Changing Our Stance On Homosexuality

This morning I watched the news feeds light up because of a few casual comments by the current Pope on not judging people who are gay. Besides the fact that I really truly am starting to like this Pontiff, I thought the reaction by people everywhere was very telling.

It’s been going on for months now. Last month we saw DOMA overturned and Exodus

Pope Francis saying: “Who am I to Judge Gay people?”

International president and founder Alan Chambers change his stance on homosexuality. Desmond Tutu coming out say God is not homophobic. The pressure is so intense on every side for the church both protestant and catholic to “change it’s stance” on homosexuality. Never before has there been such a drive by secular culture to infiltrate faith/ religion and change it’s meaning so the world can feel less judged.

The Pope’s comments from yesterday are sentiments that I echo. It is not for me or anyone to judge another person for who they are. We are all sinners. All are in need of grace. All are in need of transformation into the likeness of Christ, not the likeness of who we want to be. At the same time no man can change the “churches stance” on homosexuality, because no one can change God and His word.

I fear that we have done such a poor job at representing Christ to the world as believers that we have led them to believe that God is a moral idea that changes with time. That Christianity is simply a moral code to live up to and should evolve with culture and time. Which Christianity is not morality; it’s a man who is God.

God is a person. Doctrine is not a man crafted truth, but a God birthed truth to show us who we were meant to be in his infinite and beautiful imagination. It’s a road map to His heart where we can experience the love, joy and peace we were created for where sin has robbed us.  You can’t change His stance, no more than you can reorder the atoms in your hand.

That said, I have many gay friends. Guys I grew up with. Guys that used to serve with me in ministry. Girls who I consider friends who are now lesbians. I love them. When I see some of those guys I give them great big hugs. I listen to them. I don’t treat them any different then the other acquaintances I have. I do not change my beliefs on their lifestyle. However their lifestyle is between them and God.

We face a difficulty in the church, that wont go away or change. The Homosexual movement is only going to grow. The pressure is only going to increase. We as Christians can not give into the pressure to change God’s stance on Homosexuality. Because it’s His stance, not our own.

That said, In our resolve to stand firm with God and His word, we could use to love and accept the gay community as fellow humans. We don’t need to be constantly known for what we are against, but what we are for. We are for love. The love of Christ that saved our hearts, is available to homosexuals as well. They are brothers and sisters we want to see walk in the fullness of who they were created to be by God.

If there is someone who has genuine love for Jesus, who are we to question their salvation because they are presently gay? Lets encourage their faith. Encourage their reach for Christ. Encourage them in their journey with the Lord in the same way we would encourage those who love God but get drunk regularly and don’t want to admit they are alcoholics. To condemn anyone would be to curse them and assume that our words, not Christ’s, are the one’s that save them. To judge them is to declare that their story is over when it’s not.

It is entirely possible to love homosexuals with genuine affection and hold the line on homosexual acts being a sin without shaming and condemning people. My point is that we as a church need the grace of God to learn how. Not because the church will become irrelevant or because we’ll lose the culture. Those fears are silly. Jesus will always be relevant because he’s the creator God eternal, and to think we ever had a Godly culture in America in the first place is delusional. We need the grace to do this well because it’s the Gospel. It’s who Jesus was. It’s how He treats us.

If we want to see humanity walk in restoration, and have true transformation from sin (like homosexuality) we must remember that it’s God’s kindness and mercy that draws us to repentance. It’s true that sometimes kindness isn’t nice, but it’s always kind.

Romans 2: “… Don’t you know that it’s God’s kindness that leads to repentance.” 

Father show us your love that we may learn to love well.

An Open Letter To Our U.S. Elected Officials: End Abortion

Dear Elected Official,

Since 1776 this continent has been a beacon to the rest of humanity for the individual rights of every human being. Though it has struggled to produce freedom for every people, in the end liberty for all has prevailed no matter race or creed. Our country was founded on certain truths that though at times have been wanting in application, have ultimately remained the cornerstones that uphold the spirit of this nation. Specifically the Jeffersonian proclamation:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

It is that credo that has driven this nation to the heights of glory and power it currently resides in.  The Constitution that governs this nation was founded on the belief that no man’s freedom can come at the cost of another, for all men deserve to live in liberty from tyranny, the fear of death and oppression.

In the History of this nation we have faced many challenges to this belief. At the risk of losing resources and stifling a growing economy, this nation took the necessary action and gave emancipation to those being enslaved on plantations throughout the South. The cost was hundreds of thousands of American lives but their blood was not in vain. The ultimate result was not a loss in economy but growth for a young nation torn apart. In the early 1900’s liberty was again challenged when children and orphans were being used for cheap labor to kick start a growing industrial revolution. Liberty for these children meant a drop in production and a loss in the Industrial age. The Children were freed, and instead of loss the industrial revolution grew, and 15 years later the nation would boast the largest profits the world had ever seen. Tyranny in Europe by Hitler, voting rights for women, Stalin in Russia, Vietnam, North Korea, Israel, Kuwait, and Iraq, our Nation has been dedicated to the democratic value that all men deserve the rights presented in the Jeffersonian mantra.

Today our nation has come to yet another paramount were the liberties of some have been cut off to supply liberty for another. The sexual revolution of the 60’s and 70’s has come at the loss of many. 50 million human beings have been murdered in the name of freedom. The right to live has been taken by the hands of doctors and parents around this country. Abortion has been granted as a right for a woman to choose, and lowered the value of life to a punishment on those wish to be free in their sexual lifestyles.

The liberties of countless human beings in our nation are in jeopardy. The leaders and decision makers in this nation, who serve at the leisure of the people, have failed those they serve. For 35 years they have stood idly by as a holocaust proportionate to that of Nazi Germany to have wiped out the lives of many. I petition those who hold office in congress to consider not the definition of life, but the definition of freedom. Many in government are in danger of the same type of hypocrisy that faced our nation during slavery, segregation, and manifest destiny. To take the life of a person, so as to allow another sexual freedom, is same type of injustice that inspired the actions of the continental congress 236 years ago.

To cease abortion would indeed be a risk. Federal dollars for foster care, and adoption are waning. Unwanted pregnancies or statistically higher in poorer urban areas, and the quality of life the baby would face is unknown. Yet no man should have the power to determine who lives and who dies. Such power is supposed to be protected and kept from governmental leaders by democracy. I ask amidst the consequences that come with the abolishment of abortion that you would consider the lives being lost. Would you consider the blood being spilt? Would you consider the advancement in social ethics our nation would take if life were valued higher than sexual freedom? Would you consider the cessation of government funds to organizations like Planned Parenthood, and instead redirect those funds to establish a better foster care and adoption system? You hold great power that has been rented to you by one who will one day return to reclaim it. On that day you will answer before Him, the author of life, for how you yielded that power. What will your legacy be before that throne? I pray that it’s one that will please the heart of God.

Our nation has lost its way in the fight for freedom. We have forgotten the “Eternal vigilance” that is required to maintain liberty. Our personal freedoms have come at a high price. For it’s not the blood of the unborn, but patriots that should be the refreshing streams of liberty. Knowing the high price of taking on this issue, I ask would you bleed and fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. As long as it is still recited: “Liberty and Justice for ALL”.

Respectfully,

Zack Hensley

Church In UK Banned From Saying “God Can Heal”

Worrying about Christian rights isn’t the reason I’m posting this. Truth is Jesus told us where this is going, “The world will hate you because of me”. I post stories like this as evidence to illustrate the hour of history we live in. Christians in many places have enjoyed the comfort of a culture that accommodates our faith. However the times are changing. The time is coming where our culture will no longer accommodate our faith. Apart from a spiritual revolution in the near future, I think we need to be sober about the changing times.  Sober not so we can give up and try to save ourselves. But sober so we can know how to pray, and have boldness to preach the gospel even more knowing what we are up against.

The story below is a small example, but the frequency of them is growing every day. Let’s fight the good fight of faith.

Bath Christian group’s ‘God can heal’ adverts banned

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it had concluded that the adverts by Healing on the Streets (HOTS) – Bath, were misleading…. The ASA said the leaflet read: “Need Healing? God can heal today! Do you suffer from Back Pain, Arthritis, MS, Addiction … Ulcers, Depression, Allergies, Fibromyalgia, Asthma, Paralysis, Crippling Disease, Phobias, Sleeping disorders or any other sickness?

It’s Time To DO

About 7 years ago I lived in an urban part of Kansas City near Downtown. I moved with the dream of planting a church for the homeless and urban core dwellers. I spent half of my time each day talking with and helping homeless people find food, jobs, and rehabilitation. I spent the other half of each day studying theology and philosophy at a hyper liberal coffee shop where communism was “beautiful” and George W Bush was “Hitler reincarnate”. My time there was like a supplement for college in a sense. I would read and outline say Rene Descartes or Hegel, then spend a few hours debating their philosophies with the coffee shop aggregation. Business men, college professors, college students, vagrants, retired men with nothing to do, it was quite a collection of people, and quite the range of opinions. 

Most often brought up was the subject of “social justice”. They would rant and rant about how nobody cared for the poor. Daily someone would bring up the poor as an accusation toward conservatives, the church or the wealthy. If someone pulled in front of the coffee shop in a nice car, especially an SUV, they were sure to be heckled. They would talk about the ethics of wealth and how it was unethical for someone to have an outstanding amount of money. Guys in suits would occasionally walk by and get cursed at. Ironically also, would be when homeless guys came around for money. They would get made fun of and told to find a job. I would sit stunned day after day. These guys would daily sit at the coffee shop and complain about the wealthy and the plight of the poor while shunning the very people I loved and spent most of my time serving. I would watch it happen day after day in awe. It was sad.

Looking back on this time what pains me is not how they acted toward the poor in reality versus what they intended on doing. What pains me is I see myself doing the same. I may have served the homeless back then. But there were plenty of other areas where I thought people should do something and I never did. The truth is most of us are hypocrites in that regard.

It’s easy to get riled up for a cause. Easy to have an opinion about how life should be. It’s something else entirely to act. So often we define ourselves by our intentions, not wanting to look at our actions. As Americans living in relatively easy circumstances in comparison to the rest of the world it’s easy to have opinions about government, social justice, racial tention, human rights, etc. It’s another thing to put our hand to the plow and do something about them. Think the poor are being treated unjustly and that the rich should distribute their wealth? What have you done with what you have?  Mad about the foster care system, and how horrible orphans are treated? Well you have a spare bedroom right? Think our nations economy is collapsing and you are worried about your job security? You have real government through prayer and you still have knees to pray on right?

As much as it depends on me I’m done talking. I’m done having ideas. I’m done with chintzy giving. I’m done with lazy serving. I’m done with defining myself based on my intentions. It’s time to do. There is only one way to be successful in our doing: Christ.

It’s time to finally and completely surrender our hearts to the one we say we love. It’s time to get on our knees, get in His word, and get His heart for the people around us. The only way you or I are going to actually care about the poor is if we begin to be transformed into the likeness of the one who created those who are plighted with poverty. It’s sounds like an oxy moron: We need to do, therefore pray. But not doing so would be like a fifteen year old watching a war on TV and saying “i want to fight” then running out to a battlefield with no training, weapons or armor. It’s been said that “you can’t be so heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good.” I would challenge that saying and say the Bible says, “You Have to be heavenly minded to be ANY earthly good.” (Col.3) We pray so that our doing is sustained. We pray so that our hearts are energized with the thoughts and affections of our creator for us. We pray because humans are the objects of his affections and genius. If we think for a second we care about them more than He does we are delusional. It’s time we believed that when we pray God responds. It’s time we had faith to pray so that we can act.

My continued service to the poor has only ever been sustained and energized because of prayer. When I’m helping someone come off of alcohol and sit with them through the shakes for the 4th time, and a week later they fall off the wagon again it’s hard not to want to give up. It’s hard when you are loving homeless people who beat each other up, commit crimes and get sent to prison, or killed despite your best efforts. If we want to help them we must start on our knees. Only there will we gain the heart to love them properly, and the courage not to quit.

It’s time to act, pray therefore.

Thoughts on Sex and the decline and fall of society- pt. 1

Over the last couple of months I have been in expectation mode. I have a beautiful wife whose belly grows larger and larger every day. She is nauseous, sick, achy, excited, happy, and hopeful; She’s pregnant. As she and I embark on the journey of parenthood, we are mindful of the weighty responsibility and glorious entrustment that we’ve been given with this child. It’s something indescribable, it’s a feeling you can only feel when it actually happens to you.

As we start out we do all the usual things people do when expecting. Go to the doctor, talk with insurance companies, head to Babys -R-Us and gawk at the ocean of all things cute and adorable available for these little miracles. Once the euphoria of expecting subsides a bit you realize the status of those around you also expecting. You realize that parenting, family, and new life isn’t what it used to be.

Every doctor office we go into, greets us with surprised people to so elated find a married couple having a child. The insurance office first refers to me as “the boyfriend” until she looks down at my left hand and realizes we are married. The lady at CPC certifying our pregnancy is elated with joy that we are having the child within wedlock. No one assumes that we are married, they first assume we are coping with unfortunate but potentially exciting circumstances.

And why wouldn’t they? It makes sense. We live in such a sexually driven society, where the two most popular stores  among teens and young adults have just hired Porn Stars to model their clothing naked in XXX poses. (would post links but even the news articles were too racy for me to even read) American Apparel selling their tubes socks on a model completely naked in a position I had to repent from even seeing on the Billboard. Music, movies, TV shows, even Time magazine is talking about how shocking the sexuality of our culture is growing at such a rapid pace that monogamy is rare, and orgies are in vogue. It makes sense that the majority of pregnancies are found to be out of wedlock, and usually deemed “accidents”. It makes sense.

But is this shift the product of an ideological change? A sort of philosophical revolution bent on deconstructing the moral absolute of a previously Christian influenced culture? I submit that while the ideology is changing, it’s changing to cope with something greater; the absence of an active God.

It was René Descartes who started the ball roll’n in the 1600’s with: “I think, therefore I am”. Officially moving the culture from collective thinking to subjective thinking. Which has had many positive but also many negative effects. Fuerbach come along and said- yes you think, but so much so that God exists because of it, with his famous statement: “We made God”. Saying that sure God exists if you think he does, in other words he is a figment of ones imagination. Others then like Nietzsche and Freud applied these principles differently over time feeding into the birth of a new nation; The United States of America, declaring that all men are meant to be free to live, worship, think, act, and love however they please. This coupled Jean Jacques Rousseau’s theory that if you ‘love your self, and accept yourself for who you are, you are then therefore a good person’. Then leading us to modern day Abraham Maslow stating “your greatest need is self actualization”.

Humanity has found a way to rationalize away the existence and activity of a living God. Once you do this there is only one conclusion: “Do as thou wilt”.

If there is no governing objective moral truth, than the only other way to go is the way of moral relativism.

Sex has become the greatest stage to watch our society crumble into a moral relativistic ideal that is killing the human race. Why? because people deny, run from, and refuse to accept the ONE truth that has the ability to and desires to save them: The living and active God.

Because we (humanity)  have exalted individual rights and thoughts above that of the only sovereign and wise God we are reaping the wages of that sin. Let’s look at how “profitable” Sexual sin is to our world:

  • We have an entire continent (Africa) literally dying because of Aids. While Asia and South America closely following.
  • We have millions upon millions of children world wide being enslaved for the purpose of sex literally selling.
  • We have millions of people in this nation dependent on the government for money because they were born into situation where their parents chose themselves over there children.
  • We have television movies and video games that regularly promoting families that are so screwed up by sexual immorality that they require more attention than Abraham Maslow could’ve ever offered. Yet families pattern themselves after and end up like those being promoted.
  • We have a porn industry and escort (prostitution) industry making more money than this present economy, yet the life expectancy of a “porn star” or “escort” is about 40. Because of the lifestyle of Drugs required to cope with the pain of hundreds and thousands of sex partners. Many commit suicide.
  • We have 50 million human lives that never saw the light of day because they were killed by people who thought they might be to inconvenient to their lifestyle or situation.

We have a crisis in the land. Yet those turning from God scoff at God’s reality, and those accepting God generally only scoff at them. In this current state of crisis Christians have wasted so much time doing only as I have done above: pointing out the problem. Few have spent their energy promoting the solution. Therefore I digress:

THERE IS HOPE FOR YOU! THERE IS GOOD NEWS!- If only these were the calls the church was making in our society. If only we were the kind of believers that stood up amidst the dross of human sin and declared triumphantly, “God is Not Dead! Jesus lives! He is active! and He is coming to back to make the wrong things right! Turn from your sin, accept Him and he will give you freedom to overcome sin and shame! He will grant you strength to endure the trails of life because HE LOVES YOU, and desire that you be free, so that you can love Him and know His glory, So that when he splits the sky and returns to the Earth you can join with the redeemed and rejoice and not shrink back in Shame.

If only to the gays and the lesbians in San Fransisco we presented the solution instead of damnimg them over and over with the problem. Homosexuallity is a sin, instead of being “taddle tails” for Jesus, what if there was a church that had the boldness, and the compassion to say: “There is a way out of your shame!! There is a way that you can be free!”

If only there was a Faithful witness declaring to this nation: Jesus is God, he died for your sin, and we have a great hope in this, that He is returning to the Earth to make every wrong thing right, if you choose him there it is a blessed hope! If you deny him it will be terrible.

This post took a direction I hadn’t planned, but one I like. If we as believers did less bickering over theological disagreements and positioning our ministries to be the next big things, or new cool church model. And instead did more linking arms, rallying behind the absolute truths of the Bible that have given us life; maybe we would see the revival we long for.

Oh Lord, give us wisdom, and strength to be faithful witnesses of the gospel of your kingdom.