Welcome to my teaching video on how to BLESS your neighbors. In full disclosure, this acrostic comes from a guy name Dave Ferguson and the Verge Network. I heard about this outline years ago through my mentor Rick Leineweber and find it to be inspired, simple, and easy to carry out and measure our impact in the community.
At the last business meeting, Ken shared with us the three main goals for the Fall, it is as simple as 1-1-1. We are asking that people connect to King’s Grant is some very specific ways…
WORSHIP 1 – the first goal is to attend ONE worship experience each week. This can be on campus at either at 9am or 11am, or online at 10:00am through our church website, Facebook page, or YouTube Channel.
This is likely the easiest goal ever because most of you are already connecting through a King’s Grant worship service. It is so much different than just tuning in to a generic church service you find on television. You are actually worshiping together with people you know. It is so cool to see people type their comments as they are gathered in the room. We hope that worship is a priority for you every week, because with the online service, you can catch the service even when you are out of town, on vacation, or home not feeling well.
GROUP 1 – the second goal for the fall is to get connected to a small group during the week. This can be online or on campus, your choice. Nearly every class at King’s Grant is meeting in some way but not everyone is participating. This goal is moving people out of their comfort zone because for some people, small groups have never been a priority and they have never joined a group. Now is a great time to get started. I can help you get connected to a group at a time that you are available.
Other people are used to meeting in class but are not meeting because technology can be a very scary thing for some people. Let me tell you, if you know how to use a telephone and press a few buttons on your phone, you can be a part of a Zoom meeting. That’s right, you’ve heard about Zoom, that computer gadget thing that gets me all confused, so don’t even think about trying to teach this old dog new tricks! Hey, I’m talking about myself. Trying new stuff takes me out of my comfort zone, but if I don’t give it a try, I don’t really know all that I’m missing because I just remove myself away from everyone I care about. I can help you get connected to a small group of fellow believers, people who are walking on this same spiritual growth pathway as you!
BLESS 1 – the third goal for the Fall is to participate in one act of service each week, and this is totally at your discretion. It doesn’t mean to volunteer for some church program, although it could mean that. We hope that living life on mission will be a huge step forward with all of us getting involved in the kingdom work going on around us; in the church and in the community.
With these three goals in mind (1-1-1) we hope you plan on getting involved and participating in this Fall 2020 vision of King’s Grant. Since part three is the most ambiguous, I thought I would help shed a little light on how we can BLESS 1 together and make an eternal impact on the community around us. I call this series, “How to BLESS your neighbors.”
WHAT IS B.L.E.S.S.?
BLESS is an easy and effective way to share your life and faith with others. It is actually an acrostic which stands for:
B. Begin with prayer.
L. Listen. And become aware of the needs of those around you.
E. Eat. With your neighbors, co-workers and friends.
S. Serve. Look for ways to be a servant to others.
S. Share YOUR story and eventually HIS story. Share your faith after you have prayed, listened, had a meal and served.
We are doing this to accomplish the mission Jesus gave to us and the three goals that have been laid before us. We are blessed and we are called to be a blessing (Genesis 12:1-3). A large part of how we bless others is to share the good news of Christ with our friends, co-workers, classmates, and neighbors. Our hope is that our church family would embrace the B.L.E.S.S. lifestyle and understand that it is not only easy to understand, it is something everyone can do. By actively thinking in terms of blessing others on a weekly basis, it will become a natural overflow of our lives that draws our neighbors, coworkers, and relatives to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Let me share with you the five steps of blessing your neighbors…
The B in BLESS means Begin with Prayer
Scripture: “And He was saying to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” – Luke 10:2
Sharing your faith with other people can often seem hard or best left for those with a special gift from God, the pastor of the church, or someone…ANYONE else, other than ME. It may be surprising to learn that the first part of sharing Jesus with other people is prayer. You don’t bring anyone to Jesus that the Father does not first draw to himself (John 6:44).
You begin this process by making a list of people your know who don’t know Jesus, and then pray that you might have the opportunity to BLESS them. Making this list may not seem important, but it is! Things get done when we are focused and intentional and specific. List-making is a very helpful tool used by successful people in all walks of life. For the church, it can help focus our attention upon those we hope to reach with the gospel. Start with those in your circles of influence.
- Where you live
- Where you work
- Where you study
- Where you play
- Where you shop
Pray for the people on your list daily.
One very powerful truth is that what we bind on earth will be bound in heaven and what we loose on earth will be loosed in heaven (Matthew 18:18). What this “binding” and “loosing” refers to is all the unseen things that hinder people from accepting the gospel. As believers, Jesus has given us authority to “bind” all the unseen hindrances which keep people from the truth. Likewise, He has given us authority to turn “loose” the power of God through the Holy Spirit. We bind hindrances and we turn loose the Holy Spirit. In other words, prayer helps make the soil fertile before we start planting seeds. Be sure to pray each day for the people you’ve chosen. We are responsible for prayer and sowing the seeds of truth, but it’s God who makes things grow.
Ask: God, how do you want me to bless people in the places into which you have sent me?
Here are some additional things you can pray for.
- Pray that God would give you opportunities to do good for them. (1 Corinthians 3:5-7; Colossians 4:3)
- Pray that God would give you wisdom to make the most of these opportunities. (Colossians 4:4-6)
- Pray that God would give you boldness to say what needs to be said. (Ephesians 6:18-20; Romans 1:16)
- Pray that those in your circle of influence will have opportunities to hear the truth.
- Pray that, as you will have the chance to share your story, that those with whom you are talking will have open hearts, receptive to hearing your story. (Matthew 13)
The L in BLESS is for Listen
Scripture: This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; – James 1:19
A key to being a blessing is learning the art of listening. To help someone find Jesus you must first understand WHO they are and WHERE they are. I call this taking a spiritual assessment. Once you know where they stand with Jesus, you’ll gain a sense of where they still need to go on their spiritual journey.
It’s through the act of listening that we gain an understanding of several things, including their spiritual understanding and heritage, their cultural and family background, the possible ways in which we can serve them, their fears, their wants, their hopes and dreams. Remember, at this point you’re just listening and learning more about them. This builds trust and comfort in the relationship. You are getting to know THEM; they are not supposed to feel like they are your next evangelism project. It’s very difficult to be effective in sharing YOUR story if you have not first listened to THEIR story. Sharing your story starts with listening to the other person. It’s earning the right to be heard.
With this in mind, it’s helpful to have some open-ended questions in mind, like…
- What is your favorite memory from childhood?
- What was your high school experience like?
- How do you manage to raise those children alone?
- What do you want to be doing in five years?
- If you could have the perfect job, what would it be?
- What do you believe about God?
The E in BLESS stands for Eat
Scripture: And it happened that He was reclining at the table in his house, and many tax collectors and sinners were dining with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many of them, and they were following Him. – Mark 2:15
Here is a great quote from Alan Hirsch and Lance Ford (from Right Here, Right Now)
“Missional hospitality is a tremendous opportunity to extend the kingdom of God. We can literally eat our way into the kingdom of God.” … “If every Christian household regularly invited a stranger or a poor person or a work colleague into their home for a meal with the family once a week, we would literally change the world by eating!”
Sharing meals together on a regular basis is one of the most sacred practices we can engage in as believers. Many people are surprised to find that sharing a meal with people has so much potential to talk about Jesus. So, whether you’re at your favorite vacation spot, eating at a restaurant, or having neighbors over for a comfortable evening at home, people share the most interesting things about themselves in the context of eating a meal.
I have found that one of the biggest obstacles to people sharing meals together is time. A lot of people feel the pressure to be elaborate and entertain their guests. While entertaining is appropriate at times, this is not the goal. We are supposed to be involved in Christian hospitality, not entertaining. I suggest keeping things simple. The goal is really about having fellowship around a meal, not the meal itself.
The First S in BLESS is for Serve
Scripture: For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:45
We understand that the essence of discipleship is that we are called to be like Jesus; to conform to his image (Romans 8:29). We also know that Jesus was a servant. His entire ministry is a stunning example of serving wherever He went, from His first miracle in Cana, to the feeding of the 5,000, to the simple expression of washing the feet of His disciples, Jesus served, that’s how He lived his life. Given the fact that you are watching this teaching about how to B.L.E.S.S. your neighbors, chances are you already serve in many ways at church or volunteer in numerous other ways.
So, are there practical ways to be intentional about how and where we serve? Absolutely! Here are 4 strategic ways to think and act in serving others.
The first place to start serving is with those in close proximity to us. Look around – to your neighbors, to the people you work with, or how about the parents you sit with on the sidelines while watching your kids play sports? Or maybe serving people in a homeless shelter, or the crisis pregnancy center, or local food bank? Start nearby. We will never have high impact unless with have close proximity.
Seek to understand the people that God has put in close proximity to you. Isaiah 50:4 says, “The Lord God has given Me the tongue of disciples, That I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple.” [NASB] Listen and then ask the Lord to show you how to perceptively speak into the lives of other people.
John 14:12 says, “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” We can take Jesus at His word and believe that people will, in time, give their lives to Christ. We need to claim HIS power to share our faith and to see people drawn to Him.
One of the greatest miracles of the Bible was when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus was more than a spiritual project, he was Jesus’ friend and it was obvious to others that Lazarus was close to Jesus. As we share our lives with people, we will hurt when they hurt and rejoice when they rejoice. Taking this personally means we are to seek to share life with others.
The Second S in BLESS is for Story
Scripture: but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” – Acts 1:8
Perhaps, by now, you have already been asked what makes you different from other people they know. Maybe you have already mentioned Jesus in casual conversation. Whatever the case, it’s important that you recognize opportunities and act on them to share your faith story. When thinking about how to share your story, begin by asking God to bathe the entire process in prayer and (in the Holy Spirit) and give you wisdom as you write it down. When thinking about sharing your story with others, let me suggest this three-step process.
Step 1. Write down your story
Start by asking God to give you wisdom and clarity as you write down your story. The goal here is not to have a perfectly written document but to get your thoughts down on paper. This will help you clarify it in your mind. Make it clear enough without using a lot of churchy words that need clarification or explanation. Make is long enough to cover what you need to say yet concise enough to share your story at the bus stop, the fast food line, or even on an elevator.
When writing your story there are three distinct areas you need to think through.
Your Life Before Christ
- What was your life like before you trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord?
- What were your attitudes, needs, and problems?
- What did your life revolve around back then? What was most important to you?
Your Life Encountering Christ
- How did you come to accept Christ and give Him complete control of your life?
- When did you first hear the gospel?
- What were your initial reactions to Jesus Christ?
- Why did you make the decision to follow Jesus?
Your Life Since Trusting Christ
- What happened after you trusted Christ?
- What changes did you see in your life?
- What does Jesus Christ mean to you now?
- To what has Jesus called you and saved you?
Step 2. Weaving it All Together
Once you have thoughts on paper, it’s time to get selective. Read through your ideas and, using a highlighter, underline the most important feelings, examples or incidents that relate to each of the three points in your outline. Use the ideas you highlighted to begin writing your story, and make sure you explain what your life was like before you knew Christ, how you came to know Him, and what your life is like now.
Here are some guidelines when writing down your story:
- Be positive throughout; don’t criticize people or the church.
- Stay away from vague terms or religious language that confuse or polarize. Like talking about denominations, “walking the aisle,” or praying the sinner’s prayer…
- Don’t glamorize your sin but be realistic – Jesus has not removed all your problems, but he does walk with us through them.
- Try communicating biblical principles without using too many verses unless they relate directly to your experience.
- Set aside your story for 24 hours after you have written it. After 24 hours, pick it up again see if you can communicate it to others clearly.
- Practice communicating it to a friend and get feedback.
Step 3. Telling Your Story to Others
Now that you’ve thought through and prepared your story, it’s time to share it with the individual with whom you have cultivated a relationship. Here are some helpful thoughts:
- Be prayerful. Respond to God’s prompting about the right time and place for sharing your story and ask the Holy Spirit to help you share it effectively.
- Be positive and confident. Smile often and share with enthusiasm, knowing you do so in the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Be natural and conversational. Never argue about faith or pressure your friend for a decision – the results are up to God! He draws people to himself.
Thanks for being a part of this B.L.E.S.S. strategy training video. Check out the notes below the video on the church website.
As we continue to be disciples who make disciples, Let’s B.L.E.S.S. our neighbors and see how we might be able to impact the world around us for the kingdom of God.
The three goals at King’s Grant are as easy as 1-1-1, we are asking members to…
- Worship 1
- Group 1
- Bless 1
All of this is weekly, not weakly. Be intentional and purposeful every week. We can do this! Together. If you have any questions, please let me know, just text the word GOALS to our church mobile number, 757-330-4484
Visit here again and I will post a few more practical ways you can BLESS 1.