June 07, 2019
Let me ask you a question? What has the power to...
Even though all of those would be nice, I'm talking about something far simpler.
What I'm talking about is something that everyone of us is capable of doing.
But it is something that I believe is one of the most neglected tools that God has given us.
Do you know what it is? ENCOURAGEMENT
In Hebrew the word encourage is related to strength. So it means to strengthen someone or to carry them along. In Greek the word means to come alongside of, to admonish, and exhort.
The English word – en-courage, means to put courage into something. And here is one of the reasons why encouragement is so important.
Encouragement is sometimes the only thing keeping us from falling apart
There are those of you who are struggling – and you need the courage to go on. You need someone who can be the physical representation of a loving God to come along side and help carry you through it. To give you the courage needed to take the next step.
We all know what it's like to have someone in our lives who can give us the strength to keep going just by being present. They build us up when everyone else seems to tear us down and carry us when all we want to do is lie down and quit.
One powerful example is seen in a man named Barnabas. He is introduced to us in Acts 4:36.
For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means "Son of Encouragement"). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus. (Acts 4:36 NLT)
If you asked people what was Barnabas' real name you would likely draw mostly blanks. Why, because he was known by his nickname and not his given name of Joseph. Imagine having the ability to encourage others in such a way that it becomes the prominent characteristic that identifies you. So much so, that it becomes the name you are known by.
This is also the same man who became the sidekick of the apostle Paul. A man whom God used mightily to bring the Gospel to the world and suffered much in doing so. I happen to think that God intentionally put Barnabas with Paul, to lift him up and help strengthen him when the persecutions and attacks were overwhelming.
We could all use a Barnabas. That one person, who, when everything seems to be against you, can motivate you to keep going, keep trying, and reassure you that everything is going to be alright.
Encouragement is powerful. It can prevent apathy, even spiritual apathy. It can transform a heart that feels discouraged and hopeless. I think of all the people you should have in your life, the Encourager is one of the most vital, if not the most.
Lastly, why not take the time to be an Encourager? It's one of the easiest things to do and the rewards are beyond measure. Imagine, you could make the difference for someone today.
"Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I may not forget you."
(William Arthur Ward)
June 09, 2019
Thank you for this, Jon. As I read this article, my mind immediately when to those times in my life and ministry when I was ready to throw in the towel. Also, when I first became a Christian and was ready to walk away from the fifth and the church, how vital those relationships were in my life. Thank you Jon!
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July 22, 2019
July 09, 2019
There are moments in life when any forward movement seems impossible. Especially after a difficult season or a period of trauma and hurt. In those times, it's natural to look for answers and to even question the necessity of the experience.
Church leaders often come face to face with the existential questions people are asking after seasons of difficulty and pain. There is a natural tendency for people to want answers, but often, the answers are elusive at best.
June 21, 2019