Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Testimony

I was invited by our church youth group to share my testimony with them last Friday night. A testimony is a personal story of how you became a Christian and why it is important to you. Here is what I shared.

What are the life changing experiences of your life ?

Between the ages of 15 and 25, an awful lot can happen. These are all a part of my life and all of them could be considered life changing.
At 16 I discovered that I was really good at mathematics and I finished at the top of my class that year.
At 20 I met the girl of my dreams and three months before my 25th birthday, I married her.
At 21 I completed a University degree and got my first job working for an insurance company.
I bought my first car, a Datsun Bluebird station wagon.
These are all significant things that happened to me in the 10 years between 15 and 25.
The most life changing decision I made during this ten years however was not the most obvious on the outside. It is highly likely that nobody would have noticed very much, at least for a while. Certainly it wasn’t something that was embraced as a wonderful thing by my family.
When I was in high school I enjoyed going along to summer camps run by Scripture Union. I went to a number out at Coolamatong in Bairnsdale, on the farm. Apart from all the activities I enjoyed, there were a lot of discussions about who Jesus was, what he did, and why it was important to us. While I had been touched by the Spirit at these camps, I had never carried it on once I had come home again. In truth, I didn’t really want to know God, I certainly didn’t want to go to church and I resented the perception that becoming a Christian meant giving up on all the fun stuff in life.
Before I was 16, I was due to go on one of these camps, and said to myself, “If anything ‘spiritual’ happens, if I make a promise to Jesus, then I will make sure I carry it through.” Now you don’t make a statement like that without God taking you up on it.
On the first night, I was talking to a leader, and I became a Christian. I said to God, I’m sorry for ignoring you, please forgive me, I want to follow you.
This simple little prayer, to myself, at a camp, in the middle of the night, believe it or not, is the single most important life changing event of my life.
God doesn’t leave us standing still. I read my bible almost every night when I was at high school after that. I had Daily Bread bible reading notes which helped keep me on track, and exposed me to a wide selection of what the bible had to say.
It bothered me however that Christians were supposed to be different to non-Christians and as far as I could tell, I wasn’t that different to my school mates.
At 19, after VCE, I had a year off from study and travelled to England, to work at a children's outdoor camp for 6 months. There was a small group of leaders who drove to a nearby church each week. They were very charismatic gatherings with people yabbering in different tongues, the minister would prowl out the front, looking for new converts and so on. It was a different experience to the Anglican one I had up until then but it was fun too. One day, the pastor was doing his thing, and I had this overwhelming sense that I had to go out the front and fall on my knees. Now, we’re all a bit reluctant to be the first one and have everyone look at us. But I knew if I didn’t go to the front NOW, then God would drop me to my knees where I was. So out the front I went. The pastor, thrilled to pieces, came over and prayed something at the top of his voice for all to hear and went on exhorting and calling and so forth. One of my friends came down next to me and prayed quietly beside me and that was a lot more meaningful. What had happened however was an outporing of God’s Spirit. God connected in a very powerful way that changed me once and for all. From then on, within the core of me, I wanted to learn more about Jesus and be changed by Him. I am the Christian I am today because of that moment.
As a Christian I believe that one day, after I die, I will live with Jesus forever, in a world that is perfect. No hunger, no wars, none of the things that make living in this world so hard to bear. Becoming a Christian is the most important decision I made and the most important one facing you.

1 comment:

rise tall, allister, Tasty TV said...

Hey Rob.
I just read your testimony with misty eyes. (Some of the details I didn't know.)
As ever, your solidness and depth is inspiring. No wonder you're my mate and brother in Christ.