Who Left the Sticky Notes?

I was encouraged this morning.  I had to arrive at the church early to get our old van ready for BridgeWay Church to use for a mission trip.  And it was a typical Monday morning…does anyone like Mondays?  It was gloomy and I wasn’t feeling all that motivated, but then I walked into the building and there are all these sticky notes…sticky notes all over…with words of encouragement.  How cool is that!?  And to top it off: encouragement is exactly what we are going to be looking at in Hebrews this coming week.

So what is Biblical encouragement?  Well, the sticky note people (so we’ll call them) are on to something!  Biblical encouragement isn’t focused on complementing someone’s haircut or telling them how good their homemade salsa tastes. That kind of encouragement is important, but the encouragement the Scriptures refer to is explicitly Christian encouragement.

Encouragement is shared with the hopes that it will lift someone’s heart toward the Lord. It points out evidences of grace in another’s life to help them see that God is using them. It points a person to God’s promises that assures them that all they face is under his control.

The New Testament reveals that encouragement was a regular part of the early church’s life together.  They shared Scripture-saturated words with each other to spur one another on in faith, hope, unity, joy, strength, fruitfulness, faithfulness, perseverance, and the certainty of Christ’s return.  Encouragement was and is an essential way of extending grace to each other.

So, there isn’t only one “right way” to encourage each other, but here are a few ideas to help you get started this week…
1. Pray for God to make you an encourager. Ask him to give you a heart that loves others and creativity to know how to show it. Ask him to help you die to self-centeredness and grow in a desire to build others up.

2. Study Barnabas and ask God to make you like him. Barnabas was nicknamed the “son of encouragement” by the early church. He was the kind of guy you wanted to have around as you were serving the Lord. He wasn’t just a spiritual cheerleader, but he was a man of great conviction who wanted to see the church flourish and did all he could to make it happen.

3. Make encouragement a daily discipline. For some of us encouragement comes naturally, for others, not so much. Make a reminder in your calendar each day to send someone an encouraging note, email, text, or phone call.

4. Pray for God to show you who to encourage. Ask God to bring someone to mind that you should reach out to.

5. Use Scripture. Nothing encourages us like promises from God’s Word. Make a list of Scriptures that God has used to bless you personally and share those with others.

6. Be specific in what you say. Those sticky notes were very specific in the areas that they were posted and showed me that they had thought about what and who the encouragement was written to.

7. Pray that God would create a culture of encouragement in your church. Ask God to make your church a community that loves each other in specific, tangible ways like encouragement.

8. Get started. Who can you encourage right now? Who has blessed you recently that you can thank? What verse can you share with them? How might God use it?

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