The Heart of Transformation
“Love the book.” -S. Finney
“Your message is Biblical and relevant!” -J. Moore
Beautiful Grace is part autobiography and part challenge to the church to find way to reach those who will not come to our buildings. How will reach make any meaningful difference to those who are still far off? Using our own experiences my wife, Hope, and I hope this easy-to-read book will be an encouragement, a blessing, a challenge, and a starting point for conversations that lead to a deeper walk with Christ and a greater commitment to the purpose for which we have all been called. That is, to be a reflection of the beautiful grace of God.
- Our Story
- I Survived
- Seeing Grace
- Business Unusual
- A “Small” Vision
- Grace And Love
A few excerpts:
Our hearts were racing and pounding out of our chests as we fought back the tears. “Your baby is too small,” our Filipino doctor told us, “Go home, rest, and wait for your baby to die.”
The air-conditioner of our taxi on that day was no match for the sweltering urban tropical heat of Manila mixed with the sweat of fear, uncertainty, and disappointment. “Was this really happening to us?”
We walked into our tiny, postage-stamp-size dormitory apartment that didn’t yet feel like home, and I crumpled onto the bed. The next few weeks were unimaginably difficult. Elijah was trying to study full-time and I was violently ill, unable to stand the smells of cooking that were coming from all directions–Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Samoan, Burmese, Thai and worst of all, the Korean Kimchi.
Coming home from class, having eaten at the dining hall or friend’s apartment, my husband would reek of garlic and I couldn’t stand the smell of him. I was miserable and had nowhere to go. My only refuge was to hide under my blanket and cry out to God, “Lord help me…”
— — — — — —
Let’s face it—loving God and loving our neighbors can get really messy really fast. It can be hard, frustrating, and even dangerous. You’ll get muddy and wear holes in the knees of your jeans. You’ll lose sleep and find your plans interrupted more than you like. You’ll find yourself in uncomfortable situations and walking barefoot on the rocky paths of other peoples lives.
— — — — — —
. Someone needs to step out in front and lead with humility, forgiveness, and authentic love. That “someone” is all of us; all those who claim the love of God and the forgive-ness offered in Christ. All true and sincere disciples of Jesus Christ are sent into the world as models of the beautiful grace of God working in and through them; examples of a grace and love that is not without effect in the lives of all who take seriously the call to love God and to love their neighbors.
The line is drawn in the sand. Will we step over the line and take up the challenge to live radical lives of hope and peace, grace and love, truth and forgiveness among our neighbors, friends, and family? Or will we step back, draw lines of division, put labels on people and convince ourselves that they are not our responsibility?
— — — — — —
No grace is required in dealing with people who are like us and who agree with everything we say. “What good will it do to love the people who love you?,” Jesus asked, “Even the worst of sinners do that.” It is no great accomplishment to be kind to those who show us kindness. Instead, our “grace-muscles” begin to atrophy when we spend all our time with those who provide no resistance!
Jesus was a reflection of the beautiful grace of God to the sick, the sinners, the unvalued, and the unworthy. He spent time with them, talked with them, healed them, and gave them value. They could see clearly the grace that flowed through his veins. Can people see the same in us.
— — — — — —
But this one thing is sure–Ishmael and Novi are closer to the Kingdom than they were on that Islamic New Year holiday when they first reached out to me. They know and have experienced more of God’s love than they had two years ago. Their perception of Jesus Christ and those who follow him has been forever altered for the better.
They have seen, I believe, a small glimpse of beautiful grace of God in their lives and the peace that passes understanding. They have heard something new about the truth of a God that is known for his everlasting love and a of a hope that is available to all people!
Pray with us, will you, that these seeds will grow and, in time, produce a harvest of transformation.