Empowered by the Spirit

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1 D O W N L O A D E D Empowered by the Spirit ADULT By Richard Lentz 1 April December for use as STEP 1. Focus: The Holy Spirit fills and empowers us. Bible Basis: Acts 2:1-13 Students will discuss what it means to be empowered by the Holy Spirit and how it is evidenced in our lives. OPENING ACTIVITY: Empowered Ask students to complete the following: A time I felt very empowered to do something was. Recognition of completion often brings empowerment. For example, your students may say they felt empowered when they received a diploma empowered to go into the work force and get a job. When they mastered a particular skill, they may have then used that skill feeling empowered, as in learning to use a computer or cell phone for the first time. Today s story focuses on a person whose life changed when empowered. OPENING STORY [read it aloud to your class, or make copies and pass it around]: FROM THE CRACK HOUSE TO GOD S HOUSE Michael Mickey Williams, Jr., knows from personal experience what it means to be empowered by the Holy Spirit. In his book entitled Pushed Out the Crack House Into God s House, Williams tells how God delivered him from a life of drug addiction and used his new life testimony to reach others for Jesus. Williams turned to drugs out of rebellion and resentment against his parents, who had their own problems with substance abuse. His parents drug problems forced Williams into taking on the role of caretaker for his brothers and sisters at a young age. When my parents were out there doing what they were doing, I had to take care of my siblings, he told the Christian Post in a recent interview. When my mom and father didn t come home and my brothers and sister needed to go to school or they needed something to eat, I had to somehow figure out how to make a meal out of what we had in our home. Williams ended up having to fend for his brothers and sisters and act like a man when he was just a boy. Williams decided at age 16 that he wanted to be a drug dealer. What he never anticipated is that his use of drugs would eventually enslave him

2 April 14, 2013 / Step 1 D O W N L O A D E D 2 and that he would find himself in and out of prison as well as rehab for the next 20 years. His habit was so bad that at one time he used money that had been given to him to buy medicine for his sick daughter to buy drugs instead. Williams s life changed in 2009 when he was sitting on a curb after stealing money from his wife s bank account and selling her jewelry in order to buy drugs. I remember sitting on the corner that day and I said, Jesus, You re all I got. I don t have nobody else but You. And I remember God saying to me, Well, that s all you need. Williams realized how badly his life had turned out, how much he had hurt his family, and the changes he needed to make couldn t be done on his own. He entered a faith-based rehab program and in the midst of getting the help he needed felt God calling him to return to the church his girlfriend (now his wife) once attended, a place where he had a reputation for treating her bad. Williams eventually felt led to get in touch with David A. Hadley, Sr., pastor of Glory Tabernacle church in Bridgeton, New Jersey. Williams offered to work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, cleaning the church without pay. Hadley was impressed with Williams in spite of his history of drug addiction and eventually hired him as a paid employee. People in Williams s new church were initially not as welcoming as Hadley was, but eventually they saw that the change in Williams s life was real and ended up loving and respecting him. The change in Williams s life has also been visible to some of those he used to run with before he turned his life over to Christ. He goes to the rescue mission in Atlantic City every three months, a place where he would go to eat when he was on drugs, and ministers to those that know about him and his past. Some of those he attempts to minister to are confused by the change that has taken place in his life. But some have responded by turning their lives over to Jesus. Sometimes, he says, I get overwhelmed by it because after God uses me and has me say what He wants me to say to them, then I see all these people who are so strung out on this and going through that and people in bondage and everything, who are just giving their life to God after He used me to give a testimony. It s so overwhelming because I never would imagine myself doing things like that. [Now form small groups and have your class discuss the following questions.] How do you know when someone s life has really changed?

3 April 14, 2013 / Step 1 D O W N L O A D E D 3 What are some changes in your life that can only be attributed to the work of the Holy Spirit? What things have you done that you could never imagine yourself doing without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit? When you are empowered, how does that affect your church? [When you are finished with the questions, go on to Step 2 in your Adult Teacher s Guide.] News Source: Christian Post - From the Crack House to God s House

4 D O W N L O A D E D Empowered by the Spirit ADULT April for use as STEP 4. Focus: The Holy Spirit fills and empowers us. Bible Basis: Acts 2:1-13 WONDER-WORKING POWER No one could have imagined the change that would take place in the lives of Jesus disciples when the Holy Spirit empowered them on the day of Pentecost. As they were filled, boldness and confidence took over. God used them to share the Gospel with people from the far reaches of the world in which they lived. When we are filled, we too are empowered, sometimes to do things that we never thought we could do. When we give our lives to God, we can live Spirit-filled lives that show the fruit of the Spirit and testify to a radical change in our lives. And a Spirit-filled congregation will do great things that only the power of the Lord can accomplish. [Activity] Ask students to return to the groups they formed in Step 1 and pray about the following. Pray that you will all be filled by and empowered with the Holy Spirit, relinquishing control of any areas of your lives that you have not given to Him. Pray that the Spirit will lead you and your church to do things that can only be done in His power so that God will receive all the glory. Pray for unity in the Spirit so that divisions and dissensions will be put aside and Jesus lifted up instead. (David C Cook is not affiliated with and does not endorse any website listed on these pages. At the time of writing, David C Cook editors carefully review the referenced material and non-referenced web page content. However, due to the nature of the Internet, non-cited content on the website [including pop-ups, links, and ads] changes frequently and is beyond our control. Please review carefully before showing links in the classroom.)

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