Straight Outta LGBT

I spent plenty of time in the presence of God. I read my Bible for years, and I prayed for God to miraculously take same-sex attraction (SSA) away, but nothing happened.

I’m not saying those things don’t work because I know of people who have had an encounter with God and SSA completely vanished, but for me, it wasn’t like that.

Why did I not receive complete deliverance at one of the hundreds of altar calls I answered? Was there something wrong with me? Did God just not like me as much as others? Did I not deserve deliverance because God hated gays? Some of my questions never received answers, but I knew God didn’t play favorites and He had great gifts for His sons and daughters. I had a deliverance destined for me. I just didn’t know how to get it.

I was an openly gay teen. I loved God, but He wasn’t my only lover. For the longest time, I never understood why I was attracted to the same sex and why everyone else was born normal. Since I can remember, I have always been different from other guys. I was treated differently in elementary school. In kindergarten, it only took my first best friend one day to never speak to me again because I was too “weird.”

At the age of ten, I was molested by a guy. I didn’t have a dad to run to, so for years, I wrestled with the “why” question. Why was I the victim? Maybe my difference translated into vulnerability to him. Throughout middle school, I was bullied and labeled “gay.” At that point in my life, I had no identity. I didn’t stand for anything so I fell for everything. I accepted the label. My difference became homosexuality.

I learned fast that accepting the labels didn’t stop the labeling. Agreeing with naysayers fueled the fire rather than quieting the crowd. In the middle of all the chaos, I decided to follow Jesus. Little did I know following Jesus was not a quick fix for my life. That decision actually made everything harder. Now I had the responsibility of proving to everyone that I somehow quit cold turkey and was no longer attracted to guys. I was in a whirlwind of emotions and identities. My life started to spiral out of control. I fell into depression and started to harm myself. My family started to distance themselves from me. I didn’t blame them. I wouldn’t know what to do if I was put in their position.

Fast forward a few years, and in the midst of my messy life, God began to encounter me on a deep level. I wasn’t seeking Him in any way or desiring what He gave me. He came out of left field. I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit without knowing what it was, but from that moment on, I could sense God’s love peeling back the layers of pain and rejection that had gripped my heart. He began to speak to me in the most intimate way. It made no sense to me that a holy God would choose to encounter and speak to the heart of an openly gay teen.

Through God lavishing me with His love, I began to realize that a lot of my problems, if not all of them, were an issue with the way I thought. Ephesians 4:23 says, “… let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitude.” That’s exactly what I began to do. I began to pray, “Lord, cut on me; don’t cut me off.” This process taught me that a relationship with Jesus is just that: a relationship. It takes time and investment. It’s a journey, and in this journey, I have learned how to personally overcome homosexuality and same-sex attraction. Before you continue reading, this is not the way to see freedom in your life. This is the way God led me to freedom. Your relationship with God is personal and unique. What works for me might not work for you. After all, this is Christianity, not a one-way American dream.

1. God was taking me on my own journey that didn’t look like anyone else’s. 

I could sit down with all the counselors in the world and try to get help from them, but without God, I would never change. He created me, therefore He had the answers.

2. Homosexuality and same-sex attraction were an issue of the thoughts in my mind.

The voice in my head that spoke to me nonstop was fueling my issues. It wasn’t molestation that caused me to be gay. It wasn’t an absent father or being born different that caused same-sex attraction. My experiences didn’t cause my problems. What I thought about my experiences caused my problems. In other words, if I could change what my mind dwelled on, I could change my life. Holy Spirit led me to stop saying “I am a gay Christian” to “I struggle with same-sex attraction.” I am glad He didn’t stop there because that would’ve just been going from bondage to bondage. That small shift in mindset laid a foundation and opened the door for complete freedom. Shortly after, I began to declare, “Same-sex attraction is not a sign of a lack of love, it is a symptom of spiritual brokenness.”

3. I was attracted to what was mysterious.

The only reason I was attracted to the same sex was because I saw guys as a mystery. Therefore, I wanted to get close to what I didn’t understand. It seems weird, but remember that I was treated differently even from birth. My experience did not create this mystery, my thought processes about it did. So I decided to make what was common to me (girls) a mystery and what was a mystery to me (boys) common. I stopped hanging out with girls and starting hanging out with guys. At first, it was extremely awkward and uncomfortable, but as time went by my life began to transform. God transformed things so drastically, my appearance even began to change!

4. When I looked into the eyes of fire, all other lovers burned away.

The glue that held my freedom together was the fact that Jesus desired to be intimate with me. The most intimate people lock eyes with each other. Watch happily married couples. They love each other so they make intimate eye contact. When I locked eyes with the One who died for me, everything changed. I began to become like the One I was daily beholding.

These short simple truths changed my life completely. Now I live in complete freedom from homosexuality and same-sex attraction. I live full of attraction for God and my wonderful girlfriend.

God did not just deliver me out of darkness, He delivered me into His marvelous light!

Zachary Holder, AL, United States

—– UPDATE ——

I wrote this blog in July of 2016. I am now married to that beautiful woman, Bayleigh Autumn Holder. We are currently starting our family and are on fire for Jesus like never before. We are missionaries who believe in finishing the Great Commission, but most of all, I no longer am attracted to men! No more thoughts. No more desires. No more confusion. What about God?!

 

 
Zachary and Bayleigh Holder are alumni of the Ramp School of Ministry in Hamilton, Alabama pursuing a lifestyle of presence and purpose. They are currently working towards nonprofit status for their ministry “One Family, Every Nation” where they will establish a 24/7 prayer and worship center in the heart of downtown Hamilton and send out missionaries to the unreached people groups of the world. 

When You’re “Just Friends”… But You’re Not

I remember sitting under a starry night sky, surrounded by beautiful trees when a handsome friend of mine started asking me questions about my life. It was charmingly romantic, except it wasn’t because he had a girlfriend. I knew this about him, but I didn’t think there was any harm in just talking to him. As he continued to ask me thoughtful questions, I started to share things about my story that I didn’t easily share with people. I thought this was okay until I woke up the next morning feeling super connected to him and realizing he still had a girlfriend. I was so confused about why I felt so awful when I hadn’t done anything wrong. I hadn’t kissed him. I hadn’t even touched the guy. What was going on?

In church, I had grown up hearing about physical boundaries like: “Don’t have sex until you’re married” and obviously “don’t kiss another girl’s boyfriend.” What would have helped me out a whole lot that night is knowing about emotional boundaries.

Emotional boundaries can be a little trickier than physical boundaries and definitely aren’t talked about as often. Have you ever felt like you just couldn’t get over someone? It might not necessarily mean that you and that person are meant to be. It might just mean you guys keep crossing emotional boundaries even though the other person doesn’t want a relationship. You’re diving into deeper intimacy together without any commitment. Let’s look at another example:

I had a friend I used to hang out with all the time. I felt like I had made it clear that we weren’t going to date, so I thought it was okay to keep hanging out with him one-on-one and talking to him almost daily. When he finally asked me if we were ever going to date, I said I didn’t think so. My ego wanted to think it was because I was such a great catch, almost irreplaceable in fact, but it wasn’t. He found a great girl in a matter of weeks and they ended up very happy together. He had been thinking the two of us were going to date because we basically already were, not because I possessed any magical quality. When he started dating someone else, I was crushed, and I couldn’t figure out why. It was because I had been letting him meet all sorts of emotional needs and treating him like my boyfriend when he wasn’t.

I want to step back for a moment and say building intimacy and deepening your connection with someone isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you’re dating someone, then doing these things can actually bring you closer together, which is what you want. The problem happens when you are repeatedly doing these things with someone you don’t want to date (or that person is doing them with you). If you learn to be aware of these, you will save yourself and the people in your life a world of hurt and confusion. Here are a few things I’ve noticed that deepen intimacy and can, therefore, cross emotional boundaries:

 

1. Sharing things you don’t share with very many people (fears, struggles, past hurts, hopes, dreams, joys)– This makes someone feel they are special, that they have been admitted into your inner-world, that they have magical qualities…

2. Talking about intricate details of each other’s lives and families- The good, the bad, the ugly… these are the things that don’t need to be communicated one-on-one under a starry night sky. 

3. Large amounts of time or hanging out together, especially one-on-one- One way to remember this is the four T’s- time, touch, text, or talk. Doing too much of any of these things is flirting with the friendship line. 

4. Planning, thinking, or talking about the future as if that person is going to be in it- Especially for us ladies, it doesn’t take much for us to start planning our wedding, honeymoon, or the next five years. Guys, help us out and don’t talk about it unless you’re going to back it up. 

5. Caregiving or repeatedly going out of your way to meet someone’s needs If you continually do special things for someone, then they are going to feel special. Strange, I know, but it’s how it works.

 

Guys, if you’re doing these things with a girl, don’t be surprised if she gets all heart eyes emoji over you. Girls, if you’re doing these things with a guy, then don’t be surprised if he thinks you want to date him. I know, I know. You are probably really charming and attractive, and it’s making you irresistible. But you’re probably also boyfriending him when he’s not your boyfriend, or leading her on when you don’t want her as a girlfriend, so stop. In fact, have a conversation and tell each other where you’re at so you can both gain clarity and manage your expectations.  Deepening intimacy naturally brings the expectation of commitment, when one or both of you might not have any intention of committing.

Even inside a relationship, it’s still important to set emotional boundaries. You can’t just go from level one intimacy to level ten overnight. He may like all the same movies as you and have the perfect personality. She might be the most gorgeous human you’ve ever laid eyes on. You still have to build trust and go through each stage of dating so that your relationship has a good foundation. Don’t rush it. Take your time through every stage.

We’ve said this before, but the basic thing to remember is your level of intimacy with someone should not exceed your level of commitment to each other. This is definitely true with physical boundaries, but it’s also true with emotional ones. When you start to share things about your life and your feelings that you don’t share with a lot of people, you are giving someone access to a deep place in your heart. They may be a completely trustworthy person, but until they’re committed to you, there are certain parts of you that they haven’t earned access to.

So ladies, if you find yourself sitting under a starry night sky with a handsome man who has a girlfriend, I don’t care how perfectly thought-out his questions are, keep it surface level! Favorite color, candy bar, type of cheese- but that’s it. On the other hand, if he’s available and wants to date you, well that’s a different story…

 

ANDREA IS A GRADUATE OF THE SCHOOL OF MINISTRY AT BETHEL AND CURRENTLY SERVES ON THE WRITING TEAM FOR MORAL REVOLUTION. SHE IS PASSIONATE ABOUT SEEING THE CHURCH CARRY JOYFUL HOPE AND EXPECTATION IN EVERY AREA OF THEIR LIVES. SHE LONGS TO SEE THE UPCOMING GENERATION EQUIPPED AS STRONG LEADERS WHO STEWARD THEIR LIVES WELL AND INFLUENCE SOCIETY AS A RESULT. 
WEBSITE: ANDREADALLEY.COM 

 

For more information on healthy communication and how to do relationships well, check out our free summer video series

 


4 Things to Value If You Want a Healthy Marriage

The fact that people don’t know how to do family well is one of the biggest causes of dysfunction in society today. I believe that the restoration of family and marriages could truly change the world. The foundation of a healthy family is built on the culture and connection of the mother and father; the marriage.

I’ve been married to the woman of my dreams for 42 years, and we’ve been together for 47 years total. So today I want to share some core values for a healthy marriage. I pray this will strengthen your family or help you to work through trials if you’re going through a hard time in your own marriage.

Here are 4 foundational core values for marriage:


1) Be humble and put your spouse first.

This may go without saying but I think it’s still worth addressing. Marriage means you have come into a relationship to lay down your life for another person. In fact, marriage is a death march to a life a camp! It’s choosing to die to yourself every day for the sake of loving another. Philippians 2:3-4 puts its well: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” We look out for each other’s needs.

 

2) Regardless of trials, your spouse should be your closest friend, your greatest ally, your most bonded companion, and your covenant partner for life.

I think something that gets in the way of this kind of bond is the fact that many people marry but never merge. The truth is that from the beginning of creation God intended to marriage to be two people becoming one. In fact, one person (Adam) became two people in the garden (Adam and Eve), so that two people could become one in marriage. Genesis 2:24 says, “that is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” When trials come, it’s important that you stay connected, as one. Hard times can either bond you or break you depending on whether you cleave to each other or leave one another. Take the opportunity to grow closer to each other. Instead of disconnecting in the midst of difficult season, make sure you’re communicating to you spouse, “I’m with you.”

 

3) Fun and happy are the fruit of good choices and not the goal of life itself. Therefore, we can’t rely on fun and happiness to produce love in our marriages.

This in itself may not be fun to hear, but a great marriage will take hard work. Successful marriages don’t just “happen.” Instead, they’re the result of daily choices to love each other. Something I consider as a foundation of a great marriage is this practice: do what you do “when you feel like it” whenever you really don’t feel like it. So, whatever you do for your spouse when you feel “lovey dovey,” do that when you’re not in the mood. This is what it looks like to have character and choose someone everyday, instead of basing your commitment and covenant on your feelings. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: feelings are great servants but terrible masters. If we relegate our love for a spouse to our feelings, then we relegate our marriages to be thrown around by the winds of life. Love is not a feeling. It may connect and inspire feelings, but it’s not one in itself. Love is a covenant.

 

4) It’s not your spouse’s job to make you happy because happiness is an inside job.

The word “happy” is used around 80 times in the New Testament and not once does it have anything to do with marriage. This all being said, the greatest joys of my life have been found in marriage and my family! But joy and happiness are not the same things. Jesus promised us joy, which is based in Him and knowing what’s on the other side trials. I also want to say that my greatest joys in marriage aren’t from the ways that Kathy has given to me (and trust me, she’s the most giving woman I know), but rather from the ways that I’ve been able to love her. I often sit on my porch and watch her ride her horses (that I bought for her a few years ago) and I just cry. She runs and laughs with the horses, and when she comes back she can’t wait to tell me all about them. I love to think that I was able to do something for her that makes her come alive. There’s something powerful about engaging and loving people at their point of passion instead of your own; it’s truly beautiful to be able to love like this. My regret is that I didn’t do this earlier in our marriage.


LOVE BETTER THAN YOU HAVE BEFORE

Today I pray for a revelation of keys to a great marriage to be dropped in your spirit, and I release grace over you to love better than you ever have before. I encourage you to take a look at your heart and ask God to help reveal any ways that you could lay down your life for your spouse. It may not be easy, but I promise it’s worth it. Do you have other core values for your marriage? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

 

Originally published on krisvallotton.com.

 

KRIS VALLOTTON IS THE AUTHOR OF NUMEROUS BOOKS, CO-AUTHOR OF THE BEST SELLING SUPERNATURAL WAYS OF ROYALTY, AND IS A WELL-KNOWN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE SPEAKER. KRIS IS THE FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF MORAL REVOLUTION, THE SENIOR ASSOCIATE LEADER OF BETHEL CHURCH, AND THE CO-FOUNDER OF BETHEL SCHOOL OF SUPERNATURAL MINISTRY.  HE AND HIS WIFE, KATHY, HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 40 YEARS AND RESIDE IN REDDING, CALIFORNIA.  THEY HAVE FOUR GROWN CHILDREN AND EIGHT GRAND CHILDREN.
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/KVMINISTRIES
TWITTER: TWITTER.COM/KVMINISTRIES
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/KVMINISTRIES

How to End a Coffee Date

I don’t ALWAYS plan things out, and I’m not always the fastest on my feet when it comes to being honest…and not awkward. So I’ve been at the end of a coffee date and suddenly realized, “I have no idea how to end this. Am I interested? Should we do it again? I don’t think I want to do another time, but how do I say that? Should I just walk away? No, you should say something…but what?”  

Please, allow me to help you clearly communicate and end it well – whatever you decide.

 

FIRST THINGS FIRST: BEFORE YOU TALK, MAKE UP YOUR MIND.

Sometimes, you’re just having a blast and you know “This is awesome. I’d love to do this again.” You may also know “This person is great and valuable, but I’m not interested at all.” If either of those are the case, you already know. If you don’t know, use my trick. Go to the bathroom.

I excuse myself and go to the bathroom where I can get away for a moment and think to myself. I’ll be honest with myself and God with what I’m feeling and together, we’ll make a decision.

 

IF IT’S A “YES”:

Easy. Just share what you’re thinking (unless you’re planning your wedding day, then don’t say that…and stop living in fantasy land. Live in the first or second date. That’s where you are.)

I have had so much fun/really enjoyed this. I’d love to do this again. Would you be interested in that?

My suggestion would be try something different. If you had coffee, do something interactive. Plan a walk, mini-golfing, a bingo night, or to go dancing.  

 

IF IT’S A “NO”:

Give them honor and respect, but don’t lead them on. Let them know where you are so they aren’t left guessing.

Thanks for meeting me today. It was nice to get to know you a little better. Maybe we’ll get to see each other around sometime.

Here, you’ve appreciated them as a person. You’ve used past tense language “it was nice getting to know you” so that you have finished what you started. Saying “maybe” and “sometime” is a nice sentiment, but you’re communicating that you’re not making plans ahead for the future without being blunt.

 

IF YOU DON’T KNOW.

Remember that you’re not planning a trip down the aisle or what your kids look like on this first date. You’re just trying to see if you like what happened enough to do it again. Our philosophy is to give everyone a chance (unless they’re a creep). If you didn’t hate it, give them a second chance. People can be super nervous and not fully show up on the first date. You could be there too. Give them another chance to be them, and you’ll get a more accurate picture of who they really are AND how you’re feeling. That being said, if you don’t know, then do it again and learn the person more. Just don’t use positive language that’s as strong.

Thanks for joining me today. I’ve enjoyed this. I’d like to get to know you better. Would you be interested in that?

After overcoming the initial leap of asking her out and actually getting a yes, you’re already doing great.  Don’t put more pressure on yourself than you should; remember to have fun. 

 

ABRAM GOFF HAS BEEN PART OF THE MORAL REVOLUTION TEAM SINCE 2014 CREATING GRAPHICS AND DIFFERENT FORMS OF MEDIA. HE HAS SERVED THROUGH GRAPHIC DESIGN INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE CHURCH FOR OVER A DECADE. HIS PASSION IS TO SEE PEOPLE ACROSS THE NATIONS EXTRAVAGANTLY FALL IN LOVE WITH JESUS AND WALK IN PASSION, PURITY, AND PURPOSE. HE BELIEVES EACH PERSON IS MADE TO BE FULLY ALIVE AND FULLY BEAUTIFUL IN THEIR ORIGINAL DESIGN DISCOVERED THROUGH RELATIONSHIP WITH THE FATHER, SON, AND HOLY SPIRIT. WITH SOUTHERN BAPTIST ROOTS AND AS A GRADUATE OF BSSM, HE HAS A PASSION TO SEE THE WHOLE CHURCH DISCOVER AND WALK IN ALL OF WHO SHE REALLY IS. 
WEBSITE: ABRAMGOFF.COM 
TWITTER: TWITTER.COM/ABRAMGOFF
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/ABRAMGOFF

 

Other Related Posts


How to Not Be Ruled By Your Feelings

Are you the emotional type? Or are you more of a thinker? Whether you process life through your emotions or your thoughts, it’s important that you not only understand, but also learn how to manage the way you feel. We are not to be governed by our feelings or make decisions solely based upon them, however we do need them. They help us know what we need, and how to respond to the environment around us. I learned a long time ago that feelings are not right or wrong; they just are. We have to hold them in their proper place in our lives.

 

FEELING HEALTHY?

One of the main attributes of noble people is their ability to manage their emotions, feelings and passions. Why? Because it’s not what we want that defines us; it’s what we will! Feelings are great servants but terrible masters. While they are extremely valuable, it’s important to recognize that how we feel isn’t always how we are, and what we feel isn’t who we are. Learning to “feel” in a healthy way all begins with accepting the fact that feeling is a part of how God created us.

God created us with the ability to feel—to sense our emotions and know what is going on inside of us so that we can respond appropriately to the world around us. Without the sense of “feeling,” we would not know how to interpret the other natural five senses or to navigate through life. For example, when we feel depressed, we may deduce that a cold virus is coming on, and that we need to do something to bring health to our body. When we feel afraid, we may deduce that we should run from the growling dog. When we feel discouraged, we may need to reread the prophetic words that have been spoken over us. The same thing works in a positive light! If we feel joy from dancing, we could come to the conclusion that this is something that brings us life. If we shut down our negative feelings we run the risk of shutting down the positive ones with them. And the bottom line is that if we disconnect from feeling, we also disconnect ourselves from understanding what we need or how we’re processing the world around us.

 

YOUR FEELINGS ARE NOT SHAMEFUL

Many people are afraid to actually feel. So many lies can get in the way of us tapping into our true feelings, like the lie that feelings are a sign of weakness and immaturity, or that feelings are opposed to faith and maturity in Christ. That is total nonsense! Sadly sometimes the church has taught that emotions are bad – that they are part of the “flesh.” Clement, who was a Christian Gnostic and early Church Father, impressed aestheticism on the church. He taught that emotions were part of the fallen sin nature of man, and therefore needed to be cut off in order to grow spiritually. He stated that, “The goal of the Christian is not to simply manage one’s emotions, but to eradicate them.” Yikes!

Feelings and emotions are an essential element of the way God has made us, and a key to our well-being. They’re signposts from our soul to tell us helpful information that empowers us to be healthy individuals. Being aware of our feelings and emotions is the beginning of understanding what we need in our environment, and what we need from our environment – Spiritually, physically, and relationally. Growing in our awareness of what and how we feel allows us to request and pursue our needs being met by God, ourselves, and others, which makes perfect sense. So this week I want to encourage you to practice asking yourself these three questions: What am I feeling right now? Why am I feeling this way right now? What am I going to do about the way I feel?

 

Originally published on krisvallotton.com.

 

KRIS VALLOTTON IS THE AUTHOR OF NUMEROUS BOOKS, CO-AUTHOR OF THE BEST SELLING SUPERNATURAL WAYS OF ROYALTY, AND IS A WELL-KNOWN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE SPEAKER. KRIS IS THE FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF MORAL REVOLUTION, THE SENIOR ASSOCIATE LEADER OF BETHEL CHURCH, AND THE CO-FOUNDER OF BETHEL SCHOOL OF SUPERNATURAL MINISTRY.  HE AND HIS WIFE, KATHY, HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 40 YEARS AND RESIDE IN REDDING, CALIFORNIA.  THEY HAVE FOUR GROWN CHILDREN AND EIGHT GRAND CHILDREN.
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/KVMINISTRIES
TWITTER: TWITTER.COM/KVMINISTRIES
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/KVMINISTRIES

Are You Aware of Your Soul Needs?

WHAT IS BEAUTY?

How long does it take you to get ready in the morning? For both women and men, we shower, fix our hair, brush our teeth, and do the best we can to look beautiful on the outside, yet we rarely give any thought to enhancing the souls within us. The fixation we have with impressing one another has led to the adage, “Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes all the way to the bone.” When external beauty is a manifestation of the healthy soul that lies within you, it feels authentic, real, and attractive. But when the soul within you is drowning, starving, ignored, and unkempt, everything you do on the outside is futile. So beauty is then much more all-encompassing than what our society tries to lead us to believe.

 

THE GREAT PRETEND GAME

Many self-help books today are more like acting lessons that teaching people how to behave in the big-screen movie of life; but if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll see that the training they impart is just spray paint and stenciling for anyone hoping to become like Captain America. It rarely ends well.

It’s incumbent upon us to ask the question, do you pretend?  We are all born with an intense need to feel significant, loved, valued, and accepted; sometimes we fear that we are not worthy of these things. So we pretend to be the people we think society wants us to be in order to meet the desperate needs of our souls. Let me be clear: these are not just wants or desires; these are God-given needs. What water, food, air, sleep, and sunlight are to your body; love, acceptance, attention, approval, and significance are to your soul.

Sadly, most believers don’t even acknowledge, much less manage, these needs because they were actually taught by their pastors to ignore their souls! In fact, in many circles the soul is thought of as something inherently evil. In other words, some people teach that to be truly spiritual you must suppress or ignore the needs of your soul and instead focus only on spiritual things. If a person is drowning in a pool, nobody stands by and says, “You need air, you airless person! If you would just read your Bible more often, you wouldn’t need air!” We all know that no matter how spiritual somebody is, he or she still needs air. You can go to church every day, read your Bible consistently, and pray all the time, but none of these things will fulfill the need you have for oxygen.

 

SOUL NEEDS ARE GOOD AND VALID

We must learn to care for our soul needs if we ever hope to cultivate Kingdom virtues that empower us to walk in our high callings, and if we ever hope to demonstrate the true beauty of our creator in us. So today I want to challenge you to take some time and assess what soul needs could use some attention in your life? What does your heart need? Is it rest, fun, connection with a friend? Do you currently need to feel known and seen? The more we go after taking care of these needs, and therefore our souls, beauty will start to really radiate from the inside out! And that, my friends, is exciting!

What’s one way you like to take care of your soul needs? How do you proactively love yourself? Let me know in the comments section! And for more on how to have a healthy soul, I encourage you to check out my new book, Destined to Win.

 

Originally published on krisvallotton.com.

KRIS VALLOTTON IS THE AUTHOR OF NUMEROUS BOOKS, CO-AUTHOR OF THE BEST SELLING SUPERNATURAL WAYS OF ROYALTY, AND IS A WELL-KNOWN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE SPEAKER. KRIS IS THE FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF MORAL REVOLUTION, THE SENIOR ASSOCIATE LEADER OF BETHEL CHURCH, AND THE CO-FOUNDER OF BETHEL SCHOOL OF SUPERNATURAL MINISTRY.  HE AND HIS WIFE, KATHY, HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 40 YEARS AND RESIDE IN REDDING, CALIFORNIA.  THEY HAVE FOUR GROWN CHILDREN AND EIGHT GRANDCHILDREN.
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/KVMINISTRIES
TWITTER: TWITTER.COM/KVMINISTRIES
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/KVMINISTRIES

What’s the Difference Between “Coffee” and “Dinner”?

I grew up in rural West Virginia. If you’ve ever been to West Virginia, you know “rural West Virginia” is redundant because most of WV is rural. It’s also culturally the South. When you found someone you were interested in, you asked them out on a date. That usually meant dinner, bowling, mini-golfing, or a movie. That was a date and how you communicated yourself and your interest.

When I moved to California, I kept hearing about taking a girl out “for coffee.” That seemed odd to me, and I didn’t really have a good box to put it in. I later went back to WV for Christmas and realized, outside of gas station coffee, the closest coffee shop was 1.5 hours away. THAT explains why “coffee” wasn’t on my grid, but I quickly learned it was on the grid of women around me. It was time to update my vocabulary and find out what I was actually saying. In dating, it’s not just about what you’re doing but what you’re communicating to your date. I started asking women around me what “coffee” implied and what “dinner” implied. The results were as follows…

 


What’s the difference between “going out for coffee” and being “asked out for dinner”? 


What “Coffee” Means

Coffee implies a more casual interest and is low stakes for both parties involved. You ask her out for coffee if you’ve seen her around or know a little bit about her, but want to get to know her more and see if there’s anything there. You show interest but also a desire to keep it light.

 

What “Dinner” Means

Dinner implies a more serious intent. This communicates you’re for sure interested and ready to let her know. Maybe you already know her or maybe you just know you’re interested. There’s no ring in sight, but there is a higher level of commitment and seriousness here. It’s more intentionally showing romantic interest.


 

After you ask her to “go out for coffee” or if you can “take her out to dinner,” she may have questions. She may ask you “what do you mean?” or “is this a date?” Confidently reply. “Yes, I’m asking you out on a date,” or “I would like to get to know you better.”

 

Note: Some girls love the word “date” and other girls run from it because it feels too heavy. I wish I could tell you who is who but I usually find out after I ask. I like to say “date.” I’m a man asking a woman on a date. I’m not a boy playing around. I’ll use the word. If they seem to be shocked or scared by it, I’ll affirm with “No pressure. It’ll be low key,” so they feel safe, but I want them to know I’m showing up. I think when more men start asking women out for dinner, asking a woman out for coffee won’t be as big of a deal.

 

You set the level of interest based upon the amount of time, energy, and money you’re investing in her (and asking her to invest). Consider the difference of time and money between coffee, Applebees, and a “you-better-dress-up restaurant.” The point of this is good communication and lowering the stress without over explaining. Dating should be fun. If it’s not, you may be doing it wrong. Go find yourself a pretty lady with good character and see if anything’s there. 😉

P.S. If it’s coffee or dinner, pay for hers. You’re a gentleman asking a lady out. Pay for hers.

 

ABRAM GOFF HAS BEEN PART OF THE MORAL REVOLUTION TEAM SINCE 2014 CREATING GRAPHICS AND DIFFERENT FORMS OF MEDIA. HE HAS SERVED THROUGH GRAPHIC DESIGN INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE CHURCH FOR OVER A DECADE. HIS PASSION IS TO SEE PEOPLE ACROSS THE NATIONS EXTRAVAGANTLY FALL IN LOVE WITH JESUS AND WALK IN PASSION, PURITY, AND PURPOSE. HE BELIEVES EACH PERSON IS MADE TO BE FULLY ALIVE AND FULLY BEAUTIFUL IN THEIR ORIGINAL DESIGN DISCOVERED THROUGH RELATIONSHIP WITH THE FATHER, SON, AND HOLY SPIRIT. WITH SOUTHERN BAPTIST ROOTS AND AS A GRADUATE OF BSSM, HE HAS A PASSION TO SEE THE WHOLE CHURCH DISCOVER AND WALK IN ALL OF WHO SHE REALLY IS. 
WEBSITE: ABRAMGOFF.COM 
TWITTER: TWITTER.COM/ABRAMGOFF
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Am I Missing Out?

FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is not a new buzzword but rather an age-old insecurity. When it comes to sexuality, it can be a strong force for some very damaging decisions. This blog is for those who are wondering, “What’s the point in waiting to have sex?” or “Why stop if I’ve already started?” My hope is to give you some clarity as to why it matters, even though it may seem every message says it doesn’t.

This is a feeling I relate to in a real way. Let me give a little context to my story: my childhood experience was very rare compared to most. Sexuality was something I wasn’t introduced to until later on. As a kid, I came across pornography a few times but never spent time watching it. I went to a public school my entire life, but I didn’t know what masturbation was until 10th grade. I have to admit when I first found out about masturbation, I was humiliated I didn’t know. I found out one day at track practice when the seniors told me all about it. At the time, my innocence felt a lot more like naive ignorance than a blessing.

As I continued on through high school and into my college years, I was able to keep abstaining from sex. I was twenty-two years old and a virgin when I married my wife, Caitlin, in 2006. Throughout my life, I never felt like I was missing out, and I have to give credit to God for guarding my desire for purity. Even though I didn’t experience this feeling when I was young, as a youth pastor I now come across questions often about missing out and feeling the need for “practice.” I wanted to share some perspective from my story by addressing these thoughts.

As a side note, righteousness comes from Jesus, not doing the right things and avoiding the wrong things. I don’t share my story to act as if I had it figured out but rather to be an inspiration for what is possible. My heart is not that my story would cause condemnation for those who haven’t had this experience, but that it would ignite hope and that Holy Spirit would help bring truth as you read.

 

Question #1: I feel like everyone is having a great time, and I am concerned I’m missing out on something that is really awesome by not having sex, am I?

My answer to this comes from the married side of life as well as many people I have counseled in this area. I can’t count how many people I have talked to who were hurt because of their sexual experiences. Some felt pressured to please and others gave themselves to someone who didn’t follow through with their commitment.

I will tell you this: I have talked with person after person who battled shame because of their sexual experiences. I have yet to meet a person that could truthfully say sex has no meaning and is just a fun activity with no strings attached. Those that have engaged in porn or premarital sex seem to always have a significant healing process to go through. The cost on the soul is immeasurable.

On the contrary, sex has always been an expression of love for me so that is the only context I know it in. To my brain and spirit, it is only for deep intimacy, not just for instant pleasure. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good quickie, but even that in the context of marriage speaks of love, passion, and sacrifice. I have never once thought to myself, “I knew I should have had more sex before I committed to one woman forever.” Oftentimes at the conclusion of our intimate moments, I thank God that He saved me and she is the only one I have experienced this with!

 

Question #2: What if I don’t know what I am doing? Shouldn’t I get some practice before marriage?

This is a very interesting question to me because the very nature of practice in this area requires giving yourself away to people. Let me be upfront about something, I had absolutely no idea how to have sex on my wedding night. As a matter of fact, we never even had sex on our honeymoon for various reasons I’m sure we will share in a future blog.

Our first few years of marriage were filled with awkward sexual moments that didn’t turn out how either of us would have liked. We often would start to get frisky and end frustrated with nothing happening. Even with these moments, I wouldn’t want to learn with anyone else. Who better to be awkward with than my best friend whom I am in love with? I am safe with her, covered by her and discovering with her. These moments have bonded us, and we have learned together. As a matter of fact, we are still learning. Besides, if I really meant, “Till death do us part,” I have a lot of years to learn how to have great sex, and let me tell you, it really doesn’t take that long 🙂 .

There is so much more to say on this topic, so feel free to send any questions or insight our way. We would love to help you process as you struggle with your innocence, restored purity, or desire for the unknown.

 

COLE  ZICK CURRENTLY LEADS THE YOUTH MINISTRY AT CAPITAL CHRISTIAN CENTER WITH HIS WIFE CAITLIN IN SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA. IN 2014, THEY LAUNCHED THE MY CITY CONFERENCE, A YOUTH AND YOUNG ADULT CONFERENCE FOCUSED ON UNITY IN THE SACRAMENTO REGION. THEY ARE ALSO A PART OF THE NEXTGEN CITY PASTORS STRATEGY TEAM THAT LAUNCHED A REGION-WIDE NETWORK FOR YOUTH AND YOUNG ADULT PASTORS. THEY HAVE A DEEP DESIRE TO SEE THE CHURCH THRIVING AND WORKING TOGETHER TO BE EFFECTIVE. AS A COUPLE, THEY HAVE MADE SEXUALITY A KEY FOCUS OF THEIR MINISTRY AS THEY SHARE THEIR STORY VERY OPENLY AND VULNERABLY HOPING TO SEE OTHERS FIND FREEDOM THROUGH IT. THEY CREATED FOUR CHILDREN IN FIVE YEARS, WHICH GIVES INSIGHT INTO THEIR LOVE FOR CHAOS. 

5 Tips for Teaching Your Kids About Sex

There is so much shame surrounding the subject of sex in the culture we live in today. The media paints a perverted picture about what sex is supposed to be like, while the church rarely says a word. That is until we have a quiet, one-time, whisper of a “talk” with our kids that is filled with awkwardness and may leave them uncomfortable and scared. But what we’re missing is that sex is God’s idea! He’s not scared of it, ashamed of it, or hiding it! When God said, “Be fruitful and multiply,” He was giving us a sex drive. It’s time the church speaks up about God’s heart for sex and develops a healthy sexual culture, breaking the shame culture that’s been developed over years. Here are some practical tips for teaching your children about sex:


1. Celebrate sexuality.

It’s God’s idea, and He talks about it throughout the Bible. He’s not nervous about sex and He made it to be beautiful and desirable. In Proverbs 5:18-19 it says, “Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. She is a loving deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love.” That’s in the book of Proverbs—the book of the Bible known for sharing wisdom! Isn’t God’s heart for sex beautiful? Sex is something that should be celebrated, not hidden.

 

2.Teach them the power of sacrifice.

The goal of a healthy sexual culture is not to get rid of the desire for sex, but rather to manage the appetite for it. We must stop using shame to do this. Teach your kids that by saying no to temptation now means saying yes to a better future. The value of their virginity is in the battle it took to keep it. It gives them something valuable, that they’ve had to sacrifice and fight for, to give away to the one they love on their honeymoon night.

 

3. Teach them to manage their desires from a young age.

This principle begins when they’re young! Think about how your kids cry out for candy bars. We can teach them to manage this desire by telling them they need to wait until after dinner to have candy. This trains them in gratification delay, so that when they’re older they’ve already learned how to wait for good things. We can’t always get what we want when we want it, and every child needs to learn this lesson from a young age. It will only help as they manage their sexual appetite when they’re older.

 

4. Don’t punish them into purity.

We can’t create a positive by enforcing a bunch of negatives. In other words, we can’t just motivate our kids into purity by saying “Don’t have sex because you could get pregnant!” Rather, release and empower your children into fighting for their purity. Paint a picture and give them a vision of the importance of waiting so that they’re motivated by a strong “yes” to something beautiful, instead of a weak “no” to temptation that’s motivated by fear. Instead of motivating by punishment and shame, help them make a battle plan and always support them in keeping to it. And here’s the kicker—if they fail, God can restore anything, even your child’s sexuality.

 

5. Create a safe place for them to talk about sex.

Have age-appropriate conversations with your children about sex throughout their lives, so that you don’t just constrict communication to “a talk” but rather a normal part of your family culture. The principle of first mention comes in here. It says that when we hear about a subject for a first time, it becomes the foundation by which we determine what we believe about that subject. Everything else we are told about it is then weighed against the foundational core values we learned. In other words, the first time we hear about a subject it creates lenses that we will continue to have anytime we look at that subject. Let’s be the kind of parents who create the lenses and perspective that our kids view sex through. Let’s instill kingdom virtues in them by talking about God’s value for sex. If it is difficult for you to talk to your kids about sex, practice with your spouse. Get comfortable with it so that you don’t project awkwardness or shame when you actually begin to have these conversations.


I know this may be challenging for some of the parents out there because you probably didn’t grow up in a healthy sexual culture. Today I want to encourage you to break that pattern and begin a new culture with your family! I pray that you would have supernatural wisdom and be equipped with arrows of purity and morality. I pray that you would know how to bring light where there is darkness, and I break shame off of you and your home in Jesus’ name. I release a joy over you and a celebration over sexuality, that you would carry God’s heart on this subject!

 

 

Originally published on krisvallotton.com.

KRIS VALLOTTON IS THE AUTHOR OF NUMEROUS BOOKS, CO-AUTHOR OF THE BEST SELLING SUPERNATURAL WAYS OF ROYALTY, AND IS A WELL-KNOWN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE SPEAKER. KRIS IS THE FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF MORAL REVOLUTION, THE SENIOR ASSOCIATE LEADER OF BETHEL CHURCH, AND THE CO-FOUNDER OF BETHEL SCHOOL OF SUPERNATURAL MINISTRY.  HE AND HIS WIFE, KATHY, HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 40 YEARS AND RESIDE IN REDDING, CALIFORNIA.  THEY HAVE FOUR GROWN CHILDREN AND EIGHT GRANDCHILDREN.
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/KVMINISTRIES
TWITTER: TWITTER.COM/KVMINISTRIES
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/KVMINISTRIES

 

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First Comes Sex, Then Comes…

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage.

Except when sex came first, now what?

My hope is to shed some light on the struggles of intimacy in marriage and how our sexual history may have impacted that. If you are not married don’t stop reading, this is still for you. Ultimately, we will dissect what happens when sex, love, and marriage happen out of order, then break down how to pursue healing.

A large percentage of people throughout the world practice “Casual Sexuality.” Casual Sexuality is sexual engagement that is primarily about feeling good or emotional coping. Examples could be: masturbation, one-night stands, multiple partners, or even non-intercourse sexual experiences. It is important to know that this is most likely not entirely your fault. Your first sexual experience has a massive impact on your sexual narrative.

God designed sex to happen within marriage for a very powerful purpose. Sex is meant to bind a couple together at a depth they have with no one else. We all have multiple relationships in our lives, but no matter how close we are, sex is reserved only for our spouse. There isn’t a single other person, family or friend we are meant to engage in this way with. Why? Because God knew we would need a, “’Til death do us part,” bonding agent that connects our body, soul, and spirit. For this to happen most naturally, the partners need to have abstained from casual sexual experiences. What happens when one or both partners have engaged in sex casually?


“God knew we would need a, ”Til death do us part,’ bonding agent that connects our body, soul, and spirit.”


You may be a product of sexual conditioning and not even know it. Think back to how you were introduced to sexuality. For many guys, it was late elementary or early middle school when an older brother, friend, or neighbor introduced them to porn. For women it is often, though not always, through gaining affection in some way.

Then as life continues, the first interaction creates a drive for sex and fulfillment. For many, porn seems harmless because it is “just me and my screen.” Women tend to be more aware of the pain, but because of the instant feeling of value, continue engaging. So we walk through life experiencing casual sexuality. Our first and then most frequent introductions to sexuality are done with very little meaning.

Consider the first time a person has an orgasm because of a video or image. When he or she looks at that image and then has the climax moment, it is the same exact physical response they will have to sex. The first sexual experience with our spouse is meant to create a powerful bond. However, for most this isn’t their first time. As a matter of fact, many can’t count how many orgasms they’ve had. Their entire sexual narrative was built on casual experiences and now they are supposed to flip a switch to reframe an orgasm to be intimate. By the time you are in marriage, it’s embarrassing to admit you think about someone else, relive past memories, or need porn still.

Perhaps it’s not pornography, but you have had multiple partners over the years. If this is you, I encourage you to stop and ask this question, “Am I practicing divorce?” By bonding with different partners then breaking up, we are devaluing the bond that takes place in our brain.

So now what? What can be done to change a paradigm and reset for an intimate marriage? The answer is not a quick fix or easy, but it is more than possible!

A leading Christian neuroscientist on this topic is Dr. Caroline Leaf. She wrote a book entitled, “Switch On Your Brain.” In this book, she explains how the brain works in regards to creating and changing habits. She then breaks down how one would begin to repair a broken paradigm. This book gives a crystal clear path of how to rewire the brain based on science and the Bible.

So here is a brief paraphrase of some of Dr. Leaf’s thoughts. I highly recommend her book because she really dives into this in ways I just simply lack the knowledge to do.

 

1. Acknowledge the sins committed

This is something that is important for us to practice as Christians. We must repent. It seems that many misunderstand grace as something that overlooks sin. Grace forgives and redeems sin but one must acknowledge that sin was committed.

 

2. Accept forgiveness

It seems impossible that we would receive something for free. It’s important to spend as much time on this as you need. Thank God out loud for your forgiveness and tell Him you believe in His grace. As you do this, you will be hardwiring your brain to believe God has forgiven you.

 

3. Create a Statement of Change

Prayerfully create a statement that addresses the broken paradigm. For example, if pornography is a struggle, try to discover why. A statement of change might be, “I find my value in who Christ has made me, and I don’t need casual sexuality to discover my self-worth.”

 

4. Find Loving Support

Identify someone in your life whom you trust and who will commit to you. Ask them for a 21-day commitment to help retool your thinking. They will be your support when you feel unforgiven, are struggling with temptation and will pray for your freedom.

 

As many know, it takes 21 days to break a habit. This comes from the time it takes your brain to rewire a thought. You may need two or three 21-day cycles depending on a number of things, but with the power of the Holy Spirit and your partnership to be diligent, I am certain freedom will be yours. Your sexuality will cease to be casual and you will begin to rebuild a foundation of purity that will prepare you for marriage or repair your current marriage, so that you and your spouse can thrive.

 

COLE  ZICK CURRENTLY LEADS THE YOUTH MINISTRY AT CAPITAL CHRISTIAN CENTER WITH HIS WIFE CAITLIN IN SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA. IN 2014, THEY LAUNCHED THE MY CITY CONFERENCE, A YOUTH AND YOUNG ADULT CONFERENCE FOCUSED ON UNITY IN THE SACRAMENTO REGION. THEY ARE ALSO A PART OF THE NEXTGEN CITY PASTORS STRATEGY TEAM THAT LAUNCHED A REGION-WIDE NETWORK FOR YOUTH AND YOUNG ADULT PASTORS. THEY HAVE A DEEP DESIRE TO SEE THE CHURCH THRIVING AND WORKING TOGETHER TO BE EFFECTIVE. AS A COUPLE, THEY HAVE MADE SEXUALITY A KEY FOCUS OF THEIR MINISTRY AS THEY SHARE THEIR STORY VERY OPENLY AND VULNERABLY HOPING TO SEE OTHERS FIND FREEDOM THROUGH IT. THEY CREATED FOUR CHILDREN IN FIVE YEARS, WHICH GIVES INSIGHT INTO THEIR LOVE FOR CHAOS.