Today’s Worship Walk – Monday

amazing-animal-beautiful-beautifull

I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
    I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
 I will be glad and rejoice in you;
    I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.

Psalm 9:1-2

 

I’ve found that sharing what God has done is a powerful worship tool. Sometimes I mention how God has answered a prayer or guided me through a difficult situation. Other times I pass along what I’ve seen Him do in another person’s life. Either way, the testimony leads me to giving my Heavenly Father thanks and praise, and blesses those who hear it. Then many times, the worship becomes contagious!

Christmas Decorations

 

1450451357856614355122At our church’s Ladies Brunch a couple of weeks ago, the decorating scheme included Nativity scenes as table centerpieces. The coordinator added an extra touch of creativity to her idea by asking women to donate sets for the morning.

The day before the event, I and a couple of others set up the room. And as we unpacked the scenes, I couldn’t help but wonder about them. (You know how much I enjoy stories!)

Where were these pieces made? How did so-and-so get this set? I wished there had been time during the brunch for the women to share the backgrounds. Even if the story was simple, like “I bought it at a craft fair”, the scene has meaning for the person who owns it.

My daughter and I finally put out some Christmas decorations yesterday. And my thoughts went back to the brunch as I pulled out our small glass Nativity scene. It was a gift from my brother-in-law one of the first years I was married. Amazingly, it’s survived many seasons with curious little hands mostly intact, though somehow we now have the manger without the baby inside.

As I opened the box, my eyes were greeted by familiar friends: paintings of The Nutcracker soldier and fireside scenes done in school art class; a copy of The Night Before Christmas that my husband read as a little boy; a menagerie of adorable stuffed elves, santas and even Snoopy. And that was just at first glance!

Every item has significance, even if it’s just remembering all the years we’ve pulled them out of that box. And it isn’t about the things themselves, as much as the people and moments that come to mind by looking at them.

Yes, I get sentimental. But I also feel gratitude for all the ways I’ve been blessed by my family and friends over the years. I’m aware of God’s goodness in a real, tangible way. The act of decorating takes on a richness and joy that I really look forward to.

Do you have a favorite Christmas decoration? Savor putting it on display this year. Then, if there’s a story attached to it, write it down. That will not only be a sweet reminder for you, but a testimony to pass down to your children.

Testimonies Part 2

Earlier this week, I wrote about the power of testimonies. I thought it would be helpful to look at someone in Scripture who wasn’t afraid to tell others about how Jesus changed his life.

The Apostle Paul had quite a story to share – reading through the Book of Acts gives us a great overview of it. For now, let’s zero in on Chapter 22, one of the first times he relates the details of his dramatic conversion.

Remember when I mentioned three qualities that make a testimony compelling for me? Well, I found all of them in abundance in this passage.  Check out these excerpts:

Paul’s story was honest

He wasn’t afraid to confess his mistakes, his faults, his sin, which helps me relate to him.

“I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as also the high priest and all the Council can testify. I even obtained letters from them to their brothers in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.” (v. 4-5)

Paul’s story was specific  

The descriptions he included help me feel like I’m there – I can almost experience the events with him as he remembers them.

“About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, ‘Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?’  ‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked. ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied.”  (v.6-8)

Paul’s story was God-centered

A thread of praise runs through his whole tale, challenging me to acknowledge God’s authority and His Will for me.

“Then he said: ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard.”          (v. 14-15)

 

I hope Paul’s story can inspire you as you write your own!

The Power of Testimonies

NOTE: New blogs will return on Friday. Enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday!

Have you ever shared your testimony?

My church is holding it’s annual Testimony Slam tonight. It’s kind of an “open mic” night for anyone who wants to get up and share some of their story. it’s become a tradition, and only partly because of the pie social afterwards!

I’ve written before about how powerful that first Slam was for me. Why? Well, what I heard reassured me that I’m not alone on this journey of faith. Others are struggling and learning and worshipping right alongside me. I’m part of a community, and we’re all traveling the road toward Christ-likeness together.

I also came away with a bigger picture of God and how He’s working around me. Because if I’m not careful, I can get totally preoccupied with my own little daily world. Someone else telling their experiences helps me keep the right perspective. Plus, hearing their victories increases my joy in the Lord!

There’s something about personal stories that grabs our attention. The inspire and encourage us to “press on”, as Paul wrote. We must learn the foundational principles and doctrine of our faith. But testimonies show us the practical application. They can help us step over the bridge between knowing truths and living them out.

So what makes for a powerful testimony? I believe it’s less about actual  content – everyone’s story is unique, after all. It’s more about how we deliver what we say to make it relatable to others. The most impactful testimonies  I’ve heard had traits in common:

  • They were honest
  • They were specific
  • They were God-centered

What are the most powerful testimonies you’ve heard?