Live out loud!

When we picked the theme for this event. I was really excited. If we’re talking about LIVING OUT LOUD…I mean, it sure sounds like fun. I love to live. And I love to be loud. You’d think this would be easy for me, but it’s not. I’ve been thinking a lot. I’ve been trying really hard to figure out what I mean by saying that. Because, I mean, Every since you’re a little kid you hear teachers and parents tell you that “Actions speak louder than words”. Everything you do outweighs anything you could ever say. But your LIFE? That outweighs everything else. Whatever you spend your life doing is what you are saying all the time, whether you realize it or not.
My whole life I’ve felt like I was missing something. I would work so hard in school and I would get great grades. I played every sport I could get my hands on. I made friends with everyone I knew. And those things are all great, and they made me feel good. But it never felt like I was doing anything. There was always a part of my that just sat there. And it slowed me down.
I was doing so much in every area of my life, but I had one thing that was missing. It was like I was dancing, but I had one leg dragging behind…struggling to keep up. It had fallen asleep. And as I got older, it got harder and harder to see people burning with passion, doing the things they loved, while I was still dancing with my sleeping leg. And sure, it’s just one thing. But it was the most important thing. I didn’t really have God in my life.
For me, God was like 911. When I was really little I called it, just to see if it was real, because it didn’t make sense to have someone who was really always there for you 24 hours a day if something went wrong. Once the police came out to my house and gave me a talking to, I knew they were there alright.
I thought that god was out there, somewhere. But I didn’t really need him all the time. I left him alone, in a way. When I got into 7th grade. I became friends with a lot of people who went to Epworth UMC. My friend, Amy, was on my softball team, and we were so much alike. One day she invited me to go to youth with her.
Being with that group of people was different. Partially, because the youth at Epworth are plain and simple weird. But partially because God was there. And it was something I hadn’t felt in a long time. It wasn’t a big Mass with an organ and Priests and Deacons in Vestments like I was used to. It was just ten or so kids, eating pizza on couches as old as they were. To feel God in such an ordinary place was incredible to me. And so I came back.
Everything I did with Epworth made me feel God more and more. Before I knew it, I was speaking at church and planning events. I didn’t even realize it when I talked to other people about God. It just happened. It felt like I wasn’t so far away from God. It was like I was part of the body of Christ. I was a fingertip reaching out to everyone I knew.
John Wesley said once in his notes to “Catch on fire with enthusiasm, and people will come for miles to watch you burn.” When that fire is lit inside you. People can tell. When someone passionately believes something, when they aren’t just saying things to you, but they are LIVING to set an example. It’s easier to listen. Whenever I meet someone who loves God from the bottom of their heart, I can hear it at the top of their lungs.
You know you’re exemplifying what it means to ‘Live Out Loud’ when your heart is in what you’re doing. We always want to go out and do the work of God, because actions speak louder than words. But we can speak louder than that. We can do more than just doing the work of God. We can BE the work of God. God made all of us to serve him on earth. And everything you do for God means more when it’s not just what you’re doing right now, it’s what you’re doing for your whole life. When you put all of yourself into doing God’s work, then you become God’s work.
And so, tonight, I’m asking you, to catch on fire. I wish that I had the words to make you all explode into belief, and be ablaze with all your faith. We could melt away all of our pain and iniquities.  The whole world could feel God and scorch the sky with their enthusiasm.
But I can only tell you what I feel. I can only say that every time I load into a 15 passenger van I get a little closer to God, and every word I say in God’s name makes me burn a little bit brighter. I can tell you that I plan on living my life as loud as I can get.
I think we should all go out into our everyday lives and burn. We should do our best to not only DO the work of God. But to BE the work of God. To be an extension of what we believe. To burn so bright that the whole world can see our faith, and our love, and our passion. To set ourselves alight with our enthusiasm for God so people everywhere can see it. To take our lives…and to live them loud.

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