Devotional

Almost everyone in America claims to be a Christian (80-90%). Most don’t know the meaning of the word. For to be a Christian means to be a follower of Jesus and believing that Jesus is God and that is where it gets confusing. But that discussion is for an evangelical essay or a sermon by your favorite preacher.

This discussion is about those who have had that experience and know that they know that they have had an encounter with God, a spiritual awakening, a salvation experience, conversion or otherwise know that the Living God has dealt with them on a person basis. Something happened sometime and they are aware of it.
I am not talking about those who grew up in the church and have “always been a Christian”. I am speaking of those who remember the time and event when Jesus came into their heart. Most can vividly recollect that event. Somehow, many have difficulty expressing or having the confidence to express it to others. But this is the essence of Christian witness. This is how we pass on the good news of Jesus Christ. And it comes down to three points.

1.) How it was
2.) What happened
3.) How it is now

The above represents the outline of a basic testimony of Christian witness or telling your story. When you remember the event of your encounter with Christ, you can certainly remember the events leading up that encounter or How it was before you came to know Him. Some of our stories are more hellish than others but we have each live in our own person Hell. So we give a brief encounter of how our life was when we were utterly dependent on self and self nurture.

The middle part of the story usually has to do with events leading up to our call out to God. Oftentimes a form of brokenness, economic distress, loss of one form or another, health issues, etc. Basically, we come to the end of self or to a place where we cannot solve our problems anymore. That is when we reach out to find out if there is that heavenly Father that we have yearn for so long, but have been reluctant to seek out.

When we pray and ask for Jesus to come and take over our lives, he does exactly that. He come to live in us and we begin to change. Some quicker and some slower that others, but change always occurs. After a while, we mature in our new spiritual life and start to realize we are different than we use to be. That is when we have a story or testimony to relay to others.

The shortest testimony I know is “I was blind and now I see.”

Our booklet How to be a child of god has a complete witnessing section that explains thoroughly the process of telling your story. See it now by ebook at this website: howtobeachildofgod.com or prisonevangelism.com.

David Howell Prison Evangelism, Inc. 510 Bering Drive Suite 300 Houston, Texas 77057 713-623-0690 www.prisonevangelism.com

Over the past thirty-five years, I have had the privilege of being the vehicle for explaining the the process of salvation to many non believers. Also, I have been able to more fully explain the gospel to many who had not ever heard or understood the full story. There is need to more fully explain what happens when you are first exposed to the good news of Jesus Christ and when you are invited to love and trust Him.

Most of us came to Christ in a church environment where a counselor of pastor explained the story of how Jesus died for us and forgave us of our sins. Most of the time this is done using a small tract that fits in a man’s shirt pocket. The process takes about five to ten minutes when you add some scriptures. I have done this myself as a new member counselor many many times. I knew better but remained frustrated even though I also knew this was the work of the Holy Spirit, and not me. I always felt a need to tell more, explain more, reveal more about what happens when you are saved; when salvation occurs. I have come to believe when the full story of what happens when you are saved is told and understood, the later need for rededication, Christian counseling, revival, and all the other “re” factors that we might go through to come back to our initial love of Jesus is reduced or eliminated.

It is critical to understand that the moment we pray to accept and trust Jesus Christ, we exchange lives with Him. He comes to live in us and gives us eternal life. His eternal life is forever in the future and forever in the past. Therefore, we are able to go back two thousand years in His life and we are crucified with Him. (Galatians 2:20). Our old self dies at that time and we become spirit with Him. We are one with Christ!

This concept may take time to digest, but it is true and if this truth is told at the beginning of the salvation experience, the process begins and the intellectual intake is simpler. This is the basic message of How to be a Child of God, a fifty-eight page booklet that might take thirty minutes to read, but the benefits are forever.

Men and women in a solitary cell have a lot of time on their hands and are able to read, meditate and regurgitate the truths of gospel message. We are a little more harried outside. That is why our basic audience for evangelism is the 2-12 million in and out of jails and prisons each year in America. That is why How to be a Child of God is the best tool for evangelism for those who are to know the complete gospel.

David Howell
Prison Evangelism, Inc.
510 Bering Drive
Suite 300
Houston, Texas 77057
713-623-0690
www.prisonevangelism.com

How to be a child of God was always meant to be a small book. Not a pamphlet or a booklet, but a small book. It needed to say a lot because there is a lot to say in presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ and moreover, there is a lot that needs to be said or discovered if one is to surrender or give their lives and their hearts to their Savior known as Jesus.

The only way the book could be small is to substitute words for pictures. That process slowed the end product from completion by two or three years because the author had so many communications issues with artists. Some of the artists did not want to do the job at all as it was “spiritual work” not commercial. Two that I contacted believed this no matter what I said. Another was a wonderful artist and grasped the ideas wonderfully well, but he was a perfectionist and could never finish the work due to it never being good enough for him. Finally, I found Randy Rogers who was a starving artist of sorts, but he absolutely loved Jesus and we had been to some of the same places or rather nightmares in our other lives and understood each other very well. I was able to communicate my desires in an illustration and Randy drew that image. I wish I could think of and had the money to have him do forty or fifty more of his wonderful illustrations.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and that was the concept I was after in designing this little book. If true, I could pack the information of a 150 page book into only fifty eight pages of compact and illustrated and easy to read text with large type. That is exactly what we did. We delivered a 150 page book compacted to a 58 page book and made it simple and acceptable to a man in a cell who reads on a sixth grade level.

With 243 verses throughout, the book can also double as a devotional or bible study booklet. The witness edition has a section on How to tell your story and it is followed by another section on How to witness. So the little book does a lot of things. It is first a book of salvation and how to come to know Jesus Christ. Secondly, it is a book instructing you to tell your story and then how to witness by telling your story and using the book. Later, it can be a devotional an primer for bible study with it’s 243 easy to read and understand NLT verses in the back. For father study, there is a book reference section listing many other resources teaching the same line of thinking as How to be a child of God. That being the message of the cross. Galatians 2:20. Watch the video, see the interactive, read the ebook in thirteen languages and share all with whomever you wish at no cost. If you need these book for your evangelism or outreach program, you can order from the Purchase Books tab on the welcome page. All on this same website: www.howtobeachildofgod.com.

David Howell
Prison Evangelism, Inc.
510 Bering Drive
Suite 300
Houston, Texas 77057
713-623-0690
www.prisonevangelism.com

We are each given at least one spiritual gift when we first come to love and trust Jesus Christ as our Lord, God and Savior. We receive His Spirit at the onset and at least one manifestation of His presence in our lives. Mine was evangelism!

From the very beginning of my new life in Christ, I have had a desire to let others know about the miracle of salvation in Christ and how it is theirs for the asking. For most of us there is a window when the excitement of our salvation and new life are so overwhelming, we cannot wait to tell family, friends or any who might listen. For most this window closes after a brief time and the newly saved desires to be with mostly other Christians with whom he can grow and learn. My desire never abated.

Early on, I found courses on evangelism and personal witnessing. I remember courses called Evangelism Explosion, MasterLife and others. Once, with the Billy Graham Crusade, I took a six week course for crusade counselors that was in reality a course in personal witnessing. As time went on, I gained my own knowledge and experience that reflected my personal walk with God and those events became more and more a part of my own testimony. I learned my testimony is exactly that, my testimony. It is what happened to me and no one could argue with it or refute it. All I had to do to be an effective witness for Jesus Christ was to tell my story of what Jesus did for me.

Many don’t have the confidence or boldness to speak out about anything, especially on subjects regarding their spiritual life and the technique is not really taught. I learned to testify in twelve step meetings and giving impromptu tellings as called on in those deep sharing occasions. You just can’t rehearse it as there is no time and sort of difficult to do anyway.

Twelve step meetings are not for everyone, but personal testimony is what each of us are called to do if we are to expand the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. Just learn these basic points of discussion about yourself. 1.) How was it in your prior life? 2.) What happened that made you want to change? 3.) How is your life now as a Christian? These are the basic steps to knowing and practicing personal witnessing and it does not have to be your spiritual gift! The only requirement is that you love and trust the Lord Jesus Christ.

The paragraphs above are an introduction to what any Christian can do to bring others to know Jesus. One of he best manuals for witnessing can be found in the pages of How to be a child of God in the section called How to tell your story.

Find it in ebook form or order from : www.howtobeachildofgod.com.

David Howell
Prison Evangelism, Inc.
510 Bering Drive
Suite 300
Houston, Texas 77057
713-623-0690
www.prisonevangelism.com

When I think of full gospel, I think of telling the complete story of the good news of Jesus Christ. We have become satisfied with the partial gospel in its presentation for the sake of time and expediency.
As a new member counselor for thirty years in one of America’s largest churches, I have explained the gospel, witnessed, or counseled three thousand individuals to membership into that church. Many of those heard the Word of God for the first time in their lives.

In my opinion, they only heard part of the good news presented, because we only presented a partial story.

Somehow, we have become happy with the idea of spending five minutes with a person to have them make the most important decision in their lives. Interestingly, we will spend untold hours in therapeutic session with a person to undue behavior problems brought about by the wrong thinking we are trying to remedy.
One day long ago, a good thinking Christian person decided that we should all be evangelists and we should have a witnessing tract that would tell the story of Jesus with stick figures and large type inside of five minutes. This same witnessing tract should fit into a person’s front shirt pocket, thus limiting witnessing mostly to men.

I have used tracts like this with great frustration for thirty years and I have had at least some success with the 3000 I have presented this information to. That is, they said the sinner’s prayer at the end and then left to pick up the kids from the nursery.

I felt coming to Christ to be a destination event and should be treated with special care.

How to be a Child of God is a fifty-two page witnessing book laden with illustration that portray the story and the great news of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ. We made the booklet to have the illustrations for the main purpose of cutting back on the number of printed words that would be needed to tell this story. They say a picture takes the place of a large number of words. The book has large type with scripture references in a modern day translation at the bottom of each page. The references are expanded to their full content in the back of the book. Altogether, there are two hundred forty-three verses expanded in this text. Not a bad bible study by itself. The best part is the section that tells the reader how to tell his story and another that tells how to witness. It is complete and thorough. The book can be used as a witnessing tool one to another, a bible study, or a self proclaimer. It is designed for a lone man or woman in prison cell or anywhere else to read and come to know his Lord Jesus Christ.

See for yourself if this is not the best witnessing tool, new member package or general outreach tool your church ever had.

Read it and watch it at: www.howtobeachildofgod.com. Look at 101 testimonies at: www.prisonevangelism.com

David Howell
Prison Evangelism, Inc.
510 Bering Drive
Suite 300
Houston, Texas 77057
713-623-0690
www.prisonevangelism.com

I have been active in evangelism and witnessing ever since I came to know Jesus Christ almost thirty-three years ago.

I soon realized that I had a hunger for lost souls.

I started witnessing from the beginning of my salvation experience. That was in Anchorage, Alaska. I was so fortunate to be chosen a co-laborer in the soon to be held Billy Graham Crusade and was able to go through most all of their training for witnessing and counseling for those who came forward at the meetings.

The crusade directors put out a call to all of the evangelical churches in Alaska asking for their ten best to be trained to be counselors. There were 3500 of us in all. I have no idea how I, as a new Christian, got in, but I did.

Most of the attendees were deacons, bible study teachers, associate pastors, church staffers and of course pastors and me, a six month Christian. Essentially what the director did in these six weeks was lead us all very thoroughly through a plan of salvation while teaching us basic and compact relational evangelism.

As a new Christian, I had no pre conceptions and I was taking in everything like a sponge. The teaching was comprehensive. At the end of the six-week session, the director did an alter call for those who would want to come to know and trust Jesus Christ.

Some three hundred and fifty of these church leaders came forward.

I was fascinated at the very least by this response. I wondered how these men and women could have functioned so long in their positions not knowing they were children of God. I was starting to understand the importance of being thorough when witnessing.

Shortly afterward, I moved back to Houston and joined a large evangelical church and I have been there ever since. Using my witnessing gift, I did many things, but most significantly, I became a new member counselor. Over thirty years, I counseled over 2500 new members to join our church and showed them the way to salvation through Jesus Christ. Most all of those times, I used a little tract that fits into your shirt pocket that can be presented in five to ten minutes. (In time to get the kids out of nursery) I have been frustrated with this process for many years and that is why I wrote How to be Child of God. It is complete, comprehensive, thorough and easy to read and understand with its big type and colorful pictures.

Furthermore, the NLT scripture references are in modern English.

So, why not take a look and see if this suits you and church or your ministry?

See more at howtobeachildofgod.com and call or write if you have any questions.

We have specials for bulk orders that are greatly affordable. Any excess monies over the cost of printing and distribution goes to printing books for prisons, our basic mission.

Check out howtobeachildofgod.com or prisonevangelism.com.

We also have an interesting Facebook page @prisonevangelism.

David Howell
Prison Evangelism, Inc.
510 Bering Drive
Suite 300
Houston, Texas 77057
713-623-0690
www.prisonevangelism.com

Watchman Nee was a missionary to China who was born and raised in China.

The basis of his teaching involved “the living of a crucified life and the resurrected life for the church life”. Now that is sort of a mouthful, but it is church talk for what is the content of How to be a Child of God.

The essential message is that when you prayed to accept Christ, you exchanged lives with him and you He came into you and you went into Him. When He came into your being, you received what He had which was mainly His eternal life, a forever life in the past as well as the future.

By that means, you were able to immediately go back 2000 years to the time and place where he was and be crucified with Him. At that time and place, you became one with Christ and your identity with Him was established forever.

Remember, you have not died a physical death as you still have your earth suit on, but the old self died and you are now being reborn as a child of God.

The old self had to die before the new self could be born or reborn as we say. In Romans 6, it goes on to say that if we are now one with Christ, Him in us and us in Him, and if we were crucified with Him, then we are still there. He died and we died. Later He was buried and we were buried. He ascended to heaven and we ascended with Him.

Now He sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven and so do we, as we are In Christ. Ephesians 2.6.

Our job is to understand and appropriate that truth. If we can do that, we can understand and live the abundant life God intended for us while we are here and still wearing our earth suits.

At the beginning of How to be a Child of God, I have included a Forward message quote from Watchman Nee as he had stated in his book, The Normal Christian Life.

“In fact, a full presentation of Christ and His Cross is made to us at the very outset, we may well step into a great deal of experience from the first day of our Christian life, even though the full explanation of most of it may only follow later.”

His point is that if you can internalize this truth and accept that the Living God is within you and start to understand your identity in Christ then maturity as a Christian comes much quicker and less Christian or Biblical counselors will be needed as you grow in you walk with Christ.

This is the message of the cross as found in How to be a Child of God.

It is written in simple prose with larger type and beautiful and colorful illustrations. Every page is explained biblically through scripture references that are expanded in the NLT version.

Check it out at: howtobeachildofgod.comPrison Ministry

David Howell
Prison Evangelism, Inc.
510 Bering Drive
Suite 300
Houston, Texas 77057
713-623-0690
www.prisonevangelism.com

Alcoholics Anonymous and other twelve step programs have often used the method of personal testimony as a means of advancing the process intended.

The intended process for an alcoholic is to stay sober and the same is true for over-eaters, gamblers, sex addicts, workaholics, etc. The basic idea of this therapy is in helping others.

All of these addictive tendencies come from a totally self centered personality.

So there is a bit of behavior modification involved in the process to nurture the self centered guy into a more outward and people loving mindset. In AA it is called “working with others”. That comes in more advanced AA. The early steps in the process of getting out of self come early in the process or quickly after cleaning up and getting sober. The thinking is that even if you have only been sober for one day, you still have a lot more sobriety than the drunk you are addressing.

Initially we must tell our story and it comes in three parts.

    1.) How it was: we lived a sorry unmanageable life.

    2.) What happened?- a man came to me and told how he sobered up and his life was changed.

    3.) How it is now? —I have two days of sobriety living one day at time and now I have hope.

That is the very simple way to tell your story. It is your story and yours alone and no one can argue with it or say it is not true. It belongs to you.

There is a correlation between AA and evangelical Christianity and this particular process holds true for both movements.

The way to develop your faith and confidence as new Christian or long term Christian is to learn to tell your story.

If you don’t think you have one to tell, you might need talk to you pastor or some person you know is saved and is walking with Jesus. We either have a time when when we came to know Christ or we don’t.

When you realize that there was a time when you started to change spiritually, then you have the basis for your story. It simply telling about how your life used to be before you came to Christ; what happened as you accepted Jesus as your Lord, God, and Savior; and then let the listener know how your life is today.

None of have a life on this earth that is a bed of roses.

What we do have with our new faith is knowledge of the unconditional love of Jesus Christ, knowledge of total forgiveness of Jesus Christ and the hope of the future with Jesus Christ. That is the basis of evangelical Christianity. The key is we grow in our faith and keep our faith by giving it away. That is why we tell our story or give our testimony.

Telling your story is explained in detail in the book How to be a Child of God at howtobeachildofgod.com

David Howell
Prison Evangelism, Inc.
510 Bering Drive Suite 300
Houston, Texas 77057
713-623-0690
www.prisonevangelism.com

We forget that all are sinners and just keep sinning. In the process, we believe we are alone in this and there are others out there that don’t sin and they are much better Christians than we might be.

So we sit and soak up sermon after bible study lesson and leave the heavy lifting of Christian responsibility to those who are better and don’t sin or don’t sin as much or as bad as we do. At the very least, the better Christians know more bible and can quote more scripture. Maybe they are bible study teachers or maybe even deacons. Bottom line is most of us don’t carry the message to others and our numbers as Christians seem to be shrinking as a result.

The lack of confidence for a Christian believer to step out in his faith and at the very least share his own faith with another is epidemic. I believe it is a matter of education and can be remedied with enlightenment or simple instruction and sharing some knowledge.

You came to know Christ in your own unique way. It happened by a person telling you about Jesus, a bible study or Sunday school instructor with the right story and the right time, the Holy Spirit meeting you face to face at a revival meeting, a special sermon at a certain time. Maybe it was a mom or a grandmother praying and talking to you about Jesus. Maybe you were alone and desperate and realize you were in need of a Savior and personally cried out to God.

Whatever way you came to salvation, it was unique for you. And if you told what happened to you, no one could refute it or challenge your version in any way. This is the key to witnessing. You must have the boldness to tell your story and what happened to you that you wanted Jesus Christ in your life.

One of the most interesting parts of How to be a Child of God is the witness section. It shows step by step how to pass on your faith. The section shows a simple four step procedure for bringing someone closer to knowing Jesus just by telling your story. It is a simple and easy way to learn to tell your story and learn how to lead others to Christ. Again, no one can challenge or refute what happened to you. By spreading your faith, you strengthen you faith. You keep it and strengthen you faith by giving it away.

Watch the video and read the ebook at: howtobeachildofgod.com. Pass it on!

David Howell Prison Evangelism, Inc. 510 Bering Drive Suite 300 Houston, Texas 77057 713-623-0690 www.prisonevangelism.com

How to be a child of God is a colorful, shiny little book to see. It is inviting to look at and when I open it show people the pictures and color inside, they are generally impressed. I know the book has eye appeal. Also, it looks brief and easy or a quick read for most.

When I offer our book to most church people, they hand it back and explain they are already saved and give the impression that they don’t need a book like that. Nine of ten times, the decision is based only on the title of the book, How to be a Child of God.

Why is that?

Are we so sure of our salvation that we don’t want to look into it anymore? I remember when I was saved in Anchorage, Alaska and was baptized, I still could not quite believe that what had happened had really happened. I could not believe I had been forgiven of all my sins…

I knew the scope of my wrongdoings.

I had trouble grasping the idea of being 1.) a new and reborn creature 2.) a spiritual being 3.) forgiven of my sins. One if not all was too much for me to imagine or hope for. I just could not believe it. I walked the aisle of a one church, a revival at the next or another for all sorts of reasons for two years. The basic reason was I was unsure of this gift of forgiveness, unconditional love, eternal life and a restored life through Jesus Christ. But that was me.

I really don’t know why people take so much time coming to know Jesus. And for the most part, when that person does pray to receive Christ, he is finished. As if he has finally bought the fire insurance policy after thinking if over for a lengthy time and now it is time to go on to something else.

That bit of business has been taken care of. I think many are missing the boat of abundant living because they have never been taught what it means and entails to be saved. Most think salvation means that you go heaven when you die. The truth is you have already died and you have been born again.

God is ready for you to begin living a fruitful, loving, joyful life as a spiritual being even while on the planet earth and dressed in earth suits. The complete story is available to be read, encountered and lived when you find out your identity in Christ. It is all to be seen in the book and video at: howtobebachildofgod.com

David Howell Prison Evangelism, Inc. 510 Bering Drive Suite 300 Houston, Texas 77057 713-623-0690 www.prisonevangelism.com