In the mid 1990’s Mark and I had the opportunity of living in Houston working with Mission X a ministry aimed to reach Generation X through music. Part of the Mission X ministry wasa band called the Friendly’s of which Mark was the guitarist, Tim Bisagno was singer, Marty Durlam was drummer and later Stephen Pether joined us as bass player but at the beginning we had quite a few temporary bass players. In the early days of establishing Mission X and getting the band known, they played a gig at First Baptist Church Houston, where Tim’s father was the senior pastor.
The Friendlys in action
It was a gig to raise awareness and funding for the band and Mission X. Our mission was to use music as a medium to tell others about Jesus and take this music and message to the world; in particular to pubs, clubs, festivals and prisons. The band played well and gave it all they could. The music was loud and quite heavy and definitely not the typical music heard at First Baptist Church.
What made this gig a lasting memory was the response at the end of the show. People were coming up to us and saying things like, “Wow, you guys are the best band I have ever heard!” “That was
The Friendlys L to R Marty Durlam, Stephen Pether, Tim Bisagno, & Mark Holmes
awesome; you are going to make it so big!” “Can’t wait for you to put an album out!”
Mark and I were taken by surprise by this incredible encouragement (but of course didn’t believe a word of it). However, it was still super exciting to hear and super encouraging.
I remember thinking that maybe this is why Americans do so well at everything they set their minds and hands to. Maybe it’s inbred in them to be each other’s cheerleaders and to inspire each other to go bigger and do better and to constantly praise successes no matter how small. We left that gig that evening thinking we could do anything and go anywhere, that this band could actually conquer the world for Jesus.
This memory has never left me, and as much as I can I have tried to be like those Texans that night. One of my dear friends is a natural cheerleader. To her everyone is amazing, looks fantastic and is brilliant at all they do. It has been a true blessing to be on the receiving end of that sort of friendship.
And as you would like and desire that men would do to you, do exactly so to them.
Luke 6:31 (Amplified Bible)
We all want to be told; you’re are doing a great job, or that painting you did was beautiful, that song you sang was amazing, that university paper you got a B in was a fantastic effort or that outfit you just bought is stunning.
No one wants to hear; that painting has too many dark colours, you sang a bit out of key, an A would have been better, or that shirt is too bright.
I have learnt there is incredible lifegiving power in our words and when we speak them into others’ lives we actually have the ability to make or break a person.
As the bible says,
“Words kill, words give life.
They’re poison or fruit – you choose.”
Proverbs 18:21 (The Message)
Isn’t that the truth!
My parents in law, David and Val, have just spent three months in Austin Texas staying with Mark’s brother and his family. One day David was talking to a neighbour about his future plans and he said to David without any pride and very matter of fact that he was studying so one day he could become President.
David said what impressed him about this statement was he actually believed he could. This young man had been brought up to believe he could do anything he had set his mind to. He had been encouraged to aim for his dreams.
This blog and my book (which is in the process of being edited) are acts of obedience to what I believe God has asked of me, but I can tell you now they would not have even got started without the constant encouragement of friends and family who kept saying that I could do it and that I did have something to share with the world.
Being a cheer leader and an encourager does not come naturally to this Kiwi girl, but the more I have practiced it the better I have become at it and the more natural it has become. Also the bonus of encouraging people comes when I see their faces light up.
Bonnie at Cheerleading Champs.
I want to be the mum who tells her girls they are amazing and can do anything they want. I want to be the friend who says, ‘you look gorgeous’. I want to be the church member who tells the pastor their message was great or tells the youth pastor they are doing a great job. I want to encourage family, friends, and even acquaintances to go for their dreams, and to make life happen.
Let’s all follow Jesus’ suggestion and “Do to others as you would like them to do to you.”But let’s do it with our words because all of us really do want to be encouraged and praised.
And maybe, just maybe, that word of encouragement or praise will spur another on to be obedient to what God has asked of them. How awesome to give someone that much needed boost to take a step towards their dream and purpose.