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Please take a moment to first read my introduction for this series. Then start with Part 1.

To those who experience same-sex attraction, we know you are here. Some of you have never acted on your desires. Some of you have come out of homosexuality – surrendering your sexuality to Christ. That decision has cost you a lot, yet many of you are not fully known and therefore you cannot be comforted by the body of Christ. I want to encourage you: it is safe to be in this place. Do not keep this secret struggle to yourself. Trust us. Allow us to know you. Allow us to walk with you on this difficult path.

To the congregation, I want to specify what it means for us to walk with other people through life’s challenges and difficulties. First, be a listener when someone shares something deeply personal with you. However, do not stop there. The second point is as important as the first: recognize that you too are a broken person. We must be vulnerable about our own struggles if we truly wish to make others feel safe to share their struggles. 

I want to encourage all of us to dive deep into Christ. Jesus died a bloody death on the Cross to give his all for you and me – mere sinners. Why? The scriptures tell us: God is love. If we are to radically follow this Savior of ours, we need to also encounter him as Lord. Without his lordship, we never allow the Holy Spirit to convict of us sin. It is this conviction that draws us to seek mercy from God through Jesus – His son, our Savior. No matter who you are: keep your heart and mind open. Jesus warns that we cannot serve two masters: we must make a choice who we will follow. Let us discover and then decide to follow Jesus.

I want to close by remembering LGBT+ loved ones who have faded from our lives. Maybe they were friends or neighbors. Maybe they were relatives. Maybe they were sons and daughters. As I considered this part of my message, I could not help but think: do I even remember them? Did I ever really know them? Or did I just see their faces and not notice that they never returned. To the parents of these sons and daughters, I want to once again admit that we have not cared for your family the way we should have. We failed you. I am so sorry. Today represents a new opportunity for us to get it right – to care well for you.

My confession is a starting point. This conversation will continue. We are committed to equipping our congregation to graciously care for and extend Christ to LGBT+ people in and beyond this church. We are committed to teaching morality in a balanced manner so no one person or group struggling to contain sexuality within a biblical framework is singularly targeted. We are committed to squelch the religious spirit and radically confront our tendency to judge one another. This will not satisfy everyone: there will always be some who call us heretics and others who call us hatemongers. Let us remember just one thing: love them. In the name, spirit, posture, tone and truth of Jesus, just love them. It’s only one thing; but it’s enough.

To read this entire sermon in one post, click here.

Review our doctrinal beliefs at http://bit.ly/azho1g.

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