148 Lewis Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, 11221

Interview with Pastor Stephenson

Barbara Caesar-Stephenson is the Founder and Pastor of Potter’s House Church of the Living God.  Here she shares her thoughts on God’s vision for the Potter’s House, holiness, relationships and the role of gays and lesbians in the body of Christ.

MV: When and why was the Potter’s House church founded?

BCS: We’ve been in existence about fourteen or fifteen years now.  The “why” is because the Lord has called me to the ministry of pastoring under the word of God, under the biblical truth of Jesus Christ our savior and there is a void in the lesbian and gay community on churches that preach holiness and justification and sanctification.  And I believe that the Potter’s House is the only church that is traditional in the sense that it does that–our focus is on sanctification–that’s the reason why it started.

MV: What is God’s vision for the Potter’s House and is this vision being realized?

BCS: The Potter’s House is called the “Potter’s House Church of the Living God”–it’s taken from the potter’s wheel where the potter takes broken pieces or messes of clay–different kinds of clay–and focuses on it and molds it and puts it on a wheel and makes it into something that is useful.  And the Lord spoke it into my heart to—that this ministry is for broken people to put them back together.  And as people they’re put on the wheel–the wheel of life that gives them strength and the word–to be able to stand, to stay on the wheel and to become molded into a useful vessel of the Lord.  Has it reached its goal?  No, I don’t believe it will ever reach its goal.  The goal is that men and women be saved and that’s an ongoing ministry.  Right now, most of our ministry is…  This is not a church of lesbians and gays; this is a church for all people.  But the majority are lesbian and gay.  We are lesbians and gays, we’re here and we need to let it be known that lesbians and gays and people of different genders, transgenders, transsexuals have a place in God and there is renewal for us, there is sanctification for us, there is justification for us and there is salvation for us.  Lesbians and gays can live holy.  So we’re dealing with the issue of bringing holiness to people who are told that they could not be made whole.

MV: So your ministry, is it specifically for homosexuals?

BCS: No.  It’s for people who want to know the Lord and the truth of the word of God.  It’s open to anyone.

MV: What would you say is the denomination of Potter’s House?  Is it Pentecostal?

BCS: We are a Jesus movement.  It’s not a “denomination”.  People get stuck into denominations—Pentecostal, Apostolic…  One minister who use to come here said we were Pentecostal in doctrine and Apostolic in nature.  I just think we’re a Jesus movement of God.  No denomination, just a real move of God.

MV: What is the Charismatic movement and would Potter’s House be considered a Charismatic church?

BCS: No.  Charismatic is a word that comes from fundamentalists describing people of God.  Charismatic was like how the Catholic church had some who were Catholic and Episcopal and Protestant who started speaking in tongues and shouting and praising the Lord.  And then they said “well they’re Charismatic.”  There’s not a word in the bible for that.  So we’re not a Charismatic movement; I don’t even believe there is such a thing.  I think that’s a word that people made up for church folk who just love the Lord and worship the Lord freely in song and dance and speaking in tongues.

MV: What would you tell someone who is considering visiting the Potter’s House?

BCS: The door’s open.

MV: What are the advantages of ministering in a storefront church as opposed to a large or “mega” church?

BCS: The advantage is knowing the congregation, knowing the people who come in.  It’s easy to preach to the needs of people because you know them on an intimate level.  If you had five hundred members you probably would only know fifty of them.  If you have twenty-five members you can know all twenty-five and you feel like a family—a real family of God other than just being part of a congregation.  You feel that you are a part because everybody knows everybody.  And especially here at the Potter’s House–we’re small but everybody calls one another, visits with one another, hangs out with one another…  So the advantage is just a much more intimate relationship with the congregation.

MV: Do you believe this church is going to remain small?

BCS: The Lord has said no.  I don’t know when it’s going to expand, I don’t know how it’s going to expand, I don’t know what it’s going to look like in expansion, but the Lord has said no, that this church will grow and it will grow with many different kinds of people.  But I’m hoping that it will grow with a lot more lesbians and gays coming to embrace holiness as a way of living.  Being saved as a true test of your faith.

MV: Well the Potter’s House is a small church.  How does that affect the worship atmosphere?  Is it different in smaller churches than in larger churches or does that not make a difference in terms of the worship?

BCS: I don’t think it makes a difference if it’s real worship, if it’s true worship.  I mean you can worship with five hundred people or you can worship with two people.  I don’t think it makes a difference.  If the church is a worshipping church and five thousand people want to worship they can worship and if two people come to church and praise the Lord…  I think it has to do with freedom in the Lord and not in numbers.

MV: As pastor of the Potter’s House, what is your role in the lives of each individual member?  Is your role the same for each member?

BCS: No, because each person is a different.  I’m a teacher.  I’m a parent.  I’m the shepherd of the house.  So I have to make sure that I minister to each person as a group and individually.

MV: In your eyes how is Potter’s House different from other churches where you’ve ministered?

BCS: Well, the congregation for one.  The majority, ninety seven percent [laughs] is homosexual in makeup…  And the teaching has to be different because the teaching…  I’m coming to a broken people that have been told that they cannot live saved.  So the teaching is different in that we try to bring broken people that have been told because of their sexuality that they can’t worship the Lord in truth.  And that’s the only real difference.  There’s no doctrine for me—scripturally for me there’s no difference.  I preach the same now as I preached when I was fifteen.

MV: There are many Christians who believe it is inappropriate to be loud in church, to shout, yell out, fall out and what have you, and that we should be quiet and somber when we worship.  Do you to any extent agree with this view?

BCS: I disagree with being quiet.  If you’ve been through anything, if you’ve come through any trial, if you’ve come through any tribulation, if you’ve been delivered from anything…  Victory is not quiet when somebody runs a race and wins a marathon; they jump up and down and scream.  When people go to basketball games and football games the joy of just being in that atmosphere—God has brought me through too much to sit quietly about it and just say “thank you Lord, I thank you.”  When that spirit overwhelms within me I just let loose—I was saying earlier today that quiet folk aren’t going to be able to go to heaven because there’re going to be a whole lot of folk that are so thankful to see Jesus they’re going to come in screaming and jumping and running around, just glad to be there.  And they’re not going to come in quietly; they’re going to come in with—you know—“I’ve been thorough so much and I’m so glad to be here.”  And when you’re glad to be somewhere you have joy.  It comes up in a loud way.

MV: What does the bible say about homosexuality?  Does the bible condemn it?

BCS: The bible does not condemn it and I can’t even answer that question in one word.  That takes many hours and many scriptures to go over.  But the Lord has not condemned homosexuality.  That’s a long…  We did a two month bible study on that.  There’s no way that you can say in one or two words—I wouldn’t be able to touch it.

MV: Why does homosexuality exist?  Is it natural?

BCS: It’s natural.  It’s a part of people’s nature; people are born that way.  It has been proven scientifically that people are born that way.  It’s a way of being.  God knew I was a homosexual when I was born and he could have smited me then or changed me then.  We’re all born differently; some people have blue eyes, some people have brown eyes, some people have long hair, some people have short hair.  Some people are homosexual, some people are heterosexual.  It’s just the way of nature.

MV: Where do gays and lesbians stand in the body of Christ?

BCS: Which body of Christ?  In the body of Christ?  Anybody who’s saved, if they’re gay, lesbian, straight, transgender, whatever they are if they’re saved they are part of the body of Christ.  If they’re not saved—you can be straight and not saved and you’re not a part of the body of Christ.  Gays and lesbians have to understand that they’re in the body of Christ and that’s where the Potter’s House comes in; we are preaching that they’re in the body of Christ and we’re teaching them the scriptures so that they can go to people and show them that they’re in the body of Christ and that Christ has not condemned them or cast them out of the body but they’re a very big part if they’re saved.

MV: So do you believe that God has a special plan for gays and lesbians?

BCS: I don’t think God has a special plan for gays and lesbians as much as he has a special plan for his people.  His people are to be saved, his people are to come under salvation, his people are to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior.  I think that saved lesbians and gays have a big responsibility to lead other people who are outside of the church and feel condemned by the church back to the church.  So gays and lesbians of Christ, believers, have a big mission to bring others into the church.  And we have to build churches that teach the truth, and in that truth let it be known that the church is open, that the doors are open for everyone.  It’s a church for all people.  It is a concept of God, it’s a people—the bride of Jesus, where the church is the bride and everybody who’s saved is part of that function.

MV: Why are gays hated by so many?  Why is it such a sore spot for so many people?

BCS: Because it has been condemned through the word of God and through culture.  That again is a long…  You can’t—books have been written on that and interviews on television all the time and people are always asking that question but it comes from people who have condemned it through what’s been said about the teachings of the bible which is not true.  And you have to know that truth.  That’s why gays and lesbians must know the word of God and must be able to combat that with the word of God.  For Jesus said the only way you can deal with people is by the word of God.  And so the only way gays and lesbians can go out and tell people the truth is to know the word of God, and then they have to go to a church that teaches the truth, learn it and pass it on.

MV: Most Christian ministers preach against homosexuality but some prominent ministers seem to go out of their way to condemn homosexuals.  Why do you think this is?  Where does this come from?

BCS: It comes from fundamentalist teachings.  Any group you want to be a part of and be popular in they will condemn it.  They feel they have to condemn it because that is—again it’s just been taught wrongly for many years and they continue to teach it that way.  Some people feel that’s their mission, to condemn.  Homosexuality is the one and only thing that most preachers of ministries come together against.  They might be far apart on many things but on teaching against homosexuality—that God is against the homosexuals—preachers who don’t even speak to one another, Catholics and Pentecostals and Apostolics and Episcopalians all will come together under that umbrella of condemnation.  And that’s just not God based.  Again it comes from—we have to educate people on what the word of God is.  God is love, period.  And all that other stuff that they throw in there is not God based.

MV: As you well know there is a great deal of controversy in the United States because of the gay marriage issue.  Both conservatives and liberals have taken sides, Catholic and traditional organizations are putting pressure on politicians to deny gays the right to marry.  How do you think the will of God is being played out in all this?

BCS: They’re using, again, the word of God as an instrument to condemn people and that it not what it’s about.  It goes back to people knowing their scripture, knowing what the word of God actually says about that.  People are using the church and using God to condemn people, to be angry at people, to be prejudiced against people and that is not love.  There’s no love in prejudice, there’s no love in condemnation, there’s no love in guilt tripping somebody, there’s no love in abusing people, there’s no love in hate.  And all of that spits out hatred.  They’re using that against people who want to stand under an umbrella of a marriage license to show their love—for legal reasons and for… love.  It’s just not bible based.

MV: Does God recognize gay marriage?

BCS: God recognizes any marriage that is made under a covenant.  Any covenant that’s made under the will of God, under the name of God will be recognized.  If you do anything outside of God it’s not recognized; God doesn’t recognize anything that’s outside of him and who he is.  That goes for heterosexuals who come together for one or two reasons and have not made a true covenant with the Lord.  If it’s blessed by God it is a marriage that includes God in it.  If it doesn’t include God, God doesn’t recognize it.

MV: Did the Lord send HIV and AIDS…

BCS: No.

MV: To punish homosexuals?

BCS: No, because straight people have HIV and AIDS.  Straight people had it first.  Lesbians didn’t get it—lesbians are the most clean of all people.  Babies get it.  People get it through transfusions, through unsafe sex… It didn’t start in the gay community, it spread more in the gay community because gays and lesbians have not been conscious about how they live their sexual lives.  Any kind of unsafe sex could spread a disease.  Syphilis was once a disease that was spread and it’s known now that when it was spread in the black community that the government did it.  So God didn’t send it.  Man does these things.  This sickness [HIV] they found out came from an animal.

MV: Is it a sin to have a sex change?

BCS: You know…  I can’t answer that question; I don’t know.  People say that—I think in light of what God made you—if God made you a man, if God made you a female, then that’s who you are.  But if you in your insides say “I am not a man”, “I am not a female”, “I’m living in the wrong body”, then the spirit is fighting against the flesh and the flesh dies.  So if in their heart they really believe they are one or the other and need to now live that life as a male or a female and the only way they can do that is by changing—they’re only changing their body parts.  Or they’re changing what people called them but in their mind they are who they always were.  A male or a female.  We’re looking at the outward nature, we’re not looking at the inward.  So people condemn that because they say “well, that’s not what God made them.”  But this is just a body.  It’s just dust.  It’s going to go back to dust.  It’s the spirit that says “I am not a male”, “I am not a female”.

MV: What is the most important message you can give to gay and lesbian Christians today?

BCS: Get saved.  Jesus is coming.  Find yourself a bible based church that’s preaching the truth and preaching salvation and holiness.  Get saved, Jesus is coming.

MV: Well that seems like a message for everyone.

BCS: [laughter] That’s—that’s…  We’re no different from anybody else; we’re all God’s people; we all are just people.  We just have been classified as homosexuals and classified as white, classified as black, classified as Hispanics and Indians…  We’re just God’s people.  And he wants his people to get saved.  He said if my people call my name then I will answer from heaven.  He didn’t call out any individual group, he just said “my people”.  If we’re people of God then salvation is for us.

MV: What are the rules for single Christians who date?  How does God want single Christians to go about dating?

BCS: The way you do everything: in a Godly fashion.  You have to understand what you’re doing and be conscious of what you’re doing.  Just live righteous, follow your heart, follow the will of God.  There is no right, there is no wrong.  You can date—dating is different for everybody.  But if dating includes sex then you need to look at that because you can’t have sex with ten and twenty different people and say that you belong with Christ.  Dating to me is going to dinner and going to the movies and holding hands and trying to get to know a person.  Having sex is not making love, sex is just what it is, which is giving in to the flesh.  If you’re a child of God then you’re not supposed to give into the flesh.  So dating is supposed to lead to a more intimate relationship and a oneness, a togetherness, unity…  We should not give ourselves to just everybody.  You should date until you find the right person.  And that person is the person you’re going to be with until love no longer is.

MV: What is marriage in God’s eyes?  What is the purpose of marriage?

BCS: Marriage is something that man made.  God just said he made a help meet for each person.  You can be married to your job, you can be married to your car, you can be married to anything…  That means you’re giving all of your attention to something.  That person or that thing has become what you are spending your time with, your life with and building your life on.  So marriage as it is defined by law is one thing—defined by God would probably be a totally different thing.  It’s just a coming together.  The church is considered the bride and Jesus said he’s coming back for his bride—to marry his bride.  And when he does it he’s going to put them under him forever.  And that’s what marriage should be about—just loving and so much love and so much togetherness and so much completeness…  But I think marriage is a word that needs to be defined.  I don’t think it’s defined in God’s eyes as it’s defined in man’s eyes.

MV: I recently finished a very interesting book by Juanita Bynum called “No More Sheets” wherein she talks about the dangers of sleeping around with multiple partners.  What are the dangers, if any, in engaging in this type of behavior?

BCS: Well besides the illnesses and diseases you can get from it, you’re also taking in, as she said…  Sleeping around with people or having sex with people, you’re taking in—intimate relationship means “into me”, that’s where intimate comes from.  Becoming a part of someone, becoming fused with somebody.  So if you’re sleeping with twenty people, you’ve got twenty people in you.  If it’s fifty you’ve got fifty in you.  You cannot love one person with twenty different people in you.  You cannot love yourself with twenty different people in you, or fifty, or five for that matter, or two for that matter.  So you’re taking in other people’s karmas (so to say), other people’s personalities—other people’s being you’re taking inside of you.  The danger is having fifty people talking to you at one time, becoming part of you.

MV: Loose sexual behavior seems to be becoming the norm rather than the exception these days.  We’re bombarded with sexual imagery on our televisions, on the internet, and in magazines, more so probably than ever before.  Why is this?

BCS: Because Jesus is soon to come.  And satan’s job is to keep as many people from going to heaven and going back to Jesus when he comes.  The one thing that the bible has always spoken about, that Jesus has always spoken about is our flesh.  Sex pleases the flesh.  And so satan uses that—the thing that he knows will get people to yield to the flesh and turn away from God.  He’s using the tool that he can—he’ll use whatever he can and sex seems to be one of the powerful tools.  Sex and hatred.

MV: Are gays particularly prone to partner swapping, one night stands, etcetera and if so why?

BCS: I think they are and I think the reason that they are is because we have never—none of our relationships have ever been looked upon as real relationships; we were never—in the eyes of the church–considered good or right, nor were our relationships.  We couldn’t get married and so we said since we don’t have that marriage license and people say we’re not really a couple, we’re not a real relationship, nobody honors it, our jobs don’t honor it, the government doesn’t honor it, our families don’t honor it, then why should we honor it?  And so we’ve become very loose in that.  That’s where the people of God should come in and show others that no, we have to honor our relationships as much as anybody else.  We’re people like anyone else.  We just have a different title that’s been given to us.  Everybody, heterosexual or homosexual has to learn to honor relationships, even friendships and family relationships.  Whatever kind we need to honor them.  If we don’t honor them, they won’t honor them and we have to turn that around.  It’s not about what people say—people should not define our relationships.  They say we’re loose and we believe that.  And so we don’t have relationships we just have ‘ships’.  We just ‘relate’ and then move on.  Like a ship passing in the night we just hit it and go, you know, and pull in to another port.  So we have to learn to honor our relationships and say to the world “you’re wrong”.  And there are gays and lesbians who’ve been in relationships for fifty or sixty years and nobody ever talks about that.  They only talk about the ones that they see changing partners.  What about the ones who don’t change partners?  I mean they have wife swapping in the heterosexual community; it happens everywhere because it’s a fleshly thing, it’s a fleshly nature thing which has to die.

MV: Most preachers are adamant that sex before marriage is wrong.  When is the right time to be sexually intimate with someone?

BCS: What is marriage?  For some marriage is jumping over a broom.  Some say you can’t have sex until you have a piece of paper.  What does that mean—that’s law.  You’re holding me under the law.  I think it’s correct that the church teaches us not to sleep around, but how are they defining sex before marriage.  They’re defining marriage.  What is marriage?  How do you define it?  How do you define it in the lesbian and gay community?  There is no such thing.  We come together in a relationship.  We don’t have a license.  So who defines that for us, or for anybody?  What is marriage?  When does that start?  Does it start when you tell somebody you love them or does it start when you get a piece of paper—but we can’t get a piece of paper.  So for us when does it start?

MV: Could it be said that it starts when you stand before the Lord and make a covenant, make a promise?

BCS: You could also make that covenant and promise in the bathroom.  You stand before somebody and say I love you under the eyesight of God.  Jonathan and David weren’t in the church, they were on the run.  David was on the run when he said “I make a covenant with you, I love you, and I’m going to make a covenant with you and your seed forever and ever.  Under God you and I are going to be one”.  When you say that—you and I are one under God—then that could be considered marriage.  Marriage in America is different than marriage in Afghanistan.  Marriage in Afghanistan is different from marriage in India.  So we all have different ways to define marriage according to our culture, our society.  But under God it’s when you come to him and say I love this person and I’m going to love this person like I love you.  And God is going to be in the midst of everything we do.  I’m not saying go meet somebody today and say “I love you in the sight of God, I love you let’s have sex.”  And then next week say the same thing to someone else.  But a covenant cannot be broken.  So you can’t say that.  If you break that covenant then you didn’t make a covenant before God.

MV: Why do you we all so long for partners, to be partnered up?

BCS: In the beginning God made Adam and he made the world and he put all these things out in the world and Adam said “oh this is good Lord, I’ve got food, I’ve got animals but we don’t talk.  I can’t relate to a goat because I’m not a goat, I can’t relate to a cow because I’m not a cow, I can’t relate to an alligator, but I noticed Lord you made two of everything.  The goat has a goat to talk to, the alligator has an alligator to talk to, the animals all have someone to talk to in the animal kingdom.  I’m different than all these animals and all these plants.  I don’t have someone that looks like me who I can relate to.”  And so Adam said “it’s not good for man to live alone.”  And God said “yeah you’re right.  You need somebody to talk to.”  So it is our nature.  And that’s why God made man, so he’d have companionship.  He wanted someone who’d look like him, who could relate and talk to him.  He said “I made you in my likeness and my image.  Therefore I’m going to talk with you.”  He came down and spoke with Adam everyday in the garden…

MV: So the Lord desires company?  Partnership?

BCS: Partnership.  Relationship.  He wants to relate to someone or something.  And so it is our nature to want to relate.  That is why God made the earth, so that he’d have a relationship with us.  So that’s why it’s in us to want a partner.

MV: So should we pray to the Lord for partners?  “Lord please send me a lover, send me a lover”… something like that?

BCS: We do that, we say that…  I looked at you strange and I hesitated a minute because we go “Lord send me a partner, send me a partner” and when God sends you someone we go “Oh Lord not that one, Lord not that one, another one.”  I think we shouldn’t pray for partners.  I think we should pray for the ability to be a good partner when a partner comes.

MV: So why doesn’t God just send us all partners?  Why does he have so many of us alone?

BCS: Because we have choices.  You make that choice.  You have free will.  If he sends you someone, nine times out of ten you don’t want that one.  God’s not in the partnership business, he’s in the soul saving business.  He’s not in the business of marriage.  He’s not in the business of family—that’s up to us.  You have to find a partner and pray that you find one that is compatible to you.  That’s the prayer, finding someone that you can relate to.  But God’s not in the business of partners.  If he was he would have done that in the beginning.  It wouldn’t have been an afterthought.  It wouldn’t have taken Adam to say “look Lord, something’s missing here.”  He would have made Eve immediately.  It was years after that Eve became part of the company of man.

MV: So does that make a woman an afterthought?

BCS: No.  In the beginning in Genesis he said I made Adam he/she.  So a woman is not an afterthought.  We have the ability in us—we were bisexual in the beginning   He made male and female at the same time, they were just in the same body.

MV: What exactly is “fornication”?

BCS: Fornication is a word that the church uses for condemnation but it has to do with sex.  Any kind of sex that is not legal.  That’s another word that would take a long bible study but it’s just illicit sex.

MV: It seems like a very vague term.

BCS: It’s a vague term.  It’s a very vague term.  And the church uses it to condemn people.  In scripture it talks about having sex with one’s mother; with the father’s wife.  It doesn’t have to be your mother, it could be your father’s wife because in the bible days the father had many different wives.  So again it brings us back to marriage; what is marriage?  In the old testament—the old testament founders had more than one wife.  So you could be the son of a father but it doesn’t mean it’s your mother and you go and have sex with them…  That isn’t considered a good thing.  So that’s part of fornication.

MV: How young is too young to engage in sexual activities?  How is that determined?

BCS: Children don’t know the ramifications of sex.  I think, I think, people shouldn’t probably have sex until they’re twenty five years old or twenty years old because they don’t know what the responsibility is.  The age of responsibility in the Jewish community for a boy is thirteen.  That means he can engage in sex at thirteen.  People in foreign countries marry off their children at nine, ten, and they have sex.  The age of responsibility—I think when somebody is responsible enough to handle all that sex entails, the whole responsibility of having sex.  So I don’t have an age.  If it was up to me I would say twenty five, but you know…

MV: Is the definition of sex different under Christ as opposed to the old covenant?

BCS: Christ doesn’t have a definition of sex.  He never spoke of it.  That’s man made.  God is only about love.  And people say the difference—people say there’s two different things: “I’m making love tonight” or “I’m going home to have sex”.  So there’s a difference between love making and having sex.  Sex is probably on the condemnation, guilt side of just—whang, bam, I had a good time, see you later or I’m going to roll over and smoke a cigarette.  Making love is becoming intimate with somebody, having a relationship.  So sex is not, would not, be a thing that God said go out and do.  Love is what he was talking about.  God is love.  Sex is not about love.  Sex is about appealing to the flesh.

MV: Is it inappropriate to speak about sex in church?

BCS: Of course not.  Sex is a part of our nature.  Church is where you’re supposed to learn things.  Learn what is a part of a life…  I think if the church talked more about sex or love making and talked more about what sex is as opposed to love making we would have a different way of dealing with it.  I think we don’t—we—the church is so closed on it that that’s why people are doing so many other things.  Because it seems like a guilt thing.  It seems like a thing that should be done in the closet or should be done under cover.  It seems like a naughty thing.  And as long as the church sees it as a naughty thing and doesn’t preach on it as what it is—it’s part of our nature—it’s always going to seem bad or wrong or something—a taboo.  That’s not necessarily so.

MV: What does the Lord want from us?  Why are we here?  Why were we created?

BCS: To be a companion to God.  To have companionship with God.  To trust the Lord.  To talk to the Lord.  To have companionship with him.

MV: So that’s the purpose of man—

BCS: That’s the only purpose.  Companionship with God.

MV: What must one do to be saved?

BCS: Believe in the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved.

MV: That’s it?

BCS: That’s it.  That’s what scripture says.  When you say “What must I do to be saved”, Jesus says “you must be born again”.  You must believe in the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved.  Born again means turn from this nature that we’re in and turn in to a new life, a life that is Christ centered.  And that comes through only believing in Jesus Christ.

MV: How does one know if they’re saved?

BCS: The heart has to tell you that.  The heart has to tell you weather you’re saved or not.  Man can’t tell you that.  Man likes to tell—the church likes to say “if you walk this way or if you stand this way or if you pray this way or if you eat this or you don’t eat that, that means you’re saved”.  It has nothing to do with that, it has to do with your belief in the Lord.  And your heart will tell you that.  It’s not how you dress or how you eat or what you wear or what church you go to but it’s your heart’s conviction.

MV: What is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?

BCS: That’s another long one.  We can’t say in two or three words.  Baptism of the Holy Spirit is when the Spirit enters your life and indwells in you.  And when Holy Spirit gets born in your life then you are indwelled with It and It becomes one within you.  And that’s the baptism; you’ve been immersed in it.  “Baptism” means to be immersed.  And Baptism of the Holy Spirit is being immersed into the Holy Spirit.

MV: What is the age requirement for this experience?  Is there a minimum age one must be to be saved?  You have to go through a catechism class first…

BCS: Uhhh… depending on your religion or your teaching but there is no requirement in the scripture.  Again that was under the law in Judaism.  Catholics have to be confirmed at a certain age and in Judaism you have to be bar mitzavahed [the ceremony celebrating the event of a Jewish boy who has arrived at the age of religious responsibility, thirteen years] at a certain age…  Again I go back to the age of responsibility; when are you responsible to say that you’re saved—that you know that you know the Lord.  I know a young lady who’s three years old who’s so wrapped up, tied up, entangled in Jesus that she even prophesizes at three of four years old.  She tells you what the Lord says to her—but she doesn’t know what that means.  She can’t say “I’m saved” because she doesn’t know what that means.  So when you’re able to understand what that means, when you’re able to expound on that, then that’s the right age for you.

MV: Is it a spiritual understanding?

BCS: It’s a spiritual understanding.  It’s not something that man can tell you—you have to know for yourself.  And your spirit has to tell you that.

MV: Is water baptism essential for being saved?

BCS: No, because salvation came before water baptism.  Jesus was baptized before the Holy Spirit came down.  But Jesus would say “you were saved when I went to the cross”.  Water baptism is—I’m making a confession to the world, to the church, and to Jesus that we have now died with him and when we come up out of the water we have risen in him.

MV: If I am a good person and live a decent life—I pay my taxes…

BCS: You’re not saved.

MV: …I’m kind to the people I come in contact with, is that enough for me to be saved?

BCS: No.  You have to confess that you know the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  The bible speaks of no good works—there’s nothing good in us.  No good works are going to get you to heaven.  You have to come to know him as your personal Savior.  There are many good people.  There are many good people but they don’t believe in the Lord Jesus

MV: That seems like such a terrible shame, that you can be “decent” your entire life and still not be saved.

BCS: But then you’re not doing what Jesus commanded us to do.  Being good is not—again going back to Nicodemus, “what must I do to be saved?”  You must be born again.  He didn’t say “you have to be good, you have to take care of everybody”.  That is what being saved does.  You want to be good, you want to take care of people, you want to pay your taxes, you want to follow the law, you want to do what’s right.  But that’s because your spirit is the Spirit of Christ.  So he didn’t say “Nicodemus, go out and feed the hungry and then come back and build a whole city for the homeless.”  He said “nope, you have to be born again.”  You have to change your old self into a new self.

MV: I’ve heard you say often “first, go and get Christ, get saved and then come the works”.  So is that a result of being saved, good works?

BCS: Well yes, because then you know the will of God.  You don’t know the will of God or how to work in what the Lord wants you to do or how to do it well without being able to hear him.  If you don’t know what the Lord wants you to do then you don’t have a work.

MV: What exactly is “speaking in tongues”?

BCS: Speaking in tongues is…  You’re having a holy conversation with a Holy God in a heavenly language.  Tongues is a heavenly language.  It’s you speaking to God, it’s God’s language, the language of angels.

MV: How important is the experience of speaking of tongues for Christians?  Must one speak in tongues to be saved?

BCS: No.  No.  Speaking in tongues came after salvation; it didn’t come until after people confessed the Lord.  Some people speak in tongues once, some people never speak in tongues again after that one time when they were baptized with it.  The tongue was an evidence in the Christ centered age that you had been born again.  Your whole language changes, you now have Christ’s language.  How do I speak to God in an intimate way?  I speak to Him in his language.  How do I speak to a Chinese man so he’ll really understand me and we’ll really have an intimate relationship?  I have to understand Chinese.  I have to speak Chinese.  To understand God and what God has for you, you go to him in the language that He speaks in.  Only you understand it, unless it’s a prophetic tongue.  Then that’s a tongue for the church or a tongue for the people but when you have an intimate relationship with God, he’s speaking to you and you’re speaking to him.  That’s between you and God.  And it’s your spirit speaking, not your human…  See too many people dwell on the humanness of it.  It’s not my humanness speaking at all, that’s why I have no control over it.  People say “get up right now and pray in tongues”…  You have no control over that.  You speak when your spirit is ready to speak, to have this relationship with God, to have this conversation with God that only you and God can have at that time.  Now I can speak to God like I’m speaking to you now.  But to have a real intimate relationship—conversation with Him, I have to have it in the spirit.  And that’s the tongues.

MV: Why are so many people put off by speaking in tongues?

BCS: Because it’s different.  When people hear Arabic they freak out because it’s different, they don’t understand it.  And anything people don’t understand they look at as strange.  People are doing many things now that people, ten or fifteen years ago would think is strange.

MV: You were brought up in what would be considered a “holiness” church.  What are the advantages and disadvantages of this type of upbringing?

BCS: I grew up speaking in God, knowing God, hearing God, living God, watching people under God.  I think the disadvantage is you can’t tell God “I didn’t know”.  You know, I was sitting there, I heard the preaching, I saw people… Certainly many times you’re in the church, the Spirit of the Lord is moving, He moves you at some point…  And you can’t say “I just didn’t get it Lord, I didn’t understand, I didn’t want to go through it.”  So I grew up knowing the Word of God and being told that the word of God is the only thing that’s going to keep me and studying the Word of God and learning to love the Word…  There wasn’t truly any disadvantage.  I think people are where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be there.

MV: How important is it to look holy?  To have a holy look?

BCS: Not important at all in God’s eyes.  God says “I don’t look at the outward appearance of man, I look at the heart.”  So me wearing the long skirt with the big ol’ doily on my head, no makeup and not combing my hair—what some people consider a holy look—doesn’t make me holy.  I can be the most evil person in the world and wear a long skirt and no makeup.  It is what my heart is.  God says “I look at the heart.  I don’t look at what you’re wearing, what you eat, or any of those outward things.  If you’re heart isn’t clean, I don’t know you.”  There are going to be many people at the end that will say “Lord it’s me.  I did this before you, I did that…”  and He’ll say “depart from me, I know you not.”  Because you’re bringing your works to Him.  You’re bringing your looks to Him.  You’re bringing what you’ve done to Him.  And He’s like: “I wasn’t looking at any of that, I’m looking at the heart nature.  And your heart nature hasn’t changed.  So I don’t know you.  You’re not a part of my family.”  So wear what you want to wear.  If you ain’t saved and you don’t know the Lord then it ain’t happenin’.

MV: We’ve discussed what it is one needs to do to be saved.  How does one stay saved and can one become “unsaved”?

BCS:“Saved” is a word that the church has killed for believers.  We’re saved the moment we believe in the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  If you stop believing in Jesus as the Lord and Savior then you are unsaved again.  So how do you stop believing that God is God—that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died for you?  You can stop saying it but you haven’t forgotten about it.  What happens is people get outside of believing that Jesus has given us eternal life…  The church has just killed the words “saved” and “salvation”.

MV: So how does one stay saved?

BCS: Stay in the Word of God.  Continue to talk to the Lord.  Continue to listen to the Lord, continue to be in the will of God.

MV: Does the bible say women shouldn’t preach?

BCS: No.  Again that’s a wrong interpretation of the scripture—who Paul was speaking to and why he was speaking to them.  You have to read the whole thing and not just one scripture and you have to know the cultural background and what Paul was saying and who he was saying it to.  He was talking to those people to that particular church, at the Corinthian church, at that particular time, and the church took that as law.  But he wasn’t saying that.  He was actually talking to a group of unruly women who had begun to talk out of turn while the scripture was expounded upon.

MV: Does the bible teach that women are inferior to men?

BCS: No.  Again those are scriptures taken out of context.  It’s also scripture being interpreted the way man wanted it to be interpreted.  It’s never—Jesus always included women with him; he made sure that he—his greatest circle was women.  The only people that were at the cross, that stayed at the cross and did not leave Jesus, were the women.  That means men were inferior because men ran away from fear.  Men went hiding in the upper room in Jerusalem out of fear of being martyred, of being killed, because they believed in Christ and Christ was no longer there.  But women said “Uh uh.  I’m going to the tomb, I’m going to my Beloved, I’m going to go embalm his body”.  The women went, and not out of fear, and wept.  Men were hiding in fear.  Men ran when the soldiers came to the garden of Gethsemane to arrest Him.  The disciples dispersed; they ran away.  The women always held their ground.  So women are not inferior.  In fact they seem to be stronger.

MV: What is the biggest obstacle that Christians face today?

BCS: Big church lie.  Big church lie.  Going to a church that does not preach the bible.  Churches leading them astray.  That’s the biggest obstacle; not knowing the true Word of God.  Once you know the true Word of God you can live holy.

MV: How can Christians successfully resist temptation, especially in this day and age?

BCS: Resist.  Just keep on resisting.  Keep saying “no”.  There’s no successful way of doing it.  If you resist it, it will flee.  You just have to keep saying “no”.  And it’s a struggle, it’s a daily struggle.  I don’t think there is a successful way.  You just have to hold on to your salvation and continue to say “no” to those things that are not good for you.

MV: Why is it so important to use the name of Jesus?

BCS: Because it was commanded by the Lord Jesus to use his name.  Because the only person that God sees is his Son.  And the only name that he recognizes—he doesn’t see Barbara, or recognize the name Barbara, he didn’t give me the name Barbara… He sees Christ Jesus.  So if you come to him, when you come to God, he says “come in my name.”  Come in the name of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ because that’s the name he’s going to hear.  So if you come in all the other names he won’t hear it because he doesn’t recognize it.

MV: What is the Jezebel spirit?  Is it real?

BCS: The Jezebel spirit is real.  The Jezebel spirit is hatefulness, lust, greed.  It’s all about Jezebel—she was a hateful, lustful, greedy, angry person.  And that’s the real Jezebel spirit; it’s not the spirit of wearing makeup.

MV: That’s my next question.  Has this term “Jezebel spirit” been used inaccurately in church?

BCS: Yeah, inaccurately.  Jezebel was not condemned because she wore makeup.  She used makeup to entice men.  Anything that we use wrongly—manipulating somebody, abusing somebody, then it becomes a sin to us.  Jezebel’s sin was that she used her bodily appearance to manipulate.

MV: In the book of Leviticus there’s a long list of rules and regulations given by God to the Hebrews as a guide for holy living.  What do these rules mean to Christians today?  Should we follow them?

BCS: We’re not under the law and the law was given to the Levite priests.  Again you have to know your bible history, your bible scripture.  That list was given only to the Levites so that they could live holy and be priests unto God.  And it was to separate them from all the other people who were doing all kinds of things that prevented God from using them in temple worship.  So He make a list for them and God didn’t give the list to them, Moses gave the list to them in order for them to work in the temple at that time.  But we are not—God is not in the building, He’s not in a temple anymore.  He is in us.  We are the temple.  Individually.  So your list is in you.  And we’re not under those laws; we never were.  Those laws were for a specific people at a specific time.

MV: Is the bible the only place where Christians can find truth and the Word of God?

BCS: No.  There are many…  The bible is the one that has lasted the longest and what the church uses.  But the bible was put together by a group of men that got a group of writings…  The Old Testament is the only thing that we can say are actually laws that were handed down by God.  But all of the other bible chapters in the New Testament were written by men that were inspired to write certain things down.  Most of it in the New Testament was written by Paul and Paul put a lot of himself in it.  And he even said it.  He didn’t say it was God ordered or God centered, he even said many times it’s not that there’s a commandment for it but this is how I see it and this is how we should live as people.  And he brought to the table his Jewish upbringing.  Anything that says that God is the one true God and Jesus is our way to salvation is good reading.

MV: Are Christians called to fast?

BCS: We’re not called to fast.  There are certain things come by fasting and prayer and if you want certain things done, you go by fasting and praying.  And when the Pharisees and the Sadducees asked Jesus “why do your people not fast?  Here we are fasting and your people aren’t fasting”, Jesus said “well the bridegroom is here and we’re having a party and we’re teaching and talking, they don’t need to fast.  It’s when I’m gone that they’re going to need to do that.”  Fasting is—the desire to have certain things done.  And that is killing the flesh even the more.  You can kill your flesh without fasting by just saying “no” and “yes” to the will.

MV: Can I fast for a new car or a new house?

BCS: That’s not what fasting was—fasting was to bring about a spiritual experience.  Because when you fast the correct way your body dies.  And your body dying brings in a spiritual feeling and not a feeling for a new car.  Material things are the things that you desire to have and fasting for it won’t bring it any quicker that believing the Lord for abundance, for abundant living.

MV: The bible say that before the fall, Adam and Eve were “naked and not ashamed”.  What does it mean to be “naked and not ashamed”?

BCS: Adam and Eve were made in the image of God, which was a spirit image.  So they had a spirit—they didn’t have a fleshly body as we call flesh now.  It wasn’t until they left the garden that they got what we see now as this fleshly body.  God in his grace said you can’t go out in the world in this ethereal body, in this spirit body because you’re not going to make it.  As part of the punishment he gave them human body and that body begins to feel, now, the elements and feels hunger and sweat and pain and disease.  So they were living in the spirit world talking to a spirit God.  So they were not ashamed because they lived outside of sin.  There was no sin.  When sin came in the world we’ve got now our spirit bodies covered and now we’re sinning and we’re ashamed.  It’s not that their nakedness brought about shame.  Their nakedness was the spirit body.  And now we don’t have a spirit body anymore.  We have a physical human body, which brings about sin.

MV: In the twelfth chapter of First Corinthians, Paul lists the gifts of the Spirit.  What is the gift we should desire the most?

BCS: He said “the greatest of these is love”.

MV: How do we attain these gifts?

BCS: Loving the Lord.  Believing in the Lord.

MV: There are many ministries that focus on prosperity and the acquisition of wealth.  Should we as Christians seek to be prosperous and wealthy?

BCS: Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you.  As a believer you are to seek first the kingdom of God and abundance will come to you.  Whatever prosperity you have is yours.  You already entered your Canaan land, your promised land when you accepted the Lord.  We should strive for the kingdom of God and after you get all of that then everything else is added.

MV: What is the “New Age” movement?

BCS: I’m not sure.  There’s many meanings for it.  It’s an old agnostic teaching that just rose up again and they call it the New Age.  It’s not bible based.  There are many, many religions under the New Age so I can’t really expound on it without going through a whole lot of things…

MV: It’s become very popular; tarot cards, tea leaves, healing crystals, meditation…

BCS: It gives people hope.  Christianity is something that’s hard to hold on to.  We need a tangible god.  In the old days they had idols and they’re called “idols”’; we need something that we can hold on to and say “this is my god”.  A tarot card… something that’s my god.  People have made the bible their god.  The book the bible.  And made idols out of their things.  We need a tangible god, a god we can touch.  And they say “you’re god”, you know.  I’m not God.  If I was God I wouldn’t be sitting here.  In the New Age people say that “you are god”.  That makes you on equal footing with God and I’m not on equal footing with God.  We just need to hold on to something and it gives them something to hold on to.  And the church has failed by not showing people the real God and the real Spirit that you can hold on to.

MV: So can we and should we incorporate these things—

BCS: No.

MV: –In our walk with Christ?

BCS: No.  Anything outside of Christ—you only have to come to Christ one way.  Just ask Him.  You don’t need a tarot card, you don’t need a tea leaf reading, you don’t need any of that.  You can go to God without any of those things.  Those things are things that people are making money off of, things that people use…  You can go to God.  I can sit wherever I am and start talking to the Lord.  I don’t need any of those interventions; I don’t need anybody to intervene for me.  I can go to Him myself.  Any time, any day, any hour…  You don’t need any of those things to call God.

MV: Do these practices lead to satan worship?

BCS: Anything that’s outside of God is satan oriented.

MV: What are the differences between Christian meditation and other types of meditation?

BCS: None.  It’s what you’re meditating on.  Christians meditate on the word of God, some people meditate on Buddha, some people meditate on food, some people meditate on a color.  Meditation is sitting quietly by yourself so you can hear from the Lord.  Christian meditation—you should quiet so you can hear from the Lord.  Meditate on the Word of God.  Meditate on God.  Meditation is a form of focusing on something, whatever that may be for you.

MV: What is the proper way for ministers to behave?  Is there a certain level a Christian must reach in terms of the way they live their lives before they minister to others?

BCS: Well they should be God centered.  God based.  Living a holy life.  Living a life that is God centered.  Ministers should only live a God centered life and that doesn’t mean you stop doing this or that or wearing a halo on your head or walking in a strange way or talking in a strange way.  God centered—if I’m God centered I’m only hearing what God is saying, I’m only doing what God is saying, I’m only believing what God is saying, and I’m living that godly life.

MV: Is gossip a hindrance to the church?

BCS: Yes.  Gossip is a hindrance to anything.  Gossip brings strife and confusion and anything that brings strife and confusion is a hindrance.

MV: What is the appropriate way to deal with church gossip?

BCS: Don’t listen to it, don’t repeat it, don’t give in to it, ignore it.  Say, “I don’t listen to gossip”.  Walk away.

MV: How do you feel God has equipped you to fulfill your mission as a pastor?

BCS: God has not equipped me with anything but salvation.  And thorough my salvation I study the Word of God, I pray, I dwell on the gifts of the Spirit, I try to use the gifts of the Spirit when I need more love.  “Lord I need more love”.  When I need patience or longsuffering I try to deal in who Christ was.  He gave me salvation.  And in that salvation He’s given me a mind and a hunger and thirst for Him.  And in that I moved into my gift—my gift is the gift of preaching; that is what He called me to do.  And because He called me to do that He’s going to equip me to do that.  He’s going to see that I do that by studying, by praying, by standing before him.

MV: When did you know that you were called to preach?

BCS: I knew I was called when I was twelve years old; I didn’t begin preaching until I was fifteen officially…until I was fifteen.

MV: How do Christians know when you’re called to preach?

BCS: You know.  When do you know when your mama’s calling you? You hear your mama calling you.

MV: Well there are many Christians out there who are preaching who are not called.  How do they know whether they’re called or not?

BCS: You know—when the Lord calls you, you know.  When Samuel was in the temple and he heard God call him—he said “Samuel, Samuel” and Samuel jumped up and said “Uh Eli, you’re calling me”.  Eli said “no.  You’re hearing, but you’re not hearing who’s calling you.  Now you need to pray until you know who’s calling you.”  Jesus said “My sheep know my voice”.  So as a child of God I know the voice of God; I hear God when he speaks.  If God says go left I’ll go left.  If God calls me to preach, I’ll preach.  If God calls me to sing, then I’m singing.  You have to know the voice of God.  How do you know the voice of God?  You have to know God.

MV: So what happens when a preacher runs away from this call?

BCS: I think every real preacher has run away from their call.  Because it is something that is not coveted.  I don’t understand people who are flocking to be pastors and preachers.  I think it is the hardest job that there is because you have now people’s lives in your hands.  And so people run from it more so than to it.  People who run to it see the glamour part of it.  Oh, you’re up front and you’ve got on a robe and people look at you and people talk to you, people know your name.  But they don’t know the real part—the praying at three o’clock in the morning, the studying until your eyes are falling out of your head, until you’ve got a headache.  Hearing God speak all kinds of days to you—telling you what you’re supposed to be doing and what you’re not doing.  Having people call you about—the children are going crazy, they just found a lump in their body, they’ve just been evicted, people wanting answers from you…  There’s nothing glamorous about that…  And so a real preacher—there’s no glamour in preaching.  Jeremiah had to lay on his side naked for three years.  There’s no glamour in that; he was doing what God called him to do.  I love where God has me, I love the gift that God has given me, I wouldn’t go back on it… I wouldn’t—if it was a choice—I wouldn’t choose it.  If God said “would you sing in the choir or preach” I’d say “can I do the choir?”  It’s much easier; it’s a simpler life.

MV: What are some of the difficulties you’ve encountered during Potter’s House’s first year and how did you overcome them?

BCS: The only difficulty we had was that people did not want to change in terms of how they dealt with churches where they came from.  Again the Potter’s House came together with a group of broken people.  And broken people are people that have many problems.  And to overcome that you just have to keep on doing what God says to do.  If it’s of God it’ll stand if it’s not of God it’ll fall.  If I keep doing what God has called me to do then we’re going to overcome all those things.  But you have to understand that churches are hospitals; it’s where sick people come to be healed.  So you’re going to get all kinds of stuff coming in.  If you’re under God’s will you’ll survive.  The church will survive.  People will survive.

MV: I’d like to ask you a couple of questions about raising children.  What are the guidelines for parents who want to raise good Christian children?

BCS: To love them.  To love them with all of your heart, with all of your mind.  As Jesus said.  Just love them.  Love them and let them—they’re just little people.  They’re just little people who are going to be big people.  Just give them all the love and they won’t go astray.  Train up a child the way you want them go and they won’t go stray from that.  Just give them a bunch of love and—children are going to choose their way but you just—you love them.  If my child came in and said that she wants to join the circus I’d still have to love her as a clown.  You just have to love them.  My child is outside of the church; I still love her.  She knows her way to the church, unfortunately the church does not—many churches coming up—don’t cater to her as a deaf mute.  That’s the reason why she’s outside of the church now but…you just love children.  You treat children the way you want to be treated.

MV: What are some of the mistakes you’ve seen Christian parents make when raising children?  What are some of the pointed mistakes you’ve seen?

BCS: Well…forcing the bible on them.  Forcing them to act a certain way in church.  Trying to make children be adults when they’re in church.  And they’re not adults.  You just have to let them be children and show them a whole lot of love.  And show them that God is love.

MV: Can this process be started at infancy?

BCS: Oh yes.  We have children running around Potter’s House.  We have one that is so much a part of our church and so much a part of—she mocks us and what we do—so we have to be careful what we do because she’s mocking what we do.  So it starts in infancy.  She runs around at eighteen months old saying hallelujah, thank you Jesus.  She comes in praising the Lord, beating the tambourine, in the choir, up on the pulpit.  Yeah, you start them young.  You start them loving the church as a young person and they will grow up loving the church.

MV: These days there are so many traps teenagers can fall into including drug abuse, alcoholism, etcetera…  How should a parent help their teenager avoid such traps?

BCS: Teach them the word of God.  Teach them love, show them love.  Point out the pitfalls of these things.  Common sense teaching—that these things are—responsibility comes with whatever you do.  And if they choose to fall into that then they have to know what the outcome of that is, what that brings about.  And the only way that you’re going to really have peace and joy and love and fulfillment in life is in Christ Jesus.

MV: When is the right age to speak with our children about sex and what should we tell them?

BCS: Again, when they’re responsible.  These days children are taught about that in school at an early age.  Most children—six, seven, eight years old—have no clue what sex is.  They just hear it and see it so much…  And what they’re doing—they’re not even sure what it is…  I think when a child comes to you and asks you a question, you should answer the question—whatever it is.  I think if they are showing that they’re dealing in that or if they just questions about that, then you should talk to them about it.  So whenever they are open to hearing it and open to talking about it…  You should watch your child; you should know your child.  You should know if they’re sneaking in the bathroom looking at naked pictures—then you need to talk to them about it.  Whatever the age.

MV: What is the correct method for approaching a child if you catch them, for example, looking at naked pictures?  What would be the appropriate response to that?  Should it be anger?  Should it be yelling…

BCS: Oh never anger.  Never anger or yelling.  There’s nothing wrong with looking at naked pictures.  What does that do for you?  Why are you looking at that?  What do you want to know about that?  A naked body is a natural thing.  They see your naked body, they see their naked body.  What does looking at that naked body picture bring up for you?  And then you need to discuss that.  Human sexuality—there’s nothing wrong with that at all.  It’s part of what God gave you.  If it was wrong he wouldn’t have given it to you.  It’s part of who we are.  And so you deal with them—you talk to children the way you want to be talked to.  Children are just little people.  Little adults.  They understand if you come to them in a way and explain to them in a way…  If you make sex a taboo, if you make sex bad, then they are going to think it’s a taboo and they’re going to think it’s bad.  If you have an open discussion with the child, they’ll ask you a question and then they’ll go on.  They might not even be thinking about having sex.  “Oh I saw this naked picture and Bob is looking at naked pictures.  Why is he looking at naked pictures?”  And then you have the discussion.  There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just—what does that do for you?  What are you going to do with that?  What’s going to come out of that?  Responsibility for your actions…

MV: How should parents react when their children resist Christ, resist Christianity?

BCS: Keep on praying.  The only thing you can do is pray.  That they find Christ.  That’s my prayer for everybody, that everybody finds Christ.  My child, your child, anybody’s child, anybody.  That they find Christ.  If they resist it, it’s because we failed to let them see the joy and the love in knowing Christ.  If you’re a believer and your children are resisting church, why are they resisting?  Why don’t they like church?  Why don’t they want to be saved?  Why don’t they want to be part of the ministry?  Ask them that question and the answer will be probably be “you made me go.  You made me study the bible.  You said if I didn’t that I was going to go to hell.”  You put all kinds of bonds and chains on them and they resisted.  But if you come in here…that’s why I let the children run all wild.  That’s why I let the children stand on the pulpit, that’s why I let them take part in any part of the service.  Don’t stop them, leave them alone, let them clap, let them jump, let them shout.  Encourage that.  And church is not a hard place for them.  It’s a fun place for them.

MV: I have one final question for you and it’s concerning humor.  You are on the humorous side in the pulpit.  You tell jokes sometimes.  And there are many ministers out there who would condemn this, who would say it’s not appropriate.  What do you say to that?

BCS: The Lord is the joy of my salvation, and I say joy.  It’s gladness in my heart.  Jesus laughed, God laughed.  People…we…preachers try to pretend that they’re somebody else and there’s something mystical about being a pastor or being a minister and they put a front up.  Nobody can come to them or talk to them or touch them.  Jesus said “I left heaven so I can touch you”.  Now if he stepped out of glory, emptied himself of all of his glory to come down here to touch me, I certainly, as a minister or preacher, should be able to touch people.  And not have a distance from the people.  People laugh.  Laughter is good medicine.

MV: Well.  This was really wonderful, thank you very much.

BCS: You’re welcome.