Be an encourager

There’s a guy in the bible called BARNABAS – he had a great reputation. Why? Because he was a great encourager.

To encourage someone us to give them strength and courage. It is to lift them up.

How can we encourage those around us?

Here’s three ideas:

1. Pray for them

2. Help them practically

3. Give them your time and positive words

What are some other ways can we be great encouragers?

Simple and hard to follow

Image result for following jesus

I was reminded today that following Jesus is not always an easy thing to do. As you read through the gospels and take in the things Jesus said you see that they are very simple requests:

Love your neighbour
love your enemy
follow me
bless those who persecute you
Go…
preach the good news

These are not hard to understand, but they can be hard to live out:

How do you follow someone you can’t even see?

How can you love when you are emotionally ship-wrecked?

How  do you bless when you don’t feel blessed?

Image result for following jesus can be hardFollowing Jesus sounds simple, but can be very hard. We’re asked even by Christ to ‘count the cost’ and to ‘take up our cross’. There are amazing times when it’s all sunshine and smiles, and times when we feel like we’re trudging for miles in the slough of despondency.

It takes faith to take this journey of following Jesus. Faith hopes for what it does not see and helps us carry what we cannot bear. Faith unites us with Christ who says ‘come to me all of you who are tired and heavy-laden’.

 

Faith hopes for what it does not see and helps us carry what we cannot bear

Does following Jesus seem hard?

Simply put, have faith and keep on. It’s simple, it’s hard and it takes faith. He never said it would be easy, but we’ll get there with his help. We might be following him, but in a wonderful way…

…he’s also walking with us

Faith unites us with Christ who says

‘come to me all of you who are tired and heavy-laden’

Somebody is calling you out of the crowd

We all have a favorite band, team, preacher, etc. We tend to follow their progress; listen to their music or teachings. We follow them, perhaps closely, perhaps from a distance. We invest our time, energy, and even our money in following them. Following others is a natural aspect of life.

We are all following someone or something.

So Jesus bursts on to the Galilean preaching circuit and begins speaking about a new way of living; a new way of being; a new life worth loving! His teaching pulls in the crowds and it all looks good. One could easily get lost in the crowd.

It’s easy to get lost or hide in the crowd.

So Jesus has a crowd-busting strategy: he calls individuals. The ones who are hiding in the crowd; the ones who are hiding their shame; the ones who are despised by everyone else.

Perhaps today he’s calling you and me.


So he calls this bloke Levi.

Tax-collecting, Roman-loving Levi.

Swindling, cheating double-dealing Levi.

He calls him out and he tells him FOLLOW ME.

And Levi gets up and follows just like that. Not only does he get up. He gives up…EVERYTHING! And he follows Jesus.

In the Gospels we see Levi a number of times. He not only followed Jesus practically through the streets, becoming one of his closest mates. We see him living his life for Jesus. He hangs on every word of Jesus, and putting those words into action. He follows Jesus with his life even after Jesus has died. He writes one of the Gospels. He follows Jesus with EVERYTHING.

Perhaps today he’s calling you and me to follow and give up everything.

May we hear his call and follow him with everything today

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