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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Grin and Grow with Kathy 10/25/17

Encourage One Another

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STORY: Caught in the Act of Othering

Lately, I’ve been paying attention to what people do for others. It’s so easy to get down on how selfish we’ve become as a society, that we lose sight of the ones who are others-focused. Maybe othering is contagious. I’m determined to start a domino effect and see what comes from it. Here are a few “othering sightings” I’ve seen or heard about.

At a recent writers’ getaway, one of our members offered to get coffee from the dining hall and deliver it to attendees needing a caffeine jolt to start their days. She’s an early riser and wanted to be a blessing to the ones who didn’t feel up to getting out and about at the crack of dawn. Here’s the best part—Stephenie doesn’t even drink coffee! She just wanted to serve these ladies. She excels at othering.

My friend Pamela shines when she’s focused on others, too. For her 55th birthday, she decided to come up with 55 acts of kindness. She handed out one-dollar bills to people at the dollar store. Gave her hair stylist flowers. Took chips and homemade dip to the Veterans Affairs chaplains’ office. Dropped off Billy Graham books at the orthodontist’s waiting room. Delivered supplies and tissues to the school. Towels and doggy treats went to the veterinarian’s office. On and on it went, until she accomplished 55 deeds. Often, it was the notes that went with the gifts that touched the recipients the most.

A friend of mine shared what happened at a recent small group gathering. The members encouraged Bill to consider new employment opportunities based on how his spiritual gifts and God-given personality shine best. They showed him how it could fulfill the great commission and provide income at the same time. Marketplace ministry at its finest. Bill was blind to these strengths in his life until the others pointed them out to him.

During Hurricane Harvey, I was blown away by how many boat owners risked their personal safety to rescue others. If it weren’t for their heroics, launching out into the deep after 51 inches of rain, we would have seen many more casualties. They showed us what it means to excel at othering.

Andy Stanley says it this way, “The primary activity of the church was one-anothering one another.”

STUDY: Build Up Your Siblings in Christ

I am fully convinced, my dear brothers and sisters, that you are full of goodness. You know these things so well you can teach each other all about them. (Romans 15:14 NLT)

  • What did Paul say his siblings in Christ there in Rome were full of?
  • What is the verb before “each other” in this passage? What qualification did they have to do this?
  • How does goodness equip believers to be able to teach?

Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:18b-19 NKJV)

  • What are we instructed to be?
  • When we are filled, then what can we do?
  • How do you think othering amplifies our praise to God?

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. (Colossians 3:16 NLT)

  • What is described as rich in this verse? How can it fill your life?
  • What is the othering command in this passage?
  • What does God equip us with, so we can do this?

So encourage each other with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:18 NLT)

So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT)

  • What is the othering command here?
  • The Bible gives us the words we need to encourage each other. What passage might give someone you know an extra dose of hope today?
  • What goes along with encouraging each other? Can you think of someone you can build up today?

Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25 NLT)

  • What is the first othering command here?
  • What are we to motivate others to do?
  • What is the second othering command here?
  • How do you feel compelled to be an encouragement, knowing the Lord’s return is coming?

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. (James 5:16 NLT)

  • What is the first othering command here? Does it make you feel uncomfortable? Why do you think God wants us to do it?
  • What is the second othering command in this passage?
  • What is the result of othering, according to James?

STEPS: How to One-Another One Another

  1. Teach. What will you teach someone this week? Who will you teach?
  2. Speak and sing God’s praise. Share a song on social media that means something special to you.
  3. Encourage. Find someone who looks downhearted, and give them something to hang their hope on.
  4. Build up. Look for how God has gifted someone this week, and point it out to them.
  5. Motivate. One of the best ways you can motivate others to good works is to activate them in your own life. Lead by example this week.
  6. Confess sins. Ask God to give you an accountability partner or small group. Confide your sins, flaws, and struggles. Recruit their support.
  7. Pray for others. Think of a new way to pray for others this week, and then follow up with them to see how their situation is coming. This shows them you really mean it when you say you’ll pray for them.

Copyright © 2017 Kathy Carlton Willis. Used by permission.

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