Beginnings: Understanding How We Experience the New Birth  -     By: Stephen Smallman
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Beginnings: Understanding How We Experience the New Birth

P & R Publishing / 2015 / Paperback

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Product Description

Are Christians supposed to be spiritual salespeople, peddling Jesus to others and pushing to seal the deal? In John 3, Jesus describes the work of the Holy Spirit in a process of spiritual rebirth. Stephen Smallman argues that we best view ourselves as "spiritual midwives" - not giving new life, but instead being used by God to assist in the birth.

To best do this, we must understand how conversion works and where our spiritual journeys begin. Smallman unpacks numerous conversion stories, both biblical and contemporary, showing how the Holy Spirit's work can be traced in the lives of new believers. Smallman shows how we can learn the stories of others and tell our own stories. Then we will understand where people are coming from as we interact with them, and we will have both hope and guidance in speaking with unbelievers.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 208
Vendor: P & R Publishing
Publication Date: 2015
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 1596389451
ISBN-13: 9781596389458

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Publisher's Description

Are Christians supposed to be spiritual salespeople, peddling Jesus to others and pushing to seal the deal? In John 3, Jesus describes the work of the Holy Spirit in a process of spiritual rebirth. In light of this, Stephen Smallman argues that we best view ourselves as “spiritual midwives”—not giving new life, but instead being used by God to assist in the birth. To best do this, we must understand how conversion works and where our spiritual journeys begin. Following the tradition of Jonathan Edwards and Archibald Alexander, Smallman unpacks numerous conversion stories, both biblical and contemporary, showing how the Holy Spirit’s work can be traced in the lives of new believers. Smallman shows how we can learn the stories of others and tell our own stories. Then we will understand where people are coming from as we interact with them, and we will have both hope and guidance in speaking with unbelievers.

Author Bio

Stephen Smallman served for over forty years in pastoral ministry. He is an urban missionary serving with CityNet Ministries and is Assistant Pastor of New Life Presbyterian Church in Glenside, Pennsylvania.

Editorial Reviews

"'Born again' is a common expression that few people understand. In a compelling way Stephen Smallman helps us understand that it is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. This book will prove profitable to all who read it."
"Steve Smallman's stories of how God brings people to new life in Christ are exhilarating—and his refreshing insights into the process of conversion are also immensely encouraging to anyone who wants to share his or her faith."
"I believe this book will be profoundly helpful for youth workers or anyone sharing the gospel. Becoming a Christian is a process, not just a onetime conversion event. Steve Smallman biblically maps out this spiritual birth process. Too often Christian workers are frustrated with 'new converts' because they do not seem to be growing fast enough. The truth is that many 'new converts' may profess with their mouth that they are believers in Jesus Christ, but their heart and mind are still trying to process the gospel. Smallman helps us understand the process of this miraculous and mysterious work of the Holy Spirit of bringing people into the Kingdom of God. Steve Smallman makes it very clear that in order for the gospel message to be believed 'it requires a powerful moving of God to make the gospel message come alive to a listener.' Spiritual Birthline is a biblically based work on understanding the process of becoming a Christian. I will highly recommend this book to Young Life staff and volunteers."
"Any campus ministry passionate about students' lives being transformed will want this book in the hands of their front-line campus staff. Steve Smallman has renewed my own biblical understanding of God's prior work in the hearts of 'not yet believers' while inspiring me to embrace my role as a spiritual midwife in the lives of college students."
"Beginnings transforms that most dangerous journey—one's spiritual pilgrimage—into safe, known territory. By applying a pastor's heart and a willing ear to hundreds of testimonies heard over decades of ministry, Stephen Smallman has distilled the work of God in the soul: 'When God calls, we come.' In place of our too-often cliched born-again narratives, he guides us to a richer understanding that is wonderfully profound and reassuringly practical."
"Beginnings, has proven to be one of the best-loved and most important books in our program. It is one of the books that we have our Fellows read as they consider the themes of grace and true conversion and spend time writing their own spiritual autobiography in preparation for our retreat. We are so thankful for such a helpful book."
Having read “Beginnings” I found myself reinterpreting the way God has put his hand on my life since I was a small boy. It filled me with thankfulness to God for his sovereign work and gave me an interpretive framework of new birth that was not only more accurate, all-embracing and truthful but more importantly, God-centered. This has been an immensely helpful addition to my evangelistic thinking and training as an evangelist in a local church seeking to ‘prepare God’s people for works of service’ (Eph. 4) as witnesses for Christ. Understanding the Birthline tool will keep us in awe of what God does in the lives of individuals and turn us from salesmen to midwives.

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