Love Jesus Love God’s Word Emotionally Resilient Led by the Holy Spirit Outwardly Focused

The 5 Signs of a Healthy Church/Christian

Loving Jesus, loving the word, being Spirit led, emotionally resilient and outwardly focused are what we call the 5 Signs of a Healthy, mature Christian. If the congregants in the church are healthy, then the end result is a healthy church. Our program works both top down and bottom up. Healthy ChurchWe work with churches providing videos, handout and materials on the 5 signs. We provide different assessment tools and then work with the church to orchestrated discussion and involvement in each of the signs. Healthy ChristianWe also provide materials for the individuals in the church for each of the 5 Signs. Check out each section and see the various tools we provide. 

Love Jesus

This is more than knowing about Jesus. It is knowing what He taught, how He lived and choosing to do the same. It is giving Him the honor and respect He is due. Loving Jesus is being captivated by His teaching, amazed at His majesty and overwhelmed by His forgiveness, grace and mercy extended to us. Loving Jesus is saying, “Yes Lord! I will follow You. Be the master of my life. I surrender to Your leading and direction.” Loving Jesus is spending time with Him in prayer, praise and worship. It is living in awe that He has created me as His masterpiece to do His good works. It is sitting before Him in adoration that He is indeed the Lord of Lords and King of Kings who died for me so that I could be His forever child. What love, what grace, what a Savior. Out of this awareness comes my obedience in loving others.

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So what can we do? How can we develop a deeper relationship with Jesus?

There are five things that you can begin that will help you develop a deeper relationship with Christ.  

1. Spend time in the Gospels

The best way to get to know Jesus and His character, passion and purpose is to read the gospel account of His life. The Gospel account is the first four books of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Now you may know about Christmas and Easter, heard a few of His parables and remember being taught about the miracles He did but that is nothing like reading the narrative of the Gospels and being with Him. Since each one is a story of the life of Jesus, there will be redundancy but the differences between the authors narrative will keep it interesting. When you begin to see how Jesus reacted to others, listen to the messages He gave, see the reaction from the crowds around Him, notice the immense compassion He had, then you will begin to know Him. Read it in a translation that you can easily understand. Pray before you read and ask God to open your eyes to see what it is about Jesus that you need to know. As you read the Gospels you will get to know more about Jesus and find a deeper love for Him

2. Open up communication

Christianity is not a religion as some have made it out to be. It is a relationship between God, the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit and us. The most common form of communication taught is that of prayer. It is true that we need to spend time in prayer. But what kind of prayer are we participating in? No doubt it is asking God for something. It is fine to ask God for our needs, after all, He is the ultimate resource. However, we can also converse with God. He is interactive. Have you ever asked God questions? He does answer. It’s not a dialog as we know it between humans, but it is an inner communication. When God gives peace, helps return us to joy or gives us an assurance of something, He can do it through thoughts, scriptures, imagination, or impressions.

3. Keep your conscience clear

This is critical. Notice I didn’t write, “Don’t sin.” Now it is correct that scripture reminds us that it is our sins that separate us and God. We are not to take sin lightly. Instead, God has given us a mechanism in which we can have a clear conscience and continue an open relationship with Him. Remember, the whole new testament is about God’s grace. Paul reminds us that where sin was in abundance, grace was more!  Jesus set the standard high for forgiveness when Peter asked, “How many times should we forgive, 70?” Jesus didn’t hesitate. He said, “Seventy times seven!” Forgiveness is high on His list. In fact, Jesus came that we could be forgiven of all our sin. His death on the cross made it possible.

So does this mean we can do what we want because we will be forgiven? No. Paul also wrote, “What, since there is so much grace should we go ahead and sin?” He emphatically said, “No!” Instead, we need to keep our conscience clear with Jesus. It is a relationship and we need to keep from building barriers between us. We do this through a two-step spiritual exercise.

The first step is to confess that we have done wrong. Denial is insidious. It keeps us from owning our behavior. We will rationalize, blame others, minimize and many other mind tricks to keep from admitting that we have done something wrong. In the church we have another dynamic at work. It is pretending. Instead of admitting we have issues and support one another, we pretend that our lives are “fine”. It is as if we wear masks that portray an outward appearance that everything is okay. It is this pretense that keeps us from growing in the Lord. How can we confess sin when we are under this pressure to be perfect? We need to throw off the mask and confess to God that we sin and accept His forgiveness.

The second step is to repent. Confession is great. We are agreeing with God that we have done wrong and need to clear our conscience. Repentance, however, goes farther. It says, I have done wrong and need to turn around and go the other way. This is where we ask Jesus to help us be free from the temptations, habits and cravings of our sinful behavior. The Holy Spirit, who Jesus sent, will help us with this.

4. Obey His commandments – Loving others

Jesus made a very emphatic statement when he said, “If you love me, obey my commandments.” (John 14:15) When asked what the greatest commandments were, Jesus said, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”’ (Matthew 22:37-39). Jesus lived a life of selfless love. He has called us to do the same. We are to be disciples of love. Loving God  and loving mankind.

5. Participate in worship and adoration

Worship is a very important part of loving Jesus. We emphasis His human life He lived here on earth and need to be reminded that He is deity. We worship God in triune manifestation, that is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Expression of our love and heartfelt thanks to Jesus, and adoration for Him because of His majesty will draw us closer to Him. We can do this through singing and listening to worship music, prayer, meditation and communion. Worshiping Jesus draws us nearer to Him and helps us love Him more.

 If we spend time doing these five steps, we will find that our heart is drawn toward Him and that He becomes the focal point of our lives.

Love God’s Word

Loving God’s word, the Bible, is more than knowing what the Bible says. It is revering what it says, knowing that it is inspired by God Himself. It is believing what Paul wrote to his disciple Timothy,  “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. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. (II Timothy 3:16-17). It is understanding that the Bible was inspired by God and relevant to our everyday living.  Jesus said, “Blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.” (Luke 11:28)

Loving God’s word is living to hear from God. It is hiding His word in our heart so we will not sin against God. It is thirsting and hungering for what God wants to say to us. More, it is desiring to do what it says.

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​As Christianis we are not left alone with only our imagination or superstition. God has provided a wonderful resource for us to read and follow. It is the Bible. If we are going to be healthy Christians thriving in a healthy church, then we must study God’s word. There are three steps that you can take that will help you love the Bible, God’s holy word.

1. Read it

Reading the Bible on a daily basis is a wonderful habit to take up. It will give you a daily time to reflect on what God wants you to know about life. Although LifeWay Research reports that only 19 percent of Christians read their bible regularly, you can choose to rise above that statistic. Don’t settle for mediocre, because when you seek after God with your whole heart, the Bible promises that He will be found. However, it takes a deliberate effort. Here are a few tips to get started.

A. Find a time that works for you.

The best way to make it a habit is to set aside a time to do it every day. Many people find it works best for them in the mornings. Find a quiet place and put your Bible there. In the morning go to that place and read and meditate. For some it is at work during lunch. They have a Bible with them and read some scripture. Many people like to read before going to bed. The best thing is to find a time of the day that can be consistent and block out some time. Don’t think you have to read large chunks at a time. Better to start with a chapter a day and really read it and understand what it says. If the chapter is too large, take a pen and put a dot where you left off. The next day continue from the dot. It’s not a contest on how much you can read. It is reading in order to hear from God. A little bit everyday can go a long way to building a lasting habit.

B. Get a translation that you understand

There are many translations that you can choose from. Some are in a older form of English, others use more current language. I personally recommend the New Living Translation. It is accurate and easy to understand. There are many other fine choices. The point is to get one that you don’t have to labor to get through. You want to read it for inspiration and not have to keep wondering what it is saying. As you get more familiar with the Bible you may want to get a study Bible that will help you learn some of the historical and geographical background of the scriptures. For now, just read the scriptures and let God speak to your heart.

C. Get off to a good start

So many people start in Genesis or in the Book of Matthew. Why? Because they are the first books in the both the Old and New Testament. However, in both books there are a lot of Jewish history and genealogy. For someone not accustomed to reading the Bible this can be a rough start. Instead I think you should start with some parts of the Bible that will give you a grasp of what is going on and at the same time inspire you. I would recommend that you start with Psalms in the Old Testament and the Gospel of John and Ephesians (followed by Philippians and Colossians) in the New Testament. This will get you off to a great start.

2. Meditate on it

The Psalmist was right when he wrote, “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Psalms 119:11. Meditating on scripture is a wonderful way to hear from God and to receive personal nuances that apply to your life. There are different ways to do this. No matter how you do it I feel it is important to pray first and ask God to speak to your heart. It is His word and He will make it real to you.

I like to read my Bible with a pen in hand and a journal next to me. As I read something that speaks to my heart, I underline it. Perhaps an * or “Yes” in the margin. If it really strikes me and gives me an epiphany or causes me to think of something I need to do, I write it down.

Another way to meditate is to read it out loud and repeat slowly those parts that are speaking to you. Let it sink it, and then pray and talk to God about it. Commune with Him.

Some people like to read devotions. I think this is great. I write one (Moment In The Word, on Amazon) and many people share how it has helped them. But as good as devotionals are, there is nothing better than reading the Bible and letting God speak to you through it.

3. Apply it

One of the saddest things about reading the Bible is that we can read it and yet not do what it says. The Bible wasn’t meant to be read like a novel or history book. It is more like an instructional manual with illustrative stories and historical background. In the book of James, James admonishes believers to, “Be doers of the word, not just hearers” (James 1:22). Jesus Himself said, “Blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.” (Luke 11:28)  The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, “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. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work” (II Timothy 3:16-17). Notice what Paul is saying. He is saying that the proper application of God’s word, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, teaches us what is right. It also shows us when we are doing wrong. But it doesn’t stay there. It corrects us, or shows us how to do the right thing, and then teaches us how to continue to live for Him. I heard it said this way. The Bible shows us the road we should go down, warns us when we get off the road, shows us how to get back on the right road and then continues to help us stay on the road. This is what applying the scriptures will do. Don’t just read the Bible, make a deliberate effort to live it.

Love is an action word. If you are going to love the Bible, then you need to read it, meditate on it and apply it to your life.

​Emotionally Resilient

​Emotional resilience is the ability to bounce back from painful emotions. The fruit of the God’s Spirit in our lives is exactly what we need to do that: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. But how do we do this? How do we allow the Holy Spirit to manifest His fruit in our lives? It is a matter of choice.

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When we look at the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, we can see that these are the emotions and mental dispositions that we need to bounce back to from the various emotional episodes that we go through every day. The fruit of the Spirit is the by-product of being led by God through his indwelling Holy Spirit. Here’s what Paul wrote to the Galatians:

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:16-26).

The ‘flesh’ is our human nature with all its frailties. These frailties lead us to escape our emotional issues through: sexual excitement, false spiritual solutions, relational conflicts, bitterness, control issues, and the use of substances with their related activities.

How many of us suffer with these maladies? Isn’t it time we quit ignoring them? Isn’t it time to stop running around trying to cope, and get down to making changes in our lives?

Unfortunately, we often turn to the works of the flesh to escape our emotional issues rather than bounce back through the Fruit of the Spirit.

What drives us to this behavior?

Isn’t it the lies that we believe about ourselves? Maybe not when things are good. But when something bad happens, or when ​we blow it, then listen to the lies ​that go through our heads. They say we are: unworthy, broken, must perform, abandoned, unlovable, rejected, not good enough, unwanted, powerless, not safe, and a myriad of other lies.

Isn’t it fear, disappointment, mistrust, or self-doubt that drives us to despair? No wonder we have all these behaviors of the flesh that help us escape this emotional pain!​

Self-Check:

Are you exercising the fruit of the Spirit or the desires of the flesh?

Take a look at the fruit of the Spirit:

Love

Will you receive his love or do you believe you are unlovable? Believe him, receive his love and then love others.

Joy

Do you believe you can experience joy? Or is life working against you?

Peace

Do you believe you can have peace? Or does life seem hopeless and you helpless?

Patience

Do you have a hard time delaying gratification? Are you too busy trying to fix and control your own situation, leaving no time for patience?

Kindness

Do you exhibit mercy and grace to others? Or are you too consumed with your own problems and issues to think about them?

Goodness

Are you pessimistic about life? Or do you live a life that is full of truth, justice and righteousness?

Faithfulness

Do you trust God with your life? Do you believe he is faithful? Are you trustworthy, faithful to your word and responsibilities?

Gentleness

Is the world a mean place? Do you have to watch out and fight for your own concerns? Or are you kind and thoughtful toward other people?

Self-control

Are you having victory with your temptations?

​As we walk in his Spirit, as we are led by God, we come to believe that we are loved, honored, and will never be abandoned. You are worthy of his grace because he made you in his likeness.

The Fruit of the Spirit is the direct result of being led, walking in, not quenching, and keeping in step with the Holy Spirit. Does this even seem possible to you? It isn’t possible in your own power. It’s the work of our loving God. He gives us his Spirit to produce this in us.

Will you commit to the control of the Holy Spirit?

​We are asking you to commit your life to the control of God through his Spirit in you. It’s a line drawn in the sand from which you move forward. It’s committing yourself radically to God’s control. It’s you saying, “Yes, God I believe. Do a mighty work in my life.” Will you trust God to love you unconditionally, to always be there, never forsake you, and to help you live the kind of life you were born to live? He can, and he will!

As you commit your life to the loving control of God’s Spirit, you will experience love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. As you see and feel this change in your life individually, and in community with others, you’ll want to share the life giving message of  the Fruit of the Spirit with others. Share this website and tools we have with others and together let’s touch thousands of people around the world with the healing message of Jesus.

 We all have personal issues. EMPOWER MINISTRY is actively creating materials that will continue to help with issues we need help with. We invite you to consider joining Emotional Resilience: Living with the Fruit of the Spirit.

Led by the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is God. It is our God’s Spirit. God manifests himself as the Holy Spirit and chooses to relate to us by becoming part of who we are through his Spirit. It is that essential part of God that lives in us. He indwells or lives inside the Christian.

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you” (John 14:16-17).

The word advocate means ‘counselor’ or ‘comforter’ and implies one who comes alongside. This is God with and in us! John verifies that God lives in us through the Spirit.

“No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us” (1 John 4:12-13).

As a Christian we are to be led by, guided and under the direction of the Holy Spirit. We do this by praying and seeking God’s guidance in the daily details of life.

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Just like at Pentecost, God has given his Spirit to today’s church so we can accomplish his will. Pentecost was a beginning of a new age. It was the arrival of the Holy Spirit to God’s people. A new order. The Holy Spirit came to: fill, empower, unify, mature and equip, teach and lead each member of the church for service. God does the same today.

Who is the Holy Spirit and what does he do?

The Holy Spirit is God. It is our God’s Spirit. God manifests himself as the Holy Spirit and chooses to relate to us by becoming part of who we are through his Spirit. It is that essential part of God that lives in us. He indwells or lives inside the Christian.

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you” (John 14:16-17).

The word advocate means ‘counselor’ or ‘comforter’ and implies one who comes alongside. This is God with and in us! John verifies that God lives in us through the Spirit.

“No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us” (1 John 4:12-13).

The early Christians were on a mission! People were attracted to God because of the witness of their lives. Is this what we pray for our life and the life of the church?

How does the Holy Spirit help us minister?

The Holy Spirit equips us for ministry in several ways.

First, when we are led by the Holy Spirit He makes us competent for Ministry. The word ministry means to serve. God moves us and then equips us to serve others.

Second He works in our own lives and makes us a bold witness. As we pray for others, God will give us opportunity to share his love with them and share how God is alive in our lives. In Acts, we see the new church begin. It was not in their own efforts that they were so effective. Instead, it was the Holy Spirit that gave them power and the ability to speak boldly for Christ. God helped them with their own issues and they reached out to others with God’s comfort. This is what an outwardly focused church does!

“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us” (2 Corinthians 1:4).

Third the Holy Spirit empowers us for service. The church described in the Book of Acts was growing in numbers.

“The church then had peace throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, and it became stronger as the believers lived in the fear of the Lord. And with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it also grew in numbers” (Acts 9:31).

 God, who is the same yesterday, today and forever, is active today! He’s ready to strengthen and encourage you and your church in reaching out to your community. Get involved with the Holy Spirit! Be Christ’s ‘hands and feet’ to this broken, hurting world! Don’t sit on the sidelines. Allow God to use your life for His service!

Outwardly Focused

They aren’t spectators; they’re participants! The 80/20 rule doesn’t apply to this church! They are disciples of Jesus Christ, a witness of God’s love and salvation to the world around them. In their church, every person is on mission!

Just like at Pentecost, God has given his Spirit to today’s church so we can accomplish his will. Pentecost was a beginning of a new age. It was the arrival of the Holy Spirit to God’s people. A new order. The Holy Spirit came to: fill, empower, unify, mature and equip, teach and lead each member of the church for service. God does the same today.