Category Archives: Cindy’s Blogs

Untapped Potential

By Cindy Grasso

People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.”

- St. Augustine

[dropcap] W [/dropcap]e just don’t see things the way Jesus does, least of all, ourselves.

My favorite miracle that Jesus performed was his very first one. It is when he changed water into wine. I love it because it is story of untapped potential:

“Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.  Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”  They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.” (John 2:6-11 NIV84)

He chose six stone jars made to be used for ceremonial washing that were sitting along the wall. The wedding was over, the reception had begun and these six stone jars had been passed by countless times that day.  They had been set side, empty and unused.

We often think that these three things are a sign that God doesn’t want to use us:

• set aside
• empty
• unused

And yet it is exactly what qualified them to be used for Jesus’ first miracle.

This is for every girl who feels that she has been passed by. For every woman who has served faithfully, quietly and fearfully.  For everyone who has poured out their lives for others and now wonders, “What am I good for?”, “Does God want to use me?”

The answer is a resounding yes! There is more for you. There is untapped potential  within you and it is just waiting for the Master himself to say the word. He might use you in ways you never thought of, doing things you didn’t know you could do, but nonetheless, He desires to use you.

I love those six jars and the picture they present. They are vessels of a miracle and all they had to be was there, empty and available. These are three things I can do!

To be a vessel of a miracle, you have to:

• be there (where Jesus is).
• be empty (I always feel empty).
• be available (for whatever).

Jesus instructed the servants to fill each jar up to the brim with water. He never even touched the jars or the water they were filled with. My friend, miracles don’t happen because of a magic touch but because of a heart of faith. I think one of the reasons why  Jesus never did the same thing twice, in healing people or performing a miracle, was to help us see that divine intervention does not impact earth’s natural laws because of a method or a formula, but because faith expressed in love.

Jesus told the servants what to do –  I love that he used servants to perform this miracle. I believe God longs for more than just to “perform” for us, He delights in partnering with humanity and using mere servants to do the amazing, mind blowing, incredible things that literally change our world.

Jesus turned plain ordinary water into the very richest wine, aged to perfection and with a depth of flavor that only comes with time and expertise.  Yet, he needed neither time or expertise to do it. Do you think that God can’t use you because it is too late or you don’t have enough education? All God really needs are vessels that are empty and servants who follow directions.

• Untapped potential comes in plain packages and is executed by stepping out in ordinary obedience.

It didn’t seem miraculous to fill the jars with water- who would have thought the water would be turned to wine? Jesus did. There are a lot of things you can do that don’t seem like anything special on their own, but “with God”, ordinary moments become extraordinary testimonies of God’s grace and glory.

• Untapped potential means, “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”

God isn’t limited by our traditions, wisdom or time tables. In fact, I think God likes to challenge the “norms” that have been dictated by limited resources and limited mindsets : “But you have saved the best till now.” Just when you think God can’t do a thing with you, He can fill you up to the brim with fresh living water then pour you out to bless others as fine wine.

• Untapped potential brings glory to God and causes others to put their faith in Christ.

This life ain’t no American Idol or talent show to see how great you can do something. When God uses your availability to do a miracle, all the glory goes to God.  When he takes your mess and makes a message, all the glory goes to God. When it is obvious that the power or talent or ability isn’t yours but God working through you- all the glory goes to God.

We worry what other people will think of us, so we hold back and yet, if God uses us in something so far bigger than who we are or what we can do on our own- that is when God gets all glory! That is when people put their faith in Jesus, which is where it belongs. I am but a vessel to be filled up and then poured out. Availability is so much more important than ability. So, stop worrying about all you don’t have and start asking God to use whatever you do have.

To gain access to the untapped potential of your life:

1. Be where Jesus is – you will find him with the hurting, the needy, the broken, the sick, the lonely and the lost.

2. Be empty – of your pride, fear, doubts, expectations.

3. Be available – to be used for whatever He desires. Are you limiting God because what he is asking you to do is too small, too ordinary or just out of your comfort zone? Lift your limitations.

4. Be obedient – don’t despise the simple things, for in them hide the true treasures of life and the blessing of being used by a miracle working God.

I love to hear from you and am delighted with every comment. Thank you for taking this time and discovering the keys of allowing God access to your untapped potential!

Basking in His Brilliance,

Cindy

Page One, Time For Change

By Cindy Grasso

There is always a page one, a beginning, a place to start. Long before there was a documentary on the New York Times called Page One, there was a beginning of all beginnings documented in God’s Word:

“In the beginning God created … ”

Genesis 1:1NIV

This is what God does, He creates.

On page one, God’s Spirit hovered over the void of nothing and created something. This alone should bring us great hope and build our faith because it shows that us that the only thing needed for new creation is God’s desire to do so.

God desires to create new thing in your life.

How small my prayers are. I so often pray for God to make something of me- from me. “Dear Lord” I pray, “Take this broken thing I am and do something good with it.”  Instead, I could be praying, ” What new thing do you want to do in me? What new thing do you want to create for me to do? What new thing do you want to use me in?”

God is willing, able and has provided everything for you to walk in new things.

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3 NIV)

What is stopping you?

“Oh, I don’t have it in me- I can’t do it”, you say.

Good. I am glad that you know that you don’t have the power to do it. Now, you can ask God to do what only He can do – create something out of nothing.

“Oh, I am not good enough”, you say.

Good. I’m glad you know that. Starting over has nothing to do with your personal goodness and everything to do with God’s.

“Oh, I have screwed up too many times”, you say.

Good. I’m glad you know that. Now you can ask for forgiveness from the God who offers it to you and let past regrets and mistakes sink into His sea of forgetfulness.

The time for change is now. It is time to let the old things go and start walking in the new things God has for you. There is always a page one, a beginning, a new place to start.

The beginning is always today.

- Mary Wallstoncraft

I love hearing from you and appreciate every comment!

Living in His brilliance,

Cindy Grasso

 

 

 

Fed Up With Mediocrity

By Cindy Grasso
Until you get fed up with mediocrity, you will never step up into excellence or even reach for it. It takes energy, determination and perseverance to go after a brilliant life. It is the life God has called you to. It is the life God has provided for you though the shed blood of Christ- He paid for it. But you must walk in it. You must take it and apply it to your life.

There are moments in the New Testament when I get the feeling that Jesus was fed up with the mediocre life that God’s children were living. When he moved from private to public life, he proclaimed the “God’s kingdom is at hand” (Mark 1:15) he was in essence saying – reach out and take it! Repent- turn around from the life you have been living and start moving toward the life God has made to you to live.

Here is a one such moment from Matt 8:21-25:

Another follower said, “Master, excuse me for a couple of days, please. I have my father’s funeral to take care of.” 

Jesus refused. “First things first. Your business is life, not death. Follow me. Pursue life.” 

Then he got in the boat, his disciples with him. 

The next thing they knew, they were in a severe storm. Waves were crashing into the boat-and he was sound asleep! They roused him, pleading, “Master, save us! We’re going down!” (Matthew 8:21-25 MSG)
Then…

Get busy living or get busy dying.

Are you waiting to live? Waiting to pursue God’s call on your 
life? Are you putting it off because you have too many things to do right now? Jesus is not encouraging us to abandon our responsibility to our family but he is challenging our excuses. When the follower asked Jesus if he could be ” excused” from following Jesus, he was actually asking to go live in his father’s house and take care of him until he died for an indefinite period of time, definitely more than “a couple of days”. Jesus called him out on it. He  knew that a couple of days really meant “I will follow you when I’m done following me and done with what I think I should be doing”.

Jesus refused- he will not agree with mediocrity, he will not tell you, “Yes, go ahead and waste your time, energy, and creativity waiting.” No. He says, “There is more for you. Stop focusing on death and start chasing after life, my life, my power, my grace! Follow Me.”

One of my dearest friends, Deb Killian, is an amazing woman who loves God passionately. I have known here for over 15 years and in that time I have walked with her through triumphs and tragedies. One of the hardest times in her life was when her first husband passed away from cancer. I will never forget the morning I got the call that her husband had died. My heart broke for my friend and I rushed right over so could wrap my arms around her. Those were dark days for my friend. She loved her husband do much and I watched my friend push through those days of grief walking hand-in- hand with God. After Deb’s husband died, there were times she felt like she had died too. Who was she now? What were God’s plans for her now? But she was not dead, she was alive and God had a plan for her- a call that stayed clear for over twenty years and did not diminish when her whole life dramatically changed.  As long as I had known Deb, she has had a call to go to Africa and bring God’s love to it. She dreamed about it, prayed about it and for years the possibility of it looked well, impossible. In those first few years after her husband’s death,  God began to stir within her the truth that now was the time to go after the business of life – the purpose He had for her. What a glorious purpose it is! As He developed her heart and vision for Africa, He also brought new love into her life through her second husband Roy. Together, they head up “Eden’s Song Ministry” (link:  http://edenssong.org ). Their ministry supports missionaries in Africa by providing resources for them such as refurbished iPods, medical supplies, goats and uniforms so the children can go to school, along with many other things. They also go to Africa once or twice a year to lead a team and minister to the people there.  Deb describes her journey from grief to Africa in her book “Eden’s Song – A Women’s Cry” (link:http://edenssong.org/index.php?s=ms&nid=37705&grpid=8314&grpDetails=true ). I highly recommend it for anyone who has recently lost someone or is feeling lost themselves as to what God wants them to do. I love this picture of her in the middle of the African children. It reminds that He who begins a good work is faithful to complete it (Phil. 1:6).
It is time to get busy living!

Jesus said: First things first. Priorities are key to walking in victory.  If you aim at nothing- you will hit it every time. How easy it is to let the small things distract us from the important things. Keep first things first and you will be able to do more than you ever thought you could.  It is important to know what your priorities are. Knowing that helps you make wise decisions in every other area of your life.

What is the 1 priority according to Jesus? Follow God- pursue life.  In other words, stop following others, the world or even yourself. Follow God-His word, His way, His guidance, His plan. When you do that, a brilliant life follows.

Your business is life, not death- we are in a world that is dying, and plagued with sin’s rotting stench. We see it in our relationships, feel it in our bodies and have it thrown in our face every day. But our business- that which we are to live ” like it’s our job” is to pursue life. Go after it! Chase it- pursue it like it was that boy you had a crush on in Jr. High but are not hindered by shyness and self- consciousness. Think about it, dream about it, follow it around, find out what it is doing and plan to be where it is – LIFE!

I want you to realize that right after Jesus said “Pursue life!”,  he got in a boat and faced death. It isn’t going to be easy, in fact, you go after God’s LIFE and purpose you have upped the anti and it will seem get harder. The storm will ramp up to the point where you think, “I can’t do this- I’m going down.” The Bible says it was a severe storm. Not a small one but the type of storm that does damage and threatens lives. Yet, Jesus slept. Why? I think because he already knew this storm wasn’t going to kill them. It was just a part of his journey.

The disciples followed Jesus right into that boat -they followed Jesus right into the storm. Can I tell you, that is the right place to be. You are going to encounter storms in your life. There was a storm on the shore that night too. I would rather be in the boat with Jesus than on the shore without him. I would rather get in the boat and follow Him than let doubt and fear keep me on the shore of mediocrity. 

No one is telling you that it will be easy, least of all God. But He does tell you that it is vital and possible. You were made to live a brilliant life hand- in -hand with God.  

What is stopping you?

• What is your #1 excuse?
• Make a list of your priorities. 
• Ask God to give you His list.  Rewrite your list.
• Don’t worry about the storm you are in – it is not going to kill you and it is just a part of your journey. Read the rest of story in Matthew 8 (Jesus spoke to the storm and it ceased!)
• Get fed up with mediocrity and go after the call of God on your life like it was your job!

I love to hear from you and hear what God is doing in your life. Please don’t be shy, I appreciated every comment.

Live Brilliantly Today™

Cindy Grasso


Bold Steps of Faith

By Cindy Grasso

It is time for insecurities to go. For doubt and fears to fly away and be replaced by a confidence that comes straight from the throne of God.

“God is not offended by your biggest or boldest prayers.”- Mark Batterson from his new book, The Circle Maker.

Last night a friend of ours crashed on our couch last night on his way up to Redding, Ca. I didn’t see him but for a minute early this morning, but my husband got to talk with him and catch up. He told my husband the story of his journey from Las Vegas to Nepal. James’ heart beats stronger on foreign soil than it does on his native soil and has a strong call to missions.

Here’s the story:

Before he went to Nepal, he felt God wanted him to make right some mistakes he had made in Vegas- unpaid perfect parking tickets, an unresolved car accident, etc. So he walked into the police station and asked them to bring up all the records and see what he needed to to. Turns out that the amount came to about $8000. James went about getting any job he could, anywhere he could. From one odd job to another, James found himself in South Carolina and working as a painter. He found a good group of Christian men to work with and made $800 on the completion of the job. He thought to himself,” I am finally getting somewhere and will make a dent in the debt!” He went to church in South Carolina on the next Sunday thanking God for it. During the service, James felt the Lord impress him to give all the money to the Pastor’s son- all $800. So, he did it. For James, it was the widows mite – all he had. He gave it that day. On Monday, he received a call from from the government. “Oh no,” he thought, “more trouble.”  But the call was regarding a claim he had put in six years earlier for a pension his father had earned. His father had passed away and James was dealing with the estate. He filed the claim but nothing had come of it. Now they were calling to say, yes, it had come through: over a hundred thousand dollars to be split between the six siblings. James got $25,000. He paid off his debts and used the money to make his way to Nepal to share God’s love with the people there.

This isn’t a story about money, it is a story about God’s currency: faith. In God’s economy money is metal and paper, the real currency if life is faith. It is a reminder that faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains.  I don’t know about you, but I forget that God can do a whole lot more with what I have than I can. He works in multiplication while I inch along in addition.  Hearing my husband pass along this story reminded me that walking in faith is never easy but always worth it. He can do  “more than we could ask or imagine.”

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20, 21 NIV)

I think the enemy wants to keep us held captive in small thinking and small faith. He feeds our insecurity and doubts to keep us from moving forward.

It is time to shake off our insecurities. To step out in faith and confidence to live your life in joy and freedom. The freedom to live the adventurous plan God has for you.

1.  The negative thoughts will come- take them captive.

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV)

2. The attack on your attitude will happen- up your worship and gratitude.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6 NIV)

3.  Your sight (what you see around you) will be challenging, up your faith threshold – purposely focusing upward and God’s perspective.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1 NIV84)

Live Brilliantly Today™

Abundant Life

By Cindy Grasso

There is more to life than a mundane existence. More to life than a half hearted push to the deep breathing, joy fulfilling, purposeful life you crave.

Yes, it takes guts.
Yes, it takes risk.
And yes….you are made for it.

You are made to live an abundant life.
Not a half life,
Not an almost life,
But an abundant life.

This the word Jesus used to describe the kind of life he came to provide in John 10:10:

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. ” (NKJV)

The Greek word used here for abundance is perissos. It carries in it the sense of beyond as in beyond what you can think or dream. Just the very first definition of perissos, floors me:

1) exceeding some number or measure or rank or need
a) over and above, more than is necessary, superadded

What’s the number you have set as a goal?
What is your measure of success?
Where do you rank in the world?
What do you need?

Goals are good, important and needed. It is also good, important and needed to know that God has something beyond all of those things. He is not limited by numbers, measures, ranks or needs. In fact he has come to give you life beyond them. He has a plan that far exceeds them.

God wants to lead you into a life that is living in a realm that is over and above just “the good life”. Leading you past what is just necessary and into what is extraordinary.

Jesus didn’t say, “I have come they might have an easy life and one easier than easy.”  No, he does not say that it will be easy, he says it will be brilliant.

Jesus also issues a warning in this verse. He warns that there is a thief out to sabotage your journey, to tempt you in a silky voice to quit, stop, to cease and desist. To convince you that you need to take your destiny into your own hands and do something with it. Leave the fold, get out of the cage, do it yourself. This is the voice of the thief, a professional liar who only wants your destruction. To steal your destiny, kill your potential.

In this wonderful verse, Jesus describes himself as a shepherd- The Good Shepherd. A provider who knows his sheep, takes care of them, guards them, and is ready to lay down his life for them. In the context of this kind of love and loyalty, Jesus says “I have come so you can have life and can have it more abundantly.”

There is more life for you. More life in your body. More life in your marriage, more life in your business, more life in your life. Abundant life.

This power packed word is the same one used in Ephesians 3:20-

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” (NKJV)

I love how the Message version translates it:

“God can do anything, you know-far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” (MSG)

How do you walk in your abundant life?
• Let go of your limits.
• Listen to the voice of your Shepherd.
• Follow his lead.
• Trust and obey him, one step at a time.
• Repeat daily.

Live Brilliantly Today™