My Testimony

Begin­ning July 31, 2013 — Work in Progress.

Notes:

And it begins. It hit me this morn­ing that the only way to get this done was to start. Then I had a clever bit of insight which I repeat­ed in my head sev­er­al times to make cer­tain that I would­n’t for­get it before get­ting to a com­put­er to write it down. I’ve for­got­ten what it was. Utter­ly.

And yes, some­thing that will only fill half a page will be some­thing that requires me to write out ran­dom thoughts as I have them and slow­ly grow the prod­uct. This is not prose… it is ran­dom ram­bling, out­pour­ing of heart that hope­ful­ly may be refined lat­er into some­thing of sig­nif­i­cance… because that’s my sto­ry… a process of refin­ing to become some­thing that may be of some significance…while slow­ly real­iz­ing that I have always been sig­nif­i­cant… to God.

One thing I do remem­ber was that the urge to write it out came to me while lis­ten­ing to a Liv­ing Waters pod­cast “Wel­come to the Most Annoy­ing Hour on Radio”. They were dis­cussing some British pas­tors who were big in the Emer­gent Church move­ment and break­ing down those pas­tor’s respons­es to inter­view ques­tions about what makes for a good ser­mon and such. The one thing that was the­mat­ic through­out was that the EC pas­tors were all about ‘me’. They were the sort to like the quote, “Preach the gospel always, if nec­es­sary, use words.” [From mem­o­ry, I’ll get it prop­er lat­er when I have more time]. Todd “Freak­ish­ly Tall” Freil real­ly turned the light of clear think­ing on this phrase and iden­ti­fy it as “Me” based… He was clear that it should be words, the gospel first, and then our lives to sup­port our words.

So… that made me won­der… A per­son­al tes­ti­mo­ny. Is that not a “Me” spread­ing of the gospel? I don’t know. I’m not going to pon­der it right now… I’m going to write out my tes­ti­mo­ny, and if at some point I firm up one way or the oth­er, I’ll either share or not share my tes­ti­mo­ny, or share my tes­ti­mo­ny only after I’ve shared the gospel… or some­thing…

I think my thought that I can­not remem­ber was some­thing to the effect of open­ing with a ques­tion such as, “Does this per­son­al tes­ti­mo­ny ‑have- to be some engag­ing tale of a life of unre­pen­tant sin and pain and then a come to Jesus moment (com­plete with date, time, loca­tion and what one was wear­ing at the time), and then a tale of a life changed, or would some­one find it just as hon­est and engag­ing to hear a sto­ry of a per­son who was blessed to be born into the faith… a per­son who epit­o­mizes Romans 3:23… a per­son who, is a sin­ner and has had the truth all along but has always warred between his sin-nature and the sanc­ti­fi­ca­tion of being in faith­ful rela­tion­ship with God? Is that not more tru­ly a tale that every­one can relate to… even those who don’t know God and will have, or do and have had a Come-to-Jesus expe­ri­ence? Do not those expe­ri­ences fall entire­ly with­in this venn dia­gram? I think I want my tes­ti­mo­ny to focus on a life being refined… of growth and back­slid­ing, of sin and repen­tance of a God who keeps tak­ing me back and a life that I believe is grow­ing in the right direc­tion… I am a stub­born arro­gant intractable guy who trusts in him­self and takes FOREVER to be shown some­thing and repeat­ed beat­ings about the head and neck to get my atten­tion and maybe whap a few new bits of truth in… and those bits often have to be whapped in sev­er­al times before they get absorbed with­in. If Philip­pi­ans 1:6 is my most per­son­al­ly sig­nif­i­cant verse, then would­n’t that be the sto­ry of the truth of that verse? God’s sto­ry of love and patience and redemp­tion and grace was spread out over 66 books and gen­er­a­tions of Jews… my life is sim­ply a con­densed ver­sion of the same sto­ry… falling away, com­ing back on my knees, being tak­en in, grow­ing a bit, grow­ing com­pla­cent, get­ting dis­tract­ed, falling away or get­ting my think­ing out of whack, com­ing back, repent­ing, being tak­en in, being bro­ken, being grown, falling away.… I’m final­ly to the point where I think I may be ‑glad- that I don’t have a “Dread­ful­ly-dying, Application/acceptance of won­der-drug, heal­ing and health” sto­ry. I strug­gled with not hav­ing one and won­der­ing, “How can some­one who was blessed to be fed truth with his bot­tle pos­si­bly have a sto­ry that some­one who has nev­er been fed that truth is able to relate to and feel impact­ed?” I think I’ve just real­ized… what about all those peo­ple who are lost who aren’t going to have the Come-to-Jesus/Road to Damascus/Moment of Clar­i­ty… It seems there are more of them than the oth­er… what if my sto­ry is one that a raga­muf­fin who real­izes his bro­ken­ness and empti­ness and that he’s inca­pable of find­ing the right way on his own, hears the story/offer, pon­ders, and then, in a qui­et moment… not even sure exact­ly when, comes to Christ on his knees, bro­ken and con­trite and begs for­give­ness and sin­cere­ly repents… so aware of his deprav­i­ty that he almost can’t accept the gift that’s offered because he knows that jus­tice is for him to die and to him the moment is not about receiv­ing sal­va­tion, but final­ly come­ing to the end of him­self, drop­ping the self-lies and the excus­es, and hum­bling him­self before God… he would take the death if only he could know that, just before pun­ish­ment was met­ed out, that he had found for­give­ness and approval from his heav­en­ly father… he would die to have it… qui­et­ly… While Angels REJOICE in all the heav­ens that yet anoth­er pil­grim has come to the foot of the cross and laid down his bur­den… and for that, he is picked up off his face and embraced and brought into God’s fam­i­ly, into fel­low­ship, made clean, sanc­ti­fied, endowed with the promise of ever­last­ing life with his heav­en­ly father and the sanc­ti­fy­ing seal of and indwelling by the Holy Spir­it… all to con­tin­ue the jour­ney onward from the cross… a jour­ney that may only slow­ly begin to look dif­fer­ent as refin­ing begins.

For the first time I feel, “I can do this.” “I have some­thing worth­while to offer.” I always have, but I had to real­ize it. I’m stoked… but I’m also at the point of weep­ing after gush­ing out the pre­vi­ous into words. I need to get back to work… but I want to come back to this. Want to refine, define. But I also real­ly want to read A Pil­grim’s Progress and let Bun­yan again show me how incred­i­ble my sto­ry is… the sto­ry of every Chris­t­ian who ever was. Show me and once again put it on my heart not to take it for grant­ed, not to think that I’ve arrived, to trust God and not myself, to press onwards.

[End 20130731a]

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