Roger Barrier

The Power of Encouragement

The Power of Encouragement

She started her statement casually, “I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times before, but…” and then it came, one of the most encouraging things I had heard in weeks. She shared a thoughtful praise about how our Senior Pastor Greg and I complement each other as preachers. And no, I had never heard the encouragement quite that way before!

If I ask you to think of the most encouraging thing that was shared with you in your high school years you can probably think of that encouragement pretty quickly. Think about the impact that encouragement had on you. Think about how it shaped your life path. Pretty remarkable, right?

For me the encouragement that stands out to me was given to me as an eighteen year old by my Senior Pastor, Roger Barrier. He invited me to dinner and as we scooped spicy Albondigas into our mouths and chomped on Carne Asada burritos he shared that he believed that God would call me to be a senior pastor one day.

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.      According to Research People With "Too Many Interests" Are More Likely to Be SuccessfulThis is really interesting and runs against the prevailing wisdom, "The warning against being a generalist has persisted for hundreds of years in dozens of languages. 'Equipped with knives all over, yet none is sharp,' warn people in China. In Estonia, it goes, 'Nine trades, the tenth one — hunger.' If being a generalist is an ineffective career path, why do 10+ academic studies find a correlation between the number of interests/competencies someone develops and their creative impact?"

2.      How to Move from Bitterness to Forgiveness: Roger Barrier responds to an important question that plagues so many. He begins his post with this advice, "Don’t minimize the hurts in your life. Mourn your hurts. Express them to a trusted friend or spouse and allow you to be comforted. Jesus died for those hurts. Talk honestly about them. Who has hurt you the most? With whom have you not reconciled? Who does the Holy Spirit bring to your mind when you think hurtful thoughts? Jesus said, "Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted."

3.      What Does it Mean to Be Baptized in the Spirit? Clear and helpful post by Adriel Sanchez. He reflects, "Understandably, people typically focus on the miraculous signs that accompanied the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2. In doing so they often miss the big picture the Bible gives us with regard to this significant event in the history of salvation. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is not primarily about speaking in tongues but about the beginning of a new creation, the advancement of a new temple, the giving of a new law, and the commissioning of a new group of prophets."

4.      How History's Revivals Teach us How to Pray: This is inspiring. Davis Thomas reflects on a very different sort of prayer than most of us are accustomed to, "I was confronted with how the Bible appears utterly unfamiliar with casual prayer, prayer of the mouth and not the heart. Travailing prayer—the kind of burdened, focused pressing my friends in the Hebrides described—seemed closer to the heart of prayer in Scripture. A stream of this manner of praying flows from the early church all the way through the Reformation."

5.      The Best Weapon is an Open DoorRosaria Butterfield on just how significant hospitality is. She concludes, "Perhaps our everyday lives would reveal that the hand of God reaches into the hardest situations imaginable and that nothing is impossible with God. Hospitality is the ground zero of the Christian life."

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

Happy Easter, friends! 

This week's list is Holy-week-centric with a few other fun nuggets. Enjoy!

1.       How Much is Your Vocation Trusted? Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra reports on the recent Gallup report. Pastors, in particular, took a big hit: "Less  than half of the country—just two out of every five Americans—believe clergy are honest and have high ethical standards... That level of trust has dropped steadily since 2009, down from a high of 67 percent in 1985, the pollster reported." Unsurprisingly lobbyists, car salesman, and members of congress filled out the bottom of the polls with nurses, military, and teachers on top. Did where you vocation land surprise you?

2.      What was Crucifixion Like? Got Questions answers, "Crucifixion was invented and used by other people groups, but it was “perfected” by the Romans as the ultimate execution by torture... Crucifixion was meant to inflict the maximum amount of shame and torture upon the victim."

3.      Why the Donkey was the Supporting Actor for the Triumphal Entry: My childhood pastor, Roger Barrier, with a wonderful reflection on how “God never miss[es] an opportunity to use powerful symbols throughout scripture. Jesus’ famous ride on this lowly animal reveals much about Christ’s character and purpose.”

4.       Modern Parenting and the Winter Olympics: Exit "helicopter parenting," enter "curling parenting." I love this clever little reflection by Stephen McAlpine, "Helicopters hover serenely over the landscape, seeing all with a birds-eye view that takes the frantic out of it.  It’s big picture stuff. Curling on the other hand? It’s all micro-management and frantic scrubbing of anything that might cause just that one little bump in order to arrive at the goal."

5.       How Early Christian Worship Managed to Offend Everyone: Starting with the Romans, Michael Kruger explains why this was the case, "A fundamental aspect of early Christian worship was its exclusivity. Only Jesus was to be worshiped. Whatever other religious loyalties one possessed before coming to Christ, they had to be abandoned and full devotion given to Jesus the King. One might think the Roman state wouldn’t care about such things. Wasn’t religion a private matter? Not at all. To be a good citizen, your duty was to pay homage to the Roman gods who kept the empire prosperous and flourishing." 

6.       10 Levels of Light Pollution: Cool two and a half minute video that shows that different levels of light pollution across the globe.