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Wednesday, February 19th, 2020

I just finished reading a really interesting book called A War of Loves by David Bennett.  It is subtitled The Unexpected Story of a Gay Activist Discovering Jesus. 

Question: What would it mean for an atheist gay activist to become a Christian?

Good question. No…great question. One David answers fully. At 14, he came out to his parents. At 19, he encountered Jesus Christ. At this moment his life changed forever. But…and this is key…that change did not happen overnight.  This book is his journey…and a well-traveled and documented journey it is. Throughout the 250+ pages of this book you will ride the highs and lows with him. You will tear up (your eyes); you will want to tear him up due to some of his actions and reactions (to the Bible when his mother read it to him after his moment of salvation, for example).  You will travel with him to France and his native Australia as he seeks God and more education. You will identify with his sin struggles (not necessarily his homosexuality, but sin that lingers).  And you will find your heart and mind stretched as he “fleshes” out his beliefs and his faith.

Some might wonder why I am recommending this book, and for those who don’t know, why I am reading so much on this topic and have more in my cue).  The little town of Spencer has a very active, and at times militant, PRIDE group led by a young man (as in according to my age) who was raised in the local Nazarene church but now identifies as an atheist. And yes, that breaks my heart. I want to know how to reach him with Jesus.

This did not start out to be a book review nor an endorsement…although it has turned out to be both. I wrote down several quotes in my Moleskine and want to share just one of them. I plan to use the others in future posts.

If we come to Scripture with our minds made up, expecting to hear from it an echo of our own thoughts and never the thunderclap of God’s, then indeed he will not speak to us and we shall only be confirmed in our own prejudices. We must allow the Word of God to confront us, disturb our security, to undermine our complacency and to overthrow our patterns of thought and behavior.  John Stott- quoted on page 123

What Mr. Stott says is true. No matter the topic or thought. We should not come to God’s Word with our minds made up or with preconceived ideas and then look for proof. No….we read and allow its words to become our standard. To quote Bennett: “God does not discriminate, but He calls believers of all kinds to a standard.” (quote from p.242)

I’d like to recommend you read this book, not for fodder, but for a better understanding of the “gay” mindset if we are ever to reach them with our friendship and with the Gospel. You will also deeply appreciate his two appendices.

A War of Loves: The Unexpected Story of a Gay Activist Discovering Jesus


Thursday, May 16th, 2019

In my last post I reviewed Jackie Hill Perry’s book, Gay Girl Good God. I had one response to it so either it was not read (a possibility) or it touched a nerve (and no one wanted to go there). But in that review I mentioned some great quotes JHP made and I planned on sharing them. So, in this post I want to do just that.

[Eve] figured fruit and not faith, sin and not obedience, would give her the wisdom she needed to be more perfect than she already was. Interestingly enough, some of what she saw was true. The tree was indeed good for food and pleasant to the sight; God had made it that way. The deception was in believing that the tree was more satisfying to the body and more pleasurable to the sight than God.  (p.18)

Just as Eve let her body tell her what she should do with it, instead of God’s Word, which would’ve reminded her of what she was made for, I was inevitably prone to the same kind of unbelief. The one in which sin seemed better than submission. Or where women, who are beautifully and wonderfully made, just as the tree had been, would be more beautiful and more wonderful than I considered God to be. (p.21)

Apparently, this body was never mine to begin with-it was given to me from Somebody, for Somebody. (p.51)  {That follows her quoting Colossians 1:16}

I was able to want God because the Holy Spirit was after my affections just as much as he was after my obedience. (p.84)

When the Holy Spirit made His home within me, He snatched the blinds down and let the light in. Not only could I see God and his glory with a smile on my face, but I could also see sin for the liar that it was.” (p.84)

Following Jesus [means] not only eternal life but also a crucified one. (p.168)  {Note: Paula White would have a real problem with this one. See here for what she said about denying yourself.

Our sexuality is not our soul, marriage is not heaven, and singleness is not hell. So may we all preach the news that is good for a reason. For it proclaims to the world that Jesus has come so that all sinners, same-sex attracted and opposite-sex attracted, can be forgiven of their sins to love God and enjoy Him forever. (p.190)

There are a ton more quotes I could include but this is enough. I hope, perhaps, they are enough to encourage you to get the book and give it a read. I don’t believe you will be disappointed.


Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

My last post was sort of snarky in that it was tongue-in-cheek. It was either not read much or people just chose not to comment. (Can I hope for the latter?)

Anyway, I thought I would use a quote I read from Scott Sauls’ book from Weakness to Strength. I highly recommend it especially for anyone in leadership. In a chapter he called Opposition: The Unlikely Pathway to Neighbor Love, Scott used this quote:

We draw people to Christ not by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it. Madeline L’Engle

There are some people who see it as their mission in life to tear down other people. I know there is a need for discernment when it comes to cults, false teachers, etc. But I’m not sure there is value in name-calling and “demonizing” someone due to their choice of lifestyle. Please don’t misunderstand me here: I believe the so-called “alternate lifestyle” is sinful, but they are still people. I used to be one of those preachers who said “I tell it like it is and if you don’t like it argue with the Bible not me.” I now realize that was and is the wrong approach.

Scott summed up Madeline’s words with these:  “No amount of cultural opposition stopped Jesus from working to change the world through love.” I can’t argue with him.

All that to say this: perhaps instead of being hateful and judgmental toward those who oppose us, maybe we can take the position of lovingly disagreeing while maintaining our Biblical stance. It doesn’t mean I am compromising; it means I am trying to reach people with the message of the love of Jesus with honey instead of vinegar.

What are your thoughts?



Monday, February 25th, 2019

So…Martina has watched the pendulum swing and hit her smack dab in the face.

I try not to write posts which have any kind of snarky attitude to them. I must confess: this one is different.  I have never been a Martina fan. And seriously, it has nothing to do with her lifestyle choice, i.e. coming out as gay. I was seriously loyal to American athletes, hence I rooted for Chris Evert. Funny, I don’t give a rip about tennis. So, what I’m saying is my failure to cheer for Martina was not in any way linked to her lifestyle choice.  As years have gone by she has not been on my radar at all. I can’t even say when the last time was I even heard her name being used.

Until last week. I didn’t know it but Martina tweeted in December of last year that she advocated standards for transgender athletes (male identifying as female) that would disqualify them from competing against women in athletic events. The firestorm hit! She withdrew her tweet the next day saying she needed to study the issue some more. Well, last week she came back to the fray convinced even more that transgender males have no business competing in women’s sports! Her reasons were sound. They were spot on. But I don’t even think Martina was ready for what hit her.

Her words:

“If anything, my views have strengthened. …A man can decide to be female, take hormones if required by whatever sporting organization is concerned, win everything in sight and perhaps earn a small fortune, and then reverse his decision and go back to making babies if he so desires. It’s insane and cheating. I am happy to address a transgender woman in whatever form she prefers, but I would not be happy to compete against her.  It would not be fair.”

She’s right. Hormones and biology prove her right.  There is a lady in the church I pastor who is a powerlifter and last week won her age and weight class for the state of Indiana. While I know she could outlift me, there is no way she could compete with a lifelong male who has been lifting as long as Valarie has and has trained as she does. The testosterone won’t “bow down” to the estrogen in strength.  I would hate to see a trans boxer against a similarly trained female. The sight would not be pretty.

But Martina is now finding out about the intolerance of the so-called tolerant.  She is now antiquated, outdated, out-of-tune and being black-balled for her stand. Welcome to our world Martina!  Chris Pratt and other followers of Christ in Hollywood are being ripped apart because they attend what are being called “anti-LBGTQ” churches.  Why is it that just because we do not affirm the alphabet lifestyle we are called homophobes or whatever other name they want to pin on us? I personally do not believe the Bible approves the homosexual lifestyle but I do believe God affirms all people as having value and try to follow that same stream in my actions.  I’ve gone on long enough. All I will say is this…

Hey Martina! Welcome to our world-the world of the Christ-follower and Biblical churches who try to love and stay true to the teachings of Scripture.  Intolerance strikes all who disagree.


Sunday, January 17th, 2016

I try hard…really hard…not to be judgmental. I know I’m not perfect so casting a wide net over people is not conducive to reaching people. But I was privy to a conversation the other day which shows it goes both ways.

At a meeting some “idiot” made a foolhardy statement about how “me and my people (the ones I hang around) feel.” He went on to say they ought to kill all drug dealers (“I don’t want to pay $37000 to keep them in prison”) and homosexuals/LGBTQ people. I have to admit to almost choking on that statement. I was dumbfounded and appalled. Not that I’m into paying money for prisoners or modifying bathrooms for the gender-sensitivity garbage, but I was taken aback. Afterwards, I was speaking to some ladies who were directly affected by that man’s words (one has a gay son). One of them looked at me and said, “I’m sorry to say this but I bet he was a Christian.” I made an off-handed comment about some of the previous speech I have heard from other occasions casting doubt on that, but after I thought about her statement, I got a little peeved.

Why is it we are all lumped into one pile? Granted, we often deserve it. But truthfully, while “they” often accuse Christ-followers of lumping them all into one, is what she did any different? I know there are those who are moral police and want to condemn anyone (not just gay people) who do not agree with them. But not all are that way. After thinking about it, I resented being lumped in with him and his ilk.

Judgmentalism goes both ways. Here is a novel idea! How about we just stop with the hate? I’m all for Truth. I’m also all for Love. The two can coexist. Let’s practice it.


Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

First, I apologize for this post being a bit longer than my normal ones. Just warning you…. 🙂

When I first came to OVCF I carried with me a strong desire to be a church of No Perfect People Allowed. Not only was I ready to do church differently after serving at a very traditional church (I loved the people though), I was also greatly influenced by John Burke’s book, No Perfect People Allowed (which I devoured twice and led in some small groups). I’m veteran enough now to know copying someone’s methods won’t work, but the ideology was something which resonated in my spirit. Fortunately, the folks here were ready to jump on board with me.

In all honesty, neither I, nor they knew exactly what that would mean. No one does. It certainly means more than the way a person is dressed or whether he/she is OCD. It is about creating a come-as-you-are culture in the church. The scenarios are numerous and I would actually encourage you to pick up Burke’s book (as well as Unshockable Love). The reality of this type of church culture is an “open door” policy, some of what you have no clue what you are getting into.


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Caleb is a pastor now. He was also raised by LGBT parents. His father and mother divorced, his mother had her lover/wife, and years later he learned his father was also gay. He marched in gay pride parades as a youngster, and experienced the hatred and bitterness of some Christians toward his family.

But then Caleb surprised everyone by becoming a Christ-follower. Maligned, but never disowned by his parents, Caleb stood firm in his convictions. He loves his parents; loved his mother’s wife (now deceased); and continues to have dialogue with his (now converted) celibate parents.

The purpose of his book is to show that Jesus’ command to love your neighbor does not have a clause which says, “Except for ______________” That exception is, as you can guess, for the LGBT people.  I liked the way Caleb interspersed his personal story with stories of people he met along the way (both straight and gay) and how they impacted his life. What I really like is Caleb doesn’t give blanket, easy solutions to the issue. You know where he stands on the morality of homosexuality, but never once do you find a condemnatory tone.

Grace, by its very definition is Messy.

Right after reading Caleb’s book, I read another one.

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Out of a Far Country by Christopher Yuan and his mother, Angela Yuan, is a book you also need to read.  Raised by Chinese parents (atheist), Christopher eventually adopted the gay lifestyle and lived full-bore as a gay man. His hatred for all things “God” is real. His mother’s unexpected conversion spurred that hatred even more. But eventually praying parents (after some time his father also converted to Christ) who continued to love him; a drug-addled existence; getting caught and imprisoned for selling drugs;  being diagnosed as HIV+, led to his conversion. Today Christopher teaches as an adjunct professor at Moody and also travels speaking on homosexuality and the church’s response (as his health allows). Yeah, there was no miracle “cure” for his HIV+ status. This is Christopher’s story and reads quickly. There is no lambasting over the homosexual issue. Christoper, like Caleb, sees them as people in need of a life-perserver (Jesus) who offers what so many are looking for.

My suggestion is you get your copies of both of these books. I believe it will open your eyes and heart to a whole new approach toward those in the gay lifestyle. And while you are at it, check out Matt & Laurie’s site Hole in My Heart here. They are both open and honest about their struggles (Laurie with SSA and Matt with porn).

Well…you have my thoughts. Time for you to act. Let me know what you are thinking.