En"Courage" - April 23, 2023
Kevin Peck (00:00):
If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you’re a teacher, teach well, if your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously.
Hannah Hunter (00:16):
Hey, beautiful people. Welcome back to Sundays with a gathering. I’m Hannah Hunter, the director of reach at The Gathering Place in Palm Beach Gardens. This week, brother Kevin Peck brings us a message on the importance and expression of encouragement in our lives and our relationships.
Kevin Peck (00:32):
Good Morning Church.
Third story of a Methodist pastor who was being sent to a different church. And at his farewell dinner, there was one member who looked very sad, so he walked over to the member and he said, what’s going on? Why are you so sad? He said, they’re gonna send a better pastor. He said, that’s what they always say, and it keeps getting worse, <laugh>. But I wanna assure you that Pastor Mike is coming back. <laugh> today is gonna be an interactive message, so I’m gonna ask you to participate with me. I want you to close your eyes for a minute and listen to these words, words like uplift, inspire, motivate, and cheer. And then I want you to open your eyes and hear these words, dishearten, demoralize, and dump in. Now, if you just, just, let’s sit on that for a minute. The first set of words are synonyms of the word and courage. And the second set of words are the synonyms of the word discourage. That’s the message for today. Day off, enjoy the rest of your day. [inaudible]
Pray with me please, father God, open our hearts in tune our ears. Let me decrease. And you increase. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight. I title this message, the courage to be an encourager. The courage to be an encourager. You see, encouragement is good, but you have to have the courage to be an encourager. Of course, we’re, and we’re gonna examine few verses in the Bible. We’re going, and then I’m going to tell you my personal story, and then I’m gonna tell you why it’s important to be an encourager. So our message is gonna be in three parts. Our first Bible verse is taken from Romans chapter 12. And we’re gonna read from verses six through to verse eight, Romans 12, verse six through to eight. In His grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.
So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you’re a teacher, teach well, if your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness, forgive for showing kindness to others. Do it gladly. Our next Bible verse that we’re gonna look at is Acts chapter 11, verse 22 to 24. Acts 11, 22 to 24, when the church at Jerusalem heard what had happened, they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw this evidence of God’s blessing, he was filled with the joy and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord. Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people there were brought to the Lord.
You see, Barnabas was called encourager. It was nicknamed encourager. And as most of us know, name in the Bible means a lot, right? We know Sarah was changed from Sarah to Sarah Abraham, from Abraham to Abraham, even our Lord and Savior. Emmanuel Gotti is with us. Name means something. And when I was doing this research, I did not know that Barnabas right name is Joseph, but he was nicknamed encourager. How many of us would want to have that nickname? You know, growing up, if you were given a nickname, it was an embarrassment. And kids would pick on. You can’t imagine he growing up and everyone say, he’s the encourager. He’s the encourager, he’s the encourager. Who knows? He might have been very, as we would say, bullied, right? Probably was bullied for his nickname. But he was nicknamed encourager, meaning that he was given a task.
He was blessed with that spiritual gift that we just talked about. Later on. We are going to in Ax you later on Acts chapter 15. And I’m gonna encourage you to read this on your own. Acts chapter 15, in specifically verse 36 to 40, you will see that Barnabas and Paul, they went, you know, and of course again, Paul name was, what was Paul’s name before it was changed. Saul, right? The persecutor of Christians, right? Or you know, we might say he was passionate, right? Passionate about persecuting Christians. The name was change. So they had done some preaching, started some church, and they, they wanted to go back and visit to see how the church was doing all these new Christians, how they were living, right? But Paul, because of his, you know, the young people would say, had a hot head, right? Or he was passionate because of his temperament.
He did not want to take John Mark along the journey. But here comes Barnabas. And Barnabas said, you know, there was some conflict between John Mark and, and, and Paul. But Barnabas the encourager, Barnabas the encourager, took John Mark along and said, okay, we’re gonna go, you’re gonna go. We still gonna do God’s work, but I’m gonna take John Mark with you and you can go and we’ll probably meet up again. And John, mark end up writing the gospel of Mark. If Barnabas was not the encourager that he was, then we would not have had the gospel of Mark. So sometimes as an encourager, you’re not only, you’re not only encouraging, you know, by G inspiring somebody else, but also you have to be that gap, that divide, right? That bring two groups that might not see eye to eye, as we would say, right?
That’s important. Barnabas was that he bridged that gap between John, mark and Paul. And we have the gospel of Mark. And then my personal story, everyone have a story. Trust me, when I was growing up, you know, I always like to hear inspiring stories, you know, always does something inside of me. Always make me feel good. When I hear stories as, you know, inspiring, like to collect inspiring quotes. But I ne I was, I was a very timid child. And as I was preparing for this sermon, I realized how timid I was. You’d probably say probably even a little nerdish. And you might wonder, I don’t believe this. This guy’s up here talking today. You know, and I talk so much, I talk some of your ears off all the time. How could I be a timid child? But I was, I was a timid.
And in 2009 I went on a men’s retreat with United U M C P B men’s group, and they did a spiritual test, right? Spiritual gift test. I’m like, what is this? I did it anyway, and my results came back. I’m an exhorter. Wow. Fancy word. Oh, what’s, what’s this? I’m gonna have to look this up when I get home. Luckily the pastor at the time explained it means to encourage, right? To give hope. I’m like, okay, interesting. But here comes a question. How are you going? He, he wanted all of us to think about how are you going to use your spiritual gift? No, A kid grew up timid, right? Knows that there’s something in there. How am I going to use this spiritual gift that I just found out that I have? And then came the opportunity to volunteer, coached soccer for the city of West Palm Beach when Jamila was playing there, okay?
And they wanted a parent coach, okay, fine, signed up. I know the game, I like the game, I can play it. But as I started to coach, something started to happen. Kids started to, you know, I started, started talking to parents, kids starting to learn the game. I start to realize the growth, right? And how, you know, how the nurturing, some kids come very shy, wouldn’t touch the ball after seven, eight weeks. Now they’re playing. I’m like, yeah, there’s something there. There’s something there. And so I start to realize that I can use this gift, right? I can use this gift. If I can use this gift to, to, to help kids, probably I can use this gift, you know, all throughout my life. So I started to, you know, work on it and opportunities come in my way. And I started to, you know, always look, you know, opportunities, encourage people, whatever.
Because whether you believe it or not, our world is filled with a lot of hopelessness. A lot of hopelessness. And I’ll talk more about that as we get a little further. So the, the, the funny thing though is that as an encourager, you need also to be encouraged. Every encourager needs to be encouraged. So we’re gonna, we’re gonna look into how, if you don’t have that spiritual gift, right, how do you get that spiritual gift? Because I think as a Christian, as a, as a child of God, we have a hope. We have a hope. That might not be your primary spiritual, but you have a hope that you must take that hope. You have to give that hope and that beacon of light to someone else. It brings us to, to the next part of our service, to the next part of our, of, of this message.
But let me just, one more thing on my personal story I wanna share. Can’t forget this. So while I was coaching, there was a parent just moved there from Maryland, and, you know, he wanted to include his son. He was like five and, you know, coaching and, you know, had conversations. And he came to me and he said, do you do private lessons? And I’m like, no, I don’t. I, you know, I never thought about it. And he’s like, you should. And then, you know, I’m like, no, I don’t wanna do it. And he’s like, Nope, you’re gonna coach my son. And I, so I started to coach his son and he was, you know, he had, he had the talent, but he was just not wanting to play. He would complain about the heat. Every practice, you know, he would, he would complain about the heat, would’ve to cut practice short every, I think his dad probably bought a new pair of cleats, every practice, cuz he’s, oh, it’s hurting that in my toe. He just never wanted moved on. This child is now playing travel soccer for the city of Wellington. And even though I lost a student, I am so encouraged to know that I was able to use my gift to encourage. And now he plays soccer all the time. So you, you never know what opportunities are gonna come to you to be an encourager.
Also to be encouraged. I invited one of my friends here who’s, who encourages me. And also, I, I just want to tell you before I even get to that, how this congregation has encouraged me. Recently I lost, I had a lot of loss in my family. Had a cousin, had an uncle Jamila’s uncle died violently, you know, just one thing after the other. And this congregation has been there, priors, text messages, anything I can do for you. And sometimes you don’t know the influence that you have. I’m just trying to, to, to, to, to, to let you guys know how important it is to, to to be an encourager. Just to, to to think about how you can influence somebody else. How you can be that Barnabas on this journey. We called Christianity.
And I invited Ashley here today because you see, I’m not a very good listener. Some of you probably don’t know that I’m not a very good listener. It’s one of my weaknesses. But if I ever pick up the phone and call Ashley, she’s such a good listener, she listens and don’t say a word. I’ve never told her this very good listener. And we did a, an emotional study on how to be good listener. I’m still working on that. So sometimes as an encourager, all you need to do is listen. All you need to do is listen to be an encourager, something. You don’t have to say a word now, it’s your time. Are you ready? How can you be an encourager? So we talk about spiritual gifts. Not all of us have encouragement as our spiritual gift, but I am of the belief that as, as a Christian, as a person, as I said earlier, who have that hope in Jesus Christ, you have a charge, a responsibility to be an encourager.
How do, how do you be an how can you be an encourager one? You have to pray and ask God for those opportunities. Cuz those opportunities are gonna come at the grocery store, at work, at the gym, all the places that you visit, you hear conversations. Sometimes there’s somebody they will just want to talk. Have you ever gone to the grocery store and strike up a conversation with someone and be surprised what the conversation, what you’ve learned about the person and how you, you, you’ve probably changed your life forever. Look for those opportunities, look for those opportunities. And when you get those opportunities, don’t take them lightly. Walk away knowing that God has planted a seed. You know, the funny thing about seed is farmer, they say farmers have the most faith because they plant the seed, they walk away and they never, they just let God do the work. We can be like farmers, plant that seed of encouragement and let God do the work. If a country timid boy like me can discover a spiritual gift and be an encourager, so can you. God bless.
Hannah Hunter (16:32):
Hey beautiful people. This is Hannah Hunter. I’m the director of Reach here at the Gathering Place in Palm Beach Gardens. Thank you for joining us this week. We love getting to share our journey in Christ and community with you. And if you’re in the Palm Beach area, we’d love to get to connect with you in person at our Sunday worship service at 1115. For more information about our community in faith, check out our website at the gathering place fl org. Thanks for listening.