Our new Adult Sunday School Curriculum will begin on November 12th. We will be working through The Joy of Encouragement by David Jeremiah. Below you will find the Introduction as found in the beginning of the book.
“If you follow sports at all, you know that regardless of the game, home-field advantage is a legitimate factor in determining the outcome of the contests. Whether it is a college basketball game in an arena, a football game played in the chilly outdoors, or a baseball game played in the warmth of spring sunshine, the home team has an advantage that is statistically significant.
So what is it about playing at home that can spur teams with less talent to outplay their visiting foes? Is it intimate knowledge of the playing surface? Maybe. Is it the comfort of not having to travel and of sleeping in one’s own bed? That could be a factor too. But the real answer to why home-field advantage is what it is really has nothing to do with the teams– it has to do with the spectators.
A hometown crowd has the power to mentally make or break athletes. A succession of boos can discourage an opposing player to a slump. And conversely, the cheers and chants and encouragement of a hometown crowd to one of its beloved players or teams can (and does) push them to victory more times than not. If the magnified cheers of strangers can push a professional athlete beyond their limits to victory, think about the impact that positive, focused encouragement by close friends and family could have on someone. It would give them more than victory in a ball game– it would give them victory in life.
Then why are we so hesitant to offer an encouraging word to one another? Maybe because we are so discouraged ourselves! But thankfully we don’t have to turn to modern psychiatry or self-help books to put us in a positive direction. God is the author of encouragement and His Word is full of examples and insights to help us turn our lives around.
In The Joy of Encouragement, we are going to delve into Scripture so that we can build this critical attribute into our arsenal. The Bible shows us that encouragement is available in so many different places We can find it in solitude and in songs. We can find it in our marriages. We can find it in the church. And most of all, we can find it in the Gospel! After all, there is no more encouraging news than the knowledge that we have been reconciled to God by the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. And there is no shortage of places where we need to be vigilant encouragers. We should be the most outspoken cheerleaders for our spouses and children. We should edify the church that Christ has died for at all times. We should try to lift our friends up when they are down. These are all roles that are commanded of us in God’s Word if we are to be faithful followers of Christ.
And there is not a set way to be a light to someone in their darkness. Sometimes all it takes is a few words. Sometimes all it takes is a hug. Sometimes it takes the effort to sit down and write someone a letter about how much they mean to you. The point is that it isn’t complex; simple actions and words can mean a world of difference to people. We just need to be willing to be there.
So what are we waiting for? Let’s go to God’s Word with open minds and hearts so that we can not only be encouraged in our own lives and faith but also so that we can share that joy with those around us.”
In this readable, practical, and enjoyable book, Dr. David Jeremiah examines the heart of self-giving, genuine love. You will learn how you can easily and readily offer healing and life to those around you – your family, friends, neighbors, and even perfect strangers. With this book, you will learn how to redirect your life and look intentionally for encouragement. It helps you to experience joy and improve your relationship with others.