Thursday, April 24, 2014

Yes...I'm still around!!

I'm still around but have been pretty silent this past year.

It's been a year of transitions and with that comes a time to reflect on the nature of things!  (that sounds environmental, but I'm thinking more in lines with the spiritual environment!)

This past year I transitioned from para-Church Ministry to an Associate Pastor position.  It has been a great time of learning and expanding but also a time of deconstruction.  I feel very much like God has been doing a renovation inside me as I've stepped into this new role.

There are several areas under renovations and I think I'll be writing more about that in the months to come.

Originally I was thinking I might shut down this blog but I re-thought that decision today because the importance of a JOURNEY OUT is even more significant than ever.  In a culture that is trying to manipulate and re-direct the 'Church', it's crucial that we hold firm to the belief that God is in the renovation business.  "He takes what is used, masked and well hidden, binds every cord and nail deeply driven!"*  God comes in and makes something new out of our false ideas, identities and transforms us.

Let me stop right right here and qualify: TO BE MADE NEW does not mean we NEVER STRUGGLE with the things we identified with.  I think the idea to struggle with something means that we have not found freedom.  Our struggle is made beautiful in the full work of Jesus on the cross.  To many this is foolishness, but to those who believe it means sacrifice.  It means we have entered into a glorious relationship with Jesus where we begin to be erased of importance and the GLORY of our GOD becomes the utterly more significant than our lives.  As our 'self' shrinks we begin to see through the eyes of Christ, those around us to whom we are called to serve, encourage and spur on toward the finish line!  We begin to see that every choice I make or don't make has  consequences not just to me but it also affects my brother and sister.  This is the little yeast...spoils the whole batch...(Gal 5:9) and 1 Cor 12:26 when one part suffers we all suffer.

We matter to God and so every part of our lives matter.  As I have been meditating on this I keep getting an image of a wedding dress, representing the whole picture of the body of Christ.  Not just an individual but all of us.  I see it brilliant and white, but then a small dirty spot appears and then another, and another and soon the dress looks shabby and old and ugly.  (corpse bride) When we conscript to the idea that it's okay to be a Christian and identify falsely, we begin to see our identity as more important than the whole body.  Legitimizing our sinful nature to appease our feelings and living or lives based on feelings rather than the word of God is a slippery slope! . 
(some examples)
Jeremiah 17:9 - The heart is deceitful above all things and is exceedingly corrupt. Who can know it?
Proverbs 14:12 - There is a way that seems right to man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.


Romans 10:17 - Faith comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Faith does not come by feelings or by praying for emotional experiences.

"But Kenny," you say,  "that's just not fair!  That means I might be alone the rest of my life.  What your saying is that I don't matter?" 

On the matter and the way you live matters.  I know full well this struggle and for years I prayed and pleaded with God to take away my same sex attraction.  After 20 years of struggling I came out and identified myself with my feelings.  I boldly proclaimed that I was born gay and I could be proud of this identity.  The truth is, I didn't just one day turn a switch, but it was a gradual process of beginning to put my trust in my feelings, and that took me to the place of describing myself as gay.  That identity slowly encapsulated my whole being.  It took me from just describing myself as gay to fully embracing a sexuality that liberated me from a sense of being alone.

Years later, after a profound encounter with God, I knew I mattered, but I knew that HIS TRUTH mattered more.  I understood that I could very well struggle the rest of my life with same sex attractions..why would I think otherwise.  God's not a magician...waving a magic wand around, I had made choices in my life that solidified memories and unless I got amnesia I had to make peace with that!  My peace is that I'm not identified by my old nature.  Though I may struggle, my definition  of who I am does not go contrary to the word of God and who He says I am.  When I am in doubt I go to the word of God...rather than to others who may well affirm my feelings and doubts.  I go to others who will affirm the word of God and the truth that sets me free.

We are called to do this in all areas of our lives.  How many of us as we go through longings that are unfulfilled to our liking take an easier route or detour?  Or we put up a false identity of who we aren't just to appease those around us? (particularly others in the Church) 
When we begin to doubt God's faithfulness, or His we keep this hidden and inwardly struggle?  Or can we openly dialogue with another person...maybe someone whose been there...who can speak TRUTH to our doubt!  Kind of like Thomas with Jesus...Thomas needed to put his fingers in the holes of Jesus' hands and feet to believe.  Sometimes we need to hear the truth in tangible ways to enliven our faith and spur us to continue to walk the path set before us. 

I am deeply thankful for the men and women who continue to speak particular those who continue to walk with the shadowy struggle of same sex attraction, who know that this doesn't define them, rather, it's a place of deep dependence on Jesus who points to a Father who perfectly defines them...and in this place live a life abundantly full!


Sarah-Jane Melnychuk said...

Thanks Kenny for sharing this timely word. I really needed this word. This past year I found myself starting to go down that slippery slop so to speak. That was one of the main reasons why I took a step back from my involvement with LW's (one of a few reasons)and why I hadn't been blogging myself.

The last few weeks especially I've been re-visiting all that God has done for me through my LW's experience, and through the positive experiences I've had with Exodus... I guess you could say that for me it was a season of wrestling with God like Jacob had. Sometimes we just have to wrestle and hold onto our blessing and identity in Christ as if our entire life depends on it and maybe it does. And somehow or rather we get back up and we're left with a mark in our life and in our heart. I'm so glad that God is so willing to engage with us in times where we do wrestle with Him and that He holds onto us as we take hold of Him until we finally come to know who we truly are and who we were created to be.

I'm so glad you have decided to keep on blogging here because I don't think I'm the only one who's encouraged every single time you post something. God speed to you and your family! :)

kenny said...

Oh Sarah-Jane...I love you sister and God in the midst of our struggles and seasons that we find ourselves contending in is FAITHFUL. Even if you don't feel that...begin to proclaim that. We aren't called to believe in something because we feel it...we are called to believe in something because it's the truth. God never loses site of us, nor is he unwilling to engage with Him. That is often the other way around. May the Lord give you encouragement today dear sister. You are loved, cherished and accepted!