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.
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!