Participants: Jennifer Jill Schwirzer (Host), David Guerrero, Dr. Jean Wright II, Michael Carducci, Shelley Wiggins
Series Code: MOC
Program Code: MOC000023A
00:26 We are taking on the hot topic today
00:29 at the Multitude of Counselors Program
00:32 and the title of our Program is: Coming out.
00:35 Yes, we're going to be talking about homosexuality.
00:38 Let me define it first.
00:41 Same-sex attraction called homosexuality
00:43 is being attracted to one's own sex.
00:46 In some cases, this may be quite fixed and inflexible,
00:52 in other cases,
00:53 individuals are attracted both ways...
00:55 to both sexes...
00:56 in other cases,
00:58 individuals may have that mindset for a period of time
01:02 or that preference for a period of time
01:04 and they may be able to transition,
01:05 it does happen
01:06 or they may have begun their life journey
01:09 opposite-sex attracted...
01:12 and moved into the same-sex lifestyle and attraction,
01:15 sexuality is quite flexible
01:17 and there are sources both within Christian thinking
01:22 and outside of Christian pro-gay thinking
01:26 that acknowledge that.
01:27 So we're just saying that there is some flexibility here.
01:30 What about prevalence?
01:32 From what I understand and the statistics I've looked at,
01:36 about 3.5 percent of the population
01:39 is either homosexual, lesbian or bisexual.
01:42 We haven't yet identified a "gay gene" or "gay brain"
01:47 but some... in my thinking...
01:49 some biological factors could be at play...
01:52 for instance, there is something called
01:54 "Fraternal Birth Order Effect" the summary...
01:59 each subsequent son a woman bears,
02:02 has a greater likelihood of turning out homosexual,
02:07 now, that could be from issues that are not biological,
02:10 because the older brother sexually abused the younger man,
02:14 we don't know exactly,
02:15 correlation does not equal causality
02:17 but there could be some biological factors at play
02:20 because the brain is a complex organ.
02:22 Traumas of various kinds
02:26 can predispose an individual to homosexuality.
02:30 Attachment styles of parents can predispose individuals
02:34 to attachment-styles prevalent in same-sex partner populations.
02:39 Same-sexual abuse can erotize same-sex relationships
02:44 so there are a number of causative factors.
02:46 What about prognosis and treatments?
02:48 Well, this is where things get difficult
02:51 because in 1973, the American Psychiatric Association
02:55 took homosexuality out of the diagnostic manual
02:58 so it is not considered by the APA to be a disorder
03:01 so, we're walking on egg shells here,
03:04 trying to parse this thing out correctly
03:07 but, having said that,
03:10 individuals that have same-sex attraction,
03:13 can't necessarily pray the "gay" away
03:16 and so, we're trying to be very realistic about this.
03:19 just because an individual may choose
03:21 to come out the gay lifestyle as our guest today has done
03:24 does not mean that poof... as soon as he makes that choice,
03:28 he's opposite sex attracted...
03:29 and, of course, he's going to be unpacking that
03:31 much better than I could...
03:32 the title of our talk today...
03:34 our Program today is: Coming Out
03:36 and our guest is Michael Carducci.
03:38 I love you Michael... Michael: I love you too.
03:39 Jennifer: I'm so glad you're here,
03:41 thank you for doing just about every hairstyle
03:43 in this whole place... you're awesome.
03:44 We also have a wonderful panel of Counselors,
03:47 we have David... Biblical Counselor,
03:50 David Guerrero from Wisconsin,
03:52 we have Licensed Professional Counselor,
03:54 Shelly Wiggins from Michigan
03:56 and Dr. Jean Wright from Philadelphia.
03:58 Thank you, each one of you, for coming to our Program today.
04:01 So, let's get into the story, you have an amazing story
04:04 get us started... start it right in the beginning, right?
04:08 Sure, yeah, well, it's interesting
04:09 because when I tell my story, it begins with my father.
04:12 My dad was in the Navy,
04:13 he'd be gone three to six months at a time,
04:16 my dad was Italian and known for his temper
04:19 so, when my dad was home,
04:21 he was abusive and loud and angry
04:23 so, that was a little frightening when he was home,
04:25 but for the most part,
04:26 it was just my sisters and my mom and me
04:29 when my dad would be out of town for three to six months
04:31 so, very early on...
04:34 and this was a lightning bolt idea for me
04:37 is when I heard that "Defensive Detachment"
04:39 can happen even before the ages of consciousness,
04:42 so, between the ages of one and three
04:44 when most of the boys start to recognize
04:45 that they're not like their moms
04:47 and they wear baseball caps like their dad,
04:49 because they're identifying with their gender,
04:51 my dad wasn't available or he was loud and angry
04:54 so, for me, even before I was conscious,
04:56 I detached from my father as my role model
04:59 and so, the only one left was my mom.
05:00 And so that's called the sense of "Detachment" yeah.
05:04 So, people would ask me, "Mike, were you born gay?"
05:07 And I would think back
05:08 and I couldn't imagine a time when I wasn't different,
05:11 I knew that when I started Grade School,
05:13 that I was different than the other boys
05:14 and they were quick to remind me or to pigeon-hole me
05:18 and call me, "Sissy, Queer, Fagot... "
05:20 so, all of these were... were...
05:23 all of these comments along with the behaviors at home
05:27 were locking me into this identity
05:29 that I didn't necessarily want but I felt like I had no choice
05:31 and I felt that I was born that way.
05:34 Jennifer: Hmmm... hmmm... wow!
05:37 At what age did you feel like you were born that way?
05:39 I was six years old when I knew
05:41 that I was different than the other kids in school.
05:43 I didn't have same-sex attraction
05:45 but I had this... I had this innate curiosity
05:48 about what men were like
05:49 and because my dad was so absent in the home...
05:52 Jennifer: So unavailable.
05:53 Michael: Right, right, right, so I had this curiosity about
05:55 what would it be like to see, you know, a man naked...
05:58 but it wasn't sexualized and I was never abused as a kid.
06:01 Shelly: When did it switch from...
06:04 you knew something was different
06:06 to becoming sexualized
06:09 you talked about your early teenage years.
06:10 Michael: Sure, it's interesting, I have a story that I tell...
06:14 I was... I went to ten schools within twelve years
06:17 with my education...
06:18 in Third Grade, I went to three different schools
06:20 so, even if I got a friend that was a male...
06:22 you know, a healthy, masculine identity...
06:25 you know, guys just playing together with guys
06:27 because girls are gross
06:28 because during those developmental years,
06:30 all of it is masculinity affirming masculinity
06:34 so I didn't have that
06:35 so I had this curiosity but most of the time,
06:37 I was playing with the girls, I was a great jump-roper
06:40 and hopscotch player so I went to the school,
06:43 I remember, it was in Dearborn, Michigan
06:45 and the school system was so wealthy
06:47 that they actually had built-in swimming pools
06:49 in their school districts
06:51 and I remember in Eighth Grade,
06:52 getting ready to go to Gym Class
06:54 and the boys had the swimming pool for a week
06:56 and then the girls would have it
06:57 so I'm putting on my bathing suit
06:59 and I realize that none of the other guys are
07:01 Eighth Grade... that's what? 14 years old...
07:03 I'm still a late bloomer and I'm a short little guy
07:06 that's been taunted and teased all my life
07:08 and so I put on my bathing suit
07:09 and realized that nobody else did
07:11 well then, I got snapped with towels
07:13 and taunted and teased until I took off my bathing suit
07:16 so here I am...
07:17 Jennifer: And they were all naked.
07:19 Michael: Everyone was naked and this was just expected
07:21 so here we are doing jumping jacks on the side of the pool
07:24 and pairing up for sit-ups...
07:25 so what that did is...
07:26 that heightened the gender dysphoria that I had
07:29 because again, I thought that I should have been a girl...
07:32 I thought that God made a mistake
07:33 but I thought that God was so arbitrary...
07:36 it's like, "Mmmm... no Mike,
07:37 I did it because I wanted to... "
07:39 and I would pray that God would change me,
07:41 I would pray that I would wake up the next day
07:42 and I would be a girl
07:44 and then everything would be okay.
07:45 So, here I am in Eight Grade...
07:47 the emasculation was so strong that that was actually the year
07:51 that I remember my desire to be a female was the strongest.
07:54 I grew my hair up past my shoulders,
07:56 I remember, walking out into the backyard
07:59 in the night... in a bathrobe,
08:00 fantasizing as the wind would blow through the robe
08:03 like, it was a dress and through my hair...
08:05 but I believe now... looking back
08:07 that that was also the height of the emasculation
08:10 that I was experiencing even in the school.
08:12 If they have rules now that they would actually intervene
08:16 for a child like me
08:17 and that if I expressed that I was transgender
08:20 and that I wanted to be a girl,
08:22 that the Government would step in
08:23 and start giving me the hormone therapy
08:25 so that I could transition to be the female
08:27 that I always felt that I needed to be,
08:29 however, when I was 20 years old and came out in the Gay culture,
08:33 again, up until 20... I believed that I needed to become a woman
08:36 to be right with God and to also be right with Society,
08:39 but at 20-years-old... when I came out into the Gay bars,
08:42 I realized, "Wow! masculinity is more desirable than femininity
08:46 so if I just butch it up a little bit
08:47 and work out in the gyms... "
08:49 then I found that I got all of the male attention
08:51 that I was desperate for... and the Gender Dysphoria was gone
08:54 so if I would have mutilated my body
08:56 to make it appear more feminine,
08:58 can you imagine the private purgatory
09:01 that I would have been in now with the situation of where...
09:04 "Oh wow! now I'm not either and I'm a mess" and...
09:07 and the rejection I'm sure would have been even stronger.
09:10 Giving children puberty suppressing hormones
09:14 to delay puberty is just shocking to me but I guess...
09:16 Michael: And they're going to be on these hormones
09:19 for the rest of their lives
09:20 and that in itself is life threatening.
09:22 Jennifer: Yeah, and we don't know the long-term effect...
09:24 from what I understand on the bones
09:26 and, you know hormones are pretty potent.
09:29 Shelly: No doubt that this is a hot topic
09:32 and there are so many facets to this
09:35 but Michael, take us a little further into your story...
09:39 you... from High School... then you said...
09:42 you went into the full culture for... what... 20 years?
09:46 Michael: Hmmm... hmmm... yeah...
09:48 from 20 years old until 40.
09:49 Shelly: And then, something happened...
09:51 what... what happened?
09:53 Michael: At 40?
09:54 Jennifer: Well, tell us, whatever you want to tell us.
09:57 Shelly: We want your story.
09:58 Michael: Well, I thought that the best that I could give God
10:02 was that, if I had a monogamous relationship with one man,
10:05 that... that maybe God would understand
10:06 that this was the best that I could do.
10:08 Just before I went into the Gay culture,
10:10 I handpicked one guy in the church that I thought
10:12 I could share my story with
10:14 and it took months to pick him out,
10:16 every week at church, I would watch him
10:18 and I said, "He's the one... "
10:19 so, one night, after Prayer Meeting,
10:21 I sat down with him... he said, "What's up Mike?"
10:22 and I said, "Well, it has to do with women"
10:24 and before I even had a chance
10:27 to even say what what I was going to share,
10:29 he said something so derogatory about women
10:31 that I knew I wasn't safe,
10:32 there was no way I was going to share my secret with him,
10:35 I listened to him attentively, I thanked him for his time
10:38 and I walked out of church that night
10:39 and I said to God, "I'm done...
10:40 I can't get my sexuality and my religion to come together
10:44 this is what you give me...
10:45 to share my story with... or whatever... "
10:47 and I said, "I'm out of here... "
10:49 and that was when I turned and went into Gay culture
10:51 so, as I went into gay culture, I picked...
10:53 my first lover was someone very much like my father,
10:57 he had a lot of rage and anger, he was an alcoholic,
11:00 he was physically abusive, verbally abusive,
11:03 and he introduced me to all kinds of sexual things
11:07 that I never even considered or thought of
11:09 and within just a few short months,
11:10 I had become a sexual addict...
11:12 unfaithful in the five significant relationships
11:15 that I had within that 20-year period
11:17 and... and as time went on,
11:19 the addiction got deeper and darker.
11:21 Hmmm... Wow!
11:22 Then you had some kind of invitation from your sister
11:26 that you thought was a little odd one day...
11:29 This is what I hope that everyone will get
11:32 and the most powerful thing I think about my story is
11:35 what my sisters did on my behalf.
11:36 My sisters loved me unconditionally...
11:40 without a doubt...
11:41 and I thought that they accepted me
11:42 in my homosexual identity
11:45 because I think that they kind of believed as I did
11:47 that that was the only option that I had
11:49 they never restricted me
11:51 from interacting with my nieces and nephews,
11:53 they always invited my lovers and I... over for holiday meals
11:56 but they were praying for me,
11:58 they were intentionally praying for me
12:00 and if it hadn't been for their prayers...
12:02 because I wasn't praying for myself,
12:03 I wasn't broken... I didn't want anyone's pity
12:06 but they were secretly praying for me
12:08 but overtly loving me
12:09 and in that process,
12:11 God was able to reach down at the height
12:13 of my sexual addiction, at the height of my career,
12:16 I thought I had the world by the tail,
12:17 I had a rich boyfriend,
12:19 we both had convertible Mercedes,
12:20 houses with pools, condos on the lake,
12:22 I was doing television... people's hair...
12:24 it's like... it's like the enemy was giving me everything
12:27 but the Lord was still able to reach
12:30 and pass all of that through my sisters' prayers
12:33 and an invitation came
12:35 to where I accepted Jesus as my Savior
12:37 now there's a lot of detail that goes with that
12:38 but in essence, I believe that if we stop praying for people
12:43 that... if we accept this as an option from God...
12:47 or that God has changed His opinion according to His Word,
12:50 then when you stop praying for people like me...
12:52 then that cuts off any hope for them.
12:54 So the fact that your sister kept praying for you...
12:56 Michael: Sisters... 3 of them...
12:58 Jennifer: Three... so you end up accepting Jesus and then...
13:00 you left the lifestyle or...?
13:01 David: Well they were praying for you
13:03 but they were also showing love for you and not excluding you
13:05 and God's love was demonstrated to you.
13:08 Michael: One of my sisters was my assistant at my salon
13:10 and my lover and I owned the salon,
13:13 I had other gay hairdressers that worked for us,
13:15 she wasn't just that way to me...
13:16 she was that way to everyone
13:18 and that was why I thought that she accepted me
13:21 as a gay person,
13:23 I didn't think that she even had an issue with that,
13:25 but what was so amazing is the night before I got baptized...
13:28 and I came in just under the wire...
13:30 nobody knew that I was gay, I wasn't sharing that...
13:33 I came in on the last night and the preacher made a call
13:35 and that night... in the parking lot... my sister said,
13:37 "So, what are you going to do with your boyfriend?"
13:40 I looked at her and said, "Nothing, I'm gay...
13:42 I was born this way, I tried to change,
13:44 I prayed that God would heal me, that never happened... "
13:46 I said, "All I know...
13:48 is that Jesus loves me
13:49 and that's why I'm getting baptized. "
13:51 Shelly: Amen... amen...
13:52 Michael: All right, but... so the next day I was baptized
13:54 with a boyfriend and a sexual addiction.
13:56 Shelly: Then you began a process Michael: Thank you.
13:58 Shelly: A process began... people don't understand...
14:01 it's not an instant... or suddenly...
14:03 you began something and that was what... 17 years ago?
14:06 Michael: Yeah, so the event was...
14:08 is that... I went into the water and came out
14:11 making an open profession that I was following Jesus
14:14 and I'm sorry to say that in my limited understanding,
14:17 I wasn't accepting an invitation to be an Adventist,
14:20 I was accepting an invitation to follow Jesus.
14:22 Jennifer: Which should be the same thing.
14:24 Michael: Okay, but I think that
14:26 people really get bent about... a little bit
14:29 is the process... and I get it...
14:30 I don't think that any pastor should
14:32 knowingly baptize somebody who is openly gay...
14:35 but I believe that God was using it in a way
14:38 to begin this journey with me,
14:40 "God's ways are not our ways
14:42 and His thoughts are not our thoughts... "
14:44 so, all of a sudden, I'm baptized now
14:46 and my boyfriend is telling me
14:47 that my church doesn't believe in homosexual practice
14:50 and I said, "I don't care... "
14:51 but during that time... the Lord...
14:53 I was experiencing Him in a way
14:56 that I never experienced Him before
14:58 and it was invitational and it was loving...
15:01 it wasn't at all how I saw my father
15:04 and an example of what I thought what God was,
15:07 this arbitrary God that was looking to take me out
15:09 or to punish me and so,
15:11 I couldn't stop following that kind of God
15:14 and eventually, I prayed and I said,
15:16 "Lord, if you want me out of that relationship,
15:18 you're going to have to do it yourself... "
15:19 and three weeks later, my boyfriend and I...
15:21 we were holding each other and he said,
15:23 "You know, things have changed and... and I need a break... "
15:25 and this peace came over me and I knew
15:27 that the Lord had intervened in my life.
15:29 David: Amen.
15:30 Michael: But the hard part really came after that...
15:32 when I went home and realized that I was alone...
15:35 and that if God took away my boyfriend,
15:37 then He's telling me that...
15:38 that I can't have another boyfriend
15:40 and so, I'm not straight... my attractions haven't changed
15:43 and so I thought,
15:44 "Well, I'll never know what it's like to love again... "
15:46 and during that time, it was dark...
15:48 I couldn't share it with my sister,
15:49 she would have been overjoyed...
15:51 I couldn't share with my friends because they would have said,
15:53 "Mike, you're gay... go back to your boyfriend. "
15:55 So, during that time, it was just me and Jesus Christ
15:58 and I realize now that through my sobs...
16:00 that it was Jesus that was holding me
16:03 and I can even look back and feel His presence
16:07 and that was Jesus that was telling me
16:09 that He loved me,
16:10 and you know something?
16:12 There was great healing during that time for me.
16:14 David: So... so, Jesus brought you to a place
16:17 where you were alone with Him
16:19 so that He could love you.
16:21 Michael: Right... right... because you know something?
16:23 I was so busy filling my time with...
16:26 with any social engagement that I could
16:28 because I really hated to be alone
16:31 and to have look at not only who I'd become
16:34 but also the fact that I was this desperate, lonely person
16:37 even in the gay culture,
16:38 even when I was surrounded by friends and lovers
16:41 that I thought loved me and took care of me.
16:44 Jennifer: How much did the conviction that this was wrong
16:49 fuel or enable or strengthen you to make those changes?
16:53 Michael: Whew!
16:55 Jennifer: I know, it's a hard one.
16:56 Michael: I went kicking and screaming... you know,
16:58 some people say, "Oh... it's like a...
16:59 you know, you flip the switch...
17:00 and okay... I'm going to go in this direction... "
17:02 you know, I didn't think that it was possible
17:04 and because of what I'd been hearing from the world...
17:07 and then even... because of examples
17:09 that I never saw in the church,
17:10 I didn't think it was possible
17:12 and so, I thought that God would miraculously
17:14 have a magic wand to hit me over the head
17:17 and I'd be straight...
17:18 ready to date, mate and procreate...
17:20 but again, that didn't happen and so I thought,
17:23 "I must be doing something wrong... "
17:26 again, coming from a works-oriented
17:28 you know... beginning or life
17:31 I thought that I had to be good to deserve God's goodness
17:34 and so, in that misunderstanding,
17:36 Jesus was so patient and
17:38 there were times that I would even act out
17:40 because I was so used to the rejection of my father,
17:43 the rejection of the kids, the rejection of lovers
17:45 and the people that I allowed to use me that I used,
17:48 it's like, I thought, "It's just a matter of time
17:50 and Jesus is going to get sick of me too
17:52 and so, I would act out sexually and I would come back to God,
17:55 and I would just say,
17:57 "Well, that's who I am... you still want me?"
18:00 And I did it defiantly and rebelliously to basically say,
18:03 "Well, let's get this over with because there's no way
18:06 that I'm going to be everything you want to be. "
18:07 Jennifer: "You're going to hate me now. "
18:09 Michael: Yeah, "If you're going to hate me,
18:10 hate me now rather than later. "
18:12 And you know what? What was so powerful
18:13 was that Jesus' answer to me
18:14 was the same every time, He said, "I'm not rejecting you,
18:17 I'm staying... I've already paid for that... "
18:20 Shelly: So you were trying to, like create some self-rejection
18:24 and push away and just push and push...
18:25 Michael: I was used to that, every man in my life...
18:27 beginning with my father... now, Jesus is a man...
18:30 so, doesn't it make sense?
18:32 And I think that the really sad part of my sexual addiction was
18:35 was really the fulfillment of Proverbs 27...
18:37 where it talks about...
18:39 that if you've had a full meal, you don't eat dessert...
18:41 but to somebody who's starving,
18:42 even something bitter will satisfy
18:44 and so, my sexual addiction began
18:46 because I was just genuinely wanting to be loved by a man,
18:50 but what I found is that it wasn't satisfying that emptiness
18:53 and so, it began this addictive drive
18:55 where I was acting out three times a day
18:57 and as many times as four times a week
18:58 and 20 years of that,
19:00 I had sex with men unprotected...
19:02 and they'd be dead three months later
19:04 and yet, that was never enough to stop me from my behavior.
19:08 David: And so, you wanted to be loved by a man
19:11 and a man loved you... His name was Jesus.
19:13 Michael: And I can't believe... what's so profound to me...
19:16 I can't believe that the love of Jesus
19:18 is enough to keep me from acting out sexually
19:21 when nothing else did.
19:22 I could have a man in my bed and it still didn't stop me
19:26 but having Jesus in my heart has been an experience where...
19:29 Jennifer: When you say, "I could have a man... "
19:31 you could be a couple with someone
19:33 and you would still go outside that relationship...
19:35 Michael: Yeah, I still couldn't be faithful...
19:36 David: Until Christ came in.
19:38 Shelly: Are you saying it wasn't fulfilling enough?
19:40 It was empty... what...?
19:43 Michael: When I go back to that person who I was,
19:45 I thought that it was...
19:46 I thought that, "Well, I just didn't have any discipline"
19:49 and I wasn't going to pass up an opportunity
19:53 it was kind of the total... self-focused...
19:56 well... and part of it was like taking care of myself
19:59 and again, because of so much rejection in gay culture,
20:02 it's like, "You'd better get what you're going to get...
20:04 because... pretty soon you'll be bald and fat and old
20:07 and you're not going to get any action... "
20:09 because... in gay culture...
20:10 by the time you're 30, you're considered a "has been. "
20:13 You don't see anybody in gay culture over 40 years old
20:15 because they've either died
20:17 or they don't go out in public anymore,
20:19 it's a highly...
20:20 Jennifer: Visual... Michael: Absolutely...
20:22 Jennifer: Which is... men tend to be wired visually
20:25 in the sexual arena.
20:26 Michael: Exactly... exactly. Jen: I have a question for you.
20:28 Michael: Yeah.
20:29 Jennifer: So you came out... at what age?
20:31 You came out of the lifestyle at what age?
20:32 Michael: 40...
20:33 Jennifer: came out of the lifestyle at 40...
20:36 your high levels of hormones...
20:39 testosterone had tapered off somewhat by that age...
20:41 and you successfully left...
20:43 Michael: Really... really Jennifer...
20:45 even as a sexual addict
20:48 and even you can take somebody who is a sexual addict
20:51 and you can make them a eunuch but it doesn't change the mind
20:54 and my mind was so turned
20:56 towards sexual and sensualized things that...
20:58 Jennifer: So tell us about the battle.
21:00 Michael: Okay, well let me give you an example.
21:02 It was after the Lord had removed the boyfriend
21:04 I made sure that I was home
21:06 every Thursday night by 8 o'clock
21:07 "Will and Grace" right, that was my favorite show
21:10 and I always had straight-girl roommates
21:12 so it was a gay man
21:13 with a roommate that was a straight girl
21:15 and all the antics that they would get into... it was my life
21:18 and so, here I am, walking with the Lord
21:20 and on Thursday night, at 8 o'clock, there I am...
21:22 and so, I'm sitting and watching it one night
21:24 and the Holy Spirit says, "Mike, what are you doing?"
21:26 I'm like, "I'm just watching my favorite program"
21:28 and the Lord says,
21:29 "How can I help you move out of this
21:32 if you keep sticking your foot in it?"
21:34 And I had to make a decision that night
21:36 and it's a very simplistic answer to your question
21:38 but I had to decide to get the television out of my house,
21:41 I am so wired visually... I could be on the internet,
21:45 I lived in the neighborhood where...
21:46 in Orlando, Florida,
21:48 where I could be in a gay bar within two miles...
21:50 five gay bars in two miles...
21:51 and so, if I didn't feel like getting in the car to go out,
21:55 I could actually get on the internet
21:56 and have an illicit situation at my house in 15 minutes,
21:59 this is how I had lived my life
22:01 and so, now, you know,
22:04 that was a really difficult time
22:06 learning to disconnect all of that.
22:08 Jennifer: So was it that Jesus' love came into your life
22:10 and it really displaced those cravings,
22:12 so is that kind of how that worked,
22:13 or was it also you just having to really put the brakes on,
22:16 put blinders on when you drove by those gay bars
22:18 or was it a combination of those two things?
22:20 Michael: Mind knuckling was never my forte, that's right,
22:23 I wasn't disciplined enough to do that
22:26 but what really was miraculous for me was when
22:30 somebody unpacked Philippians 2 verse 5
22:33 and I'll give an example.
22:35 One day I was stepping into the shower
22:37 and hope you'll forgive my graphicness
22:39 but I was stepping into the shower
22:42 and I had many months of victory
22:43 over masturbation and pornography,
22:45 and I was sitting there surrounded by soap
22:47 and you can imagine where my mind was going
22:49 and this thought comes right into my head
22:50 to just take care of business but then... just then...
22:53 I'd heard about Philippians 2 verse 5
22:55 and the Holy Spirit spoke to me, He says,
22:56 "Mike, claim the promise" I'm like, "What promise?"
22:58 and He says, "Let the mind of Christ in you"
23:01 right, "Let this mind be in you, which was in Christ Jesus. "
23:04 Well, Jesus doesn't indulge in masturbation and pornography
23:07 and so, just then, as I'm struggling
23:09 because I loved my sin... no doubt about it,
23:12 if I didn't love my sin,
23:13 that wouldn't be a temptation for me.
23:15 So now the struggle is going on
23:16 where, this is calling for my allegiance
23:18 but so is my Savior
23:19 and because of the relationship that I have with Him,
23:22 because of the fact that He had been more faithful to me
23:24 than I was to Him,
23:25 I didn't want to hurt Him again
23:27 and so, just in that moment, as I was struggling...
23:30 "Do I go this way or this way" and the choice is mine
23:32 God will always respect my choice,
23:34 I said, "Lord, I give you permission
23:36 to take these thoughts
23:38 because if you don't, I'm going to indulge right now,
23:39 and just then, my next conscious thought was about baseball
23:43 and I hate baseball...
23:44 what was so amazing is that the promise worked.
23:47 I didn't have time to pray for two days,
23:49 I didn't have time to go on a three-day fast...
23:51 I needed it... and the Lord started to show me
23:54 tools to give me victory.
23:55 David: This is key, this is very powerful.
23:58 In the same chapter... in Philippians 2:13,
24:00 Paul says, "It is God who works in you
24:04 both to will and to do of His good pleasure. "
24:07 And you heard the call of Jesus saying,
24:10 "Invite me to take over your thoughts...
24:13 your minds... your mind... "
24:16 Michael: You said, "When you did that... "
24:17 David: Yeah, yes...
24:19 and God became very intimate with you
24:21 and as you gave yourself over to the very presence of Jesus,
24:25 He was able to take over your thoughts.
24:27 Michael: Wow! wow...
24:29 Jennifer: So... Michael: That's powerful.
24:31 Jennifer: Very cool...
24:32 what would you give to people that are questioning right now,
24:36 they have same-sex attraction, they're considering your options
24:39 what would you say on behalf of...
24:42 what's good about the choice that you've made?
24:44 Michael: Good... wow! you know something?
24:46 Regardless of the fact that I don't have this...
24:49 this issue of AIDS hanging over my head
24:52 like it did for 20 years,
24:53 because it wasn't enough to stop me
24:55 but this abiding peace that I've never known before...
24:58 this dichotomy that I used to be these two people,
25:00 like, I used to be this really nice guy on the outside
25:03 but then, I was a sexual addict on the inside
25:06 and it's like, God brings all of that together
25:09 and what's so beautiful
25:11 is that, at night when I go to bed,
25:12 He's the last person I talk to
25:14 and I can finally share with Him all of the dirty, ugly details
25:18 of how I got slimed during the day...
25:19 things that I chose to look at
25:21 or things that I remembered from the past
25:23 and as I lay them before Him,
25:25 I don't fear condemnation or rejection
25:27 instead, what I get is affirmation,
25:30 forgiveness, cleansing...
25:31 and then in the morning when I wake up
25:33 He's the first one to wake me up
25:34 with a beautiful hymn or a song
25:36 and that to me has been the most valuable thing...
25:40 I think is... is knowing that I'm not alone,
25:42 is that, no matter where I am or what's going on,
25:44 that He wants His abiding presence
25:46 and learning the process of that which has been very difficult
25:49 and I don't have that down yet
25:51 but I tell you what I've experienced in the last 17 years
25:54 is enough to keep me going today.
25:56 Jennifer: Because what keeps a lot of people
25:58 from leaving the lifestyle is
25:59 if they're not going to have their same-sex relationship...
26:02 they can't even fathom having an opposite-sex relationship
26:04 but you're saying... you don't either
26:06 and you're not necessarily closed to that possibility
26:10 but it's not happening in any big way, right?
26:11 But you're still content... where you're at.
26:13 Michael: That's been amazing.
26:15 Jennifer: And you can recommend it to someone else.
26:16 Michael: Absolutely.
26:18 Shelly: Michael, you have a ministry called...
26:19 Michael: 'Coming out' Ministries
26:20 Shelly: 'Coming Out' Ministries
26:22 you guys just recently put a project together
26:24 that's going to help so many people... and it's called...?
26:27 Michael: "Journey Interrupted" it's a documentary
26:29 showing the lives of five different people...
26:31 David: "Journey Interrupted"
26:33 Michael: Ah ha, not just the 3 colleagues that I work with
26:35 but also, what we call... kind of like a "plot twist"
26:38 of a very dear friend of ours
26:40 that's also in the valley of decision.
26:41 Shelly: How do people reach out to your ministry
26:45 if they want counseling specific to this issue,
26:49 because we're not trying to
26:50 create the idea of hate or judgment
26:53 but if someone is struggling
26:54 and wants to pursue... 'Coming out'
26:57 what do they do?
26:59 Michael: Come to our website, ComingOutMinistries. org
27:03 and if you're interested in watching
27:04 the trailer to the video, it's: journeyinterrupted. com
27:08 Jennifer: We're so thankful that you joined us for this Program.
27:11 We've talked about some things
27:13 that are very, very loaded politically...
27:16 they're loaded emotionally, they're loaded spiritually
27:19 and we just ask that you consider what you've heard
27:21 and that if you're curious,
27:24 you would like to pursue these ideas,
27:26 contact Coming Out Ministries and learn more.
27:29 Jesus has given us life
27:32 and He wants to give us life and life... more abundantly
27:37 and He promises to give us more satisfying kinds of love
27:40 that any of us would be able to choose for ourselves
27:43 and I think we are all broken sexually
27:46 and we're all off on that point
27:48 and we all need more of Jesus' love
27:50 whether we're coming from a heterosexual or a homosexual
27:53 or whatever background
27:54 so let's all lay our lives down on the altar
27:56 and come to know that love that is beyond understanding.