Session 5: Channels of blessing

Outcomes (team members will):
  • List ways that Jesus fulfilled God's promise of blessing the nations.
  • Identify examples of how the Holy Spirit works to bless the world through supernatural power, and choose one of those examples to explore more deeply.
  • Discuss ways that a short-term mission trip can be a part of God's plan of blessing and ways that it can fail to be a blessing.

Leadership resources

Review
  • Did you ask God to fill your heart with His love in fresh ways?
  • How did you sense Him leading you to express that love to others?

Opening Activity
  • Everyone gets a sticky notepad of different colors and a pen.
  • Team members think of a word of blessing/affirmation for one of the people in the group. They write it on the sticky note and then go to the person, and say the word of blessing as they stick it on them. They continue to do this until they have stuck one note on every person.
  • After everyone is done, invite them to gather all their sticky notes and read over them.
  • Invite them to respond:
    • Did you feel blessed? Why or why not? 
    • How did it feel to be a blessing to others?

The greatest blessing we can receive

  • Read Matthew 3:17.
  • Even secular psychologists acknowledge that the greatest need of people is knowing they are loved.
  • The Holy Spirit gives us the power to love like Jesus, first by revealing to us God’s love for us.
  • He works through us to remind each other as well. 
  • Invite the team to stand up and tell at least five people, “You are God’s beloved son/daughter.”
  • Commit as a group to speak God’s love over each other often!

Blessed to be a blessing

  • The greatest blessing we can give is helping other people know that they are God’s beloved.
  • Look at the following passages, and ask how Jesus helped people know that God cared about them:
    • Luke 5:12-13 (Jesus touched the leper and healed him. Leprosy was highly contagious, and to touch the leper meant Jesus was ceremonially unclean. Part of the healing was to be accepted by others.)
    • Luke 7:11-15 (Raising the widow’s son. A widow who lost her son would have been completely destitute since women could not own property in those days. Jesus restored her son and her hope.)
    • Luke 18:15-17 (The little children and Jesus.)
    • Luke 19:1-10 (Zacchaeus)
  • What other stories of Jesus or His disciples do people remember that show His care for people?
  • Sometimes the care of Jesus involves supernatural power. Sometimes it involves a simple touch, eating a meal together, or word of affirmation. In either case, the starting point is an attitude of offering ourselves to God to be used as a channel of blessing.

Power to bless

  • In the early church and in the church in many parts of the world today, there is a strong emphasis on God’s supernatural work through the church to bless the world. 
  • In the Western church, the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit has generally been minimized (see fuller explanation in Christianity with Power, chapter 4).
  • Read Acts 1:8 together. Give each person a section of the book of Acts and ask them to find examples of how the early church gave witness to Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit in both word and deed.
  • Invite team members to write words or phrases on the board to make a collage of how the Holy Spirit worked through the early church to give witness to Jesus.
  • Invite team members to choose one example of the Holy Spirit’s supernatural work that they would like to learn more about. Share in groups and think of ways they could grow in what they've chosen. (Ideas for growth: ask God to teach you about it, look at other verses in the Bible where God worked in a similar way, read a book about it, talk to someone who has experience with that gift, etc.)
  • Pray for each other to grow in the way they have chosen.

A mission of blessing


Response

  • Who are the people around you who need to know God’s love for them?
  • What is one way that you hear God calling you to be a blessing to them this week?

Preview

Next session we’ll talk about prayer as another important part of joining in God’s plan to bless the world.
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