What’s your testimony?

I’ve been a Christian since Junior High and I’ve met many Christians over the years. I’ve heard many testimonies of faith, but I’ve seem to notice a common denominator with many: Many people think they have a “boring” testimony.

Let me say this: There is no such thing as a boring testimony. When God raises someone from the dead, it’s staggering.

I think I  know what people mean when they say “boring.” They mean to say, I think, that they’ve never done drugs, didn’t sleep around, didn’t have an alcohol problem, didn’t come to the end of themselves, and were born into a Christian family where they got saved at a young age. If this is the case, the testimony may not be as dramatic as some, but it certainly isn’t boring.

A testimony is what our life was like before we got saved, how we got saved, and how our life is now different because we are saved. The remedy to removing the word “boring” from our understanding of our testimony is a proper understanding of what our life was like before we got saved.

Remember what Paul said to the Ephesians?

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind (Ephesians 2:1-3).

According to Paul, before we met Jesus, we were:

  1. Dead in our sins.
  2. Following satan.
  3. Children of wrath.

 

Then God saves you. And makes you a Christian where you become adopted, forgiven, loved, sharing in Christ’s inheritance, and seated with him in the heavenly places. We go from the Kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of light. Surely, there is no such thing as a boring testimony.

We can have testimonies that are more or less dramatic, but never one that is boring. When God raises someone from the dead, it is always staggering.

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I used to think that the only way to glorify God at work was by evangelizing my co-workers. If my co-workers weren’t converted, God wasn’t glorified.

Then I read Tim Keller’s outstanding book, Every Good Endeavor, and my views shifted. I later realized that evangelizing my co-workers was simply one of the many ways to glorify God at work.

 

 

Most of us spend upwards to 40 hours a week at work, so this is certainly a topic pertinent to every believer. So how do we do it?

On page 22 of the book, Keller outlines several ways we can glorify and serve God at work.

  • The way we serve God at work is to further social justice in the world.
  • The way we serve God at work is to be personally honest and evangelize your colleagues.
  • The way we serve God at work is just to do skilful, excellent work.
  • The way we serve God at work is to create beauty.
  • The way we serve God at work is to work from a Christian motivation to glorify God, seeking to engage and influence culture to that end.
  • The way we serve God at work is to work with a grateful, joyful, gospel-changed heart through all the ups and downs.
  • The way we serve God at work is to do whatever gives you the greatest joy and passion.
  • The way to serve God at work is to make as much money as you can, so that you can be as generous as you can.

 

Insofar as it isn’t sinful, we can glorify God doing any kind of job. Don’t put too much emphasis on your status as an employee as it relates to society. If you have a high status, it may go to your head; if you have a low one, it may go to your heart. Don’t let it. Your identity is in what Jesus has done for you, not what you do for a living. Keller adds, “In the Old Testament, God was a Gardener; in the New Testament, he came as a Carpenter.” There is no menial work. Whether you’re the CEO of a company, or you’re an employee at a restaurant, the status isn’t the big thing, but God’s glory is. “Whatever you do,” Paul says, “work heartily as for the Lord, and not for men” (Colossians 3:23). Keep your eyes focused on his glory.

 

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We’ve heard it before: The truth will set you free. This is true. And also some of the most misquoted words of Jesus.

This saying originally came from Jesus in the Gospel of John, “. . . and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).

Some secular avenues love this verse without even originally knowing where it came from. They read it and immediately assume they know what it means, that it applies to their life, that they know what real truth is. We’ve seen these words written in College classrooms, used from people in everyday language, and even found in most media markets. This is obvious. But this question is not: “Who and what was Jesus referring to?”

In order to properly understand this verse, we must know the previous one. What did Jesus say? After all, he was in a middle of a conversation.

“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32).

The true source of truth does not come from abstract notions, accumulated experiences, understanding of certain principles and theories, or any secular avenue of thought. Instead, true freedom and real truth only comes from following Jesus and abiding in His Word. If we aren’t following Jesus, we haven’t been set free.

Jesus hung so we could be free. His grace can reach anyone. Only through following Him and knowing His word can anyone be set free, the true freedom that our soul craves.

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Tupac and Biggie, Eminem, Andre 3000, Nas and Jay-Z. As far as I can remember, I’ve always loved Hip-Hop music.

I grew up in St. Louis and the music genre of choice was usually Hip-Hop. I listened to it before football games, before working, in the car, after school, almost incessantly. Hip-Hop makes my soul leap. It gives me goosebumps, inspires and motivates, and even helps with grief. The punch lines, the wordplay, the metaphors, the passion, the beat — to me, it’s the best. When that “one part” in the song hits, It’s almost like I forget about everything else.

When I became a Christian, though, things changed. My desires shifted. My ambitions were geared toward Another. How I viewed my body, money, women, and my life altered. The same rap lyrics I once loved I now viewed differently. Let’s be honest: much of the secular (for lack of a better word) rap content is contrary to the things of God. But even though I do not advocate nor agree with what many of them say, I do occasionally listen to it. And though I don’t admire them in the sense that I would want to be like them, I do admire their skill-set and can’t help but recognize it. It’s a gift from God. It’s shear common grace.

Then I tried listening to some “Christian Rap.” And man, was it terrible.

The psalmist tell us to “play skilfully” (Psalm 33:3). It doesn’t matter if we’re a Christian Artist; if we aren’t at least skilful, maybe we should consider doing something else. You don’t have to be the best, you just have to be competent. We don’t simply need more Christian Artists, but rather more skilful Christian Artists.

Furthermore, though off to a rough start, things got better as my search for skilful Christ-exalting Hip-Hop continued.

Someone introduced me to Lecrae. And that’s when “my whole life changed.”

Soon thereafter, I heard Trip Lee. Then The Ambassador. Then it was Shai Linne and Tedashii and This’l and J’Son. And now, its people like Jackie Hill, people like Andy Mineo, people like Derek Minor.

The list seems to go on and on. There are many outstanding record labels like Reach Records, Lampode, and Humble Beast. I’ve been to many of these Hip-Hop concerts. I met and prayed for Lecrae once. I just got back from Winterjam a few weeks ago. I see the tweets, the record sales, the blogs. Most importantly, from my view (a small view), I see the impact. From across the globe, I’m seeing and hearing and listening to stories of thousands of Christians all-over the world with a passion for Hip-Hop music who are being changed and greatly inspired to love God and love people more all because of the music. Sanctification is happening. A passion for revival is stirring. People in the urban context are relating like they’ve never related before. For the good of the people and the glory of God, this music and these Artists are influencing many to become more like Jesus and share Jesus with others, and for that I can’t help but feel a deep, real, and satisfying sense of gratitude. I am so grateful to God for the Artists he is raising up, and the lives he is changing.

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I like Richard Sherman. And I’m a St. Louis Rams fan.

How can you not appreciate what he has accomplished?

Grew up in the projects, graduated from Stanford, a gifted athlete, and is now currently one of the best players in the NFL. Impressive, to say the least.

You probably already know, but two Sundays ago after making the play that would inevitably lead his team to the Super bowl, Sherman uttered things about opponent, Michael Crabtree, in a post-game interview on National Television that were overly emotional at best, degrading at worst. But hey, he just made the play that would send his team to the Ship so we should let him off the hook, right?

I’m not sure if we should merely overlook what he did, but I know that we can learn from this experience, and one of the biggest takeaways is a lesson in character.

The issue with how we use our words is not so much an indicator of intelligence as much as it is a revealing of character. We can partly attest your charter by what you say.

We have never spoken a neutral word. What you say is of significant importance. Our words go into out hearer’s ears, to their mind, and then down to their soul. And by saying what he said last week, Sherman’s character was revealed. And every time we speak, our character is, too.

This is no light matter. As John Calvin once said, “I consider looseness with words no less of a defect than looseness of bowels.” To be careless and flippant with words is the mark of the immature. The issue is not so much with our words, but with our heart. When we speak, part of our heart is revealed, because Jesus said that, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45).

Another way our character is revealed is by our actions. But not only by our actions, but also by our reactions. In others words, it is not only measured by what we do, but also by how we react to things. When we have no time to prepare for what to say or do is when the most accurate revealing of our character is shown. When we are interrupted, caught off guard, surprised, shocked — in those moments, who we truly are in the depths of our soul is revealed.  C.S. Lewis puts it this way: “Surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is best evidence for what sort of man he is.”

Richard Sherman used words, had little time to prepare for the interview, and his character was revealed.

You use words. And react to things. People are watching — your character is on display.

Let’s not be too hard on Sherman. Given the situation, I’m not sure how I would have done, but I’m sure that we can all agree that we have said and reacted to things poorly in the past. Let us examine our hearts to see what we fill it with, and on this forthcoming Superbowl Sunday, let us be reminded that while the world is watching the Superbowl, somebody is watching you.

Hope this was helpful. But still — This post was probably mediocre at best.

Post your comments below.

I consider looseness with words no less of a defect than looseness of the bowels. – See more at: http://johncalvinquotes.com/looseness-of-the-bowels/#sthash.IL6Z6Zv9.dpuf
I consider looseness with words no less of a defect than looseness of the bowels. – See more at: http://johncalvinquotes.com/looseness-of-the-bowels/#sthash.IL6Z6Zv9.dpuf
I consider looseness with words no less of a defect than looseness of the bowels. – See more at: http://johncalvinquotes.com/looseness-of-the-bowels/#sthash.IL6Z6Zv9.dpuf
I consider looseness with words no less of a defect than looseness of the bowels. – See more at: http://johncalvinquotes.com/looseness-of-the-bowels/#sthash.IL6Z6Zv9.dpuf
I consider looseness with words no less of a defect than looseness of the bowels. – See more at: http://johncalvinquotes.com/looseness-of-the-bowels/#sthash.IL6Z6Zv9.dpuf
I consider looseness with words no less of a defect than looseness of the bowels. – See more at: http://johncalvinquotes.com/looseness-of-the-bowels/#sthash.IL6Z6Zv9.dpuf

We look at the girl who is beautiful, outgoing, popular and fashionable and say, “There’s no way she can be humble.”

But what does humility look like?

The issue is not so much that our definition is wrong, but that our description is wrong. We have misconceptions and preconceived notions of what humility should look like — or what we want it to look like — rather than what it actually is.

We tend to make humility a personality thingIn all actuality, humility is more of a character thing.  Humility is more of who you are than what you’re like.

The essence of humility, as I’ve written before, is service of others to the glory of God. Practically, this looks like realizing that we are sinners in need of God’s grace, speaking in such a way that is salty and seasoning, speaking well of others, being quick to listen and slow to speak, thinking of ourselves less , selfless living, etc.  All of these are done out of humble character. In other words, you do these things because it’s who you are.

Jesus Christ never sinned and was the most humble man who ever lived. He was frequently invited to parties, turned water into wine, and hung out with tax collectors and prostitutes. He showed us what true humility looks like by constantly serving others back then and still incessantly serving us (Heb. 7:25) right now. If we want to grow in humility, we should look to Jesus.

We can be shy, unpopular, uncool and have few talents and still be prideful. We can also be a millionaire NFL Quarterback and walk in the ways of humility. Because humility is more of who you are than what you’re like.

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You do not have to wait until you’re 58 years old to make a difference. You can start right now.

Paul had this in mind for Timothy when he wrote, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).

Consider the following examples:

  • D.L. Moody began his ministry at age 21
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer began his ministry at age 25
  • Charles Spurgeon began preaching at age 16
  • Billy Graham began preaching at age 19
  • Jonathan Edwards began preaching at age 19
  • Charles Whitfield began preaching at age 25
  • John Calvin wrote his classic book at age 22
  • Mark Driscoll planted Mars Hill Church at age 25

The point of this aforementioned list is not to discourage us or beat us down with guilt, but rather open our eyes to show and encourage us that God has, can, and is willing to use a young buck for his glory.

But where do we start? The answer is — we start with our local church.

In his book, A Call to Resurgence, Mark Driscoll says: “If you are a young person who loves Jesus, do something with a church. If you are not ready to do something, get ready and then do something. If you do something and God does not bless it, do something else.”

The problem with us twenty-something’s are usually two-fold: we either try to do too much (usually rooted out of pride and selfish-ambition), or we don’t do anything. The former, God will not bless; the latter, God cannot bless. The former we do because we think we can do everything; the latter because we think we aren’t ready to do anything. But God can and wants to use us and it begins in the context of the local church.

Are you serving your church? Are you giving time, money, energy, and your efforts to your local church?

It doesn’t usually start in the pulpit, but in obscurity, and God is willing to bless our work as we work to be a blessing to others. Even in our twenties.

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