Thursday, September 08, 2011

Recharging Spiritual Batteries

Have you ever had a dead car battery? The solution is usually simple. Another car comes alongside, hooks up jumper cables from their strong battery to your weak one and this borrowed energy gets your motor running again.

There are times when our spiritual battery runs low and we need an encourager to come alongside and recharge us. AND there are times when we come can come alongside a brother or sister put courage into them.

William Barclay said “One of the highest of Christian duties is encouragement. It’s easy to pour cold water on other’s enthusiasm; it’s easy to discourage people. The world is full of discouragers. We have a Christian duty to encourage one another. Many a time a word of praise or thanks or appreciation or cheer has kept a Christian on his feet.”

In the book of Acts we meet a Christian who was such an encourager, he was given the nickname “Son of Encouragement,” or Barnabas in Greek. Barnabas was a person who you felt good being around. He believed in the potential of people and was willing to give a failure a second chance.

The first mention of Barnabas is at the end of the 4th chapter of Act where he sold some real estate and gave the money to the Apostles. Later he stood up for Paul when others rejected him. You see, Paul had been persecuting the church in Jerusalem and the apostles thought Paul was setting a was a trap. Barnabas was willing to risk his own safety and reach out to someone who had absolutely NO friends in the Church. He was willing to look beyond the past and believe in Paul... and befriend him.

Barnabas became an advocate and mentor to Paul taking him on missionary journeys and helping Paul become a great leader. He did the same thing for John Mark. When Paul refused to work with John Mark because of a past failure, Barnabas took him under his wing.

Thanks to Barnabas' encouragement John Mark was restored to useful ministry. Paul agreed. He wrote to Timothy, “Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:11

Are you willing to give someone another chance after they have failed you? James tells us that we “should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19)

There are people all around us who need someone to believe in them. Like Paul they may have made some pretty bad mistakes & have a bad reputation. They need a friend and encourager. They need a Barnabas.
  • A Barnabas always has great things to say about their church, the kingdom and the Lord.
  • A Barnabas helps a person who's down find a silver lining in the dark cloud
  • A Barnabas loves people without labeling them

We have all needed someone who would help when we’re down.
  • Someone who would be there to encourage us,
  • Someone who would have faith in us.
  • I thank God that He sent a Barnabas into my life during those times.

We can honor the encouragers in our lives by encouraging others

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)

Friday, June 24, 2011

You get more flies with honey

Everyone likes a winner. When a home team wins a championship, fans come out of the woodwork but, during losing seasons, ticket sales drop. Yet, some organizations thrive on negativity. Not only is the glass half-empty, it dirty and chipped as well. No one wants to be a part of that team.

It is true that churches never have enough resources (financial, volunteer, real estate, etc.). It is equally true that there always enough resources to do God's work. Churches that have a positive, forward-looking attitude will attract those resources.

No one wants to give money to a sinking ship nor do they want to volunteer for a position when it's presented as, “If no one steps forward we will need to shut down our Wednesday night children's program.”

When seeking volunteers point out the positive. For example: “Each Wednesday night we minister to 10 children, teaching them about the love of Jesus. There is an opportunity for a couple of people to make a difference in the lives of these little ones and continue this valuable ministry.”

Stating that we are under-budget and can't pay the utilities is far less attractive than stating recent successes (baptisms, people fed, etc.) and asking for financial contributions to continue such endeavors.

Be proactively positive and get the word out about all the good things happening in your church. Let people know they are on a winning team. Show how we are on mission with God.

Be a source of encouragement and build goodwill among those that might have doubts. Negative people are often damaged and depressed. Do not reject or ridicule but share God's love instead. A heart that is truly warmed by Jesus will live in a world of hope, faith and possibilities. Bitterness is the realm of the Enemy.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,
just as in fact you are doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)

Monday, January 17, 2011


We have had a very exciting year filled with ministry. Our church has expanded at fast clip thanks to the hard work of our staff, church members and ministry partners. In 2010 we baptized 12 people; twice the number of 2009. Four baptisms are scheduled for this month. Let's double it again!

Our Spanish-language mission, Betel, received support funding from several partners: Northeast Baptist Church and San Antonio Baptist Association ($100 per month, each), Cooperative Baptist Fellowship ($400 per mo.) and Baptist General Convention of Texas ($975 per mo.). The mission continues to grow and accounted for 5 of our baptisms.

One notable area of growth has been in our missions and community ministries. Our trip to Eagle Pass stands out as BT spent a week building homes, leading VBS and more. We have worked with Literacy Connexus to provide bookshelves in the homes of children on the border and in San Antonio. This year saw the launch of our thrift shop and food pantry. Our youth have been heavily involved in church-wide service projects as well as many of their own.

Our community itself is a mission field and several mission teams came throughout the year to help us show the love of Christ to our neighbors. Our summer day camp was the biggest event of the summer. It involved 12 churches and service organizations, over 30 church members and a $1400 grant from CBF to pay an intern. The results were that over a period of six weeks we ministered to more than 100 children and served over 2000 free meals.

Infrastructure is vital to a large ministry. Many repairs and improvements occurred throughout the church. A $100,000 campaign fund was launched to repair and remodel the chapel building. Most of the work involved painting and re-tiling but it also included reconfiguration of the 2nd and 3rd floor. On the ministry side, we ordained four new deacons to help care for our expanding flock.

In addition to the ministries for our children, teens, and adults that continue to serve so well, we added other opportunities. On Wednesday evenings we now offer TeamKID for children and Trek for youth. On Sundays we have a new contemporary worship service at 8:15 AM.

Things picked up speed in the Fall as, 40 years after starting our daycare, we started a charter school. Highland Park Gifted and Talented Academy (a Jubilee Academic Center campus) began with 150 students PreK – 5th grade. Not only does this make better use of our church plant, it helps us to share in the cost of running it. The impact was immediately felt in our other ministries as charter school families began to participate.

Also in the Fall we had our 30th annual Fall Festival and it was a big one. It attracted three (maybe four) times as many people as we had last year. A $7500 grant from the Baptist Health Foundation allowed to add a health fair which added to the growth. Highland Park GT Academy helped run some of the booths, STAR AM 810 ran a live broadcast and the fire department had a truck for the kids to see.

Next year promises even greater results as we celebrate 100 years of ministry. Each month we will look back at our rich history while, at the same time, we surge ahead.

We've already hit the ground running in January with the launch of our After School Club and Fitness Ministry. The After School Club runs from 3:30-5:30 and has 33 children enrolled. In the first two days we have had rave reviews for kids, parents and teachers.

The Fitness Ministry builds upon last year's work which includes a Karate club and a $20,000 grant from CBF to purchase equipment and set up a workout room. The ministry will include something for all ages. In the meantime the workout room is ready for action.