If You Want to Live as an Encourager

Part 2

11.  An encourager often doesn’t realize how much he or she might actually be encouraging another. Rather, this person is fully present in another’s life, fully engaged with that person.  Never underestimate the power of God working through your presence with another. 

12.  An encourager builds another up instead of focusing on how that person does not measure up. The encourager does not communicate empty, flattering words.  Rather the encourager focuses on behavior that is good, right, and even exemplary behaviors and actions.  

13.  An encourager has a way of communicating real value to another instead of communicating a critique reminding that person that she or he is inadequate or “less than.”  

14.  An encourager never loses sight of what another might be doing that is noble or virtuous.  Some people become so focused on another’s failings that the person is left feeling hopeless.  

15.  An encourager can help another  make a comeback long after that person has failed.  So many people fail and then assume that they are permanently disqualified from ever being cherished and valued by God again.

16.  An encourager understands that people are often encouraged in various ways.  For example, sometimes the most encouraging thing one can do is to really listen to another.  At other times, it might be especially encouraging for a person to be present at a significant event, such as a funeral, wedding, shower, retirement reception, etc.

17.  An encourager may be outgoing and gregarious.  Or, this person more introverted and a person of few words.  God can use a person to encourage through his or her own personality through a word, a smile, a hug, or in any number of ways. 

18.  An encourager knows the value of paying attention to another.  In a culture that is distracted through technology, social media, etc., this can be huge!

19.  An encourager communicates hope.  Some live with constant verbal abuse, put downs, insults, and words of contempt.  Far too many people live in environments that are discouraging, demoralizing and toxic.  Many people need a word of hope.

When a Minister Helps to Kill a Ministry

(How to end your ministry prematurely)

Does your congregation have a good minister?  Hopefully so.  A congregation really ought to encourage and value such a person.

Unfortunately, many other ministers start out well but then make one of three fatal errors which often brings a ministry to an end.  In this case, the problem wasn’t a cantankerous elder or harassment from a segment of the congregation.  Rather, in this case, this minister made three mistakes which are often fatal to to a ministry.

Three fatal mistakes a minister can make:

When a minister fails to be trustworthy.  When a minister lies, plagiarizes sermons, or pushes a hidden agenda with the congregation, the elders, or both, this could be a short ministry.

After all, good ministers are trustworthy.  They tell the truth and live trustworthy lives.  You don’t have to wonder what they are up to.  They are authentic (no hidden agendas) and take seriously their own transformation into the image of Jesus.  This transformation includes their ethics (which impacts how they work with a congregation) and their morals (which impacts their decision making).

When a minister continually shows poor judgement.  When a minister continues to use poor judgement with his choice of words, sermons, relationships, behavior in the community, behavior in elders’ meeting, etc., this can cause a ministry to end prematurely.  Poor judgement can get a minister into trouble quickly.

Meanwhile, good ministers consistently demonstrate good judgement.  They don’t cause others to cringe when they preach.  They are not regularly pulling surprises on a church like a magician who might suddenly pull a surprise out of his hat.  You can depend on them to handle various situations in a way that is mature.  This congregation knows their minister will handle difficult situations with wisdom and grace.  Their manner reflects they are trying to work with the congregation.

When a minister is constantly looking out for himself instead of serving the congregation. Such a minister is always trying to figure out an advantage for himself.  Many years ago, I knew a minister who approached businesses in the small town where he lived and asked for a discount solely because he was a minister.  I cringed at the thought of going in a store and asking for some sort of favor simply because I preached.  While many of us would never think of of doing this, there are some who expect to be treated as extra special and not subject to the rules because this person is a minister.  When a minister takes certain liberties with the truth, with a church credit card, with an expense account, or with someone else’s wife, he is on dangerous ground.

Meanwhile, the really good ministers serve instead of looking for what they can get from someone. They choose to give to others instead of using others.

There are many good ministers working with congregations.  Many of these people are servants who use good judgment and are trustworthy.  Unfortunately, there are others who may see a ministry come to an end prematurely because they have violated trust, consistently used poor judgement, and were focused on themselves instead of serving.

 

If You Want to Live as an Encourager

(Part 1)

If you want to live as an encourager:

1.  Know that your smile really makes a difference.  God can use you to actually brighten someone’s day through your smile.

 
2.  Know that many people are just one step away from significant life change.  That difference may come as God uses you to encourage.

 
3.  Know that God uses encouragers who are single and married, rich and poor, old and young.  Never assume that God will not use you to significantly encourage someone because you appear to be so different from that person.

 
4.  Know that an encouraging word can make an incredible difference to someone who is discouraged.  Meanwhile, a negative or harsh word can crush another and be remembered for many, many years.

Avoid These 6 Enemies of Marriage

The following are enemies of marriage.  They have a way of chipping away and even poisoning a marriage.  Run from these enemies!

Bitterness

Bitterness has a way of souring most any situation and most any day.  A bitter person can take seemingly innocent remarks and find something devious and sinister.  Bitterness is a poison that can be fatal to a marriage.

Deception.

Withholding information can become a pattern that ultimately destroys a marriage.  Some people put great energy into withholding information about those whom they are texting, what they are saying in private messages on Facebook, and whom they are calling on the phone.

Passivity.

Some husbands and wives will not take the initiative in their marriage.  Children cry while dad sits in his recliner wondering why she doesn’t deal with them.  Meanwhile, she puts more energy into Facebook and commenting on blogs than she does her marriage.  Passivity breeds neglect. Consequently, this marriage may suffer from a lack of intentional action, time, and energy.

Absence of Adoration.

A husband or wife may go to great lengths to do what they want while ignoring their spouse.  For example, a husband can make a lot of effort purchase tickets to the big game.   However, when his wife says that she would like to see a play or musical, he makes little or no effort to respond to her desire.  These spouses communicate to one another that they do not value each other enough to make the effort to give what the other might enjoy.

Constant Criticism.

Some people constantly complain, whine, and gripe about their spouse.  They are silent about what their spouse does that is right while they harp on his/her shortcomings.  A critical spirit can be a joy killer in a marriage.

Repeating Destructive Patterns.

A husband declares that he doesn’t want to be like his dad, either in his marriage or as a dad to his own children. Perhaps a young mother says that she doesn’t want to be like her faultfinding, complaining mother.  Yet, if a person is not intentional about becoming a different kind of spouse or parent, they will often resort to their default in their family of origin.  This person then repeats the same immature and obnoxious behaviors disliked in his/her father or mother.

These are six deadly enemies of marriage.  Anyone who is married and follows Jesus has been called to something higher.  Genuine self-giving love will cause us to avoid these enemies and not go near them.

(repost)