Transformational Testimony

PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION Let us pray for the Holy Spirit of God to guide our thoughts …

We praise you loving and eternal God for your love of all people expressed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We praise you for his commitment to justice, his zeal for true worship of you and his willingness to replace all other sacrifices with the sacrifice of his own life. Open our lives to your Holiness recorded in Scripture. Send us your Spirit to help us connect your Word to our lives. In his name we offer you our worship. Amen.  Amen.

FIRST SCRIPTURE READING–        Genesis 9:8-17                       The Covenant with Noah

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark.  I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

May the Lord bless our hearing and understanding of this Holy Word.

SECOND SCRIPTURE READING–  Acts 26:12-18                         Paul Tells of His Conversion

 “With this in mind, I was traveling to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests, when at midday along the road, your Excellency, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and my companions. When we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It hurts you to kick against the goads.’ I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ The Lord answered, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But get up and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you to serve and testify to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you. I will rescue you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

MEDITATION            “Transformation Testimony”

Do you have a favorite story? You might love to hear a story, you can listen to a friend tell the story over and over again.  Your favorite story may be one you read or to watch as a movie. In Bedtime Stories a Disney movie from 2008, we’ve watched it over and over again. Adam Sandler portrays Skeeter Bronson, tells bedtime stories to his niece and nephew. He learned to tell stories from his father, whose powerful imagination captivated Skeeter from a young age. Now as a young man, he still works as the Hotel maintenance man hoping to someday become the manager. He casts himself as the hero saving the day. The kids suggest additions that someway become part of Skeeter’s day.

It’s a story with a beginning, middle and an ending. The beginning sets the stage, the setting, and the characters. The middle develops the plot, the tension, and draws the listener into the story. The ending brings resolution and a response.  We all have a story to tell, one that does not need to embellished or expanded. It is the story of God’s activity in your life. Your story shares your experience of God’s grace. When you tell this story you give testimony to the Lord. You witness to God’s love.

So what’s your story? We have all have a story to tell. Matthew West sings a song, “The Next Thing you Know” describing his story of coming to faith listening to a Billy Graham crusade.

So, what's your story about His glory?
You gotta find your place in the history of grace
Yeah, what's your story about His glory?
Come on and find your place

We begin the story BC, Before Christ. You simply describe your life before Jesus came into your life. You might relate the questions you searched to resolve in your mind or explain how you recall early spiritual experiences. You can tell the story of who introduced you to Jesus. I remember when …fill in the blank. Beginning with this story, prepares the listener to hear the power of Christ to transform our lives.

The Middle part of the story explains the way we met Jesus. We describe how we encounter the Risen Lord. We tell how the Lord became real and personal. It may be a gradual maturity or a dramatic conversion, but sometime in our life, our faith became real and powerful. Our relationship with our Savior began to have meaning and purpose.  I believe that God, Creator of Heaven and Earth cares for me as a person. It matters to the Lord of all, what happens in my life.

The ending explains how the changes in my life AD, after our decision to trust Jesus. Faith now becomes central to my very existence. I’m on a faith journey, growing in my understanding. I’m trusting in Jesus Christ each and every day. I’m following the Lord on a path towards eternity. I discovered that my faith changed my outlook on life.

We then conclude by building a bridge between our story and our listener. We switch from the story teller to the listener of a new story. We ask a question that helps the listener tell their story. We want to engage in a conversation that will help our friend relate our story to their story so they can meet Jesus on the road. They can examine their experience and discover God’s desire to meet them right where they are.  Jesus invited the disciples to become fishers of people. “And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.”  Matthew 4:19-20.  This question is setting the hook, to help a friend meet Jesus.

So, let me tell you a story being aware of the a UD board of directors advise to President Jeffery Bullock, the three B’s of public speaking, “Be brief, Be bright, Be gone.”

I grew up in a Christian family. My parents required us to attend church. They did not give us a choice until we confirmed our Baptismal vows. And following confirmation, they expected if we joined the church to attend worship regularly. It kind of stuck. I even attended worship and remained active in a spiritual walk in college.

I truly believed in Jesus and accepted him as my Lord and Savior.  But I think during my sophomore year of college, my faith took a huge leap. Through worship, Bible Study, service projects, and leading youth ministry, I noticed my faith confidence strengthened as I shared my understanding with others. I trusted God to see me through many challenges. After college, I searched for full-time employment and being the second choice for several positions, God gave me assurance that in the right time, I’d find the right job. I felt content even as I worked part-time, without benefits that God was with me.

Even as I made mistakes and lived a life not completely reflecting what I believed, I felt the Lord’s love and forgiveness. I walked along a faith journey that took twists and turns, over hill and over dale, I knew that Jesus walked with me. Eventually, I did find fulltime employment and a wonderful church that continued to strengthen my faith. I continued to serve the Lord with gladness and felt fulfilled. Then, the Lord nurtured a call to full time ministry. Each day is still a journey of faith.  God is still walking with me through life and strengthening my faith to share with others the transforming love and power of Jesus Christ and guiding me with the Holy Spirit. This is my transforming testimony to my Lord Jesus Christ.

Can you tell me a story of God’s activity in your life?

TGBTG. Amen.

  January 2018  
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