Tower of Light Ministries

Update – Senate Hearing Committee Follow-up

I just want to give a very heartfelt “Thank You” to everyone who was praying for us this morning as we testified before the Senate Hearing Committee on bill 5870, legislation that seeks to ban therapists from counseling minors with unwanted same-sex attractions.  There were four of us who testified, 2 of which are licensed therapists which was awesome.  Our testimony time was very short, we thought we’d have 3 minutes each to share but it wound up being more like 1 minute each.  While our testimony time was short we provided all the members of the committee with copies of our written testimonies for them to be able to read in more depth.  Following our testimonies the senators had a lot of questions for us and one of the therapists was very eloquent in addressing their questions.  The Senate Committee seemed genuinely interested in what we had to say and actually spent quite a lengthy time on Q&A.  I think it went very, very well.  We will know on Friday if the bill dies in committee or moves on.  Again, thank you all very much for your prayers.

Please Pray – Speaking at Senate Hearing Committee Tuesday AM

The Washington State legislature is looking at passing a bill “Senate Bill 5870”  that will make it illegal for therapists to counsel minors who are wanting to get help with unwanted same-sex attractions.  There is a senate hearing committee meeting about this tomorrow between10am-12pm and I will be one of several people providing testimony in opposition to this bill and I would greatly appreciate your prayers.  I don’t normally get involved in political activity as I don’t want the ministry to be seen as anti-gay.  However this bill is aimed at making therapy inaccessible to youth who want to get help to live a life consistent with their beliefs and since providing people help for unwanted same-sex attractions is what I do, I felt I need to speak out on behalf of these young people.  Please pray for me, the others who are giving testimony, and that the bill would die in committee.

Last year a similar bill “House Bill 2451” passed the Washington State House of Representatives by a vote of 94 to 4 but was later narrowly defeated by the Senate Health Care Committee.  So far California, New Jersey, and Washington D.C. have all passed legislation banning therapy for minors with unwanted same-sex attractions.  Encouraged by the legislation passed in these three areas there are now 20 states who are considering passing similar legislation including Washington.

Your prayers are greatly appreciated.

Reminder “Such Were Some of You” Documentary Screening, January 24th, 6:30 PM

Such_Were_Some_of_YouCome join us for the screening of “Such Were Some of You” on Saturday, January 24th from 6:30-9:00 at Northshore Community Church in room 212/213.

This professionally made, 2-hour documentary “tells the story of how people develop homosexual confusion and how Jesus Christ brings healing from those things that contribute to their same-sex attractions.” It includes many excerpts from the lives of 29 people who’ve walked out of homosexuality as the film describes how same-sex attractions develops in someone’s life, what the gay lifestyle was like for them, how they walked away from that, and what their journey with Christ has been like since. It’s a very informative and hopeful film.

For a short trailer of the documentary click here

End of Year Giving by Dec 22nd

Hello everyone,Nativity

2014 is drawing to a close and it’s a time when many people do their end of year charitable giving.  I don’t normally do a formal ask for support but I’m posting this message because the organization that processes the donations for my support will be closed from Dec 22nd – until January 10th so if anyone would like to make  a tax deductible donation for 2014 it would need to be processed by them before December 22nd.  If you would like to make a contribution to the work that I do helping those struggling with same-sex attractions get the help and support they need, in educating the church so that we can love people in a loving yet Biblically appropriate way, in supporting parents, family members and spouses who are impacted by their loved ones SSA, etc. you can do so here.

While your financial support is highly appreciated there is also a spiritual battle going on for the souls of those I minister to and I would greatly covet your prayers.

Thank you for your support and I pray that you find Christ in your Christmas this year.

Blessings,

Jeff Simunds

From Black to Living Color

Sometimes, God does not make sense.  Sometimes, God does big work in small, slow ways that are not easy to express in words, but I will try. 

BlackI came to Living Waters two years ago because it was recommended to me.  I wasn’t thrilled about the idea, but I showed up.  At that time, I saw myself as someone not worth the air she inhaled.  There were many disconnections between the person I tried to present to the world and the person I was on the inside—although I didn’t realize this at the time.  Years of counseling had not been able to touch that issue.  I was emotionally numb, as well, and I had assumed that this was the way my life would continue.  Black was my favorite color. 

Living waters has been the missing piece that has shown me how to get on the right page with God and begin to accept His trustworthiness.  The kind hearted, gentle prayers of the leaders have invited Jesus into places in my heart that have been walled off for decades.

With that said, I am at a loss to explain why Living Waters has brought about such deep changes in me.  But, I do know that in those Wednesday night meetings, I have had the support to find God on a different level and understand Him from a different place… a place where the wounds are deep and run the span of my life.  I can talk about the dirty, bloody stains of my existence with other Christians and they don’t turn away in embarrassment, awkwardness or fear.  Instead, they pray and invite Jesus to come and take care of my wounds.  And slowly but surely, He has come and debrided them – flushing out years of spiritual and emotional gangrene that has been eating me alive: stealing my life.

ColorI can’t thank the leaders enough for showing me how to move forward and leave behind the bad, while hanging onto what has been good.  I now understand that God has good in store for me, as I continue to heal from past injuries of the soul and spirit.

God will continue to be Mysterious.  He does things in His own time and in His own way and Living Waters is a group that has been instrumental in changing my life.  And for that, I am very, very grateful.

Karen

 

If you would like to financially support Jeff Simunds you can make a tax deductible contribution here.

David’s Story of Meeting God in His Brokenness

I came into the Living Waters group with no sense of who I was as a man.  Even though I am in my late twenties, I came into the group a scared little boy, not even having any sense that I was a boy.  I was an “it”, really unable to associate myself with masculinity or femininity. 

Even though I had an idea of what I was getting myself into, I still came into the group very shut off and closed up. The heart and sincerity of the leaders was priceless. Their openness enabled openness in me. I was able to open up and release burdens I had even hid from myself.  

Opening up in front of a group of guys was scary, but I could not have done half the growth if it were not for this aspect of the group.  Not only to see through other’s eyes what I myself was blind to, but for other’s eyes to truly see and know the real me. 

Through many different aspects of my time in this group God put His arms around me, walked me to the mirror, and introduced me to me. How He sees me and the man He is lifting me up to be. 

In addition to revealing who I am in His sight, God worked hard to reveal who He wants to be in relation to me. “Are you my daddy?”  God revealed Himself as my loving father. He looked at all that I was holding as my own (my pain, shame, self-hatred, other’s issues, need for control) and said to me, “I can take that.”  

This is a deeply personal process and so I did not advertise I was part of Living Waters but some of my coworkers knew I went somewhere and tried to sneakily ask “how was last night?” and I could truly answer “Life Changing”.  And I do not say that lightly.  Living Waters is hard work but I can now see that I am not alone and that I am loved.  I have been strengthened. I can walk this path. 

As I write this, I am brought to tears, moved by what God has done and is continuing to do; more than can be mentioned here.  Along with the above mentioned ground gained I, the scared “it” who walked into the program, stepped out of the program with a better sense that I am a man amongst men. 

Lastly, I would like to say a heartfelt “Thank You” to the leaders, to Northshore Baptist Church, and to anyone who has supported this Living Waters program. You have forever changed my life. 

– David

Ex-Gay Ministry Exodus Closes

As some of you may have heard Exodus International recently announced that they are shutting down the organization after 35 years of ministry. Exodus International has been the world’s largest umbrella organization of ministries that help people who are dealing with SSA and their families and Tower of Light Ministries has been a member of Exodus International for the past 7-8 years.

Exodus International was founded in 1976 and the founders of Exodus had a solid biblical view of homosexuality. The organization received a lot of press over the years and became the primary avenue for people to find biblical help and support for their same-sex attractions. However over of the past several years Alan Chambers, the president of Exodus International, adopted a more liberal view of homosexuality. Then in 2012 Alan Chambers started becoming vocal about his new liberal viewpoints including speaking at the Gay Christian Network. After that conference many of the Exodus leaders and their ministries left Exodus (including Frank Worthen the primary founder of Exodus) and formed another organization called Restored Hope Network. Restored Hope Network is a biblically-based umbrella organization for ministries helping people struggling with homosexuality and their families. I attended meetings in CA with them as they were forming RHN and was impressed by the spiritual maturity of the leadership, their commitment to loving people well while representing Biblical truth, and the amount of experience they have in ministry. Exodus is closing but Restored Hope Network has filled in the gap providing hope and support for those struggling with same-sex attractions and their families. To find out more about Restored Hope Network click here.

Tower of Light Ministries will continue to provide help and support to those struggling with same-sex attractions and their families as we have been.

The Third Option: Being a Christian with same-sex attraction

 

Tired of Living Scared of Dying

Photo by Lee Morley

I often encounter Christian parents whose child has just announced that they’re gay and going into a homosexual lifestyle.  The announcement usually comes as a complete surprise and parents are devastated by the direction their child is pursuing and the potential ramifications of that choice.  Most of these kids have been raised in the church by Christian parents – so what is behind such a radical shift in direction for these kids?

Many Christian strugglers I meet with talk of the shame and self-hatred they carried for years regarding their same-sex attractions.  They know what the scriptures say about homosexual activity and they feel so much shame for having same-sex attractions even though they may not have acted on them.   All the scripture regarding homosexuality is regarding homosexual activity not the attraction itself, however many young people haven’t made a distinction between the attraction and the behavior.  They feel that if anyone knows of their attractions they will be rejected and ostracized, particularly by their Christian friends and family.  Sometimes as a teenager they risked telling someone, only to be told they are confused and don’t really feel that way, effectively sending them back into silence again pretending the attractions don’t exist.   Eventually these kids, who are filled with shame and self-hatred and are tired of living in secrecy, find a place where they can be known and accepted  – the gay community.   They’ve grown tired of living in secrecy and self-loathing so they throw open the door of their closet, join this new community of friends, and nothing is going to put them back into their closet of secrecy, shame, and self-hatred.

Our culture will tell you that as someone with same-sex attractions you have 2 choices: to either stay in the closet, drowning in shame and self-hatred or declare yourself gay, join the gay community and live a gay lifestyle.  The church will often imply you have one option – stay in the closet and pretend you don’t have these attractions.  Actually today many churches have opted for an additional option – reinterpret scripture so that you can follow Jesus while embracing a guilt-free gay lifestyle (this option is a big topic and needs to be a whole blog article itself).

There is another option, a scripturally valid option, very few people are talking about – that we can be Christians following Jesus, have same-sex attractions (or any other issue for that matter), and commit our lives to following Him in holiness and not follow through on those attractions to activity that scripture calls sin.  That we don’t have to be in the closet pretending we don’t have the attractions and living a life of hiddenness, shame and self-hatred however we also don’t have to declare ourselves gay and embrace a gay identity.  That there’s no shame or condemnation for those with same-sex attractions and committed to walk in holiness with Jesus; that we don’t choose same-sex attractions and God isn’t judging people for attractions they haven’t chosen.  That we can be Christians following Jesus, admit we have same-sex attractions, and hopefully be embraced by a community of Christians who are likewise struggling with their own various issues but wanting to follow God in holiness. Our issues don’t define us, they’re not who we are.  Our identity is in Christ.  While our identity is in Christ and our issues don’t define us that doesn’t mean we have to deny we have issues.

The third option: We are Christians committed to follow Jesus in holiness yet struggling with a variety of issues: pride, materialism, gossip, lying, porn, same-sex attractions….  This is the option we need to be talking about to our Christian youth and fellow believers.

Untying the Knots

knotAs I finished praying over one of the men in one of my small groups he shared “Every time you pray with me it’s as if a knot inside me comes undone.”  What an awesome picture.  It’s as if we have a lifetime of knots from all the wounding, painful events that have happened to us, and then we have additional knots from all the harmful messages we’ve internalized about ourselves as a result of that wounding.  We can become all knotted up from the hurt and pain of our past.  We can be at a loss for how to start untying the knots of the hurt, pain, and wounding of our lives.

In Living Waters we invite Jesus to come and meet with us and to start undoing the knots in our lives. We invite him into all those areas of hurt and pain and to speak truth into the lies we’ve come to believe about ourselves.   Honestly, there have been times when I’ve thought “Maybe I should step back and let one of my capable assistants lead my group while I focus on teaching and the overall leadership of the program.”  But then after another evening of ministering to the men in my group I think “Wow, this is what it’s all about and I would have missed this”.  I love watching God show up and minister his healing touch in the lives of the men in my group.   I love watching him untie yet another knot in the heart of one of his sons.