Suggested Reading ...

As requested by a number of you, herewith a few books that I strongly recommend.

The Case for the Psalms:Why they are Essential - N.T.Wright

Journey to the Common Good - Walter Brueggemann

Gagging Jesus: Things Jesus said we wish he hadn't - Phil Moore

Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God - Bob Kauflin

The Writings of the New Testament : An Interpretation - Luke Timothy Johnson

These titles I have been able to source through happy reading!

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Home DAILY DEVOTIONS Daily Devotions Who needs Encouraging?
Who needs Encouraging? PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Grant Nuss   
Saturday, 25 February 2017 09:02

Acts 11:23; “When he (Barnabas) arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.”

“Encouragement is oxygen to the soul” (George M. Adams). Perhaps like you, I too have a few close friends who I share with, and, as what happens between us every now and then, yesterday, I received a WhatsApp of encouragement from one of them. It was only one sentence, but the Lord used it to stir some much-needed strength in my soul and encourage me. Biblicaly, as followers of Christ, we are commanded to “encourage one another daily” (Hebrews 3:13). Why did God command us this way? Well, because He knows we need encouragement. Likewise, our encouragement is shared with the hope that it would lift someone’s heart toward Christ (Colossians 4:8). When I think of the guys and ladies I know who get that right, after spending time with them, you walk way inspired, encouraged, and … reinvigorated! Encouragement was and is an essential way of extending grace to each other. The Message translation of our text today catches this perfectly in context stating that Barnabas “threw himself in with them, got behind them, urging them to stay with it the rest of their lives. He was a good man that way, enthusiastic and confident in the Holy Spirit’s ways. The community grew large and strong in the Master.” Could that be said of you? When speaking to some of the pastors I know, invariably the issue of growth comes up, and they wonder what they need to boost it. Encouragement. Now Barnabas wasn’t just a spiritual cheerleader, he was a man of great conviction who wanted to see the church flourish and did all he could to make it happen. Do you see that happening in your life and that of your church community? Hopefully. But here’s the deal: you are not just to be that way to the people you like and get on with and then ignore the rest, you are called to encourage … everyone! If the definition of encouragement is “the act of inspiring others with renewed courage renewed spirit or renewed hope” think of what that means, not only when you need to offer encouragement but when you yourself are in dire need of someone to lift up your spirit. What about that in the context of your family, your friends, your colleagues, and, also your church family? Scripture tells us that God's default attitude toward us His children, is to be encouraging, but, sadly, as you and I look around us, encouragement is perhaps the voice of God least heard in the church today. Change that. My prayer is that you would ask God to give both you and your church a heart like Barnabas, and that today would be the day that you get started. Think about it: who can you encourage right now? You are likely aware of those around you who are going through a tough time in their lives. Pick up the phone, send them a WhatsApp message, encourage them at church tomorrow, but, do it. As a pastor, I know that we do not get encouraged often. So, when last did you encourage your pastor? Above all though, pray for God to show you who to encourage, make encouragement a daily discipline, and choose to be a life-giver as you have been given life by Jesus.


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