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 Jesus Loves you!

Welcome Home (Australia for Christ Church Talk)

Welcome Home

 

When I say Home what do you think of? 

 

There are many references to home in scripture.  Revelation 3:20

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”  

 

Proverbs 127:1“Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.”  

 

Proverbs 24:3-43 “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; 

4 through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.”

 

John 14:1-21 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 

2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?

 

Home should be 

a place of comfort,                         Safety

                            refuge, 

                                     a place to grow,                     Happy memories,      

         That one family pet that outlasted all the others.

                                     A place to learn 

                                                        and practice that learning in a safe environment. 

         Home is nurturing.    

 

Those are all ideal feelings of home. 

 

We all go out from our home and we all return there in the evening

 

                                                                  Truth is, 

         The home we grew up in can be the scene of our greatest emotional rape of our lives.  

 

Home for me was in a constant state of upheaval.  (Bi Polar Mom - Unpredictable, Dad – Religious and Absent, Brother - Danger) 

 

Home was supposed to be a safe place for a child 

 

Home – a safe place for my mom’s illness, 

 

but not safe for anyone else.                  Mom was to be protected first and foremost.

 

 

Instead of enjoying home and instead of home doing what it’s supposed to do, 

 

you are busy defending yourself against and it and building the perfect home in your mind that you will one day escape to.  

 

Though Home may have authored many happy memories.  

         Salvaging them from amongst the painful rubble can take years takes time,                                              and the effects can last a lifetime.  

 

Where have you felt at home? 

 

What destroyed your original image of home?  

 

What made home feel unwelcome?

 

Who took away your feeling of belonging at home and made you feel abandoned and orphaned? 

 

When we can’t find a sense of home, 

                                               we create home somewhere else.  

 

In the arms of another man or woman. 

                            In the arms of someone who represents a percentage of the fantasy; a little feeling of home is better than no home.  

 

CHURCH HOME

We often give the family who broke our image of home more grace than we do the church, because after all they are family.

 

Family = Forgive we are stuck with them

 

Church = Forget because they are inconsequential and filled with hate

 

Church people and Jesus are often synonymous in our brains.  

 

When we don’t feel at home in church or amongst church people, 

                                               our relationship with Jesus often gets tossed aside as well.  

 

         Yes.  We may have been hurt in the church.

 

We may never get an apology from the church or church people that have hurt us.  

But rather than to blast the church for what they did, because we could all probably talk for hours about that.  Let me tell you about what happened when I came back to church.  

 

Forgiveness is not for them. It's for us.  Forgiveness looks like this, "Opening the doors of a prison only to discover that we were the prisoner."

 

Why I left my gay life behind. All the voices

 

How the church was home to me. 

         1) A place to get in the presence of God, The Holy Spirit and Jesus.  

         2) Marie (Older lady at Orlando family worship center who took me under her wings)

                   Jenny Mairot and Caroline Gibbs who invited me)

                   The Davis family of Winter Haven, Florida. Who let me in and let me rest

                   Illuminate church and the many men and women who sparked relationship with me.  Heard my heart, dealt with my brokenness and loved me in spite of my warts and all.  

                   

         3) A place to learn about all the characters of the bible

         4) I took ownership

i defended my home church and the family that resides there   like a Grizzly bear mother

         5) share my hurts and have people pray and mourn for me

         

6) A place to see I wasn’t alone and to share my pain.

         

7) A place where two or three are gathered in God’s name 

(Not everyone in here is here for the same purpose, but I can search out the ones who are.)

 

God welcomes us home to His house.

 

Good church, Bad people

What prevents us from coming back to make church our home is that, like a real family, there are often people at the house that make living there unbearable. 

Don’t let the taste of one bad church, sour your taste buds against the family of God. 

 

Jesus was passionate about making the temple, the early church, His Father’s house

                   a house of prayer.  

There were those, like in the modern day church, who disturbed that vision.   

 

         jesus is quoted as saying “you have made it a den of thieves.” 

 

God is the attentive Father, longing for His children to return home.  All his children.  

 

The prodigal son.  The return home.   The older brother.    

 

You would never let a bad experience at a restaurant cause you to give up on food.  If you did, you would physically starve to death.  

 

Yet, some of us have given up on Jesus, because of one bad church experience.  And you are dying of spiritual starvation.  

 

Find a church. Give them a try. If they misunderstand your story or your life, help them gain some knowledge and understanding.  If they are willing to learn, and you are willing to teach them, then set up camp. If it doesn’t feel like home, then find another place to grow.  Be as persistent in finding spiritual food as you are at finding physical food.  

 

Grant the grace to others that you demand from them for yourself.  

 

Just like everyone else in the church.  You need more Jesus in your life.  

 

I don’t care what any person has said, God is not willing that any of His children should perish.  

 

Let’s cut through the opinion of anyone that has ever made you feel unwelcome and read God’s welcome card back to you.  

 

May the power of the words that have been spoken over you to break you, be broken.

 

Our identification of home is directly related to fleeting momentary perspectives.

         Our perspective can change based on our moods, family history, life experience, and emotional landscape.  

 

If we have spent our lives on the run from God, Home can be a feeling attached to a moment, place or a group of people.  

 

When we are broken, our measurement of home depends largely on two groups of people

         1) Those who undervalue us 

         2) Those who overvalue us

Both groups pour into us based on their emotional DNA of their lives 

 

“I have learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou  

 

“Our greatest heart-treasure is a knowledge that there is in creation an individual to whom our existence is necessary – someone who is part of our life as we part of theirs, someone in whose life we feel assured our death would leave a gap for a day or two.” - Miles Franklin

 

“Home is where the heart is.”

 

“My home was a place I daily fantasized about escaping.  Until I finally did.  Then I couldn’t wait to get back.  I would reach the conclusion that home, much like Santa Claus was something akin to mythical folklore.  As I grew older the mirage of the ideal home would give way to the reality that nothing would ever ascend to the height of perfection my thoughts had constructed in my mind.”

 

You are welcome in the presence of God and in the arms of Jesus.  While you were still sinners, Jesus died for you. 

 

No matter where homosexuality took me, I always had hope of returning home.

(bringing Joseph home for Christmas.  My dad’s initial response. The ultimate outcome.)

 

Home has to have provided some sense of hope and refuge.  

 

Psalm 56:8-9

God numbers your wanderings; put your tears into Your bottle…?  When you cry out to Him, then your enemies will turn back; this you know, because God is for you.

 

The different people that welcomed me home into different eras of my life. 

My mom

My uncle

Joseph

Chapa

Jesus 

Marie

Regardless of my emotional state or the pull of my sexual desires.  

Regardless of the loudest, kindest most seductive voice in the room.  

Regardless of my situation and experiences.  

The quicker i came to that understanding, the truth of God’s word is the absolute truth by which we live, the sooner God can begin to set us free from the bondage our freedoms have created.  

God’s forgiveness is instant. 

 The sanctification process is a bit more involved. 

The difference between being free and being caught up in bondage is a little compromise, added daily.  We bargain with God.  Can I keep this?  The bible isn’t specific about...  Well maybe it’s okay to be gay.  Maybe it’s okay to keep in touch with old boyfriends or girlfriends.  Many of us have strayed away from Jesus to follow the doctrine of “What if.”   

 

Your belief will cause a thing to grow.  

Your disbelief will cause a thing to wither.  

 Your inaction will ensure your bondage.  (The two wolves. Which one will survive)

 

We get closer to home when stop trying to make it happen elsewhere; on our own outside the presence of Jesus.  

 

We find home at the end of our fight to make the world obey our every whim and request.  

 

Pride and Humility

The two men praying.  Luke 18:9-14

9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

 

God has a new home for you. A home that has elements of what it needs for completion but will take some time to build.  Just like it took time to build your life of sin.  

 

Not everyone in the church is getting it right.  They are just better at hiding it than we are.  

 

Pride tells us that we don’t want to be embarrassed in front of other people.  Pride causes us to say, “Well I won’t do that” or “I can’t do that”. 

 

You don't need a priest or a pastor. You have an advocate with the Father named Jesus.  

 You have a personal and interactive God

 

“Home was a place I daily fantasized about escaping.  Until I finally did.  And then I couldn’t wait to get back.  Later on I would come to the conclusion that home, much like Santa Claus was the mythical folklore that shaped my childhood, but was sacrificed gradually to the passage of time. —Matthew

 

Jesus says, you are welcome.  

 If all is well and ideal, we all go out from our home and we all return there in the evening

 

Home is supposed to be a safe place – Home was a safe place for my mom’s illness, but not a safe place for anyone else.  Mom was to be protected first and foremost.

 

When I was wandering and lost in the gay community and my sin, I always had hope of returning home.

 Find a home.

 Having a hope of returning to home

 Home has to have provided some sense of hope and refuge or we will have no concept of that feeling of home. 

 You are not damaged. You are not broken differently.  You are not beyond the scope of God's ability to...

 

There are two kinds of freedom.  Freedom to choose based on what I feel. That says I will do what I want when I want and the rules that stifle my idea of freedom are out the window.  Therefore, I am “free.”  

 And freedom to choose based on the truth of God’s word.  That encourages me to make decisions that reestablish my bondage and brokenness. One freedom sets me free to move forward, while the other ties me down a little more with each decision I take to exercise freedom.  

 

Jason and my first Christmas away from home.  

 

Welcome Home.  YOU are fearfully and wonderfully made.  It's time to stop living as if you were only made for this world. It's time to cast off your grave clothes and accept the robe He has for you.  You are built for another kingdom.    

Whether you chose to leave or were forced to leave.  You have wandered alone long enough, feeling the cold shoulder of the world you have to live in long enough.  I have waited for your return.  I have never had a moment where I wasn’t thinking about you, PLANNING FOR YOUR RETURN.   

 


 

Do You Love Me copyright 2014 all rights reserved

 

Do you love me?                                      

Enough to give up your will and choose mine? 

To walk with me 

Every single moment 

Every single day

Do you love me? 

Does the fact that I know your every thought and still cherish you mean something to you

Does the fact that I have 

                   felt all your pain and 

                            endured greater struggles make you love me even more? 

Do you love me on the days when you wake up and fear courses through your veins like the blood that ran down my feet on the cross?  

Do you love me?

Enough to stand watch as I kneel in the garden to pray

Do you love me?

Though you don't understand my methods or my ways.

I hope so

No matter how many lashes came to greet my body that fateful night 

I saw your shining face

I saw the whip in the hand of the woman whose life I would gladly save

I saw the fear tempered with anger on the face of the last man to drive the stake through my wrist

I felt 

         the tears behind the emotion 

                   the despair behind the guilt

I felt them all 

         Bore them all

                   Became them for a season

I would do it all again

So I ask you now

Not out of necessity 

But out of sheer desire

Do you love me?

Do you love me enough to share the pain masked by the problems of this world?

Do you love me enough to lay aside your emotional weapons and walk toward me? 

I long for nothing more than to hold you in my arms whether you love me or not

To share with you my plan for your life

                   Heal your wounds 

                            Right the wrongs

Do you love me?

Are the scars in your life there because of your efforts to sustain them?

My scars are proof of nothing more than the fact that I love you.  

I was there when you sought comfort in the arms of another

I held you both as you marinated in the duality of pain your lives had become

I walked along with you 

I called your name

It was my eyes you were searching for as you frantically scanned the crowd that night in the club

When I met your gaze you quickly looked away

It was my hand that held you when you sobbed inner tears so great, that to birth them would have brought about unparalleled insanity.  

I lifted you up when you had trouble seeing over the clouds that enveloped your world

I made it possible that your every wish 

Your every desire could be fulfilled

One night 

As I made the decision to give up my will 

Combat the fear welling up within me 

With great tears of blood falling from my eyes, 

I gave up my own desires in this world

My very life was laid before you

So that you could have the opportunity to live life  

I ask you, 

with a heart that rejoices each time a lost soul calls my name from the darkness,

with great anticipation, 

and love in my heart

Do you love me?  

And I say to you, no matter where you have been, no matter how far you have wandered, no matter what you have done, Welcome Home!

Freedom March: A True Story

Freedom March: A True Story