I met Carla Mcdougal several years ago at a writer’s conference in Dallas. What a joy it has been to see all the amazing things she has done since that time. This is her third book and she leads an amazing ministry that is making a difference in women’s lives all across the country. I am thankful to have met her those years ago and now call her my friend! Enjoy the interview with Carla!
Reading through the Table of Contents for Carla McDougal’s 3rd book, SOLD OUT – Live for Jesus, it becomes quickly apparent that she has a very close relationship with her Savior. Titles such as God Appoints: His Kingdom Puzzle, Forgiveness: Fresh Start, and The Word: Spiritual Nourishment entice the reader to hear what she has to say on the subjects. The chapters are short, but the content is mighty.
When she was 40, she heard the phrase, “Life is not about me, but all about Him.” She took this to heart, and it became the focus for her life and ministry. The concept for SOLD OUT came to her from reading Philippians 1:21 – To live is Christ, to die is gain. Putting the two “ah ha” moments together, she realized if her thoughts and actions reflected them, she would be living sold out for Jesus. Consequently, the theme for this book was born.
When asked what her favorite entry might be from SOLD OUT, Carla had this to say: “PRAY 911 pops into my mind. Shortly before I was scheduled to speak at a women’s retreat, I felt a heavy oppression. I know it was a spiritual attack from the enemy, and I was even doubting my reason for being there. That morning while sitting in my prayer chair, I opened my Bible to Psalm 91. The first verse seemed to jump off the page. He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Peace washed over me, and God’s Word strengthened me for the event that evening. The next day I shared this experience with a close friend who said, ‘Next time, text me to pray for you!’ Later in the day I went back to Psalm 91:1 and this is what I saw— 911. My heart started pounding with excitement and I decided from then on, when oppression comes my way, I will text PRAY 911 to my prayer team. Sometimes there isn’t time to do anything more. But they don’t need to know why I need prayer, they just need to know to pray. I jumped up and started praising God. A smile emerges when I think of how God used this real life situation to teach me a spiritual life lesson.”
After her second book, My Prayer Chair was published and winning awards in 2013, people started requesting help in using it as a Bible study. They wanted to discuss the book with others who were reading it, but needed some structure to their discussions. A free leader’s guide was created and made available through www.reflectivelifeministries.org. Carla is creating a similar guide for SOLD OUT, available in January 2016. But the book is a wonderful devotional tool all by itself, with each section containing scriptures, personal anecdotes, a life challenge and a place to journal your thoughts.
Beverly: Where did you get the idea for your new book, SOLD OUT Live for Jesus?
Carla McDougal: In October of 2014, Philippians 1:21 lingered in my heart, “To live is Christ, to die is gain.” I couldn’t get it off my mind. Over and over I asked God, “What does it mean to live is Christ, to die is gain?” In the stillness, I heard, “Live sold out to Me. Let every action, thought, and conversation reflect an attitude that says, “I’m sold out to Jesus.” Suddenly, the cover of the book popped into my head. A woman with a sign covering her face that reads, “SOLD OUT Live for Jesus.” A message embedded deeper still, “It’s not about me, but all about Jesus.” Without a doubt, God embedded in my heart, “This is your new writing project!” I praise God for the unique ways He works, for it’s all about Him.
Beverly: What is the purpose behind the name of your book––SOLD OUT Live for Jesus?
Carla McDougal: God desires for us to live each day with purpose. From the moment we wake up, God waits for us to connect with Him. His voice calls, but do we listen? SOLD OUT encourages readers to find purpose in life by drawing nearer to Jesus in real and practical ways. The heartfelt messages and analogies bring laughter, tears and understanding to God’s Word. Be inspired to live in victory and sold out to Jesus through your thoughts, words, and actions. SOLD OUT not only nourishes the soul but also ignites a purpose for living!
Beverly: What inspired you to write SOLD OUT Live for Jesus?
Carla McDougal:At age 40, I heard a phrase that rocked my world. Changed my perspective. Moved me to tears. These nine words opened my eyes to view God’s purpose for me in a whole new way… “Life is not about me, but all about Him.” Under the umbrella of God’s Word, my focus changed from what I can do for Jesus to surrendering it all to Him. Over the past 12 years, God has used this statement to shape and mold my writing. The front cover of SOLD OUT is symbolic of what I want my life to be. Just like the sign covers the woman’s face, I desire for others to see Jesus working in my life. SOLD OUT focuses on living out God’s Truths in every conversation, action, and thought.
Beverly: Is SOLD OUT Live for Jesus a devotional or an individual read? Can it be used as a Bible study for groups or individuals?
Carla McDougal:SOLD OUT Live for Jesus is unique because it serves as a devotional and Bible study in one. This format caters to those craving to dive deep into God’s Word and is just right for those without much time on their hands. SOLD OUT is designed both for group studies as well as an individual read. Either way, the reader will be molded to look more like Jesus by the end of the book. I am in the process of writing the SOLD OUT Leader’s Guide, which will aide the leader in facilitating an in-depth group study. The guide scheduled to release January 2016 as a free PDF download from the Reflective Life Ministries website which is www.reflectivelifeministries.org.
Beverly: Share with us your favorite entry from SOLD OUT Live for Jesus.
Carla McDougal:Wow, this is a tough question. But, the entry PRAY 911, from Chapter 1, pops into my mind. In the midst of an oppressive time, or should I say a spiritual attack from the enemy, I was scheduled to speak at a women’s retreat. The oppression was so heavy and burdensome. Doubt plagued my mind. The morning of the event, I was sitting in my prayer chair and opened my Bible to Psalm 91. The first verse seemed to jump off the page, He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Peace washed over me. God’s Word strengthened me for the event that evening. The next day I shared my experience with a close friend who said, “Next time text me to pray for you.” Her words continued to linger in my heart and mind. Later in the day, I read Psalm 91:1 again, and this is what I saw––911. My heart pounded with excitement! Immediately, I decided when oppression comes my way I will text PRAY 911 to my prayer team. I jumped up and started praising God. A smile emerges when I think of how God used this real life situation to teach me His spiritual life lesson.
Beverly: Besides SOLD OUT Live for Jesus, have you written any other books?
Carla McDougal: SOLD OUT is my 3rd book. The 1st book I wrote is a 10-week Bible study called Reflecting Him. Like Jesus’ parables, Reflecting Him uses familiar objects to identify the connection between our physical and spiritual lives. God wants to be part of everything we do, and this study is designed to help you become aware of His life lessons twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. My 2nd book is called My Prayer Chair, which focuses on encouraging the reader to engage in ongoing conversations with God – 24/7. My grandmamma is the inspiration behind My Prayer Chair. Her love, trust, and ongoing communication with Jesus played an important role in molding my prayer life. My Prayer Chair won multiple awards in 2013 and is now available in Spanish and as an audiobook through Audible, ITunes, and the RLM website, www.reflectivelifeministries.org/shop. All of my books are available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Lifeway, and other online bookstores.
Beverly: Just for fun… How do you deal with writer’s block?
Carla McDougal: Prayer. Waiting. Listening. For me, prayer is the key to writer’s block. Communicating with God opens the door to the waiting room. In the stillness, I listen and anticipate His voice behind me saying, Whether you turn to the right or the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” Isaiah 30:20
Thank you, Carla! I’m excited to read your latest book!