Candace O’Reilly knew her life would be over if her plan didn’t work. Two simple steps and she would be safe. Three, and she would be free.
So … ? Who is Candace O’Reilly, and why is she in danger of losing her life? What sort of peril awaits her? What is her plan, especially the third step?
Hopefully, the suspense created with these few words will be intriguing enough to convince the reader to read on. Statistics show that the average reader is only willing to spend a few seconds reading before choosing whether or not to continue with a book or story.
Writers call this type of beginning a “hook”—a means of catching the reader’s attention. Hooks are also commonly used at the end of chapters in order to dissuade the reader from putting the book down. These are the books we stay up all night reading!
Hooks almost always leave the reader on edge,asking questions. Maybe as to why a character spoke or behaved in a certain way. Maybe in response to a hint that danger or a critical solution is imminent. Or maybe the scene leaves the reader emotionally uncomfortable—anxious, afraid, or broken-hearted—enough to read on to relieve the tension.
“There’s one thing I’m sure about,” said author, Stephen King. “An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story. It should say: ‘Listen. Come in here. You want to know about this.’” (http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/07/why-stephen-king)
What about the hooks in our spiritual lives? Is there anything in the way we speak and behave that might catch the world’s attention? Might cause them to ask questions about our faith? To consider seeking what they see in us?
Perhaps co-workers wonder why we don’t participate in gossip, swearing, or crude humor. Maybe family members notice that we don’t harbor grudges but are willing to forgive and work through relational issues. Maybe the community notices when we stay up all night packing sandbags for a bulging levee after working a full day at the office. Or maybe folks we don’t even know notice the peace of God in our lives when we are walking through stressful circumstances.
I’m convinced that the Holy Spirit uses these hooks to encourage believers in their faith and to draw non-believers to Himself. Not that we can manufacture the hooks ourselves. Rather, as we allow the Holy Spirit to change us from the inside out, fruit will appear on our branches … appealing sustenance available for the hungry in mind, soul, and body.
Unfortunately, there are also hooks in our lives that draw attention in a negative manner. We are human, and we error. Perhaps we show impatience at the grocery store, intolerance at family gatherings, or apathy in the church. Errors that make others, believers or not, wonder if they want anything to do with the beliefs by which we profess to live. What can we do to avoid these hooks?
Abide in the Vine. Spend time with Jesus. For the Lord said, “I am the Vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
Have we got our hooks turned in the right direction? Do our lives invite others to come on in and hear the story of Jesus?
When you think you're finished, and then . . . God!
8/6/2017 8:18:00 PM by: Barb Haley
Those Branches HAD to Go!
5/30/2017 12:25:00 PM by: Barb
Eight Years Later ...
1/9/2017 1:00:00 AM by: Barb
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
12/16/2016 11:58:00 PM by: Barb
O Holy Night
12/15/2016 11:49:00 PM by: Barb
A White Christmas
12/13/2016 11:54:00 PM by: Barb
We Wish You a Merry Christmas!
12/12/2016 12:04:00 AM by: Barb
We Three Kings
12/11/2016 1:00:00 AM by: Barb
Birthday of a King
12/10/2016 12:54:00 AM by: Barb
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
12/9/2016 12:46:00 AM by: Barb
12/8/2016 12:49:00 AM by: Barb
Joy to the World
12/7/2016 10:16:00 PM by: Barb
Do You Hear What I Hear?
12/6/2016 8:05:00 PM by: Barb
O Little Town of Bethlehem
12/5/2016 8:02:00 PM by: Barb
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
12/4/2016 7:59:00 PM by: Barb
Angels From the Realms of Glory
12/3/2016 7:55:00 PM by: Barb
12/2/2016 7:51:00 PM by: Barb
A Closer Look at the Christmas Carols
12/1/2016 7:47:00 PM by: Barb
When Prayers Take a LONG TIME to be Answered
10/19/2016 10:27:00 PM by: Barb Haley
Anybody Up for a Bit of Transformation?
9/24/2016 12:32:00 AM by: Barb Haley
Diving in the Wind
8/16/2016 by: Barb
Because I Can!
7/12/2016 by: Barb
6/30/2016 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
No Help From Me
6/12/2016 by: Barb
Day One: Do I Need a Blindfold, Lord?
6/10/2016 by: Barb
Depression? I'd Kick It if I Could
6/9/2016 by: Barb
God Has Our Backs
2/8/2016 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
The Winner Is...
11/30/2015 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
Sample sections from A Second Wind
11/28/2015 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
Has Anyone Heard From the Lord Lately?
9/13/2015 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
The Emotional Strain of Chronic Pain
9/8/2015 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
Why does God test us?
1/29/2015 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
Inciting Incident-What?s That?
9/1/2014 by: Barb
Act One?the Ordinary World
8/24/2014 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
Tell Me the Story of Jesus
8/14/2014 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
Story or Plot?
8/8/2014 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
4/15/2014 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
Words of Love Last Forever!
7/19/2012 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
Alzheimer's-Not the Only Way to Let Go
7/9/2012 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
The Hunger Games
6/26/2012 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
What Would God Say?
6/13/2012 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
Keeping It All Inside
6/3/2012 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
The Rest of the Story
5/29/2012 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
Trust and Obey
5/25/2012 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
5/22/2012 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
One Layer at a Time
5/17/2012 12:00:01 AM by: Barb
5/15/2012 12:00:01 AM by: Barb