Washed and Waiting by Wesley Hill is an incredibly powerful, challenging, and brave story of a real guy that loves Jesus yet wrestles with homosexuality and rather than choose to embrace and indulge his homosexuality has chosen celibacy as his “cross to bear.” It is a truly awesome testimony of what it means to Live Weak, take up your cross, and follow Jesus. It’s also an incredibly eye opening look at how difficult it is for a real person with same sex attractions to live out their faith in a Christ honoring manner.
For the Christian struggling with same sex attractions, other sexual sin, or really any temptation or “thorn in the flesh” this book is for you!
Porn is rewiring your brain and your body! It’s jacking you up BAD and you probably don’t even realize it. The 7,884th reason you should stop watching it. That and the fact that it cost the blood of an innocent man to pay for every glance taken.
WARNING!! This a totally secular video but if you’re already watching porn nothing in this will offend you.
Sometimes I wonder if it would be easier to die on a cross than it is to die to myself. Not to belittle in anyway the brutality Jesus endured for us on the cross but sometimes it seems like it would be a lot easier for me to take up my cross and follow Jesus if somebody would just nail me to it. The sad fact is that I don’t really have a problem taking up my cross, I have a huge problem with laying it down. Denying myself, taking up my cross and following Jesus (Luke 9:23) is way too often traded in for indulging myself, crawling off my cross, and following my own selfish desires. Bottom line, I love Jesus with all my heart and I follow after him as hard as I can but I’m just not very good at it. The key is to not beat myself up for a week when I lay my cross down but confess my sin, climb back up on my cross as quickly as I can, and try again.
I doubt very seriously anybody is going to nail any of us to our crosses any time soon so we’re going to have to get better at getting back in the saddle every time we fall off. For that to happen takes a strength much greater than we have so we must daily not only take up our cross but also learn to live weak by daily recognizing our weakness, choosing to trust in God’s grace, and absolutely depending on God’s strength and not our own. We still have to climb back on but we are not alone, and never without help.
The air conditioner at my office was out of whack last week and it was hotter than the nether regions of the heavenly realms. Ok, that may be the dumbest thing I’ve ever said but at the very least its better than saying: “H – E – double hockey sticks!” Either way my office was a ding dang oven and I was sweating like, well…. ME at an etiquette seminar. I wasn’t getting much done other than a ton of complaining so I decided to let the twitter/facebook world know how much I was suffering and posted the following: “3rd day with no a/c in my office! I’m cooking like George Foreman in here!” To which I promptly received the following comment from my buddy Seth Hardage who went to India with me last month:
“Good thing you have recently had some experience with no air conditioning!”
Now, I know Seth meant it as a joke but for me it was a slap in the face waking me up to how quickly I have forgotten how good I really have it and how little I really have to complain about compared to the people I met in India. In Case you didn’t know India is the hottest place on planet earth! Its has the humidity of Houston combined with the heat of Arizona and almost nobody has air conditioning. Most of them live in little thatch huts, grow their own food, and do the best they can to take care of the ones they love with hardly any resources. Every single one of them is still there living with that ridiculous heat and lack of resources and here I am with a full belly, my a/c (at home) is set on 72, my kids are safe, and I know where my next 50 meals are coming from and yet I’m still griping. Don’t misunderstand me, I am still deeply effected by my experience in India and in many ways my life will never be the same but it just makes me want to puke to see how quickly I can get sucked back into thinking I have any reason to gripe about petty things when Powan (4 year old railway kid) is still over there alone, hungry, homeless, and hot. So from now on I’m going to do my best to be thankful for what I have, use what I have to help others, and do my best to stop griping! Who’s with me??
This has been one of the most jacked up years ever! My ministry schedule was basically empty for most of the Spring and I only had 2 camps booked for this summer – down from a normal 6 or 7. For a long time I tried to blame this on “today’s wintry economic climate” because it was easier than admitting that God was trying to get my attention. Somewhere around March I quit being so ding dang hard headed and accepted the fact that I couldn’t continue to blame the economy for my empty schedule because if God’s hand was still on my ministry then the economy wouldn’t matter. So I started practicing what I preach and started digging into the Word – searching- seeking- praying- trying to wrap my head around what it was God was trying to teach me. Over time I begin to realize that at least part of what God was trying to teach me was humility. Which is not a fun lesson to learn especially the 2nd, 3rd, or 29th time! Anyway I got it in my head that if I just humbled myself and let people know that my schedule was empty then God would open the heavens, the phone would start ringing, and everything would get back to normal. So I made a video titled “Runks Summer 2k9 plan B”, emailed it to a bunch of Student Ministers, and waited to see what happened. Here’s the video I sent out……
As you can probably imagine, it generated a lot of response, just not the response I was looking for. I got lots of positive feedback, encouragement, and funny emails but no bookings. What really surprised me was how many of my friends called to see if I was OK. It caught me off guard because at the time I was honestly just trying to make a funny video, humble myself, and do what I thought God was leading me to do but when I look at it now I can see the reasons for their concern. I can hear the desperation in my voice and see the fear in my eyes. I have a tendency to be glass half-empty guy. I don’t like it. I’d pay money not to be that way but because of the abuse in my past when things get bad I tend to freak out and think the world is coming to an end. I know that’s crazy but sometimes that’s my reality and that’s exactly what was going on when I made that video. I still think the video is funny and have no doubt that I was being obedient to God when I sent it out but at the time I was literally freaking out. I was so worried that my days as an evangelist were over and that God was done with me. I know that’s pretty extreme but I’m just being honest.
The crazy thing is, that stupid video turned out to be the catalyst God used to turn things around. My plan B turned out to be a stepping stone to get me to God’s plan A. Out of nowhere, God dropped the opportunity of a lifetime in my lap. A friend of mine, that saw the video, called and asked me to pray about going on a two week mission trip to India in July! I told him I’d pray about it but I knew from the second he called that this was part of God’s plan for me. The day after that a former student of mine from my Youth Minister days who is an internet marketing Guru offered to help me come up with a new marketing strategy, redesign my website, and start this blog. I thought for a while that I was supposed to write a book this summer but I think this is taking the place of that for now. I can already tell that this blog is going to be good for me and hopefully offer some hope and help to others. Then through a series of crazy events, God made it clear that I needed to leave the agency that had done my booking for 5 years and go back to doing my own booking. Nothing against the agency, I just wanted to get back to a ministry based approached where we discuss, dream, and plan for ministry before money, contracts, and all that junk ever come up. This is where lesson number 2 came in: Re-learning to trust God for everything. Once again, God has reminded me that I cannot depend on my talent, my gifts, or a big shot booking agency to make this ministry a success. I’ve simply got to put my trust in Him and not in myself. I’ve learned this before but somewhere along the way I got wrapped up in ME and forgot about it.
And then I went to Super Summer Arkansas. An event that could have easily been an ego trip deluxe but I went there broken and humbled with a renewed trust in God as my provider and it proved to be one of the most humbling experiences of my life. Every compliment I received, every student that was saved, every life that was changed – rather than stroking my ego brought me to my knees. The entire time I was there I kept pinching myself because I just could not and cannot believe that God was letting me speak at such an awesome event. A young youth minister friend of mine that knows my situation bought every one of my meals at the time-honored tradition of late night dining after worship at youth camp. It was so humbling for him to do that for me but also an absolutely incredible blessing! And then on Wednesday afternoon of that week, I booked the first event I’ve booked myself in 5 years. We shared ideas, dreamed dreams and made a plan for what is going to be an awesome event. Afterwards, I went outside, called my wife, and wept like a baby. I kept saying over and over, “Its not over. Its not over. Its not over! God is not done with us. He’s got more for us to do.” That may seem silly to some but I can’t tell you how awesome it is to know and believe again that God is not finished with me – that He has more for me to do.
Its been a crazy year and an even crazier summer but there is light at the end of the tunnel. I wouldn’t want to go through it again but I wouldn’t trade for what God has done in my life. My schedule is still a little thin but God is meeting our needs and I’m not worried about it anymore. I’m just going to stay focused on being broken, humble, and faithful and do whatever I can to meet the needs of every hurting teenager God places in front of me.
I’ll leave with you with the words of a rap from Will Smith which oddly enough seems to fit here:
“I got my X-ray vision through all in my way. No Plan B, it distracts from Plan A.”
No more plan B for me. I’ll stick to God’s Plan A. Its safer there and a lot more fun.
I have been working my tail off around the house here lately! Since I am gone so much in the summer I have a ton of yard stuff to catch up on!! The last few days I have been planting trees…. I have planted 71 trees in the last three days! We are planting a wind break almost all the way around our 2 acres. If you are not from west Texas, a wind break is a row of trees that blocks the wind because there is absolutely nothing between us and Alaska but a barbed wire fence up around Amarillo! It has been really cool for me to do something like this because rarely in what I do are there tangible results. It is difficult to look back and see something I can put my finger on that is the result of my efforts. I think this is especially true for ministers because we don’t build anything or sell anything – we work with people’s lives. When I was a youth minister, at least I got to see someone follow through on a decision and grow deeper in their relationship with Jesus. But now, I blow in , speak and leave. I get to see what God does initially but none of the long term results. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love what I do. I am blown away every day that God allows me to do this ministry but sometimes I would like to see something tangible that is a result of my work. And I guess that is why I am so pumped about at stupid row of 71 trees!! I go out there at least twice a day and look at them. I feel like an idiot because I know there is not going to be any difference in the trees from the last time I looked at them 20 minutes ago. But I keep going out there hoping that they will be, maybe, a little bit bigger.
Here is a pic of Elli & Nick and the trees I know it sounds silly but God had taught me several things from this stupid row of trees. He has been reminding me that growth is a process and it takes time, alot of time! I can’t expect those trees to be 20 feet tall over night and neither can I expect myself to be a spiritual giant overnight. Just as it takes a tree a long time to grow to maturity, it also takes us as Christians a long time to grow to maturity. It takes years for us become what God intended for us to be when He saved us. We must not become frustrated or over anxious to be a “super” Christian overnight. We must be patient and seek God every step of the way and depend on Him to take us through the process of growing towards spiritual maturity. Just like I have a responsibity to water, fertilize, and prune my trees, we have a responibility to spend time in God’s Word in study, meditation, and prayer BUT it is God who causes the growth. I can’t make my trees grow but I can do my part to give them the best chance to grow fast and reach maturity. And the same thing is true in our relationship with Jesus – we can’t make growth happen but we can do our part to put ourselves in the best postion for God to make a continuing difference in our lives. Which is what he does best! So I am gonna try and do the same thing with my life that I have to do with my trees. I am gonna hang out with Jesus, spend time in the word and sit back and see what God Does!!!
God bless ya, Runks
How was that for a pastoral newsletter article! I just read it and I feel like Pastor Runks from Po dunk Country Church! LOL!!!