222 Training 6 – The Spirit-led life

Objectives of this unit – that the trainees

  • experience the Holy Spirit in this meeting and hear a word from God
  • understand the concept of a Spirit-led life, and start to live a life following the Holy Spirit.
  • gain the confidence to teach this to others  
  •  are growing into a lifestyle of setting intentional goals for sharing their testimony with others (if possible 5 or more times per week),

 

A. Pastoral / worship / accountability (40 mins)

Following Unit 4, the trainees should have shared their testimony, preferably several times, in the power of the Holy Spirit. The worship/pastoral time should be devoted to praise reports, and prayer for non-believers, or nominal believers, that the team has encountered during the week.

Experience has shown that there are bound to be trainees who have found difficulties in sharing their testimonies. Plenty of time should be allocated to encouragement of these trainees who are finding things more difficult. The group leader and/or the more mature trainees should spend time during the week with these trainees, and help them enter into a lifestyle of witnessing for Christ and being led by the Holy Spirit.

B. New Content: the Spirit-led Life (40 mins)

Start by reading Romans 8:14

1. Testimony from Robin C:  a divine appointment

Activity: read together the testimony below. Alternatively the facilitator or one of the participants relates a testimony which is a clear example of an occasion of being led by the Holy Spirit.

I’d like to share a story of something which happened to me about a year after becoming a follower of Jesus. I had a very powerful experience of conversion in May 1985, and during the following year shared my testimony with scores of people. I was very disappointed to find that barely one of the people I shared with was at all interested in what I had to say about my precious Lord.

Hearing from God

I went to a seminar given by Christians from an organisation called Vineyard Ministries, and they talked about “hearing from God” and “divine appointments”. They said the primary way for people to hear from God was via subtle impressions in the mind, having believed, according to John 10:27, that “my sheep hear my voice”. They encouraged us that becoming familiar with the voice of God is a lifelong undertaking, and that even if we were only 90% sure that it was God’s voice that we were hearing, we were to go ahead and do what we felt God was telling us, trusting him to direct us.

After the seminar, on one Monday night, I prayed with great intensity that I would be able to hear God’s voice, and that he would give me a “divine appointment” with someone who would not only be interested in my testimony, but whom I could lead to Christ.

 

Divine appointment

The following Wednesday I was in a worship meeting in central Wellington, when I thought I sensed  “the still, small voice of God” tell me to go down to Vivian Street, where he would lead me   

                                to the person with whom I was to share. The still, small voice was almost  

                                imperceptibly different from my own thought, and it was a real exercise of faith

                                to believe I was really hearing from God, but I determined to follow what I was

                                hearing, and be obedient to God’s call. On arriving in Vivian Street at about 10

                                PM, another subtle impression told me to go into the “Evergreen Coffee Bar”

                                and speak to the management there.

 

A bar in the red light district

I found out later that the bar was a favourite haunt of many drug addicts, prostitutes, and people I thought unlikely to be interested in following Jesus, but even without this knowledge, I had little belief that anybody would be interested in what I had to say here. I told the 50+ Maori lady behind the bar  that I was a Christian worker in town, and that Jesus had sent me to the bar to share about him. I fully expected her to show me the door immediately, and tell me that nobody was interested in Jesus in that place.

 

Answer to prayer

Her reaction was, however, completely different from what I expected. She immediately displayed great interest and asked me to walk through to the back bar. On my way through, the still, small voice was there again. One word only: “Anata”. I asked if she knew an Anata, to which she replied no, but she was still very excited. She introduced herself as Millie, and said that the previous month, she had given her life to Jesus. Feeling a sense of shame because of where she was working, she had not dared to go to a church, but on Monday night she had prayed to God that he would lead some Christian to the bar who could teach her more about Jesus. We were both amazed by the obvious “divine appointment”, and I invited her to our house the following Sunday afternoon, where we could discuss the Christian life.

Vindication of hearing from God

Surely enough, the following Sunday she appeared as promised, accompanied by a second, younger woman called Cheryl. Millie was so excited! She explained to me that “Anata” was actually her name, though she hadn’t remembered it on the previous Wednesday evening. Though she had introduced herself to me as “Millie”, her true birth Maori name, which at that point in time she never used, was “Mirianata”. We both marvelled that it was so obvious that God had spoken to me, and abundantly answered Mirianata’s prayer. As we talked animatedly, Cheryl stood up and said, “Right, that does it. I’m going to give up being a prostitute and become a Christian. What do I do?” In due course, Mirianata and Cheryl both became strong Christians. I was hooked. I determined to live all my life by following the directions of the Holy Spirit!

 

Discussion: has anyone in the group had a similar experience? Note: not every experience has to be dramatic.

2. The Spirit-led Life

Christian life – more than a set of rules

Many understand the Christian life in terms of observance of various rules. The most important rules are perhaps those outlined in the 10 Commandments, that is do not murder, steal, commit adultery etc. Most churches have their unseen set of rules which people have to follow to be regarded as a good member of the church, for example “don’t drink; get drunk;  smoke or gamble. Give 10% of your income to the church;  go to church on Sunday”, etc. Now some of these rules may be good, and there are many testimonies of new Christians who feel that God has led them to do things such as give up drinking. But to view the Christian life as primarily the keeping of a set of rules is to entirely miss the rich Christian life of discipleship outlined in the Bible.

 

Christian lifestyle

The Bible describes a lifestyle which is primarily centred on relationship with God. For example in Philippians chapter 3, Paul, who was one of the most effective servants of Jesus in the New Testament, writes that since becoming a follower of Christ, his only goal in life was to grow in relationship with Jesus. All his other goals and attainments had become secondary to this overwhelming desire. In Matthew chapter 10, Jesus describes the level of commitment which is required of the disciple. In fact Christians today receive the same Holy Spirit that Jesus received, and we are meant to do the same and greater works as Jesus himself (John 14:12 – 14).

 

Listening to the voice of God

The key to this is being able to hear from God exactly what he wants us to do, and then to obey.

  • John 10:27 makes it plain that all followers of Jesus are able to hear his voice.
  • Jesus states in John 5:19 and in John 12:49 that the success of his Ministry was due to the fact he did not do what he wanted, but did as the Father showed him.

 

Scriptures to read in turns: Philippians 3:7-11; John 10: 4 and 27; John 5:19 and 12:49;

Romans 8:14.

Discuss each scripture following the four question method in Unit 2.

Activity: do the following “Hearing from God” exercise in groups of 5-6. It is very important that this exercise is done thoroughly, and participants experience a time of listening to God as opposed to discussing the principles.

Activation: JUST ONE WORD[1]

We are now going to do some Activation Exercises which will help you to identify the voice of

God.  Are Activation Exercises scriptural?

Even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Heb. 5:14

That is those who through constant practice have their spiritual faculties carefully trained. Heb. 5:14 Weymouth New Testament

Identifying his voice

Now, how do we identify His voice?

 

Remember, the Lord rarely, if ever, will speak to you in an audible voice. That’s because he wants to lead you quietly from within. The Bible describes it as “a still small voice”.

Therefore He will speak to your spirit or heart and at first it may sound just like your own thinking.

Have you ever:

  • had a time when an unrelated thought jumped into your mind?
  • had the experience of thinking to pray for someone, even though you were

            unaware they needed prayer?

 

Many people who experienced God speaking to them at first thought, “Oh, that’s only me!” How can we tell the difference? Identifying His voice, of course, is what we are trying to achieve, and hopefully at some stage you’ll be able to say with confidence, “So that’s the Lord’s voice.”

Activation

  1. Tell participants to get into groups of four and sit in a tight circle. Ideally they should sit with people they do not know well.
  2. Tell them to introduce themselves.

In this activation exercise participants will believe God for an individual word of

encouragement for each member in the group.

 

Ministry – a model of how to proceed

1. Each of the people in your group has a calling of God on their life.

 

2. They have talents, strengths, and gifts and fruits of the Spirit operating or

    waiting to emerge.

 

3. We will to ask the Lord to reveal those giftings. You may receive words such as

   “longsuffering”, “bold” or “peacemaker” for members of your group.

 

4. It could be a small phrase like “gifts of healing”, “ full of faith” or “a great encourager”.

 

5. Our experience has shown that as we take one step of faith it increases the likelihood of

    receiving a word.

 

6. We will lay hands on the person in the middle of your circle and then ask each of

you to speak out what the Lord has for them. Speak out the first thing or picture that comes to mind.

 

7. As the words over a person finish, ask them if the words they heard apply to them.

 

8 If the person agrees with your word, it will be a confirmation that you have heard from the Lord.

 

9. When you have finished with that person, the next will sit in the middle. Repeat this until all in

your group are finished.

 

Testimonies

Have a few testify that the words they received were of the Lord.

C. Trainees’ Practise time (40 mins)

a)      Split into different small groups and role play facilitating another prophesy session. Trainees may bring longer prophesies if they like. Discuss the words you get from God in your group. One or two of the trainees may have a turn at facilitating another feedback session with the whole group.

b)      Set goals for who you are going to train in this, this week, and which pre-believers you will see. The group must keep a focus on sharing testimonies with 5 pre-believers every week. If this activity is maintained, the movement will grow. An easy way to ensure sharing with 5 every week is to do door-to-door evangelism, but realise that not everyone in the group will feel comfortable with this. The most important thing, especially for new believers, is to keep adding to the list of people you know, and keep sharing as far as possible with 5 people on your list every week.

c)      As far as your groups are concerned, are there new groups starting up? Try to strategise and get the counsel of the Holy Spirit on the starting of new groups. Remember some groups will be discovery Bible study groups, and some groups, who are ready to be earnest disciples of Jesus, will be 222 Training groups.

Memory verse: Romans 8:14

 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.we are meant to do the same and greater works as Jesus himself (John 14:12 – 14).

 

Listening to the voice of God

The key to this is being able to hear from God exactly what he wants us to do, and then to obey.

  • John 10:27 makes it plain that all followers of Jesus are able to hear his voice.
  • Jesus states in John 5:19 and in John 12:49 that the success of his Ministry was due to the fact he did not do what he wanted, but did as the Father showed him.

 

Scriptures to read in turns: Philippians 3:7-11; John 10: 4 and 27; John 5:19 and 12:49;

Romans 8:14.

Discuss each scripture following the four question method in Unit 2.

Activity: do the following “Hearing from God” exercise in groups of 5-6. It is very important that this exercise is done thoroughly, and participants experience a time of listening to God as opposed to discussing the principles.

Activation: JUST ONE WORD[1]

We are now going to do some Activation Exercises which will help you to identify the voice of

God.  Are Activation Exercises scriptural?

Even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Heb. 5:14

That is those who through constant practice have their spiritual faculties carefully trained. Heb. 5:14 Weymouth New Testament

Identifying his voice

Now, how do we identify His voice?

 

Remember, the Lord rarely, if ever, will speak to you in an audible voice. That’s because he wants to lead you quietly from within. The Bible describes it as “a still small voice”.

Therefore He will speak to your spirit or heart and at first it may sound just like your own thinking.

Have you ever:

  • had a time when an unrelated thought jumped into your mind?
  • had the experience of thinking to pray for someone, even though you were

            unaware they needed prayer?

 

Many people who experienced God speaking to them at first thought, “Oh, that’s only me!” How can we tell the difference? Identifying His voice, of course, is what we are trying to achieve, and hopefully at some stage you’ll be able to say with confidence, “So that’s the Lord’s voice.”

Activation

  1. Tell participants to get into groups of four and sit in a tight circle. Ideally they should sit with people they do not know well.
  2. Tell them to introduce themselves.

In this activation exercise participants will believe God for an individual word of

encouragement for each member in the group.

 

Ministry – a model of how to proceed

1. Each of the people in your group has a calling of God on their life.

 

2. They have talents, strengths, and gifts and fruits of the Spirit operating or

    waiting to emerge.

 

3. We will to ask the Lord to reveal those giftings. You may receive words such as

   “longsuffering”, “bold” or “peacemaker” for members of your group.

 

4. It could be a small phrase like “gifts of healing”, “ full of faith” or “a great encourager”.

 

5. Our experience has shown that as we take one step of faith it increases the likelihood of

    receiving a word.

 

6. We will lay hands on the person in the middle of your circle and then ask each of

you to speak out what the Lord has for them. Speak out the first thing or picture that comes to mind.

 

7. As the words over a person finish, ask them if the words they heard apply to them.

 

8 If the person agrees with your word, it will be a confirmation that you have heard from the Lord.

 

9. When you have finished with that person, the next will sit in the middle. Repeat this until all in

your group are finished.

 

Testimonies

Have a few testify that the words they received were of the Lord.

C. Trainees’ Practise time (40 mins)

a)      Split into different small groups and role play facilitating another prophesy session. Trainees may bring longer prophesies if they like. Discuss the words you get from God in your group. One or two of the trainees may have a turn at facilitating another feedback session with the whole group.

b)      Set goals for who you are going to train in this, this week, and which pre-believers you will see. The group must keep a focus on sharing testimonies with 5 pre-believers every week. If this activity is maintained, the movement will grow. An easy way to ensure sharing with 5 every week is to do door-to-door evangelism, but realise that not everyone in the group will feel comfortable with this. The most important thing, especially for new believers, is to keep adding to the list of people you know, and keep sharing as far as possible with 5 people on your list every week.

c)      As far as your groups are concerned, are there new groups starting up? Try to strategise and get the counsel of the Holy Spirit on the starting of new groups. Remember some groups will be discovery Bible study groups, and some groups, who are ready to be earnest disciples of Jesus, will be 222 Training groups.

Memory verse: Romans 8:14

 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

 
 

NOTES

 

 



[1] Adapted from Stuart Gramenz, Spirit-led Academy, Australia. Re-printed with permission.