Showing posts with label Faith. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Faith. Show all posts

Friday, January 30, 2015

The Harvest is Plentiful


"The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few." - Luke 10:2

I'm exciting about the ministry work that God has called us to in Joel 2:25. We have been reaching wounded hearts in 104 countries over the past year and seen lives transformed by unconditional love. There is still so much work to be done though. The Harvest is plentiful, but the workers (and resources) are few. 

While there are no paid staff, we have significant costs including video-conferencing, publishing, webhosting, training, and eventually we hope to provide sponsorships for those unable to pay for conferences and retreats.

Based on very conservative estimates (3%), there are at least


217 Million who struggle with Same-Sex Attraction




Many churches refuse to talk with them.  

Others tell them lies.




They are by far the largest DELIBERATELY un-reached people group in the World.





Pax Christi,
Jeremy Schwab
Founder & Executive Director
Joel 2:25 International, Inc.
http://www.Joel225.org
Like us on Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/Joel225International







Joel 2:25 International, Inc. was incorporated in the state of Texas on November 26, 2013 and is a non-profit organization governed by a Board of Directors and operating under section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code. All donations to Joel 2:25 International, Inc. are tax deductive.  EIN: 46-4342662

Friday, January 9, 2015

TLC's new reality show “My Husband’s Not Gay.”

Several of my friends are in this. (Actually, I think I know everyone on the show.)
http://nypost.com/2015/01/05/these-women-married-men-who-like-men-and-theyre-all-ok-with-it/

I'm thankful for the courage and bravery of my friends Curtis & Tera, Prett &MeganTy, Jeff & Tanya and others from NorthStar and Joel 2:25 who have been willing to share their testimonies with many of us for several years and now in a very public way. We may have differences in theology, but I have always been proud of their faith and courage to live authentically and now their willingness to share their stories, especially with the backlash they face.

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

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The KEYS


If you have Catholic friends on Facebook, you may have seen this image posted on Thursday after Pope Benedict XVI retired and the Office of St. Peter, the Apostle became Vacant (Sede Vacate). The most unique part of this emblem is the Umbrella which symbolizes the temporary vacancy. The Keys are part of all Papal emblems. 

For now though, I'd like to talk about the Christ's beautiful gift of the "Keys" and what these represent for our faith. When something is first mentioned in the Bible, the meaning of it remains the same throughout the rest of the Bible. The "Keys" are a beautiful demonstration of this:
"In that day I will call my servant Eli′akim the son of Hilki′ah, and I will clothe him with your robe and will commit your authority to his hand; I will place on his shoulder the KEY to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I will drive him like a peg into a firm place" - Isaiah 22:21-23
"And I tell you, you are Peter[Kepha], and on this rock[Kepha] I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the KEYS of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” - Matthew 16:18-19
"Who has the KEY of David, who opens and no one shall shut, who shuts and no one opens." - Revelation 3:7

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Most Encouraging and Unexpected Shout-Out

Ok, I fear this will sound prideful, but this was actually a very humbling experience for me this morning. This caught me off guard this morning and was totally unexpected. It made me cry at the moment and then I went numb to it, but I just listened to it again on the Podcast and started crying again. It's definitely the most encouraging thing anyone has ever said to me.

My friend John is the pastor of this new church "Normandy." I went to his service after Mass this morning and he preached on the "Parable of the Sower" (Mark 4:1-20). At the end he pointed to me and referenced my SSA ministry work and the Joel 2:25 M.A.N.S. group I started a while back. He said:
“Jeremy, you are a 30, 60, 100 fold guy. Bro, it is unbelievable. What you have done is unbelievable bro. You are more fruitful than I could ever hope to believe in. I am so proud of you. I can’t even stand it. You are good man. You are a godly man. Bro, I am so proud of you. I’d get into a foxhole with you any day of the week.” 
Here is a link to the audio: http://www.normandychurch.com/sermons/ (February 10th Parable of the Sower - 54:00 mark)

Right before that he had played an audio recording of a story of a simple man in Australia that led tons of people to Christ through street evangelism, but never knew until two weeks before his death that any of them had received his message. That story starts at the 44:00 mark. At the 54:00 mark John talked about wanting to reap a harvest of "30, 60, 100 fold." Then he pointed to me and his comments (54:25 - ) are what blew me away. The entire sermon is awesome as well as all of his other sermons (not just this part that I'm narcissistically pointing out) ;)

Pax Christi,
Jeremy

Monday, January 28, 2013

“He did not study God; he was dazzled by him.”


If you have not yet seen Les Misérables, what are you waiting for?


I haven't seen a live performance of the musical so I can't compare it directly, but I love the book! Victor Hugo's epic is filled with demonstrations of Christ's transformational grace and this new film carried it well. I saw it a few weeks ago and started weeping at the end. It's absolutely amazing :)

This is one of my favorite paragraphs in the book (after Jean Valjean is dragged in my by the police and the Bishop gives him MORE than he originally stole)
“'Do not forget, do not ever forget, that you have promised me to use the money to make yourself an honest man.'Valjean, who did not recall having made any promise, was silent. The bishop had spoken the words slowly and deliberately. He concluded with a solemn emphasis:

'Jean Valjean, my brother, you no longer belong to what is evil but to what is good. I have bought your soul to save it from black thoughts and the spirit of perdition, and I give it to God.'”

 Here is that full scene from the 1998 movie with Liam Neeson and Peter Vaughan




I'm not half the man that Jean Valjean became, but I've experienced the transformational power of  Christ's grace. He has transformed my life in the same radical way. I can also relate to having someone follow you around singing ♫♫"Men like you can never change!" ♫♫  ;)

Pax Christi,
Jeremy


P.S.: Here are some other great quotes from the book: 
"The pupil dilates in darkness and in the end finds light, just as the soul dilates in misfortune and in the end finds God.”  

“...But listen, there will be more joy in heaven over the tears of a repentant sinner than over the white robes of a hundred just men.” 

“Not seeing people permits us to imagine them with every perfection.” 


“For there are many great deeds done in the small struggles of life.”  

“God knows better than we do what we need.” 

“He who despairs is wrong.” 

“We need those who pray constantly to compensate for those who do not pray at all.”  

“There are things stronger than the strongest man...”

“...Man lives by affirmation even more than he does by bread.” 

“The delight we inspire in others has this enchanting peculiarity that, far from being diminished like every other reflection, it returns to us more radiant than ever.” 

“To destroy abuses is not enough; Habits must also be changed. The windmill has gone, but the wind is still there." - old man G--- to Monseigneur Bienvenu Myriel

― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

"Come Back to God"

I just ran across this awesome video and wanted to share it. It's a message from the Patriarch of Alexandria (Egypt) leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church titled: "Come back to God." It's an awesome message and really interesting from an Arab-Christian perspective.

 

I found it on (4/25) when I was looking for a video about the Feast Day of St. Mark, the evangelist, apostle, and author of the shortest Gospel. As you may already know, the patriarch of Alexandria (Pope Shenouda III) is considered the "successor of St. Mark" just as the bishop of Rome (Pope Benedict XVI) is the "successor of St. Peter."  St. Mark brought Christianity to Alexandria in 48 A.D. and was martyred there in 68 A.D.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Opps! - Scriptural Miscommunication ;)

This is actually pretty funny. My friend sent me a text message just now to encourage me. What he actually wrote was:   
"I am praying (eph 1:17) over you."
Since he didn't capitalize the "e" on "eph" and because of the blurry screen on my cracked phone the "(" looked like a "Z" at first glance so I thought he was saying "ZEPHANIAH 1:17-18." I just didn't look very closely and went straight to my Bible and read:
"because you have sinned against the Lord, your blood shall be poured out as dust and your flesh as the dung."- ZEPHANIAH 1:17
At first I thought, "WOW!  Telling him about my past wasn't such a good idea after all" :) A few minutes later though, I realized that he meant EPHESIANS (of course) and that verse (1:17) says:  
"I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better."-EPHESIANS 1:17
I'm glad to know it was a miscommunication. ;)
Pax Christi,
Jeremy