Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Tangible Ways To Help Participants of Sight Ministry

You may have been wondering how you could become a partner and a friend of Sight Ministry and how you could show your love and support for the individuals involved and what we purpose to accomplish.

The following are a few simple things you can do but are suggestions that would be HUGE for us:

  1. Truly pray about giving financially on a monthly basis.  I believe if you pray specifically about this the LORD will clearly show you His will.  Then simply walk in obedience to what you hear whether that means to give or not.  Even minimum monthly contributions are extremely significant. 
  1. Write a note of encouragement and support to the participants of Sight Ministry and I will publish it in the monthly newsletter.  This can be done totally anonymously, first name only, or your full name.  We need to know there are others “out there” who support our choice to follow JESUS rather than embrace a gay identity.
  1. PLEASE . . . get our information into the hands of your church leadership and take initiative to set up a meeting between them and myself.  We really need many more churches to partner with us.  Partnering is a two-way street:  (1) We have much to offer local church leaders and members; (2) It would be awesome if more churches helped us financially (My church is the only church supporting us monthly.  There are two other churches who give to us once or twice a year); (3) if your church does any kind of mission’s fair or outreach fair we would love to set up our information exhibit; (4) I would love to have opportunity to speak at your church, share my testimony, conduct a workshop, and train leadership; (5) We desire to build a network of “safe” churches to partner with us and to refer individuals to.  I’d love the opportunity to share what it means to be a “safe church.”
  1. Become a part of a new “Email Prayer Line.”  I would be interested in building an email group that is dedicated to praying for specific needs concerning Sight Ministry and participants within our ministry.  If you are willing to serve in this prayer group please email me:  richard@thesightministry.org.  

Sight Ministry exists to provoke the Church to “stimulate [believers] to love and good deeds” and . . . . ”To preach the gospel to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives & recovery of sight to the blind” (Luke 4:18).

Friday, January 16, 2015

Transparent Thoughts

We need your support more than ever before!  I’m not simply referring to financial need, though that truly is a greater need than ever.  For 2014 we were more than $3,700 short of our budget needs.  Payroll for the second half of December was not met until after the New Year.  This has not happened in the entire history of our ministry (2000).  

The board of directors has taken notice and believes the LORD is trying to get our attention.  I’m not certain what that means, but we ask you to continue to pray about what the LORD would have you do in the area of finances for Sight Ministry.  Our faith in the LORD’s provision has not wavered.  In these past 14 years I have not missed one single meal due to lack of financial provision.  You should know before I would let myself miss a meal I would invite myself to your house for dinner.  My heart is deeply moved by those of you who give regularly to this ministry and I truly thank GOD for each of you.

An equally important reason why we need your support more than ever is because those of us who personally deal with attractions to the same gender feel more and more ostracized.  We feel more alienated by the pressures of the environment in which we live each day.  We feel more alone than ever before.

Most of us involved in Sight Ministry have surrounded ourselves with our own personal support base through our small group ministry and, even more importantly, through the local church that we are connected to.  However, due to the almost unanimous acceptance of society toward embracing a gay identity we feel that we are total outsiders looked down upon buy our culture.  The pressure is mounting for us to follow the norms of our culture or risk complete alienation and rejection.  Sometimes it becomes nearly unbearable and leaves us feeling alone and rejected. 
                                                                                                  
This is magnified, more than you can realize, as the Church and Christian community seems more and more disinterested in being tangibly involved in the redemptive process that Sight Ministry, and other ministries like ours, is committed to.  The silence and lack of support from the overwhelming majority of churches and Christians is extremely disheartening.

During our group meetings I often look around the table at the faces of the 20-25 people involved.  I often begin to weep as I think about their stories and how they have been deeply wounded by their experiences with the Church.  I think about their commitment to follow JESUS rather than to succumb to the pressures of society or to their almost unbearable needs for intimacy with someone of the same sex.  In my opinion these people are real heroes of the faith.  I often need to repent of my anger toward the hurtful silence and neglect from the faith community.

We need you!  We need the Church and other followers of JESUS to stand with us, to walk with us, to love us unconditionally where we are.  We need you to support us in tangible ways . . . please do not forget us in 2015!  We need you!

[If you would be able and willing to give financially to Sight Ministry please make your checks out to SIGHT MINISTRY & mail to:  Sight Ministry, PO Box 140808, Nashville, TN  37214.  Check out our website:  www.thesightministry.org.  If you need assistance in any way please feel free to email me at:  richard@thesightministry.org.  Feel free to call me at 615-509-0782.  I am the only one who will answer that number and all calls are strictly confidential].

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

ADVENT: "Reclaiming Christmas" -- Day 25

Advent:  Day 25:  “Christmas Eve:  Excitement . . . Anticipation . . . Joy!”

Scripture:  Revelation 21:1-7 – Focus verse:  “And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of GOD is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and GOD Himself will be among them” (Revelation 21:3).

It is appropriate that we end our Advent devotionals on this last day of Advent with this passage of scripture.  This is the ultimate purpose for the Christmas story.  GOD created us because He desires to have fellowship with us . . . He desires that we glorify His name because we find no greater joy than the love and fellowship He offers. 

JESUS paid the ultimate price so that we might enter into the “new heaven and the new earth . . . the Holy City of GOD” (vv. 1-2)!  And there we will experience the consummation of the wedding vows between GOD & His Bride (those of us in Christ) and we will be “made ready as a bride adorned for her husband” (v. 2).  I love this imagery!

This is the meaning of Christmas . . . GOD’s Christmas gifts to those who believe:
·        “Behold, the tabernacle of GOD is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and GOD Himself will be among them” (v.3).
·        “And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (v. 4).
·        “There will no longer be any death” (v. 4).
·        “There will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain” (v. 4).
·        “He is making all things new” (v. 5).
·        “It is done” (v. 6)!
·        “He will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost” (v. 6).
·        “He who overcomes will inherit these things” (v. 7).
·        “I will be his GOD and he will be my Son” (v. 7).

How can you not but weep . . . shout . . . dance . . . laugh uncontrollably . . . worship wildly (there will not be any worship in His presence that lulls one to sleep)! 

We miss Christmas because we have not grasped the depth of the darkness of our total depravity!  We miss Christmas because we do not comprehend the truth that GOD, the Creator of the heavens and the universe, has “tabernacled” among us . . . He is present in all His glory . . . and He has made all things new in our lives!  Christmas is GOD’s redemptive plan being initiated on earth so that He will become our GOD and we will become His son (children).


MERRY CHRISTMAS – Oh, may we celebrate it with wild abandon as never before!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

ADVENT: Reclaiming Christmas -- Day 24

Advent:  Day 24:  "Christmas Moves us to Share GOD's Glory"

Scripture:  Isaiah 6

The context of this scripture is clearly the death of King Uzziah and Isaiah’s prophesy of the coming destruction of Israel at the hands of the Assyrians (722 B.C.) and the political maneuvering of the Syrians, and Jeremiah’s prophesy and the eventual Babylonian deportation of Judah prophesied by Jeremiah (586 B.C.).

As you read the brief contextual description below think about our current situation in this world, in our nation, and in the community around us:
 
GOD was calling Isaiah to prophesy loudly to the people to call them to repent from their wickedness.  Isaiah saw the glory of GOD Himself (vv. 1-4).  In the presence of holy GOD Isaiah saw his own depravity (v. 5).  The LORD heard his cry and took away his iniquity (vv. 6-7).  At this point Isaiah could not remain silent (v. 8).

The people were deaf and blind to GOD’s truth (vv. 9-10).  There would be devastation, desolation, and judgment (v. 11-12).  In the midst of this judgment there would be a faithful few, a remnant who would remain . . . “a stump whose holy seed is its stump” (v. 13).

It is important that we see the wickedness of our lives and the evil within the lives of everyone around us and the resulting confusion, despair, and suffering.  A very important part of the Christmas season is that the LORD has found favor upon those of us who are followers of JESUS.  Rather than hoarding GOD’s love and GOD’s grace for ourselves, it is imperative that we answer GOD’s call, just as Isaiah did. 

Part of the joy of Christmas is to share the Good News of Christmas with those around us.  A major way for us to do that is to focus on the real message of Christmas and submit to HOLY SPIRIT’s stirring within our soul with the glory of GOD.  As we are overwhelmed by GOD’s glory we will rise up and answer GOD’s call with gladness . . . “Here am I.  Send me!”

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Richard

Monday, December 22, 2014

ADVENT: Reclaiming Christmas -- Day 23

Advent:  Day 23:  “Christmas Day is the Birth of the Authentic Gospel”

Scripture:  “For I am not ashamed of the gospel for IT is the power of GOD for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  For in it the righteousness of GOD is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘But the righteous man shall live by faith’” (Romans 1:16-17).

Christmas Day is the birth of the gospel.  JESUS’ life is the gospel.  In Matthew 16 we see this clearly presented:  “’ . . . But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the CHRIST, the SON of the living GOD.’  Jesus said, ‘You are Peter (Petros), and upon this rock (petra) I will build My Church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.  I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven’” (Matthew 16:16-19).

It is important that we fully understand what the gospel truly is.  The authentic gospel that Paul was speaking about in Romans 1:16 . . . “for IT is the power of GOD for salvation . . .” is JESUS CHRIST Himself (see Peter’s confession in Matthew 16:16).  The truth that JESUS is “the Christ, the Son of the living GOD” is the authentic gospel.  JESUS and JESUS alone is the power of GOD unto salvation!

The gospel is not a memorized evangelistic presentation or gospel track . . . the gospel is not a simple recitation of a sinner’s prayer . . . the gospel is not a list of “do’s and don’ts” . . . the gospel is not a full slate of programs and events offered by the local mega church (or any size church) . . . the gospel is not a set of laws, rules, or guidelines . . . the gospel is not the Ten Commandments (which, by GOD’s ordained plan, are impossible for us to keep) . . . the gospel is not calling the church to take a stand and fight against the most current hot topic being debated in our culture . . . and the gospel is not a well-designed strategy to implement a major church growth campaign.

The gospel is JESUS CHRIST . . . authentic heart/spirit belief that JESUS is the Christ, the Son of the living GOD (John 6:28-29; 1 John 3:4-5).  As we truly believe this gospel truth JESUS will abide within us (His name is HOLY SPIRIT) and we will abide in Him and as a result we will bear much fruit and apart from Him we cannot do anything (John 15:4-5; Galatians 5:22-23).  And this is how we know that we are the children of GOD, purchased by the blood of JESUS . . . we bear Spiritual fruit . . . the fruit of JESUS, which is JESUS “life-ing out” His life in us  and through us in the work of HOLY SPIRIT.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Richard            

Sunday, December 21, 2014

ADVENT: Reclaiming Christmas -- Day 22


Advent:  Day 22:  “Christmas Means There Isn’t Anything Left For You To Do!”

Scripture:  “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

If JESUS were not lowly, He would not have been “obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:5-8).  If JESUS had not been obedient to die for us, we would be crushed under the weight of our sins. 

JESUS lowers Himself to take our condemnation.  Listen to Paul’s statement in Romans:  “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, GOD did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, wo do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:3-4).

That, my friend, is the Christmas story!  If it were not for JESUS’ coming into the world we would be left to fend for ourselves under the Law and in our flesh.  Under the curse of the Law (Galatians 3:13) . . . striving to do that which is required but is totally impossible for us to do.  But JESUS was able to do what we could not do and He became our perfect, spotless, blameless sacrificial lamb (1 Peter 1:19) and He destroyed our sin nature and He carried all our sins away as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:11-12).

One of the great joys of the Christmas story that truly overwhelms me is that we no longer need to sweat, work, labor, or strive to please GOD.  Everything required by GOD for our reconciliation with Him has truly been accomplished by JESUS Himself (John 19:30).  There really isn’t anything left for us to do as far as securing reconciliation with our Heavenly Father (Ephesians 2:8-10). 

Today would be a great day to sit down and read Hebrews 10.  Here’s a little sample:  “Be this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of JESUS CHRIST once for all (Hebrews 10:10).

Yes indeed . . . MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Richard

Saturday, December 20, 2014

ADVENT: Reclaiming Christmas -- Day 21

Advent:  Day 21:  "Christmas is a Call to Death to Self"

Scripture:  Mark 10:32-45 – Focus verse:  “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

The context of the scripture for this devotional is the request by James and John (the two sons of Zebedee) to sit on JESUS’ right and left “in Your glory.”  It seems for most of us we struggle with the desire for greatness . . . to be known . . . to be recognized.  JESUS’ response to them was basically, “you guys are nuts . . . you have no idea what you’re asking!”

Then JESUS went on to say that even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve others in a totally sacrificial way.  Remember, this is the GOD/MAN . . . this is GOD who left His glory to become a man . . . to eventually die . . . but not simply to die but to die a criminal’s death.  JESUS demonstrated the ultimate sacrifice of Himself.

This is truly the message of Christmas.  But it doesn’t end there.  JESUS calls all those who would follow Him to also come to a place of absolute humility and self-denial unto death (Luke 9:23).  Death to flesh and to self is one of the most important indicators that we are truly born of the Spirit and that we are children of GOD.

Part of the good news of the Christmas story is that we do not have to strive to make this happen.  Actually, there isn’t anything in ourselves that can make it happen.  We can submit and yield to HOLY SPIRIT, but it is truly and fully the work of HOLY SPIRIT within us . . . not our work (Galatians 5:22-23).

During the final days of this Christmas season I want to challenge you to be more self-reflective.  If you see that you are living in a self-centered, self-serving way seek the LORD in repentance and ask HOLY SPIRIT to show you how you can die to yourself and yield to His life within you.  Also, look around at others around you . . . at your work place . . . in the stores as you shop . . . at your church . . . around your neighborhood.  Then ask yourself, “What can I do with my family to bless others?”  Then go do it!  It doesn’t have to be a big thing.

As you embrace the greatest Christmas gift ever . . . GOD’s redemption through JESUS . . . allow His Spirit to “give it forward” to everyone around you.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Richard