I love church. Church feels as much like home as my own kitchen. Sometimes it’s an absolute mess, but that usually means something fantastic is cooking!  As a young man who believed in Jesus and who was gay, I had two choices when it came to being a part of a church. I could either become not-gay (or by default stay hidden in a closet of shame and secrecy) or not go to church. Within the past few decades, LGBTQ people of faith have found a third option in open and affirming churches and I’m thankful. These 3 options have also played out when allies, friends, and family of LGBTQ people find themselves veering toward affirmation and inclusion.

Today, I find myself wondering if there is more. What if we as the Church, the body of Christ, his bride, could lovingly, thoughtfully, and graciously wrestle through these important realities together? What if LGBTQ people and our friends, family, and/or allies could “come out” authentically within the community of believers we call our local church? What if the desire for conversation, relationship, love, and the gospel trumped fear, accusation, whispering, and division? What if we chose to live in the tension for the sake of relationship and the gospel?

I don’t go to a perfect church, but it is my church. It’s a place where I have exposed my weaknesses, wept openly, argued passionately, used profanity in heated small meetings with other leaders, been loved through the worst of times, and supported when we didn’t know where or when the next paycheck would come. At our church we’ve been prayed for, cared for, and loved deeply. In turn, we’ve given to, prayed for, cared for, and loved others. We believe there is no more important truth to understand than to know how much our good Father loves us, to fully receive that love, and from there love him and others to the best of our ability.

This video is my most recent message at my church and shares much of the struggle I mentioned.  My hope is that it conveys how burdensome such tension can be—but how worth it living in the tension within ones community is.

I love both my church and the greater Church and I have tremendous hope that, as the Church, we are becoming all we were created to be. I love that my church is choosing love, relationship, and conversation for the sake of the Gospel and people. That’s real life. That’s maturity. That’s grace.

#Grace #Church

Leslie and I were in church yesterday morning for the first time in 3 weeks.  The last two Sundays we played hooky.  The first week we celebrated a birthday.  Last week, Leslie’s mom kept the kids for the whole weekend and, well, we savored every moment of our much-needed time off by doing very little.

But, because our church is such an amazing place we simply cannot stand to stay away for long.  We love it.  Every part.  We love our pastor and his wife.  We love the other pastors, staff, and their families.  We love our Life Group. We love the people—the ones we know well and the ones we don’t.  We love the music. We love the teaching. We love Grace Church. It’s home. It’s family.

From the Grace Church email announcement:

Our friends Grace and Legalism are at it again this time asking the question if believers in Christ are still under the law. If Christ has fulfilled the law than what purpose does the law still serve? The truth sets us free to have the kind of relationship God intends for every believer.

“Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.” Galatians 3:24-25

These topics and so much more await you. Don’t wait – sign up today!

I hope you will join me, Emcee of the Pure Grace: Unveiled Conference, February 27 – March 1, 2014 in warm, sunny, gracious Orlando!

For more info: www.puregraceconference.com or www.facebook.com/puregraceconference

From the Pure Grace Conference team:

We are excited that Dr. Steve McVey, President of Grace Walk Ministries, will be a featured speaker during the 2014 Pure Grace Conference. He is the author of the best-selling book, Grace Walk, as well as eleven other books. His daily radio broadcast, Grace Walk, can be heard in cities across the United States. McVey travels extensively sharing the good news of our Father’s love for all mankind. Register Today!

It was the revelation of grace, the it-is-finished work of Christ, that gave me the vision for this new ministry endeavor.  Grace is all about understanding we cannot add to what Jesus did for us and nothing we can do will change who we are in Him.  This conference isn’t about sex and sexuality–frankly, those narrow topics matter little in the grand scheme of things. Learning about God through the filter of “He is Good” does matter and it will change everything when you do.

I hope you will join me, Emcee of the Pure Grace: Unveiled Conference, February 27 – March 1, 2014 in warm, sunny, gracious Orlando!

For more info: www.puregraceconference.com or www.facebook.com/puregraceconference

Dear Friends,

I don’t know about you, but I find myself needing to gather together with people who are open to truth. The great gospel of Grace is spreading but under attack from those who can’t seem to see nor embrace these great and glorious truths. Please consider joining us at Grace Church in Orlando February 27-March 1 as we host our annual Pure Grace Conference. I am overjoyed that Dr. Steve McVey will be joining us and teaching several sessions this year. Steve is an exceptional author and teacher of the finished work of Christ. Would you prayerfully consider joining us for this fabulous few days of intense study and life changing fellowship? Grace and Peace to you in The Lord Jesus Christ!

Clark Whitten

Join me at the Pure Grace conference! Click here to learn more and register.