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Encourage - What We Build In

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In 1 Thessalonians 5:11, the Bible calls for us to encourage and build one another up. "Build up" is about supporting someone. It's about where you put them and who you put around them. Encourage is about what we "build in" to one another. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 Paul issues these commands in the context of living in the last days . These are dangerous, distracting, and discouraging times. The command to "encourage" assumes that along the way, we lose courage. Our passion begins to wane. Our commitment falters. Our faith can be fickle. We are on somewhere on the scale between excitement and exhaustion. God's people usually start with great excitement but find that serving the Lord is exhausting.  Pastor Rick Warren  lists four common causes of discouragement . Fatigue  - While a tired body can weaken your immune system and make you susceptible to infection, it can also ma

A Fight With Your Friends

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I've fought my best friends. I think that's true of every little boy. No matter how good of friends you are, there comes a day when a hard foul on the basketball court turns into a brawl. Or your buddy said that his dad could take your dad one too many times. That's what boys do. We brawl. And then we're best friends. Those pushes and shoves come naturally. The subsequent apologies are important. Those bonds last forever. You know that those boys who fought with you will also fight for you for the rest of your life. As adults, it's not about fistfights, but hard conversations. Disagreements arise. Challenges are levied. Accountability isn't easy. It's irritating but life-changing. Hebrews 10:24 describes it like this: And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works. Heb. 10:24 The word translated "stir up" is a word that is also translated in Acts 15:39 as "sharp disagreement." We might describe it as "to irrita

Aim at Restoration

Several years ago, I attended a leadership retreat where we got an opportunity to spend a few days with Army Special Forces Green Berets. One of the demonstrations was of a team sniper shot. With a sniper team, one soldier handles the weapon while the other calls the shot. The soldier with the firearm is locked and loaded. With his finger on the trigger, he aims at the target downrange. The other soldier makes calculations and adjustments. He uses a high powered scope to observe blades of grass blowing in the breeze or maybe how a piece of clothing hangs on a distant line. He's calculating distance, caliber, wind direction, and speed. It's a work of making constant adjustments. Finally, the sighting soldier gives clearance for the shot. And with the pull of a trigger, the target, hundreds of yards away, falls. 2 Corinthians is the final letter in a sometimes tense exchange between the Apostle Paul and a struggling church in the risque city of Corinth. In these letters, Paul con