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Heroes: Those who Encourage!

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Dear Friends,
I trust you are doing well and looking forward to Sunday.
This past week for our men’s Tuesday morning Bible Study we were talking about heroes. Heroes from the Bible and also from our experiences of life. I asked the men the following questions:
Is there a danger in having heroes?
What should you look for in a hero?
What do you do when they fail?
Who are/were some of your heroes? What made them so appealing? What did you most admire in them?
The question was rightly turned on me as I was asked, “Whom do you admire in scripture?” I have many heroes, but I responded; Daniel.  However, upon reflection, I wished I had said, Barnabas.  Because of this Sunday’s sermon, I’ve been looking at his life and the role he played in the church at Antioch.  What I admire most about him is he is always living up to his name (son of Encouragement). Barnabas is always encouraging people. As you follow him throughout Acts, you see a man who is quick to trust, forgive, and encourage those around him (Acts 9:26-27; 11:2-26; 15:36-31). Barabbas was a generous, caring, humble man who looked around to see whom he may serve. Paul the Apostle was one of them when he was yet known as Saul. John Mark caught the eye of Barnabas when he definitely needed encouragement. No doubt there were many others who are unnamed as well. He was known for his encouragement.
Here’s something I’ve learned: Every person needs encouragement. They may not ask for it, and, if you ask them, may not “need” it; however, every individual can occasionally use encouragement. Some more than others! 
Consider:
The burdened person with an unspoken prayer request.
The confused person waiting for a medical test to explain something unknown.
The heartbroken person who saw the disturbing history on a spouse’s computer.
The concerned parent or grandparent over a child who is struggling and wandering from God.
The person anxious over a financial burden.
The fearful person over a job change.
The overwhelmed person with a life-changing decision to make.
The lonely person thinking there is no one to talk to.
The sad person convinced no one cares.
The teetering person wondering whether following Christ is worth it.
The discouraged person struggling to see God’s care in a particular situation.
The downcast person who feels like they have no more energy to keep going.
The dismayed person who may be contemplating ending it all. 
As you come to church, work on the job or interact with family, you may encounter one or more of these people. People who suffer silently.  Be ready to give a word of kindness and an ear of compassion. Seek to be the person who provides a cup of cold water on a hot day. Strive to be that person whom God uses to help refresh the souls of those who need it.
How can you be that person?
Begin with the use of your eyes and facial expressions. Look for people and consider who they are, what you know about them, and how you might even pray for them in that moment. Seek to smile as you look them in the eyes. Soften your expression so that they see the smile on your inner man as well as your outer man. Your presence in that moment may encourage them.
Encourage others with your ears. Give them some kind of greeting that encourages a response and then listen. When they are talking to you, try not to interrupt. Listen to what they tell you and look for ways to provide and demonstrate compassion. Let them know of your concern, care, and willingness to help.
Additionally, use your mouth with words to encourage others. Tell them you will pray and then be sure and do it. Follow that up this coming week with a phone call or note of encouragement.
Finally, use your hands and engage in a tangible way of helping them through their difficulty.
We need encouragers. Let other know that you love them, want to care for them, and desire to serve them.
See you this Sunday in person or online.
In the light of His glory and grace,
Pastor Doug