Blessed to Be a Blessing: The Nehemiah Prequel

January 3, 2011 by cloften  
Filed under Bible, Church and Leadership, Teaching

Well, it is a new year.  A friend of mine declared that he would like us to drop the “20″ when saying what year it is.  So, it is now “11″ not “20-11.”  I agree.  However, it will be hard for us.  Except for a few of Willard Scott’s friends (Boom! Dated reference!  Wait, does he still do that?), none of us have changed centuries before.  I wonder if William McKinley passed an edict about when to drop the 19 (Boom! Very dated reference! By that, I mean no one knows the old presidents)  Do we all agree? 11? Can we agree on 11?  Anyone other than me thinking about Spinal Tap?  This kind of rambly nonsense is what you should expect at least until February.

If there had not been a title, and all you had read was that intro, you would have no idea what this is supposed to be about.  It was my idea, and I forgot…Oh, yeah.

We are starting a series in Nehemiah this Sunday at the Grove Church.  I do not want to assume that everyone knows who Nehemiah is or why he is wanting to build a wall or how/why the wall fell down in the first place.  As such we will spend the first week, in part, talking about the background of the book of Nehemiah.  This way when we start the book, we can understand better what’s going on.  To do this, we will go way back in the Old Testament, all the way back to Genesis.

The first and perhaps most important concept is about the Jewish people in general.  They were called God’s Chosen People.  What does that mean?  Chosen for what?

Genesis 12:1-3

1 The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

2 “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.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”

God calls Abraham (I know, Abram.  Let’s not be ticky, ok? says the king of ticky) and says that He is going to bless him.  Why is God blessing him?  He is blessing him so that God can bless the whole world through Abraham.  God didn’t bless Abraham just to bless him.  There was a purpose.  God wanted to raise up a nation, his nation.  This way the world would see them and know that the God of Abraham and the Jewish people was not just a god, but the God.  Then as people saw that, they would choose to give up their god, and follow the God.

The Old Testament after that is the history of that relationship.  When the Jewish people follow God, he blesses them tremendously and the world takes notice.

We will talk more about this on Sunday and how this history plays out that leads us to Nehemiah.  However, I’d like for us to take a moment to think about the concept of blessed to be a blessing.  God blessed Abraham so that through Abraham all nations would be blessed.  Question:  Why do you think that God has blessed you? Is it because you’re his favorite?  God has blessed you so that through you, he can bless others.  If he has blessed you with money, then you need to bless others with it.  If he has blessed you with gifts and talents, then you need to share those with others.

God loves to bless us, but it was never meant to stop there.  We need to recognize that God has blessed us so that we can bless others.   Let this year be the year we bless others with what God has blessed us.  Twenty-eleven, the year of being blessed to be a blessing (oops, I meant ‘11)

The Generosity of Fellowship Cabot

November 23, 2009 by cloften  
Filed under Bible, Church and Leadership

I am proud to be a member of Fellowship Cabot. Forget about that I work there for a second.  I am proud to be a member there to worship with such great people.  On the weekend of November 14th and 15th, CASA asked us to adopt 20 kids in foster care for Christmas.  We adopted 40.  At the same time we raised $800 for Autism research thanks to Jack Ratliff.  The next weekend (Nov. 21st and 22nd) we raised $700 for turkeys for Mannafest Blessings to give out for Thanksgiving.  This was during a week where so many people went to help another ministry, Hope’s Closet, make food baskets for people for Thanksgiving.  Way to go, Fellowship Cabot. 

Did I mention that both of those food ministries are ministries of other local churches in town?  That’s a praise for you guys for another day.  It doesn’t matter who gets the glory as long as God gets the glory and lives are being changed.