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Sunday, May 27, 2012


Sermon by Pastor Shim Habte, First United Methodist Church, Willows, CA

Acts 4:29-37

John C. Maxwell once said, "Remember, man does not live on bread alone: sometimes he needs a little buttering up."

That's true. We all need encouragement sometimes.

After Jesus' death and Resurrection, the disciples endured a lot of persecution--imprisonment and even death. Paul was at first one who persecuted and later one who became persecuted. He was persecuted not only by the non-Christians but also rejected by the Christians.

A man named Joseph stood up for Paul. He took Paul to the Christians in Jerusalem and told them Paul was a changed man. They began calling Joseph Barnabas, which means "Son of Encouragement." Barnabas backed up his words with actions. He was a levite and a property owner. He sold his property and gave it to the disciples to use to spread the good news of Christ. Later, he traveled with Paul to work on that same mission.

This is Pentecost Sunday, long considered the birthday of the Christian church. It's a day when the Holy Spirit was poured out on believers. The believers had gathered together to pray and encourage each other. They prayed that the Lord would give them the power to speak for Him with boldness and that He would reach out His hand to heal.

God answered in a mighty way. The Bible says the place was shaken, and the believers did begin to speak, speak with a boldness they'd never possessed before, and signs and miracles followed them wherever they went.

We still call on the Holy Spirit for help us speak for Him and for help in time of our own troubles. And we should also be able to call on each other for help and encouragement. It is our privilege and responsibility to be encouragers like Barnabas.

There are three ways to encourage:
(1) Be together. Together to encourage, to pray, to speak about God with boldness.
(2) Serve God and each other. When one has a need, others can respond.
(3) Preach. Not just by what we say, but also with with we do.

The ultimate encourager is God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

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