February 11, 2014

Out of a Far Country

This was such an inspiring book. A story of a mother and son who God called and brought to Himself.

Kay Warren says in the forward of the book:

"Out of a Far Country speaks directly to anyone who has wandered for any length of time. It's a blindingly true story that will resonate with prodigal sons and daughters, and with the parents of prodigals. This story is sometimes heartbreaking, and it's often raw in its honesty. The battle that is waged over a person's soul is lengthy and hard fought, and the outcome is not known until after wounds have been suffered."

This is what I loved about this book. It's raw honesty. No political agenda, no religious jargon, just the love of God calling his children to Himself in a powerful and beautiful way.

This story is told through exchanging chapters between mother and son. A gay son and a broken mother. God calling them both and restoring their lives.

Two things really stood out to me. Firstly the love and dedication of Angela, the mother. After putting her trust in Jesus her whole life changed. Her marriage was restored and her desire to know the Lord grew. She began praying for her son in earnest, setting up a prayer room.

I loved what she said here:

"...I had prayed specifically that God would do whatever it took to bring my son to Him - not to us, not out of drugs, not out of homosexuality...but to the Father."

This is the most important prayer a mother or father can pray...God bring my child to You. God will then sort out all the rest.

Christopher and his mom, Angela
Secondly, was how God called Christopher.

After years of promiscuous sex, drug use and dealing, and excessive partying, Christopher came to the end of himself in prison. There he gave his life to Jesus and was changed.

He then wanted answers to what a Christian homosexual looked like. So he visited the prison chaplain and shared his story, asking for advice. The chaplain gave him a book which said the Bible did not condemn homosexuality.

Christopher took the book, but says he couldn't even get through the first chapter before the Holy Spirit convicted him. Christopher says of the book: "the assertions from that book were a distortion of God's truth." He then turned to the Bible.


He says here:

"After that, I turned to the Bible alone and went through every verse, every chapter, every page of Scripture looking for biblical justification for homosexuality. I couldn't find any. I was at a turning point, and a decision had to be made. Either abandon God to live as a homosexual - by allowing my feelings and sexual passions to dictate who I was. Or abandon homosexuality - by liberating myself from my feelings - and live as a follower of Jesus Christ.

My decision was obvious. I chose God."

This really moved me, as one who has a loved one who is gay, I've been to that place where I've questioned what the Bible really says about homosexuality. There is so much pressure, even in the church, to put God's Word aside and try and make sense of this on our own. But in the end there is a choice to be made. We must trust God.

Christopher says he really struggled with who he was. He'd always thought of himself as a homosexual to his core. It was who he was. He asked: "Did I have an identity apart from my sexual orientation?"

He goes on to say:

"...I really believed that God had created me this way - gay. I had told myself over and over, I am gay. I was born this way. This is who I am. I never chose to have these feelings. But now, as  I searched the Scriptures for the way I should live, I began to ask myself a different question: Who am I apart from my sexuality?

As I continued to read the Bible, I realized that my identity shouldn't be defined by my sexuality. Paul said in Acts 17:28. 'for in Him we live and move and have our being.' 

Christ should be everything - my all in all. 

My sexual orientation didn't have to be defined by my feelings or sexual attractions. My identity was not 'gay' or 'homosexual,' or even 'heterosexual,' for that matter. But my identity as a child of the living God must be in Jesus Christ alone.

God says, 'Be holy, for I am holy.' I had always thought that the opposite of homosexuality was heterosexuality. But actually the opposite of homosexuality is holiness. God never said, 'Be heterosexual, for I am heterosexual.' He said, Be holy, for I am holy."

This is what this book is all about. Learning to be holy, because God is holy. And to know that you are beloved by a God who will never give up on you.

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.



Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."  
                                                                                  Romans 12:1-2

These events happened over 10 years ago and since then Christopher and his parents have had a ministry leading others to the Lord. You can check it out here:  christopheryuan.com

If you have questions, it would be best to e-mail Christopher here: info@christopheryuan.com


*Warning - this book is somewhat graphic in the telling of Christopher's story.

Buy it HERE on Amazon




24 comments:

  1. You just convinced me to read this book! (Beautiful review!) I'd never heard of it until now, but it sounds like such a timely read these days.

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  2. Wow....interesting take...the focus on our identity in Christ and not on our orientation.

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  3. As you described this book, I could see the pursuit of Truth that was taking place. Thank-you for sharing this review.

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  4. Thanks for reviewing our book! I'm so glad that you found it to be a helpful resource. So thankful that we worship a sovereign God who can turn our past for his glory!

    Many blessings to you!

    http://www.ChristopherYuan.com
    http://www.facebook.com/christopheryuan
    http://twitter.com/christopheryuan

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  5. Thank you for the review. I love the idea of not being defined by anything except the definition of the Creator! I keep meaning to read this book and haven't yet. I'll have to get to it soon!

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  6. "This is the most important prayer a mother or father can pray...God bring my child to You. God will then sort out all the rest."

    Yes, that is the most important message we all need to remind each other of. I heard their story awhile back on the radio (maybe Family Life Today?) and it was moving.

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  7. Excellent review of what sounds like an awesome book. I am sharing this on Facebook and Twitter.

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  8. Visiting from #TellHisStory - we are neighbors there today. I love this testimony of choosing Love... and letting God do the work. It's not easy... to trust, to continue trusting, to love not out of our own well, but out of His... but it's our call! Love this!

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  9. My Pastor met him at a convention and brought back his book and story to our congregation! I am only starting the book, but am so touched by the testimony clip shared at church! Powerful!

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  10. Thank you for sharing about this book. I read an article just a couple of days ago about Christopher and his mother. I didn't realize that they had written a book about it. The article intrigued me. Now I guess I need to go get the book to read.

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  11. Beautiful. I just went to Christoper's website and watched a couple videos their. What a wonderful story of salvation! Thank you for sharing this review.

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  12. I think I'd like to read this. Sometimes, I'm at a loss as what to say to my gay brother-in-law and his friend.

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  13. Sounds like an incredibly wonderful book. I pray daily that God will bring my two children to him. What you've shared reminds to never let go of the hope I have that they will indeed find God.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Blessings,
    Beth

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  14. A very interesting book and on a theme that is so actual today. I have also struggled on what God really thinks about on homosexuality, since I have gay friends. Sadly sexuality is such a big part of how we define us. And I think Christopher is right, sexuality does not define us as who we are.

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  15. Thanks for sharing at Essential Fridays.
    Blessings
    Mel from Essential Thing Devotions

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  16. This sounds like a book that I may very well check out for my dear friend who is dealing with her son who recently just came out. Thank you for the synopsis...it sounds like a good and encouraging book!

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  17. Wow, powerful words! Thank you for introducing me to this book, I have to go check out his website right now!

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  18. Thank you for sharing about this book. It is very encouraging how Christopher gets saved.

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  19. Thank-you all for stopping by and sharing in the comments. I was blessed by all of them!

    Christopher's mom reminded me that you can never spend to much time in prayer and that God truly hears us. And Christopher has encouraged me to remember our identity as Christians is in Christ alone. Their story is beautiful and I hope you all get a chance to read the book or at least visit their website and watch their testimonies on video.

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  20. Interesting book, I haven't hear of this one. I'm so glad you shared!

    Marissa

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  21. Thank you for this recommendation. I have gay loved ones, too, and would love to read another's story. It's going on the reading list!

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  22. It sounds like Christopher had a hard yet rewarding journey to God. I think we must remember, though, that not everyone who is gay or lesbian has the same story. In his words that you quoted above, Christopher described his homosexuality as a feeling. Although I am not a lesbian, I am guessing that one's attraction to the same sex is not always "just a feeling." The book God and the Gay Christian by Matthew Vines tells a very different story than the one that Christopher tells.

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    1. I agree Christopher's story is not every persons story who has same sex attraction. But I don't believe Christopher believed his homosexuality was only a feeling, but rather that he very much identified himself as a gay man.

      That's what makes his story so remarkable. He grew to identify with 'Whose' he was, not who he is. The theme of his book is not geared to his feelings about sex, but his realization that God had called him to be holy, like He is holy.

      This book spoke to me as a straight woman and encouraged me to seek God in my own sins, that are not any better or worse than Christopher's or anyone elses. It encouraged me to be holy as God is holy. That's what I loved about this book. : )

      Hope you get a chance to check it out. So glad you stopped by Laura! I appreciate your kind comment.

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Feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comments. I try to respond to all of them by the end of the week. : )

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