That day was the day that Jesus came into my heart and my life was forever changed. The thirty-five years prior to my conversion had truly been governed by a life-style that meant only death. And worse than mortal death, the possibility of eternal separation from God forever more. Those years were consumed by trying to fill an empty heart with objects, people, travel, money, drugs, alcohol, and a particular life-style contrary to God’s word.
From a very small child I knew that I was different, and as childhood rolled into my teens the difference I felt became an all too apparent reality. I was homosexual. Reflecting back over those dark years and all that transpired, it is truly a miracle in itself that I am here to share this testimony. The number of situations and incidents that God by His grace and mercy delivered me from are far too many to state.
The amount of hard drugs and lust entanglements alone would stagger any individual. I remember thinking so many times, “This is not the way I should be,” and yet to the eye I was a successful person. I had beautiful clothes, the best of furnishings, travel to exotic places, “pretty people” friends and an income that supported the party life. All the while knowing that it was still not enough. But then, all those “things” never are. Staying high on drugs, sometimes for three to four days in a row, and having seven major credit cards, each of them up to the maximum, which culminated in being in debt thousands of dollars, destroying my health and ultimately, isolating myself from friends and family.
It astounds me that the homosexual life-style is referred to as “gay”. An ultimate contradiction! As was the case with so many of us, it took hitting rock bottom before I could look up.
It was evening as I sat in my apartment. I looked around at all the beautiful and costly items. I looked out the window at the new car, glanced at the closets full of clothes, the displayed artwork. All the things that were supposed to make a person fulfilled. With another glance came the realization of enormous debt, a body riddled with drugs, not a friend in sight, and the absence of any hope. Seated with my eyes closed, came the whispered words, “God, I am going down for the last count. If you are truly there and listening, please….” I remember a bright light that penetrated my still tightly closed eyes. An embrace that brought peace and comfort. All of the entanglements that had me so bound seemed to drop to the floor. As I began to rise to my feet, I knew that God had heard me and had made His presence known. I was changed.
Immediately I wanted to go to church. (That was certainly a major surprise.) Followed by the desire to read and read the Bible. I remember how beautiful the words were to me. As I read about Jesus, I found hope in His words. Even so, I saw the love I had looked for all my life. A love without conditions – love in the purest sense. All I wanted was to be the way He had intended me to be all along. “Lord, I am willing.”
During the first six months of my “new life in Jesus,” the Lord provided the finances to pay all of the credit card debts. I stopped doing all drugs and became totally removed from any association with homosexual activity. Miracle upon miracle abided – the creation of a new heart.
Since October 5, 1985, there have been numerous victories. Yes, there have been mistakes as well. Through them all, I have grown, with much more growing to do. I have always been told, “Once a homosexual, always a homosexual.” There was absolutely no way out. That is a lie! God has said what He meant and He meant what He said. “All things are possible with God.” (Matthew 19:26) It does, however, take total surrender to Him.
During the past several years I have been privileged to serve on the mission field here in America, as well as Jamaica and Guyana, South America. God’s word says, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth will speak.” (Matthew 12:34) What He has done for me is a true miracle. I will have an eternity to praise Him. To praise and thank Him for what He has done, but even more because of who He is.
The song says, “People need the Lord.” No truer words have been spoken. Certainly they are still ever pertinent. Only Jesus can satisfy and it is He who dries the tears that no one sees. I have received an abundance of grace and mercy. Out of love and obedience I share this testimony to the glory of His name. I could stop here knowing that when “His word goes forth, it never returns void.” (Isaiah 55:11) But there is yet another reason for sharing these truths.
On January 4, 1993, I was diagnosed as having the AIDS virus. After so many years of celibacy, I truly thought I had escaped the possibility. I have never said, “Oh Lord, how did this happen?” Yes, there have been times of frustration and fear. But, ultimately, I have drawn the closer to Him. I have great hope and continually stand at the door and knock. I share this, as well, out of obedience and the prayerful hope that many other people may realize their need for Jesus and to live by the Holy Scriptures. The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) To die in body is inevitable, but to die without Jesus is eternal separation from God. One of the great mysteries of life is, what will tomorrow bring? Tomorrow will take care of itself, if Jesus is in your today.
There is peace in the midst of the storm. I remain His servant, that has not changed. If anything, it is time to step up the pace. That everyone may know His love is my hearts desire. He offers many gifts – salvation, healing, deliverance, peace, hope, etc. Our part is to only receive.
Every Christian has their personal favorite scripture or scriptures. As for myself, there is a phrase that always penetrated my heart and rang loud and true in my spirit. It is found in Matthew 5:1. The first four words of the verse are, “And seeing the multitudes….” As Jesus positioned himself on the mount top, He became as He still is today, a lighthouse to the world. There is a multitude that still needs to know Him. As He was on the mount, beckoning all to come, He is still calling today.
“Come as you are and I will give you rest. I will dry the tears that no one sees. Receive the blessed assurance that ‘you’ will be with me throughout eternity because today is the day of salvation. Those who call upon me, I will receive and ‘you’ will never be the same.”
For myself, I remain looking unto Jesus “…and seeing the multitudes.”
Pastor Phillip Lee
Oh, how well I remember!
It was many, many years ago when I was on staff at Chester Avenue Baptist Church, (now, Chester Avenue Community Church), that friend and Senior Pastor, Pastor Keith Fultz, began to encourage me about sharing what God had done in my life.
My initial response was “Get real!” In terms of my past involvement with homosexuality, it was a dead, ugly, a “don’t want to talk about it” issue, that I did not want to revisit or certainly share publicly.
However, through my Pastors encouragement and a whole lot of prompting by the Holy Spirit, I finally came around and agreed to go public. And, I mean public!
Ultimately, a Sunday morning service was selected for me to share my testimony. No advance announcement was given in terms of my sharing and certainly not what I would be disclosing.
To this day, I find it remarkable if not down right amusing that the sanctuary was packed. Wouldn’t you know it?
I remember very well saying to God – “Father, I know you have a sense of humor, but this is not funny!” So, there I was for the very first time spilling “it” in detail. Yes, you could have heard a pin drop.
I remember stating to my Pastor that if I was going to “tell all about it,” then I was going to “tell all.” Now, not the sordid, gory details – that never has any value.
After sharing my testimony, my pastor asked the congregation if they would be willing to come forward and pray for me. To my absolute delight and “Whew, it’s going to be ok,” the entire church began making their way to the altar where I was standing.
A sea of humanity was making its way to me. It really was as though they couldn’t get close enough. Frankly, I was overwhelmed.
There is something incredibly powerful and wonderful that God does when we are open and transparent about your shortcomings, when we expose the dark past and present our lives. In an atmosphere of honesty and vulnerability.
It's as though the light of truth is able to shine on those formerly dark and hidden places, and the power of God powerfully, dramatically, and significantly provides healing and wholeness in the twinkling of an eye.
Those sudden and totally unexpected visits of God when He provides all that you need and enables you to move well beyond what you thought was impossible.
He remains a God that says today - "Yep! Possible!"
Allie Campbell Larkin :God is amazing! With my husband, it was sharing about his 18 year addiction to porn and prostitutes. I did not know he was going to share that he was a sex addict, yet there he was in front of the church, and me wanting to climb under my chair. But that was a dozen years ago and now he has a ministry speaking to men. God bless you and your ministry.