Tag Archives: God

I Once Was Blind But Now I See

Following in Believer's Baptism on 11.05.1995 at College Park Baptist Church in Las Vegas, NV. Pastor Bob Williams <><

Charlene following in Believer’s Baptism on 12.05.1995 at College Park Baptist Church in Las Vegas, NV. Pastor Bob Williams <><

Part 2 in The Charlene Hios’ Story

Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me . . .

True are the words of the great hymn Amazing Grace. This song is one that speaks such truth that it rings with clarity into a person’s soul. On November 5, 1995 it struck a chord in me as it was played as the invitation song at College Park Baptist Church in Las Vegas, Nevada. I walked down the aisle that Sunday morning in obedience to the call of Christ Jesus. Turning away from one’s sins and turning towards Jesus is so cleansing. It leaves you feeling like a little kid without a care in the world. Then, following in believer’s baptism, another act of obedience creates an even cleaner sense in one’s very being. This was me at the end of 1995. I was and still am a sinner saved and cleansed by grace, God’s grace, God’s amazing grace. Thank You God for Your grace!

Change and Obedience

Tim Wilkins of Cross Ministries in North Carolina coined the phrase:  The only place change comes before obedience is in the dictionary. I heard Tim speak this phrase as he gave his testimony of how God took him out of his homosexual life. Tim was at a coffee house turned church on Sundays in New Orleans back in 2001. That year the Southern Baptist Convention was there.  I was a messenger for my church and Tim was there for the convention as well. I had gone to this particular church that Sunday to hear Dr. Richard Land preach. Tim’s phrase on ‘change not occurring without obedience’ has been something God has used in my Christian walk just as He has used the words to the great hymn Amazing Grace.

Grace, obedience, and change; three important words in the life of those who are in Christ Jesus!

The Lie Begins

With all of the above said, let us now go back to the late 1970s. I believed in God. I feared Him. I also prayed to Him each night before going to sleep. Jesus was not known to me then.

It was Columbus Day weekend in 1978. I was serving in the United States Air Force and was stationed at Carswell Air Force Base which was located in Fort Worth, Texas. It was this weekend that I personally stepped into the life of one who identifies themselves as a homosexual, a lesbian, a self-proclaimed butch. I experienced the lesbian love of a woman that weekend. I was almost twenty years old and had never been with anyone sexually before in my life.

I Didn’t Do Something Wrong, Did I?

It was the beginning of living a lie, a lie I lived for almost twenty years. Regretfully a lie which sneaks itself into the lives of so many each day. I remember trying to figure out what this was that was happening to me. It felt right, it felt good, so therefore I determined there must not be anything wrong with being sexually active with another woman.

However, deep inside of me, I felt there was something wrong about this new experience in my life. If there was not a sense of immorality here why did I sit there after it all happened and try to figure it all out.  But I was able to push that thought aside, the thought that I had done something wrong.

Rationalizing it Away

As I continued trying to figure it all out, I went through what little I knew about homosexuality. To the best of my knowledge I had never been sexually abused by anyone. All the men in my life were great for the most part. I was even engaged to one.  I really liked his company yet, there just was nothing there physically, there was no sexual attraction.

However the more I thought it out I realized that I had always had these attractions to women, these magnetic draws towards them. Time after time I would imagine them holding me tightly. The need to be held by them turned into sexual desire as I matured into a young woman. I longed to be held, to be touched, to be caressed by the different women in my life.

 Today I understand why those attractions were there but back then I was a twenty year old woman who was full of sexual desires and when lust is present we are pretty good at rationalizing things away.

Transference of Guilt

What I had done was wrong. Making love to a woman was wrong. Deep inside of me I knew this to be so. However, almost in an unconscious manner, I swept aside that underlying voice telling me it was wrong. I rationalized it away.

My conclusion was that God must have made me that way. I was born a homosexual person, a lesbian. In my mind this explained it for me. This took it off of me and placed it on God. God made me this way and I believed it and unknowingly walked into a life against God.

  I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.

My eyes always brim with tears as I think of my wretchedness, my blindness, and God’s amazing unmerited irresistible grace. How blind I was!

Before coming to such wonderful peace which comes only from a true, close relationship with Christ Jesus, I was a wretch who just could not see that God’s very words told me that the way I lived my life was not what He, God, had intended, it was sex outside of God’s design for marriage, it was homosexual sex, it was a sin.

The Tract My Sister Gave Me

My Sister Joanne and Me

My sister Joanne was the first in our family to come to a personal relationship with Jesus. She was concerned about her whole family–none of us knew Christ personally. (Praise God, eventually we all came to Christ. I can securely say when I die I know that along with my Mom and Dad, and the rest of my family, I will be with Jesus.)

Troubled by my sinful life, Joanne sent me a tract which spoke of the unnatural relationship of two women together sexually.

 “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.”

Romans 1:26-27 NASV 1995

Confusion

I felt such confusion as I read these words in that little tract. Back then I could not grasp these words of the Apostle Paul. They made no sense to me. How my heart breaks looking back as I remember and reflect with you on how lost and blind I was. I was a prisoner to the lie of homosexuality. I was a slave to this sin. How ironic that back then I felt so free. I did not realize how false that feeling of freedom actually was to me. The god of this world had me right where he wanted me, blinded to God’s word, blinded to the Gospel of Christ Jesus.

Almost everyday now I have conversations with those caught up in this same lie. My heart goes out to them. We discuss how they perceive these same verses in Romans. The lesbians I speak with say the same thing I did, that there is nothing unnatural about being with women sexually. After all, didn’t God make them that way? They do not see their chains of captivity.

After reading that tract a second time, I tossed it in the trash. “Geesh Joanne! You just don’t get it!” I thought. I told Joanne that my being with a woman was so natural to me. I told her that this Scripture was wrong about women with women. It did not pertain to me. What I did was completely natural.

Double Standards?

However, I operated under a double standard. I did agree, in the reading of the tract, that two men together sexually was wrong. It even turned my stomach. Here I was a sexually active lesbian, believing that women having sex with each other was natural but it was not natural between two men. The scales on my eyes were thick! In my distorted view, God’s word did not pertain to my sexual situation but it did hold true for men being sexually active with each other.

I praise God for my sister’s diligence. Joanne learned that arguing about this with me was not working, and instead she started praying for me. Almost twenty years later, when the scales finally fell off my eyes and I saw that homosexuality was sinful and not what God intended, I called Joanne and thanked her for her prayers. I thanked her for telling me the truth even when I would not listen. Again, I thanked her for believing that God would answer her prayers to open my eyes to the sin I believed was natural. Praise God!

Hope in Prayer

Can you pray away the gay? This is a question that many who struggle with their same sex sexual attractions ask me. I share with them the story of my sister Joanne praying for me for almost twenty years. I share with those struggling with their unwanted sexual attractions to the same sex to lift that attraction up to God. Lift it up in prayer. Capture the thoughts and give them to God.

Healing and answer to prayer will happen however it could take an instant but more than likely it can be awhile. Personally, once I realized homosexuality was a sin, it took a good five years for the sexual thoughts to get out of my head. Do they come back? They did, occasionally, they tried to get back into my thoughts.

Now, today, I no longer am sexually attracted to the same gender. And yes, I am attracted to the opposite gender.

 I am a child of God, and sin no longer has me in captivity.

Conclusions

The sin of homosexuality effects all of us, not just those caught in its power. I myself personally know of its blinding lies as does my entire family. I was so deceived that I convincingly argued the lie that I was born gay. Some members of my family still believe I am gay and am just deceiving myself that this is a former condition.

Freedom is possible. I am a living witness to this fact, as are the thousands of others who have been unchained from captivity. The power of the Holy Spirit’s convicting is the key to unleashing others from this sin.

First the Church must reflect the love of Christ Jesus. First we must love the homosexual as God loved us!

In his letter to the Corinthians the Apostle Paul speaks to the freedom that is possible. In verse 11 he specifically states this hope for us today.

1 Corinthians 6:9–11 (NIV):

9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Post originally appeared on Earthen Vessel  An Online Christian Journal

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Facebook Oozed Fading Rainbow Colors

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Have you ever  seen an up close and personal rainbow? One that was so close to you ,well, you thought you could reach out and touch it?

I remember the first time I saw one! It felt so up-close, and so vibrant it brought tears to my eyes. I was in Hawaii. I dropped to my knees at its beauty. No! I was not worshiping the rainbow. Relax! I only worship its Creator.

The descent of my knees to the pavement was an involuntary response to something God created. The only other time I experienced this response, this drop to my knees, occurred the first time my eyes fell on the beauty of the Grand Canyon. When a true believer and follower of Christ Jesus sees God’s artwork, well, our response is one of worship!

On June 26th, 2015 a different type of rainbow starting appearing amongst social media, specifically, on Facebook. Facebook provided a tool for its users to celebrate the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) decision on gay marriage.  The tool was a filter which placed a rainbow tint, well, actually a resemblance of rainbow colors over the users’  profile picture to show their support for gay marriage.

Did you know Facebook also sponsors gay pride parades? I often wonder if supporters of gay pride parades go to the parades they sponsor? Do they not see the public lewdness that is displayed. Are sponsors so into wanting their product make more money that they do not see the impact upon the hearts and minds of the kids that attend these parades?

I have always wondered why the rainbow has been used by a political movement to represent a sexual choice.  As you probably already know, the rainbow is a sign of the covenant God made with all of mankind. A covenant which basically meant that God would never destroy all of the Earth with a flood as He did in the book of Genesis.

How is it that this sign of the covenant represents sinful behavior between folks of the same gender?

Leaning Back on God in Your Anxiousness

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Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)

Anxiousness is a powerful force which can break us down, leaving us frustrated, puzzled, baffled, and or bewildered by things that are happening in our life.

I am sure you have heard the expression: sick with worry.

Truly if we allow worry / anxiousness to get the best of us it can wreak havoc in our lives and the lives of those we love.

In Philippians 4:4-9 the Apostle Paul is speaking to an issue that was doing just that, wreaking havoc with their very harmony as the body of Christ. Paul exhorts the Church at Philippi to:

·       “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” (v.4)

·       “Let your gentle spirit be known to all people. The Lord is near” (v.5)

·       “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”(v.6)

Then the Apostle Paul goes on to exhort them / build them up more by saying:

And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally,whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure,whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.  (Vv 7-9)[1]

Do not be anxious about anything.

The entire Word of God is a constant exhortation to believers to stop worrying.

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One of the most serious areas of unbelief is our failure as Christians to face the problem of worry. Worry or being anxious is  just something everyone does and therefore it must be all right.

When we worry or are anxious we are not placing our trust in God. Throughout the Word of God we are told to place ourselves in God’s control.

Think of a time when you were so worried, so anxious,that you could not even sleep because your mind just raced with one thought after another on the situation that was robbing you of that wonderful peace and joy we have as believers in Christ Jesus.

So how do you stop it? How does one quit worrying or being anxious?

You can’t stop it just by the exercise of will power. Scripture gives us the answer, it gives us the secret of running the race — here it is once more:

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!

5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all peoples. The Lord is near.

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.[2]

There in v.6 it reads

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything . . .”  That means there is nothing too small to bring to God. Yes, lift it all up to Him. Take everything to Him in prayer. Prayer is the expression of our dependence upon His promises. And it isn’t necessarily on your knees, or in the closet, but it can be simply that quiet, arrow prayer of the heart, in continual recognition that you need to lean back upon his grace and strength in everything, constantly relating to that indwelling life of God the Son in you.

Supplication”, there is v. 6 means, keep it up, over and over again. Of course one might always want to be practicing God’s presence especially whenever problems develop. When they do develop remember, lean back again in prayer to the One who is able and competent within you through His indwelling life.

Again there in v. 6, “with thanksgiving” is that forward look of faith that thanks God for the answer before you see it. Knowing His character, you know something —the right thing, the perfect thing — will be done.

God is not saying we should ask for everything we want. Instead, we’re to ask for everything we need. Frequently we find ourselves praying for things He never promises. For instance, if you are up against some kind of trial, or some catastrophe strikes in your life, our perfectly understandable, natural human reaction is to say, Lord, take this away. But God never said He would do that, consider His servant Job. God does not always want us to have it taken away. Sometimes He will, sometimes not.That kind of prayer must always have appended to it what our Lord Christ Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane,

Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not my will but thine be done.[3]

But there are things for which we can immediately ask, and know that we will receive. His grace, his strength, insight, wisdom,patience, love and compassion. And as we lean back  upon Him in that inner dependence of faith which is prayer, we can also begin to give thanks that the answer has come, and in our thanksgiving we discover the experience of it as well. So, as in everything where we let our requests be made known to God, the result is peace.

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Something to think about:

Are we learning to confess our anxiety as sinful distrust in the character of God?

Are we choosing to pray with thanksgiving, affirming our trust in God’s wise and faithful care?[4]

[1] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Php 4:4–8.

[2] Ibid

[3] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Matthew 26:39

[4] This devotional was edited and compiled by Charlene E. Hios on October 20, 2014.

Did the Boy Scouts Make the Right Decision?

Boy-Scouts-Pledge

For me, the main thing to ponder upon is that these young boy scouts are still young and still impressionable . . .

Right now, the culture they are in, basically, the world, is telling them that if you have same gender attractions you must be gay . . .

But, we know this is not true, we know that young boys, will not mature until about age 25, right now the world is telling them they are gay because of their un-chosen attractions so they think they must be . . .

so, part of me sees the move as a positive one for the boys who want to be scouts who identify as gay . . . again, they probably have not acted out on the attractions, they just are identifying themselves as gay because that is what the culture is telling them . . . or if they have acted it out there is still hope they will not believe the lies that they are born gay . . .

so, if they get in with some strong men, the boy scout leaders, who are not gay, who are comfortable in their own skin, and their emotional needs are met by these leaders, basically I see gay identifying youth coming out with strong male identifies and no longer attracted to the same gender any longer . . .

yes, they may have caved in . . . or perhaps they are thinking they can make a difference and actually meet the emotional needs of these gay identifying youth . . . thus turning them back to God’s intended design

the reason these young boys are identifying as gay is because they do have same gender attractions . . . and the culture tells them they are gay . . . but the real reason they have the attractions is because somewhere in their childhood their same gender parent did not meet an emotional need . . . now this emotional need that was not meet is not the same gender parent’s fault necessarily . . . it may be a matter of the child’s perception of it not being met . . . or it could have been something out of the hands of a predator . . .

I see this whole thing as we see the story of Joseph being sold into slavery by his 11 brothers in the book of Genesis, in the Bible. What Joseph’s brothers intended for evil, God turned it around and used it for good, God used Joseph to save God’s people . . .

What gay activists intend for evil, a furtherance of their agenda, God can indeed turn around and use to bring these young boys back in line with God’s intended design.

Thoughts?

What is this book, “Lesbian No More” actually about anyway?

What is this book, “Lesbian No More” actually about anyway?.

What Happened To Me In Vegas Has Not Stayed in Vegas or Born in the “City of Sin” and Born Again in “Sin City”

December 1958

My Parents Charles and Norma holding me

It was December of 1958, my mom lay on the delivery table in Lynn Hospital. I was ready to come out and meet her face to face however a blizzard was keeping the doctor from getting there. As the nurses told my mom not to push she told them there was no holding me back. Out I came! It was time! I had waited long enough, you see I was supposed to have been born on the 22nd of November yet I waited until the 5th of December.

From what I understand, Lynn Hospital is no longer there, how sad! I read on Facebook that it is now a grocery store. I wonder what aisle the delivery room turned out to be?

A little history on the City of Lynn. It’s about  seven miles from Boston and is quite a historic town; it also has the dubious honor of being known as “The City of Sin” given its history of crime since it was industrialized.

Mom was a waitress at Becky’s Diner which was right across from the original General Electric plant, she also waitressed at the Pioneer Club in downtown Lynn, and a large hotel restaurant whose name escapes me at the time. Mom also worked as Cook at a Rest Home close to Tracy Elementary School where I attended. Oh yes and she also worked at the Lynn School Department. Needless to say Mom worked several jobs as well as attending night school in an effort to obtain her GED as she quit school in order to help support her family.

My Dad had died when I was about three years old. He and his brothers had a band, his nickname was “Rocky” and he played the guitar and I believe the bass. Dad also worked at the famous Lynn Shoe Factories. I want to say he was a “tanner” however I am not 100% sure of this fact.

Mom was a single mother who worked several jobs in order to support herself and her two young daughters. Regretfully Mom also enjoyed her drink and many a time my older sister and I had to experience her in her drunken state. Yet you must know this, Mom loved us very much and she cared about us otherwise I do not see her working all of these jobs, trying to better herself with obtaining her GED, and wanting to set a good example for her girls in not taking welfare. Mom was her own woman and a fighter.

Mom’s needing to work so many jobs and her drinking did not allow much time for her to spend with her daughters. She did spend time with us, I have pictures of the three of us at Lynn Beach, and several other pictures of the three of us together. We even went to the World’s Fair in New York in 1965. As I look at these pictures trying to remember the moment I only get glimpses. I want to remember her and times we spent together. I know she loved me yet I just do not remember much about my childhood mainly because she really was not there that much. This is one of the reason I attribute to my same-sex attractions. No, I am not blaming my mother at all, I am merely mentioning how I see this as one of the many factors that merged together which created a void for me.

There was always a boyfriend with us otherwise who would take the pictures. Smile! I do not remember who they were except one and he seemed to like my Mom. His name was Phil Petronni. He was either a grocery store manager or a butcher. He would bring Joanne and I gifts which included some delicious Ice Cream Sundaes along with many other things. Funny how I remember the Ice Cream Sundaes. Ice Cream is one of my comfort foods along with submarine sandwiches. We got our sandwiches from Dotties on Boston St. These are the foods we would eat when mom was not home to feed us. Though you must know she was a great cook and when she was home she made us great meals, my favorite being her chicken and dumplings, made from scratch of course.

Goodness, thinking about my Mom and my hometown brought back some memories. Thanks for visiting them with me. So let’s get back to the subject of this particular blog.

There is a ‘poem’ or a ‘ditty’ that goes with Lynn being the City of Sin. It goes like this:

 “Lynn, Lynn, the city of sin, you never come out the way you went in”

Well, regardless, the city is where I was born and so I am proud of being from there. I mean, come on, I could have been born in Las Vegas, right? Well, actually you see I was actually born there as well but not until November 5th of 1995. No! I am not crazy. You see the term “Born Again” means that I came to realize that I was a sinner, and it had nothing to do with being born in Lynn, City of Sin! And this realization came not from myself but from the conviction of reading and hearing God’s Word.

You see if you do not repent of your sins and turn to God then regretfully you will not be with God in Heaven when you die. God and sin can not exist in the same place so if you have not turned from your sins and then you die you can not go to Heaven. Click on this “THIS” and it will explain it better than I can. Smile!

Believe it or not I was actually in Las Vegas, Nevada also known as “Sin City” when I heard the Word of God. I was attending a Southern Baptist Church that my parents, Mom and my Step-Dad were members. Yes, there are actually churches in Las Vegas and not just wedding chapels. Here is the website of the church I attended as did my entire family that lived there. http://collegeparkbaptist-lv.com/default.aspx

Part of my life-changing story which I like to share is that my parents, myself, my kid sister, and my kid brother were all blessed to beat the odds in Las Vegas. No I am not talking about beating the odds in the gambling casinos. Ha-ha, you see according to Barna Research, a well know research organization amongst Christians, once a person has reached the age of 18 and has not yet accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior (Born-Again) there is less than a 1% chance that this person will ever come to be “Born-Again”!

Well, my step-dad was 60, then my mom was 65, then my kid sister was 30, then me at age 35, and finally my kid brother at age 30. ( these ages are rough estimates with the exception of my age and my mom’s). My older sister came to Christ as well, as a matter of fact she was the first in our family to be “Born-Again” and she was over age 18 as well. She beat those same odds she just was not in Vegas though she too was born in Lynn the City of Sin. I think she was in Gilroy, California when she came to Christ. Gilroy being the Garlic Capital of the World. Ha-ha!

So you see I like to say that my entire family beat the odds and all of us but one beat the odds in Vegas . . .  Praise God we all came to Christ, we all came to God.

Also, one last mention, God, over a 15 year period healed me of my same-sex attractions. It was one of the sins I turned away from at the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Change is possible folks. If you or someone you know struggles with unwanted same-sex attractions, know that there is hope, those unwanted attractions can go away but it is not easy. Start with prayer, which is basically talking with God, just imagine He is sitting right there with you and tell Him what is on your heart. And keep up the conversation okay? Every time you have these unwanted same-sex attractions, stop and turn them over to God in prayer. Ask Him to help you to understand why the attraction is there . . .  again, do not give up, keep talking with God . . . He took the feelings away from me, again, it was not easy, but all things are possible with God okay?

If you need to talk you can call or email me, just let me know.

You can email me at charlene@bridgingthegapsministries.org

You can call me at 415.465.0517. If you call it is best to leave me a voice mail. I will call you back I promise.

Have a blessed day now!

“Go Straight – Go Straight” said my (homophobic?) GPS

As I was driving the other day to pet/house sit for my new clients Arlene and Patti. I was in deep thought on how God is / has been moving in my ministry. My new house sitting clients are a lesbian couple I recently met through a mutual acquaintance and my ministry is about bridging the gaps betweeen the conservative Christian church and the Gay community.  As I thought about the importance of building relationships in order to share the Love of Christ Jesus, suddenly my GPS, a Tom-Tom, brought me out of this deep thought, which is not the greatest thing to be doing while driving mind you!

“GO STRAIGHT! GO STRAIGHT!” the female voice coming from the GPS said to me.

I cracked up laughing as I could not help but remember how back in 1978 I would not have taken so kindly to this command. “Go straight indeed” is what I probably would have replied to this GPS unit. I probably would have thought: “How could they even program this machine to say something like that, how insensitive!” There is a good chance this would have set me off to writing a letter to the company who manufactures the GPS or perhaps even calling them to give them a piece of my mind.

You see from 1978 to 1995 I identified myself as a lesbian, a self-proclaimed ‘butch’.

Also I know I would have found a different voice who said “Go Straight” in a more politically correct way, though I do not know if that was an issue back in the late 70’s. Was it? I probably would have switched my GPS to the Australian Air Traffic Controller who would say in his cute accent: “Proceed forward at your discretion” The Australian’s voice is very calming and gentle and does not use the word “Straight” It would have made me more comfortable and less reactive.

Of course as far as I know there were no GPS devices back then but one thing for sure I can see that I have not really changed that much. When something upsets me I usually take immediate action, when I see or hear something that I think is an injustice I will react. Though I do not see this GPS as intentionally meaning to be offensive, it was just doing what it was programmed to do.

I could go in several directions here and for some of you, well I would imagine you already see what I am meaning but for those of you who do not see it let me unpack this just a bit further.

Back in 1978 gay folks, and as I wrote above,  I was one of them, would speak in code or double talk or between the lines, however you might want to word it. I was in the United States Air Force and although I was quite a bold lesbian airman i would cautiously have said to a person giving me direction that I would prefer to go forward rather than proceed straight. If the person was gay they would give me a smile and tell me they liked my wording better and then we both would know the other was gay.

All of this is merely a reminder to myself that all of us might want to consider the words we use in speaking to those who are not of our same mind set.

I can remember being a new Christan, my mentor, Ruth, slid into the seat next to me. As she did I was shocked at the words out of her mouth:  “S.O.B.!”  “Ruth” I said, “Why are you using that kind of language?” I had her full attention, she smiled and asked what I meant. I told her that when I heard someone say “S.O.B.!” I automactically thought she meant “Son of a Bitch” (please excuse my language) Again, she smiled, her eyes so wide and kind, “Charlene” Ruth said, “When I exclaim ‘S.O.B.’ I mean ‘Scoot Over Baby”

As I communicate today in my blogs and on facebook and twitter I am always asking folks to “define” their words for me. I do not want to assume a person is saying one thing when they mean something totally different.

Let us not allow misperceptions of what people mean by the words they use to cause us to get mad at each other and call each other hurtful names. Hurtful in that there is separation and conversations stop. You see the language and the words we use today hold even more power than they have in the past.

So let us not call my GPS “homophobic” when it is not.

Charlene? Why Do You Identify Yourself As “Ex-Gay” ?

You would imagine that I receive a ton of questions in my line of ministry and one of them is this question. Charlene? Why do you call yourself “‘ex-gay”‘?  Should you not identify yourself as a “Christian”?

Know that I personally do not like the title or label  of  “ex-gay” yet I use it for one reason and one reason only.  That reason is because calling or identifying myself as “ex-gay” is a great witnessing tool. “Ex-gay” is a term that is quite easily understood. Well, at least at first. It is also a term that brings up many questions such as aren’t people born gay? How could you be “ex-gay” if you are born that way. You see what a great little witnessing tool it can be?

The other night I was blessed to be on a panel of  “overcomers”. There were four of us “overcomers” who had come out of the homosexual lifestyle. We were attending a group meeting of Christian parents whose children identify themselves as lesbians or gays. While I personally like the label “overcomer” know that at the same time I realize that it was through my personal relationship with Christ Jesus that I now can be labeled an “overcomer”.  Jesus really gets all the praise here!  Without the healing power and strength of Jesus I would still be a prisioner to the sin of homosexuality believing that I was born that way.

My identity is in God, in Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit. I am God’s child whom He loves so much that He gave up His Son, Jesus Christ, to die in my place, to forgive me of my sins, to make me into a “New Creation”. The Holy Spirit convicted me that homosexuality was not something I was born with but something I had got lost in and must repent of it.  I did repent of it, God forgave me of it, Jesus’ blood washed me clean of it. Praise God for healing me of  it.

My identity is no longer in what I once was but is now in who I am through the healing power of Jesus Christ!

Witnessing To A Gay Friend

In today’s day and age of gay equality rights and in a culture that is affirming of homosexuality, most of us know someone who identifies themselves as gay or lesbian.  This person may be your closest friend or perhaps a neighbor or co-worker. One question that is often asked of those whose ministry is to work with the issue of homosexuality is, “How do I witness to the gays and lesbians that are in my day to day life?” The answer here is quite simple: You witness to the gay or lesbian in your life the same way you would witness to anyone else in your life. You witness by sharing God’s truth, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

 Here are some thoughts to consider:                            

  • See beyond their self-labeling of “homosexual.” See this person as your friend, be they woman or man, who, just like you, has fears, hopes, and needs.
  • Be willing to listen to your friend. Let them see that you are not going to be like all the other “Christians” they have encountered who have deeply wounded them.
  • Since there is no hope for your friend to come out of homosexuality without the power of God in their life, introduce them to Jesus Christ, not heterosexuality! It is through the convicting power of the Holy Spirit that the healing begins.
  • Remember that you can not argue your friend out of their homosexuality.
  • Once the discussion starts on their homosexuality remember that you do not have to be an expert on the subject matter. If you do not know an answer say so, then tell them you will come back with an answer; then do it.
  • Be as gentle and loving as you would want to be treated.
  • Allow God’s love to shine and work through you, and be patient.
  • Change will come!                                                                                            

 Charlene Hios is a licensed minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She is also the founder and president of Bridging The Gaps Ministries which provides direction both corporately and individually to those affected by unwanted homosexuality.  

Charlene can be contacted through Bridging The Gaps Ministries.

Phone:  415.465.0517

Email:  Charlene@BridgingTheGapsMinistries.org

Check out Charlene’s free access on-line book here at the Earthen Vessel Journal. (Go to search website and type in the name “Hios” to bring up the free chapters)

Follow Charlene as she shares with us her life-changing experience out of homosexuality.

Lesbian No More:  One Woman’s Life Changing Experience

Buy Charlene’s DVD–a discussion with Kent Philpott:
Homosexuality from a Christian Perspective

Pride Parade SF 2006

Back in June of 2006 I was a student at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. I was drawn to experience the gay pride parade of San Francisco from the perspective of one who was no longer a lesbian. I also wanted to interact with the parade participants, to get a feel for what their thoughts were on some issues.

A good friend of mine at the time, Tanja Guerrero, went with me. I also made sure I told the dean of students of my plans to attend the parade and what my reasons for doing so actually were. This way if I should some how get on the news or was spotted by protestors I might know, they would not have the wrong idea.

Let me stop for a moment and say that I am not a big fan of the signs protestors hold up at the pride parades. Unless a person knows Scripture, they are not going to know what is meant with a sign which reads : Romans 1:26-27, Lev 18:20 . . .  you get the picture. If a sign is used that reads: God Created Adam and Eve Not Adam and Steve, well that just appears hateful and mean. If I ever personally see a sign that reads “God Hates Fags”  I promise you I will tear it out of the hands of the holder. I promise you! Yes, I will probally go to jail for inciting a riot. That is okay.

If you are to hold up any sign at a pride parade it should read:  God LOVES You and I Do Too! This will certainly provide a loving response, and it may also get some much needed conversation. It will certainly make the gay and lesbian reader curious.

Okay, back to my main thought here!

Tanja and I went to the staging area of the parade where we, in prayer, asked God for some divine appointments. We were blessed to have six of them. Here is what I did with Tanja there for prayer support.

At God’s prompting we walked up to six different people over the course of an hour. We did a cold interview with one woman, one man, a male couple, and a female couple pushing a bicycle built for two which sported a cute sign on the front which read “Dykes on Bikes Rejects” Smile. 

With my little Samsung digital DV camera in hand I asked each of the six these same three questions: 

“What type of spirituality did you grow up with, if any? What type of spirituality, if any, do you now practice? If you  could give a message to the Church, what would that message be?”

As I asked these questions and filmed their replies my heart broke as each of them shared their answers. I wanted to reach out to each of them and let them know how sorry I was for their experiences.  The first person was a vendor, a young man from Ireland. He was not gay, he was brought up in the church and he still attends church. The second person was a woman close to my age who I believe volunteered with such social issues as feeding the homeless and clothing them, the third and fourth people were the lesbian couple, one had her PhD and her girlfriend was a dancer, and finally, a gay couple,  one of whom would not be video taped.  All of them had been involved with the Church growning up. Only the vendor still attended church. The others expressed how the Church had hurt them and though they believed in God they now identified with other spiritualites such a Paganism.

What was their message to the Church you might be asking?

Interesting enough what made me cry was that although none of them knew each other,  these six divine appointments all seemed to have the same message. The lady who has her PhD said it best when she said: 

If ever there was an organization who has hurt more people, its the Church, they need to be more like Jesus!

Time and time again I have heard those in the LGBTQ community state this and I am torn. Being a former lesbian I still have a hard time with it but mainly because that was not my experience with the Church. I was blessed to have a loving and healing experience with the Church as a whole. I am told my experience is unique. But I do not believe this  to be so. The very fact that I experienced a church who was willing to accept me just as I was, a church who focused on telling me about Jesus and a church who did not focused on my personal sin, then one would think there are more experiences such as mine.

Either way, how do we, as the body of Christ Jesus, reach out to those who have felt pushed away by the Church. Usually when someone is hurt by the Church they want nothing to do with people who identify themselves as part of that organization.

I believe the answer is one on one relationships. Members of the Church need to reach out with the love of Jesus Christ to those in their lives who identify themselves as lesbian or gay. Invite them to lunch or for coffee. Maybe go shopping with them, or perhaps catch a game? Invite them over to your house for dinner or perhaps a barbeque. Eventually invite them to attend church with you and your family on a special day such as Easter or Christmas, or to a pagent put on by your church for such Holy Days.

Yes, there is always going to be that question asked of you by your lesbian or gay friend. “Do you think homosexuality is a sin?”  Or, “do you think I am going to hell because I am a lesbian or because I am gay?”

How do you answer these questions? I will be back in a day or so with some answers that may help you answer them. Until then, if you would like to post your thoughts on how to lovingly answer these questions, please do so!

Also I will be posting the raw video of these cold interviews soon.