Hello, friends of Alive in Christ!
We recently read Watchman Nee’s Sit, Walk, Stand in our weekly support group. The book takes the reader through the major themes in the biblical letter written to the church in Ephesus (Ephesians). These three themes, as you can likely guess, are identified as sit, walk and stand (in that order). I highly recommend this little book!
The reason I bring this up is because since reading this book, I’ve noticed how many times the concept of “standing firm” occurs in Scripture. I’ve been reading through the letters in the Bible again, and over and over, the command to “stand firm” is given. This wasn’t just a challenge and exhortation for the early church; it is a directive for today. And how relevant it is for those of us wrestling for biblical truth as it pertains to sexuality and gender.
So what does Alive in Christ stand for?
Alive in Christ stands for hope, the hope of salvation that Jesus Christ has died to give. Hebrews 6:19 talks about the firm and secure hope that we have in Christ. Romans 4:18 says that “against all hope, Abraham in hope believed.” This is what it often feels like for those impacted by same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria. In a world that overwhelmingly believes an LGBTQ+ identity is inborn and unchangeable, Alive in Christ extends the hope that is available in Jesus Christ, hope for a new and different life. Romans 5:3-5 makes it clear that that hope comes through persevering in our suffering, and in that process, God’s love and hope are poured into our hearts.
Alive in Christ stands for biblical truth, that God’s design for human sexuality is that it be expressed only between one man and one woman who have committed to each other for a lifetime in marriage (Genesis 2:24). We stand for the truth that this plan is good, that the path of obedience and surrender is worth it, that it is possible to have compassion for those with same-sex attraction without compromising that biblical truth because Jesus is still in the business of changing lives.
Alive in Christ stands for communication. The world seems to believe that full affirmation is the only path forward when your life is impacted by same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria. Some in the church are still saying that rejection is the only path for dealing with those loved ones who identify as LGBTQ+. Alive in Christ asserts that Jesus offers a different path, affirming what James wrote (James 1:19-20), that we should be quick to hear and slow to speak and grow angry.
Alive in Christ stands for healing in community. Because our support group ministry is built on the truth found in James 5:16 (that Jesus designed healing to happen in the context of community), we allow our participants to have some boundaried types of contact with each other outside of group. When we go through evaluation questions in our groups, the #1 thing that people say has been beneficial and healing about being in a support group is knowing that there are others who have experienced what you are struggling with and know how you feel, and that those people and the leaders/mentors who have gone before you are praying for you and supporting you.
Alive in Christ stands for equipping and educating. We seek to equip the church (congregants and leaders) to love well those who identify as LGBTQ+ in their sphere of influence. My heart is that the church would be a safe place for LGBTQ+ individuals to encounter the living God. This does not mean we compromise biblical truth; far from it! It means that we aim to balance and embody fully grace and truth, just as Jesus did (John 1:14). It means we present trainings and seminars, sharing the LGBT person’s experience of faith, why they leave their communities of faith, and what it would take for them to return. It means we equip church leaders to walk alongside those impacted by these issues, and it means we empower youth leaders and parents to educate their children on how to live out a biblical and God-honoring view on sexuality and gender in the midst of the culture at large.
Alive in Christ stands for transformation. While we make no promises about attraction change – in fact, it’s not our focus at all – we still believe in a supernatural God for whom nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37), that he whom the Son sets free is truly free (John 8:36), and that Jesus came that we might have life till it overflows, even here on earth (John 10:10). We believe and rely on and cling to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we could even ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). We trust in the promise that one day, before Christ, we will be completely transformed, and in the meantime, we are being transformed into His image (2 Corinthians 3:18).
We are so grateful for your prayers, support, and encouragement! We really could not do this without you all. Please continue to pray for our support groups, our upcoming events and trainings, and those who contact the ministry for support. Pray also for us as we go into a busy season of ministry. And praise God with us for His continued faithfulness toward the ministry of Alive in Christ.