Summary: One great thing about family is the way we encourage each other and lift up each other's spirit; this message is about how to do just that.

“Lift Off”

Several weeks ago an American Idol contestant said something like this before facing the judges, “I’m doing this for my best friend who died 4 years ago.” They showed pictures of her and her friend laughing and doing things together. Then, crying she said, ‘She was the only one who believed in me…’ after her performance the judges gave her a ticket to Hollywood. I don’t know if she’s made it to the next round but at least she succeeded in what she had gone to do…and all because, in her mind, a friend lifted her up with vision and encouragement.

Because we live in the Canaveral area we are used to the ‘lift off’ idea, the time the space shuttle or rocket is being powered into space. Lift off is the moment the initial vertical take off happens. One great thing about family, whether blood related or friendship based, is the times when we lift each other up. So often people find themselves ‘down in the dumps’ and sometimes all it takes for them to refocus is a moment of encouragement and sends them in the right direction. There’s so much of life that discourages.

QUESTION: WHAT’S DISCOURAGING? (get answers from crowd)

POSSIBLE ANSWERS: Not reaching your dreams (you come to the point in your life when you know you’re not going to go as far as you had hoped); family arguments; failure; dealing with difficult people whose purpose in life seem to be to make your life miserable, trust me, there are people everywhere who want you to feel as lousy as they do; lack of funds (whether at home or at church or business, when there’s little money to go around (to pay bills and to play and use for entertainment) it’s discouraging; when there seems to be no relief in sight (from an illness or from the control of an addiction or from a bad situation). Life can be painful.

“A cheerful heart is good medicine but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” Prov 17:22

The New Living Translation puts the second part of that verse this way,

“A broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” NLT (sucks the life out of you; makes one brittle)

Having a crushed spirit is awful, you don’t feel like doing anything when you’re down. But having a heart that’s been encouraged is a good thing; it’s soothing and therapeutic. The Hebrew word for medicine was used of removing a bandage and seeing that the wound is healing. Lifting people up has powerful healing effect. So, how do we encourage others? There are various ways.

1. Empower them- it’s what Jesus did.

7 “Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits.” Mark 6:7

1”When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” Luke 9:1-2

Can you imagine the disciples doing what they had seen Jesus do, taking charge of demons and restoring sight to the blind and miraculously seeing sick people get well? They had to be like, ‘Oh yeah’ and high-fiving each other. Of course you and I cannot empower people that way but we can

Teach and equip folks to help them succeed: from cooking to general car maintenance to giving tips of better ways of doing certain things or fixing projects; or teaching someone how to budget. People you consider family have talent and ability but sometimes they don’t have the tools or the know how. Give it to them. Success breathes confidence and confidence makes one feel good.

Recently I had a toilet water leak so I ventured to fix it. I had never removed a toilet from the floor or seen what lies underneath that beast. But my friend Sheila (who owns a plumbing business) gave me some tips and direction and I reluctantly went at it. I was also told to buy something called a wax gasket so I could install it to the pipe flange…WHAT? Flange sounds like Flan and we eat that where I come from. Trust me I had absolutely no clue but I reluctantly went at it. I removed the commode, looked at that hole in the ground and went, ‘Oh Lord.’ Talk about gagging but I was cool and pressed on; I scraped the old seal on the floor and made the whole thing look pretty and at times I called on my friend Doug with questions about the ‘fa-lange’ and he actually came over for a few moments to direct me and I finally put it all together and when I flushed it worked like a charm with no leaks. Flushing felt awesome. Success! I did it! But I was empowered by my family, my church family. There are things you know how to do well, use them to empower those you love. Second, don’t only empower them but also

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