movement?

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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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Voices Q & A: Husbands and Wives

fork in the roadQ: If a husband struggles with same-sex attractions, why should he stay with his wife? Wouldn’t they both be better off going their separate ways?

A: Diane and I were committed to our marriage. We loved each other. The gay community was about youth and good looks. Diane loves me unconditionally!

There was always a voice inside me that said what I was doing—sexually acting out with other men—was wrong. I also had other people in my life who would be affected, especially my sons, and also my siblings, my in-laws, my mother, my dear friends. Their relationships were more important to me than my selfish, carnal desires.

Divorce was never an option for me. We knew it would be a battle, but we persevered, thanks to our Lord Jesus.

As Robert Frost once wrote, Diane and I “took the [road] less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

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Conversion Therapy and Urban Legends

WickedAre you familiar with the Tony-award-winning Broadway musical Wicked? Wicked recounts the life of Elphaba, also known as the Wicked Witch of the West, and her best friend Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. Only this retelling of the story puts an incredible spin on these two characters and what we know of them from the movie The Wizard of Oz.

It turns out that Elphaba is actually the “good guy” who has been forced to take on a reputation of being evil and dangerous. We really only know of the urban legend that is the Wicked Witch. Glinda, on the other hand, is actually calculated and manipulative. She is only after power and a spotless reputation in the eyes of the public. All is not what it seems. All is not what the masses have been told and led to believe.

We understand Elphaba’s plight.

What the Masses Believe

A recent USA Today article highlighted that an increasing number of states are banning what is commonly referred to as “conversion therapy,” particularly for minors. The article defines conversion therapy as “an attempt to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity through tactics as obvious as hypnosis or as subtle as inducing shame.” The list of state bans is growing. So is the list of bans on freedoms for adults who, due to their religious convictions, are seeking help for themselves.

Unfortunately, the masses are believing what they have been told. “Conversion therapy” (and all of the negative—and false—implications associated with it) has become a catch-all term describing any therapy or ministry like Outpost that addresses issues related to unwanted same-sex attractions or gender identity confusion. Another broad and undefined term, “sexual orientation change efforts,” has also become a catch-all expression. It usually refers to any activity associated with the intention of changing someone’s sexual orientation. “Sexual orientation change efforts” has become synonymous with the dangers of “conversion therapy.” We have become the stuff of urban legends.

What We Don’t Do

For the record, Outpost Ministries does not do “conversion therapy.” We don’t even do “sexual orientation change efforts,” if that means trying to turn people from “gay” to “straight.”

What We Do Do

Outpost Ministries has a much higher calling. We are here to turn people into Christ-followers, especially in regard to their sexuality. Jesus had a lot to say about the proper and holy use of our bodies. Many people come to us seeking help in aligning their lives with their (and our) sincerely held religious beliefs regarding sexual expression. There are actually individuals who, under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, conclude they no longer ought to be involved in behaviors where they are acting upon their same-sex attractions. They desire clarity in their identity as sons and daughters of God.

Priorities

At Outpost, we focus our attention on the character of the God-man Christ Jesus, the perfect human, and upon the character of Creator God, in Whose image we are all created as males or females. What does that mean? We try to flesh it out―literally. Our bodies are the location of our devotion to Christ. We worship him in our bodies. Like Romans 12:1 says, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship (ESV).”

Our “religion” is integral to the way we live our lives. Our spirituality profoundly affects our sexuality. And it is that priority order: God is first, we are second, not vice versa. As we bring our sexuality under the lordship of Jesus Christ, no matter our struggle, we are progressively healed and transformed.

All for Love

By the end of Wicked, Elphaba is not able to turn the tide of public opinion against her. But she concludes that what others think of her really doesn’t matter. She knows the truth, and she has found true love. We too doubt that we will be able to turn the tide of public opinion. We are concerned that this minority of people, who are tempted by same-sex attractions but wish to avoid acting upon them out of love for Jesus, will be shut out of the public discourse. But in the end, we can’t let what others think hinder us. We too are in love. We know the Truth, and He has set us free.

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Voices: From Idolatry to True Worship, A Testimony

Living Waters has been the most beneficial course I have ever experienced regarding sexual sin issues and their root causes. I have been more able to walk with less shame and more transparency. I now see my need is not so much to flee sexual sin as it is to turn away from idolatry of God’s creation while seeking and worshiping my loving Heavenly Father. My past had me isolated in sin, but now I see the value and ability to have real and deeply Christ-ministering relationships with other men.

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God’s Good Design Conference Cancelled

God's Good Design

The God’s Good Design Conference set for May 5 has been cancelled. Minnesota Family Council and Outpost Ministries hope to offer Mankato and other cities in Minnesota an event similar to this in the future. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive updated information. Information will also be posted on our website.
If you are interested in learning more about the transgender trend and how parents, students, teachers, and school administrators can respond with truth and compassion, sign up to receive MFC’s soon-to-be-released Parent Resource Guide through the Ask Me First MN Project. If you are interested in learning more about former transgender Walt Heyer,  please consider purchasing one of his books, A Transgender’s Faith, Paper Genders, or others available at waltheyer.com.

Contact us with any questions.

Outlawing Gender Integration in California

CaliforniaWe have been keeping a close eye on a particular bill that is quickly being pushed through the California legislature this week. The ministry of Outpost has never been about political activism. We have always focused our energies into helping people walk in obedience to God and to their sincerely-held religious beliefs. However, we bring this bill to your attention because, in the end, it threatens our very freedom to practice those said beliefs. Read on as we share Andy Comiskey’s post about AB 2943.

“‘We give you strict orders not to teach in His name.’ Peter and John replied: ‘Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard . . . We must obey only God and not men!'” (Acts 4:18-20; 5:29)

Wake up people. The bill best designed to outlaw Christian efforts to help persons resolve gender identity problems is racing through the California legislature as you read this. AB 2943 prohibits all conferences, teachings, or publications (where money is exchanged for the resource) aimed at helping people to overcome same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria. This impacts every pastor, counselor, friend, or family member in California.

Most chillingly, it slams the door on citizens whose conscience guides them to make peace with their bodies as designed by God. The California legislature wants to deny them that choice. [This week] the Assembly will decide if the state has the right to insist that the only option for Californians with gender identity problems is to transition into the ‘gay’ or ‘trans’ self. Though these are standard values in much of the clinical community, California is seeking to make them the only values. This is an affront to moral liberty.

It sounds preposterous, I know. When I first heard of this bill, I assumed it implausible, dead on arrival. Instead, AB 2943 raced through the first two committees in spite of valiant testimonies by friends Dr. Joseph Nicolosi Jr., Anne Paulk of Restored Hope Network, and Bethel Redding’s Elizabeth Woning and Ken Williams. These last three witnessed persuasively to the power of Jesus and His community to restore true identity but were stonewalled by representatives who only asked sympathetic questions of those claiming abuse at the hands of bad helpers, valid issues for clinical ethics but irrelevant to the rights of persons to choose the kind of help (s)he desires!

According to Ken Williams, “The freight train is here, barring persons from the right to help and to heal gender identity problems. This is the first day I have felt discriminated against, robbed of my freedom to hold to my convictions. The government is now seeking to mandate what I do with my sexuality.”

Every person deserves the freedom to exercise moral authority over his or her body and desires. I may boldly disagree with Ellen Degeneres’ and Rupaul’s identity choices (just as they do mine!) but I grant them freedom to make them. We as Americans share constitutional freedoms of worship and speech. According to the Supreme Court, “the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express the thought we hate.”

Church, wake up. AB 2943 roused Bethel Redding to mobilize their people to engage gently and well with political representatives. Might I ask all Christians in California–Catholics, Orthodox, Baptists, Pentecostals–to invite their fellows to persuade elected officials to vote against this bill? (See californiafamily.org.) If this bill passes, the state officially denies Jesus’ will for our sexual humanity and His power to redeem it.

[On Thursday, April 19,] the lower house of the CA legislature will vote on AB 2943; if passed, it will go to the senate then to the governor. Pray for a miracle of God’s justice. Or that such a preposterous bill, if passed, will be fast-tracked to the Supreme Court.

Pray that a renewed Church will unite and arise in California as a result of this enslaving legislation. Nothing short of our freedom of speech and worship– our right to decide the man or woman we will become–are at stake. If we lose, may we become holy outlaws who obey God, not man, with words and deeds of fire.

“‘Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable Your servants to speak Your word with great boldness. Stretch out Your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.'” (Acts 4:29, 30)

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Voices: Above the Noise

Above the Noise

The loudest voice always wins, right? At least that seems to be the reality of my three young children at home. Whomever talks the longest and the loudest, drowning out the others, engages the attention of Mom or Dad. It’s like a verbal game of dog pile. It makes for a chaotic scene at dinner time.

There is also a shouting match going on in culture, and it seems the loudest voices are winning. (We are not among them.) “If we can just declare our message loud enough and long enough—literally in a protest or figuratively through social media—we will capture people’s attention. They will begin to hear us and believe us because we are the only voice they hear.”

Our Silenced Voice

Our voice at Outpost Ministries, and other ministries like ours, may not be very loud in culture or in the public square. There are others who have more money, more power, and more opportunities to amplify their voice. Even when we do speak, many don’t even want to listen. (Sadly, in some cases, not even in the Church). Like a child closing his eyes, plugging his ears, and singing at the top of his lungs, they refuse to hear our stories. And they try to silence us, like with California’s Bill AB 2943. Or by suspending us from Facebook discussions. Or by removing our testimonies of transformation from YouTube.

Thankfully, we don’t need to win the shouting match. Don’t get me wrong, we still speak up. We share our stories. We continue to teach, train, and equip with the authority God has granted us. And we don’t stop offering encouragement and hope to those who are broken and hurting. But our voice doesn’t have to be the loudest to have an impact.

Above the Noise

After all, the voice of God is at times still and small, like a whisper, and yet it can be heard above the noise. It’s heard by those who are listening for Him, seeking Him. That same voice has the authority to speak light—and all of creation—into existence, just by His very Word. That voice has the power to bring good news to the afflicted, to bind up broken hearts, to proclaim freedom to captives, to transform lives.

We are trying a new segment in the Outpost News (which will also be posted here), aptly named Voices. At times it may be a simple Q & A, a concise testimony, or a short reflection. It’s our way of using our voice to bring a clearer message to those who are sorting through the noise. We want to reach the ones intent on hearing the truth, listening for God’s wisdom, and looking for encouragement. Ultimately, we want our voice to proclaim the person of Jesus Christ to anyone willing to listen. After all, to whom shall we go? His voice alone has the words of eternal life.

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Hope Conference 2018

Hope Conference 2018

Strugglers, family memebers, loved ones, counselors, pastors, and lay people, this conference is for you! Join us for Restored Hope Network’s conference HOPE 2018 in Upper Marlboro, Maryland June 15-16.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HOPE 2018

Outpost Ministries is a founding member of Restored Hope Network. RHN proclaims “that Jesus Christ has life-changing power for all who submit to Christ as Lord; we also seek to equip His church to impart that transformation.”

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Last Day to RSVP for our Spring Fundraising Banquet!

banquet 2018

REGISTER BY TUESDAY, APRIL 3!

You believe freedom is real through Jesus Christ. You believe in the power of prayer. Join us for our 2018 spring fundraising banquet and help to share the truth with those who need it most.

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom to be transformed From Glory to Glory.

Saturday, April 7, 2018 at 6:30 PM

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Minneapolis North

2200 Freeway Blvd, Brooklyn Center, MN 55430

Tickets are $35/person or $350 to sponsor a table.

REGISTER NOW!