This Sunday we start a brand new 3-week series here at E-Free that we are calling “Lean On Me.” It will be a study on the life of Barnabas (meaning “Son of Encouragement”) who is mentioned 30 times in the New Testament.
This Sunday we will see that encouragement is not “fixing someone’s problem” or “taking away someone’s hurt.” In most cases, we cannot do that. As we follow the word “encouragement” in Scripture we will see three aspects to it:
First, encouragement is coming along side of someone so that they have a person to lean on during their trial and hurt. For example, when I went through my greatest time of hurt there was a Barnabas in my life named Rick who prayed for me, made contact with me regularly, and took me to breakfast once a week so I had time to share, vent, cry or whatever. Rick encouraged me by coming alongside of me.
Second, encouragement is reminding someone of the promises and principles of God’s Word as they go through their time of trial and hurt. For example, when I went through my time of hurt there was a Barnabas in my life named Steve who gave me godly wisdom and reminded me of Biblical promises. Steve encouraged me with the Word of God.
Third, encouragement is bringing joy and refreshment into someone’s life as they go through their time of trial and hurt. For example, when I went through my greatest time of hurt there was a Barnabas in my life named Randy who I spent a lot of time with. Spending time with Randy did not fix my problem or change my situation, but after spending time with him I always felt lighter. Randy encouraged me by bringing joy and refreshment into my life.
There are many people in our church who need someone to encourage them right now - someone to lean on. As we start this series Sunday I will be passing out a card to everyone in which if someone is going through a time of hurt right now and needs someone to encourage them they can fill out the card which will give their name, contact information, gender and age, and then turn it in. I will then give these cards to individuals in our church (of the same gender) who have already expressed a willingness to make a personal contact with them and be a “Barnabas” to them by giving them someone to lean on, by offering reminders of godly wisdom and promises, and by bringing joy and refreshment into their lives.
We will be putting the Easter set back up for this series but instead of the word “BELIEVE” being spelled out it will say “LEAN ON ME” on the panels.
In line with the theme we will also be using the song “Lean On Me” as a theme song during this series. This is not necessarily a worship song and it was not written distinctively as a “Christian” song, but the words to the song hit the bulls-eye as far as encompassing the Biblical meaning of encouragement (and it’s also a lot of fun to sing as well):
Lean on me when you’re not strong
I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For, it won’t be log
Till I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on
This Sunday will also include something we have never done before. As part of our worship package several vignettes will be taking place on the stage while we sing. These will introduce the topic of encouragement to us as we see, much like some of the modern "pay it forward" commercials, one person encouraging another person who then encourages another person who then encouragers another person.
The service will also include a special promotional video from the Outreach Team regarding a relief trip being planned for this summer. This is to go down to help with the rebuilding of the areas of our country that were devastated this past year by tornadoes. This is a great opportunity for us as a church to encourage people we don't even know (yet)!
So join us this Sunday (9:30am) here at the E-Free Church in Gaylord, Michigan as we start our new LEAN ON ME series in which we all learn how to become more effective encouragers!