Christian encouragement is a command. But like the command to evangelize, we often find it awkward to employ in everyday life. It doesn’t have to be awkward, though. Like any other skill, we get better at it with practice.
The Village Blog
If you lived in America in the ‘60s, would you have marched with Martin Luther King? If you lived in Germany in the ‘40s, would you have stood up to the Nazi regime and demanded the liberation of the Jews?
I was a tomboy until about the time I started middle school. My brother is two and half years older than me and, from an early age, I wanted to be exactly like him. We rode our bikes through the neighborhood and went exploring in the woods behind our house and built forts out of pillows where we would hide and plan the next day’s adventures.
It’s hard to be a parent, especially when there is an exuberant chorus of voices weighing in on how to parent “the right way.” We sometimes feel judged by the words of others, rather than seeing them as a reference point to consider in light of our unique family dynamic.
I grew up in the Bible Belt where, by mid-elementary, most of the kids in my peer group could point proudly to a note written in the front of their Bibles announcing the exact date they Got Saved. At junior high youth rallies, the Rededications began, along with a smattering of I-Thought-I-Was-Saved-But-I-Really-Wasn’t (scribble over that first date and write in the new one).
Posted at the edge of town, where all could see, the sign read, “Whites only within city limits after dark.” It designated, beyond doubt, that you had entered a sundown town.
It’s hard to believe that we are nearly three months into a new year, another January season of prayer behind us and now a few sermons into our study of James. It’s such a healthy habit to begin each year in prayer together, asking God to align our hearts with His and to make us mindful of particular ways we can continue to be a community of “salt and light” in our unique time and place.
By the time I married, I was 34 years old with seven years of pastoral ministry experience. In many ways, this experience prepared me for marital disaster. I’ve seen the tragic effects of adultery, addictions, abuse, anger and apathy. I’ve heard stories revealing the worst of the worst.