Posts Tagged 'evangelism'

Testimony.

“I know what you’re gonna say when things don’t go my way.

You say “I don’t fault your faith.  I still think that it’s true”.

I know what you’re gonna do when faced with people like me.

You say “I don’t know what you want, but this is not what you need”.

And I want to know, I want to know.

Why everybody looks to the past to be their testimony?

When all that I can recall is I was bored and lonely.

Tell me what’s wrong with today?  Tell me what’s right about tomorrow?

And I can’t believe you when I know that you’re wrong.

Why can’t you wake up and see that we are not who we claimed we could be?

I know what you believe, but, you’re not the same as me,

 so don’t push me around and tell me the same old story.

When everybody looks to the past to be their testimony.

When all that I can recall is was I was bored and lonely.

Tell me what’s wrong with today?  Tell me what’s right about tomorrow?

From “Testimony” by calamateur.

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We all love stories.  We identify with characters, root for the under-dog, look to the hero, get sucked into the story and anticipate the way it will play itself out.

What’s your story?  What’s mine – and how much of it would I willingly tell you if you asked me that question?

We have this tradition in Christian circles where people give their “testimony”.  I recall as a teenager that it was almost something that was expected in youth group circles.  It’s not something I’ve done in that sort of public speaking format since I was about 17.  There is something great about hearing people’s stories, but that sort of set-up isn’t the kind of thing that would ever naturally pop into my typical conversation. 

A couple of years ago myself and three other thirty-somethings decided to all write down our “testimonies” and email them to eachother.  It was interesting to realise that we’d all lost a bunch of dreams that we had held at 17.  Life looked very different now and involved a whole load of responsibilities that would have scared the living daylights out of our teenaged selves.  And yet, these were the places and situations we all found ourselves in.  It wasn’t a case that we had arrived, but that we were still journeying, still trying to make sense of things and figure stuff out.  Still trying to model Christ and make wise decisions whilst also living with the consequences of decisions we’d already made.

The older we get, the more stories we have and the harder I find it to draw out what the real life affirming or defining moments are.  They are numerous and they still occur fairly regularly.

It’s been good to chat with the little small group of folks who inhabit our home weekly about all our hang ups with “evangelism” and all our negative experiences of it.  So many of us have been fed a guilt trip about “making the most of every opportunity” and being so scared of seeming weird or thinking we need to have a different personality or a PhD in theology and apologetics to actually share our faith with someone.  As a result we stay silent all too often.

We’ve been chatting around some DVDs called “Just Walk Across The Room” and it’s been quite liberating to realise all we’re really meant to do is live our lives in a transparent way, to be real, to form genuine friendships with no ulterior motives – to preach the gospel and only when necessary to use words.

That said, I’m trying to figure out what my story actually IS?  How do I explain it in my own words, with brevity and clarity so that I always have an answer for the hope I have within?

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Words

“Too many words.

Too many words”

From “Words” by Low.

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We throw a lot of words around in our daily conversation.  We de-construct them at times or try to figure out how to apply the concepts they are associated with.

A friend and I were talking of how he is sending his daughter to Edinburgh’s only Gaelic speaking nursery.  She is only spoken to in Gaelic in the hope that a process of immersion will help her pick it up.  He hopes it will assist her in learning other languages in later life – particularly French as his family spend two months a year overseas instructing snowboarding.  Neither of us know any Gaelic, but there is something nice about trying to preserve something of our nation’s heritage and tradition.  Another friend recently commented that the Gaelic word for “butterfly” is “an dealan de” which literally translates as “a glimpse(or glimmer) of God.”  How beautiful is that?

I’ve really enjoyed reading a couple of posts by another friend this week exploring two other words I am grappeling with at present – “Missional” and “Sabbath”.  I’d really encourage you to check out this and this.

The New Life

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So we had 2009’s first gathering of our little small group collective in our home on Tuesday night.  It was great to see friends old and new and there was much laughing and a loud din of chat as we all caught up with eachother.  Small group just got much better as you can see from the above photo of the pudding that Learning From Sophie brought…

After eating together we watched a “Society Room” DVD where Gabe Lyons interviewed Chuck Colson.  They touched on something we have chatted a fair bit about over the past year i.e what exactly is the gospel we are meant to share? 

That may sound dumb, but, have we tended to focus on: creation, the fall and redemption without, perhaps, placing enough on a fourth element, namely, restoration?  Do we believe in a divine mandate to bring restoration to people, to our planet, for justice? 

We talked about our hang-ups with evangelism.  We chatted about the need for mission and for this not to be some kind of hit and run thing but a need to disciple people and to explain that Christianity is likely to make life harder rather than easier.  We considered whether, actually, our small group is a place where we can disciple one another and hold eachother accountable regardless of age and stage physically or in our journeys of faith.  Do we ever stop needing to be discipled?

As we start a new series of teaching moving us toward some practical outworkings of all our musings, I wonder what this aspect of the year will hold for this little bunch of friends I consider so important to me?  Maybe it’s not just the New Year that starts here, but a New Life…

“Are you under the Mercy?
Are you under attack?
Are you going forward?
Are you going back?
The new life starts here

Are you coming to grips?
Are you coming apart?
Are you listening to fear?
Or to your heart?
The new life starts here

Are you building heaven
or are you building hell?
When that great day comes
will you be able to tell?
The new life starts here

Citizen, criminal, child
woman or man
The keys to the Kingdom
are in your own hands
The new life starts here

God of our love
who ignited the sun
Not my will
but thine be done
The new life starts here”

 

From “The New Life” by The Waterboys


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"The priest in the booth had a photographic memory for all he had heard. He took all of my sins and he wrote a pocket novel called "The State That I'm In"". From "The State I Am In" by Belle and Sebastian
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