Sunday, August 19, 2007

August 19, 2007

Your testimony...spoken or declared every day to those around you. Yesterday we looked at how our unspoken testimony is "read" by all those around us who are watching us day in and day out....our co-workers, our neighbors, our lost family members, our children and grandchildren, and even those we just come in contact with clerks, people we talk to on the telephone, bus drivers, fast food workers, etc. Today I'd like for you to see how you can share your testimony "verbally".

Rick Warren, author of the best seller, The Purpose Driven Life, tells us how we can share our "life message":

Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony of God in them.” (1 John 5:10a GW)

Your lives are echoing the Master’s Word .... The news of your faith in God is out. We don’t even have to say anything anymore — you’re the message!” (1 Thessalonians 1:8 MSG)

God has given you a Life Message to share.

When you became a believer, you also became God’s messenger. God wants to speak to the world through you. Paul said, “We speak the truth before God, as messengers of God.” (2 Corinthians 2:17)
You may feel you don’t have anything to share, but that’s the Devil trying to keep you silent. You have a storehouse of experiences that God wants to use to bring others into his family. The Bible says, “Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony of God in them.” (1 John 5:10)

Your Life Message has four parts to it:

Your testimony: the story of how you began a relationship with Jesus;
Your life lessons: the most important lessons God has taught you;
Your godly passions: the issues God shaped you to care about most;
The Good News: the message of salvation.

Your Life Message includes your testimony. Your testimony is the story of how Christ made a difference in your life. Peter tells us that we were chosen by God “to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you.” (1 Peter 2:9)
This is the essence of witnessing — simply sharing your personal experiences regarding the Lord. In a courtroom, a witness isn’t expected to argue the case, prove the truth, or press for a verdict; that is the job of attorneys. Witnesses simply report what happened to them or what they saw.

Jesus said, “You will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8) – not “You will be my attorney.” He wants you to share your story with others. Sharing your testimony is an essential part of your mission on earth because it is unique. There is no other story just like yours, so only you can share it. If you don’t share it, it will be lost forever.

You may not be a Bible scholar, but you are the authority on your life, and it’s hard to argue with personal experience. Actually, your personal testimony is more effective than a sermon, because unbelievers see pastors as professional salesmen, but they see you as a “satisfied customer,” so they give you more credibility.

Personal stories also are easier to relate to than principles, and people love to hear them. They capture our attention, and we remember them longer. Unbelievers would probably lose interest if you started quoting theologians, but they have a natural curiosity about experiences they’ve never had. Shared stories build a relational bridge from your heart to theirs – a bridge Jesus can walk across.

Another value of your testimony is that it by-passes intellectual defenses. Many people who won’t accept the authority of the Bible will listen to a humble personal story. That is why on six different occasions Paul used his testimony to share the Gospel instead of quoting Scripture.
The Bible says, “Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you, but do it with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15-16) The best way to “be ready” is to write out your testimony and then memorize the main points.

So what?
· Testimony – Divide your testimony into four parts:
o 1 – What my life was like before I met Jesus.
o 2 – How I realized I needed Jesus.
o 3 – How I committed my life to Jesus.
o 4 – The difference Jesus has made in my life.

· Variations on your testimony – You have a story for every experience in which God has helped you. Once you are comfortable with your basic testimony, make a list of all the problems, circumstances, and crises God has brought you through. Then use one of those situations when it seems relevant. Different situations call for different testimonies.

Think about YOUR testimony today. Sit down and write out your testimony in your own, conversational style. Tomorrow we will take a look at more from Rick Warren regarding incorporating "life lessons" into your testimony. We were made for a purpose and it's not about US! We've spent too much time just waltzing through our days with no thought whatsoever about how we are and could be impacting others for the Kingdom. We give more thought to what we are going to have for lunch and what make up to buy than we do to our testimony. If we won the lottery, we'd be telling everyone we saw! If we discovered a cure for cancer, we'd be shouting it from the rooftops! We LOVE to tell good news to everyone and anyone who will listen. Well here is the BEST news ever: Jesus paid a debt I did not owe because I owed a debt I could not pay and because HE died for me to accomplish that He has redeemed me from the marketplace of sin, set me free and is preparing a place for me with Him for all eternity in Heaven so that I would NOT have to spend eternity in Hell!!!!!!!!!! Let's tell somebody about it TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

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