Friday, December 24, 2010

The Perfect Gift

Here we are, Christmas Eve 2010.

Like many people around the world I finished my shopping yesterday.
As I walked up and down the aisles of each store I tried to think about the people I was shopping for.
I wondered, is this the perfect gift for them?

Will my boyfriend like this Lego Architect Series Guggenheim set? (He's loves architecture so I have to admit I was pretty pumped when I found this.)

Will my dad like this WWII dvd?
Will my brother like this GPS for his car?
What will my best friend think of this book from her favorite author?

At each purchase I made a decision that I had done my best to find the perfect gift.
I'm so excited about giving the people that I love these wonderful gifts.
All they have to do is accept them.  
There's no hidden agenda, no strings attached.

Tonight's blog is a simple but powerful message.
Have you taken time to consider how huge, how amazing, how perfect the gift is that our father God gave to us?
You know the gift, the one that all you have to do is accept.  There's no hidden agenda, no strings attached.

We are celebrating the birth of that gift tomorrow.
His name is Jesus.

Through Jesus our daddy God gives us life everlasting.
He shows us his amazing love.

Through Jesus' life, death, and resurrection we have the gift of salvation.
In Jesus we have a best friend who loves us unconditionally. 
He never insults us behind our backs, never gossips, and will never leave us.

No matter where you find yourself this Christmas, by yourself or with family, with a partner or single, on the streets or under the warmth of a blanket on your sofa one thing is true, you are not alone.

Our Savior Jesus was born 2000 years ago just for you.
He lived a sinless life because He knew you couldn't.
He showed us how to love each other by going to the outcasts and loving them unconditionally.
He healed the sick, performed miracles, and exhibited perfect faith so we could do the same.

Then, Jesus endured torture that we cannot comprehend.
He was murdered on a cross and even then asked God to "Forgive them for they know not what they do."

He defeated the enemy and resurrected from death for you.
Even after He ascended to Heaven He sent us the Holy Spirit as our comforter so that we can have a relationship with Him for all eternity.

Jesus, the one who's birthday literally changed the world, is your own personal gift from God.

This Christmas give Him the perfect gift as well.

What do I have that Jesus would possibly want?

Your heart.
Let Him be the best friend that sticks closer to you then a brother.
Share with Him your struggles and your triumphs.

Fall madly in love with the one man who will never let you down.
After all, He loved you first.  Even before the creation of time He knew you and loved you.

Remember, He would have walked this earth, experienced rejection, hurt, pain, torture, even death just for you and you alone.
If no one else ever accepted Him as their perfect gift, He still would have done it all just for you.

Jesus loves you more then you can fathom.

For Christmas 2010, love Him back.
That is the perfect gift.

Merry Christmas my friends!
Always remember God loves you, created you, and accepts you,


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Be the Voice

You might have noticed in my blogger profile that I refer to myself as "One voice crying in the wilderness."

This is based on two things:
1. My name- My first name is John.  My mom named me after John the Baptist.  By all accounts John the Baptist was considered a radical in his day especially by the religious folks.  Prophets foretold that there would be one man crying in the wilderness "preparing the way of the Lord."  You can read about this in all four gospels, Matthew 3, Mark 1, Luke 3, and John 1.
2. My calling- God's calling on my life has become very clear to me over the past several years.  I am to be a voice crying in the wilderness of His Love, His Joy, His Salvation, His Healing, and of course, His Hope.

Uhmmm, okay John.  Why are you telling us this?

Because, the best way to combat the message of non hope that flows from too many churches today is to have more Voices in the Wilderness rise up and be heard! 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Somebody's Praying Me Through

Check Your Baggage at the Door

Romans 8:1-  There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (King James)

Earlier this week I had lunch with on old friend I have recently reconnected with.  
She and I had worked together in ministry about ten years ago.

During the years we had lost touch she has faced many obstacles.
After surviving a really bad car accident she became addicted to drugs and found her life spiraling out of control.

She shared with me how she has been clean for four years now and how she wants so badly to get close with God again.  
Everytime she tries to pray or worship God, however, she feels so condemned.  
She feels separated from her Father, God.

Have you ever felt that distance from God; that shame or despair that you aren't good enough to pray to Him?

If you ever find yourself in that place remember this:
No matter what your past may be, God longs to be with you.
He wants to hear from you, to speak to you, to fellowship with you.

Just because a son or daughter makes a mistake doesn't mean their father doesn't still love them.
No, a good father takes them in his arms to hold them and let them know everything is going to be alright!

If earthly fathers do that, how much more does our Heavenly Father want to hold us and say, "Everything is going to be alright."

Your past is the past.  
It is covered under the Blood of Christ.
It is erased through God's grace and mercy.

We have talked in previous posts about how nothing can separate you from God. (See Romans 8:38, 39)

There is no sin Christ's blood doesn't cover, no hurt His love doesn't heal, no secret too dark that His light cannot erase!

We serve a very real God who understands the very real issues we face today.
He is not looking for you to be perfect to pray to Him.

On the contrary, we can never be perfect.  The only righteousness we have is THROUGH Him.
If we could acheive perfection there would have been no need for His Son's sacrifice to begin with.

It is because of our sin nature that God sent His Son to live, die, and resurrect so that we could have life and have it more abundantly.
That act of sacrifice destroyed our separation with God.
He did this so that we could be one with Him, so that we could come to Him in the good times and the bad.

When you get to a point in life where you feel like you cannot pray to God because you aren't good enough or you think you cannot worship Him; when you feel like He is a million miles away from you, just remember this:
Once you accept Christ as your Savior your sins are forgiven.  
All of them are forgiven.  
There is no longer condemnation. 
There is No separation from God's love.

God doesn't want you to become righteous before you build a relationship with Him.
He wants to build a relationship with you so that you can become righteous through Him.
We have NO righteousness if not for Christ's sacrifice.

So, the next time you want to pray or praise or just spend time in the presence of God thank Him for His forgiveness and allow yourself to let your past go.
He has let it go.  
As a matter of fact He has completely forgotten all of your mistakes.

It no longer hinders you in the presence of our Almighty God.
Come into God's presence boldly as His beautiful child and check your baggage at the door.

Remember God Loves and Accepts You,

Until next time,


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Who's Your Daddy?

As I sit here tonight listening to the rain tap against my windows I am pondering the awesomeness of our daddy, God.

Many in our community have had a bad relationship with their dads.
Some people were even thrown out of their house when they came out.
Others have a history of abuse with their fathers.
Many LGBTQ folks were ostracized by their dads just for admitting who they are.

I am so blessed that my dad is not that way.
He is understanding and patient with me.
I am thankful to know that he loves me and I love him very much.

For so many who might not be as fortunate, it can be crushing to have a broken relationship with your dad.
Despite whatever type of relationship you have with your dad, one thing remains true:

Your Heavenly Father loves you, created you, and is proud of you!

In Psalms 68:5 David refers to God as the "Father of the Fatherless." (King James)

Whether you have a good relationship with your dad or a damaged one; whether your dad is still alive or has passed away, God is your Father.  You are His child.

Who's Your Daddy?

Your daddy, God, created this entire universe.
He knows how many stars shine in the night sky.
He gave us the sun and the moon, the rivers, oceans, and mountains.
He took dust and breathed life into it to create man. 
Then, He saw that we couldn't live a perfect and righteous life so He sent His Son as a sacrifice for Our sins.

Your Daddy God created YOU!  
Yes YOU!  
Just as YOU are.

He knows how many hairs are on YOUR head.
He knows every thought that YOU have, every motive, every secret, and He loves YOU unconditionally.
He would have still sent His Son Jesus to die for YOU and YOUR sins even if YOU were the only person on earth.

He gives YOU the promises that are in His word.
These promises include:

His Unconditional Love for You
His Mercy for You
His Grace for You
His Salvation for You
His Joy for You
His Strength for You
His Healing for You
His Life for You
His Son for You

All Good Gifts Around Us Come From Our Father Above!
They are all for YOU!

The next time someone tries to tell you that you cannot be a Christian, for any reason, or you see protesters holding up signs that God hates you, remember the Truth.
Our Daddy God knows YOU, loves YOU, accepts YOU, and is proud of YOU!

YOU belong to HIM and nothing can change that!

In Romans 8 the apostle Paul puts it this way:  38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
 39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (King James)

Now that you have seen a glimpse of who your daddy is, get to know Him even better.
Talk to Him.
Share with Him what is on your mind and in your heart.

Our Heavenly Father wants nothing more then to be close with you and love on you.

I lost my mom to a battle with cancer earlier this year.  
It was without a doubt the worst experience I have ever gone through.
During the time that she was sick I learned to completely lean on God.

After she passed away I found myself longing to feel her hugs again.  
I still do as I type this through tears tonight.

One night I laid in my bed and talked to God.
I asked my Daddy God to hold me. 
And, He did.
I could feel His love envelope me like a giant bear hug.
His presence was so real to me and I felt His peace flow through me as my breathless tears started to subside.
Everything was going to be alright.

It was in that moment that I knew He was right there with me and would be the strength, the joy, and the mom that I needed.
He still is all of that and much more for me today.

If you don't know God on that personal level I beg you to talk to Him.
He's waiting patiently for you.
He's got a big bear hug with your name on it.

Who's Your Daddy?
He's the lover of your soul.

Until Next Time,
God Loves and Accepts You,


Jesus Lover of My Soul Music Video

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Power of Praise!

This post is for you who sit crying, those who are in despair.

Has life been knocking you down?
Kicking you to the ground?

Do you feel neglected, rejected, alone?
Do you feel that your family or friends don't understand you? 
Do you feel that God doesn't accept and love you?

In the posts below we have addressed that God loves us.....ALL of us.....Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgendered, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Not sure what you are, God Loves and Accepts YOU as His Beloved Child!
Please read previous posts below.  We have proven it with scripture.  It's a fact.  Period.

Next, we have talked about sharing this Love and the Hope and Freedom that comes with it to all of those around us who are hurting.

Now, it is TIME TO PRAISE HIM!!!

Why do we praise God?
Because it breaks the strongholds that bind us and gives us power, joy, and freedom!

In ancient Israel it was the praisers that went before the army in war.
They were literally their first line of defense.
Can you imagine the faith in God it took to go in front of the army in each battle armed only with a tambourine and a trumpet?

WE are in a war today. 
It is a war against the enemy.
The enemy causes so many of God's precious LGBTQ youth and adults to give up on life, to harm themselves.

We may think this is a war against conservative Christians, or a war against religious clergy, but hear me now, it is not! 

This is a war against the enemy, the devil, and that is it.

Ephesians 6:12 says, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." (King James)

I urge you who want a refreshing of God in your life to listen to the Revelation song that is posted below.

As you listen, praise Him.

How do we praise God?
There is no wrong way to Praise God as long as it is your own pure expression to Him.
Let yourself go in His presence and you will experience His Love, His Acceptance, His Joy.

Praise Him for your Salvation!
Praise Him for your Hope!
Praise Him for your Mercy!
Praise Him for your Joy!

The joy of the Lord is our strength.
When you feel tired and at the end of your rope, praise Him!
Let Him refill you with His Joy, your strength.

We cannot wait on approval from other people to Praise God.
No preacher, teacher, evangelist, or philosopher needs to give you permission to praise Him!
We have that approval from God!
Let's use the weapon of Praise as our front line against the enemy in this war on LGBTQ Christians.

When should we praise Him?
Keep a song in your heart.  Find music that you love and play it in your car, on your I Pod, in the shower.

Praise breaks that depression you feel.
Praise brings freedom and destroys those strong holds that bind you!

After you have praised with this song below find more praise and worship songs that lift you up.
Sink into God's Love as you worship Him. 
Hand Him your hurts and angst, your issues and disappointments.

You will be amazed how much better you feel when you forget the world around you and spend some time praising your daddy God one on one.

We have got to RISE UP and send out our front line of Praisers into this war against the enemy who has cost so many lives with the ridiculous message of non-hope, that somehow the abundant promises of Christ apply only to those who are straight.

Praise Him Now!

Watch your life change as you yield it to our loving Father!

Praise Him Now!

You will win the war against despair in your own life and you will become a front line praiser in this war against the enemy.

If the enemy has been kicking you and holding you down, Kick him Back!
He has NO power over you.
Your Father God created everything, the entire universe and beyond.
The word says "If God be for us, who can be against us?"

Take that promise and meditate on it.
Then, with all you have, surrender your life to Christ and Praise Him!

God Loves and Accepts You!
Until next time,


Revelation Song

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ray Boltz- "I will choose to Love."

The Simplest Commandment

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." I Corinthians 13:13 (N.I.V.)

How great is Faith?  
It is huge.  Just a grain of Faith moves mountains.

How great is Hope?
It is giant.  Hope is the optimism that life is worth something more then our everyday struggles.

How great is Love?
Love Is The Greatest!  Love is so important to Christ that it is His simplest yet most important commandment.

Here is what Jesus says in Matthew chapter 22 about it:
37" 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' " (N.I.V.)

This verse shows us the basis of Christ's ministry and message here on Earth.

Here's a visual to consider:
First, we love our God.  This love goes from us on Earth to our Father in Heaven.  
Picture it as a straight line up and down.
Secondly, we love our neighbor.  This love goes out from us to those around us.  
Picture this as a straight line from side to side to our fellow human beings.

When we are showing the love that Christ commanded it forms a cross, one line up and down and one line side to side.
True love ends and begins with the Cross.  It is, after all, God's single most amazing act of love to us.

Our Faith is in the cross.
Our Hope is in the cross.
And, greatest of these, our Love is in the cross.

As a gay Christian it can be easy to get caught up in what others say about us.
Hearing what seems like hatred from various Christians can make it hard to love them.

But, remember this, we are commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves.
It might not always be easy but it is the only way to live a life of Hope and Peace.

When you encounter Christians who don't understand how you can call yourself a Christian if you are LGBTQ, or who preach hell fire damnation because of it, remember that we are called and commanded to love them.

How do I love someone who is preaching against me with their words and/ or actions?
First, I forgive them.
Next, I pray God will soften and change their heart.
Finally, I pray that God will show me the good in them and help me to love them.  I pray that He will help me not judge them just as I don't want them judging me.

Why do I need to love someone who is preaching against me with their words and/ or actions?
Simply put, we love others because Jesus first loved us.

Christ did not die just for those who would later honor Him and respect Him.

No, he died for everyone.  

This includes the ultra religious of His day and Ours.  
He died for the close minded and the people who cling to religion and tradition instead of relationship.
He died for people who hated him and always will hate him. 
He died for people who hate us and may always hate us.

In dying on the cross and then resurrecting for us all He showed us how to "Love your neighbor as yourself."

If He can commit this act of mind boggling selfless love for those who abused, tortured, and killed Him, then we can follow His example and show love for those who have abused, tortured, and killed those in our community.

We must Forgive those who hurt us.
We must Pray for those who knowingly and unknowingly harm us.
We must Love those who don't want our love.

Why?  Because Christ first loved us.  He told us to Love our neighbors as ourselves.

It is His simplest, sometimes most difficult, and greatest commandment.

Remember God Loves and Accepts You!
Until next time,


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Happy Days Are Here Again

Ok, so maybe I only made it to my second post without a "Glee" reference but this is very apt for the subject of today's blog.

While sitting on the couch with a dear friend tonight watching last week's episode of "Glee", it hit me.

Happy Days Are Here Again.

Somewhere between puberty and adulthood I lost those Happy Days.
I can remember being where many of you find yourself today:

-A gay teen feeling so alone and misunderstood thinking that nobody gets me, especially not God.

My teen years were rough.  Even my twenties were hell at times.
But, at some point it changed.

One day I stopped listening to what others told me God thought about me.
One day I started asking God Himself what He thought.

His answer was so different then what I had been told.

He loves me. Period. 
God isn't waiting for me to become straight so He can love me.
God IS Love!  He loves me straight or gay or crooked or whatever!

The day that I realized that I was accepted by God just as I am was the day that true Happiness found its way back into my life.  (Shout out to all you Baptists out there who sing all 55 verses of Just As I Am during alter calls.)

You see, I really believed God loved everybody else. Just not me. Not just as I am.

When you are feeling shut out by your friends, or your family, or your church; when you feel like God is a million miles away, remember this:  

He Created You Just as You Are.
He Loves You Just as You Are.
He Is Proud of You Just As You Are!

Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Consider Matthew 18:12- "Look at it this way. If someone has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders off, doesn't he leave the ninety-nine and go after the one?" (Message Bible)

God loves you so much that even when you think you are separated from Him, that you aren't good enough for Him, He leaves the ninety-nine sheep to find You!  

He loves you so much that He chases after you to find you.
That is how special you are to Him.  His love for us is amazing!

Once you believe that then you will find that Happy Days Are Here Again!

God Loves You!
Until next time,


Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Epidemic of Losing Hope

At some point it all became too much.  Reading stories, hearing news reports, experiencing the hurt behind the eyes of so many LGBTQ people of all ages.  At some point I made a choice to stand up; a choice to be heard.  At some point enough was enough.  Something had to be said.

This blog isn't fancy. 
It doesn't have to be.  
It's not flashy. 
That doesn't matter.

There is one purpose to this blog and it is to share the amazing, radical, life changing, unconditional love of Jesus Christ to all who visit here.

This message is for everyone including lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgendered, queer, and questioning people.

We are ALL children of God.  
Our Father God loves you no matter how you look, no matter how much money you have or don't have, no matter where you are from, and no matter who your are attracted to.

As a young gay Christian growing up I learned first hand how hurtful it is to hear that you are going to hell for being who you are.
For readers who are straight, imagine the feeling that no matter what you do in life or how hard you try to please Him, you will never be accepted by God.
I felt real pain every time I heard this message of non-hope.

For the LGBTQ readers, If you have heard that message, Don't Believe It!

Let me share with you the Truth.
-We cannot comprehend the amount of mercy and hope that is offered to us through God's unconditional love.

-Not only does He love you but He created you.
-God does not make mistakes.

-You are a beautiful child of God.  
-If you have accepted His Son as your personal savior then you are a Christian.  Case Closed.  
-No one and no thing can take that away from you.

If you have to write these things on your bathroom mirror so that you see it every day then do it.
This is hope, the hope of salvation.

Be encouraged!
There is a God and you mean the world to Him.
His love for you is greater then anything you can imagine.

I CHALLENGE you to take this message of hope and learn it.  
Get it deep down in your core and believe it!

After you know that you know that this is true, the real journey begins.
Take that message and spread it to your friends who are hurting.

Share it with your family members who think "God made me gay only to hate me."

Plant a seed of change in the hearts and minds of LGBTQ people all around you who think Christianity isn't even an option for them.

Answering this challenge is the only way to end "the epidemic of losing hope" that is causing so many beautiful children of God to give up on life.

No matter if you are 13 or 83; straight, gay, trying to figure it all out; black, white, or other; please join me in bringing Hope to those who are struggling.

Please join me in praying for Christian Leaders around the world who's church doors are open to all but with an asterisk. No Gays Allowed.

Lastly, please join me in Showing Christ's Love to those who are different from the "main stream".

Thank you for reading and accepting this challenge.
Remember, there is Hope!

God Loves you!

Until next time,