An Alternative Culture: Learning to BEG (Part II)

– By Ron Simkins

In last week’s blog post, I was encouraging us to become a “community of beggars” and to be humble enough to “beg” as individuals—Build others up, Encourage others, and Grace others.  It seems clear to me that learning to do this is one of the most important ways we can be Jesus’ alternative community in a polarized world that is filled with “justified hate” and an almost thoughtless “degrading of others.”

In the previous post, I looked at the “build” part of this challenge.  Now a quick glance at the other two aspects of being a community of beggars: Encouraging and Gracing others.

To BEG—E is for Encourage

Supporting texts (two of many):

1 Thessalonians 2:11-12—For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.

1 Thessalonians 5:10-11)—Jesus the Messiah died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Can you imagine if every time you walked into the New Covenant Fellowship building, every time you walked into work, every time you walked into your house, every time you turned on your TV or Internet—everyone was trying encourage everyone else to know how valuable they are and to become all God made them to be? We are called to witness to tastes of this COMING Society of Jesus NOW!  Not just by saying it, but by allowing Jesus to empower us to do it!

A story about being encouraged

When I asked for a personal story during a recent teaching, M. told about how he was encouraged by someone at NCF after feeling very discouraged—a public newspaper article had degraded him, and someone from our fellowship picked up the phone to call him and say “That must have really hurt. I wanted you to know I am thinking of you and hurting with you.”

To BEG—G is for Grace

A supporting text (one of many):

Colossians 4:5-6—Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Can you imagine if every time you walked into this building, every time you walked into work, every time you walked into your house, every time you turned on your TV or Internet, everyone was trying to be gracious because God is gracious to us? We are called to witness to tastes of this COMING Society of Jesus NOW!  Not just by saying it, but by allowing Jesus to empower us to do it!

A story about showing grace

When I asked for a personal story,  L. told about how much it meant that two brothers in our fellowship went far down the road of persistently showing “grace” to a relative she deeply loves who has been facing many struggles.

As we move forward together with these thoughts, I have a few concluding requests:

– Please do not be a romantic and think this is easy and fluffy. Being an encourager and being an encouraging community in the midst of our daily barrage of polarization, degrading, criticizing, and negativity is much closer to impossible than it is to easy. In fact, it may well be one of those impossibilities that is only made possible for most of us by a powerful work of God in our lives. So, pray for learning to want to be Encouragers, the honesty to notice when we are not being Encouragers, and the empowering of the Holy Spirit to become more like Jesus by living the Jesus’ Way.

– Please continue to give me input on ways to practically encourage practice of this counter-cultural alternative to the world around us. If you have a story that you could share on a Sunday Morning in about 3 minutes, let me know.

– Please continue to make comments on these blogs—it’s a wonderful way for us to continue the conversation throughout the week and think practically together about how we can live this out.

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