It was a Christmas party, at least that is what we call it. It happens every year at LHM. We set aside one of our meeting nights and gather our group together at someone’s home for a time of feasting, friends and festivities. But despite the abundant food, the endless laughter, and the chatter of good friends sharing life’s stories, there is something very different; something very mystical that takes place.
The LHM Christmas party really isn’t just a party at all; it is a grand celebration of the work of God in the people of God that I wish everyone could experience.
At some point in the night we all press into one big room and begin singing, acappella, the traditional carols of Christmas. The harmonies are beautiful and the songs moving. But even more beautiful are the stories shared. Between each carol, people share how God has impacted their lives through the work of LHM this past year.
One newly married couple shared their journey of finding new freedom and how LHM helped them navigate their walk with each other and with God. They shared how the world thought what they were doing was impossible, but they were living it, experiencing it, and loving every second of it.
Another couple, who had participated in the ministry years ago, shared how God used LHM to encourage them in their walk with God and are now celebrating their deep relationship and their beautiful daughter together.
A young man, involved in the ministry for over five years, shared that he is walking in freedom for the first time in years and has never felt more like a man nor more free than he does today.
A beautiful young woman shared how she is now living the life she always wanted – a life free from the crippling, unhealthy and emotionally dependent relationships that characterized her interactions with other women in the past. Her joy was contagious.
An older gentleman whose life was dominated by destructive, anonymous sexual encounters, shared how he has been walking in freedom, finding that God is enough for his life and needs, and finally feeling that he is known, loved, and understood in the company of other men at LHM. He now serves as a men’s small group leader.
A wife of a man who had secretly lived a double life, shared how her interactions with other wives who understood her pain and her situation, has encouraged her to stay with her marriage and her husband. Through this difficult battle they have grown more in love with each other and with God and have found a place in LHM where they can be completely open and honest and find hope.
Several young men and women shared how they had moved from other states and even from another country to be a part of LHM. Through their involvement in LHM, God had done amazing transformation in their hearts and lives.
But there was a singular phrase that resounded in every single testimony — a singular truth that dominated all of their stories: “Living Hope is not about homosexuality, it is about falling in love with Jesus.”
As the Executive Director of this amazing God-led ministry, my heart was filled with gratitude for that singular revelation. Though homosexuality is the reason most folks seek out the help of LHM, homosexuality has never been our main focus. We know we are doomed without the power of Christ transforming our sinful hearts. We know we all need God’s amazing grace and love in our lives. We know we are not only called to forsake sin, but to embrace and surrender to a Savior who loved us enough to give His very life for us on the cross to redeem us from the penalty of sin.
As I listened to their stories my heart was encouraged. In a world that says change is not possible, I was standing amidst over a hundred folks who were living out change in the most radical, unbelievable ways imaginable. They were representative of thousands of folks who have come through LHM over the past twenty-three plus years and who are living out lives of obedience and surrender to Christ all around the world!
Over 20,000 people have come through LHM from over 168 countries around the world. It is hard to comprehend how God could use a little ministry in the heart of Texas to touch a world with the message of hope and change, but that is the kind of God we serve. It is hard to comprehend how men and women enslaved to destructive patterns of living can find freedom and hope, but He is faithful. It is hard to comprehend how a baby born in a manger, killed on tree, and raised from the dead, could bring redemption to mankind, but He did and He does.
As we sang with full hearts, “Joy to the world, the Lord has come…” nothing was more evident or more true. The last line of the carol is, “…And wonders, wonders of His love.” Amidst the group of joyful singers and transformed lives, nothing was more obvious or more beautiful. His love is transformational and we are honored to share it with all who have ears to hear and hearts to believe — He is able!