Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving! (Updated)






Hey bloggers...hope everyone has a great day tomorrow, and I pray for the safety of all of you who are travelling...the angel of the Lord encamps around you...don't forget there's no service tonight...here's a copy of the letter I'm sending out to the church today that I thought some of you might like to read...



Dear CITN Family…

First of all, I want to say that I hope you all have a beautiful Thanksgiving holiday, and that you have plenty of blessings to count with your families and friends…

“…and forget not all His benefits”…


I’m certainly thankful for each and every one of you…you are all always in my heart and mind, and especially so on this day which is set aside for remembrance and gratitude…Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. (Philippians 1:3 - The Message)

Of course I’m aware that recent revelations about my personal life have no doubt put you through some changes, and have forced you to deal with certain realities that perhaps you would rather not have had to ever think about. I’ve tried to be as honest and forthcoming with you as possible about myself, but I know that the truth doesn’t just set you free, it also changes perceptions, alters concepts, and forces the shifting of paradigms…in other words, some of you may feel as though your world has recently been turned upside down because of me…

There are so many things I want to say to you that relate to my/our situation…so many questions I want to answer for you…but I am asking for your patience in waiting for the delivery of those words. I’m literally buried daily now under a mountain of correspondence from people around the world, and there’s just so much I can deal with in any setting before it becomes overwhelming. The media frenzy is calming down a little, so my life is getting somewhat back to normal (normal for me, anyway), and I am currently preparing another School of the Bible which will deal with some topics I’ve always wanted to explore, but never could touch until now. I’m also in the genesis of writing a new book, which, along with SOTB V, will settle and explain a lot of things for you, and will, I believe, help you come to grips with some issues that may be (understandably) troubling you.

Allow me, hopefully for the last time, to apologize once again from the bottom of my heart to you for any hurt or pain that Debye’s divorce from me may have caused you. I’m sure that for many of you it was like seeing your own parents go through a break-up, and for that I am truly sorrowful. We certainly never wanted to hurt you, which is one reason why it took us so many years to ever deal with the full truth about our relationship. I can only hope that you will love us through it, as we have loved you, without judgment, through your own difficulties over the last quarter of a century.

For those of you, including some Care Pastors, who feel that you can now no longer continue in ministry with me, I want you to know that I understand, and that I love you, and appreciate all that you’ve done for the Kingdom of God and for CITN. One thing I do ask of you, however…please spare me the official appointment where we have to sit down together and have you tell me why you’re leaving. I know I’ve complained before about people who leave the church without saying why, but in this case I already know why, and don’t want to hear it over and over again. For me it’s like having your heart broken repeatedly, and I just can’t bear to keep going through it. Please understand, and please know that you are not burning a bridge with me. I hope that down the road you will be able to find your way back home.

For those of you who have decided to stay in my life, regardless…you wonderful and amazing people who continue to give me a reason to keep going…a big thank you for understanding that I am exactly the same person you’ve always known. My life has not been a lie, you just didn’t have the full story until recently…and now that you do, I thank you for recognizing that my call, my anointing, my gift, my revelation, and my love for you has all been 100% real, and will never go away…God's gifts and God's call are under full warranty—never canceled, never rescinded. (Romans 11:29 - The Message)…For God's gifts and His call are irrevocable. [He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call.] (Romans 11:29 - AMP)

I also want you to know that I remain committed to Church In The Now, and to seeing it remain at 1877 Iris Drive. I don't really talk much publicly about the financial situation any more, because I know you're probably already doing all you can in the area of support, and I don't want the church's survival to become a burden to you. Several people have suggested to me that if just my Facebook friends and “fans” regularly sent as little as $10 a month, the property would not be in jeopardy, but there’s no way I can ask for that without sounding opportunistic and gimmicky. Besides, many of the people who applaud me for my recent honesty are also quite outspoken about being anti-church (and especially anti-megachurch), so it's really not a realistic option. Soliciting support for a cause is quite a different thing from asking for help with a mortgage payment, so the future in that respect remains to be seen. But I can’t worry about that now…we’ll take it one day at a time, and believe for the best…but one way or the other, CITN will continue in some form.

Anyway, there’s more to say, and I will say it in time…but until then, I want you to know that I love you all, and want you to be all that you can be. These days I get letters and messages regularly that tell me I’m deceiving people and leading them to hell, and if that’s what you possibly agree with and/or honestly think, then by all means you need to leave as soon as possible and get your family to safety. I don't want to hurt or damage anyone ever. Another Atlanta mega church pastor with a much bigger congregation than mine told his church recently that I would now be causing more teen suicides than preventing them because I’m encouraging kids to freely sin. God knows I hope that’s not the truth.

But if you can still hear God speaking to you in our services…if you can still witness His presence in the praise and worship…if miracles are still happening in your life…if you are still receiving direction and confirmation in and through my preaching…if you still have a inward witness that you are in the right place, the place where God placed you…if you are loving God and loving people more and more every day, then please stay, and let’s build the future of CITN together. You may be processing things for a while, but don’t sever a relationship that you’ve believed in…it’s still very much real. Real People Experiencing a Real God in the Real World is a more valid concept now than ever before.

I love you so much…

Bishop

19 comments:

speaking spirit said...

Since I am the first, let me say Bish that I am grateful to know a man of integrity and courage. This has been a difficult process for me/sitting in the pews/but I thank youfor your candor and realness. This is the second year after my mom's death and holidays hold mixed emotions. I am thank-full for a place of hope for myself and others as life continues bring trials and test, I find a real church family who loves me. I thank youBish and Pr Debye for depicting real life in front of us. Your annoucement last month really stretched me but I am so grateful that I have been taught by you as my spirtual dad to hear the whole matter. I am grateful for my daily bread/God's mercy and loving kindnes and grace. I thank God for a church called NOW..speaking spirit

Anonymous said...

You have heard it said that there are thousands of denominations (divisions)across this planet that separate humanity according to their paradigm (doctrines)...
I say that there are actually close to 7 billion individual sets of "rules" or "religions" that uniquely govern each of us...

There is only ONE Being amongst us that speaks ALL 7 billion languages that separates us from one another...unity occurs from "hearing" that voice which speaks our unique language...

The restoration of ALL begins with the restoration of ONE...

Our natural state of Being is that of well-being (wholeness)...

I am thankful to be an important part of a covenant community that is connecting and speaking the Source language of Love that transcends all "labels" and all "isms"...

Being labeled as LGBT is just a means to that end...a redefining of what that label really means is imminent as the message from and through us reaches many from a global platform...a new WORD is coming forth...a new Reality...

Enjoy your day as you bask in the ease and effortlessness of Our Creator in our daily routines and lives!

Micheal said...

God Bless you, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Thank you for being such an inspiration, and role model.
You have gained a fellow laborer in the ministry here in Oklahoma.

Again God bless you!

~Prophet Micheal

Avatar said...

Anon@7:17 I like your post. I woke this morning with similar thoughts. The distilled version: is it possible that deep within us all the "separation" is about giving up on the struggle to manifest the truth of our oneness?

It is much easier to sense the peace of oneness when we "separate" into "like" groups. But, they always degenerate into a form of spiritual death for the members. (Frighteningly, into harm of all forms for non-members)

I see it is in learning how to celebrate our oneness with ALL--being willing to seek to understand AND opening up to being understood...to be challenged without giving up--in THAT tension-filled place, that life, eternal life, can be known. And in that place the sword Jesus came to bring makes sense...He did not come to bring the peace sought by the old system, but the shalom of being whole.

On the GLBT label: I sense, with gratitude, that two-spirit people bring an opportunity for understanding more about the concept Paul hinted at when he said there is no male/female in Christ. No labels...invest the time to get to know your "neighbor"...be in relationship...or have no opinion.

When two-spirit people are recognized for their true worth (and realize themselves, no matter what anyone in their lives says to the contrary), we will ALL live in a better world and in better relationships.

Avatar said...

(Updated)...Happy Thanksgiving, blog fam and also to you, Bishop!

Okay, this is probably wrong, but...I'm thinking the Message version of Philippians 1:3 actually supports lots of exclamation points! (SMILE!!!)

"Our situation"...those are the important words for me.

Last paragraph...I do, they are, I am, I will.

Last sentence...amen.

Salutation...ditto.

Anonymous said...

Classy!
I won't lie; I was stunned, and I think I must have missed some things when streaming was shut down for awhile. When I was able to stream again, I wondered why Debye no longer shared the platform with you or did announcements or ministered once in awhile. I just assumed that it was because Judah had taken on a new role and that the church was utilizing him more.

I hope you don't take offense to this, because you're my Bish, and you're anointed, and I know that... but I think what I felt more than anything was a sense of loss... a grieving of the dissolution of a marriage that to perhaps many of us seemed nearly perfect. No one nor any one marriage is perfect, but some of us can certainly use a good example from time to time. I appreciate the fact that Debye knew. I guess, in my opinion, that makes what you and she shared/share true love. Respect, in or out of marriage is enviable and often hard to come by. I'm not sure why that is, but I can see that the two of you have respect for one another. If not, CITN never would have grown to be what it is.

So, yes... you rocked our world a little bit, but thanks for being honest. I learned many years ago that it's best not to pass judgment at all, but especially in regard to things that I could never possibly understand. And let me just say, there are MANY things in life that I'll never understand. So, best just to look to the author and finisher of my faith and to mind my own business. Heaven knows my own life is plenty enough to tend to!

I hope that you, Debye and all your family members have a truly blessed and wonderful Thanksgiving!

<3 Lisa (elle)

Anonymous said...

Tears after reading your heart in the letter. Elle said it so well! Even though I live a few hours away, your ministry has impacted my life!

I am still wraping my mind around it...even though I may not be able to completely comprehend or understand it all...I don't need too! I do understand in part....but am confused...the main thing JESUS!

I have more than enough working out my own salvation to judge anyone else!


I so appreciate your integrity and honesty...it's a rare find these days!

Main thing that I wanted to say is that I love you & Debye!!!!

Blessings & HAPPY Thanksgiving!! =)

Linda L.

ptrain007 said...

Bishop,

Thank you for WHO you are. I love you and P. Debye and choose to support you and stand by you with not just my attendance, but my financial support and servitude to the on going vision of CITN.

You have made all that I have learned from you all the more real. I know some can not "go" there with you and that's ok. But as for Kevin and I, we got your back! lol. We do love and honor the Spirit within you that continuously feeds us the words of life!
Thank you for being a true Pastor...even in the midst of your own personal challenges...you always take the time to care for us and our emotional needs! You always say for us to "get ours"...well I guess right now I feel like it's time for me to not be so needy and lift you up for a change! We as a body will get through this and as for the NOW, we are definately becoming stronger,it's pushing us to grow and directing us towards our greatness...CITN is looking soo good!
Love you so much, have an amazing, stress free, relaxing, and peaceful Thanksgiving with your family...do lots of laughing!

Love
Pam Thompson

linda said...

Hey Bish,
All I know is I have known you and Pastor Debye for 17 years and in that time you have always been there for me. You were there when my Mom passed, you were there when I got sick, praying for me, encouraging me, checking on me... You have always spoken truth into my life and I know you are my pastor. I love you...nuf said
Linda Richardson

Stephanie Gale said...

Bishop, Just want you to know from me, that I am so proud to have you as my Bishop. I am absolutely fine with all of the REAL you. Just recently, I recommitted myself to GOD and to my CITN church family, financially and spiritually...IT IS ALL GOOD!! Much Love, Stephanie Gale

Izumi/JOY said...

Dear Bish, P. Deb, and fellow bloggers,

I received a copy of this letter today, and read it aloud in the car (from my cell). No, I wasn't driving. Good thing, too. (Oy! The tears!)

I'm glad you addressed the situation. Particularly, unspoken questions, etc. We were stunned with your announcement. I never even realized you were divorced.

Yes, it was/is a lot to process. Like juggling (emotions) while tight rope walking. (one of my daughters is separating, a friend's undergoing chemo, another's mom is having radiation, another's addicted to antidepressants;seizures from lack of sleep. All the grands repeatedly had some form of school crud... etc. Just... information overload for me.

Honestly? I don't know how this changes everything. I still honor the call and anointing on your lives. Even if I rarely say (write) it. Please don't mistake silence for indifference/aversion; just processing.

I pray that your Thanksgiving is truly peaceful.

Good night, beloved Universe. So much to be thankful for.

Melissa Hall said...

"My love allows people and events to unfold as they need."

Your writing often prompts me to respond with a favorite quotation...
This particular quotation expresses what is in the deepest parts of my heart regarding recent events surrounding you, P. Debye and CITN...

"The face of love is variable. I am able to love without demanding that my relationships assume the structures and forms I might choose for them. My love is fluid, flexible, committed, creative. My love allows people and events to unfold as they need. My love is not controlling. It does not dictate or demand. My love allows those I love the freedom to assume the forms most true to them. I release all those I love from my preconceptions of their path. I allow them the dignity of self-definition while I offer them a constant love that is every variable in shape." ~Julia Cameron

I offer you that kind of Love...the God-kind....

Not1Lost said...

Just beautiful Bishop! Comforting, encouraging, heartfelt words along with a sagacity speaking directly to my spirit; emanating a deep peace penetrating the very soul....
Love ya Bro!
Pastor Dennis

Not1Lost said...

Oh, and can't wait for the new "School of the Bible V" and the new book!

Pastor Dennis

Not1Lost said...

Avatar, I loved this! "When two-spirit people are recognized for their true worth (and realize themselves, no matter what anyone in their lives says to the contrary), we will ALL live in a better world and in better relationships"

Pastor Dennis

Erik said...

Bishop, saw the email/letter and appreciate it, but really do not understand those who it seems it was written to. Love All and whosoever will, and did not relate to the paradigm of who much of it seemed to be written to.

We Love you and always have. All is good in that regard. The other aspects We don’t really relate to. I guess We are a little slow there. That’s OK, We are glad to be slow in certain areas.

Love All those that the email was for. Godspeed to All.

We are here --- always have been, always will be, Support 100%.

All Good. Agreement with All, whosoever will, -- does. Whosoever won’t, does not.

All Good, and blessings either way. Selah.

tracy said...

Ditto what Melissa said.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bish,
Thanks.This letter reminded me that some of my adult children may yet be hurting since my marriage failed, in 1992.
It was deep personality problems, resultling in family voilence. But we both had a part in it, and I cannot blame anyone. So I appreciate your apology, as I may give it to my children. But it does not matter, " who sinned?" Let God get the glory, and believe somehow ,"It's all good."
Who is to blame? Whose business is it? I did what I had to do, with the courage God gave me. You and Debbie did what you had to do. God will heal the hurt.
In this information about the reason you divorced, I must seek to love and understand and seek clarity and healing--as I would want my children to towards me and their dad.
But, even thought this was in
1992, I ask for prayers for me and my kids, because I still wish the divorce has not happened. And my family and I are still wounded.
Thanksgiving, one of my children's conversation, remined me that he is still living in the pain of the dysfuntional marriage and violent divorce.
I think one reason my divorce has been so hard on me, is that I was
so legalistic. The spirit heals, but legalism kills.
So let's look to the spirit to get clarity, acceptance, peace, and healing for our families and for the church family.
"Love your neighbor as yourself."

Anon in North GA

The Rev. Dr. Chris Erdman said...

Bless you for your courage and integrity. May God's blessing rest upon you and your congregation as you journey into the future.