Friday, August 04, 2006

Truthing-in-Love Evangelism

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ…” Galatians 3:28, 29a (NIV)
Chicago “Gay Games VII” Outreach (GGO) Report

Let me 1st of all thank our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for planting the GGO idea in my heart and then granting me the courage and the partnerships to follow through.

Let me also thank our financial sponsors such as The Moody Church, Illinois Family Institute, Illinois Baptist State Association, Chicago Metropolitan Baptist Association, Good Samaritan Church and a host of generous individual families.

I thank God for the Pacific Garden Mission which served as one of two distribution centers for the GGO. Dr. Fuder of the Moody Bible Institute served to encourage me by spreading the vision among his students and other partners.

I thank God for the brave and selfless men and women who volunteered their time and energy to carry out the vision. The UBC Staff was valiant!

Together we purchased and distributed 150 T-shirts, 4 thousand Gospel tracts, and 10,000 specially labeled bottles of water to the thirsty souls of the “Homosexual Community” or the community where same sex attraction is practiced and encouraged.

In the excerpts below I will share some of the many emails I received which stirred my heart in fervent prayer and action.

  • “Thank you Pr. Allen…for a breath of sanity and sensibility on this matter. More preachers like you and the word homophobe would wither and die. I am a 71 year old Gay man who has been in a monogamous relationship for 25yrs. Proselytizing and missionary work are perfectly acceptable avenues for churches to follow in their work with homosexuals…I wish you luck…If you convert (if that is the right word) 1 or 10,000 Gay men that week more power to you…you and your approach to the issue stand a much better chance of success than the hate-filled diatribes…Roger Hickey
  • From National Guardsman Derek Torres serving in Iraq responding to my letter to Prs. Hybels and Meeks, “I feel like I have received a swift kick in the rear from 6000 miles away. This is a touchy issue, because in reality this is exactly what we have been training students for, yet this is not the kind of thing that I would get them into w/o much prayer and hesitation, because the homosexual proponents are probably better prepared to defend their point of view than we are, because as American Christians, we don’t have as much at stake…this is a perfect opportunity to get the elder Christians in our congregations to show what they have learned by sitting in the pews while their kids went out to learn about evangelism. May God bless your plans…”

    • From James Cappleman also responding to my letter, “As a gay man who loves Jesus, I want you to know that this statement you made is simply off the mark for men and women everywhere who have same sex orientation. As a young child, I pleaded, begged, and prayed earnestly that God would change me and make me normal like my friends…I’ve come to the conclusion that if God was going to require celibacy for gays and lesbians everywhere, he would at least have the decency to give a reason for it…That all said, I am delighted in your presence in Uptown. You are the very first church leader in decades who understands the meaning of being a good neighbor to the community. It’s refreshing to witness a church leader who does not participate in the polarization that is encouraged in Uptown.”

    • From Bob of the Gay Liberation Network, “The call has gone out from a heretofore little known creep apparently attempting to establish himself as a player in the antigay bigotry crusade. Pr. Allen is yet another African American eager to become part of the odious offensive against equal legal rights for other oppressed women and men, many of them African American victims of ongoing American racism just like Allen himself…Allen casts his call for a hate greeting for Gay Games attendees as one of love…They begin with a belief that their god created only heterosexual men and women, which leads them to vehemently demand that we be denied our equal civil rights in such things as employment, housing, and of course access to the civil contract of marriage.”

    • From Nancy Jacques a GGO volunteer from Harvest Bible Chapel who was part of an outreach group at the U of C Aquatics Events on opening day, “There was another woman to whom I gave a bottle of water and told her we were with a Church group and wanted her to know of Jesus’ love. About 10 minutes later she came out and was heading to her car when she turned and asked, “What’s your view on homosexuality?” Pr. Allen responded that we believe what the Bible teaches. She asked, “You mean that it is an abomination to God?” Pr. Allen said, “Yes.” She then shook her head in amazement and said, “Why aren’t you guys mean? Why are you so nice about it?” Pr. Allen responded, “Jesus does not command us to be mean or nasty but to speak the truth in love.” She thanked us and turned toward her car.

    • From Suzanne of Moody Church, “I had 2 different “Gay Christians” I don’t know come up and commend me for doing something positive. I had a dozen or so people purposely say they didn’t want any of my water. However, I gave away 7 cases in a short time and everyone was quite friendly. Because I’m from Oak Park, I had 2 gay friends walk by and talk to me for a while, plus one straight Christian friend form Calvary Church pull up in her car and commend me.”

    • Mark King of Seminary Ave. Community Church, “We finished up with really only positive interaction, when we were approached by the individual who had been preaching. He asked us what we were doing. We said we were trying to show the love of God. He plled out his Bible and asked if anyone could show him where it says to give water to Sodomites. He said if you read the book of Acts, not one time is the love of God mentioned. He said if we really wanted to do some good, we should be confronting and preaching repentance. We listened to hi and tried to show him love and respect as well. He refused our very last bottle of water. In the end he left saying that if we give wter to Sodomites we would receive a sodomites’ reward. It’s funny, I went expecting to get some negative reactions from one side and the only negative interaction came from the other direction. There is a time and place for conrontation and certainly repentance is a Biblical and necessary component of the Gospel. Our mission tonight was to overcome the pre-conceived notion of many in the gay community that “Christians hate us” and to encourage them to take a look at the website which presents the gospel fully. You can pray for those who received the water and for this street preacher as well.”

    • Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park – Pr. Andrew Irvin led Calvary in prayer walks Monday – Thursday during the GGO from 6:30AM – 11AM and again at 4:30 PM

    • From Tom and Yvonne Gunderson of UBC – Pray for Hugo from Argentina, Greg from New York covering the games with the media. We apologized to some of the athletes for the way in which the Church sometimes tries to communicate to Gospel in a very offensive manner. Chris, a Tennis player, said that this meant a lot to him…We found most people gracious, receptive to listening to what we had to say, and it was like John Greene of Emmaus predicted during the training, “they are here to celebrate the sports and enjoy Chicago…

    • From Mary Tompkins and Mindy Cobb of UBC, “We went to the Hilton on Michigan Ave for 2 ½ hrs on opening morning of the GGO. As spectators passed by they received our water and wanted to know why we were doing this. We told them of Jesus’ love and our love for them. They were so appreciative. Others said, “I can’t tell you how much it means to me that you moms have come out here to let us know you care. Thanks for doing this it really touches my heart.”

    Here’s an incredible letter from an amazing woman of God, Suzanne Jarzabowski,
    “Dear Pr. Allen, I just read your "Open Letter" regarding the Gay Games coming to Chicago this weekend. I am writing to express my gratitude and support for every single word and thought you expressed in that letter. I want to thank you for stepping forward in what I believe is clearly a spiritual battleground.
    This issue is very close to my heart because my husband of 16 years has become trapped in sexual addiction and homosexuality. I hope you don't mind, but I would like to share a bit of our story with you. Perhaps it will help you to put a "face" on one of the people you are trying to reach. Every single one of the people involved in the homosexual lifestyle comes with a family attached to them somewhere. My family has been wounded in the battle. We have also experienced the incredible healing touch of God in a way we never would have had this not entered our lives.
    We have recently divorced, however I would like you to know that I loved my husband (and I still do) and that I did not divorce him out of hate or anger, but with the hope of reconciliation. To most people that probably sounds crazy, but I know that with God nothing is impossible. I truly love my ex-husband and my dearest hope is that his heart will be restored and he will again be in a right relationship with God. That is first and foremost.
    As horrid as these past two years have been, I wouldn't trade one minute of it ~ if it meant going back to the kind of faith I had before. Through all of this, God has brought me to a place of total dependence on Him.

    During the last year of our marriage, my husband had many, many anonymous homosexual encounters. He engaged in repeated risky behaviors without my knowledge, putting both of us at risk for sexually transmitted diseases. Prior to this, over the course of several years, he lost multiple jobs as a result of his addiction to internet pornography and "inappropriate" behavior at work. He struggles with anger/rage and self-control. I have learned that this is very common to people who struggle with same sex attractions…
    Perhaps one day my marriage will be restored...perhaps that is not part of God's plan. I don't know. I will trust Him. One thing I do know is that there is a battle all around us and we are each called to participate in some way. Sometimes God calls us with a little nudge. Other times God makes our lives impossibly uncomfortable until we finally give up and engage. From what I have observed, the hardest part is knowing how or when to engage in the battle. We often want to charge in and make it all better ~ our way. I have learned that one of the keys to being useful in God's kingdom is to learn to wait on His timing. It hasn't been such an easy lesson to learn.

    Through this struggle, God has taught me that His definition of victory is different from my definition of victory. A clear shift in my perspective came as a result of this revelation. My idea of victory for us was simple ~ restoration of my husband's heart and reconciliation of our marriage. I figured this was also God's plan, I mean it looked so right ~ it HAD to be God's plan....right? And it was a good plan ~ but because it was only my plan, it was just too limited. I have learned that God's idea of victory is so much greater than that. It amazes me that He saw fit to sustain my family with not only continued faith but increased faith. That is victory....

    In addition, my children's faith has increased...our reliance on God for every decision is becoming second nature. Our trust in Him to provide for all of our needs is increasing daily. While their father on earth continues to remain lost, their Father in heaven has clearly shown His steadfast and unwavering love and my children are blossoming. That is victory...
    This story isn't over. So, in the meantime, I will be waiting and watching to see more and more of God's plan revealed ~ but now, I am not alone ~ God has blessed me with wonderful friends and family and my church has been amazingly supportive. The truth is, we were not created to fight our battles all alone. We need each other.
    I just want to thank you for responding in obedience to the promptings of the Holy Spirit to reach out and speak God's truth in love to this particular group of people. I believe accepting God's perfect love is the only hope for any of us…”
    • This concludes my report. There are many other reports that could be given but I wanted to give you a sample of what God in in the through us all. While I do not know of anyone who was genuinely converted by the Spirit of God due to our efforts, I must believe that many seeds of the Gospel message were sewn into the hearts of men and women from around the world. May God be glorified to add His holy “Sonshine” and divine water to bring about the increase. May many of those seeds take root and bear fruit that remains.
In the Master’s service,

Michael N. Allen, Sr. Pastor

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