EP 142 – ENCOURAGE THE STEADFAST
Hey there Bootcampers, thanks for joining us this week. Jimbo’s back with a great report on his sister and her surgery and many thanks for keeping her and his family in prayer this last week.
Today we turn our attention toward something we all need, encouragement. Specifically, there are people in every Replant and Revitalization who stayed the course, kept things moving in the right direction. Fought the hard battles which were necessary to ensure the church had a future. People like that have seen others leave the church, many times even their life long friends.
Here are four reasons to encourage the Steadfast
- They need it. Proverbs 11:25
- They have done good, hard work. Ephesians 4:3
- They have endured loss. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
- Encouraging words are valuable and a blessing. Proverbs 25:11
Take the 30 day Encouragement Challenge and find some one to specifically encourage every day. Let us know how that goes, and let us know the difference it makes.
Mentioned in the Show
JimBo Stewart: [00:00:00] Here we are back at the bootcamp Bible. Hope you’re ready for the next episode. So glad to be back in the studio here with you. Instead of being an Arkansas, man, I feel like I’ve lived a seven lifetimes in the last two weeks. It has been a lot of really high highs and really low lows and a mixture of it all.
And, had some real. Scary moments and, and then some miraculous moments. And so, as we record this, my sister is preparing to be discharged from the hospital and getting to go straight home, not to a rehab facility or anything like that, which has just been amazing considering that, going into the surgery, the prognosis.
Fairly grim of, possibly a fatal surgery or even if survival, it being, maybe a year and it being a pretty low quality of life and man there’s a lot. And [00:01:00] so, set with her two nights before the surgery, as we got that news and processed it in, you know, you’ve heard people say things like. What would you do if you had one day to live?
And so me and my sister literally planned it out. We were like, okay. So. Potentially just one day, right? I mean, you could go into the surgery and not come out the same person, or come out at all. And so we planned today and she had a wonderful Chana day. The mayor of Conway literally declared it legally Shannon Smith day.
Bob Bickford: Yeah.
JimBo Stewart: so, we had a massive party at tacos for life. Shout out to tacos for life. If you see a tacos for life, you should go in and support them. Fed like 40 people, for a patio party that she wanted to have and did not charge us a dime and the founder of tacos for life. And the staff came and prayed over my sister.
We were, she goes to second [00:02:00] Baptist Conway, pastored by Josh king, formerly of the replant team. And, so he, and, many people in the church prayed over her. I had a good prayer service. And then man, God. They had a miracle. the surgery surgery happens and we were told it would be eight to 10 hours or more.
they go in, they immediately contacted us and said the tumor was significantly smaller than the MRI had indicated. and the surgery to. Three hours instead of eight to 10 or more. And I got 90% of it out. And, she is cognitively pretty much her old self. She’s got some physical recovery to go. and we’re still have some things we are definitely praying for that.
There’s no indication of cancer. great. and some followup MRIs in six weeks to see some things. So keep praying, man. Thank you so much to the bootcamp to you, Bob. Thanks for covering last week is a great episode. and man, praise God. What, what a miracle.
Bob Bickford: Man, thank you for, sharing that with us and allow us to, [00:03:00] look in and walk with you even from afar from that. And I think, you know, you’re a good brother, right? You’re you’re there for your SIS and, and your family. And you’re the pastor. So they’re all probably trying to look at you as the pastor, you know, what, what do you do and what he say?
So it’s gotta be a lot of pressure and you’re far away from home absent from your family. And, um, and so I think, you know, the w it’s important to be with family in those significant times. and really, I think this watching. Your your experience through this taught me a couple of things. One is, just be intentional when you’re with people. Engage with them, say what needs to be said, you know, laugh, hold hands, cry, you know, just, just engage people, and, and engage intentionally. And then I think just ask for prayer. Right? You ask, we kind of, you put it out there, we put it out there on the bootcamp you put out on social media, you know, Kevin Ezell, president, north American mission board, you know, reach out and others were reaching out.
So I think that. [00:04:00] That it’s just important to let people know when you have some significant concerns to pray, pray for you to be with you. So it’s really cool to see, you know, how the local church came together, how tacos for life. And I would echo that that’s a great company, with a missions emphasis and, stop by when you’re in Arkansas or wherever they have a location and check them out.
and again, thanks to the bootcamp family and,
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, I had a lot of, I had a lot of bootcampers reach out and let me know that they were praying for her. And so, man, I just, I can’t thank you enough. Keep praying for, we’re not a hundred percent out of the woods yet, but man, we are way more out of it than we had anticipated. We would be at this point to think that she is going home today, as we record this on Monday of this week, it’s pretty incredible, to think about it.
I’ll tell you what. To two more things. One encouraged me about my sister and then, in her faith and to, the role some friends played that I think could transition us into our topic for today. one is in those moments, knowing that, she may not come out of the surgery or she does [00:05:00] maybe not the same, had some really good conversations with her privately.
And one thing that she wanted everyone to. Was that God is good, even if he didn’t heal her.
Bob Bickford: Well,
JimBo Stewart: it was really, really important to her, that we communicate to everyone that God is good and faithful and just, and merciful, even if she didn’t come out of the surgery or come out of it the same. And she, I mean, heavily emphasized that to me.
And I was just saying, Sobering and encouraging to me and her faith, cause for her to say that, I mean, there was a lot at stake at that time. And for that to be a concern of hers just shows how real and grounded her face really is. I’ll tell you the other gifts that we had was, and this will transition us into our topic today of encouragement on our way home.
It was quite a drive. And so we decided not to do it all in one day because we were pretty wiped, pretty exhausted. Audrey had been kind of on kid duty, our kids and her kids the whole time. And, I’d been on wrangling adult [00:06:00] duty
Bob Bickford: Which is more exhausting sometimes.
JimBo Stewart: And so, man, God knew what a gift we needed. And so we were able to stop by, and stay the night with some friends and stay up and play Rummy and laugh. And our kids played with their kids and, we had ate some good jambalaya and, man, it was just a good, good time. And they were just encouragers and I did not realize.
How much I needed that night to help me reenter back into society. I also needed a very long nap. but, the encouragement I got from those friends. And so today I was taking us a minute to get there, and I appreciate your patience on the long intro and updates and my sister. But, today we want to talk about the importance of.
and especially for those who are steadfast in the work of church leadership and replanting and revitalization in a man there, some unsung heroes in a lot of this process that don’t, don’t get a lot of press. And I think it’s important to take some time to talk about [00:07:00] encouraging them.
Bob Bickford: Absolutely. you know, since we men, looking for a church family, we’ve landed at a. Church. That really is a replant of a replant. And, it’s, it’s close to our house and we got to go out to lunch with, a couple of one he’s an elder and, and, his wife is real involved with the ladies and they’re are older couple older than us.
And was just talking with him about the time in between and the times where there were question marks about the church. And it made me think of not only him, but of, of a guy named Adam who was at our church, before we got there and replanted and in every replant there’s typically, there’s some really good stellar folks who are there.
With the express calling by God. And Tom mentioned that the guy I met with on Sunday, he just said, we felt called by God to stay and to see this church. And, uh, Adam was the same firm, same one same way. and as I was talking about just my desire to be an encourager, he just paused and said, you know what, I could use some of that [00:08:00] because it was really hard.
and so it just got me thinking, you know, Every consultation. We do Jimbo every church replant that we kind of step into every replant that our bootcampers are leading. There’s some good folks, but there’s some, there’s some difficult folks, but there’s some good folks and there’s probably one or two good matriarchs and patriarchs who felt called by God just to stick it out and to fight for the future of the church.
And so. I want to say that those persons are steadfast and, they are need of encouragement. So I just quickly thought about four reasons why we should as replant pastors, as encouragers in the church, why we should re reach out and encourage the steadfast. So the first one is they need it. I think. I guess, can you think about months and months of like, just struggle and fighting and fussing and then question marks and financial concerns and all those sorts of things.
And so there’s a lot of people who’ve just been steadfast and they need it. So I love this first. Uh, 11, [00:09:00] chapter 11, verse 25, it says this, a generous person will prosper. Whoever refreshes others will himself be refreshed. And so the particularly the last part of it, whoever refreshes others, will themselves be refreshed.
That steadfast person has been, you know, they’ve been trying to, to encourage others and to love others and to correct others and all those sorts of things. And when you’re in that role, I mean, there’s not a lot of people who want to.
Encourage you, right. We’re shooting arrows at you. And Tom mentioned this.
He said, man, there’s so many times where I just felt pulled in both directions because there’s their church basically merged with another. And called the pastor. And then that pastor left like several months in and a lot of people left and they, he was just trying to hold it together. And so, he did a great job, but he’s tired and he needs to meet courage.
So, later on this week, I’m planning on, I have his email address. I’m just going to write him an email and tell him how thankful I am for his, his work. So bootcamper, lay-person, there’s probably a person in the church who tried to hold things [00:10:00] together and I think they just need to be.
JimBo Stewart: Absolutely. Do you need that? And I mean, I can tell you when I’ve gone into some churches to do consults, how, in that first meeting we talk about, as we train people to go into those sorts of processes, we always tell them, that very first meeting don’t come in as a. Don’t come in as a status statistician or a, Missy geologist or, or any of those things come in pastorally pastor the room, listen to them.
And man, I can re I can remember multiple times when I’ve gotten to be in that first meeting and just speak encouragement to those dear saints, because by the time that they have asked for our help in those situations, they’re probably in a pretty. Dark spot and it seems a little bit, hopeless even at times.
And, and so before we start talking strategy or any of those things, and I think it’s just important just to strengthen them. It’s one of the things I I’ve loved in the book of acts, I’ll go back to a lot. I [00:11:00]consider it part of my calling. Is it positive? The apostle Paul plants. There are a few times where it says he goes back and strengthens the disciples.
then he goes back and just, I, and I I’m, without a doubt, I don’t think I’m reading too much in to believe that encouragement is a part of that process, because one of the good, good news things that we see even in scripture is if your church is struggling well, welcome to the club. We don’t see a whole lot of like, Hey, you guys are doing so amazing.
This church is just killing it. You guys are just doing so great in the Bible even, right. I mean, they’re calling a pistols where Paul starts out really nice, but he eventually gets to things that need to be corrected and established. I mean, and then there’s, then there’s the book of Galatians where he doesn’t even start out with nice things.
And so, this is how it is right there. There are things to commend and there are things to correct as we have discussed before. but in that, even though we’ve discussed the. [00:12:00] Letters to the churches in revelation, start with things that the Lord commands that he encourages them. Hey, here’s some things you guys are doing well.
and so find ways to, especially those lay leaders who have kind of held the Fort down, in those times of transition. It’s especially if you’re new as a re planter or pastor into that situation, your mind is probably almost entirely focused, future oriented looking forward. And you can look back on the legacy and you build on that, but don’t miss the like more immediate history of just how hard it’s been to come to this decision to be replanted or to intern, to revitalization and admit that, you know,
Bob Bickford: Absolutely. The next thing I thought about was, the steadfast need to be encouraged cause they’ve done really good, hard work. Nobody signs up to say, let me be the one to try to keep this church focused on what it needs to focus on until we can, you know, receive God’s leader and [00:13:00] pray together and move forward then.
So the words that, came to mind is Ephesians four, three says make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace. All right, Jimbo, you, you know, from personal experience, it is hard to keep people who don’t like each other who disagree with you with each other, in unity. Right.
And it’s hard to keep them peaceful. And so there are folks who have to walk towards conflict and shepherd people, or keep people from fighting and fussing. Keep, you know,
after the bad business meeting they have. or somebody makes a comment and pops off. They have to step up and, and try to bring the group back to, some sense of unity.
So those people who do that need encouragement, because it’s been hard, hard work, but it’s been good or work that they’ve been doing.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, it has been good work. I mean, it’s, it is spiritual maturity listening to last week’s episode that you did, with a guest talking about the merger of those two churches. And he [00:14:00] said something so good. He said it was the maturity of the legacy church. And their humility to recognize that a merger was the healthiest move for them, that really helped to make this happen and make this work.
that man that’s, that is not easy work and that requires spiritual maturity and it requires an understanding of our role. And, we put so much emphasis on the leadership of the pastors. But man, it that no pastor can replant or revitalize a church by himself. No, pastor there’s not, there’s not one that exists.
That’s good enough to do it by himself. It requires the hard work and sacrifice of the steadfast people of the.
Bob Bickford: it does. we’re thankful for those brothers and sisters who do it, and it’s a thankless job. And I think of the stress that I go on. And used to go home with on a regular basis, as a re planter. And now how it kept me up at night. And, it was good work, but man, [00:15:00] it was hard work. So we want to, we want to encourage them.
The next thing I thought about is we should encourage the steadfast because they’ve endured loss. They’ve endured loss that the gentlemen I was dealing with, or dealing with the gentleman I was having lunch with yesterday, he just talked with great heartache about when they merged those two churches and then the pastor left pretty quickly.
And then people just started leaving. he, that was just hard for. And he and his wife both said, we, we just felt called to stay. And so we’ve, we’ve stayed and, we wanted to stay and we knew we had to stay. And so there was a lot of loss that happens when a church goes through a difficult season loss of people.
Is typically one of the first things that happens then loss of ability to do certain kinds of programming that are geared towards reaching the people or taking care of kids even. And so, we need to encourage them because they’ve endured loss. You know, I think, uh, this drought, this, kind of directs me to first Thessalonians five when, Paul is writing to the church there and saying, we don’t want you to [00:16:00] grieve, like people who are uninformed, right. That you have no hope in this world. And they’re thinking about those who have left them and who’ve gone on and they’ve died and Paul lays it out there and just wants them to know that, you know, it’s important for you to understand what’s taking place. And so, intersection, he, he just says that Christ died for us so that whether we are awake or we are asleep, we may live together with him.
And then he says this in verse 11, therefore encourage one. And build each other up just as in fact, you are now doing right. So there’s this, idea of the need to encourage one another in seasons of loss and seasons of heartache and seasons where sin is, has ravaged and where things have fallen apart.
And so I would just say, man, encouraged the steadfast because they’ve endured loss
JimBo Stewart: Yeah.
Bob Bickford: in some way.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah. I, think about, one of the hard points in our church’s [00:17:00] history when we lost a lot of people and I remember senior. That a lot of her friends had left the church and she came to me and she said, look, I know that these people have left. but I feel like this is where I’m supposed to be.
And it feels still have me. I want to see what God’s going to do. As we continue to pursue his will. And man, she became such a huge blessing to me. But part of my role as pastor then was to just help her grieve the loss and it’s, and that’s complicated and hard because some of her friends that left left because of me, because they cause they didn’t like me because they didn’t like the way that I would leading in.
And so you’re helping somebody grieve loss that you. Helped initiate, but she was really gracious to me in those times as well. And, man, I couldn’t, I can’t be thankful enough for what I saw God do through her, in my life, in that time. But, don’t, don’t miss that, man. [00:18:00] It’s not just that people left the church.
It’s that friends and family and then, connections that were really, really important to them have left the church and that’s hard and it needs to be.
Bob Bickford: Yeah, I think the most significant pain that I felt in ministry is when people that I invested in and loved and really, you know, sought to help move forward in their walk with Jesus and their relationship with other one another, when they picked up and just left. And some, some would tell you they were leaving and some would tell you why, which is somewhat helpful at times.
Unless it’s just some leaning because you, that’s not real helpful, but the most significant pain I think I’ve ever felt in ministry is just losing people, right. People that you love. and so, just remember the steadfast who were there before you they’ve endured. and they have been, they’ve had the maturity, the spiritual maturity to say, I I’m going to stick this out because this is God’s church and God has a work here to do, And I want to be.
a part of that. That’s a level of spiritual [00:19:00] maturity that you should not discount whatsoever. Here’s the last thing I got. we should encourage the steadfast because encouraging words are a blessing. Proverbs 25 11 says a word fitly spoken is like apple. Yeah.
the gold settings of silver right now.
I think that’s a jewelry reference Jimbo, and I’m not a jewelry guy. I, you know, I’ve got the CrossFit ring and I think, you know, you’ve got the, the electronic ring, the Ironman ring. I think that, that tells you how, like, if you’re breathing okay. And if, you know, you need to eat more vegetables and all those sorts of things, right.
So let’s think about your green. It’s like a beautiful thing. That’s like valuable and it’s full of technology. Well, this is kind of this versus like, man, an encouraging word is like one of the most valuable and beautiful things that you can give somebody. And here’s what I would say about that. there’s a file in my file, folder cabinet that has encouraging them.
In it from years ago that people have sent. Right. [00:20:00] And so one of the things that I used to do on a regular basis is when I was feeling down, I would just get that out and just read through those. and bootcampers, you may be the recipient of anonymous letters and emails. Sorry about that. When you get a good word, when you get a guard, when somebody says something that’s super encouraging to you, record that in your journal and go
JimBo Stewart: Yes.
Bob Bickford: Okay, because that is a beautiful thing. We don’t do it enough. And so we just need to encourage the steadfast because man, there’s nothing more valuable than an encouraging word and it costs you nothing, but it means all can mean everything to the person that receives it.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, you have no idea how powerful a word of encouragement can be. I remember seeing something on Twitter recently. I can’t remember who it was. It said something like, I, he is a writer and he said, I’ve said this before, but it’s worth saying again, I’m a writer because when I was in, in like elementary school, a teacher looked at something I wrote and said, oh, you could be a writer when you grow up.
And it just. [00:21:00] With him forever. And, I mean, you have no idea. the power of your words is as Jane. it gives us plenty of, and Proverbs gives us plenty of information about, just the power of our words to be a life-giving and uplifting. And man, what a, what a real blessing it can be. It can change your day.
It can change your life to just speak encouragement. I have the same kind of file folder, Bob of. Encouraging notes. I have received, I had one card that I hid from my wife, but she found it in my desk,
Bob Bickford: Oh,
JimBo Stewart: because it was, it was to my wife and I didn’t want to read it, cause it was not nice. And at the end it said she always laughs about this at the end, the lady said, I love you because Jesus tells me I have to.
Bob Bickford: Merry Christmas, even though I’m ashamed of you, right? Like that.
JimBo Stewart: just to, you know, that’s not [00:22:00] what encouragement
looks like. encouragement is specific, right? It’s managers, there’s nothing like here in just a specific. Good powerful word on here. And we’ve had some, good episodes even, talking about this, I believe with Halik and he’s got such a, he’s got a couple of good books, the relentless encourager be a Barnabas.
He’s got a book called BIA Barnabas. That is for replant string Vitalizer and the importance of encouragement. I would encourage you, man. Don’t. Think of this as a throwaway episode or anything like this is, this is so important. it’s just so needed, to think through these things and figure out, how do, how do we intentionally on purpose on a regular daily basis, be an encourager to others because we need it.
Bob Bickford: Yeah, this will go back to the verse that we started with. He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. And so I just want to give, I want to issue a challenge to the bootcampers out there. Just to simply say this. Why don’t you go on a 30 day encouragement journey and just everyday try to encourage people around you, your [00:23:00] spouse, your kids.
You know, people that you meet, all those sorts of things in the person that the license bureau, the persons at the checkout stand, you know, that kind of thing. And just be an encourager. One thing is I, Jimbo, I got my driver’s license renewed all in with a story real quick, but I got my driver’s license renewed.
I was, I was kinda, you know, you go to the DMV, it’s not great. So, you know, I was in there and I was watching people and the lady was kind of grumpy that, and I was hoping that I wouldn’t get the hurt, but I got, I got her right. And I, I leaned over to tell Barb, I was like, she’s kind of mean, and gripey right.
And so I was like, oh great. So I walk up to her Jimbo and then she would like, something’s flipped. Like she flipped the switch and was like the friendliest, nicest lady to me. And she said this to me. She said, you’ve been sitting there just waiting really patient. And, I really appreciate that. And so I was like, okay.
And so we had a laughter, we, you know, we had kind of an exchange and it was really good. And so I just think maybe encourage you wherever you go, you could really make a difference and it. might open up gospel opportunity for you to share, that [00:24:00] your hope is in Christ, not in the things of substance that happen to you.
So maybe just being encouraged, you’re taking the 30-day challenge. Let us know what goes on.