Why we should welcome homosexuals into our churches – the thoughts of an evangelical, pentecostal Christian

I never really speak about this issue publicly.. in person or on social media. I guess the reason why I never do is exactly what draws me to write this post.

My eye was caught this morning by a headline stating, “Vatican official says homosexuals welcome. “ I am not Catholic but that headline could be interchanged with any headline from a Christian news website.

The whole idea that..” I’m a Christian. . I don’t like gay people, ” is an unfortunate brand that has been placed upon the church.. And it saddens me to say, that many times,  for good reason. But the truth of the matter is – of course homosexuals should be welcome in our churches! Any follower of Jesus who thinks any different should examine their relationship with Him. 

Now I understand that for a lot of people it’s just the changing of the social tides that make them uncomfortable with the statement that gay people should be welcomed into our churches and that is the force that drives Conservative news providers to publish articles like the one aforementioned in this post. We must remember that we live in a fallen world. We live in the enemy’s domain. Regardless of how life was in the good ol’ days. . We should not expect the world to follow the light. . Because without Jesus..There is only darkness. History is beginning to repeat itself and the prophesies from the word of God about the end of the age are being fulfilled. Early Christians were tortured, persecuted, and despised. Followers of Jesus should never expect the world to adhere to Gods plan because Gods plan brings forth happiness and life and the evil one who has temporarily usurped Gods throne over this world doesn’t want his subjects to have life. . But only sadness and death. Our mission is not to force the world into our Christian box but to show them the unrelenting and never failing love and mercy of Jesus Christ.

In the past I have sat on the pews of the F.M. Church of God as a drug addict.. I have sat on the pews of the FMCOG as a thief.. A liar. .as a person addicted to fornication and sexual immorality. . As a defiant and proud sinner. All of us have and still continue to do so every Sunday because we are all sinners and it’s only by the grace of God that we have been made right with God through repentance and by the blood of Jesus. 

I will never apologize for calling homosexuality a sin. It is what it is. But good lord! I’m glad that there was never a stigma within the church that said liars, drug addicts and thieves were not welcome to enter into God’s house. Because, if so, I would probably be dead and my soul eternally dammed to hell right now. Jesus came for the broken hearted.. Jesus came to set free the captives trapped in a bleak and lonely wasteland of sin. . Not for the righteous. 

I pray that the pews of my church will be filled by gay people. Before I was married, I sat beside my partner in sexual sin many times in God’s house. Before i was redeemed i sat under the influence of drugs many times in church. . Actually, in the past, when i would finally relent to my parents pleading and go to church . . I used to make it a point to get high before church so to numb myself to the conviction of God’s presence. But you know what? God still reached me and planted seeds of life within me.. even though i would walk right out that door and continue in my selfishness and in my refusal to serve God. . He still loved me and wanted me in his house and in his presence because He had other plans for me!

Let us all look at life not through a temporary eye piece but through an eternal one.. Not with a proud heart but with a heart humbled by the love and mercy of Jesus.

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Jesus AND Divorce? the thoughts of a once divorced preachers daughter

this entry is long, but I feel that the topic deserves all that I can humbly offer.

an entry from my journal dated January 2009:

Every road must end. Every candle, no matter the amount of wick or wax, will burn out. Every fire dies. Today Seth left. He packed up his truck and is gone. I find it quite ironic that after these years of collecting “things” together he left with what he started with 5 years ago. Today standing in my driveway I examined the contents of his packed truck.. a few pieces of cloths, a guitar, and an amp.

I was so broken at the time the above was written. I was lost. The outcome of stumbling through life in such darkness for so many years was a severely bruised spirit..and, as what the above attests to, a failed marriage. My rebellion and defiance towards God and towards Seth had finally caught up with me. By the reality of my failed marriage, the levee had finally been broken and the waters that crashed down upon me were cold. Everything I had done had failed..everything around me testified to one sad truth : I was a failure.

That day, after I watched Seth’s truck pull out of the driveway and disappear into the road ahead, I stood there, frozen in my driveway for a long time. Our marriage had been a rocky one and we had separated and reconciled a few times before that..but on that day.. I knew that it was over. I was right..the next time that I would see him would be at the courthouse when we signed the divorce papers. With the cold, white January sky hanging above me, I stood there like a statue – it’s hard to explain how I felt..I guess my best attempt would be to say that at that moment, I had never felt so alone. Standing there that day, I had never hated myself more. I remember lifelessly staring at a flower-pot which held the shriveled remains of a house plant that I had forgotten.. what had once been a beautiful plant that had been very much alive had turned into nothing but a lifeless skeleton sitting on my front porch.. I had left it outside – my actions and neglect had killed it.

It’s odd to me how short my entry was from that day. One could assume that an event that brings such painful change would be documented with more feeling.. with a greater attempt to describe the pain of divorce.. with a greater attempt to put into words the depth of the gash which has just ripped apart their heart. I don’t know why I didn’t write about that dead house plant. I don’t understand why I didn’t express the anguish that my soul was overcome by when I wrote that. I failed to paint a picture of who I had been that day – a fool standing alone in her driveway tortured by the realization that the man who she had just pushed out of her life had once been the man with whom she had shared a deep and pure love with..a fool who had killed her marriage. My select words from that day show how truly numb I had become. I didn’t express the emptiness and the panic that I was consumed with because I ran from it.. I hid myself from it because to admit how bitterly painful divorce was would have also been admitting how truly messed up living for myself had gotten me. I needed Jesus so badly then..and as I will soon explain, it was the chain of events that took place after my divorce that caused me to finally find Him again.

Wait a second,  you may say..are you talking about the same Jesus that I’m thinking of..Ive read the bible and divorce is a sin..nothing good can come from divorce. Let me remind you of what Jesus said about divorce..

But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery. – Matthew 5:32

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” – Matthew 19:8-9

These are the verses that I have simply dreaded coming to in the past..these verses must have the same effect on others. The divorce rate in america is somewhere around 50 percent..I can’t be the only person reading the bible who is divorced or who is married to someone who has been divorced. Satan has used these verses to make me feel unworthy of God’s love and to make me feel like I don’t deserve to call myself a child of God far too many times.. he has crushed my spirit and made me feel as though I will not be allowed to enter heaven because I am divorced..and I am sick of it. How can satan use the holy word of God to hurt you, some might say. Look at Matthew chapter four.. Satan uses scripture in an attempt to hurt Jesus.. if he can use scripture against Jesus, don’t you think he can and will do the same to you? It was in a moment of doubt and self hate that caused me to call my father today. While reading my bible I came across a verse about divorce that completely crushed me..with tears rolling down my face I picked up my phone and called my daddy.

How my divorce would affect my father and mother is another aspect to this equation that has always caused me great sorrow.  In many circumstances, a preacher would be bought great shame by one of his children getting a divorce. I thank God that when his family is involved, the man who I call daddy is first a loving father and will not let his calling to be a pastor affect that. I thank God for a father who has  proudly walked me down the aisle twice. If my divorce has ever caused my father to be ashamed of me, I can’t say..but after speaking to him today, I do not think that this is the case. The love that brought my earthly father to tears today as he reminded me that, Jesus didn’t die in vain, cannot in any way be compared to the love that my heavenly father feels for me.

I was shocked today after I entered, “Jesus and divorce” into google. Every article that I read would make any divorced person feel unworthy and feel like they are  a useless person in the kingdom of God. One of the articles I read had the title of:

 Divorce is a Merciless Act of Unforgiveness; God Said He Will Likewise Show No Mercy,

this title alone could cause a person struggling with their faith to turn away from a God who seems so unloving. Another article titled What did Jesus Teach on Divorce, had this to say:

How ridiculous that so many people today, even professed Christians, are misquoting the Bible in a selfish attempt to justify the sin of divorce. It cannot be accomplished. Try as they may, sin is still sin, and divorce will always be a horrible sin just like abortion, homosexuality, and adultery. 

Yes abortion, homosexuality, adultery, and divorce are sins.. BUT WHERE IS GRACE?  Yes, sin is still sin.. BUT WHERE IS GRACE? Not one of the articles that I read today mentioned grace. It is this attitude that many in the church today have towards divorce that caused me to call my father today and ask him if my husband and I were sinning everyday that we continued to be married..why has God blessed me with a husband who loves me and who fears the Lord..why has God blessed me with having a beautiful daughter in my life and with the birth of my son..why has the Lord blessed me with anything; why has the Lord redeemed me from a life of solitude and granted me the family that I have longed for all of my life.. the family that I don’t deserve. The question that most confuses me is, why did it take my divorce for me to realize that I was nothing without Jesus.. the blessings that have happened in my life and also in the life of my first husband would not be a reality if we were still married. If God hates divorce so much does he hate me as well? If God hates divorce so much then why has he blessed me regardless of my wrongs?

Mercy – compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish.

Grace – a favor rendered by one who need not do so.

Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies..He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him – Psalm 103 : 4 & 10-11

Now, I am not saying that divorce is ok. Divorce is not ok. Divorce is a horrible and ugly thing..but we must remember that this is why Jesus died a gruesome and monstrous death in excruciating pain..  Sometimes I think that we forget just how ghastly Calvary was. Roman citizens were exempt from crucifixion..only slaves and non-roman criminals died by crucifixion. Cicero, a roman orator, described crucifixion to be, “a most cruel and disgusting punishment” he also suggested that, “the very mention of the cross should be far removed not only from a Roman citizen’s body, but from his mind, his eyes, his ears.” Unlike the paintings that we see of Jesus on the cross..he hung there naked for all to see..our Lord..our innocent Saviour died a humiliating death that even roman murderers and rapists were not condemned to. Before they nailed him to the cross it says in Matthew 27:34 that,

 they offered him wine to drink, mixed with  gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. 

Something that many people do not know is that in an act of mercy a cup of vinegar mixed with gall and myrrh was sometimes given for the purpose of deadening the pangs of the sufferer. Gall was used as a painkiller in those days. Our Lord refused to drink it because he didn’t want anything to numb his pain or ease his suffering. He refused to go to the cross drugged and insensitive, he refused the painkiller because he had to feel the anguish and the pain of sin.. he had to taste every bitter drop of God’s wrath. He had to take the suffering from the whole world and he had to feel it to the uttermost.  He knew that there was no other way.  His death was ugly because sin is ugly.

Divorce is a sin  that causes such great pain and heartache to all who are involved..I believe that one of the reasons that Jesus spoke passionately against divorce so frequently is because he wants to protect us from that hurt..he doesnt want his children to pass through the destructive wasteland that divorce creates. I believe that he speaks against all sin for this reason..the wages of sin is death. If you continue to reject Jesus and to live selfishly in sin.. the outcome will be painful. Without Jesus sin will kill you. But thankyou my saviour! There is NO sin that one who seeks the Lord can do that the blood of Jesus cannot cover ..not adultary..not homosexuality..not abortion..not divorce. Nothing you have done will ever make the Lord unwilling and ready to forgive you..to redeem you.. to give you a brand new start. As my daddy reminded me, Jesus didn’t die in vain. He died for us.

My inability to find an article on divorce that expresses and relays the true message of christianity is a shame and something that every follower of Jesus should be motivated by. I believe that we should stop focusing so much of our energy on pointing out the sins that can keep us from God and instead pour our energy into spreading the message of how to find redemption from sin.. spreading the message of accepting Christ, putting your faith in him, and letting him influence you little by little.. as he, day by day polishes away your impurities. Is this not the message that Jesus taught.. at the root of it all is following Jesus not simple? Our finger pointing and name calling, in some ways, can weaken the importance of the sacrifice that Jesus made on Calvary…  it can turn people away from Jesus before they are ever given a chance to hear about what he did for them on the cross and what it all really means. Divorce, or any sin for that matter, is not going to keep you from entering heaven.. as long as you ask for forgiveness, seek what it is that He wants for your life, and submit to what it is that he reveals to you. Let us never forget that Jesus did not die in vain.

 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.  For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.  – Romans 3:22-25

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions … For it is by grace  you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. – Ephesians 4 & 8

But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. – 2 Corinthians 3:16-18

a beautiful follow up from saturday

I know that I am supposed to begin my journey into the book of Proverbs, but I feel that i must dwell on this topic for just one more post. Yesterday after church we went to lunch with my parents. My mother told something that caused my mind to be filled with wonder at how good our God is. He truly is wonderful. If you have not read my post from Saturday, you may want to before you read this. (ill make it easier for you..here it is) Saturday night I rolled around in bed for a good while..i was scared that my blunt honesty in that days post might have upset my family..i mean, i was talking about my mother’s grandfather. I know that they agree 100% with the post..it is because of how they raised me that I feel so much passion about the subject..but, still to see in writing that your grandfather may be in hell is not an easy pill to swallow. Thankfully, she was not upset by my unwillingness to censor my tongue and yesterday at lunch my mother shared something with me for the first time. My great grandfather was born in Pickens County, South Carolina in 1912. He lived a hard life and raised his family through the heart of the great depression. He worked his fingers to the bone in the cotton fields and continued to work hard until the day he died. What ultimately caused his death was pneumonia , however what caused his ordeal to begin was, while burning trash in his front yard, he caught himself on fire..a 91 year old man out burning trash..like I said, he was a hard worker until the day he passed. He was flown to the burn center in Augusta, Georgia. Even in his critical state, he managed to pitch a huge fit when he found out who his nurse was going to be. The things he yelled at that kind woman I dont even want to know.. just because of her skin color she had to endure such pain from the mouth of my great grandfather. Nonetheless, the outcome of this story is beautiful..our God is beautiful. I wish I knew her name..but I dont. What I do know about her is that she was a steadfast christian lady who showed my great grandfather great love. Week in and week out she nursed my great grandfather back to health and loved him the whole time. After his skin graphs he was able to go home. Once he got home, sitting in his living room..sitting in that same old blue chair that as a child I always remember seeing him in..that same chair that he had spoken such hateful things from for all those years..as he was sitting there, tears began to fall down his weathered face. He cried out to God..he told him to please let him see that nurse again so he could tell her that he was sorry. He cried out to God in repentance.. telling him that all these years he had been wrong. A few days later, God answered his prayers. He came down with pneumonia and his skin graphs began to show problems.. he had to go back to the hospital, this time he would never leave there alive. He would, however, get to ask that sweet nurse for forgiveness.. to tell her that he had been wrong. in a previous post, the beauty that pain can bring, I talked about how wonderful our God is and that even if his plan for us is painful we still need to pray through it and seek the beauty that lingers silently behind our struggles. I wonder if that beautiful nurse knows how much God worked through her..i wonder if she knows that, besides the blood Jesus shed on Calvary, she is the reason that my great grandfather made it to heaven. I cant begin to imagine the pain that she felt as my great grandfather cast upon her soul fiery arrows of hate just because God created her with a different skin color than him. I cant imagine how much she probably dreaded going into work because of it all..but praise the Lord for her! She prayed through it..she walked in there day after day and shared nothing but the love of Jesus with him. She WAS Jesus. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”…these were some of the last words that our savior cried out from the cross..from that place of pain and abandonment. Almost everyone had turned their back on Jesus but still he prayed for them..he loved them, and it is because of that love that any of us can make it to heaven. That nurse suffered through persecution but never did she stop praying and loving my great grandfather. The pain that my great grandfather endured those last few weeks, im sure, was something that very few of us know. Its hard to see much beauty when you think of an old man being burnt to death..even though, it was this exact situation that saved him from an eternity of fire. God in his MERCY, allowed him to go through such a terrible ordeal because God loved him..God knew that it would take such a painful end for my great greatfather’s hardened heart to be changed. I wish so badly that I could send this to that nurse..i want her to know how grateful my family is for what she did. Her pain..my great grandfather’s pain..from out of it all such beautiful grace flows. I cant wait for her to make it to heaven..i know that when that day comes my great grandfather will be waiting for her. He will see no color..he will only see her as a beautiful child of God..the woman that, through her pain, forgave him and led his heart to heaven. In closing, may I just say that it is my prayer..my never ending hope for the church…that we all begin to see one another as beautiful children of God. We cannot wait until our heavenly eyes make this change..because without making this change on our own, i am afraid to say that heaven probably will not be an option.

Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. – John 2 : 9  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. – Galatians 3 : 28

“That doll is the wrong color, little girl”

this will be a short post..and it is not a part of my proverbs thing. I have a bridal shower at 1 today..and I am running around here like a mad woman trying to get everything ready..however, what just happened enraged me by such great measure..I just had to write about it real quick.

 

Today Trinitee, Rory and I loaded up and headed to the Dollar Store for a last minute card and giftbag. I had a little extra money so I let Trinitee pick out a Barbie; she picked out a beautiful ballerina Barbie doll and was so overjoyed by it. As we were checking out the man behind me in line said something that made my blood boil..i almost beat up an old man today. Thankyou Lord for giving me self control and wisdom today that stopped me from doing so. “That doll is the wrong color, little girl”…WHAT! I was furious. There was a black man and his young son right behind him in line too. This man just so happened to have on a christian t-shirt, thankfully..because it was his t-shirt that allowed me to think quickly without punching him. “How dare you say something like that to my little girl”, i said. “Are you a christian?..i see you have on a christian t-shirt” i asked him. Of course he said he was indeed a christian..”how can you call your self a christian and break one of the most important commandments that Jesus Christ himself gave us..are you not aware that Jesus told us first to love him with all of our hearts and second to love our neighbor?” I went on to say..”what if the man standing behind you moved his family into the house beside yours..would you continue to not love him just because he is darker than you..how dare you tarnish my Lord’s name by wearing that t-shirt and saying things that are evil and go against what he teaches..If you are really a christian I demand you to apologize to my little girl and tell her that you were wrong.” The old man looked shocked..the cashier stood there speechless..the gentleman and his son just looked at the old man waiting for his response. The old man stuttered a minute and finally said, “Im sorry little girl, your doll is fine.”

I walked out of that store today on fire..christians of all colors need to remember that racism is a SIN. I have grown up hearing my mother tell stories of my great grandfather and how racist he was..i remember as a small child hearing him at thanksgiving calling people on tv very bad things just because of their skin color. My great grandfather went to church..he was what many would call a prayer warrior..a pillar of his church. i hate to say this..this breaks my heart to say this..but unless my great grandfather repented before he died..unless he allowed the Lord to change his heart..unless he did these things, he did not make it to heaven. You cannot stroll into heaven with hatred engulfing your heart. You cannot stand before Jesus if you have broken the very important commandment he gave to us. Just because you are from the south..or  because thats just how things are in your family..nothing you can try to say to make racism ok justifies it in the eyes of God.  Any christians reading this who harbor racism in their heart..please know that unless you change your ways and repent.. it is very unlikely that you will make it to heaven. Hating a person and spreading your hate IS A SIN.

my stepdaughter, Trinitee and her sister

my thoughts on “pastor” charles t worley

IS THIS MAN INSANE!?

A few nights ago, I saw this story on the local news and “ohhh no” was the thought that kept replaying in my head as mystomach turned in disgust. I knew that within days this would be all over the national media..and I was right. I’ve already seen several articles just today talking about the things this NC pastor said…

“Build a great, big, large fence—150 or 100 miles long—put all the lesbians in there. Do the same thing for the queers and the homosexuals, and have that fence electrified so they can’t get out..you know what, in a few years, they’ll die out…do you know why? They can’t reproduce!”

Why would a preacher say such a thing!? I really can’t wrap my hands around it. It is statements such as this that make people think so badly of christians. People who do not go to a good, bible teaching church or have not had a good influence of what christianity is, this is what they hear..this is their idea of Christ..and it hurts my heart. I know for sure that its a rare occurance to ever see any thing positive in the news about christianity..its only the nut job declarations made by nut jobs such as this guy that make the news..and that makes me nauseous. I am a true believer in the bible..but put homosexuals in a fence and let them die out..ARE YOU SERIOUS! What about all the other sinners in this world..WE ARE ALL SINNERS! Its only by the transforming power of Jesus that any of us are granted freedom from sin and even then we fail..speaking for myself, I fail the Lord everyday. I have to lean on Gods grace to cover me and the daily act of repentance..where would I be without Gods grace? where would any of us be? According to this guy we would all need to be in a fence to “die out”..his message not only spits hatred but it gives the redeeming grace and the love of our Lord no credit. As a follower of Jesus Christ may I just say that the things this man said are a rotten example of what Jesus would say.