SPEAKING MINISTRY: PURE LIFE MINISTRIES- FEB 2020
I recently had the opportunity to preach for a Sunday morning service at Pure Life Ministries’ residential program in Dry Ridge, Kentucky. Many who know me are already aware of the amazing work that happens at that location. But for those who do not, Pure Life Ministries has a residential program for men who are trapped in sexual sin. About seventy men are there at any given time. The program is designed to point people to the One who can break any bondage, Jesus Christ. I went through the program nine years ago, and the Lord did a deep work of repentance that transformed my life and ministry.
The interesting thing about the program is that it attracts mostly men who are involved in Christianity to some degree. Even after I spoke, I had a chance to talk to some of these men. Some are missionaries, ushers, pastors or faithful church attenders. And yet, the devil had deceived them to believe that they can have their sin and still walk with Christ, just like I had believed. By the Lord’s mercy, He brought them to a point where they end up in a place like Pure Life Ministries, and there He begins to reveal their hearts, peeling layer after layer of pride and deception off, so that they can find true repentance and a rich relationship in Christ. It truly is a miracle factory.
Any time I have a chance to return, it is like going home. So much happened in my life during my time in the program, it is like every square foot of campus is sacred ground to me. There are so many memories of the most painful—and yet beautiful—season of my spiritual journey. But the greatest blessing is having an opportunity to share with the men in the program from the Word of God.
The message that I preached came through much wrestling. The Lord very clearly gave me a couple of texts, but it took a lot of struggle to hear what He wanted me to say about them. He really opened up to me the character of Esau in a way that I had never seen before. I spoke about him as a carnal man who chose to live for self rather than inherit the amazing covenant of God given to his grandfather, Abraham. The story of Esau selling his birthright shows this clearly. In fact, the writer of Hebrews uses Esau as an example of who we ought not to be as believers:
“See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son.” Hebrews 12:16 (NIV)
When I dug into the story more, I began to understand why the Bible refers to Esau as a profane or godless man. By living for self for so long, his heart was conditioned to respond in the flesh. And he lost his appetite for the things of God. His lifestyle and his family tree show the dire consequences of living this way.
I related this story to what Paul says in Galatians about walking in the flesh and not the Spirit:
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” Galatians 5:16-17
I shared about how this area of walking in the Spirit is something the Lord has really been challenging me with over the years. This is where the battle takes place in our lives as believers. I encouraged the men that they need to learn to fight now if they are going to not only find victory over sexual sin, but live a fruitful life in God. When I gave the altar call, the altar was filled with men crying out to the Lord. It was a beautiful sight to see men humbling themselves before Him. Several stuck around to share with me about how the message had impacted them, glory to God!
I was humbled to be used by God in this way. This is one reason I am so thankful that the Lord called me to establish Make Way Ministries, so that men like these can connect with God in a life-changing way. Thank you to all of you who are praying and supporting this ministry. If you would like to become a financial partner in this ministry, you can do so with the donate button.
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DUSTIN RENZ is the President of Make Way Ministries, a non-profit organization that exists to see the world changed one Christian at a time. He has a passion to see the Body of Christ find rich intimacy in their relationship with Jesus and step out in faith to share the Gospel with the world around them. He is the author of Pile of Masks: Exposing Christian Hypocrisy and Something Better. He resides in Dayton, Ohio with his wife and three daughters.