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Will-You-Ship-Others(2)

Will You Ship Others?

Photo taken by Blake Wisz

The week before Valentine’s Day, my students taught me a new word, “ship”. According to them, to “ship” means to support or be in favor of two people getting together. For example, “I ship Mr. A and Ms. B together” would mean, “I hope Mr. A and Ms. B would be in a relationship”.

Curious, I probed further and asked them what “shippers” did. They proceeded to show me through Instagram how shippers would create “ship names”, usually a combination of the names of both parties, as well as edit “ship photos”, capturing the couples in matching outfits, gestures, etc.

They also showed me a photo of Korean popstar Rain and his wife Kim Tae Hee, a popular Korean actress, leaving for their honeymoon. Some of the students went on to say that married couples didn’t need to be “shipped”, while others argued that one could ship whoever he or she liked, regardless of marital status.

In my own journey with my husband—first as friends, then as a couple, and eventually as spouses—I cannot help but disagree with the former view.

When we were teenagers, we led a cell group together. At first, our friends teased us and cajoled us to get together. As we grew older, we realized how similar we were—from the way we counselled our cell members to the way we led Bible study. Needless to say, we ended up getting together.

Throughout our relationship, our friends were constantly there; they witnessed our quarrels and cheered us on. On our wedding day, they lovingly decorated the church, filling the place with a joy and simplicity so aligned to both our personalities. Today, we’ve also become their “shippers” as they involve us in their own journey towards marriage or their struggles as singles; we rejoice with those getting married, mourn alongside those who are walking out of broken relationships, and lend a listening ear as well as reach out to those who are single.

The “shippers” we’ve come to value the most are those who journeyed with us and gave us counsel. Whether single or married themselves, they spent hours with us during pre-marital counselling, were vulnerable, and shared their lives honesty and openly. Hearing how they resolved their differences, or even how they could serve God together in spite of challenges, encouraged and inspired us to do the same when we had our own doubts and challenges.

They brought us out to coffee and prayed for us—as individuals then, and as one entity now. They were always a phone call away when we got into intense arguments; they cried with us, listened to us, and most importantly, shared godly counsel with us. These precious ones constantly pointed us back to the creator of marriage, the God of love. And they reminded us that the sole purpose of marriage—in fact of any Christian—was to reflect His glory.

More than any other point in the relationship timeline, marriage would require “shippers” the most. I say this not in pride, but in utter humility and out of sheer need. Because I know how hard it is to be married and more so, to stay married. Sure, there are many wonderful things about being married, but the reality doesn’t reflect this truth so well. We are confronted with broken relationships on all sides. A friend just filed for divorce last month and another has been living separately from her husband and son for two years now. I myself come from a broken family and will always remember the confusion, hurt and betrayal my brother and I felt as children when our parents got divorced.

The wedding lasts but a day, but marriage is for a lifetime. I think a large part of the latter can only be possible if married couples have support from their community—from like-minded Christian individuals, couples, parents, and others who will be a part of their lives and come into their homes. At every stage of our relationship, we have been blessed and encouraged by the “shippers” that came alongside and today, continue to journey with us.

Will you “ship” others?

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Broad Strokes, Big Reminders

Title: Broad Strokes, Big Reminders
Materials: Hand-Written type and Photography
Description: These posters were designed for one thing: To turn our attention to the One who holds everything in His hands. From navigating relationships to finding assurance in tough times, He is the one in whom we can find hope, strength and peace for all things. This collection is to help believers renew their minds of the truth of who God is. The more we discover about Him, the more love, joy and peace fills our lives! Amazing, wonderful things can happen when we turn our gaze on Jesus.

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Acknowledging He is our creator || My life is in the hands of the maker of heaven

 

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Loving Him because of who He is || Delight yourself in the Lord

 

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We can be assured of this hope we have || You give me a hope and a future

 

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Even in the toughest of times, we wait || Take courage my heart stay steadfast my soul

 

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Stay focused and find contentment in Him || “Look for Christ and you will find Him and with Him everything else.” C.S Lewis

 

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Keep the passion || May we never lose our wonder

Artist Feature | Jenessa Wait

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I’m a 22-year-old Canadian who is now living in California. I grew up as a PK (pastor’s kid), and church life was always pretty normal. It wasn’t until I was 17 years old that I fully surrendered my life to Jesus. Through a series of events, I realized I was living a double life, not fully believing the truth of the gospel. I hit rock bottom, and God, in His grace and mercy, picked me up and gave me hope and purpose again.

I do hand-lettering because I believe I have a voice that is meant to speak the truth of who God and who people are, and to point people to Jesus! I love anything to do with beauty. Creating is a passion of mine, and I’m a believer in doing things you’re passionate about!

The key message I always want to convey through my art is that Jesus is the answer to all things. He is the one that gives us love, hope, peace – whatever it is that we need, He has it for us. I want people to be encouraged and to know that God is for them and with them through every situation of life! I’ve learned time and time again that we won’t have it all figured out right away, and that it’s a really good thing to not be perfect. Only then can we learn patience and to trust Him in all things.

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ODJ: Encouragement Exchange

One Sunday morning, my friend Sally announced some upcoming women’s events to our congregation. Sitting in the back, I made sure she could see my smiling face. Later she exclaimed, “You smiled at me the whole time!” I admitted that the ‘encouraging smile’ idea had come from someone else—my friend Suzy. Several months before, Suzy had beamed at me during a short presentation I made to the church family.

The apostle Paul provided just what the early church needed with his encouraging words and actions. In the city of Philippi, Paul and Silas had been unfairly beaten and imprisoned. When officials finally released them, they went to find the believers in Jesus in the area and “encouraged them once more” (Acts 16:40). These believers needed reassurance because they were new to the faith and had seen their city erupt in religious controversy (vv.20-22). Without Paul’s spiritual pep talk, they could have been overcome by doubt and confusion.

Time passed. In prison again, Paul wrote a letter to his Philippian friends, thanking them for the way they had encouraged him. He said, “You Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I first brought you the Good News. …You sent help more than once. …[Now] I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me” (Philippians 4:15-18).

Paul was uplifted not only by the gifts he received, but also by simply hanging out with other believers (Acts 28:15) and hearing their stories of progress and perseverance (1 Thessalonians 3:7). So “let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love…[and] encourage one another, especially now that the day of [Jesus’] return is drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25).

—Jennifer Benson Schuldt

365-day plan: Matthew 6:1-18

July 1, 2016 

READ: Acts 16:16-40 


[Paul and Silas] met with the believers and encouraged them once more (v.40). 

One Sunday morning, my friend Sally announced some upcoming women’s events to our congregation. Sitting in the back, I made sure she could see my smiling face. Later she exclaimed, “You smiled at me the whole time!” I admitted that the ‘encouraging smile’ idea had come from someone else—my friend Suzy. Several months before, Suzy had beamed at me during a short presentation I made to the church family.

The apostle Paul provided just what the early church needed with his encouraging words and actions. In the city of Philippi, Paul and Silas had been unfairly beaten and imprisoned. When officials finally released them, they went to find the believers in Jesus in the area and “encouraged them once more” (Acts 16:40). These believers needed reassurance because they were new to the faith and had seen their city erupt in religious controversy (vv.20-22). Without Paul’s spiritual pep talk, they could have been overcome by doubt and confusion.

Time passed. In prison again, Paul wrote a letter to his Philippian friends, thanking them for the way they had encouraged him. He said, “You Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I first brought you the Good News . ...You sent help more than once. ...[Now] I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me” (Philippians 4:15-18).

Paul was uplifted not only by the gifts he received, but also by simply hanging out with other believers (Acts 28:15) and hearing their stories of progress and perseverance (1 Thessalonians 3:7). So “let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love...[and] encourage one another, especially now that the day of [Jesus’] return is drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25).

—Jennifer Benson Schuldt

365-day plan: Matthew 6:1-18

MORE
Read the following verses and think of some ways you can encourage other believers: Acts 23:11, Ephesians 4:29 and 2 Timothy 1:16. 
NEXT
How could you give encouragement to someone today? Where do you go for encouragement? Why? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

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ODJ: In Jesus’ Love

In Jesus’ Love. He closed his email message with those words. And as I read them, I realized how poignant they were. For this young man—who I had seen come to a saving faith in Jesus, who I’d baptized, whose faith was maturing—was back home for a stay in his birth country, a place not known for kindness toward believers in Jesus. He mentioned receiving “strange looks” from nationals as he prayed before his meal in a restaurant, the coolness his friend showed toward his faith, and that he was lonely. So I strived to encourage him by writing, “I’m so proud of you. God is using you to spread His presence in your city!”

Due to persecution, Paul couldn’t go personally to encourage the fledgling church at Thessalonica. So he sent Timothy on a stealth mission (1 Thessalonians 3:2). Paul wrote to the church that he sent Timothy “to strengthen you, to encourage you in your faith, and to keep you from being shaken by the troubles [you’re] going through” (vv.2-3).

To the apostle’s delight, Timothy returned with encouraging news after his mission of joy and hope. With a grateful heart, Paul penned, “We have been greatly encouraged in the midst of our troubles” (v.7). He was pleased that the Thessalonian believers had “remained strong in [their] faith” even while facing persecution.

At the close of this portion of his letter, Paul dished out some encouraging words: Keep loving one another just as our love overflows for you; may Jesus make your faith strong and your lives holy; and know that He will one day return for you! (vv.11-13).

Do you know a believer in Jesus who needs your encouragement today? Give that person a call or send them an email or text and let them know that you stand with them in Jesus’ love.

—Tom Felten

365-day-plan: 2 Kings 11:1-21

April 26, 2016 

READ: 1 Thessalonians 3:1-13 


We sent him to strengthen you, to encourage you in your faith, and to keep you from being shaken by the troubles you were going through (vv.2—3). 

In Jesus’ Love. He closed his email message with those words. And as I read them, I realized how poignant they were. For this young man—who I had seen come to a saving faith in Jesus, who I’d baptized, whose faith was maturing—was back home for a stay in his birth country, a place not known for kindness toward believers in Jesus. He mentioned receiving “strange looks” from nationals as he prayed before his meal in a restaurant, the coolness his friend showed toward his faith, and that he was lonely. So I strived to encourage him by writing, “I’m so proud of you. God is using you to spread His presence in your city!”

Due to persecution, Paul couldn’t go personally to encourage the fledgling church at Thessalonica. So he sent Timothy on a stealth mission (1 Thessalonians 3:2). Paul wrote to the church that he sent Timothy “to strengthen you, to encourage you in your faith, and to keep you from being shaken by the troubles [you’re] going through” (vv.2—3).

To the apostle’s delight, Timothy returned with encouraging news after his mission of joy and hope. With a grateful heart, Paul penned, “We have been greatly encouraged in the midst of our troubles” (v.7). He was pleased that the Thessalonian believers had “remained strong in [their] faith” even while facing persecution.

At the close of this portion of his letter, Paul dished out some encouraging words: Keep loving one another just as our love overflows for you; may Jesus make your faith strong and your lives holy; and know that He will one day return for you! (vv.11—13).

Do you know a believer in Jesus who needs your encouragement today? Give that person a call or send them an email or text and let them know that you stand with them in Jesus’ love.

—Tom Felten

365-day-plan: 2 Kings 11:1-21

MORE
Read and meditate on Romans 15:13 and then think of a believer in Jesus you could share these words with as a means of encouragement! 
NEXT
Why is it such an important thing to share encouragement with other believers? What Scripture verses have been most encouraging to you? Who will you share them with? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)