Friday, April 8, 2011
The Opportunity to ENCOURAGE Believers
We learn from Paul's letter to the Philippians that every OBSTACLE we face in our ministry produces OPPORTUNITIES that would otherwise not be there. In my last posting we saw that one of these opportunities was in being able to EXPLAIN the Gospel to people. As we continue in Philippians 1:14 we see a second OPPORTUNITY in every OBSTACLE which is the opportunity to ENCOURAGE believers.
Paul tells us that due to his imprisonment (that is what obstacles in ministry feel like - prison), many brethren found far more courage to speak the Word of God without fear. The obstacles that came into Paul's ministry, and the way he handled those obstacles, was used by God to encourage believers in their faith and in their walk with the Lord.
What a blessing this is when as a pastor you find yourself in a ministry pit. As I went through the most hurtful time of my ministry life, I was amazed at how God used the pain and suffering I was experiencing to bring me into contact with other believers I would have never met otherwise. I was able to see God use that painful time in my life to be a ministry and encouragement to these followers of Jesus.
Suddenly the hurt I had and was experiencing became worth is as one of these believers said to me, "I know this may sound bad, but I am so glad you have gone through the painful ministry experience that God has taken you through because if not, God never would have brought you into my life - God has used you greatly in my life!" It's true, hurting pastor. In the midst of the OBSTACLE you are facing, God has planted amazing OPPORTUNITIES to EXPLAIN the Gospel and to ENCOURAGE believers.