New book available now!

Check out my new book now available from Barnes and Noble Press,

After Egypt: the journey to transformation.

I was told that the hardest part of my journey was the first few steps out the door. Man how I wish that were true! The journey to transformation has been a two steps forward, five steps back, daily process. It has been a lot of death in order to bring about new life. This Friday, June 14th, I will be talking about this new book and the journey the Lord has taken me on to find the abundant life through transformation. I hope that you will join us at 3pm on It’s Time For Agape podcast to learn about how to get this book. It can be used as a personal study, a group study, and for whatever sin issue.

This is not a gay to straight journey. This is written for people who genuinely want to live for Jesus but have struggled getting up and out of the pit. Getting up and out is hard enough, but what do we do once we get there?! and more importantly, how do we keep going? I was so scared to get going on this journey because so many times I had tried and I had fallen back into the pit. I longed only to be faithful and to truly find freedom in that abundant life with my Jesus. I know that I am not the only one that has struggled getting up out of the sticky pit of lifestyle sin, and so I decided to share with others how the Lord helped me on this journey. I hope that it will be helpful to you!

I have included the link for you to purchase your book here. My friend Zya Tadych did the front cover photograph and did such a beautiful job capturing in one shot what this journey has been.

I hope that you will join us THIS Friday, June 14th at 3 pm to hear all about it!

After Egypt: The Journey to Transformation: by Zya Tadych, Paperback | Barnes & Noble® (

Diggin Up the Roots part 1

When I was a little girl, very little, maybe like 4 years old, my brother Joe had gotten a tick on his chest. I remember we could see part of it but it was definitely “stuck” in him. I cried and screamed because I didnt want my brother to get sick from the bug and it wasnt like all the other bugs we just squished with our fingers.

I remember very vivdly all that happened next. My dad had a talk with Joe first. Then he pulled something from the junk drawer. I can still see Joe’s eyes closed so tightly. And then my dad lit a match! I hit my dad and yelled dont hurt my brother!

My mom took me and plopped me on the couch and that’s when I got a talk. Mom told me that my dad wanted what was hurting Joe to be gone and the fire was gonna help make it go away. It may hurt a little bit at first but ultimately it would be better for Joe. Dad knew what he was doing and we just needed to trust him and let him do what needed to be done. Dad would never hurt Joe and loved him very much.

Decades later I would find myself all alone in this little town, living in a house by myself. As I sat on the floor of my prayer room the Lord brought back to mind that “plop and talk” with my mom.

As painful as it has been at moments, diggin up the roots was happening because my God is a consuming fire. And when we draw near to Him, the sin falls away and dies, like the tick.

Today we hear so much about, Come as you are because God loves you just as you are! Absolutely God wants us to come as we are but it is because of His great love for us, He doesn’t want us to stay where we are! He made a way for us to come to Him and find repentance. It is only in true repentance that we can find healing. When we find healing, then as we continue to draw near to Him we will become more like Jesus and this is where we are transformed.

You see, we are to come to Him as we are, broken and weary, but He came so that we wouldn’t stay that way. He came to seek and save the lost! There isnt anyone more lost than those who are broken. He came to bind up the broken hearted. He came to give the weary, some rest.

Diggin up the roots isnt about “losing yourself” in something new. Its about shedding the old so you can be something fresh and become who were previously held back from being. The “old is gone and the new has come” is not about be controlled, its about taking control by not letting the chains that have taken hold of you for so long, do so any longer.

Just like my dad lit the match to get rid of the tick on my brother, our heavenly Father is the fire to get rid of the sin that is hurting us. It may hurt because it is stuck to us, that sticky sin. But our Father is SO good, and He knows what He is doing. Trust Him.

How the Church Has Hurt the LGBTQ+ Community

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:34-35

“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.’”
Mark 16:15

Every day, headlines across the world mention the LGBTQ+ community. This topic is overwhelming our news outlets, our clothing stores, our advertisements, our places of employment, our doctor’s offices, sports, and even our schools, colleges, and universities. So, why is it that all we are getting from the American Church on this topic is nothing but crickets? 

According to a NBC news report done in 2020 by Dan Avery,

“The vast majority of religious LGBTQ Americans are Christian — split fairly evenly among Catholics (25 percent), Protestants (28 percent) and other Christian denominations (24.5 percent). Only about 2.5 percent identify as Jewish and 2 percent as Muslim.”

Even with these numbers, the American Church continues to conduct business as usual. What is it that has made such a large group of people leave the Church in preference of the LGBTQ+ community? Or, to put it more plainly: How has the Church hurt the LGBTQ+ ?

When it comes to LGBTQ-identifying members of the church, we typically see two extreme approaches. On one hand, we have a watered-down gospel approach, full of acceptance and even an unchanged message. On the other hand, we see the opposite approach–they preach a message of condemnation, creating a hierarchy of sin, which leaves no hope.

Neither of these approaches follow what God’s Word says the Church should do; and both of these approaches hurt the LGBTQ+ identified individual. Even more than this, it makes the challenge of sharing the need to repent an even more difficult task. We are Christ’s ambassadors and, therefore, have His message to bring–not our own. We have hurt LGBTQ+ identified individuals by not bringing them the message of Jesus Christ. Instead, we have sent our message, and have become a stumbling block to those who are lost.

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

2 Corinthians 5:20

The world around us is changing; but if the Church focuses on being progressive and inclusive, instead of being doctrinally sound, we are bound to have some problems. All of the churches that desire to be inclusive and affirming of LGBTQ+ individuals may be coming from a place of wanting to show Christ’s love, but they have lost sight of the truth. They have conformed to the thought process of this world–they have lost sight of what God’s Word says; and that His Word is the highest authority.

“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

“Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin.”

Romans 6:6

“So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, ]excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; 19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. 20 But you did not learn Christ in this way, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”

Ephesians 4:17-24

When we preach a message of acceptance rather than that of repentance, we are preaching a false sense of security, and that is not love. This message gives the lost the sense that they have no need for a Savior. They have nothing to be saved from because they can remain unchanged. There is nothing that they need to die to, and nothing to “put off.” 

And He was saying to them all,

“If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”

Luke 9:23

Would we say that it is love to allow our child to run through a burning building? It’s what they want to do, and that is how they express themselves. However, I think that we would all agree that love in that case is to do whatever we need to do to protect our child from harm, or even death. This is what we are doing when we preach a message of acceptance rather than that of repentance; we are allowing others to run to the flames while we stand there and tell them you are loved.

Example: “This is what the Church is doing when it preaches a message of acceptance rather than that of repentance. This false gospel affirms people in their current state–standing by and watching them run into the flames while the Church just stands by and loves them to death.” 

In addition to this fallacy, there is yet another error the Church clings to: 

“You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.”

Leviticus 18:22

It is from this word abomination that many churches use as a launching pad into a hierarchy of sin. This is the other extreme. Instead of being progressive, they are more legalistic. Their practice is led out of fear and leads to a lack of compassion as well as a lack of hope. 

When we are led by fear it cripples us so that we are unable to move. If we are unable to move our lips, that makes us silent on issues that we should address. If we are unable to move, our hands we are unable to embrace the hurting. If we are unable to move our feet, we are not able to go to those who are so very lost. If we are unable to move our minds, from the things of this world to the things above, we will lack compassion. All of this breeds a lack of hope.

“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”

2 Timothy 1:7

These churches have lost sight of the fact that mankind is made in the image of God. To be made in the image of God means that, in the eyes of God, each of us are worth saving. All of us are in need of a Savior; and Jesus is willing to go get the one while leaving the ninety-nine. He does this so that each one can have a relationship with Him. 

“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

Genesis 1:26-27

It is also here that we see a lack of understanding to what Jesus has commanded us to do– love! This may stir up some people who stand on this point, believing that to love is to accept everything and everyone just as they are. But is that what the Bible instructs?? What is it really that drives churches to say, “I don’t want to compromise the doctrinal stance of our denomination by showing the LGBTQ+ Community love.” Couldn’t one even argue that not showing love IS compromising your faith? 

If these two sides are not what the Bible tells us, then what is the solution? The American Church has hurt LGBTQ-identifying individuals by watering down the message of Jesus, as well as poisoning the Gospel with a lack of compassion for the lost. 

When Jesus commanded us to love, He wasn’t telling us anything goes. He was telling us that love is selfless. Love is costly. Love keeps no record of wrongs. Love is not harsh. Love rejoices with the truth, but does not delight in evil. All of this tells us that to love is not easy; but loving one another is how the world will know that we are His. 

The greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with everything we have so that means everything stems from that commandment. If we first must love God and to do so we must keep His commandments, then that should lead us right to proclaiming what Jesus proclaimed, “Repent!” and that message is to who Jesus came for. Not the healthy but the sick. Sinners, not the righteous. He came to seek and save the lost. As His ambassadors, shouldn’t it be that we are to do the same? As His disciples, shouldn’t we be preaching that same message to the ends of the earth and walking as He walked? 

God loved us–each and every one of us–while we were of least value. It was while we were there that He died for us. Not when our value increased, but while we were of least value. He did it all so that we could come to Him. That is love. It is that same unconditional love that we are to have as we encounter the LGBTQ+ community in order that we may share with them the message of hope found in repentance. If we remain silent, we only bring death, rather than life. If we continue to bring a false security, we allow them to be burned for all of eternity.

“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”

John 15:13

In order for the American Church to show the love of Jesus to the LGBTQ+ community, we are going to have to start by humbling ourselves, and then ask God for the grace to love the way He wants us to love them. We need to understand that no matter where we have come from, or what we have done, nothing is so great that our God can’t handle it. No sin is so heavy that Jesus’ blood can’t cover it. 

We need to come to a place of seeing that the hierarchy of sin is man made, and that every sin was bought at a price–the same price. Do we really want to show anyone that Jesus’ blood was not great enough to cover their sin? 

We have created an atmosphere of hate rather than that of love. We are not to love the practices, but the people. Hate their practices, but to the people, we are to show love. Our battle is not against the LGBTQ+ individuals, but we–the American Church–have forgotten this. Our battle is against the principalities and powers of this dark age. 

We need to put on our armor of God and get rid of the spirit of fear. It has no place amongst God’s people! This spirit of fear has caused us to be silent far too long. It has caused us to show a lack of compassion far too long. It has caused us to accept sin far too long. It has caused us to allow a lack of accountability far too long. But love . . . casts out fear. 

How has the Church hurt LGBTQ+ individuals? In so many ways, but in short, we have made it so difficult for them to come to the feet of Jesus. We need to ask God to help us show them love, and be armed with the truth, seasoned with grace, in order that we may share with them the message Jesus has, Today is the day of repentance! 

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”
1 John 4:18

Finally, I want you to consider that these two extremes that we, the American Church, display are a fantastic comparison of the Jews and Gentiles. The Jews were very focused on the law. They were all about the law! The Gentiles were all about loose living. They lived the total opposite of what God required. They were the progressive type. It was Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection that bridged the chasm between the Jews and the Gentiles. 

In the same way, Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection bridges the gap between the Church and the LGBTQ+ Community. It is not either extreme that God calls us to, but rather something more in the middle. He calls us to love with a love that demands change or rejection. This is the love that God showed us by sending Jesus to die when we were of least value.

Lord, please help the American Church show your love for the LGBTQ+ we pray!

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 5:8

The Biblical Basis for Transformation

“Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:11 NASB95

“Such WERE some of you” -this indicates a change, which is transformation.

The definition of transformation according to the Oxford Dictionary is, “A thorough or dramatic change.”

According to Webster’s, the definition is, “The act or process of changing completely.”

We see a lot of examples in the Bible of people struggling in sin, but then being transformed by the power of God. In the book of Hosea, Gomer, who was an adulterer, was reconciled to her husband, Hosea, and transformed into a godly wife. In the book of Exodus, Moses was identified as a murderer and hid from Pharoah because of what he had done. Yet, this murderer was later transformed by God into the leader of His people, and would stand up to Pharoah rather than hide from him. In the Gospel of John, chapter 4, the woman at the well was transformed from adulterer into an evangelist because of Jesus’ kindness and authority. Saul of Tarsus went from being known as the one who persecuted the Church to being transformed by Jesus into the Apostle Paul who wrote 13 of the 27 books in the New Testament.

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

When a sinner turns from their sin, towards God in true  , we begin to see the manifestation of transformation within them. We see this by way of the fruits of the Spirit as mentioned in Galatians 5; and in John 15 it mentions, “remain in me” and we will produce fruit. This shows us that we cannot make this change on our own. To achieve transformation, our part is repentance and obedience, His part is the sanctification*and transformation. Our part is faith, His part is grace.

Ephesians chapter 2 tells us, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the Kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following it’s desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved.”

Later, the Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:8-10, “For you were once in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.”

The Bible clearly tells us that transformation is a changed life, and that life will bear new fruit. One who once lived a life contrary to what pleases God, bearing evil fruit, will change into a life that no longer conforms to the ways or the “pattern” of this world (Rom 12:2). This transformation occurs through the renewing of our mind and our flesh, and will then manifest itself through new actions, which is the bearing of good fruit. John 15 tells us that Jesus is the Vine, and we are the branches, IF we remain in Him, and He in us, we will bear much fruit–apart from Him we can do nothing. It is Jesus who causes fruit to bear.

More examples in the Bible can be found in places such as Colossians 1:9-10, which shows us that it is the Spirit that gives us wisdom and understanding in order that we may bear fruit in every good work; and this is a life that pleases the Lord.

Sanctification is a process

Philippians 1:6 says, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” God never stops working within us. Those who were once in darkness and now are light in the Lord, the Spirit is constantly working in them to make them more in the likeness of Jesus. The veil in the temple was there to protect the people from the holiness of God; but when Jesus died, that veil was torn and that makes it so that we can come into His presence. We who come with “unveiled faces” are being transformed into Jesus’ image. This happens because of the Spirit and “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Cor. 3:12-18). No chains. No condemnation. Freedom. Transformation. Hope!

If God is constantly at work in us, then this is a continual process until the day of Christ Jesus. This process starts with the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Rom 1:16). It is in the Gospel that we see that we need to put off the old nature, which belongs to our former way of living, and now put on our new nature (Eph 4:22-24). Other places, it says we are to “walk in the Spirit.” Transformation in the Bible is very much described like taking off old clothes. We take off, or as the Bible says, “put off,” or do away with our “old self.” If the old self has died, we cannot put it back on. We can only “put on” the new and learn to live in that new self.

Paul tells us that the Lord said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, My  power is made perfect in weakness” (2Cor. 12:9). We cannot be changed or transformed on our own. WE cannot “will” it in our own strength. It is by the power of the love of God through the constant work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a repentant heart that we will experience transformation.

Introducing Gracie Poole

  What’s goin on everyone? My name is Gracie Poole and my entire life I have wanted to know Jesus, love Jesus and live to tell everyone about Jesus.  Just a little about me and how I got to being on staff at Agape First Ministries.

There are just no words to describe how Jesus transformed my life with His love. Once I got on my detour away from Jesus, I never actually felt loved. I felt tolerated. When someone was done tolerating me they left. I was too much of a burden. I had caused too much damage. I had gone too far. They didn’t love me anymore. They needed to cut me off. I was never enough. I was never worth it. Their life was better without me in it. But none of that is love.
      I  talk a lot about a moment when my friend hugged me and it changed my life. I share that moment a lot because that is the point in time I heard God’s heartbeat- He just used my friend.  It was the loudest way to tell me He loved me and He didn’t have to say a word. That moment thrust me off my detour and onto a journey of healing and preparation for what was coming next. Somewhere on that journey the scales fell from my eyes and my heart was softened. All of my bitterness and pain was replaced with joy and peace.
    It was the incredible love of my Jesus that totally transformed my life. The more and more that I spent time sitting in His presence listening to Him the less like Grace I became. I’m not 100% sure when it happened but somewhere I became a totally different person and that’s why I go by Gracie. If I’m going to live the life that God has called me to and not the life everyone told me to live, then I’m going to go by a new name.
      His love changed me and I will never be the same. There isn’t a part of me that wasn’t transformed and made new. God doesn’t do anything half way. I look different. I see things different. I hear things different. The music I listen to is different. My talk is different. My desires are different. What I watch is different. Even my struggles . . . they are different. The old really has gone and somewhere along the way while I was sitting in His presence,  His love completely transformed me, created in me a clean heart, and the new has come!
I can say without a doubt that Jesus transforms because His love transformed my life and I will never be the same.
My name is Gracie Poole, and I was the 100th Sheep but Jesus left the 99 to rescue me. Now I live my life to make the name of Jesus famous by proclaiming Jesus transforms, because His love changed me.