Habitat for Humanity house, encouragement, pasta, and ripasso

Let’s hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, because the one who made the promises is reliable. And let us consider each other carefully for the purpose of sparking love and good deeds. Don’t stop meeting together with other believers, which some people have gotten into the habit of doing. Instead, encourage each other, especially as you see the day drawing near. – Hebrews 10:23-25

invitation to enthusiasm
invitation to enthusiasm Sunday morning

One way to head off the potential for those tiresome “Monday Morning Blues” is to focus on uplifting stories. Today’s post promises to be full with good news.

Yesterday at WFPC, Rebekah preached about “encouragement.” Well, with the “rafters” still ringing with the noise of enthusiasm and praise during VBS, it wasn’t difficult to feel encouraged from the moment a representative group of our youngest disciples sang us in to worship.

Encouragement, Rebekah pointed out, is a bedrock spiritual principle in a faith community where we own a common commitment to discipleship; not only being disciples, but making disciples. Fact is, if we’re not encouraging one another in the faith, and if we’re not inviting others into faith, then we’re not really disciples at all.

Rebekah praying with homeowner Mary Harris
Rebekah praying with homeowner Mary Harris

COMMUNITY: My next item is Saturday morning’s Habitat for Humanity home dedication (but it’s really the same story). Our church is a key player in the Wake Forest coalition and Rebekah used the story to anchor her message Sunday morning.

The bottom line here – and you can read more (along with pictures) in my Wake Forest Today column “Wake Forest Habitat House Builds Community” – is how such a shared experience leaves everyone involved feeling encouraged. And – especially in terms of social justice – real reconciliation actually takes acts of courage.

Here’s how I concluded my column: “The little house on Juniper Street was full with the fragrance of love. It’s all very well to say we’re color blind, or to believe in our heart that all people are equal. But it’s something else entirely to build a house together, to work for the common good of the community because we all need each other, and to hold hands around the circle because in some way we are all broken, we are all culpable, and in the final analysis we have to stand together if we’re going to stand for anything at all. (read more)

Alicia and Andrew serving
Alicia and Andrew serving

FEASTING: Finally, Andrew and Alicia collaborated with me in the kitchen Saturday evening to produce a superb and authentic Italian feast.

I made fresh pasta and from-scratch buttermilk biscuits; Alicia put together a wonderful salad; Andrew created an Italian vegetable sauce for the pasta that was simply amazing. They – of course – went a little overboard by finding – and grating – the best parmesan cheese, and also tracking down a wine so far out of my league I hadn’t heard of it before.

All three vignettes have this thread of commonality. The ministry of encouraging one another is a critical piece of what it means to live a life of discipleship. If we are going to follow Jesus, then we absolutely must be in the business of encouragement.

Encouragement is not just a spiritual gift – it’s a discipleship necessity  DEREK

enjoy more photos from the Habitat dedication and the wonderful Italian feast:

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