Under God's Roof

“The Lord used my brokenness so others would know that they don’t have to feel alone, unloved, and ultimately, homeless. Home is a place where we feel safe, covered, and loved. Apart from God, we’re all homeless. When my mind, will, and emotions moved under God’s roof, the ‘yeses’ of obedience became much easier.” – Burlon Leffall III

“I noticed the graffiti as soon as I arrived at Watermark early before re:generation on Monday afternoon,” said Burlon Leffall III. “Someone had scrawled angry accusations of hate and racism on the doors. It was on my heart to discreetly help clean it and reflect on Psalm 84:10, ‘For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.’ If not for God’s grace, perhaps I’d be the one attempting a ‘Banksy’ at the doors, instead.

“If I hadn’t found eternal life in Christ alone, I might lash out against Christians whom I deemed as hateful. Apart from Christ, I certainly wouldn’t be worried about biblical truth or seeking out what God’s Word says about my race in lieu of Christ’s brotherhood, my same-sex attraction, His kingdom versus the nations, or anything else. I might prefer to dispute the beliefs of others instead addressing my pain, frustration, and sin within. I would view believers as a representation of everything that made my life difficult, rather than taking a fearless inventory of my own heart.

“It’s actually a story from one of God’s people right here at Watermark that caused me to confront a secret sin that had been growing alongside my faith for many years. What are the odds that on an initial visit to Watermark, a father would share his story in Watermark News about his struggle with same-sex attraction? I read it repeatedly and couldn’t escape feeling exposed. As I left, it felt like the Lord said to me, ‘Shall we begin?’

“That was one of several moments of surrender in my walk with the Lord. The first was when I was in grade school, and I trusted Christ as my Savior. The second was in college at the Savannah College of Art and Design. The intimidation of being Christian at an international art university was no joke, and I wanted to take responsibility for my faith. So I decided to read my Bible all the way through so I could get to know the Lord. As I learned more about His character, the Lord was no longer some dry, distant entity. God was active in my life and answered many of my questions.

“While my faith was growing, there was a weed growing alongside it. I struggled with same-sex attraction and an addiction to pornography. I knew what the Bible said about homosexuality, so I reasoned that because I never had a physical relationship with someone, it was less destructive or would phase away. Pornography became my drug of choice and regret became my fake repentance. Each prayer for forgiveness was just a timer being reset.

“By God’s grace, I said ‘no’ to other temptations, although the boundaries of my conviction weakened. One night, I cried out to God because I felt my soul splitting. I knew what I was dealing with was sin, but I didn’t see a way out. It was hard.

“I started looking for a new church, and when I came to Watermark, I read a story about a man whose struggle was a lot like mine. I was ready for change, but I knew I couldn’t be 97% committed. I had to be all-in with the Lord!

“The first time I admitted my struggle with same-sex attraction to another human being was at re:generation, Watermark’s biblical recovery ministry. It was hard to confess that every week because I still wrongly thought that sin was different from all others in God’s eyes. The Lord faithfully led me into a ‘new normal’ and challenged me to trust Him more and leave the consequences at His throne. Perhaps the light that was shed on my sin could be a beacon of hope for someone sailing through rough waters of shame, pride, and fear. God was faithful to me and to the many other brothers and sisters at re:gen.

“As time passed, I went from reluctantly confessing my sin to sharing my story openly, pursuing full devotion to Christ, becoming a re:gen leader, and leading a community group. After accepting the Lord’s freedom from the slavery of fear, life is so different. The Lord used my brokenness so others would know that they don’t have to feel alone, unloved, and ultimately, homeless.

“Home is a place where we feel safe, covered, and loved. Apart from God, we’re all homeless. When my mind, will, and emotions moved under God’s roof, the ‘yeses’ of obedience became much easier. I have learned that we are all equally in need of His grace. Psalm 84:10 presents the option of being a lowly, peon of a doorkeeper versus being VIP in the lavishness of a beautiful lie. I would rather be a doorkeeper, but now I am more than that. I am a son. Today I welcome friends and family to be fully known and fully loved, rather than simply inviting people to church. Whoever you’ve been, whatever you are, however you look, Christ is welcoming you home.”

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