Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Episode Resources

Watch "The Fall" by Preston and Jackie Perry.

Other videos by Jackie Hill Perry.

Leslie Basham: Jackie Hill Perry says if God could save you, surely He could save those you may see as too far beyond His grace.

Jackie Hill Perry: I think we need to begin to see that conversion is a miracle, no matter who it is. It’s a miracle! And so, we have to have faith for these people. I think we have to pray with crazy faith and believe that God can change souls—because He said He would do it. He’s going to save people.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Yes!

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Lies Women Believe, for Friday, April 6, 2018.

If you have young children with you, know that today’s program deals with some grown-up themes.

All this week we’ve been hearing from spoken word poet, Jackie Hill Perry, as she’s been talking with our host, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, about the transforming power of the gospel in her life. If you haven’t been listening to Jackie’s story this week, please visit the archives at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Today, we’re going to have a chance to hear some of Jackie’s poetry . . . but first, here’s Nancy and Jackie, talking about some issues that have been in the news these last few years.

Nancy: We’re hearing a lot these days about transgender children identifying as something other than their biological sex. When you were a little girl (and I know there were a lot of factors that played into this) you found yourself really wanting to be a boy, thinking maybe you should have been a boy, acting out in some ways as a boy.

Now you’re a mother—you’ve got a little girl—and, God willing, she’s growing up in a very different environment than you did. But these parents who are hearing their children say, “I don’t feel like this is who I really am . . .” We’re in a time when the culture and the climate is such that it’s affirming the children to be the ones making these decisions.

I know it’s very complex. What have you thought about this, and how would you speak into that whole area?

Jackie: I think, foundationally, children and society have to learn that their feelings do not dictate reality. Because you feel XYZ, that does not necessarily mean that you are XYZ. I think we have to see that God makes us female and male, and even our bodies testify to that truth.

This is really not to be condescending, but if your child thinks he’s a giraffe, you would counsel him and say, “Honey, you’re not a giraffe—because this, because this, because this . . .” But now, when children say that their bodies are a different sex, we don’t counsel them—we just go with it.

I think we need to get back to the basics, that God has created us male and female, and that these are good! He is wise in how He creates us. For us to believe that we should be something else is really us saying that God doesn’t know what He’s doing.

God knows what He’s doing. These bodies are to point us to His goodness, to His glory, to His wisdom and His gospel. I think as parents, teaching our children, “You need to trust God’s Word, and you need to allow reality to dictate reality, and not just your feelings, your mind.” Our minds are jacked-up apart from the gospel, apart from truth. We oftentimes really believe things that are inherently not true, and we need God to help us think straight.

Nancy: That’s really how you’ve responded when you’ve been asked about your own journey. You’ve said there was a time in your walk with Christ where you experienced a lot of temptation about falling back into lesbianism.

Jackie: Yes.

Nancy: But you had to learn to counsel your heart that what you feel is not as true as what God’s Word says.

Jackie: Yes. I felt God speak to my heart, because I was just really going through it. I was questioning, “Man, am I gay? Should I go back to women? Ya da da da . . .” I felt God say, “Jackie, you have to believe My Word is true, even if it contradicts how you feel.”

There are a lot of Scriptures that we don’t feel like submitting to. I think if we listened to our feelings, we would go straight to hell, because our feelings are not God’s Word. God’s Word is God’s Word, and our feeling needs to submit to that.

I think it takes faith to believe that, because I think the faith is communicated in the fact that God is good; His commandments are good; He is wise. So in my submission—though it does not feel good—it is good for me.

I think that’s what this culture will continue to fight against, having people be enslaved to their thoughts.

Nancy: Which, if Eve had understood what you just said, the whole story would have been different!

Jackie: Oh, absolutely. If she would have just trusted God’s Word: “Do not eat it! The day you eat of it, you shall surely die.” Eve: “Well, it looks good for food; it looks desirable to make one wise.” It doesn’t matter. What God said is what God said. So . . . yes.

Nancy: You’ve wrestled with the whole area of deliverance from sin. I think there are those who would suggest that if you’ve been delivered from sin, you don’t experience temptation anymore. How do you see that area of deliverance from sin . . . what that means, what that looks like?

Jackie: Some churches have communicated it that way, and it’s caused believers to be so discouraged. When their temptations—or their flesh—flares up, then they say, “Oh, God really didn’t save me.”

But I think that’s such a false teaching, because if temptations defined our walks with God or our identities . . . If you look at Jesus, that would mean that Jesus wasn’t perfect and sinless, because Scripture says that even He was tempted, just as we are, yet without sin.

So temptation, then, cannot be what identifies me as a believer or a nonbeliever, but rather, how I respond to the temptation. I think deliverance in Scripture is the removal from one place to another.

I think deliverance is, “I’ve been removed from the domain of sin into the domain of righteousness, so I have freedom from the penalty and the power [of sin].” The penalty is judgment and wrath—God’s justice on me.

But the freedom is that God has moved me into a place now where I have the power by His Spirit to flee temptation. I didn’t have that power before Christ. I tried. I tried really hard, and it didn’t work, because I was sinful. I needed God’s Holy Spirit inside of me to do what He called me to do—which I cannot do, apart from His power.

I think if we started to teach deliverance in that way . . . We have to teach Christianity as what it is, which is a very hard task, but a task that is empowered by the Spirit of God. If we create Christianity in such a way that, “If you turn from the sin and you repent and God delivers you, you’re not going to be tempted,” you leave people discouraged.

Or, if you tell people that everything’s going to be all good and all candy and it’s going to be heaven on earth, then that’s not real either. The truth is, it’s going to be hard, but it’s going to be hard with joy, because we have Jesus. I think that’s what we should present it as, because I think that’s what the Bible says.

Nancy: You just taught Christianity 101 . . . in a paragraph. That’s powerful; that’s great, Jackie. The promise is not that there will be no temptation, but that He will provide a means of escape.

Jackie: Yes. Because we have a Great High Priest who understands. He understands our weaknesses. He gets it. He really does get it, but He’s our Lamb and our Priest and the Justifier. He’s gracious and merciful and will help us, if we only believe Him.

Just believe Him, just trust Him, just endure! You know, sometimes you gotta endure temptation. Sometimes, God ain’t just gonna take it away. Sometimes, He wants you to see Him work. 

Nancy: So, Jackie, ever since I’ve known about you, I’ve known of you as a poet. Did you always do that? When did that start? How did you start to realize that was something you were good at and enjoyed doing it?

Jackie: I used to think poetry was for weirdos . . . like people with bongo drums and hats and stuff. I didn’t start writing poetry until I became a believer. I was at a community college, and I was really bored. It was just a really terrible school, because they didn’t teach us anything.

I was in class, and I was like, “I want to write a poem and see what happens!” I wrote it, and I put it on Facebook—this was 2008—and people just were affirming me in it. So I just kept writing, and then I wrote the poem, "My Life as a Stud," which went mini-viral . . . not viral, like millions of people, but a lot of people. People started inviting me to their churches. But what did it was, I was receiving messages from people in my inbox who were giving their lives to the Lord after hearing the poem!

It was like, “Man, these poems are reaching people who don’t go to church, who then go to church and get in community and live their lives for the glory of God!” So I felt like I needed to do this as ministry.

Writing poetry isn’t even something I enjoy. I think it’s something God has just gifted me with for His glory—writing, communicating, stuff like that. That’s kind of how it started.

Nancy: Do you enjoy writing it or delivering it more?

Jackie: Delivering it! I don’t like writing; it just takes a lot of effort.

Nancy: I watched you do this. In fact, I sat through a whole evening of this spoken word poetry at a Legacy conference in Chicago, and you were there. I was so amazed. I’ve been a public speaker for years and years. I’ve memorized a lot of things. But I’m thinking . . . first of all, to be able to write this kind of stuff is amazing to me, and then to be able to remember it and to recite it! It seems like it’s all really fast, too. It’s an amazing skill.

Jackie: It’s a good art form. When you look at the book of Psalms, God uses creativity for His glory. He’s a creative God. If you look at the animals in the ocean, you would see that . . . the stars, the sky.

I think poetry has really been used by God to do a whole lot. I know so many people who have given their life to the Lord—not just off my poem, but just off poetry in general. Minds have been shaped in such a way, just off of hearing a poem, where the Scriptures inspired the poem. They can then go back to the Scriptures and let that be the final authority on how they see life.

Nancy: One of your well-known poems is called "Dangerously in Love." What inspired that?

Jackie: Yes, I had friends—one friend in particular—who were engaging in relationships with guys that I don’t think were good for them. They were dudes in church, but it was like, “I don’t know if he can lead you. I don’t know if he can be the man that God called husbands to be.”

That’s not to say that everybody has to be this perfect person, but I know they were just being with men, just for the sake of being with them, instead of loving Jesus and being satisfied with Him. Out of that place, having the wisdom to be in relationships that were good for them. So I wrote it.

I’m just surrounded by women, oftentimes, who are so consumed with being married, so consumed with being in a relationship, so consumed with having babies, stuff like that, and it’s like, “Whoa Girl! Fall in love with Jesus, and He will work out everything else.”

Marriage doesn’t even exist in heaven, but God is there. So let’s live like that. Let’s live like God really is everything that He says He is. If He so chooses to bring a husband, then you’ll be able to love him rightly, and not like an idol that you’ve been waiting on. So that’s what I wrote. . .

Recording of Jackie reciting "Dangerously in Love":

I’m sorry for giving
Something You created away
To someone you created,
Believing they would
Do better with it
Than You.

And I’m standing before
You as one who has stood
Face two face with Satan’s razor blades
That he grazes with us women.
He’s working hard to distract our
Gaze of faith off of the Lover of our Souls,
So much that we’d rather court than
Get to know the Judge.

But I’m standing before you as one
Who is striving to present her
Loneliness as a gift
To the Healer of broken hearts.

[I] believe He will make a Lazarus
Of my pain . . .
A walking miracle of my past,
I am suspending all that the world has
Taught me about relationships
To truly believe that everything
Isn’t found in men,
But everything’s only found in Him.

I’m letting this pillow of a heart
Only find comfort in Jesus,
Believing that He loves me
Unconditionally
Eternally
And Perfectly.

So, women, when your imagination
Tries to tell you that that guy will
Be your Hero,
Remind yourself that
Jesus is the only Man that can save you!

Nancy: Robert and I were so honored that you and Preston joined us for our wedding, and you were with us at the rehearsal dinner the night before. We didn’t have attendants, so we just had this dinner for 250 of our closest friends. 

You two joined us that night, and you presented the poem called "The Fall," which both of you do together. It’s so powerful! We’ve linked to that on our website, so that people can actually see it. What brought about you guys writing that together?

Jackie: I had the idea for that poem when we were friends. I thought about the idea for that poem around 2010, and we were just cool. So initially, when we started to write it, it just felt weird because you’re friends trying to act like a couple. 

Nancy: Because it’s the story of Adam and Eve, retold. 

Jackie: Yes, and I was like, “What if you played Adam and I played Eve, and we just talked about the Fall? Initially, we tried, and we just stopped. We didn’t bring it back up until we got married. 

One, I think being married allowed us an intimacy with the words and the feel of the poem that I don’t think would have been wise to do as friends. Also, we really understood what we were saying.

I had experienced my desire being for my husband in a way of wanting to control him and dominate him, and he experienced wanting to dominate me instead of serving me with a servant-leadership. I think we saw the fruit of how their relationship wreaked havoc because of their sin—his passiveness, her aggressiveness. 

We saw it, so we were able to communicate out of experience for real, for real.

Nancy: It became a little bit autobiographical?

Jackie: Oh, yeah. I get Eve. I understand!

Excerpt from "The Fall" by Preston and Jackie Perry:

Preston (Adam):

Woman! You were brought forth from my side,
Created to support me like the gravity-stricken moon
Does the brisk breath of nightfall.

But when fear clawed its way into my heart
When He called my name in the Garden,
You shrunk and hid your shameful body!

Both: Where were you?

Jackie (Eve):

When the Prince of Night found his way to your star?
You watched him lie!
And I watched you sit and set like Sunday morning of a man . . .
You can’t even see the nightmare you have become!

Preston:

I was there, standing in the distance
Having a conversation with my backbone.
I wanted to stop you, but
You let that evil reptile with eyes,
Slow dancing with deceit in tongue,
Swift as breeze woo you dumb
To think that we could be wiser than
The God Who thought the galaxies into existence.

Jackie:

Adam, I thought he was my friend
Letting me in on secrets God pinky-promised
The leaves not to tell!
He pointed to the tree, and as my
Face in his lies led me to stare
I watched death become gorgeous . . .

Preston:

But God is beautiful!

Jackie:

Adam! My tongue became sight.
The fruit looked too good not to taste . . .

Nancy: You’ve talked about memories that you have, as a child, about what your perception was of how Christians viewed gays—how God viewed gays. How has your understanding of that changed?

Jackie: Man, I think when I heard about how Christians or God viewed gay people, I really felt like that was the only issue a person had. Like, “You just gotta stop being gay, and God will be okay with you.”

I also didn’t see that God was really just calling people to Himself. I did not understand that that was what Christianity was. Now I see that same-sex attraction is really a leaf on a whole tree full of sins!

You’ve got lust and pride and anger and bitterness and all types of stuff! God doesn’t want to fix this one problem and then leave the other half of you without Him. I think God wants to fix the heart, and then in changing the heart, those leaves bear fruit—those leaves look like fruitfulness—self-control and gentleness and patience and kindness. So I think I would prefer if it could just be presented in such a way where we don’t see it as being an isolated issue from the heart. This is a heart-problem! People’s hearts need to be in love with Jesus so much so, that if they do have disordered affections, they then love Him more than how they feel.

Nancy: Sometimes when a parent or church member or friend, or whatever, finds out that their, whatever, is gay, that seems to be the whole focus of what needs to be dealt with and fixed. 

Jackie: Yes. I had someone close to me say that they had someone close to them (I think in their family) who came out to be a lesbian. He was like, “I don’t know how to talk to her.”

I was like, “Has she ever been holy?”

He was like, “No.”

I was like, “So why are you just now talking to her? Why is this the first conversation you have about her needing Jesus?”

He was like, “That’s a good question.”

Nancy: What set this sin apart from every other sin?

Jackie: Yes—it’s like she’s had a consistent lifestyle of rebellion against God, but now that she’s come out as a lesbian, now you have an urgency to preach the gospel. And that’s not to say, “Yes, preach the gospel! Great!” That’s not to condemn you, but it is to say that clearly you did not have a grieved spirit when you saw her lying or you saw her not attending church or failing to love and submit to a community of people, loving Jesus and seeking Him and wanting Him more than anything.

I think the church, in some ways, has looked at that like, “Oh my, they’re really on their way to hell now!” Versus saying, “No! When they were not doing those perverse sexual things, they still were without Jesus and were on their way to hell.” Do you know what I’m saying?

Nancy: And this was important, too, in your own discipleship, because the people who were discipling you didn’t just isolate the sin of homosexuality. 

Jackie: They sure didn’t. 

Nancy: They talked with you in a holistic way about a whole range of sins, a variety, starting with heart issues that weren’t necessarily actions that needed to be dealt with.

Jackie: And the way that humbles you. I think when you think only an aspect of you needs changing, you kind of remain a little self-righteous, because it’s just like, “Only one part of me is messed up.”

Nancy: “And I can fix that.”

Jackie: Yes. But when you see, “No, the totality of my being needs Jesus!” That humbles you where you say, “I need God, for real, to make me whole!” I think when we communicate the gospel in a way where it’s only one part of a person that needs Jesus, and not the whole person, I don’t think it really can magnify the gospel as much as it should magnified.

Nancy: You’ve talked about the craziness of our culture—things we’re seeing and experiencing, hearing about today, that even ten or fifteen years ago were beyond the pale. Some of these are really going to be difficult things to grapple with as to the how the gospel impacts them.

So we have, for example, people having surgical changes to supposedly become a different gender. We believe the gospel is available to them, that God’s grace is available. But as they come to repentance and faith in Christ, it’s going to be a really challenging can of worms, “What do you do with this? Do you go back?”

We’re not going to try and answer all that question in the scope of just a few moments here, but just address any reflections you have on the power of the gospel to be enough to deal with these questions as they arrive.

Jackie: I’m just reminded of Scriptures or stories where people had physical conditions or health issues—like the man with leprosy in Matthew 8. He goes to Jesus, and he kneels down, and he said, “If you’re willing, you can make me clean.”

It’s just this idea of, “Man, God can make people whole, even if physically something has changed.” So I think for those who are in a position where they transitioned to transgender, the gospel is not beyond their reach. It really isn’t. If anything, it’s even more readily available, because God is good. God is gracious. He created them for Himself, for His glory.

I think we as believers, we have to be willing to reveal that and show that to people, and not treat them as lepers, not treat them as something strange, not treat them as an “other,” but treat them as people with His image, which they are—with a name.

I even made a status one time (it was about homosexuality). I said, “You are not trying to minister to homosexuals. You are trying to minister to a person. These are people.”

I think it’s difficult. Someone who comes out of their world, it’s gonna be a lot of baggage that they have to wrestle through. There are going to be a lot of consequences, especially if they made physical changes.

Nancy: Or perhaps have taken advantage of the law now and become a gay married couple. This is going to create complications in the implications for families. But I think what we want to be careful about is not wringing our hands in despair or saying there’s this whole class of secular, lost, pagan people who are beyond the reach of the gospel, or are beyond the reach of redemption. The Lord does have ways of making all things new, and that doesn’t mean we can easily figure out what all that is. We’re certainly going to need more than our own wisdom!

Jackie: For sure. Though I might not have been transgender, or though someone that is a housewife who grew up in a Christian household may not have entered into all types of what we would call “crazy sins,” the truth of the matter is, our hearts are hard without Jesus! We are all “Lazarus.” We’ve all been raised from the dead by the power of Jesus Christ.

Nancy: We’re a new person, a new creation!

Jackie: If God could save you, someone who was blinded to His truth, surely He could save somebody else! I think we need to begin to see that conversion is a miracle, no matter who it is. It’s a miracle! And so, we have to have faith for these people. We have to pray with crazy faith and believe that God can change souls. That’s what He said He would do. He’s going to save people.

Nancy: So we need to minister out of hope and faith and confidence in God. It’s not our power that changes people anyway—us or anybody else. I love that, Jackie.

And, we’re hearing so many things now in the culture—issues that are bringing complexities of sin into our space and into our world. We can’t just stick our heads in the sand and let the whole world deal with its issues. We’re now going to have to deal with these things.

So now, for example, you have the push on some fronts to see the whole issue with bathrooms and locker rooms and gender confusion. It’s easy to just stand and hyperventilate, curse the darkness—just want to, like, get rid of a whole lot of sinners. What’s in your heart about how we need to be thinking and responding at “such a time as this”?

Jackie: One thing that helps is remembering Jesus’ prayer to the Father. He prayed, “Don’t take them out of the world, but keep them, keep them by Your Word.” We are here for a reason. God could have saved us and just had us go straight to heaven with Him, and we would have been good.

But we need to be in darkness so we can be a light. I’m encouraged by the fact that I know God has kept me here—and is keeping believers here—for His glory, so that people would see Him and come to know Him.

We cannot run from where we are called. We cannot run from that. I think it takes discernment. I think it takes crazy wisdom. I think as believers the heart has to be, “God has me here for a reason! How can I exalt His Name and His glory?”

Also, honestly, I don’t want too many Christians—especially teachers—I don’t want them to run from the places where they work, because I think the enemy kind of has one up on us if he can remove Christians who have the power of His Spirit and God’s Word out of these dark places.

If we’re not there, who is going to change the systems? We’re the ones who change the systems. We change the systematic, demonic issues that are happening.

Nancy: When I hear a story like yours, Jackie, or our mutual friend Rosaria Butterfield (who was in this studio not too long ago), I see and think about my own life. I was saved as a child, so a very different testimony, but to see the transforming power and grace of God! And I say, “There’s nothing too difficult for God!” You were this young child, fatherless, molested, single-parent home, confused about whether you’re a boy or a girl, getting into sinful behaviors (heart and action). Yet God jolts you, brings you to your senses, shows you His grace, shows you your sin, shows you His holiness, opens your heart to say “yes” to the gospel. You end up married to a man who loves God. You love each other. You’re raising a daughter to fear and love and honor the Lord. Who could have written this script?

Jackie: [laughs] God!

Nancy: Only God, and God is still doing that! Let’s not lose hope in His power to do the impossible, and to be glorified. God was glorified through Pharaoh, when Pharaoh resisted God’s ways and resisted God’s people. But in the end, even that story shows God to be great and God to be powerful. He’s doing that today, no less.

Leslie: That’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, talking with spoken word poet, Jackie Hill Perry. Earlier, we heard some samples of some of Jackie’s poetry. To hear the full poems, you can find links on our website at ReviveOurHearts.com.

That’s also where you can hear all the programs in this week’s series with Jackie. The audio and the transcripts are available at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Have you been believing any lies? Here’s Nancy to help you evaluate.

Nancy: Have you ever thought or believed lies like: 

  • "I'm not worth anything."
  • "God is just like my Father."
  • "My sin isn't that bad."

When a woman believes lies like these, it's going to have a huge effect on the rest of her life. At the True Woman '18 conference, we're going to be talking about lies women believe in various areas of our lives . . . but most importantly, we're going to be talking about the truth that sets us free from lies like these and other lies.

Our guest today, Jackie Hill Perry, and the other speakers we will have with us that weekend will take you deep into God's Word. That's where we will hear truth that you can count on about yourself, about relationships, and about the gospel. I’m praying the Lord will use this conference to set thousands of women free as they come face to face with the truth.

Who do you know from your church, from your workplace, from your extended family, that who think would benefit from a conference like this? I hope you’ll invite them to come with you, and join us September 27–29 in Indianapolis.

Remember, until May 1, you can still get in on the lowest early ticket prices. Don't delay, because this conference may well sell out . . . even before summer. So now is the time to get those tickets. Get all the details on True Woman '18 by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com

Leslie: What’s the source of your authority, the one thing you find trustworthy? Is it cultural standards? Is it pop culture? Is it opinion polls? Is your authority perhaps yourself? Nancy will be back Monday to show you the authority you can truly trust. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth knows the truth will set all of us free. It's an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.