This is the second of a two-part interview with Coming out Ministries' Wayne Blakely, regarding the soon-to-be-released film "Journey Interrupted." This second part deals with the challenges and triumphs of ministering to homosexuals in a culture that is increasingly hostile, and looks at what may be coming down the pike in the future.
"Journey Interrupted" premiers on September 24, 25 at the Village Church in Berrien Springs, Michigan.
How has Coming Out Ministries been received in the Adventist church?
That’s kind of a tricky question. In one of my presentations this year, I ask what it means to be a Seventh-day Adventist. I know what it used to mean and what it is supposed to mean. But I don’t know how many Seventh-day Adventists understand the special appointment God has given us.
We typically are invited to congregations of about 400 or less. But in larger congregations, I find that pastors sometimes become concerned about the views of the members and not comfortable confirming how God’s intrinsic truths apply to the lives of Christians today.
But, I believe wholeheartedly that we are commissioned with the Everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ, not a false gospel that traps people where they are, or makes them “feel” good. I can only think of one church, not in the US, that might not have been expecting a “redemptive” message. But the seminar weekend was known to have provided mixed views on the topic of “homosexuality.” And I believe God even blessed unsuspecting souls in this environment.
What chances have you had to minister to and interact with other Christians?
We stay pretty current on what’s taking place across Christianity, regardless of denominations. There are many many people who have left a life of “homosexuality” behind for the deep, eternal love and acceptance of Jesus Christ. We have witnessed many testimonies and life changes that bring honor and glory to God.
We also have witnessed heterosexuals who have been caught up in various addictions, surrender to Jesus and seek to live a life in agreement with Him. Freedom comes by saying “no” to temptation, and “yes” to Christ and His righteousness.
What are some of the bright spots in your ministry over the last 5-years? Tell us some good stories.
We’ve witnessed miracles around this world that inspire us to keep testifying of the only “pure love” that changes people’s lives. We have also encountered lives that have not yet experienced what we have. We know and believe that God does not give up on us.
There is joy in encouraging others who haven’t quite grasped all that is possible through Jesus. Recently Danielle Harrison and I were blessed with the opportunity to reach out to a church that was in crisis with a member living in open rebellion against God’s plan. The church was deeply split before we shared over the weekend. Many members were angry about us coming. We knew we would be challenged but God is in the business of miracles. What we witnessed could only have been from God’s divine guidance and direction. We saw angry people’s hearts softened by the testimonies that God has given us.
Silence and lack of Biblical education about living with same-sex attraction has destroyed a lot of lives. We believe God came and got us in order to awaken the church and offer hope to those who have been hurting. Nothing is more rewarding than to see people “get it.”
This particular church is still on a healing journey, but we were so privileged to see God begin the work He promises in each of our lives.
We don’t witness large masses “come to Jesus.” Sometimes I refer to this ministry as a “Noah’s message.” Many hear, but we don’t always see the results or outcomes.
A man called me one day and asked me; “How many souls have you won?” He wanted to tell a university professor so that we could get an invitation to speak on campus. I said; “Sir, I’m not in the business of winning souls. I’m in the business of planting seeds.” Jesus is the one who waters the soil and persistently calls on the heart to respond. It’s not my job to play Holy Spirit Junior.
Every ministry has unique challenges to deal with. What are some of the challenges you face as a ministry?
I think the most challenging aspect of this ministry is in financial support. Praise God, He has blessed us as we have advanced over the years. I think some have an unspoken fear as they consider supporting a ministry that deals with topics of a “sexual” nature. But it is so desperately needed, we can’t keep pushing these concerns and problems under the church pew. There are lives that need to know that they matter, they belong and they are loved. They need to know that God has not given up on them. And we need not give up on them either.
We are also challenged when we are in the face of adversity. It is vital to our walk with God, to not get discouraged. It’s challenging when that adversity comes from the most unlikely places—from within. But God has provided us with the assurance that “the church will go through to the end.”
We invite you to continually lift us up in your prayers. And we greatly thank you.
How has the Lord helped you overcome adversity in your ministry?
Our only hope is in clinging to the Rock. None of us are effective if we are not in a continual state of dependence on and abiding in Christ. This requires total surrender. My only safety is in maintaining an unbroken relationship with Jesus Christ.
Each day must start with quality time with Jesus. Then, don’t leave Him with an “Amen” at the end of your prayer. Take Him with you wherever you go. He’s your constant companion. Live to honor and glorify Him. Be aware of the constant change that is possible with Jesus at your side.
Do you have a job or is ministry a full-time endeavor?
This is my full-time job. Jesus is my employer. I’m blessed to live to share Him wherever He calls me. I have been in full-time ministry now for six years. Just over two of those years have not been supplemented by my work in the public sector.
I know you have spoken in many places. What were some of your favorite speaking events?
I have had more privileges than I could have expected. Most recently I was invited to speak for Oregon Camp meeting. A real blessing. A number of years ago I spoke at pastoral retreat for pastors in the North Pacific Union Conference. That’s an event that only takes place every five years.
Just over two years ago I was invited to participate in a panel at the World Summit on Homosexuality in Cape Town South Africa.
Three years ago I was invited to speak in Australia in front of a filmed live-audience series entitled, “Coming Out…Really?”
My colleagues and I just finished filming a second series at 3ABN’s Dare to Dream studios. Watch for this series to release soon in a DVD set called “The Gay Puzzle – Volume Two.”
There are so many wonderful places where I have been given the opportunity to speak. Last year, over three months was spent in Europe. I spoke at churches, schools and pastoral meetings in Boggenhofen, Austria, Germany, Switzerland and in Italy.
There is a powerful organized effort trying to normalize homosexuality in America. Has the success of that agenda opened the door for other deviations, like transgenderism and polyamory? Or does each moral deviation stand on its own?
Yes, I believe that these things are connected. We take something clearly stated in God’s Word as displeasing to Him, and we normalize it. This always paves the way for another less than desirable circumstance to step up to the plate and be normalized as well. Not just transgenderism, but other deviations from God’s Word. We are so much like the children of Israel.
I believe that without an abiding, intimate relationship with Jesus, we fail to reach for the mark He has set for us and we turn to human knowledge and understanding and set out to accommodate, rather than providing the healing tools that God has given us. He urges us to point one another to Him and to lift each other up as we travel along the narrow way to Heaven.
“Love” is the final message before the closing of this world. But it is the “pure love” of Jesus alone that prepares us for our eternal home. A love of refining power and great definition from our Father above, rather than by a host of estranged sinners below.
Having a political party adopt the homosexual agenda gives it a lot of clout doesn’t it? How can Christians avoid this single-minded determination to undermine their faith?
Today it is difficult to determine the lesser of two evils. But we can certainly be aware of issues and referendums and vote in ways that uphold God’s clear Word to us. Take these issues and concerns to prayer and ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
I am discovering that homosexuality has an intrinsic theological element to it. Some are even uniting it with environmentalism as a way to avoid violating the natural order of the planet through procreation. Have you encountered this oncoming aspect?
I haven’t yet, but I fully expect to. Once again, man will go to any length to hold on to that which appeases His flesh, rather than deny himself for His Creator. Our studies should be rooted in God’s desires rather than those of self and seeking to justify our sin.
What do you say to the young “social justice” millennial who now believes homosexuality is perfectly acceptable behavior because it is “just”?
Young people are a challenge. Social justice is reigning. And Christian standards and God’s principles are becoming extinct. But I believe that God still has the power to change any heart that will allow the Holy Spirit to come in.
I know of a number of millennials today, that have been touched with God’s “love in truth” message. They seek to live for their Savior and walk with Him. They are a key people who we are told will finish this God-given work on earth.
Young people need only experience the practicality and personalization of the gospel. When they witness Jesus at work, they are then set ablaze in their quest to share His good news for all of us.
What do you say to parents who are struggling to relate to a son or daughter who chooses homosexuality instead of the biblical view of sexuality?
Each of us has been given a conscience and the power to choose. Parents should do everything in their power to demonstrate God’s great love and truth to their children. Personalize Jesus at the earliest of ages. Had it not been for my consecrated parents, I would not have likely turned from my sin to Jesus. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
We talk to many disheartened parents. It is important to remember your own youth and the determination you may have possessed to do as you desired. Parental discipline often fades and personalization takes over. Rather than trying to shape someone according to what makes you most comfortable, seek to represent the untiring love of Jesus. Remember that Romans 5:8 tells us that Jesus died for us while we were still sinners. Imagine the heartache we must have caused Him.
Don’t give up on your child. Love them like crazy. You can still love them and not compromise the truth of Jesus Christ. I wandered away and did my own thing for forty years, until I came back into agreement with Jesus as the result of my parent’s prayers. Family members of my colleagues were diligent in prayer also. He hears our requests and He awaits the opportunity to draw the sinner home. Pray that hearts will not be hardened to Him.
Do not let your love waver. And should your son or daughter engage with a partner, love that person too. An awkward opportunity perhaps, as you might be experiencing heartache and bitterness. But remember that Jesus’ love is for everyone. He is capable of bringing a heart change to anyone who will accept Him. Be gentle. Many feel browbeaten by God’s Word. They need a physical demonstration of God’s love and patience. Be a catalyst for Christ.
What other moral challenges do you see coming down the pike?
Personally, I find it important to reflect on the beginnings of sin and the problems sin caused. I have to look evaluate what God’s request is of my life. Sin began with a challenge to “appetite.” Not just a physical appetite, but moral and sensual appetites.
When Jesus came to live as a human on this earth, Satan was certain he could make Christ stumble in the same way he had been successful with Adam and Eve. He presented the same scenarios. Appetite and doubt were introduced. Jesus, in His human form, refused, under great duress, the ploys of Satan. He requests that I do the same. Not for personal gain, but for heavenly gain. For my Savior.
He asks me to deny self for the original plan for man. In our sin-tainted condition, God’s plan for us is often obscured by our “feelings” and what the world and Satan has taught us. We’ve been deceived on so many levels. But we don’t have to remain in this sin indulgent condition. Each of us has the power of choice. We can choose Jesus and His ways, rather than Satan’s counterfeits. Christ is stirring His people and asking us to wake up and prepare for His second coming where He will collect all who believe on Him and live Him. He’s coming to take us home for eternity. No more deception, no more doubt, no more pain. An eternity with the One who gave us life itself!