Blessing Not Condemnation

I am currently in San Francisco at a conference. We attended church at First Baptist Church of San Francisco, which is located directly across the street from the Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Community Center. It also strategically sits on the confluence of five different San Francisco neighborhoods or districts.

I thought of the Revelation where the Lord says to the church at Pergamum:

I know where you live–where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city–where Satan lives (Rev. 2:13, 14).

Ministry in this city is tough.

My heart was deeply stirred by the pastor, Phil Busbee. His has been a difficult road since being in the city. But he has chosen before God to be committed to the vision of speaking blessing to the people in the city and not cursing.

The Church has a poor reputation, not just in San Francisco but all over, when it has been represented by folks who are condemning, critical, and calloused toward people. Phil’s church had that reputation and he wanted to see that changed. So he took action.

For example, Pastor Phil went directly to the director of the center across the street and made a deal with him. Expressing their obvious differences and clearly presenting the biblical view of homosexuality, Phil committed to never be condemning of them or their center in any public statements he ever made and asked that they do the same toward the church. He then prayed for the director personally. In tears, the director of the center said that no one had ever prayed such a prayer for healing and blessing for him and he agreed to Pastor Phil’s proposal. In fact, that agreement stopped a boycott of the church by a very militant transvestite group.
There are many other stories I could share from this pastor who carries his city on his heart in a powerful way.

His approach of speaking blessing (and he defines blessing as praying for the coming of God’s Kingdom into the lives of these people) has opened doors to have a major impact on what is going on in the city. A reluctant mayor called him and others for prayer, and opened his office to faith based initiatives. They have seen numerous gay folks saved out of that lifestyle. In a city where 50% of the population changes every five years, they have sent people out with blessing as missionaries to various parts of the world. They do prayer walks through rough neighborhoods, feeding the poor and seeing lives changed.

With so many of our church folks misrepresenting the Lord by having condemning, critical and harsh attitudes, I would remind us what the Lord Himself said in one of the most memorized Scriptures:

For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son; that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:16-17).

So we are here, the mouth, hands and feet of Christ, not to condemn, but speak blessing. To see people saved through Christ. If you are not currently doing so, I encourage you to begin speaking blessing into your community, opening honest dialog and care to unsaved, unchurched, sinful people. See what a miraculous door for change in their lives and yours the Lord will open.

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