Fountains from the Furnace
‘The burning sand will become a pool; the thirsty ground, a bubbling spring… And a highway will be there; it will be called the way of holiness.’ (IS 35:7, 8)
Jim waited for me after the workshop I taught at Moody’s Pastor’s Conference in Chicago. Apparently passionate about the health of his congregants, he bore a sweet and sober countenance, and asked incisive questions about the wounds beneath immorality. ‘I could pour out my heart to this guy,’ I thought.
Then he shared deeply with me of his own moral crisis with pornography, a habit sourced in an abusive home and a divided religious life where the Spirit never quite overcame the flesh. Until a couple years ago when his world melted down. That began a long process of enlisting the help of a whole healing team, including his wife and elders, and committing to living each day in the light of Love. He has emerged from the furnace and is becoming a fountain of mercy for all who love Jesus but still live divided lives. He wants to pastor them into wholeness.
Next stop, Palm Springs. My friend Brian left the Midwest and a conservative, abusive family not unlike Jim’s and ended up in the desert. He found plenty of men like him seeking confirmation through confusing sexual bonds. He left this ‘gay’ furnace only to return a couple years later, humbled by his excesses and earnestly seeking the God of his youth whose answers he needed for his adult conflicts. He found a church that was starting to run CrossCurrent; he became an avid participant then a leader.
He also began investing in his gifts as a painter, so much so that his church put him in charge of an art gallery right in the thick of Palm Springs where he showcased his inspired work (see image). He deepened in the ‘healing arts’ as well, experiencing numerous miracles as he testified and prayed with persons in the gallery and in healing groups.
Nicole worked for the church started coming to one of the groups just to learn how to better care for all the gay-identified folks around her. She and Brian became friends and over time grew in love with each other. They were married and now have two kids.
Brian and Nicole want nothing more than to dig a deep well in their desert home, and to prime churches throughout the Coachella Valley to become evident sources of living water. They have a passion for restoring persons who seek to heal their wounds through sexual unions that only keep them wounded.
Rescued from the furnace, Jim and Brian are now fountains of life. Let mercy roll like a river through all who discover Jesus in dry and weary lands.
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