Illustration results for sharing my testimony
Redemption and Restoration in Real Life
I conclude this morning with a story about what happened since a tragic event that took place 9 months ago around Christmas time at New Life Church in Colorado Springs. I share it because I think it makes a point about moving beyond the 'Who, Them?' To THEM!
The event was the shooting of several people in the church parking lot and building that left three dead and three wounded. The young man, who had done the shooting, killed himself after being shot by a security guard. Earlier that day, he had entered Youth with A Mission Headquarters in suburban Denver, shooting four and killing two. His name was Matthew Murray, and he had been raised in a Christian home.
The tragedy shook the church that had just started to come out of the painful and very public story about their former pastor's, Ted Haggard, sexual sin. Now they were faced with this terrible tragedy.
In a recent Christianity Today article, it was told that after granting the interview to talk about that day and its after effects, it was revealed that Brady Boyd, the current Senior Minister, called Murray's parents and asked if they would like to come to New Life and see where 'their son had passed away.' They said they had wanted to, but had refrained from do so because of their concerns for the church. They were also asked if they would be willing to meet with members of the family who had lost two teenage daughters that morning. They said yes. The same invitation was extended to the victim's family, the Work's. They said yes.
After showing the Murrays around the church where the tragic events took place, they met with the Work's in Boyd's office. "What happened there in the two hours in my office ... was the most significant ministry moment I've experienced, maybe in all of my life," Boyd said. When they first entered the office, the two families embraced. They sat, wept, and cried together, Boyd said, for "I don't know how long." Then they prayed together.
Later Jeanne Assam [the security guard who shot Murray] was invited to join them. When Jeanne, who had undoubtedly saved many lives but had been forced to shoot the Murray's son, walked into the room, "the Murrays embraced her and hugged her and released her from any guilt and remorse. The dad looked at Jeanne and said, "Please know we're so sorry that you had to do what you did. We're so sorry."
The article concludes with these words from Boyd, "We can talk philosophically about repentance and redemption and going forward with God," Boyd said, "but what I saw in that room in my office was the greatest testimony of forgiveness and redemption that I have ever seen. It was a testimony that God really can restore and redeem."
“Dr. Garl Restored My Sight!”
There was this soft-spoken man who was a commuter on the Long Island Railroad—on the five o’clock local. Every evening, after the train had left the subway, he would begin a journey through the car from front to back. At each seat he would stop and say, “Excuse me. But if any of your friends are blind, tell them to consult Dr. Garl. He restored my sight.”
Why don’t we have that same courage and conviction and boldness?
In the Christian reader, Ramon Williams writes that on April 28, 1996,
a gunman walked into a crowded cafe in Port Arthur, Australia, and started
shooting. Tony Kistan, a Salvation Army soldier from Sydney, and his wife
Sarah were in the restaurant when the bullets began to fly. Courageously
Tony stepped in front of his wife to shield her from the gunfire, and he was
one of the first to fall. Thirty-four victims eventually died in the incident,
including Tony Kistan. As he lay dying in his wife’s arms, he spoke his last
words, “I’m going to be with the Lord.”
Those final words of faith were quoted by the Australian media and
carried to the world. “At a press conference,” writes Williams, “Tony’s son
Nesan, 24, explained why his father held this assurance and described his
father’s dedication to the gospel. Hardened journalists and photographers
were seen wiping away tears from their eyes. In life, Tony had been a man
who witnessed for his Lord to strangers and friends alike, and now in death,
he had witnessed to others through his simple last statement.”
AN EASTER PARABLE: EDITH EASTER
Edith Burns was a wonderful Christian who lived in San Antonio, Texas. She was the patient of a doctor by the name of Will Phillips. Dr. Phillips was a gentle doctor who saw patients as people. His favorite patient was Edith Burns. One morning he went to his office with a heavy heart and it was because of Edith Burns.
When he walked into that waiting room, there sat Edith with her big black Bible in her lap earnestly talking to a young mother sitting beside her.
Edith Burns had a habit of introducing herself in this way: "Hello, my name is Edith Burns. Do you believe in Easter?" Then she would explain the meaning of Easter, and many times people would be saved. Dr. Phillips walked into that office and there he saw the head nurse, Beverly. Beverly had first met Edith when she was taking her blood pressure. Edith began by saying, "My name is Edith Burns. Do you believe in Easter?" Beverly said, "Why yes I do." Edith said, "Well, what do you believe about Easter?" Beverly said, "Well, it's all about egg hunts, going to church, and dressing up." Edith kept pressing her about the real meaning of Easter, and finally led her to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Dr. Phillips said, "Beverly, don't call Edith into the office quite yet. I believe there is another delivery taking place in the waiting room."
After being called back in the doctor's office, Edith sat down and when she took a look at the doctor she said, "Dr. Will, why are you so sad? Are you reading your Bible? Are you praying?" Dr. Phillips said gently, "Edith, I'm the doctor and you're the patient." With a heavy heart he said, "Your lab report came back and it says you have cancer, and Edith, you're not going to live very long." Edith said, "Why Will Phillips, shame on you. Why are you so sad? Do you think God makes mistakes? You have just told me I'm going to see my precious Lord Jesus, my husband, and my friends. You have just told me that I am going to celebrate Easter forever, and here you are having difficulty giving me my ticket!" Dr. Phillips thought to himself, "What a magnificent woman this Edith Burns is!"
Edith continued coming to Dr. Phillips. Christmas came and the office was closed through January 3rd. On the day the office opened, Edith did not show up. Later that afternoon, Edith called Dr. Phillips and said she would have to be moving her story to the hospital and said, "Will, I'm very near home, so would you make sure that they put women in here next to me in my room who need to know about Easter."
Well, they did just that and women began to come in and share that room with Edith. Many women were saved. Everybody on that floor from staff to patients were so excited about Edith, that they started calling her Edith Easter; that is everyone except Phyllis Cross, the head nurse. Phyllis made it plain that she wanted nothing to do with Edith because she was a "religious nut". She had been a nurse in an army hospital. She had seen it all and heard it all. She was the original G.I. Jane. She had been married three times, she was hard, cold, and did everything by the book.
One morning the two nurses who were to attend to Edith were sick. Edith had the flu and Phyllis Cross had to go in and give her a shot. When she walked in, Edith had a big smile on her face and said, "Phyllis, God loves you and I love you, and I have been praying for you." Phyllis Cross said, "Well, you can quit praying for me, it won't work. I'm not interested." Edith said, "Well, I will pray and I have asked God not to let me go home until you come into the family." Phyllis Cross said, "Then you will never die because that will never happen," and curtly walked out of the room.
Every day Phyllis Cross would walk into the room and Edith would say, "God loves you Phyllis and I love you, and I'm praying for you." One day Phyllis Cross said she was literally drawn to Edith's room like a magnet would draw iron. She sat down on the bed and Edith said, "I'm so glad you have come, because God told me that today is your special day." Phyllis Cross said, "Edith, you have asked everybody here the question, 'Do you believe in Easter?' but you have never asked me." Edith said, "Phyllis, I wanted to many times, but God told me to wait until you asked, and now that you have asked..."
Edith Burns took her Bible and shared with Phyllis Cross the Easter Story of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Edith said, "Phyllis, do you believe in Easter? Do you believe that Jesus Christ is alive and that He wants to live in your heart?" Phyllis Cross said, "Oh I want to believe that with all of my heart, and I do want Jesus in my life." Right there, Phyllis Cross prayed and invited Jesus Christ into her heart. For the first time Phyllis Cross did not walk out of a hospital room, s...
Dave Dravecky: After he underwent surgery to remove his arm up to his collarbone. His cancerous left arm had been amputated. As he looked in the mirror he said "Okay God. This is what I have got to live with. Put this behind me; lets go forward."
A couple of days later he was walking the hospital corridor pushing his IV, came to the visitors lounge where a whole family has gathered. The wife sitting there worried, her husband has cancer throughout his whole body and the prognosis is not good. Dave sat down near her, the son came to him and asked him "Where do you get your peace?" Dave told him that Jesus Christ was the source of his peace, the entire family listened as he shared his testimony and his faith. He heard the complaints of the family, my father was a good man and he is in there suffering with cancer, while bad people run around healthy. He told them, "It is hard to understand suffering in this life, but you can't blame God for it. Sooner or later this earth is going to burn up, the only thing that will matter is if we go to heaven or not. I believe in miracles, I believe that God can and does heal people, but more important than that, I believe in the eternal hope of heaven, when I die, that's where I'm going, because heaven is my home."
From Richard White's Sermon "Peace That Surpasses"
The most often visited internet site in the summer of 2001 was reported to be an interview with God. Some of you have sent me a copy of this. It’s an imaginary question-and-answer session with God. In June alone it had 2.4 million visitors log on, and all of this without advertising!
Human beings long for a conversation with God. We’re still looking for answers to the basic questions of life. The greatest longings in our heart are found in Jesus Christ. We want direction for our life. Jesus said, “I Am the Way.” We want to know what’s real. Jesus said, “I Am the Truth.” We constantly look for life. Jesus said, “I Am the Life.” How do I deal with my guilt? John said of Jesus that he was “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
A few years ago my mom began feeding the birds on a regular basis in our backyard. At first, some of the birds were greedy. They weren’t sure if there would be enough food to go around. The starlings were especially mean, which doesn’t surprise anyone familiar with birds. They would attack the robins, cardinals, and sparrows that came to get a taste. This situation continued for several months until one day there was a noticeable change in the bird’s behavior.
After years of regular feeding from the unlimited supply, the birds appeared to be less greedy with the food. Now they were feeding at their leisure—realizing there would be more food when their current supply was finished. Then, last month, something even more remarkable happened. After all these months of hording, greed, and then cautiously enjoying, the birds began to demonstrate a nobler characteristic. They began calling for one another at mealtime.
Today, when the seed is spread for the birds, one will call for the others to share what they’ve discovered. The greed is less frequent. The jealous pecking is rare. The trees seem fuller these days with the joy of satisfaction from birds that have learned to share. The music of multiple species fills the air. Now they know the supply is unlimited. And as far as their appetite is concerned, it’s inexhaustible.
Just this morning, I noticed a sparrow feeding right beside a starling. Miracles never cease.
Why can’t this happen in the church?
God’s grace is inexhaustible and we ought to be calling other sinners to the fount where we’ve found refreshment and renewal.
Charles K. Grant
There is a legend which recounts the return of Jesus to glory after His time on earth. Even in heaven He bore the marks of His earthly pilgrimage with its cruel cross and shameful death. The angel Gabriel approached Him and said, "Master, you must have suffered terribly for men down there."
"I did," He said.
"And," continued Gabriel, "do they know all about how you loved them and what you did for them?"
"Oh, no," said Jesus, "not yet. Right now only a handful of people in Palestine know."
Gabriel was perplexed. "Then what have you done," he asked, "to let everyone know about your love for them?"
Jesus said, "I’ve asked Peter, James, John, and a few more friends to tell other people about me. Those who are told will in turn tell other people about me, and my story will be spread to the farthest reaches of the globe. Ultimately, all of mankind will have heard about my life and what I have done."
Gabriel frowned and looked rather skeptical. He knew well what poor stuff men were made of. "Yes," he said, "but what if Peter and James and John grow weary? What if the people who come after them forget? What if way down through the centuri...
An inner city church had an annual student recognition day. Normally, students would share about their educational experiences and then the pastor would get up and offer a few closing words. One year, the pastor’s words were a bit alarming. He stood up in front of all the young graduates and proud parents and said, "Children, you’re going to die! You may not think you’re going to die, but you’re going to die! One of these days they’re going to take you out to the cemetery, drop you in a hole, throw some dirt on your face, and go back to the church to eat potato salad …
When you were born, you alone were crying, and everybody else was happy. The important question I want to ask is this: When you die are you alone going to be happy, leaving everybody else crying? The answer depends on whether you live to get titles or testimonies. Will they list your degrees and awards, or will they tell about what you meant to their lives? Will you leave behind a newspaper column telling people how important you were, or will you leave behind crying people who give their testimonies about how they’ve lost the best friend they ever had? Will they talk about all the boards you sat on and things you owned, or will they talk about all the money you gave away that made a difference in this world?
"There’s nothing wrong with titles. Titles are good things to have. But if it ever comes down to a choice between a title or a testimony, go for the testimony …"
"Pharaoh may have had the title, but Moses had the testimony!
Nebuchadnezzar may have had the title, but Daniel had the testimony!
Queen Jezebel may have had the title, but Elijah had the testimony!
Pilate may have had the title, but my Jesus had the testimony!
And then he asked a single question: "What will it be for your life?"
James Emery White, You Can Experience a Purposeful Life, 86-88
I heard a story some time ago of a missionary in Africa who gave a Bible to one of the African men. When it was given to him, the man hugged it close & expressed great appreciation for the precious gift of God’s Word that the missionary had given him.
But when the missionary saw him a few days later he noticed, much to his dismay, that the Bible looked like it was already falling apart, & that many of its pages were missing. The missionary asked him, "What happened? What did you do to your Bible? When I gave it to you I thought you considered it to be a treasured possession."
The man replied. "Indeed, it is a very precious possession. It is the finest gift I have ever received. It is so precious that when I returned to my village I very carefully chose a page & tore it out & gave it to my mother. Then I tore out another page & gave it to my father. And I tore out another page & gave it to my wife. Finally, I gave a page of God’s Word to everybody who lives in my village."
We may smile at that, but what a testimony! The message of God’s Word was so wonderful to him that he wanted to share it with everyone he knew!