JUNE 2008

“Mobilizing Families for God’s Kingdom Worldwide”

Dear Friends in Christ,

To save on postage, we have moved to a less frequent mailing, but as the Lord continues to do so much, these are tending to be twice as long! Sorry! Hope you enjoy these details.

Devotional Thoughts — “Moving Forward!”

The Lord is moving us forward, and I am reminded of the lesson the Israelites learned in the desert. Faith is the main ingredient required by God to move forward, complaining is the main deterrent. With complaining and lack of faith, comes spiritual and maturational stagnation. With faith and trust in God and His Sovereignty comes advancement to the next time of training and the next test, and we can move forward. It is like we are all in school, and as we advance in “grades,” the tests get harder. We don't move on to the next grade until we pass the test for the current grade.

When I was a young Christian, I had the mistaken belief that if I just did everything right, God would make everything work out just to my “godly” liking. Although I believe this is true in the big picture, the problem is our liking has to be changed to God's liking. And like a parent and a child, we often know that things or ideas our children have aren't always for their best, even though it may be what they would 'like.' And they may even be seemingly good things. So from the time they are young, we pray for wisdom, and we seek to teach and train them away from self-centeredness, towards God-centeredness; from self-focus to Christ-focus. In the big scheme of things, the Lord is, at the same time, doing the same thing with us as parents. We dress up our desires to seem more mature and “godly,” but really many times they are self-focused. But God knows better, and He is so sweet and gracious to wean us away from control, and from our wants and needs, to learn to trust Him.

So in the end, as we look back, all we will have is gratefulness that everything turned out to our true “liking” in Christ, which is counting it all as rubble for sake of knowing Him and making Him known. In heaven looking back over our lives with gratefulness to God, we will realize that was the golden thread that He wove everything around and about in our lives. But in the day to day process of growing to maturity, God must wean us from immediate likes, to faith in God, so He can work things out to what we really need, and what truly is our liking.

So to take this out of the “ether” and into reality, I will try to give some examples . . .

We’re wrongly, even falsely accused, and it is “not fair.” We struggle, we want to defend ourselves. We stagnate. Or we forgive, we remember what Christ endured for us, we ask God to be our defender, and we move forward!

Our wants aren't met, (and we call them needs). We complain. We grumble. We leave the place of perceived lack to find the place of satisfaction. We escape to those who give sympathy. We stagnate. Or we recognize that in Christ we are complete. We recognize that God works through the authorities in our lives. We place our wants/needs on the altar, willing for them to burn. We are comforted by Christ. We receive the strength to endure and to even be joyful. We think of the many things we are grateful for, and begin to have an attitude of gratefulness. And we move forward!

We struggle with decisions others make. We wish we could fix it, make it right. We want to 'fix them', and tell them what to do. We get frustrated. We want to control. We stagnate. Or we cry out to God and seek Him in prayer, and trust His promise that He hears our prayers and answers them. We give up control. We accept the circumstance as under God's careful and just eyes. We rest, and we move forward!

We sin ourselves. We are proud. We receive the consequences for our actions, as promised in scripture. We squirm, we blame others, we defend ourselves, we reject personal responsibility, we look for sympathy, for pity, for justification. We stagnate, we wander.

Or we humble ourselves. We go before the Lord in contrition. We give up our “rights.” We ask Him to examine us for other sin. We cry out to Him for strength to walk in victory over sin. We are broken. We realize we can do nothing of ourselves, that our best good works are but filthy rags. We cry out for mercy. And we move forward!

May we all, as a people who claim His glorious name as believers in Christ, as Christians, be those who persevere to the end! Having a right response to wrong treatment, by the power over the flesh in the Holy Spirit, is what lasts for eternity and moves us forward. Getting our way, battling in the flesh gets us nothing. If we win, the reward is only here for the flesh. Christ is worthy to sit on the throne because of what He gave up on this earth, not because He made everything go in a way that pleased His flesh with fairness. He who seeks to save his life will lose it, but he who gives up his life for Christ's sake, and the sake of the gospel, will receive a reward that no man can take away.

So it is with sweet gratefulness we watch as God is moving us forward. It is a blessing that although we have not done a whole lot to pursue people and opportunities, the Lord has been opening many doors, and leading us out to minister. Not everything has gone the way we envisioned it, but His way is best!

Eight Recent Ministry Outreaches

In recent weeks, we’ve had numerous opportunities to minister as a family, and to invite others to join with us in various ways.

  1. Friends of ours from Penn State brought 16 international students to see Washington, D.C. where Bernie gave them not only a memorable tour, but lasting memories of the spiritual heritage of our nation. Isaiah 33:22
  2. Frederick Rescue Mission leaders invited us to come and bring others to share Christ with their Easter dinner crowd. What a humble blessing to pray and share the message of resurrection and hope with these dear people. John 20:19
  3. Several families joined us in Annapolis on the Saturday after Maryland Day. In addition to the tour sites and associated spiritual lessons, Bernie had written a gospel flier based on the Maryland flag. Our group passed out hundreds to other tourists. One dad in our group said, “When we stopped for lunch, my ‘shy’ daughter was still giving the fliers out to total strangers. It was amazing!” II Cor. 5:19
  4. Friends & families from Lancaster were treated to Bernie’s unique and inspiring spiritual perspectives on the Battle of Gettysburg. John 15:13
  5. We were back in D.C. twice in early April. Linda wrote a gospel flier based on the Cherry Blossoms which we gave to about 600 of the thousands of tourists visiting D.C. “Life is brief. We all need reconciliation with others, and especially with God!” Isaiah 40:6-8
  6. And then on the 96th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, some of us went to the D.C. Titanic Memorial to give another gospel flier Bernie wrote to the people who had gathered for two annual memorial ceremonies. Proverbs 16:18
  7. Good friends at a church near Manassas Battlefield made arrangements for Bernie’s first spiritual heritage tour there. Another friend from Virginia came in character as Stonewall Jackson and shared his testimony of faith. In addition, we gave reprinted Civil War gospel fliers to our group and others we met along the way. Matthew 12:25
  8. We returned to the Baltimore Inner Harbor on a beautiful Memorial Day weekend. The drama club from our church joined us, doing street drama and giving out five hundred Maryland flag gospel fliers. We also had good spiritual discussions with various people (white, Black & Muslim) we took the initiative to meet in this tourist place. II Cor. 5:20


Linda sharing at a rescue mission
Linda sharing Christ at Rescue Mission.
Passing out tracts at the Cherry Blossoms festival
Linda & Josh hand out Cherry Blossom tracts.
Linda & Sarah sharing with Muslims
Linda & Sarah talking with Muslim young women.
Jim Hendry as Stonewall Jackson
Gen. Stonewall Jackson, a.k.a. Jim Hendry.
Aaron passing out tracts
Aaron handing out Gospel tracts.
Flag demonstation in Baltimore
Bernie at Baltimore Inner Harbor.

It continues to encourage us how many opportunities the Lord is bringing to Bernie and our family. God truly writes our stories over our lifetime, and it is a blessing for Bernie's love of God, history, evangelism and family to come together to make him an awesome spiritual heritage tour guide, evangelist and equipper of others in evangelism. Ephesians 4:12

The feedback has been encouraging on our evangelistic fliers, as well: “Beautiful!” “Creative.” “Can I buy some?” We have enclosed 2 samples of these gospel fliers for you.

Church buildingOther Recent Family Ministry Events

The Lord has continued to open doors for church ministry, as well! It was a delight to do a weekend Bible conference for a church pastored by a friend and past student: Pastor Howard Sloan of St. Paul’s Reformed Church. We were able to minister in testimonies, music, and of course, Bernie speaking. Every member of our family participated. Our theme was, “Becoming a Great Commission Family.” At each of the four sessions, Daniel recited a selected chapter from the Bible. It was powerful. Feedback overall included the comment, "I think this was the best Bible Conference we have ever had!"

Daniel sharingJosh sharingThoughts on adult children continuing to minister with the family . . .

Aaron was flown out to California for several days by Adobe (a large int’l graphic design software company) to do some teaching footage for them. It is fascinating what the Lord is doing in his life as an individual as he uses his gifts first and foremost to serve and minister with our family and ministry. Rather then thwarting his personal success and development, as one might think, the Lord seems to be multiplying it. But it makes sense and lines up with what Jesus taught in the Beatitudes and elsewhere, i.e. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.” Mark 8:35 (cf. Matt. 10:39 & 16:25; Luke 9:24 & 17:33; John 12:25. These similar statements from Jesus are recorded six times in the Gospels!)

The same seems to be true for Sarah, as she has developed her God given abilities in piano, and used them to minister first with our family, then the Lord is opening doors through these connections for a new teacher, students and other opportunities as well.

A Large Caveat

We are not saying that all families need to function like ours! God is personal and unique. Our message is and continues to be, seek God and obey Him as He leads, even if it is contrary to the normal flow and common train of thinking. As we have sought to obey God and implement specific scripture related to honoring parents (starting with us both seeking to honor and bless our own parents), training children in the way they should go, not growing weary or losing heart in well doing, seeking to recognize and repent of our blind spots and faults and sins, even asking our children at times to hold us accountable, the Lord has done some interesting things to say the least. But please, please, don't try to do what we did (externally), and impose that on your family, unless the Lord makes it clear to you as He did to us. Seek God with your whole heart, fast and pray, read His powerful words to us in the scriptures, and then obey Him. We will be overjoyed if you seek God, and follow His leading as He makes it clear! We will be concerned, though, if you just start doing what we do, without seeking God for wisdom and leadership first. God desires your heart, he is not about implementing a set of rules or a program for success.

Bernie turns 50
Bernie and his mother,
Bernardine, are two
enthusiastic story-tellers!

Bernie's Birthday Number 50! . . .

Most of you know about how we tried to give Bernie his first surprise party, and some of you were part of the surprise! Well, the Lord helped us succeed in pulling off a surprise, in spite of some “security breech” issues. Bernie received over 200 e-mails from friends he had known, ministered under, with, and over in the past 30 years of ministry, starting as a student at Penn State. He was blessed and encouraged to see the big picture of how God has used Him in many ways with many people over the years. It was the kind of things people often don't say until a person is gone. So it was sweet for Bernie to be encouraged publicly while he is still here! Thanks to all who e-mailed him, and to those who were able to attend the party, even though the location was moved at the last minute due to weather. He was blessed!!!

Death of our car, the adventure continues!

We now have our own car breakdown story! But of course it is also a story of God's faithfulness. A couple miles away from another Pennsylvania state conference, where we were to have a ministry booth, our van, now at about 214 thousand miles, began to make a strange, very disconcerting noise. Bernie babied it as we gently continued to drive another mile, when all of the sudden, it stopped. Bernie walked the last mile to the conference to check in, friends were called, and God amazed us with His provision of a car to use for the weekend, as we awaited the damage report on our van. These connections were through our Joshua's employer, who was also at the conference. So again the Lord used family and the body of Christ to write our story! The news was bad from the local garage, but yet, as we prayed for wisdom, we decided to have it towed to our family dealer, for further evaluation with someone we knew. It was good we did, because the repair we were considering doing at the garage in PA would have been wasted money, as the picture was even worse. The car basically needed an “engine transplant,” a very large expense for our aging van. We had this done in another vehicle years ago, and always had problems with the replacement engine, which ended up dying within the next year, so we are not believing the Lord wants us to go that route. The van also still has the original transmission, so who knows when that expensive repair will be needed.

In all things give thanks!

We are grateful this happened when and where it did, as we have many ministry trips in the coming months, and the Lord's timing is perfect, we believe, to spare us being stranded at a location farther from home. We also believe the Lord would have us seek a replacement vehicle at this time.

Would you consider helping us meet this need?

As always, as in everything, seek the Lord! We would ask if you would ask Him if He would have you contribute a special gift to go towards the purchase of a newer, lower mileage vehicle.

God’s love and blessings to you and your family,
In Christ,
Bernie & Linda Beall and Family

“Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
~ Philippians 3:12-14