Prophetic Word Over The Upstate of South Carolina

 

I hear the Lion of Judah roaring over the Upstate.

In time spent with the Lord recently, I could hear the Lion of Judah roaring over the Upstate of South Carolina. I could see with the eyes of my heart a huge, majestic lion standing atop of Table Rock belting out his authoritative roar throughout the region. His roar could be heard for miles!
I believe this is a declaration to the Upstate in 2018. The Lion of Judah is present in your current circumstance. 2017 was a hard year for some of us but in 2018 the Lion of Judah is presently presiding over you!


In His Roar

In His roar I heard His authority. Authority over this region. This year will be a year of fulfilled promise, for He has authority and He is roaring over the Upstate. Whatever it is you are believing for in 2018, take heart for His authority brings fulfillment to your promises!

In His roar I heard freedom to the captives. There is a move coming to the Upstate that will bring freedom to the captives, freedom to the bound. The roar of the Lion of Judah has caused the shackles to fall, prison doors to open, and hard hearts to be softened. Believing mothers be encouraged. Praying fathers be encouraged. They’re coming home! 
To the churches.. prepare the way! There is a move coming through the door of availability. Make yourselves available in 2018! When the Lion of Judah roars, all eternity makes way for the coming King. Upstate, I hear “Make way! Make way! The King is coming! The King is here!”

In His roar I heard endless praise. “May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of his suffering” shall be a banner over us. The Lamb that was slain and the Lion that roars is worthy. He is worthy of crazy, endless praise. He is worthy of Extravagant devotion. He is worthy of the crazies and the outcast. He is worthy! To those of you that feel different from normal Christianity.. To those of you that do not fit into church mediocrity.. To those of you who burn with an unending fire for the King.. To those of you who are longing for more..
GET READY! GET READY! GET READY! I SEE THE LORD PREPARING TO PARADE HIMSELF THROUGH OUR STREETS.

In His roar I heard a call for preparation. I could hear the longing of the Lord for us to prepare our hearts for a move of the Spirit in the Upstate of South Carolina. A different move from before.. A move to stay.. A move of habitation amongst those longing, hoping, and believing for more! This move will birth a unique tribe of people full of fire in their eyes, a consecrated tribe. This will be a people disgusted by what they once enjoyed, a people hungry for the Lord and the Lord alone. I see compromise and complacency being thrown to the side by the people who hear and recognize, obey and follow the roar of the Lion of Judah.


I pray that the Lord would open your eyes and ears to see and hear the Lion of Judah roaring over the Upstate this year. I declare that this region shall be a region wholly given over to the presence of the King.

Father, raise up a people who will lay down compromise and complacency in 2018 and forevermore. Raise up a people who will hunger for the more of you and will never settle in their pursuit for you.

May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of his suffering from the people of the Upstate!

Advertisements

Confessions of an Ex Drag Queen

     My story, as you’ll learn, has many parts and I went through many things to find wholeness and acceptance.  I was just like every other high school kid, looking for a future.  Looking for a place to fit in.  An identity to call mine.  I was in theatre and never fit in with other guys.  I never had many, if any guy friends, and the only sibling I had was making a life and family for himself.  For so long I felt alone due to being bullied and never really fitting in.  All of my closest friends were girls and my roll model was my mother.

      As my father was working all the time to give us the fluffy life style we lead, I was left with out a male role model and an example of love from a father.  Never having a male role model, I was never taught how to really be a man.  I began realizing that I felt more like a woman than a man.  I had always had girl best friends and I always just clicked better with them.  I began thinking, “Being a girl would help me fit in easier.”  I first began to talk to guys because I wanted a man to support me.  I just wanted love.  I wanted a guy to sit on the couch with and love and just be with.

Then I met him, my first boyfriend.  I then soon lost my virginity to him and began sleeping regularly.  Then after a heart wrenching break up, I was thrown into a life of sleeping with any guy I could find on a hook up app.  Any age from 30 to 56, I slept with them.  Guy after guy, I kept searching for that complete feeling.  During all of this I began dabbling in Drag.  The world of highlighter, rouge and contour.  I named myself “Velma.”  I slapped on my heels, pulled up my tights, and got a 42 DD breasted bra (Bra with boobs already in them).  I was hot and had plenty of game at the local gay bars.  Being from the suburbs of Atlanta, there were plenty of opportunities to preform and play around.

20771808_1403179533050715_1930647247_o

     I finally came to my last straw when I almost overdosed on cocaine and was scared for my own well-being.  Aside from the drag and the men, I was a drug dealer to support “Velma.”  My life was truly everywhere.  I got tired day after day putting on this fake façade just to make people happy and accept me.  I was tired of the men sleeping with me and then never talking to me again.  I was tired of feeling lost and worthless.  Even when I was “in love” with my boyfriend I was empty still.  I was chasing after the affection of a male and couldn’t get it filled.

     I then found a ministry school in Alabama that I had a relative attended, and I decided I was so desperate that I would try it.  The day before orientation, after my acceptance, I met a man that filled me up completely.  Jesus.  He filled my void and from that point on I went on a journey to find God and myself.

     Now, my freedom wasn’t an instant thing for me.  It was a process.  I had to find guys I could run with and find a guy I could trust to tell my worries, struggles and attractions to, and I did.  I finally started finding freedom.

     Some people may call it legalism, but when I truly fell in love with the one who called me His I didn’t want anything to stand in my way between Him and me.  I started cutting out shows and music that promoted guys sexually and stopped watching thing that had a gay connotation or “scene” in it.  I started seeing that when you put something in front of you, Jesus, everything else that you focused on before disappears (my broken sexuality). There truly is freedom for Homosexuals! It’s a process, but I’ve learned the best things are worth working for.


 

Blake is currently interning at The Ramp in Hamilton, AL under the
ministry of Karen 20786520_10209332053034002_305462898_nWheaton.  He serves in the inner healing ministry as well as the event assistant/product manager for the missions pastor.  In a year, he will be getting married to his beautiful fiancé, Anissa and then they will move to her hometown of San Antonio, Tx to be the full time youth pastor and head of the inner healing ministry.  The past three years have been such an incredible journey, but he is ready to see what God has in store for his future family.

Click here to read Blake’s blog, “Letting HER Go”

 

 

#LoveWins

When I first met Zachary in August of 2015, we were what you could say complete opposites. He was the over the top extrovert, very flamboyant, and made friends extremely quick. I, on the other hand, was much more reserved and had my select group of friends. However, something about Zachary intrigued me. He was attractive, passionate, on fire, full of joy, yet you could tell he was once gay and obviously still struggled. Because of this, I made it a goal of mine to make him my best friend.

Fast-forward to January 2016 where I began to develop feelings for Zachary. I noticed an incredible change in him. He was no longer walking around with his hips swaying better than mine, he no longer wore makeup, he no longer had hair that was hair sprayed so much that it absolutely would not move, and he no longer sipped his drink with his lips poked out, eyebrows raised and pinky up. For the first time Zachary looked, talked, and acted like a man and from that moment he caught my eye. I was terrified.

Could I really like a man who has never been with a woman? Could I really like a man who just recently had this amazing turn around? Was it true or will he leave and turn back? Could he really love me? These were the thoughts that flooded me for the first few weeks before I ever admitted my feelings. I was developing a huge crush on a man I was scared to trust. I decided to not fight and be open. I told all my friends how I felt and eventually told Zachary. To my surprise Zachary’s feelings were mutual and from that moment we have become inseparable. We refused to rush into a relationship, giving our past neither one of us needed to jump straight into anything anyway.

I did not know this would start the journey where my life was changed forever. For the first three months of our season of developing a true friendship before officially dating, I had many insecurities and selfish desires that I had to overcome. I had many times where I fought overwhelming thoughts and fears. Thoughts of “Are these guy friends he is beginning to accumulate really just friends or something more?”, “When he is texting and snapchatting his guy friends from home, are they just friends or are they really exes?”, “Why will he not hang out with men who were manlier than him? Why only feminine men or women?”. These thoughts and fears consumed me. I had selfish desires where I wanted him only with me and my friends so I would know then that he was not going back to his past. I wanted him to hang out only with guy friends that I trusted and approved of. I wanted him to post about me so the whole world would believe he was different. I wanted Zachary to fulfill a need of security in me that I did not look for in Jesus. I wanted Zachary to be my saving grace. His past was no longer the problem, I was.

After a while allowing these feelings to trap me in a wall of fear, I could not take it any longer. I decided to pray. If Zachary is who I needed to trust, I needed to hear it from Jesus. I ask God the real questions, I overloaded Him with all my thoughts, feelings, emotions, and fears. Finally, when I shut up, the Holy Spirit so sweetly and softly said “Bayleigh, Zachary is a gift that I have given to you. A gift for you, that will teach you how to love.” Peace flooded my heart and I knew in that moment, that though it may not always be easy, Zachary was the one whom my heart longed for. May 28th, 2016 we started dating and this began an intense journey of discovering what it looks like to truly love and how to fight for what you love.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
(1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

It grieves me that we see these verses in every Christian bookstore, on every cliché Christian painting and bookmark, and most American preachers throw them into their sermons when they need a time filler. These verses mean too much to me to just read them and move on. If these verses do not grip your heart, then you have never seen them the way Jesus taught them to me. These verses taught me to fight for Zachary’s heart and complete freedom.  

Love suffers long and is kind.

Long-suffering – having or showing patience in spite of troubles. (patient, open-minded, forgiving, uncomplaining, understanding)

Kind – having or showing a friendly, generous, and considerate nature. (compassionate, kindhearted, thoughtful, unselfish)

While Zachary was still in the process of walking into complete freedom, he had moments and days where freedom was not so easy to obtain. I had to fight for him. Zachary was never used to being open and talking about what troubled his heart. He never had a family where discussing his feelings were normal or understood. Zachary was used to keeping problems bottled up and pushed down. When he would have impure thoughts, degrading thoughts, or an overall bad day I had to be extremely aware of his personality change to even notice that something was wrong. It took time to learn and he hated when I eventually figured it out. But I had to be patient and understanding to his needs to be of any help.

The very beginning of this scripture says, “love suffers long and is kind”. There is no comma or period to separate the two. Long-suffering and kindness were written together, as one. I understand how challenging it can be when you are desiring an outcome but do not receive when it was expected. I desired for Zachary to never struggle again with homosexual thoughts, dreams, and tendencies, but it was a process that I had to be patient in the waiting. But you cannot be patient alone. I 100%, absolutely had to be kind, considerate, understanding, unselfish, and compassionate towards him. If I would have treated him poorly, I could have made it worse. No, being kind did not mean I was a push over. I stood my ground in my beliefs, but I fought for his freedom. Because he was gift to me, that I loved, valued, and cherished, I refused to let homosexuality be the thing that kept us apart.

Love does not envy.

Envy – a feeling a discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck. (jealousy, resentment, bitterness, discontent)

There were many times I could have told myself I had every right to give up, to be jealous of everyone else’s relationships that seemed to be perfect with no hiccups. I had every worldly right to. But love exceeds a worldly definition. I looked up definitions for the word love and nothing seemed to compare to how sweet and pure love truly is. This heavenly love is the kind of love that Jesus taught to me. It is the love that He poured into me that I could show to Zachary. I did not choose to be envious of other relationships. I did not get bitter or grow a resentment towards Zachary because he was consistently pursuing a life of freedom. I continued to choose to be confident in the words that Jesus spoke to me, which allowed me to be confident in the relationship I had with Zachary. Even if all odds were against us.

Love does not parade itself, is not puffed up.

Another version says, “Love is not boastful or arrogant.”

Boastful – Sowing excessive pride and self-satisfaction in one’s achievements, possessions, or abilities. (bragging, full of oneself)

Arrogant – having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities. (conceited, self-important)

One thing that I had to learn not to do is to never boast about Zachary’s accomplishments. To never put him on a high pedestal that was easy for him to fall off. Praising his accomplishments of course is a very beautiful and correct thing to do, but to hold them high above his reach, to seat him high above anything and everything else, was a set up for failure. Instead of holding his past accomplishments over his head when he does fail, I congratulate and then turn away and look for new accomplishments. I did not become conceited because he was figuring this thing out. I humbled myself as he found himself. I laid aside selfish ambitions so he could know who Zachary Holder truly is. I could see the unique call on his life, but I could not throw it in his face daily. I had to sit back and allow him to discover it on his own.

Love does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil.

This…this…this. This is so important. The minute you begin to have even the tiniest ill thought towards someone, everything will change. Your poor thoughts will develop into you being provoked or annoyed, irritated, or even angry with that person. Then once your provoked, you will view that person entirely different. You will begin to not think about their wellbeing, but being to seek your own. Once you become selfish and only seek what benefits you, you will begin to act rudely towards that person. Eventually that entire relationship will be over. BUT, if you love and love openly, then the moment an evil thought even tries to consume you, you can stop it. Why? Because perfect love cast out all fear. There is no evil thing in the sight of love.

Love does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in truth.

Iniquity – Immoral or grossly unfair behavior. (wickedness, sinfulness, immorality)

This was one of my favorite parts about Zachary’s walk to freedom because even though I did not rejoice in his iniquity, I was there for him. I held him when he cried, most times I cried with him. I was strong when he was broken. I was joy when he was in a midst of depression. I was love when he was in the dirt. But most importantly I was there to celebrate when truth broke through every lie that he ever believed. I found joy in his accomplishments with him. I was a smile. I was a hug. I held his hand when he felt dirty and I held his hand when he finally believed that he is truly pure and free.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

If this is not the perfect example of Jesus, then I do not know what is. This is the kind of love that Jesus taught me to love Zachary with. Regardless of if it hurts me, loving Zachary was worth it all. Why? Because regardless of what we do to Jesus, He loves us anyway. No, I would not ever agree with being in an abusive relationship, however Zachary’s walk to freedom sometimes left me hurt. But again, I had to be patient. I had to be kind. I had to believe in him regardless. I had to love him like Jesus and it was the best decision I have ever made.

Love never fails.

I never gave into wanting to quit. I made the tough decisions to fight. I fought for Zachary in the natural when family, friends, and strangers all said, “You are stupid.”, “He’s still gay.”, “You will not last, he is going to hurt you.”, “Give it a few years and he will be cheating on you with a man.” I could have easily allowed these comments to determine how our relationship would turn out. I stood up for him when it made me look like an idiot. I fought for him spiritually. I prayed for him every single day. I prayed for his mind, his friends, his heart. I prayed for his entire life to be shaken by the reality of the real man Jesus. I never once allowed my love for Zachary to fail. I choose to love him every single moment of every day.

Loving Zachary is one of the most fulfilling things I get to do. I married him June 24th, 2017 and I am honored to be his wife. I am honored to do this life with him. I am proud of his continuous and contagious desire to change lives. I would not trade loving him for anything.

– Bayleigh Holder

To Read Zach’s Freedom Journey Click Here!

In Your Present Reality..

 Image result for follow footsteps

We were riding down the roads of Easley, South Carolina with grief in our hearts. There was a heart wrenching silence in the car so loud you could hear the desperate thoughts going through our minds. Thoughts of why. Why has this happened to us? Thoughts of when. When will it end, Lord? You see, Bayleigh’s family had experienced a tragedy so painful you could feel it whilst looking into their eyes. We felt as if everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong. We were spent, having no more to give and couldn’t take anymore. I broke the silence with a simple question, “Bayleigh, what’s on your mind?” And she replied, “I want to escape but I know that I can’t.”

What do you do when your present reality doesn’t match your faithful expectations? What do you do when all you want is to escape but you can’t? This past month I have been face with these types of questions. Even more, I have been faced with a silent absence of answers. Without going into detail, Bayleigh’s family experienced two unexpected deaths of a husband and a wife; a mother and a father; a Papa and a Mimi. The experience of laying to rest the people we care for the most has blindsided a family full of joy, peace, and righteousness.

This past Thanksgiving, I planned to go home to my family and surprise them. I did so and I loved every moment of it. Then out of nowhere, my mother whom I love, started to shut me out again. We haven’t always had the best relationship. It hurts to know that she has been my mom since the day I was born, yet I do not know her favorite color, song, or even food. I want to escape this realty.

In the midst of all the pain and turmoil the Lord spoke to my broken and confused heart. Take a walk with me as I share with you the healing words of Jesus weighing on my heart this week.

I am reminded of last year amid personal turmoil. I was deeply struggling with same sex attraction. I would wake up with freedom on my mind, yet go to bed with porn in my search history. I would look in the mirror and be unsatisfied with the emptiness that I saw. I wanted to escape but I felt like I couldn’t.

Matthew 4:18-20
As he was walking by the shore of Lake Galilee, Jesus noticed two fishermen who were brothers. One was named Keefa (later called Peter, the rock), and the other was Andrew, his brother. Watching as they were casting their nets into the water, Jesus called out to them and said, “Come and follow me, and I will transform you into men who catch people for God.

Its hard for me to believe that Jesus would just pick any random group of guys to follow Him. For He once stated that He only does and says what He sees and hears the Father do. In other words, there was a reason Jesus chose Peter and Andrew to lay down their nets and follow Him forever. What if that reason was their need for an escape from their present reality? I can just imagine Peter and Andrew waking every morning and getting ready for work. As they prepare for the day, they read the Word of God but feel stuck; paralyzed by the fact that their present reality does not match that of the men who God walked with in scripture. Looking into the mirror and feeling unsatisfied with the way their lives are, these fishermen wanted to be a part of God’s global vocation of Israel. I can see them praying in desperation, “Lord, fix me! Do whatever you have to do to get me out of this endless cycle!” Just as narrated in Matthew 4:18-20, God answered their prayers in a way the never expected. Jesus was and still is the answer to the prayer of desperation. I can see Jesus working in and through the story of Peter and Andrew for He cared so much about the freedom and overall purpose of these fishermen. Know it to be true, He cares as much about your freedom and overall purpose. To prove the truth, I want to enlighten you of what Jesus was really doing in the narrative of Peter and Andrew.

  1. In your present reality, JESUS IS NEAR.

    “As he was walking by the shore of Lake Galilee,…”
    I question why he was on the shore in the first place? Surely the Son of God wouldn’t be aimlessly strolling down the beach, passing time. So, what in the world was Jesus doing? In Peter’s and Andrew’s present reality, he was near. Jesus was there on one of the many days that these brothers were waiting for hope to escape. In your present reality, JESUS IS NEAR. I know you feel alone. I know you are questioning where God dropped you off. Don’t lose hope for Jesus is in the background waiting. Waiting for the grace to rescue, for a gift without the right time is not valuable.

  2. In your present reality, JESUS SEES.

    “Jesus noticed two fishermen”
    Just like I mentioned, Jesus only does and says what He sees and hears the Father do. So, when Jesus noticed two fishermen it wasn’t just Jesus noticing two fishermen. This was the Father and all of heaven noticing two men longing for freedom and transformation. This was the Father creating a Kairos moment that would change the course of their history and ultimately the history of the world. The Father is a father who sees your mess and isn’t afraid of encountering it.

  3. In your present reality, JESUS KNOWS.

    “Watching as they were casting their nets into the water,”
    With every toss of the net Jesus knew. He knew they felt stuck. He knew they wanted to escape their struggle, their cycle. Not only did He know, He wasn’t afraid or disappointed by what He knew. The Lord knows where you are and He is not worried. He is more overjoyed than you would think. You see struggle, He sees future beauty. You see hopelessness, He sees opportunity.

  4. In your present reality, JESUS FREES YOU TO TRANSFORM YOU.

    “Come and follow me and I will transform you into men who catch people for God.”
    It is interesting to me that Jesus calls them to follow him before transformation began. It is against the Gospel to believe you must fix yourself before you can follow the lover of your soul. Jesus told Peter and Andrew to follow and He will transform them. Little did they know that the key to their freedom, the key to their escape is following Jesus. You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. Jesus said I am the way the TRUTH and the life. In other words, when you come to know, intimately know Jesus, transformation takes place in your life. Answering the call is what frees you, following is what transforms you.

    Hard to believe?

    “immediately they dropped their nets and left everything behind to follow..”
    Why was it so easy for these fishermen to leave everything they knew behind? Because they knew the escape from their present reality had walked down the shore and beckoned, “Come!”

What do you do when you feel like escaping your present reality?
TAKE A WALK, FOR IN YOUR WALK LIES TRANSFORMATION!

Losing Friends… for the Kingdom?

“He [Jesus] told me that if I couldn’t make a stand for my beliefs then I would never have effectiveness in the kingdom.”
A story of how God used “Straight Outta LGBT” to show Tiffany the importance of standing up for what she believes in. Great Read!!

Tiffany Channell

Life is full of seasons. Things are constantly changing. When a farmer begins to farm his land he knows that there is a natural process in which he will follow. He tills the land, plants seeds, has a harvest, and then there is a time where nothing happens (Genesis 8:22 ESV). So why was I so surprised to see this natural life principle applied in my Christian walk?

Hold on, I’m getting ahead of myself.

I’m Tiffany Channell… and I’ve been playing the fence on many issues in my everyday Christian life. A year ago, I began a journey that I didn’t honestly think I would be on today. I began my walk with the Lord. When I signed up for this shindig, I didn’t exactly understand the fullness of what it would cost me. I thought that I could maintain a mainstream stance as the understanding, accepting, “cool Christian”…

View original post 462 more words

My Thoughts on the Nice, France Tragedy.

pray for france

I sit here writing just hours after I heard the news of the terrorist attack in Nice, France. I just want to express the fact that my heart is so overwhelmed with brokenness over this world. Do we really have to live in fear of this happening virtually every month? On my way home tonight, I was reading the CNN report of what has happened. As I was reading I looked out the window and saw crowds of people, some of which I knew personally. Those groups of people were walking around at night playing Pokemon Go while 80+ people in France gave their innocent lives up to terrorism. My heart started to break even more because everyone is so caught up in drifting from fad to fad. I am not blaming anyone for the tragic event or trying to make anyone feel guilty for playing games. I just want to know, when are we going to get serious about the ownership of our lives? When are we going to stand up for what is right instead of falling the next big thing in culture? There are so many frustrated question running through my mind at this moment. I may not have all the answer to all of them but I do know we need change. I want to share with you how we can bring change together.

  1. Focus

What you focus on increases. Doug Addison recently said, “If you focus too much on the demonic, that is all you will see. People spend way too much time on looking for demons instead of God’s angels.” I agree with him completely. For the Bible even says, “Come close to God, and God will come close to you..” (James 4:8) the action coming close to God involves making Him you complete focus. So what happens if our focus is not completely on God but rather on all the evil in the world today? I believe when we focus completely on the darkness around us without God in the picture we come into agreement in our comments about the situation. “The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.”(Proverbs 18:21) What is your tongue agreeing with? Are you blessing your Nation with your opinions? Are you setting atmospheres by your words for God to work through or are your cursing opinion advancing the agenda of the spirit of ISIS? What you focus on increases and your focus determines your speech. But if that be true where is the healthy balance of bringing justice to a dark world while at the same time not focus on the darkness that we are trying to bring justice to?

  1. Prayer

Prayer is the perfect balance between focus and justice. Prayer changes situations. As a college student in a small town in Hamilton, there is nothing I can do for Nice, France except pray to the one who delivered me from the darkness that has taken over that city. You see the only reason I am living a life of freedom and intimacy with God is someone decided to pray for me. God heard their prayer and answered. I may never know who it is that is praying for me, except the truth the Jesus is interceding for me, but I do know that my life is being transformed daily. What if you were the only one praying for this world? Would there be so much darkness taking over? Jesus taught the disciples to pray like this, “..Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”(Matthew 6:10) First of all, if Jesus said this is the way to pray then He most certainly prayed this way. If Jesus prayed for God’s kingdom to come to earth how much more should we be praying for the same? Second, if Jesus had to pray for God’s kingdom to come to earth does that mean prayer determines the impact of God’s kingdom? In order to answer that mind boggling question we need to know what exactly God’s kingdom is. “For God’s kingdom does not consist of food and drink, but of righteousness, peace, and joy produced by the Holy Spirit.”(Romans 14:17) Are we seeing righteousness, peace, and joy produced by the Holy Spirit working in the world today? Are we seeing in it working in Nice, Paris at this very moment? This is why Jesus said to pray for the kingdom of God to come to the earth. The kingdom of God is righteousness. The kingdom of God is peace. The kingdom of God is joy. As stated in Romans 14:17 you might have to miss out on eating and drinking for the power of praying for the kingdom of God to invade the earth. Are you up for the invitation from Jesus? What if you were the only one praying?

 

  1. Justice

When your focus is right and your prayers are bringing the kingdom of God then justice becomes the norm of our world. So today and everyday, join me in focusing on what is right, in praying for the kingdom of God to come to earth, and let’s witness justice all around us. For America. For France. For the sake of the world we live in.

Jesus Helped Me Come Out..

TheOpenDoorJackJohnson395.png

Probably the hardest thing for me, as someone who has experienced a drastic life transformation, is properly communicating my passion for those around me who I see making a decision to allow God to change them from the inside out. Inherently, I want to help others speed up their process. My heart breaks to see people who are taking similar walks as mine with the same God yet no transformation is taking place. If you are someone who has decided to allow God to change you from the inside out in the area of homosexuality and/or same sex attraction and you are not seeing results similar to the ones I have experienced, I want to encourage you to make a shift in your pursuit.

It is perfectly okay to stop and evaluate where your life is going by the decisions you make and the beliefs you carry. When the Apollo spacecraft went up into space, there had to be course corrections made every ten minutes. In order words, they had to recalibrate their system to stay on the right path. The journey to the moon was made in a zigzag. When the spacecraft eventually landed, it just barely made it within a 500-mile designated landing zone by a few feet. Yet the whole flight was successful. Some times in our life we have to make course corrections because this life is a long journey. Our lives could easily get off course not because of intent but over time we might lose focus or allow a complacent belief to settle in our hearts. So I want to share with you a few “course corrections” that I have learned in my journey. Read these carefully and apply them if needed for every decision determines your destiny. Where are you going to end up in a year, five years, or at the end of your life journey with the decisions you are making today?

 1. Live a lifestyle of Holiness

If God has taking the time to pull you out of darkness and into His marvelous light, I believe the best response is to stay in the light. Think about the moment(s) where God collided with your life and everything changed. Did you get up from that place and begin a life that resembles change? Or Did you get up from that place and only allow the change made in your heart to stay in your heart?

Jesus returned to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish holy days. Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda, with five covered porches. Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches. One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?”
“I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.” Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!” Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking! But this miracle happened on the Sabbath, so the Jewish leaders objected. They said to the man who was cured, “You can’t work on the Sabbath! The law doesn’t allow you to carry that sleeping mat!” But he replied, “The man who healed me told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’”
“Who said such a thing as that?” they demanded. The man didn’t know, for Jesus had disappeared into the crowd. But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, “Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.” Then the man went and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had healed him. (John 5:1-15)

In John chapter 5, Jesus was talking to a man who was paralyzed for most of his life. He saw that the man desired to be healed. The paralytic man sat on his mat year after year watching other people walk into their destiny of wholeness and holiness. Yet this man, stayed where he was for no one would help him until Jesus came and changed his life forever. Jesus only spoke to this man three times. The last time he spoke to him was in the place of worship. This man had been made whole and he was in the place of worship pursue the one who transformed his. Little did he know, God was in the business of transforming not transformed. Jesus told him to pursue holiness because he had received wholeness.

It is not enough for us to only worship the Father for what He has done. Through a heart of pursuit, we must allow our wholeness to cultivate a life of holiness. For a whole person who lives a life of holiness will experience the transforming ways of God rather than only a transformed way of God.

I was shocked when I read the last part of what Jesus said, “or something worse may happen to you.” Be careful not to read the statements of Jesus with a mindset of religion. Jesus was not saying that God would cause something to happen to this man. Our God is God the Father not the God Father. If Jesus was to say this statement to us (and He is), this statement would be about our ultimate destiny. Our walk with God is not just our walk with God. Behind the scenes, God has combined our past with our future to orchestrate a present that will impact those around us. It was an honor for me to sit in front of a lesbian, tell her my story the one in “Straight Outta LGBT”, and to hear her response. She called me a liar. She couldn’t believe that I was gay before she met me. My past collided with my future and impacted her life in my present. What if I would have never allowed my wholeness to cultivate holiness in my life from the inside out? What if my outer demeanor did not match my story. Would she have called me a liar in a dishonorable way? Could she believe that I was straight after hearing my story and meeting the Zachary of today?

2. Follow Jesus daily.

“Now just as you have accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him. Let your roots grow down into Him and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught and you will overflow with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6)

The one thing I absolutely love about having a relationship with Jesus is the fact that I have a relationship with Jesus. Our relationship, like any other relationship, is a daily effort. There are times in my relationship with Bayleigh where both of our wills clash and a compromise has to form or a boundary has to be built. The same goes for my relationship with Jesus. I daily get the privilege to discover that my will and His will for my life clash. Relationship clashes are not entirely bad, for a clash is where intimacy is birthed. So follow Jesus daily and you will find out some things in your life, as did I, clash with the purpose of God on your life. Do not fret, for what He has laid behind your realtionship’s compromises or boundaries are better than what you are settling for without Him.

3. Come out

“I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:16-18)

The hardest part of living a life of holiness and daily following Jesus was the coming out part. When I came out of the closet as a homosexual my one fear was acceptance from those around me. Similar to that experience, when I made the decision to come out of coming out I was stricken with fear that my friends and classmates wouldn’t accept me. Allow me to explain, at this point in my life I was no longer a homosexual yet I was struggling with same sex attraction. My outer appearance or rather my demeanor did not translate that I had been set free. I dressed and performed in a way that seemed natural to me yet it wasn’t supernaturally driven. I’ve heard it said before, “Taking Israel out of Egypt was easy, but the problem was taking Egypt out of Israel.” That is exactly what was happening for me. God had pulled me out of darkness and into His marvelous light yet some darkness was still inside of me. Insecurity was still living on the inside, Fear of man was still there, and Godly masculinity had no part in my life. For the longest time I had a struggle with stepping into complete freedom of same sex attraction because my motives were wrong. Jesus showed me that to be motivated by acceptance of others is a fancy way to say, “I am fearful of man’s opinions.” A shift did not happen until I shifted my motive. As stated in 2 Corinthians 6, God gave me a promise of intimacy and that promise is what motivated me to come out. It wasn’t hard for me to change who I spent my time with because it would mean I could have more intimate time with Jesus. It wasn’t hard for me to change the way that I dressed and acted because I was given the opportunity to be clothe with righteousness, resembling the character of God. So I came out. I separated myself from the world and to God. I stop associating with unholy lifestyles. I did not do it to make my school, classmates, housemates, or pastors happy. I did it because I had a promise and I believed His dream.

Look at your promises.
What Egypt can keep you from coming out of darkness and going into light?

Jesus Did Not Tell Me To Be STRAIGHT.

A response to a few negative comments on “Straight Outta LGBT”

Click Here to Read “Straight Outta LGBT”

In my journey (from homosexuality, to same sex attraction, to freedom), Jesus never told me that I had to become straight in order to experience the kingdom of God. Of all the times He spoke to my situations He NEVER said, “If you do not start liking women right now, I will cut you off.” That is not the nature of a loving fatherly God. Yes He is a master and we are his servants but He is a wise master; a master at being Father. Unlike a lot of us Christ followers, God reveals who we can be over who we are rather than labeling who we are to scare us into being who we can be. For example, I was openly gay and it was obvious that a special sect of Christianity had a mandate from Superior Judgment to remind me of my sin in case I had forgotten on the way to Wal-Mart. Their tactic was to shame me into freedom. Like most of the LGBT today, I was far from desiring what they were preaching at me. One day the true Jesus revealed to me specific truths about my life. I am talking about the Jesus of the Bible. I am not talking about church. I am not talking about religion. I am not talking about a pastor’s voice that I labeled Jesus to convince you that there is a real Jesus. I. Am. Talking. About. Jesus. Eyes like fire. Hair like wool. Voice of many waters. Jesus. Allow me to stop right there and apologize to anyone who has read my recent blog post “Straight Outta LGBT” for any misunderstanding. In the post I never said “I have been cured… LGBT needs my cure… Gays are disgusting… the church made me change… a pastor convinced me to be straight… etc.” I want to take this time to try my best to explain further what my journey is.

Jesus told me to live a life of holiness and wholeness.

Life as a Christian must resemble holiness and wholeness for it to be a valid Christian life. Holy- to be set apart, different from the world, or even better, to be like God; godly. In culture today Christianity is a hated subject. So it would be ludicrous for me to say “I am a gay Christian” allow me to explain. One of the main topics flooding the world of culture is Gay Rights and the LGBT. For me to be holy I have to be set apart from the world and set apart for God. How can I be set apart for God if I am in the world through the LGBT?

If I am to be in an intimate ongoing healthy relationship with Jesus my life will start to transform from brokenness into wholeness. When Paul said whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved he used a word in the Greek that doesn’t translate properly in English. The Greek word for save is sozo meaning to deliver out of danger into safety, to keep safe and sound, to make well. When Jesus came to me I asked him to save me. I didn’t know it in that moment, but I asked the Son of the God of the Universe to deliver me out of the danger that I was in and into the safety of an intimate holy, whole relationship with Him. Through that relationship He made me well.

Jesus did not tell me that homosexuality was wrong.

Read very closely, I am not a heretic. The bible specifically says that it is. Yet Jesus told me something deeper. He told me God’s peace, joy, and righteousness is better. I took Him up on that offer and my desire in letting my story be known to the world was not an attempt to bash the LGBT. My intent is to show others that what happened for me could happen for you. It would be stupid of me to sit here and not share why I have changed (overtime through relationship with Jesus). I do not ever want to discredit someone from having an experience with Jesus.

He is not calling you to be straight.

Although for my critics, I am not saying He’s okay with a homosexual lifestyle. He is calling you to be holy and whole. His peace, joy, and righteousness wrapped in perfect love is what can deliver you out of danger that you cannot see and into safety with the One that you have access to see. For the pure in heart, those who are holy and whole, will see God. How do you become pure in heart? Allow Jesus to make you holy and whole.

Last note, I mentioned a scripture from Romans 10:13. In the original Greek it reads, “Whoever indeed, that anyhow shall call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”…. if you are reading this and it spoke to your heart, I want you to listen to my heart. Yes, God sees your sin. Yes, we all know sin separates us from God but because of love He was never separated from pursuing you. I did not pursue Jesus and change instantly. I wasn’t even searching out from my life to change. Jesus came to me revealed His love to me and I made a decision to follow Him. I asked Him to save me and He did. It was His daily love for me that transformed me. He began a process with me that I am still in because we’re in a relationship. You too can have what I have. All you have to do is call on the One who pursues you, Jesus. Ask him to save you. Whoever, anyhow, shall call to Jesus WILL be saved.

Sometimes all it takes is to simply say “Jesus” to start new.

Life of Fire

be437d2b738b8318635cfceb6644f68e

It is my deepest desire to live a life consumed by the fire of God.

I live in a culture (The Ramp) where virtually everyone is burning with love for Jesus. At times I catch myself wanting the passion that I see displayed all around me.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I am even awestruck by Bible verses that give language to what I am seeing:

Do no put out the Spirit’s fire ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:19 (ISV)

Let your light shine (burn) before people ~ Matthew 5:16

For “our God is an all-consuming fire.” ~ Hebrews 12:29

It is he who will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. ~ Matthew 3:11

 

This is what I want to experience on a daily basis and because of Jesus I have access to the fire of God. It is my intent to wake up every morning and passionately pursue the heart of God. Why His heart? Because the heart of God is on fire. When I am close to His heart my heart is set on fire for the one whose fiery heart is for me. Like Moses, I want to experience the fire that calls me to a higher purpose. Like Isaiah, I want to encounter the fire that qualifies me. When I am in a dark season of my life, I want the fire of God to lead me to the sunrise of a new day like the Pillar of Fire over the Israelites. I am hungry for the fire that filled the upper room and empowered 120 followers of Jesus to turn the world upside down. But most of all, I never want to go a day without being eye to eye with the One who has eyes like fire. His eyes are full of passionate love waiting to consume our hearts and capture our gaze. If you know my story you that when I looked into His eyes for the very first time all other lovers burned away through the fire of His passion. All of my struggles vanished and all doubts and questions were silenced under the One. He not only burned away my past with one look in His eyes, He set my heart ablaze for His Gospel. I am a burning one consumed by the all consuming one. Every day He has my gaze and every day I want to seek after the Fire.

Seek First…