You can make a difference in your neighbourhood when you follow Jesus’ plan. Jesus’ plan to reach your neighbourhood with the gospel begins with prayer. This message from Pastor Matt Bennett will encourage you to join with Jesus and begin with prayer as you reach out to those in need.
Articles and resources to help you help people connect to God.
The Blessing Strategy
Our mission to go and make disciples of all the nations (Matt 28:18-20) finds its roots in the original mission to go and be a blessing to others (Gen 12:1-3). This means that blessing others and seeing people come to know, love and serve Jesus are linked together!
If you do at least one of these BLESS practices every day, you will not only look more like Jesus, but you will help others find Jesus too!
BEGIN with prayer
Begin with prayer. I will pray for the people in my life and the places that I’m in.
“God, may your kingdom come and will be done. Please provide me with an opportunity today to bless someone or someplace. Help me be aware of your presence and your leading today.”
Praying for people: Who do you live, work, and play with that is far from God? Pray that God would create spiritual curiosity in them, and then spend time with them.
Praying for places: Where does pain exist here? Pray for healing. Who makes the decisions here? Pray for integrity. Who throws the parties here? Pray for community. Where are the pennies spent here? Pray for provision.
Listen – I will listen to and discover the needs of others and the places where God is at work.
“God, how do you want me to bless the world today? Help me to listen to and discover the needs of others and where you’re at work.”
Before you can help others find Jesus, you need to listen to them first – their hopes, pains, challenges and dreams.
In your interactions with others today, take the posture of a learner. Lay down your assumptions, and practice being present.
Pay attention to the local news and ask God how you can meet those needs
Eat – I will share meals and spend time with people in my life.
You eat 21 meals a week. Who will you share them with? Eating is one of the fastest ways to move a relationship from acquaintance to friendship.
Who can you eat with (or have a coffee with) that is far from God? A co-worker over lunch? A neighbour during the day? A friend or family member over the weekend?
Is there a place that you regularly visit (coffee shop, gym, etc.)? Ask God to grant you opportunities to eat with people.
Serve – I will respond to the needs of others and help them in practical ways.
Before jumping into serving, have you taken the time to pray for, listen to and eat with these people? Doing these things first helps you discover the way that you really need to serve them.
Who can you serve this week? Who do you know that has a practical need? Ask them how you can help them.
Story – I will share the story of Jesus and what He is doing in my life with others.
You can’t spell BLESS without the second S. In other words, sharing the story of God with others is necessary to participate in God’s mission (Matt 28:18-20).
Here are some tips on how to share the story of God with others:
- Start by sharing how God has blessed you and made a difference in your life.
- Share your story in such a way that demonstrates that God is also at work in their life.
- Don’t feel like you have to tell your life story at once. Think “bite-size” stories.
Here are some posts from around the world wide web that you may find interesting this week:
The Most Important Time To Go To Church – David Gunderson – The author opens with the punchline, “The most important time to be at church is when you don’t feel like it.” It’s worth reading the whole thing though!
Ten Abilities of Emotionally Healthy People – Jimmy Evans – I don’t think we fully appreciate the importance of our emotional health. As the author of this article notes, “Your relationship with your spouse will never exceed your individual emotional health.”
Three Reflections After My First Year As A Christian – Eleanor Dell – It is so easy to lose sight of the importance of evangelism and forget the joy of coming to know Christ. That is what I appreciate like this one so much.
When Google Met God: Billy Graham’s 1998 TED Talk – Daniel Motley – I was surprised to learn that Billy Graham once gave a TED talk! There is so much good to learn from this example. Here is a quote from Graham’s talk, “We can’t get along with other people, even in our own families. We find ourselves in the paralyzing grip of self-destructive habits we can’t break. Racism and injustice and violence sweep our world, bringing a tragic harvest of heartache and death. Even the most sophisticated among us seem powerless to break this cycle. I would like to see Oracle take up that, or some other technological geniuses work on this. How do we change man so that he doesn’t lie and cheat and our newspapers are not filled with stories of fraud in business or labor or athletics or wherever?”
The Friday Five is back after a long holiday break! Here is a collection if interesting and possibly useful articles from around the inter-webs.
Why Most People Miss Out On Being Led By the Spirit – Ben Sternke – Here is a helpful look at some obstacles to avoid as you try to follow the direction of God’s Spirit. “God gives his people both a promise … and a command …. Both are needed for the people to be successful in their task. … Our lack of progress in faith typically comes from a failure to embrace both of these realities, focusing instead on one to the exclusion of the other. When we hear the promise but don’t take action, we live in fear, and the promise remains unfulfilled. When we take action but aren’t really listening for the promise, we live in our flesh, aimlessly kicking in all directions at once and never really bearing fruit.”
Not Having Enough Isn’t An Excuse To Not Tithe – Jesse Carey – It is interesting to look at our finances from a global perspective. This article also links to some useful resources. “If you have access to clean water, never fear going hungry and have a place to live, on global terms, you’re actually doing really well. And if you have a Netflix account and a smartphone, you are one of the more privileged people on the planet. In fact, not only do one in 10 people currently survive on less than $1 a day but, if you make more than $32,400 a year, then you are in the top 1 percent of earners currently alive.”
Creative Ways to Hear God – Cath Livesy – Are you listening for what God is saying? “Every Christian can learn to know and listen to God’s voice; the promise of Jesus is for all of us. But to grow in our ability to hear God requires active engagement and intentional pursuit. In a world full of competing voices and a myriad of distractions we have to take the time to create the space and to learn the disciplines that will help us tune in.”
Do You Want the Friends You Need? – Greg Morse – This article makes an interesting case. What if the friendships we resist are just the ones we need the most? “If you do not have these friends (for they can be rare these days), pray for them. And invite brothers and sisters in your life to be more earnest with you. Begin by being more earnest with them. Often, it takes one person to go deeper for others to follow. True friends, as with true joy, are never less than serious about things worth being serious about. Although they are not always the friends we want, they are always the friends we need.”
Here are some interesting and useful items from around the web this week:
Three Challenges to creating a Gospel Culture in Your Family – “Can we ingrain the gospel so much in the way that we talk, think, discipline our children, or converse around the dinner table, that it’s part of our very fabric of living, and not just an occasional topic of conversation?”
Tips and Tongues – “The gift of tongues, or (as I prefer to call it) the gift of languages, is the most controversial of the all the spiritual gifts we find in the New Testament, and that’s saying something. It attracts more extreme comments than any other gift, from both sides of the aisle. Many Pentecostals regard it as the sine qua non of Spirit baptism, and many conservatives regard those who use it (or claim to) as emotionally suggestible, unbiblical, or perhaps even demonic; damned if you do, damned if you don’t. In between, a huge number of Christians—especially, it seems to me, in North America—are open to the gift of tongues in theory, but extremely cautious (or even frightened) in practice, not least because it is so often practised in sub-biblical or even downright bizarre ways. As someone who writes a lot about theology and prays in languages most days, I have a few thoughts about that.”
Welcome in Christian Community – “Can we truly welcome strangers as they are, if we have not welcomed the community as it is and the members as they are? If we are angry with the community and its members, we risk using strangers to compensate for our anguish. That is not welcome.”
When it comes to Christmas, are you a “get to-er” or a “get through-er”? – “But imagine if Christmas could be rescued from the stress or sadness of just getting through Christmas. Imagine if January could be rescued from the disappointment if your joy was in getting to Christmas. Imagine if there were a joy that lasted—that endured through January and that wasn’t dented by reality. That kind of joy would be worth finding, wouldn’t it?”
The Value of the Word – “I was shocked to discover the cost of a New Testament epistle. According to scholars, the apostle Paul would have spent $3,000 in today’s dollars for the materials to write the book of Romans.”
What would it look like if we focused less on the things that make our churches entertaining and more on making disciples?