The Power of a Personal Testimony
Dan was a freshman football player. Jeff was a sophomore who as a freshman had been one of the campus's biggest drug dealers. They met on a fateful day in October.
Well, a little more detail may help. Dan probably would have started as a freshman, but he had broken his arm. That didn't stop him from beating up guys on his floor though. The cast actually helped, since it served as a club.
Jeff's dad had raised him to be an atheist. The trouble with atheism is that if there is no God, then life ultimately has no meaning. And so Jeff had decided to commit suicide after his first quarter the year before. He took over 100 sleeping pills, but soon had a horrifying thought. What if there really was a God? And there really was a Hell? Jeff knew he would go there. God miraculously intervened, and Jeff's life was saved. Six weeks later he committed his life to Christ.
Jeff had a powerful testimony. The only trouble was that he couldn't tell it in under 45 minutes. I explained the importance of being able to share his testimony in three minutes; people won't always listen for 45 minutes, but you'll almost always have three minutes. He still couldn't get it any shorter, so we worked on putting it in writing.
Meanwhile, a cute little gal had dragged Dan to a Josh McDowell meeting. Afterward, he and I had met twice, and he kept asking the same thing: "If I ask Christ to come into my life and forgive my sins, how will my life change?"
So on that fateful day, when Dan asked the question for the third time, I turned to Jeff and asked him to tell Dan how Christ had changed his life. For the first time ever, Jeff told his testimony in three minutes! Dan's eyes were big, and he said, "If Jesus Christ can change my life like that, I want it now." Together the three of us bowed our heads, and Dan prayed and received Christ as his Lord and Savior.
What if you had been in that room that day? Would you have been able to share your personal testimony in three minutes? A testimony that clearly explained how Christ changed your life? So clearly that someone listening would know how to commit his or her life to Christ?
A personal testimony is one of the most powerful evangelistic tools at our disposal. And it's unique to each one of us. But! It's hard work to prepare a personal testimony. And so most Christians give up on it.
But hard work is worth it if it's for a worthy cause. Think of people you know who have spent hours, getting personal coaching, to improve their backhand in tennis. Or their golf swing. Or even graduate students who will spend hours preparing for the GRE, or MCAT's, or LSAT. They do it because it's important to them.
Shouldn't changing someone's life for eternity be more important than that?
Since this is finals' week on many campuses, I want to give you an assignment. This week and next is a good time to prepare and write your personal testimony so you can share it with someone in three minutes. It will take time; my testimony is not that dramatic, but I've spent over 30 hours in preparing it, so that I would be ready at a moment's notice, should God provide the opportunity.
Bill Bright has recently prepared a "simple" way to prepare your testimony. (We're talking in relative terms here!) He calls it 5 clicks to Your PT; it's available on the web at http://www.5clicks.com.
Action Point: Access the 5 clicks site, and take the time this week to write your personal testimony. It is work that is well worth your time. If you are prepared, God will use you in someone else's life, just as He used Jeff in Dan's life.
Scripture: John 4:39-42 - The Samaritan Revival:
39 From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, "He told me all the things that I have done."
40 So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days.
41 Many more believed because of His word;
42 and they were saying to the woman, "It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world."
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