Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Message From Your Moderator

Dear Friends,

Nice to see my blog get such exposure. Having been in radio at times in my life, it's very strange to speak live behind a mic and not know if anyone is listening. It feels that way when I publish so much original content on the web unless there is a 'stats' page I can check. I rarely hear from my international readers and I am always curious about my friends in places where it is wrong to be Christian, and also wrong to be gay. I can't imagine it being illegal to be a homosexual, and I also can't imagine it being against the law to be a Christian. What an enormous challenge it must be to be both Christian and gay in some places around the globe, like my readers in the Middle East. I wish I could go and visit you, give you a big bear hug, pray with you and dress you up in rainbows! But you have to be yourself as well as surviving in your culture, which in my free country (of the United States of America) I don't have to worry much about. I can relate a little bit because I spent a dozen years in anti-gay churches and I hid myself in church work and conservative culture.

One thing I do understand is depression. In fact I am disabled because of living with a form of depression. I have been big into mental health since coming out and spending less time in churches. For years I was not treated for this illness and relied purely on faith many times. I do not recommend a "faith only" approach to any illness, even mental illness, but I can tell you that prayer can sure be amazing to lift a black cloud of depression. For long term care, I highly recommend a holistic approach to treating any chemical mood disorder, and add your spirituality to your blend of cures and therapies. When it comes to what I call "situational depression", for instance grief or acute Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), medication may not be a good idea, but prayer can sure bring joy, relief, hope and even healing. One cure for situational depression is emotional healing. There are some wonderful forms of prayer that can bring much healing to our fragile feelings. This note, I hope to inspire my readers who are in oppressive cultures that I mentioned before to come to Christ, lay down those burdens and find peace (Matthew 11:28).

While in prayer this weekend, I felt like something I was doing was being a "light" to nations. I wonder if some of that could be this blog. I don't travel well, and don't go overseas often, so it's hard for someone like me to reach other countries. I never really know what kind of an effect these articles have on people's faith. I know that before I came out in 2006, I would have loved to see not only a blog for LGBT people, but prayer writings that went beyond written liturgy to talking about hearing from God. I thought for years that someone who was openly gay and okay with it would be shut off from divine communion with God. As someone who has a "spirit filled" faith background since 1994, I would have not been impressed with much of the "gay" religion, especially the extremely theologically liberal denomination I grew up with. I am a guy who likes experiential faith, proof that God exists, results and answers; especially answers to prayers. Some folks pray just because it brings them comfort. Well, bless their hearts. I'm not like that. I want the time in prayer I invest to mean something, change things and have positive results. I rolled with the Holy Rollers and there was a lot of reality with that aside from all the phony stuff I saw over the years. So, when I found out that there were Spirit Filled lesbian, gay, bi and even transgendered ministers, I was thrilled. LGBT people that were flowing in Apostolic fervor, prophetic unction and healing anointing; it gave me hope that it was acceptable to be who I was: Christian and gay.

I am so grateful to people like: Apostle Naomi Harvey, Susan and Debbie George, Apostle Dale Jarrett and his wonderful partner; and the many Holy Spirit anointed pastors I have met that are to many to mention. Another thing I want to mention is a site that linked to my blog...


I was thrilled to see your article on prayer and depression and your link to my prayer blog.  I want to thank you folks so much for linking to my site (under the word prayer) - I hope to see more sites about prayer for the LGBT community! As someone living with depression, I am glad to see you cover these issues.

Blessings and gay bear hugs


Oregon, USA

(photo thanks to Malcolm - me, drumming with Metropolitan Community Church, Gay Pride March, Portland, Ore.)

Mystic Secret of God

Secrets Are Not Kept From Us, They Are Kept For Us

This article is directed at devoted Christian believers who wish to hear clearly from God. It's a subject that is near to my heart and I hope my readers take a balanced and practical approach to these principals I have learned over the years.

While in some cutting edge Bible lessons in the 1990's, I heard this statement about God keeping secrets FOR us, not FROM us; and it changed my view about hearing from the Spirit. There are believers that can get so close to God, that folks can function in this "Mind of Christ", which is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 2:16, Christians can "…hold the thoughts (feelings and purposes) of His heart".

While in "Prayer School" one week at the Bible Training Center, the dean of the school taught on hearing from God. He said that if there was only one subject that one can teach on, it would be about being led by the Spirit, because if you are truly being led, you will be led to all truth. That sounds nice, however I have gotten into error with too much teaching on being Spirit led. I also know one teacher who says that Christians can be able to daily hear the audible voice of God. This borders on insanity in my opinion, and extremes like this can cause a lot of messes. The most effective Spirit led people I know are ones that don't seem to act spiritual much at all. In fact they have a lot of natural wisdom. I don't think any human being, no matter how super-spiritual, can hear from God exactly 100% of the time. I also think that God can speak to people clearly who have a lot of common sense, as long as they have a willing heart surrendered to God.

A passage I stumbled on today really made me think a lot about secrets, and how they are stored up for believers: Colossians 2:2-3 [For my concern is] that their hearts may be braced (comforted, cheered, and encouraged) as they are knit together in love, that they may come to have all the abounding wealth and blessings of assured conviction of understanding, and that they may become progressively more intimately acquainted with and may know more definitely and accurately and thoroughly that mystic secret of God, [which is] Christ (the Anointed One).
In Him all the treasures of [divine] wisdom (comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God) and [all the riches of spiritual] knowledge and enlightenment are stored up and lie hidden.

Another passage a roommate in Bible school showed me, also in the Amplified version is really intense: Proverbs 3:32b …His confidential communion and secret counsel are with the [uncompromisingly] righteous (those who are upright and in right standing with Him).
Also, this passage (among others) is good to declare when praying about divine secrets… Jeremiah 33:3 Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things, fenced in and hidden, which you do not know (do not distinguish and recognize, have knowledge of and understand).

(drawing by Jason T. Ingram, 2005)

The Prophetic Realm

This may be some heavy stuff (especially to my readers who are very theologically liberal) and I mention these things hoping that people do not get confused and be led astray in the sensational. However, there are those of us that when our devotional life reaches a deep richness that we can flow in this realm of the seer. As Christians, we must be very careful not to be led by spirits or even angels. There is so much in the invisible spirit world that is out there to deceive us that it can be very frustrating to hear from God. 

1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not put faith in every spirit, but prove (test) the spirits to discover whether they proceed from God; for many false prophets have gone forth into the world.
There are many spirits and voices in this world, and many of them are simply our own thoughts and ideas. If we do make mistakes and get led astray, and believe me, I have many times, I can be restored and get back on track and often things can come back together for the good, however, when someone is spiritually deceived, it can be a disaster. If you feel like you entered this Prophetic Realm in prayer and not sure if your experience is valid, wait to see if positive fruit comes out of it. If you end up making unwise choices that cause problems, and especially if you feel superior than others and not teachable, those could be indicators that your experience may be based on falsehoods. It's tough to discern because there can be a lot of God in your experience, but if you have too much self in the way, it can be tainted like when a little something bitter gets into your recipe and ruins the taste of your meal.

With that being said, prophetic prayer can be one of the most powerful tools in your devotional life. You can do some serious business in the invisible, binding and loosing, speaking to mountains, declaring and proclaiming peace, commanding healing; and speaking truth to situations and into the lives of others you are praying for. It may take some fasting and extended times of worship, praying in the Spirit and other sacrifices, but it will be well worth it. Allow Christ to baptize you in His Holy Spirit and Fire like John the Baptist prophesied, and be open to the Gifts of the Spirit (Matthew 3:11, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11).

(most scriptures sited here are quoted from the Ampliphied version)