Step 1 A Short Word on the Holy Spirit
Step 2 A Short Word on Prayer
Step 3 A Short Word on the Bible
Step 4 Another Short Word on Prayer
Step 5 A Short Word on Body Life
Step 6 A Short Word on Giving
 

© Project Winsome International, 1999

"A SHORT WORD ON THE HOLY SPIRIT"

Dr. John Allan Lavender

One of the immediate benefits of your new birth is that the Spirit of God himself, called the Holy Spirit, comes to dwell in you (1 Corinthians 3:16). As a new follower of Jesus itís too soon for you to fully understand how awesome that is, but God never asks you to do something without first giving you the resources needed to do it!

Youíre challenged to be like Jesus. That sounds impossible, and on your own, it is! Thatís where the gift the Holy Spirit comes in (Acts 10:45). He gives you the courage to ask, "What would Jesus do?" Then he empowers you to actually do it! So, learning to activate this new internal Power Source is really important.

Like any gift, the gift of the Holy Spirit must be acknowledged and appropriated to be fully enjoyed. Below is a prayer to help you to do that. Look it over. Does it express the desire of your heart? If so, pray it out loud so your ears will hear what your heart is saying.

Dear God, by faith I acknowledge the gift of the Holy Spirit, and by deliberate choice I appropriate him. I receive him as my own.

Spirit of God, come and fill me now. Take control of my life. Pick the path I am to walk. Keep me away from anything and everything which might take Godís place in my heart.

In each and every situation I face today, enable me to have the mind of Jesus, express the attitudes of Jesus, and do the will of Jesus. In his name, amen.

 

How can you be sure you got what you just asked for? Thereís a promise in the Bible you can take to the bank.

"If you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him" (Luke 11:13).

The Holy Spirit is to you what Jesus would be it he were here himself, so you can be to your little world what Jesus would be if he were where you are.

As my generation would say, "Thatís heavy!"

Not only is the Holy Spirit a gift, he, himself, is the giver of gifts. Youíll enjoy discovering, developing, and using the Spiritís gifts in ministry to others (Romans 12:6-16; Ephesians 4:1-16; 1 Corinthians 12:1-11). Youíll also be blessed as the Holy Spirit begins to naturally and spontaneously produce his fruit in you (Galatians 5:16-23).

That is not the end of all the Spirit does in and for you! Along with being a gift who now dwells in you Ė

The Holy Spirit seals you (Ephesians 4:30). He identifies and secures you as Christís, forever.

The Holy Spirit is an earnest (Ephesians 1:14). He gives you a taste of what heaven will be like.

The Holy Spirit baptizes you into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). He makes available to you all the privileges which go with being a follower of Jesus.

The Holy Spirit anoints you (2 Corinthians 1:21). He makes certain you are equal to the task God sets before you.

No wonder the apostle Paul wrote, "Be filled with the Holy Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18). That is, let the Holy Spirit do exactly what you just asked him to do in your prayer, take control of your life! Pause for a moment and review your prayer. Reaffirm it, if you wish.

Want to know more about the Spiritís role in your life? Visit our publications page. Click on Connecting With The Holy Spirit.


 

© Project Winsome Publishers, 1999

"A SHORT WORD ON PRAYER"

Dr. John Allan Lavender

A man booked passage on a ship bound for America. During the voyage he existed on a diet of crackers he had brought on board with him. No one told him that included in the price of his ticket was the privilege of banqueting in the luxurious dining room of the ship.

As a new follower of Jesus itís important that you not settle for "spiritual crackers" when, included in the price of your "ticket" to heaven, is the privilege of tapping into the unlimited riches of Godís grace through prayer. So, to get you started, hereís a "fast track" explanation of what prayer is, and what prayer is not.

What Prayer is Not

Prayer is not a blank check upon which Godís signature appears, guaranteeing you anything your heart desires. Divine wisdom does not put itself at the mercy of finite whimsey.

Prayer is not a rabbitís foot or "lucky charm" used to keep you from misfortune.

Prayer is not a parachute project employed to bail you out of lifeís emergencies.

Prayer is not a childís letter to Santa Claus devoted to your asking for things.

Prayer is not an escape from duty, a kind of magic trick to which you resort in an effort to make up for failure to do your job.

Prayer is not a bludgeon to help you break down Godís reluctance to bless you.

Prayer is not a device for getting your will done on earth through heaven. Prayer is a desire on your part that Godís will may be done on earth through you!

What Prayer Is

Prayer is conversation with God. It involves listening, as well as talking. For the moment, letís focus on the talking part of prayer.

How you talk to God is less important than just talking to him! If youíre a parent, youíll understand. When your child first began to communicate with you it was childish gibbering, but those were some of the most beautiful sounds you had ever heard. Right? Thatís the way it is with God. The words you use are not important. He just wants to hear from you.

Find a quiet place where you can be alone. Try praying out loud. Itís uncomfortable at first, but among other advantages, it helps keep your mind from wandering. Start by telling God what you like about him. Thatís called Adoration. Youíll get better at it as you grow. God loves it when, through worship, you discover whom youíre talking to when you talk to him.

Your heavenly Father not only wants to help you, he can!

Then, tell him how you blew it. How you messed up by not asking, "what would Jesus do?" and then doing it! Tell him youíre sorry and donít want to want that to happen again. Thatís being honest, and is called Confession. Sometimes, it helps to begin your prayer by "fessiní up." It has a way of clearing the air and makes it easier to tell God what you like about him.

Continue your prayer by gratefully receiving Godís love, acceptance and forgiveness. Thatís called Thanksgiving. Thankful words expressed out loud allow your ears to hear what your heart is saying!

Conclude your conversation with God by sharing your concerns. Thatís called Supplication. Tell him how you think things ought to work out. Then, since heís God and youíre not, express your faith in him, however fragile, by asking him to do it his way. That may feel risky at first, but youíll soon learn

Godís plan for you is better than anything you can plan for yourself.


 

© Project Winsome Publishers, 1999

"A SHORT WORD ON THE BIBLE"

Dr. John Allan Lavender

King David was known as "a man after Godís own heart." In one of his Psalms David wrote something which explains, in part, why he received that accolade.

"Your word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you" (Psalm 119:11).

David took the right thing, Godís word. He put it in the right place, his heart.

For the right reason, that he might not sin against God!

You can do the same thing. Hereís how --

Read The Bible Daily.

Find a version of Bible you find easy to read. Then read it. Daily! There's only one reason for owning an automobile, and that's to take you somewhere. Similarly, there is only one reason for owning a Bible, and thatís to take you somewhere. To God!

Dr. Malbie Babcock put it this way, "The Bible is not to be worshiped. It is to be used. An untutored person from the jungle or bushland might bow down to a telescope, but an astronomer knows better. He knows it is not to be looked at. It is to be looked through. The same thing is true of the Bible. Look through it. Find God with it. See what God was to the people of the Bible. Let him be the same to you." In other words, hide the Bible in your heart.

Read The Bible Slowly.

Instead of taking a bunch of hurried snapshots, take some time exposures. Let the Bible speak to you. Encourage you. Correct you.

Itís not important how many times youíve been through the Bible,

but itís terribly important how many times the Bible has been through you!

Let One Verse Or Section Speak To You

I often begin to read a chapter and stop after the first verse because that verse met the need which drove me to the Book on that occasion.

Sometimes itís necessary to keep on reading before one portion of the Bible speaks to me with special meaning. Sometimes I memorize it. Sometimes I write it on a 3 X 5 filing card so I can carry it with me. Doing something like that will help you become specific in your use of the Bible. Youíll discover God is on 24-hour duty. Heís with you, in you, by you, and above you around the clock.

Follow The Bibleís Teachings

Davidís purpose for hiding Godís word in his heart was to live a noble and upright life. Thatís what you want, too, isnít it? Let the Bible help you.

"Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways

acknowledge him and he will direct your path" (Prov 3:5,6).

One day I had difficulty finding an obscure street. I pulled up to a stoplight, rolled my window down and asked the man sitting in the car next to be me if he knew where that street was. "I live on it!" he said. "Follow me and I'll lead you there."

When the light turned green, I let him go ahead of me. When he turned, I turned. When he stopped, I stopped. Finally, he pulled up to a corner and pointed to a street sign. It was exactly where I wanted to go.

The Bible is like that. It doesn't say, "Do this on Monday, and that on Tuesday, and youíll discover the way to abundant living." The Bible introduces you to Jesus who says, "I am the way! Follow me!"

"Your word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you" (Psalm 119:11).


 

© Project Winsome Publishers, 1999

"ANOTHER SHORT WORD ON PRAYER"

Dr. John Allan Lavender

Begin With Worship

Jesus taught his followers to begin their prayers with worship. "Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed (special, unique, holy, worthy of worship) be thy name." Godís names reveal who God is and what he is prepared to be for you. Here are four of the names for God found in the Bible.

Begin your prayer with the name of God which most closely matches your need at that time. Thank God for being what that name reveals him to be. Read Psalm 23. Make a mental list of everything the shepherd does for his sheep. Then, begin you prayer, "Jehovah-raah (ra-ach'), thank you for being my shepherd and . . ." Be specific! Detail exactly why youíre grateful the Lord is your shepherd. "Thank you" are two of the most worship-filled words there are! Pray them often. Worship gives you a clearer picture of who it is youíre talking to when you talk to God!

Your God is an awesome God. Praying his names will remind you of that.

Keep The Channel Of Blessing Open

You donít have to be "perfect" to pray, but unconfessed sin will hinder your freedom to pray. Often some "little thing"short-circuits your prayer. An electrical engineer explained how a piece of tissue paper placed between a light bulb and the source of power can cause a short-circuit. The bulb may be new. The power source may be functioning properly. But a tiny piece of tissue paper can keep the power of a giant generator from getting through. Whatís the tissue is in your life? Get rid of it through confession -- right now! A sense of unconfessed sin hinders faith.

Increase Your Faith-Factor

Thanksgiving is especially powerful when, by faith, you express your gratitude to God for solving a problem while you still have the problem! You can learn to do that. God has promised to use everything for good (Romans 8:28). Each time you see him do it, your faith in Godís ability to help you will skyrocket.

Effective Prayer Is An Exercise In Honesty

Present your concerns to God with earnest flexibility. That is, trust his love enough to tell him exactly how you think and feel. He knows anyway, and understands! God wonít zap you! He loves it when youíre up front with him. Then, trust his wisdom enough to be flexible. Open to being taught by him. In time, deliberately praying -- "Please do it your way" -- will become one of your most freeing and favorite ways to pray.

Decide What Your Petition Is And Write It Down.

This will help you discern the difference between wishful thinking and earnest desire. It will protect you from praying about everything in general, and nothing in particular. Your prayers will be focused, and thatís important. Writing down your prayer requests -- also the answers when they come! -- will provide you with an accurate record of Godís answers to your prayers. You will know how powerful prayer can be. You will have the records to prove it!

Pray Scripture

There are hundreds of promises in the Bible. Here are four to you get started Ė

"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. When you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it

(I Corinthian 10:13).

"Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint"

(Isaiah 40:31).

"My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus"

(Philippians 4:19).

"Commit your way to the Lord; trust him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness to shine as the dawn, the justice of your cause as the noonday sun"

(Psalm 37:5,6).

Pick a promise. Make it personal. "God, you said, (read or quote the promise), and Iím counting on you to . . . " Be specific! Thatís called Praying Scripture. As God delivers on his promises, it will fortify your faith.

Simultaneity

One of the neatest ways to pray develops as you learn to live in two worlds -- the physical and the spiritual -- simultaneously. You are fully aware of, and alert to, what is going on around you. At the same time, you are equally aware of, and sensitive to, what is going on inside you. This allows the Holy Spirit who dwells in you, to minister through you, to those about you.

The next time you are perplexed about something, pay full attention to whatís happening, or being said. Simultaneously -- with your eyes wide open! -- pray for wisdom to do what Jesus would do, and the sensitivity to do it the way Jesus would do it. Then do it -- with love! It takes practice, but few things are more satisfying than knowing

God reached out and touched someone through you!

Fritz Kriesler, the famous violinist, once said he would not dare to step on a concert stage without spending a minimum of eight hours a day in practice. He is credited with saying,

"If I neglect practicing one day, I know the difference. If I neglect practicing one week, my wife knows the difference. But if I neglect practicing one month, the whole musical world knows the difference."

You wonít have to practice eight hours a day, but your success in making prayer a force in your life will be directly related to your willingness to engage in the practice of prayer.


 

© Project Winsome Publishers, 1999

"A SHORT WORD ON BODY LIFE"

Dr. John Allan Lavender

Body Life is a phrase coined by Dr. Ray Steadman. It refers to how the body of Christ, the Church, is to function. Take a few minutes to read I Corinthians 12:12-27.

The church is a wee colony of heaven on earth. Its task is to bring heavenís hope, health and healing to the wounds and woes of the world. As Dr. Curtis Nims points out --

"It is no small thing to change ignorance, superstition and cruelty into faith, hope and love. But that is the job of the church. It is no small thing to surround children with beauty, provide youth with a challenge, give adults a holy commission, and offer everyone the sure hope of heaven. But that, too, is the job of the church."

There are three reasons why you should join a church where you live. First --

You Need The Church.

The church offers you the opportunity of worshipping together with other followers of Jesus.

The church offers you the teachings of Jesus which add new dimensions to your life.

The church offers you Godís blessings on the most sacred events of life: birth, death, marriage, baptism and communion.

The church offers you precious fellowship with your brothers and sisters in Christ.

The church offers you the most effective means of fulfilling the great commission: to go into all the world and share the good news of Godís amazing grace (Matthew 28:16-20).

You need the church because it meets so many of your personal, emotional, social and spiritual needs. You also need the church because you want to be better than you are. You donít go to a hospital to see well people. You go there to see people who know they are sick and want to get better. You donít go to a church to see perfect people. You go there to see people who know they are imperfect and want to be better. Because thatís the desire of your heart, you need the church. Second --

The Church Needs You.

It needs your life. Your influence. Your enthusiasm. Your ideals. Your goals. It needs your time. Your tithe. Your talent. It needs all you can give it in terms of service, sacrifice, and self-giving.

The church is not a rest-camp behind the lines. It is the front-line trenches in a holy war between good and evil. Being on the side of good, you should join a church of your community, because that church needs you! Third, you should join a church because --

The World Needs What You And The Church Can Give It Together.

If there ever was a time in the history of the world when the followers of Jesus ought to hang out their flag and let the world know where they stand, itís now! The struggle going on in the world today is not between democracy and totalitarianism. It is not between free enterprise and socialism. It is between God and satan. Between light and darkness. Between good and evil.

You need the church. The church needs you. But the main reason you need to be an active member of a church where you live is because -- The world needs what you and the church can give it together!

During the early persecution of the church, a little boy stood beside a soldier in the Roman coliseum. On the floor of the arena followers of Jesus were being mauled by lions. The little boy bit his lip and said nothing until a certain woman who was kneeling in prayer, was attacked by a lion. Then, in a childish voice, he shrieked, "I, too, am a follower of Jesus!" With a single motion the soldier standing beside him gripped his clothing and tossed him into the arena, where the little boy died beside his mother. No one is asking you to die for Jesus, but you are being challenged to live for him by being an active participant in Body Life (Heb.10:24-25; 13:20-21).

If a local church directed you to this web site, it could be the one for you. Check it out!


 

 

© Project Winsome Publishers, 1999

"A SHORT WORD ON GIVING"

Dr. John Allan Lavender

If you are like most people, when the subject of money comes up, you get suspicious. You might even be tempted to think, "Whatís in it for him?" Well, everything on this web site is free. So I have no other motive than to tell you about

The Second Most Satisfying Experience Of My Life!

My most satisfying experience occurred when, as a boy of 15, I led my buddy to Jesus. The realization God had used me to give someone else the gift of eternal life was overwhelming. It was a thrill I will never forget. I covet that thrill for you. If there are friends and associates youíd like to see come to Jesus, here are some suggestions --

Pray for love, the fruit of the Spirit, to express itself through you to them! Pray for wisdom to know when, where, how, and with whom to tell your story. Some will be more open than others to the good news of Godís love, acceptance and forgiveness. Donít proceed where the Holy Spirit has not preceded you, but seize the opportunity when it presents itself.

At that point you have three options.

1. Invite them to visit www.winsome.org and the Seekers track with you. If they agree, walk them through the Simplest Answer Booklet.

2. Tell them about www.winsome.org and the Seekers track. Invite them to pay a visit on their own. Ask, "May I call you later about this?" If they say "yes," be sure to follow up.

3. Download the Simplest Answer Booklet and make copies to share with your friends. When the time is right, tell them your story. Ask if you may share the Booklet with them. If they say "yes," read it to them. Perhaps, as a result of your witness, they will pray to receive Jesus. Thereís no more satisfying experience than that! Please let us know what happened!

Right next to it, in terms of honest-to-goodness, deep-down satisfaction, was learning to tithe.

God has a fivefold blessing awaiting those who will trust him enough to tithe (Malachi 3:10-12).

The language of the Bible is poetic and picturesque. Let me make it pragmatic and personal.

God says, "Test me and see . . . " If you accept his offer to try tithing, there will be --

1. Open floodgates. Because you are obedient to him, communication with him will be more productive. You will have greater boldness when you pray. "Father, you promised!"

2. Blessings Galore. In ways you canít begin to imagine, God will bless you, to be a blessing!

(Deuteronomy 8:17-18).

3. Thieves Thwarted. The "pests" of frivolous spending and impulse buying which have been devouring your income, will lose their grip on you.

4. Harvest Preserved. Because Godís "dime" is set aside for his use, God will teach you how to make your 90 cents go as far, or further, than the "dollar" did!

5. Reputation Restored. If, because of bad credit and unpaid bills, your name has been tarnished, following a sensible debt-reduction plan will restore your good name.

Really good offer, donít you think? Ready to accept Godís challenge? Hereís one way to do it.

1. Before you spend a dime of your next pay check, place 10% in a jar or bank account.

2. Pray about how to use the remaining 90%. Take a critical look at your priorities.

3. Only give what you honestly believe you can give. One day Jesus told a man with a big problem, "All things are possible to him who believes." The man replied, "Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!" Maybe you feel the same way. Only give what your faith will allow! If Godís tithe is $50.00, but your faith will only let you give $10.00, give ten! Retain the $40.00 in "Godís Jar."

4. Continuing doing this. Examine your values. Changing values will help stretch your 90%.

5. At the end of the year, if God has not kept his promise, the balance in "Godís Jar" is yours to use as you see fit.

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