Weatherford Democrat

Columns

September 22, 2011

Sons and daughters of encouragement

WEATHERFORD — One afternoon last year, when we were in North Carolina visiting our friends, Ann and Robert, we toured the Billy Graham Museum in Charlotte. The impressive exhibits not only chronicled the life and achievements of the world famous evangelist, but also the lives of the other members of his team.

In an audio interview, Cliff Barrows, Graham’s dynamic music leader, told of a time early in his career when his dad took him aside and said, “Son, you did pretty well, tonight. But let me give you a little tip. You’ll never get people to sing better by telling them they didn’t do too good. Tell them they did well, but you think they can do better.”

“Ever since that conversation,” Barrows reflected, “I’ve always tried to encourage people.” The inspiring music of the volunteer crusade choirs was due in part to Cliff Barrow’s encouragement.

It reminds me of a time, several years ago, when the roles were reversed and I learned a similar lesson about encouragement from my son. My dog, Gus, was still alive, and Rush was staying with us between jobs. Although house-trained, Gus had made a mess in the house, and I was angry and yelling at him. Rush stepped between me and my cowering pup.

Speaking just loud enough to get my attention, he said, “Stop it, Dad! Don’t you know that Gus wants to please you more than anything else in the world?” He took the dog outside and I sheepishly cleaned the rug.

Later that day, as I reflected on the experience, I realized that my now grown son, whether he realized it or not, was not only talking about Gus, but also about children. It was a lesson about the human need for more encouragement and less criticism. I wish I’d learned that much earlier in my children’s lives. But hopefully, old dogs can still learn new tricks!

Centuries before the birth of Christ in Bethlehem, Isaiah prophesied that the coming Messiah “would not break the bruised reed or quench the dimly burning wick.” In other words, he would come with encouragement for those who were down and almost out. Jesus of Nazareth did not disappoint.

One who caught this Spirit of Jesus was a man named Joseph, one of the first members of the early church. Acts says that the apostles gave him a new name, “Barnabus,” which meant, “son of encouragement.” He was Paul’s traveling companion and encourager on his early missionary journeys. But when Paul became disenchanted with young John Mark, Barnabus took Mark under his wing and he and Paul went their separate ways. Think of what our New Testament might have looked like had it not been for Barnabus’ encouragement of Mark!

It’s been my experience that most of us are doing close to the best we know how. While we need help in lots of ways, one of the things we need most is encouragement and hope.

Lord, help us to be sons and daughters of encouragement to each other. Amen.

John Paul Carter’s “Notes from the Journey” appear in the Democrat’s Religion page on the second and fourth Fridays of each month. Carter, an ordained minister who attends Central Christian Church, may be contacted by writing him at 107 Bent Oak Road, Weatherford, 76086.

1
Text Only
Columns
  • larry jones cropped:color NOW HEAR THIS: Old dogs and old men

    For most of us, our pets give us great joy and provide wonderful companionship.  This is especially true during the time of our youth and also during our golden years.  During these seasons of life we have more time to bond with our 4-legged friends than during the prime years when we were so desperately trying to make our mark on the world.  With this wonderful gift of love from our pets, there is a down side.  We live longer than they do, and it is hard to face losing them.  Down on the “pore farm” in the not too distant future, I will face this inevitable fact.

    June 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • larry jones cropped:color NOW HEAR THIS: Recalling memories of long ago

    Years ago, I had a good friend in the Navy, who was actually my immediate superior in the chain of command, whose comment made an enduring impression on me.  He looked up from his desk one day, and said, “Larry, (he always called me Larry, even though my first name was Lieutenant Commander at the time) we have one of the best jobs in the world.”  And how is that, I thought to myself?  He went on to explain that we were paid fairly good salaries to fly around in shiny airplanes and visit exciting parts of the world.  We were given a title (just like royalty), wore nicely tailored uniforms, and hung around with some of the most impressive young men and women in the nation.  Danny loved his job.  He went on to retire as the Chief of Naval Personnel, a Vice-Admiral.

    June 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0912 one bday wm j kelly 2013 mug.jpg KELLY: What do you think?

    Little League Baseball: This is one of the most successful programs for young people, both normal and handicapped. All of the people involved in this program are volunteers, and they do wonderful work in developing character and teamwork in children.

    June 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • larry jones cropped:color NOW HEAR THIS: Caring for those who have borne the battle

    With all the recent controversy surrounding the healthcare provided to our veterans by the Department of Veterans Affairs, I can’t resist the opportunity to weigh in with a few thoughts of my own. Over the past month or so, especially the past couple of weeks, it seems that everyone and his/her dog has pointed out facets of a very flawed and disgraceful system charged with providing care for those who served in uniform to protect and defend our nation. In each commentary, everyone concurs that our veterans deserve better. 

    June 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • larry jones cropped:color NOW HEAR THIS: A possibly terminal case of the crud

    I’ve heard several women during my lifetime make snide comments about what a bunch of crybabies we big tough men become when we’re sick.  Maybe, it’s because the bigger you are, the sicker you become.  One thing I know with absolute certainty is that at this very moment in time as I pound away on my keyboard, I am sicker than a dog with what may be my last case of the crud.  Not unlike all the other really rotten bad colds I’ve had in the past, I don’t see how I can possibly survive this one.

    May 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0912 one bday wm j kelly 2013 mug.jpg KELLY: What do you think?

    We read a lot about the alleged long delays in getting an appointment for treatment at the VA hospitals, some delays so long that the patient dies before obtaining one. I cannot think of anything more stupid by a family than to let a loved one die because they could not get an appointment for free care at the VA.

    May 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • larry jones cropped:color NOW HEAR THIS: Remembering our fallen comrades

    Each year in observation of Memorial Day, I clumsily search for fitting words to honor the sacrifice made by so many of our nation’s finest young men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms and our way of life.  Each year I fail miserably to achieve the desired result.  No combination of words or phrases in any language by even the most highly acclaimed author could adequately honor those who, in the words of Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, “…gave the last full measure of devotion.”

    May 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • PASTOR POPHIN: Remembering on Memorial Day

    You remember the dates: July 4, 1776; April 12, 1861; June 28, 1914; December 7, 1941; June 25, 1950; somewhere between 1955 and 1959; and Sept. 11, 2001. These are all significant dates. If you don’t know what they mean, look them up.

    May 24, 2014

  • larry jones cropped:color NOW HEAR THIS: Rain for the just and the unjust

    Most of us plod along through life doing the best we can, but very few of us ever become really good at anything. Rarely do we achieve world class status, but my mother checked this box with her iced tea making skills. In my early years, there was never anything as good as coming in from the field hot and sweaty, sitting down at the dinner table (at noon), and having my first glass of cold iced tea. The first glass was always the best. The primary secret to my mother’s wonderful iced tea was the fact she used rain water from our cistern, rather than the hard well water. She also insisted on using only Lipton’s tea — none of that “off brand” stuff would do.  

    May 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • william kelly.jpg KELLY: What do you think?

    On April 27, 2014, two popes were made saints. This happening was unusual because the Catholic Church has two living popes, one retired and one the present head of the Church. 

    May 15, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires