November 14, 2009

In Our Own Words 11/14/09-More Worship!

One of the things the Lord led us to during the Fall Renewal at our church last weekend was that we needed to focus more on posting worship at Straight, Not Narrow. You will see the next step toward that tomorrow, when we will have nothing but posts with live church services following our traditional Sunday Worship aggregate post at 6:00 AM.

At this time, we have nine independent affirming churches that broadcast live video streams over the Internet. The first two start at 11:00 AM est, while the last one begins at 9:00 PM est with several others falling in-between. These nine churches encompass several different styles so we be believe we are offering a variety of worship experiences hoping you will find at least one to bless you.

We want to remind you that we do not post these an a substitute for attending church and participating worship, but we do believe that for those unable or just not ready at this time to visit a church that we are offering a valuable alternative.

We are also going to experiment with how we present our LGBT news stories. We'll be presenting a daily digest from the sites that feed into our news aggregator on the right hand side of our home page starting Monday morning. We hope you like it.

We appreciate your feedback on these and future changes, be it positive or negative. We seek to present information in the most interesting and useful manner for our regular readers and so that it might attract new ones.

Thanks and God bless,

Jim and Brenda

Encouraging Words 11/14/09-Cardboard Testimonies

If you were standing by the side of the road holding a sign, what would you want it to say about you? That's the topic of this video from the Glory Tabernacle Christian Center in Long Beach, CA. Watch and be blessed as people show what God has done in their lives.

Encouraging Music 11/14/09 "I Can't Complain" by Janice Lacount

Matthew 25 Resource 11/14/09-Danville House of Hope (VA)

Danville House of Hope proudly welcomes your friendship and support for the "House of Hope" homeless shelter. The facility serves homeless people from any gender, race, young or old in the City of Danville, Pittsylvania County, and Martinsville.

Located in the heart of Southside Virginia, the House of Hope demonstrates kindness and goodwill to our area homeless people. We provide safe overnight stay, hot meals, and a variety of support services. Professional counseling is available.

Concerned citizens from around the region are lending their special skills and resources towards a better solution for Danville’s homeless population. We thank all members and volunteers for your continued support. If you would like to donate or volunteer, contact Steve Anderson, Director - House of Hope.

Click here to find out more.

Are Clergy's Rights Being Violated By Prohibiting Same-Sex Marriage?

That's the question a "PFLAG dad" named Ron Goetz is asking. He is proposing a lawsuit based on that premise. Here is the story posted on Cross Left:

Turning the Tables on the Bigots
Here is an interesting approach. Ronald Goetz, a "Proud PFLAG Dad" is proposing a lawsuit on behalf of clergy and churches whose rights are being violated because they cannot perform marriages for same-gender couples. This is a turn the tables approach on those Christians who argue that marriage equality somehow violates their freedom of religion. What do you think? Mr. Goetz is looking for advice and input.

"Proposed Class-Action Lawsuit on Behalf of Churches and Ordained Clergy Because of the Violation of their First Amendment Right to Free Exercise of Religion"

There are many denominations that are on record as supporting Marriage Equality and want to marry same-sex couples as a matter of religious faith.

There are thousands of Open and Affirming congregations nationwide that support Marriage Equality and want to marry same-sex couples as a matter of religious faith.

There are additional thousands of ordained clergy who want to marry same-sex couples because of their religious faith.

The first amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Congress includes state and local jurisdictions, which cannot violate your civil rights either.

Thousands of churches and ordained clergy are being denied the free exercise of their religion in violation of their first amendment right.

I urge that this violation of the constitution be resisted through a class-action lawsuit, or some other appropriate vehicle. We are also guaranteed the right to petition the government for redress of grievances.

I would like responsible parties (clergy, denominational officials, attorneys) and enthusiastic supporters to contact me. I need input, encouragement, and pro bono advice.

Please contact me at [at] hotmail [dot] com and let me know what you think. Thanks!

And please forward this to anyone you think might be interested.

Ronald Goetz
Proud PFLAG Dad

(Above courtesy of Rev. John Shuck of

We are very skeptical that this is a viable approach but nonetheless applaud Mr. Goetz for thinking outside the box. What do you think?

Daily Devotional 11/14/09 The Passion of Patience

From: My Utmost for His Highest

"Though it tarry, wait for it." Habakkuk 2:3

Patience is not indifference; patience conveys the idea of an immensely strong rock withstanding all onslaughts. The vision of God is the source of patience, because it imparts a moral inspiration. Moses endured, not because he had an ideal of right and duty, but because he had a vision of God. He "endured, as seeing Him Who is invisible." A man with the vision of God is not devoted to a cause or to any particular issue; he is devoted to God Himself. You always know when the vision is of God because of the inspiration that comes with it; things come with largeness and tonic to the life because everything is energized by God. If God gives you a time spiritually, as He gave His Son actually, of temptation in the wilderness, with no word from Himself at all, endure, and the power to endure is there because you see God.
"Though it tarry, wait for it." The proof that we have the vision is that we are reaching out for more than we have grasped. It is a bad thing to be satisfied spiritually. "What shall I render unto the Lord?" said the Psalmist. "I will take the cup of salvation." We are apt to look for satisfaction in ourselves - "Now I have got the thing; now I am entirely sanctified; now I can endure." Instantly we are on the road to ruin. Our reach must exceed our grasp. "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect." If we have only what we have experienced, we have nothing; if we have the inspiration of the vision of God, we have more than we can experience. Beware of the danger of relaxation spiritually.

November 13, 2009

Encouraging Words 11/13/09-Clarity on the Term "Abomination"

Pastor Charles Curtiss, Pastor of The ONE Church in Dallas, TX, has put together what he calls a "video tract" where he clarifies exactly what the term "abomination" really means and why it doesn't apply to homosexuals.

"Straight Talk" About Homosexuality - ABOMINATION?

Pastor Charles | MySpace Video

Encouraging Music 11/13/09 "Rain Medley"


SNN Recommends 11/13/09 (Just For Fun)-I Can Has Cheezburger?

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funny pictures of dogs with captions
see more dog and puppy pictures

Catholic Church Gives Washington D. C. An Ultimatum on Same-Sex Marriage

From the Washington Post:

The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said Wednesday that it will be unable to continue the social service programs it runs for the District if the city doesn't change a proposed same-sex marriage law, a threat that could affect tens of thousands of people the church helps with adoption, homelessness and health care.

Under the bill, headed for a D.C. Council vote next month, religious organizations would not be required to perform or make space available for same-sex weddings. But they would have to obey city laws prohibiting discrimination against gay men and lesbians.

Fearful that they could be forced, among other things, to extend employee benefits to same-sex married couples, church officials said they would have no choice but to abandon their contracts with the city.

"If the city requires this, we can't do it," Susan Gibbs, spokeswoman for the archdiocese, said Wednesday. "The city is saying in order to provide social services, you need to be secular. For us, that's really a problem."

Several D.C. Council members said the Catholic Church is trying to erode the city's long-standing laws protecting gay men and lesbians from discrimination.

The clash escalates the dispute over the same-sex marriage proposal between the council and the archdiocese, which has generally stayed out of city politics.

Catholic Charities, the church's social services arm, is one of dozens of nonprofit organizations that partner with the District. It serves 68,000 people in the city, including the one-third of Washington's homeless people who go to city-owned shelters managed by the church. City leaders said the church is not the dominant provider of any particular social service, but the church pointed out that it supplements funding for city programs with $10 million from its own coffers.

"All of those services will be adversely impacted if the exemption language remains so narrow," Jane G. Belford, chancellor of the Washington Archdiocese, wrote to the council this week.

The church's influence seems limited. In separate interviews Wednesday, council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) referred to the church as "somewhat childish." Another council member, David A. Catania (I-At Large), said he would rather end the city's relationship with the church than give in to its demands.

"They don't represent, in my mind, an indispensable component of our social services infrastructure," said Catania, the sponsor of the same-sex marriage bill and the chairman of the Health Committee.

The standoff appears to be among the harshest between a government and a faith-based group over the rights of same-sex couples. Advocates for same-sex couples said they could not immediately think of other places where a same-sex marriage law had set off a break with a major faith-based provider of social services.

So remind me again why public funding is given to religious organizations? Here's a painful example of why that is a bad idea.

Click here to read the rest of the article from the Post.

Daily Devotional 11/13/09 Friendship With God

From: My Utmost for His Highest

"Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?" Genesis 18:17

Its Delights. This chapter brings out the delight of real friendship with God as compared with occasional feelings of His presence in prayer. To be so much in contact with God that you never need to ask Him to show you His will, is to be nearing the final stage of your discipline in the life of faith. When you are rightly related to God, it is a life of freedom and liberty and delight, you are God's will, and all your common-sense decisions are His will for you unless He checks. You decide things in perfect delightful friendship with God, knowing that if your decisions are wrong He will always check; when He checks, stop at once.
Its Difficulties. Why did Abraham stop praying when he did? He was not intimate enough yet to go boldly on until God granted his desire, there was something yet to be desired in his relationship to God. Whenever we stop short in prayer and say - "Well, I don't know; perhaps it is not God's will," there is still another stage to go. We are not so intimately acquainted with God as Jesus was, and as He wants us to be - "That they may be one even as we are one." Think of the last thing you prayed about - were you devoted to your desire or to God? Determined to get some gift of the Spirit or to get at God? "Your Heavenly Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask Him." The point of asking is that you may get to know God better. "Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart." Keep praying in order to get a perfect understanding of God Himself.

November 12, 2009

Encouraging Words 11/12/09-Strong at the Broken Places

Lori Heine writes for

The hand of the LORD came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me all around them; and they were very dry. He said to me, "Mortal, can these bones live?"
(Ezekiel 37:1-3)

We are living in hard times. It seems the very atmosphere in which we live has been poisoned. We breathe air polluted by selfishness and fear, as politicians and pundits pit us against one another in competition for rights we are told are scarce. We feel we must fight for our survival.

These days, we are having a tough time being compassionate. Concern for others is a luxury we are told we can no longer afford. Though if we study our history, we quickly learn that the same people warning us what fools we are to love the marginalized, to work for the liberation of those held captive, have always said the same thing.

During the Great Depression, they chided us for sharing what we had. There wasn't enough, they told us, and we were squandering what little we had on slackers and ingrates. Those who were down-and-out, those who were persecuted and oppressed, were judged to deserve it. It was easier to forget them that way.

The bones God showed the prophet Ezekiel were unclean - those of a people held in such contempt they'd been slaughtered and left to rot in the desert. Broken and trampled by wild beasts, the names of their owners long forgotten. But God breathed "His" Spirit upon those bones, and as Ezekiel prophesied hope to them, they knit back together. New flesh grew over them, and they came back to life. What other human beings may despoil, abandon and forget, God never gives up on.

Those who hope for progress in any society, those who actively work for it, sometimes risking their lives to bring it about, are almost never the comfortable, prosperous or privileged. They are those who have themselves felt the sting of the lash, wiped the spittle from their faces and endured exile in the desert. They have been abandoned. Their belongings have been looted, and they've been given up for dead. This was true not only in Ezekiel's time, but even today. Both of the pastors at my church are openly gay. Everyone who joins our fast-growing congregation is warmed by their welcome. Steve and Jeffrey have known rejection, and are determined that all who have suffered as they have will find a home inside their doors.

Click here to read the rest of the essay.

Encouraging Music 11/12/09 "Now, Behold the Lamb" by Tamela Mann

SNN Recommends 11/12/09-Baltimore OUTloud

Baltimore OUTloud is a thriving independently-owned Maryland newspaper serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. From the sunny beaches of the Eastern Shore to the exciting nightlife of Baltimore’s Fells Point, Baltimore OUTloud brings it all together in one package. Taking advantage of the strengths of a locally owned independent newspaper and incorporating it with the expanded reach of the World Wide Web, Baltimore OUTloud provides our advertisers and readers with an unbeatable integration of the very latest media technology.

Focused on the lives of Maryland’s lesbian and gay community OUTloud provides in-depth coverage of one of the state’s most highly desirable consumer markets. Our staff of talented writers includes some of the most respected journalists working in the lgbt press today. From local, national and international news, to the latest health care developments, OUTloud is there with the story— for Baltimore and the entire region!

From the latest in music and film to current stage productions, OUTloud’'s art and entertainment section keeps our readers in the know. From opera to theater to sports and fashion, OUTloud is there covering the gamut of lesbian and gay culture.

Often sassy and irreverent, sometimes opinionated, but always current, OUTloud has something for everyone. From news junkies to pub crawlers, OUTloud is the medium that more and more Baltimore readers are turning to.

With a print edition distributed free at over 100 locations throughout Baltimore, Maryland, Southern Pennsylvania, Delaware's Eastern Shore and stretching into Washington, D.C., and available nationally online, Baltimore OUTloud reaches one of the tri-state's most valued, and typically under served, consumer market- the lgbt community. It’s the where-to-go, what-to-do and where-to-shop guide that lesbian and gay people rely on throughout the region. Combining special sections in print and on the Web devoted to dining out, the area's lively theater and arts community, and the vibrant local night life scene, OUTloud is an all-encompassing advertising resource to make sure your message reaches our lgbt target market at the most effective cost available in Baltimore.

Click here to check it out.

First LGBT Presbyterian Minister Ordained in San Francisco

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

The San Francisco Presbytery agreed late Tuesday to ordain the first openly homosexual minister in the denomination.

The vote of 156 for and 138 against the ordination came after hours of contentious debate at the First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley. It is possible that the decision to ordain Lisa Larges, a deacon at Noe Valley Ministry Presbyterian Church, could be appealed.

It's a significant decision in the Presbyterian church, which like many other religious denominations around the country has struggled for years over how to include gays and lesbians in church affairs.

"Change is happening in the churches," Larges said in a statement after the vote. "People are realizing that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have long functioned as contributing members of their faith traditions. It is time to tell the truth - we are all created in God's image."

Larges had been blocked from ordination for more than 15 years. If Tuesday's vote is not appealed, the decision is final and Larges can be formally ordained as a minister.

There are a handful of gay and lesbian ministers in the Presbyterian church, but they only came out after being ordained. Last year, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA voted to overturn a ban on gay and lesbian ministers, but that vote was rejected by a majority of the country's presbyteries, so the ban still stands.

Regional presbyteries, however, may consider individual cases if candidates for ordination submit a formal statement saying they disagree with the church policy. As part of her ordination process, Larges submitted such a statement to the San Francisco Presbytery, which includes 78 churches and 29,000 congregation members in the Bay Area.

Larges' ordination received preliminary approval in January 2008, but that approval was quickly appealed. A church court rejected that appeal on Nov. 4 and Larges was allowed to move forward with the rest of the ordination process, which concluded with Tuesday night's vote.

Observers said Tuesday's vote could have major repercussions throughout the Presbyterian church nationwide, even if Larges' ordination is appealed and ultimately blocked again.

"Church policies and approaches to issues - whether it's around women's ordination or LGBT issues - often how these things change is by pushing the envelope," said the Rev. Jay Johnson, director of academic research at the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley.

"When the envelope gets pushed, these local actions have to be adjudicated in that larger venue," Johnson said. "It's anyone's guess what would happen there."

Daily Devotional 11/12/09 What My Obedience to God Costs Other People

From: My Utmost for His Highest

"They laid hold upon one Simon . . . and on him they laid the cross." Luke 23:26

If we obey God it is going to cost other people more than it costs us, and that is where the sting comes in. If we are in love with our Lord, obedience does not cost us anything, it is a delight, but it costs those who do not love Him a good deal. If we obey God it will mean that other people's plans are upset, and they will gibe us with it - "You call this Christianity?" We can prevent the suffering; but if we are going to obey God, we must not prevent it, we must let the cost be paid.
Our human pride entrenches itself on this point, and we say - I will never accept anything from anyone. We shall have to, or disobey God. We have no right to expect to be in any other relation than our Lord Himself was in (see Luke 8:2-3).
Stagnation in spiritual life comes when we say we will bear the whole thing ourselves. We cannot. We are so involved in the universal purposes of God that immediately we obey God, others are affected. Are we going to remain loyal in our obedience to God and go through the humiliation of refusing to be independent, or are we going to take the other line and say - I will not cost other people suffering? We can disobey God if we choose, and it will bring immediate relief to the situation, but we shall be a grief to our Lord. Whereas if we obey God, He will look after those who have been pressed into the consequences of our obedience. We have simply to obey and to leave all consequences with Him.
Beware of the inclination to dictate to God as to what you will allow to happen if you obey Him.

November 11, 2009

Welcome to Midweek Worship 11/11/09

Encouraging Music 11/11/09 This Is My Father's World by Todd Braschler

LGBT Helping Hands 11/11/09-Wingspan (Tuscon, AZ)

Wingspan is Southern Arizona's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community center. Wingspan is a non-profit, charitable organization that serves Tucson and Southern Arizona. Gifts to Wingspan are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowable by the IRS.
Wingspan's mission is to promote the freedom, equality, safety and well-being of LGBT people.
Wingspan envisions a community in which lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people:

* are treated with dignity and respect.
* live in a community free from violence and abuse.
* live full, healthy, and interconnected lives.
* are free to live openly with pride.
* are celebrated in their full diversity.
* feel part of an organized, supportive, and active LGBT community.
* are empowered to participate fully as active citizens.

Click here to check them out.

LGBT Leaders Launch "Our Families Count" Website

From the official press release:

Many leaders and advocates among America's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community unite today in the launch of Our Families Count ( -- a new voluntary public education initiative promoting LGBT visibility and participation in next year's U.S. Census.

The new 2010 Census education project is a truly collaborative and unique strategy to unite disparate populations across the entire LGBT spectrum. The outreach effort is designed to educate all about the importance of responding to the once-a-decade Census.

Expert demographer and Williams Institute Research Fellow Dr. Gary Gates described why the 2010 Census matters to the LGBT community especially, "Reliable information on LGBT people is hard to come by and the need for accurate knowledge is real. Census statistics guide many key government decisions. For LGBT citizens especially, statewide organizations and local community centers need information for planning services, while advocacy groups need to know more about the LGBT population as they lobby for resources."

Gates also noted that, "Americans have many misconceptions about the LGBT community that Census data have allowed us to correct. For example, among those in same-sex couples: one in six lives in a rural area, one in four is a person of color, one in five is raising children (two in five among people of color). Although the 2010 Census does not include questions on sexual orientation or gender identity, the Census count of same-sex partners and their families provides vital information for and about the LGBT community."

It also is important to emphasize that Census information is never shared with other U.S. government agencies for the purpose of law enforcement or compliance with immigration laws. The Census is used only and confidentially to find out more about all American households and the U.S. population, and is never used to violate any person's privacy. The Our Families Count campaign also takes no position on specific policy issues or questions.

Click here to check out the new website.

Daily Devotional 11/11/09 Intimate With Jesus

From: My Utmost for His Highest

"Have I been so long with you, and yet hast thou not known Me?" John 14:9

These words are not spoken as a rebuke, nor even with surprise; Jesus is leading Philip on. The last One with whom we get intimate is Jesus. Before Pentecost the disciples knew Jesus as the One Who gave them power to conquer demons and to bring about a revival (see Luke 10:18-20). It was a wonderful intimacy, but there was a much closer intimacy to come - "I have called you friends." Friendship is rare on earth. It means identity in thought and heart and spirit. The whole discipline of life is to enable us to enter into this closest relationship with Jesus Christ. We receive His blessings and know His word, but do we know Him?
Jesus said, "It is expedient for you that I go away" - in that relationship, so that He might lead them on. It is a joy to Jesus when a disciple takes time to step more intimately with Him. Fruit bearing is always mentioned as the manifestation of an intimate union with Jesus Christ (John 15:1-4).
When once we get intimate with Jesus we are never lonely, we never need sympathy, we can pour out all the time without being pathetic. The saint who is intimate with Jesus will never leave impressions of himself, but only the impression that Jesus is having unhindered way, because the last abyss of his nature has been satisfied by Jesus. The only impression left by such a life is that of the strong calm sanity that Our Lord gives to those who are intimate with Him.

November 10, 2009

Encouraging Words 11/10/09-BCF Praise Report

"Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; Listen carefully to what I say, The men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on ALL people! Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out My Spirit in those days, and THEY WILL PROPHESY!" Acts 2:14-18

Greetings BCF Family & Friends!

Incredible, WONDROUS, many more adjectives can I use to adequately describe how God showed up and showed OUT at our Fall Outpouring! And let me tell you we had an OUTPOURING!!! Every sermon, every workshop, every prophetic utterance given in worship services built one upon another to a powerful release from Heaven on Sunday!! I can't tell you when was the last time that our worship service ran 4 hours! And it was the most exciting four hours you can possibly imagine! There was a Divine release given into the earth- and we are ALL going forth in a brand new anointing to fulfill God's Call on our lives- to tell everyone that Jesus is the Lord and that He loves them! It's Harvest time!

The sound in worship was so incredible! 90+ voices singing from their hearts to the Lord is one of the most beautiful and sweet sounds imaginable! EVERYONE got what they came for and more- answers to questions, a renewed passion for service and an unquenchable desire for MORE of God! Only GOD can quench our desire- because He IS our Desire!!! Amen?!!

We THANK EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU for your prayers, your love, and to all who attended, both in person and online, we praise God for you and our relationships with each of you. We are HONORED to stand in service to the King with you!

We especially want to thank our speakers and ministers. With this said, I'd like to recognize and acknowledge Rev. Evelyn and Dennis Schave, who are celebrating their 20th year of ministry in the GLBTS communities!!! Erica Sargent wrote them a beautiful anacronym for the words "Bridge Builders" because that is a big part of what they've been doing. They have loved us to wholeness and have supported us even though they themselves were rejected for doing so! Also the ministry of Pastor Debbie George in music and the prophetic, Apostle Susan George, Apostle Dylan Crozier and Brother Vinnie Crozier, Pastor David Thomas, Apostle Jack McConnell, and Apostle Randy Morgan.....MY LORD, WHAT ANOINTINGS God has birthed in the GLBTS Christian Movement!!! We were honored and blessed by each and every one of them- and we THANK GOD for them!! And Kate Singh has taken a ton of wonderful pictures of which we will be posting and sharing with you all in the weeks ahead!!!! Janice Lacount wowed us all in the Holy Ghost with her incredible talents, Brother Jason DeShazo stepped to the plate on percussion...Pastor JuaNita released the anointing through the flags and banners ministry, and the dance ministry of Covenant of the Cross was inspiring to us all! God bless you and THANK YOU ALL for your contributions to the weekend!!!

Last of all and most importantly, I want to express gratitude to the flock I under-shepherd, my BCF covenant family: THANK YOU, YOU GUYS!! You really came through and the Lord Jesus was glorified through each and every one of you!! Thank you for your serving- cooking, cleaning, singing, praying, building, and LOVING one another so demonstratively- I feel so honored and greatly priviledged to be your Apostle. I am confident that you NOW have caught the vision of what God has shown us He is going to do through OUR lives together! Let's continue to be faithful, be consistent, and recognize that each of you have a vital part to play in what God is doing in the earth through our church and ministry!!! I love each of you VERY much. Brenda, Anita, Josh, Ryan, Troy, Pastor Deborah, Ferris, Jim C., Melissa & Lauren, Terry, Marilyn, Sharone & Erica, praise team, FREDDY G. WHITE and my GARREY- you worked so hard and so well together! God has knit our hearts and our lives together in His love and even greater things are ahead for us all!

That's all for today. Have a wonderful week- we will! And know that you are loved and NOT alone in your faith walk! God is with you, and we are right here for you, too!

In Christ's faithful love and SHALOM,
Ap Dale

Encouraging Music 11/10/09-My Redeemer Lives by Nicole C. Mullen

Matthew 25 Resource 11/10/09-Houston Food Bank

The Houston Food Bank is leading the fight against hunger. Here’s how!

The Houston Food Bank…

• A private, nonprofit organization
• Seeks food donations, distributes to local
charitable programs
• Efficient operations: 95 cents of every dollar
donated feeds the hungry
• Certified member of Feeding America (formerly
America’s Second Harvest-The Nation’s Food
Bank Network)
• Founded 1982

It’s in the numbers…

• 46 million pounds distributed last year
• 80,000 different people fed each week
• 498,000 different people fed each year
• 400 hunger relief agencies in 18 southeast Texas counties:
o Church food pantries
o Homeless shelters
o Safe havens for the battered and abused
o Nutrition sites for children and the elderly
• More than 100,000 volunteer hours contributed annually
• 73,000 square feet of warehouse and office space at central location, in addition to
66,000 square feet offsite

Click here to find out more.

Daily Devotional 11/10/09-Whatever Is Done

From Reflections:

1 Corinthians 14:26, NIV: What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.

There were religious leaders in Jesus’ day that were in competition with others to be seen as the most religious. They would “make their phylacteries wide,” and ”love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men.” They were compelled to act by a personal agenda—one that began and ended with themselves. God willing, we will never find ourselves to be quite so selfishly motivated. Yet, selfishness can be subtle and therewith capable of hindering what God may do through us. If, for instance, you are excited about a new truth God has shown you in His Word, and you can’t wait to share it with your friend, but you feel the Spirit is leading you to wait, and you share the Word anyway; are you doing so to strengthen yourself, or your friend? It is ever so easy to do good works in order to gain a little something for ourselves. We should strive so that whether we speak, or witness, or share, or give—whatever we do—that all would be for the glory of God, and the strengthening of others.

Same-Sex Marriage Could PROTECT The Institution of Traditional Marriage

From the Washington Post:

If anyone could have talked himself out of being gay, Kimberly Brooks said, it was her husband.

He wanted to be straight; she wanted him to be straight. She once followed his gaze across the beach to another man but quickly dismissed the thought. No, he couldn't be. Then he started spending more time with one particular friend, and an unease pushed Brooks to ask the question that ultimately confirmed her fears: Was that friend gay?

"He said, 'I don't know.' And in that moment, I knew," said Brooks, who is a therapist in Falls Church. "That day, the marriage was over."

As the debate over legalizing same-sex marriage in the District grows louder and more polarized, there are people whose support for the proposal is personal but not often talked about. They are federal workers and professionals, men and women who share little except that their former spouses tried to live as heterosexuals but at some point realized they could not.

Many of these former spouses -- from those who still feel raw resentment toward their exes to those who have reached a mutual understanding -- see the legalization of same-sex marriage as a step toward protecting not only homosexuals but also heterosexuals. If homosexuality was more accepted, they say, they might have been spared doomed marriages followed by years of self-doubt.

That's a pretty interesting theory, one that we think makes a lot of sense. What do you think?

Click here to read the rest of the story.

November 09, 2009

Site Updates

Sorry about the lack of posts today--we're still recovering from the BCF Renewal and catching up with our everyday lives.

As we expected, the Lord showed us a few new things during that event that He wants us to do here. One of them was to spend more time on original writing. These pieces, some of which will be first published on other sites, will come under the heading "In Our Own Words." To make time for this, we are collapsing our Matthew 25 Resources, SNN Recommends, and LGBT Helping Hands links into one daily slot. We will also be expanding our worship offerings which we'll have more on this weekend.

Our new Monday-Saturday schedule, effective tomorrow, is (all times EST):

6:00 AM LGBT news story
6:00 AM Daily Devotional
9:00 AM SNN Recommends/Matthew 25 Resource/LGBT Helping Hands
12:00 PM Encouraging Music
3:00 PM Encouraging Words
6:00 PM (or later) In Our Own Words--this won't be daily but when we have something to say

We hope you will gain even more blessing from these changes and others coming as we continue to grow this ministry. Speaking of growth, our traffic is staying on an upward trend. We want to put this out in front of as many people as possible so they can share in the love of God that we enjoy so much.

Thanks for visiting and God bless!

Daily Devotional 11/09/09 A Life Without Limits

From: Encouragement for Today

“.... God formed Man out of dirt from the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life. The Man came alive – a living soul!” Genesis 2:5 (MSG)

I was enjoying my morning run as the sun was shining, birds were singing, and the fragrant smell of honeysuckles filled the air. Suddenly I was startled by the loud sound of barking and noticed a dog, sitting near a garage, barking her little doggie lungs out. Although her bark seemed fierce, she did not run toward me. She was old; her hair was shaggy and faded; she was tired; her legs didn’t work as well as they used to; and she no longer had the physical strength or energy to dart across the yard. However, she chose not to allow her limitations to stop her voice from being heard. I admired her for her tenacity, and for her passion to fulfill her purpose of protection for her owners. Even though she now had challenges that prevented her from doing all she once did, she still gave it all she had.

I had to ask myself if I exert that same energy for Christ, even when limitations have befallen me. So many times we allow the circumstances of our lives and the limitations of our physical bodies to keep us from living out loud with our faith. The Webster definition of “living” is “the condition of being alive,” but the biblical definition of “living” is that the Holy Spirit resides within our bodies and also within our souls. We’re told in Genesis 2 that “God formed Man out of dirt from the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life. The Man came alive?a living soul!” Adam's body was formed from the dust, but his spirit was made in the image of God. Every person on earth can live – but only those who have accepted Christ as the true son of God are truly alive in body, heart and soul.

The decision to become a Christian is the beginning of a new life where many opportunities and challenges await us. Once we accept that new life, we are faced with another decision – will we live out our faith on a daily basis, despite our circumstances, challenges, and even physical limitations? Scripture teaches us that limitations in our life or physical bodies do not limit our abilities in Christ and we can find our strength in Him. Isaiah 40:29 says:

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak; even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

God is the giver of all life – not just the physical life of bodies, but the gift of living souls. If you have allowed your physical limitations to keep you from living out loud, ask God to show you how you can continue to serve Him, and for the strength to do His will despite your circumstances. If you have never asked Christ into your life, consider making that amazing choice today. Visit the “Do You Know Him” link below. Give God the opportunity to breathe life into your soul, to fill your heart with a love that is overflowing, and a passion to share the hope you have found with others as you live for Him.

Dear Lord, Help me know You are my strength and look past my own insecurities and limitations to dedicate my life to loving, praising and glorifying You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

November 08, 2009

Wrapping Up Renewal Weekend

What an amazing, powerful weekend at BCF. We arrived home this evening with very tired bodies but ignited spirits. Some of the highlights for us were:

o Honoring Evelyn and Dennis Shave for 20 years of affirming ministry to the LGBT community. The Shaves are a model for us in our ministry work and we consider it a privilge to have hosted them in our home for the second year in a row and being able to see them minister at church.

o The exceptional inspiring, insightful and often entertaining preaching from Evelyn, Pastor David Thomas from Abundant Grace Church in Granite Falls, NC, and Apostle Randy Morgan from New Covenant Church in Atlanta, GA.

o Powerful workshops delivered by Pastor Jack McConnell from St. Jude Community Church in Winston-Salem, NC and Apostle Dylan Crozier and Vinnie Chiodo from Rainbow Community Church in Vancouver, BC Canada.

0 The energy in our church, where we had our largest crowds ever, was amazing during worship and ministry time. The Lord promised us an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and He delivered!

o Gifts of the spirit was activated left and right. Prophecies were delivered, visions were clarified, and war was declared on Satan by this powerful batch of GLBTS (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and straight) Christians.

We encourage to visit the BCF website and click on the video link to watch archived video of the bulk of the services from Thursday night through Sunday afternoon. If you didn't have time to be blessed by it live, you can still share in the blessing.

Encouraging Music 11/08/09 Holy & Anointed One by Vineyard

Sunday Worship at the BCF Renewal

The Believers Covenant Fellowship Renewal services, "The Fire and the Glory," have been amazing! The Lord promised us an outpouring and, as he ALWAYS does, delivers even greater than he promised!

The services conclude today with more amazing worship, another prophetic dance performance, and a message by anointed minister Randy Morgan. We've linked to his messages here before and our gathering is braced for a powerful word from him today.

Click here to watch it live beginning at 11:00 AM today.