Fuel for the Body

'Letters (0108)' photo (c) 2012, Jason Dean - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/Sunday after our church service my husband and I were talking to our friend Kyle about the importance and power of testimonies, and since then I've been thinking a lot on this topic.

When we have baptism services in our church body, each person being baptized first reads their testimony before the congregation. These services have become something I eagerly anticipate and I always go with tissues in hand. Standing in the waters of baptism, proclaiming the grace of God and His power to save has brought grown men to cry, so I of course have no chance at all. I cry at commercials. And even though I've seen Toy Story 3 twenty or thirty times, I still have to leave the room at the end so I don't weep. But I digress.

Anyway, my pastor is always quick to point out that the same gospel power that frees the former drug-addicted stripper frees the former AWANA jewel-winning, legalistic teenager. And it's breathtaking every time.

Sharing the story of how God "redeemed your life from the pit" is not just for the teller or for the unbeliever in the congregation--it's also the fuel that encourages the church on its mission. When I hear how God used a college roommate or a neighbor or a parent to draw to Himself an unrepentant sinner, I am encouraged to go out and proclaim the good news. When we see the dots connected of how many people--maybe 1, maybe 30--shared the gospel with an unbeliever before they were drawn to repentance, I am reminded of God's sovereignty and am therefore freed to proclaim without worrying about the results.

I love that one of the questions my husband asks when we have friends in our home is, "How did you become a Christian?" I imagine this was the first question the early church members asked one another. It's so miraculous. How did God do it in your life?

So the purpose of this post is two-fold:

1. I think we should be asking friends and family members and strangers, "How did you become a Christian?" And then we can rejoice together, praising God for His grace. In turn, we can share our own stories, knowing the same Savior who died for my sins of pride and selfishness and self-righteousness, died for your sins as well.

2. Bringing it back to the wedding, I firmly believe this is a perfect opportunity to praise God by sharing your stories of how He saved you both. Whether it's through a video, or through your pastor sharing it in his message during the ceremony, or through a message in your programs--think and pray about how you might proclaim His excellencies through sharing what He has done in your lives. This has multiple benefits: He will be praised, you will be grateful, unbelievers will hear the gospel and believers will be filled with encouragement to make disciples.