Lawrence worked for a nonprofit on the North Side of Chicago, a couple miles from where Jon lives today. He was excited about the opportunity to reach the people in his neighborhood with the love of Jesus.
Lawrence said, “I knew we were called to live in the city. And while we lived there we wanted to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the people we encountered.” Lawrence doesn’t remember exactly where he came across the B.L.E.S.S. acronym, but he said, “This tool solidified for us the trajectory of what we felt the Holy Spirit was already telling us to do—to simply be Jesus in very practical ways to people around us.”
Whenever he was around people, Lawrence would keep the B.L.E.S.S. practices in mind. On one occasion, he sat down at a bus stop next to Gerald, who was texting on his smartphone. “I whispered a quick prayer for him under my breath, and then we just started talking. We continued the conversation while we rode the bus together, and before Gerald got off the bus, we exchanged phone numbers. That was the beginning of our friendship.”
One of the things about B.L.E.S.S. that Lawrence loved was how it helped him be much more intentional about reaching out to people and simply praying, listening, and sharing coffee or meals together. He said, “I also found that these practices helped me exchange phone numbers with lots of people while I lived on the North Side.” Lawrence continued to build a friendship with Gerald. Most of the time when they got together, it was in local cafés. On one occasion, they were in the middle of a conversation when Jon walked in. “I had met Jon before,”
Lawrence recalled, “but I just about fell off my chair as one of the very people who came up with these B.L.E.S.S. practices walked into the cafe while I was actually living them out.” Lawrence, who had already explained the B.L.E.S.S. practices to Gerald, told him that one of the creators had just walked in. Lawrence reintroduced himself to Jon and said, “You’re not going to believe this, but I am doing the ‘E’ in B.L.E.S.S. right now. I’m ‘B.L.E.S.S.ing’ my friend at that table over there.”
That was the beginning of a growing friendship between Jon and Lawrence. Since then, they’ve gotten together from time to time to share life and discuss how they can better B.L.E.S.S. people in their community. Lawrence says, “If I didn’t have access to the simplicity of that tool you guys developed for Christians like me, I’m not sure I would have ever built that meaningful friendship with Gerald and many other people in my neighborhood, and I doubt I would have ever gotten to know Jon.”
We have just released a new Bible Study on the book BLESS: 5 Everyday Ways to Love Your Neighbor and Change the World by Dave Ferguson
These lessons are available on Amazon, as well as a part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service. Like Netflix for Bible Lessons, one low subscription gives you access to all our lessons–thousands of them. For a medium-sized church, lessons are as little as $10 per teacher per year.
Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking. Answers are provided in the form of quotes from respected authors such as John Piper, Max Lucado and Beth Moore.
These lessons will save you time as well as provide deep insights from some of the great writers and thinkers from today and generations past. I also include quotes from the same commentaries that your pastor uses in sermon preparation.
Ultimately, the goal is to create conversations that change lives.