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Black Sock Revelation #MotivationMonday

Posted on December 4, 2017 at 1:30 PM Comments comments (0)

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Praise God for a weekend of rest and renewal!


After a quick trip to Savannah to do some further study of Gullah/Geechee culture and an impromptu birthday celebration for a friend, I’m rejuvenated to finish December STRONG!


Finishing the month strong means finishing the year strong. 2017 has been a year for the books, literally. The past six months have alone reminded me God is a God of miracles who is our ever-present help in the time of trouble.There’s trouble that just comes with the adventures of living in the land of the living, and then there’s trouble we bring to ourselves. Yep, we contribute to some of our trouble.


Recently I realized that I’ve been spending too much time getting ready in the morning. More specifically, I’ve been spending significant time looking for black socks. Not only was my lack of planning causing my trouble, but also continuing this search over and over was costing time. Inevitably time always cost us money.


During my time in Savannah, I stopped into a store and purchased 6 pairs of black socks. Yep, two different styles of black socks. I was “too shame” that I had gotten so frustrated before departing that I simply put on two different socks and kept it moving. It took a matter of 15 minutes for me to solve a problem that I began to have since the weather changed.



While the purchase of socks was a simple answer to my recent troubles, it reminded me that there are other areas of our lives that cost time and inevitably money.



As I approach and prepare for 2018, I’ve started to assess what else looks like my drawer of mismatched socks.



What is it that you’ve been “rigging” and trying to make work when its season is past due?


What are you holding on to that no longer functions, matches, or will serve you where you are headed?


In what area of your life are you wearing 'mismatched socks' and masking it as having it all together? I could go on and on with the questions, but there’s some rearranging of my own “drawer” that continues. 


On this #MotivationalMonday, may you have warm feet that run to get your own “sock drawer” in order! And as always, continue to #looknlive! 





The Aftermath of Father's Day...with video

Posted on June 19, 2017 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Prayers today for all who may be feeling some kind of way after Father's Day!

To the children who have paternity questions never answered, I am #praying for you.

To the children who waited at the door or window for someone who never came, I am praying for you.

To the children who only connected your father to a child support payment, I am praying for you.

To the children who got stuck in the crossfire of adults who couldn't get along, I am praying for you.

To the children whose fathers were violators instead of protectors, I am praying for you.

To the children who knew their fathers but could never publicly claim them, I am praying for you.

And to the children whose own fathers never equipped them to be fathers and they're subsequently continuing a cycle, I am praying for you.

I pray #healing to your soul and #peace to your mind. I pray improved and #healthy #communication for those who still have opportunities to reconcile! I pray the ability to extend and receive #forgiveness. I pray for those who will consider healing through #counseling.

I pray God's #grace upon the impossible!

Amen! 

Video at https/www.facebook.com/LookNLive/videos/10104966986705769/

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The Ministry of Music: The Gift of Thomas Clay

Posted on June 19, 2017 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (0)


1 Samuel 16:23

And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.


It has been eight months since Gospel Musician Thomas “T.C.” Clay transitioned in a hotel room. While I was not aware of this anointed worshipper prior to his death, it was through his death that I began to learn more about the genius of this psalmist, writer, producer, who ministered throughout the country without a major recording company contract.

I was so immersed in his story, I watched his funeral stream from a Wilmington, Delaware, church. The celebration of life service was only one moment in time, as his memorial truly lives in the hearts of family, friends, artists and via YouTube. It is through the medium many of us have come to know more about this unique ministry gift who once had folks slain in a bar.

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One of the things I learned after his death is Clay was the writer of Tamela Mann’s latest hit “Change Me.” While Mann was slated to sing the song at his memorial service, a death in her own family didn’t allow that to be so. The song's newfound popularity is a reminder that it’s possible that something created during our lifetime will live on through the voice and work of someone else.

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One night while troubled, I was led to YouTube to listen to Mann’s Change Me, which resulted in hours of listening to clips of Clay ministering that song and so many more. His worship was powerful, his style reflective of his various influences, and his anointing was something I trust made the devil tremble in fear. While I’m not sure the cause of his death, it was clear that his life, albeit short, was to usher the people of God into a pure worship experience.

He described himself as “weird,” and probably didn’t comfortably fit into one genre of music. But as I watched him minister via YouTube, I am grateful for his ministry gifts and what I have learned through his death. For starters, I am reminded to live each day to the absolute fullest. Clay died in his 30s, but each performance I viewed suggested he gave his all each time he hit the mic. He appeared empty as he left both small and large stages. God wants to receive us back as empty vessels.

Watching Clay's videos, I was also reminded that some of us will have unique gifts some won’t quite know what to do with in the earth. We just don’t fit in. We make folks uncomfortable. We challenge systems. But when it’s all said and done, God made us in fear and wonder. My preaching may not sound like the most popular evangelist or pastor, but God has still placed a preaching gift inside of me. God has placed a unique gift inside of you. In one documentary about Clay, a friend and producer said he had finally gotten out of his own way. When we are trying to figure out what to do with our fearful and wonderfully made selves, we may try hard to manage God’s projects and do more mismanaging.

I am stretched to be the best Arlecia I can possibly be as I move from safe to assignment. For him, it may have been safer to sing traditional Gospel music. But was that God’s assignment for his life?

Safe is comfortable, but the assignment may go against the grain and require patience. And while I continue to work, I recognize that the world may never know my greatness. Unlike Clay, I still have time to develop and share my gifts. I still have time to continue the work God has assigned myself to do. Before night's end, the heaviness had lifted!!


The Last Laugh

Posted on June 16, 2017 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Whatever you do, don't forget the details of YOUR TESTIMONY!

Someone asked "So how is the #comedy going?" (Insert snicker although no joke had been offered!)

I politely responded and gave no thought to what felt and sounded like a shady inquiry!

At this point of my journey, I know my testimony!

As a baby born to a 15- and 17-year-old, I know this isn't the first time someone snickered about my future!

As a child whose eczema kept her from attending elementary school for months, I know this isn't the first time someone doubted if I would pull through!

As a woman who maintained sanity while finishing a PhD and starting Divinity School, I know this isn't the first time others have thought I have lost my mind! I didn't lose my mind, but I have lost the #fear that wants me to minimize the greatness God has placed inside of me!

I know my #testimony! And daily I am reminded: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,

Nor have entered into the heart of man

The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Cor 2:9

Your testimony may NEVER look or sound like anyone else's! It may have some difficult moments and seasons attached to it! You may even be embarrassed by some of it, but it's still your testimony!

I share mine often so others will keep pressing, hoping, dreaming, release their fears, and always look and LIVE!

#laughterislikemedicine

#runtelldat #mystoryandGodsglory #runningontoseewhatendgonnabe #freetilIamfool #youcantnotinmyvocabulary




#storytelling #Iamgonnalaughmywaytosuccess

When Da Elders Live On In Us

Posted on January 4, 2017 at 1:10 AM Comments comments (0)

I was blessed to have known both of my maternal great-grandmothers. During Christmas, I learned a paternal great-grandmother died of breast cancer at age 45. That was a shocker. She died before I was born, but God gifted me an opportunity to recall spending time with my mother's grandmothers who both departed this life, in different years, on January 4.


"Grandmama" who lived on St. Helena Island called me "Lil Gal." Elouise was my grandfather's mama and she was scary old. Like, really old. Prior to her death, there was talking about her coming to live with us in Charleston. I didn't know how that was going to work out because she simply scared me. She spoke what I now consider pure "Gullah" as she called my grandfather William "Wam." Just all the letters together. LOL. I was 8 or 9, and she seemed like the oldest person I had ever known.

 

 

 

I was in elementary school when she died, and I recall traveling to Beaufort for her funeral and burial in the graveyard of the Tom Fripp Plantation. In 2014, I would stand in the thickets of that same graveyard and commit the body of her last-surviving child.


On Jan. 4, 1993, I recall going to the altar with my family as we prayed for "Granny" Louise, FB Granny's mama. We all felt strange standing at the altar to pray for her. When we returned home from church, we learned she had returned to the elders. I was a freshman in college, and had to return to school while my family was away at her funeral in New York.


She was short and feisty. I think she was actually an inch shorter than me. One day, I looked in the mirror and I saw some of her fight in me!


As I mark the day these two women crossed over to the other side, I am grateful for their witness in the earth. They both had many challenges, but they survived and taught their children about God. And their children's children learned about God. And for that, I am grateful.


Photo: Grandmama Weese's (Elouise) grave is surrounded by her sisters and other kin and is marked by the cedar tree. 

#family #ashe #love #ancestors #heritage

2017: The Year of No Limitations

Posted on January 3, 2017 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)

I have always loved music, and I enjoy various genres of music. My sermons are often saturated in song, whether it’s a rap lyric or two or a familiar hymn.


While it may appear that I only know Shirley Caesar’s discography, that wouldn’t be the entire truth. I grew up in the Golden Age of rap, so I know the lyrics of music that came with Parental Advisory stickers. It may surprise some that one of the artists I once enjoyed listening to was Master P. The grunts and beats of his label’s New Orleans’ sound made me say “uhh.” It was all about being a No Limit soldier.


These days, Master P is a media mogul who continues to build his empire because while struggling in New Orleans, he realized there was no roadblocks to his dreams. He worked, sold CDs in the back of his trunk, and did whatever he needed to develop a brand that sustained itself beyond the latest trend in music and technology.


While I can no longer listen to some of the music produced by No Limit because it may require oil and deliverance after “shaking it fast,” I have always pondered the words Percy Miller gave us: NO LIMIT.


As we enter 2017, I believe this is a year to be a NO LIMIT SOLIDER for the Kingdom of God. I recently told my congregation, “I am moving with God. Going into the unknown, and expecting to see and do new things. Join me, if you will!”


I often wonder how many things we have yet to experience because we have been unwilling to receive the exceedingly, abundantly blessing we never conceived in our minds. We have placed limits on God, ourselves, and even others God placed in our paths to bless us.


The promotion was offered, but you considered your deficits and limitations and said “Thank you for the offer, but I will decline it at the time.” How did you fix your mouth to say “no” when the previous Sunday you were pleading at the altar asking God to provide? God provided, and then you put a limit on the provision. The promotion may have come with a bonus, but you said “no” instead “there is no limit to what me and God can do.”


This year, get out of your own way and get out of God’s way. Become a NO LIMIT SERVANT. (Wait a minute, I’m walking heavy.)


What if God could make a way for you to serve without limits because God knew you would not be afraid?


What if instead of just quoting Scripture you lived it out? Instead of just posting notes around your cubicle you become a living epistle! Allow co-workers to "read" or see you as an example of faith and hope!


This year, my prayer is to be a NO LIMIT SERVANT committed to serving a NO LIMIT GOD! 


Here's some instrumental music for the journey! 

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Walkin' By Faith

Posted on December 31, 2016 at 11:15 PM Comments comments (0)

In 2017, walking by #faith and not by sight will mean exactly that. When I'm using that wacky Google maps or my other GPS it will tell me the next direction after I provide my destination.

I'll press DETAILS for the step-by-step directions! When it comes to the faith journey, those step-by step (500 yards...make a slight right...) directions may not exist.

You have to just walk, step by step...by step...and trust the process! I'm not telling you about something I've read about, but I've taken some faith walks with tired feet and worn shoes.

Many will ask: "So what will you do after that?"

"Where will you live?"

"So will you..."

And your answer may just be "I don't know. I'll know as I go."

Watching the Presidential Election from a Kingdom Zip Code

Posted on October 20, 2016 at 4:30 AM Comments comments (0)

There is power in prayer. Last night’s prayer and healing service was so infused with the power of God that I’m still up reflecting at 4 a.m. I’ll have to admit that even after being “drunk up” in the Spirit, I came home to catch the last hour of so of the final presidential debate. Like many Americans, things are getting scarier and scarier as the presidential election nears. But even as I watched the body language and listened to the rhetoric of the debate, I reminded myself as I reminded the congregation a few weeks ago…I know whose jurisdiction I dwell in.

Psalm 24:1 reminds us “The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.”

Each day we must remind ourselves, although things are crazy around me in Prince George's County, in MOntgomery County, in the District of Columbia, I am in the jurisdiction of God and then means God is in full control of my coming and my going

God's angels pack more heat than the police forces

God's eyes aren't just in random places like the traffic cameras, but God's eyes see me every step I take, and every move I make. God isn't just looking for me to run a light, but God is looking when I do right.

I am in God's jurisdiction.

And because I am in God's jurisdiction, I must be mindful of how I respond to the signs of the times. Yes, we have must protest and yes we have to lift our righteous voices, but I have to be careful not to answer the RSVP to the Pity Party and the Ball of Despair. I have to be careful who I allow to speak into my spirit because each day when I ask myself where am I, I have to remind myself I'm in God's protective custody.

In September I was in North Carolina and that was one of the states that had the gasoline shortage because of the gasoline break further down South. And as you passed gas stations they didn't have the prices listed. They just had 0..0...0 because all the stations were out of gas. And as people who lived there were talking I heard one person say it almost felt like we were in an Armageddon.

I don't know about you, but if a gasoline shortage gets people to begin thinking about the end of the world then there is more work for us in the Kingdom of God to do as we remind the young and old, the black, brown, yellow, red and white, that this is God's jurisdiction.

The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof.

God took nothing and established something. God breathed the breath into life into me, and as long as the earth remains it is God's jurisdiction.

And I know the

And because when you have the confidence of where you are, you can like the Israelites become that generation that seeks God's face, even during personal and communal adversity.

You can seek God's face, as you get your hands clean and begin living a life of righteousness

You can seek God's face and worship.

 

God's Hiring Process: A Note to Women in Ministry

Posted on June 10, 2015 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Many have inquired about how I found my recently announced position. Well, first, I had to find myself thinking outside of a box some had placed me in. I then found myself using the expensive research skills I have obtained and started investigating other denominations outside of my own. This wasn't immediate, as many previously suggested I would likely find vocational placement outside of my Baptist denomination.


Around Sept/Oct 2013, I located a another denomination's national listing of ministry opportunities. I submitted the information requested and waited. A month later, I received confirmation that the info was received by an administrative assistant at the Association level. In December 2013, I received an email from the congregation.


Throughout this process and time of discernment, I recalled the words of a divinity school professor who reminded me "Arlecia, you have a Macedonian Call." I had to go and study Acts 16:6-10. Three years after that tear-filled meeting in his office, those words and the text now make so much sense.


I share this because someone reading may find yourself going in circles. You're trying to make the one way you know work, and maybe God has another plan or way. Maybe you have spent more energy trying to enlist the help or affirmation of a human being instead of asking God for help. There will be many men and women along the way who will help you along the path, but don't discount God in all of your networking, hobnobbing, named-dropping, and the like. After folks have thrown away your cards you are still on God's mind!


As a woman in ministry, I recognize my path as a "daughter" is and will be different than the paths of sons before and after me. But instead of living in a state of lament and repeating the soliloquy titled "No one will help me!" I chose to TRUST GOD. In the midst of all of this, I came up with the idea of the inaugural Women in Ministry Fellowship. With God's help, we pray to continue that work!


As always, continue to look and live!


On Sunday, May 31, I was blessed to take this pic with two former students (yes, they are twins) who later became my sorority sisters, and were hearers of the word when I preached in Washington, D.C.

Don't Be Afraid to Check All the Boxes

Posted on June 6, 2015 at 12:55 AM Comments comments (0)

There’s a lesson in everything. Most days, we just have to sit still for a minute to discover it in what may initially seem like a detour or possibly a stop. A few days ago, I announced to family and friends that I have my first pastoral appointment. Go, Jesus! #WontHeDoIt


In the midst of cyber celebrations, a mentor- friend suggested I begin a registry so others could sow into this new work. Preaching as an evangelist is one thing because there is often limited clerical attire needed. I need one good white suit, a good black dress, and a black or white robe! Because I often preach in Baptist churches, stoles have been optional. In February, a Presbyterian Church invited me to preach on the first Sunday of Lent. Oh, let’s just say it was a mad dash to locate a purple stole that was eventually shipped overnight from New Jersey! Yep, some things can get complicated.


My new assignment of preaching every Sunday and through the liturgical seasons will require additional vestments and church supplies so I created a New Pastorate Registry as advised.


Yesterday, a clergy sister requested the link for the registry. I forwarded the information. This morning, she searched for one of the items and sent me links to what she had found. After I looked at the items located, I realized I had not been specific about what I needed. Because of my height, I need stoles that are no more than 90”L. Additionally, things get complicated between “pulpit” stoles and “visitation” stoles. Because I did not grow up in what some call a “liturgical church” (although all churches are liturgical), I have only really gotten a handle on understanding all of this within the past 6 years. After viewing the links and measuring my existing stole, I realized that God was even speaking through this process.


I made a request but did not list the specifics. Had my friend just ordered a “pretty one” without consulting me, she may have order the 110” L which would have definitely been too long. As I thought about this scenario, I began to think that we often offer vague prayers up to God. Yes, God knows the end before the beginning, but if God is all ears then why aren’t we specific in prayer.


Last night one of my sisters in ministry hosted a prayer call at 10 p.m. She didn’t just ask God to heal those on the line, but she started to name all of the systems within the body. She prayed for the lymphatic system, the digestive system, the circulatory system, etc. She took us straight in as she prayed with specificity. I am finding that God does take our specific requests into consideration and often blows our minds with “upgrades’ we never requested.


So here’s what I want you to consider:


Instead of simply praying “Lord, I need a job,” ask God for specifics. “Lord, I need employment in an environment where the gifts you have given will be properly used and developed. I want to work with a diverse people who are respectful, fun, and committed to the tasks assigned. I want an environment that requires dedication but also values family.”


So often we can settle for what we do not want because we have been afraid to make our requests known. Sometimes we have expectations of others and we just expect them to “guess” what we need. Today I like to leave you with a few reflection questions to consider:


1) When is the last time you were upset with someone (spouse, loved one, co-worker, child, etc.) because you expected them to know exactly what you needed without giving them specifics?


2) What vague prayers have you been praying?


3) What are items on your prayer or life lists that you need to be more specific about the next time you make your requests known?


I leave you with this Scriptural Meditation found in Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. “


Continuing to look, live and serve!


Rev. Dr. Arlecia Simmons