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A Word of Encouragement

socialmedia@cityrise.org January 19, 2021 Devotionals, sermons, Chris DeArman, cityrise, Crosspoint Church - Bellaire, houston, houston texas, sermon, West U Baptist,

Each week we will be sharing a post from a staff member in response to the most recent sermon in our “Good News” series. Click to watch or listen to the sermon shared by Senior Pastor Roger Patterson on January 17, 2021.

There’s something that I can never get enough of in my life. At times I find myself bored with a routine. At other times I find myself tired of the same restaurant or type of food. There are even times I find myself needing a change from my normal route to work. But there is one thing I never get tired of in my life. Here it is: encouragement.
Pastor Roger spoke from Romans 1:8-15 this past week on the subject of encouragement. He pointed out Paul’s intentional encouragement to the followers of Jesus in Rome. Pastor Roger showed us in these verses a few specific ways Paul encouraged others:
  1. He affirms their impact
  2. He Prays for Them
  3. He longed to be present with them Face to Face.
In listening to the message this week God had an incredibly timely word for me. I’ve always known that encouragement is powerful. But a light came on for me this week to help me to see that Encouragement isn’t only powerful; it’s essential.
We live in a world full of discouragement. Turn on the news. Listen to conversations. Jump online and pull up any Social Media platform. We are bombarded with negativity and discouragement around every corner.
With that in mind, Paul lived in a world much like ours, even if it was a few thousand years ago, a world in desperate need for encouragement and hope. Paul shows us in these verses the essential nature of the undeniable need for encouragement. What was powerful to me is that Paul affirmed these followers of Jesus FIRST. He says to these Roman Christians, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.” (Romans 1:8) 
Pastor Roger asked this question to us: “What if we started with affirmation?” What if in our families, in our marriages, in our parenting, grand parenting, in our social media posts, in our work, in our leadership we simply started with affirming others. What could happen in our world if we led with, “Hey, I just wanted to let you know I see Jesus in you?” Or, “I want to let you know that I’m grateful for you and how you _____.” 
Winnie Harlowe is right when she says, “It’s amazing what a little encouragement can do.”
John Maxwell says, “A word of encouragement from a teacher to a child can change a life. A word of encouragement from a spouse can save a marriage. A word of encouragement from a leader can inspire a person to reach her potential.”
For believers in Jesus, encouragement should be a trademark. It should differentiate us from the world, cause a certain curiosity about our lives. When we interact with people inside our homes and workplaces and communities there should be this sense of, “I am glad I was able to interact with him/her today.”
So for me, this week, and hopefully beyond this week, I am looking to “start with affirmation and encouragement.” I am going to write a few handwritten notes like Paul did, and maybe slip a Starbucks Card in there too with the goal of lifting and strengthening.  Will you join me this week? Who can you write?

Chris DeArman is the Campus Pastor for Crosspoint Church – Bellaire where he focuses on helping those in that community form meaningful relationships with Jesus and each other. Chris lives in Bellaire with his wife, Sonya, and their three daughters.