Champion of Change

The Transforming Power of the Holy Spirit # 001


PROLOGUE: I will never forget taking the Lord’s Supper one Sunday, and seeing my friend Paul. As he prayed a prayer of thanks for Jesus who gave his life for our sins and shared the Lord's Supper with us, there were tears in my eyes. Here was a living, breathing miracle&#!51;a life raised from the dead. When I first met Paul, he had already made the first and most important step: he admitted his life was out of control and only God could help him back to sanity. His road to recovery has been tough, but triumphant.

He is a living testimony to the Champion of Change, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God’s personal presence in us, given to make us new and help us live God’s life in a rugged world. I pray Paul’s story will bless you and help you commit to let the Champion of Change do a work in your heart.  “I pray that out of his glorious riches, the Father may strengthen you with might, by his Spirit in your inner being. …Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, by his power which is at work within us, to him be glory…throughout all generations, for ever and ever!”

—Phil Ware

        I was raised in a good, hard working, Christian family. I love them very much. Although my parents taught me right from wrong by their example, I always seemed to do wrong. As a child, I had learned God had  “rules.” But I broke them often and knew deep inside I was headed for hell. At some point, I’m not sure exactly when, I decided I didn’t want to have anything to do with God.

        By March of 1994, my life was completely out of control. I had no idea how it had all happened. I was physically, morally, financially, and spiritually broken. I was about to lose my truck, my home, most of my family and friends, and had already lost many conveniences, including my electricity.

        My days started by waking up violently sick and angry at the God I remembered. I was angry because I was still alive. I wondered how I could possibly make it through another day. I was bone tired, lonely, terrified of life and completely hopeless.

        I had broken enough laws that I was facing time in jail of up to three years. I could not stop drinking. I could not sleep at night unless I was passed out from alcohol. I was so consumed with fear I could hardly work. I was doing things and going places I knew I shouldn’t. But I did! The only relief, comfort and peace in my life came from a bottle—and I even knew this relief was only temporary.

        As a result of my legal problems, I met a man that told me there was another solution to finding relief, comfort and peace. He said God could help me, but there were some things I needed to do. I was desperate enough that I listened. On March 5, I had my last drink of alcohol and became willing to seek God for help. That decision allowed for the beginning of a miracle that is  “still in progress” and continues to amaze me.

        For the first time in fifteen years, I attended church in April of 1994. This time I went with somewhat of an open mind and heart. The lesson presented that day was from the book of Luke “The Story of the Prodigal Son.” That day I heard (unbelievably for the first time) with my heart this powerful message of God’s incredible grace and awesome comfort for someone that's hopeless with nowhere to turn. I began to turn my life over to him. Since July 6, 1994, when I was baptized, I have experienced the blessing of a power in my life I never new existed.

        I have participated in many activities that I am not proud of and truly regret. But today, I know because of Christ, that God has forgiven my actions and I don’t have to live that way anymore as long as I seek his strength and power.

        One of the tougher things in my journey has been getting rid of the guilt and not feeling worthy of God’s love. But unless I do forgive myself like God has already forgiven me, I will never be able to be of service to God and his family. Each day is not perfect, but then it’s not suppose to be! There is still so much work to do and to try to set right my past wrongs with those I've hurt. But today when I wake up in the morning, I want to live! I want to live the way God intended!! I ask God to show me each day how to be a better person than I was yesterday.

        Many of you probably already know this, but I have only recently become aware of the following undeniable truths: God does love you! You are important to him. Listen for him with your heart, accept his love, and he will provide all the healing, comfort and strength you will ever need.

        May God live in your heart, till we meet in his mansions.



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The Holy Spirit is God's personal presence given to Christians when they first come in faith, trusting Jesus as their Lord and Savior and share in his death through baptism. The Spirit gives the new Christian the power to change and become more and more like Christ. What matters to God is not so much where we have been, but where we are going, and the Holy Spirit is his power to help us get there! See the follow verses from the New Testament which emphasize these great promises.

"Peter replied, 'Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.' ... Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day." (Acts 2:38, 41)

"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we ... are being transformed into Christ's likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." (2 Corinthians 3:18)

"Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)

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"I pray that out of his glorious riches God may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, ... Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory ... throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." (Ephesians 3:16, 20-21)

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Baptism is a dunking or immersion in water, trusting in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Through faith, this event allows a believer to share in Christ's saving death and resurrection with the commitment that this person will live for God, and the assurance that God will live in that person.

"...all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. We have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. ... Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. ... sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace." (Romans 6:3-5, 8-11, 14)

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This power is the Holy Spirit Jesus gives everyone who comes to Him and receives his grace and is born into his family.

"At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life." (Titus 3:3-7)

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Jesus did not require his disciples to make restitution or do penance for their previous sins. His forgiveness is given by grace so a person can begin life anew. Jesus paid the full price for our sins so we could be righteous in the eyes of God.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! ... God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (Ephesians 2:8-10 and 2 Corinthians 5:17, 21)

Because of the deceptive and harmful lifestyle of many who have been involved in drug and alcohol addiction, recovery groups have found it is helpful to have those in recovery make right past wrongs as long as it is helpful to the wronged party. This mends relationships and also helps hold the recovering addict accountable as well as gives them a true sense of worth, as they bless others where they once hurt them.

"He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need." (Ephesians 4:28)

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Heartlight is a ministry of loving Christians and the Westover Hills church of Christ.
Edited by Phil Ware and Paul Lee.
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May be reprinted and reused only if copyright credits are appropriately displayed.