New Year, New Office, Same God

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)

Dear Friends,

I’m glad to be in our new office space. It was quite the journey to get here, but we are continuing to settle in and unpack. It already feels like our new home. Looking back on the past seven years at our previous location, we have a lot to be thankful for. While there, Outpost experienced highs and lows, times of prosperity and times of painful struggle. Things have certainly changed even within the three years I’ve been on staff. And yet God has been with us, loving us and touching the lives of men and women struggling with deep pain and sin patterns. Now God has provided a new place to continue ministering to the sexually and relationally broken Body of Christ.

I was recently reminded of the Isaiah passage above, where God declares how He is doing something new. It is easy in this season to be excited about the future and push through to the next big thing. And God is certainly calling Outpost into a new season: We are sensing His call to focus on some new areas of ministry as we walk alongside people and equip the Church. However, it’s worth understanding what the Bible means when it talks about remembering and forgetting, lest we misapply God’s grace to us.

From what I have studied, when the Bible talks about remembering and forgetting, it is not simply talking about mental recall. For example, when God promises that He will remember the sins of His people no more, does that mean God is incapable of recalling our sin? That can’t be the case; He’s God, after all! Rather, it means that God is choosing to not engage with His people based on their sin. Also, when the Bible says God remembered His promise to Abraham and his descendants, it can’t mean that God was saying, “Oops, I forgot that I promised to bless Abraham 400 years ago. I should do something about that.” It must mean that God was tangibly (from humanity’s perspective) acting on His promise.

So, when God says to forget the former things and to perceive the new thing He is doing, I don’t believe He means that we ignore what has happened and just bulldoze forward. After all, we can’t celebrate God’s goodness if we don’t remember how He has met us in the past. Rather, God calls us to not dwell in the past. To dwell is to make your home there, and God calls us to make our home with Him, not in a “golden era,” or even in the most painful experiences of our lives. God wants us to be fixated on Him, thus allowing us to hear His call and to go where He is going.

God Himself is unchanging, but He is in the business of making things new. The new things of God are still built upon His work on the Cross, the work of drawing people to Himself and bringing greater freedom and joy in Him. And while God may constantly call us forward, He does so on the basis of His eternal Word. The Gospel is the foundation on which Outpost stands. It is from the Gospel that God calls Outpost into new territories, even as His call on our ministry remains the same. Even if we miss the mark, either by dwelling in the past or missing God’s direction because of our sin and self-absorption, we can repent and start again, knowing that His mercies are new every moment and day (Lam. 3:22-23)!

Father, open our eyes to see the new thing You are doing. May we may be a part of Your work to bring streams in the desert! May we remember and be controlled by the Gospel, resting in the glorious riches of Your grace. Thank you, Jesus, for cleansing us and making us new creations. May You be glorified, and may Your Gospel be declared to all so that people would encounter You and know the freedom and joy You give. Amen.

Of Robes and Kings

Shadow image of a nativity scene. Mary, Joseph and the manger in the middle front with animals flanking the stable. In the background, we see the outline of Bethlehem to the left and the wise men on their camels to the right.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory,

glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:14 (ESV)

Dear Friends,

For the last month, I’ve been studying the book of Esther. On this read-through, something new was pointed out to me. Near the end of chapter 6, Mordecai is honored by the king. He experiences a transformation of his appearance, which leads to a transformation of his position. He is dressed in the king’s robes, placed on the king’s horse, and taken on a parade of the city. Anyone who saw him would not be seeing Mordecai alone, but would also see the king he served.

In the ancient world, people knew the king was coming because of the robes he wore and the insignia on his horse or carriage. The king’s face was not necessarily known in the same way as we know our world leaders today, the era of images and screens. Mordecai was transformed from his humble position to one of honor and prestige, due to his new robes.

Our King, Jesus, did the opposite of Mordecai, taking off the robes and trappings of honor and prestige, replacing them with the most humble robes of all: a baby, a servant, a sacrifice. How amazing is this transformation? How is it that God became a man and lived a life like ours? How did the all-powerful, all-knowing, always present God of the universe fit into that tiny, vulnerable, precious baby born one night in Bethlehem?

Most amazing to me is that Jesus undertook this transformation to secure something on our behalf. Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection grant us a new appearance and position. Those who follow Jesus are a new creation, robed not in our rags of sin, but in the righteousness of Christ. Wherever we go, people see not just us, but also the King we serve.

This is the gospel we proclaim at TCJHOP-Outpost: Jesus has come to bring us from death to life. Our new robes are not like Mordecai’s, only present for a day. Rather, our new robes are the new identity we have in Jesus. And whatever our struggle, hurt, or pain, God is there with us, leading us further and further into that new life. How wondrous and amazing! And all due to the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us.

I hope you can take time this December to encounter again the great mystery of the season. And may you experience more of the new identity imparted to you. May this season bring you encouragement and strength from the God who exchanged His robes for ours, that we might become righteousness. Merry Christmas!

Signed, Wendy

The Tangible Hope of the Gospel

“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms…”

Ephesians 1:17-20

I love getting to help teach our biblical sexuality and identity seminar, Distinctions. Whether we are speaking to pastors and ministers, church youth groups, parents, or congregations, it is fun to unpack what the Word of God has to say about our identity and how that leads us to love others well based on the truth of the Bible. However, in our ministry walking alongside those struggling with sexual and relational brokenness, there is an underlying question that we must address.

“Is there any hope for me?”

I firmly believe all we teach, and yet I have struggled with hope throughout my own healing journey. When I feel like I have taken a step forward, it seems that many times I quickly do something, or something happens, that makes me feel like I took three steps back. I believe God has something for me, yet I have felt abandoned or lost at times. And there have been times where the Bible has felt unhelpful and dry. Talk about a messy process! During my three years working at this ministry, I have heard similar stories from participants time after time. I also know that those in the LGBTQ+ community accuse Christians and ministries like ours of offering false hope and promises that will lead to horrific consequences. That raises another equally important question: what does it mean for us to have hope in God and His promises?

Recently, I have been listening to a lot of sermons by the late Tim Keller on biblical hope. Dr. Keller notes that while our English word “hope” connotes uncertainty (“I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow.”), the Bible’s definition of “hope” is a joyous certainty in Jesus’ finished work that shapes our lives. Human beings, Keller argues, are inherently hope-based creatures, and our believed-in future shapes how we live our life now and how we see the world. In our own pain and darkness, in a world that increasingly seeks to snuff out the light of the Gospel, how can we live into the hope that the Bible talks about?

The Ephesians passage above gives us the answer: the Holy Spirit must open our hearts to receive and to know the hope to which Christians have been called (v. 18). This is not, however, merely correct doctrine: it is rooted in the experience of relationship with God as He truly is (v. 17). If I am not relationally connecting with God, tangibly receiving His love, and feeling His presence, the result is simple: the hope offered in the Bible stays abstract and doesn’t help me when I am deeply hurting. As I encounter God more and more, I begin to remember the hope of the Gospel when I am tempted to despair or I feel that God is absent. His light shines through my perceived darkness and pain. It is there I learn to abide in Christ and rejoice.

This hope in Christ is what we at Outpost, and all Christians, are called to. We are not called to try and shove our beliefs down peoples’ throats. Rather, we are called to shown how wonderful God is and how a personal relationship with Him far outweighs what culture or legalistic religion tries to offer. But if we are not experiencing and living out of the hope of the Gospel, we don’t have anything tangible to offer those who don’t yet know Jesus. After all, who leaves what they know for a vague promise? When we experience the love of Christ for ourselves, we more naturally overflow in our ability to love people where they are at, while still holding to the truth of God’s Word and His design for sexuality and identity.

If you are a follower of Jesus, I urge you to seek personal connection with Him more and more. Experience the hope God has called you to through the Gospel and seek the Holy Spirit’s help to be renewed! If you are not a follower of Jesus, I urge you to see if Jesus is who He said He was. Relationship with Him provides hope that goes beyond anything this world offers. For all of us, I pray we would know God more personally and live in the life-shaping hope He offers through Jesus. Amen.

A New Season of Change

Dear Friends,

Fall is my favorite season. It has been since I was a little girl. Crisp air, warm (not hot) sunshine, and the changing colors in the trees bring joy to my spirit. And no matter how old I get, fall is a time for new beginnings. Even though I’m well past my own years of schooling, the rhythms of my life treat fall as the starting point of a new year. This year is no different. Instead of starting a new year of school, however, I’m starting something new here at TCJHOP-Outpost: serving as President of the organization.

When I first came on board in the fall of 2015, serving as head of the organization was the furthest thing from my mind. Looking back over the last 8 years, though, I see how God has been leading me to this point. In large and small ways, God has been laying the groundwork and equipping me to step into this position now. It is a humbling and exciting proposition to take the reins of such an important ministry, and I cherish your prayers for this time of transition. Additionally, let me share a few thoughts about how I see Outpost entering this new season, through an observation I made recently.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been fascinated by a tree outside the building that houses our offices. What caught my eye was one small branch of bright red leaves. This branch had changed color earlier than all the others. At first, I thought that only one branch had changed, but further investigation revealed a handful of other small branches that also had changed. The total number of red leaves on the tree was very small, maybe 1% of the tree, but they weren’t actually that hard to find. The red stood out starkly amidst all the green.

The red leaves on this tree caused me to reflect on Outpost and our people. For many who come through our doors, they know what it means to stand out from the crowd. Their personal struggles with sexuality, relationships, and identity have marked them as different; many feel like they don’t belong anywhere. Their desire to align their thoughts, feelings, intentions, and behaviors with the God-given gift of their embodiment marks them as even more different. Although these kinds of standing out can be tiring, there is a new and encouraging kind of standing out on the horizon. It is the fruit of a renewed life and the transformation that comes from encountering the living God and receiving the healing that He brings. This transformed standing out is what Outpost is all about.

As I reflected further on the leaves and the tree, I realized that the next few months look to be a time of change here at Outpost. We’re looking for new office space, we’re resetting some internal structures, and staff members are learning new tasks for their new roles. So while you may see us doing things in new ways, who we are has not changed. Outpost is and will continue to be a place where hurting people come to find hope and healing through encounter with God, relationship with Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit.

As we reset, adjust, and move into this new season, I invite you to continue to partner with us in our work. We continue to desire and need your prayers. We truly cannot do what we do without them. We also continue to seek and need your financial support. While we believe God will provide what we need to do what He asks, we recognize that the provision comes through all of you reading these words.

As Dan remarked last month, God is not done with Outpost. Our staff is excited to hear from God about new and creative ways to minister. Our volunteer leaders are energized to step up into expanded responsibilities. Our participants are ready to continue in their growth and healing. And our network of support is expanding. We look forward to partnering with each and every one of you as well in these endeavors. Won’t you join us?

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Do You Want to Change?

Reflections on 30 years at Outpost

“Do you want to change?” This was the question my pastor asked me in the spring of 1988. What I thought was a sexual question turned out to be a spiritual one. It was the question of repentance, as with the New Testament word for “change of heart.” In 30 of my 35 years of change since then, I’ve been privileged to serve at Outpost in various capacities. I started in 1993 as “Associate Director” and wrote these words for Outpost News in 1994: “We simply want to assist those who are already God’s children to work out their salvation in fear and trembling in regards to the areas of homosexuality and personal spiritual growth.” This hasn’t changed!

There are a number of transitions however, that I’d like us to remember. In September 1996 I wrote in my newsletter that the month “marked a new beginning for Outpost. There was a significant change in leadership within the organization with three out-going board members leaving the board. This also translated into … a promotion! I am now the Executive Director of Outpost, Inc. … Bringing an organization through transitions such as we are experiencing is a real crisis according to the famous Chinese definition: their word signifies both danger and opportunity. I also realize that … transitional leaders, like interim pastors, often move on after the storm clears.” (DAN’S WORLD, October 1996) Things are still in transition in 2023!

I took a look back at 2001, which was another transitional period for us. We moved our office to a bank vault and found out later that the very first Outpost office also contained a bank vault! We jokingly referred to it as “Your secret is safe with us!” Unfortunately, 2001 was also the opposite of a bankroll for us, as we struggled intensely with finances that year. We closed down the Joshua Fellowship program and lost a key volunteer leader in Living Waters, forcing the unexpected closure of that program for the year. Surely, “Outpost is dead,” was the threat of the enemy. We had shriveled up and nearly died. But like the parable of the sower in John 12, after the seed was buried, it burst forth in new life. We started a “Noontime Prayer Break,” where we invited folks to come in for prayer from noon to one each day.  And then 2002 and 2003 brought more resurrection life to Outpost. Prayer increased, Joshua Fellowship was re-tooled and Living Waters restarted. We were “back in the saddle” once again.

In 2008, following a year of eye surgeries, my tenure as CEO changed with my vision loss. By 2011 I could no longer function effectively and stepped aside to make room for a new CEO, Nate Oyloe. With a new “operating system” our Board catapulted the ministry into a period of tremendous growth. By the end of 2015 a new kind of “death unto resurrection” occurred and Outpost merged into a new organization called Twin Cities Justice House of Prayer (TCJHOP). Prayer was a major focus, as we had our prayer room open over 40 hours a week. Outpost had grown to four regular support ministries: Joshua Fellowship, CalebSpirit, Elijah Company and Living Waters. And then a worshiping congregation brought it all together. We had 17 paid staff members and filled up a waning congregation’s church building with spiritual vitality throughout the work week.

The enemy had designs on us. Through a series of unrelated events, our staff was compromised in different ways. We seemed to lose our focus, even on the board level. And one by one staff members left. We are now down to four, a level we haven’t seen in nearly 20 years! It is a time for mourning, yes, but also for planting. When the seed falls into the earth and dies, new life springs forth in abundance.

We’ve seen this happen time and time again in our history in various ways. Sin had almost ruined us when our former executive director, Jeff Ford, decided to go back to gay life in the early 1980s. We started getting “famous” with our TV ad campaign in 1997, only to be pulled off-task. Then, we saw financial distress with the fall of the Twin Towers on 9/11/2001, the medical loss of vision for me in 2008-2011, and distracted vision in the years 2016-2020. We have “fallen into the earth and died” many times in our past. The enemy hates us and our mission, so he works overtime to stop us. Yet God will prevail. I believe Outpost’s best years lie ahead!

In these times, I often revisit the vision and scriptures God used in my early life to help me focus and stay on task. One of them is Galatians 6:1, “If anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.” This is what we do at Outpost Ministries. We are not here to get famous or make a profit. We’re not here to talk to the media who hate our message and will do anything to stop us. We are here to walk alongside folks who’ve decided that Jesus is worth all the suffering and struggle we go through in order to follow him.

In the 1970s, well prior to my involvement here at Outpost, Nancy Honeytree wrote a song called “Live for Jesus.” It was recorded by multiple Christian artists, including Evie. The point of the song is clear and simple: “Live for Jesus, that’s what matters. And when other houses crumble, mine is strong!” This is referring to Luke 6 where Jesus is teaching and calling people to follow him. He says, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” In a word, we are here to call people to trust Jesus for healing and to obey him in all things. Discipleship. That’s who we are. That’s what we do. It’s in our DNA as an organization, dating back to our inception in the mid-1970s. And it’s what Outpost will continue to do after me, for many years to come.

Thank you for the many years of support and fellowship in this ministry. Please come for coffee and pie on September 16th to celebrate what God has done!

The Spirit of Caleb

But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land.

Numbers 14:24 (ESV, emphasis added)

Dear Friends,

These words from Numbers are the guiding verse for our older men’s group, CalebSpirit. This group is essentially a fellowship group, defined as two or more Fellows in one Ship, struggling against the tide to reach their destination. Of course, the Old Testament imagery of Caleb and the Exodus is the centerpiece of our approach to ministry. Released from slavery to sin, now en route to the Promised Land of freedom in Christ, these men are on a journey together.

Our itinerary includes focused discussion throughout the school year, generally about Christian discipleship and sometimes more specifically about the topics related to LGBTQ+. We often include weekend retreats in September and May, and even January, schedule permitting.

Along with the book study, we have other occasional events like dinners, movie nights or holiday/birthday parties. During the summer months we ramp up the outdoor activities like mini-golf, kayaking, biking, croquet and of course, food events like BBQs, restaurants and ICE CREAM!

Perhaps the sweetest part of our fellowship takes place “off schedule.” At our age, we seem to be attending more family funerals together, like Mom’s, Dad’s, spouse’s, and sadly, even some of our men’s children’s funerals. We walk with each other through the impacts of caring for aging parents, difficulties in children’s lives, and even separations and divorces.

Life is not easy on the Road to Zion. But, oh, when we get to the Promised Land, do we have something to look forward to! There will be no more sin and no more suffering when we Look in His Wonderful Face! So, we walk side by side, offering encouragement, strength and hope to each other along life’s way.

We all need that, don’t we? I’m so glad that I’ve had many communities like this in my life. I have much to be grateful for!

The example of Caleb is a powerful one. Think of it. He was about 40 years old and the head of his family when Israel set out on the Exodus. He bravely spied out the land with 11 other scouts. Only his and Joshua’s reports came back engendering hope and a future for the Children of Israel. Ten naysayers—faithless men—put a halt on the whole thing. Only he and Joshua held out for hope and kept the faith.

Now, imagine again. Caleb watched all his adult friends drop dead in the wilderness. He heard all their grumblings, murmurings and complaints, yet kept the faith. He had a different spirit about him. He was “one in a million.” And if there were 2 million people on this march, Joshua was the other “one in a million”! God uses extraordinary people like Caleb.

But what made Caleb extraordinary? Was it his education? No, he was a slave. Was it his lineage? Perhaps, as he was “one of them” in the line of Jacob. Was it his hard work? Maybe, as he did claim to be as strong at 85 as he was at 40! (See Joshua 14:10f. for the full story on how he eventually took the land for his inheritance.)

Actually, the one characteristic that set Caleb apart from his ten Israelite “brothers” was this: he fully followed YHWH. He kept the faith! He submitted. He yielded control. In essence, he was meek.

Meekness is, generally speaking, not seen as a social value or a positive masculine virtue. But God saw it and rewarded him for it. Meekness, as we are learning in our summer study of the Beatitudes, is “strength under control.” It is like a horse that has been broken and now, submitting fully to the jockey, can win races. As Colin Smith aptly observes in his book Momentum, wild horses don’t win races! Broken horses do.

Caleb was rewarded first with life itself. He did not fall in the wilderness, but was preserved. Secondly, he was rewarded with an inheritance that he would pass on as his legacy for generations. He was the chief of the tribe of Judah, and if you recall, Jesus was of the tribe of Judah, too. Talk about legacy!

So, it is in the same spirit that the men of CalebSpirit are building a future in and for the Kingdom! Perhaps their legacy will bless generations to come.

PS: If you’re interested in joining CalebSpirit, please contact me at the office phone 763-592-4700 x101. I’m happy to help get you started!

Called Out of Darkness 2023

On June 22, we held Outpost Ministries’ 19th annual worship service to celebrate our being “Called Out” of the dark drudgery that we had lived in as slaves to sin. As a celebration of freedom, it was appropriate that we have moved our service to June, just days after our national celebration of Juneteenth, or Emancipation Day (from slavery). What a beautiful evening of joyous celebration we had! We re-visited the church where we held our 30th anniversary in 2006, some 17 years ago, Cornerstone Church Crystal.

We were led by a worship team that really “got it” in terms of freedom and joy. We sang and praised the God of our salvation and deliverance. The testimonies this year were all from our staff members, including myself. After each testimony of God’s grace, we took a moment to pray for the various groups in Outpost that we each represented: CalebSpirit, Elijah Company, and Joshua Fellowship. Through it all we were reminded that God is up to something good at Outpost Ministries!

Finally, the fellowship time afterwards was warmly appreciated as cookies and coffee mingled with conversations among friends old and new. It’s these relationships that are now possible as we all walk in the light of God’s redeeming forgiveness and grace.

Thank you to all who joined us for this special evening. We look forward to seeing everyone again soon!

The Desperation for New Birth

“To all who did receive [Jesus], to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God …Jesus answered, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’”

John 1:12-13, 3:5-7 (NIV)

Dear Friends,

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending the Restored Hope Network’s HOPE Conference. It was a terrific time of testimonies and teaching centered on the Gospel of Grace and its impact on our sexuality and gender. During the conference, one of the presenters said something that pulled me up short.

One of the main themes of the conference was the history of the transgender movement, its roots, and its ideologies. Within this discussion, one of the presenters stated how all of us are desperate for new birth. One of the draws of transgenderism is that the world tells those struggling with gender identity that they can be reborn! “Get enough surgeries, take enough hormones and puberty blockers, and then you will finally be happy and become who you truly are inside.” This message is proclaimed from all sides and is rampant among our culture, particularly with today’s youth and on social media.

This statement about our desire for new birth really struck a chord with me. While I personally have not struggled with gender confusion, I certainly have experienced much pain over the years with my unwanted same-sex romantic/erotic attractions and acting-out sexual behaviors. In seeing the disconnect between my feelings/false desires and God’s design/call on my life, I cry out, “God, make me new!” I believe followers of Jesus, regardless of the particularities of our struggles, can relate with the heartfelt tension of the already/not-yet of our lives. However, I am reminded of the hope Jesus has for us now, not merely in some distant future.

The Gospel writer John uses the imagery of birth throughout his account of Jesus’ life. Our birth is not something we willed, it is by grace and the will of another that we came to be. So it is with our new birth. We cannot remake ourselves as the world claims, but we can be made new through the gracious and costly intervention of God. However, not only is our new birth in Christ guaranteed for eternity, He has already brought it about. He IS our new life through the Holy Spirit! While we cannot give ourselves life, Jesus is the way to new life, both for now and forever. His promise and work is the new birth we all truly long for and need. May we receive His new life and rest in the assurance of being children of God!

Streams of Living Water

“I can’t explain it, but somehow our identity is inextricably linked to our parents.”

Dennis Rainey

In the fall of 2000, I talked to a friend who was doing Living Waters at his church. At the time, he was struggling with relational wholeness, and for him, the struggle was with his sexuality. After talking with him and hearing how the Spirit was changing him, I sensed that Living Waters was worth a try for me.

I grew up as an only child of two working parents, with an active imagination, ample free time, and a knack for exploring. My father had a coffee table full of pornography, and the material was a regular way for me to find escape and pleasure. Addiction to pornography began at an early age, with sexual activity starting in my mid-teens. Compounding my struggles, I was molested at a young age by a babysitter and another older adult. I recognize now that my father didn’t know how to be present with me and so attention, identity, belonging, and affirmation seemed to elude me. As I became an adult, I chose to continue with what felt good. I focused on working, buying a lifestyle, paying attention to my looks, taking drugs, smoking, and making sure I was dating the most attractive women in front of me. These behaviors spiraled into isolation within myself and I never allowed anyone to get close. Sexual addiction had become a sentence and was getting worse. Thoughts of other pleasures and instant fixes rolled through my thoughts and imagination. Same-sex attraction and fantasies seemed to be a next step. All I saw was living a life where I chose to do whatever made me feel good.

The testimony of my friend changed all that. I realized I had to find something that would fill the void I was recognizing in myself. Joining Living Waters at Outpost and wanting to change was the beginning of what is now a lifelong journey.

Upon diving into the work, reading the books, and partaking in the groups, I saw how choices I had made in my past still affected me. I had to go deep into areas that, for me, were hard to confront. Idolatry, covetousness, and narcissism were a few of the traits that needed to be addressed. I realized that I was either unable to make decisions or only made decisions that made me feel better. Mother wounds and father wounds were recognized over the years as well. I saw how these wounds were not necessarily my parents’ fault, but who I was and how I reacted to their actions left a mark. I saw how past trauma left me in a constant fight or flight mode. Flight was my choice, and symptoms of PTSD in me were quite evident. Being constantly on guard left me always on the defensive. Guilt and shame were my identity.

Thankfully, through many seasons of Living Waters, my relationship with God The Father became something that I could trust. Trusting and saying “yes” to Him opened doors that I could have never imagined and am eternally grateful for. Each season brings more revelation, bringing me to a level of now walking in who He is and who I am in Christ.

For me, Living Waters is not just a program to complete and then move on to the next self-help group. It is not a service to attend on Sunday, a book to read, or an event to take part in. Instead, Living Waters is a time to truly take responsibility for my actions, bring my hurts to God, and seek healing. Knowing these truths and knowing Him is something many Christians confess today, but we can miss an important part of relationship with the Father: the deep healing of our past. We are no longer who we were, but we miss who He has for us to become. Living Waters is a place to start embracing that journey.

The truth is, Living Waters is for all believers! It is a safe place to engage in the healing process. Healing from past hurts, trauma, and abuse is His specialty.  Together, we deal on the front line with the roots of false identity and fear, which we all have. Typically, these come from hiding and are the symptoms to be faced and walked through to receive His healing.

We all have the same sin Adam and Eve had, and we receive the same consequences. It looks something like this:

We disobey instruction -> We feel shame and hide from God -> We blame someone else for our actions -> Our relationship with God is broken -> We experience long-term consequences -> Life goes from bad to worse -> Repeat

The choice we make is whether we will continue to repeat the cycle, or if we will break the chain! And we can break the chain, due to the ONE difference: we have Jesus Christ! With Jesus and through a great church, mentors, friends, and men and women who work at humility, honesty, honor, healing, and hope, we are the body of Christ. We can walk with one another into our true identity.

Will you join me and look forward to more transformation? Will you be present with the loving, faithful Father? Will you join me in saying heartily “YES!”

1 John 4:17 “Because as He is, so are we in the world.”

The 2023-24 Living Waters program will be held this year on Saturday mornings starting on September 23. We will update the Living Waters page as the class plans and application process are finalized, so check back for all the details.

Connecting to the Gospel

But I consider my life of no value to myself; my purpose is to finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of God’s grace.

Acts 20:24 (CSB)

Last week in Bible Study, our group looked closely at this statement from Paul of how he saw the “why” of his life. Here, Paul clearly states that his overall motivation was to testify to the gospel. It seems like a very broad statement, and yet the broadness makes this motivation all the more powerful. No matter what situation Paul encountered, no matter how comfortable or painful, his way forward was always clear: share the good news of Jesus Christ.

Whether or not we identify it, each one of us lives life with a core motivation. Perhaps that motivation for you is avoiding pain, or feeling loved, or achieving control over your circumstances. For many years, my primary motivation was to never be seen making mistakes or not knowing an answer. On the outside, my life looked great. But on the inside, I was always afraid of being found out and known as a fraud.

From Motivation to Mission

Thankfully, when we claim Jesus as Savior and Lord, we are redeemed completely, including our motivations. The inward focus of our old thinking keeps us isolated and disconnected. In our new life, however, we find a “why” that looks outward, encouraging us to bring ourselves and our stories out into the world. I’ve known for many years that God designed me as a connector. I am made to connect people to the things they need, whether that is relationships, information, or resources. The more I walk in the newness of my redeemed identity, the more I get to do that in the service of the gospel.

Here at Outpost, I have the privilege of connecting people to hope and healing for their relational and sexual brokenness. Even though my job title has changed multiple times since coming on staff, I’ve consistently been able to participate in making these connections. I love to see and hear people’s reactions when a connection is made and they take the first step to encountering God in this area of their lives.

Connecting to Teaching

The first way I make connections is through our seminars and speaking engagements. When someone calls looking for teaching and training for their church or ministry, they talk to me. I get to help them figure out what their group needs, and how we can best meet that need.

Sometimes, I direct people to one of our already created seminars. Our Distinctions seminar is a great overview to help people understand and respond to issues around LGBTQ+ identities and questions. Our Foundations class, taught every month in-house, gives an introduction to how we understand our created being and what the healing journey entails. I love to help groups tailor the content for their particular audience, whether young adults, leadership teams, or multi-generational congregations.

In some cases, the best option is for two or three of our staff members and volunteer leaders to visit and share testimonies of transformation through Jesus. After sharing, we hold an extended Q&A time with the group we’re visiting. Our stories of God’s work are powerful. The stories encourage and teach and remind the listeners that no one needs to walk the path of life alone.

Connecting to Resources

The second way I make connections is by keeping our recommended resources list updated. While we primarily use the list when we visit churches or attend conferences, the list is also available on our website. At the top of our “Resources” page, you will find a link to a pdf file of book titles and video resources. The list is organized by topic and includes titles and videos for all age groups, including young readers and their parents. We love to help people find more ways to learn and be encouraged by the authors and video hosts.

Connecting to Hope

The third way God is using me to make connections is through planning our special events. Whether planning a fundraiser or a worship service, my goal is always to bring people together to encounter the love and truth of the living God. It is through these types of encounters that hearts are softened and lives are changed.

What a joy it is to have traded my old motivation for a new mission. Whatever my job tasks, and wherever God leads me to serve, my mission remains: to connect people to what they need most. That is, to connect people to the living God, that they, too, may experience hope and healing in Jesus’s name. Won’t you join me in sharing the good news with others? I pray you find (or are reminded of) your new motivation today. And may you be empowered by God to walk out your mission in love and truth.

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For more information on seminars or other training, call the office and ask for Wendy. Also, be sure to join us for our next special event, Called Out of Darkness, at 7:00 pm on June 22 at Cornerstone Church Crystal. More information on all these items is also on the website, www.outpostministries.org.