Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Happy 80th Birthday: Honoring Mom

Happy 80th birthday to a woman who has given us an example of a godly wife and mother. This honorable woman has served her children, her husband, her neighbors, and friends. Her servant-heart has modeled what a Christian should be.

Shining Star
(Great Granddaughter)
"I want to run a marathon in your honor."

Love After 61 Years of Marriage!

From left to Right:
Ballerina Beauty (Great Granddaughter),
Girly Girl (Granddaughter)
and Soccer Sensation (Great Granddaughter)
helping Nana blow out the birthday candles.

"You are one of the most generous people I know."
"You have treated me like a daughter,
and I think of you as a Mother."

Tender-Hearted One

(Grand Daughter)

"I remember eating baby rice cereal every time I came to visit."

Back Row, Left to Right: Plain and Simple's DSH (Son), Sissy AJ (Daughter), Big Bro (Son), Beautiful Grace (Daughter).

Front Row, Left to Right: Dear Sweet Mother, Sissy AM (Daughter), Singing Plumber Dad (Husband).

Girly Girl


" Thank you for having my Daddy."

Sissy AJ


"You never said a thing when Terry and his brother ate all your food."

Great/Grand Children


(Great Grand Daughter)

"Thanks for putting up with Pappy,"

referring to her grandfather, Big Bro.

Loving Singing


"You French braided my hair even when your fingers hurt."

Plain and Simple's DSH


"You always made homemade costumes out of boxes...R2D2, Mr. Peanut."

Friday, June 26, 2009

Mom Update: Persevering Love

Dear Faithful Prayers,

Mom was discharged to home this past Monday, the 22nd on IV antibiotics. I have been administering the medications through her PICC line, and all has been going well. (Thank you Jesus that I have the skills to care for my beloved Mother). Mom's leg is looking good, with the exception of the swelling that is her "normal" baseline. (Yay, Jesus!)

She has appointments on Tuesday to see both the infectious disease doctor (he will determine if the IV antibiotics can be discontinued) and the kidney doctor, who will insure Mom's remaining kidney is functioning properly.

I am concerned about Mom's gait. She is weaker and more unstable while walking. Yesterday, as we were walking into her doctor's appointment she started to lose her balance. If I hadn't been walking beside her and grabbed her, she would have fallen. Previous to getting out of the car she hit her leg on my book bag and gave herself a skin tear on her sore leg.
:( Because of the Heparin (an anti clotting drug) used to keep her PICC line open, she bled quite a bit.

Also, when listening to Mom's heart two days ago, I heard an abnormal rhythm, which Mom's family doctor was concerned about.

Please pray for:

  • Resolved infection
  • Steady gait
  • No More injuries to Mom's leg
  • Protection for Mom's remaining kidney
  • Life to Mom's heart
  • Strength for all of us
  • Multiplied time for as I have not had the time lately to prepare for Fire's next year of school

Thanks again for any prayers you offer on behalf of my Mother! Oh, and by the way, we are planning a surprise party for Mom's 80th birthday on Sunday night. Please pray that she feels well enough to enjoy it.

You ALL mean so very much to me! I am so thankful that Jesus has brought you into my life!!!!

With Much Love and Gratitude...
Beautiful Grace :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

State Prayer

Did you know that William Penn intended for Pennsylvania to be "the seed" for our nation?Join us on September 26th in order to pray for God's dream to be made manifest in Pennsylvania!Watch this Holy Spirit empowered video promo for the upcoming state prayer event.

Brandon, thanks for using your talent to glorify God!!!

This is a state-wide day of worship and prayer on September 26th 2009, at City Island from 12:00-6:00. Everyone is welcome!For more information visit, http://www.paawake.org/.There is also a hotline: 717-724-8182

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Chuch Pierce

The Spirit of the Lord is saying: "Many of you see the change ahead but are not sure that you have the strength to make the change. But I am a God who can cause a joy to rise in you. Begin to praise as you release the last of your strength to Me, and I will come down and empower you in a new, unexpected way. You need new strength to establish your new nest. I have eggs for the future that must be hatched and must be sat upon. I have revelation that must be released that will hatch out. I give you the strength now to sit on the nest and wait for My empowerment before you rise to move forward.

"I am going to bring a vision to you that will show you things that you have prayed for that have not been completed. You will say, 'Lord, why am I seeing that?' You will be seeing what you are seeing because now you will have the strength to see. Many details and vision have been waiting for you to see. I am causing things that have been stored deep in your spirit to come alive. You will say, 'Why am I having that vision?' It is because I am giving you the strength to see things that you once prayed about come into their fullness. This vision will give you the faith to pray again.

"I am releasing a spiritual wind from heaven. Today, I speak into the earth. Breathe in this spiritual wind. There is a stirring deep within you. Breathe in this spiritual wind that I might stir deep within. Breathe in My supernatural wind that I might stir deep within and cause vision that you have waited to see manifest before you. Breathe in My wind, for I am sending a wind from heaven. This is a sovereign, supernatural wind. You have endured the heat of the moment and the season. Now the spiritual wind is coming. Breathe in that spiritual wind. Breathe in My wind. Let it carry you. Breathe in My wind. Let it lift you up. You will see and know the course you need. The wind is causing the trees of the forest to bind and open up the way you will go. Breathe in this spiritual wind. It is unlocking that which you have longed to see. Breathe in the wind, that it might unlock that which has not been stirred. Now is the time for stirring My love. Your course has been set. Your course has been unlocked. Breathe in My wind of My love. Breathe in My wind of love.

"You have prevailed for this course, but until now, the time to unlock was not. I have not felt pleased to stir the love. You have been trying to stir My love and muster up your vision. Now I am sending a wind that will realign and restore and awaken the eggs that you have been sitting on. I am sending a wind to create a nest and blow one old nest that you have been sitting on away and give you a new nest to sit on. I'm sending a wind deep within and it pleases Me to awaken My love."

LeAnn Squier released in song:

It couldn't be by might or by power.
It had to be by the wind of My Spirit.
It couldn't be by your might.
It couldn't be by your power.
It had to be by the wind of My Spirit.
I had to breathe on your rivers.
It had to be Me that blew on your flame.
It had to be My wind.
My wind awakens the dawn.
My wind contends with the darkness of night until the day breaks open.
My wind awakens the dawn and puts the darkness to flight.
All of creation awakens to the sound of my breeze.
Trust in, rely upon and lean into My wind.
Let it carry you.
Trust in, rely upon and lean into My wind.
Your loss has caused your love to dwindle through the season of the past.
But hear what I say to You.
You will bear My fruit again.
It will multiply in the season you are now in.
It pleases Me to awaken now.
There is an awakening wind of heaven that is coming
To overcome in the atmosphere that you have been prevailing against.
Now My awakening wind is coming in.
My awakening wind will now contend.
I am being pleased to send an awaking wind that will contend."

John Dickson released in song:

I have drawn you to My chamber.
Now the winter is past.
I am sending My wind to awaken you.
Come away, My beloved.
The winter has past and the spring winds have come.
Come away, My beloved.
I am blowing the smoke from the battlefield.
I am blowing the darkness away.
I am blowing the smoke from the battlefield.
And I am blowing in My light.
Let there be light!
Let there be light!
Let there be light!
That which was swirling around your head
And blocking your vision -
I am blowing it away.
Now you will see clearly,
for My path is lighting up before you.

"You are like Jacob who struggled and felt cheated. Now My wind is coming and that creative idea will multiply. That path will form. I will allow you to see things that you asked Me to see. I will give you signs that things you prayed for are awakening. It will be like spring in the midst of summer. Religious forces contended with you and you lost many battles in your contending. Because you're still here, I'm sending an awakening wind that will contend.

"I put a call deep within you when I formed you in the womb. You said, 'Lord what was my purpose?' You tried this path and that path and another path. Now the awakening wind that will contend is coming to blow on you again. You will say, 'Now I see why I was positioned here. Now I see how I was captured and I endured.' You will see the awakening wind. It pleases Me to send this wind that will awaken My love. It pleases Me now to send My wind that will awaken My love within you again. You have contended with My word and you have sought My Spirit, but now I will awaken My love.

"You have depleted a storehouse in your waiting. But in the depletion of this storehouse you have obeyed Me. In your obeying of giving up and enduring, giving away, and not holding back, I will now reward you and even the world around you will bless you in new ways. It will be hard for you to receive the blessings that this awakening wind is blowing. I am blowing My awakening wind that will contend and cause your love to come alive.

"Many are waiting for this awakening to come. Many are in a slumber from their hurts from the past season. In the slumber from the hurts and wounds from the enemy, you will now rise up with new strength. You will enter into a place that you could not enter into in the last season. Now you will rise up and mount up. You will come from behind. You will lay on My love and My bed of love wind will cause you to enter in. You will shout, 'Awakening has come!' I have saved you for this time of awakening. My wind will contend and My love will come alive in you again."

Thursday, June 18, 2009

God Story: Full Circle Faith

In May of 2005, during my annual mammogram, the radiologist noted an area of suspicion. An ultrasound was performed and a solid mass, approximately the size of a pea, was seen. A biopsy was performed with the pathology report stating the tissue was a papilloma, which can be benign or malignant. I was referred to a surgeon, who recommended surgical removal of the mass to definitively rule out cancer.

During that time, I was ministering to a friend who had been diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. The evil one did the best he could to steal my peace; he would lie to me saying because I was ministering to my friend, I would also suffer with the same disease. I am happy to report, that even though I was concerned, I was not fearful!! Yeah, God!!!

The Youth had just returned from a missions trip to Brazil and were set to minister in prayer for the Wednesday evening service. Wednesday morning I felt Jesus tell me to have two specific members of the Brazil team pray for healing. The power of Jesus surged through my body causing me to "fall" to the floor. For about a half hour, I shook. I knew God had healed the mass. God is to be praised!!!

The next day I called the surgeon's office and told them that God had healed me. They instructed me to come in as scheduled and they would do an ultrasound prior to the surgery.

Friday morning I reported to the pre-op unit and met the nurse who would be preparing me for the procedure. I told her the story of God's touch, and she listened intently encouraging me to speak with the surgeon.

The surgeon assured me that an ultrasound would be done prior to the surgery, so I continued with the process. The next thing I knew, I was waking up from the anesthesia with a large dressing over my breast. To be honest, I was a little disappointed. :(

A few days later, I received a phone call from the surgeon's office with the pathology report of the tissue removed; the diagnosis, fibroandenoma, the culprit in the common benign breast disorder, fibrocystic disease...no mention of papillary lesion!!!! The Great Physician had removed it Himself!!!

I asked the Lord why the surgery was necessary. I felt He said, "It was for the surgeon's sake." My surgeon tried to explain why the tissue she removed from my breast did not contain the papilloma. I reminded her that God had healed me and told her God said it was for her sake. The surgeon say first hand the healing power of Jesus!!! AWESOME JESUS!!!

This past Monday while visiting my Mom at the hospital, I recognized the face of the woman who had been my pre-op nurse, and excitedly asked her if she remembered caring for me several years ago. She didn't remember until I described myself as, that crazy, holy-roller lady who wanted an ultrasound to prove God had healed her of the suspicious mass. Her eyes lit up and said, what happened. I told her what the pathology report said and she replied, "I was listening to you back then, but now I'm really listening to you."

Later while thinking about this nurse, I felt the Lord say, "Full Circle Faith." Sometimes, God allows us to see the beginning of a thing, as well as, the end of it. The nurse saw the beginning and the end, and it will be a catalyst for spiritual transformation in her life. In Jesus name!!!!

Jesus, you ways are so much higher than mine. Going through the discomfort of surgery was nothing compared to the seeds of faith planted in the surgeon's and nurse's hearts!!! Holy Spirit, cause them to remember how you acted on my behalf and use that memory to draw them to You!!! In the great name of the risen Healer and Savior, Jesus!!!! AMEN!!!!!

By the way...ALL of my mammograms since 2005 have been normal!!!! ;)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mom Update

Dear Prayers,

As you know, Mom saw the infectious disease doctor this morning(actually, his nurse practitioner). Anyway, the concern is that Mom's leg doesn't appear to have improved much since she was discharged from the hospital back on May 30th. Because of this lack of resolution of the infection, Mom has been readmitted to the hospital to determine if the infection has spread to her bone.

Obviously, this new turn of events needs to be OVERTURNED BY PRAYER!!!

Thank you all for caring!!!!

With Much Love...
Beautiful Grace

Monday, June 15, 2009

Tennis Anyone?

Anyone who doubted my sanity will have their suspicions confirmed after reading this post!

As a teen, I loved playing tennis, and, at least by my estimation, was fairly skilled at the fast-paced sport.

Jump forward, forty years...I still love playing tennis, BUT, and that's a BIG BUT, am forty years older- weaker muscles, and an more "mature" brain with its resulting slower reflexes.

Because of the love of the game, I challenged three of our neighborhood boys, ages 15, 16, & 17 to a match! Not thinking, I did not change my attire to match the pre-summer weather-black shirt and black jogging pants, yikes!!!!

We began our fun with a doubles match, but quickly gave up that idea, because I am not accustomed to playing with a partner. We decided to play singles- winners playing winners and losers playing losers in a best out of three competition.

Needless to say, I came in fourth place, BUT those young men knew this old lady was there!!!!

I am thankful that the guys agreed to play with the old lady. ;)

I wonder if I'll be able to get out of bed tomorrow? Sanity check!

Mom Update: Persevering Prayer

Dear Prayers,

Praise God that Mom was able to attend CCC services on Saturday evening!! At the end of the service, she came forward with me to the altar where she (me too) was bathed in God's love. :)

Mom's leg still does not look healed. She was not discharged from SLV on Sunday as originally planned, because her infectious disease doctor wanted to examine her first. That appointment is scheduled for early Tuesday morning.

Early Sunday morning sometime after 5 am, Mom fell while walking to the bathroom and cut her infected leg on the metal base of her IV pole. :(

I visited her this morning while she was with the speech therapist who asked her about her weekend. Mom really had to think before she could remember the events of the weekend. :(

These last several weeks have been tiring and difficult for Mom, Dad and the rest of our family. I am soooo thankful that I have the freedom to be involved with overseeing Mom's care!!! :)

Please continue to pray for healing, strength, peace and wisdom for all concerned.


With Much Love...
Beautiful Grace :)

June Beauty

This beauty bloomed over the weekend.
I planted this pink lily to replace an azalea bush that died last year.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Just Because, A Dinner For Two

Just Because,
the flowers are beautiful,
I haven't used the china in awhile,
there was spring mix to be used,
rice is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates,
your eyes lit up when shrimp creole was mentioned while watching Deep Space Nine the other night,
shrimp was on sale,

you work hard to provide for our family,
and we were alone last night

Just because, I love you

Thank you, Strongman, for all you do!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Little Blue Metro That Could...Again

A long while since "Once upon a time..."

When the little blue metro carried the family of four here and there and everywhere. The little, blue metro carried over hill, over dale and over Peter's Mountain regularly in rain, in snow, in fog, and in sleet.

Now, a new assignment for the faithful blue metro- to carry his brother, over hill, over dale, as well as over Peter's Mountain and the Susquehanna River. To art school they go, day after day in weather stormy or fair.

The two, man and machine, brave the difficulties of life on roads traveled more, and again, OH, NO,...squeal, crunch, OUCH! Oh, little blue metro, how much more can you take?

But the little blue metro, fixed once again, continues his faithful service to his brother- the man.
You're beautiful, and just like new. Thank you, blue metro, we do love you!

Craig Kinsley: "The Bait"

In nursing school I remember learning that the medical profession is cautious in attaching psychiatric diagnoses to a patient, because once a diagnosis like, for example, schizophrenia is made, that diagnosis stays with the patient for the rest of his life.

In the body of Christ we must be careful not to label those caught in the midst of sin. We must, empowered by His Spirit, see sinners as God sees them. See sinners and the awesome destiny for which they were created by God and for God.

Holy Spirit empower us not to label others, for labels, like diagnoses, have the potential to stay with a person the rest of his life.

With Much Love...
Beautiful Grace

Craig Kinsley: "The Bait"
Awake International
Article reprinted from the Elijah List

Recently, I awoke from a dream which I knew had serious meaning both for myself and, in a larger sense, the Body of Christ. I have been in a heightened prophetic season as of late and I believe God is giving both me and our team fresh outlook on life and ministry. In the ministry of reformation, I'm finding that at times God challenges my life and thought processes without giving me a definitive answer to the question that He poses. This dream was just that sort of situation.

Without going into every detail of the dream, I will give you the highlights, and then the core, of the message. Myself and many other people I know, including my wife, died. We found ourselves in what seemed to be a large lodge on the edge of a large river. One by one each person was interviewed by a group of heavenly beings that took the form of three or four women. After the interview process, the people were placed onto a boat which took small groups to Heaven. For a long while I stood on a dock by the river and watched as one group after another disembarked down the channel. Soon, I realized that I was the only person left and began to wonder if there was a problem. As soon as I thought this, the heavenly beings were standing next to me. They said that it was my time to be interviewed, but that it wasn't my time to go.

As I walked into the room where I was to be interviewed, I had an intense feeling that what was about to happen had serious and eternal significance. I sat in a chair across from a desk which one of the beings sat behind. She posed one question to me, and only one: "Just what kind of bait were you all fishing with?" As soon as the question was posed, I awoke. It took me a few minutes to gather myself and to fully come out of the experience.

As I pondered the dream, it didn't take long to grasp the core of the message. The general feeling of the dream was that God was speaking a message to me with consequences that dealt with people's eternal salvation. This wasn't something to be taken lightly. The question was simple, the answer is not. We are called as fishers of men (see Matthew 4:19; Mark 1:17). The question posed is, What exactly are we using to attract people to our message?
I believe the idea of evangelism is one of the major areas of our lives, churches and ministries that God is calling us to reform. If we will have ears to hear, I believe God is guiding us to question both our thought processes toward reaching those outside of His Kingdom and the actual processes that we put into action.

"Hate the Sin, Not the Sinner"

I am not a fan of clich├ęs, especially within the Church. My reason being that when a word of wisdom becomes too commonplace, it loses its power and is no longer actually considered.

The old adage, "Hate the sin, not the sinner," is a true word but has lost its power, and it is not widely understood nor practiced by a large majority of Christians. We have lost our compassion and love for those without Christ and have replaced these with a disdain and disgust for those in the world. We call this "standing for righteousness." I believe one of the keys to Jesus' effectiveness at changing the hearts of men from the world to the Kingdom, was His ability to not look at people where they are, but to look at them in the sense of where they could be. He called people out of their sin, but not simply by condemning their sin; rather, by giving them the gift of hope in something greater.

The main message that Jesus spoke of was, "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." This phrase has become synonymous with evangelism, as I believe it should, but how can we truly use the message of Christ in preaching the Gospel without a true understanding of Jesus' heart behind the message?

The word repent has become a word that brings connotations of weeping, guilt and, at times, pain. In actuality, true repentance has nothing to do with pain, guilt or sadness. In reality, the message of repentance has its foundation in the hope of the Kingdom of Heaven being available. You see, Jesus never condemned the people, but rather gave them something better. Changing from one way of life and one thought process, which is what true repentance is, doesn't come by simply realizing that your current way of life is bad, but rather by the reality of a better way. "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." That is the central theme of Jesus' message. That message is what actually causes repentance.

In our quest to condemn sin, we have actually begun to condemn the people that are caught in the traps of sin. We place the focus of our message on how bad sin is, rather than on how amazing Jesus is. Before I knew Jesus, I was living in the depths of the world's system and in a drug culture. I knew what I was doing was wrong. Between my past in religion and the ingrained human knowledge of morality, I knew that the life I was living wasn't the best that my life could be. The problem was that I had tried religion; I had tried to do all of the right things, but that didn't change me. What finally changed me was the reality that something better existed. That God had ordained a destiny for my life, a destiny that had eternal significance. And the knowledge that the Kingdom of Heaven was a living reality available to me...that is what changed me.

The world is looking for hope. Our current president was elected on this message. People understand that the current state of things is hopeless. They are looking for change. Between war, famine, disease, economic struggles, there isn't much to believe in. We have the answer. The grace and love of Jesus Christ is the greatest message of hope in all of eternity. Our message should be a message of hope, and leave the conviction to the Holy Spirit.

What are We Standing For?

A few weeks ago I was part of a summit involving Christian leaders from every facet of entertainment, government, education and many different denominations. We gathered to discuss the current crisis facing Christianity in America and to gather a strategy to continue to move forward the message of Christ throughout society. One of the truths that I realized as I sat through a few days of deliberation, was that we as Christians are much more known for what we are against, rather than what we are for. There is much talk within the Church about standing stronger than ever against immorality, but there isn't much talk about standing for anything.

The world knows that we believe homosexuality is wrong. And the majority of people know that the majority of Christians believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman. Now is not the time to stand stronger against homosexuality, now is the time to begin to let the world know why we do. Is it simply because the Bible says so? Or could there be a better way?

I believe if we begin to stand for what Jesus stood for, more and more people would be attracted to our cause. Jesus' message of love and grace is sufficient. This message is what causes those in sin to leave their current life and to embrace a new life in Christ. For the most part, those outside redemption do not know that the core of our message is love and grace. Why? Maybe because it hasn't been the core of our message.

Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Grace?

Some people would say, "Craig, aren't you afraid that a simple message of love and grace would cause people to be more open to sin?" This is a widespread concern for some. I understand the concern and I am not a proponent of sin; in fact, just the opposite. My belief is that the more love we acquire, the less sin we will desire. *No rhyming intended.

What changed the woman caught in adultery recorded in John, Chapter 8? I believe this is one of the greatest stories of love and grace found in the Gospels. The Pharisees brought a woman to Jesus. This woman was caught in the act of adultery. There was no question that she had committed the sin in dispute. The law of the day was that this woman should be stoned. This, in the eyes of everyone present, is what should happen. Jesus stooped down to the dirt and began writing on the ground. He then posed a question to all of her accusers and condemners that had gathered: "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first" (John 8:7).

Soon all of her accusers were convicted of their own sin and left. Jesus was left alone with her. He then poses a question to the woman, "Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?" The woman replies, "No one, Lord." To this Jesus responds, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more." No committee needed. No discussion of what should be done. No process of healing needed. Only one thing was needed: pure and undiluted love and grace. Jesus didn't send the woman out to sin again, rather the love that He showed changed the woman.

Was this too much grace? Did Jesus allow her to "get away" with her sin? Should something more have been done? You see, the love of God is so beyond our human understanding that we feel the need to insert something "more" into the process. Divine love changes people. Condemnation does not. That day the woman found hope. In her search for fulfillment and pleasure she fell into sin. In the very moment the religious system wanted to condemn her, Jesus saw an opportunity to show her the love of the Father. That is evangelism.

After Jesus' instruction to the woman, He addresses the religious leaders that were gathered to Him and says, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." For the most part, our mindset says, "If you don't walk in darkness, then you can follow Jesus." The truth is that encountering the love of Jesus causes you to not walk in darkness. Follow Him and you will not follow darkness. Show people love and the darkness ceases to have power.

Jesus: Was He a Minister to Sinners? Or a Friend of Sinners?

Part of the reformation that is coming to the Church has already begun. I believe the message that calls us to get outside of our buildings and reach people is a needed message. We weren't called to gather people to our buildings, but rather to go out and be light in the world. I applaud this growing message in the Church, but I want to challenge you to take it a step further.

Over the years I have been challenged more and more about Jesus' life in and around those outside of redemption. Lately, what has been especially challenging to me, is the name given to Jesus, "Friend of sinners." While I was pondering this picture of Jesus recently, the Lord said to me, "Craig, was I called a minister to sinners? Or a friend of sinners?" God always seems to ask me questions in order to cause me to think. I thought to myself that I have ministered to those trapped in sin on many occasions, but can I honestly say that sinners are my friends?

In our righteous quest for holiness, it seems that we have forsaken being a friend of sinners, in favor of simply seeing our time with them as a ministry opportunity. We are scared to associate with these people for fear of seeing it as condoning their lifestyle. Jesus' life of love was evident at all times. Whether He was speaking directly about the Kingdom or simply displaying the Kingdom through the Spirit that was upon His life, He was both a friend and a minister, at all times. I believe we are missing a large part of the evangelistic call, which is the call to friendship.

View Through the Eyes of Friendship

As I have sought to understand more and more how Jesus was able to so love us when we were so filthy, I believe I have grasped a key to His heart. I was taught this through the calling of Peter. Peter was a guy that I so relate to. He wasn't perfect by any means, but through the love and grace of God He was able to change the world. As Peter was fishing one day, Jesus came walking by. He simply said, "Follow Me." This wasn't Peter's first encounter with Jesus; his brother Andrew had taken Peter to Jesus prior to this in John 1:42— although this time Jesus called him not just to be near Him, but to be a part of His life in an intimate way.

What would cause Peter to drop his entire life and follow this Man? I believe the key is found in the way Jesus saw Peter. Peter was a fisherman. Not a pillar of society by any means. If you've ever been to a fishing wharf, it's not the most godly place on earth. Peter was probably not the most godly man on earth, but Jesus was able to see past that. Jesus didn't see Peter according to his present circumstances, but saw him according to who he was created to be.

It is hard to see the eternal potential created within someone when we become aware of their faults. We even seem to label people according to their sin instead of according to God's design for them. Once we see a person's or a people's sin, we immediately link them to that sin. For instance, we call people trapped in drug addiction, drug addicts. We call people trapped in homosexuality, homosexuals. At times we even call people trapped in religion, Pharisees. Once we have labeled someone by their sin, it is hard to see them any other way. What caused Peter to follow Jesus so quickly could be Jesus' willingness to look past Peter's faults and into his heart. Jesus continually called Peter to a high calling. He drew him to His heart and did not let Peter's faults, even when Peter denied their relationship, disqualify him from that high calling.

We should pray that God would give us the eyes of Christ, that we would be able to see the lost through their eternal destiny. Only then will we be able to effectively call them out of darkness by showing them the light.

Signs and Wonders Show the Love of the Father

As we begin to talk more and more about relationships with the lost and seeking to love, somehow it gets separated from the power of God. Miracles, signs and wonders are a vital part of demonstrating the Kingdom of God and showing people the reality of His love. We need to understand that Jesus had one life. His life as a friend was at the same time the life of a healer. His life as a teacher was also a life of a miracle worker. He didn't switch gears in order to do ministry, it all went hand in hand.

Jesus taught of the necessity of signs and wonders in this often misunderstood passage concerning a nobleman and his sick son: "When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and implored Him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. Then Jesus said to him, 'Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe'" (John 4:47-48).

Out of context, it seems that Jesus is rebuking the man for coming to Him for healing on behalf of his son. If we look at this in context of the nature of Christ, we know that Jesus desires that we would come to Him. His gentle rebuke was not on the sign and wonder, but on not believing unless one can actually see it. You see, Jesus did perform the sign, but not in the pomp and circumstance that was expected. The man wanted Jesus to actually come to his house to perform the miracle. He didn't understand that all Jesus had to do was speak the word and it was done. Jesus simply said, "Go your way; your son lives."

Jesus actually said that the works He does, the signs and wonders, are what point to Him as the Son of God (see John 10). The supernatural works of God cannot be separated from our establishment of God's Kingdom on the earth. If we are to accurately point people to the Father, we have to not simply tell them about the Father, but show them the Father.

The signs and wonders themselves are not where a problem arises. The problem arises when the motivation for the supernatural becomes the building of ministry or the building of self rather than love. I cannot say it enough. Love is our foundation. Without it, none of this exists. The pursuit of love is the now word of the Lord. We have pursued the supernatural and rightly so, but why? Some have rebuked me for preaching a message that promotes the pursuit of the miraculous. I say that I am guilty as charged, but I also preach first and foremost the pursuit of love. Love mixed with power will change the world. Power absent of love will promote your own kingdom. Paul said, "Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy" (1 Corinthians 14:1). The gifts are needed, as long as the pursuit of love is the foundation.

The Bait

So, back to the question at hand: What bait are we using? What is or is not drawing people to our message of salvation? What bait should we be using? The answer is both quite simple and yet eternally complicated. Love is the answer. Not a manmade love, but divine love. A love that should be pursued because it is not natural. A love that Jesus displayed in such a way that the hardest of hearts could be turned to Him. A love that was demonstrated through a variety of miracles, signs and wonders. A love that broke the chains of sin and gave food to the hungry. A love that looked past natural circumstances and excavated the divine purpose buried deep within the human heart. Simply showing someone their sin doesn't change them. Showing them the way of love and life will change the world.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Beautiful May Flowers

These vining flowers adorn our deck fence.

These flowers spring from a blub.
The plant stem smells like onions.

These flower smell like spice.

Pretty hot-pink flowers around our deck.

The first tiger lily of the year!

Tiger lilies are my favorites!!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Mom Update: Accentuate the Positive

Dear Prayers,

The IV nurse attempted to insert a PICC line in mom Friday afternoon but met resistance; the radiologist was sucessful in inserting it Friday evening. Mom was discharged from the hospital and admitted to a local long-term care facility on Saturday, where she will continue IV therapy for about two more weeks. I desired to have Mom come home where I could administer the IV antibiotics, but in home therapy was not covered by my parents' insurance and therefore, too costly.

This past Thursday was the first day I really saw improvement in the cellulitis. (yeah, Jesus!) I'm thankful that Mom is only only 5 minutes away from me now! (yeah, Jesus!)

Mom's cellulitis is healing quickly now (thanks, Jesus!). Please pray that her stay in the nursing home would be one of peace and rest. Thanks for all your prayers. Mom and Dad have been their normal upbeat selves through all of this (praise, Jesus!) Thursday Mom was singing to Dad and I the old 1940's song, "Accentuate the Positive." I checked all of the lyrics out and they are awesome! Mom was prophesying and didn't even realize it. How I do love that woman!!!!

Be blessed!!!!

With Much Love...
Beautiful Grace :)

Accentuate the Positive

Gather 'round me, everybody
Gather 'round me while I'm preachin'
Feel a sermon comin' on me
The topic will be sin and that's what I'm ag'in'
If you wanna hear my story
The settle back and just sit tight
While I start reviewin'The attitude of doin' right
You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
And latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between
You've got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium's
Liable to walk upon the scene
To illustrate my last remark
Jonah in the whale,
Noah in the ark
What did they do just when everything looked so dark?
(Man, they said "We'd better accentuate the positive")
("Eliminate the negative")
("And latch on to the affirmative")
Don't mess with Mister In-Between
(No!)Don't mess with Mister In-Between
(Ya got to spread joy up to the maximum)
(Bring gloom down to the minimum)
(Have faith or pandemonium's)
(Liable to walk upon the scene)
You got to ac (yes, yes) -cent-tchu-ate the positive
Eliminate (yes, yes) the negative
And latch (yes, yes) on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between
No, don't mess with Mister In-Between

- Words and Music by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer