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Andrew and Barnabas and You and Me
by Tom Goodman
March 4, 2011

There are times we need to be an Andrew, and there are times when we need to be a Barnabas.  Herb Ingram has challenged every Sunday School leader and Common Ground host to be a "Barnabas" as we go into this weekend.

How?  All the leaders of our Bible study groups should contact their class roll and get every member in attendance this Sunday, March 6.  The Lord's Supper will be served, we'll welcome Steve Cloud on his first Sunday to our leadership team, and I'll challenge all of us as leaders to four re-commitments.

Andrew reminds me that I need to reach out and enlist new people to discover the riches of worship and Bible study at Hillcrest.  Barnabas reminds me that I need to reach in to the lives of those already connected and encourage them to stay connected.

I follow Andrew's example when I practice the INVITE Strategy.  I follow Barnabas' example when I call the members of my Bible study group to make sure they stay involved with us.

You remember Andrew and Barnabas from their stories in the Bible, right?

Andrew was the first disciple Jesus called to follow him, and the first thing Andrew did was tell someone else.  Andrew's reaction to finding the Messiah can be found in John 1:41-42.  The opening phrase nearly jumps off the page:  "The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, 'We have found the Messiah.'...  And he brought him to Jesus."

The first recruit became the first witness; the first disciple became the first missionary; the first evangelized became the first evangelist; the first harvested became the first harvester.  And from then on, when we see him as the initiator of action, the action is one of introducing people to the Lord.  In John 6, we see that in the feeding of the 5000, it was Andrew who found the little boy with five barley loaves and two fish and brought him to Jesus.  Moving from John 6 to John 12, some Greeks were in Jerusalem for the Jewish feasts, and these men asked, "We would like to see Jesus."  And it was Andrew who suggested that he and Philip bring them to Jesus.

There are times to follow Andrew's example and reach out to those who are not connected to a Forever Family.  Then there are times to follow Barnabas' example and reach in to the lives of those already connected to encourage them along.

As you can see from the first appearance of the man in Acts 4:36, "Barnabas" was not a name given to him by his parents.  His parents called him "Joseph."  No, it was the apostles who nicknamed him "Barnabas" after observing his actions.  You see, the name Barnabas means "Son of Encouragement."  Haven't you ever heard someone say of a boy, "He's just a miniature version of his father,"  "He has his father's temper,"  "He has his father's receding hairline."  To call Joseph "Barnabas," was like saying, "If Encouragement itself was embodied in a man, and that man had a son, Joseph would be that son" -- he walks and talks as if he had been fathered by the very embodiment of Encouragement."

And everywhere the man appears in the book of Acts, he's being a Barnabas.  In one place he's welcoming a man into the church that every one else was ignoring (9:26-27), in another place he's encouraging new Christians in Antioch (11:22-23), in yet another place he's helping a man find his place of service in the kingdom of God (11:25-26), and finally we see him giving another man a new opportunity after failure (15:36).

You've received plenty of challenges from Herb and me to be an Andrew and reach out to those without a church family.  I join Herb in challenging you to be a Barnabas and reach in to your Bible study group.  Encourage those who have connected with your group to show up this Sunday, March 6!


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