Living as a Disciple during a HOLIDAY week! BLESS others, pure and simple!

1Being Defined by Being and Doing in Jesus!
This is a fun week ahead…there are people galore to run into…celebrations to be had…meals to be shared in addition to the TONS of “guests” that will flood your life – people you will see and meet at campgrounds, neighborhoods, stores, etc.   Here’s something powerful to consider this week – all that we do and say that alerts others to the reign of God in our lives.  YES, you read that correctly, you are a walking and living “Billboard” of the presence of Jesus in this world.  Who you are in Jesus and how you live, as one missiologist David Bosch wrote, “Mission is more and different from recruitment to our brand of religion; it is the alerting of people to the universal reign of God.”  You joining Jesus on HIS mission is both the announcement and the demonstration of the reign of God through Christ.
In this instance, we are not trying to say that every Jesus follower is gifted with evangelism gifts…because that is far from the truth.  EVEN SO, every Jesus follower CAN foster habits in our lives that draw us out into the lives of unbelievers and invite the kinds of questions that lead to sharing our lives in faith. If our only habits are going to church and attending meetings, it’s not going to connect us with unbelievers nor invite their curiosity about our faith.  The big idea is to develop habits that unite us together as Christ followers, while also propelling us into the lives of others. We also need habitual practices that don’t just deplete our energy and burn us out, but which re-energize us, replenishing our reserves and connecting us more deeply to Jesus. I have seen the following habits do just that. The five habits of highly missional (mission driven…those joining Jesus on HIS mission) people are:
 
BLESS
I will bless three people this week, at least one of whom is not a member
of our church.
EAT
I will eat with three people this week, at least one of whom is not a
member of our church.
LISTEN
I will spend at least one period of the week listening for the Spirit’s voice.
LEARN
I will spend at least one period of the week learning Christ.
SENT
I will journal throughout the week all the ways I alerted others to the
universal reign of God through Christ.
 
Permit me to share a couple of more truths – each of these habits is designed to release a certain value in the life of the person who practices them. If you bless three people every week, you’re going to become a very generous person. If you eat with others, you’ll develop a greater capacity for hospitality. If you foster the habit of listening to the Holy Spirit, you’ll become an increasingly Spirit-led person. If you’re learning Christ, it’s fair to assume you’ll become more and more Christlike. And if you’re journaling the myriad ways you’ve been sent into your world, you’ll increasingly see yourself as a sent one, or a missionary in your own neighborhood. In other words, each habit shapes us around a particular missional (mission driven) value:
Bless
Generosity
Eat
Hospitality
Listen
Spirit-led
Learn
Christlike
Sent
Missionary
 
The point is this: If you want to be a generous, hospitable, Spirit-led, Christlike missionary, don’t just try to learn those values. Foster these habits! The way you “foster” them is to practice them.  Indeed, I know for certain that most churches have a mission or vision statement that says they are committed to something similar to this. I also suspect most members of churches read these and agree with them in theory but have very little idea of what exactly it means for them to live these out under the noses of those who have not yet been set free in Christ.   So, instead of being overwhelmed this holiday week, try JUST ONE of these habits and see how Jesus meets you!  
 
I will bless three people this week-at least one of whom is not a part of my church.
 
Here’s your holiday challenge – bless AT LEAST three people this week. Jesus followers use the word “bless” in a variety of ways. In most respects, it means to confer prosperity or happiness upon another. Even blessing someone who has just sneezed is an expression of goodwill and a desire for continued health.  Someone that I know told me that part of the etymology of the term “blessing” is “to add strength to another’s arm.” Therefore, to bless someone is to build them up, to fill them with the encouragement for them to increase in strength and prosperity.
 
This week, try giving people around you, not just people you know, words of Affirmation.  It may be the simplest way to bless someone. Send them a note, write them an email, text them. Send them some words of affirmation and encouragement.  Mark Twain once said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” I’ve heard it said that a word of encouragement is like oxygen to the soul. A word of affirmation helps our souls to breathe more easily.
 
In addition, try some acts of Kindness.  Nothing gets people’s attention as much as kindness does.  Most people in our culture do not practice kindness because kindness demands that we act contrary to our own self-interest…we actually are concerned MORE for the other than ourselves.  Acts of kindness literally speak “love” into people’s lives. They lighten the recipient’s load. Look for ways to perform an act of kindness in someone’s life.  You will be surprised how FEW people are kind – let someone in front of you in a check out line…help someone who may need some help with their family at the park…let that waiter or waitress who is working hard for you at your restaurant table know that they are appreciated.  Exercise your soul and bless people this week. I say to do it at least three times…better yet, get “addicted” to blessing others this week.  Be a BLESSING MACHINE and see how those acts not only bless your soul, but will also provide practical assistance to another and hopefully give them a glimpse into another “Kingdom”…let people see the reign of Jesus in your life!  
When we live unexpected lives (which clearly includes the blessing others), we find ourselves being noticed by others. Put it this way, that may be the ONLY Jesus that they may see all week!  I pray that these people that YOU bless see Jesus in you!  
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