Bringing the Text to Life

Who Are the En-couragers? Philemon 1-21

There are few ministries more important than the ministry of encouragement.

One of the most idealized lifestyles of all time is that of the American cowboy. The success of movies like "City Slickers" shows that the dream to be a cowboy still ranks right up there on people's "wish lists."

What is the big attraction behind the cowboy persona? Perhaps it can be found in the cowboy "theme song" that we all know:

"Home, home on the range
Where the deer and the antelope play
Where seldom is heard, a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day."

"Where seldom is heard a discouraging word." It's hard for us to imagine such a place. From the moment we flick on the early news to get the traffic report, we are bombarded by "discouraging words" all day long. Crime is up, stocks are down; there is global warming, natural resources are dwindling and the air is the color of the lint under your bed. Your boss blames you, your coworkers resent you; your dog bit you, your spouse is glowering at you and the kids are whining at you. Who wouldn't want to "git...

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