Changed by Love: The Untold Stories

Publisher’s note: On June 15th the US Supreme Court Defied God and Damaged Our Nation

The article below is timely in light of the fateful court ruling. Read the testimonies of LGBT people who have changed by the power of God and love of the church.

They call themselves “formers.” And Wednesday, they were on Capitol Hill telling a story the Left doesn’t want you to hear. “We exist,” Elizabeth Woning told NBC News. Surrounded by men and women who’ve walked out of the LGBT lifestyle, her message to Congress is: stop pretending change isn’t possible. Because this group knows better than anyone—it is.

So many of the House’s bills, Elizabeth pointed out, “are based on the premise that LGBTQ people only have one option, and that there are no other ways forward—when we know from our own lives that this is not true.” Wearing shirts that say “CHANGED,” the group hoped to persuade Congress that their Equality Act and therapy bans may actually be doing more harm to the community than good.

On Wednesday’s “Washington Watch,” Janet Boynes tried to explain why the Left is trying so hard to keep testimonies like theirs quiet. “We’re being silenced,” she insisted, “because we can debunk what they’re saying. They will not sit down and debate any of us that have come out of the life of homosexuality, because we can challenge their ideology. I am in the living example that change is possible through the power of God… We came here to tell our stories [believing that] they’ll impact many men and women and family members who have loved ones dealing with that issue of homosexuality, transgenderism…”

Boynes, who had a traumatic childhood, watched her dad abuse her mom—then became a victim of sexual assault herself. She says that’s when she started to associate men with “rape and abuse.” Despite knowing God, she says she met a woman who she felt safe with and started to have a sexual relationship with her. “I walked away from my faith,” she admits. “After that four or five years, I was empty.” She tried to fill the void with food, drugs, other women. “These are the things that I started medicating my pain with outside of God… I never dealt with the issues that propelled me to go into that life…”

Janet says, “There are Christians that walk away from their faith to go into the homosexual life. But the Bible says, ‘When I leave 100 sheep,’ God said, ‘I’ll leave that 99, and I’ll come after you. And God came after me.” She met a woman at the grocery store in the middle of the night who told her she was a Christian. “I told her I was a lesbian. She invited me to church. Two weeks later, I went to church and I have rededicated my heart to the Lord.” She wants people to know, “it was the church, the body of Christ, that assisted me in my journey of walking out of that life.”

She hopes Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) takes that to heart after their chance meeting outside the Capitol yesterday. Janet saw her across the grounds and stopped to talk to her. She handed Pelosi a book full of testimonies like hers. “I hope she takes the time to read it, because these bills they’re coming up with [are] to silence us… And as long as [we’re silenced], they’ll continue to make inroads…” And the next target, she warns, are kids.

Christians, she says, can’t afford to sit back. But in a world where they’re called “homophobes” or “haters,” some are shrinking back. “What would you say to them?” I asked her. “What should they do?” Love them, she said simply. “God never called them by their shame. He always called them by their name.” Let them know, “God is there for them. God loves them. And I believe that what He has done for me, He will continue to do for them and their families as well.”

Understanding “Brokenness” and “Surrender”

Apostle and pastor Sonny Misar offers keys to maturity int his 18 minute video. Every minute offers insight for those who yearn for God to use them.

The Iowa Blessing

I enjoy publishing stories of God’s blessings. At the Church of the Living Water we pray each Sunday morning for our leaders. Watch this music video for a few minutes. You will be inspired.

The Iowa Blessing: Worship Leaders from churches all over the state of Iowa came together to create a music video to show unity and share a message of hope. 

3 Inspiring Stories from Iowa

These stories are published by the Family Leader Foundation based in Des Moines, Iowa. Greg Baker leads the Church segement of the Family Leader. Thanks to Greg Baker for publishing these events which show God as Chief Reconciler.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5.

1. Governor Reynolds and Mayor Cownie Join Prayer Vigil at Des Moines Police Department

Last night, we were blessed to help host a prayer event with Al Perez, Des Moines Metro pastors, and governing leaders just outside the Des Moines Police Department. Governor Kim Reynolds, Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie, Chief Wingert and DMPD officers, and over 100 African-American, African, Hispanic, Asian, and white pastors from all across the Des Moines Metro joined together to pray for peace, justice, unity, and righteousness for our schools, city, state, and nation. 

 praying for governor praying for officers2
Pastors praying for
Governor Reynolds
Pastors praying for 
Des Moines Police Officers

2. God Answers Two Police Officers Prayers Through Two Hispanic Pastors

On Sunday night, an African-American Des Moines police officer and a white police officer prayed that the demonstration outside the Des Moines Police Department would remain peaceful. An hour later, right as time reached curfew, Pastors Ian Rojas and David Sixtos, who are part of the Church Ambassador Network, were able to negotiate an agreement between police and demonstrators. Both sides agreed to kneel for two minutes to honor George Floyd and others who have fallen to injustices. Following the kneeling, demonstrators left just a few minutes past curfew.  

 police protestors kneel
 Des Moines police officers kneel with protestors 

3. Officers Kneel with Protestors and Pray Lord’s Prayer Together in Fort Dodge

Check out this video of Fort Dodge police kneeling with demonstrators and reciting the Lord’s Prayer together (link is to a Facebook video, you may need to log in to Facebook to view): 

Fort Dodge protest prayer

These past few days continue to illustrate the consequences of sin from not only this generation but many generations before us. A member of our team shared how these very racial issues we are facing today are largely the same issues he faced growing up in the 1960s and 1970s. They were not new then either. Since the beginning of time the enemy has used what the Bible calls factions and divisions against us. These factions ultimately keep prideful attention on ourselves, and off of our Creator. These very factions become the root of some of our deepest sins in history, American slavery, the Jewish holocaust, and the genocide in Rwanda as examples. 

What an incredible God we serve! As we learned during the initial days of COVID 19, God has and will continue to use His Church. It is an honor to partner with you!
Greg

— 
Greg Baker
Executive Vice President,  The Family Leader Foundation 
Director, Church Ambassador Network

The Day I Cried

Our daughter Sarah Kirsten put together this short video about one of the dramatic events in the lives of the Anderson family. I think you will enjoy it and resonate with the hope it brings. God bless you.

You are Such a Good Listener

You are such a good listener

My daughter surprised me last week. “You are such a god listener!” she exclaimed.” Yes, a surprise. If she had said, “You never listen,” I may not have been so surprised.

Her accolade, of course, made me happy and want to become a better listener. I was all ears.

Our daughter continued, “People are troubled these days. They need someone to talk to.” Our daughter is sensitive and aware of people and their feelings. She suggested I give a “gift of presence” to people in the community by announcing that I will be available to listen to anyone who comes to the church sanctuary or calls during certain hours. (From my perspective, I’m already available. But then, not everybody knows this.)

So I kept listening. Our daughter explained her rational to me and to her brother Ethan, who serves as associate pastor in our church:

“I think this addresses a) that you’re offering a listening ear, which I think is what will most speak to people, and b) that you’re not offering answers, just your presence. These two things, presence and listening, are two of the most humanity-restoring things we can offer, and what you both are so good at giving to me.”

Here’s the blurb she wrote as we announced this to the world:

We’re here to listen, if you’d like to talk. In these uncertain times, we’re all under a tremendous amount of stress. You’re handling it very well! We’d like to come alongside you and listen to what’s on your heart. We don’t have all the answers, but we can offer a listening ear, and just be there with you for a moment in your day.

If you’d like to talk with Pastor Mark, he’ll be standing by his phone on Tuesday and Thursday mornings in the month of May. Here’s his number: 563-554-1401.

Do you think anyone would call?

Yes! A fellow named L called and talked almost 40 minutes, He asked for prayer for someone close to him and even sent a picture.

Later, I got to thinking, “Am I a good listener?”

I remembered a Pastor S who came earlier into my office and poured out his heart for nearly an hour.

I remembered R who sometimes calls or comes two or more times a week. He says he doesn’t have anyone else to talk to.

I thought of a woman with severe cancer who needs to talk and ask questions. She wants me to be her “cancer coach.”

Why Listen?

One time, years ago, I was planning to resign. An elder, Tom said, “Not now!” I’m so glad I listened.

Joab, an Israeli military general in the Bible, won an important battle because he listened to a wise woman (2 Samuel 20:17f).

Love listens. When we love people, we listen to them.

Many people are lonely and feel isolated. Nearly everyone wants someone to listen to them with empathy.

Part of the ordination ritual for priests in the Old Testament included sprinkling blood on the ear. It was called a “filling” or consecration and equipped the priest for service (Leviticus 8:22f). If we want to serve people, we need to hear them.

God has given us two ears and one mouth. This ought to be a clue about God’s will for our lives!

Two Caveats for Great Listeners

One, our chief concern is that folks learn to pour out their hearts into the “ears” of the Almighty. He’s the One Who cares the most. He’s the One Who gives results.

We always want to direct people to God. Yet, sometimes people just need to talk with someone with flesh and blood.

Second, a good listener need not listen to gossip and evil. Sometimes we need to cut people off or redirect a conversation.

Who is the Best Listener?

No doubt–God Himself! Give ear to my prayer, O God; And do not hide Yourself from my supplication (Psalm 55:1). The book of Psalms could be summarised as one great plea for God to listen.

So again, we want to direct people to God, to pour out their hearts to Him. And if we love people, we will listen to them.

Are you a good listener?

Darwin’s Road to Salvation Testimony

Heaven opened for Darwin as he drove to Muscatine, Iowa for the first time in 2000. Now, in 2020, he retells how Jesus organized a series of events that led to his salvation.

All Authority is from God

When I served as an intern at a Lutheran Church in Le Center, Minnesota, I did not get along well with the pastor. He looked askance at me for starting a jail ministry. Most of the people, however, liked me. One even compared me to Billy Graham!

Toward the end of my term in Le Center I started a community-wide youth group—without telling the pastor. We called it “Inter-team” and met around a campfire at night. It was exciting! When summer arrived, I left Le Center and went back to Luther Seminary.

But God started convicting me. The problems I created with the pastor were at least partially my fault. I was rebellious, doing the “right thing” with the wrong attitude. As hard as it was, I had to call Pastor Bill, confess my fault, and ask his forgiveness. He graciously forgave.

Immediately, God increased my ministry. Folks from another church called that same week, asking for advice. I was able to give wise counsel.

Because I had worked out my relationship with an authority figure, I became able to solve many church problems.

In the days of coronavirus-19, many are considering the role of civil government in society. Are the various lockdowns violating the constitution? Should churches follow state guidelines?

This article purposes to help us think biblically about authority.  Where does authority come from? What are the realms of authority that God has established? How does one realm of authority relate to another? How do church and state relate to each other?

Confusion exists unless we understand some basic foundational truths.

Foundational Truth Number One: All Authority Comes from God

All authority comes from the Creator. Christians with a biblical worldview can agree on this.

For by Him [Christ Jesus] all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things have been created through Him and for Him (Col 1:16 NASB).

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me [Jesus] (Mat 28:18).

Foundational Truth Number 2: God Has Established 4 Realms of Authority—Family, Church, State, Business

Family—Gen 2-3; My son, observe the commandment of your father, And do not forsake the teaching of your mother (Prov 6:20).

Church–Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you (Heb 13:17).

Business–Servants, obey in all things them that are your masters according to the flesh; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing the Lord (Col 3:22 ASV)

State–Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right (1 Pet 2:13,14).

Foundational Truth Number 3: God Has Delegated Some of His Authority to Each of These Realms

These spheres are complementary, not hierarchical. In other words, one is not “over” another. Neither is the list in order of importance. Each is significant in itself.

Ideally, each realm should support and strengthen the others for the purpose of peace in society (1 Tim 2:1ff).

Foundational Truth Number Four: When One Realm Usurps Power Over Another, the Others are Mandated to Rise Up and Restore God’s Intended Balance

Here are a couple of examples from the Bible.

  1. When the Senate (the ruling council among Jews at the time) over extended their authority and said, “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name; Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us responsible for this man’s blood.” But Peter and the other apostles replied, ‘We must obey God rather than men.’
  2. But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt had commanded them, but let the boys live (Ex 1:17). Then God backed up the midwives and honored them by giving them families of their own (Ex 1:21).

Foundational Truth Number Five: God Honors His Realms of Authority

This principle is succinctly stated in Psalm 75:7 But God is the Judge; He puts down one and exalts another.

When Realms of Authorities that God has established disagree, what do we do?

First, we need to check our attitude. During my life, I’ve had many conflicts with authority in family, church, business, and civil government. Often, I have had to realize my own attitude was wrong. I’ve had to repent. And sometimes apologize. (Fortunately, I’m not as bad as I once was!)

Foundational Truth Number Six: God Uses Conflicts with Authority to Purify Us

God has ordained these types of conflicts to humble us and cause us to seek Him. God uses conflicts with authority to transform us. As we submit our attitude to Him, we find grace to become more Christ-like.

So What Do We Do?

Let me suggest a sequence. Prayer, check attitude, Holy Spirit guidance, Godly appeal, and perhaps–pay the consequences.

Sometimes prayer and a changed attitude will resolve a conflict. If that doesn’t work, perhaps God will lead us to make an appeal to an authority figure or group. (How to make a God-pleasing appeal is vitally important; however, that is a topic for another time.)

When authority groups engage in conflict, the Holy Spirit is our guide. God has promised the Spirit will guide us into all truth.

Ultimately, however, we may have to suffer the consequences. Think of Jeremiah in the cistern or David fleeing from King Saul. Some of the greatest heroes of the faith are honored today because of their faith and courage to take a stand for God.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

I FORGAVE HIM–40 YEARS LATER!

Publisher’s note: This powerful story is from Paul ANderson–not a relative, but a friend. I want everyone to know Paul wrote it, not me.

Paul Anderson
Paul Anderson

Karen and I were living at 1603 W. 7th St., San Pedro, California. We had a good-size home, and we chose to share our living space with friends and relatives. One Christmas we invited a homeless young couple in with an infant. We usually knew the people well who joined us. They needed a place, and we had room downstairs. It was nice, with its own entrance, bathroom, and living room. For our Christmas Eve service, I used their baby to help people visualize the marvel of the incarnation.

He was a handy-man and did some work in our garden, making some steps that are still functioning well today. I helped him and he helped me. Until he left. Then he helped himself to some of our stuff, like pots and pans and my guitar, the best one! Don Barteld from our church also assisted him, and he managed to buy something on Don’s credit card. And they were gone.

No thank-you, no promise to pay us back. They left by ripping us off. It didn’t feel good. We had gone out of our way to help them. They weren’t married and we didn’t make a deal out of that They were welcomed like honored guests. And when they left, they treated us like scum.

This morning I was reading in Luke 6 where Jesus says, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them…But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil” (27-32,35)

Many of us have heard about Corrie ten Boom struggling to forgive a German guard who showed up at a meeting where she was speaking. He served where Corrie and her sister Betsy were imprisoned and where Betsy died after cruel treatment. He came up to the front afterward. She could see him out of the corner of her eye as she talked to people. A difficult moment. Could she forgive? Would she? She had to search her heart.

She felt the pain, but she found grace to forgive him, and perhaps a million people have heard, read, or seen the story (there’s a movie). Had she not forgiven him, she would have been tormented (Matthew 18:34), as Jesus says will happen if we do not forgive others from our heart (35). The tormentors are probably demons, who like rats enjoy hanging around garbage–unforgiveness, hostility, resentment, rage. Forgiveness releases the offender–and the offended one! Two for two!

Today I spoke out forgiveness to the young man who took advantage of us. I might have forgiven him before, but I wanted to make sure. I urge you as well to forgive if you have been taken advantage of–and God Himself will pay you back. Great deal!

Who Are the Greatest Heroes?

Let’s give credit where credit is due. Great heroes abound in his time of crisis. Nursing home workers, nurses, policemen, firemen, first responders, doctors, lab workers, clergymen, and many others deserve recognition. All of these are sacrificing and laying their lives on the line to save others.

All of these are receiving well deserved accolades for saving lives. In addition, there are men, women and young people saving lives for all eternity. Let’s recognize them. Those who save lives during the current crisis deserve great credit. And those who save lives for all eternity join a cadre of unsung heroes that deserves even greater honor.

This website exists to recognize and encourage soul-winners. They are the greatest heroes.

Angie Fredrickson is a real heroine. She sent this reply in the comment box of this website a while back, months before the quarantine. Here is Angie’s story.

I led someone to Chris

We were on a flight from PDX [Portland International Airport] to Santa Barbara. It was my husband, me and another lady sitting together.

I struck up a conversation with the lady, asking the Lord [at the same time] if I should share with her. He gave me the go-ahead.

The problem was we were landing, so I had to be precise. As we sat on the landing strip, stopped and not moving, I prayed with her as she received the Lord.

Then the plane went into the place of disembarkation. I asked my husband if the pilot told us why we were sitting on the landing strip. Even though my husband was in prayer as I shared, he said neither the pilot nor flight attendant said anything.

As we went into this very small airport terminal our son-in-law asked “Why were you sitting out there on the strip so long?” I told him it was so I could lead this nice lady to the Lord!”

Photo of “greatest hero Superman” by King Lip on Unsplash