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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

Lessons from the Wilderness: Lenten Meditation

Posted on February 23, 2015 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Growing up in a Baptist church there was little discussion about the liturgical season of Lent. I knew about Easter, but Lent was one of those things that other groups of people did. Lent was something observed by those Methodists, Catholics, and others who went to services and had ashes placed on their foreheads during Ash Wednesday. As I have grown chronology, educationally, and spiritually, I now see the Lenten season as a time where all Christians can get our spiritual houses in order.


On the first Sunday of Lent 2015, I preached from Mark 1:9-15 where we find Jesus led into the wilderness for 40 days and nights after his baptism. I submit to you today that people of all denominations or faith traditions who believe and observe in the Resurrection of our Christ may find themselves quickly skipping over the wilderness so they can get to the Resurrection. While exalting a risen savior we can shout how he got up with all power in his hands. As we celebrate Lent, we must slow things down and possibly change our songs from “There is Power I the Blood” to “Fix, Me, Jesus.” Lent requires us to reflect and repent.


When time permits, go and read Mark 1 and consider the wilderness seasons of your life. Often when we find ourselves in wilderness seasons that we credit the devil with devising the itinerary. Is it possible that the wilderness you find yourself in may possibly be a divine setup? A setup for purpose beyond our wildest imaginations. A set up where God's power and purpose is revealed to us in a way that can only be the result of being set apart in a space that's not comfortable, convenient, or of our choosing.