On Sunday I took the week off from preaching and leading the discussion. I have been thinking about doing that every other month or at least once a quarter. Just to give opportunities for others to lead, use their gifts, etc... So this past Sunday Matt Kirkley shared the message and these are his notes and what we then discussed. As well as a link to a blog by a member of our community on his experience that morning.
1. Slides to meditate 2. Chestnut hill a. Needed to work on message b. Gorgeous eve to sit outside and a café to relax and work on it. No tables were available and asked if I could sit at a table with 2 ladies. They were more than happy to let me. As I am working, I hear that they are both going through divorces. Painful stories and yet there they are c. They need each other d. They need to hear the words. e. They need to be encouraged. 3. Emerson said, “Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” a. Even the world knows that people need encouragement. Imagine a group of Christ followers and the encouragement that they could be to each other. Where do we get encouragement from. How can we learn to encourage? 4. Countless verses state the benefits of encouragement. a. Proverbs 12:25. “Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.” b. I Thess 5:11. “So encourage each other and build each other up.” 5. Jesus is talking to the disciples in John 13:34-35. “Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” Our love and encouragement shows the world a different way, but again how? How do we encourage. Luckily we have a model. Jesus told us about how to do it. In John 15 Jesus says, “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. “ 6. So what can we encourage each other to do. We should encourage for a purpose…to a purpose. We can encourage each other to things that are BIGGER, BETTER and do them TOGETHER. In Acts, Barnabas (son of encourager) did this. Paul and he had gone on a missionary trip together. John Mark went with them, but left in the middle. When it came time for a second trip, Paul did not want to take John-Mark. Barnabas believed in him. Barnabas knew that John-Mark was destined for great things. 7. Sometimes it is hard to encourage. Sometimes, we just don’t have it in us. How did Jesus have the ability to always encourage. He spent time with God. Drawing toward God allows us to encourage others. Strength comes from time with God. Isaiah 41:10 “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.” 8. Finally in verse 25, the writer of Hebrews says to not give up meeting together. By us gathering together as a body of Christ. On a morning. There is something important happening. So what are some of the things that happen when we gather together. a. It keeps us balanced. We are stretched, pulled, challenged. Not just alone time with God, or with a couple friends, but time with a larger community centered around the love and worship of God b. It brings us to God. By gathering for the express purpose of worshipping God, we learn more about him and how to be better encouragers. c. It fills our tanks. When we gather together, Jesus is there. In talking about Jesus and gathering together, we fill our tanks to be able to love and encourage others. d. You can’t be encouraged if you don’t come. If you don’t come, you miss out on others speaking into your life. 9. So I want to tell you a story to end our time. A story of two people…etc… 10. What happens if rather than unload, they each encourage? 11. Mother Teresa once said, “Kind words can be short & easy to speak, but their echoes are endless.” 12. Activity
1. Encouragement activity 2. Thoughts, comments, feelings, etc.. about activity. 3. Thoughts, ideas, questions, comments, etc.. about message and Scripture. 4. What are we going to do about it?
Here is the blog from our friend Eric Bierker about his thoughts on our discussion about encouragement.