Archives For The Need for Encouragement

Be Kind: We’re All in a Battle.

My first two posts on Encourage and Equip were designed to lay a foundation for why we need encouragers so much in our day (Why Pt. 1, Why Pt. 2).  However, there is one area I really wanted to write about because it is so critical. But, I wasn’t sure people were ready to receive the message. I wasn’t quite sure how to communicate the message clearly without sounding like an alarmist, a religious nut or fanatic.

At the very core of my being, my heart cries out that the reason we need to encourage people is that we are all in a battle.  Most people don’t even realize it.  Those who are aware of the battle tend to underestimate the opposition–It’s much more than a pillow fight!

The Foundation

At the heart of my thinking on encouragement Continue Reading…

I write to model or provide encouragement, to point people to God as the unending source of strength, or to help develop our skills and gifts as we live out our faith and seek to love God and people.

God commands us to encourage one another. Please consider with another of the major reasons I think we need it now — perhaps now more than ever.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells us that “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)  In our day, an average person faces a myriad of challenges and obstacles that can tear down and destroy their drive, effectiveness, and the quality of life that God desires for us to enjoy.

In Part 1 of this series, we looked at our tendency to focus on the negative.  To further illustrate the point, Jon Acuff tells a classic New York story of Larry David (Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm) attending a baseball game at Yankee Stadium.  During the game, his picture was shown on the screen and he was announced as being at the game. 50,000 people stood and cheered.

As David left the stadium, a guy drove by and yelled, “Larry, you suck!” “That’s like, literally all he heard,” Berg (David’s friend) says.  David spent the ride back from the Bronx obsessing over that moment, running it over and over in his mind. It was as if the other 50,000 people, the ones who loved him, didn’t exist. “Who’s that guy? What was that?” He asked. “Who would do that? Why would you say something like that?”

Today, I’d like to direct out attention briefly to another factor that challenges us every day.

Fear Based “Motivators”

In politics and marketing, a growing number of people are seeking to get their message or products into people’s hearts and homes with ads or entire campaigns designed to capitalize on people’s anxieties and insecurities.

Shadow puppet symbolizing inordinate fear.

1. Political Campaigns

The last presidential campaign season has developed the attack ad to a whole new level.  A major dynamic of this is also known as scare tactics. In a personal conversation, one journalist covering the election told me that most people were actually voting against the opposing candidate rather than voting for their candidate.   They weren’t even sure what their own candidate’s platform was. Continue Reading…

God commands us to encourage one another. Please consider with me of the major reasons I think we need it now — perhaps now more than ever. In our day, an average person faces a myriad of challenges and obstacles that can tear down and destroy a person’s drive and effectiveness. Consider the following as examples.

Continue Reading...

So often, we attend church services all scrubbed up and looking our best.  On the outside, we probably look like we have it all together and life is just one giant juicy peach.  For some of us, that might represent reality for the moment.  For so many others, that perception is just a thin veneer covering over a myriad of hurts, struggles, challenges, confusion and doubts. Not that we are deliberately hiding things. We may not want to bother others with our problems.  We may just enjoy a break from dwelling on them.  Regardless of how together people might seem, most likely, they still need some word of encouragement because walking by faith is challenging and increasingly challenged.

 

Classic image of a boy with his angellic self on one shoulder and his demonic self on the other shoulder.

Walking by Faith

The Christ-follower lives by faith.  “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists… (Hebrews 11:6 NIV)”  The Apostle John wrote his Gospel so we would believe. Paul tells us, “The path we walk is charted by faith, not by what we see with our eyes.” (2 Corinthians 5:7 VOICE)

We place our confidence, our faith, in an unseen Creator God whose ways and very nature amaze and confound the wisest among us.  However, by his grace, he has revealed enough about himself for us to trust him for the aspects we don’t yet understand.  That is the very essence of walking by faith.  It is not a blind faith that hopes (with fingers crossed) that we have made a good choice.  Based on the evidence and experiences we have already evaluated, we make a conscious choice to trust God for the rest.  Faith is central to our walk, but so often…

Walking by Faith is Challenging

Even John the Baptist had second thoughts about Jesus–whom he had baptized and declared Continue Reading…

In my last post, I mentioned that We Need Encouragement Because We’re All in a Battle.  Today, I’d like to look at the nature of the battle between good and evil.

It’s hard to talk or write about evil without sounding weird.  The topic of evil makes for great novels, TV shows, and movies—as long as we feel like we can shut it off.  But, when people talk about the real thing, we get a little uneasy. I do too!  We’re not sure exactly how to react or how to process it.  We like to hear stories of God at work causing good to happen.  We’re not quite sure what to do with stories of the devil at work causing evil and destruction.

But it was different on April 15, 2013.

On that day, Marathon Monday in Boston, even hardened, cynical journalists and newscasters couldn’t help but notice and label acts of evil.

It started out promising to be a beautiful day in New England.  In April, that’s not something we take for granted.    Continue Reading…