Singer/songwriter describes song chosen as ‘anthem’ for ex-homosexuals

10/25/13. Singer/songwriter describes song chosen as ‘anthem’ for ex-homosexuals.

“The movement to gain rights for former homosexuals has adopted an anthem written, fittingly, by ex-homosexual Dennis Jernigan.

Jernigan, who titles the song “Rise Up,” is a former homosexual who has been married for three decades and has nine children. He lives in Oklahoma.

When ex-homosexual groups such as Voice of the Voiceless and PFOX asked Jernigan for an “ex-gay anthem,” the singer says that song “immediately came to mind.”

“When you think about it, it’s a natural fit for what they’re trying to accomplish,” says Jernigan.

Why a natural fit? Because “Rise Up” lets people know that former homosexuals are proof that hope for change for unwanted same-gender attractions is available through Christ.

Jernigan tells OneNewsNow the song is a message to the body of Christ as well.

“I hope to cause Christians especially to rise up and realize that just because times are dark, just because people have differing opinions, doesn’t mean we are to stop standing for righteousness,” he says. “We’re not to stop being salt. We’re not to stop being light.”

He also wants to encourage the church to not settle for any identity “less than the one God has called me to, the one He created me to walk in.”

A video of the song was released at a dinner in D.C. for ex-homosexuals and supporters last month, which was “Ex-Gay Awareness Month.”

9/23/13. Jernigan’s Journey. Chris Doyle,

“He has been called a “hater.” Dennis Jernigan knows his story is not popular among the current society, but the change he experienced is one he cannot keep hidden, especially because he knows his story involves what people really want. According to him, it can be summed up in one word—Freedom.

“I tried living my own life. I even tried rescuing myself, but in my own schemes I never got free,” Jernigan said. “I went on this incredible journey, and in the process I discovered freedom.

“Freedom is ridding myself of all the things the Enemy wants me to think that define me,” he said. “Only one gets to define me, and that’s my Father. My past does not define me; present circumstances do not define me, and I’ll go even this far to say the things that tempt me do not define me.”

Many do not recognize him immediately, but Jernigan’s songs are sung in churches around the world. You are My All in All, Great is the Lord Almighty, Who Can Satisfy My Soul (There is a Fountain), Nobody Fills My Heart Like Jesus are some of his songs that have been a part of many worship services since the early 90s, and these songs reflect the freedom from spiritual captivity that he said he experienced.

“For over 30 years I have been walking toward Jesus, relationally, saying ‘Father show me who you say I am,’” he said. “’Show me the things I thought defined me but really don’t, that really defined me in my place in death. Help me rid myself of those things.’”

///Before the journey

Jernigan struggled growing up in Boynton, where he was the church pianist at Boynton, First, beginning at nine years old. Admittedly, he said he struggled with same-sex attraction. He lived in two worlds, not knowing there was hope for a homosexual, while trying to please everybody in his life. “I equated my good performance with how much people were going to love me,” he said.

While attending Oklahoma Baptist University, Jernigan was betrayed by a friendship and considered suicide. He concluded, though, that “this is just the way I was born. I am going to stop fighting it.” He decided to embrace his homosexuality in a secret lifestyle. After awhile, he said he became more miserable and felt like he was being used.

When he was about to attend seminary, Jernigan got a call from a fellow OBU alum, who offered him a place to live and shared that God had impressed on him that Jernigan would have an influential role as a Christian songwriter. Surprised at his friend’s offer, Jernigan accepted and stayed in the Oklahoma City area. This gave him opportunity to attend a 1981 concert in Norman which proved to be a watershed moment in his life.

Dennis, front left, and Melinda, back center in green, and their happy family.

///The journey begins

Contemporary Christian group Second Chapter of Acts was performing. Jernigan said he was so excited to hear them, and since he did not have the money to buy any of their music, he smuggled in a tape recorder and three blank tapes to record, as he says, “a three album set.” Though he admits it was bootlegging and illegal, Jernigan said “God had mercy on me that night because I got to record my own deliverance.”

In the middle of the concert, Anne Herring, lead singer of Second Chapter of Acts, stopped to share an impactful message that spoke to Jernigan personally. He recalls what she said, “The Holy Spirit has told me (Herring) there is somebody here tonight. You have gone through things you never thought you would have gone through in your life. You have things hidden in your heart that you never want anyone to know about because you would be devastated, rejected and humiliated. But God wants me to tell you this. He sees the hidden things, and He loves you right where you are.”

On Nov. 7, 1981, Dennis Jernigan was delivered from homosexuality. He embraced the message of God loving him even when he was living the homosexual lifestyle. From then on, Jernigan took on a new life in Christ.

“That night, my worldview changed,” he said. “I had thought man was the ultimate, up until that moment, and then I realized God is my Maker. I wanted to find out what He says about me.

“The most asked question in my life is, ‘Was your healing instant or has it been a process?’ And the answer is ‘Yes.’ In an instant I was made a brand new creation. The process looks like Lazarus coming forth.” Just as Lazarus was raised from the dead, Jernigan shared, he had to remove the “grave clothes” that symbolized his old life in order for his new life to be fully embraced.

///Results of the journey

Now he shares his message of freedom with others. Through the sharing of his story and the sharing of the stories behind the songs, Jernigan has watched literally thousands walk out of all manner of spiritual bondage and has watched literally thousands of desperate, wounded people find healing through intimacy with Jesus Christ.

Jernigan recently celebrated his 30th wedding anniversary with his wife, Melinda. They have nine children, and he wittingly shares “No, we are not Mormon or Catholic, and the children are not adopted, and yes, we know what causes that.” In August, he became a grandfather for the first time.

The accomplished Christian artist currently works through his ministry, Shepherd’s Heart Music. He has produced multiple albums and is releasing a new one this Fall called “Days of Awe.” Jernigan said the one word he would use to describe this recording would be “epic,” as the songs should reflect a Hollywood movie soundtrack.

“What if (film composers) Hans Zimmer or James Horner wrote a worship song, what would it sound like?” Jernigan asked. A young man who Jernigan mentored since he was 18 and is now 28 helped produce “Days of Awe,” and Jernigan gave him this instruction, “I want you to produce it in such a way that will attract your generation but will not scare away my generation. I want it to be epic and timeless.”

Jernigan also has several new books including the third and final installment of his fantasy series Chronicles of Bren. He said the series tells the story of a boy who grew up in Northeastern Oklahoma who is mocked and bullied and falls into another realm where he finds out he is the son of a King.

“Bren is a word that means ‘tears.’ In a sense, it is the chronicles of my own tears and sufferings and sorrows and pain but told in a fantastic, supernatural way that kids would understand,” he said. “It is done much in the vein of Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings. It is written in such a way that children will see that they do have an identity and a purpose for their existence.”

Along with books and music recordings, a documentary film will be released soon titled “Sing Over Me: The Dennis Jernigan Story.” And his full autobiography of the same title also will be available in the coming months. The latest information on the film can be found at

More information about Jernigan’s ministry can be found at His website features subjects that include how to respond to Pro-Gay theology, how to become Born Again and how to minister to those with same-sex attraction. He encourages the Church not to lose heart.

“I believe the Church is so afraid of getting involved in the messiness of life because life is messy; relationship is messy. But God has grace to get us through all those things,” he said. “You don’t have to go through homosexuality to help someone else out. You don’t have to go through drug addiction to help someone else out. Be willing to walk relationally with people who want to know Jesus. You don’t have to know the answers. You just have to know THE answer. If you know Jesus, you know the answer.”

Though his story is deemed controversial, Jernigan will continue to help those who seek freedom. He said in today’s world he will face increased opposition.

“I will never be silent, even if they come up with legislation that tells me my story is illegal, which there is that push,” he said. “But then I’ll be willing to have a prison ministry from the inside, just like Paul did.” And so goes his journey.

3/18/13. Musician delivered from homosexuality, happily married for 29 years. Mark Ellis,

“He could play the piano by ear in the first grade. His artistic and creative bent set him apart from the other boys, and this sense of being different grew steadily over time.

“I could hear a song on the radio and sit down and play it,” says Dennis Jernigan, acclaimed Christian songwriter and musician. His life is the subject of the forthcoming feature film “Sing Over Me” that will focus on his deliverance from homosexuality, when God made him a new creature in Christ.

Jernigan grew up in Boynton, Oklahoma, a prairie town of only 400 people about 50 miles from Tulsa. “The guys labeled me a sissy pretty early on,” he admits. “By junior high they called me fag and queer.” He found solace by hanging out with girls, because they seemed to connect with his emotional side.

He and his family attended a small church originally pastored by his grandfather. “I didn’t know anything different but going to church,” he recalls. Jernigan made a profession of faith at nine-years-old in the family church.

A budding athlete, he began to excel at baseball and basketball and noticed he received approval from his father and other men as a result. Mostly, however, he felt disconnected emotionally from his father, who never told him he loved him until many years later.

The secret life

In junior high school, he first began to experiment with homosexual behavior and developed a secretive alternative existence through his high school years.

“I was living two different lives,” he confesses. “I was failing sexually all the time. There were other boys I experimented with quite regularly. In a small town, where everyone knew everyone’s business, we went out of our way to hide things.”

One of only 12 in his graduating class from high school, Jernigan went on to Oklahoma Baptist University. Surprisingly, he found “even more rampant” homosexual activity at this Christian institution, affiliated with the Baptist General Convention.

“If it was discovered, we would have been kicked out, so we had to be very careful in the way we practiced our sexual encounters,” he notes.

Although Jernigan’s athletic gifts allowed him to make the basketball team, he quit to devote himself to his music studies. “I had to work extra-hard to learn the theoretical concepts of music,” he recalls.

To keep up appearances, he began to date a woman named Melinda. “I thought she was beautiful but I had no sexual attraction to her,” he admits. At the same time he dated Melinda, he was involved with other male students sexually. “Finally, in my senior year, I told her I never wanted to see her again.”

“Trust me,” he told her. “You will be better off if you never see my face again.”

An older mentor

By his senior year of college, his self-esteem had plummeted to new lows. “I was shocked when an older Christian man came into my life. He was a husband and father, well-respected, and he began praying with me each week, calling and asking how my studies were going and genuinely investing in me in a godly way.”

Jernigan and his older Christian mentor went out for a Coke one evening. As they sat across from each other in a booth, he decided to let his guard down. “I’m not who you think I am,” Jernigan confessed. “I am really struggling and I don’t know how to help myself. I need help, but I can’t even tell you what it is unless I know you will love me no matter what.”

“You can trust me,” the older man responded. “I’ve probably heard it before and I will love you no matter what.”

Jernigan paused for a moment, then told him the agonizing truth. “I struggle with same-sex attraction and I don’t know what to do.”

In his confession, he felt a massive weight began to lift from his shoulders. But the feeling did not last long. The older man had been setting Jernigan up and a few minutes later made a sexual advance. In Jernigan’s vulnerable state, he gave in.

“I went away from that encounter feeling used, betrayed, and humiliated,” he says. “I felt worthless.”

Suicidal despair

Jernigan went back to his small apartment, turned on his gas stove without lighting the burner, and lay down nearby.

As he listened to the hiss of escaping gas and smelled the telltale odor he wondered if the apartment would blow up or he would pass out, but he didn’t care which came first.

As he lay there, a quiet small voice pierced through his despondency. Are you ready for eternity? Do you know what waits for you there?

“It scared me so badly I got up and turned off the gas,” Jernigan says.

This brush with eternity, however, did not alter his lifestyle choice. “I decided that this is the way I was born and I’m going to stop fighting it.” In the summer following his college graduation, he moved in with another gay man.

Now that he could live fully and freely in the homosexual lifestyle, he expected his inner torments to cease. “I expected peace to come, but the opposite happened,” he admits. “I got more miserable than ever.”

Because he felt used in the relationship, Jernigan severed it abruptly and then made a major course correction. “I decided to go to seminary because I thought God would meet me there. I tried suicide and seminary couldn’t be any worse.”

A prophetic voice

But three days before school started, an old friend called. “Dennis, the Lord has been speaking to me about you. He came to me in a dream and in the dream God was giving you music and people all over the world are singing your songs.”

Jernigan thought his friend had lost it, because at that point in his life, he had only written three songs.

Then his friend told him his mother had the same dream, a further confirmation. “We want to invite you to move into our house and give God a chance to work this in your life.”

Three days later, Jernigan decided against seminary, moved in with his friends in Oklahoma City, and took a job driving a school bus.

“Before and after my morning bus route, I would go to the piano and start playing, open my Bible to Psalm 1, and begin singing,” he recalls. “I had to do something for my sanity.”

He faced a titanic inner struggle for his allegiance. On the one hand, homosexual temptations pulled him strongly in one direction. On the other hand, his friend’s powerful prophetic word about his destiny with God pulled in another. He felt double-minded, and he knew from Scripture that “a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.”

“I remembered when King Saul was beset by evil spirits he would send for the shepherd boy, David, to come and play the harp. Then the enemy would flee. So I decided to do that for myself and I sang through the psalms many times.”

As he played, he reflected on David’s life. “I realized that David committed adultery and murder, but he is remembered as being a man after God’s own heart.”

Lord, will you do that for me? he asked quietly.

A powerful concert experience

Shortly after this, Jernigan attended a 2nd Chapter of Acts concert at the University of Oklahoma. Halfway through the song “Mansion Builder,” lead singer Annie Herring began to prophecy. “The Lord told me there is somebody here tonight who is going through things. You have things hidden you think no one sees, but He sees the things you’re hiding and He loves you anyway,” she said.

Up to this point, Jernigan thought God hated him because of his sinful lifestyle. “I thought homosexuality was too vile for Jesus to take on the cross.”

“Jesus died for every sin,” Herring said. “God loves you right where you are. We’re going to sing over you. While we sing, we want you to take the hidden things from your heart, lift them in your hands, and by faith give them to Jesus like a gift on Christmas morning.”

“On Christmas, you don’t just give things away; you receive things in return,” she added.

Jernigan began to sob as he slowly lifted his hands to God. “For the first time I realized that homosexuality was placed on Jesus on the cross, that He died for my sins.

Jesus, you’ve been crucified with me. You’ve been buried with me, but you came forth out of the grave, he said to himself.

At that moment, the resurrection power of Jesus delivered Jernigan from his bondage to homosexual sin. “That night I walked out of homosexuality and I never looked back. In an instant I was given a new identity. I wouldn’t let those past experiences define me.”

A new creature in Christ

During the next two years, Jernigan immersed himself in God’s Word. “I had been believing a lot of lies. I had been duped by the enemy. I became passionate to know the things I believed in and why I believed them.”

While homosexual thoughts dominated his mind in the past, the time he invested in God’s Word helped the temptations to recede. “It used to be all I could think about. But that’s changed. I have transformed my mind by renewing it in God’s Word.”

Jernigan never thought he could have a romantic relationship with a woman, but something unexpected happened. God brought Melinda back into his life, the woman he dated in college. Two years later, they got married.

“I was scared to death of sexual intimacy with a woman,” he confesses. As the wedding approached, he wasn’t sure if he would be able to respond physically to his wife.

“By the time the marriage came along, I had renewed my mind for a two-year period, so I was confident that everything would work as God intended.”

Jernigan wedding

Jernigan wedding

God supplied abundantly more than he could have hoped or imagined. “Sure enough, on our wedding night we made love four times,” he says.

After the first time, he wept, because God had removed his guilt and shame about his sexuality. “That sent me over the edge in my understanding, to know God really does transform. I know it’s possible.”

Jernigan went on a trip with his father a few months after he got married. As they drove, he turned and asked the question that causes a hungry ache in many young people’s souls. “Daddy, why didn’t you ever tell me you loved me?”

“My dad never told me, so I didn’t know how to tell you,” he responded.

Jernigan sees a causal link between his same-sex attraction and his early home life. “With homosexuality, 99% of the time there is a disconnect between the child and the parent of the same sex,” he notes. “Everyone with a disconnect like that takes a turn toward something. In someone else, it could develop into an addictive behavior of another sort.”

Dennis and Melinda have been happily married for 29 years and have nine children. Songs like “We Will Worship the Lamb of Glory,”

Melinda and Dennis

Melinda and Dennis

“Thank You,”  “Great is the Lord Almighty,” “Who Can Satisfy My Soul (There is a Fountain),”  “I Belong to Jesus,” “Nobody Fills My Heart Like Jesus,” and “You Are My All in All” have been sung throughout the world by Christians, in fulfillment of the prophecy spoken to him many years before.

In conjunction with the documentary currently being made about his life, Jernigan is writing a novelized version of his life story. He is also working on a fantasy series for boys.

“God does renew and transform,” he exclaims. “God does restore. Look at my life. Think of what I would have been robbed from if I never followed the Lord. I would not have my wife and children. I would have nothing, really.”

Jernigan family

Jernigan family

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