PASTORS – PREPARE FOR THE COMING TRIBULATION

There are thousands of pastors out there that should be preparing the bride of Christ for the coming tribulation, but instead they are taking the easy road.  Since most American and many Australian Christians have embraced the Pre Tribulation position due to best selling books such as The Left Behind Series it is comforting for them to get confirmation from their pastors that they won’t face the Antichrist nor the great tribulation spoken of in Revelation. And yet Scripture is replete with warnings such as Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.  2 Timothy 3:12

Moreover, Matthew 24:29-31, Mark 13:24-27 Luke 21:25-28 clearly teach that the Rapture takes place “immediately after the tribulation of those days

Paul confirms itLet no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God2 Thessalonians 2:1-4

Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one anotherThen many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. Matt. 24: 9-12

It was granted to him (Antichrist) to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. Revelation 13:7

All of the apostles were killed for their faith.  Some early Christian leaders were stoned, others were killed by sword or spear, and some were even reportedly crucified upside down. Later on, the Roman Empire invented even more sadistic ways to kill Christians.  Entire families were fed to lions, and one emperor even lit the roads with the burning bodies of Christians that he had killed. During the Dark Ages, the popes of Roman Catholicism tortured and killed millions that did not submit to their authority.  Great men of God were burned at the stake for “crimes” such as translating the Bible into English and preaching a gospel of salvation by faith. Even today, Christians are being raped, tortured, beheaded and crucified by radical Islamic groups in the Middle East such as ISIS. Once again, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.2 Timothy 3:10-12

Paul to the church at Thessalonica: “and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow labourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith, that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this. For, in fact, we told you before when we were with you that we would suffer tribulation, just as it happened, and you know.” 1 Thessalonians 3:2-4

It is sad to contemplate that many Christians will be faced with horrors that they have never been prepared for.  Perhaps many will deeply question their faith or give in to despair and depression. Even of more concern, some may commit suicide so that they can get the “escape” that they were promised.

Ultimately, it really will come down to whether you will trust God regardless of your circumstances, knowing He is in control and will be with you every step of the way, just as He was with the early martyrs. Be encouraged, read some of their stories in Foxe’s Book of the Martyrs (updated 2006).

In fact, knowing Jesus return is not too far off we should be excited and committed to making sure we are in the centre of His will for the short time we have left on this planet and prior to meeting Him at the Wedding Supper of the Lamb – Revelation 19:7.

 

 

DISCIPLE MAKING CHURCHES IN THE LAST DAYS

As mentioned many times previously on this website, I believe the end times church will be like the church described in the Book of Acts and it is wonderful to see many Disciple Making Movements starting up. I have promoted Francis Chan (Multiply Movement), David Platt (Radical) two of the most notable Disciple Making Movements as well as Oikos Australia in my own country.

This article from Oikos and a short video from DMMS Frontiers Mission are worth considering for your church.

At Oikos, we are thinking about multiplication. With 25.5 million Australians, only 52% identify themselves as Christian – this opportunity is one we are passionate about impacting!

Did you know that one pair of rabbits can end up with 4 million offspring in only 4 years time? That is rapid growth!  Does your group, simple church or disciple-making strategy – have a clear plan where those in your group, clearly know how they can train to equip others to disciple new people and plant new groups/churches.

“If not, your strategy may need to be adjusted. Everything you do in disciple-making must pass the test of reproducibility. When we make things too complicated, we don’t get rabbit churches that multiply quickly” – DMMS Frontier Missions

Does your group know how to share the gospel, invite people to Jesus and know what to do if someone says yes? Do you have a vision for growth & raising up others?

2 Timothy 2:2 is our guide. Paul trained Timothy. Timothy trained faithful men. They trained many others.

“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.” 2 Timothy 2:2 

That’s multiplication. That’s generational growth. It’s what we do to see Oikos become a Disciple-Making movement!!
Who are you developing as under you? Who are you passing the baton too? Effective disciple making involves multiplication of simple churches and disciples.

PROPHESIED PERSECUTION OF THE CHURCH IN THE LAST DAYS

Chinese President Xi Jinping  believes in the absolute power of the Party and wants his government to exert control over every aspect of Chinese life.  Since coming to power in 2012, Xi has severely cracked down on human rights, religious freedom and freedom of expression.  Christians in China are experiencing some of the worst persecution in decades.

The recent arrest of a prominent church pastor underscores the level of persecution against Christians.  Authorities in the city of Chengdu, in China’s southwest, recently arrested pastor Wang Yi, along with his wife and 100 members of his Church.  Authorities shut down the church and charged pastor Wang with “inciting subversion of state power.”

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Wang’s church, like scores of other congregations, is outside government control as part of China’s burgeoning so-called underground or house church movement.  Todd Nettleton of Voice of the Martyrs, says this movement has touched every corner of China.  “All across China, there are house churches, or what they call ‘family churches’ and the reason the Communist government is so worried is because there are far more Christians in China than there are members of the Communist Party,” Nettleton said.

In recent months, Beijing has waged a brutal and widespread crackdown to stop the growth of these unregistered churches. “This crackdown is a direct response to the fear of the Communist Party leaders who see the church growing faster than the party is,” Nettleton said. Fenggang Yang, a leading expert on religion in China, says what started several years ago as a small campaign against unregistered churches has turned into all-out war.  “The campaign started first in Zhejiang province from 2014 to 2016,” Yang said.  “Now, it is a nationwide campaign.” Now authorities routinely target houses of worship, destroy crosses, burn Bibles and arrest pastors.

Foreseeing his arrest, pastor Wang wrote a letter with instructions that it should be published if he went missing for more than 48 hours.  In it, Wang vowed to use non-violent methods to stand against Chinese laws he believed were against the Bible and God.

My saviour Christ also requires me to joyfully bear all costs for disobeying wicked laws,” Wang wrote.

Wang continued “I am filled with anger at the persecution of the church by this Communist regime, at their wickedness in depriving people of the freedoms of religion and of conscience.  As a pastor of a Christian church, I must denounce this wickedness openly and severely.  The calling that I have received requires me to use non-violent methods to disobey those human laws that are contrary to God’s word.  Separate me from my wife and children, ruin my reputation, destroy my life and my family, the authorities are capable of doing all of these things,” Wang warned.  “However, no one in this world can force me to renounce my faith; no one can make me change my life.”

The church needs to prepare for the coming tribulation which we know will escalate as we approach and move into  the last seven years before Jesus returns to rule and reign in the Millennium. Jesus refers to great tribulation in the last half of 70th week of Daniel and prior to the Rapture of the church at the trumpet blast at the seventh seal and before God’s wrath is poured out with the trumpet and bowl judgements. Time is wonderfully short before Jesus return, but we need to be bold and courageous and open to the Holy Spirits lead to pray for and evangelise the lost.

THE SEND: 59,000 GATHER TO WAGE SPIRITUAL WARFARE

If Christians want to see an awakening and revival, then they need to not only pray, but actually go out into the world and get to work. That was the message of The Send, a charismatic mega-event that continued without ceasing for nearly 12 hours straight on a sweltering Saturday in Orlando, Florida. According to Youth With a Mission’s Andy Byrd, 59,000 people attended the free event, held in the Camping World Stadium, and peak attendance at one time was 40,000.

“We are here because we are crazy enough to believe that we are called for the greatest move of God in human history,” said Byrd. The Send is not led by any one individual or ministry. At one point during his message, Francis Chan wryly remarked how unfair it was that The Send attendees got “20 speakers and 15 bands” while there are people around the world who have never heard the gospel.

Fixing that disparity was the main goal of The Send, to hear its speakers explain it. Evangelist Kolenda said he’s used to seeing crowds this size in countries like Africa or Asia, quipping that in Africa, “We do our counsellor  training in a stadium this size.”

Regarding neighbourhoods, Liebscher and Chan urged Christians to take everyday evangelism seriously, emphasising it as a matter of personal responsibility. Liebscher said many believers, without knowing it, approach church with a worldly mindset rather than a kingdom mindset. He says people often come into church not wanting to be equipped but wanting the church to do their Christian life for them.

“We approach the church more like a restaurant where I’m coming because I don’t want to do certain things,” Liebscher said. “I don’t want to cook. I don’t want to clean up. So I pay you money, and you do that.”

But Liebscher said that doesn’t work for church, because God explicitly demands certain things from every one of His disciples: praying for the sick, widow and orphan care, discipleship, generosity and evangelism.

“It is not your pastor’s job to see your friend saved,” Liebscher said. “One of the biggest prophetic words God wants to give to the church right now is two words: ‘personal responsibility.'”

“I believe God’s message today is first be faithful in your neighbourhood,” Chan said. “Do the people on your block know what you believe and that you love them? Have you warned them about who they’re going to face? Have you told them they can have peace with God? If not, why would he want to send us somewhere else—to not do the same thing in another language?

“I so want to see God do huge things, but he’s not going to pick you unless you’re faithful in the small things: with forgiveness, with relationships in the local church, with getting the pornography out of your life, with getting the immorality out of your life, [with] the discipline of studying the Word of God so you know what the heck you’re talking about.”

Francis Chan concluded the segment with a prayer reminding all in attendance they are adopted too: “You are a Father to the fatherless, and You want us to be the same. How can the love of God be in us if we pass by those who are in need? I ask your forgiveness, Lord, for not thinking about all these children who are in need.

“Every time we cry out ‘Abba, Father,’ from the depth of our souls, we are reminded of the many children who would love to say that.”

What a great message conveyed at The Send. A timely message for this hour and further confirmation time is running out to preach the GOOD NEWS. I hope it challenges you, as it did me.

PURPOSE OF THE CHURCH IS TO COMPLETE THE GREAT COMMISSION

Sadly, church as we know it, is largely: we gather together once or twice a week and worship a little and pray a little (usually very little) and listen to teaching. After saying hi to friends and small talking with others, we head out into our world until next week.

May I suggest that one of the problems is the structure of the denominational church and the Bible Colleges it has spawned. Few now believe and teach the inerrancy of Scripture and hence have compromised with the world on major issues such as gay marriage and  the transgender movement.

This prophetic word that Pastor John Burton delivered to city pastors in Detroit several years ago is revealing.

“He said, I don’t believe it was received well, as most remained silent after I shared it. I do believe it was the Lord, however. It was a word of warning and a strategic call.

I saw an ocean beach on a sunny day. There were many people on the sand, a good number splashing in the shallows and a handful of people swimming in deeper waters.

Those who were on the sand were mostly happy building sand castles, tanning and enjoying the afternoon sun as the cool mist from the crashing waves blew over them. Some were curious about the water and even took off their sandals and walked where the waves met the sand. Others would slowly venture out and start splashing in the shallows, but most were satisfied just where they were.

The people in the shallows were having a good time. They were together, jumping, splashing and swimming. They were in waist-high water and were able to stand on the sandy bottom. They were also satisfied.

I then looked out at the small number of people who were in the deep. They couldn’t stand as the water was well over their heads. They were so hungry to explore the wide-open seas. It made no sense to them why anybody would be satisfied to experience so little. However, these people had nobody to lead them into the deeper waters. You see, the people on the sand, in the shallows and in the deep all represented a single local church.

What I saw next brought clear, obvious revelation to the situation.

I saw a man, the pastor, in khaki pants, a dress shirt and a tie. His shoes were off and his pant legs were rolled up. He had one foot in the water and the other on the sand. He was not dressed for the deep. In fact, he wasn’t dressed for the shallows or the sand either. He determined to remain anchored between the sand and the shallows where the majority of the people were, yet unable to really reach any of them.

The pastor was under great stress, as he would look upon those on the sand, then those in the shallows, and he’d then squint as he saw those who were drifting out to sea. His eyes continually darted between the three groups, attempting to maintain some sort of control over the spiritually diverse congregation. However, he couldn’t. Those in the deep became a nuisance. He found it easier to allow them to go and to focus on the sand and the shallows. He knew those in the low water would not go deeper, and those on the sand were safe. Maybe someday, they would jump in and splash around with the others.

Pastor Burton summed up with: I believe the strategy of the church must radically change. The pastor, the leader, must be in the deep ahead of the people. Just as the priests in Israel led the armies, usually with praise and certainly the blowing of trumpets, understanding that victory will come from the Lord. The priests are called to step into the waters and to lead people into miraculous situations.

Joshua said to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will perform wondrous deeds among you'” (Josh. 3:5).

The Gideon Church Growth Principle

Churches have too many people, or at least they have the wrong people. Church missions have been compromised.

Churches and pastors will benefit from applying the Gideon principle, though it will be scary, painful and humbling. Death to self, rejection of selfish ambition and mighty faith are required. I believe God is about to invite leaders into divine wrestling matches as they renounce their fabricated and confused identities and adopt their divine callings and discover their identities in Christ instead of success.

And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valour!
Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.”
Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?”
So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”
And the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.” Judges 6;12-13

We know that Gideon was still not convinced God was going to use him to save Israel and He tested God twice with the fleece. God did not get angry with Gideon and He obviously convinced Gideon to trust God no matter what, as he was prepared with only 300 men, to take on the “the Midianites and Amalekites, all the people of the East, who were lying in the valley as numerous as locusts; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the seashore in multitude (Judges 7:12)”.

How desperately we need pastors/leaders who will cry out to God to know His call for their lives, to seek  confirmation, to hear God’s voice, to discover their new identity and emerge as a true leader.

 

 

 

PROPHESIED APOSTASY IN THE LAST DAYS

Anglican ambassador to the Vatican says Jesus did not physically rise from the dead.

After Dr. John Shepherd was appointed as the new representative to Rome last week, a 2008 Easter sermon resurfaced in which he said: “It’s important for Christians to be set free from the idea that the resurrection was an extraordinary physical event, which restored to life Jesus’s original earthly body. The resurrection of Jesus ought not to be seen in physical terms, but as a new spiritual reality.”

Shepherd, who was Dean of Perth from 1990 to 2014, will be central to discussions with the Pope and will act as the de facto ambassador for the Archbishop, the Church of England, and other Anglican churches around the world. Shepherd was appointed after the previous ambassador, Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi, resigned following accusations of sexual misconduct.

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Those that backed Shepherd included Anglican Archbishop of Perth, Kay Goldsworthy, she criticised people for making “statements of concern” about a sermon from 11 years ago, the West Australian reports.

“If that happened to every preacher in the Church we would all be in trouble, frankly,” she said. “There is a statement that people have picked out, whoever the people are, and have sort of wanted to make some example of. I am not sure what they wanted to achieve.

What do Dr John Shepherd and Archbishop Kay Goldsworthy do with the following Scripture.

” Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. 1 Corinthians 15:12

We are indeed in the “last days” and judgement of His church as prophesied in Revelation will come upon them “as a thief, and you will not know the hour I will come”.

I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore, if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. Revelation 3:1-3

Note: We are to watch, to be alert to the days we are in, to be courageous and outspoken for the truth of God’s word. It is obvious that those that seek positions of leadership in the denominational churches, in the main, are looking for approval from the world and earthly rewards.

GOD AT WORK – CULTURE SHAPERS &/OR CATASTROPHES?

This report by Os Hillman on what God is doing in the seven cultural mountains in the U.S.A. He is president of Marketplace Leaders and author of 18 books focused on culture impact through a person’s work-life calling.

During the last five years, we have been hearing more and more stories of Christian leaders making a difference in the seven cultural mountains. There are many believers on the Fox Network representing Christ on the media mountain. There are many Christian voices in the mainstream media gaining greater influence. We are seeing more and more Christian-themed movies on the arts and entertainment mountain. There are many believers operating on the government mountain in Washington, DC. Our current president is very influenced by Christians who are in or close to his administration. There are new initiatives taking place on the education mountain.

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One initiative being launched on the education mountain is a curriculum based on the seven cultural mountains for Christian high schools. Another initiative involved the creation of a textbook on how the Bible has influenced culture that is being used in many schools in America and other nations. Pastors are beginning to understand the importance of equipping marketplace leaders to see their work as a calling. There is an entire organisation that was birthed focused on this for pastors called Made to Flourish.

The reason this move of God is so important is that men and women who operate in places of influence have the greatest ability to impact culture through their influence in these six areas. They often have access to financial resources and places of power needed to make significant impact. We have learned that it only takes 3-5 percent of a leadership operating at the top of a culture mountain to shift that mountain.

The gay rights movement is our best case study of this fact. This group represents less than 2 percent of our population. Yet, through a strategy to influence culture through the seven cultural mountains they have shifted America’s mindset about this issue from being a moral issue to being a civil issue. Just imagine what Christians could do, given we represent more than 40% of the population in our nation, if we adopted an intentional strategy to impact culture.

There will be a major Culture Shapers Summit in Washington, DC in 2019 that is featuring over 40 top leaders who operate within the seven cultural mountains. This will be the most significant gathering of leaders focused on the seven cultural mountains in the last few years.

Is the army gathering to prepare for the next great move of God? I certainly hope so, but I am also currently working on a Power Point Sermon on The Mystery of Calamities which demonstrates that one of God’s major strategies to get people to the end of their own strength and resources is by catastrophes/disasters. Moreover, God’s Word shows that in the “end times” natural and man made disasters will escalate and are part of God’s plan to bring in the “end times” harvest.

 

MANY KNOW JESUS AS THE LAMB BUT NOT THE LION WHO WILL RULE WITH AN IRON SCEPTRE

I believe this prophetic encounter Jeremiah Johnson had with our Lord is authentic, hence this post. Jeremiah Johnson planted and serves on the eldership team at Heart of the Father Ministry in Lakeland, Florida.

“As the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to me, He said, “Jeremiah, many know the Lamb who went to Calvary, but few know the Lion who is returning to devour His Father’s enemies. The same wrath that was poured out on the cross will be the same wrath that will be poured out in judgement upon my return.

I am releasing apostolic and prophetic messengers who will trumpet my end-time judgements to the church and warn of the consequences of those who only know the Lamb of mercy and grace, but reject the Lion of judgement and wrath.

Many only know Me as the great intercessor, which I am, but I am also the coming King and judge. There is more than intercessory prayer. For I will teach My people in these last days how to pray kingly and judicial prayers. I will establish My government in the earth and make My enemies a footstool. I will rule and reign with an iron sceptre.

Jeremiah, many will be offended at My return! They have created a god in their own likeness and image and will deny Me when I come with all My glory, power and splendour! You must warn the church of the scoffing spirit that will come, of the overemphasis of My goodness and never teaching on My severity, of never proclaiming and warning of My wrath and judgement that is here now and is yet to come.”

The look in the Lord Jesus Christ’s eyes as He said these words to me was so intense, yet so deeply grieved. He then asked me if He could entrust me with these words, and I said yes. When I did, He turned around and vanished from my bedroom.

I shook for days and have still never recovered. I pray that those who have read this sobering encounter for the first time publicly will pray and seek the Holy Spirit concerning your own view of who Jesus really is and prepare yourself for the days ahead.”

BALANCING GRACE AND TRUTH

The majority of the churches in America, but not only America, are seeking to please the masses rather than convict. Judgement is never mentioned; repentance is rarely sought and sin is often excused. We want to build a church rather than break a heart, be politically correct rather than biblically correct, coddle and comfort rather than stir and convict. This leaves people confused and deceived because we teach and live a form of Christianity void of repentance … void of truth.

The church and our nation desperately need to hear “the voice of one crying in the wilderness” to awaken, convict and restore. It was not so long ago that we were concerned about the fall of America. America cannot fall because she has already fallen. We are now picking up the pieces of a broken nation reflected in our laws, our personal lives, our families and our children. America’s moral heartbeat has ceased because we cut off the source of life. We need resuscitation, renewal and revival of the truth. Biblical truth.

When people, groups, denominations or movements depart from absolute truth and thus quench and grieve the Spirit of God, they become mechanical in their approach to Christianity and lose the ability to guide. The Word of God is not in their hearts “as a burning fire” (Jeremiah 20:9), but relative, powerless and debatable. This is what we see today.

The “moral” laws in the Old Testament such as killing, stealing, lying, adultery, sexual immorality and so on are all valid today. Jesus referred often to the Old Testament, and said that He didn’t come to abolish it, but to fulfil it. For example, Leviticus 20:13a states, “If a man lies with another man as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.” To suggest that this verse is invalid today is to advocate the dangerous practice of redefining or deleting what God has said. Not to mention other stories in the Old Testament that highlight the dangers of homosexuality and all sexual sin.

Jesus condemned “all” sexual activity outside of marriage between a man and woman when He said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immorality, thefts, false witness, and blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man” (Matt. 15:19-20). Jesus was implying that all sexual activity outside of marriage between a man and a woman is harmful and immoral. The word “fornication” in the Greek is porneia, where the word “pornography” comes from. We cannot say, “But I was born this way.” I was born to lie, cheat, lust and deceive, but this doesn’t make it right. It makes me sinful and in need of a Saviour.

The consequences of wrong actions may have changed, but the moral implications remain the same. For instance, even though we no longer stone to death those who commit adultery, this does not mean that adultery is acceptable or any less dangerous. Adultery is wrong even though there aren’t legal consequences. The laws of a nation should reflect God’s Word, but they are never above it!

Romans 1:18-32 and 1 Corinthians 6:1-20 tells us that when mankind does not see fit to acknowledge God, and they suppress the truth; God will give them over to a depraved mind—to do those things that are not proper. This should put the fear of God into us all. Homosexual behaviour, and sexual sin in general, is comparable with dishonouring the body and turning from God. John Piper said, “The sexual disordering of the human race is a judgement of God for exchanging Him for the creature.”

Jesus said that since the beginning of creation, God created them male and female in order that they would be joined together and become one flesh. He adds, “What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder” (Mark 10:9). Marriage between a man and a woman is God’s plan since creation. No matter how many laws are passed in favour of gay marriage, it will not change God’s mind.

Jesus would often speak out against sin, but His love and mercy also reached out to those who regretted and hated their condition. Forgiveness is a mark of genuine faith. We should have compassion for those who struggle with same-sex attraction because we all struggle with sin, but at the same time, we should not condone or excuse this type of sin any more than we condone or excuse any other sin.

Taken from an article “Is Being Gay “God’s Greatest Gift to Us”? in Charisma News by Shane Idleman founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship just north of Los Angeles