Tower of Light Ministries

Secrets, Shame & God’s Love

Nobody knew the secret that I was keeping.  For as long as I remember I felt different than other boys.  I felt out of place and awkward.  Other boys were interested in sports, rough play, and knew the secret boy code.  I was interested in art, sensitive to other’s feelings, and didn’t understand the secret boy code.  I wanted to fit in with the guys, but I just couldn’t figure out that part of my life.  When I was about 13, I had a sexual encounter with an older boy. I was ashamed of the incident not so much because I knew it was wrong but because I enjoyed it.  In fact, I had wanted it and encouraged it.   At the time I had no skills of how to talk about the experience because I was too shy and embarrassed. From that time on masturbation became a significant addiction in my life and a way of coping when life was rough.  As I grew through adolescence, I knew I was supposed to like girls but dating and talking about girls was difficult and awkward.   A secret attraction to other guys developed during this time and I dabbled in pornography when there was opportunity.  There were no cell phones back then, so I would catch a glance at the magazines behind the counter or look at the stash of magazines at a friend’s house. I wasn’t looking at the girls, I was looking at the guys.  I was brought up in a fine Christian home and always felt like I had to be perfect…. I did not feel perfect and certainly could never divulge my attraction to other men.  If I did, I imagined my life would be over.  My secret attraction to other males was put neatly in a box on a shelf out of sight in the dark recesses of my mind.  At the time I even fooled myself into believing that God didn’t even know about my secret.

I decided to be a follower of Jesus at Bible Camp in eighth grade.  I said I wanted to make Jesus Lord of my life…. but just not of that little box on the shelf that was now labeled “Shame”.  Somehow, I made it through adolescence, continued to Bible College and married my college sweetheart.  I convinced myself that marriage would solve all my problems.  We enjoyed all the normal things that couples go through over the years.  We were not able to have kids, so we started adopting.  Several kids later we were well entrenched in our lives and very active in our church.  We had busy, fulfilling, and stressful lives, which soon began to take an emotional toll.    With the advent of cell phones and internet, pornography began to seep back into my life and my desire for a sexual encounter with another male grew. I had never given up masturbation during our marriage.  I tried many times to stop but was too fearful and embarrassed to seek help.  Victory in this area seemed hopeless and I felt defeated and alone in my secrecy.  In desperation to satiate my sexual desires I made series of very bad decisions and engaged in illegal encounters.  My behavior lasted for many years and was kept a secret, or so I had convinced myself.  Each time I pleaded with God. “Please help me stop”.  My shame and now guilt built within and my relationship with my wife began to erode into a platonic marriage.  My relationship with God was strained and maybe if I am truthful, I was just going through the motions.

One day in the fall of 2010 the dam broke when my wife found out about my secret life.  I remember the moment vividly.  All the blood drained out of me and in the emotion of the moment I walked out of the house and plopped myself on a rock next to our driveway.  I sat there and contemplated running away or going back inside to face the consequences.  My biggest fear up to this point had been that I was going to die in my sin, but suddenly there was relief that I had been discovered and a heavy burden was lifted from my shoulders.  As I look back, that moment was pivotal as I finally took my first step to make Jesus Lord of my life. The Holy Spirit nudged me to go back inside and face my consequences.  My wife graciously gathered all the family and we sat down while I confessed the sexual sin in my life.  The next few days were a blur.  I was restricted from contact with my minor children, had to leave my house, arrested at my job and spent my first night in jail.  I don’t think I have ever felt so scared and isolated in all my life.  In that dark place of my life I had nowhere turn and I cried out to God.  Proverbs 3:5-6 came to me and I was reminded to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on you own understanding:  in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

It’s been nearly 10 years since that time. My wife and I were separated for over 5 years.  Shortly after we got back together, she was diagnosed with cancer and passed away a year later.  Early in the process of my healing I tried to hold on to all the familiar things in my life and my goal was to make everything as it once was, “Perfect”.  But as I looked around, the landscape of my life had changed, and the familiar landmarks were unrecognizable or gone.  It was there that God met me and began making my path straight again.  Along the way I have been learning to trust the Lord with all my heart and submit to his Lordship.  I sought help for my same sex attraction in a group of guys who were also struggling with same sex attraction called Tower of Light Ministries at Northshore Community Church. I learned that my identity was not about what I had done or based on my sexual attraction, but my identity is who I am in Christ.

My struggle is not yet over.  My propensity to sexual addiction and same sex attraction have not suddenly left me.  I wrestle every day with these demons but with God’s help and the support of the men in my sexual addiction group, I make the choice to walk in purity and holiness.  As I become more confident of who I am in Christ, I can now talk about my addiction with other people.  The little box that I kept hidden away is no longer a secret that I hide.  I gave that to the Lord at the foot of the cross.  The consequences of my sin will follow me the rest of my life here on earth but the shame that I held on to for so long, no longer controls me.  David describes the weight of his sexual sin in Psalm 32:3-4 “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.  For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.”  But in the end, he confessed his sin and I now see my true hiding place and deliverance from sin as “the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him.” (Psalm 32:10b).  I am a “new creation” in Christ.  No more secrets!  No more shame!

SK

Charitable Giving & 2018 Ministry Overview

2018 is drawing to a close and it’s a time when many people do their end of year charitable giving. I don’t often do a formal ask for support however once/year I remind people that if they would like to support me in the work I do they can do so. The work I do at Tower of Light Ministries is completely on a volunteer basis. Northshore Community Church generously provides me with office space, meeting rooms, and an operating budget, however any personal support is done through outside giving. If you would like to make a contribution to the work I do in 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 same-sex attractions (SSA), etc. you can do so here. If your address changed in 2018 please let them know at colinkseattle@yahoo.com.

One significant event I was involved with this year was testifying and lobbying against a bill that was passed in Olympia.  There was a bill to make it illegal for professional therapists to counsel minors with unwanted same-sex attractions.  I generally avoid being politically outspoken on LGBT issues as I don’t want to come across as anti-gay to the gay community, I want them to feel safe to come and talk to me.  However when laws are being made that keep people from being able to get the help and support they need, then I need to speak out on their behalf. I testified before a House hearing committee, and spent time visiting representatives individually to lobby against the bill.  The bill did pass and it is now illegal in WA State for a therapist to counsel a minor with unwanted same-sex attractions.  I am not a professional therapist and am under the umbrella of a church so I can still talk with minors who have unwanted same-sex attractions.

In looking back over 2018 (through Nov) and celebrating what God has done:

  • 26 men and women struggling with same-sex attractions came and met with me for the first time, some were one time meetings but many were for ongoing lay counseling or they started attending a group.
  • Approximately 22 people with SSA attended a recovery group.
  • 30 parents or family members came for help with knowing how to appropriate relate to their loved one. This is twice as parents as last year.
  • 11 men who weren’t struggling with SSA came for help with a variety of other issues.
  • I lay counseled 21 men.
  • I gave my 4.5 hour seminar on LGBT issues at a church in Kent and it was very well attended with people coming from all over the state.
  • I did a talk for a Mothers of Pre-Schoolers group on “The role parents play in the development of their children.” The idea behind doing this is that the more educated parents of young children are of the role mothers and fathers play in the development of their children, the more aware they can be of meeting their child’s needs so they have less issues when they are older.
  • I did 2 workshops on LGBT issues; one at a conference in Richland, WA and one at a church in Renton.
  • I spoke at a Sunday School class at a church in Seattle on transgender issues
  • I taught twice at a Bible school course, once on transgenderism and once on homosexuality
  • I finished 3 recovery groups in May with a total of 29 participants
  • I taught a 1.5-2 week course on sexuality at two “Youth With a Mission” counseling schools. One of them was in Switzerland and I was also able to do an evening teaching on homosexuality for the rest of the base. These trainings are quite intense with teaching, small group ministry time, and individual counseling sessions.
  • I’m currently leading a weekly group for men struggling with unwanted SSA that new men can join anytime.
  • I’m leading an 8 month Journey program for people with a variety of issues and have a team of 5 leaders working with me.
  • This is my second year leading a 9 month group for men dealing with sexual addiction and have 2 leaders working with me.

One exciting development is that we’re now offering help in Spanish.  I have someone who speaks Spanish fluently who is available to help people dealing with this. You can check out the Spanish section on the website here.

In looking forward to 2019:

  • I’m doing 2 workshops at the Lutheran Congregational in Mission for Christ (LCMC) denomination’s annual Regional Leadership Conference. Pastors and ministry leaders from several states will be attending and I’m doing 1 workshop for pastors and one for ministry leaders on LGBT issues.
  • I’m scheduled to do 4 workshops at the NW Ministry Conference.
  • I’m scheduled to teach on sexuality at a “Youth With a Mission” counseling school in South Africa and another one in Switzerland.

In looking at all I’m doing it’s easy to get lost in all the activity, the numbers of people, the events, etc.  However what it really comes down to is people finding the support they need from people who understand and accept them. People usually come engulfed in shame, self-hatred and hopelessness. It’s my hope that as people encounter their heavenly Father in their areas of brokenness and shame that they will get a glimpse of how much they’ve always been loved and adored by Him, and as that happens their shame and self-hatred falls away.

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 greatly covet your prayers. Prayer is what enables and supports the work God is doing and your prayers are greatly appreciated.

I’m very glad to have you partnering with me.

Thank you for your support and I hope you have a blessed Christmas this year.

James 5:20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins

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

 

Seminar Oct 6; LGBT + Church = ?

If someone in your life tells you they struggle with homosexuality or transgender issues how would you respond? If someone asks you if people are born gay and if there is a possibility for change, what would you say? If someone says they’re a different gender inside than their biological gender how would you reply? If someone asks you what God says about homosexuality or transgenderism how would you answer?

On Saturday, October 6th I will be giving a seminar addressing how we should respond to the various questions we face regarding homosexuality and transgenderism. The seminar is from 8:30-1:00 at Calvary Chapel South in Kent. The event is free and no RSVP is required.

This is the same seminar I have done in the past so if you missed those or have friends who would like to attend this is their chance! I’ll be covering the scriptures on homosexuality and transgenderism, the gay revisionist theology that’s becoming increasingly popular, how these issues may develop in someone’s life, and how we should respond to those who are dealing with these issues in their lives.

This is a unique opportunity to be informed and think through these critical issues in our culture and in the lives of those we know and love.

Law Bans Conversion Therapy for Minors

The main purpose for my writing this blog is to make you aware of what is happening in our legal system so you can be covering all of this in prayer. I know many of you have a heart for this ministry and for those struggling with unwanted LGBT issues and I highly covet your prayers.

The Washington State legislature recently voted into law a ban on conversion therapy for minors on the part of professional licensed therapists.  This law prohibits any effort to change a minor’s behaviors or gender expressions or help them reduce or eliminate unwanted same-sex attractions (SSA) or transgender feelings.  Any counseling on the part of licensed therapists around a minor’s LGBT issues are only allowed to help them explore and develop their SSA and transgender feelings. It’s tragic that minors in Washington State can no longer get help from professional therapists to deal with their unwanted SSA or transgender issues. While this law only applies to minors it’s the first step in removing the rights of people with unwanted LGBT issues to get the help and support they need to live lives congruent with their faith.

California passed a similar law regarding minors several years ago and they’re now taking the next step, there is now a bill before the California legislature to ban all forms of help for adults with unwanted SSA and transgender feelings. As it’s currently written the bill not only applies to therapists but also pastors and lay people. This bill would also ban the sale of any literature that might help someone with unwanted SSA or transgender issues.

I don’t normally speak out politically because I don’t want to appear anti-LGBT, I want those dealing with LGBT issues to know I’m a safe person to come and talk to.  However since the WA State bill would impact those I minister to I felt a need to speak on behalf of future minors who will be denied professional help when the bill was passed. Despite those efforts the bill was passed and will now become law. As California has shown this is only the first step and if the new bill passes in California we can be assured it will be brought before the Washington legislature shortly thereafter and what is currently banned for minors will be banned for everyone.

One problem with these laws is that they don’t specify what conversion therapy is. There’s no set of therapeutic steps to go through to change someone’s orientation. At Tower of Light Ministries we don’t make any claims to change someone’s orientation “ Tower of Light Ministries uses Christian discipleship; our focus is on helping people develop a deeper relationship with Christ and bringing Him into the areas of pain and wounding in our lives. Our focus isn’t on making people heterosexual but on helping people live a life that’s in alignment with their faith. While we don’t focus on making people heterosexual, many people find that their same-sex attractions diminish over time and some have reported developing heterosexual attractions.”

Again, I highly covet your prayers and the purpose of this blog is to raise awareness so you can be praying appropriately.

The WA State law: http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2017-18/Pdf/Bills/Senate%20Passed%20Legislature/5722.PL.pdf

The California bill: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB2943

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

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Adonis Testimony – Running From God

This video of Adonis Bemish’s testimony was shown at Northshore Community Church on Sunday. His story is one of running from God, hitting rock bottom, and finally surrendering his life and following God. Adonis has been a part of Tower of Light Ministries for the past several years.  I’m glad God brought him here and it’s been a privilege to walk with him on his journey of finding hope, support, and healing.

Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

If you’d like to support the work I do with Tower of Light Ministries you can do so here.

Fall Groups Starting – Sign up now!

Summer is drawing to close, kids are heading back to school, and now is the perfect time to consider signing up for one of my groups to start/continue your healing journey.  This fall I have 2 groups for you to consider:

Taking Back Ground is for men struggling with unwanted same-sex attractions (SSA). Its on Monday nights and works through material created specifically for people dealing with SSA.  It’s a safe place to start processing your story and to realize you’re not alone in the journey.

Journey is a prayer focused ministry for men and women on Wednesday evenings. While Journey is great for people wanting to work through a variety of issues it was initially developed for people with unwanted SSA and was broadened to address root issues common to everyone. It’s a very powerful, prayer ministry and if you’d like to participate this year please let me know ASAP because there’s an application process.

Both these groups start in 2 weeks so if you’d like to join one of them please contact me ASAP at jeffs@northshore.church or at 425-216-4443.

I also have a support group I refer people to for parents with a child involved with homosexuality. I know it can be a difficult, isolated journey for Christian parents of a gay identified child. It can very valuable to connect with other parents who are walking this same path with their children. If you’d like to connect with this group please contact me and I’d be happy to talk with you.

Tranzformed Documentary

As part of the Restored Hope Network Conference I attended in San Diego in June there was the screening of the new documentary Tranzformed. The documentary is on transgenderism and is an informative, biblically based, and compassionate film. It includes testimonies from 15 people who have struggled with transgenderism and found hope and healing with Jesus. You can watch a trailer for it here.

Some incredible stories of people who have walked out of transgenderism:  Kathy Grace who lived as man before God revealed her true identity to her: Part 1, Part 2. Daniel Delgado who grew up as a drag queen: Part 1, Part 2.  Walter Heyer who regrets having sex reassignment surgery Part 1, Part 2. Diamond Dee who went through sex reassignment surgery (his story is a little graphic) Part 1, Part 2.

Tranzformed was put together by the same people who did “Such Were Some of You” (for those struggling with homosexuality) and “How Do You Like Me Now?” (when a child, spouse or sibling says they’re gay).

You can purchase a copy of any of these on Amazon or from the producers at Pure Passion here.

Seminar this Saturday 8:30am Northshore Community Church

Just a reminder that I’ll be  doing my seminar “Homosexuality – How Should We Respond?” this Saturday at Northshore Community Church from 8:30am-1:00pm.

This is the same seminar I have done in the past so if you missed those or have friends who would like to attend this is their chance! I’ll be covering the scriptures on homosexuality and transgenderism, the gay revisionist theology that’s becoming increasingly popular, how same-sex attractions develops in someone’s life, and how we should respond to those who are dealing with these issues in their lives.

This is a unique opportunity to be informed and think through these critical issues in our culture and in the lives of those we know and love.

No registration needed. No childcare provided.  There will be coffee!

Restored Hope Network Conference June 16-17

This year the annual Restored Hope Network Conference is on June 16-17 in San Diego and if you register before March 15th you save 15%.

Restored Hope Network (RHN) is an umbrella organization of ministries who focus on ministering to those struggling with homosexuality and transgenderism and their loved ones (Tower of Light Ministries is a member of RHN).  Once a year they do an annual conference where they bring in incredibly speakers (this year they have Joe Dallas, Linda Seiler and Janet Mefferd) and there are dozens of breakout sessions on a variety of topics.  It’s a great place for encouragement, to develop a deeper understanding of the issues, and to realize you’re not alone on this journey.  There will be testimonies from people who struggle in these areas as well as from parents. They will also be showing the world premiere of a new documentary on transgenderism.  Each year the conference is held in a different city and this is the first time in 3 years it’s on the west coast, so it’s particularly accessible to most of us.

You can find out more about the conference or register by clicking here

A Divine Encounter

I recently went on a weekend getaway out of town and had a divine appointment I thought I’d share.  In the middle of a pretty hip town with great architecture, lots of artist shops, new age establishments, etc. I discovered a Christian shop.  I was surprised to see a Christian store there and went in to check it out. I struck up a conversation with the owner and it turned into a long conversation.  I opened the conversation with how cool the town was and he responded that he loved it here, that you could be whoever you are and be accepted – Christian, gay, etc.  I then told him about what I do ministering to people with unwanted same-sex attractions and it was the start of a great conversation.

It turns out he has two immediate family members that are gay and he’s connected in with other gay people in town as well.   We had a great conversation about how God deeply loves his gay family members and friends and desires them to surrender their lives to Him so they can spend eternity with Him.  He was actually very Biblically grounded and we had a great discussion on how to love the people in his life without compromising his Biblical viewpoints. He said multiple times that he’d never met anyone like me before and how great it was to have someone to talk to about this. He’d met many Christians who were Biblically grounded in truth but had very little love for gay people and he was grateful for being able to talk about how to love people well without compromising scripture.

I gave him my contact information and I hope to stay in touch.  God used what I thought was going to just be a fun weekend away for something bigger, to encourage and equip this guy to love the gay people in his life well without compromising his beliefs. It was the highlight of my trip.