I noticed Michelle for several reasons. In addition to her beauty and penchant for bright colors, I’d never seen her at church before, and she sat alone in the front row. When I introduced myself, I learned why Michelle sat up front: She was Deaf. She also read lips. A few weeks later, I invited Michelle to pick blueberries with me. Would we be able to communicate? I wondered with trepidation as I picked her up. More
Tonight, weather-permitting, a bunch of strangers will converge on our backyard for a cookout and a bonfire. We don’t know most of these people yet, but we hope to soon. They are fellow residents of Eastwood, a village in the city of Syracuse, New York. More
My husband and I took advantage of a rare moment of freedom (read: babysitting), and set out on our bikes. We cycled through upscale neighborhoods, pointing out our favorite homes and landscaping, until we spotted this strange-looking device by the side of the road. More
One woman, Patsy, left the True Woman Conference. Here’s why she didn’t stick around: More
In the past, I would’ve freaked at the idea of dialoguing with an atheist. But for the past month I’ve had the unexpected privilege of interacting with one. More
Yesterday I shared three takeaways from the book The Gospel for Muslims by Thabiti Anyabwile. It’s a thin book (yay for books that don’t overwhelm!) with two sections. The first section covers the basics of the gospel and how Muslims’ beliefs compare, and the second is filled with practical tips for how to share the gospel with Muslims (chapter titles like “Be Filled with the Spirit,” “Trust the Bible,” “Be Hospitable,” and more).
I didn’t realize until I picked up the book that Thabiti converted to Christianity as a sophomore in college. Get a copy for yourself to learn why he became convinced that Islam couldn’t be true and how God finally drew him to Himself. It’s intriguing!
Thanks to one of Thabiti’s practical suggestions, I’m going to be baking all week. I invited the woman in the hijab from across the street over for tea, and she said yes! Thabiti shares that only women have the opportunity to reach Muslim women for Christ (they can’t interact with men), and he suggests spoiling them like crazy when they come for tea. So I’m planning to do just that.
Sharing the gospel with Muslims really wasn’t on my radar until I moved to New York to marry Trevor. Suddenly I had not just one Muslim neighbor, but two. (This is a big deal for a girl who grew up surrounded by cornfields!) More
Have you seen the meme “rustle my jimmies”? It came into use in 2010 and expresses strong emotional angst toward someone else’s post on the Internet. As a blog manager for the past seven years, I’ve observed my share of “jimmy rustling” in the comments section—on this blog and on other blogs. Yes, it appears even Christians get their jimmies rustled from time to time. More
I appreciated Elizabeth’s insight on last week’s post, Three Epic Reasons to Encourage Others. I asked,
“Who do you know who could use a good dose of encouragement right about now?”
And she responded,
“There isn’t anyone who doesn’t need to be encouraged.”
True. And here’s the thing: it doesn’t take much to become a continual encourager.
I like how J.R. Miller says it,
“[Jesus’] inquiry concerning every person was, ‘Can I do anything for you? Can I share your burden? Can I relieve you of your sufferings?'”
Now we have the privilege of being Jesus’ ambassadors in our neighborhoods, of housing the Spirit of Christ within us and allowing Him to love through us. That said, here are four simple (but meaningful) ways to encourage others:
1. When you think a kind thought about someone, put words to it.
Say it out loud to them (and others, too, if you want). Last night as an older woman was leaving our small group, I told her, “You look vibrant. I didn’t know you when you were younger, but I think you must be one of those women who gets more beautiful with age.”
“You just gave me such a gift,” she said as she kissed my cheek. “Today was really hard.”
Your Challenge: Go ahead. You can do it. Say something nice to someone else. Who knows—they may have had a hard day too.
2. When you hear someone say something nice about someone who’s not in the room, pass the encouragement on.
Last week a girl told me one of her relatives hates her. But after spending time with this relative, I specifically heard her say she loved this girl. I was then able to tell the girl that even though her relative might not express their love well, that relative does love her.
Your Challenge: Listen. Do you hear anyone saying something nice about someone else? Instead of feeling envious, why not share this “good gossip” with that person?
3. Show genuine interest in others.
Yes, even people you don’t know. Who says you have to stare at your phone and pretend they’re not standing right next to you? The other day as I was walking out of a retirement home, I stopped to talk to an older woman who was out pruning bushes. She proceeded to show me her different bushes, and we guessed at their names. “A porcupine bush, maybe? That’s what it looks like to me!”
I don’t know if my conversation with her brightened her day or not. It doesn’t really matter that I know. She has great worth as an image-bearer of God, and I had the privilege of “seeing” and interacting with her briefly.
Your Challenge: The next time you’re passing a stranger, look them in the eye, and say “hi”! Ask them a question about what they’re doing. Show a little interest. C’mon, you can do it.
4. Say thanks.
Make it a habit to thank the lady filling the paper towels in the bathroom. Thank your server, manager, and/or cook as you’re leaving a restaurant. Don’t take everything for granted. If it’s nice, it’s because someone made it nice it for you.
A couple weeks ago, I glanced up from my table in the grocery store deli and said, “Thank you for cleaning, Jim.” (He was walking by my table pushing one of those big, yellow cleaning carts.) The next thing I knew, he was standing over me, grinning his toothless smile, and telling me in his fifteen years cleaning at this store, no one had ever thanked him.
Your Challenge: Say thank you to someone for something you’ve never even thought to be thankful for.
What did I miss? Surely those aren’t the only ways to encourage others. Let me hear your stories and ideas.
Then check back for how to write an encouraging letter.
How to Encourage Others Without Even Trying was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.
I moved into a little apartment this past year, and ever since I’ve been praying that my landlord would come to know Jesus.
Are you sharing Jesus Christ with others, or are you settling for something less? More