Sunday, December 9, 2007

Examples of Encouragement

Today, our Sunday School teacher, Don, focused on 'Barnabas the Encourager' from the book of Acts and what we can do to follow his excellent example of encouragement.

Feeling passionate about encouragement like I do, I sat up, listened intently and took notes.

There are many instances throughout the book of Acts that show Barnabas' actions as an encourager, but today we picked three simple steps we can emulate and learn to be encouragers to those around us.

1)Stay in circulation--to be an encourager, you have to go where people are, hang out with them, talk to them and ask questions about their life. No one can encourage others in isolation.

2)Take time to be tender--I love this one, because I can be abrupt and in a hurry most of the time. We were challenged to listen without judgement, saying words such as "give me some more details about how you feel" and making sure their dignity stayed intact if you had to confront.

3)Speak and live with integrity--be genuine and carry out what you say you will do. To the best of your ability, don't let others down by not showing up or returning phone calls or emails. If you don't have time now, be honest, then set up another time and follow through with it.

Of course, none of us can do this perfectly all the time. We need supernatural strength from the Holy Spirit. Barnabas requested, he received help from above and his example is recorded for all to follow in the Bible.

Ask and you will receive. You can do it.

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