Your Personal Grow-Pray-Study (GPS) Guide

The Blessing Challenge

Bring The Blessing Home – And Beyond!

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Day 1: Read Mark 9:2. Jesus could have gone alone to the Mount of Transfiguration, but he seeks to widen the circle. He seeks to bless His friends as He, Himself is about to be blessed. Why do you think He invites these three along instead of going alone? When has someone invited you to a special event where you ended up being blessed? Who can you take with you to a place or an event to bless them?

Day 2: Read Galatians 6:10. Paul starts with the family of believers, but notice he doesn’t end there. He says to do good to all people. Who do you find it easy to bless? Where is God calling you to widen the circle of who you bless? Think of someone today you can bless that will stretch your circle and send them a text or note.

Day 3: Read Mark 9:7. According to Dallas Willard,

Blessing is the projection of good into the life of another. It isn't just words. It's the actual putting forth of your will for the good of another person. It always involves God, because when you will the good of another person, you realize only God is capable of bringing that. So, we naturally say, ‘God bless you.’

What God the Father spoke at Jesus baptism, He affirms again years later at Jesus’ transfiguration. He speaks such words not only for Jesus to hear but also for Peter, James, John, and us to hear. Where do you need God’s help to give the type of blessing Dallas Willard describes? How does including others in hearing and seeing that blessing increase the level of blessing for that person?

Day 4: Read Galatians 6:1. The NIV 1984 translation uses the word Spiritual – other translations say living by the Spirit.  You bless best when you let the Holy Spirit lead what you say and do. That’s why we look to God for help. How? Become fluent in the language of God’s word – to encourage, to speak blessings as Paul does in his letters, to seek God’s promptings in your prayers, and in living out life each day. Where would you like to grow in your ability to bless others? How can God help? How will you pursue that help from God?

Day 5: Read Galatians 6:9. In a world that wears us done and leaves us wanting to give up, God’s blessing gets us through. Never underestimate the power you have in blessing others – they may be wounded, worried or wearied, and your gift of blessing provides an encouraging path to get them through. When is a time you were down, and someone lifted you up? When is a time someone else was down and God used you to lift them up?

Day 6: Read Numbers 6:22-27. When we begin our worship service, we begin with the blessing of God’s name – in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. We remind ourselves and rejoice that God desires to be with us to bless. When we end our worship service, we end with a blessing, so that we go forth to project God’s goodness into their lives. As we wrap up The Blessing Challenge, what lessons have you learned? How will you continue to bless and be a blessing?

You can Go Deeper this week by reading the book The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance (Revised & Updated) by John Trent and Gary Smalley. You can also learn more about John Trent and The Blessing at

Don't forget you can listen to this week's message or read the full PDF of the message & GPS. 

When You've Missed The Blessing

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Day 1: Read Genesis 27:38. A missed blessing hurts everyone. Do you know someone who has experienced missing a blessing? Are you someone who has experienced missing a blessing? What has helped you move forward? Where do you need to pray for God to give His blessing, forgiveness, and relationship bridge building power?

Day 2: Read Genesis 27:41 and Hebrews 12:16-17.  How do you know you are on the revenge path? Typically, the path of revenge starts with a seed called "resentment", that grows a root called "bitterness", and the fruit is "revenge". Where do you need to watch out for resentment growing in your relationships? Where do you need to refuse the path of revenge?

Day 3: Read Luke 11:4. When we sin against God, the proper response is to repent.  Why? You can't un-sin. You can't change the past. And since you can't un-sin or change the past, you can only repent and seek a new start with God.  When someone wrongs you, sins against you, they to can't un-sin.  They can't change the past.  They may attempt to take back the words or regret their painful action, but they can't un-sin. So, what do you do? Since they can't un-sin, you forgive. Whom do you need to forgive and forge ahead with forgiveness? From whom do you need to seek forgiveness?

Day 4: Read Colossians 3:13. Forgiveness is the only way to break the cycle of blame and pain in a relationship. Instead of matching blow-for-blow, or cheap-shot for cheap-shot, forgiveness stops the cycle of blame and pain, and seeks to build and affirm. How did forgiving someone yesterday set you free to live life together today?  How does Paul's advice help you forge ahead with forgiveness?

Day 5: Read Philippians 4:12-13. Matthew West says, "The goes out of its way to make you believe you are not good enough ... The discovery of our true identities does not begin by looking within ourselves, but by looking to the One who made us.  It is time to tear off the false name tags that cover up your true identity. Understanding who you are begins with knowing whose you are so you can embrace your destiny as a child of the one true King." What are some false identity name tags you need to remove in your life?

Day 6: Read Revelation 2:17. We have our Christian name, our family name. Be we also have another name, and it's called our "white stone name." Our purpose is to find out what that name is, and to live a life that blesses others. You may have others who missed blessing you, but God didn't.  He speaks blessings into your life every day. What do you think your "white stone name" might be? Whom do you know that misses the blessing and God is calling you to bless?

You can Go Deeper this week by reading the book The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance (Revised & Updated) by John Trent and Gary Smalley.

If you are looking for a book on forgiveness then check out Forgive & Forget: Healing The Hurts We Don't Deserve by Lewis B. Smeedes. 

You can also listen to this week's message or read the full PDF of the message & GPS. 

Picturing A Future & A Hope


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Day 1: Read Jeremiah 29:11. “Some people believe they are on a path in life that leads to a hopeless end, that life's road is headed towards doom and despair. What we need to remind ourselves is that the road our God has ahead for us is an endless hope.” When do you need to remind yourself God has “a great big, beautiful tomorrow” planned for you? Who needs your encouragement with a picture of such hope in their life?

Day 2: Read Romans 8:28. Please note that Paul does not say everything that happens to us is “good”. What Paul says is God works “good” in everything that evens out the rotten stuff in life. As you look back at your life, where have you seen God taken something horrible and made it a holy moment of His goodness at work? How can having such a perspective of hope help you in picturing a special future in someone else’s life?

Day 3: Read Isaiah 55:11. God’s Word has great power, and God gives our words of blessing to picture a special future great power in people’s lives. Who is God leading you to make it a habit to forecast for others their best possible future?

Day 4: Read Proverbs 18:4. The image of blessing in the Bible is the picture of providing life giving fresh water to one travelling in the desert. The power of such a blessing is it not only quenches our thirst for today, it’s life water for our tomorrows as well. When has someone spoken words of blessing about your future? How have those words inspired you with living water for life today? Where might you be able to picture a special future God has for someone else’s life?

Day 5: Read James 2:18b.  We, as Lutherans, believe we are saved by grace, but we also recognize part of the fruit of faith that God gives is the life we live. Our actions reflect that the promises we make to invest in others, are promises we keep in lifting them up today for their future tomorrow. Who has God used to pour into your life to make you the person He desires to be? Who is God using you to pour into someone else's life today to shape their future tomorrow?

Day 6: Read Psalm 128:1. Walk not just talk. When you picture a special future, it’s not just the words you say, it’s the active encouragement you provide. It’s your time investment, at times your financial investment, the pouring of your life into another. How have someone’s actions been a “green light” for you to move forward?  

You can Go Deeper this week by reading the book The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance (Revised & Updated) by John Trent and Gary Smalley.

You can also listen to this week's message or read the full PDF of the message & GPS. 

The Power Of Touch

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Day 1: Read Genesis 2:7. In other aspects of creation, God says the word and it is. Why did he touch the ground and breath life? What does this say about God’s value on touch? About our value on touch?

Day 2: Read Matthew 19:14-15. How have you seen children demonstrate the need or desire for touch? How do you experience touch best? Express touch best?

Day 3: Read Leviticus 11:39. When you think of inappropriate touch what comes to mind? How has the levels of inappropriate touch impacted how you touch others? What does seeing touch as an important part of blessing others impact how you give and receive touch?

Day 4: Read Mark 1:40-41. Jesus just could have said the word to heal this leper, but he also adds an element of touch to heal the man’s heart. Who are untouchables God might be calling you to touch? When have you experienced life as an untouchable been blessed with the touch of someone else?

Day 5: Read Isaiah 6:7. In the sacraments, God not only speaks a word of forgiveness, He also provides a touch of forgiveness. When you remember your baptism and partake of the Lord’s Supper, what does it mean for you that God seeks to touch you in this way?

Day 6: Read 1 John 1:1. Our faith is based not on fantasy, but what early followers experienced and touched in knowing Jesus. As you have lived out this past week, how has the touch of Jesus been at work in your life? Through your life to bless others with touch? As you look into the week ahead, how might God be calling you to bring meaningful, appropriate touch to the life of another?

You can Go Deeper this week by reading the book The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance (Revised & Updated) by John Trent and Gary Smalley.

You can also listen to this week's message or read the full PDF of the message & GPS. 

It’s Your Choice To Bless


Focus on this week's Message from Deuteronomy 30:19-20 to teach us the Five Elements of a Blessing:

  1. Give appropriate meaningful touch.
  2. Speak words of blessing.
  3. Express high value
  4. Picture a special future.
  5. Make an active commitment.

Day 1: Read Deuteronomy 30:19-20. In the Old Testament, life has the idea to move toward someone, and death conveys the idea to step away--to back into isolation. When it comes to blessing others, every day you meet someone who needs the blessing. Who did you meet yesterday that you blessed? That blessed you? Pray today that with everyone you meet, God provides a way for you to bless.

Day 2: Read Genesis 1:27-28. God is the ultimate source of blessing. In this verse, what kind of blessing does He give to the people He created? As you look back on 2017, what are at least five ways God blessed you in 2017? What are 5 ways God used others to bless you?

Day 3: Read Ephesians 1:3. In the original Greek language of the New Testament, Paul writes one long run-on sentence from Ephesians 1:3-14. The theme of the sentence is to praise God for all the blessings He gives us in Christ. What blessing has your faith in Jesus been to you in the past week? As you look forward to 2018, how do you hope (and pursue) God’s blessing to grow in your faith life?

Day 4: Read Numbers 23:8. When God blesses, nothing can intervene. As Israel moves toward the Promised Land, Balak brings Balaam to curse Israel. Instead, Balaam keeps blessing Israel, that leads to today’s verse. Knowing that God’s blessing on your life is that strong, how does that put any new year worries into the right perspective? Consider also how God can use you as His blessing in the lives of others. As you pray today, pray for God to bless specific people you love. Be specific in how you pray for them. For example, God bless … is a good start. God bless … “to sense your presence as they learn in school today” is even better.

Day 5: Read 2 Kings 22:2. After a series of evil kings in Judah, God brings Josiah to the throne. He lived under the curse of forefathers, and became a great blessing to his people. Josiah leapfrogs his forebears to David, “a man after God’s own heart”. As you consider the family legacy you have, what “blessings” do you work to continue? And what “blessings” do you hope to bring?

Day 6: Read Mark 1:10-11. At His baptism, Jesus receives the blessing of His Heavenly Father who quotes the Bible to bless His Son. (Good example to follow). As you think of God’s Word and blessing others, what verses lead you to pray for others?  (See Colossians 1:9-14 as an example – replace the word you with the name of the person you are praying for today.)

You can Go Deeper this week by reading the book The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance (Revised & Updated) by John Trent and Gary Smalley.

You can also listen to this week's message or read the full PDF of the message & GPS.