Dear Church Family,
If you happened to grow up in the 80’s in a Southern Baptist Church like I did, you are familiar with a tradition called “Testimony Night.” Usually a Sunday night service; Testimony Night was held about once a quarter. The hymns were the usual “Sunday night” hymns, like “Victory in Jesus” and “I Love to Tell the Story.” On these nights, there was no preaching. Instead, there were microphones in the aisles, and members would step out of the congregation to come to the mic if they had a “word of testimony” to share. One by one, at first shyly, then eagerly, they would tell their stories: “God did this for me!” I remember the congregation would shout, “Amen!”
There is something about testimonies that even the best preaching cannot accomplish. You can argue theology, but you cannot argue with personal experiences/testimonies. We live in a world that is discouraging, with a God who is mysterious. To hear someone say, “I have seen God, or I have witnessed His miracle, or God has done this in my life!” well, it’s reassuring! It is heartening! It is also faith-building! And for the community of believers, it is cause for rejoicing!
I’m not sure how deep in a “pit” anyone reading this letter has been, but I’ve been in a pretty deep hole before (and it’s a part of my testimony). It makes me think about the song “Jesus, Lover of My Soul” (an old worship song written in the early 90’s) the lyrics go “Jesus, lover of my soul. Jesus, I will never let You go. You’ve taken me from the miry clay, You’ve set my feet upon the rock.” It actually reminds me of U2’s song “40” and I can relate to these lyrics David wrote and Bono covered. Psalm 40 is one of my favorite songs in the Old Testament, “I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.” Psalm 40:1-3.
There is someone in our congregation who can say this because they’ve experienced it. And there is also someone in our congregation who needs to know it can happen! Romans 12:15 describes this kind of community: “Rejoice with those who rejoice.” Whether it happens to you or it happens to someone else, it is good to hear of God’s saving help and to thank Him for it. As David wrote in Psalm 40, (his own testimony), “May all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You: may those who love Your salvation always say, “The LORD be exalted!” Psalm 40:16.
In the coming months, we will have testimony time in the morning worship services. This will be a time where you will hear from our ministers, church staff, & members. They will share their life and the miracles God has done through their life. We look forward to hearing from some of you. If you have a desire to tell your testimony, please contact the church office and ask to speak with either Pastor Kevin or Pastor Josh. They would love hear what Christ has done in your life!
Stay warm this weekend!
Pastor Josh Ryals