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Entice, Ignite, Strengthen

The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry. Proverbs 25:11 
One of the privileges of leading The Journey is hearing people’s stories. During this four-Sunday course, we ask what caused a person to return to Cornerstone after their first visit. Usually they say, “It just felt like home” because the message just seemed so tailored to their situation. Some are even shocked by how accurate and relevant a Sunday message has been, wondering if someone had spoken to us about them beforehand. I can assure you, someone definitely did.
But what we do see in these stories is a hunger for an encouraging word for the difficulties they were facing.
As followers of Jesus, we are not only called to encourage those around us, we have a purpose behind our words. We are called to entice, ignite, and strengthen people’s faith in God. 
Sometimes, people don’t know God personally, but they do know us. That gives them a front row seat on what faith in God looks like. They see our imperfections, weaknesses, bad days, and good days. But if we have a consistent and active faith in Jesus, it shows up in our words, actions, or what we refrain from doing. When someone expresses curiosity about our lives, that’s a chance to entice them to consider the God we trust.
One of the people I sense God calling me to entice is my barber. Once a month, this man cuts my hair and asks about my life, family, and job. The more honest I am about my faith in Jesus, the more intrigued he becomes. There are some conversations that have even led to follow up questions—which tell me he’s wondering if God is worth trusting.
I have a couple friends I’d call go-getters. They have high work ethics and live their lives on purpose. Whenever we catch up, they discuss their passions and pursuits, leaving me ignited and fueled for the things God has entrusted into my care. These people indirectly encourage me by the way they are pursuing God’s purpose in their lives.
Then there are the friends who do what Jonathan did for David when the future king was running for his life. The scriptures tell us Jonathan went to find David and encouraged him to stay strong in his faith in God. 1 Samuel 23:16 (NLT). What a gift to have a friend who is able to strengthen our faith when we’re in a dark place. What a privilege to be the friend who steps into that role. 
Encouraging someone’s faith is a sacred entrustment. I pray the Lord gives each of us the right word for the people He has put in our lives. May we remember these wise words from John Maxwell.

A word of encouragement from a teacher to a child can change a life.
A word of encouragement from a spouse can save a marriage.
A word of encouragement from a leader can inspire a person to reach her potential.