Thursday, May 03, 2012

For the pod: Would you like to come to a party?

If you are a Christian you have a story.

A lady who we baptised  on Sunday made many of us weep when she declared through tears at the end of hers:

"Jesus has saved me" 

This is Martin Luther's testimony:

'I felt myself absolutely born again.  The gates of paradise had been flung open and I had entered.  There and then the whole of Scripture took on another look to me.' 

The Great Reformer, like us all, had a whole host of stuff that took place before this moment like being a Monk and working in a theological college that you can read about in Here I Stand. He was, like so many of us and certainly me, a bit religious but not born. You can probably track the grace of God in your life through people, church experience, divine intervention, invitations, books, divine appointments, parents, teachers, exposure to Scripture and prayer and ultimately God's grace and mercy that saw you born anew (Part 1 and Part 2).

It is a good exercise to do some time in your journal. I did it when I filled out my application form for the C of E and they requested my story- 'From birth to today'- and expected me to fit it on one page. I wrote it in size 8 font as I remember and was ruthlessly honest. They really did actually have an application form which as I write this now does seem a tad weird. The man interviewing me thought me absolutely bananas as we went through it together, particularly when we got to the section on visiting the Toronto Vineyard. But they did ask.....

Off the top of my head here are a few pre-new birth highlights:

1. Being taught the Lord's prayer as soon as I could talk
2. The words of the BCP from an early age.
3. A primary school teacher reading me the story of the passion aged 6
4. An encounter with the Holy Spirit on a Hebredian island aged 11
5. A Charis-maniac service in Coventry Cathedral aged 13 on my confirmation retreat.
6. Playing Rugby with a Christian
7. The conversion of my sister
8. A visit to an evangelical church and witnessing people 'worship' in song.
9. Exposure to expository preaching
10. New birth through the proclamation of the Gospel by an evangelist in Jesmond Parish Church in Newcastle.

Since then of course my life has been absolutely perfect, unhindered and easy :)

Incidentally, I reread these which are well worth taking some time to work through if you are interested in what it means to 'grow'.

I love hearing 'What happened ?' accounts. This one by Jay Pathak is great and moved me and it also made me smile. It all seemingly started when a Christian friend asked him to a party.

There really is great power in testimony and this is the sort of story I might send to someone seeking after God.

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