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Category >> Homosexuality

I Am Changed

With the recent revelation from Bruce Jenner, I felt compelled to set some things, well, straight (pun intended). The gay identity was one I never wanted…and it dawned on me one day that I should seek my Maker as to what His intentions were for my identity. My plan was to choose what He called right over what my feelings - and what the world - called right. I chose Truth over comfort and momentary pleasure and found freedom form my old way of thinking. In the process, I found a heterosexual identity! Thinking people in a world where a man could say he was born a man but was truly a woman on the inside - and be celebrated for it - one would think a man who did not want a gay identity and found a way to a heterosexual identity would be welcomed…tolerated, but I have not found the world too open about anything other than ‘what feels good is right.’ Choosing righteousness over license is, in this current culture, not to be tolerated. Enough about that. People often ask me if I am still tempted with same sex attraction. When I tell them that I still understand that temptation but it no longer has power over me their reaction is often, “Then how can you say you’re changed? Nothing’s different if you are still tempted.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Honestly, I had no choice in determining what would tempt me, but that in no way negates my ability to choose how I would respond to that temptation! In fact, even Jesus did not get to choose what He was tempted by - and He was tempted in EVERY manner just as we are, yet without sin! We are either always creatures of choice or never creatures of choice. Our humanity has a conscience which gives us the power to choose. If we could not choose, every man would be a rapist. Every person would be obese. Every person would walk in constant anger. Every person would be hopelessly self-focused and full of pride. We always have a choice as to how we respond to a given situation. It just so happens that having a relationship with Christ gives us the power to overcome those temptations and to choose wisely much more easily than in our human strength! If temptation defined us then we would succumb to the statement that ‘this is just who I am so I might as well give in and BE whatever my deepest feeling suggests I am.’ Temptation does not equal identity. I did not get to choose what I was tempted by. It was just there. But it was never intended to define me. Even without Jesus, I always had the choice as to how I would respond to any given temptation, be it sexual or otherwise. Always. It was only when I allowed the temptation to define me that I began to walk in failure and allow it to control me - control my life. I recall the look and sound and feel of temptation in that area - am reminded of it in the media and in the culture on a daily basis (does every TV show or movie have a same sex story line these days? Pretty much). It’s in my face. But that ‘recalling’ in no way defines who I am. Temptation is a joy. What do I mean? When temptation comes my way in ANY area that could lead me to sin, I simply ask the Holy Spirit ‘what is it, Lord?’ My reason is simple. The enemy - the Liar, Satan - desires my downfall. Temptation is intended to lead me to that destruction. I turn to God because the temptation has become my signal that God is up to something. Why else would the enemy be after me in a certain area if not to quell the work of God in my life? So much time has now passed since I identified as gay that is is actually difficult for me to believe I was ever that way. Of course, the Liar does not want me to forget so he continues to try and trip me up in key ways…not usually of a sexual nature, either. He attacks me in the areas of my continuing vulnerability. My sense of security or my sense of being needed or my sense of the need of affirmation - all of which are now daily met in knowing Jesus. I am now so secure that I do not fear vulnerability, nor do I fear for my security, nor do I fear that others might not think my life significant. Temptation has been relegated to use for the Kingdom purposes in my life. When it occurs, I do not allow it to determine my direction. In the moment of being tempted, temptation is now like a fly that occasionally tries to light on the meal of God’s presence in my life. I shoo the pest away with the Word and continue to enjoy the feast of God’s amazingly abundant presence in my life…whether I receive threats and hate from the LGBT community (and I do) or not. The temptation to fear harm is handled in the same way as sexual temptation. “What is it, Father? Your son, Dennis, waits on You…and while I wait, I will apply Your Word to my existence, bathing my being in being with you.” People can say I am not changed if I still understand temptation in my life, but for the doubters, here is a brief list off the top of my head of exactly what has changed since coming to faith in Jesus Christ: My belief system. I once believed I was born gay…until I was born again. I no longer believe I was ever born ‘that way’. My mind. I was transformed by the renewing of my mind. My sexual preference. I used to be sexually aroused only by men. The sexual needs of my life are now met only by my wife…and I crave her body, by the way… My outlook on life. I once was depressed and self-serving. I now look toward Jesus and lay my life down for the King and for the Kingdom. I. Am. Changed. Period. Dennis Jernigan Hear the song I AM CHANGED at https://soundcloud.com/singoverme/i-am-changed-from-the-film I Am Changed WORDS & MUSIC: Dennis Jernigan ©2014 Shepherd’s Heart Music, Inc. www.dennisjernigan.com Verse Some call me a fool For daring to say I’ve changed But if that makes me a fool, I wouldn’t trade what I’ve found for anything I’m changed Some call me a dreamer For daring to walk away From my old way of thinking My old identity now passed away I’m changed Chorus Changed from who I thought I was Changed by pure redeeming love Changed from death to life And freed from every chain Changed from old identity Freed from lies and freed to be who my Father says I am He calls me changed I am changed! Verse Some call me a hater for daring to disagree Come to my own conclusion of who my Father says I am called to be I’m changed Some call me disillusioned Some call it a mental break But let there be no confusion I am fully aware Fully awake And I’m changed Chorus Changed from who I thought I was Changed by pure redeeming love Changed from death to life And freed from every chain Changed from old identity Freed from lies and freed to be who my Father says I am He calls me changed I am changed! To learn more about Dennis Jernigan and his story, you can purchase his autobiography, Sing Over Me, at http://dennisjernigan.com/store/product.php?c=26&p=3527 or watch the documentary, Sing Over Me. The DVD is available at http://dennisjernigan.com/store/product.php?c=22&p=3572

Film Screening in Los Angeles - TONIGHT!

To everyone in the Los Angeles area, there is a FREE screening of the film, SING OVER ME, The Dennis Jernigan Documentary, tonight! Go to http://la.ourwitness.com/…/free-screening-of-sing-over-me-…/ for details!

The Christmas Dream

The new children's book will ship the week of December 8th to all who pre-order it! PLEASE help me get the word out. This book really is an amazing way to introduce your children and grandchildren to their need for Christ. Pre-order at http://dennisjernigan.com/store/product.php?c=26&p=3597 or http://dennisjernigan.com/store/product.php?c=26&p=3599

Consider Becoming a DJ Insider

Here is a sample of the daily devotions you will receive by becoming a DJ Insider: Jesus is King, but not just king. He is King of KINGS! That means He rules and reigns over everything! If we are who He says we are then we, too, rule and reign over everything that comes against us! Let us walk - live, think, and breathe - like servants of the most high King! Let us choose wisely. Let us care deeply. Let us love freely. Let us change the atmosphere of any place we find ourselves by simply believing we are who He says we are! And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” Revelation 19:16 NASB This devotion is from the daily devotion series DJ Insiders receive each and every day via email. If you are ministered to by these devotional thoughts, consider becoming a DJ Insider. For info, go to http://www.dennisjernigan.com/djinsider

A Song for Parents - Be My Child

Exodus Update and Prayer Request

The following letter is from my friend and brother in Christ, Alan Chambers. Alan is president of Exodus International. I thought some of you might be interested in his letter... Blessings, DJ Dear Exodus Family, I am not sure what life is like for each of you, your families and ministries in this season but if it is anything like what we are experiencing in Orlando then you are in need of some help! It isn't unusual for us to come under attack during the height of conference planning and our response is always the same: PRAY! Today has been nearly overwhelming for me personally as my longtime hero, Dawson McAllister, caved to pressure from Clear Channel Communications to cut ties with Exodus. For those of you who don't know much about my personal story, Dawson led me (personally) to Exodus 20 years ago. Dawson was grieved over the full frontal assault by gay activists that led to his board cutting ties (for now, he said) but he cut ties nonetheless. Sadly, the kids who call into his show for help with their ssa struggles will be met with silence. It's a dark day in the Church when we cave in on what we know to be true. The story of Jennifer Knapp came out this week, too, taking a devastating toll on so many who will look to her as a Christian icon and consider that her way is the right way. And then there are the everyday stories--the parents praying for their kids, families ravaged after a father leaves his family for another man...you name it. It's discouraging and overwhelming. We know the end of the story, though. God will be glorified and the King of Kings will return for His spotless Bride. WE WIN. Until then we must pray. When we have nothing else we have something better than anything else---our relationship with the Creator of the Universe who is never caught off guard or discouraged. All of this to say, would you consider joining the Exodus International staff in a daily prayer time? We pray ever day, M-TH at 9am sharp. While it is not possible for all of you to call in, we can simply agree together in spirit. If you would commit to praying with us each morning at 9am EST that would be amazing. Pray for your fellow leaders, your ministry, the upcoming Freedom, Leadership and Love Won Out conferences, Jennifer Knapp, Dawson, the 155 million people involved throughout the world in homosexuality, the EGA ministries worldwide, the upcoming EXLA Conference in Costa Rica, and whatever else the Lord brings to mind. It is time for this movement to unite in prayer for a world in need of the Savior. Amen? I look forward to hearing your, "Yes, I will pray with you, Alan!" All for the Kingdom. Alan Alan Chambers President Exodus International www.exodusinternational.org www.exodusyouth.net www.exodusbooks.org PH: 407.599.6872 FX: 407.599.0011 amc@ExodusInternational.org

Amputation Versus Restoration

Jesus did not amputate. He restored. He entered again into a synagogue; and a man was there whose hand was withered. They were watching Him {to see} if He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. He *said to the man with the withered hand, "Get up and come forward!" And He *said to them, "Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill?" But they kept silent. After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He *said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored. Mark 3:1-5 NASB But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him {be the} first to throw a stone at her."…Straightening up, Jesus said to her, "Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more." John 8:7b; John 8:10-11 NASB What About Love? Because of the nature of my story – redemption from homosexuality – I hear from many people who struggle with same sex attractions…and from their spouses and from their family members who reel in the aftermath of such a devastating revelation…and many who reel in shock at the lack of restoration offered by the body of Christ – or should I say NOT offered? Shouldn’t the body of Christ be the first place sin-wracked people can turn to for help – regardless of the particulars of that sin? And let me add this before I go on. Homosexual sin is no different than lying, or stealing, or adultery, or any other sin. Sin is sin…but when sin is confronted shouldn’t it be born out of love for the individual rather than contempt for them? When I was a boy around the age of ten years old, I already knew I struggled with same sex attraction. I often heard loud and clear from the pulpit how I was headed for hellfire and could plan on burning for eternity. Imagine my horror the day I overheard the men who taught me Sunday School – the men who I grew up seeing as just below God in stature…the men whose image, in many ways, was like that of God in a little boy’s mind – began to discuss homosexuals. To hear their disgust and disdain led me to believe this was what the Lord thought of me as well. And, whether you like to admit it or not, this is the common response of the church. Is it any wonder I had to go outside of the organized church to find someone who would love me like Jesus…someone who would love me right where I was yet willing to not leave me there? My rescuer told me he did not know all the answers to my particular dilemma. He simply knew THE Answer – Jesus. He went on to tell me that he was willing to walk with me toward Jesus for as long as it took. He promised to help me up when I fell down (some tend to kick the wounded while they are down). He offered his shoulder to cry on when the pain grew unbearable (some tend to turn a cold shoulder to the sinful person). He simply was there…through the mess…for the long haul. His lovingkindness was an extension of God’s lovingkindness…and it led me right to repentance. And by the way, that friend has kept his word for over 29 years…while more believers than I care to even consider through those same years have rejected me even in my repentant state… I am sad to say that more often than not, the church does not respond with that kind of love. More often than not, I hear from the former staff member whose sin was exposed…who was simply cut off. I hear from the spouses and from the children of the fallen whom the church has abandoned in far too many cases. I hear from those who struggle with SSA (doctors, lawyers, businessmen/women, coaches, dads, moms, teenagers) who tell me they will never darken the door of a church again because of the rejection they have suffered. It seems the church would rather amputate than get involved in the messiness of restoration and healing. And trust me. Loving me back to Jesus was a messy, messy process…but one of the greatest treasures of my life. Thank God there was one willing to walk outside the lines of religion and lead me to the freedom found in real, transforming relationship. In simple terms, if you had an infection in one of your hands, you would go to the doctor and come up with a plan to help facilitate healing, right? But what if, when you went to that doctor, you were met with disgust and without any hesitation he simply cut off your hand and discarded it? Let’s make it a little more personal. Since the Word tells us we are part of the body of Christ, what if YOU were that same sick hand (the one found to be in sin) and your infection was exposed to the doctor and without as much as a single offer of antibiotics or surgery or cleansing you were simply cut off and cast aside? How would that feel? How would the world outside see the doctor’s response? In the body of Christ, we are more apt to amputate and pretend everything is OK for the rest of us while leaving a sin-ravaged soul (often one of our own!) to wither up and die. The world sees this lack of love and quickly writes off the church. Is it any wonder the world mocks us the way they do? I was once invited to minister at a large church…but before I was allowed to step onto the platform I was grilled by a large group of elders and was confronted by the pastor with the words, “We do not have THAT problem here (meaning homosexuality) and we would rather you not mention your testimony.” In shock, I somehow gathered my wits about me and responded, telling the leadership that if I shared my story even briefly they would not have enough people to minister to all those who would respond (you see, I know how the church world thinks. People always tend to subconsciously think homosexuality is worse than anything else…so I knew that even if no homosexuals were there that my honesty would give courage to others in various sins to confess in honesty). I shared my story the next morning in the service. There were not enough people to minister to all who responded…and this was a HUGE church. One does not have to have come from a life of homosexuality to lead someone else out. Building a relationship with a homosexual will not cause homosexuality to rub off on you! I have nine children and I am all for protecting my children – and for that purpose have established boundaries with those I minister to. Melinda and I have had numerous people live with us through the years and many more find comfort and answers to their predicaments as we shared Christ with them in tangible, practical ways. Some had AIDS. Some struggled with lesbianism. Some struggled with drug abuse. Some were ravaged by such deep wounds that they felt nothing at all emotionally, while still others battled constant depression. We are not professional counselors…but we have had our lives forever altered by THE Counselor, Jesus Christ…and can offer a cup of cold water in His name, if nothing else. Love that is not expressed IS NOT LOVE. Where the rubber meets the road is where one life that has been touched by Jesus reaches out and touches another with that same mercy, care, forgiveness, grace, and love. It is the nature of sin to cause us to become self-focused. When I was bound up in SSA everything was about ME. No one could understand ME. No one knew how things felt to ME. It takes a patient person – one who has had patience extended to him or her – to recognize this reality and keep extended grace and mercy until the sin-soaked person has their eyes opened to the depth of their selfishness and finally looks to Jesus. ANY sin leads to that kind of self-focus. I have a very dear friend I’ll call Tony. Tony grew up without Jesus. His dad was in prison at one time. Tony ran with a rough crowd and knew how to fight and how to party. He was addicted to cocaine for over 17 years…and then met Jesus. Tony was so rough around the edges when I met him that no one would really give him the time of day because he exasperated them with his feistiness. He frustrated most of the Christian men he was now becoming associated with to the point of these godly men throwing up their hands and giving up on Tony. I got to know him when he found himself in the hospital and nearly died from complications…and no one went to see him except me. When I asked him who all had come by to check on him and pray with him, he said, “No one. You’re the only one.” When I approached another man in our church about this his reply was, “You can’t reason with Tony. He’s hard headed. I can’t deal with him anymore.” It was then that the Lord showed me what Tony was up to. His whole life any time he had come in contact with Christians who expressed love verbally but they never backed it up with action. My perception was that he was pushing against other believers he perceived had given up on him so he could prove his point…that Christians talk about love but don’t really love in action. And Tony was right. Gently, yet convincingly, the Holy Spirit reminded me that I had once been in Tony’s shoes. So I set out to prove Tony wrong. Picture this: I am a musician who is all about emotional responses. Tony is a biker-dude who could crush me with one finger. Yet the Lord had put us together in an eternal bond. It has been 5 years since our friendship began…and Tony still walks with Jesus and has allowed the Lord to sand off so many of those rough edges it is difficult for me to remember just how rough he used to be. Even though we no longer attend the same church together, we still walk in relationship…because that is what God has called us to do. Tony pushed the Christian’s buttons expecting them to reject him…and they never let him down. Homosexuals, addicts, sin-focused individuals of any kind can tend to expect that can of response. We are the believers. Let’s expect them to act selfishly from time to time…to act like sinners…but let’s not reject them. Jesus didn’t. He loved them enough to go to the cross for every one of them…and that would include us, too... It took me seven years to actually tell other believers I had been set free from SSA. Even as I was about to share publicly for the first time, two very dear friends told me I was about to make a monumental mistake…that I would lose my ministry altogether. I chose to obey God rather than listen to the ‘wisdom’ of men. My reasoning? God commanded me to ‘say so’ (Psalm 107:1-2), not to sit around piously hoping everyone would know I had been redeemed. If we who have been redeemed do not declare what we have been redeemed from, how can those in the same bondage know there’s a way out? How can they have hope? Jesus loved me RIGHT WHERE I WAS IN MY SIN…but loved me enough to not leave me there. My belief is that this should be the attitude of every believer as well…toward every person they meet…regardless of their particular sin. I am seeing glimpses of hope in the body of Christ, though, so do not think I am being overly critical. I’m simply trying to be a squeaky wheel here so hurting people can get some of the oil of God’s healing balm (as ministered by His body). Recently, I received an email telling me of a prominent pastor who had been arrested for soliciting sex from a male undercover police officer. Normally, that individual would be cut off immediately and the church would wash their hands of the man and his family and summarily go about their business as if they had just experienced a blip on the radar screen of their church. I lost count a long time ago of such stories I have had personal experience with…so I know this is true. But in this case, the pastor was relieved of his duties…yet confronted with love. Rather than kicking him and, subsequently, his family to the curb, they set up a ministry team to deal specifically with this individual. They established a fund to help support this man and his family. They secured ongoing counseling for him and his wife and his children. They secured a 30 day live-in treatment program for this man…and have ultimately rallied the body together much as the white blood cells rally around an infection and eradicate it rather than performing a perfunctory amputation! Amazing! Simply amazing! Let me give you one more example of restoration and love that I find truly refreshing and which flies in the face of conventional church wisdom. I know of a church that is attended by a lesbian couple. Rather than asking the couple to leave the church, the pastor had the wisdom and grace to meet with them privately and begin building a relationship with them. The couple was astounded that he would meet with them and equally astounded by his love and acceptance. Their question? “Are we still welcome here now that you know we believe this is who we are?” His response. “Of course you are welcome.” His only requirement was that since they were walking in behavior that is contrary to God’s Word they could not serve in any leadership role be that teaching or singing in the choir. Other than that, they were welcome to sit and learn and be part of the body. I can hear the gears turning in your head right now. “What about Matthew 18?” meaning, “Why don’t we treat them like sinners since they won’t repent?” meaning “They need to be removed from our holy presence!” But is that how Jesus treated sinners? Let’s look honestly at Matthew 18. "If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. "But if he does not listen {to you,} take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. "If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Matthew 18:15-17 NASB First step: confront the offending party in private. If he listens, great! If not… Second step: If he doesn’t listen, take one or two more with you so there will be witnesses of exactly what took place. I believe this is for everyone’s benefit. Honesty keeps the lies of the Enemy at bay. If he listens, great! If not… Third step: Tell the church – not so every one can judge and condemn…but so everyone can see the new mission field…and put on love. If he still does not listen… Fourth step: Treat them as a sinner…and just how did Jesus treat Gentiles and tax collectors? Oh yeah. I hate to break this to you but HE HUNG OUT WITH THEM! Jesus was about building relationships with unbelievers. Shouldn’t that be what we are about? We are called to be salt and light. Both of those identities are to be couched in LOVE. Salt has a cleansing affect. It is a preservative. Could you love someone while still believing they were walking in sin? Has one of your children ever disobeyed you? Did you stop loving them as a result? No. You loved and applied the holy pressure of love seasoned with the salt of God’s truth. Light pierces the darkness. How can we bring light to an individual if we cast them out of our presence into deeper darkness? For God so loved the world that He gave…He did not cast the sinner away from his presence. He took each sinner’s sin upon Himself and laid down His life…for every soul that ever came to life on this planet. We are His ambassadors. How can we practically lay down our lives for others? My final word? I do not have all the answers. I just know THE Answer…and I want to do as He did. There is a famous quote in Christian circles attributed to St. Francis of Assisi – even though he never actually said it (the concept is evident in his teachings). “Preach the Gospel, if necessary use words.” I grew up in the church and heard men preach all the time about how homosexuals were going to hell. Period. The lack of love and the lack of hope declared in these hellfire and brimstone sermons left me devoid of anything but eternal damnation to look forward to. Even though I have no regrets about the things I experienced (I know it was all part of God’s extremely loving plan for my redemption and ability to understand His grace), what would my life have been like had I not only heard the reality of the consequences of my sin…but have SEEN the evidence that those who preached so vehemently about my sin turn around and love me in spite of it? It is due to those memories from my childhood and the feelings of hopelessness that I have come to the conclusion that my actions are at least as important as my words (if not more so). Building a loving relationship with a sinner is like investing in a bank. After enough investment we have the right to make withdrawals. It was someone investing in my life by their loving action that helped lead me to repentance of my sin. I will do the same. How does your life currently preach to those around you? Would you make a conscious effort to preach the love of God with your life today? Will you amputate or restore? Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. Johan 15:13 NASB

I Am Yours - available now!

All DJinsiders...got the NewSong I AM YOURS posted at dennisjernigan.com for Insiders! Lyrics, Song History, Lead Sheet, Song mp3, and track mp3!

Worship and Ministry Tonight!

February 1, 2010 9 PM CST Worship from the Living Room Watch and listen live as Dennis leads worship from his living room! To join in worship visit http://www.livestream.com/dennisjernigantv.

Check out this version of 'You Are My All in All': http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=name&id=507304776#/video/video.php?v=520441555361&ref=mf

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