Nancy and I had gotten married and were celebrating our first Christmas together. I was in grad school. We had no money at all. There was one place in the store that I went to that had something I could afford, and it was a table labeled "damaged goods." I found a dress where the imperfection was hardly noticeable. I bought it, and I gave it to Nancy. She opened it up and said to me, "Honey, this is exactly the kind of dress your mother would wear!" I realized when she said that that we were dealing with damaged goods, only it wasn't the dress—it was me.
And it's everybody here. If you're visiting this weekend, you have arrived at the damaged goods table. So we're starting a series this week about how it is that God changes people. This comes from a phrase by a guy named Henry Cloud: "Transformation requires grace plus truth plus time." Today we're going to look at the first element. I want to do that by looking at the way grace is concretely expressed from the very first chapter in the Bible.
Blessing begins with God
There is a word we're going to follow all the way through the first book in the Bible. "So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems … and every winged bird …. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them …." (Genesis 1:21). Every time God blesses, it's a gift of grace. The word for bless or blessing is so crucial. It's used over 400 times just in the Old Testament alone. So in this message, I want to trace this notion of blessing through the Book of Genesis.
God starts by creating, and then God blesses. Then God creates human beings: "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male ...
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