Worship in the Spirit and in Truth
John 4:23, Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
We held two Rebuilding an Altar of Fire Worship & Prayer Gatherings this summer (June and August) at the Epicentre in Uptown Charlotte. The very place seems to communicate that what makes you feel good is the center of everything.
But without Christ, what makes you feel good for the moment can bring eternal separation from the One who is the center of it all – the One who gives life that we may truly ENJOY it!
John 10:9-10 (NIV), 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.[a] They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Charlotte Bathroom Ordinance – really?
We had been challenged in our city by a bathroom ordinance passed by our City Council that supposedly granted equal civil liberties to the LGBTQ community, while in actuality it elevates immorality and threatens the safety of women and children in particular. The ordinance in essence allows anyone to enter any public bathroom, locker room, shower room even in our schools regardless of signage of gender specificity. So a man who simply states that he believes he is a woman can enter the girls’ locker room at a school or the women’s rest room at a restaurant or store. That ordinance escalated to the state’s intervention with House Bill 2 (HB2), which all the world seemed to need to weigh in on. Certain events and business deals have fallen through and there is much contention nationally and globally over what seems to just be common sense. A sign to us of the real condition of our end of the beautiful covenant that our forefathers of our nation made with the Lord!
Where is the love?
We also had been challenged by ministers like Shawn Bolz to love – in essence, what have we done to really serve this community, meet their needs, and not just condemn them. So the prayers we released focused about speaking the truth of God’s Word with the heart of love to a community that simply has not connected with its true identity.
Genesis 1: 27-28; 2:18, 21-24, So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”… The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”… So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs[h] and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
We need His Presence – Love the Lord first & foremost
We also sought to release the Presence of the Lord over our local and state government as well as over the ministers who are regularly on the ground, bringing hope and life to the homeless, those caught in sex-trafficking, and those who simply are lost.
And we had amazing times of worship as we exalted the Lord above our circumstances. The Scriptures tell us to love the Lord our God first with our whole heart, mind and soul; and then love our neighbors as ourselves. Love without that framework, without that anchor leads down a path of relativism and promoting unity over truth. Jesus said that we must worship in spirit and in truth. And Scripture tell us that Jesus did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it; and that grace does not abound so that sin can abound – God forbid!
We fell short
We then repented for dysfunctional families, dysfunctional churches and a dysfunctional government. We repented for the church “condemning” the homosexual community when there are other sexual sins such as adultery and fornication and other abominations that we do not address as vehemently. We repented for sending mixed messages, the wrong messages, and for a lack of prayer and a lack of power to deliver. Early in my Christian walk, I (Yvonne) was a part of a prayer gathering at a friend’s home and during that gathering, I looked up and a saw this skeletal-like figure sit down in one of my friends. I then watched how his body shifted to the “effeminate” sitting posture of this skeletal figure. I later found out that this friend had been raped by an uncle at age 9 and how he had struggled with a homosexual lifestyle but had been healed & delivered. So I know there is a demonic force involved.
We ended by crying out for the churches to awaken, transform and be empowered, and for ministries to arise and embrace these communities.
An answer to prayer
Then very graciously, the Lord directed me to an Apologetics Conference this October and to a session focused on speaking the truth in love to those practicing homosexuality. I was very encouraged by the passion of the session speaker, Jill Graham, an apologetics graduate but also a school teacher facing this issue with some of her students. Jill presented solid information and some disheartening facts that I was not aware of. And when I commented that there are other things on the list – sexual immorality in general along with thievery, greed, and slanderers that we also need to address in 1 Cor. 6:9-11, she agreed – wow!
Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Worshiping the created above the Creator leads to death
Putting the created above the Creator in any circumstance, letting any lust take us down a path away from the Lord, leads to death. What I found out from Jill’s session is the depth of the bondage that the enemy has entangled this community with. And because of it, we all are missing out on the fullness that God designed them to be. And it alarmed me about the damage that the “movement” behind it can cause to our children and our communities – the warnings of the Lord to not take these things lightly came through loud and clear.
He came to set captives free – we MUST do likewise
So my heart is moved to continue to press in for freedom for all to embrace who Jesus is. He is the giver of life, a life that we can really enjoy! Below you will find some of the information that Jill shared in her session and some of the resources she recommends. I watched a portion of the video with Dr, Rosaria Butterfield
who was delivered from homosexuality by the love of some Christians and the Word of God. In that recorded talk, Dr. Rosaria testified of the power of Romans 1:21 and how that Scripture impacted her heart. She had spent about two years in simple friendship with these Christian pastors and had engaged in reading the Word of God. And although she was reading the Word in the intellectual pursuit of mere research, she came to recognize that there was life and power in the Word. Her friends even commented that her study of the Word was changing her. And then one day, she awakened to the realization that her lifestyle was wrong and she went to church. There was no altar call but in that service she gave her life to Jesus – wow!!
Romans 1: 21-32, 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
Some facts about homosexuality
And here are some specifics from Jill Graham’s presentation that she welcomed all of us to freely share as we were led – you can visit her blog to download the full presentation,
Please join me in continuing to pray for these ones that Jesus created and died for.
2013 Center for Disease Control report:
- 2.3% (identified as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, 2.5% with transgender added)
- 1.6% gay or lesbian
- 0.7% bisexual
- (1.1% Don’t know, something else, refused to answer)
- **0.2% transgender
- 97.5% identified as straight
“Neutral academic surveys show there is substantial change. About half of the homosexual/bisexual population (in a non-therapeutic environment) moves towards heterosexuality over a lifetime. About 3% of the present heterosexual population once firmly believed themselves to be homosexual or bisexual.” In other words, there are more former homosexuals than current ones.
Eight major studies of identical twins in Australia, the U.S., and Scandinavia during the last two decades all arrive at the same conclusion: gays were not born that way.
- Contributing factors:
- Lack of early bonding with same-sex parent
- Lack of confidence in one’s gender and/or identifying with the opposite gender (gender confusion disorder)
- Sexual abuse
- Gay pornography
- Pursuing a life of increasing sexual perversion
Some statistics from Dr. Timothy Dailey as published on Battle for Truth’s website (http://www.battlefortruth.org/articlesdetail.asp?id=235) on the negative affects of homosexuality:
- Higher rate of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (gay men represent 55% of HIV cases in US)
- High promiscuity rate (2.7% gay men had only 1 partner, 6% had 100-500 partners! (Average relationship lasted 2 yrs)
- High risk of STD’s for women as well: 1 in 6 gay men also had sex with women. And a large proportion of ‘lesbian’ women reporting sex with (often high risk) men.”
- Compulsive/destructive behavior for gays/lesbians: drug/alcohol abuse, co-dependency, mental health problems,
- Physical/emotional abuse: More than 50% of lesbians have been abused by lover, incidence of domestic violence among gay men almost double the heterosexual population
- Spiritual estrangement from God: 48% have no religious affiliation (20% of main population)
What then should our attitude be as Christians?
- Show compassion to an individual struggling with homosexuality, along with truth that they can change and that they should repent of homosexual acts and pray for God’s healing.
- (Jesus with the women caught in adultery) “Then neither do I condemn you.” Jesus declared. “But go, and leave your life of sin.” John 8:11
- Resist the homosexual movement as a tool of the enemy. Compromise won’t work. The homosexual agenda is harming our kids, our family structure, our marriages, our society, our churches and undermining our religious liberties. It’s trapping people in the lie of homosexuality and destroying precious lives, creating major roadblocks between them and God. This is the time to take a stand, sharing the truth in love, but also with resolve.
Jill’s Recommended Resources:
- My Genes Made Me Do It – Homosexuality and the scientific evidence (NE and BK Whitehead) Article about twin studies at http://www.hollanddavis.com/?p=3647
- The Homosexual Agenda – Alan Sears and Craig Osten
- Can You Be Gay and Christian? – Michael L. Brown, PhD (website at https://askdrbrown.org/)
- Website on negative effects of homosexuality http://www.battlefortruth.org/articlesdetail.asp?id=235
- Read more about former homosexual Michael Glatze at http://www.wnd.com/2007/07/42379/#WHDUOAkeV8H0s9qM.99
- Former lesbian Dr. Butterfield https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYdEIcNZ-y0
- Former lesbian’s testimony: http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/clarion-call/46013-a-former-lesbian-s-moving-testimony-of-b