Monday, January 30, 2012

LOL: Scooping

Memory/Meditation Verse: As He was walking along the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the sea, since they were fishermen. “Follow Me,” He told them, “and I will make you fish for people!” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him..." ~ Matt. 4:18-20 (HCSB)

Living Out Loud (LOL). We continue our journey into what this means...

Looking at our scripture above, what one key thing does Living Out Loud require? What action needs to be present to Live Out Loud? Notice I said action.

“Follow Me”

However, there's an action within an action required to follow Christ. It's a willed obedience, a choice, a denying of self. Its an action required every day. It's an action that will make you a witness for Christ.

“and I will make you fish for people!”

Living Out Loud. Drawing others to Jesus. Maybe not so easy within our human efforts but as we draw closer to Him have you noticed how much more you want to share Him with other? So how do we share do we bring other to Him? Is there a right way to do this or a wrong way?

I remember as a teenager growing up in a strict evangelical Baptist upbringing and going door to door passing out tracks and asking strangers:

"If you were to die today do you know where you would go?"

I remember how uncomfortable it would make me. It wasn't that I wasn't strong enough in
my faith to share about my Jesus, it was the emptiness I would feel with this approach. I remember a few times these perfect strangers would pray the prayer but then we would never see them again, they never crossed the threshold of our church doors though we had invited them to.

Bringing others to Christ can be done this way. Many lives have been given to Christ meaningfully but it definitely took me out of my comfort zone. Salvation is clearly about a dying to self when one accepts Christ into their lives. They change. Their life changes. Yet the approach I had learned and the emptiness I experienced in doing this seemed to be tied to the unseen fruit of it.

Though I may have accepted Christ as a young child, I didn't really grasp the relationship part with Him until I was broken and all I could do was seek Him. That was a transformation that went far above anything else in my spiritual life. It has been with this transformational process that I now have something to share that is more convincing..more producible in the realm of eternity. Not to offend anyone but I find this manner of sharing Christ more believable. A faith that is delivered from a foundation of love and grace in action.

As I was examining the book Mornings with Jesus 2012, I read the following from the January 20th post:

"What if winning other to Christ involves casting a net-with the help of others? And that net-cast by a community gathers others into the community, where they experience life-changing love and grace? What if we thought not of "hooking" unbeliever, but of scooping them up into community where they are convinced not by arguments, but by seeing and experiencing the love of Jesus lived out?" Keri Wyatt Kent, Mornings with Jesus 2012

Keri's written words really struck a cord in my heart. Yes, like her, as a child I would sing the childs song "I will make you Fisher of Men" while animating the casting of a fishing rob. But look at the above passage again. There were no rods...just nets. Jesus gather people into His community to experience His redemptive love and grace.

As a teenager, I was taught to witness by what seems to me to be a hooking technique. And now, I practice a scooping technique. My net? His testimony in my life. Where am I scooping? In my community Bible study. At work. Though outreach programs at church. Prayerfully in my home and community. Am I doing this on my own? No. My church family, my Bible study girls, we are all in this together because we can't keep silent about His love, His grace, His healing.

"I want to store up so many treasures in heaven that heaven will feel familiar the moment I arrive." Stormie Omartian, Just enough Light for the Step I'm On leaves me feeling spiritually gratified that I have added to kingdom work. Storing up treasures in heaven. Living Out Loud in a non-threatening way but by a life changing love and grace. Amazing.

Living Out Loud~ Pamela

Monday, January 23, 2012

LOL: Minutes That Count

Memory/Meditation Verse: "Be still and know that I am God I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” ~ Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

Would you like to win a devotional book today? Litfuse and I have one for you!! Read on...

Living Out Loud (LOL) is my goal for this year. Currently I am exploring this topic a little deeper in my blog post. I have to say, it is pulling me out of my comfort zone. In my last entries I wrote about being deeply rooted in Christ, the foundation of Living Out Loud and being compelled by the Holy Spirit, our fuel for Living Out Loud. So lets examine this fuel that drives those roots deeper just a bit more?

Dare I say its found in minutes? Yes...minutes. Minutes that count. Anyone who has a intimate relationship with their Creator will know what I am talking about...minutes that count are found in minutes with God. The more time we give Him, the more of Him we gain. Like exercise-the more you do it, the closer you get to your desired goal.

We tend to refer to it as our quiet time, minutes spent meditating on scripture, a song, or in a Bible study. Minutes that nurture the soul, the body, and the mind. Minutes dedicated to our spiritual well-being and our relationship with God.

My husband will often comment that he can tell when I haven't had my quiet time in the morning. For me, it shapes the rest of my day. Usually it is after everyone has left for the day in those 30-40 minutes before I too have to leave for work. In a corner of my bedroom, next to the window, I have my red paisley chair, the bedside table for my coffee and marking pens, a lamp, my lap blanket that my mom made me, my Bible, and at tim
es a devotional book or bible study...a perfect and peaceful meeting place where I can be still and Know that He is God.

Maybe mornings were not meant for you. Trying to squeeze in some God time is just not conceivable with your current schedule or morning vitality, right? Night time devotions may be more your style. Awesome! But, I may have the perfect solution for you here in this devotional book Mornings with Jesus 2012 to help you incorporate God into the beginning of your day!!

Mornings with Jesus 2012 is a sweet nugget of inspiration mapped out in 366 one-page devotions. A piece of spiritual fuel to get your day started as you take those first sips of coffee or tea. A dose of encouragement to awaken your spirit and charge your day. Loaded with scripture and graced with a daily challenge, its seven authors help you to develop the discipline of starting your day off with God.

Minutes that count...minutes that become a life line...minutes that transform...minutes that renew...minutes that heal...minutes that lead to a life time commitment in a relationship that will carry on into eternity.

Leave me a comment today about what fuels your quiet times with God. Maybe your new and trying to establish a consistent habit of meeting with Him, maybe you have a special practice or place for such a time as this-tell us about it!! Don't forget to include your contact information and I will randomly pick a winner for this book.

Also, go to Tricia Goyer's blog here (one of the authors) for another contest!
Go here to buy this book! And to learn more about participating in book reviews from Litfuse Publicity click on their icon at the top of this blog!

In my next post I am sharing a devotional topic from this book that really stirred my heart. Come back!

Be still and know that He is God!!

Living Out Loud ~ Pamela

Monday, January 16, 2012


Memory/Meditation Verse: For Christ’s love compels us, since we have reached this conclusion: If One died for all, then all died. ~ 2 Cor. 5:14 (HCSB)

LOL: Living Out Loud. This is where God has me. This is where my heart remains fixed. This is where our blog journey continues.

There remains an uncertainty in this "Living Out Loud". As much as I would like to be in the know of what I am specifically called to Live Out Loud for, like a mission, a project, a vision, the clarity of such a thing is not there. The clarity I do hold is that Living Out Loud right now is about the day-to-day walk of obedience of willingness.

In a church service this weekend our pastor spoke of our memory verse above and I was draw to one word...compel. What drives you to do what you do? What motivates you to complete a task or to give of yourself? What compels you in life?

Webster defines the word compel as "to drive or urge forcefully or irresistibly; to cause to do or occur by overwhelming pressure".

Do you know what it is to be so compelled that it overwhelms your thoughts, your heart, your living? When one knows they are called for something greater than their present, they are driven to seek that purpose. The Holy Spirit will show you God's plan and purpose when you walk closely with Him, seeking Him with a hunger and thirst that can not be quenched by one simple act such as attending church alone. You have to seek Him by communicating with Him continually, reading His Word, memorizing His Word, reaching out to others in His name, fasting, praying...the list goes on.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. ~ Prov. 19:21

His purpose...the end result. For most of us, it is that end result, the completion that compels us. This is good. Yet the memory/meditation verse above is a reminder of what is to compel us in our every day living...Christ love. That alone should be enough to compel us to live with His purpose in mind, not our purpose, our wants or our desires...His purpose, His wants and His desire for our life and His kingdom.

Do you see God in your living? Is God honored by your living? Is God glorified by your giving? Is your success measured by God in the same way you measure it? Do you seek daily God's direction and control in your life? Are you positioned minute by minute to act on his promptings?

There is an old expression that states, "Don’t be so heavenly minded that you are of no earthly good." God compels us to move on something, to act on His behalf and sometimes we get so lost in the spiritual we miss the mark. Religion can be like that. So many rules and practices that one is not able to reach out "in His name" and minister to others, let alone reflect His presence in their life.

Living Out Loud for His purpose. That is what I desire. Like Paul in Acts 20:22 I am compelled to live out loud for God, to give out loud for His kingdom, not knowing what lies ahead for me.

"And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there..." (NIV)

Even so, I want to be able to live out loud spiritually on this earth for His good. Touchable. Believable. A living example of what God can do with a broken life compelled by His love and healing.

Living Out Loud ~ Pamela

Monday, January 9, 2012

LOL: Deeply Rooted

Memory Verse: Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. ~ Col. 2: 7 (NLT)

Living out loud spiritually just doesn't happen. One cannot just wake up and say "today I am going to live out loud". Well, I suppose you can try but failure is bound to happen. Kind of like a New Years resolution. How many people do you know who have already broken their New Year resolution for 2012?

"Willingness is the lever God can use to change us, but willpower alone cannot do it". ~John Burke, Soul Revolution

Living out loud spiritually takes work. It takes brokenness. It takes being pruned. It takes nurturing.

Living out loud requires experiences that most people, if given the choice, would prefer to do without. Living our loud often requires stepping outside of the box and getting out of your comfort zone. You don't just get there by chance and you don't get there on your own strength.

My favorite flower by far is the rose. I know there are so many other amazing creations of flowers out there but every facet of the rose intrigues me. Not one is the same and its life is fragile.

Roses can resemble our life. Its growth is slow and requires specific nurturing. Each bud even
tually blossoms into a beautiful display of our Gardeners touch.

Every fall you have to painfully prune a rose bush back to just a few short inches. I hate this part and love it at the same time. I hate the thorns that eventually stick into my skin during this process but I am also thankful for the beauty I was able to watch all summer long.

If your Christian walk has been anything like mine, there has been plenty of pruning in it. Pruning for things such as stubbornness, selfishness, regrets and sins. Do you think God feels the sting of sadness over the pruning it requires to get "the stuff" out of ones life that keeps them from His Holiness?

Following the pruning of the rose stems, the bush must go through a season of hibernation. So often a Christian finds themselves is a season that feels like hibernation.
A season that resembles emptiness, silence or closure. Usually when we enter this time, this valley, this darkness as some have called it, we enter it without trying to. Most will get frustrated, depressed, maybe even angry for being there. It often follows a mountain top experience or a chaotic event.

Over the years I have learned to view this hibernating season with new eyes. It doesn't need to be frustrating. The pain can become something worth enduring. I see these hibernating seasons as a waiting time a time meant to grow us. These hibernating seasons sting a little less when you view it as a time of waiting on God.

"A time of waiting on God"...makes it more embraceable don't you think? A season of time of preparing that leads to re-birth. Life may seem too hard, maybe a bit too painful in this season but the reality of this period is preparing us for something greater...a season of re-birth, a season of release, a season of
beauty. The more we embrace this seasons of spiritual winter, the more breath-taking greatness of God we will experience.

"If life as you have known it and the path that you have walked seem to be ending, draw especially close to God and He will reveal what your next step is to be". ~ Stormie Omartian, Just Enough Light For The Step I'm On

It is during the seasons of waiting that we are to grow our roots deeper in Him. It is time meant for digging deeper into His Word, memorizing scripture, meditating of His life, learning to depend on Him in a more in-depth way. What may start out painful will blossom and embrace a new and refreshed spiritual beauty. Isn't that our hearts desire anyway?

As the spring comes and we find the hibernating season leaving, we can bloom to be more of what He created us to be. His presence in our life becomes a fragrance that draws others to Him. The sweet aroma of Christ, the beauty of His love, grace and redemption demonstrated through our life, our failures, our short-comings.

"God often allows the hard things to happen in our lives in order to bless us in some way. " ~ Stormie Omartian, Just Enough Light For The Step I'm On

How deep are your roots? What season are you living in? Are your days built in His truths? Is the fragrance of Christ evident in your living? Is you faith growing strong?

My Holy and Sovereign God, you are the most amazing creator. The hands of your work amaze me. As I reflect on your creation of the rose, I am humbled at the details of its existence and how it resembles my own life. I desire to be a rose in your eternal garden, deeply rooted in you. I embrace your seasons of pruning and am thankful for the spiritual growth and the breath-taking fragrance of you that I can live out loud for. May my life worship you like never before. I too am the amazing work of your glorified in my living.

Living out Loud ~ Pamela

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Live Out Loud...Give Out Loud...2012

Memory Verse: Let your eyes look forward; fix your gaze straight ahead. Carefully consider the path for your feet, and all your ways will be established. Don’t turn to the right or to the left; keep your feet away from evil. ~ Proverbs 4:25-27 (HSCB)

Happy New Year!! I am entering 2012 with great peace and contentment. Does that mean life has been perfect? No.....far from it but 2011 was such a good year for me spiritually. It has left me in the embrace of God. Can't think of a better spot to be in!

God took me on a journey in 2011. I was tried and pushed beyond my own limits to say the least. Yet life with God allows one to reached a point of living beyond any circumstance by living in His embrace. How? Prayer, praise, obedience, perseverance, and faith. It is amazing how such peace and comfort can come, even in the worst of times, when you keep looking up. As I journey back through my scripture cards and the verses I have memorized in 2011, a reflection of the year magnifies God's work in my heart, my mind, and my life. So far from perfection but so much closer to my God!!

"The things that preserves a man from panic is his relationship to God." ~ Oswald Chambers

Are you excited to see where God will lead you and use you in 2012? I am! The glimpses He has given me up to this point is leading to a deeper focus on glorifying Him. First I heard Him say "Lose control for what I want you to do for Me". I so want to!! I have begun to feel a yearning to reach out in ways I haven't before. It will not come easy for me. I will have to step outside my comfort zone. Serving comes easy, being bold about my faith with others maybe not so much. I don't like being in front of a crowd-not something you would expect from a previous college instructor, right?

Coming from a fallen and broken life filled with plenty of grief and disappointments, it's hard to stand up strong and radiate God when you fear the past is all others will allow themselves to see. Moving beyond ones regret can be so difficult but not impossible. When a person is able to step beyond their unwanted past, they are able to experience an amazing God and that is where I stand today. It's a humble place to be but also the best place I have ever been.

Other little things have illuminated the path ahead for me on to this new journey for 2012-such as a new church with some of the most amazing worship and sermons I have ever experienced. He spoke to me through a new worship song: "From the Inside Out". In this song He convicted me that I need to give Him more control...I'm still being selfish with some areas. OUCH. My life, my heart, my mind is made to consume Him from the inside out by giving Him praise in all that I say, think or do. I didn't think I could hunger and thirst for more of Him but I do and that makes me want to do more for Him. No more selfishness, no more living in the shadow of my past but instead 2012 calls me to live in the shadow of His cross OUT LOUD!

Another message came from the childrens Christmas program at this new church. As they were reaching out to save a mission about to be closed, they changed "LOL (laugh out loud) to "Live Out Loud". God has laid on my heart a deep desire to not only live out loud with my life in Him but to also reach out in a big way. This confirmed Isaiah 58: 10-12 was indeed to be my scripture for 2012 (captured by my heart a few months ago when I started asking God what He wanted of me):

...and if you offer yourself
to the hungry,
and satisfy the afflicted one,
then your light will shine in the darkness,
and your night will be like noonday.
The LORD will always lead you,
satisfy you in a parched land,
and strengthen your bones.
You will be like a watered garden
and like a spring whose waters never run dry.
Some of you will rebuild the ancient ruins;
you will restore the foundations laid long ago;
you will be called the repairer of broken walls,
the restorer of streets where people live. ~ Isaiah 58: 10-12 (HCSB)

A more recent message came from a Bible study I have the privileged to lead. Within this study I was lead to the memory verse above. This verse is about making peace with our past. It's about coming into God's light one step at a time. It's about putting on the armor of prayer, praise, obedience, perseverance, peace, and faith. One step at a time in His light. Trusting Him and stepping out.

Living out out loud...from the inside out...praising a most amazing God. Hold me accountable friend.

What are you living for in 2012? What mission has God laid on your heart? What path is He illuminating for you? Live it out loud with me!!

Striving to Live Out Loud~Pamela