This morning I preached on encouragement. And I gave an assignment: to encourage someone every day this week. I didn't leave it for people to "only" encourage one person; I encouraged them to encourage multiple people. The cool thing is I saw it start immediately. Not only did I see people talking to one another, encouraging one another, but I heard it. I had several people say something encouraging to me, including a really great message left on my answering machine.
Here's the thing: this past week I had some really un-encouraging moments where I got wind of some complaints and gossip. I had already committed to developing this "Life Together" sermon series and to this sermon in particular, but I was really discouraged. I thought about blasting a couple shots across the church (verbally, of course), but then I realized that I would be letting two people bring down the entire service (because who really likes to be blasted at by the pastor? I sure don't. When I hear pastors ranting and raving, even if I agree with their point of view, I'm pretty likely to just shut down). I'm glad I didn't blast off. God has some work to do with us, and I believe it starts with us doing life together the way He meant. The "one another" verses in scripture are a good start.