November 21, 2009
Then, beginning at 11:00 AM eastern time, we've got the first of nine live services that are posted individually throughout the day. We encourage you to pick one that fits the style you are most comfortable with and enter in! We will be participating in the Believers Covenant Fellowship service at 11:00--we hope you can join us in person if you're in the northern Virginia area, or online via our live video stream and chat room.
Psalm 109:26, 30 Help me, O LORD my God. . . . With my mouth I will give thanks abundantly to the LORD.
Nancy was a college student with an inability to express the anger and resentment she felt. "My roommate gets to the point sometimes where she just explodes emotionally to let off steam. I have deep feelings too, but I'm not sure that a Christian is supposed to let off steam."
I opened my Bible to Psalm 109:1-13 and read David's angry words against an enemy. "What's that doing in the Bible?" Nancy gasped. "How could David pray all those evil things about his enemy? That's pure hatred."
"David's words didn't surprise God," I answered. "God already knew what he was thinking and feeling. David was simply expressing his pain and anger honestly to his God."
I encouraged Nancy that when she is able to dump her hurt and hatred before God she probably won't dump it on her roommate in a destructive way. I also reminded her that David was as honest about his need for God as he was about expressing his feelings. He closed the psalm by praying: "Help me, O LORD my God. . . . With my mouth I will give thanks abundantly to the LORD" (verses 26, 30).
I think the way David acknowledged his feelings is healthy. If you come to your prayer time feeling angry, depressed or frustrated, and then mouth a bunch of pious platitudes as if God doesn't know how you feel, do you think He is pleased? Not unless He's changed His opinion about hypocrisy. In God's eyes, if you're not real, you're not right.
Acknowledging your emotions also involves being real in front of a few trusted friends. During his travels, Paul had Barnabas, Silas or Timothy to lean on. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus expressed His grief to His inner circle of Peter, James and John. If you have two or three people like this in your life, you are truly blessed.
Thank You, Lord, that I can be real and honest with You. Help me develop a few trusted friends who will also welcome my emotional honesty.
November 20, 2009
From the International Transgender Day of Rememberance web site. Click on the link for more information.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester’s murder — like most anti-transgender murder cases — has yet to be solved.
Although not every person represented during the Day of Remembrance self-identified as transgender — that is, as a transsexual, crossdresser, or otherwise gender-variant — each was a victim of violence based on bias against transgender people.
We live in times more sensitive than ever to hatred based violence, especially since the events of September 11th. Yet even now, the deaths of those based on anti-transgender hatred or prejudice are largely ignored. Over the last decade, more than one person per month has died due to transgender-based hate or prejudice, regardless of any other factors in their lives. This trend shows no sign of abating.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, an action that current media doesn’t perform. Day of Remembrance publicly mourns and honors the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten. Through the vigil, we express love and respect for our people in the face of national indifference and hatred. Day of Remembrance reminds non-transgender people that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers. Day of Remembrance gives our allies a chance to step forward with us and stand in vigil, memorializing those of us who’ve died by anti-transgender violence.
James 1:19, 20 Let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.
Another unhealthy way to respond to emotions is to thoughtlessly let it all hang out, to tell anybody and everybody exactly how you feel. The apostle Peter is a great example of indiscriminate expression. Peter was the John Wayne of the New Testament--a real door slammer. He had no problem telling anyone what was on his mind or how he felt. I like to refer to him as the one-legged apostle because he always had one foot in his mouth.
Peter's impulsive nature got him into trouble more than once. In one setting, he was the spokesperson for God, and Jesus said to him, "Blessed are you Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 16:17). Then moments later he spoke for Satan, and Jesus had to rebuke him: "Get behind me, Satan!" (verses 22, 23).
It was Peter who missed the point on the Mount of Transfiguration by suggesting that they build three tabernacles to honor Moses, Elijah and the Master. It was Peter who impulsively whacked off the ear of Caiaphas' servant during Jesus' arrest in Gethsemane. And it was Peter who promised to follow Jesus anywhere, even to the death, then swearing only hours later that he never knew Him. The fact that Peter became a leader in the New Testament church is evidence of the powerful transformation effected by the Holy Spirit.
Indiscriminate expression of emotions may be somewhat healthy for you, but it may be unhealthy for others. "There, I'm glad I got that off my chest," you may say after an outburst. But in the process you just destroyed your wife, husband, or children. Paul admonished: "Be angry, and yet do not sin" (Ephesians 4:26). If you wish to be angry and not sin, then be angry the way Christ was: Be angry at sin. He turned over the tables, not the money changers.
Heavenly Father, teach me to express myself in a gracious way so I don't hurt others as I seek emotional release.
November 19, 2009
Psalm 32:3 NIV When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
Suppression of emotions is a conscious denial of feelings (repression is an un conscious denial). Those who suppress their emotions ignore their feelings and choose not to deal with them. Suppression is an unhealthy response to your emotions.
King David had something to say about the negative impact of suppressing his feelings in his relationship with God: "When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. . . . Let everyone who is godly pray to You while You may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him" (Psalm 32:3, 6 NIV ). David is not saying that God takes Himself out of our reach. When extraneous circumstances loom larger to you than God, it will not take long for your emotions to overcome you. When suppressed emotions build up within you like "mighty waters," you won't turn to God. Your emotions will be in control. It's important to open up to God while you can, because if you bottle up your feelings too long, it will disrupt the harmony of your relationship with Him.
David also commented on the impact of suppression on relationships with people: "I said, 'I will guard my ways, that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle, while the wicked are in my presence.' I was dumb and silent, I refrained every from good; and my sorrow grew worse" (Psalm 39:1, 2).
Don't cover over your emotions. Suppression isn't good for you, for others, or for your relationship with God. God knows the thoughts and intentions of our hearts, and others can sense that something is wrong, because more is communicated nonverbally than verbally. When the verbal doesn't match the nonverbal, people believe the nonverbal. If we don't accurately express what we believe, people will believe our nonverbal messages about what we believe. Don't leave room for guesswork. Instead, "Speak truth, each one of you, with his neighbor, for we are members of one another" (Ephesians 4:25).
Lord, I want to live in honest agreement with You and others. Give me the grace to speak the truth in love.
November 18, 2009
Supporters of online churches have a common response to their skeptics: Try before you criticize. The virtual experience goes far beyond using live chat rooms to exchange emoticons instead of hugs and handshakes, they say.
Links allow congregants to "raise their hand" and publicly commit to Christ, while prayer requests and one-on-one guidance are a click way. Sermon notes can be shared and discussed. And many online churches are aided by volunteers, allowing them to hold services several times each day.
The Internet campus of the Flamingo Road Church in Cooper City, Florida, pulls in more than 2,000 congregants from around the world during its Sunday services. Pastor Doug Gramling said his three children are part of the Internet generation that will eventually decide the future of worship. They use Web tools to stay in constant connection with friends over vast distances, which Gramling says "gives me confidence that it can happen in online church."
But the disconnect from physical closeness is what Hyatt said he's "fighting hardest against." His own church offers online extensions such as podcasts and forums. But he believes "the computer
screen is a supplement, not a replacement."
That last statement is how we have approached the presentation of worship services here at Straight, Not Narrow. Although Jim sees this site moving more toward being a form of online church (Brenda doesn't), we strongly agree that anything we offer here is not a complete replacement for being an on-site participant in a live worship experience. We believe that the offerings here are best used for encouragement between church services, or as a closest-to-the-real-thing you might have if there is no affirming congregation near you.
We believe there is a lot of value in that, and we have seen that from the other side as our church, Believers Covenant Fellowship, is seeing significant growth in it's live broadcasting. So far, that is not keeping members away who are content to watch from home--it is broadening the reach of our ministry, involving people who don't have another place to call their church home. It is also helping us stay connected to sister churches on the West Coast by having the opportunity to participate online in each others' services.
We believe that people and churches who ignore the technology and the availability of some wonderful worship resources on the Internet are the ones who are losing. In effect, we think they are limiting God, saying He can't use cyberspace to bless and reach people.
Of course, when we do that, we're not really limiting God, just the blessings we are open to receiving from Him.
The Mid-Missouri Center Project strives to encourage respect, safety, inclusion, and compassion among people of all sexual orientations and/or identities. We exists to foster greater understanding, visibility, support, and appreciation of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and ally community in mid- Missouri. The Center Project promotes unity by providing educational outreach, community activities, a resource center, and a variety of support services.
Click here to find out more.
The Washington Blade could have been saved, but an apparently viable offer was turned down by the corporate owner, Windows Media. More on that at The Bilerico Project. Google News has gathered reports about how the staff is working to revive the nation's oldest gay newspaper.
"Mr. Gay UK" is a policeman. Read about him at PageOneQ.
Bob Turtle Bulletin tells us about "a collection of the nation’s most obnoxious anti-gay activists" that gathered in Washington DC recently.
The DC City Council again turned back an attempt to put the issue of same-sex marriage on the ballot. Google News has the story.
Proverbs 4:23 Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.
I played sports as a young man and I have the scars on my knees to prove it. The incision of my first knee surgery cut across a nerve and I had no feeling around that area of my leg for several months. Sometimes I would sit down to watch TV and, without thinking, rest a cup of hot coffee on my numb knee. I couldn't feel anything, but before long I could sure smell something: my skin burning! For awhile I had a neat little brown ring on the top of my knee.
Your emotions are to your soul what your physical feelings are to your body. Nobody in their right mind enjoys pain. But if you didn't feel pain, you would be in danger of serious injury and infection. And if you didn't feel anger, sorrow, joy, etc. your soul would be in trouble. Emotions are God's indicators to let you know what is going on inside. They are neither good nor bad; they're amoral, just part of your humanity. Just like you respond to the warnings of physical pain, so you need to learn to respond to your emotional indicators.
Someone has likened emotions to the red light on the dashboard of a car which indicates an engine problem. There are several ways you can respond to the red light's warning. You can cover it with a piece of duct tape, "I can't see the light now," you say, "so I don't have to think about the problem." You can smash out the light with a hammer. "That'll teach you for glaring in my face!" Or you can respond to the light as the manufacturers intended for you to respond by looking under the hood and fixing the problem.
You have the same three options in responding to your emotions. You can respond by covering over them, ignoring them, stifling them. That's called suppression . You can respond by thoughtlessly lashing out, giving someone a piece of your mind, flying off at the handle. I call that indiscriminate expression . Or you can peer inside to see what's going on. That's called acknowledgment.
For the next few days, we will explore these responses and see why the first two are inappropriate.
Lord, thank You for my emotions. Give me the courage to be emotionally honest and the grace to face the truth.
November 17, 2009
Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Colossians 3.17)
The Bible frequently tells us to do, pray, or speak “in the name of…” Sometimes it’s simply “in Jesus’s name.” Other times it’s more general: “in the name of the Lord.” And still other scriptures spell out the entire Godhead: “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” We end our prayers in this fashion, just as we baptize, bless, and bury believers in Christ’s name. Indeed, many Christians start and end their lives in some form of Jesus’s name. Whether spoken audibly or in gesture via the sign of the cross, the name of Jesus is such a fixture in our worship and devotion it very easily can become a commonplace of life—a thing we do reflexively without consideration of what it means. This is by and large a result of modern indifference to names. Today, a person’s name is just a moniker; position in life signifies importance. And when anyone speaks or acts on another’s behalf, we evaluate his/her position as well. If the person isn’t legitimately connected to the other personally, professionally, or legally, his/her authority to represent the third party is dismissed.
In Biblical times, however, names were extremely important. A person who acted or spoke in another’s name without prior consent faced great peril. In contrast, the words and deeds of anyone legitimately authorized to do so were taken as those of the individual he/she represented. With this in mind, it’s good to remind ourselves that when we do anything in Jesus’s name, we act as His surrogate. In effect, we’re executing His power of attorney. Thus, when we pray in the name of Jesus, we’re actually praying as Him on our behalf. Jesus deeds us this right in John 14.13: “And I will do whatever your ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.” Furthermore, as we discover in Colossians 3.17, our authority to speak and act in His name extends beyond prayer. It covers everything we do.
Click here to read the rest of this teaching.
There are several ways in which the Food Bank works to meet this need. Primarily we partner with approximately 235 non profit agencies to distribute this much needed food. Through these soup kitchens, pantries, senior centers, churches, and other hunger relief organizations, individuals and families have access to food that might otherwise be wasted. Through our Mobile Pantry Program, approximately 250 families are given the opportunity to receive food through a direct commodities distribution in their own community. Our Food 2 Kids and Kids Café Programs target the needs of hungry children by providing food on the weekends and evenings when other food is not available. Our Brown Bag Program helps offset food cost for disabled individuals and senior by providing a grocery sack full of food once a month. The Charlie & Jessica Ostick “Stock the Pantry” Program is a partnership with Habitat for Humanity in which new home owners are given access to the Food Bank and are encouraged to stock the shelves of the pantry of their new home.
For every dollar we receive we are able to rescue $14 worth of food which might otherwise been wasted. Or in other words, we are able to distribute 4 meals into norhtest Georgia. On behalf of the over 81,000 Northeast Georgians who need help, but are unable to give personal thanks, thank you so much for participating in this outreach.
Click here to find out more.
"Look unto Me, and be ye saved." Isaiah 45:22
Do we expect God to come to us with His blessings and save us? He says - Look unto Me, and be saved. The great difficulty spiritually is to concentrate on God, and it is His blessings that make it difficult. Troubles nearly always make us look to God; His blessings are apt to make us look elsewhere. The teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is, in effect - Narrow all your interests until the attitude of mind and heart and body is concentration on Jesus Christ. "Look unto Me."
Many of us have a mental conception of what a Christian should be, and the lives of the saints become a hindrance to our concentration on God. There is no salvation in this way, it is not simple enough. "Look unto Me" and - not "you will be saved," but "you are saved." The very thing we look for, we shall find if we will concentrate on Him. We get preoccupied and sulky with God, while all the time He is saying - "Look up and be saved." The difficulties and trials - the casting about in our minds as to what we shall do this summer, or to-morrow, all vanish when we look to God.
Rouse yourself up and look to God. Build your hope on Him. No matter if there are a hundred and one things that press, resolutely exclude them all and look to Him. "Look unto Me," and salvation is, the moment you look.
November 16, 2009
The first gay marriage license has been issued in Buenos Aires. Pink News reports on that story.
PageOneQ reports on the closing of two of the most popular LGBT newspapers, Southern Voice in Atlanta and the Washington Blade.
Ex-Gay Watch reports on Exodus International belatedly sending an open letter to the Ugandan goverement opposing the Anti-Homosexuality Bill currently being considered.
A new study concludes that lesbians are better at raising children than conventional parents. Google news has reports on that story.
All new stories are being reported by the sites on our blog list and/or Google's LGBT Newsreel. Feel free to check there for updates throughout the day.
II Corinthians 3:18
Greetings BCF Family & Friends!
Wonderful! marvelous! GOD LOVES US SOOOOO MUCH and has done an amazing thing in our lives! Yesterday's service at BCF was just as awesome and powerful as the renewal weekend services! We were all basking in the GLORY of His presence and realized that God has truly released a new passion and FIRE into our being! Everyone is blessed and excited and ready to do His Will for their lives and the Church!
The worship portion of our service was just wonderful, and you can go join in with us on our ustream, through the www.BCFChurch.us website. I encourage you to do so, and press in!! You WILL be filled!!
The Holy Spirit led me to speak on "Seeking the Face of God" and pursuing Jesus. I shared some insight into the Aaronic Blessing "The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make His FACE to shine upon you and be gracious unto you, and give you peace." Numbers 6:22-26 In this text, the Lord Himself TOLD Aaron and his sons what they were to SAY over the people of God- and in that saying, was SOOOOOO MUCH BLESSING you have to study it to get all that God gives us in it. You know, it seems that so often anymore, we quickly brush over things that God has told us without really getting the complete revelation and benefit from it. Too many things have become religious rituals and traditions that we gloss over and MISS what God has given us! The benefit of having the FACE OF GOD shining upon us, so that we may gaze into His Face- is that as we look upon His Face, the FULLNESS of His glory and goodness, His character and attributes are transferred, imparted unto US! You remember the phrase, 'you are what you eat'....well in this case- YOU ARE WHAT YOU LOOK UPON!! If we will gaze intently into the Lord's Face- we will become more and more like Him!
And the most awesome TRUTH is: Because of the Blood of Jesus, we have been given FULL ACCESS to God's Face! On the contrary, if all we ever look upon is the world, the television, worldly books and publications- we will begin to look like THEM! I am confident that every one of US want to look, act, BE like Jesus! Right?!! So let's be determined and continue to make every effort to continually look into His Face, to look upon Him in worship, His Word, prayer and soaking, and remember that we ARE BEING transformed into more and more of His image- from Glory toooo GLORY!!!
Thanks to everyone who has emailed, called, or Facebooked their testimonies and comments about the Fall Outpouring. We at BCF are humbly grateful for your love and accolades, but we give ALL of the praise to the Lord Jesus. We are looking forward to continuing to build the bonds of love and UNITY in the Church across the globe- and there are sooo many things coming for us in 2010- I can hardly wait to get there! Please continue to pray for us all, especially standing against little attacks of the enemy that try to create strife and upset, division, withdrawal from each other- and physical attacks against our health. Several folks have been ill since the renewal weekend. Please PRAY for Pastor Linda Harris and Janice Lacount. Pastor Linda is still in the hospital in Tennessee. She is doing better, but we must continue to intercede for them. Also, Garrey is somewhat better from his back injury, and is going to an orthopedic doctor today. He is still in a lot of pain, though, and unable to work.
I love you, WE LOVE YOU, and even better than all of that GOD LOVES YOU!!! Have a fantastic week, keep your eyes on the Lord Jesus and not your circumstances. BE THANKFUL and do everything you can to maintain the unity of the faith and peace with one another- so that God can be glorified through our lives!
"Now the Lord BLESS YOU and KEEP YOU, the Lord make His FACE to shine upon you and be gracious unto you, and give you His SHALOM- perfect balance, harmony, rest, all that you need for life and Godliness, Divine Health, with nothing missing and nothing broken in your life or ministry!"
In Jesus' MIGHTY name,
The Bloomington Beacon Center will provide a safe, welcoming and positive space for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning (GLBTQ) people, their families and allies.
The center will strive to: build networks of support; deliver services; and provide educational, recreational, economic, cultural and volunteer opportunities, regardless of race, class, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age or religion.
Click here to find out more.
Gay Agenda reports that Anti-Gays fear a takeover of Houston, TX if the out lesbian candiate for mayor Annise Parker wins the runoff.
The Bilerico Project, 365 Gay News, and the Washington Blade have more on the Catholic Church's threat to pull their social services if the Washington DC city council passes the same-sex marriage bill currently under consideration.
One of President Obama's advisors has split with him on the issue of same-sex marriage. PageOne Q has details.
PinkNews reports that voters in India are allowed a "third gender" option.
Google News shares reports of a conference for LGBT activists in Greensboro, NC.
The Mormon Church supporting anti-discrimination laws in Salt Lake City that would cover the LGBT community? Google News has reports showing it's absolutely true and analysis of why the church made that stunning move.
All new stories are being reported by the sites on our blog list and/or Google's LGBT Newsreel. Feel free to check there for updates throughout the day.
"Lord, I will follow Thee; but . . ." Luke 9:61
Supposing God tells you to do something which is an enormous test to your common sense, what are you going to do? Hang back? If you get into the habit of doing a thing in the physical domain, you will do it every time until you break the habit determinedly; and the same is true spiritually. Again and again you will get up to what Jesus Christ wants, and every time you will turn back when it comes to the point, until you abandon resolutely. "Yes, but - supposing I do obey God in this matter, what about . . . ?" "Yes, I will obey God if He will let me use my common sense, but don't ask me to take a step in the dark." Jesus Christ demands of the man who trusts Him the same reckless sporting spirit that the natural man exhibits. If a man is going to do anything worth while, there are times when he has to risk everything on his leap, and in the spiritual domain Jesus Christ demands that you risk everything you hold by common sense and leap into what He says, and immediately you do, you find that what He says fits on as solidly as common sense. At the bar of common sense Jesus Christ's statements may seem mad; but bring them to the bar of faith, and you begin to find with awestruck spirit that they are the words of God. Trust entirely in God, and when He brings you to the venture, see that you take it. We act like pagans in a crisis, only one out of a crowd is daring enough to bank his faith in the character of God.
November 15, 2009
Don't forget to click on the tab on the upper right of this blog and leave your prayer requests in the comment section so we can petition the Lord for your needs.
If you know of a service we should add to our list, please send an e-mail and share it with us.
Live Sunday Services (all times Eastern)
FL-Potters House International Fellowship, Tampa, 11:00 AM
VA-Believers Covenant Fellowship, Vienna, 11:00 AM
AL-Covenant Community Church, Birmingham, 12:00 AM
NC-Church of the Holy Spirit Fellowship, Winston-Salem, 12:00 PM
FL-Oasis Fellowship Ministries, Casselberry, 12:00 PM
OK-Diversity Christian Fellowship International, Tulsa, 1:00 PM
CA-Glory Tabernacle Christian Center, Long Beach, 1:00 PM
WA-Living Water Fellowship, Kenmore, 1:30 PM
Canada-Rainbow Community Church, Vancouver 9:00 PM
Canada, Vancouver-Christ Alive Community Church, 10:15 PM
FL-Beacon of Hope Ministries, Dunedin (Living the Good Life radio program) 4:30 PM
AL-Covenant Community Church, Birmingham
CA-Glory Tabernacle Christian Center, Long Beach
FL-Church of the Holy SpiritSong, Ft. Lauderdale
FL-Oasis Fellowship Ministries, Casselberry
FL-New Hope Christian Center, Pensacola
FL-Potters House International Fellowship, Tampa
GA-Gentle Spirit Christian Church, Atlanta
GA-New Covenant Church of Atlanta
NC-Church of the Holy Spirit Fellowship, Winston-Salem
OK-Expressions Community Fellowship, Oklahoma City
OK-Diversity Christian Fellowship International, Tulsa
TX-The One Church, Garland
WA-Living Water Fellowship, Kenmore
Canada-Rainbow Community Church, Vancouver
AZ-Community Church of Hope, Phoenix
AK-Open Door Community Church, Sherwood
CA-Christ Chapel of Long Beach
CA-Christ Chapel of the Valley, North Hollywood
FL-Beacon of Hope Ministries, Dunedin (Living the Good Life radio program)
FL-Body of Christ Church of God, Largo
FL-New Hope Christian Center, Pensecola
GA-New Covenant Church of Atlanta
KY-Covenant Community Church, Louisville
MD-Kittamaqundi Community, Columbia
OH-Emmanuel Fellowship Church, Akron
OH-All Saints Community Church, Cortland
TN-Covenant of the Cross, Madison
TX-New Hope Fellowship Church, Dallas
TX-White Rock Community Church, Dallas
TX-Community Gospel Church, Houston
TX-Through Him Fellowship, Houston
UT-Glory to God Christian Church, Ogden
South Africa-Deo Gloria Family Church
Can we pray for you? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org