5.6. Encouragement – Family – Deep Convictions

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"Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny"

1. The Movie:

In the movie “I can only imagine” with J. Michael Finley as Bart Millard, the lead singer who wrote the song about his relationship with his father (Dennis Quaid). Madeline CarrollTrace AdkinsPriscilla Shirer, and Cloris Leachman. 10-year-old Bart Millard lives with his mother and abusive father Arthur in Texas. One day his mother drops him off at a Christian camp where he meets Shannon. Upon his return from camp, Bart finds his mother has left and movers are removing her belongings. He angrily confronts his father, who denies that his abusiveness was the reason she left. Years later, in high school, Bart and Shannon are dating. Bart plays football to please his father, but is injured, breaking both ankles and ending his career. The only elective with openings is music class, so he reluctantly signs up..

2. Quotes from the Movie:

"It is an amaizing sound. It just kinda happened. It took about 10 minutes I guess. Bart you did not write this song in 10 minutes, it took a lifetime ."

Nicole DuPort & J. Michael Finley - I can only imagine Tweet

“When I was 11 years old, life was tough.Where is momma? She's gone, she don't want me no more and she don't want you neither.”

Dennis Quaid & J. Michael Finley - I can only imagine Tweet

"Then I found some songs, that I just held on to. It gave me hope, because I needed it."

J. Michael Finley - I can only imagine Tweet

“Dad I can do this. No, you can't and you are going to blink your eyes and realize that life has got you nowhere because you chased some stupid dream.”

Dennis Quaid & J. Michael Finley - I can only imagine Tweet

"I am leaving Shanon. I want you to know that I pray for you all the time and I hope that you find whatever it is that you are looking for out there."

J. Michael Finley & Madeline Carroll - I can only imagine Tweet

"What are you running from? My dad. Then write about it, let that pain become your inspiration."

Trace Adkins & J. Michael Finley - I can only imagine Tweet

"I had some stuff that I needed to sort out and I deal with it the only way I know how and that is to write a song."

J. Michael Finley - I can only imagine Tweet

"You're hungry. I set the table. What is this? I want to make things right, you and me."

Dennis Quaid & J. Michael Finley - I can only imagine Tweet

"My dad was a monster and I saw God transform him. You have a gift, a real gift. I did not think that God can do that. So I wrote this song for my dad."

Dennis Quaid & J. Michael Finley - I can only imagine Tweet

I Can Only Imagine (Click on this link while you read the lyrics)

I can only imagine what it will be like
When I walk, by your side
I can only imagine what my eyes will see
When you face is before me
I can only imagine
I can only imagine

Surrounded by You glory
What will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus
Or in awe of You be still
Will I stand in your presence
Or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah
Will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine
I can only imagine

I can only imagine when that day comes
When I find myself standing in the Son
I can only imagine when all I would do is forever
Forever worship You
I can only imagine
I can only imagine
Surrounded by Your glory
What will my heart feel
Will I dance for You, Jesus
Or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence
Or to my knees will I fall
Will I…

Wow Hans this was such a tragic impactful movie / story! We all grow up with our struggles in families. Sometimes those dreams that we had does not come to fruition, we get bitter and that affects our relationships negatively. But is we use our pain and write a song to God He can heal us of all our pains, tears and discouragements. Then we can stand unified in our relationships and get a new dream and purpose for eternity.

3. The Bible Scriptures:

Let’s see what the Bible has to say:

– Hans, God is greatly concerned about the unity of the church. He is also greatly concerned about the purity of the Body of Christ. We are called to a holy life and a pure life, and sin in the Body that is being hidden or ignored will destroy the power of the church.

  • That is true Francois, so much so in my own life. Hiding sin is like a one of the rooms in your house that is dark and earie. 

– Hans, one of our greatest responsibilities is to encourage each other in the Body of Christ.

Lets have a look a what the Bible says.

12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness – Heb 3:12-13


– Hans according to this passage why is encouragement so needed?


  • Well like it says Francois is that none of us be hardened by sins deceitfulness.
  • So in essence our sins will deceive us into leaving God.
  • Our sin harden our hearts towards God.
  • Life is tough as it is and encouragement is always welcome.
  • We are sometimes unaware of our own sin.
  • The problem with unrepentant sin is that it makes us unbelievers again.
  • The next step after we have become unbelieving is that we turn away from God.


– Judging from this passage Hans, what kind of encouragement do you think would prove most helpful?

  • Well I think caring about each other’s openess about sin Francois because the progression after that is catastrofic.
  • Doing it daily, because then it becomes a good habit. 
  • I know if you are open with your life, it breeds openess.
  • The Bible say speak only what is good and helpful building others up according to their need.(Eph 4:29)
  • Helmut Thielicke said: “Jesus was able to love men because he love them right through the layer of mud”
  • “To love a person” Dostoevsky said: “means to see him as God intended him to be”. Now that is faith. 
  • Taking these quotes into consideration you have to change and have vision for a person and treat him accordingly to that vision Francois.
  • Quite a challenge, different from our critical way of thinking normally but godly.

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching – Heb 10:24-25

– What do we need to do to make our meeting times even more encouraging?

  • I need to learn what it means to spiritually spur one another towards love and good deeds. 
  • So in essence a person needs to feel that jolt, like you would kick a horse to get going Francois. 
  • Talking nicely to the horse will not have the same effect, but our words should be able to do that.
  • I think practically the safest way is to share a scripture with someone and explain it to them.  The other way round should also work. The reason being is that is when God talks and no one should argue with that who has a soft heart towards God.

– Why is it discouraging for someone to miss meetings without communicating why they are not there or without getting advice?

  • Well it is a sign Francois that, that person just have prioritized something above God and that means there is something wrong with that persons relationship with God.
  • It means satan has harden their hearts through their sin.
  • It also means that the person does not trust you enough to confess their sin to you.
  • It is like breaking a glass, it can never be the same again. 

– Write down the names of three people you want to encourage and how you plan to do this Hans?

  • My wife Marissa:
    •  Francois we do our Bible study together in the morning to keep each other accountable.
    • We pray togerther in the morning and evening – Currently we have a praying campaign called “Light the Fire”, where we pray together for an hour a day.
    • For someone to feel loved you have to speak their love language. My wifes is quality time and words of affirmation. So I try to encourage her with positive things I can see in her character every day.
    • I also think physical touch is very important. Eg. we kiss every day goodbye, mornings and evening just we go to sleep. Also, don’t we all liked to be hugged, just give a hung and hold her untill she squirms. 🙂
    • We have a weekly date, where we take turns in organizing it. In the covid it is quite difficult to keep it fresh. We will put our daughter to bed early and watch a movie together and hang out.
    • Francois we have a weekly planning meeting and spiritually encouraging one another meeting. We have it on Sunday evenings. We talk about how she is doing spiritually, read her Bible, praying and share something we have learned in our quiet times. Then we talk about our week ito ministry (Who is in our small group / Family group), mission (Studying the Bible with our friends) and maintenance (How was your day spiritually). Then I ask her what I can help her with more during the week. We use Microsoft’s “To do” app to coordinate things for her and me during the week, eg. buying groceries, things that we need to do or remember. 
    • I do some chores in the house like making breakfast, dinner, loading the dishwasher, etc. Sometimes my wife get home late after work so at least dinner is ready for us to eat together as a family and talk about our day how it went.
  • My daughter
    •  Every second night we read the Bible story together and one of her story books. My wife and I take turns reading to her because she bonds with us both and she needs the mother and father figure in her life. 
    • I make sure I run a bath for her. 
    • We love to go for walks,  singing spiritual songs and praying together. 
    • I go drop her off and pick her up from school. I ask her how was her day. Who did she play with today. What did she learn at school today. It helps me to see how she is doing and who the influencers is in her life.
    • We love going to the shop together because she loves buying chocolate. She would sit in the trolley either at the back or in the front helping me to choose what to buy. 
  • My friend Raymond
    •  We have been friends since grade 2.
    • We talk now and again about how it is going through this covid pandemic.
    • We would go play golf together.
    • I send him my quiet time bible studies every day to encourage him to stay close to God.
    • We would spend new year together.
    • Hopefully we can go camping after the lockdown is over.

– Hans explain why different people are encouraged by different means?

  • Well we all have different love languages. That is if you have read the book “The Five Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman. If you do not love the person according to their own love language, which might just be one or two of them they will not feel loved even if you do some of the other love languages.
  • The five love languages would be words of affirmationquality timereceiving giftsacts of service and physical touch
  • So the best way to find out what someones love language is to see what they do for you. Then you do that back for them and you will feel loved. 

4. Close

– Hans encouragement is like eating, we need it three times a day. The more sweeter it is the more we appreciate it.
  • Man I must tell you I did not think it is so important for me to give encouragement, which feel sometimes cheesy and to receive it Francois. I know I by default am focussed on faults and being critical, but like Dostoevsky said “To love a person; means to see him as God intended him to be” and Helmut Thielicke said: “Jesus was able to love men because he love them right through the layer of mud”. So I asked myself what do I see when I look at people, do I see the mud or the spiritual man God planned them to be?

– It is true Hans am I faithful or faithless the way I look at men and treat them accordingly. Would you close us out with a prayer?

  • Moring Father. 
  • This song “I can only imagine” is such a powerful song.
  • If we have faith in heaven and God life can change us not just our life on earth but for eternity as well.
  • If I am open with my life God can cleanse me of my sin.
  • I also need to help my brothers / sisters to be open with their lives that is how I will see to it that they do not have a sinful, unbelieving heart that will turn away from God. 
  • Lord I pray that I will be devoted to the meetings of your church body, that way I will be encouraged and called higher in my walk with God. 
  • Help me to encourage the people in my life that is the closest to me.
  • Help me to find out what peoples love language’s are so I can make them feel loved.
  • Amen.

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