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Dear Leader

Life Group Guideline for the week.

Opening Prayer:

Worship:

Icebreaker:
What is one thing that you can do this Spring that will enrich your life?

#NT260 Check in:
Ask group members to share a scripture that has stood out for them in their NT260 readings this week.

Theme – Encourage one another

Scripture Reading

1 Thessalonians 5:8-11

Introduction
It's not so easy to live in the last days. Living righteously can be increasingly difficult when there is more and more hostility and persecution. And in the world today there is an increasing refusal to be confronted with Biblical truth. In Thessalonians Paul speaks to the church about being watchful and sober in the last days. And then he exhorts us to encourage one another.

Verse 11 in the Amplified Bible.
Therefore encourage (admonish, exhort) one another and edify (strengthen and build up) one another, just as you are doing.

It is so common to see people criticizing and breaking others down. Yet you can accomplish more by encouraging peoples good points than pointing out their shortcomings.

1. We should cultivate the ministry of encouragement in our lives.

We all have a responsibility to speak words of life. We need to cultivate this area of our lives. Hebrews 3:13 says 'Encourage one another daily.'
You break down the word encourage into En ... To put in, Courage ... Confidence and strength. So to encourage means to put confidence and strength into someone.

Ephesians 4:29
Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

Quote:
"Believers ought to build each other up in the faith. Even as one believer receives encouragement, he or she at another time will be in a position to offer it. The mutual giving and receiving in the body of Christ keeps the church strong against forces that attack it. God's people always need to stand together as they anticipate their Saviour's return."

Discussion 1: What are your thoughts about the importance of encouragement in the last days?

2. Encouragement breathes life into people's hearts

John Maxwell said that "Encouragement is oxygen for the soul."
Dr S. Riser said "Deprive a soul of encouragement and it will be incapable of encouraging others; it will be apathetic and cynical, pessimistic and lethargic. In extreme cases, it may even wish that it were dead."
Proverbs 18:21 says that "Death and Life are in the power of the tongue", and Proverbs 10:11 says that "The mouth of the righteous is a well of life."

Paul, as he wrote letters to the churches, would encourage them by speaking grace and peace over them, and reminding them that he was praying for them.

Discussion 2: If encouragement is so powerful what are some things that keep us from encouraging others more frequently?

3. Some people have a spiritual gift of encouragement, yet we are all called to encourage.

Read Romans 12:6-8 (NIV).

Discussion 3: Ask each LG member to share what their spiritual gifts are. Then ask them how they can use their spiritual gifts to encourage other people.

4. New levels of encouragement will add growth and vibrancy to the church.

Barnabas in the Bible was a real encourager. Read Acts 11:22-25 to see how he encouraged the church. His birth name was Joseph, but because of his gift of encouragement people called him Barnabas which means "Son of encouragement."

Discussion 4: Ask LG members to share a time when they have been on the receiving end of a word of encouragement from a 'Barnabas'.

Practical exercise: Give each person a piece of paper. Mention to them that "The world needs us as believes to be sharers of hope and encouragement". Then ask them to write down the names of 3 people they will undertake to encourage in the week ahead.

Prayer ministry
Ask the group if there is anyone who needs encouragement. Take time to pray and minister and encourage them.

Regards

Bruce Taylor
LIFE GROUPS PASTOR

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