God's Sustaining Presence:
The Hand of God in the Life of Joseph
Oct. 19, 2014~ Pastor Andy Rice
October Memory Verse:
“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” ~ Hebrews 10:25
FROM THE PASTOR:
As we’ve been thinking through the ins and outs of biblical encouragement over the past 3 weeks, I’ve become conscious of many of the reasons why sometimes it’s easier not to be an encouragement to others. As we’ve said before, encouragement may be hard work – but it’s worth it. So I’ve begun to think about a few of the most common barriers to encouragement. I suppose “barriers” is a nice way to put it, because we could probably also call them “excuses.” But if we’re going to work toward intentional encouragement, I think it’s helpful to be aware of and on the lookout for those excuses. Or, in the words of G.I. Joe, “knowing is half the battle.” With that said, here are five common barriers to encouragement…barriers that are worth overcoming:
- It’s not my gift. It’s true that encouragement (also called “exhortation”) would rightly be listed as one of the spiritual gifts God gives his people. In fact, Scripture gives a prime example of one who possessed that gift (Acts 4:36). However, just because there are some who the Holy Spirit has graced with a particular sensitivity to the needs of others, does not get the rest of us off the hook! 1 Thessalonians 5:11 makes that clear when Paul writes, without distinction, that we are to “encourage one another.” In the same way that some may be given a special gift of evangelism does not preclude all Christians from sharing the gospel, so the gift of encouragement does not negate the call for each of us to be an encouragement.
- I don’t have anything (nice) to say. Speaking of spiritual gifts, I’ve long wondered if there are some who have been given the “gift of discouragement” or the “gift of criticism.” Truthfully, I’ve sometimes wondered if I have that gift! All joking aside, it’s often the case that we can more easily find critical things to say than affirmations. But should we be okay with that knee jerk reaction? It seems to me that the only way to move past a default critical spirit is to retrain oneself to look for encouraging things to say. If we take the time to think (and pray!) about it, I’m fairly certain we can find some fruit of the Lord’s work in a person’s life. Over time, the more we look for fruit, the easier it will be to find, and the more we find it, the easier it’ll be to comment on it.
- It’s awkward, especially if you don’t know someone well. It’s true. I’m not questioning the awkwardness of it, but I am suggesting that an awkward moment should not get in the way of we’re called to do. Risk the awkwardness – and endure it if it comes – for the sake of glorifying God and building others up through encouragement. If you obediently respond to the Lord’s prompting to encourage someone else, who knows how the Lord will use it! But if you shy away from it to save 60 seconds of awkwardness, you’ll never know!
- I don’t want to puff people up. Encouragement is not only awkward to give, it’s often awkward to receive. And it’s true, especially when your encouragement takes the form of an affirming word, that it can sometimes go straight to a person’s head. Ultimately, that’s a heart issue between that person and the Lord, but the potential for that danger shouldn’t hinder us from doing what we’re called to do. Further, that reality gives even more credence to the need (as previously discussed) for specific, God-centered encouragement that glorifies God and not the hearer.
- I just don’t have time. When is time not a barrier to something good that we’ve been called to do? It’s a problem for us all. But while encouragement may be hard work, and may require some thoughtful and prayerful consideration, it doesn’t need to take up huge amounts of time. I often drag my feet on writing a card or making a phone call – and somehow those things find their way onto the bottom of my to-do list. But when I do it, I’m reminded of how little time it requires. Really, considering the number of awake hours in a day, how long does it take to write a note, send a text or email, or make a phone call? Some things – especially tangible acts of service – may require more of an investment, but start small! At the risk of redundancy, the time it takes is well worth it!
These are not all of the barriers and excuses we make; I’m sure we could think of plenty more. But my encouragement to you is not to let yourself off the hook with excuses. Let us find ways – numerous and varied – to be used by the Lord for the encouragement of our brothers and sisters.
“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” (Proverbs 25:11)
THIS WEEK AT FATH:
||NO Prayer Meeting Tonight!
Farmers Market pickup
Servant's Heart Food Pantry
||All-Church Work Day
Prayer Group in the Prayer Room
Fall Fellowship Dinner
PRAYER MEETING: Cancelled for Tonight!
Our weekly prayer gathering on Wednesday nights is cancelled for tonight. We'll resume next week! Please feel free to join us in studying Scripture and in praying for the needs of our church family. There is also a group gathering for prayer each Sunday before the service at 9:30am.
SHARING A MEAL:
From time to time there are brothers and sisters in our church family who would be greatly encouraged or helped by a prepared meal. Many of you often take initiative on your own to prepare and drop off a meal to someone in their time of need, and for that we are most grateful! But we also know that at times there are needs that are unknown. For that reason, we're putting together a list of people who would like to be contacted when a need for a meal arises. Being included on this list does not obligate you to provide a meal, but it gives us the opportunity to share these needs with those who are able and willing to help. So if you are one who would like to notified when we learn of people who would benefit from having a meal prepared and delivered, please reply to this email and let us know!
ALL-CHURCH WORK DAY: This Saturday!
This Saturday, October 25, we'll be having a work day here at the church. There's a lot to do to keep up with an aging building and a lot of little projects that are a great opportunity for others to lend a hand. So we'd like to invite any and all to join us Saturday, October 25 anytime between 9am and 12pm (or however long you want to stay). We'll provide donuts and coffee in the morning, and if anyone is eager enough to stay through lunch than we'll buy you that too! We've got a growing list of small projects - anything from painting to cleaning to organizing! There will be something for everyone! Please consider giving us a couple of hours to be good stewards of the building God has given us.
OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD: Collection continues!
Each Sunday we'll be collecting items to be packed in Operation Christmas Child
hoeboxes. Once again we're collecting early so as to be well prepared for our Annual OCC Carnival Night in November! In the months of October and November we're collecting boys toys:
small cars, balls, dolls, stuffed animals, kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, jump ropes, small Etch A Sketch®, toys that light up or make noise (with extra batteries), Slinky®, etc. [no war-related items]; and Girls toys:
dolls, stuffed animals, kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, jump ropes, etc. It's also not too late to contribute school supplies and hygiene items! Your donations can be left in the box at the back of the sanctuary. Alternatively
, if you're not able to purchase items for boxes but would still like to help, you can contribute financially and we will use the funds to purchase the items we need. If you'd like to do this, please speak to Pastor Andy. Thank you in advance for supporting this unique missions opportunity.
JUICE COLLECTION: Continues through November 9!
Thanksgiving is fast approaching and with that so is an increase in the the number of families we serve through the ministry of the Food Pantry. Coinciding with the Thanksgiving holiday we try to give out more food during that time as well. In light of that, we need your help! Between now and Sunday, November 9, we as a church need to collect bottles of apple and cranberry juice...but we're going to turn this into a bit of a competition. Here's how it will work: If your last name starts with letters A-K, you are collecting APPLE juice; if your last name starts with L-Z, you are collecting CRANBERRY juice. Since we need to collect 60 bottles of each, the first team (either A-K or L-Z) to reach 60 bottles of juice wins! The prize for the winning team (or the consequence for the losing team!) will be connected to our annual Christmas party. The point is to have a little fun all while helping our food pantry - so start collecting!
Word of Life "Reverb": Nov. 7th
Reverb (formally Superbowl) will be taking place November 7th and 8th for students grade 6 through 12 in Springfield MA. Reverb is an all night event in which students watch a hockey game, hear a gospel message, play games and go bowling into the wee hours of the morning. Any student interested please speak with Pastor Joshua. The cost for this event is $30 and should be in no later than October 26.
Our ministry to moms that began a year and a half ago, called Moms Together
, is changing shape. Instead of weekly gatherings here at our church building our moms will be joining up with the moms of Seven Mile Road
, a gospel-believing church right up the road from us. In addition to that joint weekly gathering there will be other opportunities for the moms of our church to be encouraged together. Stay tuned for details!
SAVE THE DATE
Fall Work Day: Saturday, October 25
Fall Fellowship Dinner: Sunday, October 26
Annual OCC Carnival Night: November 15
OCC Collection Week: November 17-24
Christmas Decorating: November 23 (4:00pm)
Melrose Home for the Holidays: December 6
Church Family Christmas Party: TBA
Christmas Eve Service: December 24, 5:30pm
Interested in a copy of the message from Sunday? Email the church office at email@example.com and we will see that you get a copy. Past sermons are available at www.faithchurchac.org/sermons.
God's Sustaining Presence:
The Hand of God in the Life of Joseph
Oct. 19, 2014~ Pastor Andy Rice