All the More
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There was a lot going on on the front end of this week. On Sunday, we celebrated the Worley family with a five year anniversary surprise to honor and show our love and gratitude to Kyle, Lauren, and Lydia. After that, Kyle surprised the rest of us, given the subtle laughter and faint gasp that came out, when he explained how we were about to walk through 30 attributes of Christ-like care. All in one sermon no less.

On Monday, we were able to welcome our dear sister Antonea back from her sabbatical. After a number of weeks away, our staff team was looking forward to her return and to hearing what she’s been up to while she’s been away. We all gathered around some couches and chairs and spent some time catching up, drinking coffee, telling stories, and thanking God for times of rest and hard work. Next time you see her - be sure to welcome her back!

Now I’m not sure which of our list of 30 hit you the hardest – but number 12 did it for me.

Christ-like care requires encouragement.

Pastor Kyle read Hebrews 10:24-25 in connection to this attribute, which says this: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

It is the “and all the more” part of this verse that really stands out to me. There are many things I think I need to be doing “all the more” but I’m not sure encouraging others really gets close to the top of the list.

It really shouldn’t be this way. I remember back to my social media glory days in high school. Back then I had a Twitter and whatever else was out there at the time. These days most of the tweets I see come my way through screenshots friends send me. But there is this one tweet from Dane Ortlund, a pastor up in Illinois, that came to my mind when Pastor Kyle was talking about Hebrews 10. He said that most people walk through life encouragement starved.

Starved is such a strong word. I know because I remember my parents cramming it into my head growing up when I would quite regularly tell them just how starved I was only a few hours after breakfast. But starved - starved from encouragement - is something many can relate to, and thankfully, God has provided us with just what we need in His Son. In Christ, we find all the nourishment we need. In Christ’s life and death, in His resurrection and reign there is reason to be encouraged and reason to be in the regular practice of finding ways to encourage one another.

But here’s the question for us – do we use our words to inject life and light into one another? Or are we missing out on and passing up opportunities to encourage others?

If so, consider once again how Jesus – by His own death for our sins and resurrection bringing us life – has injected into us every ounce of grace, motivation, and power to be a people and place of encouragement.

A place where we have more than just a strategy that lends toward encouragement, but one that is fueled by the Spirit to be a culture that seeks to uplift, to refresh, to speak life and courage into one another so that we might continue to work and worship as we await the coming Day as His sanctified bride.

The ministry of encouragement is a supernatural one, and one we can’t neglect. People all around us are in need of the words of life, and we have the ability to be the conduit to share just that. In our effort to see God continue to shape us into a caring church, would we not pass over the Christ-like need and requirement to encourage one another, for without this practice, our care will be lacking in what Christ has for us. Christ has encouragement for us – for you, and that encouragement is also meant to flow through us in so many different ways. I hope you can identify and put into practice some of those this week with the people in your life.