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blogging & encouragement

By Mark | March 17, 2015

We’ve entered a great season as a church. The staff are amazing and the church is leading and serving more than ever, all of which gives me a chance to do my role better (teaching and preaching, vision, developing leaders and staff, etc.,) part of which is getting to study and write more. This will take different forms in the coming months and years (I’m still working away at a published version of Skeptics Forum to be published either soon or sometime before Jesus comes back, and there are a few other ideas I’m excited to publish at some point as well).

For now it will be this format – blogging, here, as regularly as I can which I’m excited about.It will consist of reflections on God, life, leadership, art (mostly films), theology, books, family-life, and whatever else comes to mind. Hopefully the blog pieces will be interesting and helpful and you’ll join me!

I thought I’d kick off this new emphasis with thoughts on encouragement.

Recently Timothy Keller was doing a Twitter thing where people ask him questions and and he answers on Twitter. One of the questions was “what is one thing neglected in gospel-centered ministries across North America that needs to be added?” Keller’s response was one word: encouragement.

I agree. We are good at criticism. At straw-men. At defining ourselves against.
The Bible says people defined by this kind of life “sit in the seat of scoffers” (Psalm 1:1) and that ultimately it’s because they have no delight in the Lord (v.2).

Don’t surround yourself with negative, critical or hopeless people. Leaders are hopeful. Leaders dwell on, and draw a picture of, not present dysfunction but a preferred future.

More than that though, embrace and walk into the call to encourage people.
Paul writes to his friends in Thessalonica: “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thess. 5:11). There is power here. Encouragement is life giving.

During the day, text people, tell them specific things you appreciate about them. Name them on social media and tell others how they have blessed and shaped you. Celebrate their gifts, passions and place in the world. We have no idea the power this stuff holds when the world goes dark for people.

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