Showing posts with label Love. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Love. 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

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Missionary Spirit of Radical Love

I love this quote from Archbishop Cordileone's speech. It embodies the missionary spirit of radical Love that we all must strive for.  - Jeremy
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"To my fellow believers in Jesus Christ I would call our attention to those first generations of Christians in the city of Rome, who were so often scapegoated by the powerful pagan Roman government. 

But when a plague would strike the city and the well-to-do fled to the hills for safety until the plague subsided, it was the Christians who stayed behind to care for the sick, at great risk to thei
r own health and very lives. And not just the Christian sick: all the sick, regardless of religion, of how they lived their lives, or even what they thought of the Christians themselves. 


The historian Eusebius noted about the Christians of his time:

'All day long some of them tended to the dying and to their burial, countless numbers with no one to care for them. Others gathered together from all parts of the city a multitude of those withered from famine and distributed bread to them all.'
Likewise, the Emperor Julian complained to one of his pagan priests,

 '[They] support not only their poor, but ours as well.'
It is this kind of love and compassion in the service of truth, especially the truth of the human person, that has marked the lives of the holy ones of our own faith tradition and others as well: hospitals, orphanages, schools, outreach to the poor and destitute – giving without concern for getting anything in return, seeing in each human being, especially in the poor and destitute, a priceless child beloved by God, whom God calls to turn away from sin and toward Him, so that they might be saved." 

- Archbishop Cordileone of San Francisco - address to the March for Marriage (6/19/2014)


Full Text available here:
http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Blog/3201/abp_cordileones_speech_at_the_march_for_marriage_full_text.aspx

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

Monday, February 25, 2013

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

Monday, September 10, 2012

Learning to (really) LOVE - a slow process for me

I got an email last week from a guy who seemed at first like he just wanted to argue with me. I ended talking with on the phone and after a few minutes I really wanted to hang up. He was throwing out arguments about "gay love" and gay-marriage etc.

In the past, I would have struggled with wanting to believe those arguments. Now, they just make me angry. I guess a lot of that anger comes from my own emotional wounding. It's difficult to separate that though and not unleash that on someone else. 


I also get frustrated because I really want to show compassion, but I also believe in Absolutes and absolute truth. It is not compassion to withhold important Truths and/or to endorse someone's destruction based on political correctness. To me, when a friend says that they are "happy" about their newest "gay relationship" it is the same as a heroin addict telling me that they are "happy" that they got their latest "fix."  What am I supposed to say? "That's great! I'm happy for you?"  I am saddened and worried for them.

I started asking him more pointed questions and guide the conversation toward his core emotions and wounds. He resisted at first, but more and more he started opening up and expressing his anger, then sadness, and grief. He was in a gay relationship that just ended last week (the day he decided to contact me). He was still holding out hope that the illusion of "gay love" was real and he seemed really angry at me for insisting that it does NOT exist and that homosexuality destroys love

I didn't let go of my position or assent to his, but I resisted the urge to argue as well. I just kept asking questions about HIM and HIS feelings and encouraged him to focus on that for now ("and we can talk about religion and politics later"). 

Without arguing, I found a few opportunities to gently point out that what I was hearing him say was that he wanted real love. He grew up in a Christian home and even briefly visited a local ex-gay ministry.

I pointed out to him that REAL love from our mutual religious background is described in 1 Corinthians 13 as:  
"patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, it is not proud. does not dishonor others, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs,does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

I couldn't restrain myself from blurting out though that these adjectives are the POLAR opposite of every gay relationship I ever saw in 12 years. Not because the individuals were bad, but the relationship themselves were based on each person's emotional disorder. 

I prayed and fasted for him (and myself) for two days. I listened to his anger and ranting;
while praying and restraining my own reactions. I wanted to show him REAL LOVE and avoid judgement. I have no room to judge anyone. I was in the same trap for 12 years. I just want him to see the truth and avoid making the same mistakes I made. 

After two days of hearing his anger (which seemed directed at me at first, but then seemed to lessen), he went to grief and sadness. 
He texted me saying:  
"I really just need to cry." 
I called him and encouraged him to go into that grief (something he usually tries to avoid).


He seemed to get a lot better the next day. He said he has decided that he really wants his relationship to God to be more important, but said he wasn't sure if he was ready to let go of his "need" for a romantic relationship with a guy. He seemed to be really aware that his boyfriend's "love" was the polar opposite of 1 Corinthians 13

On Sunday night two JiM brothers invited me to meet them at a restaurant near here. After describing this situation to them, I texted him and invited him to join us. I had explained to him about Journey into Manhood and the groups I lead on Sunday afternoons called M.A.N.S. meetings (Masculinity, Authenticity, Need Fulfillment, and Surrender), but I think he forgot that I had said these were JiM bros.

After they left, he said it was the first time he has "felt comfortable relating to a group of straight guys.” He had no idea that they were SSA. (I thought it was funny that they jammed his Gaydar). He seemed amazed when I explained that they friends from JiM. He seems to be really grasping the concept that real change and growth is possible.

Please keep my friend in your prayers. Also, please pray that I will learn to show REAL love and compassion to others without judging them, but also being authentic with objective Truth. I still have a lot of learning and growth ahead of me before I can be a good instrument for conveying God's love.

Pax Christi,
Jeremy

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Awesome text meesage - just now

A few weeks ago, I met a guy through a friend in my bible study group who had just recently decided to turn his life over to Christ and leave the gay lifestyle. It was 3 days after our Texas Journey into Manhood weekend in Houston and the program won't be offered here again for another year. I knew it would be one of the best ways for him to get started on the journey and I was praying for a way for him to go. I discovered I had just enough airline miles to get a plane ticket for him to go to the JiM weekend in Florida. I dropped him off at the airport Friday morning and had been praying for him all weekend.

I texted him just now to ask how his weekend went. I got this text back a few seconds later:  

Friday, January 7, 2011

What is Love?

Below is an email I sent to a friend. The analysis of Romeo and Juliet was first brought to my attention in a book by Mario Bergner called Setting Love in Order, a book that I would highly recommend. It is a short, quick read, but really powerful.
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I think it is pretty enlightening when we measure our own thoughts, motives, and actions against God's description of Love in 1 Cor 13. It is rare that we live up to this, but I've noticed when I was in the lifestyle that I was constantly doing things that were the exactly the opposite and yet calling it "love."

"4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes. Love never ends.1 Corinthians 13:4-8

The last sentence drives home an important point. There is a song I used to listen to in high school that went “It must have been Love, but it's over now...” Unfortunately it really epitomizes the pathetic and erroneous view I used to have that Love was an emotion or feeling that can come and go or can be conditional. I just googled the lyrics to that song. It goes:
“It must have been love, but it's over now
It must have been good, but I lost it somehow
It must have been love, but it's over now
From the moment we touched till the time had run out”