Thank God for St. James Church

I’m depressed this evening. Today started off fine. It was a beautiful Saturday. Gayle and Christy are in California visiting Gayle’s awesome parents. I got up early to put a load of Jonathan’s clothes in the washing machine, unloaded and then reloaded the dishwasher, then sat down to read my Bible. The Scriptures were encouraging, relevant and instructive as always, so I then went outside to walk around and pray. Jonathan slept late, Alex and Elliott got up and started their usual Saturdays. I later dropped by the church and saw kids making ginger bread houses while workmen were tidying up preparing for Sunday. While there, I met a crew from downtown who were borrowing tables from St. James for a Christmas banquet for underprivileged kids and their families tonight. All was well with the world until . . . I came back home and got online to sadly read more about me.

Today I don’t appreciate some people and the internet that gives them voice. I look forward to the day when I don’t have to deal with any Christians outside our own little congregation. I was that way before, which is why I never entered into television or radio ministry, never had a flashy presentation, always drove a truck or modest car, and never asked to publish a book or speak anywhere. But I have always felt a responsibility to reach the lost and serve when asked, so I would foolishly say “yes” when asked to serve. That was misinterpreted as being a self-promoter I guess.

Then I crashed and went through a painful healing process, for which I am grateful. It was an answer to my prayers.

Now it’s years later and, from time to time, my name comes up in the news. This time it was two well meaning guys wanting to say that we Christians should actually practice forgiveness and restoration. But suddenly, those who see themselves as the guardians of self-righteousness, who fundamentally hate the idea of resurrection for the dead, pounce. Sure there are the kind, well meaning people in the church. But they are typically not outspoken nor do they have a burning to stick–that is make their opinions known in a way that would make them count in the public discussion. They write nice notes in private. It’s those who keep the records of wrongs who are loud, outspoken, have tenacity, and accuse in public. They stick. Hatred, religious judgmentalism, and self-righteousness are powerful motivators to hurt others I guess. They have a strong enough voice that they make me not want to have anything to do with modern Christianity.

I’m trapped though, because i am, after all, alive. I love the Scripture and am called, and there are a handful of believers who enjoy meeting with me to worship, study the word and give to the poor. Based on what I read, those so outspoken on the net would be happier with me if I ran a liquor store, sold porn, or pitched holy water from the Jordan river on TV to the Christian superstitious crowd. But for me to pastor a church is an abomination in their view. I know that if I called it a television studio and the congregation was the studio audience, and we filled millions of Christian homes with fear and anxiety over current events, my detractors would be happy with that. But I’m stuck. St. James is a gathering of believers where we don’t take advantage of anyone. We don’t broadcast. We don’t ask for other people’s things. We don’t have pretense, don’t have public relations or capital campaign experts, and don’t guard image. We don’t even have a security team to protect our important people. We are worshippers. We are church.

As all of you know, Barna says, 1,500 clergy are leaving pastoral ministry each month, and a researcher at the Annapolis Roundtable on Life-Giving Leadership said 50% of those never return to a church. I envy that group. I have gone to church multiple times a week all my life except the days during and immediately after my scandal. Those were some of the best Sunday’s Gayle and I have enjoyed. We were forbidden to attend the church we’d known. We would stay in bed until we woke up, talk, enjoy each other’s company, and slowly get up and enjoy the rest of the family. It was excellent. I only enjoy church now because of the culture of St. James. I don’t have to clean up to go to St. James. It’s a believers meeting, so I can go the way I want. I think if it were not for the authenticity and transparency of St. James, since I’m 56 years old, know my Bible pretty well, and am not looking for new friends, I would be content to stay home and not mess with church any more.

Sadly, it seems many churches have become toxic. We have too many poisonous churches with pastors who don’t know how to apply the Gospel, who teach certain behaviors prove salvation, that we should hide our weaknesses, and that we should appear contented. In time, the beloved pastors will receive their due: 61% of congregations have forced a pastor to leave, and 83% of clergy spouses want their spouses to leave pastoral ministry. Church leadership can be a joy, until it’s not. Then it’s deadly. Churches don’t like lots of people. Most don’t even like themselves. One old man told me the average church will fondly remember a past pastor one week for every year he was there, then his memory will be vilified for the benefit of the new administration.

We are fundamentally flawed. How do I know? In addition to the national statistics and the horror stories I receive from those who have worked in churches and para-church ministries who write me every day, I just read the comments about me. I know me, I know what I’ve been through, and I know that in the minds of many, I don’t matter, my kids don’t matter, and the facts don’t matter. Only their brutality matters. Lot’s of people must feel the way I do, which is why fewer and fewer Americans will get up and go to church in the morning. Most won’t say it, but they will vote by staying home. . . or going to a football game. . . or the mountains. Sounds good to me. Do the Bronco’s play tomorrow? I hope so.

Ahhh but the ignorance of youth keeps us going. Our Bible Schools and seminaries are full of bright eyed young people, anxious to serve the Lord. If current trends continue, 90% of those who graduate and are ordained into ministry will not stay in ministry long enough to reach the age of retirement. Why? Because we are not what we teach. We poison each other. As soon as we stop admiring them, we will destroy them. Of the 10% that do stay, 50% of them indicated that they would leave the ministry if they had another way of making a living. Think of that. And when I read my detractors, they seem to actually believe it’s an honor to be in pastoral ministry, that it’s an exclusive club. Since most denominations have an increasing number of empty buildings and shrinking congregations, it’s no wonder the global influence centers of Christianity are moving away from America to the south and to the west. Our mega-church and denominational leaders are increasingly irrelevant. Why? Too often, those we call “mature believers” are simply awful people. I am the bane of the American church, and I couldn’t stand going on vacation with most of them. It’s the same reason why the finest people won’t run for public office any longer. It’s just not worth it.

I’ll be better in the morning. I don’t think I want to teach, so I’ll probably ask one of the other pastors to do it. I’ll joyfully go to St. James, enjoy the worship, the Word, the folks, and then go to the airport and pick up Gayle and Christy. They will cheer me up, and we’ll move forward because of the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit, and a handful of people who love God and love one another. But sometimes it’s a pain to have to associate with the arrogant who call themselves Christian. I wish there was a way out. Too often I resent that I went to a Christian university, believed the message and wasted my life. It feels like my life would be so much better if I had gone to a secular university, built a business, and retired by now. But I am a believer. My dream would be to serve the Lord with our local congregation and be left alone. I love the authentic body of believers, the Church, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit. I am a believer, grateful to God. I am a member of his body. I am a Christian.

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46 thoughts on “Thank God for St. James Church

  1. I understand fully and at times I wish I was an engineer that did black-ops and in that position I would know I was able to remove those that would do me harm and it would be legal. But at last I am not, just a guy who found that no matter what I did professionally (pastoring, Higher Ed, consulting…) there are always people (both christian and non-christian) who love to hate, destroy and eat the wounded that embarrass their piety or those they disagree with.

    I have found that living opened “handed” works so Father can take mine…is the best way for me to live fully…“We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.” Ourselves included…“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.“Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God’s will.”
    ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

    So Grace wins over knuckle-heads every time!
    Peace and Joy Ted…from one who bleeds with you but for a higher calling because of Jesus.

  2. Craig Bredenkamp says:

    Pastor Ted, this is the first time ever for me to commend on a blog. After reading it I feel the need to share this with you.
    I am honored to be part of what God is doing through you. There are so many hurting people in the Church today. We seldom hear the message of love, forgiveness and restoration. Please don’t stop preaching and living it.
    Jesse Duplantis said it this way after delivering a sermon on the Prodigal “We are all good sons, but not good brothers!”
    I pleed with you all to step out and become good brothers in Christ.

  3. Joel Curry says:

    You have thousands of believers praying for you. Hang in there and continue to minister as you have been called to do.

  4. Ken Arnold says:

    Pastor,

    This is the kind of honest, gut wrenching blog that most would rather you didn’t write, or at least not publicly.

    Thousands of us will go to church tomorrow, I among them, and put on a smiley face and tell everyone everything’s great, even thought it may not be. That’s what we do, because if we said otherwise, and attempted to elaborate, the other person would pretend to be distracted and move on to somebody else.

    It’s ok to be honest and transparent. Jesus was, even in the face of the cross. He pled with God to “take the cup away from him.” He didn’t put on the happy smiley face and pretend, however, he leaned into it, even knowing the torture that awaited him. Sometimes we just have to lean into it, even when we don’t feel it.

    Yeah, there’s good football on tomorrow, but they don’t ask me how I’m doing, even if they don’t really want to know. I’ll be there tomorrow, and so will you. See you there!

  5. Asif & Nina says:

    Dear Pastor Tedd, am in tears while reading this. Tears shedding for those who are judgmental and not aware of true forgiveness, repentance and restoration. For them God is in their own lil prayer closets only for them. Pastor, you’re a true man of God who obey, trust and act truly upon what bible teaches us. St. James is a small flock of yours as a symbols of forgiveness and true restoration. Keep us in your prayers too. That’s the best believers can do “lifting up each other in prayers”

  6. Church is really all about people, and in particular, those people around you. In the beginning, it was people who, gather together, and as John expressed, “The one who was from the beginning, the one who may have heard, the one whom we have seen with our eyes the one thing we looked at in the hands touched – I am referring to the Word of Life. The life appeared! We have seen him and testify to it, and we proclaim the life to you, the life who is beside the father and appeared to us. We are telling you what we have seen and heard, so that you may being partnership with us too. Our partnership is with the father and with his son Jesus the Anointed One we are writing these things to make us truly happy.” (I John 1:1 Nyland) The question is, can you find that life in those who are around you, that enjoy your company? That is where Jesus is today. He is reborn in all of us who are willing to take his hand and follow his lead. Isn’t that what’s important, Ted? The sound of others being judgmental is simply fear expressed. And, there’s a lot of it these days. You cannot change them, you can only be an example for them. The rest is out of our hands and in God’s. We change the world by lighting a candle and sharing that flame with others, one of the time. The growth of that process is in God’s hands. Relax and enjoy those around you who think and believe like you do. The past is but a learning tool to help us move ahead to better things. We are secure in the knowledge that He is able to do what he says He will do, and He’s reliable. Thank you for your honesty. It’s refreshing in today’s world.

  7. Ted, thank you for sharing your heart. In 1 Peter 2, you know that the Apostle tells us that we are a royal priesthood. Every man, woman and child who has surrendered their life to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord walks with Him every day as a priest in the sight of God. We are not just priests, we are a, “royal priesthood.” Our High Priest is also the King of kings. Ted, you have been commissioned by the Lord Jesus Christ to be a witness for Him, to speak on His behalf. Don’t listen to any of the hurtful things believers and unbelievers are saying. I know that is hard but only in your own strength which is not how we fight these spiritual battles. I wept reading your blog. I not only wept for you but for me (that makes me selfish) because I had wondered if I was the only one that felt as you do about the church, about not going, about other believers and how hurtful and hateful they are. I’ve been living in my own quiet secluded world with my two boys because to move outside of that involves what this world is becoming and that is toxic and I at times want no part of it. Ted, when Jesus resurrected Lazarus, brought him back from the dead, the religious and political wanted to kill him. They hated the fact that the dead had risen. The same is happening with you. You are doing the right thing Ted. Stay close to those within Saint James. You know those that are committed to you. My tears come from what others are continuing to say about you. It literally breaks my heart and spirit. If I could take the pain away for you and your family I would. Just know that when you breathe your last breath, there will be no more pain or tears. Praise God. Your banner of love and protection is JEHOVAH-NISSI. Your perfect peace is JEHOVAH-SHALOM. The one who is with you always is JEHOVAH-SHAMMAH. The one who protects is JEHOVAH-SABAOTH. Your shepherd is JEHOVAH-RAAH. You know this Ted. If He was the only one in your life that would be enough. I know the world is curious about you and I know that you want to be in right standing with the world as a result of the scandal, but Jesus told us to separate ourselves from the world. There was and is reason for this. I think you need to do that. These comments that are hurtful and hateful are only keeping you sick, sad and depressed. God has you right where He wants you Ted. Enjoy this time of seclusion and if it were for the rest of your life then that’s ok too. For now, there is peace there. Discuss this with Gayle and your family but I think, for a time, you should sign off. Or disable comments. Don’t enable them. It’s just white noise that the devil is using to hurt you. I love you brother Ted. I’m sure today is much better because your lovely bride, best friend and biggest fan comes home! That’s totally awesome.

  8. Robert Windel says:

    “Let him who has no sin cast the first stone”. “How is it that you can see the speck in your brother’s eye when you have a log in your own eye “? Dear brother Ted, “forgive them for they know not what they do”.
    Although we sat under your ministry only briefly when we experienced our 9-month stay in CS, both Pat and I were so blessed. We saw a man of humility and honesty; a man with a contrite heart with a passionate love for Jesus and for people irrespective of social placement.
    Your ministry of reconciliation is badly needed by the Christian church, particularly its’ leaders, so many of whom, have an “undiscovered story”, and certainly those who have repented only to be rebuked, rejected and dismissed. Sadly, today’s “church” appears to know little to nothing of forgiveness, especially as it is to be “lived out”. Perhaps of even greater tragedy, too few church leaders and Christian churches, seem interested in reconciling with those who, have “fallen short”.
    Blessings to you and Gail and your precious family. You are loved and appreciated.

    Blessings,

    Bob Windel (MN…formerly of CSprgs)

  9. Gale Baughman says:

    I want to encouarge you Pastor Ted, to hang in there. I believe that you are in good company, because Jesus was alway being blasted by the religious establishment.
    I admire the guts you have to continue to do what you believe, no matter what.

  10. Your an encouragement brother. Press and Rest through- Gods goodness and a new church body is around the corner

  11. Scott Ranck says:

    Ted, I feel your pain, have lived it on a smaller scale and often wonder why anyone goes to church anymore! But I have a small group of men that God has allowed me to serve and they are real, sometimes raw but love Jesus and me! They are the bright spot of my Christian public life. Thanks for sharing your heart and hurt!

  12. Elizabeth says:

    Sheep bites are so very painful . . . or perhaps it’s the bites of wolves in sheep’s clothing . . .

  13. Craig Sloan says:

    Pastor, I am one of the Pastors who after ministering full time from the age of 17-41 I was beaten, hurt, and broken. I have been on a sabbatical for over a year now along with my wife and family, and reading this let’s me know I am not alone. Please keep moving forward and as you know the fact that you have an enemy is an indicator that He fears what’s in you and what is about to be released through you, if you are facing resistance it is because you and the devil are walking in different direction. I have read most if not all your books and respect the fact you have chosen to not give up and be another statistic. I will not judge but rather I applaud you and say with tru conviction the Father is pleased with you. I make a commitment to pray and fast for you and your ministry this week, if you need anything please fell free to ask.

  14. Sandymae says:

    Appreciated the honesty of this blog. May God comfort and help you in your times of discouragement and bless you and your family.

  15. Norma Floyd says:

    My dearest Ted, I know from first hand experience what you and your family have gone through, though not the widespread publicity…Jeff was an humble man, who refused to be deterred from his first love, that of seeking the heart of God first and foremost in his life. . Back in the 70’s when we began to realize that Christians needed deliverance from the bondages in their lives, and began to practice spirtual warfare, the pastors in our area accused him of heresy and refused fellowship with him. They took it upon themselves to make sure all the churches in the area also knew of this heretic and many called him or wrote and asked him to leave the ministry and to leave the area. But, like you, He knew he had heard from God, and the anointment for the message of deliverance was upon him and he quietly went on following what he knew in his heart the Lord was giving him to share. We were blessed beyond measure because of his faithfulness to the call that was upon his life. There were times we were down and blue and defeated…but Jeff was our anchor and never ever considered turning aside from his Lord’s call. You, Ted, was one of the highlights of his life and he loved you like a son. He was heartbroken at the time of the revelation of the sin in your life, but he never turned against or away from you and was always available to you should you need him and his encouragement. The last few years of his life, the illness that had come upon him was a constant drain and his health was a struggle. But he was still teaching, preaching and delivering until his unexpected death. You, too, have that anointment on your life and I know you have a heart after God. Be encouraged that there are many who pray for you and are so blessed that you have learned the lessons of the past few years and have chosen to continue to walk the path the Lord leads…not the world or those who do not know and experience the awesome relationship with the Lord that comes with repentence and forgiveness… I rejoice, my son, in your ministry and faithfulness to be obedient to the call God has given specifically to your life. I still smile when I remember Jeff’s stories of you young boys and the times you prayed and shared in that little camper trailer in the church parking lot. He cherished those days and loved you guys so much. I know you, too, have that same love and compassion in your heart for those the Lord has brought to your ministry. I pray showers of blessings on you and Gayle and your children. Love you…

  16. Mary says:

    Pastor Ted,
    I am not typically inclined to comment on blogs, but I signed up to follow yours. I just want to say that my respect and admiration for you grew exponentially after reading your blog. You have the courage to be openly vulnerable. Your authenticity and honesty are a breath of fresh air, and in that authenticity, you speak aloud so many things that a lot of us would love to say. Your ministry is a blessing in ways you don’t know, and to people you don’t know (I have never met you). Remember that you are a child of God and He loves you. God Bless You!

  17. TheRev says:

    This is the most transparent, real, open, honest and vulnerable posts I’ve ever read. Just saying “Amen” wouldn’t be sufficient – the Holy Spirit within me is surely interceding with groans too deep for words.

    • Jeff S. says:

      Where is the “like” button on this site? I concur with your sentiments!
      Is this whole scenario that Ted and so many of us go through a fulfillment of
      2 Timothy 3:3-5???

      (People in the last days will be)
      3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power.

  18. Pam Flanery says:

    This was difficult to read and yet I’m not surprised. As the Body of Christ we are to be known for our love for one another yet when you ask people what word comes to mind when they hear “Christian”, you’ll rarely (if ever) hear “love”. I can so relate to your honesty in this blog, I’m so grieved by the lack of love, the judgmental attitudes, gossip, and the lack of understanding of covenant I see in the church. I am encouraged though because I do believe the Holy Spirit is revealing truth to those who are truly seeking the Lord. I have been judgmental before and it seemed like the more scripture I studied, the more I could see the sin in others, makes me sick thinking about it. Thank you for being transparent, hopefully others, especially pastors, will be encouraged to be more transparent even at the risk of “losing people” in their church. I’ll be praying for you and will leave chocolate covered marshmallow santas in your mail box 🙂

  19. Jack says:

    Hang in there brother. Praying for you and your family. Praying also for those whom have not read the Word of God. Just think about Paul and what he did and God still used him to write 2/3 of the New Testament. God forgives and for some reason we can’t. Brother stand tall and do what you are called to do. Great examples are few. Be blessed!

  20. Linda Tennies says:

    Thank you for your honesty, Pastor Ted. As much as I love the people of St. James, I still hear the voices of “simply awful” pastors from my past saying, at their church on Sunday mornings, “Look around you. See all of the people who aren’t here? They’re BACKSLIDERS. Avoid them.” These were Bible school -trained, Bible-school degreed, self-proclaimed “ministers”. So I became a Christian at the age of 27 and was promptly buried in guilt, shame, and manipulation by people in the ministry who have high-fallutin’ friends and are even related to some very well-known mega-church pastors and high-profile speakers and ministers. I’m one of those people that says, “why go to church? What’s the point?” It’s gnarly, Pastor, since I know the people of St. James are very, very different! The whole point is this: I never feel condemnation for not being there on Sunday. No one stands at the front and calls people like me “backsliders” because I’m not at the church every time the doors are unlocked. You meet me where I’m at and welcome me with open arms when I do show up, and for that I am grateful. To anyone who thinks St. James is just like all the other churches, it’s not. It’s the real deal. It’s full of humans who make human mistakes but choose to love rather than condemn and judge. Try it.

  21. Jonathan says:

    Pastor, I just read this blog. I had no idea that you were feeling this way. I have to say, I’m very proud of you. This morning, you stood strong, welcomed the saints with love, and shared a great message from The Lord that blessed us all. Thank you for leading us even when you’ve had a rough week. You are truly a blessing and we appreciate you.

  22. Victoria Jeffs says:

    I have to focus on what I am here for. I think that for many (if not all) of us, we experienced a serious let-down in our life, and the trick is to stay clear on why we are here. Accept that not everyone will celebrate our message, and may even be hostile to us personally. It isnt the devil attacking us, it is human nature. I understand the pain you feel when you read about what some people are saying. Internet is the new face of “behind your back” gossip and slander. It comes in first names or anonymous names with virtually no way to have a meaningful discussion.

    People like us, are people like you. We know you wont give up, because we cant give up either.

    In the words of a dear pastor of ours….”Stay steady.” 🙂

  23. Ursula says:

    Pastor Ted, it may not put a huge impact on you if I tell you the reason why I am looking forward to come back to Colorado is St. James.
    St. James reflects God’s Love, the Holy Spirit and the HEART OF YOU AND GAYLE AND YOUR FAMILY!!!!
    So ,let the people who claim to be Christian and those who are not ,say whatever they want to say and put a smile on your face and into your heart, because you are loved and so much respected. Others, especially the Ignorant people do not have earned these assets and therefore they are just wandering souls in the dark. Let’s pray for them knowing with a humbled heart that we all are imperfect and have our flaws and mess up and and and….but at least we try and admit that. Let’s care about their souls in St. James style , but do not let them steal your wonderful spirit which inspire everyone who wants to be a true Christian. SO I HOPE I DID NOT MESS UP MY ENGLISH AND CHEER YOU UP A LITTLE… I am looking forward to see you soon….

  24. Rod Arters says:

    Wow, I totally relate with how you feel. I fell in the ministry (in 2008) and now feel like Cain, a restless wanderer. I go to church because I should go (good example for my kids) and because I do want to go (to the idea of it) but I struggle finding a place where I can really fit in. Most Sundays I wake up with the desire to just sleep in, catch a sermon online or play my ipod for music. But, I don’t… I get up, get dressed, make the trek to some church, sit by myself and watch others play church. Then I leave and the thoughts hit me – why waste your time… next Sunday you should just _____________. Those thoughts make sense to me and by the time next Sunday comes around – I fight those thoughts all the way to the next church. Thanks for being transparent. We need more people like you. At this point, I’d rather attend a fallen pastor’s church than someone who can’t relate with someone like me. Too bad Colorado is so far away from me. Keep moving forward, Ted. Someone in another state is inspired by your struggling steps.

    Rod – South Carolina.

  25. Barb Irwin says:

    I really appreciated this so much. I am so sad (and sometimes angry) over what you have had to go through in being a vulnerable, transparent, imperfect human being. I believe what you and many of those who have replied to you are describing are partially the tares among the wheat, and also the wheat that doesn’t know it is wheat yet.

    My life has been filled with hard things and misunderstanding as well. I have experienced being told I didn’t have faith, that I was in disobedience, and other things. At that time, I was in the wrong, but it was a different wrong than what people were telling me. I changed churches back then, but it was still hard. Only now (almost 30 years later) am I in a church with a healing ministry where I am getting more whole. The pastor has himself been very broken and is healed. I think that is the only kind of church that helps, for it is real. Pretenders don’t get very far there, but saved by grace people are slowly getting healed.

    I know of a pastor now who is not now pastoring as a vocation–don’t know if he ever will again, but he loves Jesus and is blessing others. I know another pastor whom I saw run out of his church because he was preaching the truth. He ended up selling insurance for a season and went back to pastoring in a different denomination later.

    I wonder if what many call the church is going to be like this till Jesus comes, or if persecution will purify us…I’m praying and trying to help in my corner where and as I can…I love you and your family, brother…

  26. Ilda Barker says:

    Hi Ted, as I read ur message, I felt ur pain, sorrow, deep, discouragement. The lord told me u would have ups & downs like this. But cheer up, we are here at ur side. The Lord is
    holding u thight close to His heart, I am sure there are more
    faithfull who do not give up on u like me. I followed u 27 years. We, are not
    aallowing u to give up. we would come to ur house and comfort
    & cheer u up. The devil is using the pharisees to drag u
    down in depression. Don’t read their comments. Our prayer shall
    envelep u in the love of Jesus& lift u up. I don’t need to
    tell u that you are in God’s favor, u are His favorite child. See u
    Wednesday. God bless u.Ilda

  27. Rick Tiensvold says:

    Hi Pastor Ted, I read this because my pastor put it on
    facebook for us to read. To be hoest, I didn’t know your were again
    pastoring. That fills my heart with joy! My wife and I were big
    fans of yours and we were heart broken when Satan tricked you. But
    I am so glad you didn’t give up. I have prayed about you and asked
    the lord the “why” question. And I believe the answer came to me.
    You couldn’t reach the people Jesus needed you to reach until ” you
    decended beneath all things”. Not that you haven’t touched so many
    people already, us included. I won’t pretend to know what you have
    gone through. Although I have been in some very dark places myself,
    I know my pain does not compare. Nor does our pain compare to what
    Christ endured on the cross. Blessed are the ones who suffer in His
    name. Although we do, It is not for us to question God’s plan. I
    have always lived by the motto, ” Everything happens for a reason”.
    And I believe you are right where He wants you. I truly hope that
    God blesses me with the opportunity to someday shake you hand. You
    are a true man of God. May He continue to bless you and your
    family. Rick T.

  28. Bill Cribbs says:

    One of the hardest scriptures to follow is Matthew 5:44. Yet it is the protocol of the Kingdom of God. It is the culture that we represent. While I appreciate your honesty and transparency, I am saddened that you were “depressed”. While I have not faced the level of rejection and judgmentalism that you have, my history is tainted as well. However, I must look unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith. I must set my affections on things above. Yet with all of that “looking elsewhere” to keep my sanity, I must LOVE, DO GOOD TO, and PRAY FOR those who curse me, despitefully use me, or make themselves my enemies. That requires some active response on my part….that’s the tough part. That’s where the precious Holy Ghost helps us…. love you Brother!

  29. Margaret says:

    Keep going Pastor Ted. If you were a quitter you would have done it a few years ago when you were at your lowest. You are obviously not a quitter. You inspire me everyday that I read your blogs or your facebook posts. My husband and I Pastored a church in Calif until the day I had to walk away from the church, and the people I loved, because of decisions my husband made that did not support the bible. Today I have been seperated from my husband for 3 years and he is in a depressed state and has not seen his children, and he truly does love his children. Sad to say it is not actually the sin he fell into that has caused him not to return or rise up in his call, it was the treatment of the people he pastored for so many years. These people saw miracles in their lives and he spoke words according to what God thought and said about them and not what they thought or what they were told they were. He came to their side in the late night hours, held them, loved them, encouraged them and did what was expected of him as a pastor. Funny thing is when it came to mercy and forgiveness for him it was not readily returned but it was met with cruelty and retaliation. Please keep moving in your call, it gives me great hope for my husband. He is a pastor like no other and he was able to cause people to believe in themselves because of who God created them to be and he is full of mercy.

    Thank you for the inspiration that one day my husband will return to his call and his family!

  30. Jan Pentlin says:

    Dear brother in Christ,
    Thank you for your honesty, even when feeling low, as this is even helpful to those who read your blog! You know, Sir, I have come to believe that Jesus must be embarrassed quite frequently by “Christianity” today. I read in God’s Word about Loyalty and how fellow believers would Share in the hurts, sorrows, and burdens of their fellow Christians. Not in today’s society. I have visited a lot of churches. Many are all about teaching only what the people clamber to hear, the “tickling of the ears,” Many more are all about the giving, in one church, we sat there for 2 extra hours, because the “pastor” was not satisfied with the ‘offering’. I have witnessed selfish, self-centered, judgmental, people who go to give their nod to God and go home to live their own lives, not caring about anyone else, including what Jesus might want. Where in today’s “Church” is the dynamic power that Jesus spoke of? How can there be that kind of power when there is so much humanism in the church?
    I still hold out hope for a building of believers who come together to actually come to see Jesus. Those who desire to walk with Him, side by side, caring for the lost and hurting peoples in this land. I commend you, Sir, if you have found such a place, for they are far and few between. For you, Sir, I say, just continue to tune your heart to the heart of the Master, and be His love slave. Be motivated to doing what the Lord wants you to do, and forget about the rest, for it is He and He alone we desire to please! Keep the Faith brother, for Faith has no limitations.

  31. Dave nevel says:

    Thanks for sharing- most of the time I can’t stand most Christians. I am a hitting church member- and the more I attend- the more things irritate me about other believers. I worked in ministry and have served in ministry for almost a decade. I am happy to serve Jesus, love God and call Him my provider. I am as rogue from church as much as I can be and sometimes feel alone in ministry. I see a group of ministers congratulate each other each year and give bonuses to each other and commend them in public for growing the church … #fail. If I yelled my thoughts at church I would be escorted out so I serve in the shadows.
    I plan to serve Jesus my whole life as a rogue believer from the church and present day pastoral ministry- I love your story Ted- I’m sorry we Christians treat each other this way and it is sad, that we, self-righteous pious pricks have gotten back to the same Pharisees Jesus chased out of the temple. But it’s the unfortunate truth. I will be praying for you this week bro

  32. Joe machuta says:

    Yes, thanks for sharing your vulnerable self. Just a thought, as annoying and saddening as those self proclaimed judges are, perhaps in a way it is a blessing that helps you to continue to focus on the real gospel, and the task at hand. Religious, self righteous people are maddening and are really unbelievers and enemies of the cross.

    Blessings,
    Joe

    • Mary says:

      I was speaking with a local pastor a few years ago, and he made a comment that I thought was right on target regarding the institutional church: there are sheep without and wolves within. I am learning that the goal is not necessarily to seek out church, but to seek out sheep wherever they may be found. And, to be fair, many of them are in church.
      Mary in Utah

  33. Mary-Rhea McMullen says:

    It was a Facebook share of a friend that led me to search for more info on you and the aftermath. It opened my eyes to how truly vicious “Christians” can be and forced me to make an examination of myself. I was never a person to believe a person could not be used after failure but I also wasn’t one to stand up boldly and say so. To be candid, an opportunity never arose here in Tulsa for me… I’m glad to say I didn’t hear a lot of negative, toxic commentaries… But now I believe I am going to MAKE situations… I am so overcome by your story, by the wisdom and love you and Gayle possess. Jesus came in the flesh to suffer all that we suffer so He could be the perfect high priest, right??? You minister from a whole new place now… a place that knows the horror of hate and rejection by the very people who should have locked arms around you, helping you to stay upright and helping to heal… how sad for them… you suffered so my more but they lost more than you can ever lose… My daughter and I have had the desire to move to Colorado Springs for some time. If the Lord ever does move us there, our first Sunday will be at St James, and every service there after. God bless you and your family… YOU ARE LOVED.

  34. Kim says:

    One of my best friends, Kaci, and I love to sit and talk about the redemption of the cross in our lives and the world…for hours. We’ve watched each other grown and change and find more and more reasons for grace together for the past 3 years. To add to the list of support here…I am a fan of transparency by leaders. So glad that you did that here. It’s moments like this that I find it the hardest to comprehend that “my fight isn’t against people…it’s again my enemy…who’s actually Jesus’ enemy.”

  35. debtfree2012 says:

    Pastor Ted,

    I am very moved by your blog post here. It is a message the everyone who claims to be a believer needs to hear.

    On the other hand, it breaks my heart to read what you have written…not because you are wrong or wrong for expressing how you are feeling, but rather because someone, such as yourself, is still be treated so poorly. I was very saddened regarding the scandal (especially since I live about 120 north near Greeley, CO) and I had to listen to 9News etc. reporting on the scandal to the point of not even wanting to watch the news any longer.

    I sincerely empathize with you (your family) and the history of abuse you all have had to endure over the last few years. I want to apologize to you & your family on behalf of all those judged you and treated you so horribly. Please for me (in their place) for the way you have been needlessly treated. It is NOT any of your jobs to judge your future by your past. Your past is just as ours is…UNDER THE BLOOD OF JESUS! In God’s eyes, we have no past, no matter what anyone else or we ourselves think about it.

    Please Pastor Ted, not matter what happens,…don’t give up on what God has called you to do or your private daily relationship with the Lord. God uses ALL of us NOT because we are pretty, handsome, talent etc…No He uses us because we are called and we are will to do that which He has called us to do.

    Please ALWAYS remember these words. They are for you and for all of us as well!
    John 3:14-18 (AMP)14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert [on a pole], so must [so it is necessary that] the Son of Man be lifted up [on the cross], 15 In order that EVERYONE who believes in Him [who cleaves to Him, trusts Him, and relies on Him] may [a]not perish, but have eternal life and [actually] live forever! 16 For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten ([b]unique) Son, so that WHOMEVER believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall NOT perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world in order to JUDGE (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound THROUGH HIM. 18 He who believes in Him [who clings to, trusts in, relies on Him] is NOT judged [he who trusts in Him never comes up for judgment; for him there is no rejection, no condemnation—he incurs no damnation]; but he who does not believe (cleave to, rely on, trust in Him) is judged already [he has already been convicted and has already received his sentence] because he has not believed in and trusted in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [He is condemned for refusing to let his trust rest in Christ’s name.]

    The Lord bless you Pastor Ted and your entire family in ALL that you do. May God keep your church strong and may it only be what God has called it to be for Him.

    May the Peace the passes ALL understanding guard your hearts and minds in Him,

    Gregg Huestis
    Eph. 1:17-23 (AMP)

    • debtfree2012 says:

      I re-read my post to your Pastor Ted and realize it had several typos etc. Please post this one below and delete the previous one…I would greatly appreciate that. Gregg Huestis
      ———————————————————————–

      Pastor Ted,
      I am very moved by your blog post here. It is a message that EVERYONE who claims to be a believer needs to hear.
      On the other hand, it breaks my heart to read what you have written…not because you are wrong or are wrong for expressing how you are feeling, but rather because someone, such as yourself, is still be treated so poorly. I was very saddened regarding the scandal (especially since I live about 120 miles north of you near Greeley, CO) and I had to listen to 9News etc. reporting on the scandal to the point of not even wanting to watch the news any longer.
      I sincerely empathize with you (your family) and the history of abuse you all have had to endure over the last few years. I want to apologize to you & your family on behalf of all those who have judged you and treated you so horribly.
      Please forgive me (in their place) for the way you have been needlessly treated. It is NOT any of your jobs to judge your future by your past. Your past is just as ours is…UNDER THE BLOOD OF JESUS! In God’s eyes, we have no past, no matter what anyone else or we ourselves think about it.
      Please Pastor Ted, not matter what happens,…don’t give up on what God has called you to do or your private daily relationship with the Lord. God uses ALL of us NOT because we are pretty, handsome, talent etc…No…He uses us because we are called and we are willing to do that which He has called us to do.
      Please ALWAYS remember these words. They are for you and for all of us as well:
      John 3:14-18 (AMP)14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert [on a pole], so must [so it is necessary that] the Son of Man be lifted up [on the cross], 15 In order that EVERYONE who believes in Him [who cleaves to Him, trusts Him, and relies on Him] may [a]not perish, but have eternal life and [actually] live forever! 16 For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten ([b]unique) Son, so that WHOMEVER believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall NOT perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world in order to JUDGE (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound THROUGH HIM. 18 He who believes in Him [who clings to, trusts in, relies on Him] is NOT judged [he who trusts in Him never comes up for judgment; for him there is no rejection, no condemnation—he incurs no damnation]; but he who does not believe (cleave to, rely on, trust in Him) is judged already [he has already been convicted and has already received his sentence] because he has not believed in and trusted in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [He is condemned for refusing to let his trust rest in Christ’s name.]

      The Lord bless you Pastor Ted and your entire family in ALL that you do. May God keep your church strong and may it only be what God has called it to be for Him. May you also have a wonderful blessed Christmas & a Happy Prosperous NEW YEAR!

      May the Peace the passes ALL understanding guard your hearts and minds in Him,

      Gregg Huestis
      Eph. 1:17-23 (AMP)

  36. Stacie Jaye says:

    Never quit.. if you do, others will too. But, as you stay your course, others will stay also. Thank you for sharing this, and to all of you who replied.

  37. Anna Nielsen says:

    Hey Ted, I just want to start off by saying that who you are and what you do is such an inspiration to me. Your life and how you’ve navigated it – how even through struggle and chaos, you have gathered something to become an even more loving person through it – it just brings such a swell to my heart. I want to say how sorry I am that you first of all had to struggle in silence for the time that you did. And then when you found the courage to come forth (bravo, man, I can’t even imagine how difficult that would be to do) with things that had gone on, that you were received with such an unforgiving and less than understanding church family and public. I just…it just breaks my heart so much and I want to give you huge hugs. For everything that you’ve been through, I am just so sorry. But also, I want to say, as a fellow human being, how proud I am of you. You were riddled with so much crap and yet you took it as an opportunity to become an even better man. And I’m not talking about adjusting your sexual desires or any of that stuff, just the way you run your church (not saying that it was a bad way before at the old one, but what I’ve read about how you operate within the new one just brings such joy to my heart, and I’m not even of the Christian persuasion!) and how you relate to people. I mean, I thought you were a genuine and nice man before, it’s not like it’s this huge change, but it’s just…I don’t know how to describe it…watching someone grow in love I guess? You’re so real and so sincere. And all about the love and forgiveness. And I just…gah….you make me so happy. I know I’m sounding like a bubbling idiot, but I really feel the need to tell you this, even if it’s just another comment in a stream of them from other people. Your story has really touched my heart, and I am just really glad you are a part of this world, Ted Haggard. So thanks for keeping it real, man.

    Moving on to the actual topic of your post…

    Ugh, people are so venomous :-(. I understand your disenchantment with the spewing and the fronting. I wish I could offer you up some sort of wisdom or encouragement, but the best way I know how to deal with that kind of stuff is just to delve deeper into the love in my life, as it seems you are already doing with your church and family. I know it’s not much, but maybe it’ll help to know that this girl from SW Michigan totally has your back, Pastor Ted. And your on my heart and on my mind. I’m not much with the praying thing, but I’m good with the thinking and the heart-ing :-P.

    For a little boost to lift your day, do you like cats, Ted? Because whenever I am having an icky day, cats always cheer me up, especially one Simon’s cat. And he makes for the cutest and more adorkable videos. So, if I may, one for the season, entitled ‘Snow Business’ :-D…

    Hope today is a little better for you. Keep up your awesomeness! 🙂

  38. samoabro says:

    I’m also very thankful for the honesty that is now starting to come from Christian leaders. The criticism that Pastor Haggard has received has been incredible. I probably would have stayed in bed for all of my Sunday mornings had I faced what he’s gone through. I am thankful that we are just now learning to love imperfect people, which is everyone….

  39. johnuio says:

    no matter what we’ve done, or what I’ve done, or how ugly, we are all still brothers or cousins under the heavens. There is nothing that could ever contradict that. Of course we don’t tend to see this truth, which is why humans all over the world have religion. The fact that we are failing, so often and consistently, just shows how important it is for us to search for the path that reminds us of our lost sense of togetherness as children of the same father. And that the heavens are more than alive, the way we think we know life. Anyone who thinks this awareness is somehow easy or convenient, I don’t know how to respond. But suffering and strife and blindness to truth, that is just the nature of our human race. That’s what we are here to deal with, and it is what we are – as a single human family.

  40. Nelvan Gonzalez says:

    Pastor Ted, I live in Cape Coral, FL and I’ve followed most of what has happened. Since I saw and HBO documentary on you. Every since The Lord had put a special place in my hart for you and your family. We all have our ups and down. Don’t give up keep on fighting we love you and most important of all GOD loves you. I’m alway praying for you and your family. Your brother Nelvan.

  41. Mark says:

    Great testimony. We who truly know the Lord know that no one is perfect, ever. Most people’s sins are not known to others. Why should we expect our sheppards to meet a standard no one but the Lord himself ever has?

    It is nice to see a brother restored to the Lord.

  42. Alicia Mock says:

    Ted..Just reading this blog, even though it’s a year old. I’m so glad I just signed up for your newsletter. Thank you also for replying to my email question the other day! Believe me, if we lived in Colorado Springs, we’d be a part of your “flock” if you’d have us. That kind of church is something we’ve longed for for years.. in the meantime, we’re sort of stuck in the “system”, trying to love God and love people, and use our gifts in the best way possible..trying not to be “flaky” by church hopping. We’ve also been burned by church on the staff side of things, so we’ve seen it from all angles. Anyway, thank you SO Much for being you. You’re equipping a lot of us out there..to be both authentic and life-giving at the same time!

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