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Encouraging Encouragement
by Tom Goodman
August 13, 2014

His parents called him Joseph, but his friends had another name for him.


The nickname means "Son of Encouragement."  People looked at Joseph and said, "If Encouragement itself had a son, Joseph's a chip off the old block!"  Every time we meet him in the pages of Scripture, he's cheering someone on.

We are commanded to "build one another up" (1 Thessalonians 5:11), "spur one another on" (Hebrews 10:24), "encourage the fainthearted" (1 Thessalonians 5:14), and to do so "daily" (Hebrews 13:3).

So what does it take to be a Barnabas?

First, seek out new or unconnected church members.  Barnabas did this in Acts 9:26-27 When Paul quit persecuting the believers and joined them instead, the other believers were slow to receive him.  It was Barnabas who took him in.  When was the last Sunday you stepped outside the tight circle of those you already know at Hillcrest to befriend someone new?

Second, offer special attention to new believers.  Barnabas did this in Acts 11:22-23 People today are coming to Christ with little church background or knowledge of the Bible.  Do you look for ways to cheer them on?

Third, encourage Christian workers to keep going.  Barnabas did this in Acts 11:23 Not only did he build up the new believers in Antioch, but he strengthened the Christians who had led them to the Lord.  When was the last time you thanked someone for serving at Hillcrest?

Fourth, employ uninvolved kingdom citizens.  Barnabas did this in Acts 11:25-26 When he looked at the new Christians in Antioch, he said, "I need someone to help me -- and I know just the person!"  He traveled to Tarsus to get Paul, and he introduced him to what would become Paul's lifelong ministry to Gentiles.  Do you bring out the full potential of those you know?

Fifth, encourage those who need a new opportunity after failure.  Barnabas did this in Acts 15:36-41 John Mark, an immature young man, had deserted Paul and Barnabas in the middle of their first missionary journey.  As they planned their second trip, Barnabas wanted to give the young man a second chance.  How quickly do you give up on people?

If you're grateful for those who have encouraged you, learn to be a Barnabas to others!  This Sunday, August 17, we'll dig a little deeper into these five challenging qualities of Barnabas.  Join us @ 10!


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