Who Won? You Choose!

This month has really flown by. I hope you’ve enjoyed each Reach Out to Live Out story shared here. Have they stirred your thinking? Encouraged you to look for ways to reach out with the love of Christ? I’d love to read about how each one impacted you.

I think my favorite was “Head Down” by Nichole Parks. I keep my head down way too often when God says, “Look up and around! Can’t you see my hurting child whom I’ve intentionally placed in your path?”

Here’s a snippet:

“Our community college will accept anybody. I’ve seen the druggies, heard the potty-mouths, and looked away from the risqué. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s keep your head down. Considering we’re approaching finals, I’d say the strategy has worked.” Read the rest here.

As a writer, I also enjoyed Margaret Daley’s story, Fiction That Reaches Into Prison Cells.

“When a woman who worked at a Florida female prison helping the inmates contacted me, I was surprised and excited about the prospects of the outreach for my book. She’d read my Love Inspired, Second Chance Family, and was interested in using that story with the women. Second Chance Family dealt with abuse and some of the women she worked with had gone through it.”

You can read the rest here.

Margaret’s story reminded me I never know how God will use my obedience. I’ve found, His ways truly are well beyond mine, and He’s able to multiply blessings, turning a novel into a conduit of healing, an email into a powerful touch of grace. Sometimes I see the results, other times I must proceed in faith, knowing He has a glorious reason for every command He gives.

Elaine Cooper’s story, Pushing Past Our Comfort Zones, reminded me not to get stuck in a “serving routine.” While it’s true, God wants us to serve in our areas of giftedness, He still expects us to serve “where needed,” maintaining a “get ‘er done” attitude.

Here’s a blip of Elaine’s story:

“Let me be honest— I am not the greatest cook in the world. Thoughts of potlucks at church and Bible study nearly send me into an anxiety attack. I always imagine kindly Christians munching into my culinary creation and assuring me how good it is…until they turn around and spit it into their napkin, hoping not to be noticed! Now, I have never seen that happen, but it is always my fear. Cooking has never been easy for me.”

Read the rest here.

What did you glean from this month’s stories? How did they impact your day? I’d love to read all about it.

I’d also love to know what you’re doing–at your job, in your neighborhood, your city, through texts or emails–to share Christ’s love with a hurting world.

Yesterday at church, the worship leader made an awesome statement. He reminded us it isn’t “Christian vs. the world” but instead, “Christians for the world.” Stop and think about this for a moment.  A long moment. 🙂 Then ask yourself: How can I tear down barriers and build bridges today?

Come back Wednesday to see who won our gift basket and book give-away! (Mary Preston, please email me at jenniferaslattery(at)gmail(dot)com. You won the April book give-away, and I need your address. 🙂 )

Many thanks to May’s generous donors!

Advertisements

Head Down

I’m a day late, and I apologize. Can I blame it on moving? (And if so, how long can I use that excuse?)

Today’s “Reach Out to Live Out” post comes from a sweet young lady I met at the 2011 CWG writers’ conference. And what a timely post! (You’ll see what I mean once you read it.)

Head Down

By Nichole Parks

                  Our community college will accept anybody. I’ve seen the druggies, heard the potty-mouths, and looked away from the risqué. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s keep your head down. Considering we’re approaching finals, I’d say the strategy has worked.

Cleaner and cigarette smoke, clinging to classmates, embalms the dim room. I tuck my arms tighter to my sides and shuffle to my seat—second row back and three seats in. My neighbor is already there.

“Hi, Nichole.”

“Rhonda.” I give her a polite smile as heave-ho my algebra book from my bag. From the get-go my plan had been get in and get out. Nobody would get hurt that way. Rhonda had other plans. While we waited for the rest of the class, she informed me of how this is the third time she’s taken the class, how she’s raising her grandson, how she’s been house hunting since she’s been foreclosed, and details on her up-coming surgery.

I told her I’d pray for her, but inside I was praying for me. Pick somebody else to witness to her, Lord.

Since midterm, I’ve felt a tug to invite her to church. And though Rhonda has no problem opening her mouth, mine remains pinched shut. Today, when I arrived, it opened. “Are you going to need help moving?”

She blinked, probably shocked that I had a voice. “Uh—yeah, my surgery is smack-dab when I need to be moving.”

“I talked to my youth minister and our youth group would like to help you move. If you can get me the date and address, we’ll be there.”

A slow smile spread on Rhonda’s face. “Yeah, yeah, that would be great.”

So, as of today, my strategy is expired because I can’t keep my head down any longer. Or somebody will get hurt. Our community college may accept anybody, but heaven won’t.

***

Nichole Parks is a Squire and Apprentice graduate of the Jerry B. Jenkins’ Christian Writers Guild. She completed the 2010 NaNoWriMo challenge. In her spare time, Nichole reviews books for Multnomah Waterbrook and Baker Books Publishing, hones her manuscript, and sings along with the country radio station. Visit her online.

Thanks to all our donors for helping motivate us all to reach out in tangible ways as we share the love of Christ to a hurting world:

Margaret Daley, author of Saving Hope: Men of the Texas Rangers and Second Chance Family;  Elaine Marie Cooper who is giving away two books–The Road to Deer Run and The Promise of Deer Run;  Zeke Lam from Submission Ministries who is giving away a copy of subMISSION: Heeding His Voice Only; and for the book give-away–Deborah Raney with Remember to Forget.