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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I TESTIFY: CREATING YOUR TESTIMONY


This month the Christian Writers are sharing thoughts about the theme “nurture” in honor of Mother’s Day. Please click on their links to the right on the appropriate days.

I’ve chosen to write today about evangelism—in order to encourage and nurture other believers in their ability to evangelize and to encourage and nurture people to accept Christ as a result. If you missed my previous post about evangelism, you can go here to read it.



Remember Jesus’ Great Commission?


Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

It means that although people’s salvation is up to Jesus, he still wants me to share my testimony with other people. Jesus wants me to share what he means to me—to hold a microphone up to people’s hearts so they can hear Jesus knocking.

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. (Revelation 3:20)

But what is my testimony?  How do I make one?

I like to write things out. It makes it easy to change, rearrange and improve them. It lets me read and reread so I can feel comfortable saying my testimony out loud.

Creating a testimony also solidifies in my mind and in my heart what God has done for me. It’s not only a testimony to others; it’s also a testimony to myself of how Jesus has been at work—and still is.

You might consider writing up your own testimony. Keep it simple. Keep it personal. Skip the theology. Don’t worry about quoting scripture or spouting church doctrine. Just talk about Jesus. Here are some ideas to get you started.

1. Talk about what your life was like—what you were like—before you knew Jesus.

What was your main problem? What was your attitude toward others? What types of things did you do? And how did that make you feel? How did others react to you? How did you try to live life on your own strength? What were you trying to do? What wasn’t working right? What was causing you trouble, friction or pain?

Try to focus on your emotions in order to empower your testimony. If you can, relive those emotions and share them. Were you angry? Hopeless? Empty? Insecure? Unloved?

2. Then share how you came to learn about Jesus.

Was there a specific point in time or specific circumstances that pointed you to Christ? Or was it a long journey? Share it.

Was there a specific person who led you to Christ? Or a specific person who caused you to need to search for Christ? What were you going through at the time?

3. Then share how knowing Jesus has changed things.

How has it changed you? How has it changed your attitude, your thoughts, your outlook, your relationships? How has being forgiven made you feel? What does it mean to have a relationship with Jesus? What is Jesus doing in your life now? How is he changing you?

Focus on the emotions you feel now: hopeful, secure, loved, compassionate, encouraged.

4. Keep it real—your emotions, your language and your attitude.

Avoid words that unbelievers might not understand. Instead use words and phrases that are clear:

Instead of “saved,” say: knowing Jesus has given me hope of how to live a better way
Instead of “reborn,” say: Jesus has renewed my spirit
Instead of “Gospel,” say: good news that Jesus came to show us God’s love
Instead of “sin,” say: disobedience to how God wants us to live

If you’ve ever had to look up a Christian-ese word in a dictionary—don’t use it in your testimony. You’re not trying to impress people with your big words. You’re trying to impress them with your big God.

Get started! Then share it with us—and the world.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, you have done so much for us; have made such a difference in our lives; have saved our eternal lives! Show us ways; give us the words to share your love with the world. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Have you written your testimony? 


This post was revised from an article I wrote for www.WeUsed2BU.com.


18 comments:

E. G. Lewis said...

Good reminder. As St. francis said, "Use words if you have to."
Peace and Blessings

Kristena Tunstall said...

Carol, what a great post to share. I think it is important, espeically if you've never given your testimony before.

From Carols Quill said...

@ E.G. yes, He said it well. And a testimony is better without words. But words are good, too.

From Carols Quill said...

@ Kristena - Glad you think it's a good idea. My stumbling and mumbling was less effective than having something to say and then saying it. ;-)

Michael Johnson said...

My favorite part: "It means that although people’s salvation is up to Jesus, he still wants me to share my testimony with other people." I'm amazed that the God of the universe chooses to use me for this purpose. It doesn't make sense, but it is humbling.

SandiGrace said...

Carol, I love this post. I recently gave my testimony at a ladies' tea. I wrote it out, just as you suggest, and worked it over a dozen or more times. LOL Then I practiced. When it came time to give it, I was so glad I had taken the time to do this. All the dross was gone, and the simple truths came pouring out. Even though it went pretty well, I wish I had had your post to read before then. You have written a very clear and useful guide for communicating the most important event of a Christian's life. Great job! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi, your blog really touches me, have been reading it for a while... Just wanted you to know about a website i started ReadYourBiblesChurch.com... It's a place for Bible study guides.. I also put a forum in that can be viewed from a mobile device.. I couldn't find where to contact you privately so I'm commenting, hope that is okay. :) God Bless!

From Carols Quill said...

@ Michael - Yes, it is humbling whenever God uses us for His purpose. It's about being His hands and feet even if our hands sweat and our feet stumble.

From Carols Quill said...

@ Sandi - congratulations on giving your testimony! It feels hard because it's so important and so filled with everything that comes from our heart.

Good job.

lynnmosher said...

Carol, what a great outline for sharing one's faith! Thank you!

From Carols Quill said...

You're welcome, dear Lynn. Thank you for your encouragement!

Jack Brown said...

good post
no one can argue with with a persons testimony.
biiig hug

From Carols Quill said...

Agreed Jack. That's why they're so powerful. Good point.

Traci B said...

Fantastic post, Carol. Revelation 12:11 tells us we overcome the enemy by the Blood of the Lamb, the word of our testimony, and not loving our life so much that we're unwilling to give it up for the Lord. Not only does our testimony point the way to Jesus for others, it also helps us overcome the adversary's attacks.

You asked if we've ever written our testimony - I'm in the process of writing part of it in fictionalized form for Brigitte's Battle. What I'm writing about is my past, but I'm incorporating it into Chantal's back story, which we're learning more about in this second book.

And of course, there's the post I wrote last May on Tracings.

Deborah K. Anderson said...

Great post, Carol, and something we should all think about.

From Carols Quill said...

@ Traci - I love the idea of writing your testimony into your character's. And yes, I remember your powerful testimony last year. Wonderfully written.

@ Deborah - thanks for stopping by.

Terrie Thorpe said...

Terrific post! I have written my testimony out several times and it became a novel! The Lord has been in my life so long it's hard to begin without telling the whole story :) Praise God He has helped me to shortened it and developed skills that speak directly to that person He wants to reach. Like Edward quoted, "use words if necessary" - The only Bible most people will ever read is what they see in our life - what a responsibility to let our actions speak louder than our words. Peace and Blessings!

From Carols Quill said...

@ Terrie - you and Traci both are using your testimony in novels. What a great thing to do!