Sermon:  The Power of a Godly Blessing

Summary:  Our remembrance of the "Name" of our Lord should lead us to take the 
time to bless and pray for God's leader's that He would remember their service and 
devotion and would support and uphold them in their service.

Know:  When we bless and pray for our leaders, it is a glory to God and beneficial for 
the kingdom and therefore to ourselves as well.

Feel:  Positively about God's leaders, since they are God's leaders

Do:  Examine reasons why we don't bless or pray for out leaders, brainstorm ways to 
bless our leaders, mentors, etc., and commit to ways of doing this.   Reflect on the 
effect that blessing our leaders would have on them and on ourselves, and on the 
mission of Christ.

Text:  Psalm 20

Scripture Reading:  1 Thess 5:12

1.  Boy practicing hitting a ball
	a.  Would say, "You are the greatest batter in the world!" and throw the 
	      ball up and swing
	b.  He did it several times and missed, each time saying the same thing
	c.  Finally, he said, "You are the greatest pitcher in the world!"
	d.  He was very encouraging, even to himself 
2.  Text:  Psalm 20 - Another Royal Psalm, a Psalm of encouragement
	a.  This one is unique, it is directed toward the king
	b.  There is only one direct address to God and it comes at the end
3.  How would you use this Psalm?
	a.  To tell us something about Israel and her kingship?
		- Perhaps a Priest would use this to invoke a blessing before battle
		- Makes and interesting history lesson
		- Problem:  There is no Monarchy today as in Israel
	b.  As a Messianic prayer that Israel looked forward too?
		- After captivity, Israel didn't discard this Psalm
		- Used in Messianically - Messiah will be victorious
		- Messiah has already been victorious, it is a past fact
		- Same problem as before, it is rooted in past events
	c.  As a model for praying for our country's leaders?
		- 1 Tim 2 - Pray for rulers and those in authority
		- Problem - Israel was a Theocracy, kingdom of God
		- The Kingdom of God today is not of this world
		- This Psalm addresses rulers who are God's people
	d.  As a model to bless & pray for the leaders in God's kingdom
		- This is the direction I will go in this sermon
		- God's kingdom consists of God's people regardless of geography 
		  or nationality
4.  Psalm comes in 2 parts
	a.  Blessing on the King
	b.  Affirmation of Trust to God
	c.  The blessing on the king in a sense is an affirmation of trust in God
		- This is the Lord's anointed, God's man
		- God will uphold and support those who are his
		- Psalm 21 - Is a prayer of thanksgiving for upholding the king
	d.  We also need to "bless" our leaders.  How?

I.  Remember the Name of Yahweh (v.7-9)
	A.  The "Name" is used 3 times in this Psalm
		1.  Heb - "These in the chariot, these in horses, but we in the name 
		     of Yahweh our God call to remembrance
			a.  Kings took pride in horses and chariots
			b.  When they win important victories, they would erect 
			     monuments and have a relief carved of the battle
			c.  King usually in a chariot or riding a horse
			d.  These were magnificent memorials
		2.  Not us, says the Psalmist, we only memorialize the "name" of 
		     Yahweh our God
		3.  Concept of a "Name"
			a.  Sometimes more than nomenclature
			b.  Usually character and name go together
			c.  Example:  Jacob's name changed to Israel
			d.  Similar to Native American concept of a name
				- Names usually earned
				- Names say something about who you are   
	B.  What does this mean when it comes to God?
		1.  Ex 3:14 - Ehyeh asher ehyeh - "I am/will be who I am/will be."
			a.  Yahweh is a form a "Ehyeh" - Verb "to be"
				- He who is, He who will be, He who causes to be?
				- I like, "He who will be…"
			b.  Many have tried to debate on exact meaning
			c.  But God defines his name not merely by a word
		2.  Look at the progression of how God reveals his "Name"
			a.  Ex 6:6-7 - I will deliver you from Egypt, you will know that 
			     I am Yahweh
				- God says in effect, "I will be" your liberator
				- God delivers his people from bondage
			b.  Ex 7:3-5 - God's signs will show Egyptians he is Yahweh
				- God says, "I will be" victor over the gods of Egypt
			c.  Ex 16:12 - God provides meat in wilderness, so Israel will 
			     know that he is Yahweh
				- God says, "I will be" your sustainer
			d.  Ex 29:46 - God instructed them to build a tabernacle so 
			     that his presence could dwell among them so that they 
			     would know that he is Yahweh
				- God says, "I will be" with you, live in your midst
		3.  So it wasn't any humans that delivered Israel
			a.  It wasn't Moses that delivered Israel
			b.  It wasn't David that won all those battles
			c.  They were God's instruments
			d.  The "Name" of God who "will be" for his leaders is rich 
			     with history
		4.  But it doesn't stop there
			a.  Our Savior was born and called:  Jesus and Immanuel
				- Jesus (Yeshua) means "deliverer"
				- Immanuel means "God with us"
			b.  Jesus demonstrated both of these names marvelously
			c.  John 1:12 - Those who believed in his "name," to them he 
			    gave the right to become children of God
	C.  ILL:  Truly, His Name is Wonderful  (Song 73)
	D.  It is not about me, not about the leader, or even the people
		1.  It is ultimately all about God and furthering his mission
		2.  Practicing the blessing on God's leaders will help to further his 

II.  Rejoice and Celebrate God's Victories with them (v.5-6)
	A.  Celebrate is probably a good word to use here
		1.  Heb: Means commotion, noise, rejoicing, etc.
		2.  If they are successful, that is good for the kingdom,
		3.  If it is good for the kingdom, it is good for us to
	B.  We need to celebrate victories together
		1.  When God does something great, it is wonderful to hear about it
			a.  It is not us, but the God behind us
			b.  We should praise the God who supports and strengthens
		2.  Book of Acts - After a Missionary Journey, they returned home
			a.  Peter, Paul and others reported on what God had been 
			    doing among the people, especially Gentiles
			b.  Wasn't that a cause to celebrate and praise God?
			c.  Rom 12:15 - Rejoice with those who rejoice
	C.  ILL:  When I was in Grad School at ACU, I used to write letters to 
	     Brattleboro periodically
		1.  It was basically to let them know what was going on
		2.  I didn't find out till just a couple of years ago that they read every 
		     letter I wrote from the pulpit!
			a.  That wasn't unusual there though
			b.  There was usually a celebratory atmosphere in worship
			c.  The more things they could find to celebrate for God, the 
		3.  There were sometimes when people would come forward for the 
		      purpose of sharing what God has done
		4.  One time when one of the men went forward
			a.  Had been talking to his sister about becoming a Christian
				-  Her sister was close to making a decision
				- She had already visited us a couple of times
				- That was huge for her, she was anti religion
			b.  He shared that she was getting close, we praised God
				- Some others talked to her, they knew her
				- They were excited for her
			c.  In less than a week, we were baptizing her.
			d.  We had even more to celebrate
	D.  I think we need to hear from more of our leaders
		1.  LTC, Children's Ministries, Life Groups, Classes, Prison
		2.  I would like to hear from ministry leaders and mentors, and 
		     perhaps allow you to share it when we are all together
		3.  Then we can praise God, worship, and celebrate it together
		4.  Is that worship?  YES!  Remember Worship is Response to God
			a.  God is still active and working today right?
			b.  God's truth is still marching on right?
			c.  Then let's make a point to share and celebrate together 

III.  Remind them of your prayers (v.1-4)
	A.  This Psalm demonstrates people doing just that
	B.  Look at the ways the Psalmist blesses the king
		1.  May the Lord answer your prayers - v.1
			a.  Assumes the leader does indeed pray to God
			b.  Prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much
			c.  Elijah - Prays it doesn't rain, it doesn't for 3 years
			d.  Prays it would rain, and it rains a gully washer
		2.  May the Lord Support and Help You - v.2
			a.  Acknowledges human weakness and frailty
			b.  We can do nothing of ourselves - We need God
			c.  That is why we need the Spirit of God
		3.  May the Lord remember all the way you worship him
			a.  Assumes the king worships God as a lifestyle
		4.  May he grant your heart's desire
			a.  Problem - Jer 17:9 - Heart is deceitful and sick
				- Heart often desires the wrong things
				- People might desire sex, fame, fortune…
				- World says there is nothing wrong with that!
				- How can we say - May God grant desires of heart?
			b.  Assumption - King is a man after God's own heart
				- Heb: May God grant you "according your heart"
				- God gives according to your heart
				- If heart aligned with God, God gives
			c.  Examples:  Heart not aligned with God
				- James 4:3 - As and not receive - Wrong motives
				- 1 John 5:14 - Ask according to his will, he hears
				- God's will might not be to give you ease, prosperity
				   if your heart not aligned, will be bad for you
			d.  Desire for God's man is that the kingdom be formed into 
			     the image of Christ
	C.  ILL:  At Tulsa Workshop
		1.  Thousands of people from all over the world
			a.  Like a reunion
			b.  Emphasis on missions lately
		2.  Elder or leader prays for the speaker before they start
		3.  Imagine the effect that has on them and on us who listen
			a.  It is not about the speaker, but God
				- I serve not to boost my ego
				- I serve to honor God, not me
			b.  Humility for both speaker and audience
				- We are not hear to be consumers
				- We are here to learn to serve God better
			c.  Peace - Not all up to me, but to God
	D.  So we should take time to pray for our leaders & bless them
		1.  Elders, Life Group Leaders, Mentors, Teachers, Parents, LTC 
		     Coaches, etc.
		2.  Encourage and bless all of them
		3.  There is something powerful about bestowing a blessing
			a.  Remember that Esau was willing to kill because his 
			     younger brother tricked him out of a blessing
			b.  A blessing can shape your ministry and your life
			c.  It is a powerful, positive force
		4.  It is a practice I have seen some are bringing back
			a.  I've seen congregations do this for new parents, ministry 
			     leaders, teachers, elders, deacons, etc.
			b.  We want ministry leaders to do well, and a blessing is a 
			     powerful force for this - Because God is listening
			c.  As you can see, the idea is very Biblical - I encourage us 
			     to practice it.

Concl:   Our leaders are praying for you too (Invitation)
1.  If you have already responded, pray for our ministry leaders, elders, mentors, teachers, 
oh, and me too, please.
	a.  Let them know you pray for them and what you are praying, bless them
	b.  Celebrate with them
	c.  Remember it is God who is behind it all - celebrate HIM
2.  Make it a point to bless and pray for our leaders - We want them to be successful, and 
that is a way we can help. 


Small Group Questions:  The Power of a Godly Blessing

Summary:  Our remembrance of the "Name" of our Lord should lead us to take the time to bless 
and pray for God's leader's that He would remember their service and devotion and would support 
and uphold them in their service.

Open (choose one)
- Have you ever been serenaded or seen anyone serenaded?  
- How would you psych yourself up for a challenge?

Explore  (Psalm 20)

1.  A "name" in Israel often said something about what a person was like, and could even refer 
to their earned reputation (eg: "He has a good name").  The "name" of the Lord is used three 
times in this passage.  How does God's Name fit into the prayers of the Psalm in each of these 

2.  Chariots and horses were the potent technology of the time.  What might be some equivalents 

3.  How does this Psalm, which is directed toward a leader and a human reflect a strong trust and 
reliance on God?

4.  This Psalm is unusual in that it is addressed toward the king.  How might this Psalm had been 
used in Israel, in what settings?

5.  What benefits might this Psalm have had for Israel, her people and her leaders?


6.  Reflect:  What are some reasons we are not more intentional in bestowing a blessing and prayers 
on God's leaders in his kingdom as a group?

7.  What effect might bestowing a blessing and prayers on God's leaders have on them?  On Ourselves?  
On the mission of God?

8.  Brainstorm:  Identify "all" the leaders, mentors, etc. in our congregation and brainstorm on ways we 
can bless them in the manner of this Psalm, and pray for them.

9.  Commit:  Select some of these ways, and verbally commit to making this a part of your personal