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The Dependent and Those Who Mourn

• Greg Boyd

God designed us to get all of our life, worth and value from him. But when humanity signed our declaration of independence in the garden, we started to fill our lives with the things of this world. In this sermon, Greg calls us to become dependent on God in ways that might cause us to mourn. Additionally, Greg addresses the marriage amendment vote in Minnesota.

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Before we get to the message from the Sermon on the Mount, we want to talk about the marriage amendment and Woodland Hills’ stance on homosexuality. In Minnesota, this is a very large political topic and many people have been asking Greg what he thinks of the issue. The truth is, Greg doesn’t think this issue or any other political issue deserves a full sermon, so we are addressing the topic before the real sermon on living God’s Kingdom.

We at Woodland Hills Church believe that the ideal for sexuality is within the covenant of a marriage between a man and a woman. Any sexuality outside of this covenant, whether pre-marital sex, divorce, polygamy or lust of someone outside the covenant, is missing the mark of God’s ideal, which the Bible calls sin. However, at the same time that we say that, we also say, emphatically, that we are all sinners, and we are passionately opposed to any sort of pharisaical sin scale. We’re passionately opposed to the traditional tendency of the church to see itself as a “holy club” that considers the sins of the insiders to be minor while the sins of the outsiders to be major. Ironically, the sins of the churches in America that are dismissed as minor are the sins that are the most emphatically denounced in scripture.

In fact, the church not only minimizes these sins, but sometimes even Christianizes these sins. Many feel righteous because they have more wealth and are therefore more blessed by God. And when people feel more righteous, they feel it is their duty to point out other people’s sins to help them become more righteous. But the role of the accuser has always been Satan, and the truth of the matter is that the church has to a large degree played the role of Satan in society. In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul says that God has given us the ministry of reconciliation and this means that we are not supposed to count people’s sins against them. We should be the last people on the planet who should ever point out another’s sin. Not only that, but Jesus commanded us to consider any sin of another as a mere speck in their eye compared to the 2×4 in our own eye. If Jesus were to act like the church has acted, then the prostitutes and tax collectors would never have followed him.

If the Caesar of this land wants your opinion on what should happen in this world, you can give it. But as an ambassador to this same Caesar and his land, this isn’t our issue. Our mindset should be that of Paul in 1 Corinthians 5, “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?…God will judge those outside.” Our job is to leave all judgment to God, and as ambassadors, we should bring the ministry of reconciliation through humble love and servitude towards others. Now—back to the Blessed Revolution series.

These beatitudes are not rules we’re supposed to obey but rather describe what it looks like for a person to truly follow Christ. A person who is poor in spirit is someone who is depleted, broken, or empty. Jesus is saying this person is blessed because they can then be filled by God. In America, we try to fill our lives with wealth, power, superiority, our own strength, and competition with others. When we fill ourselves with these things, we have no space to be filled by God.

Rejection of these empty things that push out God will cause us pain because it’s not comfortable to live without power, wealth, and our own strength. This is why Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn.” Rejection of the things of this world has historically brought pain and suffering to Christians, and this is still true today. Any spiritual discipline requires us to shed the things of this world, and it will affect our lives in a way that makes us mourn.

But Jesus says that we will be comforted. Once we get past the mourning, we receive the blessing of comfort. The comfort of dependence on God. The comfort of being filled by the most powerful being in the universe! This is what it looks like to be in a covenant relationship with God. And this is why Jesus says we are blessed if we give up the things of this world and embrace God instead of idols.

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Topics: Blessings, Controversial Issues, Disciplines

Sermon Series: Blessed Revolution

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Focus Scripture:

  • Matthew 5:3-4

    Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

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48 thoughts on “The Dependent and Those Who Mourn

  1. Jill says:

    Thank you Woodland Hills church and Greg Boyd for being fearless and speaking the truth. You are so brave to say what needs to be said. I feel God speaking right through you and I am so thankful I found this church.

  2. Ok, almost 8 minutes into this video–i had to quit listening–why?? Because Mr Boyd stated so much of what I “see” as corporate churches” in america.
    thanks-you for seeing the love of God for all and not berating sinners, such as I, you and others.
    I’m wondering if it is so easy to fall into the trap”my sin wasn’t that bad””/
    I am sorry, if this doesnot make sense, but I will finish tape tomorrow as I have to listen to a tape for work.

  3. Jill says:

    I also want to share some feelings about how gay people are treated and judged so harshly compared to the rest of us sinners…I’m definitely confused on where my feelings stand on gay marriage, accepting homosexuality as being normal, etc…but the last thing I want to do is judge them and think I’m right or I’m better because I’m not gay. I’m so very thankful I’m not gay, because I can’t imagine the torment they go through. And then, the one safe haven they should have is the church and the “supposed” most holy of Holy’s judge them worse then ever. Here are three comments in just the past year from people I know that consider themselves very Christian.
    1. Oh, we serve them in Love, but they are going to hell if they don’t change
    2. I was handed a DVD and she said it’s about how to help Gay people be loved and affirmed so they don’t have to “choose” being gay?
    3. I was told, God speaks to us about how much he hates homosexulaity. Look at Sodom & Gemorrah, look at how he struck the church in Mpls. with lightning.

    For the most part, I don’t think people are consciously “choosing” to be Gay. There might be an occasional person who will be gay for a while for attention, but that’s rare. A very good friend of mines son is 18 and told his Mom & Dad he was gay at 17. All the rest of us thought this long before he communicated it to his parents. Why did we think this…at the age of 3 he loved princesses and his favorite color was pink. Almost every genetic instinct he had as a very young boy was that of a girl. He was not consciously doing this no more then my son was taking any toy with wheels and turning it upside down so he could spin them. Or, who loved to stroll his sisters baby stroller at the age of two but before he would stroll it he would throw the baby out of it. He never saw anyone do that, these things are genetic. Since the fall in Genesis, many things are not right and so why can’t the makeup of our gender not be right? Oh, I’ve seen that study that says people aren’t born gay, or there isn’t a gay gene, but I’ve seen it from day one with my good friend. And, I’ve watched it since day one happening right now down the street with an 11 year old girl who from the time she could start picking out her clothes wears nothing but boy clothes, plays with nothing but boy stuff and pretty much only has friends that are boys. No one knows the sexual path she’ll take yet, but what if she is gay? Can we strong minded Christians change that?

    As for Sodom and Gemorrah; Reference Luke 17:26-29 It seems like it was corrupt living period…just like in the days of Noah.

    I have no answers, that’s just it, none of us do. But, we can all let God be the judge!

  4. Joann says:

    After listening to Greg speech TWICE, he is so right about not judging other from OUR perspective. This is God right and only his. He does not consult us on any matter, because his wisdom is so superior to ours. So when it comes to the Marriage Admendment, what are we actually voting on? Is it the sin or their rights? Up unitl now, I was going to totally skip voting on this issue. But if I think about their rights, that’s a different story. I am praying and will up till the moment this issue is presented to me, that God would guide me. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for homosexuals. Nobody, in their right mind, would choose that life style. Not with all the “judging” that is being done, in the name of Jesus. I have to keep reminding myself that we are all God’s children who loves us unconditionally. As long as we see all people as children of God, we will be the desicple of God.

  5. Joann and Jill thanks for your comments. I can totally relate.. I don’t get it why some christians are so into judging,perhaps, they have never met a gay person,or had a lady teacher,come out to the class on a day I was absent. she was such a good teacher,where in my 42nd year learned Martin Luther King jr was not a black communist,and other such myth breaking for me.
    Anyway, when my journal partner for this teacher’s class called me to tell me teach was lesbian. I got so angry and wrote her a very Christian letter,almost hating her.
    the next morning I awoke with this still on my mind and the thought came to me”you liked her on a tuesday and now hate her on a wed.” kind of sealed it for me, she had more integrity,patience, kindness in her character than I ever saw in me and judgemental ways. that was my 1st encounter and then met other gays,after awhile,for me, I thought people come in all shapes, sizes,color,sexual preference and Jesus died for them all.
    so, I am wondering if some of the Christian people have not had opportunity to get to know some people that are different than rural america.
    thanks,so much for your thoughtful thoughts.

  6. Loree says:

    Thanks for this Greg. I believe this message is prophetic to the church in America.

  7. Dave says:

    Awesome message.

  8. Joel says:

    Loving people does not always mean letting them have their way in all things. The marriage amendment is not “passing a law against people.” Just as buying the booze is not loving the alcoholic, so re-defining marriage is not loving the homosexual.

  9. Scott Schneider says:

    To Joel; to push my right and wrong onto someone else is wrong. To push Christian beliefs onto others is wrong. To demand our rights over others rights is wrong. To label the homosexual with a person addicted to alcohol is judging harshly, and that is wrong. God created them male and female it says in Genesis. The Fall also caused a disruption in the created order. As I learned in my sociology courses that there arent just xx and xy genetic makeups. There are five combinations, ie xxy and xyy. We dont really understand all of the dynamics of the Fall and what it did to creation. Tony Campolo says that when a pregnant rat, in the lab, is put under high amounts of stress, some of the rats will exhibit homosexual tendencies. Also 1 of every 2000 births there are questions about the sex of the new born. So the parents make a decision on how to raise that child. If they choose to raise that child as a male when in actuality the new born may be anatomically a female. That means we have many people out there who are confused about what is going on inside of them. There is so much we take for black and white. When we make so many things out as black or white, it only shows our ignorance and fear. God allows us to be free to choose and we should follow his example. How can I enjoy the context of a marital relationship and turn and deny it to someone else because they are not like me? When you said loving people does not always mean letting them have their way. When did God give you the authority to determine the way that others should live? Trying to control the way others live is not something that even God does not do so why do you feel the need to? To contol others is to sin. To judge others is to sin. Loving people is allowing them to follow God as God relates to them. To love people that are different is to allow them to live according to their beliefs even though you disagree. Be careful Joel. Remember that love compels and love transforms.

  10. David says:

    “Thank for the message Greg 🙂 I wholeheartedly agree that we should be more compassionate, welcoming and more thematic in our hermeneutical analysis of the Bible. Still, I’m not sure why you continue to affirm that a biblical understanding of marriage is only between a man and a woman. As someone that is about to graduate from seminary, I know you can appreciate that there is no monolithic understanding of marriage in the Bible.
    Although you mean well by these kinds of messages and they are absolutely encouraging, it is still very offensive to open and affirming clergy and the gay Christian community in general to keep calling monogamous, covenantal, same-sex relationships sinful. Even if you don’t stop calling them sinful, I still feel like you are painting this as a black and white issue that faithful, Bible-believing, Christ-centered people don’t disagree on.
    Just as you recognize the theological spectrum of beliefs within evangelicalism on hell, soteriology, eschatology, et al., I pray that you will open up and affirm the enigmatic or ambiguous nature of this issue as well.
    Thank you for your encouraging and faithful ministry 🙂
    While I don’t necessarily endorse this pastors politicization of his faith, I hope everyone can take time to watch this video from:

  11. Joel says:

    To Scott:
    You might consider reading both of our prior comments and see which of us comes across as heavy handed and controlling.
    Jesus didn’t condemn the woman caught in adultery, but He did admonish her to “go and sin no more.” Why would he do that? It’s possible He didn’t know all the ramifications of Tony’s rat study, but more likely it was because sin is destructive and disordered sexuality harms its practitioner just as disordered drinking destroys the alcoholic.
    All I’m saying is that supporting an amendment to prevent the re-definition of marriage so that disordered sexuality is more “acceptable” is not the same as passing laws against people we are called to love. It is good for a society to set reasonable boundaries.

  12. Tim says:

    I love Greg’s preaching and he has helped me a lot on many issues. And I don’t think we are to condemn ANYONE. But the Bible does point out specific sins and consequences throughout it’s pages. The Old Testament has too many harsh examples of this to began to count. Jesus does confront sinners(very lovingly) in their sin and tells them to stop it or otherwise rebukes them. The woman at the well, the Samaritan women and the rich young ruler are just a few examples. Paul gives instructions on church discipline specifically involving sexual sin. Jesus recalled God’s definition for marriage in the New Testament. Marriage is, in fact, a Christian institution(in reading the Bible, that is obvious) and not a political issue as Greg called it. How does marriage(again, an institution of God) fall under the “render unto Caesar” category? There are many examples in the book of Acts where the disciples “obeyed God rather than man” on, what one could call, “political issues”. Please don’t mistake me as being confrontational here. I’m very hurt, disappointed and confused. I LOVE to hear Greg preach and I think Woodland Hills is doing great things. I don’t hate homosexuals and I don’t think we should run them out of church. I just don’t have a good feeling about what Greg said. I’m grieved in my spirit. I understand Woodland Hills and Greg in particular distancing themselves from the “religious right”. But I’m also afraid Greg and the church could be crossing the line to the other extreme on this one by not LOVINGLY stating clearly that their is no true marriage between people of the same sex that can be recognized by the church. You see, that much IS “black and white” to me. Somebody please tell me where I’m wrong here. I’m not trying to be mean spirited. I am a Christian and I have been divorced so I understand how it can hurt to be looked down upon by the church.

  13. Tim says:

    Joel, I wish I would have read your last post before I posted my own. You are saying exactly what is bothering me. I’m really grieved about this one and I hope everyone posting will pray about what they post here rather than snapping at each other. I need to hear Greg speak on this again so I can be clear EXACTLY what he thinks. I live thousands of miles from Woodland Hills but, through the internet, he has helped me reconcile several theological issues I’ve struggled with and he’s been such a blessing to me. I’m not saying Greg should promote the marriage amendment from the pulpit. I just don’t agree with the views he stated in this sermon. Greg Boyd is a brilliant man but I really am afraid he’s missing the mark on this one….

  14. Tim says:


    We are all born with various genetic dispositions to sin. I have a certain one that I struggle mightily with and occasionally I fail and have to repent. The point is, I repent. I recognize the behavior as being sinful and, because I am a Christian, I have to turn from it after asking forgiveness. I have a friend who struggles with being faithful to his wife. He is a Christian and hasn’t failed in many years. But he recognized it was wrong NO MATTER HOW NATURAL IT SEEMED TO HIS FLESH. He will probably struggle with this always but I’m very thankful his pastor and other Christian friends lovingly confront him and tell him his behavior is a sin. Romans 6:1-2, “…Shall we continue in sin that Grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, who are dead to sin, live any longer there in?” None of us has a pass that allows us to intentionally continue living in a known sin. So I’m very confused and disturbed by what Greg said at the first of his sermon….

  15. Joel says:

    Tim: We are on the same page; I’m glad you posted what you did.. very well said indeed.

  16. Tim says:

    Thanks Joel. I hope others will pray fully consider that, while we don’t judge people, sometimes we have to recognize and respond to the sin in our lives and the lives of others. Doing so doesn’t ALWAYS mean we are being political, judgmental, ignorant or insensitive. I’m praying Greg will clarify his position on this. He has been very important in my Christian growth the last few years and I’ve admired the way he refuses to let pressure from forces outside the Kingdom(e.g. the “religious right”) influence him. I hope he’s not being influenced now in reverse with the growing pressure we are facing from the left.

  17. Theresa says:

    Joel and Tim…I agree with both of you. I love listening to Greg’s sermons…My eyes have been open and heart convicted by some passionate sermons on sin in my life….It is how we grow and we Need it. One thing that I believe trips Christians up is the label “Gay Christian”…No one ever names their sin in front of Christian…I don’t get that

  18. Theresa says:

    The mind is SO powerful! I’ve learned from Greg and other speakers how our past shapes our mind…how many of the things that were told about us are lies..Renewing of our minds are so very important. Please do not read into this that I’m trying to start a debate. I just want to point out that if adults are labeling a 3 year old child on their sexuality because he likes to play with girlie things, how much of that is the little boy picking up on in subtle ways …he then enters the world and peers start the labels in grade school…he still doesn’t understand the sexuality part but the comments hurt cuz he is just being himself…so he grows a couple more years and learns more about sex..so he begins to feed his mind with the thoughts “am I?”…along with “everyone says I am..I must be.” I don’t know…I’m just saying that our minds our powerful in shaping who we think we are at a young age. Children hear more than we know and if they overhear something at a young age about themselves…it sticks with them.

  19. Tim says:

    Thanks Theresa. I appreciate your gracious spirit 🙂

  20. Tim says:

    Theresa and everyone else,

    Please understand that I am not judging or condemning homosexuals to hell. I have compassion for ANYONE struggling with ANY lifestyle past failures that hurts their relationship with or hinders them from having a relationship with God. I feel for Christians who have had an abortion, divorced and remarried(my own personal scarlet letter), committed murder, struggle with porn addiction, drug or alcohol addiction or any of the other “obvious” sins. I think local churches need to minister to all these groups including homosexuals. I don’t give a rip about WHC getting behind some marriage amendment. I simply believe a born again Christian will not continually, purposefully continue in a KNOW sin. They might fail. They might fail a lot. But at the very least, as part of sanctification, they will recognize their error and strive to overcome their “besetting” sin. The questions I’ve asked on my post are not rhetorical and I am not trying to cause strife. I’ve changed my views many times on many different issues and I am willing to always keep an open mind. I hope and pray Pastor Greg has a sermon or addresses this issue. God bless…..

  21. bonnie says:

    Tim, Joel and Theresa, thank you for your boldness. I agree with you all. We are to judge the sin, not the sinner. Gods wants us to show compassion like he did to people who are listening to the lies of satan. Theresa you have one view of how homosexuality may start in someone, which I thought was very insightive. There may be a number of reasons down to the hormones that are mostly in our bodies to genitals that are opposite of what they should be according to our features at birth and then the parents have to choose what sex to raise this child. And some may be because of a difficult relationships with opposite sex partners that satan may use to tell them it’s easier to have a relationship with the same sex. After all we understand that sexuality more. Whatever the reason for homosexuality, we still have to look to God’s word and that it says that it is sin. Should we still love them?, of course. Should we look down on them?, of course not. Just like any other sin, God says, if your brother is sinning, we need to bring them back to the word of God with love. What does God’s word say is what we should be focused on period.

  22. Tim says:


    Thanks for your kind input 🙂

  23. Jacob says:

    Good thoughts Tim, I like the way you think, which is why I love to listen to Greg, he challenges my thought processes. If we only listen to those who “tickle” our ears then what good is that?

    Greg did make a comment that I question, regarding people with wealth, which is a relative concept if you ever travel the world. He said that if you “have” then someone else does not. Like if there is a 100 USD in the world and you have 50 then there is only 50 for everyone else. Look at the history of business and those who created whole economies from nothing (apple…) Did they take to get? No, they improved the economies of the whole world!

    Our problem is that when our bank accounts start to shrink, that is when we start to hoard and point our fingers at those who have more. We think they (in our opinion) should have less.

    Should we not rather focus on a kingdom that has more than enough? A kingdom that has the answers for this worlds economies. We don’t need the money someone else has. We need to start living out of the creative hearts that is part of gods image in us. Fear causes economies to shrink, hope and faith cause them to expand!

  24. Marcus Magdalena says:

    Gay. Straight. Bisexual. Transgendered. Or, genderless. There are many. In the end, we are all human and what that means, differs, varies, points out the impeccable gift of individuality amidst the masses.
    My brother sent me this link. He is a pastor of the Baptist church. I love him, and not just because he is my brother but because, he is a brother. I am transgendered and have lived as a straight woman, a lesbian, a transgendered, a transsexual man both, gay and straight. I have lived with addictions, depression, suicide and homelessness. One does not have to be anything particular to live in oppression. Who does not live in oppression or under it? Who?
    Jesus made it clear, not just some of us, or those of us, may walk through the doors into the kingdom of heaven. ALL of us do, or none of us do. There is no fine line because, there is no line. Jesus never picked and choosed who to love or who to condemn. He made it clear, we are ALL children of God. From the Pastor who preaches, to the pauper who begs; from the Queen who rules, to the alcoholic who vomits; from the philanthropist with the open heart, to the murderer with seemingly no heart – ALL are children of God and it is only us who feel so compelled to judge, to condemn.
    I love my brother, just as I love all my brothers and sisters. Regardless of differences but most of all, because of our differences. I learn from the differences. I become more of a Divine child of God because of those differences – whatever ‘differences’ means.
    Personally…….there are no differences. There is only one.

  25. Tim says:

    I like that Jacob. I agree that the concept of wealth and riches are relative. And although we are not “of this world” in one sense, we truly are in another sense. We must have food, shelter and clothing and we can’t be salt to the world without interacting with people through work and other activities necessary to live. It would be great if we could all minister to the poor and needy full time on a daily basis but there is the practical aspect that it takes money(wealth) to do this. So building a company and hiring employees(many whom might be Christian) is another way of “spreading the wealth” and helping the poor. It’s the old “feed a man a fish vs teach a man to fish” analogy. I don’t put my trust in a in capitalism or any political party but I take full advantage of the opportunity to earn a good salary and take part in the political process. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to live and function in a free society and I’m very thankful for it. I don’t want to have “false guilt” about it. I do think God gifts certain people for certain things and I admire those who dedicate their lives to directly helping the needy for the Lord at the ground level. It seems like WH Church has a lot of those 🙂

  26. Jill says:

    Wow Marcus, what raw honesty, thank you for that. All of this leads back to the first 20 minutes where Greg more or less says lets not judge others sins because we all have our own list. It’s actually simple, it’s us humans that make it so complicated.

  27. Jill says:

    Oh, and just for the record Theresa, nobody labeled the three year old as gay at three, nor did we in his teens. But in his teens all of us, (seperately) wondered and truthfully, not one of this group of friends spoke even once to each other about it until he himself announced it. Then, along with his Mom we all discussed it together, and we talked about all his tendencies and how it all related. His Mom & Dad 100% did not label him and spoke nothing about it because they didn’t want to label him. They had hope right up until the very announcement. That hope was not because of disappointment he was gay, but rather disappointed for the life he has to now endure.

  28. Marcus Magdalena says:

    Jill, thank you for your response. This site is incredible. What I appreciate most is the impeccable listening skills and non-judgemental responses each gives and shares with one another.
    I applaud the nobility expressed. Because of this, it is my intention to remain connected to this site, on a regular basis.
    Love, Light, Gratitude and prosperity of Blessings to all.

  29. Jeff says:

    I reside in San Diego CA, read three of Pastor Greg Boyd’s books and have been watching his sermons for over 2 years now. I’m not too familiar with the proposal in Minnesota regarding supporting or opposing same sex marriage. California experienced a proposal (which didn’t past) a few years ago. Even though I agree whole heartedy with Pastor Boyd’s message regarding loving with Kingdom love. I do not agree with his assumption that Christians or those who profess to be should not look into anything other than the word of God, if it has anything to do with a voting issue.
    Yes, there’s biased anti gay feelings and actions toward the gay population. Love the sinner, but please do not support or tolerate the sin. Hard for us to do, but it is expected of us. Yes our society create laws for personal agendas. If we were truly a Christian (obviously we’re not) we would submit to the voters about dis allowing fornication. Imagine the venomous hatred that would stir up, in the secular and Christian society. So I get why Pastor Greg is teaching this message.
    Yes, Jesus did associate (eat and drink, not partied as we know it) with the prostitutes, tax collectors and all types of sinners. But remember, Jesus was with them because He knew that they knew they were sick and saw Him as The Holy Physician. Remember, Jesus called them to repentance. (See Mark 2:17)
    I believe that I most definately love sinners, including myself. But if we have an opportunity to vote on an Godly moral issue, we should not leave it up to our conscious, core values or religious beliefs. Pray for God’s wisdom, search the scriptures, trust in God and excercise your privilege to vote (iif you choose to) but vote in supporting the word of God. God bless you all and your courageous pastor. PS looking to invite others to my face book friends list. I would love to add W.H.members or those who follow the teachings of Pastor Greg. I will confirm all. 🙂 Seek (on Facebook) either Jeff Snow or Iamfaithfulone. I reside in San Diego CA.

  30. Theresa says:

    Jill, I understand…I really do. Please forgive me if my post sounded like it was to imply that you or the parents labled him. The post just brought up in my mind how our mind can be shaped into believing lies (labels) told to us by others growing up…so I know the same thing can happen in these situations. I feel bad if you took it that way…Again, please forgive me. My heart is telling me to stay away from posting…That’s a good thing for me….:)

  31. Tim says:

    Jeff said, “Yes, Jesus did associate (eat and drink, not partied as we know it) with the prostitutes, tax collectors and all types of sinners. But remember, Jesus was with them because He knew that they knew they were sick and saw Him as The Holy Physician. Remember, Jesus called them to repentance.”

    Exactly Jeff. As much as I love pastor Greg’s humble, non-judgmental heart and his refusal to conform to more traditional views and theology simply to be “orthodox”, sometimes I think he pictures Jesus more like Jeff Bridges character, Dude Lebowski, in The Big Lebowski than God in the flesh. I was guilty of viewing Jesus as much more harsh and stiff before I started listening to Greg a couple years ago and I am thankful him for helping me to change my perception of God. But after days of contemplating and praying about the first half of this sermon, I truly am afraid Greg has crossed the line between being non-judgmental and scoffing at sin. Jesus ministered to all types of sinners- “the sick”. He loved them. He interacted with them for an eternal purpose. I think it might be slightly irresponsible to say he “hung out” with sinners as if he lay around like “the Dude” all day. We are not instructed to love the sinner and not be judgmental so as to make this worldly kingdom a better, more comfortable platform for them miss out on The Kingdom of God from. We are to lovingly show them that their sin and ALL sin is what separates us from God and we need a savior to save us from those very sins. To suggest that, after being saved from our awful sins, we can purposefully, un-repentantly continue in them is not what the Bible teaches. (Rom. 6:1 and many. many others). When we fall back into our besetting sins(whether sexual sins, gossip, being greedy ect…) we should, at some point, “come to our-self” as did the prodigal son. I still want to here more from Pastor Greg on this because I don’t want to misunderstand his view on these matters.

    I also worry that Marcus, Jill and maybe some others on here are walking up close to the line of universalism. I’m not trying to be mean spirited I promise. Please show where I’m wrong here….

  32. Jill says:

    Good Morning,

    Theresa…don’t stop posting. I could see how you could think that, it sounded like we were saying the little guy was gay, so it definitely needed more explaining.

    I like this site. I don’t blog, never cared for FB and never Instant message, text or tweet, but like this site very much.

    As far as Greg and sin, here’s how I’m reading the message (s). I don’t feel at all that he’s “accepting” sin., nor am I. I think he’s telling us to not judge any one sin over the other and serve everyone in love and lead them towards Christ. And he’s telling us that Jesus didn’t judge anyone, rather hung out with them. By doing this, by not judging, and instead, shining our light into the world as Jesus did, it’s then we can have hope for transformation. If you love people but have all sorts of judgements about them, you’ll more likely push them away and that will not help them.

    The sermon the week before if you remember, Greg said, handling situations this way is a slower process, sometimes much slower, but that’s OK. By blurting out something like, Oh we love you, but you need to change, so start reading your Bible is almost never going to work. But leading them with love, kindness, gentleness and letting them see how Christ is working in our life will hopefully lead people into better choices.

    I feel like each day I grow closer to Christ, the more I make wise choices and the less I sin. I also recognize my sin more and know I need to stay close to Christ to make this work forever. The power of the Trinity is so amazing and our job is to lead people to this amazing power!

  33. Tim says:

    Jill I hear what your saying. I definitely don’t want to be the one who blurts out something preachy and insensitive. I want to love people into The Kingdom! I appreciate your comments. 🙂

  34. jay says:

    My comments on Greg’s message. If Greg could not get himself to imply vote yes, I will say it to the church…..Vote Yes!
    Why? It is not God’s model for marriage. Please show me where it is. If Greg says himself that God’s model is between a man and a woman, is he not being clear to the church? Apparently not by the debate going on here. I see where some think it’s permissible.

    ..He says that it seems christians are hyper focused {my interpretation} on homosexual behavior, marriage. This happens to be THE issue before the church TODAY and a big issue. Tomorrow it will be giving Polygamists their rights, then Euthanasia, then??? I will say that I did get his statement on an inner prejudice and that it does come into play with me. I confess that I have a prejudice but am willing to work with God to change me and become a new man.

    It seems the debate about the issue here is simply about personal feelings, emotion, human reasoning and “human” love. Not even considering what Truth says which does not consider the
    the above as a reliable course to guide our lives by. His love sent his son to a gruesome death on the cross as the ultimate example of agape love and self sacrifice of the flesh that thru it we may be empowered “if we choose” to live as the people of God. Darn hard!!

    I can only see that if this passes, it will have a huge effect on the school system and what we educate our children to believe. What other unforeseen “rights” are awaiting a powerful, money rich group to turn our culture against God’s model for His good life for his children.

    What confusion this sends to young children until they are all convinced.What a challenge for parents who disagree. What confusion to be adopted into a same sex family. It is not all how they says….happy family, these are deep struggles for children.

    It just goes on and on. This is an experiment. And it Will fail and cause lots of pain to people and change our culture. How can it not fail. Remember it is not a blessed lifestyle and advised by the One who knows what is best for these lost sheep on earth.

    I write this about this issue before us. I would not close the church doors on any person. All are welcome. I agree with Paul, I myself am the chief of sinners, believe me I know.

  35. Theresa says:

    Jay…thanks Jay!… Tim I share your hurt cuz its felt in me too.. Jill thank you. On a break at work but I do have more to post..later…:)

  36. Marcus Magdalena says:

    When I look at another and see them as needy, poor, sinner or anything that connotes as such, in that instant, I separate myself from my bother and sister.
    Who am I to judge that sister or brother as needy, poor, sinner or anything that implies such a picture.
    And who are you to do as such?
    Give me another answer than that the bible says its so, or that it is God’s word, or the preaching of Jesus.
    Give me something else.
    What is YOUR definition of Love?
    Who are you without your body?
    When were you actually born? On some day, at some time, some year ago? Or did you ever die?
    Why would you see ANYONE or ANYTHING outside of you?
    We were made in the image of God, and God makes no mistakes. God is perfect and perfect is absolute.
    There are no mistakes, and all is perfect. The macro is the image of the micro. Life is the experience and each moment, from small to large, dark to light, cold to hot, death to life, is Holy, Divine and one and the same.
    We have those, you, who believe in sinners, sin, judgement, and a God who has built walls, borders and prisons. And we have those, me, who believe in innocence, perfection, and oneness, no borders, walls or prisons. Is either of us right and the other wrong?
    Neither. It just is. And in my heart, it feels like this existence, this school house called life, is our opportunity to find balance within that teeter totter of imbalance; to see how both sides co-exist, and always will. Ego and God. Hell and Heaven.
    Where is the inbetween though? And what is it? The Buddhist believes that the pause between inhaling and exhaling is the place of God, of eternity. The Void is what Shamanism calls it. The Isness.
    Who is right? Who is wrong? No one. Someone.
    Who has sinned and who has not? No one. Someone.
    Than who is someone, apart from the no one?
    There isnt.
    And who am I to preach to you my philosophy?
    Good question, Marcus Magdalena.
    The thrill of living is to seek the answers, of which there are many, none being right or wrong, and of which all of them, always and inevitably lead home, to the One.

  37. Theresa says:

    This brings into rememberance of “Roe v Wade”….back then it was told that it would be used in very, very little cases…Well, we all know how that turned out. Once people see the issue as law, they can easily numb their conscience of God and call anything an unmoral issue. If they only knew..:(
    Believers need to give themselves a serious heartcheck and pray the Lord to reveal their motive. Being this is an issue of freedom of “love”, the blanket “love covers all” thinking is very shallow if the Believer is not taking Gods Word seriously in their life but instead is trying to get “approval” from others.
    I think people are getting really caught up in emotion (as Jay said)… Thoughts like ” I must be very careful people don’t think I’m a hater”…..Overboard in some cases to the point of people pleasing! We don’t need to do that. God knows our heart…He knows the compassion we have. Tim, its very obvious your heart is full of compassion ..:)
    One who is gay or one who is greedy, adulterous or whatever can still (in many cases) have a resisting heart to hearing the Gospel. That is what ALL mankind have in common. Even “good” people resist. Just as C.S.Lewis says..good people are the hardest people to reach because they believe they are good enough. Now how SAD is that? Every person has their reason for resisting. Even as Believers, our hearts want to resist surrender in areas…yet we know it is for our own good as we become more sensitive to the Holy Spirit…the result frees us…:)
    I like what Bruxy tweeted “Acceptance is not agreement And Love is not approval.” So we walk with Our Lord in love for EVERY unbeliever without compromise on Gods truth…If not, then expect to go swimming and jump through a lot of hoops cuz one can not spend a life of people pleasing AND experience freedom in Him at the same time.
    I know how I’m voting and let the chips fall where they may.

  38. Tim says:

    A “brother” or “sister” is a fellow Christian in biblical terms. These terms are used in NT books and obviously imply such. I have an natural, genetic brother and sister but they are not the same thing the Bible speaks of in the NT when speaking of a brother or sister. So we are already “separated” from those who are not born again believers. I’m sincerely sorry if that is offensive but it is true. The Bible tells us to, “come out from among them and be ye “separate”, meaning don’t participate or encourage their sin. Obviously we are to love and witness to them. As for actual Christian brothers and sisters, Paul instructs Timothy on discipline of a fellow believer who is committing an overt, sexual in nature, sin. The man is not willing to stop and repent so the church “separates”-in a sense- from him to hopefully drive him toward repentance.

    Yes man was made in the image of God and that includes one of His greatest attributes-Freewill. This freewill led to the fall(Adam and Eve). Since then we have all been fallen creatures. So now we have to exercise that same freewill and choose to surrender our life to God through Jesus Christ, the only human who never sinned. We ALL (homosexual, liar, murderer, thief, proud…)must do this to truly be a “brother” or “sister” in Christ.

    You seem to be mixing many PHILOSOPHIES with a few Christian concepts (very common in Biblical times as well with the gnostics and others) and this all leads to a “oneness”, New Age, universalism type mentality. You are confusing Christian theology and doctrine with philosophy so I won’t be able to spend anymore time debating you on this subject as we are a thousand miles apart. I appreciate your kind spirit and I say all this in the loving hope that you will consider what I’m saying.

  39. Tim says:

    Theresa I’m so glad you understand I’m not trying to be “preachy” or mean spirited and I appreciate your post very much!

    “Acceptance is not agreement…”

    I agree in the sense that you can accept a person in one sense(love them, minister to them, feed them, give them shelter…) while not agreeing with them on certain issues or lifestyles. I like that…

  40. Marcus Magdalena says:


    I forgive you.
    I love you.
    you are
    in deed
    take care.

  41. Jeff says:

    Tim and Theresa and all . Even though I do not attend WoodlandHills. I love your pastor and you guys. I ‘m moved by how you all addressed this sensitive topic, with love and wisdom. I will pray for your state that God’s truth (who is the Author of truth)on marriage will be heard. Love all, but love the truth of God more than anything. For without He and His truth, none of us would have the ability to love anyone, hererosexuals or homosexuals alike. God bless us all.

  42. Theresa says:

    Yes Tim…That is exactly how I read into that quote from Bruxy. I’m glad you clarified the meaning in your post….:)

  43. Denley says:

    This is a good conversation. It is insightful, honest and raw with emotions. I would like to add that Jesus was aware sexual issues or struggles with men, either from birth defects or genital mutilation:

    “Jesus told them, “Only those people who have been given the gift of staying single can accept this teaching. Some people are unable to marry because of birth defects or because of what someone has done to their bodies. Others stay single for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Anyone who can accept this teaching should do so.” (Matthew 19:11-12 CEV)

    One thing I do remember as we struggle with sin our own lives, Christ loves us during the struggle. In fact, Christ is glad when we do, because the inner war (or desire) to serve him proves our loyalty to him. Nevertheless, since Christ owns our body and life, He commands us not to give up and do whatever we can to serve him in regards to our sexuality:

    “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. So if your eye—even your good eye[l]—causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your hand—even your stronger hand[m]—causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” (Matthew 5:27-30 NLT)

    A single pet sin is not THE mark if someone is not a Christian. It is the lack of a Spirit-filled fight inside toward the call and life of Jesus, which expresses itself as a constellation or pattern of sin, which includes sexual immorality:

    “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.

    When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:16-21)

    If we want to follow the life of Jesus, it is going to be a bitter fight inside to the end, but our reward awaits us when we do. I hope that helps a bit.

  44. Jesse says:

    Hi, I was just introduced to your church recently by a pastor/friend of mine, but am a regular attender of COH in Rosemount. You all have an awesome ministry and I would love to be a part of it, specially with the homeless as I have worked in rescue missions. Anyway, my question is, the lady wrote and in her letter, she asked, “aren’t we supposed to take a stand against sin?” It seemed like the answer got kinda marginalized to me. So I guess my question would be, “aren’t we?” and “where is the dividing line?” Where do we draw the line between acceptance and compromise?
    Have an awesome day! God Bless your ministry!

  45. CameronW says:

    I don’t really trust Christians or find Christianity moral. But I do hope that Christan organizations and people start realizing that gay marriage WILL become a national reality and find some reconciliation.

  46. Denley says:

    Hi Cameron,

    Are you saying Jesus was not moral? Are you also saying that it was wrong for Jesus to tell his people who are his genuine followers to share and/or proclaim (never force) a way of being/living to others who are genuinely searching for an alternative as such that is beyond themselves?

  47. Robert W says:

    Thank you for not being afraid to speak the truth. God’s love is a powerful thing but also a dangerous thing It cost Jesus and his early followers their lives as it is still doing today in a lot of the world. One of my favorite passages in the bible is in the book of Luke where the woman came in and washed His feet with her tears and anointed them with oil. He said her sins which are many are forgiven because she loved much. I know that I personally feel more comfortable with “sinners” than with the average “christian” You said once that when folks ask you if you are a christian you answer “I try to be a follower of Christ.” I have been using that expression since then. God bless you I wish there was a congregation here like yours but i don’t think so. Happy Thanksgiving

  48. Andy says:

    I love this sermon–especially the beginning.

    I think Greg has once again challenged people to abandon their carefully crafted comfort zones and really begin to think about the nature of reality and the kind of humility we need to have as brothers and sisters in Christ.

    It is interesting that none of the people who disagree with Greg began to doubt or examine themselves closely.

    I think that science has made it quite clear over many decades that homosexuality is not something that you “fall into” because of “subtle signals” from parents or having too many dolls or because of any other fancy social mechanism we can come up with.
    These are real people we are talking about.
    Over and over again, those who have put forward these theories have been embarrassed at the results (to the shame of Christians in the media).

    Until the church learns humility in this area we are going to limp from one scandal to another and lose even more credibility in the process.

    Thanks for the message, Greg.

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