Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The last part of the Purpose Statement at Chain of Lakes says that our community of disciples wants to make an impact on the world. A synonym for “impact” is the word, “bless.” God wants us as a community and as individuals to bless others.

The idea of blessing is an Old Testament theme. Some form of the word bless occurs over three hundred times in the Old Testament while occurring just a little over a hundred times in the New Testament. In the Old Testament the word occurs in 26 of the 39 books.

To bless someone means that we share power and life with that person. A blessing can be given to a person and it can be given to a material object—like a cup or a piece of land . A blessing can be given by God and it can be given by a person to another person. Something mysterious happens in a blessing. In a blessing some sort of energy flows out of the person giving the blessing to the person being blessed.

In a recent sermon I challenged everyone to think of blessing in three ways.
1. Enter into blessing mode. Look for ways to bless others. A blessing mode is when we get out of ourselves and look for opportunity to bless others. When we are in blessing mode life suddenly is not about me or my problems—it’s about helping others. This is a significant and wonderful orientation switch. When we are in blessing mode we focus on helping and don’t focus on our own problems

2. Be conscious of blessing someone this week. What would happen if at the start of each week—perhaps in worship—we made the conscious decision to bless another person in a specific way. Think about the impact our congregation could make if at the start of each week many of the adults at Chain of Lakes pledged to bless someone.

3. Use the language of blessing. A long time ago I started saying the words, “God Bless you” when I left people. Even as a pastor it took me a little while to get comfortable and to have the courage to use that language. Over time I got used to it. Those of you who spend time with me just know that I frequently say God bless when I leave you.

For blessing others is like a mission statement. I so want to see people experience God’s blessings. I want people to experience the love and grace and presence and majesty of God in their life. If I can be helpful by saying God Bless you—it’s really like a prayer for you—then I feel like I’m following what God wants.

What’s interesting is when I started using that language of blessing, I got some pushback from of people who thought I was being overly pious. I was trying to share how pious I am by saying God bless you. When I say the words, “God bless you” I’m not claiming to be pious. To say “God bless you” it’s not about me. What I am doing is authentically sharing a desire for the person. I want to see people blessed.

What would happen if you said, “God bless you” when you left people. Try it for a week. Over time you would get some pushback. One of your friends might come up to you and say, don’t be so churchy and pious. And you could say back—it’s not churchy or pious to want to see people blessed.

Perhaps a movement of blessing could be started. What’s stopping you from participating in this movement right now?

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