Steps of Discipleship

Here are the steps to take to develop you into a real follower of Jesus and building a strong Biblical foundation for a lifetime of walking with Jesus. The messages are organized into seven key categories. They are written in a friendly and informal style, so you can easily personalize and share them via text message or email to your loved ones, family, friends or acquaintances. They are short and simple, each explaining one Biblical concept. Although they are meant to build on one another and therefore read in sequence, you are encouraged to start with the group of messages that most closely match the need or question.

Table of Contents:


Step 1: Knowing God

a – Faith Alone

b – Sin and Hell

c – Who is Jesus?

d – Jesus the Only Way

e – Living for Jesus

Step 2: Assurance of salvation

a – Saved Forever

b – No More Sin

c – You are God’s Child Now

d – God’s Got a Great Future for You!

Step 3: Holy Spirit

a – The Helper

b – New Life and Power

c – New Identity

d – Command and Promise

e – Soldier and Battle

f – Trinity

Step 4: Bible

a – God’s Instructions

b – Reliability

c – Overview

d – How to Read the Bible

Step 5:  Church

a – Your New Family

b – Expression of Jesus

c – Encourage One Another

d – Place to Worship

e – Stewardship

Step 6:  Prayer

a – Talking to God

b – Pray About Everything

c – Entering God’s Presence

d – Taking Thoughts Captive to Christ

Step 7:  Sharing the good news

a – Jesus has Called You

b – Your Exciting Life

c – So How do I do it?

d – Just the Beginning

e – The Big Picture


Step 1: Knowing God

a – Faith Alone

How do you think God feels about you?

The Bible tells us that God, the Creator of everything, is a God of love. But He is also holy, completely without sin or fault and therefore perfect. And our sins (wrong thoughts, words and actions) have separated us from God. Crossing this gap by our own efforts is as impossible as swimming across the Pacific Ocean.

The great news is that God Himself provided the solution by sending His Son. Jesus lived a perfect life, and then died on the cross. He willingly took the punishment for our sins, and now freely offers the gift of forgiveness to all who will accept it and follow Him.

It’s important to know that you will NOT be saved by:
1) Doing more good things than bad
2) Attending church or having a religious background
3) Just believing that God exists

The Bible says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” The faith part is like a marriage—it is a commitment to Jesus that extends forever. Do you truly believe Jesus is your Savior, and want to commit your whole life to Him?

Why do you think you are saved from your sins?

b – Sin and Hell

“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” – Romans 3:23

Do you know anyone who is perfect, who has never done anything wrong? I do not either. Some people behave better than others do, and some people just SEEM to be better. But everyone has thought wrong thoughts and committed wrong deeds, even if unseen by others.

The problem is not just that we commit sins, but it is our sinful condition. The Bible says that “sin ruled over all people and brought them to death” (Romans 5:21). Part of our human nature is that we are sinful at the core of our being.

This is why we can never do enough good deeds to earn our salvation. This is like putting fancy clothes on a dead man. He may look better, but he’s still dead.

So Jesus died on the cross not only to take the punishment for our sins, but also to free us from the power of sin and death and give us new life.

The “death” referred to in the passage above is not just physical death, but spiritual death – eternal suffering and separation from God in a place called Hell. Imagine a place of everlasting torment and fire. That is how eternity without God will be.

Do you understand that if you have chosen to accept God’s free gift of forgiveness, you have also chosen the path toward Heaven and away from Hell? It’s the most important decision anyone will ever make.

c – Who is Jesus?

I know that reading the last thing might have been hard. But showing the results of sin also shows how wonderful it is that Jesus has given us a second chance.

Remember, our new life is not something we work for, but something given to us by Jesus Christ. Many people wonder why He is so important. What makes Him different from other religious leaders?

For one thing, Jesus was unique because He claimed to be God.

(Jesus said,) “The Father and I are one.” Once again the people picked up stones to kill him . . . “We’re stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! You, a mere man, claim to be God.” – John 10:30,33

The Jewish people had a very high view of God, which is why the religious leaders wanted to kill Jesus when he made that statement. Notice that He did not say, “You misunderstood me.”

Elsewhere in the Bible, Jesus met a paralyzed man. He said to him, “Your sins are forgiven,” and the religious leaders again accused Him of wrongly putting Himself on God’s level. But he then backed up his claim by healing the man, who walked away carrying his mat, to the amazement of everyone.

Jesus did not perform miracles just to impress people and gain a large following. He did this to show that He was God.

His greatest miracle on earth was being raised from the dead on the third day after He was crucified on the cross. He demonstrated his power over death, and sealed God’s victory over sin.

I hope this helps you understand the uniqueness of Jesus as God. You can find more at:
http://www.godlife.com/bob-petterson/knowing-christ/jesus-is-god

d – Jesus the Only Way

We saw in the last message that Jesus claimed to be equal with God. If this is true, we need to listen closely to what he says.

Jesus boldly claimed, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!” (John 14:6-7) Simply put, Jesus said, “If you see Me, you have seen the Father.” (John 14:9)

Other religions give rules to live by, but none of them offers the ultimate solution to man’s sin, or shows us the way to God. Jesus not only shows us the way, He IS the way—the ONLY way. If your choice made a difference only in this life, it wouldn’t matter much. But Jesus, as God the Son, is THE representative of the One God, Creator of everything, and as we have already seen, our decision to follow Jesus (or not) has eternal results.

Does that make sense? Are you confident that Jesus truly is the way, the truth, and the life?

e – Living for Jesus

Have you ever received a gift that was taken back? It is not truly a gift unless it is freely given and yours forever. The Bible says our salvation is a gift from God. He has forgiven our sins and made us righteous through faith.

But what happens if I sin after I accept Jesus?

Remember that your salvation was not dependent on you doing good before you believed and so it is not dependent on you being perfect after either. “To all who believed Jesus and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God” – John 1:12 – is a promise given to you by God. God does not lie or change his mind! You are His child and NOTHING can separate you from his love.

It’s like any relationship, that when one person wrongs or ignores another it causes tension and distance. You lose that closeness that you once had and you want to see it restored.

All of us make mistakes, and that is why the Bible says, “confess your sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” – (1 John 1:9) What a wonderful promise from God! Just like a loving parent, when we blow it, God doesn’t kick us out of His family. He is ready to forgive us as soon as we come to Him.

Is there anything you need to confess that is keeping you from being close to God? Go to Him now! Confess and He will forgive you. Choose today to be in close friendship with Him.

Step 2: Assurance of salvation

a – Saved Forever

There’s something so important I want you to understand. You are saved by your faith in Jesus. The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Imagine a life raft coming to save you from drowning in the ocean; you have to reach out and grab it—and hold on. That’s what you did when you put your trust in Jesus as your Savior and the Son of God. You said, “Jesus, I need saving, and I believe You are the only One who can do it.” And that is what Jesus did when He died on the cross; He swam across the ocean of your sin to rescue you forever.

Now the end destination is heaven with Jesus when you die. But your eternal life starts today—the moment you put your faith in Jesus. The Bible promises, “I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may KNOW you have eternal life”.

This will help you understand exactly what the life raft (Jesus’ sacrifice) did for you: http://www.godlife.com/look-to-jesus/jesus-has-saved-me.

Do you truly believe in your heart that you have the eternal life Jesus has promised you?

b – No More Sin

Did you know that all of your sins are wiped away through Jesus’ sacrifice? It’s not just 50% or 75%; He paid for 100%. When Jesus died on the cross, He said, “It is finished. ”He was talking about the complete payment for your sins…once and for all.

Imagine someone buying your dinner and you trying to go back and pay for it again. That’s what happens when you don’t realize that God has really completely forgiven you. God doesn’t want you to do that! He wants you to live as the free child of His that you are now through your faith in Jesus. Jesus said, “He who has been set free by the Son is completely free.” – John 8:36

This will help you understand just how Jesus has conquered all your sin: http://www.godlife.com/topics/overcoming-sin.

Do you have a hard time believing that Jesus has really forgiven you? Maybe you have sins you are still struggling with. God wants to give you the power to conquer them. He loves you so much!

c – You are God’s Child Now

I don’t think any of us has a full picture of what it means to be a Christian. It means you are God’s own child, the one He loves so much. Do you know how much God loves you? The Bible says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shouldn’t die but have eternal life.” He loved you so much He died for you.

Now that you are His child by your faith in Jesus and His sacrifice, you can enjoy your relationship with Him. That means talking to Him, being filled with His power, and being free from your old way of living.

Your old way of living was like being a slave. The Bible calls it being a slave of sin. But now you are a citizen of Heaven! Imagine being freed from an oppressive country and getting a passport to a country with the greatest government, laws, and benefits. That’s what it’s like to live as a child of God in His Kingdom.

You may want help in leaving the old oppressive country of your old life (sometimes we are tempted to return there!) and living in God’s new glorious Kingdom. This will give you new insight into what God has for you: http://www.godlife.com/topics/victory-over-addictions.

Is it difficult for you to leave the old familiar kingdom and embrace the new kingdom God has for you?

d – God’s Got a Great Future for You!

I want you to know that there are great things in your future. Not only does God have a great plan for your life (using your gifts to glorify Him!) but He also is preparing a place for you in Heaven. Jesus promised it: He said, “When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am”. So right now, He is in Heaven interceding for you and preparing a great place for you for eternity.

But in the meantime…God has great things for you to do! He wants you to enjoy your relationship with Him and help others come to know Him—just like you do. God says to you, “I know the plans I have for you: plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” This means God has a great future for you and you can trust Him.

The first step is truly understanding that He really does have a great plan for you. Learn about His great plan here: http://www.godlife.com/new-believers-guide/created-for-a-purpose.

Do you feel like you know how to start enjoying this great life with God?

Step 3: Holy Spirit

a – The Helper

I hope you are growing in your understanding of Jesus. Have you ever heard about the Holy Spirit? Many people are confused about who the Holy Spirit is.

Jesus said in John 14:16, “I will ask the Father and He will give you another Helper that He may be with you forever.”

Jesus was leaving and He knew the disciples would need help. The word “another” indicates that the Holy Spirit is God just like Jesus is God. The Bible says He comes to live inside of us when we accept Jesus. Why? To help us and give us the power to live as God wants. We often want to be the captain of our own ship. But when we give way to the Holy Spirit, we allow His hand on the rudder to guide our path to please God.

Isn’t it wonderful to know we are not alone?

Jesus goes on to say that the Holy Spirit will help us by:

● Teaching us truth when we read the Bible
● Giving us power to be His witnesses
● Giving us words to pray
● Comforting us
● Convicting us of sin
● Setting us free from sin
● Producing the righteous character of Jesus in us

Do you want to know more about the Holy Spirit? The gospel of John in the Bible explains so much about Him; you’ll love it. You can read it here: http://nlt.scripturetext.com/john/1.htm.

Please read http://www.godlife.com/new-believers-guide/the-holy-spirit as you continue to understand how the Holy Spirit works in your life.

b – New Life and Power

I remember when I was learning about the Holy Spirit. What Jesus said in John chapters 14 and 15 helped me so much—have you read it? (http://nlt.scripturetext.com/john/14.htm ) He compares our life as a Christian to a tree. The tree gets its nourishment and power from the sap flowing through it. That’s like the Holy Spirit in us. When we are connected to Him, we can produce godly fruit. This fruit has eternal value and represents a changed life. In Galatians 5:22- 23, it names these fruit as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Remember, having God’s Holy Spirit in you is not a self-improvement program, but a transformation from the inside. An apple tree does not strain and struggle to produce apples. Its purpose is fulfilled when apples grow to maturity. God is the One working in you to make you more and more like Jesus. So keep walking with Him and your faith will produce godly fruit.

I suggest going through the “Following the Path” section on the fruit of the Spirit here:
http://www.godlife.com/following-the-path/new-life/fruit-of-the-spirit

Why don’t you memorize Galatians 5:22-23? (http://nlt.scripturetext.com/galatians/5-22.htm )

c – New Identity

Are you experiencing a difference in your life since you accepted Christ?

The Bible says, “Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun” – 2 Corinthians 5:17

If you truly believe that Jesus died in your place for your sins, then that old sinful life is dead. God has given you a new life so that you are now free to live for Him. You see, the Bible describes that you were once a slave to sin and death, but God redeemed – or bought back, ransomed- you. Not only that; when you accept Jesus as your Savior, He adopts you as His very own child. He gives you a whole new identity that declares you are now in God’s family! As God’s child we are free to say “no” to our fleshly desires. We are free to live fully a new life in Christ.

“So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves. You should behave instead like God’s very own children, adopted into His family- calling Him ‘Father, dear Father’. For His Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God’s children. “ –Romans 8:15-16

Jesus died, not to make you His slave, but because He wanted a relationship with you. God gives us the Holy Spirit so we might be secure in our position as God’s child. Then we can obey and please Him, not out of fear, but because He is our daddy.

Have you ever thanked God for adopting you into His family? Let’s celebrate your new identity in Christ right now!

Thank you, Almighty God, for lavishing your love on us through your Son Jesus. Help us understand more and more what this means to be your child so that we might live out this truth. Amen!

d – Command and Promise

Have you been able to memorize Galatians 5:22-23 yet? This is a great list of righteous characteristics that God wants to produce in us. Remember these fruit are not an end in themselves, but only a means to the end of revealing Christ to others through your life.

Of course, the key is that it is the Holy Spirit who is working in you to enable you to please God. Ephesians 5:15-18 says, “Be careful how you live… understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine… but be filled with the Holy Spirit.” There is a direct comparison to being “filled” with the Holy Spirit and being drunk. When you are drunk, you are under the influence or control of alcohol. So being “filled” with the Spirit is the same concept. We must allow the Holy Spirit to control our thoughts and actions. The result will be the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.

Note this is God’s will for you and it is a command. As a command, therefore, it is not an option. So how do I do it you ask? By faith. According to 1 John 5:14-15, if we ask God anything that pleases Him, He will hear us and do it. It definitely pleases God for us to ask that the Holy Spirit control and guide us, so therefore we can trust in His promise to do it.

Why not try it right now? Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and power to obey God. He will do it.

e – Soldier and Battle

I hope you are doing well and excited in your new life with Christ as your Lord.

I wanted to share with you a passage that tells several things about our relationship with God and the reality of evil in the world. The Bible tells us in 2 Timothy 2:3-4, “Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.”

Being a soldier is hard, and often involves suffering. A soldier not only suffers, but also takes care of his fellow soldiers. Their very lives depend on each one carrying out his assignment. The Christian life is not easy. The church is not a social club, but a place to prepare and equip us for battle. We give our energy and attention to help our fellow soldiers win the battle.

As we prepare ourselves, the Bible says, “For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms” – Ephesians 6:12

If we are in a battle, then who is our enemy? Ephesians 6:10-11 tells us that our enemy is the Devil, or Satan. That’s right, Satan and his evil spirits are real. They lie to us, accuse us, and they wish to destroy our relationships. Scripture tells us that Satan is the Father of all lies. So, how do we fight this enemy? Just like Jesus did! Our weapon is truth – God’s word and prayer. The key is to remember that the Bible promises that the Holy Spirit who is in you is greater than Satan is.

Here’s God’s promise to you: “But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world” (1 John 4:4).

What do you think about that promise?

f – Trinity

What a privilege it is to have a relationship with God Almighty! He is Creator of the Universe and the Bible says we will never be able to comprehend God completely. We cannot even begin to understand His thoughts because our human minds are so limited.

Many of God’s characteristics are beyond our experience: How can He be in all places at the same time? How can He know all things, even the future? How can He be One God in three Persons? This is something that is very hard to understand.

The Bible is very clear that there is only one God, but the Bible at the same time refers to this one God in plural terms. “Let Us make man in Our image.” -Genesis 1:26

Jesus said, “I and the Father are one.” This means their very being. Jesus also said, “If you have seen Me you have seen the Father.” Jesus’ last command to His disciples in Matthew 28:19 was, “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Jesus gave all three equal status and authority.

How can this be? We cannot easily compare God in earthly terms, but He also created man with a spirit, soul, and body. Recognizing our nature is important to understanding how God can be three in one as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The mysteries of God are beyond our understanding, but He reveals many of His secrets in His word.

Step 4: Bible

a – God’s Instructions

Have you ever tried to put together a bicycle, or operate a complicated piece of machinery? You wouldn’t dare do this without the instructions.

Life is complicated! But thankfully, God has given us the instructions in His word, the Bible. This amazing book contains the things we need to know about God, about ourselves, and how we should relate to God, and others. It does not list every possible situation we could face, but it gives principles to guide us in those situations. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path,” much like having a flashlight on a winding trail.

Of course, there are many “How to” books in the bookstore, so what is different about the Bible? 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” This means the Bible is the very words of God. Jesus Himself quoted Scripture when He said, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God”.

Note how these verses emphasize “all” and “every word.” That means we cannot pick and choose what we like. Any questions?

It is not only a light for your path, but as Jesus said, it is also food for your soul. Do not wait! Start reading today, with the Gospel of John. Get to know Jesus, His teachings, and your faith will grow.

For more information on the Bible, please visit:
http://www.godlife.com/new-believers-guide/what-is-the-bible

b – Reliability

Have you started reading the Gospel of John? I suggested that you read this book first, because Jesus is the central figure.

You might be asking yourself – how can I be sure that what I read in the Bible is true? That is a very good question.

The Bible is unique in many ways:

Unity – Written by 40 different authors (from every background—rich, poor, kings to servants) in three languages over a period of 1500 years; its message about God and life shows amazing harmony. Humanly this is impossible, but God’s Holy Spirit guided the writers.

Prophecy – The Bible has over a thousand detailed prophecies that were fulfilled. The circumstances of Jesus’ life fulfilled many of these, from where He would be born, to how He would die.

Historical and Scientific Accuracy – Many archaeological and scientific discoveries have proven the accuracy of Biblical accounts.

Literary Integrity – There are more manuscripts dating closer to the original texts than for any other literary work.

God’s Promise – Finally, God’s own words show that He has used His power to preserve His word. Isaiah 40:8 says, “The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.”

Add all these things up, and I believe you’ll see that we can trust that God has truly spoken, and continues to speak, through the Bible.

For more information on the reliability of the Bible, please visit:
http://www.godlife.com/new-believers-guide/trustworthy-bible

c – Overview

I hope you are enjoying your journey of faith.

Remember I talked about the “unity” of the Bible – how it all fits together, though written by many different authors over a long period of time?

Imagine a huge mosaic on the wall, made of thousands of tiles of different size, shape and texture. If you stand inches away, you can see many of the individual tiles. But when you step back, you see the picture that the artist set out to create.

In a way, the Bible is like that mosaic. Let’s step back for a minute and take a look at the big picture.

The consistent message from Genesis to Revelation is God’s desire to bring us back into a right relationship with Him. The Old Testament points to the promise of Jesus the Savior and the New Testament explains how Jesus is the fulfillment of that promise.

Jesus said in John 5:39, “You search the Scriptures, because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to Me.” That’s right, the big picture of both the Old Testament and the New Testament is Jesus!

I hope that keeping the “big picture” in mind as you read the Bible will help you as grow in your knowledge of God’s gift of eternal life in Jesus.

Please visit this site for more information on the Bible:
http://www.godlife.com/new-believers-guide/reading-the-bible

d – How to Read the Bible

Have you enjoyed reading the gospel of John?

As I said before, the Bible is unique. It is the very words of God. Because of this, you cannot read the Bible like any other book. 2 Timothy 2:15 says we must work hard to be accurate when we study the Bible. We do not want to misinterpret what God says.

First, prepare your heart and mind to receive what God wants to tell you. So whenever you start reading, PRAY and ask God to give you wisdom. “Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions.” (Psalm 119:18). It is good to use a dictionary to look up the accurate meanings of words. Also, remember to look at the context – the verses before and after the verse you are reading.

The next step is to act on what you have learned. Use the following to apply the verses to your life:
– Sin or behavior I need to confess and turn away from?
– Promise I should claim for my life?
– Example to follow?
– Command to start obeying?

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. – Hebrews 4:12

Remember, the Bible is not full of dead words, but God’s words for you today. God has given His Holy Spirit to teach you and guide you to just what you need to hear.

http://www.godlife.com/following-the-path/bible/the-word-of-god

Step 5:  Church

a – Your New Family

I hope you’re well and finding your life with Christ rewarding!

When you became a follower of Jesus, you were “born again.” And like a new baby, you have a new family. It’s called the Church. Just as a physical family helps meet your basic needs for love, relationships, and growth, a group of believers will give you encouragement and guidance
as you grow spiritually.

It is important to note that when you read about the Church in the Bible it is referring to people, not a building. It is a wonderful thing to interact with other people who know and follow Christ – worshiping, serving, and growing in your faith together.

Not only do YOU need the church, but the church needs YOU! Imagine a football team where everyone wanted to be the goalkeeper. How ridiculous to have 11 goalies! Just as all the different positions are needed to make a successful team, God has designed the church with different roles — meaning, the team is lacking without you, and you are lacking without the team.

“But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body.” (1 Corinthians 12:18-20)

Do you currently have a church you can go to? If not, ask God to help you, because He wants you to be connected to other believers and have a spiritual family.

Here is a link to more great resources about your new family:
http://www.godlife.com/new-believers-guide/joining-a-family

b – Expression of Jesus

I want to tell you what makes the Church different from all other groups. It’s LOVE.

Jesus said, “Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:34-35)

The Church is like a sports team. Even though the players might not agree on everything, they work together as a team with the common goal to win. The goal for the church is loving God and loving each other. And when the rest of the world sees that kind of unity, they will be amazed.

God wants the world to look at the church and see us truly loving each other in spite of our differences. And the world is desperate to see an example of true love.

Ephesians 4:2 says, “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”

Have you ever had someone love and support you unconditionally?

Visit this site for more on how we are to love others:
http://www.godlife.com/new-believers-guide/like-a-family.

c – Encourage One Another

The Church is God’s family. He wants His family to love and serve each other, but also to love and serve the world around us. This is the example Jesus set for us.

Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another …”

Sometimes we need a little push to see the needs around us. Jesus spent most of His life helping the poor, the sick, and the hopeless. Imagine how much we can do as a group to show God’s love to the world! Of course, one of the greatest ways to love someone is to share God’s gift of salvation. In fact, Jesus’ last command to us was to tell others about Him and teach people how to follow Him—all throughout the world.

The word “encourage” means, “to give courage to.” When people have doubts and fears, they need to know that God is with them, and that the Holy Spirit will help and guide them. Even if you’re a new believer, you can strengthen others’ faith by sharing how God is working in your life.

I want to ENCOURAGE you to get involved with a local church and experience what it’s like to be loved and to love and serve others.

What do you think about Jesus’ last command to us?

Please check out http://www.godlife.com/new-believers-guide/how-does-it-work .

d – Place to Worship

“Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song, sing His praises in the assembly of the faithful.” Psalm 149:1

I know that as you learn more about God and what Jesus did for you on the cross, you are filled with thanksgiving and love. That’s what worship is: showing God how much we love and appreciate Him.

Of course, worship is something you can do anywhere as you lift your praise to God throughout the day. But the Bible also talks about worshiping together with other believers. It’s like the difference between one violin playing and a whole symphony of instruments. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to join your voice with your brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus said, “Where two or three gather together as My followers, I am there among them.”

I would encourage you to find a church where you can “sing His praise in the assembly of the faithful.”

e – Stewardship

I hope you have found a group of believers in Christ where you can grow in your faith, encourage others, and be a part of serving in God’s kingdom. This is what “church” is all about.

Another part of being in the church, or family of God, is the idea of stewardship. God has created everything and therefore all things belong to Him. However, God has given this world with all its treasures for our use. That means we are stewards, or managers, of God’s possessions.

In the Old Testament law, God required that His people give a portion (10%) of their produce or income to God’s house. This was an act of thanksgiving for all God’s blessings, as well as an acknowledgement that everything we have is a gift from God. All we have belongs to Him and He entrusts it to us with the expectation that we will honor Him with our resources.

As Christians, we recognize that we no longer live for ourselves, but for God. The Bible says everything we do should glorify God. So, how we use our time, our talents, our money, and even our bodies should bring glory to God’s name. Giving what we have to further the kingdom of God is a privilege and means of worship. The Bible says, “However, we should not see it as an obligation to be done grudgingly, but something we do out of gratitude and faith with a cheerful heart.”

Ask God today how He would like you to give of your talents, time, and money.

Step 6:  Prayer

a – Talking to God

Like any relationship in your life, you need to spend time with God and talk to Him.

This conversation with God is called prayer. Prayer is not a certain formula or special words, but simply talking with God. Jesus gave us a model prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. It has 4 main parts (ACTS):

Adoration – Take time to praise and worship God. The more you focus on God’s power, and not your problems, the more faith and peace you will have. I can’t tell you how many times I have experienced this!

Confession – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”. (1 John 1:9) God does not want sin to become a wall between us.

Thanksgiving – When God forgives your sins, it gives you a lot to be thankful for! And what else do you have to thank Him for? Let Him know how much you appreciate all the good things He has given you.

Supplication – Just like a good parent wants to provide for his child, Jesus said, “How much more will your Heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him!” Of course, God knows all things so we do not need to tell Him what we need. But when we come to Him we express our need and trust in Him to help us. He promises He will always help when we ask.

What do you need God’s help with right now? Take a moment and talk to Him about it. Practice the 4 prayer points Jesus taught. It will release God’s peace in your life.

Would you like to learn more about prayer?
http://www.godlife.com/questions?category=prayer

I am praying for you!

b – Pray About Everything

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.” – Philippians 4:6

God does not want you to worry. Does this sound impossible? The secret is to pray about everything and then trust Him to work things out for your good. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. This way you can experience God’s peace, which is beyond anything we can understand.

Imagine you are discussing a worry with a friend. It helps to share our fears with someone, doesn’t it? Our fears actually lose power when we share them. Talk to God about your fears, just like a friend. He IS your Friend and He wants you to talk with Him throughout the day.

You can also ask God for His perspective on your situation. His response may surprise you! What you think is a bad situation, God may actually be using for your good. The Bible says that God works everything – both good and bad — out for the good of those who love Him. What a great promise from an all-powerful God!

The Bible says to pray without ceasing, so there is no such thing as praying too much! What is troubling you today? Take it to God and find His peace. Right now.

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about what happens to you.” – 1 Peter 5:7

Would you like to learn more about prayer?
http://www.godlife.com/new-believers-guide/when-to-pray

c – Entering God’s Presence

Imagine that you and a dear friend are spending the day together. How do you feel? Loved, appreciated, and strengthened, right?

This is exactly why Jesus wants to spend time with you! The Bible says that He rejoices over you with singing. Think about that. Jesus died so your relationship with God could be restored, so that you could talk with Him again. It must be pretty important to Him!

The Bible says that without Him we can do nothing. Without His love, we will dry up. The Bible also says that when you spend time with (abide in) Jesus and His words are in you, you can ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. Wow! God has answered my needs so many times when I’ve asked, and I know He’ll do the same for you.

When you haven’t seen a friend in awhile, it is easy to forget how much they care for you. Jesus never wants you to forget! Let His love fill your heart and let His thoughts change the way you think.

How do you feel today? Do you need more of His love? Take a few moments, quiet your mind, and spend time with Jesus. Right now! He loves you so much.

d – Taking Thoughts Captive to Christ

Do you ever have crazy or negative thoughts that you can’t turn off? You do not have to live with them! I want to tell you how God has helped me with this very issue.

The Bible says that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Let me give you an example.

What happens when you look at an actor on TV, a model on a magazine cover, or a popular sports figure? The world’s (evil) thinking would say that you have no value unless you are as talented, handsome, smart, pretty, fast, or rich as that person is.

But what does God say? You are His beloved child and free from judgment!

God has given you incredible weapons to conquer your incorrect thinking patterns. His weapons are the Bible and prayer.

“We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

When you are struggling with negative thoughts, declare God’s truth from His Word and rest in His presence in prayer. The world’s opinions and your negative thinking will be destroyed. Negative thoughts may seem normal, but they aren’t! God wants you to see yourself the way He sees you: fully loved, valuable, and with a great future.

What negative thoughts do you need to destroy today with God’s help?

“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty….” 1 Chronicles 29: 11-14

Step 7:  Sharing the good news

a – Jesus has Called You

Will you imagine something with me? A doctor found the cure for cancer, and right before he died, he told you, “Share this with everyone you know.”

That’s exactly the job Jesus has given you. Jesus’ first words to His disciples were “Follow Me”, and His last words were, “But you will be My witnesses…” That’s His clear direction for all of us. Jesus said simply to follow Me and tell others about Me.

Right before Jesus said, “You will be My witnesses,” He said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” As we learned before, the Holy Spirit will give us power and direction when we tell others about the eternal life we have in Jesus.

Before you learn anything else, just do this one thing with me now: Pray, “Jesus, fill me with your Spirit. I want to share your Good News with people you place in my path. Help me do it.”

Find out more about Jesus’ challenge to you:
http://www.godlife.com/new-believers-guide/great-commission-101

If you truly had the cure for cancer, how would you get the word out?

b – Your Exciting Life

Long ago, God asked a man, “Who shall We send?” to represent Me. And that man, Isaiah, replied, “Send Me. I’ll go.”

I told you earlier that God has chosen you to tell others about Jesus. This is incredibly exciting, but it also may make you nervous. Don’t worry: God has given you the most incredible Helper—the Holy Spirit.

Imagine being told to build a house—but you have no material or tools. Then someone gives you all you need to complete the task.

That’s a small picture of how the Holy Spirit is going to give you all the tools you need to tell others about Jesus. You’re going to find yourself in situations where others need to hear about Jesus, and the Holy Spirit is going to give you courage and the right words to say. That’s what happened to Jesus’ first followers. The Bible says, “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and they spoke the Word of God boldly.” That will be you with the help of the Spirit!

This will tell you about how the Holy Spirit helps you:
http://www.godlife.com/new-believers-guide/dont-be-scared

Do you remember how God asked Isaiah, “Who shall We send?” If He asked you the same question, would you be ready to say… Send me?

c – So How do I do it?

If you’re anything like me, you want to see others receive God’s gift of eternal life, but you don’t know how to tell them the good news.

I want you to think of someone you know who doesn’t believe Jesus is really is the Son of God. Ask yourself: have they heard the whole truth about Jesus?

Here are two easy ways to share:

1. Your Story: Tell how Jesus has changed your life by forgiving your sins. A personal story is so powerful and cannot be challenged because it is your own experience.

2. God’s Story: Tell how Jesus, as God’s perfect Son, died to take away their sins and that by just turning away from their old life and accepting Jesus as their Savior and Lord they can be completely forgiven and spend eternity in Heaven.

You can send a friend a link with the good news about Jesus right now:
http://www.godlife.com/new-believers-guide/how-do-i-share

Want to try telling someone about Jesus this week?

This will give you more tips on how to tell people about Jesus:
http://www.godlife.com/new-believers-guide/what-is-the-gospel

d – Just the Beginning

Did you know the average person hears the story of Jesus 7-8 times before they put their trust in Him? It is important for us to remember that our role in representing Jesus is to simply tell others the Good News of Jesus. We can’t save anyone. That is the work of the Holy Spirit to draw people to God for His forgiveness and gift of eternal life.

You’re only responsible to share the Good News with them.

And just like you, that person will have lots of questions about how to be a Christian. That’s why Jesus told us, “Go make disciples…”

What’s a disciple? Basically, it’s a life-long follower of Jesus. You are one and so am I. A man in the Bible who loved the Lord, Paul, told his friend Timothy, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.”

That basically explains being a disciple. You imitate older Christians and Jesus, and someone will imitate you. And you will grow together, just like we are growing together. This will tell you more about your purpose in life:
http://www.godlife.com/topics/how-to-have-a-great-life

e – The Big Picture

I don’t know if anyone has told you this yet, but Jesus is coming back to Earth a second time. The Bible tells us, “So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.”. Jesus is coming back for you. And He promises in John 14:1-4 that He is preparing a place for you where you will be with Him forever.

Why is He waiting? The Bible says in 2 Peter 3:9, “He doesn’t want anyone to be destroyed…” He is waiting for us to complete our task. The mission He gave us is to share the good news of forgiveness with everyone.

It’s like a rescue mission. Jesus said in Acts 26:18 that He is sending us “to open their eyes so they may turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in Me.”

I’d like you to think of one person you know that doesn’t know Jesus as their Savior. You can tell them the wonderful news about Jesus, just like you heard. First, start praying for them – that God would open their eyes to His love. Second, tell them how Jesus saved you from your sins and He will do the same for them! You can actually send them to this site, www.jesus2020.com, to hear the message of Jesus’ love and salvation.

Who do you know that needs to hear about Jesus?

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