Monday, September 19, 2016


What I’m about to tell you could change your life and the lives of your children and your children’s children, forever!  I want to talk to you about not eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  I’m serious…. Have you ever really thought about this sin and what it means in our day to day lives?  Try to imagine what life would be like, had Adam and Eve not eaten this fruit.  Not just the lifting of all the pesky painful curse stuff, but how would we look at the world if we were not constantly judging between good and evil? 

Well, I never really thought about it either until God started doing a little tree work in my life. 

I’d been studying Prayers That Heal the Heart by Mark Virkler.  In it, Mark teaches that anything that steals our joy is A HEART ISSUE.  So, I started noticing what steals my joy.  I found that I spent undue time processing what I believed to be the motivation or reason behind other peoples’ actions…. “oh, they did that because they are afraid to…., or she does that because she never had this, or he doesn’t do it because he knows I will.”  In other words, “they’re afraid, they’re lazy, they’re selfish, they’re fill in the blank.”  I found I also lose a few minutes of joy when I get in the shower to no soap, or find something where it doesn’t belong for the umpteenth time.  Sound familiar to anyone?  Another area that had come to my attention was my need to give everything    or .  (Believe me, this started WAY BEFORE facebook!) It usually comes into play when I’m judging how I should spend my time. If I think something is productive, UP, if not, DOWN (with perhaps a raspberry sound included).  I got a clue the Holy Spirit was working on me in this area when I would give something a big ole thumbs down only to find out later that God did something amazing with it.  I began to dialogue with God on these issues, seeing similarities in my attitude and that’s when I started to consider….. perhaps…. just maybe…., I was dealing with a heart issue of JUDGING. 

Then came that fateful day in May of 2016, when I stepped across the line with a member of my family.  During the conversation that ensued, this person said, “I’m sick of you judging me!”   gasp!!!......There is was….., the J word!  Could this be true?  

No, you don’t understand!!! This was a really big deal for me because judging is part of my very personality.  Anyone take a personality test?  One of the defining aspects of a person’s type is whether you are Judging.  Well, I am Judging – off the charts!  (I’m not talking about judging if someone is a Christian or not, I feel confident that is not my job.)  This judging describes the process by which we view the world, sort information and make decisions.  It is fundamental to how I process…. In other words, it’s part of my shape.    

During this time, God started to show me some pretty stunning examples of the fact that I am not really equipped to judge between good and evil.  One example came from watching an interview of Jim Cavezeil about playing the role of Jesus in The Passion of the Christ. (Btw, you should watch this interview on youtube!)  Jim was talking about how the whole movie was being kept a secret and that the next day after he had accepted the part, Mel Gibson called to try to talk him out of it.  Mel told Jim it would likely be his last role in Hollywood, people would not be happy and that he (Mel) was the last person who should be producing it….  I can only guess why.  It’s my understanding many powerful people in Hollywood are Jewish.  It would seem, just like in biblical times, no one wants to be blamed for killing the Messiah.  Also, Mel knew what was in his own heart, some of the anti-Semitic remarks and actions, we learned about later, no doubt made him feel unworthy of such an important task.

All of the sudden, a thought popped into my head.  It is possible that God USED the anti-Semitism in Mel to cause him to produce the Passion of the Christ? I don’t just mean using bad for good, I’m talking about the idea that it was good that Mel has these attitudes, so God could get this movie made…. What?!?!  We would look at any racist comments and actions and say, that is evil and should not exist, but God totally had a plan for it!  In fact, God is just as skilled at using the good in people as He is at using the bad.  We judge between good and evil with so little information. God says, “Don’t call evil what I call good.”  

Hmmmmm....So then, if judging is such a bad thing, why did He make me with a such a strong judging personality? 

Because He shaped me for His glory, not mine. (whoa!)

So there it is, staring me in the face. I had a real heart issue with judging.  So, how do I get rid of it?  I went back to Prayers That Heal the Heart and followed the process. Being the good little student, I filled in all my blanks and thought I’d come to several key places where God wanted to change my thinking.  While praying through this with a couple of friends, the Lord showed one of them a large tree, and then words like pride, entitlement, control, perfectionism.  Excuse me?  Not just judgment, but all these other things AND my issue looks like a large tree?!?  Have you ever heard the question, “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there, does it make a sound?”  The answer is “YES. It makes a lot of sound, it throws papers around her office, uses a few choice words and goes down with a mighty crash of tears and a “I GIVE UP” at about 3 in the morning!  I couldn’t believe that after 10 years of following hard after Jesus, I still had/have so much junk to surrender!

I still don’t know exactly what that tree represents.  Perhaps it is my self-image, perhaps it is THE TREE of the knowledge of good and evil, itself?!  I only know it is rooted in pride, grew through self-reliance and it produces control, entitlement, judgment and separation.

I’m pretty sure we can’t cut down this particular tree, the best we can do is crucify our “old man” on it, like Paul writes about in Romans Chapter 6. “Lord, I reject the tree of the knowledge of good and evil today! I renounce my right to judge and acknowledge I don’t have the capacity to rightly judge. I pray blessings over those I agree with and those I don’t.  Lord, with Your help, I purpose to leave all judgments to You.  I desire to eat only from the tree of life!”

When I look at the arguments raging online between zealous Christians, debating the finer points of our faith, vilifying “tv preachers” and coming to verbal blows over politicians; I now realize I’m witnessing a bunch of well-meaning people just eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Only God knows who he wants to hold the position of president in the upcoming election.  Let’s ask Him!  Jesus said to let the tares/weeds grow with the wheat. Nearly all of the churches in Revelation had some things right and some things wrong.  Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to us in this hour. Let us take our eyes off of each other and fix them on Jesus, the only righteous judge.  Let us focus on the plank in our own eyes and take our stand together against our real enemy.  May it be so in my lifetime! 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Ask God for a Fish! (My Experience with far)

Before I dive into this topic, I want to share the process the Lord has used in my life to introduce me to areas of Christianity that were not part of my heritage.  It has been a process of exposure, acceptance, exploration and experience.  That is, I will learn about a new concept through someone that the Lord has ALREADY confirmed is in tune with His Holy Spirit.   Because of my confidence the Lord is at work in their lives, I generally accept that what they are doing or saying is led by the Lord.  This creates an open mind to seek out answers for myself, allowing the Holy Spirit to teach me and develop in me whatever is for me in His way and in His time.

I was introduced to praying in tongues by my good friend.  Through her and others, I learned there are reasonable people, alive today, who operate in the supernatural manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit.  How exciting!  But I can tell you, having no understanding of the purpose or value of tongues, I was much more interested in gifts that I thought had obvious uses like; words of knowledge, discerning of spirits and prophecy.

In reading about some people God has used powerfully, (D.L. Moody, Maria Woodworth-Etter and Heidi Baker), I came across something called a “baptism of the Holy Spirit”.  My understanding is that at some point in our pursuit of a closer walk with thee, God shows us His face, which results in a powerful infilling of the Spirit of the Lord that does a thorough work of proving His love, healing wounds and filling all the empty spaces.  This often resulted in the person being promoted in their ministry in terms of Preaching with Power or Healings and Signs and Wonders being manifest.  I reasoned, this must be when the spiritual gifts are passed out! I didn’t necessarily have a goal to start a healing ministry, but I figured if more of Jesus is available, then I WANT IT!!  And I began to ask the Lord for my own baptism of the Holy Spirit.

One weekend my friend and I attended a weekend training program, called Agape Prayer Ministry.  At the end of the weekend, one of the leaders looked at me and said somewhat gruffly, “What do you want from the Lord?”  I said, “I want a baptism of the Holy Spirit!”  She said, “You mean you want the gift of tongues?”  I said, “No, I want a baptism of the Holy Spirit.”  She looked confused, but had me kneel and she began to pray for me to receive an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and to speak in tongues.  I didn’t feel anything… she cupped my chin in her hand and said, “speak”.  I felt nothing unusual, had no new language all of the sudden form in my mouth, so I just looked at her.  Then she said, “would I give you a snake when you ask for a fish?”  I recognized this as scripture and decided to just open my mouth and give it a go.  I spoke about 7 syllables.  She looked supremely satisfied and moved on to the next person in the circle!  I thought, what was that all about?  My friend assured me this happens differently for everyone.   She encouraged me to practice my new prayer language every day.  I thought, “huh?  I doubt I can even remember what I said.”  Well, I did remember, and I did pray “in tongues” every so often, when I thought of it, but it got really old really fast, repeating 7 syllables that I didn’t even know what I was saying.  One day, as we prayed together, my friend asked the Lord to interpret my 7 syllables.  The Spirit gave her “Jesus is Lord”, as the interpretation.  This gave me some confidence and made some sense to me… I assumed praying in tongues was letting the Holy Spirit pray for us when we don’t know what to pray.  It would make sense to declare Jesus is Lord in pretty much any situation.      

During this time and for approximately 1 year leading up to this experience, I would often see 11:11 on digital clocks.  This was about the time I went to bed, so I just thought it was a coincidence.…. but, I didn’t see 11:10 or 11:12, it was uncanny…I would look at the clock at exactly 11:11.  Then I thought perhaps my internal body clock, just knows what time it is and now that I’ve noticed this time, it sets off something like an alarm that makes me look at a clock.  However, I also began to see it in the am and many times, by great and unusual sets of circumstances would find myself looking at a clock at 11:11.

About 1 week after my experience with the stern lady in the scarf at the agape prayer school, I was reading a book by Dutch Sheets called Intercessory Prayer.  In it, he began to tell about seeing the numbers 2:22, (waking in the night, hotel room keys, flight numbers, etc.)  He said he had learned to recognize this as the Holy Spirit and to look for scripture to see what it means.  I immediately laid Mr. Sheet’s book in my lap and reached for my bible.  I opened it randomly to the book of Luke…and then intentionally I went to chapter 11, verse 11, (Luke 11:11) and I quote,  “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish would give him a snake instead?”  WHOA!!!  RIGHT!?!  Stunning…. The Lord just confirmed that He wants me to use this prayer language even though I don’t understand it.  It is God’s idea to give us the gift of tongues. Who am I to judge if it is has value or not?!?!  He tells me not to lean on my own understanding! My Father lovingly prepared and gave me a gift!  It is not a snake. I should want this gift and be happy to use it!  I say, “Thank you for my fish, Lord!”

Later I heard a preacher share that he had a similar experience, not growing up with tongues.  He came to realize it is the ultimate act of surrender!  At once, we surrender both our intellect and our tongues!  We don’t know why we are doing it, or what we are saying.  An ultimate act of faith!  I still don’t know why we pray in tongues and I’ve never had the experience where I was given a “tongue” to speak in a gathering and someone else interprets, like Paul describes.   And I’m still asking for that baptism in the Holy Spirit! (See what I mean by God’s timing and plans? He gave me what He wanted me to have, when He wanted to give it.)

Here are a few things I believe to be true about tongues, based on my limited experience:

-      A personal prayer language is available to every Christian.
-      You don’t have to speak in tongues to be a Christian.   
-   Praying in tongues appears to open the door to other prophetic activity in your life, like prophetic dreams, etc. 
-     True to His style, the Spirit is a gentleman. He does not take control of our body and speak through us.  Instead, we are speaking voluntarily and trusting that He has put His words in our mouths. 
-      I can see a clear benefit to this gift, in that you can pray in tongues while still being completely aware of what’s being said around you. This enables prayers of agreement and the ability to fervently pray in situations where you have to be aware and alert to what is going on around you.
-     It is a willful act of faith and humility to say, “Spirit, please pray for me.  I don’t know what I ought to pray for but you always know!” Then, out of obedience, pray “in the Spirit”.

At the end of the day, I rest on this:  It is impossible to please God without faith.  From what I’ve learned about prophecy and other gifts, they all require faith.  People who hear from the lord are not getting a dictated fully audible word by word message to be given.  Often they are hearing at the very fringes of their capacity to hear.  Or they are seeing something that might be considered foolish if they share it.  Or they just know something.  In Exodus 3:12, God is talking to Moses from the burning bush. He says “certainly I will be with you and this shall be a sign to you that it is I who have sent you…”  Wait a minute, God is talking to Moses from a bush and yet he is not 100% crystal clear that it is God who is sending him?  GOD WILL NEVER COMPLETELY REMOVE THE NEED FOR FAITH AS YOU HEAR FROM HIM AND STEP OUT TO OPERATE IN THE GIFTS HE GIVES YOU.  

The other important point is to never value the GIFT over the GIVER!  Jesus is everything!  He is all sufficient!!  Pursue Him with your whole heart, soul and mind. But it was His idea to empower His church with these gifts of the Spirit to prove His love and bring heaven to earth.  So, we need to stop being afraid of them.  He won’t give us a snake when we ask for a fish! So, ask for a fish!

Saturday, July 25, 2015


Don’t you just love the sound of that phrase, “unforced rhythms of grace”?  It has its own cadence and  brings to mind waves lapping on the shore, or catching the wind in a sail boat on a warm summer night.  Somehow we instinctively know that life is about rhythms.  We know all too well what it feels like to be way out of rhythm and it seems we only get fleeting glimpses of what it’s like to be in perfect rhythm.  But Jesus intends for us to catch His Rhythm and live our entire lives there, in the unforced rhythms of grace.

This concept comes from a very familiar passage of scripture in Matthew Chapter 11:28-30. Jesus’ invitation to the weary: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest….learn from me…. my yoke is easy and my burden is light…”  Check out the Message paraphrase:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

I always thought this scripture was speaking to those who don’t know Him.  Are you tired of trying to do life your way?  Come to Jesus and you will find rest for your souls.  While this is totally true, upon closer inspection, perhaps Jesus is also talking to Christians… we’re tired, worn out, burned out on religion…    

Think about it, how many Christians do you know who would call the Christian life “restful”.  How many would say, “yes, this yoke is easy”.  The truth is, often His yoke feels hard… We have all these responsibilities to fight our flesh and die to ourselves. We are supposed to turn the other cheek, not worry about anything, pray at all times, have faith in the good, even when life looks bad.  On top of which, we have to navigate the “world”, work on our marriages, support our families, raise our kids, run our households AND volunteer for every service team and ministry that comes along.  Exhausting!!! 

So, where is the disconnect?  What are we missing?  Why is life not light and free? Of course, I don’t  have all the answers!  Many times our lives don’t feel light and free…. but Matt and I have been pursuing unforced rhythms of grace and I’d like to share some of our experiences with you.   

One day, a few years ago,  we came across the phrase, Unforced Rhythms of Grace.  It captured our imaginations!!  For one thing, it sounded like a great hook for a song!  (Turns out, it is! Check out Matt’s CD at  For another, it is so compelling… "Yes!" We said, "We want to learn the unforced rhythms of grace from Jesus!"  We began to ponder what this might mean and talk to each other and the Lord about it.

The first thing we did was decide to believe God; to believe He means what He says in scripture and to believe that He is interested and active in every aspect of our lives.  We began to look for Him in our everyday lives.  We asked ourselves: What is happening right now, that is just not a coincidence?!  Where is God active around us?  What is absolutely clear in scripture about how to live and what He promises?  (For a complete course on this concept, see Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby.  We only got through the first 2 chapters of that study, but it has been life changing!)  With these kinds of questions, we began to consider the different aspects of our lives, try to discern what God would have us do and then boldly do it.

So, how does this play out in a practical way?  Matt came down one day and described a phenomenon that he experiences when writing computer code.  Sometimes he just feels like he needs to do a particular project, maybe it’s converting everything to a new library, or incorporating a particular tool or functionality with no apparent need for it in the immediate future.  And then, within a few days, something will come up that needs the very thing that he just completed!  This has happened so many times, Matt knows when he gets this feeling to go ahead and do the thing, because the odds are great he is going to need it. “Ah-ha”, we said, “this is an example of unforced rhythms of grace!  Let’s believe God works in our lives this way, and go with it!”

This knowing also happens with people!  Have you ever just met someone, yet you feel like you’ve known them your entire life?  Or maybe you are just inexplicably drawn to a person, they keep coming to your mind?  This is not just an oddity!!  IT’S A DIVINE APPOINTMENT!  God is connecting two lives because He has something in the connection for each of you!  Pay attention, make room, follow-through and you will be blessed!  I’ll never forget the day I was attending a gathering at another church to pray for a unified Easter service.  It was 630am on a Sunday morning and I showed up in my baseball cap and ratty old sweater with big pockets full of Kleenex, some new, some used!  (You get the picture, I was not there to meet people! LOL!)  As a woman I had never met began to pray, I felt something like a wave of electricity go through me!  It was like an arc that connected me to her and I remember leaning forward to get a look at who was speaking so I could meet her after.  We became fast friends and prayer partners and she opened a whole new world of prayer and believing God for more in my life.  We have been on many adventures with the Lord since that day….  I can honestly say, my life was NEVER THE SAME, after I met and invited this dear sister to be a part of it!!  All because I recognized God at work in this connection and moved into it.

On another occasion, we were asked to help lead a bible study in a prison. We had never even considered prison ministry.  I remember we took a long walk one cold winter night and landed on the fact that Jesus said, “when you visit a prisoner, you visit me”.  Well, we want to be where Jesus is, so we said “YES”, and now six years later we can’t even count all the benefits and blessings that have come from this one decision!  Not only do we get to invest in many lives and encounter Jesus in powerful ways, through this ministry, Matt has gained the confidence to perform his original music live and I have started teaching, which is something I have wanted to do since I was a child!  God is giving us the desires of our hearts!  In fact, the day we decided to believe God for our wildest dreams, He downloaded a complete song to Matt, lyrics and music, in one hour.  We didn’t choose prison ministry, it chose us! And it has been LIFE GIVING!!!  Did we feel a prolonged call on our lives to do prison ministry?  No. Did God make it obvious this was where He wanted us in a vision or a dream? No. He simply put it in our path and we said “Yes”. 

This one decision to believe God means what He says, to look for Him in our lives and move in His direction has paid off in huge dividends!!  Since we started this journey, we have become debt free. (That’s right, NO MORTGAGE!)  You would think this would have required both of us working 2 jobs, but instead, during this time, I voluntarily took several cuts in pay…. all the way to $0!  And Matt quit his job and we started our own business!!!  Can you say, “abundantly more than we can ask or imagine”? 

Another way to describe this way of life, is to simply be faithful with what He puts in front of you.  If you feel prompted to start something new, start it! Believe that He orders the steps of the Righteous!  That He’s put His words in your mouth!  Do what He gives you to do to the best of your abilities and leave the rest up to Him.  Don’t try to figure out how it will all work out in the end.  If you feel like you should connect with someone, don’t miss it!  What treasures!  What blessings the Lord has in store for us if we will only believe Him.  Get ready for the ride of your lives in the Unforced Rhythms of Grace. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Poor, Blind and Naked

For me, there has been something missing in the church experience my entire life. I grew up in a Holiness denomination that had somehow boiled it all down to a list of do’s and don’ts.  At least that’s how it came across to me. Yet, I felt the Spirit of the Living Christ in this church often, especially during altar calls and camp meetings. But it was a striking dichotomy to me that day to day life in this congregation felt nothing like “living”.  Later, as an adult, I attended a more main stream “Evangelical” church, where most of the emphasis was on Grace and the Bible is treated as the final and only Word from the Lord.  Then I met some people who were having incredible experiences with the Holy Spirit; operating in the prophetic, hearing from the Lord and having visions and dreams. The Lord confirmed to me over and over again that He was speaking to and through these people, yet nothing like it was being practiced at my church. I have come to believe that every church and denomination who believe Jesus is the son of God and the way to salvation has some of the truth!  Further, I believe that no church, (or Christian for that matter) has all of the truth.  We are all lacking some aspect of understanding.  Jesus is the truth.  So, on the day the church possesses 100% of the truth, the MANIFEST PRESENCE of JESUS CHRIST, HIMSELF WILL BE STANDING ON EARTH.

This isn’t intended to criticize or blame. In fact, the letters to the angels of the churches in of Revelation prove that God knew all along that we were going to get some things right and some things wrong.  It would even appear, He did it on purpose… He is the one who decided to let the tares grow with the wheat.  I honestly have no idea why… We would not have done it this way…. We also would not have left sharing the good news with the whole world in the hands of mankind!  

So what is the point? Why does this matter?  For one thing, we need to get over ourselves and stop criticizing other Christians.  For another thing, we have a lot to learn and experience by actually opening our hearts and minds to aspects of the Lord we do not yet understand.  Do you think you know all there is to know about God?  Hardly!!  There is always more Jesus to know!

Jesus is coming back for His pure and spotless bride. Look around, do you see any pure and spotless brides?  I don't... So, this must mean something happens before the end of time that calls the church up higher…(not the rapture), but the clarion call of the Lamb of God to see things from His perspective, to set ourselves apart and admit that we don’t have it figured out.  To return to our first love and actually become One with each other, as Jesus is One with the Father and submit to Jesus as the Head. 

No doubt, I have already got the dander up of several faithful servants of God.  In fact I’m sure my dear mother is none too happy with what I’ve said already in blog #2.  Because we are all striving the best we know how to seek truth and follow Jesus, we don’t want to think that we are doing anything wrong.  But, as they say, the proof is in the pudding! 

A few years ago, I was reading the letter to the church of Laodicea in Revelation Chapter 3, and I got to this part:

 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.  

I thought, yes Lord, I’m sure this is talking to me, to the church in America.  We certainly are rich compared to the rest of the world and what’s more we think we are rich. So, I asked, “how, Lord?  Show me how we are blind and naked.”  The very next day, we had a horrible tragedy in our community.  A young man, in Jr high, was attending a youth group on a Wednesday night and went in the bathroom and cut his own throat.  Yes, you read that correctly, he was physically at a church event when he did this terrible thing.  Not only was this student a long standing member of this youth group, but he also attended a Christian after school program (led by people from other churches), AND he had been meeting with yet another Christian mentor for several years.  This young man lived through his experience. He was a cutter and not necessarily trying to take his life, but he is tormented to the point he cuts himself and this time, he chose his neck.  We were all stunned.  I’m still stunned.  How could we fail so miserably?  We think that all we need to do is get these kids involved in a good youth group and get some Christian influence in their lives.  That all they need to do is accept Christ and go to church and all will be well.  But, NO, all is not well.  The truth is, we (the church) are pretty helpless in situations like this.  We don’t know what is wrong, we don’t know how to pray and we don’t see real and meaningful change and freedom come in many lives of the people we love and try to serve. 

We think we are rich, but we are really wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.   

Please don’t misunderstand, I love the church!!  I grew up in the church and I can think of no other group of people that I would want to claim. I am proud to be a Christian! There is none like the redeemed, the ones who know we are broken and need a savior. Who else would literally feed and clothe the entire world?  I’ve never seen an apartment so quickly furnished than to send out an email to 500 or so Christians and sit back and watch them LOVE and GIVE!  The church is magnificent, literally the HOPE OF GLORY, the BELOVED BRIDE OF CHRIST!! I love her as a whole, as individual congregations and as individual people! 

But the time has come on the Kingdom calendar for the church to wake up from our slumber, to recognize that we are doing many things right, but there are still things the Lord has against us.  It’s time to lay down our critical attitudes toward each other, our competitive spirits and our need to control our “people” and our lives and instead submit and surrender to Christ as our only Head, joining together the body – one living organism that shares the same heartbeat to share the good news with a lost and dying world.  It's time to humble ourselves and pray and fast and wait before the Lord, showing our dependence on Him! It's time to believe God for more and step out in faith. I say RISE UP Church and come into your glory. You were created for such a time as this!  

Saturday, June 27, 2015

What should we do, Lord?

A Response to the Gay Marriage Decision                                                                

Truly we are in complex times. Think of it, the Lord has ordained us to be the ones on earth to represent His Kingdom for such a time as this.  May we be found faithful!!

Every time I try to discern in my spirit what is my “stand” on this issue, I find myself more uncertain.  Man cannot legislate morals and truth, it’s why the letter of the law apart from the saving grace of Jesus only leads to death.  Scripture is clear that homosexual behavior is sin.  So is hate, greed, malice, false witness, other sexual sin, putting other Gods before the One true God, and on and on.  All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  Does this mean we should not pursue lives free from sin?  Of course we must.  When God says don’t, He is saying don’t hurt yourself.  He saved us and brought us into marvelous light, should we willingly keep walking in darkness?  

I believe there is no black and white “stand” to take, apart from love never fails and Jesus is the only way.  Even scripture will take different sides, depending on the situation… For example: Obey the laws of man can be found and at the same time, Jesus and his disciples clearly go against the laws of man.  ONLY Jesus in the form of His Holy Spirit, our counselor and ever present friend can determine the right course of action in any situation.  We must have our hearts and minds so tuned into the Spirit of the living Christ that in the moment, we will know the right response.  How do we do this?  PRAY, Learn to PRAY, PRAY at all times and in all sorts of ways, PRAY without ceasing. We need DIVINE strategies and DIVINE intelligence to stand on truth in love.

I have been searching scripture for parallels to what we are seeing play out.  The one that rings true so far is the story of John and Peter preaching in the Name of Jesus. They were called before the leaders and reprimanded and told not to preach in this Name.  They replied, “should we do what you say?  Or what God says?”  Here we have scriptural precedent to go against the laws of man when God is telling us to do something else.  (btw. Daniel praying, Mordecai and the 3 from the furnace refusing to bow to man are other examples.)

To me the Bible makes it clear that Christians cannot just decide that homosexual behavior is not sin.  However, it is not clear to me that a Christian carpenter should refuse to roof a house of a gay man. Do we ask customers if they are addicted to porn or having an affair or full or greed or pride before we engage, become friends or do business?  No, we don’t.  If we decided we can’t do business with sinners, all business would have to halt. Where does the act of doing business cross into celebrating sin or defying God?  That is for each person to work out with fear and trembling with God. 

Now, back to the story of Peter and John, after they took their stand against the authorities, they went to a prayer gathering to call on the Lord for supernatural courage to continue. We know there was an earthquake and not only Peter and John, but all that were present were anointed to speak out in the Name. Fast forward to another public teaching event… Again they were brought before the Sanhedrin. “didn’t we give you strict orders not to preach in the Name of Jesus?”  “We must obey God”, was the reply. Then they were punished…. And Acts 5:41 says “the apostles left, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.”  Hmmmmm, this sounds very different than publicly fighting for legislation to protect our religious freedom.  If we do take a stand because we feel the Holy Spirit prompt us to go against the rulers’ edicts, and we get punished for it, perhaps our reaction should be rejoicing? See what I mean?  It’s complicated! The “right thing” to do in any situation is not clear before the situation presents itself.  We must lean hard into the chest of Christ Jesus and listen for Him to guide the way and then trust Him with the consequences.  We must hear the voice behind us saying, “this is the way, walk in it”.  We must practice this “listening” on everyday interactions so that when the big test comes, we are ready.  You see a guy with a sign begging for food, do you always give? Do you always judge? Or do you ask Jesus, “what would you have me do and say, right now, Lord?” Your daughter tells you a lie, what should you do?  Your neighbor is hateful about lawn care, what should you do? Only Jesus knows the heart and His ways are NOT our ways, we have to ask Him!  Only Jesus can hold us accountable to absolute truth and at the same time love us unconditionally. We are called to be His representatives right now, not by power or by might, but by my Spirit, says the Lord.