15 Ways You Can Build Marketing Tools Directly Into Your Book

Rob Eagar, author of Sell Your Book like Wildfire,

1. Reader Quizzes

A well-crafted quiz can build emotional curiosity and desire within people to buy your book…

2. List of helpful questions or communication scripts

…You can use your expertise to educate and assist people by providing a list of specific questions to ask or a script to follow that guides them down the right path…

3. How-to articles

…You want to maximize the power of the article and increase your ability to use it as a portable marketing tool that can work in different formats, both online and off. If your article is good, it will lead the reader to believe that your book is even better.

4. Bonus back matter and appendices

…Seed business books with sample scripts that readers could use with clients, diagrams and worksheets for strategy meetings, resource and vendor guides to find outside labor, or employee hiring questionnaires…

5. Study guides

An integrated study guide can also be used to boost group sales of a book…I recommend putting study materials or discussion questions at the end of reach chapter, than the appendix because it’s easier for the reader to follow along…Depending on the nature of your content, you could also include a separate guide that helps leaders foster group interaction with your book…

6. Key research or statistics

If your book is focused around important research, consider creating a stand-alone marketing tool based on the summary of your key findings…

7. Exclusive or rare content

If your manuscript is a memoir or biography, you could include a section of exclusive photos, letters, or documents made available only within your book…

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8. Author interview or Q&A section

Book shoppers appreciate authors who explain why they wrote their book, what drove them through the process, and what led them to the book’s conclusion…

9. Add bits of humor: cartoons, jokes, top ten lists

…If you have funny jokes, cartoons, pictures, or top ten lists pertinent to your book’s teem, you can build them into your manuscript…

10. Maps, drawings, or illustrations

…any manuscript can benefit from pictures. Authors can include maps, behind-the-scenes photos, drawings, how-to illustrations, or pictures  of the book’s main settings…

11. Resource guides

You can also add value to your book by offering a guide to additional resources…

12. Secret codes to web-based content

…Consider…creating a unique website or set of hidden web pages that is only available to those who buy your book…

13. Bonus audio and video content

…You can provide readers with a behind-the-scenes look at your life, author videos, instructional audio tracks, lost chapters, success stories or artwork…

14. Teasers and cross-promotion

…promote related items that you sell…By including cross-promotional content within your book, you make it easier for reader to discover your other works and make a purchase.

15. Integrate multimedia with QR barcodes

Modern technology has made it possible for authors and publishers to incorporate audio, video, website links, and imagery directly onto a printed page. This feature is based on using QR…barcodes embedded in your manuscript…
Content adapted from Rob Eagar’s, Sell Your Book Like Wildfire: The Writer’s Guide to Marketing and Publicity (Cincinnati, OH: Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinnati, 2012), 58-66.

5 Ways Copyblogger Built an Amazing Membership Site: A Case Study

Membership programs have been around for years.

Many organizations require some type of membership to participate in their service or derive a benefit.

Whether it’s a gym, country club (which I know nothing about), zoos, AARP, and on and on and on, organizations utilize membership programs for a variety of reasons.

In recent years, there has been an observable uptick in online membership sites.

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From Michael Hyatt’s Platform University, Jeff Goins Tribe Writers, to Justin Wise’s Think Digital Academy, there is a growing trend in creating membership sites for your readers.

All of these membership sites appear to be great services, but I’ve only participated in one: Copybloggers Authority.

For full disclosure, my time in this membership site was short lived and around one year ago. My quick departure had nothing to do with the benefits of the program, but my need to focus upon other professional areas at that time.

Though things may have been updated since my participation, below are five observations I made during my time. (I recently came across my notes and believe they are still relevant today.)

1. Develop Progression

Robert Frost famously said, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

This pithy advice may encourage us to make a difficult decision, but it’s destructive for creating a great user experience for your readers.

Don’t expect your readers to create their own path towards your membership site. They won’t. The first roadblock they encounter will serve as a trampoline bouncing them off of your webpage—literally.

Clear the path for your readers towards your desired objective. In this case your membership site.

Copyblogger creates a clear, convincing, and compelling path for their readers.

A clear path is created from their social media presence, website, and blog.  These avenues lead readers towards their membership site in varying degrees.

These different steps create a greater level of trust with their readers by providing additional benefits along the way.

Create a clear path for your readers towards your membership site. Remove any unnecessary roadblocks. And relentlessly help your readers by providing them added value along the way.

2. Provide Free Samples

People love free samples.

(Who doesn’t pass up free samples in the supermarket?)

Providing samples of your products and services is a way to encourage people to taste what you have to offer.

Before asking people to join your membership site, give them a taste of what they can expect.

Copyblogger provides a treasure trove of free material: 15 ebooks, 20-part internet marketing course, and an organized reference guide to the best of their material. Not many can say no to such an offer. (I know I didn’t.)

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Providing free samples will encourage people to sign up, sample what you have, and create a greater level of trust.

Like Copyblogger and the Godfather, make an offer your readers can’t refuse.

3. Provide Access

People want more than killer content. They desire access to people.

Your membership site should not only provide additional content, but greater personal access to you and others.

Copyblogger provides such access for their members by hosting various live webinars with a Q&A. They also engage their members within their forums.

Providing members a level of access will not only encourage potential readers to sign up, it will help build a community. This leads me to my next observation.

4. Build Community

Members can be noncommittal.

They tend to go out on a few dates, see what you’re all about, and then don’t return your calls—ever.

Retaining and encouraging members to participate is difficult business.

But don’t let this dissuade you from creating a membership site. Strive to build community with your members.

Copyblogger builds such community with their members by creating forums, hosting live webinars, and more. These avenues create an environment for members to interact with one another as well as with the staff of Copyblogger.

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Building a robust community within your membership site will not only help you retain members, but most importantly, it will create a great experience for everyone involved.

5. Create Awareness & Interest

Let your readers know what you have to offer.

Yes, you can—and should—create landing pages, promotional blog posts, and perhaps ads, but you actually don’t have to create new content.

For example, Copyblogger provides pages to their seminars, webinars, and forums. You can see what they’re teaching and discussing, but you’re unable to participate unless you sign up.

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Whether it’s following Copybloggers example or placing your archived content behind a sign up, look for ways you can easily create awareness and incentive without having to create a ton of new content or take out ads.

Final Thoughts

Membership programs have been a thread in the fabric of business for years for one simple reason: They work.

If you are considering creating a membership site, I hope these five observations proved to be helpful.

As you plan and prepare your membership site, I encourage you to not only observe other sites, but to participate in one or more to experience them for yourself. This will help you fine-tune your own membership site before your launch.

10 Crucial Reasons Why You Should Lead with a Story

Paul Smith, Lead With a Story:

1. Storytelling is Simple

Anyone can do it. You don’t need a degree in English, or even an MBA.

2. Storytelling is Timeless

Unlike fads in other areas of management, such as total quality management, reengineering, Six Sigma, or 5S, storytelling has always worked for leadership, and it always will.

3. Stories are Demographic-Proof

Everybody—regardless of age, race, or gender—likes to listen to stories.

4. Stories are Contagious

They can spread like wildfire without any additional effort on the part of the storyteller.

5. Stories Are Easier to Remember

According to psychologist Jerome Bruner, facts are 20 times more likely to be remembered if they are part of a story. Organizational psychologist Peg Neuhauser found similar results in her work with corporations. She found that learning derived from a well-told story is remembered more accurately, and for far longer than the learning derived from facts or figures.

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6. Stories Inspire

Slides don’t. Have you ever heard someone say, “Wow! You’ll never believe the PowerPoint presentation I just saw!” Probably not. But you have heard people say that about stories.

7. Stories Appeal to All Types of Learners

…Storytelling has aspects that work for all three types. Visual learners appreciate the mental pictures storytelling evokes. Auditory learners focus on the words and the storyteller’s voice. Kinesthetic learners remember the emotional connections and feelings from the story.

8. Stories Fit Better Where Most of the Learning Happens in the Workplace

…”Up to 70 percent of the new skills, information and competence in the workplace is acquired through informal learning” such as what happens in team settings, mentoring, and peer-to-peer communication. And the bedrock of informal learning is storytelling.

9. Stories Put the Listener in a Mental Learning Mode

…As author and organizational narrative expert David Hutchens points out, storytelling puts listeners in a different orientation. They put their pens and pencils down, open up their posture, and just listen.

10. Telling Stories Shows Respect for the Audience

Stories get your message across without arrogantly telling listeners what to think or do…Telling a story, where you underline the moral, is a great way of explaining to people what needs to be done, without saying, “do this.”

Content adapted from Paul Smith, Lead with a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince, and Inspire (New York: Amacom, 2012), 11-12.

Not All Practice Makes Perfect

Geoff Colvin, Talent is Overrated:

We commonly use the term “practice” when talking about two domains, sports and music, but that habit can lead us astray. As already suggested, what we think of as practice frequently isn’t what the researchers mean by deliberate practice…

Deliberate practice is characterized by several elements…Let’s consider each of those attributes of deliberate practice and what it implies.

1. It’s designed specifically to improve performance

While the best methods of development are constantly changing, they’re always built around a central principle: They’re meant to stretch the individual beyond his or her current abilities.

…Deliberate practice requires that one identify certain sharply defined elements of performance that need to be improved, and then work intently on them.

2. It can be repeated a lot

High repetition is the most importance difference between deliberate practice of a task and performing the task for real, when it counts.

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3. Feedback on results is continuously available

You can work on technique all you like, but if you can’t see the effects, two things will happen: You won’t get any better, and you’ll stop caring.

4. It’s highly demanding mentally

Deliberate practice is above all an effort of focus and concentration. That is what makes it “deliberate,” as distinct from the mindless playing of scales or hitting of tennis balls that most people engage in.

5. It isn’t much fun

Doing things we know how to do well is enjoyable, and that’s exactly the opposite of what deliberate practice demands. Instead of doing what we’re good at, we insistently seek out what we’re not good at. Then we identify the painful, difficult actives that will make us better and do those things over and over.

Content adapted from Geoff Colvin, Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else (New York: Portfolio/Penguin, 2008), 66-72.

What Alcohol Teaches us About Living for God

Alcohol actually teaches us a lot about living for God.

In Ephesians 5:18 we read: “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.”

To get drunk with wine—or any alcoholic beverage for that matter—means that you will come under its influence. It will negatively influence your motor skills, decision making capabilities. and social inhibition.

To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to come under his influence. To be filled with the Holy Spirit is not a one-time event like being indwelinled by him. It is to be continually filled, saturated, and permeated by his presence on a day-to-day basis.

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Being filled with the Holy Spirit isn’t rocket science.

You don’t have to work yourself up into a frenzy, do a crazy jig, or seek out to be filled by the Spirit through someone else.

After being indwelled by the Spirit we are continually filled with his presence by simply asking God the Father, through Jesus Christ, to fill us him (Luke 11:13) and by setting our minds on the things of the Spirit (Rom. 8:5), which is the Bible (John 6:63; 1 Cor. 2:14).

When we are continually filled with the Spirit we will come under a great sense of his influence in our lives.

His influence isn’t something we necessarily feel.

It’s something that will change our lives.

Here are six ways how the Holy Spirit works within us to enable us to both live and love like Jesus.

1. The Holy Spirit Comes to Live Within Us

After calling and regenerating us, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our lives (1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19).

This means that God is not confined to a specific country, item, or building—like the Temple in the Old Testament (1 Kings 6). He indwells those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ.

By taking residence within our lives the Holy Spirit fills us with his presence (Eph. 5:18; cf. Acts 4:8; 4:31; 6:3; 9:17; 11:24; 13:9). His presence brings new life and a new love for God and others. He changes us from the inside out.

And his influence is not a one time deal, either.

The Holy Spirit is not a flakey guest who crashes with you for a night, sleeps in your bed, eats your food, and then leaves without saying goodbye.

When he comes to live within you he unpacks his bags, moves in his belongings, and stays for the long haul.

Though we may grieve him (Eph. 4:30) and even quench his presence (1 Thess. 5:19), we can’t offend him enough to make him leave. He’s with us forever (John 14:16-17; Rom. 8:9; Eph. 1:13-14).

2. The Holy Spirit Makes Known the Presence of Jesus

The Holy Spirit is not a rogue member of the Trinity doing his own thing.

His primary work in our life and the world today is to mediate the presence of Jesus Christ. (This is theological shorthand describing the role of the Holy Spirit in making known to us the personal presence of Jesus Christ.)

All of his works are rooted in his aim to bring glory to Jesus Christ (John 15:26; 16:14; Acts 5:32; 1 Cor. 12;3; 1 John 4:2)—not himself or us.

The Holy Spirit redirects our pursuits from aiming on ourselves to glorifying Jesus. He will lead us away from loving ourselves to loving God and others.  He gives us a new purpose to love God and enjoy him forever.

3. The Holy Spirit Makes Us More Like Jesus

There’s one important point to make about the Holy Spirit: He’s holy.

In a general gist, the Holy Spirit “produces holiness within us.” He will convict us of sin (John 15:8-11) and lead us to become more like Jesus.

As we walk with the Spirit (Gal. 5:16) and stay in step with the Spirit (Gal. 5:25), he will strip away our love for sin and make us more like Jesus (Gal. 5:16, 18).

4. The Holy Spirit Helps Us Understand the Bible

The relationship of the Holy Spirit with the Bible is twofold.

He inspired the writing of the Bible (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:20-21) and helps us to understand the Bible (John 16:13; 1 Cor. 2:9-11; Heb. 3:7; 10:15).

When it comes to understanding a passage from Scripture, the Holy Spirit will help you to understand what it means and how it changes your life.

The Holy Spirit will work through your personal reading of the Bible, family and friends, and especially through the proclamation of the gospel and the Bible (Rom. 1:16; 10:14-16).

So ask for the Holy Spirit to help you understand the Bible as you read and study its message.

Also, if you’re in a position of teaching the Bible to your family, friends, small group, or church, it’s a good idea to ask for the Holy Spirit to help your listeners understand the passage you are sharing.

5. The Holy Spirit Helps Us Pray

The Holy Spirit is active in aiding us in our prayer life (Rom. 8:26-27).

There will be times—not maybe—in your life as a Christian when you feel inadequate in your prayer life or have no idea what to pray for. This happens when we come into a situation when God’s revealed will in the Bible doesn’t specifically address. For example, we will not find within the pages of the Bible where we should attend school, live, work, who to marry, or how to handle a particular hardship.

In these moments the Holy Spirit will help us when we do not know how to pray for God’s will in a particular situation.

When you find yourself in these moments, remember to ask for the Holy Spirit to help you in your weakness.

6. The Holy Spirit Guides Us

The Holy Spirit also guides us (Gal. 5:16, 25; cf. Acts 8:29; 13:2; 15;7-9; 16:6; Rom. 8:14).

He led Jesus into the wilderness (Matt. 4:1), provided direct guidance to Philip (Acts 8:29), and even later physically transported him (Acts 8:39-40).

The Holy Spirit has—and can—supernaturally lead people, but his work in guiding you will normally take place with a less supernatural display of power. Look for less flare and pizazz from the Spirit and more for him to work through your average day-to-day dealings.

Though the Holy Spirit is at work guiding us on a deep, personal level, the Scriptures do suggest that we are responsible to cooperate in his guidance by “walking according to the Spirit” (Rom. 8:4; Gal. 5:16).

Don’t just pray and wait for a particular feeling. Pray and prepare for action.

How the Gospel Changes our Work

Sebastian Traeger and Greg Gilbert, The Gospel at Work:

1. You Work for a New Master

If you trust in Jesus Christ’s life and death in your place—if you have given your life to him in faith—then you work for a new master in everything you do.

2. You Have a New Assignment

If you are a follower of Christ, you look to Jesus to reorder your assignments and obligations, and he is very clear about what matters most. In Matthew 22, someone asked Jesus which of the bewildering array of commandments was most important. His answer is wonderfully unambiguous: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your should and with a ll your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matt. 22:37-39).

When you become a Christian, your overarching, overriding, life-driving assignment becomes as clear as crystal: You are to love God and love others.

3. You Have a New Confidence

We aren’t saying that the gospel gives you a new self-worth. Instead, it gives you a new confidence…Knowing you are loved by God in spite of yourself turns out to be the real answer to all the things you think you need self-esteem to achieve.

4. You Have New Rewards

There’s no greater rewards in the universe than what Jesus gives to those who work for him.

Once you accept this truth and believe it, it begins to change the way you approach your work. No longer do you look to your job to provide you with ultimate rewards, because you know that the greatest rewards you can ever have are secure for you in Jesus.

Knowing that you work for King Jesus and not for other people changes the way you approach your job. You have a new master, a new assignment, a new confidence, and new rewards—all because of Jesus. That’s not just a series of bullet points to pull out of your mental wallet here and there. It’s a whole new way of thinking.

And this new way of thinking leads to a new found freedom in the workplace.

Sebastian Traeger and Greg Gilbert, The Gospel at Work: How Working for King Jesus Gives Purpose and Meaning to our Jobs (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013), 46-49.

What Does it Take to Create a Movement?

Seth Godin, Tribes:

If we look at two Nobel Prize winners and their movements—Muhammad Yunus and Al Gore—some parallels become clear, and they directly relate to the tactics available to you as you lead your tribe.

Microfinance as a tool to fight poverty and the effort to recognize and stem global warming have both become movements. But as Yasmina Zaidman, at the Acumen Fund, told me, both problems (and their solutions!) were recognized more than thirty years ago. We weren’t lacking the answer—Muhammad Yunus had it all along. So why did it take thirty years for the idea to gain steam?

3280639091_1cd4552deb_zThe answer, as you’ve probably guessed, is that there’s a difference between telling people what to do and inciting a movement. The movement happens when people talk to one another, when ideas spread within the community, and most of all, when peer support leads people to do what they always knew was the right thing.

Great leaders create movements by empowering the tribe to communicate. They establish the foundation for people to make connections, as opposed to commanding people to follow them.

This is ow Skype spread around he world. Cofounder Niklas Zennstrom understood that overthrowing the tyranny of the hone companies was too big a project for a small company. But if he could empower the tribe to do it themselves, to connect to one another and to spread the word, he would be able to incite a movement.

Malcolm Gladwell wrote about the fall of the Berlin Wall, and it involved much the same dynamic. The collapse of East Germany wasn’t the work of one hardworking activist. Instead, it was the gradual but inexorable growth of the tribe, a loosely coordinated movement of activists that gained in force until it couldn’t be stopped.

One after another, intractable problems fall in the face of movements.

Seth, Godin, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us (New York: Portfolio/Penguin, 2008), 23-24.

50 Graceful Jabs from “Beat God to the Punch”

Eric Mason, Beat God to the Punch: Because Jesus Demands Your Life:index

“Jesus took our beat down. He died under the full blast of God’s wrath and remained faithful” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“To beat God to the punch, you have to place your trust in Jesus” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“Jesus, on the cross, took God’s best shot. He took on the fullness of God’s hatred toward sin” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“God not only saves us from something, He also saves us for something” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“Grace empowers the believer to live an obedience life to the gospel” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“Grace not only saved us, but sustains very aspect of the life of the redeemed” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“Grace doesn’t plunge us into ruin but rescues us from it” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“Grace not only saves, but also sustains the believer” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“Grace is the key to experience the love of God” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“The greatest sight of the life of the believer is being able to recognize the grace of God” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“Jesus is the one who will satisfy the pending wrath that hovers over us because of sin’s grip” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“To follow Jesus is to follow the grace of God” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“Being in a relationship with Jesus Christ by faith helps us to know what we should expect from Him” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“A disciple must be transformed into wanting what the Lord wants for them” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“Grace can’t be earned, but grace motivates and empowers us to work” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“An encounter with Jesus Christ changes everything” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“Truth lets people know where you stand, but grace lets people know you love them” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“Grace creates an environment for truth to be heard and either accepted or rejected” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“Truth makes grace clearer, and grace clarifies the offense of truth” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“Grace and truth are the key ingredients for God to be glorified and unleash the contagious nature of the gospel” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“Expressing to people that God is after them to love and save them changes everything” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“God is the worst chooser of people in the history of humanity” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“What makes grace contagious is Jesus and the Spirit, not us” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“Living a grace-filled life requires us to look into the name of Jesus and discover what we lack” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“Jesus…points us to the fact that we experience forgiveness and empowerment through His work on the cross” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“Jesus is the gracious sacrifice for sin that only God could provide” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“Bowing the knee to Christ is the only way to seize a grace-filled life” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“Jesus created everything to be connected to His purposes” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“If we are detached from Jesus, we will be detached from His purposes, and life will get messy” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“In Christ’s incarnation, He came to eliminate the fog that inhibits knowing God” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“Loyalty is a difficult thing to find in life, yet God in His grace is loyal” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“Being filled with the Spirit means being filled with the grace of God’ @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“Goodness an mercy are both requisite to beat God to the punch by the power of the Spirit” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“No matter what we go through, we are being stalked by the mercy and goodness of God” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“All of our sufferings have a beginning date and an expiration date”@pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“The role of grace is not to elimate suffering, but to sustain us through the valley” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“Grace is a strange an loyal keeper of the brokenhearted in the Lord Jesus Christ” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“The work of the Spirit as the presence of God’s grace in us affirms that we are His” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“We have confidence that God’s grace will relentlessly pursue us” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“God’s work of grace throughout history displays an elaborate scheme only God could accomplish” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“God is concerned for grace to be our relational foundation with Him” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“Jesus is the one to who reconnects heaven to earth” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“Jesus, not heaven, is the focal point of revelation” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“It’s not enough to merely see deficits of grace; we must extend it to others as they break our hearts” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“Jesus Christ came to empower us to beat God to the punch” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“Sometimes even forgiven people still wrestle with the radically free nature of forgiveness” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“No one can control the commitment of Jesus to save sinners” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“We must keep the gospel uncluttered, from our own preferences” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“One of the greatest comforts to me in the gospel is that God does the saving, not me” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

“Jesus offers real freedom. All other human talk of freedom is cloaked bondage” @pastoremase #BeatGodToThePunch

How the Holy Spirit Works Through Us Today

We have been invited by Jesus to help build his church.

And to this end the Holy Spirit works through us.

He works through our natural skills and abilities and even gives us supernatural gifts. These abilities and gifts are given by God for us to glorify him and serve others.

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There are four primary ways the Holy Spirit works through us today.

1. The Holy Spirit Calls Us

The Holy Spirit not only calls people to faith in Jesus Christ, but he calls us to a specific vocation or task.

This means that the God of the universe will guide you into the vocational decisions you make. Sometimes our life will appear to be a random hodgepodge of loosely connected events tied together, but this is not the case at all. God is directing your steps and guiding your life—even when it comes to work.

Here are just a few examples:

  • The Holy Spirit asked for Barnabas and Saul to be set apart “for the work to which [he] called them” (Acts 13:2)
  • The Holy Spirit led Philip to help an Ethiopian eunuch understand the Old Testament (Acts 8:26-40)
  • The Holy Spirit even forbid Paul from entering specific regions to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 16:6-7)

Sometimes the Holy Spirit will supernaturally guide us in the decisions we make. But here me loud and clear on this one: This is the exception, not the rule. (Sorry to disappoint you.)

Normally the Holy Spirit guides us through the ordinary ebbs and flows of life. As you trust God (Prov. 3:5-6), read the Bible (Rom. 12:1-2), and seek godly counsel (Prov. 11:14), the Holy Spirit will guide you into the work he has called you to.

2. The Holy Spirit Empowers Us

The Holy Spirit also empowers us for service.

This means he enables us to do what we’ve been called to do.

From the pages of the Old Testament we observe the Holy Spirit’s empowering presence in the lives of Joshua (Num. 27:18), Saul (1 Sam. 11:6), David (1 Sam. 16:13), and many others, to accomplish what they were called to do.

In the New Testament, we see that he empowered Jesus’ earthly ministry (Luke 4:14), the early disciples (Acts 1:8), and the preaching of the gospel (Acts 4:8, 31; 6:10; 1 Thess. 1:5).

The Holy Spirit is capable of empowering our natural abilities and improving upon them for a special task or purpose. This explains how God is capable of accomplishing his work through your average, ordinary, and even rejected members of society.

Shoot, Peter and John, two of the most important men in church history, were considered “unschooled, ordinary men” (Acts 4:13), yet God powerfully worked through their lives.

So take heart and be humble if you’re reading this today.

For “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong” (1 Cor. 1:27).

3. The Holy Spirit Empowers Evangelistic Efforts

Jesus is alive and he is building his church.

His church isn’t built through political engagement or military might. His church is built through the proclamation of the gospel.

Thankfully God hasn’t left us alone in his work. He sent the Holy Spirit to empower our evangelistic efforts.

The Holy Spirit empowers us to be a witness (Acts 1:8), directs our evangelistic efforts (Acts 8:26, 29), and empowers our evangelistic efforts (Acts 4:38, 31; 6:10; 1 Thess. 1:5; 1 Pet. 1:12).

The Holy Spirit’s aim in glorifying Jesus Christ is fulfilled by him enabling, guiding, and empowering our proclamation of the gospel.

4. The Holy Spirit Gives Spiritual Gifts

The Holy Spirit also works through us by giving us spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:11).

He doesn’t give us these gifts for our personal benefit, either.

He gives us gifts for the common good of the church (1 Cor. 12:7). This means that we receive spiritual gifts for building up the church, not our personal platform.

He also gives us gifts for us to serve others with (1 Pet. 4:10), not ourselves.

God also gives some spiritual gifts, such as tongues and prophecy, as a sign for unbelievers (1 Cor. 14:22). At times God will reveal his glory to unbelievers through a supernatural display of spiritual gifts.

There are multiple spiritual gifts listed in the Bible (Rom. 12:3-8; 1 Cor. 12; 1 Pet. 4:10-11). We don’t get to choose what gift we receive. They’re given to us by God for his glory and our good.