Summary: Being restored in relationship to God as our Father involves joining His work in the world... including that of sharing the Father’s blessing with others. Sharing God’s blessing involves five very basic qualities: Building Relationships on Common Ground

Sharing the Blessing

Series: Living in the Blessing

October 31, 2010

Summary – Being restored in relationship to God as our Father involves joining His work in the

world... including that of sharing the Father’s blessing with others. Sharing God’s blessing involves

five very basic qualities: Building Relationships on Common Ground, Looking to see as God sees,

Exploring the needs and longings of others, Serving, and Sharing the Father’s heart. We will bless

others when we allow these qualities to naturally flow together as Jesus did.

Intro –

Throughout this series we have sought to hear afresh how Jesus has come to restore us as sons

and daughters of God... to restore us as those who were created in God’s image. He came as the

eternal Son of God to restore us as God’s created children.

And this is what is vital for us to understand: an essential part of our restoration is joining the

Father in His work of restoration.

God’s children share in His work in the world. At the very beginning of creation he declared that

we were to be co-managers of the created world. When humankind went it’s own way... and He

began to call out a people to make Himself known. It began with His call to a man named

Abraham... who God called out to begin His work of redeeming the world. That promise to

Abraham would ultimately be fulfilled in Christ and all who follow.

Genesis 12:2-3

"I will make you into a great nation

and I will bless you;

I will make your name great,

and you will be a blessing.

...and all peoples on earth

will be blessed through you."

God says I will bless you... and you will be a blessing.

What’s our role in this world? To be a blessing.

“God made me to be a BLESSING in this world.”

This is the mission which Jesus came to fulfill... to restore the blessing we had forsaken.

Luke 19:10 (NIV)

Jesus said...”the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."

The word save can be interpreted as ‘restore’... he came to seek and restore life in relationship to

the Father.

This is what Jesus now imparts to us... a revolution of restoration.

In John 17:18, Jesus said to the Father in one of his final prayers –

"In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world."

And later Jesus declares to those who follow him,

"As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." - John 20:21

Our lives are infused with a mission... in the midst of all that may seem mundane... there is a join Jesus in the process of restoring lives with their true identity and dignity as

God’s children.

It’s a profound truth to discover how much people matter to God, but it’s equally life-changing

to discover that he uses us to bless others to know who they really are.

Now there is something that can get very confused and distorted in the ways this is often taken

up. We can end up thinking we are salesmen for God.

Recently I was approached by a woman out on our street one night.. it was after dark... about

730pm... stating they were a carpet cleaning service whose only advertising was to offer free

cleaning to show how superior their work was. Since we had a stain no one had removed in the

past... and I was headed in the house I said she could have someone come in and give it a try.

Within a short time I began to get the vibe that this was a major manipulative sales process. I got a

chance to slip in my home office and do a quick search online... and immediately I am looking at

entire pages of the most horrendous stories of how this operation works... how they will not leave

your home and after 2 to 3 hours the police always had to be called to get them to leave.

> The simple truth is that he had to make sales and that is how they have designed their process to

go. It is designed to use people to serve their need... and to be manipulative rather than straight


When we allow the sense of simply being salesmen for God to define our mission...

 We operate out of guilt rather than love.. and use people rather than serve them

 We allow the real purpose to be reduced to a program

 We become more packaged than personal

 We become more disingenuous... we feel we have to say more than we actually know and

therefore more than what is natural.

 God is not a product we have to sell...He is the source of life itself...and we are simply

sharing about a relationship which only another person can pursue themselves.

What we need to hold onto is that it all begins with identity... with discovering who we are...

and who all people were meant to be.... those who were created in by God in His image... and bear

such dignity.

When I treat people as they were meant to be treated...not as gods but as God’s children...and share

why... I will be a true witness of God and the Gospel.

We are to simply bless people as God sees them.... with a dignity they may not have known...

and longings they may not understand.

How do we share the blessing as those who discovered we can be restored as children?

I want to suggest that there are five steps that will allow us to join Jesus in blessing others.

Joining Jesus in Blessing Others

1. BUILD relationship upon the common ground of life.

The biggest challenge we can face is simply not knowing how to have relationship with people

when we sense that God wants us to be different that this world operates. Here is where I find the

greatest problem with joining Jesus in extending the Father’s blessing. We can tend to create a

separation that we can’t get past. We might compartmentalize our lives so that we gather with

those who are growing in relationship with the Father as a church community... and then simply do

work with co-workers and share space with neighbors... and talk family with family. Or we may

withdraw from all those other spheres altogether because we simply don’t have a good sense of

how to relate to them as one who is more into God.

What we miss is that we share common ground with people. We should embrace and enjoy what

we share in common.

When God wanted to restore relationship with us... when he wanted to restore us...what did He

do? He became HUMAN.

John 1:14 (GW)

“The Word became human and lived among us.”

Jesus was HUMAN ! He reached human life by being human.

How was he different? He lived in perfect relationship with the Father... and that is the relationship

that should make us different... and NOTHING ELSE. Apart from that relationship and how it

refines and directs us... we share the human experience as everyone else.

Jesus built relationships on the common ground of life.....eating meals with peasants and

prostitutes...which in early Jewish culture was the ultimate expression of fellowship.

When he first called the twelve disciples who he would prepare to carry his life and change the

world... the first thing he did was take them to a wedding. Why?

Because ‘Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration.’ John 2:2 (NLT) [Note 1]

Jesus went to Zaccheus the tax collectors home for lunch. He reaches a Samaritan woman simply

by stopping as a community well.

He prayed for us... that we would no longer be OF this world... but equally that we would be

IN this world... not removed but IN this world AS HE WAS IN THIS WORLD...just like him.

(John 17:13-16)

Paul... one of those religious leaders grasped this power of identifying.

1 Cor. 9:22 - MESSAGE paraphrase...

“I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their

point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I

meet into a God-saved life.”

Paul built relationship upon common ground.

Common ground can include...

 life places

 life stages

 life work

 life interests

 life challenges

 life circumstances

 life longings (for meaning, transcendence, relationship, justice, beauty)

Consider the common ground you share with lives you can bless... where you live... what you

enjoy... where you work... what you struggle with... and

1. BUILD relationship upon the common ground of life.

I’m not saying that we’re not to be different. What matters is HOW we are different. [Note 2]

Jesus said the world will know us by our LOVE which leads to the next point.

2. LOOK at others with the Father’s heart of love.

Matthew 9:36 (NLT)

“When he (Jesus) saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and

helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

It all began with his ability to see.

Jesus looked upon the crowds and had compassion... because he saw their real nature and need.

How often do we just see people’s outward struggles and dismiss their real need... or see their

outward success and dismiss their deeper need.

My friend Ed McGlasson recently shared about his mother in law (Nancy Lee Nelson Olsen) went

home to be with the Lord. He had experienced her love for everyone who crossed her path. She

taught him how powerful our words are, especially when you tell others what you love about them.

He described how...

Years ago the NBA bad-boy Dennis Rodman moved down the street from my mother-in-law. She

went down to meet him and profess Jesus loved him! At another time in a restaurant, she

approached his table filled with some of his friends (pretty scary dudes) and the fearless lover said,

"Dennis, I was watching you on the basketball court and you moved like a ballerina. You are

amazing." She told me she saw a little boy in Dennis who was still waiting to be completely

loved. She was able to look past the external tattoos and lip rings to love the broken boy who had

never known the love of a father. That is what flows when we can see others as God sees them

The most important quality in serving God and blessing others is compassion... having CARE for


“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

We may tend to think that the fundamental qualities of those who lead others to God are qualities

like persuasiveness and natural authority...but the most fundamental quality of all is care and

compassion for people.

I’ve come to realize that if I really care about someone... anything I say or do will generally

bless someone... impart something of God’s heart. In the same way, if I don’t find love in my

heart... the most effective thing I can do is say nothing... because I simply can’t really bless and

serve God’s heart. [Note 4]

Here lies the vital role of PRAYER.

Prayer is what roots us in partnership with God. Prayer is where we align our hearts with God...

connect with what He sees and what He is doing... and what He is seeking to do.

If we can get honest... most of us would probably share that it is hard to really care about other

people... especially certain people in our lives. We may connect with God enough to be nice to

them. But we probably won’t really join Jesus in blessing them until we begin to pray for them...

not the obligatory prayer of blessing... but the deep desire to ask the Father to help us really

understand them and their needs... the prayer of a partner.

It’s also a choice to open your eyes to see what God might be doing. The reality that He is

already at work around us, in others, and we need to also have eyes to see what the Father is

already doing.

John 4:35 (NIV)

Jesus said... “I tell you, OPEN YOUR EYES and LOOK at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.”

3. EXPLORE the experiences and longings of others.

Part of blessing another is knowing and valuing who they uniquely are. Every life is a story. Every

life has experiences that inspire and open one up... and some that hurt and close us off. This is why

learning to sincerely ask questions and then actively listen is truly a part of what blesses a life.

[Note 5]

Proverbs 18:2, 13 (NIV)

A fool finds no pleasure in understanding

but delights in airing his own opinions.

He who answers before listening--

that is his folly and his shame.

> These simple words stand as an indictment to myself... and perhaps many of us.

Proverbs 20:5 (NIV)

The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters,

but a man of understanding draws them out.

> How many around us simply need attention to what is lost within them?

It’s been said that ...

“Attention is the oxygen of modern man.”

It’s not the unhealthy passive attention that people need... but the deeper attention to what is

deep within.

This involves questions that help lead to understanding. And of course then it involves listening...

really listening. [Note 3]

So this third part of blessing is to learn to explore life through authentic questions and


(We’ll be exploring identifying real relationships and questions in Home Churches this week.)

4. SERVE the needs of others as the Father leads.

Many have heard the words of the gospel; few have heard the music. By serving others, we play

that music.

Mark 10:45 (Msg)

“That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not to be served—and then to give

away his life in exchange for many who are held hostage."

Jesus knew words can be cheap... and that is why he came to serve and bear signs of what his

Father as the reclaiming ruler has at hand.

He embodied what he announced. From dramatic miracles to simply washing feet... he showed

the Father’s heart for them. Everyone was challenged to grasp all that he was declaring... but they

saw what he did and it established the truth of what he declared.

Never have words seemed cheaper and never has personal care spoken louder. So we need to really

grasp what Jesus said when he stated:

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a

lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in

the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds

and praise your Father in heaven. - Matthew 5:14-16

You are the light of the world. And as Jesus makes clear... this is not an interrogation light... but a

guiding light. This is the lamp that allows a darkened home to no see clearly... that allows lost

perceptions to become clear. And that light shines through our good deeds.

So Jesus teaches us to pray for those who are sick... or provide those in need with

clothes and food. Every act can reflect the Father’s heart... and be rewarded.

Matthew 10:42 (MSG)

“Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or

receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won’t lose out on a thing."

One thing we can learn from Jesus that is so vital is that serving is not about simply becoming a

doormat to every human wish and whim... nor is it about trying to please every desire others

have. Jesus never became a servant of every agenda around him... nor did he try to meet every

need. He served as the Father led him... which always was within his limitations ... yet always

giving of himself.

Sometimes we serve others THROUGH our boundaries....through not becoming a source of

unhealthy demands or dependency. Some deeds just aren’t good deeds... and won’t serve to glorify

God... BUT there are always some deeds that will. There is always some appropriate response that

will honor God. We will bless lives when we embody the heart of the Father with that response.

All who grasp what it means to serve, not merely in response to the whims of others, but in

response to God, truly create light out of darkness.

We can also learn from Jesus that embracing a heart to serve with Christ... also allows one to be

served by others. The humility to serve will be the humility that allows us to be served... and to

avoid any sense of superiority and separation. Jesus was born dependent on a teenage mother...

... taught by a young carpenter.... fed and housed by friends... and served by many including a

Samaritan woman with a bad reputation.

I remember not too long ago... on a night before trash day.... I was up late... remembered my own

trash cans needed to get out because they pick up at dawn on our street... noticed neighbors... so I

took theirs out as well. The mother of the household thanked me. The next week.... her young adult

thanked me... and begged me not to tell his mother.... AND HE BROUGHT MINE IN.

> It was then that we became more truly neighbors.

5. SHARE the heart of the Father for others.

The Gospel is not merely words... but it DOES come with words.

Now sometimes we think that sharing about God’s heart has to be a really developed or difficult

presentation. Jesus simply told the lives he blessed to go share what he had done with others. We

need to understand that when we are called to be witnesses... and a witness is somebody who just

tells what they have seen.

Over and over we are told how when Jesus touched someone... he told them just to go tell others

what he had done for them.

” your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone

who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and

respect.” 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)

What are we to share? “The reason for the hope WE have.” Every one of us has something to

say about the hope we are finding.... Each of our lives is a story...a story that relates to the

larger story of God and life. Our stories provide an alternative interpretation to knowing who

we are and what life really is.

So the last part of blessing is that of SHARING how our story has discovered God’s Story.

We really believe that these are the five things that give us the ability to be a source of God’s

blessing. You may have notice that they somewhat naturally provide an acrostic that spells the word

bless. These are the principles... the way of living... that we want o take hold of as a community.

1. BUILD relationship upon the common ground of life.

2. LOOK at others with the Father’s heart of love.

3. EXPLORE the experiences and longings of others.

4. SERVE the needs of others as the Father leads.

5. SHARE the heart of the Father for others.

Are we going to experience some resistance? Of course. Even when extending the Father’s

heart.... we are also confronting one’s ultimate autonomy. It’s ‘territory taking’... and every human

heart is a territory taken captive which Christ has come to recapture. That’s why Jesus teaches us to

be prepared for resistance. But if we embrace these qualities... I believe that no healthy

relationship will be lost... in fact the healthiest ones will grow deeper. You’ll discover that it IS

possible to have friendships with those who don’t yet share our faith... and talk about spiritual

matters in positive way. (Personal stories)


There is an intuitional story of when Jesus returned to the heavenly realm... and explains to the

angels how the mission went...and finally explains that he has now imparted it to human partners to

be the hands and feet of blessings. Since the angels know something about the nature of human

lives... they naturally are astonished at such a plan. SO they ask, "What if they don’t? What is plan

B?" And Jesus simply answers, "There is no plan B."

Closing Prayer