Living the B.L.E.S.S. Lifestyle
WHAT IS B.L.E.S.S.?
BLESS is an easy and effective way to share your faith with others. It is actually an acrostic which stands for:
B. Begin with prayer.
L. Listen. And be aware of the needs of those around you.
E. Eat. With your neighbors, co-workers and friends.
S. Serve. Look for ways to be a servant to others.
S. Share your story. Share your faith after you have prayed, listened, had a meal and served.
WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?
We are doing this to accomplish the mission Jesus gave us to ‘go make disciples.’ We are
blessed and we are called to be a blessing. A large part of how we bless others is to share
the good news of Christ with our friends, co-workers, and neighbors. Our hope is that our
Image family would embrace the B.L.E.S.S. lifestyle and understand that it is not only easy
to understand, it is something everyone can do. By actively thinking in terms of B.L.E.S.S.ing
others daily, it will become a natural overflow of our lives that draws our neighbors, coworkers
and relatives to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Begin with Prayer
Sharing your faith with other people can often seem hard or best left for those with a special gift from God, the pastor of the church, or someone…ANYONE other than yourself! It may be surprising to learn that the first part of sharing Jesus is prayer. You begin this process by making a list of people who don’t know Jesus that you might BLESS. Making this list may not seem important, but it is! Things get done when we are focused and intentional. List-making is a very helpful technique used by successful people in all walks of life. For us, it can help focus our attention upon those we hope to reach for the Lord. Start with those in your sphere of influence.
- Where you live
- Where you work
- Where you study
- Where you play
- Where you shop
Pray for the people on your list daily.
One very powerful truth is that what we bind on earth will be bound in heaven and what we loose on earth will be loosed in heaven (Matthew 18:18). What this “binding” and “loosing” refers to is all the unseen things that hinder people from accepting the gospel. As believers,
Jesus has given us authority to “bind” all the unseen hindrances which keep people from the truth. Likewise, He has given us authority to “loose” the power of God through the Holy Spirit. We bind hindrances and we loose the Holy Spirit. In other words, prayer helps make the soil fertile before we start planting seeds. Be sure to pray each day for the three people you’ve chosen. We are responsible for prayer and sowing the seeds of truth, but it’s God who makes things grow.
Here are some additional things you can pray for.
- That God would give you opportunities to do good for them. (1 Corinthians 3:5-7; Colossians 4:3)
- That God would give you wisdom to make the most of these opportunities. (Colossians 4:4-6)
- That God would give you boldness to say what needs to be said. (Ephesians 6:18-20; Romans 1:16)
- That those you are relating to will have opportunities to hear the truth.
- That, as you share your story, those whom you are telling will have open hearts, receptive to hearing your story. (Matthew 13)
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. John 1:19
A key to being a blessing is learning the art of listening. To help someone to Jesus you must first understand who they are and where they are. Once you know that, you’ll gain a sense of where they still need to go on their journey. It’s through listening that we gain an understanding of many things, including their spiritual understanding, their background, the possible ways in which we can serve them, fears, wants, desires, etc. Remember, at this point you are just listening and learning more about them. This builds trust and comfort into the relationship. It is very difficult to be effective in sharing your story if you have not first listened. Sharing your story starts with listening to others. It’s helpful to have some open-ended questions in mind. You can find some good examples here.
- What is your favorite memory from childhood?
- What was your high school experience like?
- How do you manage to raise those children alone?
- What do you want to be doing in five years?
- If you could have the perfect job, what would it be?
- What do you believe about God?
“Sharing meals together on a regular basis is one of the most sacred practices we can engage in as believers. Missional hospitality is a tremendous opportunity to extend the kingdom of God. We can literally eat our way into the kingdom of God! If every Christian household regularly invited a stranger or a poor person into their home for a meal once a week, we would literally change the world by eating!”
– Alan Hirsch and Lance Ford from Right Here, Right Now
Many are surprised to find that sharing a meal with people has a lot to do with sharing Jesus. So whether you are at your favorite vacation spot, eating at a restaurant or having neighbors over for a long winter evening at home, people share the most interesting things about themselves in the context of eating a meal. We have found that one of the biggest obstacles to people sharing meals together is time. Many people feel the pressure to be elaborate and give them the best. While this is appropriate at times, this is not the goal. We suggest keeping things simple. The goal is really about having fellowship around a meal, not the meal itself.
We understand our call to be like Jesus. And Jesus was a servant. His entire ministry is a stunning example of serving wherever He went from His first miracle in Cana, to the feeding of the 5,000, to the simple expression of washing the feet of His disciples, Jesus served, that’s how He lived life. Given the fact that you are reading a booklet about how to live a B.L.E.S.S. lifestyle, chances are you are already serving in many ways at church, with charitable organizations, or volunteering in numerous other ways.
So are there more ways to be intentional about how and where we serve? Absolutely! Here are 4 strategize ways to think and act in serving others.
The first place to start serving is with those in close proximity to us. Look around – to your neighbors, to the people you work with, or how about the parents you site on the sidelines with while watching soccer? Or serving people in a shelter in the inner city? Start there.
Seek to understand the people God has put in close proximity to you. Isaiah 50:4 says, “The Sovereign LORD has given me his words of wisdom, so that I know how to comfort the weary.”Listen and then ask the Lord to show you how to perceptively speak into people’s lives.
John 14:12 says, “Most certainly I tell you, he who believes in me, the works that I do, he will do also, and he will do greater works than these…” We can take Jesus at His word and believe that people will, in time, give their lives to Christ. We need to claim that power to share our faith, and to see people drawn to Him.
One of the great miracles of the bible was when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus was more than a project, he was Jesus’ friend and it was obvious to others. As we share our lives with people, we will hurt when they hurt and rejoice when they rejoice.
Share Your Story
Perhaps, by now, you have already been asked what makes you different. Maybe you have already mentioned Jesus in conversation. Whatever the case, it is important that you recognize and act on the opportunity to share your faith story. When thinking about how to share your story, begin by asking God to bathe the process in His Spirit and give you wisdom as you write it down. When thinking about sharing your story with others, we suggest taking this three step process.
Step 1. Write down your story
Start by asking God to give you wisdom and clarity as you write down your story. The goal here is not to have a perfectly written document but to get your thoughts down on paper. This will help you clarify it in your mind. When writing your story there are three distinct areas you need to think through.
Life Before Christ
- What was your life like before you trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord?
- What were your attitudes, needs and problems?
- What did your life revolve around? What was most important to you?
Life During Christ
- How did you come to accept Christ and give Him complete control of your life?
- When did you first hear the gospel?
- What were your initial reactions to Jesus Christ?
Life After Christ
- What happened after you trusted Christ?
- What changes did you see in your life?
- What does Jesus Christ mean to you now?
Step 2. Threading it Together
Once you have thoughts on paper, it’s time to get selective. Read through your ideas and, using a highlighter, underline the most important feelings, examples or incidents that relate to each of the three points in the outline at left. Use the ideas you highlight to begin writing your story, and make sure you explain what your life was like before you knew Christ, how you came to know Him, and what your life is like now.
Here are some guidelines when writing down your story:
- Be positive throughout; don’t criticize people or the church.
- Stay away from vague terms or religious language that confuse or polarize. Ex. Denominations.
- Don’t glamorize your sin but Be realistic – Christ has not removed all your problems, but he does walk with us through them.
- Try communicating biblical principles without using too many verses unless they relate directly to your experience.
- Set aside your story for 24 hours after you have written it. After 24 hours, pick it up again see if you can communicate it to others clearly.
- Practice communicating it to a friend and get feedback.
Step 3. Telling Your Story
Now that you have thought through your story, it’s time to share it with the individual with whom you have cultivated a relationship. Here are some helpful thoughts:
- Be prayerful. Respond to God promptings about the right time and place for sharing your story and ask the Holy Spirit to help you share effectively.
- Be positive and confident. Smile often and share with enthusiasm, knowing you do so in the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Be natural and conversational. Never argue about faith or pressure your friend for a decision – the results are up to God!
Thanks for reading and implementing the B.L.E.S.S. strategy into your life. As we continue to be disciples who make disciples, we believe the B.L.E.S.S. strategy is going to be a core and central practice of our church. We would love to celebrate and hear how you are making a difference by blessing others around you. Feel free to contact any of us on the discipleship team. We would love to hear from you! You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org