Live Interview with Dr. Christopher Yuan (Holy Sexuality and the Gospel

On Tuesday, June 21, 2022 at 7pmCT, we hosted a live virtual Zoom event with Dr. Christopher Yuan, author of the book Holy Sexuality and The Gospel.

Watch the video recording – Link below.

We discussed identity and sexuality from a biblical perspective, how to reach and apply the essence of the gospel to a gay loved one, what Christ-followers can do to minister in to those struggling with same-sex attraction, the importance of prayer, and more.

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Bio – Christopher Yuan
Dr. Christopher Yuan has taught the Bible at Moody Bible Institute for twelve years and his speaking ministry on faith and sexuality has reached five continents. He speaks at conferences, on college campuses, and in churches. He has co-authored with his mother their memoir, Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son’s Journey to God, A Broken Mother’s Search for Hope (100,000 copies sold and now in seven languages). He is also the author of Giving a Voice to the Voiceless. Christopher graduated from Moody Bible Institute in 2005 and received a master’s in biblical exegesis in 2007 and a doctorate of ministry in 2014. Dr. Yuan’s newest book, Holy Sexuality and the Gospel: Sex, Desire, and Relationships Shaped by God’s Grand Story, was named 2020 Book of the Year for Social Issues by Outreach Magazine.

Dr. Leon and Angela Yuan have experienced much heartache from a broken marriage and their prodigal sons. But, God has given them the grace to rely upon His power to change the unchangeable and focus upon their own daily renewal and transformation. Learn more at www.christopheryuan.com

Resources mentioned:

Live interview and Q&A with Monique Duson

Monday, June 6, 2022 at 7pmCT, we hosted a live virtual Zoom event with Monique Duson from the Center For Biblical Unity.

Watch the video recording – Link below.

Monique Duson has a background in social service and children’s ministry. She has worked with a diverse array of under-served communities.

Monique worked as a Missionary to South Africa for over four years, serving children and teachers impacted by drugs, violence, and trauma.

She spent two decades advocating for Critical Race Theory (CRT), but through a series of events, began to clearly see the contradictions of CRT with the historic Christian worldview. Monique is now convinced that CRT is not the best way to achieve racial unity and actively speaks out against the use of CRT within the church. Her mission is to promote a vision for racial healing based on the historic Christian worldview.

Monique has appeared on shows such as Relatable (with Allie Beth Stuckey), the Alisa Childers podcast, and Breakpoint (with John Stonestreet). Monique has a BA in Sociology from Biola University. She is working on a MA in Theology.

Monique has appeared at Wilberforce Weekend (Colson Center for Christian Worldview) two years in a row. Monique is one of the most sought after Christian thinkers and speakers on race and culture. She is straight forward, funny, and encouraging.

What Time Is It?

The modern concept of time is truly unique to moderns.
One of the most powerful technologies ever invented was the clock. Prior to the clock, time measurement was not precise. Seconds, minutes and even hours were not something humans considered. Think about a world without clocks and watches for a moment.

What time is it? What if I told you, your watch, the timepiece on your phone nor the clock on your wall can tell you what time it is. Time is a realm we think we understand but don’t.

We’re told that in the grand sweeping scope of human history, we’re just a ‘blip on the radar’ – Here today and gone tomorrow! That is true to some extent. But, are we to live like a ‘blip’?

Are we simply left to resign ourselves to a YOLO (You Only Life Once) mentality in which we strive for every mountaintop experience or pleasure we can find? Or are we just left to thoughts of life as some cruel joke?

Do our individual, family, community, and national stories trickle like meaningless isolated streams through human history?

Are we to adopt the fatalistic determinism of Friedrich Nietzsche where human existence is a cold dark reality and life is absurd and hollow?

By no means!

Here’s the question behind the question.

Does your individual life have meaning?

Either life has meaning or it doesn’t. How you answer that question will determine how you live.

What we believe about the meaning of life will determine how to understand time.

A major over-arching theme in my work is to help individuals realize they are created for a time and place. Moreover, you (reader) were born into a certain family, in a specific location, culture and time in history.

The modern concept of time is truly unique to moderns.

One of the most powerful technologies every invented was the clock. Prior to the clock, time measurement was not precise. Seconds, minutes and even hours were not something humans considered. Think about a world without clocks and watches for a moment. Today, cultures remain that do not share the modern-western understanding of time. We tend to call those people “backwards” or “behind the times.” But are they really?

As moderns, we are time bound slaves to the clocks on our wrists, phones, walls, and calendars. I hear the refrain, “I don’t have time!” “I’m running out of time!” “I’m killing time.”

In our rush and hurry between meetings and events, we miss the everlasting moment that is rich with meaing. Frantic activity is followed by chronic inertia. It’s exhausting and sucks the joy and meaning out of life. We wake up and ask, “Where did the time go?”

Don’t confuse the moment with the story. Don’t miss giftedness of each moment.

“Time is at the heart of our existence.”
– Os Guiness

Time therefore has a purpose. You were placed in a specific time and location in history. Don’t miss the significance of that.

In the book, “Carpe Diem Redeemed – Seizing the Day, Discerning the Times“, Os Guinness makes two points to reflect upon.

You have a choice to know and develop a relationship with the “Author of Time” or not. If there is a God who created time, space and reality, don’t you think it’s important to know him?

If you determine that God is the “Author of Time” then, you need to learn what part He calls you to play in His “grand story.”

Os Guiness suggests, “We will never be able to see and understand time objectively” if we are so immersed in time that we miss the bigger story we’re a part of.

I leave you with the question and one of my favorite passages.

What time is it?

Reflect and meditate on this passage:

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”

Ecclesiates 3:1-11

“So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)

Wars and Rumors of Wars

Fear, outrage, helplessness and eventually apathy colonize our imaginations and take up residence in our hearts. These experiences and emotions are not unique to modern humans. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not allow that to distract you, cause you to fear, or shape your reality. Focus on what you know to be true and what is right in front of you.

“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you dare not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.” (Matthew 24:6-7)

Every human being attempts to make sense of the world, human history, events and trajectory.

We moderns possess the blessing and curse of realtime global communication through powerful technologies. The chaos, injustice and suffering of the entire globe can be seen and heard through tiny screens in the palms of our hands. The impact of the images, scenes and helpless cries are felt in our hearts. For many, we can’t unsee horrible images seared into our minds.

Fear, outrage, helplessness and eventually apathy colonize our imaginations and take up residence in our hearts.

These experiences and emotions are not unique to modern humans. Human history is marked by tribulations and conflicts. However, what makes the current moment singularly unparalleled in history is the velocity and quantity of information that we can access at our fingertips.

Think about it. Today is February 24, 2022.

On this date in 1836, a cry for help was sent forth by the commander of a tiny garrison of less than 200 men defending a small Spanish mission against 5,000 enemy troops. The enemy general called for the surrender of the men occupying the mission or they would be “put to the sword.” The reply from Colonel William Travis to General Antonio de Santa Ana’s demand was cannon fire.

In one of the most famous letters ever penned in human history, Col. Travis wrote:

To the People of Texas & All Americans in the World-

Fellow Citizens & compatriots-

I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna – I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man – The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken – I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls – I shall never surrender or retreat…(He goes on to write) If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country –

Victory or Death.

(signed)

William Barret Travis

186 years ago is a blink of an eye in human history. Communications required days, weeks and even months to reach their destinations. In 1836, most of the world was unaware of the now famous “Battle at the Alamo” in a place called “Texas.” Most of the world didn’t even know Texas existed, nor would they care if they did know.

Life expectancy in the 1800s was between 40-45 years. Let that sink in for a moment. Daily existence was extremely difficult – death was a daily occurrence. Today, life expectancy is around 73 years globally.

What does this have to do with “wars and rumors of wars”?

Whether we are aware of it or not, our powerful technologies deliver massive amounts of information from around the world to our handheld devices. My iPhone is millions of times more powerful than the computers used by NASA to guide Apollo 11 to the moon and back.

Our modern devices shape our reality and worldview. When an earthquake occurs on a tiny island in the South Pacific Ocean, I know within seconds. When one nation’s leader is threatening another, I know almost immediately. When a school shooting occurs in a city hundreds of miles away, I can see realtime coverage on my device! All of the pain, suffering, chaos, tragedy, evil and terror in the whole world is delivered immediately into my hands. Most of the time, these emotional scenes bypass logic and reason impacting our imaginations and emotions. The result is a constant state of malaise, helplessness, and fear.

How does one make sense of it all?

The Bible offers us the answers and a framework to help us.

First, we must understand that “In the beginning God created” all things (Genesis 1-2). God stated that His creation was “good.” Furthermore, when God created humans in “His own image,” He said humans were “very good.”

Second, we learn that humans chose to rebel against God in Genesis 3 and turn inwards in an attempt to become “like God.” This “fall” of humanity into sin brought all of creation into conflict with the Creator. Shame, guilt and hate soon entered God’s good creation. One chapter later, we see the first murder in human history (Genesis 4 – Cain and Able). Since then, the entire world has spiraled into chaos, injustice and suffering.

Third, we see God initiate a plan to set things right when He sends His only son, Jesus Christ to redeem the world through his death on a Roman cross and bodily resurrection from the dead. The name “Jesus” is “Yeshua” or “Joshua” in Hebrew. The name means “the Lord saves.” “Christ” is not Jesus’ last name as some people would think. “Christ” is a title. It means “Messiah” (Mashiach) or “anointed one of God.” But, what is Jesus Christ saving us from? He saves us from the eternal separation created from the fall (Genesis 3).

The Bible says that Jesus came to “seek and save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10). In God’s providence and wisdom, He had a plan to redeem that which humanity lost and that which humans do not possess the ability to reclaim for themselves. This is where the man or woman can have real hope for today by trusting that Jesus accomplished His mission. While we’ll still continue to experience the effects of sin and evil in this life, we know they are defeated. Wars and rumors of wars is the current state of things – but not the eternal state of things.

Wars and rumors of wars is the current state of things – but not the eternal state of things.

Forth, we learn that there will come a time when God will restore ALL things. He will set everything back in order throughout creation. The chaos, injustice, evil, pain, suffering and death will be swallowed up in a victorious unfolding of God’s restoration (Revelation 21). This is where we have real hope for the future.

So what does all this mean for me today?

When you scroll through the news feeds on your smartphone today, you will see the truth of a world gone wrong. You know deep in your heart that this is not the way it is supposed to be. This is the objective truth of Genesis 3 to Revelation 20 shining through our dim reality. Even if you don’t believe what I’ve just laid out above, take a moment and reflect… Is what the Bible says about reality in this world true?

Finally, when you scroll through your news feed and you feel your heart breaking, or anger, or hopelessness or fear, set your device down and close your eyes.

Consider the following thoughts:

What is the crisis or opportunity I can take responsibility for or take initiative to help RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME? Set aside the world’s massive problems and look around your immediate relationships. Our immediate lives abound with crisis and opportunities right in front of us. My advice is to begin right there. The world changes one life at a time.

Is there something good in your life or someone else’s that you can celebrate?

Is there something missing from someone’s life or perhaps in your community that you can contribute something good toward?

Is there something bad in your life or in the community that you can stop?

Is there something broken in your life or someone else’s life that you can help restore?

When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not allow that to distract you, cause you to fear, or shape your reality. Focus on what you know to be true and what is right in front of you.

Jesus gives us hope:

“Fear not, for I am with you.” (Isaiah 41:10)

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)

Read the full passages

Signs of the End of the Age (Matthew 24:3-14)

3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

God will make all things new (Revelation 21:3-5)

3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place[a] of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Escapism vs. Reality – Comfort vs. Growth

The comfort zone is the enemy of growth. The butterfly can fly because she built the necessary strength by breaking though her cocoon.

Nothing is more thrilling than reality.

That includes experiencing pain and discomfort. Human beings don’t grow by pursuing pleasure and comfort. Humans grow strong and resilient in the soils of pain and discomfort. In order to recover what it means to be human, we must ground our experience in reality as it is. In the midst of everyday life, we can explore that which is good, true and beautiful.

Real reality is far richer and meaningful than anything man can contrive. Therefore, escapism in all its various forms is our attempt to safely reside within our comfort zones to avoid reality.

The comfort zone is the enemy of growth.
Only when we push outside our little cocoons do we experience growth and a fuller vision of life and reality as God created it.

Meaning in life is found in travails and pain, not comfort and pleasure. An eagle’s muscular strength to soar through the heavens began with the struggle of breaking through the shell of safety and comfort of his egg. The butterfly can fly because she built the necessary strength by breaking though her cocoon.

Humans can’t grow or gain anything valuable in life by attempting to escape. Reality is far more fulfilling, meaningful and deep when we embrace the reality of life as God intended it to be.

Only then, can we understand that ultimate reality is eternal reality in knowing Him.

You can try to fool yourself by pitting escapism against reality, but you will discover reality will win every time. So get comfortable being uncomfortable outside your comfort zone. That’s where the growth and joy are to be found.