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The Touch of the Master

By Guy Hammond

March 19, 2023

Gracias por leer este sermón. Si lo que escucha lo conmueve y se encuentra en el área de Boston, ¡considere visitarlo en persona!

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It was battered and scarred and the auctioneer thought it scarcely worth his while to waste much time on the old violin but he held it up with a smile. What am I bidding, good folks? He cried. Who will start bidding for me? A dollar? A dollar? Now, who make it two? $2 and... Who'll make it three? $3 once, $3 twice and going for three. But no, from the back of the room a gray haired old man came forward and picked up the bow. Then wiping the dust from the old violin and tightening up all the strings he played a melody pure and sweet as sweet as the angel sings. The music ceased and the auctioneer, with a voice that was quiet and low said what am I to bid for this old violin? $1,000? Now, who make it two? 2,000 and who make it three? 3000 once, 3000 twice and going and gone, said he. Other people cheered, but some of them cried we don't quite understand. What changed its worth? And the man replied it was the touch of the master's hand. And many a man with life out of tune and battered and scarred with sin is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd much like that old violin. A mess of pottage, a glass of wine, a game and he travels on. He's going once, he's going twice, he's going, and he's almost gone. But the master comes and the foolish crowd can never quite understand the worth of a soul and a change that is wrought by the touch of the master's hand.

You know, we live in a cold, hard world, don't we? You know, on the outside, the majority of people strive. I mean, they try the best they can to try to appear happy, put together, look like they're in control, like they're living their best lives. Certainly like that's how we like to portray ourselves on social media. But the truth is, on the Eden side, deep down, where no one else goes the majority live a life of quiet desperation. You know, our days are filled with problems and troubles. You know, the truth is, I haven't had a perfect day yet. And as soon it seems like you're overcoming one problem, another one appears. And troubles come in different forms and different measures, don't they? More month than money, unemployment, difficulty in relationships, that aching back, that broken down car. That when we're lonely and isolated. When we're filled with guilt or shame. When people we trusted disappoint us or when we disappoint ourselves. Or when we feel like the church has let us down. Or when we can't seem to move those mountains, no matter how hard we pray. These are challenges that everybody here this morning can relate to from one degree to another. But then there are other times in life when things get really serious. When we face life altering crisis. A critical illness in yourself or someone that you love. Bankruptcy, separation, divorce, chronic pain, failure, addiction, depression, the death of a loved one. You know, when crisis like these or others enter our world we long for the touch of the master's hand. Brokenness heartache and trouble has always been the case throughout human history. John Keats, one of Britain's greatest poets. He was a great observer of the natural world, and from that he acquired the view in life that in the main was mostly about hardship and suffering. He said, quote, people were perpetually straining at particles of light in the midst of a great darkness. He wrote that in 1818, 205 years ago. Well, not much has changed in the last two millennia because you could certainly say the same about 2023.

People are perpetually straining at particles of light in the midst of a great darkness. Aren't we all in need of the touch of the Master's hand? You know, when Jesus the Master himself walked the dusty paths of Palestine 2000 years ago, his world was much the same as what we're experiencing today. I mean, he was surrounded by people who were living in a state of quiet desperation. Those who were outcasts of society, those forced to live on the fringes, the weak, the infirmed, the lonely, the broken hearted, the sinful. And those who thought they weren't sinful, but were just self deceived and whose lives were truly a train wreck. All of these people were in tremendous need of the touch of the Master's hand. And Jesus. The master was so inclusive. He was willing to welcome and touch the lives of everyone regardless of their area of struggle, brokenness and weakness.

You know, one of my favorite stories that show the inclusiveness of Jesus and the power of the touch of the Master's hand is found in John Four. I'm going to read it to you now. It's a little bit of a long scripture, so stay with me. It says, when a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, Will you give me a drink? Because his disciples had gone into town to buy pizza. Or it says food, actually. But the Samaritan woman said to him, well, you're a Jew and I'm a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink? For Jews do not associate with Samaritans and I'm a woman. In other words, I'm an outcast. You shouldn't be speaking to me right now. Jesus answered her, if you knew or I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up into eternal life. The woman said to him, sir, okay, you got me. Give me this living water so I don't get thirsty. Have to keep coming back to this well to drink water. He said to her, Why don't you go call your husband and come back? I have no husband, she replied. Jesus said to her, yeah, you're right when you say you have no husband. The fact is you've had five husbands. And the man you're with right now, he's not your husband. So what you just said is quite true.

Knowing that she was caught desperately trying to change the subject, she said, I can see you're a prophet. You know, our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem. Jesus, of course, could see right through this. Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father, neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You, Samaritans, worship what you do not know. We worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet his time is coming and has now come when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship Him in spirit and in truth. The woman said, I know that the Messiah called Christ the Master is coming. When he comes on, he'll explain it to us. Jesus declared, I who speak to you, am he. I am the master. It was just then the disciples returned. Well, they were surprised to find Jesus talking with a woman, but no one dare asked of her, what do you want? No one dared asked Jesus, why are you speaking to her? Then, leaving the water jar behind, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, come see a man who told me of everything I ever did.

You know, this is a story about a lonely and troubled soul, a lonely woman who was desperately trying to quench a spiritual and emotional thirst. And there was no permanent satisfaction in the multitude of relationships that she was experiencing. In fact, each time a relationship ended, she needed to go and find a new man, hoping that this next man would be the one to meet all of her emotional and relational needs. Of course, this never worked and is the very reason why the poor woman was now into her 6th relationship. Jesus told her that she would never truly be satisfied until she drank from the kind of water that only he had for her. She was lonely. She was an outcast. So much so that even the apostles were surprised that Jesus was speaking to her. But you know what? The master did not care. He was fully inclusive.

You know, my life mirrors that woman's in many ways. I'm here in Boston this weekend because I've been invited to come and teach on LGBTQ issues and talk about how it relates to us in matters of faith. So I've been here the last few days teaching different classes and whatnot, and I run an organization called Strength and Weakness Ministries, and I have a passion of educating the church, helping Christians understand these complex issues so that we can be tremendous representatives of Jesus to the LGBTQ world. I feel like so often, unfortunately and sadly, the church has been a terrible ambassador for Christ in this area. I believe there's a place in Jesus's church for LGBTQ people, and we as a church have got to do better. Our LGBTQ friends and neighbors deserve better than what the church has provided. Not just church. When I say the church, I don't mean the Boston church. I just mean the church in general. Globally, Christians need to be better ambassadors for Christ to gay, lesbian and trans people. So I'm passionate about this. I'm passionate about this. I lived a gay life. I started participating in homosexuality, believe it or not, around the tender age of twelve. And it continued until I was in my mid twenty s. I had a boyfriend for ten years, name was Carl. Good guy. That was a relationship that went from about the age of 13 till I was around 22, 23 years old.

And God seemed very far and distant from me. It's not that I didn't believe in God. I did believe in God, but I just didn't see where it fit into my life. I didn't see how there was going to be a place for me in Jesus's church. So by the time this picture was taken, I'd given up on the idea of God church and Bible. And I moved to Toronto, Canada's largest city, and there just fully dived in and celebrated my gay life. Crossed a lot of lines that I never thought I ever would. I was very promiscuous, was very reckless. It wasn't a safe life to live. And while homosexuality was a really good friend of mine, and I felt like was meeting a lot of needs in my life, the truth is, no matter what I tried, just like the woman at the well, I could never find true fulfillment. There were times that homosexuality and being in these gay relationships was satisfying, but like the woman at the well, the satisfaction was only momentary. And then when that wore off, I needed to go back again. And around and around it went.

I was like, where's the true fulfillment and happiness in life? I've done everything I can to make myself feel fulfilled, satisfied and happy. And yet something is still missing on the inside. What is it? And in God's perfect timing, he said, somebody who invited me to church. Church. I was like, church. I know all about those people at church. Bunch of self righteous homophobes and bigots. I don't want to go to church. After the second or third invitation, though, I started reasoning, you know what? Let's be honest, Guy, your life is a train wreck. Go to church and see what's going on over this place. It's called the Toronto Church of Christ. I'll go one time. I went and I loved it. I was like, this is not like the church I grew up in. Wow. The message was so powerful. And I was like, wow, I've never heard anybody preach like that before. The people are very friendly, everybody wants to hug me. I don't know what's going on with that, but it's like, okay, I'll come back next week. Then the week after that. And for two years, while I was living my gay life, I kept going to church, hearing the message, hearing about what it means to follow Jesus, building relationships with Christians, all still living my gay life.

After about two years, though, I thought, you know what? I'm pretty impressed with this Jesus fella. And I became convinced when somebody was able to prove to me with an open Bible that Jesus was going to be able to meet my emotional, relational, and certainly spiritual deficits way better than homosexuality ever could. And, like the woman at the well, I was like, he got me. This man knows everything I ever did, and he's offering me something that I can't find anywhere else. So I was like, I'm going to give this guy a shot. So I studied the Bible and became a Christian. I was baptized on August 15, 1987. It's been 35 years, and I can tell you I have not I have not participated. I have not participated in any kind of homosexual activity since my conversion 35 years ago. I left that life behind forever because Jesus truly was able to take care of those needs that I couldn't find anywhere else. The fulfillment I was so desperately looking for. You know what? I was touched by the Master.

I don't know why God works way he does. I'm still homosexually attracted. Do I call myself a gay Christian? Do I say I'm a same sex attracted Christian? I don't know what terminology you want to use. Just the bottom line is I'm attracted to men. Hasn't changed in 35 years. But I've been devoted to following what I believe is the traditional biblical sexual ethic. I don't see a place in the Bible that talks about homosexuality in a way that says that it should be celebrated. I think human beings should be celebrated. I think Jesus is inclusive and welcomes all of us, like he did for me. But I've ascribed my life to a traditional biblical sexual ethic that says that sexual intimacy is to be reserved between that of a man and a woman bound together only in marriage. And I've just lived these last 35 years as a homosexually attracted man, not allowing the fact that I'm homosexually attracted to be a defining part of my life. Jesus is my identity. He's what I'm devoted to. He's one I'm following. So I'm homosexually attracted. Who cares? I don't think God stays up late worrying about what any of us are attracted to. What God wants us to do is to follow Him, to be in love with his Son Jesus, and just do the best we can to live holy lives and honor God with our lives. That's it. And we'll do it. Yeah, some days we'll do it well. Some days we'll do it terribly. But you know what? One day God will say, well done, good and faithful servant. Not perfect servant, but faithful servant.

So, like the woman that Jesus met at the well. I had always been thirsty. It wasn't until I was touched by the Master that I found what it was that I was looking for. I was touched by the Master's hand. We have a problem today. Jesus lived 2000 years ago. He's long gone physically from this world. How can he touch people's lives when he isn't physically here? Well, he had a plan for that. It tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:18 to 20 that Jesus reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us Christians the ministry of reconciliation. That God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men sins against them, and that he had committed to us, his followers, the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. Jesus left saying, okay, you know what? I want my followers now to touch people the way I touch them. I want my people, my followers, to touch people's lives with the same love, the same tenderness, the same kindness, the same compassion, the same empathy, and the same inclusiveness that Jesus would have if you were here Himself. In other words, Jesus's plan was that the world now be, that we would now be his representatives, his ambassadors, his conduits of his love, that we would reach out and touch people's lives in the exact same way that the Master did Himself. What a calling.

But you know, a lot of times when we are out sharing our faith and talking to people about Jesus, it gets tough because we understand what the Bible teaches on these issues, and we're going to run into people all the time who are living lives that are not representative of how God wants them to live. And it can be easy for Christians to get judgmental and not have the same heart that Jesus had. And when it comes to sharing the good news of Jesus with people who are different than us, people who are living lives that we don't agree with, people who are doing things that not only we do not agree with, but we don't even understand, it can be difficult for us to share the good news of Jesus with these people because we want to be able to, but we don't want to just repent or perish. We don't want to do that. Strategically, that's probably not the best way to share your faith. Now, it is true if you don't repent, people will perish. But strategically, the repent or perish kind of evangelism isn't really going to work. And then we think, well, I don't want to also just capitulate and say that everything's okay and that approve of everything. So I guess I'm just not going to say anything. But I want you to know there is a third way, and it's the way of Jesus. It's the way of how Jesus reached out to people. And it's called hospitality. You see, this is what won me over. This is how I went from living a very promiscuous, gay life to coming into the church, is that Christians were willing to be hospitable with me, share their lives with me, invite me into their home, take me out to a movie, spend time with me, talk to me, hear my story, be interested in what it was that I was experiencing.

It's called hospitality. It's called spending time with people that we may not agree with, who are living lives we don't agree with. I can tell you certainly I was living a life was of such that the Christians in Toronto, when they were trying to help me, did not agree with the life I was living. But they loved me. They were hospitable. They had me in their homes. They cared about me. They wanted to hear my story. So they touched me with their lives and with the touch of the master's hand, they did so, so much that by about two years I was like, this is a pretty good deal. You know what? I'm not suggesting we don't acknowledge difference. We don't want to dupe people. Let's teach biblical truth, as I just did. I just told you what the traditional biblical sexual ethic is. Just told you what God's plan is for sexuality in our world today. I know it's counter cultural, I know it's not popular, but it's in the Bible. Read it. So if we're going to say that the Bible is the inerrant word of God and we're going to follow it, let's follow it. I'm not suggesting we try to do people we don't teach biblical truth. I'm saying let's teach biblical truth. Let's acknowledge different. But while we do so, let us also extend a welcome while people learn and question and try to figure things out.

There is a difference between acceptance and approval. One of the problems I think we often run into is we think, well, if I accept people who are living sinful lives, that means that just means I'm going to approve of how they're living. So I don't want to invite those people into my house, or I don't want to invite those people to my church, or I don't want to hang out and spend too much time with these people because they're living very sinful, wicked lives that are very far from how God wants them to live. So if I dive in and spend all my time with them, it's just going to mean that I'm approving how they're living. But that's not true. There is a difference between acceptance and approval. You know, one of the great things about Jesus is he had this unbelievable ability to be able to accept people even though he didn't approve of how they were living.

There is a difference between acceptance and approval. So when we live like this, what we're saying is we will not rush to judgment. We will not make assumptions about you. We want you to be a part of our church. We want you to come and have time and room and space to figure things out. We want to be in relationship with you. While you do so you will be a welcome guest even though we disagree.

One of the challenges I think a lot of Christians face is that we are really good at being in relationships with people who agree with us and not very good at being in relationship with people who disagree with us. Oh, you agree with me? It's good to see you. Oh, you disagree with me? We pull back, we become distant. That's not really a very good plan for world evangelism, is it? My question for you is, can you be secure enough in your own faith to allow this to be a place for people who are different than you to come and worship and learn about what it means to follow Jesus? Can you be secure enough in your own faith to allow this to be a safe place for people who are different than you to come and learn about what it means to follow Jesus?

The problem isn't them. The problem is us. We're not secure enough in our own faith to think that the church can handle people who are different than us to come and worship and learn. The other challenge we run into is we put arbitrary timelines on people and we think, well, we've got this Bible study series going on here, and you come to church on Sunday. We'll ask you to study the Bible with us because we believe that's the answer to life. And it is. And I'm glad we got a Bible study series that helps people. Whatever protocols you follow here in Boston, each church is different, but it's great. We believe that these Bible studies will change your life, and they will. But you know what? We have to be patient with people. Because you know what? Sometimes the Holy Spirit just moves at a different pace. Jesus was inclusive, compassionate, loving, merciful, forgiving, and radical. I'm not suggesting we hold back on biblical truth. I'm not suggesting we don't be radical in a world that has seemingly gone mad and all things, especially on sexual ethics. The world needs to hear the truth. Let's preach it unapologetically, but with kindness and love and mercy and empathy.

Let's be honest about the truth. Let's be honest when we don't have an answer. Let's be honest when the answer isn't popular. But let us radically serve and love and welcome anyone to come and worship and learn and be free to ask questions while they build relationship. This is the key to being a church that is inclusive. We're a spiritual hospital for sick people. Jesus is the great physician. And so we bring people in here not to be entertained. We bring people in here not just to see how amazing we all are. We bring people in here because we know that when we sing and worship and we hear the Gospel preached, we are the conduits of Jesus Christ allowing us and the message to touch people's lives as the Master did. Himself in the hopes that over a period of time, at the speed of the Holy Spirit's liking, people's hearts would be moved to him and healing would begin. Because we're all in the spiritual hospital. When you go to a hospital, people are in different places in the hospital. Some people are in the ICU. Some people are in day surgery. But no hospital says, we'll only welcome these kinds of sick people. But these kinds of sick people can't get in. No. What kind of hospital would that be? A hospital will welcome all kinds of sick people. We don't care what the illness is. You come here and you're going to find healing here. That's what this church needs to be, a place that says, we don't care how you dress. We don't care what your skin color is. We don't care about your authenticity. We don't care about what kind of sin you're involved in. We don't care what you're doing. We don't care how long it takes you to repent. Listen, this is going to be a place for you to find healing. And you know what? When you're in the hospital, sometimes healing moves at different paces. Some people heal faster than others. It's great if somebody heals in a matter of a week or two or a month, that's fantastic, great, let's get the healing done. But there are other people where the healing is going to take longer. But the doctors doesn't say, your healing is taking too long. We're going to kick you out. No. We're going to keep serving you and loving you and giving you the medicine that you need so that you can continue to find healing.

That's what Jesus's church needs. Hospitality. I want to introduce you or oh, I'll do this. Okay. The 90 second handoff. I thought while I'm here, you brought you spent all this money to get me here. I thought before I close today, I would share a strategy with you. And because I come from a gay background, because I lived a gay life for many years and this is really important to me, I thought I would share one strategy with you on how you can share the good news of Jesus with your LGBTQ friends in about 90 seconds. A strategy that I think can really work, but it has to be with somebody that, you know, I'm not talking about, like, cold contact Evangelism. I'm talking about maybe it's somebody you've been working with. You've been like, I've always wanted to talk to the guy at the next desk about Jesus because he's gay, and I would love to have him come to church and learn about Jesus. I don't know what to say. It's awkward, and I don't want to put my foot in my mouth. So you just keep avoiding it. I want to help you.

Or let's say it's a family member and you've always wanted to talk to this family member about Jesus. And maybe it's an uncle of yours. You're like, I've always wanted to talk to Uncle Bob about Jesus, but I don't know how to say it. He's got a partner. I mean, I love Uncle Bob. He's amazing. But I don't know if I talk about Jesus, it's going to be weird. So every time you see Uncle Bob, you feel bad about it because you don't say anything and you know you'd like to. I'm going to help you. Here's how you can do this in 90 seconds. You ready? Let's use the Uncle Bob thing. Okay? You got Uncle Bob. He's gay. He's had the same partner for many years. You love Uncle Bob and his partner, but you want them to come to church and learn about Jesus. You don't know what to say. Here's what you do. Let's say it's the next family reunion and you go up to Uncle Bob. You say, hey, Uncle Bob. Hey, listen, can we go off to the side for a minute, just you and I, just privately. Is that okay? Is that okay? Let's go. Aunt Rita. No, keep cooking the hot dogs. I said Uncle Bob, not you. Stay there, okay? We're quiet. We're alone. We have a place of privacy. Hey, Uncle Bob, listen, you have always been a tremendous friend, an example to me. I've always so valued our friendship. You're a great uncle. I just want to thank you for that. But I got something I want to say. I don't know if it's going to come out right. Would you forgive me in advance if it doesn't? Yeah, Guy. Go ahead. What do you want to say? Okay, I don't want this to be weird, but here it is. Uncle Bob, you know I'm a Christian, and I would love someday to have an honest conversation with an open Bible about how much Jesus loves you, about how much he cares about you and your partner. And I'll tell you some of the conversation will be tough. But I so desperately want to have that talk with you in a kind, loving and respectful way. I don't want it to be weird, and I don't want you to feel obligated or anything. So can I just say this? Someday, if you're ever ready, even if it's five or ten years from now, I want to talk to you about how much Jesus loves you. I want to have that talk. But you know what? I'll leave it with you. The ball is in your court. I will never bring it up again. I'm going to leave it with you. And Uncle Bob will either say one or two things. Uncle Bob will say Guy, thank you. I got no problem with that. Let's sit down and talk about how much Jesus loves me with an open Bible. That's great. Let's do that. Let's set that up for next week. You better be ready. You can't be like, oh. I didn't actually think you were going to say yes. I really don't know what to say. I've been selling books here this weekend on how to share your faith and talk to your gay family and friends about Jesus. I think we got, like, 20 copies left here today. We're almost sold out. If you haven't gotten one, you should get it before we go. You need that book. Read it before you talk to Uncle Bob. Or Uncle Bob will say, Guy, you know what? You've been a great nephew, and I love you, too. You know what? You're right. I'm not interested. I don't want to talk about thank you. Thanks for the invitation. I'm not interested in going to church or learning about Jesus. And you'll be like, no problem. No problem. Like I said, it's an open invitation for the rest of your life. I don't care if it's 10, 20, 30 years from now or never bring it up. That's up to you. But I want to leave it with you. And Uncle Bob will say, oh Guy, thanks. All right, aunt Rita is freaking out at the hot dogs. Let's go back.

Here's what you just did in about 90 seconds. Number one, you took the burden off of yourself, and you now put it on him. Congratulations. You said it. You don't need to say it again. And you don't need to feel bad every time you see Uncle Bob. You did it. Number two, you've put the responsibility where it belongs, on him. It's his salvation we're talking about. He should be the one who's thinking about it, not you. Number three, when I said, don't ever bring it up again, don't ever bring it up again.

It's not like the next family reunion. You're like, hey, Uncle Bob, remember last family reunion? I had that talk. Well, you want to go talk again? No, don't do that. You told Uncle Bob you'll never bring it up again. Trust me, he'll never forget that conversation. And when I say, don't bring it up again, I'm not suggesting you don't do anything. What you're doing is you're relinquishing this to the power of the Holy Spirit. And what you do now is you pray like crazy for Uncle Bob and his partner, for the Holy Spirit to work and maneuver his way through their hearts and lives to bring them to a place of faith. And you lean in on the love. You love Uncle Bob, and you love his partner, and you lean in on the kind of hospitality we just talked about. 90 seconds. The 90 second handoff. One way for you to be able to share your faith with your friends.

In closing, I want to introduce you to one of my best friends. In the picture there you see me of course. In the middle is my son Wyatt. Wyatt's 28 years old, great disciple, loves Jesus. And then on the right is my friend Clyde. Clyde's a gay man. He's had the same partner for 28 years. Heavily involved in the gay community. But he's one of my best friends. We hang out all the time. How did that happen? Well, four years ago, we found out that my wife of 28 years was dying of cancer. She was only given months to live. Shocked our whole family. And so my children postponed their educational pursuits, all left college and all came home to the little town we live in north of Toronto so that my children could spend their final months with their dying mother. My son Wyatt moved right into our house because we had turned our living room into a hospital room. Had a hospital bed in there for a period of time. I needed help with Kathy, with medications, helping her get dressed, even toiletry. So Wyatt was there to help us, but he also wanted to help out financially. So he got a job at a local restaurant. And Clyde is a chef. Clyde was his supervisor. Well, when Clyde found out that Wyatt's mother was dying, he was so moved by that, he wanted to come and help. So he came over and he met my family, met Kathy. And this continued until he just really became a big part of our family. When Kathy was put into a hospice facility for her last six weeks, Christians were like, hey, we'll all take turns making meals for the Hammond family at this hospice, so they don't have to worry about eating. They can just focus on being with their dying mother and wife. Clyde was like, I'll help. I'm a chef. So Friday night was Clyde's night. And that guy would make so much food, and it was so good. Like, Friday night was at the hospitals was the best night. And Clyde would feed the doctors and the nurses feed all the other Christians. It's funny how all the Christians wanted to come and visit Kathy on Friday night. Did I care that this man was gay? That he was living with his partner? That he was living a life that I disagreed with? That I thought was outside of what God intended for human sexuality? Did I care about anything about that? Anything about that while this man served me and loved me and took care of my family?

Clyde is one of the most generous, kindest human beings I've ever met in my life. After Kathy died, we went out for dinner one night. He was like, what? I know you're like a pastor or something, and you go around and teach, but what do you talk about? So my line is, oh, I talk about Christian family values and sexual ethics. Yeah, I know, but what do you really talk about? I was like, all right. Well, Clyde, I lived a gay life until I was 24, had a boyfriend for ten years. I was invited to church, learned about Jesus, came to the conclusion that I couldn't continue to live a gay life and follow Jesus. So I stopped that. And so even though I'm still attracted to men, I've refused to live that way. Was married to Kathy for 28 years, and I go around now and try to help Christians understand these LGBTQ issues because of who I am. Clyde's Jaw got about this big. His guys got about that big. So he started asking all these questions, and I was like, you know what? I'll tell you what. There was a movie. Not a really good one, but a movie had been made about my life called Finding Guy. I was teaching in Texas several years ago, and a guy who makes documentary movies, christian documentary movies, like, I'd love to make a movie about your life. I was like, Great, that's weird. Let's do that. So by then, the movie had got onto YouTube. So I said to Clyde, hey, just watch the movie on YouTube. They tried to find Brad Pitt to play my part. He was not available. I said, Just watch the movie Finding Guy, and then come back and tell me what you like. So Clyde watched the movie. He came back, and he was like, I disagree with everything that's in that movie. So we talked it out, and I was like, hey, Clyde, listen, I know you don't get it, but let me tell you something, Clyde. You're my friend. I love you. And one day I want to see you become a Christian and live the same life I'm living.

Now you have to understand Clyde is such a heathen. That guy cannot say a sentence without dropping at least three F bombs, right? He was like, I'm not having become a Christian. I was like, I know. I said, Clyde, I'm coming for you. Like, he knows, right? Anyway, when the guys who made the movie Finding Guy heard about this, that homosexually attracted Christian man who refuses to live that way is best friends with a gay man who celebrates homosexuality, the guys who made the movie were like, that's really interesting. Can we come up to Canada and film a little interview with you? So I'm going to close with about three minutes of this interview with Clyde and myself. And even I mean, even as we were making the movie, he kept swearing through it. We were like, Clyde, cut. Dude. We're showing this in churches. You got to stop swearing. Anyway, I show you this movie. Here's why. Because I'm a conduit of Jesus, and I'm supposed to be touching Clyde's life in the same way that Jesus would have were he walking the planet. So I want to be hospitable with Clyde, kind with Clyde, non judgmental with Clyde. Even though I disagree. This is how we show our love to people who are different than us in whatever way they're living their lives so that they can see Jesus. Let's close with this little video.

Okay, so we're sitting here with Guy Hammond, the CEO of Strength and Weakness Ministries, an international ministry that helps same sex attracted Christians lead lives for Jesus and Clyde, who has lived an active gay lifestyle and has been with his partner now for 26 years.

Okay, so I'm just going to throw out this statement, okay? Yeah. A Christian and a gay man fundamentally should not be friends.

Says who?

A gay man that a Christian can't be friends. That's ridiculous. I mean, look us.

Who's going to tell us that we can't be friends?

Nobody. Because I'll throw punch them.

You'll throw a punch them?

Yeah, I will.

Oh, my God. I probably won't punch them.

Are we going to be that shallow?


Are we going to be that shall as a human being, that we're going to allow this, whether somebody's gay or not or a Christian, not to dictate whether we can be friends? That's ridiculous.

Well, for me, the friendship outweighs any of the negatives. I can understand why Christians may have an outlook on gay people. I don't want to go see a bunch of out on a gay pride parade. That's not what it's about. So it's a no wonder they get upset. It upsets me as a gay male.

A lot of Christians assume that everyone who's gay is an activist, that they want to fight and argue and be on A float in a parade. The truth is, most gay people are just regular folks.

I'm at home, I'm a homemaker, I work. I'm a human being. We are all human beings. Yes. You may not agree with my lifestyle.

What really happened that made us bond was that my wife Kathy became very ill and Clyde heard about this, and out of the goodness of his heart, this guy started making meals and driving them out to this hospice facility to feed my family and I as we sat around my wife's deathbed. And he just so endeared himself to me and my family. And I would try to remind people that Christians, that this is what Jesus was known for being friends of and getting along with people with whom he disagreed. And so this is living, breathing proof that we can disagree but still accept each other and be kind to each other.

We can agree to disagree.

Yeah, that's right. And we're going to get along.


So, Clyde, you've seen the movie Finding Guy, and you're familiar with Guy's teachings and his stance on things. Who do you think should watch this movie?

Oh, I think Christians, gay, straight, trans, anybody should watch this movie. As a gay male, it was really an eye opener for me. I learned things. I guess what I'm trying to say is I'm not a religious person, but to see my friend have that much faith in his God to want to live that lifestyle is very powerful. I'm not there yet. Maybe one day I will be there. Right now I love my life. 26 years, same partner. But it could change. I even cried at the end of this movie. I won't give it away. But it was very powerful at the ending. And if you watch the movie, you'll know what I mean.

Let's all pray for Clyde and his partner Todd, that they'll see their need for Jesus. Where are you at this morning? Like the woman at the well and like me, you know, Satan tried to sell us a bill of goods that weren't working. There's a lot of us here today. But that's the position of life that you're in. Aren't you tired of being lied to? Don't you deserve better? The master thinks so. Come to him. This will be a safe place for you to learn about Jesus and to figure things out and ask your questions. And many a man with a life out of tune and battered and torn with sin is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd, much like that old violin. A mess of pottage, a glass of wine, a game and he travels on. He's going once, he's going twice, he's going and he's almost gone. But the Master comes and the foolish crowd can never quite understand the worth of a soul and the change that is wrought by the touch of the Master's hand. Amen.

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