November 28, 2009

Encouraging Words 11/28/09-"I'm Rubber, You're Glue"

From Whosoever online magazine.

As the old hymn says, "They will know we are Christians by our love." Jesus made clear that the way the world will know we follow Him is by the consideration we show each other. This is why constructive dialogue between Christians is so important. We've had precious little of it lately, but perhaps, as the Religious Right continues to decline in power, we may see more. The powerful never seem to be able to empathize with the powerless.

Sometimes people have to hear their own rhetoric echoed back to them before they can truly understand the effect it has, or what they're really saying. This should never be done in any childish, "I'm rubber and you're glue" sense. But the Gospels present a very reciprocal point of view on how people ought to deal with each other: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." While Christians are encouraged to move past "an eye for an eye" thinking, there is indeed a biblical basis for considering how what we do affects others by imagining how we'd feel if it were done to us.

Most anti-gay Christians treat LGBT people in a way they would never want to be treated themselves. Common sense shows this quite clearly. The majority say they don't hate us, and even claim that they love us ("hate the sin, but love the sinner"). But their actions and words toward us seldom show anything any reasonable person could interpret as love.

Christian doctrine is like the tip of a mountainous iceberg. Most of the truth is submerged, and we can scarcely fathom its mass and depth. All we have, to tell us it's there, is that very tiny tip sticking out of the water. I have come to conclude that the mistake conservative Christians make is that they think that little tip is all there is, wrongly believing that they see it all - or even that it is all knowable.

Click here to read the rest of this essay at

Encouraging Music 11/28/09 "Give Thanks" by Maranatha Singers

LGBT Helping Hands 11/28/09-National LGBT Health Alliance (Australia)

The National LGBT Health Alliance has been established by a number of organisations from across Australia that provide health-related programs, services and research targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other sexuality, sex and gender diverse people (LGBT).

The Alliance acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia, their diversity, histories and knowledge and their continuing connections to land and community. We pay our respect to all Australian Indigenous peoples and their cultures, and to elders of past, present and future generations.

Alliance members have come together to work collaboratively to improve the health and wellbeing of sexuality, sex and gender diverse people by:

* advocating with one voice on the health needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other sexuality, sex and gender diverse people and communities at a national level
* building the capacity of our members to work with and for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other sexuality, sex and gender diverse people and communities.

We work across a broad range of health areas, striving to improve LGBT health in many different ways.

Click here to find out more.

One Family and a Hockey Team Strike Back at Homophobia

There is a wonderful story on about how a young man named Brenda Burke told his family and friends he was gay. What makes this story out of the ordinary and noteworthy of coverage by ESPN is that the young man's father is the general manager of a team in the National Hockey League, and the son works with the hockey team at the University of Miami-Ohio, currently the top ranked team in U. S. college hockey. Here's a quote from the father, Brian Burke:

"I had a million good reasons to love and admire Brendan. This news didn't alter any of them.

I would prefer Brendan hadn't decided to discuss this issue in this very public manner. There will be a great deal of reaction, and I fear a large portion will be negative. But this takes guts, and I admire Brendan greatly, and happily march arm in arm with him on this.

There are gay men in professional hockey. We would be fools to think otherwise. And it's sad that they feel the need to conceal this. I understand why they do so, however.

Can a gay man advance in professional hockey? He can if he works for the Toronto Maple Leafs! Or for Miami University Hockey. God bless Rico Blasi! And I am certain these two organizations are not alone here.

I wish this burden would fall on someone else's shoulders, not Brendan's. Pioneers are often misunderstood and mistrusted. But since he wishes to blaze this trail, I stand beside him with an axe! I simply could not be more proud of Brendan than I am, and I love him as much as I admire him." -- Brian Burke

Here's a quote from the coach at Miami-Ohio:

"Brendan is a great guy, personable and caring. As student manager, he is involved in a lot of things for us -- video, stats and community service, to name a few of his duties.

To my knowledge, there has been nothing negative [since he came out to us]. I think it goes along the lines that Brendan is part of our family. Everyone respects Brendan, and that's all that really matters.

The players are awesome. They are very sensitive to language and how we talk in the locker room. Again, it goes back to our culture and working on relationships and behaviors.

[As far as whether a player could come out and be able to function like a normal college player], that's a tough one and I don't want to speak for any other program. As far as Miami is concerned, we are about the person. I believe we would be accepting and honestly not even think twice about it.

I think having Brendan as part of our program has been a blessing. We are much more aware of what you say and how we say it. I am guilty as anyone. We need to be reminded that respect is not a label, but something you earn by the way you live your life." -- Miami University hockey coach Enrico Blasi

While I do think that these two men are not the norm in hockey or major sports in general, their public stances will certainly help raise the bar at least a little bit.

Enjoy the story at

Daily Devotional 11/28/09 Dealing With Stress

Cease striving and know that I am God. - Psalm 46:10

Have you noticed how easy it is to get all stressed out? I mean, you get behind with assignments at work or at school… the chores at home begin to pile up… the internal pressure starts to mount… and to top it all off, you get sick and just want to crawl in bed.

That scenario describes the start of my year. Up until this morning, I felt SO behind and SO anxious as I projected into the near future. As I prayed, I reminded the Lord that I needed sermon topics and sermon titles and some additional staff and direction for the year and this and that and the other… and that I needed all this stuff today!

After I rambled through my stressed out prayer, the Lord reminded me of one verse, Psalm 46:10 – “Cease striving and know that I am God.” Cease striving literally means to let go and relax. Isn’t that great! I came to God with all my stress, and He told me to relax and let it all go.


All the things you and I need, He has. All the things we strive for… and worry for… and agonize over, He has in abundance. That is why He says in Matthew 6:33, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things (the things we worry about and stress over) will be added to you.”

The best medicine for stress is just to remember that God is God… and you and I are not. You see, I do not have to come up with sermon titles and topics and direction and whatever else, all I have to do is sit at His feet and relax in Him and lay my burdens down at the altar. He knows what I need, and He will supply that need as I trust in Him. “Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass” (1 Thes. 5:24).


Life is too short to live it all stressed out. Furthermore, anytime we are all stressed out, it reveals a heart that is not actively trusting God. God did not make you to carry the burdens of life. He wants to carry them for you and work through you to get everything accomplished that He has for you to do.

Take time right now to lay all your burdens and deadlines and pressures at His feet. You will be amazed at the change in your perspective as you relax… and let go… and trust Him to do it through you.

November 27, 2009

In Our Own Words 11/27/09-Welcoming or Tolerating?

"We welcome homosexuals."

"We can't condone homosexual behavior."

How many churches do you know that make both of those statements?

I was reminded of that reading a story in the Christian Post where a Lutheran pastor in Minnesota tried to get his church to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) after the denomination voted to allow ordination of non-celebate homosexual pastors. When the congregation voted on and rejected that idea, he resigned and started a new church with people leaving his old one. The pastor used both of the opening phrases to describe his old church.

Seriously, if we were "welcomed" into a church but told that our "behavior" of having sex with each other was considered sinful, I don't think we would feel very welcome. Tolerated, maybe, but certainly not welcome. Who wouldn't feel the same way? Sadly, that concept continues to be a mystery to many mainline churches who have to tried to convince people (and perhaps their own congregations) that allowing people in the door without swift and direct condemnation is a sufficient display of Jesus' love.

Isn't this just one tiny step better than the worn out "Hate the sin, love the sinner" approach some of the more fundamentalist churches take, especially when the hate part is so often directed at the aforementioned sinners.

Remember, the only people Jesus cast out and was sharply critical of were the religious types, the ones who administered the Law that had grown so it was impossible for anyone to be in total compliance. He loved sinner of all types, but the religious leaders really got on his nerves, mainly because their rules put obstacles between people and His Father. Jesus came down to earth and suffered on the cross to give us a path to the Father, not to keep "certain types" away and out of fellowship with Him.

Jesus doesn't tolerate sinners, He loves them. Perhaps our churches should put more effort into doing the same.

Encouraging Words 11/27/09-A Love Issue

How different would our world be if all Christians took this approach? How much pain would be avoided by LGBT people?

A lot! Thanks to Tips-Q for the link.

Encouraging Music 11/27/09 "O Come O Come Emmanuel" by Casting Crowns

SNN Recommends (Just for Fun) 11/27/09-I Can Has Cheezburger)

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

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

Open Letter to a State Senator on Same-Sex Marriage

It appears the momentum that was building in New York to give legal recognition to same-sex marriages has largely dissapated, which led one resident to compose an open letter to his state senator. We thought it was worth sharing with you-here's an excerpt:

Your office has made it painfully clear to me when I called that you are against same sex marriage. I don’t understand your fears.

If it is a religious issue, religion really has no place in politics. Nobody is asking that you marry someone of the same sex. I am not afraid of opposite-sex marriage. You were elected to support the community that you serve. You need to listen to all the voices in that community rather than just acting on your personal beliefs.

Marriage can’t just be about procreation. If that were the case, we should not allow folks to marry unless they’re going to have children. If they can’t physically have children, they should have to adopt children or annul their marriage.

I have been in a monogamous relationship for a few months shy of 20 years. We were married in Toronto Nov. 7, 2003. I’d like to believe that America, and New York in particular, would be more forward-thinking than any other country, but sadly that is not the case.

I am involved in the community. I take great care of my property. I’m a great neighbor, friend, relative, and employee.

I work hard. I pay taxes. I vote to pass school budgets although I don’t have children. I recently received your mailing inviting me to your ‘family day,’ although you have no desire to recognize my family.

Everyone should be allowed to be involved with any consensual partner they choose, regardless of race, color, religion or sexual orientation.

Click here to read the rest of the letter on

Daily Devotional 11/27/09 I Never Knew That

The LORD your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy. - Zephaniah 3:17

How does God feel most of the time? Is He happy… sad… concerned… detached… upset… angry… disappointed… frustrated? Your honest answer to that question speaks volumes about how you interact with God.

Lots of people see God as a sad God: He is sad over their sins and disobedience. He is grieved over the state of the world. Others see God as a mad God: He has a hair-trigger temper and often goes ballistic. He will zap you if you get out of line… and enjoy seeing you punished.


What is the biblical view of God? The Bible teaches that although God gets sad (Gen. 6:6) and gets mad (Ex. 4:14), God is not mad or sad by nature. God is a glad God. To be in His presence is to be in the fullness of joy (Ps. 16:11)… because His heart overflows with joy and gladness.

And when God thinks of you… He begins to shout and sing with joy. You are His special treasure (Ex. 19:5). You are His trophy of grace (1 Tim. 1:16). He is SO excited about you!!


I am convinced that many Christians miss out on the good, glad heart of God. They have such a negative view of God in their minds that it is impossible for them to really enjoy a relationship with Jesus.

I wonder how many of us are going to stand before Jesus at the end of our lives and be totally blown away that He is so different from what we believed Him to be. I wonder if your dialogue that first encounter with Jesus might be something like this:

“Lord, I never knew that you loved me so much. I never knew that you were so excited about me. Jesus, I would have lived a different life, one filled with love and laughter and no worries, had I only known how you felt about me.”

And He will respond, “My child… did you not read about Me in the Bible? Did you not know that I am the Father of the prodigal son? Did you not read that I rejoice over you with shouts of joy? Did you not hear that I love you with an everlasting love?”

“Yes, Lord.” I heard those words while I was on earth… but I guess I never really believed them.”

God wants you to believe Him in this life!! He wants you to rest in His love and grace. He wants you to rejoice that you are His and He is yours, and His banner over you is love.

God is a glad God who has a heart for you!! He wants to help you in your struggles. He wants to change you so that you can be like Him and your life can overflow with the good fruit of the Spirit.

Make it a point today to work on removing any erroneous, dysfunctional views that you have of God’s character. Replace those lies with the truth (see Luke 7:36-50, Ex. 34:6-7, John 8:1-11). Remember… when you know the truth, the truth shall set you free (John 8:32).

November 26, 2009

Encouraging Words 11/26/09-Six Things We Can Learn From the Pilgrims

Here is a classic thanksgiving message from Billy Graham:

The Mayflower's voyage to the new world was a "survival test" on a huge scale. The passengers had sold their possessions and had to work for years to pay for their passage. The ship had no heat or plumbing. Storms raged, and a main beam cracked in mid-ocean.

But after more than two months on the Atlantic Ocean, this band of 102 people arrived before Christmas, 1620. William Bradford wrote in his journal, "Being thus arrived at a good harbor, and brought safely to land, they fell on their knees and blessed the God of heaven who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean and delivered them from all the perils and miseries thereof." What a celebration that must have been!

But just after Christmas a serious sickness broke out, and in the next three months nearly half the Pilgrims died. Hunger and illness stalked them, but they never wavered in their purpose.

Today, if these Pilgrims could observe our troubled world with its disillusioned outlook, its rebelliousness and its erosion of traditional values, they would be not only dismayed but also shocked. However, since their time, certain things have not changed. There is still lust, greed, hatred and prejudice in the human heart. There is still persecution and war in the world.

With all of the world's churches and universities, we would do well to go back to the church and the school of early Plymouth to see what those pioneers can teach us.

Click here to read the rest of Dr. Graham's message.

Encouraging Music 11/26/09 "Thanksgiving Medley" by

Matthew 25 Resource 11/26/09-Freestore Foodbank (Cincinnati, OH)

In the last 40 years, we’ve grown from one man’s passion for helping his neighbors into one of the region’s largest food banks.

We distribute on 10 million pounds of food annually in 20 counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana through a trusted network of over 400 local members agencies such as soup kitchens and shelters, food pantries, churches, daycare and senior centers, and many other community and social services organizations.

Unlike other food banks in the area, we operate a Client Services Center in Over-the-Rhine, which works to meet the needs of our community’s most vulnerable citizens, including the homeless, the unemployed, the working poor, and families in crisis. By providing emergency food services, we work to determine the root causes of poverty and food insecurity are able to provide services aimed at creating self-reliance. When people come to us for food, we help them find the other things they may need -- a safe place to live, access to affordable healthcare, clothing or job skills and placement. For our work, food is not the end product rather it is the beginning of a much larger conversation to help our community’s citizens work towards self-reliance.

Core Values
Commitment: We will not accept hunger
Compassion: We embrace diversity
Respect: We are in service with our neighbors
Empowerment: Those we serve can succeed independently
Community: We collaborate with other in our region

Click here to find out more.

Using Religion As a Weapon

As a former member of the Roman Catholic faith, I (Jim) know that there are plenty of people devoted to the rituals and practices of the church who don't totally agree with the church's increasingly militant stand on political issues like abortion and same-sex marriage. It appears that the church is ready to withold the opportunity for full participation in the Eucharist (communion), perhaps the most sacred rite of Roman Catholicism, from people who don't sign up for their political agenda. This sickens us and makes us think that the Catholic Church needs to decide what it wants to be, a structure under which people can worship God, or a political and social service organizaton. It appears to be moving strongly in the direction of the latter. Here is an excerpt from an essay posted on the blog "Unite the Fight" that details the reasons for this concern.

In what Sen. Patrick Kennedy has admitted was a long time coming, Bishop Thomas Tobin of Rhode Island wrote the Catholic senator an email informing him that he will not be allowed to partake of the Eucharist, or what is commonly known as Communion, because of his support of reproductive rights, in particular when it comes to health care reform.

In a statement issued Sunday, Tobin made known he informed Kennedy in February 2007 that it would be "inappropriate" for him to continue receiving the fundamental Catholic sacrament, "and I now ask respectfully that you refrain from doing so."

The bishop is not deterred. The most recent development occurred Tuesday morning on a Rhode Island radio show on which Bishop Tobin appeared.

"If [Sen. Kennedy] cannot abide by the teaching of this church, not just this one but others and ... what it means to be a Catholic ... maybe he should find another fine Christian denomination where he can be more comfortable," the bishop said.

Bishop Tobin also has the ear of Rhode Island Gov. Carcieri, who is a member of the anti-LGBT National Organization for Marriage and, in a move many criticized has heartless, recently vetoed the bill that would have given domestic partners the right to make burial arrangements for each other.

But can we honestly be surprised that this is the direction that Catholic Church leadership is headed? Strong-arming politicians to craft secular law to reflect church law?

Patrick Kennedy told the Providence Journal that Tobin had barred him from receiving communion and instructed priests in the diocese not to administer the sacrament "because of the positions that I've taken as a public official."

Naturally the question arises, "What public policy positions will the church hound policy makers on next? Marriage equality?"

Michael Jones at says, "It was a narrowing of Catholic theology to strip issues like poverty and social justice from the forefront of the Church, and replace them with opposing abortion, gay marriage, and stem cell research. It was also a call to Catholic politicians: oppose abortion and gay marriage at all costs, or risk the threat of the Church denying you Communion and publicly tarring and feathering you as a sinner."

And he's right. The Archdiocese of Washington D.C. threatened to throw the poor and homeless under the bus, claiming they will end their charity work if the District City Council passed their same-sex marriage legislation.

Let's not forget to that they are issuing a new edict that will be signed by hundreds of U.S. Bishops that will strongly unite them all behind a common statement condemning the love between gays and lesbians. Behind this they can rally and step into public policy making more than ever before.

Moreover, the church has pledged $2 million to fight marriage equality, despite closing parishes left and right due to lack of funds.

Click here to read the rest of this essay.

Daily Devotional 11/26/09 When You Don't Feel Thankful


He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors me. - Psalm 50:23

What do you do when your life is going south? What do you do when it is “THANKSGIVING” and you have just lost a loved one… or just lost your job… or just lost your marriage? Surely you cannot be expected to give thanks… can you?

Sometimes thanksgiving is a sacrifice. Sometimes we must thank God through clenched teeth and chocked back tears. Thanksgiving in the midst of a terrible storm brings tremendous joy to His heart. It shows the Lord that we really trust Him… regardless of the adverse circumstances we are facing.


Perhaps you are one this year who is having trouble finding good in your life. Look no further than Jesus. He never changes. Despite everything you might be facing, you can rejoice in Him. You can give thanks for Him and His love and care for you. You can give thanks that He promised to work all things together for good.

Train yourself to give thanks in everything. Remember… a sacrifice of thanksgiving brings honor to the Lord. Thank Him for that trial you are facing. Thank Him for that sorrow. He will use your thanks for His glory and your ultimate good!

November 25, 2009

Welcome to Midweek Worship 11/25/09

Encouraging Music 11/25/09 "One Small Child" by The Blenders

LGBT Helping Hands 11/25/09-AIDS Project of Central Iowa (Des Moines)

Our agency has a long history of serving people living with HIV. In 1987, an involved group calling themselves the Central Iowa AIDS Project voluntarily began the task of addressing HIV incidence in and around Des Moines. In 1990, the Mayor’s Task Force on AIDS recommended this coalition form an independent agency.

What is now known as the AIDS Project of Central Iowa (The Project) opened its doors in December 1991, becoming a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 1993. The Project has grown and is now the largest HIV/AIDS service and prevention agency in the state of Iowa. Our agency provides personalized direct care services to hundreds of people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS, as well as provides prevention services to thousands of Iowans at-risk for contracting the disease.

Click here to find out more.

What to Make Out of the ENDA Delay

The Bilerico Project has a post up looking at the delay in Congress considering the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that would protect LGBT people for being fired because they are LGBT across the nation. It's not an optimistic view:

It was a surprise to most people that the markup of ENDA, scheduled for last Wednesday morning at 10 am, was abruptly postponed on Monday night at 6:30 pm, heralded by a terse red notice on the House Committee on Education and Labor website. After all, ENDA had been touted for months as the next promise to be kept to our community, with LGBT House leaders embracing a vote in September or October.

The ENDA delay is ominous, and likely to be long. As The New York Times reported yesterday, a massive legislative logjam is building up in the Senate.. Once the Senate is done debating health care, there will be dozens of priority bills.

At the same time, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is setting a new legislative priority: the immediate creation of a jobs bill from scratch in the House, and Senator Reid has said the same for the Senate. Jobs are, of course, very important, but that effort will likely suck all the oxygen from the room for quite a while. Delaying ENDA puts it behind everything else. And then midterm elections will hit. And DADT is scheduled for next year, and DADT could easily supercede ENDA.

This delay is also giving the fundies more time to heat up their branding irons. In addition, the more delay, the more that the Committee doing the "tweaks" is going to start getting pressure to tinker with the "gender identity" provisions.

Click here to read more of the analysis of this issue.

Daily Devotional 11/25/09 When You Meet the Lord

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord,
the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day. -- 2 Timothy 4:7-8

In AD 67, the Apostle Paul was in prison in Rome awaiting his execution. He knew that the time of his departure from planet earth was coming… and he was so excited to meet the Lord in glory. You see, Paul had lived his Christian life sold out to Jesus. He was not perfect, but he definitely was not lukewarm either. He finished the race in full stride, still on fire for Jesus Christ.


All too often, people face death without the humble confidence and joyful expectation that Paul had. So many people face death with regret and shame, knowing that they wasted much of their life pursuing money and things and pleasure and stuff… and did not really seek first His kingdom and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33).

Paul knew he would have to give an account of His life to the Lord one day. He knew that it paid to serve Jesus… and that kept him faithful to the end, even when times were tough and he wanted to quit.


No matter where you are today in your spiritual life, “it ain’t over till it’s over.” If you still have breath, you still have time to turn it around for Christ. Maybe you have fallen on the track and not gotten back up… or maybe you have said the fight is too hard and have left the ring. The Lord’s hand is outstretched to you. He says, “I know you have blown it… but I am not through with you yet. My grace is sufficient for you. Take my hand… get back in the race… and finish strong.”

Will you make it your life’s ambition to finish strong so that when the time for your departure comes, you too can have confidence when you meet Jesus in glory?

November 24, 2009

In Our Own Words 11/24/09-The LGBTS Church Is a Sleeping Giant!

Jim's essay was originally published in the Unidiversal Times Nov-Dec issue.

Those are the words I heard from the Lord during our amazing Fall Renewal gathering at Believers Covenant Fellowship, at which I also had the wonderful opportunity to worship with Robbie and Don once again.

As I write this, it’s been a week since the Lord gave me that word, and here’s how I believe He has led my wife Brenda and I to understand it and act upon it.

Our Fall Renewal came only a couple of days after same-sex marriage was struck down by the voters in Maine, marking the 31st consecutive time that issue has lost at the ballot box. In most cases, it has been “the church” that has been the leading voice of opposition and that has provided much of the resources used to campaign against LGBT equality. Clearly, the political process has seldom worked, and when it has like it did in Maine early in the year, it can be overturned making a lasting victory extremely difficult to obtain.

Those who are in the LGBTS (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and straight ally) Christian community know where lasting victory has been achieved and that is at the cross, where Jesus Christ died to redeem us from our sins. Many other Christians believe that, but we in the LGBTS camp know that Jesus did not withhold certain blessings and rights from certain groups of people. He died for us ALL so that WHOSOEVER comes to Him shall have everlasting life.

Brothers and sisters, we had just about every gender orientation represented at the Fall Renewal, and the Holy Spirit flowed over and through everyone. Brenda and I didn’t get an extra dose because we are straight; EVERYONE shared in the power of the Lord and the blessings He wants so badly to bestow upon us. Although LGBTS Christians are a minority, we are a powerful minority because the Word of the Lord will break people out of bondage and set them free (Romans 8:21)!

I believe that in many parts of this country the LGBTS church is a well kept secret. The dynamic preachers we heard last weekend; Apostle Dale Jarrett at BCF, Pastor David Thomas from Abundant Grace Church, Sister Evelyn Shave (another straight ally), and Apostle Randy Morgan bring messages from the Lord that can change lives and people need to hear them! The music from Apostle Dale and Pastor Debbie George is truly anointed—people need to hear this stuff so they can find a new place in their spirits where they are drawn close to God! A loyal, diligent minister like Robbie Ousley, one of the people who inspires our Straight, Not Narrow ministry, is someone people need to know. They need to see the messages at the Unidiversal website and be touched by his sincerity and spirit of servanthood.

Okay, so how can we make this happen? Here are some thoughts:

1) Adopt the attitude that people NEED these messages, these songs, and these relationships. They NEED to know that LGBT and Christian are not mutually exclusive and then to see positive examples of it. We can post them on Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media you participate in. We can talk about them with friends and family who are not accepting of LGBT people.
2) We need to live a life that makes people ask questions like “Why do have this sense of peace about you?” or “How have you been able to over [fill in the blank].” They we need to praise God as the answer.
3) We need to be out of our closets. If people know you are LGBT, do they know you are Christian? If you are a straight ally, do people know that? I know my boss at work just doesn’t get what Brenda and I are doing ministering within the LGBTS community, but I pray that over time he will seriously consider opening his heart and embrace equality.
4) Do NOT underestimate the power of God and His desire for everyone to live a full life in Him. I believe He hates how His word has been twisted and people abused and discriminated against in His name. His strength is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9) and He expects us to use it for His glory. We are all part of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19) and we all have a role to play in presenting the Gospel to the world.

Let’s not accept the idea that a LGBT ministry is no more than a “niche” ministry. Don’t allow the right-wing church to marginalize our body. We have a message to share and the Lord will provide opportunities to share it with the world if we are serious about doing so and actively seek opportunities.

I realize some of you reading this have already shown great dedication to spreading God’s word and have been working very hard in ministry for a while. I believe that time is growing short and we will all be seeing more doors open and be able to connect with more people who need to hear what the Lord would have us say to them.

The Lord told me that the LGBTS church is a sleeping giant and we had two different confirmations with people also hearing the word “awake”. It’s time to wake up folks!

Encouraging Words 11/25/09-"With No Thought to the Future"

From Rev. Vera I. Bourne at

One of the most exciting stories in the New Testament is the calling of the John and James from their occupation as fisherman. Here were two brawny men, used to the rigors of fishing, busily tending their father's nets. Yet, at the command of a total stranger, they left their work, and, ignoring their duty to their father, followed Jesus. They left all that represented security and home life for what? What was so compelling about this stranger that made the two Zebedee brothers walk away from their livelihood? Not only did they leave their families and their work but they also invited other fishermen to do the same.

But it was not just fishermen who gave up their security to follow Jesus. Zacchaeus, though small of stature demonstrated a giant faith as he left his work as a tax collector to follow Jesus. Having made reparation to those he had cheated and amply provided for those who were poor, he was free to exchange physical security for spiritual certainty. Mary from Magdala, healed by Jesus, became the woman who appears to have been responsible for organising food and shelter for her beloved Master during the time he was travelling and preaching. In fact, those who heard him were torn between continuing the day-by-day business of living and satisfying the spiritual hunger Jesus had awakened in their souls. Those who could trust God to care for them just as God cared for the lilies of the field and the birds of the air; chose Jesus.

Throughout history countless other men and women have left family and friends and the security of home and occupation to follow Jesus. These Christians are those who have moved beyond the God of Deuteronomy and Leviticus - the God of the Law who demands punishment for all the mistakes we make in our lives. They have moved beyond the God who is the Absolute Other - the Holy Priest - who cannot bear to associate with sinners - who can acknowledge us only when we have become pure through sacrificial blood. They have encountered Yahweh, the God who Jesus called Abba. This is the God who waits for us to return and then welcomes us as did the father of the Prodigal son, with abundant blessings. This is the same God who knows our fears, who has witnessed our pain, who stands with us when everything we know and love has turned to ashes.

Click here to read the rest of this essay.

Encouraging Music 10/24/09 "Beautiful Star of Bethlehem" by Clay Aiken

Matthew 25 Resource 11/24/09-Food Bank of the Rockies

Food Bank of the Rockies (FBR) was founded in 1978 and was known as the Colorado Food Clearing House. Operating from a 900-square-foot schoolroom in northwest Denver, the fledgling organization collected food from nearby Safeway stores and distributed it to one agency.

Today, FBR has extended its reach across Northern Colorado and Wyoming , providing food supplies to more than 1000 hunger-relief programs. In its first 30 years, FBR has provided nearly 325 million pounds of food to our member agencies, which translates to more than 250 million meals for people in need. Last year, we distributed over 26 million pounds of food, enough to provide more than 56,000 meals each day to children, seniors and families in need. FBR is a member of Feeding America.

FBR has a staff of 57 employees in Denver, 4 in Wyoming, and 3 on the Western Slope. Additionally FBR has a pool of more than 1000 volunteers who last year donated 73,500 hours of time - the equivalent of 35 full-time employees.

Click here to find out more.

Is a New Marriage Strategy Needed?

LGBT leaders are still disecting the most recent loss for marriage equality at the ballot box in Maine. Long-time activist Leland Traiman shares his belief for a new strategy in Bay Area Reporter. Here's an excerpt:

Same-sex marriage has never won an election. Maine was our 33rd loss. On the other hand, domestic partnership has never, on its own, lost an election. Washington state continued that winning streak, barely. The attempt to repeal comprehensive domestic partnerships was too close for liberal Washington State, 47 percent. This means trouble for us. Our enemies, undoubtedly, are already planning domestic partnership repeals in more conservative areas. Even in California, instead of fighting for the rites of marriage, we may be forced to defend the rights of marriage we have already won through domestic partnerships. (California law says that all laws, regulations, and court decisions that apply to spouses in a marriage equally applies to registered domestic partners.) Even if California's domestic partnership law is not in jeopardy, certainly other states with domestic partnerships or other forms of recognition are at risk.

Our original long term strategy for achieving marital rights was to create a parallel and legally equal category, domestic partnerships. Eventually people would say, "It is stupid having two categories doing the same thing. Let's combine them." No tears, just a housekeeping measure. Much less flashy than the current marriage-only strategy but it was working. More important, comparing the trajectory domestic partnerships was on when the strategy was halted with the continuous defeats and heartache the marriage-only strategy has given us, it is clear that the domestic partnership strategy would have brought us to one, unified category of marital rights for both heterosexuals and LGBT folk much, much sooner. Unfortunately, like the previous presidential administration, which left the country in a mess, our current marriage-only strategy has left our community in an electoral mess. Our community's unquestioning devotion to the marriage-only strategy, which is only a strategy, not a cause or an ideal, has given our enemies the opportunity to undo our progress. Our enemies attacked Washington's domestic partnership law as if it was marriage, which it is not, but it almost worked. We must have a new strategy.

All civil rights struggles have had a series of steps and compromises along the way. Our struggle is no different. But, what if I am wrong and separate is not equal? What if comprehensive domestic partnerships are only "almost" equal? At this point in time, I would still love to be "almost" equal because, as of today, we are nowhere near equal! Let us get to equality (or almost equality) first. Once we have achieved that, we can start to worry about possible inequalities. We may not find any. Until then, it is just academic ruminations. (Commissions in New Jersey and Vermont "proving" that civil unions were not equal to marriage were cleverly stacked with marriage-only advocates whose conclusions had been decided upon before each commission met.)

Click here to read the rest of Traiman's essay and let us know what you think.

Daily Devotional 11/24/09 Responding With a Kind Heart

From: From His Heart

To sum up, let all be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit, not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:8-9

How do you react when someone is rude to you? Do you return evil for evil… insult for insult… rudeness for rudeness? Do you have a tendency to tear people up with your tongue?
One known for his sharp tongue was Sir Winston Churchill. One day his nemesis, Lady Aster, said in disgust, “Sir Winston, if you were my husband, I would put arsenic in your tea.” To which Churchill quickly replied, “And Lady Aster, if I were your husband, I would gladly drink it.” What a classic example of evil for evil, insult for insult.

The Lord tells us that we are to give a blessing EVEN when someone insults us. He says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21). Truly, “a gentle answer turns away wrath” (Prov. 15:1).

When you are kindhearted, you respond to people by cutting them some slack and giving them the benefit of the doubt. Remember, rude, mean people are that way for a reason. Like the lion with a thorn in his paw, mean, angry folks have a deep hurt in their lives… that is why they are mean, cruel and argumentative. Kindness always tries to see things from the other’s perspective. Kindness always responds with patience, gentleness and understanding.

Let’s be honest, many homes are filled with insults. Brothers and sisters insult each other… spouses so often are mean and cutting with each other. What happened to “home, home on the range… where seldom is heard a discouraging word?” The good news is this: you can change the atmosphere in your home by keeping your tongue from insults… and giving a blessing instead.

Remember, when Jesus was dying on the cross, being laughed at and reviled, He did not revile in return. He prayed for those who crucified Him. His response of blessing for curses surprised the crowd. That hardened Roman Centurion who oversaw His death was so moved by His response that he declared, “Truly this was the Son of God!” WOW!

With all those you come in contact with today, make a special point of giving them a blessing. Compliment them on something they do well. Encourage them in their daily life. Take criticism… learn from it… and bless the person who was mean to you. You will be amazed at how God will work when you do things His way.

November 23, 2009

In Our Own Words-Top 25 Gay Rights & Activism Blogs

The blog "Online Paralegal Degree" has compiled a list of what they consider to be the Top 25 Gay Rights & Activism Blogs. We are happy to be notified that Straight, Not Narrow made this list at #23. We appreciate Laura Wright notifying us of this distinction.

We are always pleased to receive positive recognition, not to glorify what we do but because it tells us that we are properly representing what we believe is a critical part of the message of Jesus, which is His love for ALL mankind. Christianity, properly carried out, is a "whosoever" faith, one that takes extra care to reach out to those who have been pushed aside and cast off. That's a revelation we carry with us in our hearts, and we're glad the Online Paralegal Degree blog thinks our blog is sharing it clearly with others.

Encouraging Words 11/23/09-BCF Praise Report

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might!"
Ephesians 6:10

Greetings BCF Friends and Family!

No matter what the enemy may try to throw your way, RIGHT NOW-remember and BE STRONG IN THE LORD and in the power of His might! The Lord our God is with us and He is mighty to deliver us and keep us! Worship service was wonderful as always at BCF yesterday. Once again, Lauren led worship on her guitar and incorporated Linda on hers, as well as the beautiful voices of our praise team. It was sweet and ebbed and flowed with the moving of the Holy Spirit in sweet accord.

Brother Josh Weiberg then proceeded to share a powerful word of exhortation to the Body of Christ from Ephesians 6- exhorting all of us to remember that if the heat is on and various trials and temptations are going on in our lives- it's NOT our brothers and sisters in Christ causing us trouble, hurting us, or doing something against us- to remember that we are fighting a spiritual war against satan and the kingdom of darkness!

Folks, the devil is REAL. He is a fallen angel named Lucifer, who has an army of fallen angels called demons who are intent on establishing a kingdom of darkness and enslaving and destroying God's humanity! He is jealous of us! He is jealous that God loves us so much and has anointed US with His Glory! He wants it, but he can't have it! So if he can't have it, the next best thing he can do is get us into strife and offense, to turn against the Word of God/Jesus, and trick us into missing out on what God has in store for us! And how does he often do that? By getting us to be offended and in strife with one another! If he can divide us, stop our unconditional love for one another, get us to sin- then he can affect every area of our lives and ministries!

Josh gave us the KEY to standing against the attacks of the enemy- WARFARE! To fight BACK! But....not to fight people, one another, especially our brothers and sisters in the faith- NO! Our warfare is not carnal with weapons, or with our mouths (the tongue can be used as a weapon!) but rather- we WAR ON THE FLOOR! We are to run to our Heavenly Father- we are to fall on our face and WORSHIP HIM! We are to run to Him and pray for all of the situations or circumstances we find ourselves in! Run to the Throne, not the phone!! If we PRAY and SEEK HIS FACE- He will hear from Heaven and HEAL....and in this case- the Lord Sabbaoth will rise up and deliver His People!

I encourage us all to ask the Holy Spirit to put a guard over our mouths so that we don't sin against the Lord- (Words are powerful, they give life or death!) and most of all PRAY IN THE HOLY SPIRIT! Oh, it's so important to be born again and to be FILLED with the Holy Spirit- and receive the evidence of the infilling with speaking in tongues! Tongues is a GIFT from God that empowers us in the Holy Spirit- He will pray Father's Perfect Will and Perfect HEART for whatever the situation may be!

Remember this scripture:

"Since then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory!

But you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with it's practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in the knowledge in the image of it's Creator.

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over ALL these virtues put on LOVE, which binds them all together in perfect UNITY!
Colossians 3:1-4, 8-10, 12-14

Let's all just give the enemy of our lives a swift spiritual KICK out the doorway of our lives by purposing to pray for one another and to LOVE one another no matter what! Nothing will do damage to his plans faster than all of us hanging on and determining to love and cover each other no matter what!!

It's thanksgiving week here in the USA, and Garrey and I are so blessed to host over 15 people in our home this Thursday. It's going to be a REAL FAMILY THANKSGIVING- and we have so much to be thankful for. I'm also so excited that Minister Zoila Aguilar is coming to fellowship with us and will be leading a prophetic training workshop NEXT SATURDAY, November 28th, at BCF. REMEMBER that we will be uStreaming the workshop from 10 AM (est) until 2 PM, with a lunch break mid way through.
I hope you will join us live and/or go back and watch what we archive.

Meanwhile, KNOW THAT WE LOVE YOU and WE DEEPLY CARE ABOUT YOU! We are praying for you and are so thankful that you are praying for us! Through our God- and TOGETHER- we shall do valiantly!!

Have a wonderful week and Happy Thanksgiving!

Shalom and in Christ's faithful love and friendship,
Apostle Dale

Encouraging Music 11/23/09 "Hail, Holy Queen" from Sister Act

LGBT Helping Hands 11/23/09-Outright Vermont

Outright Vermont (Outright) was founded in 1989 following the release of a 1988 national youth risk survey showing that gay and lesbian youth in particular had very high rates of depression and suicide. A group of community activists gathered to form Outright, which began as a “once a week” support group. Our Friday Night support group has continued ever since, every Friday over the past 20 years. Today, Outright is a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQQ) ‘queer’ youth center and statewide advocacy organization.

The Mission of Outright is to build safe, healthy, and supportive environments for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youth (ages 13-22). Our goal is to make Vermont the safest, most supportive and empowering state for queer youth in America.

Outright’s organizing strategy is based on a youth empowerment, social change model that tells us that youth power is an essential element in the fight for equal rights. We describe youth empowerment in two parts – providing the safe space and resources so that youth can do the heavy lifting themselves and adjusting the fundamental power dynamics so that their hard work can achieves results.

Click here to find out more.

LGBT News Digest 11/23/09

John Corvino writes at about the "slippery slope of religious exemptions" in regards to enforcement of gay rights laws.

In the UK, the European Commission is putting pressure on the government to drop those types of exemptions from their laws according to PinkNews.

Pam's House Blend reports that Gordon Brown, the Prime Ministry of the UK, stood up strong in support of Transgender People on their Day of Rememberance.

Gay Agenda posts an essay from Rev. Jerry Maneker titled "The Irony and Irrationality of Minority Homophibla."

Google News has information about the continuation of the Washington Blade newspaper, retitled "DC Agenda" and run by much of the former Blade's staff.

Google News also looks around the world at events commemorating the Transgender Day of Rememberance.

Daily Devotional 11/23/09 Persevering Tribulations

From: Daily in Christ

James 1:2, 3 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.

There certainly are a lot of distractions, diversions, disappointments, trials, temptations and traumas which come along to disrupt the process of becoming the person God wants you to be. Every day you struggle against the world, the flesh and the devil, each of which are opposed to your success at being God's person.
But Paul reminds us that the tribulations we face are actually a means of achieving our supreme goal of maturity: "We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us" (Romans 5:3-5). James offers similar encouragement: "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing" (James 1:2-4).
Maybe you thought your goal as a Christian was to escape tribulations. But God's goal for you is maturity in Christ, becoming the person He designed you to be. And tribulation just happens to be one of the primary stepping-stones on the pathway. That's why Paul says we exult--meaning to express heightened joy--in our tribulations. Why? Because persevering tribulations is the doorway to proven character, which is God's goal for us.
Our hope lies in proven character, not in favorable circumstances nor in the manipulation of others. Neither circumstances nor people can keep you from being what God wants you to be. Trials and tribulations are the most common means for bringing about His goal for your life.
Lord, help me see my trials as stepping-stones, not obstacles. Give me grace to persevere and develop proven character.

November 22, 2009

Welcome to Sunday Worship 11/22/09

If you don't have a welcoming church near you, or you just can't make yourself step into one, we're bringing worship to you. Here are links to some worship music and services from open and affirming ministries (all times eastern). I hope you are blessed and take time out of your busy schedule to enter into the Lord's day.

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

Video Archive

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

Audio Archive
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
NC-Revolution Charlotte
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