Monday, November 14, 2011


It seems to me that it is so much easier to give criticism than it is to give praise.  I'm not certain if it is because we're afraid that if we give away something good it diminishes us or if we feel that we would rather tear others down and make ourselves look better.

I'm not talking about politicians. I'm talking people like you and me.

Yeah, I'm guilty. I try not to be too negative or judgmental, but it happens. I have had friends that have called me on it and it's not an easy pill to swallow. Sometimes I see it myself, but by then it's too late. I've already done the dreaded deed.

I think that Christians are often critical of one another to the detriment of all believers. One area of criticism comes from expecting all followers of Jesus to act at or above our level of Christian maturity. We often fail to make allowances for others to grow in their faith and in spiritual maturity. We forget that we were once where they are. Unfortunately, I've been guilty of this.

But not today.

Today I want to offer praise; freely and abundantly.

Some months ago I offered some harsh criticism of our Youth Minister at Hopedale. Not only was that inappropriate in the way it was done, but it was also a case of failing to allow a young man to make mistakes and grow in his spiritual maturity. Since then, I have seen great growth in this young man. Today, he addressed the congregation and delivered a challenging message to all of us.  The youth group is growing in number and in knowledge of how we can follow Jesus, our Lord and Savior.  They are demonstrating their faith through acts of ministry and learning to defend their faith by knowing why they believe what they believe.

One of the additional responsibilities of our Youth Minister is to oversee our education department. The Sunday School material that we used last year and the material that we are using this year is really helping us to grow as a church in the knowledge of our God.

There is a great movement of the Holy Spirit within our fellowship. It is not a time for tearing down but a time to encourage each other and build one another up. Many of our youth were at church 7 of the past 8 days; 4 days for the Crusade and 3 for the D-Now weekend. In the past week, we have seen 50 professions of faith and nearly as many believers make re-dedications or other commitments to following Jesus and serving God. These decisions have come from all age groups from our children to our senior adults. It is an incredible time in the life of our church.

I am so thankful that God is working in and through His people at Hopedale.
...And I can't wait to see what great work He does next!

John <><

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