Please visit my newly designed website.
www.christopheryuan.com
It's also optimized for iPhone/iPad! God bless you!



              What many would consider their worst nightmare has become a reality for Christopher Yuan. While attending dental school, he began living promiscuously as a homosexual and experimenting with illicit drugs. Within a few years, he was expelled from dental school, imprisoned for drug dealing and discovered that he was HIV positive.

              But God has turned his nightmare into an exciting and inspiring story of redemption, grace and transformation. Christopher has an understanding heart for and a desire to minister to those working through issues of sexuality and to those living with HIV/AIDS. He speaks locally and internationally to youth, on college campuses, in churches and in prisons.

              Christopher graduated from Moody Bible Institute in 2005 and Wheaton College Graduate School in 2007 with a Master of Arts in Biblical Exegesis and is currently pursuing a doctorate of ministry at Bethel Seminary. He now teaches at Moody while continuing his speaking ministry which has reached four continents around the world. Christopher has spoken at both Saddleback Church and Willow Creek Community Church in America and at many conferences including InterVarsity's Urbana and the Moody Pastors' Conference and Men's Conference. He is also featured in the award-winning documentary, "HOPE Positive: Surviving the Sentence of AIDS" and has co-authored with his mother, Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son's Journey to God, A Broken Mother's Search for Hope (forthcoming May 3, 2011 by WaterBrook Multnomah a division of Random House).

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Newly Designed Website!


I've switched from blogspot to an official website. Please visit www.christopheryuan.com!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

"Just as the Bible condones slavery and is wrong, so is the Bible wrong about..."


I've heard this argument so many times as an attempt to prove that the Bible is wrong about [you fill in the blank]. So does the Bible really condone slavery? Watch this great video from Wayne Grudem (a top evangelical theologian and general editor of the ESV Study Bible). It is the first 4 minutes and a great articulation of what the Bible really says about slavery. I strongly suggest you watch this because this assertion is probably one of the most overused and abused. Tell me what you think!!



Friday, November 05, 2010

"Jesus Had HIV"


Okay, now that I have your attention, this was the name of a sermon given by a South African pastor. Read the article here.

This statement has caused a lot of people to think. Now let me first clarify that I certainly DO NOT think that Jesus was HIV+, because HIV was not around back then. BUT I do think that Jesus could have gotten sick (e.g. the flu or the cold or any other disease). I don't think that saying Jesus was sick would "drag the name of Christ to the ground" as Pastor Mike Bele states. Jesus was human.

What I do appreciate about this intellectual exercise is the goal of de-stigmatization. Let's look at those living with HIV and AIDS as people who need our love and our care, not further scorn or judgment.

Because although many who contracted HIV live promiscuously or use IV drugs, there are a growing number who are completely innocent—such as babies born to HIV+ mothers or virgins who on their wedding day are infected by their HIV+ husband or faithful wives who contract it from an unfaithful husband.

This is almost becoming the norm in places like Africa where stigma is at its most severe. So the responses referred to in the article that Jesus is being portrayed as sexually promiscuous is simply ignorant.

In addition, if each one of us (HIV+ or not) really received the punishment we deserved...we'd all be dead. And that's why there's something so beautiful about grace that I love so much.

With World AIDS Day coming up, let's challenge ourselves to love and show compassion to those with HIV/AIDS and not condemn or throw words of spite—and in doing so, maybe, just maybe, we might have an opportunity to win a soul.

(read a well written article "Jesus Has AIDS" here)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Forthcoming book on May 3, 2011!!


So excited to announce that my mom and I just finished writing our memoir titled Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son's Journey to God, A Broken Mother's Search for Hope. It will be released on May 3, 2011 by WaterBrook Multnomah (division of Random House). It's a memoir from two perspectives: a prodigal and a prodigal mom which makes use of an evolving parallel narrative with alternating chapters. We hope that it gets into the hands of those who have given up or are about to give up hope. And I pray that prodigals discover that they can always come home—no matter how far the country—our Heavenly Father is waiting!

"Like" my new Facebook fan page so you can keep up to date of the book!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Valparaiso University - "Beyond Sexuality"


I spoke at Valparaiso University on April 19 through the invitation of the Campus Crusade for Christ student group at VU. On March 25 the VU Diversity Concerns Committee organized a school sponsored event titled "Beyond Tolerance" where Dr. Niedner (former Theology department head) shared how he moved from a traditional understanding to a progressive understanding of homosexuality (read a local newspaper's reporting of this event here). Although my invitation was months prior, the timing seemed perfect to continue the conversation with the Crusade event by calling it "Beyond Sexuality" focusing less upon sexuality and focusing more upon a relationship with Christ.

Unfortunately, many were "concerned" about this Crusade event. Faculty, staff and students wrote two editorials in the school newspaper expressing their objection before having any idea of what I was going to say. One editorial even had 44 VU professor signatures. You can view both editorials here.

The meeting went very well and only two picketers (who were not from the school) showed up. It was great to see many students from the Gay Straight Alliance present who wore a pink triangle in solidarity. Most were civil with only a few who audibly expressed their objection. The question and answer period was a nice opportunity to continue the conversation by hearing from the audience. The questions were mostly concerns and objections. In particular was the issue of my drug involvement. Even though I had clearly stated in my testimony that not all homosexuals do drugs, this accusation came up more than once.

The evening ended and several people came up with more questions. Most did not agree with me but several thanked me for coming and respected me and my position. Two particular people stood out for me. One was a young girl who said that she was an atheist and a GSA ally. She was ashamed of her school because of how they treated me but I remained civil and even apologized once when I lost my patience. She said, "If there is a god, then you are a man of god." Another student came up to me who was transgendered male-to-female and said, "I appreciate you coming and sharing your perspective. But I don't know why I am wearing this pink triangle. It is supposed to represent tolerance but you were shown anything but tolerance today."

There were a few reporters at the meeting as well. An unbiased reporter seems to be a rare find today. But the four articles which came out, one from a local paper and three from the school newspaper, the Torch, were written well. You can view the front page article here (page 1 and page 2) and here are the links to the two editorials.

I am thinking about posting the video of my presentation on Youtube. Let me know if you'd be interested in watching it. Be blessed!

This is an editorial which came out a week later in the school newspaper where students pointed out that VU's disapproval of me speaking as not tolerance, but intolerance.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Gays Fate Doomed???


I received a recent question, "If God made us gay, what would be the purpose to exist according to the Bible because our fate would be doomed? I don't think that God would contradict himself by making someone detestable and then condemning their existence." Here is the answer I gave him.

Thanks for your email and your sincere question. I believe that God created us to have feelings but not every feeling is good or from God (e.g. jealousy, envy, pride, etc.). I believe that as a result of the Fall in Genesis 3 (the doctrine of original sin), we are all born with proclivities for certain sins (cf. Psa 51:5). And therefore we should not be surprised that we have feelings that we can't explain and we never asked for or chose.

But this does not mean that God made us this way. This is more of a matter of feelings than identity. I therefore believe that sexuality is not so much who we are but what we experience.

Now is the fate of LGBT people doomed? Hell no! (Pardon my emphasis) Apart from Christ we are ALL doomed, but because of the atoning sacrifice of the perfect Lamb of God, EVERYONE can have hell cancelled and heaven guaranteed if they believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior (Rom 10:9-10).

In Leviticus 18:22 it states "Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable." Notice that it doesn't state that "they" are detestable. In addition, the parallel passage in Leviticus 20:13 emphasizes what they have committed or done as being detestable. It never states that "they" are detestable.

So in layman terms, it is not one's orientation (feelings) that is condemned or wrong but rather we are held accountable for how we respond to our feelings. What our heavenly Father desires most is for us to surrender all that we are (hopes, plans, time, treasure, talents, even sexuality) and take upon our new identity in Christ. It may seem like self-deprivation but in actuality it is finding our true self and who we were created to be. I hope that this helps. I will be praying for you!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Answering three questions...


I had a discussion on Facebook and answered some assertions which I thought some of you might be interested in reading. I've copied my response below.

This is just in response to XXX's comments. XXX made some assertions which I will try to restate.

1) People are born gay (or homosexuality is a pre-birth disposition)
2) There is no evidence that being gay is a choice and people can turn from gay to straight
3) Romans 1 and Genesis 19 is not about homosexuality

I'll respond to them here.

1)

Your two statements are actually not the same. I will argue with your first statement but agree that there is likely evidence that sexuality may have a pre-birth disposition. BUT there are other factors that possibly come into play (environment) post-birth. There is yet no conclusive evidence that people are born gay.

You mentioned the Northwestern study as evidence to support your claim that people are born gay. But here is a notable quote from the lead researcher, Dr. Alan Sanders of Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Research Institute. "It is more likely there are several genes that interact with nongenetic factors, including psychological and social influences, to determine sexual orientation."

Here are some more notable statements from reputable sources.

“There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles.” American Psychological Association

“Sexual orientation probably is not determined by any one factor but by a combination of genetic, hormonal, and environmental influences.” American Academy of Pediatrics

“No one knows what causes heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality.... there is a renewed interest in searching for biological etiologies for homosexuality. However, to date there are no replicated scientific studies supporting any specific biological etiology for homosexuality.” Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrics

As of date, no one knows the etiology of sexuality but most likely it is a combination of factors. Furthermore, it is unknown whether those biological or environmental influences are pre-natal or post-natal. So according to scientific evidence thus far, the jury is out.

Most people claim that people are born gay in order to justify moral permissiveness. However, there are many feelings that I've had as long as I can remember and which I never chose (selfishness or anger), but it does not justify their moral permissiveness.

2)

Here, I will totally agree with you that homosexuality is not a choice. And I join you in combating this lie. I spent most of my adult years as a gay male. And I have yet to meet anybody that chose to have homosexual feelings. So you are right. The whole choice thing is absurd.

I do partially agree with some parts of your second point. Most people will continue to have same-sex attractions and that is why I NEVER tell people that the goal of the person with unwanted same-sex attractions is to become straight. Being straight is not the goal.

I think that it is more of an issue of identity. I don't put my identity in my feelings or sexuality. I am now celibate and don't consider myself gay or straight. I may have sexual feelings but they don't control me. I am not denying myself, only my feelings - as a matter of fact, throughout the day, we all deny feelings. It is what separates us humans from animals.

Now as a result, my feelings become less and less. And I get to focus on so many other things in life. THERE IS MORE TO LIFE THAN JUST SEX!!!

But your assertion that there is no evidence that gay people can turn straight is not true. There are studies (e.g. Jones & Yarhouse) but many simply dismiss them and then make assertions such as, "There are no studies out there!" In addition, I know personally of some people who have changed. Yes, you can say that you know people who tried and did not change. But all you can say is that THEY did not change.

That is far from saying CHANGE IS NOT POSSIBLE which is an absolute statement. It would be ridiculous for me to make an absolute statement such as ALL GAYS CAN CHANGE. No, I would never say that. But I can say that some gays have changed - change is possible.

Besides, we need to define "change." Being clear with our semantics is always important. I don't narrowly define change as something black in white. Kinsey, the famous "sexpert" believes that sexuality is a spectrum and that most people lie somewhere between homosexuality and heterosexuality.

So I believe that any movement along that spectrum is change. With this more realistic definition of change, I certainly do think that change is possible. The fact that I went from where I was ten years ago (sex fiend) to now (celibate) is an enormous change in my sexuality.

3)

I will agree with you that the purpose of Genesis 19 and the purpose of Romans 1 is not about homosexuality, but rather it is about the depravity of Sodom in Genesis and/or humanity in Romans 1. With that said, although this is not the proof text for homosexuality, these passages point toward man's tendency toward sin. And the writer of Genesis and Paul pile up a multitude of sins to make their point.

In Genesis: homosexuality, gang rape, inhospitality, etc.; and in Romans: idolatry, homosexuality, evil, greed, envy, strife, deceit, malice, gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant, boastful, disobedient to parents, senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless, etc.

So although Moses and Paul's point was not to simply condemn homosexuality, these passages confirm that homosexual sex is a sin. Note that it does not condemn the person, but the acts. Actually in Leviticus 18:22 (cf. Leviticus 20:13), it states “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.” Note that it says, "that" not "them." So the people are not detestable but the sex is.

Unfortunately, people have used the Bible to hate and mistreat LGBT people - and this is what I would call DETESTABLE! I will fight to end the hatred and mistreatment of LGBT people because simply, IT IS WRONG!!!

But back to Scripture, even if Genesis 19 and Romans 1 did not CONDEMN homosexuality, that is far from CONDONING homosexuality - which is what you are saying the Bible says. I'd be curious to see where you find that in the Bible.

Although I believe that homosexual sex is a sin, this does not mean that I hate LGBT people. You see, when compared to God, nobody is perfect - and we are all sinners. Does this then mean that because I believe that everybody is a sinner, I hate them all? So my mother (who is imperfect and a sinner), do I hate her? NO! My dad is imperfect and a sinner. Do I hate him? NO! But because I know my own imperfections and sins, I am able to relate in solidarity and love ALL people as we are called to "love our neighbors."

I hope that this helps. Blessings to you!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill


The Ugandan Parliament is considering an Anti-Homosexuality Bill which would criminalize homosexual acts and even impose the death-penalty for repeat offenders or those who are HIV+. In addition, the bill would require anyone (including pastors, health care providers, counselors and even family members) to turn over to the authorities those suspected of homosexual behavior.

Not only is this against every person's right to life and liberty, but it would make the work of pastors to minister to homosexuals difficult if not impossible. I believe that our call as followers of Jesus Christ is to share the transforming truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and extend the love of God through our compassion and love for all.

Passing a bill such as this would not extend the grace and loving-kindness which would draw people to the redeeming work of the Cross.

Therefore, I have signed a letter to Uganda’s President and First Lady Museveni along with Alan Chambers (President of Exodus International), Randy Thomas (Vice President of Exodus International) and Dr. Warren Throckmorton (Member of the Clinical Advisory Board of the American Association of Christian Counselors). This letter expresses our grave concerns with this legislation and requests that the President not support this bill.

You can read the letter by clicking the image above. Please join us in voicing our opposition to this bill by joining the Facebook group started by my friend, Dr. Throckmorton.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What is "normal" for sexuality?


I've come to realize that there is no "normal" sexuality.   Not a single person that has ever lived was "normal" when it comes to sexuality.   WE HAVE ALL MISSED THE MARK WHEN IT COME TO OUR SEXUALITY!!!   It doesn't matter if we have homosexual feelings or heterosexual feelings (cf. Matt 5:28).

Many I know who struggle with same-sex attractions want to become "normal" and their definition of "normal" is not to be attracted to the same sex but to be attracted to the opposite sex.   So for a guy struggling with same-sex attractions, he does not want to be attracted to men but he wants to be attracted to women.   But is this any better?

In reality, our attractions and affections (apart from God) should only be guided, if God so chooses, toward our spouse of the opposite sex (Gen 2:24; Matt 19:4-6).   So being attracted to womEn (emphasis upon the plurality of woman), is not biblical. Instead, we should be sexually attracted only to our spouse (who in my case would be a woman - my wife).   This is what God intended for marriage and sex (Mark 10:6-9; Eph 5:31).

So a redeemed and pure sexuality, would be one in which (if one has been called for marriage) a person is only attracted to his wife or her husband (1 Cor 7:2), and no other person whether male or female (other than God of course).   If one is called to singleness (1 Cor 7:7-8), a pure sexuality would be that our affections would only be for God (1 Cor 6:17).

Friday, September 25, 2009

Is the goal to become "straight"?


I just received a note from someone with a great question regarding my "Gay Gene?" post from Oct 2007. He was confused that Christian groups believe that "homosexuals can become straight through prayer and counseling." Unfortunately for many, it seems the goal is to become straight. But this is not what I believe and this, I believe, is not biblical. Below is my comment.

Thanks so much for your note but this is not what I believe.

You see Scripture is very clear about sex and what God has created it for. But the world has distorted this and this has even affected the Church.

The major misconception within the Church is that heterosexuality is what is normal and that this is what God has ordained. But when we look in Scripture, there are about seven times more references to adultery, fornication and lust - all sins associated with heterosexuality - when compared to homosexuality.

Now I'm not trying to justify homosexuality but I'm just proving a point that neither homosexuality or heterosexuality should be the goal for any Christian. Heterosexuality is too broad encompassing adultery, fornication and lust (which are all sins).

The goal for all Christians should be HOLY SEXUALITY.

God has clearly set out what holy sexuality means. God gives us two options for holy sexuality: if we are single, then abstinence and if we are married, then faithfulness (and God has very clearly proscribed marriage to be with a man and a woman).

Therefore, my goal has never been to become straight. Because if I become straight, then I would begin lusting after women (which is a sin) and I would still have to focus on holy sexuality. My goal is holiness.

God says, "Be holy for I am holy." He has never said, "Be heterosexual as I am heterosexual."

I know that God can completely take away any same-sex attractions that I have (He's God anyway!). But if He does, I will then struggle with something else - anger, pride, heterosexual lust, etc. As long as I'm on this side of glory, I will always struggle with temptations with sin.

So I may still have same-sex attractions, but God has broken the chains of the bondage that I was in. You see, CHANGE DOES NOT MEAN THE ABSENCE OF STRUGGLES, BUT CHANGE MEANS THE FREEDOM TO CHOOSE HOLINESS IN THE MIDST OF MY STRUGGLES.

So as one who has come out of homosexuality, I have not "become straight" but rather I am on my journey toward sanctification through joyous, holy living.


I hope that this gives some clarity. I have put much thought and study into this and would greatly welcome your thoughts. Blessing to you all!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Elijah Christopher Hendrickson


One of my best friends and roommate while I was at Moody Bible Institute is Joe Hendrickson. I was his best man at his wedding and he and Andrea had their second boy on September 1. They named him Elijah Christopher Hendrickson. Pray that this young child of God grows into a man who exemplifies his name: Elijah (Jehovah is my God) Christopher (Christ bearer).


Thursday, August 06, 2009

Born Gay...or not??


Before I start, I just want to clarify a couple of things. First, any hatred or violence toward LGBT (which has been misnomered as homophobia) is completely wrong and I vehemently oppose any physical or emotional harm done toward LGBT people (or anyone for that matter). Second, NO ONE has ever CHOSEN to have same-sex attractions. However, this does NOT mean that if something was not a choice then it must be inborn. Let me explain myself.

There have been several studies on the relationship on the possible biological influences on the development of human sexuality. Surprisingly the very biased and not considered scholarly Wikipedia is quite accurate in their discussion of this topic (here). Let me quickly summarize three important studies.

1) In 1991, Bailey and Pillard did a study of gay brothers and found that 52% of identical twins were both gay and 22% of fraternal twins were both gay. In 2000, Bailey, Dunne and Martin attempted to repeat the test in Australia only to find that 30% of identical twins were both gay. Although these studies clearly show that there is a genetic component to sexuality, it also clearly shows that sexuality IS NOT ONLY LINKED TO GENETICS. Because if sexuality was purely a genetic trait, then 100% of identical twins would both be gay. In addition, the applicant pool was mostly advertised via gay magazines - slightly biased! Also a study by Bearman and Bruckner in 2002 shows that only 6.7% of identical twins were both gay, 7.2% of fraternal twins were both gay and 5.5% of full siblings were both gay. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association both state that sexuality most likely is a combination of biology and environment! When will the gay community, society and media read up on facts and science!

2) Simon LeVay also did a study released in 1991 on the hypothalamus. He examined 41 cadavers (which evokes fond memories of my two full semesters of Gross Anatomy lab and Head & Neck Anatomy lab while in Dental School!) - which he classified as follows: 19 gay men who had died of AIDS, 16 presumed heterosexual men (6 of whom had died of AIDS), and 6 presumed heterosexual women (1 of whom had died of AIDS). He found a portion of the hypothalamus, the INAH3 group to be twice as big in the heterosexual male group as in the gay male group. But there were also some conflicting results as well. LeVay himself concluded, "It's important to stress what I didn't find. I did not prove that homosexuality is genetic, or find a genetic cause for being gay. I didn't show that gay men are born that way, the most common mistake people make in interpreting my work. Nor did I locate a gay center in the brain...Since I look at adult brains, we don't know if the differences I found were there at birth or if they appeared later." Need anymore be said?

3) Dean Hamer in 1993 did a chromosomal study on gay brothers and found a shared marker on the X chromosome at Xq28. Unfortunately, this was dubbed by pop-culture as having found the "gay gene." Hamer himself (who was gay) even said, "...environmental factors play a role. There is not a single master gene that makes people gay...I don't think we will ever be able to predict who will be gay." In addition, other scientists tried to replicate the results but were not able to find this common shared marker among gay brothers. But most damaging for Hamer was the fact that he did not have a control group of non-gay subjects. If the control group had the same shared marker on the X chromosome at Xq28 as the gay brothers, then this finding would be COMPLETELY INSIGNIFICANT.

So as of yet, there is NO evidence that people are born gay and there is NO evidence of a gay gene!

To make matters even more difficult, it is difficult to empirically and scientifically classify and determine homosexuality. If any of you know one, please let me know. There is no blood test, radiograph, MRI, etc. to determine whether someone is gay or straight for that matter. The ONLY way that people know whether one is gay is if this one makes a SELF DECLARATION. That is the only way. And by definition, this is not objective (or scientific) but rather subjective.

With all of this said, I believe that the Church must have compassion for LGBT people. Christians must shower them with the love of Christ so that they would come into a relationship with Jesus Christ who will redeem and transform them. Jesus was perfect in justice and love as He came to point out our sin but also to save us from our sin by dying on the Cross for us all! I pray that Christians live out that example of justice and love!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Prosperity Gospel


Here are some powerful words from Pastor John Piper (Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis) regarding the "Health, Wealth and Prosperity Gospel." His words at the end about those of us who live with HIV or cancer or any other illness, are really powerful.



Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Dr. Paul Nyquist, Moody Bible Institute's 9th President


On April 15, 2009, there was great excitement on Moody’s Chicago campus as the Board of Trustees announced Moody’s next president in chapel. Jerry Jenkins, Board of Trustees chairman, explained that after an extensive nine-month presidential search the Board unanimously and enthusiastically appointed Dr. Paul Nyquist as the next president of the Moody Bible Institute.

Nyquist, 55, brings to Moody 19 years of successful ministry experience as a senior pastor of two vibrant churches in Iowa and Nebraska, and eight years of organizational leadership as the president and CEO of Avant Ministries, an international missions agency based in Kansas City.

“Dr. Paul Nyquist’s skill set and character uniquely match our search committee’s profile,” said Jenkins. “He’s a proven leader, team builder and visionary who also happens to be a theologian. We look forward to many years of inspired leadership.”

Nyquist's journey into full-time ministry began while a college student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and led him to Dallas Theological Seminary, where he received a ThM and a PhD in Systematic Theology.

“Being appointed as Moody’s ninth president is both a high honor and a solemn responsibility,” said Nyquist. “To pick up the presidential mantle from the gifted men who have preceded me is the greatest honor I have ever received. I am profoundly humbled to be selected.”

He and his wife, Cheryl, have been married for more than 27 years and have four grown children. They have a special appreciation for Moody’s educational ministry, as three of their children chose Moody Bible Institute as the place to receive their undergraduate education.

Nyquist will officially begin his tenure as Moody Bible Institute’s ninth president on June 1, 2009.

To learn more about Moody’s new president, please visit the Presidential Announcement Web page.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Resurrection Sunday 2009


HE IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN, INDEED!!!

For those who call themselves followers of the risen Lord, Jesus Christ, Resurrection Sunday or Easter must be one of the most glorious days of the year. Our whole faith centers upon this truth - that God, the Father, raised His Son on the third day defeating death and conquering sin. Unfortunately, many choose not to believe in this. I love how Paul puts it so well in 1 Cor 15:13-19.

“If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.”

What is even more important is why Christ was raised. He was not raised simply so that He would live nor was He simply raised so that we would live. But He was raised so that we could have new life and be transformed! Let us live in the reality of a God who continues to change lives and never doubt how big and how great is our God!!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Cure for HIV?


An American man living in Berlin, Germany developed acute myeloid leukemia and required a bone marrow transplant of adult stem cells. The doctors began looking for a very specific donor, one who not only matched the tissue of the recipient but also lacked the CCR5 receptor on CD4 white blood cells.

The CCR5 receptor is what the HIV commonly uses to attach to CD4 cells and with this missing, the HIV would not be able to attach and thus infect CD4 cells. The doctors also looked for a person who had two copies of this mutation (one from the father and one from the mother) dubbed delta32. However, this is very rare. Among the 232 matched donors found by the German Central Bone Marrow Donor Registry, the researchers found only one with the double CCR5 mutation.

Bone marrow transplant is very risky and only about two third survive. This transplant was successful and the recipient was also taken off all of his HIV medication. It has been two years and to date, there is not trace of the HIV in his bone marrow, blood and tissues.

Although the high risk of this treatment would make it unethically probable for people who are not in the late-stage of leukemia, not to mention the incredible cost making it ineffective for treatment in third world countries, I see this as a huge step forward in finding a cure for HIV.

Let us never fail in praying for a cure for HIV and AIDS. Will you join me?

Belfast Telegraph           The Body
ABC News Video           MedPage Today

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Tyndale House Publishers


I will be sharing my testimony at Tyndale House Publishers. The staff has a chapel once a week on Thursday mornings and my parents and I were invited. Please pray with me that the power of the Gospel and the redeeming work of the Cross will come clearly from my sharing that morning. Be blessed during this advent season!

Monday, December 01, 2008

World AIDS Day 2008


Today, December 1, is World AIDS Day 2008. Let us not forget those who have been affected by this epidemic whether they are living with HIV or AIDS or they have a loved one who has died from AIDS. We have progressed much in treatment of HIV and AIDS but not enough progress has come in prevention of HIV infection. Let us as the Church seize this moment in time to be the hands and feet of Jesus to bring wholeness to a world that desperately needs a Healer. Let our love for the unlovable be the norm and bring people to Jesus not by our words but by our ways.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Cedarville University Chapel


I had the privilege to address the students at Cedarville University this Wednesday and I also had an open forum and question and answer time in the afternoon. The highlight was after the chapel when Dr. Carl Ruby, Dean of Student Life, asked my mother to stand up to acknowledge her. And as she did, the student body rose to their feet and gave her a standing ovation. I was told later that this was very unusual that the students ever give a standing ovation to anybody. I just praise God that this was one simple way that she would be honored for her faithfulness and unwavering love for her prodigal. Thanks Cedarville!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Aspiring Women TV Show


Our family testimony will be featured on the Total Living Network's show Aspiring Woman. The episode is titled "When Homosexuality Hits Home." Some of you may wonder about the name Aspiring Women and what this has to do with me. Just to put all of you at ease, the focus is actually not on me (no, I'm NOT turning over a new leaf) but the show will be focusing upon my mother. You may view it streaming from their website, www.TLN.com only during the following two times.

Monday, November 10, 2008 at 9:00am CST
Friday, November 14, 2008 at 6:30pm CST

However, if you subscribe to Comcast cable television and the the Total Living Network channel 138, you may watch the show at these times.

Monday, November 10, 2008 at 10:00am CST
Friday, November 14, 2008 at 7:30pm CST

We pray that it is an encouragement to you all!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Reader's Hebrew Bible


Some of you may be familiar with Zondervan's Reader's Greek New Testament which came out in April 2004. It is a great way to stay in the Greek Text without being bound to a lexicon. It has definitions of words that occur less than 30 times in the footnotes which allows us to be more free to just sit and read the Greek NT!

With such a great, portable resource and how beautifully it looks with its soft leather (or pleathur), I awaited with great anticipation for its partner, the Reader's Hebrew Bible (I know, call me a geek!). Well, finally it's here!

For some reason, I missed it's debut in March of this year. But I'm so glad to have found it and I wanted to let those of you who may not have known about it to know that it has arrived! I just ordered a copy and await for it to come!

Happy reading my fellow Bible lovers!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Hinsdale Central Class of 1988 20th Year Reunion


I can't believe that it has been 20 years since graduating from high school. My last reunion, ten years ago, I was in no shape to attend because I was busy slinging dope and staying up, high on drugs, five to ten days straight. But fortunately, a lot has changed since then. My 20th year high school class reunion will be next weekend, Oct 10-12. However, I will be traveling to San Francisco to speak at UCSF and San Francisco Alliance Church. Some of my classmates have already found me by this website and I just want to say hello and God bless you. Maybe you'll see me next reunion but feel free to drop me a note and say hello!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Institute for Prison Ministries on Midday Connection


Moody Broadcasting's Midday Connection is spending a week to focus on prison ministries and today, the Institute for Prison Ministries (IPM) at Wheaton College were their guests. Dr. Karen Swanson, the director of IPM and Lennie Spitale were interviewed. I was also interviewed because I was a recipient of the Charles W. Colson Scholarship for Ex-Offenders. You can listen to it here. If you know anybody that would be interested in this scholarship, visit IPM's website here.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ray Boltz Comes Out of the Closet


In May 2002, I attended a Ray Boltz concert with my parents and my good friend, Joe Hendrickson. Even though Ray is not the most recent or contemporary of Christian recording artists, I have to admit that it was one of the best concerts I've been to. He sang well known songs like "Thank You" and "I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb."

This past Friday, September 12, Ray Boltz announced that he was coming out of the closet and that he was gay. Before we begin pointing a finger at Ray, let us begin by taking the "beam" out of our own eye. Here is a quote from Ray, "A few years ago I made the decision to retire from contemporary Christian music. I had won awards, performed in front of thousands of people, and sold millions of records. Still, I believed that if people knew who I really was, I would never be accepted."

There is something wrong when people feel that they would not be accepted or be loved by Christians when Jesus said that we are to be known by our love! Unfortunately, people hide their "secret" and feel that they have to put on a facade.

THIS MUST CHANGE!

We, as the Church, must be a place where people can come and be real and be honest and feel welcomed and be loved. If we do not do this, then how will we be able to see a bountiful harvest of souls into the loving arms of God?

It is tragic that Ray felt he could not share his feelings and that he felt that he had to hide and keep things a secret. What he needed was the Church to come alongside him and love him for who he was.

With that said, it must be clear that God loves us unconditionally. But unconditional love does not mean unconditional approval of our behavior. God loved Adam and Eve unconditionally but this does not mean that he approved of their behavior. The same applies to us. God loves us but does not approve of our behavior. This is the same love that the Church needs to give.

Ray also says that now he does not hate himself and that God made him this way. What Ray does not realize is that God created us with feelings but not every feeling we have is right. Just because we have a feeling does not give us justification to act upon it. I may feel angry but I have the option to act upon it or not. We are not bound by our feelings and our feelings do not dictate who we are.

Ray states that he tried many different things but he never changed. Like Ray, too many people have an unbiblical perception of what change means. Change does not ever mean that we will never be tempted again. God never promises that we will have a life free of temptations if we pray hard enough. Look at Jesus as he prays on the Mount of Olives, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me" (Luke 22:42). He begged God the Father to deliver Him as many people do of their struggles. But God did not take away the cup of suffering and I doubt that anybody would say that Jesus just didn't pray hard enough. But Jesus realized the truth of struggles and temptations by what He said next, "yet not my will, but yours be done" which means, God, if you don't deliver me than I will still follow you anyway in spite of this difficulty.

Too many people identify themselves solely by their feelings and say that they were created or born this way. However, there is no objective or scientific evidence for this - only subjective evidence that they have these feelings. As I say in my testimony, "Change is not the absence of struggles but change is the freedom to choose holiness in the presence of our struggles."

I praise God that I can I love myself and not hate myself because I am not defined by my feelings but rather that I was created in the image of God. Let us be in prayer for Ray, his ex-wife and his three children.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Chris Fabry Live!


I had the honor of being interviewed on "Chris Fabry Live!" today during my short visit in Colorado Springs. I was broadcasted on most Moody radio stations but you can listen to it again at www.chrisfabrylive.org.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Nick Vujicic - no arms or legs but created perfect in the eyes of God


Nick Vujicic was born with no arms and no legs. I had watched some short videos of his testimony on YouTube but none of them did God justice because they were too short. This is a longer video of his testimony. It is 13 minutes but worth the time - you will be blessed. My favorite quote is toward the end when Nick exhorts us,

"Circumstances do not have to change for us to become victorious."

Amen to that, Nick. You are a warrior and a man of God, created perfectly in His image. Too often I get replies after my testimony, "Do you know or believe that God can heal you?" I usually give a short but kind answer. Of all people, I know and desire to be completely healed. But if there was no suffering or sickness or death in this world then we would not long for heaven. I, along with all of creation, groan and wait eagerly for the redemption of my body (Rom 8:23). But until then, my time, my life, my all will seek to glorify the One who has give me life.

Monday, June 23, 2008

40 Days in Asia


I returned a week ago after 40 days in Asia where I spoke over 30 times. My father, mother and I first traveled to Hong Kong where we spoke at churches and universities. We spoke at different evangelical meetings, workshops and even a youth rally. It was a very fruitful time and we saw several hundred people give their life to Christ as a result of hearing of God's transforming power in our family.

From there my father returned home while my mother and I traveled to Macao and China for several days. We ministered with the local churches while recovering from our busy schedule in Hong Kong.

We then flew to Singapore and Malaysia where we joined the Moody Bible Institute's Women's Concert Choir for their international tour. I was a faculty chaperon but also shared my testimony during some of their concerts. In addition, I had made arrangements on my own to speak at different Singaporean churches.

The trip was quite tiring and with the tropical heat and frigid bus and venues, I got sick and even got thrush. I had a fever for about a week but tried to continue speaking. As our time in Singapore came to a close, I started to feel better. But my trip wasn't over yet!

My mother and I then went to Japan. We started in Okinawa where I spoke at a handful of churches and then flew to Tokyo. I spoke at a Celebrate Recovery Meeting and at the Biblical Church of Tokyo. It was an eye-opening experience to see the deep need for biblical training on the issue of sexuality in Japan. Like most Asian countries, sex is not a topic talked about in churches. But most pastors say, "Not in my church!"

Finally, my mother and I returned home to Chicago. My father was so glad to see us! I slowly recovered from jetlag and I am now preparing for several speaking engagements on the West Coast coming up these next few months. Please be in prayer with me for sweet times with the Lord as I prepare my heart for these messages. God bless you all!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Pictures!


A friend reprimanded me for not having more pictures on my blog so here you go!

My parents and I sat with James Taylor, the grandson of Hudson Taylor while we were in Hong Kong this January!

A church where I spoke at in Hong Kong, Yanfook Church is 19 stories high and the largest church in Hong Kong! Every Sunday, they have 28 different services under one roof and around 10,000 people who go through their doors!

I had the opportunity to share my testimony at Saddleback's Global Summit on AIDS and the Church in November of last year.

As most of you know, God (who has such a sense of humor) has opened up a door for me to be back at Moody...teaching! I really love it and enjoy working with the best students in the world!!!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Whoever believes in Him...


I just returned from Atlanta where I spoke at a Christian school, a Christian HIV/AIDS support group and Sunday school at First Baptist of Atlanta. There was a young man at this Sunday school who heard me speak when I was in Atlanta last year. We also went to see the Passion play the day before with his wife. He had told us even though his wife was a Christian, he was not.

But after the Passion play, hearing my testimony, and the teaching and prayers of his Sunday school teachers, this week Zijun has placed his faith in Jesus Christ! He plans to get baptized with his wife this weekend, Palm Sunday! Praise the Lord! God is good and does things in His perfect timing. Let us rejoice and be glad in Him!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sanctity of Life Sunday (Janurary 20, 2008)


I just returned from China and Hong Kong this past Sunday. I've hit the ground running starting to teach my two classes of Bible Introduction at Moody Bible Institute which started this week.

Two quick comments.

I read a quote from Peter Piot who is the Executive Director of UNAIDS. "Please let us have no illusion that, one fine day, the world will return to what it was before AIDS. No. AIDS has simply rewritten the rules. And to prevail we, too, must rewrite these rules."

AIDS has forever and irreversibly changed the world, rewritten the rules and has changed countless lives forever...me, not excluding. Let us not live in ignorance and complacency. Let us be broken and change ourselves to take this challenge of AIDS heads on. My prayer is that the Church will step up and show the world what God can do through broken but available vessels.

My second comment is regarding Sanctity of Life Sunday which is tomorrow, January 20, 2008. Sitting among us in our congregations are women of all ages and races who are post-abortive mothers living in a prison of guilt and pain.

As the Body of Christ, we've been good at telling people what to do and what not to do. But we've not been so good at proclaiming that as hard as we can try, we really can't obey God - we fail. And as wrong and "not OK" as this is, it is OK because we have a God that loves us not because we're perfect but because He is most glorified when He redeems our failures.

So I hope that as the Body of Christ, we would not be so loud in our cry "We're anti-abortion!" and more open in that we are pro-abortive mothers both Christian and non-Christian. Because just as we make mistakes and sin, God loves us and can restore us.

My prayer is that the world would know Christians not for what we're against, but for our love and the redemption that shines through us.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Global Summit on AIDS & The Church


I just returned from Saddleback's Global Summit on AIDS and The Church hosted by Pastor Rick and Kay Warren. I shared my testimony on the opening evening (Wednesday, Nov. 28) right after John Ortberg and before Lynn Hybels. Pastor Rick Warren later asked me to stay and share in all six of his weekend services where it is estimated that 17,000 people attend. I shared my testimony along with another person who is living with AIDS. Then after the service, Pastor Rick spontaneously urged people to be baptized in response to the service and 150 people were baptized! Praise the Lord!

Also on Thursday afternoon, Senator Hillary Clinton explained her plan to address the issue of HIV/AIDS. Five other presidential candidates were not present but spoke to us via a video: Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. John Edwards, Sen. John McCain, Sen. Barack Obama, and Gov. Mitt Romney. You may hear the audio or view the video at this website.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

HIV on the Rise Among Young Gay Men in NY


HIV infection rates among gay men under 30 in New York is on the rise as discussed in the New York Daily News. Why is that? Here are their reasons.

The NY Health Commissioner believes that a "generation of men is growing up having not seen their friends die of AIDS, and maybe having the impression that HIV is not such a terrible infection."

Or he believes it may be linked to the need for teens to hide their sexuality. "The pressure of covering up means you put yourself in riskier situations than if you could go on a date and ask out who you like."

"Family News in Focus" a daily, news radio spot will interview me to get my perspective on why I believe HIV infections may be on the rise among gay men. I'll post my thoughts after the interview.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

"Gay" Gene?


An article on MSNBC discusses a study which seeks genetic roots of homosexuality. This is a "federally funded study, led by Chicago area researchers" using 1,000 pairs of gay brothers.

The most notable quote is from the lead researcher of the new study, Dr. Alan Sanders of Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Research Institute. "It is more likely there are several genes that interact with nongenetic factors, including psychological and social influences, to determine sexual orientation."

So even the lead researcher believes that nature and nurture are both involved with developing one's sexuality!

However, it is unfortunate that the reporter misrepresented Exodus as "a Christian group that believes homosexuals can become straight through prayer and counseling." No where does Exodus ever make such a claim but the easiest way for gay-advocates to fight is to misrepresent the facts.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Daily Herald Front Page on Tuesday, Sept. 25


After Soulforce’s visit to Wheaton College in April, 2006, The Daily Herald has been working on a piece that would cover the stories of two people from both sides of the homosexual debate: myself and another Wheaton alumnus (Jay Johnson, who has embraced homosexuality).

This year has presented many roadblocks but finally the story will be released in tomorrow’s paper. Both will start on the front page and finish in the Neighbor Section of the paper.

Please pray that God’s Truth of redemption for homosexuals will shine through in both pieces. Please pray that as opposition comes to me and my family, we will remain faithful witnesses of the Grace given so freely to us from our loving Creator.

Feel free to take advantage of this opportunity to share this story with your co-workers, neighbors and friends that the complete message of the Gospel is redemption and transformation available to all!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

HOPE Positive Documentary - FREE!


CrossRoads International (a division of Campus Crusade for Christ) is the producer of HOPE Positive which features myself and three others who live with much hope in Jesus Christ in spite of having HIV or AIDS. CrossRoads has partnered with Operation Mobilization to make this documentary available in a low resolution format for FREE! You can either view it or download it for free at OmniTube, OM's video reservoir. The video is 28 minutes and 30 seconds. Please take advantage of this great offer and spread the HOPE!

Click click HERE to view HOPE Positive.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

HOPE Positive Wins Independent Film Festival Award


HOPE Positive: Surviving the Sentence of HIV/AIDS is a documentary which was produced and released in late 2006 by CrossRoads International. It has recently been selected for an award at the Independents’ Film Festival (IFF). The festival, an annual event that features films of various lengths and formats, has chosen HOPE Positive as the winner in the "Short Documentary Film" Independent category.

The festival, which has no religious affiliation, is paneled by industry professionals. All entries are judged on artistic and creative merit, as well as technical quality. According to the festival’s website, the goal of the festival is "to bring together cultural and film enthusiasts to celebrate independent filmmaking, enhance opportunities for filmmakers and increase the public’s awareness and support for independent filmmakers as a cultural and economic asset."

HOPE Positive director, Matthew Porter (95 Theses) received the award at a ceremony in the Tampa Theatre on September 14 in Florida. HOPE Positive recounts the experiences of myself with three other people from around the world who have been diagnosed with HIV. We each tell of how God has changed our lives and given us hope in the midst of our illness.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Prime Time Chicago - WMBI


Today, Steve Hiller interviewed me on Prime Time Chicago and we spoke about my upcoming speaking engagement at Arlington Heights Evangelical Free Church on September 8 at 7pm. It will be a night of Celebrating Our Freedom. Come and join us. If you would like to watch a video of my testimony, click here.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Operation Mobilization's TeenStreet (Oldenburg, Germany)


On July 23, my mom and I stopped in London and I was able to spend some time with George Verwer who took me to his favorite spot for walks. It is the historical site where William Wilberforce and William Pitt first discussed the abolition of the slave trade in the United Kingdom.

We then went to TeenStreet in Oldenburg, Germany for ten days. TeenStreet is organized by Operation Mobilization (OM) and is probably the largest Christian, youth conference in continental Europe. Over 4,000 people were present from over 27 different countries. It was incredible to be a part of this huge event.

This year's TeenStreet focused upon the HIV/AIDS pandemic. I gave my testimony and challenged the youth to build their character upon their identity in Christ as opposed to their friends, media or the world. I had the privilege to pray with many of the youth who were so open and transparent about their struggles at home.

Most have no Christian support at home. They have no churches or youth groups they attend, not because they don't want to...because there simply are none. Please pray for these youth who know first-hand, the pressures of living in a secular and post-Christian Europe and fight to remain faithful as true, followers of Jesus Christ.

At TeenStreet, I was part of an AIDS ministry team. This ministry exists to be an advocate and consultant for HIV/AIDS ministries within OM International, being proactive in promoting awareness, training and involvement. It also networks and engages with those inside (and outside) OM who are involved in HIV/AIDS ministries. The youth filled out a questionnaire with some surprising results: 25% actually thought HIV could be spread through mosquitoes, 13% thought hugging put people at risk for HIV, and the sexually active youth thought they were safe from getting the virus.

Fortunately, we helped to educate the youth through a game called Wildfire (see p. 23 of this pdf) which informed about the modes of transmission of HIV (mainly sexual contact or IV drug use). The youth also raised $40,000 for AIDS ministries as part of putting their faith to practice. Please also pray for this ministry as they come alongside the Church bringing the answer of Jesus Christ to the AIDS pandemic.

Monday, July 02, 2007

July 2007 Update - China & L.A.


On May 30, my mom and I left Chicago on a 19 day missions trip to China. My dad who stayed home, later met us in L.A for 15 days of ministry in southern California. I'll try to summarize my month and 17,250+ miles for you!

We flew into Hong Kong and met with Goodnews Communication International a Christian organization producing multi-media (radio, TV, CD/DVD, internet and film) for outreach and equipping the Church. They plan to produce a film of our family's life story in Chinese. We met their board members and the producer and finalized our agreement to partner in this endeavor.

The rest of our time in China was spent in the mainland. We continued building relations with local, government-registered churches. It is exciting to see God working in these churches who have freedom to preach the WHOLE Gospel, evangelize everyone who comes through their doors and sell Bibles and Christian literature. The Bibles are so cheap that we brought some back from China to the U.S.!

Of the churches we've visited, the problem isn't filling the pews but rather having enough physical space for the ever expanding, standing-room-only congregations and having enough pastors for ministry (pastor to laity ratio is 1:1,000 on the low end and 1:10,000 on the high end!!).

Hardly anyone prays for the grass-roots movement of evangelicals among the local, registered churches. Please be on your knees for our brothers and sisters in China who recognize that "the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few" (Matt 9:37).

We networked and consulted several churches and pastors as they are in the process of constructing a new church building. We also shared at several Bible studies (see picture below) and had the opportunity to present some Evangelism Explosion material. Through it, four ladies gave their life to Christ!

A highlight of the trip was sharing in an evangelical seminary to students who were so hungry to know more about how to better serve the Church. I spoke on the importance of Biblical languages and the phenomenon of American denominationalism.

After meeting up with my dad in L.A., my parents and I spoke fourteen times in four days at eight different locations on parent-child issues and relationships in a Chinese-American context from a Biblical perspective. We also recorded a radio interview at Far East Broadcasting Company which broadcasts into mainland China.

Because Chinese live in a shame-based culture and fear "losing face", many parents believe there's no one to share their problems with. So it was a privilege to have some open up and share their secrets which held them hostage for years in a prison of pain and guilt. I also spoke with Chinese pastors in the L.A. area about the need to address the issue of homosexuality with compassion, grace and redemption.

The trip culminated with the Exodus Freedom Conference in Irvine which is my favorite among all the Christian conferences I go to. The conference really isn't about homosexuality but rather a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. I led a morning devotional on our availability to God from Isaiah 6. I also gave a workshop on HIV/AIDS (AIDS 101 and how to minister to people with HIV/AIDS) and hosted a viewing of "HOPE Positive: Surviving the Sentence of HIV/AIDS."

The ultimate highlight was being able to develop and build relationships with all of you! I praise God for allowing me to cross paths with so many of you and I look forward to meeting again soon! It was a joy to talk and pray with you as we laughed and cried together! Please continue to lift me up in your prayers as I do the same for you!

God bless you all and have a great day in the Lord!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

I Am Against Homophobia


Thursday,  May 17,  2007 was the International Day Against Homophobia.   Alan Chambers wrote in his blog regarding this day and how we as the church should respond to people who are "gay" identified.   Please read below what he has written.

"One of the primary focuses of Exodus International and one of my missions in life is to help the Church come to see those who are gay -identified or who struggle with homosexuality as people whom Christ died for and loves equally.   The Church should be more welcoming to these folks than the local gay bar.   Gay and lesbian identified people should be able to find more help within the Church than they can outside of it.   It has long been my goal to so impact the Church with the message of truth and grace that Exodus would be able to go out of business."

"So,  when it comes to the evils of homophobia,  bullying,  name calling,  hatred and violence where those affected by homosexuality are concerned,  I stand with all decent human beings who are fighting and praying for an end to the ignorance and ungodliness that cause them."

"Join me,  won't you?"

I'm willing to join Alan,  are you?   Let's shower all "gay" identified men and women with the love of Christ so that they would all become "new creations" (as everyone does who comes to Christ,  "gay" identified or not).

Friday, May 04, 2007

Moody's Midday Connection


I had the privilege to be on Midday Connection today with Anita Lustrea.   Midday Connection's ministry focus this year is HIV/AIDS.   Anita first heard my testimony via CrossRoads' documentary called HOPE Positive which featured me and three other Christians living with HIV/AIDS from Russia, South Africa and Jamaica.   It was a blessing to tell Midday Connection's audience about God's work in my life and what it is like living with HIV.

We also spoke about the church's involvement in local AIDS ministries.   It seems that it is easier to get churches motivated about going overseas for AIDS ministry but we tend to turn a blind eye to AIDS right in our own backyard.   My hope is that we would become a bit more balanced by ministering both abroad and at home.

I was quite impressed by a church in Fresno called Cornerstone Church, that held the first church sponsored AIDS Walk last year to raise AIDS awareness and funds for local AIDS ministries.   I thought that this was a great example of loving our neighbor, literally!   There are people living in our very communities who have AIDS.   What are we doing to minister to them?   I would love to see the church in America mobilizing to care for those around us with HIV/AIDS.

I have a vision of doing an AIDS Walk in DuPage County, IL.   If you are interested in helping with this vision, please email me.   I'd love to hear from you if you have any other comments or questions.
Have a great day in the Lord!

HOPEPOSITIVE.COM

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Soulforce Overlooks Transformation & Redemption


Soulforce has begun their 2007 Equality Ride.   They go with much passion and sincerity but miss the essence of the Gospel.   The Gospel is about transformation and redemption!!   Both Co-Directors are not Christian (Haven is Buddhist) but some Riders claim Christianity.   However, Soulforce does not believe in the redemptive work of the Cross and ignore the clear biblical teaching on transformation, change and new life.

They never mention that the Bible tells of people who used to practice homosexuality but were "washed" and "sanctified" and "justified" and no longer practiced homosexuality (1 Cor 6:11).   Soulforce's pleas begin with "I want" and "I deserve" but a follower of Jesus Christ is called to "deny himself and take up his cross daily" (Luke 9:23).   They refuse to recognize that "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come" (2 Cor 5:17).   A follower of Jesus Christ says, "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" (Gal 2:20).   But alas, the Riders pick and choose what they want to hear from the Bible which "is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness" (2 Tim 3:16).

Soulforce is correct that God is love but they are incorrect to believe that love is full acceptance of who we are and what we do.   On the contrary, "the LORD disciplines those he loves" (Pro 3:12).   The perfect example of love is found in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world" that He just accepted us the way we are?   NO!!   If this was the case, there would be no reason for Jesus Christ coming to die on a Cross for us.   But "that he gave his one and only Son."   Love is giving up the thing which is most valuable to you.   Love is sacrificing the one thing which you hold most dear.   Love is sacrifice!!   But sacrifice is something that you will never hear Soulforce talk about.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Response to Soulforce,
the Equality Ride, and Mel White


Last April,   I spoke on a panel representing Wheaton College.   We were in a discussion with Soulforce (Equality Ride) on the topic of homosexuality.   I stand with Soulforce in denouncing violence/discrimination toward any human being,   "gay" or "straight."   However their view of homosexuality is not based upon Scripture.   To their detriment,   Soulforce intentionally avoided all discussions regarding the biblical perspective of homosexuality.   Instead they focused upon an issue on which we all agreed (i.e. the injustice of violence and discrimination) and didn't provide any reason to change our stance that God desires for all of us to be transformed through the redemption of Jesus Christ.

This Spring, Soulforce plans to visit 40 schools and military institutions.   Last year they visited 20 schools in one bus.   This year they plan to take two buses taking two different routes.

Here is a good resource from Dr. Stanton L. Jones, Ph.D., Provost of Wheaton College, "A Study Guide and Response to: Mel White's What the Bible Says and Doesn't Say About Homosexuality."   It is a 43 page pdf document which includes Mel White's booklet.

Stan Jones' Response

Another response is from Dr. Daniel B. Wallace who is considered an authority on Biblical Greek grammar and New Testament textual criticism.   Two-thirds of schools that teach Biblical Greek use his textbook which is the standard work in the field.

Daniel Wallace's Response

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Winterfest 2007
(N. IL/NW. IN - InterVarsity)


"Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God" (1 Cor. 6:11).   Here is a FREE internet filter: K9 Web Protection.   This is a free internet accountability program: X3Watch.   Setting Captives Free is a free website offering Christ-centered hope and freedom from many things that hold us captive   (e.g. pornography, homosexuality, drinking, drugs, smoking, eating disorders, etc.).   This is an incredible resource: Setting Captives Free.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Praise Report & Prayer Requests


Praise God!   Today is my sixth year anniversary of being released from prison!   But more importantly, the Lord has freed me from years of spiritual bondage and has given me a new and abundant life!

Please pray for my speaking engagements coming up.   In addition, I have an opportunity to teach part-time in the fall which would allow me to continue my speaking ministry.   Pray for guidance and confirmation.   Lastly, my comprehensive exams will most likely be at the end of April.   I am living and breathing Hebrew and Greek vocabulary and grammar.   Pray that I am efficient with my times in studies and that I am able to recall, remember and retain all that I have learned these past several years at Moody and Wheaton for this exam to fulfill the requirements for the M.A. in Biblical Exegesis.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

George Verwer


I've had the privilege to get to know George Verwer, founder of Operation Mobilization these past two years. This weekend, he stayed at our house and spoke at my church, First Baptist Church of Downers Grove where he gave a passionate and motivating message on Isaiah 6:8, "Here am I."   As believers, we are called to be available to God.   I hope to get his message online soon.   Here is a picture taken at our house for lunch after the service.



Saturday, January 06, 2007

Urbana 2006


I had the privilege to serve on the steering committee for the Missions Through the Lens of AIDS track and also lead four workshops at InterVarsity's Urbana 2006.   Over 22,000 people came to meet God and to listen for His voice.   This was the second time that my parents and I went to this conference.   This year it was in Saint Louis.

Although I mostly spoke on AIDS and even co-led a workshop with World Vision's AIDS advocate, Princess Zulu, I was asked many questions regarding my journey out of homosexuality.   Christian college students are seeking answers to today's tough questions - such as homosexuality.   These students are looking for someone who can speak with authority, not only from the experience of having actually lived the homosexual lifestyle but also from a solid biblical and theological foundation from biblical training.   Please pray for me as I consider my next steps in light of this.

I believe the best speaker was Oscar Muriu, the Senior Pastor of the Nairobi Chapel in Arica.   He spoke on how the center of the church has moved south and east to Africa, Latin America and Asia.   Oscar Muriu shares how missions is changing and highlights the necessity for true partnership between all of the members of the global church body.   Here is a link to watch this great message (32min).

Oscar Muriu

Monday, November 27, 2006

HOPE Positive Premiere


My parents and I went to the Enzian Theater in Orlando, Florida for the premiere of HOPE Positive, a documentary produced by CrossRoads International (a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ) and 95 Theses.   It features four Christians living with HIV: Katya (Russia), Makhaya (S. Africa), Carrol (Jamaica) and myself (U.S.).   What binds us together is not the virus in our blood which may eventually kill us but rather the transforming blood of Jesus Christ who lives in us and gives us life!   You may click on the link below and view the trailer and order the DVD.

HOPEPOSITIVE.COM

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A Testimony of Thanksgiving


My father and I had the opportunity to share a message and testimony of thanksgiving to our awesome God.   I have made this 20 minute video available for you to view.   I pray that it is an encouragement to you.

Thanksgiving

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Joy of Christ in China


My parents and I led a short term missions trip to China this summer.   The team consisted of ten people from our church, First Baptist Church in Downers Grove.   A team member graciously put together a wonderful 15 minute video. I pray that it brightens your day!



Monday, July 10, 2006

A Tribute to a Praying Mom


I wrote a short article for the Exodus Freedom pamphlet which they made available at the 2006 Freedom Conference.   It was an expression of gratitude for the faithfulness and persistence of a praying mother.   Exodus has made the pamphlet available online as a pdf file.   You may download it and find it on page 4.

Freedom Magazine

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Charles W. Colson Scholarship


Today I start my first day of class at Wheaton College Graduate School.   I am pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Biblical Exegesis.   Not only has the Lord allowed me to study here at Wheaton but he has also provided the means.   I am the recipient of the Charles W. Colson Scholarship which is a scholarship for ex-offenders!

"He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things - and the things that are not - to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.
1 Corinthians 1:28-29