Testimony

bible.jpgThe following is a rough draft of my notes for a testimony I gave at church.  I typically write things out a bit and time them to ensure I’m within range.  Then I toss the notes and just use 6-8 bullet points.  The live version was shorter, more conversational and less dry.  But you’ll get the gist of it below.  I may expand on it later.

I was asked me to describe what God has done in my life . . . in 5 minutes or less. So either Pastor Trammell doesn’t think there is that much to say, or he knows that I talk as fast as he does.

The most important and obvious thing Jesus did was to save me. We don’t call Jesus our Savior for nothing. But saviors save people from something – and we’ve gotten out of the habit of completing the sentence.

In my case – and in yours, if you are a believer – He saved me from the wrath of a perfectly Holy and perfectly just God and he saved me from a well deserved eternity in Hell.

Here’s the short version of how He went about doing that and what has He done since.

I didn’t have a singular, dramatic conversion experience. With minor exceptions I’ve gone to church my whole life. The problem was that I wasn’t paying very close attention for the first, say, 28 years or so.

I sat in church most of my 20′s just to be sociable. By worldly standards I was a nicely dressed, relatively well behaved pagan who went to church and only fell asleep during sermons most of the time, and who didn’t trust in Jesus, read the Bible or really care what God said.

Then a few things happened. I noticed people using study Bibles which really helped explain the text, and that helped me understand it a lot better. Then God gave me the desire to read it more.

An FM rock station converted to a Christian format and inexplicably, I started listening to sermons and Bible shows while driving around. I learned countless things and started thinking about God multiple times per day instead of just once a week.

Ultimately God just let me see the truth: Jesus really lived, really died for my sins and really rose again. The evidence was there. I was a sinner, and I couldn’t save myself or forgive myself for my sins against God.

But He doesn’t just save us to fill up the seats in church. Just as He promised, He transforms our hearts and minds through his Holy Spirit and his word – provided that we don’t get in the way of them and that we actually read the Bible.

Also, as Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  As He transforms us our desire become more like his.  He has changed my desires in many ways and fulfilled them more fully than I could have asked for.

He gave me a real hunger for his word and learning about him and why we can trust his word. I actually like to read and teach the Bible.

He has transformed the way I think so that I see the world more like He does, regardless of what the topic is. He has given me an eternal perspective, so more often I think of things in a less worldly way. When in doubt, I try to agree with whatever He says.

He also converted my wallet, and took me from being very stingy to actually loving to give, and to looking for ways to give more and more to help advance his kingdom.

He took me from being afraid to teach Sunday school or even say a quick prayer in class to actually enjoying opportunities to speak about him. Before, I was petrified, but now it’s like, “Oh look – a microphone!  And I get to talk about Jesus?! You won’t be needing this back.”

I used to avoid religious talk at all costs, but He has given me the passion and the opportunity to share the Gospel with countless atheists and agnostics and people of every major religion and cult.

He took me from being selfish with my time to really enjoying serving others.  He gave me a passion to get involved in the pro-life issue, which I consider to be the most important moral issue of our time.  I’ve been a volunteer at CareNet Pregnancy center as a counselor, teacher of pro-life reasoning classes and board member – where we try to save lives now and for eternity.

I got involved in prison ministry. When I signed up for this Christianity thing I had no idea I’d end up encouraging and hugging so many convicted felons, and would actually enjoy studying the Bible with them.

There’s a lot of other things I’ve gotten involved with as well, such as going on mission trips.

I just got back from a fabulous trip to Honduras with my youngest daughter.  We did normal mission trip things, such as helping build a house, feeding children in the streets, passing out food and copies of the Gospel of John to every house in the area, Bible school classes each day, playing with the kids and more.

That’s her helping dedicate the new house and with a girl reading the Gospel of John. And that’s me with some of the kids who will live in the house.  Nine people in a house the size of your master bedroom – and that’s an upgrade for them.

As you can see one of the themes of the week was, “Personal space? What is personal space?”

My point is that the trip wasn’t work and it wasn’t done to say, “Look at me, I’m on a mission trip.” It was a joy – all week long. Serving the Lord in ways you enjoy and desire is fun.

You cannot experience real and sustained joy apart from the author of joy.

I give Jesus all the credit for any good things done in my life or from my life, and I am eternally grateful for him letting me be a part of his plan. It is all by his grace and has nothing to do with any good deeds on my part.

So my challenge to you is that whether you talk about it up here or not, really reflect on what God has done in your life. If you are like I used to be and haven’t trusted in Jesus as your Savior, then I encourage you to get with someone as soon as possible and address whatever objections or barriers you have.

So what has God done in my life? Everything that matters – for now and for eternity.

I love being a Christian, and whether He gives me 50 more minutes of this life or 50 more years, I want to be relentless about being a good ambassador for him.

Thank you.

21 thoughts on “Testimony

  1. Beautiful. Couldn’t have said it better! I hope we’ll have opportunity to meet face to face some day. I feel you’ve become a faithful brother and friend. Incidentally, are your daughters in the Christamas ballet? I don’t plan on coming to Texas anytime soon, but will certainly look forward to your reports and photos.

    P. S. You really stirred up a storm on the last apologetics site I read. I’m amazed at how many people you attract to your site, from so many backgrounds and with so many diverse opinions.

    ~donkimrey

  2. Thanks, Don! Yes, I hope we meet face to face someday. Your encouragement has meant a lot to me.

    Yes, they are in the Nutcracker – 5 performances this weekend starting Friday night. I’m actually in it with them in the opening party scene, believe it or not (they need some dads to complete the families . . . let’s just say we aren’t in it as eye candy). I’ll definitely post some photos. I took 650 tonight and am in the process of editing them (I take them of all the kids and put them on Picasa so everyone can access them).

    Yep, we attract quite an interesting crowd here! Seriously, I really appreciate all the commentary here. I truly enjoy the friends I’ve made through blogging.

  3. Neil,
    It was nice to finally read about you after jumping around different forum topics on your website. I don’t even remember how I found you, but I’m glad I did. Good story. Do you record the number of hits you have received?
    Bill

  4. Hi Bill,

    Thanks for visiting and commenting. Glad you’re here. Not sure how many hits this has received. There are probably stats somewhere in WordPress. I review the overall stats but you can’t know how many really read it, how many were repeat visitors, etc.

  5. , as Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” As He transforms us our desire become more like his. He has changed my desires in many ways and fulfilled them more fully than I could have asked for, a friend asked me to read this am so pleased but will not forget to remind us thatsalvation is ONLY possible if we maintian it, read JUDE 5 thanks to Ly Syin

  6. Hi Green,

    Thanks for visiting and commenting!

    Re. Jude 5 (“Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe.”) — that appears to me that the ones destroyed never really believed. Yes, we should persevere, but that is just evidence that we were really saved.

  7. Hi Philippa,

    Thanks for visiting and commenting. Please use the “wallet” comment all you like. I think Luther or some other famous person said it first (something along the lines of people going through two conversions, first the heart and then the wallet . . . and the second can be more difficult than the first!).

  8. Good stuff. Sharing this kind of thing is important. I too was a “happy pagan” who attended church in body (off and on) for thirty years… but not mind or heart.

    I particularly like your line: “When in doubt, I try to agree with whatever He says.” Amen!! (Easy to say, hard to do.) I think I may borrow that, if you don’t mind! :)

    God bless.

  9. Neil, I found you on another blog’s comments (an atheist’s). I appreciate your zeal for truth!

    Take care, and hopefully I’ll stop by more often.

    peace
    james

  10. Thanks for sharing your testimony, wow what a wonderful saviour you have….my saviour Jesus did the same with me and my heart swells to read your written words. Press on brother. I thank God for your website.

    Liz

  11. Pingback: Tweets that mention Testimony « Eternity Matters -- Topsy.com

  12. I was impressed by your testimony. I was raised Catholic and will be indebted to the nuns for teaching me about Jesus and his love. As an adult I find I want something more than the Catholic mass on Sunday. I struggle with finding a church home, but have recently met a lovely person who goes to a non-denominational church in our little town. She is such a kind and loving person I really would like to go and learn more. I frequently find myself asking question after question, challenging my born-again sister-in-law, not because I want to make her uncomfortable, but because I am seriously looking for answers and I struggle with my faith, even questioning the existence of God at times. Do you have any suggestions for me on this spiritual quest of mine? I am not looking for easy answers, I am looking for my personal truth.

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