Pray: To open your time together.
Read: Genesis 12:1-4; Matthew 5: 1-12
Consider: Some thoughts for your group
What does it mean to be blessed? For our culture, “blessing” is synonymous with being “lucky” or to have divine advantage over others. In some fringes of the Christian faith, blessing is the whole goal of following Jesus. For these folks God’s love is measured in the accumulation of stuff – cars, homes, power, influence, etc.
God gives us a different perspective of blessing, and maybe more importantly, how His people are to respond to His blessing.
In Genesis 12, God introduces himself to a man, Abram (later to be called Abraham) and this is where blessing begins. God’s blessing starts with relationship. God makes Himself known to humanity through Abram. Then God calls Abram to follow Him to a new land. He doesn’t mention where the land is, but God does instruct Abram to leave everything: his family, his culture, his possessions, his future and to trust God for what is next. And Abram obeys God. If relationship is the beginning of blessing, then obedience is at the heart of God’s blessing. And this is why blessing is so different than getting stuff from God.
God declares that through his relationship with Abraham the whole world will be blessed. God doesn’t bless Abraham to make him rich or powerful. God blesses Abraham to make a whole new kind of people in the world. People who live out God’s character to the world. Jesus picks up this thread in Matthew 5 where He describes who are the blessed people world. They are not the rich or powerful, but those who follow Jesus’ way of being in the world and extend to others the love, grace, forgiveness and generosity of God.
How do you think of God’s blessing?
Put yourself in the shoes of Abraham. What would you do if God called you to leave everything and follow Him? What would stop you from saying “yes”? What would compel you to say “yes”?
Read Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) out load in your group. What stands out to you about the blessedness Jesus is describing? How is it different than the way “blessing” is considered in our culture?
When people outside the church hear the world “Christian” is it most associated with “those who bless others”? If so, why is that? If not, what needs to change in you to make that possible?
Spend some time praying for one another. Pray for God’s Spirit of generosity, hope, forgiveness, grace, and love to be so abundant in yourself and in our church that it would naturally spill over to bless our city.