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Few things have done more to shape our church in recent years than the idea that God generously gives his blessing to us in order to make us a blessing where he has placed us, and among the nations.

However, this isn’t just a nice slogan; it is the foundation on which the whole Bible builds its understanding of what it means to claim to be the people of God.

In Genesis 12:2–3 God promises to make Abraham’s offspring a great nation (Israel) which will live under his blessing and will pass on that blessing to the nations (‘I will bless you . . . and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you’). This principle is beautifully illustrated in Joseph’s life, who found himself as a slave in the home of an Egyptian military chief, but also found that ‘the LORD was with him’ (Genesis 39:2). The result was that ‘the LORD blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the LORD was on everything Potiphar had.’

So as God’s people live under his blessing, they become a blessing wherever he takes them and that blessing impacts every area of life!

A ‘both–and’ church

In the New Testament exactly the same responsibility is given to us as the church of Christ (1 Peter 2:9–12). called to declare the glory of the gospel and to ‘Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse us of doing wrong, they may see our good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.’

We are called, then, to be a ‘both-and’ church, proclaiming the truth of the gospel in clear words and making visible the love of the gospel in practical action. And through this good news of Jesus, the promise of God’s blessing for the nations will be fulfilled (Galatians 3:8–9,14).

Refresh is built firmly on this foundation as we develop our ministries of practical action and gospel proclamation locally and across the world and develop our building to be in line with our vision so that it better supports our ministries, radically improves our welcome and significantly enhances the visibility of our presence in the city centre.

» Next: Backing the vision

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Above Bar Church, Southampton

69 Above Bar Street
Southampton SO14 7FE

023 8022 8275
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