Jon Limmer
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I recently discovered, on YouTube, clips from a BBC Show called Michael McIntyre's Big Show. Each episode, filmed before a theatre audience of over 2,500 people, features an "Unexpected Star." An individual who loves to sing is nominated by family or friends to be a part of the show and then, following an elaborate prank, find themselves unexpectedly on stage at the show with the host. After a moment for them to compose themselves, he asks them if they would be willing to sing a number to close the show as that nights "Unexpected Star" of the show. It is a fun concept designed to surprise the individual with affirmation, encouragement, and applause. (Enjoy an example of it below!)

As followers of Jesus, we are encouraged to speak in ways (and only in ways) that are helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29). What would our world look like if we put consistent effort into really affirming and encouraging those we meet? That affirmation may not happen through elaborate pranks to get them on stage before thousands of people, but it could be through simple texts or facebook messages, cards, expressions of thanks, noticing and affirming their gifts or kind actions, etc.. Maybe you do want to take the time to plan something more special for someone who has been significant in your life!

This week I encourage you (and myself in the process) to consciously be someone who is building others up. Maybe even helping someone feel like an unexpected star through your genuine words and acts of unexpected affirmation and encouragement.