At the start of a New Year, we are often advised to forget the past and press on toward the future. An example is found here:
But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Let those of us who are mature think this way,
and if in anything you think otherwise,
God will reveal that also to you.
Philippians 3:13-15 ESV
But at other times, we are told to remember the past. I could use many verses for this, but the one that is most applicable here is this one:
Remember your mercy, O Lord,
and your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
Psalm 25:6 ESV
Over the past two weeks, our Women’s Bible Study has learned to write 3 minute testimonies or stories of how GOD worked in our lives. Some of us wrote about when we met Jesus the first time, others wrote about a time when we met Him in a new way and had a growth spurt. The focus was on Jesus and not us. That is, not on either how awful we were, or how wonderful we are now, or a combination of those.Some of us wrote about when we met Jesus the first time, others wrote about a time when we met Him in a new way and had a growth spurt. The focus was on Jesus and not us. Click To Tweet
There is a before, a precipitating event and an after. When speaking of the before and the precipitating event, it isn’t so much the details of the event, but what was happening beneath the surface. How did you feel? Lonely, afraid, empty, depressed? These are things the person you are talking to will identify with.
For the after, you don’t want to sound like everything is now perfect, because it isn’t. What has changed? Perfect won’t come until heaven.
But in 3 minutes, you don’t talk much about all the details of what happened. This helps me a lot! We also needed to leave out our churchy language and Christianese. That can often be a challenge if you have been in the church a long time. One of our pastors gave us a mini-training then we wrote them out and came back the next week and shared with each other…with a timer. It was an awesome way to start off the year!
Think of these as appetizers to whet the appetite of your friends for the good news of the Gospel tucked into a conversation
The final thing that was helpful in preparing these is to think of them as appetizers in a conversation, not the full meal. Some of us want to include all we know about salvation or theology in our 3 minute story. It is not meant for that. We want what we say to be theologically correct, but we can’t say all the theology about salvation or Christian growth in this little vignette. It is too short. It is only one piece of the truth. It is meant to whet the person’s appetite for the gospel or for a relationship with Jesus. This will help you prepare and know what to cut out.
In order for us to think of what to write about, we had to look back and remember GOD’s mercy to us and His steadfast love. He has been good. Many of us don’t see growth in our lives as we live from day to day. But as we looked back, we saw that we had grown. GOD has been so good to us. The Holy Spirit has been changing us over time. It was exciting to see what He has done…and to share it with each other in our small groups.
This was very encouraging and we will probably do it again
I think we will be doing this again. It has been a great exercise in both equipping and encouragement. As we worked in our small groups the second week, we critiqued and helped each other in areas where we had difficulty. It was a great encouragement. GOD is superintending and growing us. It turns out that He is working for our good and His glory during hard and painful times. When we are in the middle of it, we can’t always see it, but it is happening. He is a good GOD!
Once our 3 minute testimonies are prepared, we will need to memorize them. That is the next step to having something we can share with others at opportune moments. We never know when they will come along. Then we can adjust our memorized words to the situation.
So in 2019, make sure you take some time to remember. There are lots of ways to do it. I just told you one.