I've a Message From the Lord

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Let Not Your Ears Be Deceived

Posted on June 18, 2019 at 1:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Every Father's Day evening during my childhood, my family would drop my uncle and other church members off to catch the bus to attend an annual meeting of my childhood denomination that is taking place this week in Baltimore. This morning, my mother sent me an email that lists all the particulars of this meeting that she was unable to attend this year. One of the first things I noticed is a flyer for a late night service that featured 11 male pastors and preachers.

While there weren't all of these fancy flyers in the 80s and 90s, images of all men as preachers are the only ones I saw growing up as a Baptist youth. And while I knew a few women who were evangelists and licentiates, at an early age, I knew who got to speak on God's behalf.

While memory and journals indicate a call to ministry as a teen, it would take until my mid-30s to finally answer this wondrous calling that I wrestle with daily.

Images such as the flyer I reviewed today also reinforce why I try to do my small part to build up women who preach, struggle with answering that call, or have silenced the thought because they believe there is no room for their voices. After hosting my first Women in Ministry Fellowship in 2014, I'll never forget a male pastor asking, "Who told you, you could do that?"

I answered, "the Holy Ghost." I am now an ordained woman within American Baptist Churches USA, and I have moved geographically and theologically away from my early formation that affirmed I was to be quiet in the church.

My prayer this week is for safe travels for all who will gather in that space. I pray that the preached words and training will bless all who attend these sessions. I also pray that those sisters who participate as teachers, missionaries, youth workers, and first ladies will feel affirmed and stirred even more to answer callings some have likely muted. I also pray for that teen girl who is still figuring out the voice of God. May what she sees not mute or override that still small voice that she hears! And may what she is hearing be confirmed by a prophetic voice along the way!

If you are a woman you know have been called to the preaching ministry and would like to be streinghted as a proclaimer of the Gospel, consider joining us on Oct. 12, 2019, for our third instalment of our Women in Ministry Fellowship. Register today

Don't Let Folks Put You in a Tomb

Posted on March 30, 2018 at 3:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Beloved, others don't have to understand your dreams, goals, or your motives.

I was recently sharing with a few women about my interest in "marketplace ministry." Someone chimed in it was because of the money that could be made. I quickly corrected their assumption.

I believe LIGHT needs to be everywhere decisions about my life are being made. The engineers designing these phones we stare into all day may never make it to a church or synagogue, but what if they encountered a voice of LIGHT during one of those company meetings or professional development sessions everyone hates. What if we envisioned that people could encounter the divine in every aspect of life, including in their workplaces and social spaces?

Did Jesus meet people soley in the temple, or did he encounter them at wells, in graveyards, near the sea, and moving through towns?


I'm glad today that Jesus' divinity didn't allow people to place him a box that could only accommodate his humanity. Many just want Jesus to be Mary's baby, the carpenter's son, and some still believe he was simply a prophet. I'm glad today that he was all of that as well as Savior of the world.

If they doubted Jesus' potential and motives then trust that they will doubt yours! So here's your Good Friday word not spoken from the cross:

Don't allow your dreams and visions to stay in "a tomb" because of what others think! May the Holy Spirit breathe life into those spaces of your life where you and others have already written obituaries.

The hope of resurrection reminds us that what you thought was dead can live again! May you be blessed on this most special weekend, and as always, continue to Look and Live!

Rev. Dr. Arlecia Simmons, Chief Encourager 

#GoodFriday #reflection #ministry #inspiration #shifttheculture #resurrection #Lent #Easter #death #newlife #journaling #entrepreneur #looknlive

Holiday Revelations

Posted on December 19, 2017 at 8:05 AM Comments comments (0)

During this season, many consume alcohol not just because it's a "drink with friends," but the alcohol suppresses the unprocessed pain experienced this year and the year before that.

For some, alcohol makes you "feel good," but for others it's about FEELING NOTHING.

May we all heal in our inward parts and experice love that is stronger than 200 proof moonshine! With prayer, work, and the love and support of others, may your new normal be a love hangover! 

I know it has been a long season, and last Christmas you prayed love would find you by this Christmas. What Do the Lonely Do At Christmas? Hold on! Wait for love in action and not just a title! #looknlive

Prayers for all who have experienced traumatic events this year. May appropriate processing and #healing take place so you can live your fullest life! #looknlive

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! 

Wha Ya Know Bout Da Gullah?

Posted on October 10, 2017 at 9:20 PM Comments comments (0)

I pray you are well as you read these words.

One of the ways my faith was framed was in the churches of the South Carolina Lowcountry, more specifically the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church. Nestled in the residential community of what was once considered the Accabee Plantation is where I heard the songs of Zion, some of which were in the hymnal and others that were stored in the memories of the saints.

To this day, there are songs I’ve never seen written lyrics for even after numerous Google searches. As I watch my hometown of Charleston, S.C. transition into a gentrified community where Gullah natives are seen more as “tourist attractions” than residents, I am led to continue the work of preserving Gullah-Geechee culture. 

These days, I’m excited to share some of those songs and the history of my Gullah-Geechee people in presentations, lectures, and workshops. The first time I publicly “owned” my Gullah-Geechee identity took place in a classroom at Winthrop University. For my informative speech I talked about a history and culture I had only heard bits and pieces about before I did my intensive research. We just lived it; we didn’t talk about. We be who we be cause dat who us be!

On Sept. 28 I had an amazing opportunity to share my heritage and musical offerings on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Here’s a snippet of a classroom talk that was a preview of the evening lecture. Take a listen at http://bit.ly/GullahGal.

If you are or your college, group, or organization would like to sponsor a program on Gullah culture, feel free to contact me at [email protected]

Happy Abundant Summer

Posted on June 24, 2017 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Looking and living means leading an abundant life in ALL seasons. Please click on bit.ly/lnl7 

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!


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!!

First Quarter Alarm

Posted on March 31, 2017 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (0)

There's only a few more hours left in the first quarter of the year and it's time to consider our productivity. 

Have you accomplished anything on that massive list of goals you noted or graphically displayed via your vision board?


Last year, you went to an amazing Women's Conference and you left all empowered, inspired, and sweaty after rolling on the floor. You said you were going to DO IT!

You were going to start that business!

Legitimize your hobby! Write the book!

Pursue the opportunity...

YOU had an IT, and IT was going to get done!

And then, you came down from the mountain and IT hasn't been started, researched, or thought about again.


Don't touch that SEND button to register for another call, conference, or Webinar.

You don't need another word of encouragement or confirmation. The Lord has spoke to you in a still small voice, a loud one, through tweets, text messages, and through complete strangers!

Your assignment, dreams, and goals haven't come to fruition because the universe is now waiting on you to MOVE! You can't keep complaining about not going anywhere when all you are doing is standing still. Selah.

Consider this your Holy Ghost reminder to get back to your IT!

Fish Sandwiches for Two

Posted on March 5, 2016 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (1)
Hello friends, After months of transition that continues, I would like to share this recent adventure: Today I went to this popular fish joint ready to have a Friday Fish Day. I stood in line, and talked with an older man who reminded me of my grandfather. He was getting a 6-pc to share with his wife. He only got 1 Pepsi, so no sharing there. It was my time to order. You know it ain't a real soul food joint unless you get A. a nickname and B. some attitude. I got both. The dude nicknamed me "pretty eyes," and the lady said "If I have to say next in line one more time." Well, I paid for my fish and did the happy dance as I drizzled the hot sauce on for that buffalo bam. I am walking out the door swinging my bag since it's 3 p.m. and it's my first meal of the day. And there he is... A dude is standing there asking passersbys for change to get something to eat. In the DMV this could easily be heard 20 times a day, but I try to honor food requests. I asked him if he wanted some fish. "Yes!" Dividing food always reminds me of Louise Simmons. I stopped on a bench in front of the restaurant and gave him some fish, a slice of bread and napkins. They only give you two pieces of white or wheat, and I really wanted both of my pieces. It was from a fresh loaf, but I digress. As I was fixing his napkin 'cause I didn't have a plate, he talked about another threat of snow and how he was trying to stay warm. He said "God bless" and stood there eating the hot fish. I proceeded to my car, cause the gentrifiers don't let you park too long. I looked back wondering if I should have given him some more; he wasn't hustling. The way he sucked that fillet down he was hungry. Go back, Arlecia. "But that line, Jesus? ee kowl" Well, apparently Jesus didn't care about me being cold or unwilling to get back in the fish box line. I walked back and gave him my fish box, which had been perfectly drizzled with hot sauce. "You sure?" he asked. It's fine, I'll get another one. Well, as "pretty eyes" returned she was quickly served. Once again, I checked my box and slathered hot sauce on the perfectly browned fillets. As I stood in line the first time I was thinking about this week's lectionary text and what does being an ambassador for Christ look like. Truth be told, many of us suspect we are on Gold Level ambassador status. We may think "What else do you want?" I already gave you my weekends, my REM sleep, the tithe, my social life, what else God? But what else does God want? What if he wants your perfectly hot sauce slathered fish sandwich? What if God wants your life which he then perfectly drizzles with favor, grace, and mercy? #looknlive