"It's Testimony Time!" What do you feel or think when you hear these words? When I first came to Jericho Road, it was this time of shared testimony that took a little getting used to. I have been in churches that shared testimony from time to time but usually in a more guided or 'managed' way. To open up the microphone for anyone and everyone to have an opportunity to speak from the front, and to do so every week, sets us apart from most in a good way. In the Scripture above, we see that our 'testimony' is part of the means by which we overcome the Devil, that deceiver and accuser of the brethren. We counter his lies and accusations with a declaration of truth that has become "our truth" because it has taken flesh in us just as "The Word" took flesh in Jesus. We do not know for sure who spoke this word other than it came in a "loud voice", a voice that carried authority and that was to be trusted. The word "testimony" comes from a greek word 'martyrias', from which we get the word 'martyr', one who is willing to suffer, even literally give up his or her life, for the sake of something they truly believe in. For many of our early brothers and sisters in Christ this became a reality for them as predicted through this word ... "they did not love their lives to the death". A slightly confusing statement but one that means saving their lives was not more important than bearing witness to what Jesus had done in them and for them.
In these words from the beginning of Acts (of the Jesus-followers), Jesus says to us that we are all witnesses (same word as used in Revelation) to an experience of Jesus in us. We are to take this witness in an ever-expanding way, to wherever the Lord sends us in the power of the Holy Spirit. Remember, ever since Jesus said "As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit."" (John 20:21-22), we have been called to be missionaries, literally 'sent ones' ... all of us! In light of this, and by way of reminder, I want to share about how your stories during testimony time can be most encouraging and empowering to the rest of us. So here are a few guidelines;
Keep it relatively short, 2-3 minutes at most.
Don't teach, this is not a message but a personal witness to what God has done
Be vulnerable .. the more real you are, the deeper the impact and the more you will be blessed
As well as perhaps testifying what God has done FOR you, go on to talk about what God is doing IN you and THROUGH you. In other words how has this affected you and what do you want to do (differently) because of it.
Thank you for those of you who courageously step up and tell your stories, we are blessed because of it. For those of you who have yet to do so, ask the Lord about this and then take a risk .. see what God will do.
Much love and prayers, Pastor Mike