Let Us Sit At Their Well
By Rev. Danny Blackwell
In John chapter
4 we have the story of Jesus meeting the woman at the well. As the woman
came, Jesus, who had entered her world shocked her, “give me a drink,”
The following interaction proved He knew
her and respected her. This unnamed Samaritan woman after an encounter
with Jesus was changed.
We today are called to enter and interact
with people who need Jesus. We have a message they need to hear. God loves
them – died for them – rose for them and can transform them,
just as He is transforming us. It is interesting, Jesus chose this unnamed
Samaritan woman, a despised people – no one is despised in the Lord’s
The gay community and those in it are
the very ones who feel rejected, judged and despised by Christians. Thus
walls exist that separate us from our brothers, sisters and friends.
What can we do? We must begin by listening
to their pain, listening to their anger and as we earn the right we can
begin. It was summer 2000, as we stood in the gay community and asked
100 people to respond to a survey. Our goal was, just to begin, by listening
The results were surprising. Six questions
were asked that dealt with topics: what do you like and what is the greatest
need of the community? Also, where would you go for help if needed? Of
most interest to us were the last three questions: What could a church
provide for you? What advise would you give a minister who wants to serve
people in the community and if you could ask God one question, what would
it be? The common thread in the answers about the community and how they
felt about it was: “a sense of security”, “like home”
as well as
Being a close knit community, that has
a sense of freedom to pursue the lifestyles they choose, whether that
be gay or transgendered, there is an acceptance and unity in the face
of struggles, which may arise when they need help and their primary direction
for it comes from within. Thus, we as Christians, in order to impact the
people in this community with the Gospel, must show respect. In a practical
way we can do what Jesus did with the woman at the well. Go to them, sit
in their community and get a burden for people.
The next three questions deal with questions
related to the church. The first question being, what could a church provide
for you brought answers like nothing, consumer issues like weddings and
funerals, and further reflections reveal that the church is not number
one on their list. The impact of the next question was overwhelming; the
question being what advice would you give a minister who wants to serve
people in this community? Some of the answers were, be open-minded, don’t
be judgemental, stop preaching hatred, don’t be homophobic, treat
people equally, don’t presume you can measure this community by
others where you have been before, be ready to listen, become involved,
be tolerant, be gay positive, patience. By looking at these answers in
a different light, it is possible to see how they view us Christians,
thus they must see us as being judgemental and close-minded, as well as
homophobic. The author had an opportunity to sit in a restaurant with
a group of transsexuals and when asked who I was by one member and I told
them a minister, he was shocked. The point being if all you have is negative
input without meeting a real person there is a tendency to write the whole
community off whether that be Christian or gay. All the answers to the
questions were really good and if we put them into practice, we can make
a difference in any community. The very last question in the survey was,
if you could ask God one question, what would it be? This is a very open-ended
question and I don’t think there is a lot of uniqueness about the
answers. Some of them were as simple or complex as “why” to
“why am I gay and why did He make me gay?”
Practical steps to reach someone who
is sexually broken
1. It is going to take God moving on their lives as a result of our prayers.
2. We are faced with people who have a
strong sense of community and if we don’t stand along side of them,
we will loose them.
3. We have to face our own brokenness
– the very fact that advice was given for us to be open, tolerant
…means that we are not that real about our own brokenness.
4. We must step out of our comfort zone
– they are not going to come to us if they don’t sense trust
e.g. it is ok to say that God loves a homosexual in church – they
are sinners like us.
5. Although the gay community appears
a tight community it is not really, broken relations, distant families
loom either in the past or on the horizon. We need to be a voice of hope
6. It is not enough to just say God loves
the homosexual in the church but the church must become a place of healing
We have to go to them and show and live
that we care for them. If we don’t go to them they aren’t
coming to us
Families who pray together…families
who play together… but how does a family handle one of their members
who is gay? Pray yes, what does it feel like? We pray that it doesn’t
happen in our family, a family who has grown up in the church, but it
You are a member of a family and look
up to your brother, he played in every sport activity and excelled. You
were close and you thought you knew him completely but then one day he
says he is gay. My response, “Have you told Mom & Dad? Have
you told the pastor?” With that he laughs and says, “ The
last time that I was in our church, someone called me a faggot. Do you
remember the pastor saying Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” The
conversation ends, he walks out the door and the brother with whom I had
felt at one time so close suddenly we had erected a wall. I put a sign
on that wall, “Do not touch”.
At dinner the family who usually talked
about every issue, didn’t about this one. As my brother left, and
my mother cried, Dad went silent, our parents wondered what to do and
where could they turn. This is something that families don’t want
to talk about to church friends. We keep our perfect Christian masks on
however after the initial shock, after the “where did we go wrongs”,
and after the time of family prayer in desperation, you share. When the
cat is out of the bag and you wonder how sister so and so and brother
so and so know and then the inevitable advice begins.
Uncle John is like that and he is happy…my
aunt just came out…I hope he doesn’t get AIDS.I always wondered
if he was…. it’s an abomination you know…unless he repents,
don’t let him back into the house…so many mixed messages.
The family hears but when I put my head on the pillow at night alone in
the dark, the question plays in my mind, “He’s my brother
why didn’t he trust me with this one?” As I drift off I realize
that this one is not going to go away on its own and I don’t know
how it is going to end. Time goes by. It’s been ten years since
that night when he shared those fateful words and thankfully to God all
the advice that good meaning people gave were filtered not by fear, not
by shame, but by God’s love and the fact that he is still our brother.
For me, I faced that wall that I had constructed between myself and my
brother and God spoke to me that the bricks that made the wall need to
become bricks of pavement, cobblestones to bring a prodigal home and one
day that will happen by an everlasting Father who loves every prodigal.
The above story is true in so many ways
by so many different brothers and sisters and it is encouraging to know
that God still calls us to reach out to our prodigal brothers and sisters
to be there for them, not judging but loving and speaking the truth in
love. There is a fine line to walk, to keep the door open and yet not
approve of the lifestyle. Above all keep the door of communication open.
We never give up hope because the Lord
is able, in His timetable. I want to encourage you that when the advice
comes in don’t let it discourage your faith in God and don’t
"But while he was still a long
way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he
ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him…”
Tips for Sharing the Gospel
by Robbi Kenney (used by permission)
See a person, not a homosexual. We're
not a clean-up campaign; we're ambassadors of love. How would you approach
any person you felt needed Christ?
Paul Little's book, How to Give Away Your
Faith, might be a good one to read for ideas. There's nothing special
about homosexuality as a sin in God's eyes. Don't let it cloud yours.
Homosexuals are looking for love, just like anyone else. Jesus Christ
is the answer for that need.
Remember that the gospel means "good
news." Be sure to present a Savior, not a code of ethics. Jesus is
a real person, not a life philosophy. Don't be so concerned about a particular
sin. God wants to redeem the whole person, not just his or her sexuality.
Know what you are offering. You are offering
Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. You are not offering heterosexuality.
There is a different between being homosexual and acting out homosexual
behaviour. When a person makes a commitment to Christ, he or she must
come into agreement with God that homosexual behaviour is sin. You are
initially offering the power to come into abstinence from homosexual behaviours--but
the feelings are not going to change overnight. That will come with time,
the care and concern of friends, and the quality of his or her own continued
surrender to Christ.
Actively love that person. Words can be
so empty. Demonstrate your love by listening, by calling, by confronting
when necessary, by sitting together in church. Love is a verb.
Don't be afraid to hear some "gory"
details. Some folks don't know how to express themselves in any way but
street language. Listen with love and respond as you seek the counsel
of Jesus. Love them where they're at.
Don't be afraid to say, "I love you."
Don't be afraid to hug, touch, hold hands in prayer. We all need that
physical affirmation of love from one another. Touching is not sexual,
it's loving. Homosexuals need to learn the place of affection outside
the context of sexual involvement. They won't rape you. If your intentions
are misunderstood, explain yourself, but don't back away.
Share your life. Many people coming from
a homosexual background are surprised to realize that "regular folks"
also wrestle with sexual temptation, loneliness, rejection, hurt, etc.
That helps them put their lives into perspective.
Present the whole gospel. Jesus wants
to set them free from lying, bitterness, pride, rebellion, you name it.
Homosexual behaviour and fantasy are only a part.
Don't make homosexuality the focal point
of your relationship. While you should not be afraid to talk about this
issue, remember that there are many other areas of your friend's life
you can discuss. And let them see Jesus, the answer to all their sins.
Tell them about Exodus. Share Scriptures
like 1 Corinthians 6:11 ("...
and such were some of you ...") as
well as testimonies of others who have come out of homosexuality. "Faith
cometh by hearing ..."
Transsexualism in the Church: A pastor
Is there anything I have learned which
could be transferable to other pastors in similar circumstances? I am
hesitant to generalise from our own experience as James’ story is
such a unique work of God. Nevertheless, I hope that the following are
Do not allow yourself to be pressurised
by anyone to push a person into a particular course of action for which
they may not be ready. Thoughts of “what will others think if they
find out?” must be resisted.
Take time to seek God. Note carefully
the witness of your spirit.
Do some thorough Bible study. Focus particularly
on issues such as creation identity, the fall, the new birth and our identity
in Christ. Scriptural teaching on eunuchs is helpful (Deut 23:1; Is 56:3-5).
Remember God’s order is always acceptance before transformation.
Remember, however, that God’s goal
is transformation, but it is transformation into the new creation, not
into the old creation. God, in heaven, transcends the matter of gender
identity. We are entitled to expect a growth to Christ likeness in life,
however a person dresses.
At every step, wherever possible, seek
the acquiescence of the person. For example: “I need to talk this
over with a minister friend of mine. Is this OK by you?”. Avoid
putting stumbling blocks in the road by ill-judged indiscretions.
Always use the terms ‘he’/
‘him’, ‘she’/ ‘her’ appropriately
so as to give no hint of the true identity of the person unless you know
the other person already knows. Gossip, even in hints is lethal and great
care must be taken to avoid it.
When sharing information with other members
of the church about the transsexual’s true identity, give clear
biblical teaching and counsel on how to understand and respond.
Give time to members of the church who
may be troubled and need to talk it through.
Do not rush the transsexual into counselling.
Inner healing and possibly deliverance may be appropriate at the right
time. It was our experience that the Word of God and the Holy Spirit,
in the context of an accepting community, did His sovereign work.
So finally what about Deuteronomy 22:5?
“...nor must a man wear
women’s clothing, for the LORD your God detests anyone who does
Are we not entitled to expect a transsexual,
even a post-operative one, to stop cross-dressing? Here are some thoughts...
The sins of the heart (pride, greed, jealousy,
unbelief, fear etc) are equally detestable to God. We all know that the
process of sanctification in these areas is often gradual. For the transsexual
we must allow for a process of change that is rooted in heart transformation,
rather than external pressure.
Ceasing to cross-dress must be a goal
to move towards. I was privileged to be part of a process where at each
stage a door of change opened without me having to push it. Of course,
that may not always be the case.
Marks of true repentance to look for in
this process are:
- A ready acknowledgement that “God
is right and I am wrong” on the matter of gender. Deuteronomy 22:5
should trouble the transsexual! Attempts to explain it away (e.g. “Oh,
that’s just Old Testament stuff”) should be challenged.
- Openness to discuss the past unguardedly.
- A willingness at least to discuss the
possibility of change.
- Actual steps towards change should be
looked for. For example a willingness to become increasingly open with
others and a greater modesty in dress and demeanour.
- Resistance to steps of change which
you suspect is resistance to the Holy Spirit should be gently, but firmly
While naturally I was delighted at James’
decision to revert to a masculine lifestyle, especially, in retrospect,
at the relatively short time it took, I was actually reconciled for it
never to happen. This is of course provided that Mandy was not resisting
the conviction of the Holy Spirit to change and that there was good evidence
of growing holiness in other areas.
This is the story of the experience of
a pastor in the south-east of England. The names “Mandy” and
“James” are pseudonyms to protect the person’s true
Used with permission
I am going to pour out My Spirit on all flesh.
By Alice Blackwell
I was asking the Lord for more of His
Holy Spirit for myself and for Danny to come to a sharper focus for the
future on Church Street. Throughout the weekend I felt a continual need
to keep praying this prayer and to wait upon the Lord quietly and consistently.
I feel that sometime in the future, somehow there needs to be something
permanent on Church Street, a place to belong for us and for the people
to whom we are called to minister
Early in the morning on Monday I awoke
from a dream where the Lord was handing me a brown piece of paper, which
opened like an accordion. I felt that it was saying to me there is a need
sometime in the future for a place on Church Street. As I was pondering
this, the Lord spoke to me “ I am going to pour out my Spirit on
all flesh” – as this was being said, I felt in my spirit that,
yes, this will cause there to be a need for a place for these people to
come to besides just meeting in a coffee shop. With this I awoke and stood
to my feet preparing to go to the living room for prayer. My cat Fluffy
got up off the bed at the same instant and I said to the Lord, “
If You are indeed speaking to me, it would be nice if my little cat would
jump on my back when I get down to pray like she used to do a long time
ago.” (She had stopped with the changes in loosing Bootie). I know
this sounds simplistic but I no sooner said it and it happened! I felt
in my spirit that the Lord was indeed speaking to me and I could hardly
contain my excitement!
I work with several people from the Middle
East and I have been sensing their spirits to be unsteady with all the
news etc. I want to be able to witness to them in some way and I instantly
felt peace when the Lord spoke to me “I am going to pour out my
Spirit on all flesh”. This will take care of the unsteadiness for
everyone will see and feel the power of the Lord.
We travelled to the itinerant conference
and there we were handed a book “Lord Capture My Heart Again”
There in the first chapter the writer, Laurie Smith was quoting from the
Scripture – “I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh”.
In the December issue of the Pentecostal
Testimony – there is an article about “ The Life in the City”
– Montreal Evangel – 85 years ago, how it started with a solid
foundation of prayer, evangelism and missions. The cry of my heart is
“Do it again Lord in downtown Toronto, in the Church Street area
where Your love is so needed.”
A Quote from another article by John Archer
a would be missionary to the East,
“...whatever door He opens no man
can shut. For now, we are on this raft called faith, and the strong current
of His love is carrying us beyond the horizon. In the East the dawn is
breaking. Beyond the horizon are a new hope and a new calling and a new
vision. For now, faith, hope and love remain.”
Lifted from a Christmas publication from
Bethany Bible College…
When the wise men saw the star in the east that first Christmas long ago,
it captured their attention and they followed. It led them to Christ.
That’s what light does. It leads people to God. As the world grows
darker our longing for light grows stronger….