Balance is definitely one thing that I am severely in need of learning. For the most part Jesus has my full attention, but every once in a while I wake up with a whole headful of “mental squirrels”. Our goal this year as a ministry of men pursuing God’s will for our lives and our sexuality has been to read the word of God every day with no excuse. We follow the reading plan at www.lifejournal.cc. A pastor out in Hawaii brought this to the world and it simply works for us. We are not trying to get on God’s brownie points list, but there are things we have always done daily that are far less edifying than reading God’s word. So we decided to put God as our first thing in the morning and see where that would take us. What we discovered was that, very different than the butterfly tramp stamp some of you are still carting around, we, had no regrets.
I rededicated my heart and life to Jesus in December of 1998. I was fresh out of the New Orleans gay, party scene and ready to let go of 10 years of my “fabulous” gay life. Let’s just say that God had a lot of cleaning up to do. 1999 was a year of being inundate with all things God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I read my bible, listened to radio preachers and Christian music whenever I got the chance. I had a prayer life that was non stop.
At the beginning of 2000 I was still on fire for God. I even shared Jesus with the Sea World Animal Training Management interviewing me for my position. At some point though, I thought it was okay to read my bible less and simply get my spiritual “meals” on Sunday. I adhered to that belief for many years. I was still a Christian. I still attended church. But my heart and soul were on “cruise control” and I can’t say that there was a lot of difference between myself and someone just starting their journey with Jesus Christ.
Now this is not a blog to shame any Christian who doesn’t read their bible daily. I just want to share my life before and after my friend Kathy and I made a life changing decision.
It was about 5-6 years ago. I was a leader in our church’s youth ministry. My friend Kathy was also leading with me. At the end of the year, our pastor found the bible reading plan listed above and presented it to our congregation. My friend Kathy, ever bold as she is, came to me and said “if we are going to call ourselves Christians, we need to stop dinking around and begin reading our bibles.” That was really all that I needed. I needed someone to encourage me to begin reading. I needed a scolding. I needed a reality check. You are not a driver, unless you drive a car. You are not a trainer, unless you train. And I couldn’t keep calling myself a Christian, if I didn’t study the Word of God.
I wasn’t perfect with my reading at first. There were days that I missed and fell to self-condemnation and extreme condemnation from satan. I would start again the next morning. All was right with the world. The best part to me was that reading the bible from Genesis gave it a storybook quality that brought the characters and God’s plan for them and me to life. I worked to give myself a little more grace when I missed a day, but I also tried to be more diligent in my pursuit of my time with God.
The main thing that was revealed to me, as if God himself had peeled back a curtain in my mind, was God’s overwhelming grace. Grace that had been extended to me all those years that I was calling myself a Christian, but starving my spirit man with little or no food. When I began to read the bible daily, I saw how much grace God had had to extend to me on the days when I refused to connect with Him. Jesus Christ had set me free from homosexuality, which the world’s says can’t be done, which means that I am a walking miracle and there were days that I didn’t even acknowledge his existence. God didn’t beat me down because I had neglected to read his word. He did allow me to see how much growth I had missed out on, because I refused to slow down the life He gave me long enough to invite Him to enjoy it with me; long enough to let Him guide me through it’s operation.
Recently, the guys of Big Fish Ministry and I have started praying throughout the week for 30 minutes a day. We don’t make it every day, but we are working on it. Once again, my great big Papa in the sky has shared new revelations. This next level of connection renews and refreshes my spirit man. I was embarrassed to call myself a Christian the way I was living before. There was no difference. Now there is.
I write to you my friends and enemies, to simply say this. I am just a man. My story of being an ex gay man may infuriate you or they may excite you. I only know this. If you call yourself a Christian, make a connection with your namesake today. It is never, too, late to connect with Jesus. God is extending grace, until you extend your hands in prayer. God has written a story of many men and women who have gone before you and messed it up as royally as you. satan has no new tricks for mankind. They only seem new when viewed through the lens of your brokenness.
As a broken, rebellious man who is learning to be humble, real and honest before God, let me encourage you to begin reading the Word of God today. It has the power to lift you out of that depression. The Word of God has the power to mend your broken heart. God is waiting to hear from you. Let the last leg of your journey end at the Cross of Jesus Christ. God bless!