Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Grin and Grow with Kathy 10/09/19

Ministry of Showing Up

Encouragement is heart-to-heart resuscitation

STORY: Imelda Schmelda!

As I write this, I’m in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Imelda. If I tell you I live in Beaumont, TX, enough said. I don’t have to look far to find examples of people encouraging one another. In fact, a media personality from outside our region said he couldn’t tell the difference between those who were flood victims and helpers. Our faces didn’t look like victims. That pretty much proves my point that with Jesus, we are capable of having a grin on our faces, because of the peace in our hearts. That doesn’t minimize the heartache, though!

There are always always always going to be people around us who need to be encouraged. What can we do to help?

During small group this week a member said they struggled to know what to say to someone hurting. I mentioned that in all my times of pain, I didn't recall the words spoken to me, but remembered the ones who showed they care. So it's not about the words, it's about the love. As a friend says, it’s the ministry of showing up.

STUDY: Encourage with Joy

The messengers went at once to Antioch, where they called a general meeting of the believers and delivered the letter. And there was great joy throughout the church that day as they read this encouraging message. Then Judas and Silas, both being prophets, spoke at length to the believers, encouraging and strengthening their faith. (Acts 15:30-32 NLT)
  • You’ll find several actions that encouraged believers in this passage—what were they?
  • The fruit of encouragement: joy, strength, faith.
Meanwhile, a Jew named Apollos, an eloquent speaker who knew the Scriptures well, had arrived in Ephesus from Alexandria in Egypt. He had been taught the way of the Lord, and he taught others about Jesus with an enthusiastic spirit and with accuracy. However, he knew only about John’s baptism. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him preaching boldly in the synagogue, they took him aside and explained the way of God even more accurately. Apollos had been thinking about going to Achaia, and the brothers and sisters in Ephesus encouraged him to go. They wrote to the believers in Achaia, asking them to welcome him. When he arrived there, he proved to be of great benefit to those who, by God’s grace, had believed. (Acts 18:24-27 NLT)
  • It would have been easy for Priscilla and Aquila to be intimidated by Apollos and not mentor him, because of his education, charisma, and boldness. Yet they took him aside and taught him so he could teach others. Have you ever let intimidation hinder your words to others about God? How do you overcome that fear?
  • The believers in Ephesus encouraged Apollos to go to Achaia to benefit the believers there. How can we encourage those who are part of short-term or long-term mission efforts?
When the uproar was over, Paul sent for the believers and encouraged them. Then he said good-bye and left for Macedonia. While there, he encouraged the believers in all the towns he passed through. (Acts 20:1-2(a) NLT)
  • Paul was on the lookout for believers wherever he went, knowing they needed encouragement. How do you think he encouraged them?
  • It must have been hard for Paul to say good-bye to believers so he could move on to other towns. Tell of a time you had to leave a people and a place you loved so you could fulfill God’s will elsewhere. Or if not for you personally, have you benefited from someone leaving their comfort zone and entering your life personally to encourage you?
In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. (Romans 12:6-10 NLT)
  • Have you ever thought of encouragement being a spiritual gift? Since we can “work up” encouragement on our own, how do we identify the gift of edification as coming from God?
  • This passage says these gifts come because of God’s grace. What do you think grace has to do with it? Who do these gifts benefit?
  • One way we know the gift is from God is that he gives us the ability to do them well. Spiritual gifts can be exercised with confidence, knowing God has equipped us to fulfill the purpose with action. What are some ways encouragers encourage?
  • Why is it important to truly love (not just pity) the ones we are helping with our spiritual gifts? How do we make sure love motivates these actions? Do we thwart operating our spiritual gifts when we don’t love the potential recipients? One way we serve well is to love well. And if love is an action, we don’t have to wait for that loving feeling to show love.

STEPS: To be an Encourager, Encourage

  1. Stand Up.
  2. Show Up.
  3. Speak Up.
  4. Serve Up

Copyright © 2019 Kathy Carlton Willis, used with permission.

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