Being a Church Where Same-Sex Attraction Singles are Welcomed

Table for One Ministries- Ministry for Singles and Leaders to Singles - Blog - Creating a Church Where Same-Sex Attraction Singles are Welcomed

At Table for One Ministries we want every church to have an environment in which those struggling with homosexually or acting on their earthly desires can come to find the truth of God’s Word regarding the issue. We have asked those who struggle with same-sex attraction what environment they were in when they shared their struggle and reached out for help. We also asked what the church can do to reach out to men and women like them in an effort help them fight against this struggle.

 

One shared his struggle first in a group setting of 10-15 guys that had been sharing about sexual struggles they were having. He met with this group for over a year before also admitting he struggled, but in a same-sex attraction way. He shared his experience because another member of the group shared about his same-sex attraction issues. He first talked with a person one-on-one before coming out to a group of men for accountability. All of these guys shared with people they trusted and did not feel like they would be judged or cast off for doing so.

 

Accountability is a key component for any follower of Christ to grow closer to the Lord. James 5:16 promotes the idea of sharing our sins with one another for the reason being healed through prayer. Like any sin, same-sex attraction needs a group of strong supporters praying for the healing of that person to turn from that sin. Without this network of prayer, the one struggling is left alone to fight that sin. Accountability is also a hard thing to describe. Accountability is not just merely sharing sins to one another, but the act of another believer challenging a person to grow and take positive actions.

 

While every believer must confess their sins to the Lord and acknowledge Jesus died for those sins, an accountability partner can serve as reinforcement of the commitments we make to the Lord. In these cases, the 10-15 person home groups were broken into assigned accountability partners. While this is a great way to emphasize the importance of accountability, it can lack the cohesiveness needed with a pair of believers to share openly with one another. Accountability through home groups or an intimate setting is the first environment needed to help those struggling with same-sex attraction and have a safe place to share that challenge.

 

The second environment needed is one that apply too many areas and set by the leader or minister of the group. All participants communicated that the reason they stayed and eventually sought help at a particular church was because their leader mentioned same-sex attraction as one of many sins. This minister made it known it was no worse than any other struggle or sin people face. By him taking time to list struggles that included same-sex attraction, they knew they were in a place to find help. While an environment of trust and awareness needs to be built by a minister, it can also be talked about too often and lose its effect.

 

Lay leaders also play a supportive role in allowing those with this sin to find a place of healing and accountability. Ministers must train their leaders adequately in what it means to disciple a person and hold them accountable. Both of these can take different amounts of time for each person and require dedication from every leader to seek out intentional relationships with others for the intent of discipleship. For one single adult, a lay leader took time to friend him and ask how he could pray with him and help him in his walk with the Lord. It was during that one-on-one relationship that he shared his struggle and finally started down a road to end the sinful behavior.

 

If the church is going to be open to helping those who struggle with same-sex attraction and those in the LGBT community, they must provide environments and awareness for their leaders to do so.

 

Does your church have a place where this type of accountability can occur? If not, what could you do to start such a group?

The Lie of Porn

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Porn is gripping, ruins marriages, is addictive, and while you are single will offer a lie that it is harmless since you are not in a relationship. Porn is not harmless. It affects women and men of all ages and according to xxxchurch.com 25% of all search requests in the US are pornography related and 34% of church going women admit to looking at pornography. 

Watch this video of a testimony from Nate Larkin to see how gripping porn can be and the effects it has on your life.

Hebrews 12:4 says “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” Can anyone reading this say they have resisted looking at pornography to the point of shedding your own blood? In Romans 7 Paul talks about his desire to do good but still falling into sin, until the power of the cross takes over your life. As a single adult, you may think that you looking at pornography is ok since you are not in a relationship. We have even heard singles say it is acceptable because they may never find someone and that is an outlet for them. Matthew 5:28 tells us that even looking at someone in lust is committing sin in our hearts. Yes it is a sin, and yes the Lord expects you to live a life free of pornography. Have you truly resisted in your fight with pornography? To the point of shedding your own blood?

As a single adult male or female, one day you may find someone and enter into a relationship, your actions regarding lust and pornography will be an issue. Marriage does not fix lust and addiction to pornography. This is a heart issue that needs to be dealt with immediately. If you need help with breaking this addition, please visit xxxchurch.com for resources and internet accountability tools. Remember, there is NO internet accountability tool made that can keep you from finding pornography. You must make a stand before God and in your heart with an accountability partner to make it “Not an Option.” Make a stand today to make porn “Not an Option” in your life and walk in a new light free from the darkness of pornography.

#LOVEWINS? The Attempt to Silence Truth

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No doubt you have seen the hashtag #LoveWins attached to many a Facebook status and tweet. At first glance you might assume that it is just another way to celebrate the SCOTUS decision to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states. You may interpret it as declaring love wins because now you are free to love whomever you please, but we have always been free to love everyone. However, to truly love anyone, you must understand the meaning and nature of love, but that is the subject of another blog.
Today we are going to talk about the not so subtle message that the hashtag #LoveWins really communicates. It is the same tactic that has been so effective in shutting down opposition to anyone who opposes the redefining of the institution of marriage. You see if love wins then hate lost, or at least that is what we are suppose to believe. As a society we have been given only two options from those who support same-sex marriage. You can either choose love and support same-sex marriage, or you are a hater and a bigot. There is no middle ground, or at least that is what we are led to believe.
It is an effective way to shut down the debate, because for most, there is an aversion to being labeled as a hater and a bigot, so one remains quiet. What is worse, and very dangerous, is that many Christian have begun to believe the lie that to oppose this issue or any other viewpoint that is counter to the Bible is equal to hatred.
As one meme I saw yesterday stated, “It is God’s job to convict, it is my job to love.” Even though the individual facts of the statement are true, the subtle message of those who posted it was “Shut up! Don’t tell me I am wrong. That is God’s job, you are just suppose to love me.”
But there is a real problem with that kind of logic. Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8; Romans 10:14; the example of every prophet and apostle tell us that we must speak Biblical truth. We cannot be worried about how the message of the cross will be received. We are to speak. God will use the words we speak to convict, and yes, we are called to love. Love like no one has ever seen before! Love enough to face name-calling, disparaging remarks and jail time, and even death if necessary. Love enough to tell someone they are wrong. Remember the story of John the Baptist? He spoke out in defense of marriage and was thrown in jail, and eventually beheaded.
Need more convincing? Did Jesus hate the Pharisees when he pointed out their arrogance? Did he hate the woman caught in adultery when he told her “Go and sin no more?” When a parent corrects a child, is that an act of hate or love?
I want to be perfectly clear, disagreeing with someone does not equal hate. Telling someone that their lifestyle is not part of God’s design, and that He wants so much better for them is not hate. Standing up for God’s design for marriage is not hate.
God designed marriage to be an example of the gospel to the world. Marriage is a picture of Christ and the church Marriage is the vehicle through which mankind was meant to populate the earth with loving children supported by a man and a woman. In order for marriage to fulfill its purpose, it must remain as God designed.
With this understanding, drawn from Biblical truth, I ask you to love like very few are willing to love. Love the truth of God’s Word. When the world tells you to sit down and shut up, love enough to speak the truth. Love enough to cry with and support those who struggle with same-sex attraction. Love enough to listen to our LBGT friends and invite them into your lives. Love those who are like you and those who are not. Love those who agree with you and those who don’t.
Love, but don’t be silent, because that is not love at all.

The Emperor Has no Clothes: Bruce Jenner and Gender Dysphoria

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Something is wrong; horribly, disturbingly wrong. And it has to do with the way our culture celebrates a mental disorder. Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner has brought to the forefront a condition that is growing in notoriety in our culture today, Gender Dysphoria.

This public spectacle reminds me of the old fable, The Emperor’s New Clothes. In this story, the Emperor’s vanity has allowed him to be duped into believing that he is wearing magical clothing that can only be seen by those who are wise. He doesn’t see the clothes himself but is afraid to say so for fear of being labeled a fool. In fact, no one sees the clothes because they do not exist, but no one will speak up for the same fear. One day he parades through town with his new “clothes” until one little boy has the courage to speak up and tell him that he is in fact naked.

Back to Bruce Jenner. Those who suffer from Gender Dysphoria, also known as Gender Identity Disorder or G.I.D. for short, have strong feelings that they are the opposite gender of their biological reality. Often they choose to have their bodies altered to reflect what they feel to be their true identity. This is what Bruce has done and now his decision is celebrated and applauded by nearly every media outlet.

As a Christian I struggle with knowing how to react when the culture celebrates someone’s decision to chase their happiness through drugs, hormone therapy, and gender reassignment surgery. I want to know what I should do, what I should say. Should I just remain silent? Celebration and applause doesn’t feel right. If I speak about my misgivings will I be castigated in the court of public opinion? How do I speak words of hope and healing when I don’t understand what people like Bruce, or Caitlyn, if you prefer, are going through?

I begin with two truths from God’s Word. First, God created us male and female (Gen 1:27). Second, there was intention in how each of us was created (Psalm 139:13-16). We can, therefore, deduce that the gender we are born with is not a mistake. We are who we are because that is God’s will for us. If I decide not to follow God’s will for my life, God calls that rebellion. Now there is something I know a little something about (a lot, really).

G.I.D. is really just another symptom of the fall of man. I don’t mean to oversimplify such a complex issue as G.I.D. However, original sin makes us all want to be something different than what God wants for us. We are all prone to choose our own way. Sin has distorted our view of God, it has distorted our view of others, and it has distorted our view of ourselves.

So back to how I react when faced with the media storm surrounding Bruce Jenner. First, I react with love, love for a fellow human being who needs the love and mercy of a righteous and just God. Then I speak the truth in love. Bruce Jenner will not find peace in being someone other than who God has created him to be.

There is only one way to peace, hope, and joy in who you are created to be. It is found in Jesus. Placing my faith and trust in Him means that I trust that He created me just the way He wanted me. I am not too short, my skin is not too pale, and I am the gender He wants me to be. All feelings to the contrary are a rebellion of who God has created me to be and therefore sinful. All sin leads to death (Rom 3:23) and for anyone to encourage others to revel in their rebellion is not helpful; it is destructive and mean.

I just feel like someone has to speak the truth!