Showing posts with label Christian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christian. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

LIVE TWEETING the Holiest 72 Hours of A.D. 2014

When I was a freshman at University of Dallas, my friend Frank was really inspired by Jesus' words in Mark 14:36 "Could you not stay awake with me for even one hour?"   The two of us decided to stay up all night on Holy Thursday to pray and read scripture. We kept the vigil going until 3:00pm on Good Friday (the hour of Salvation) - when we ended by praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Please join us in prayer or let us pray for you


In Joel 2:25, we would like to keep YOU in our prayers. In addition to the video-conference support groups, participants gather in small groups at several different times each day to pray using our 24-Hour Prayer Teleconference line.

Currently, we have two establish daily groups that meet at the same time each day for Lauds (Morning Prayer) and Compline (Night Prayer). The prayers we use for each day are available online at:http://universalis.com/

Our dedicated prayer line is up 24/7 so we hope we can add more daily groups soon including Charismatic, evangelical, and Greek Orthodox groups.

If there is anything we can pray for you about or if you would like to join us in one of our prayer groups, please contact us: http://joel225.com/joel_021.htm

Saturday, January 4, 2014

"Becoming a Whole Man" - by David Matheson

Here is a great new resource which is really excellent: http://becomingawholeman.com
Also the website for the "Center for Gender Wholeness": http://genderwholeness.com/

I highly recommend the book and the interactive website. The "Masculine Archetypes" that David Matheson describes are the "King, Warrior, Magician, and Lover." They are also referenced in many other men's programs - including the Promise Keepers

I actually have 8 books on my shelf right now about the "Masculine Archetypes" as well as one on the feminine archetypes. 

Anyway, this website is really awesome!  David Matheson is also one of the creators of the JiM weekend (Journey into Manhood) http://www.PeopleCanChange.com/jim I hope to have him come to one our Joel 2:25 meetings (http://www.Joel225.com) as a guest speaker later this year. 

Pax Christi,
Jeremy

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 has been an Amazing Year!

2013 has been an amazing year!

I have continued to be bless abundantly with opportunities to reach out, encourage, and support others who are making this same journey. I have also received more support, friendship, and real love than ever before. 


The group I has started (originally in my living room) has grown to over 320 men and women from 63 countries who participate via video-conferences. We have formed a non-profit corporation with bylaws and a Board of Directors and have begun the process of becoming a 501c3. Our 15 Small Groups are doing well and I'm blessed to know so many wonderful men and women who have been willing to volunteer to help lead groups and minister to others.

Our nightly prayer group has been meeting every night at 10:30pm for about six months now and my dad has even started joining us. That has been really AWESOME!  We are also starting a Morning Prayer group in January. 

While ALL Joel 2:25 meetings, video-conferences, and support services are FREE and ALWAYS WILL BE, there are many costs that incur to support the growing needs. There are also many things we would like to be able to do to provide more help if the funds were available.

IF you feel led, please consider partnering with us in prayer and if possible financial support: http://joel225.com/joel_021.htm. Also (regardless of whether you can help us), please let us know if there is anything we can be praying for YOU about.

Pax Christi and have a blessed 2014!

Jeremy

http://www.Joel225.com
Map of Joel 2:25 Participants:


Monday, November 11, 2013

Seven days of prayer/fasting for Women with Same-Sex Attraction (SSA)

In Joel 2:25 (http://www.Joel225.com), we currently have 14 small groups for guys in different languages and stages of life. We have been having men who are in other groups gather to pray while one group is meeting. (i.g. guys from the Spanish group praying for the Russian group, English group praying for the Portuguese group, Italians, German, etc.)

This past weekend, the men of Joel 2:25 began seven days of fasting and prayer / fasting for a major new group that we are starting for women. We've discussed in our men's groups that one of our roles as men is to wake up our Warrior archetype. In this case, we are dealing with major Spiritual warfare. This will be the first video-conference group of it's kind for Women with SSA. Our sisters will be embarking on a major journey with women from four countries already on board. It is important that we as men step up and fight for them on this battlefield by storming heaven with prayer and fasting over the next seven days.

Anyway, I'd like to ask you to join us in praying for the women of Joel 2:25 and for all women with SSA.

Pax Christi,
Jeremy


Thursday, November 7, 2013

NEW group for PARENT's of Teens with Same-Sex Attraction

I got another email yesterday from a 16 year old seeking help with Same-Sex Attraction (SSA). In addition to the two 15 year olds who emailed a while back, this is starting to weigh on me. All of teens who have emailed me so far have said that they're parents were aware of their SSA and willing to give their written permission for them to participate in a support group. I've sent them all the links/resources as I knew of, but had to explain we do not yet have a Joel 2:25 group for them. I think it's time I stopped stalling though on getting the Parent's group together. 

If there are any Christian Counselors or pastoral leaders who might be willing to volunteer to help lead these, I'd love to talk with them.  I'm also asking guys in our "Young Adults" Small Group (under 27yo) to volunteer to help join these video-conferences and share THEIR experiences and insights with the parents.

I am envisioning this as being separate groups for Fathers and Mothers of Sons and Daughters with SSA or other confusions. 





Pax Christi,
Jeremy
http://www.Joel225.com

Friday, October 11, 2013

National "Coming Out" Day

Today (October 11th) is supposedly "National Coming Out Day." I'm not sure WHO came up with that, but since some many people are talking this new holiday, I wanted to share a different message. This is from my friend Blake, who has been participating in our Joel 2:25 Young Adults Group.  Blake also has many other AWESOME videos on his YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/BlakeSweet1/videos  so I'd encourage everyone to Subscribe and check these out. They are really powerful! 




Also, here is a great article by Andy Comiskey about the trend in some Christian circles to encourage men and women with Same-Sex Attraction to embrace the false identity and the modern "Gay" label:



Andy is the creator of "Living Waters" a program that has helped many of my friends find healing and restoration. http://www.desertstream.org

Monday, October 7, 2013

Joel 2:25 International, support & resources for overcoming Same-Sex Attraction

It's been a while since, I've posted here. 
I've been really busy this past year with ministry work. I started a small group at my house two years ago. Our group is called "Joel 2:25"  http://www.Joel225.com 



Ex-Gay, Gay, ExGay, Same-Sex Attraction, SSA Recovery

About a year ago we expanded and started having others join our meetings through video-conference from other countries. Now, we have 12 bi-weekly "Small Groups" and 215 guys from 55 countries participating in one form or another each month. The group is still primarily Catholic, but we have also had several protestants participating and most recently several Muslims and Jews. 

The reason I'm writing to ask for your prayers. We are in the process of completing the formal structure of the ministry. I've never done anything like that before, so it's a little daunting, but we are moving along pretty well so far. 

We are doing what we can though. We have small groups in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Italian and Polish right now. We are working on starting groups in Arabic, German and French as well as a group for Women. I also really feel led to start a group to help teens with SSA and their families. I'll post more about that idea in my next post. It will be different from our current format.

Anyway, sorry for rambling. Please keep us in your prayers. Also, if you know anyone who could benefit, please let them know about our group.

Pax Christi,
Jeremy

Friday, October 4, 2013

Don's Journey into Manhood

Today I'd like to share my friend Don's story. His journey was a little different from mine in that he was married with a family before he began this journey. He is an awesome man of God and now leads one our Small Groups in Joel 2:25 (http://www.Joel225.com )

-------------------------------------
In late 2006 I had grown utterly disillusioned with my life.  I had been fighting my same sex attraction through adolescence and my college years and for 25 years of marriage.  I was losing the fight.  I had a deep faith but I had concluded that the Love of God was somehow not meant for me.  I had prayed unceasingly for 40 years for release from this burden without any impact.  The worst part was the loneliness.  I lacked the kind of male friendships that I longed for and found straight men to be so unemotional and disconnected that they seemed incapable of real intimacy.  My wife was emotionally distant and hurt from my general lack of pursuit of her heart and I was facing the prospect of living the rest of my life in emotional isolation.  I could not stand it anymore. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Prayers for New Jersey

Please pray for everyone in the state of New Jersey. Yesterday, their Governor Chris Christie signed into law a horrible attack on religious freedom and an attack on many programs that provide REAL help to youth with this particular struggle. As of today, it is illegal in New Jersey for a 17 year-old with unwanted same-sex attractions to receive professional counseling, even with parental consent. I cannot grasp why Governor Chris Christie still claims to be a "Republican" a "Catholic" and an "American."
His actions are direct assault on all three



Pax Christi,
Jeremy

http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/chris-christie-signs-ban-on-reparative-therapy-liberty-counsel-promises-to

Back from "Beyond"

I just got back from staffing "Journey Beyond" the advanced program that builds on "Journey into Manhood" (JiM). It was REALLY AWESOME!!!!!!!!

This is my second time staffing JB - it's only offered once a year, but I got to take on a bigger role and see a lot of amazing transformations take place. We had a priest on our staff and we were able to have daily mass for the second year in a row. That was really powerful. I'd highly recommend "Journey Beyond" for anyone. I have had a few non-SSA friends go as well and they say it changed their lives as well.

Anyway, one of the per-requisites to go to "Journey Beyond" is the "Journey into Manhood" (JiM) weekend - since JB builds a lot on that experience. There are three weekends coming up:
  • September 27-29, 2013: Indiana
  • October 1-3, 2013: Israel
  • October 18-20, 2013: Texas
"Journey into Manhood" (JiM) changed my life back in 2009 and opened up a whole new world for me in terms of relating to other men and overcoming the limiting effects of SSA. "Journey Beyond" took that to the next level in 2011 and I've continued to see God working miracles in my life that began there.

Here is the link for more info: http://www.PeopleCanChange.com/jim

Pax Christi,
Jeremy

Monday, June 24, 2013

Restored Hope Network lives up to its name


I went to the Restored Hope Network conference this past weekend. (http://www.restoredhopenetwork.com/)  It was really nurturing and encouraging, especially after this past week. It was really cool to meet so many of the original founders and previous leaders of Exodus (Frank Worthen, Anne Paulk, Andy Comiskey, etc.)

I got to go to dinner with their Board of Directors afterward and was really inspired by their enthusiasm for the ministry work ahead. It changed my original perception of them which had been based on a few statements that originally seemed to me to be harshly worded. I got a much more well-rounded understanding of them and found it really refreshing.
It was also really exciting to hear that they are partnering with Christopher West (http://www.christopherwest.com/) who will be helping them implement Pope John Paul II's "Theology of the Body" as well as Catholic therapist Dr. Joseph Nicolosi (http://www.josephnicolosi.com/) who pioneered many advances in Reparative Therapy.

This past week had been really rough. I wasn't surprised by Alan Chamber's statements and "apologies" but the finality of the Exodus decision hit me hard. That was followed by several emails from a former friend who is a gay activist and wanted to offer me "support."

I was crying out to God and feeling ALONE for the first time in a long time. I know that is silly. I know hundreds of guys on this same journey who have found healing and transformation through Jesus Christ and many who have benefited from Reparative Therapy, but last week I really felt isolated and cornered by the World. Anyway, this past weekend was a very refreshing time of prayer and worship. I would say this small organization has lived up to their name: they helped Restore MY Hope. ;)

Pax Christi,
Jeremy

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Trust, Open, Surrender?

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11
Even the hairs of your head are all numbered. - Luke 12:7 and Matthew 10:30
I know that we have all read opinions and political statements on Homosexuality and for almost every other issue of morality as well. For an individual Christian who experiences Same-Sex Attraction, the flood of arguments and opinions are daunting.  

I was raised Baptist, but started going to a "Gay Church" when I was in High School and off and on in my 20's. I wanted to believe what they taught about homosexuality, but knew that there were many who would disagree. 

I worried that if the traditional christian teaching was correct, than I had a challenge ahead of me. I had not yet been able to simply "Pray away the Gay" and I wasn't so sure that anyone else had either. 

I started to realized though that IF the "gay church" was correct, than that only meant that God didn't have a plan for my life at all. They provided arguments that the scriptural references regarding homosexuality were not concrete or relevant to modern understanding, but there was no evidence that this was some new kind of Vocation or that my life would have any positive meaning or purpose due to these new loopholes. (I'll write a separate post about those arguments and discuss each "side" another time)


For a while, I thought I could be truly "objective" and analyze each side's arguments from a purely academic perspective. I realized quickly though that it would take decades of rigorous study in Psychology, Theology, Hebrew, and Greek before I would even be able to make an educated guess about which "side" was right. (I'll wait to comment on Sola Scriptura another time)

There were times I aligned myself with each "side" and was welcomed warmly and joyfully. I have no doubt that everyone who is passionate about this issue (even those I disagree with) have positive intentions. I have also faced disappointment with individuals and organizations on both "sides."  No human being who has a perfect answer to make everything easy and simple. There are three very important questions though that we all choose to answer not just with Same-Sex Attraction, but with everything else in our lives:

  1. Do I TRUST that God has a detailed plan and purpose for my life?
  2. Am I OPEN to hearing what that is, even if it's not what I currently want it be?
  3. Am I willing to SURRENDER my own will, identity, and plans to accept His will for me?
Conscious or not, we choose to answer these every single day. For most of my life, I answered "NO!" Nowadays, I choose to answer "Yes" more frequently, but I still have a ways to go. These are very tough questions. If you think these are easy, then read them again.  

If however, you might be willing to answer "Yes" to all three (even for just one day), please pray with me right now:
Jesus,
I surrender to you today with all my heart and soul. Please come into my heart in a deeper way. I say, “Yes” to you today. I open all the secret places of my heart to you and say, “Come on in.” Jesus, you are the Lord of my whole life. I believe in you and receive you as my Lord and Savior. I hold nothing back.
Holy Spirit, bring me to a deeper conversion to the person of Jesus Christ. I surrender all to you: my will, my plans for the future, my relationships, my work, successes and failures. I release it and let it go because I trust that YOU have plans for me - plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future.
I surrender my understanding of how things ‘ought’ to be, my choices and my will. I surrender to you the promises I have kept and the promises I have failed to keep. I surrender my weaknesses and strengths to you. I surrender my emotions, my fears, my insecurities, my sexuality. I especially surrender _________ (Here mention other areas of surrender as the Holy Spirit reveals them to you.) Lord, I surrender my whole life to you, the past, the present, and the future. In sickness and in health, in life and in death, I belong to you.
Amen
As you know from the rest of my blog, I prayed this prayer after having lived in gay relationships for several years. At the time, I thought that all I wanted was for God to restore my relationship with Tim, my live-in partner who had left. It was very difficult for me to let go and trust God with the outcome of All three questions. I was most afraid that it might lead me... well... to exactly the path I am on today. The path hasn't been easy, but it has brought real happiness and fulfillment to my life. I have been happier the last three years than ever before in my life and it's gets even better every day. 

Pax Christi,
Jeremy
http://www.Joel225.org
Jeremy@Joel225.org

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Equally Confusing



I had to apologize to a few of my close friends earlier for losing my temper and making some uncharitable comments in response to their decisions to post the HRC's logo this week on their Facebook profiles in support of redefining Marriage

I explained that my disapproval was NOT about politics. I DO respect their variety of political views and of course the rights of everyone to express those views however they choose.

 
My own calling and mission the last two years has included affirming and encouraging healing for wounded men and women and leading them to the Lord (regardless of orientation). I host four ongoing groups of men in my living room. One of the groups is not related to homosexuality and the other three are for guys in different stages of recovery from homosexuality. I spend an hour or two every night on the phone with guys from all over and about 5 or 6 hours every Sunday. I get really tired sometimes of having to talk about that subject. It has been WORTH it though to be able to play a small part in seeing others heal.


Friday, January 18, 2013

"Let the Lower Lights be Burning"

"my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge." - Hosea 4:6

In 1871, a ship was approaching the harbor of Cleveland. The captain, noticing only one light as they drew near — that from the lighthouse —asked the pilot if he was quite sure that it was Cleveland harbor, as other lights should have been burning to illuminate the rocks along the harbor mouth. The pilot replied that he was quite sure it was Cleveland, whereupon the captain inquired:

'Where are the low­er lights to mark the shore?'

'Gone out, sir.'

'Can you make the har­bor?'

'We must, or we will per­ish, sir!'


And with a strong hand and a brave heart, the old pi­lot turned the wheel. But alas, in the dark­ness he missed the channel, and with a crash upon the rocks the boat was shiv­ered, and ma­ny lives were lost in a wat­ery grave.
 
As D.L. Moody related the news of this maritime disaster to his congregation, he made this appeal:
"The Mas­ter will take care of the great light-house: let us keep the low­er lights burn­ing!"
Among Moody’s hearers that evening was Mr. Philip P. Bliss, the well-known hymn writer, and the striking story at once suggested to him one of his most popular hymns: "Let the Lower Lights Be Burning."

This song is really powerful for me because so many of my friends and I wrecked our lives on the rocks (just like that ship) in part because the "Lower Lights" that should have been burning were forcefully extinguished in the name of "Tolerance." 

As I started to describe in my (1/8/2013) post "St. Joseph, the Navy Seal," the ministry and evangelism efforts that I've felt God has led me to over the past year has been all about frantically lighting "the lower lights." 


"You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father." - Matthew 5:14-16


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

St. Joseph, the original Navy Seal

I was struggling with a lot of anger this past week over a blogger who relentlessly attacks everyone I know. He uses every accusation he can find (no matter how ridiculous) and spreads rumors all over the place. He viciously attacks and mocks everyone who attempts to support those of us seeking emotional healing and reduction of SSA. His beliefs and approach seem identical to Wayne Besen's blog, but this guy claims to be a "Christian Professor" and people mistakenly believe he is on our side so they forward links to his blog all over the place. 

I feel some Shame though because I erupted in anger when someone emailed me with a link to his blog. I wasn't so much angry about his latest attacks (mocking my friends Arthur and Alan at JONAH), but I was furious that people think he still on our side and then use him as a source. I dropped a lot of really important things especially tasks for ministry work (providing encouragement and affirmation to my friends in need). I instead focused my energy on arguing with him (which was NOT on my to-do list for that day). Not only was it a waste of time, it was potentially counter-productive to the ministry work to the individuals that God has placed in my path.
"Man's anger does not accomplish God's righteousness" - James 1:20
 In our local Courage chapter, a therapist here in Dallas / Fort Worth has started leading us in a program he developed called "St. Joseph's Workshop."

This past week we had our first section and part of the process/discussion focused on the manly virtues demonstrated by St. Joseph during the events we commemorate in Christmas. Obviously as a foster-father to God, he had a lot of responsibility.


The part that stood out to me was in Matthew's gospel with the Flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:1-12). The discussion question was:
"What manly virtues did St. Joseph demonstrate in the 'Flgiht into Egypt' (Matt 2) and how does that relate to my life?"
I had never thought of it in terms of myself being in St. Joseph's place, but I realized what MY impulse would be if an angel appeared to me and told me that soldiers were coming to kill all of the children.  

My instinct as man would be to grab a sword and run out to try to STOP the soldiers - knowing that I'd probably die in the process, "but at least I did SOMETHING!"

I remember how I felt when I first heard of the CT school shooting and I cannot imagine what St. Joseph went through - being told AHEAD of time that something like that would happen and then be told he could not do anything to stop it. I cannot imagine having to just "RUN."

I seem to have an inclination to try to "fix what is wrong with the World" and I can easily get distracted by big political events and /or useless arguments about big political events. There is a part of me that just wants to "FIGHT the good fight" and even be a "martyr" for cause of justice. That's the raw emotional response in how I reacted to the blogger last week.

"There are many who would eagerly be martyred in front of the astonished gaze of thousands, but will not bear the pinpricks of daily life with a cheerful spirit, but think! Which is more heroic?"  - St. Josemaría Escrivá (founder of Opus Dei)
When I got asked last month to be on the Dr. Oz show (http://www.doctoroz.com/episode/gay-straight-controversial-therapy), at first I really wanted to go and argue for the truth, but God seemed to be telling me "NO."  I am glad that others were called to fight that fight, but it was clear that for one reason or another God didn't want ME to do this particular program.

In Matthew 2:1-12, St. Joseph was given very specific instructions to take Mary and the baby Jesus and RUN.  If he had acted in any other way or tried to handle things his OWN way (like I'm so inclined to do), he would not have fulfilled the mission God called him to do.



St. Joseph's mission in life was very much like a Navy Seal. He had to sneak past enemy lines and ignore the big explosions and fighting all around him. He had to stay the course, have courage and faith - AND focus on the one specific task he was given - even while it may have seemed like the enemy was winning big glorious battles right in front of him.

Since I came back into the Church and surrendered my life to Christ, there have been many occasions where the Holy Spirit has led me to specific people and places where I've had the privilege of participating in HIS harvest and seeing soul's revived and lives transformed (ONE at a time). Sometimes the mission is just to plant seeds, but I can still seem to tell when I have accomplished the mission and when I have NOT.

I have to learn to daily surrender to God's will and trust the Holy Spirit to lead me where I need to go. It's just really hard though to have to see the enemy win his seemingly spectacular battles (politics, the media, etc.) and knowing that I CAN'T fight those battles and can't fix the World in aggregate. Sometimes it is painful to obey and accept that I can't save everyone. It is hard to trust and let go of my OWN will. However, I know that staying focused on the "little things" and obeying his voice, keeps me rooted in HIM and through HIM my small efforts will bear fruit. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"Pray for her!"

I started to pray silently "Lord, bless her... I hope she has a great day..." Then the voice was a bit more direct:  "PRAY FOR HER!"

I felt awkward, but I tried to strike up a conversation by saying "hello." She said "hello" back but didn't say anything else. I thought "well, I tried.. That's all I can do." Finally I turned to her and asked directly if I could pray for her. Then I noticed that her eyes were watering.