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1 example testimony FOR STUDY 4 I ve always wanted to fit in. I don t know why. Maybe it s because my parents split up early on, and going through school I was one of the only kids from a broken family. Whatever it was, I always felt like I didn t fit in and that I desperately wanted to. So if Aussie Rules was cool at school - I grew up in Melbourne - that s what I was into too. If the other kids went crazy for WWF wrestling, suddenly I did too. I remember I only started playing basketball when that became the next craze, and as soon as that faded, so did my commitment! My mum s a Christian, so she taught me to follow Jesus as a kid, but there was no way I wanted to be known as a Christian. To me, following Jesus was just another way to not fit in. I wanted to do whatever I thought would make people accept me. The problem is, when you re desperate to fit in, you spend your life second guessing everything you do: is this helping me fit in or not? You can never just be yourself. I d be like: I actually really like basketball now, but if others are moving on then I d better too! And even if that works for you, and people accept you - even then they re not really accepting you. They don t even know the real you. They only know the person you ve become so you can fit in. A turning point came when I went to uni at UQ, and I met some Christians there. They held these lectures on the Bible at lunch time, and Mum pretty much guilted me into going! So I go along a few times in the hope she ll stop nagging me about it. I don t know anyone there, so I sit by myself, but I can see some of the regulars joking around and having lots of fun together. Then some of the guys - they see me sitting there by myself, and they leave the group where they re having fun, to come and sit with me. They don t know me. I haven t done anything to impress them. I haven t adapted to fit in. But for some reason they really care about me. So I end up sticking around just to find out why. The Bible lectures helped me understand why. Pete and Scotty and Bill, the guys who looked out for me even though they didn t know me - they were all just following the example of Jesus. The Bible explains that Jesus died for all our sins against God. Even my sin of only caring about myself and how I fit in, instead of caring about the God who made me. Jesus took the punishment we deserve, so God can accept us despite the way we ve treated him. So Jesus just accepts anyone who asks him. You don t need to do anything. You don t need to impress him. You don t need to adapt to fit in. Jesus just accepts you as you are, warts and all. When I finally got that, I didn t care what anyone else thought anymore, I just wanted to follow Jesus. To tell you the truth, I still like people to like me! But it s not a desperate need like it was. Because of Jesus, I know God himself loves me for who I am. And actually, because I know I m already loved and accepted by God, I now find I can look out for others who aren t included, and care for them. That feels a whole lot better than just worrying about myself all the time like I used to! I love following Jesus. Getting to know him is the best thing that s ever happened to me. 14

2 study 4 - YOUR STORY Maybe you ve had a similar experience: I d been taught about Jesus as a kid. I knew what the Bible said, pretty well actually. But it just didn t grab me, not like other things in life. I was only drawn to Jesus when I went to uni and saw other people my own age, and how central Jesus was to them. The fact that Jesus meant so much to them, suggested maybe he should mean a bit more to me. How can we help lead others to that same insight? As we look at Paul s testimony, and listen to Sam Chan, we ll see how we can do this... Bible time Read Philippians 3:1-14 before the sermon on May Whose story does Paul tell here, in order to talk about Jesus? 2. What drove Paul before he knew Jesus? 3. What difference did Jesus make to that? How did Paul s life change? Listen to the sermon on Phillipians 3:1-14 at church, and/or online when it s available. To listen online, go to and click on the link to May 17 s sermon, or if you re reading this on-screen, click here. 15

3 Sam time FOLLOWING SERMON ON MAY 17 You ve heard Philippians 3:1-14 and the sermon, so you know how Paul could use his own story to talk about Jesus. He shared what used to drive him before he knew Jesus - the quest to be righteous - and how he found that he could only be fulfilled by Jesus, and how that discovery changed his life. Talking about Jesus as part of your own story - what would that look like for us today? Watch Sam Chan s fourth tip: Tell Your Story, by going to features/unawkwarding-jesus/ and clicking on the link to Sam Chan Video 4, or if you re reading this on-screen, click here. As you listen to Sam, take notes by answering the following questions: 1. What should come naturally if you listen empathetically to someone else s story? 2. What do most Christian Testimonies sound like? 3. Why is this a problem for non-christians? 4. At the other extreme, why is it unhelpful to only talk about what s unique to you? 5. What are the two things a good testimony needs to combine? 6. What is Sam s suggested grid for a testimony? a. b. c 16

4 7. What do you need to work out in order to tell your story? 8. How can you make abstract statements concrete? 9. How does it help non-christians to hear about Jesus from someone else s story? It can be family or children, or career and making money, or achievement and critical acclaim, or saving face and social standing. It can be a romantic relationship, peer approval, competence and skill, secure and comfortable circumstances, your beauty or your brains, a great political or social cause, your morality and virtue, or even success in the Christian ministry. An idol is whatever you look at and say, in your heart of hearts, If I have that, then I ll feel my life has meaning, then I ll know I have value, then I ll feel significant and secure. p. xviii Discussion time Sam says that telling our own story in a way that points to Jesus is one of the most engaging ways to let people know about him. In fact, we ve seen Paul do that himself, as he told how his drive for righteousness was unsatisfying without Jesus, and the difference Jesus made. Bearing this in mind, now talk practically with each other: 1. Are you persuaded that your own story might be a good way for others to hear about Jesus? Why or why not? 2. In telling your story, why would it be necessary to use both the specific events of your own life and a Jesus-centred grid that makes sense of them? 17

5 If you d like to be able to tell your story in a way that engages people with Jesus, consider Sam s testimony and also the example on page 14, and fill out below about yourself: INTRODUCTION What did you think would make you happy in life? What drove you? Write that into a couple of paragraphs to become the opening part of your story, using concrete examples to back up abstract statements: BODY What has made you unhappy? How has your drive been unsatisfied or unsatisfying? Write that into a couple of paragraphs to be the main body of your story, using concrete examples to back up abstract statements: 18

6 BRIDGE How has the death and resurrection of Jesus challenged your perspective on what will make you happy or achieve your mission in life? Write a sentence on this for the bridge: CONCLUSION How has Jesus changed your thinking today? How has Jesus changed your action today? Write a couple of paragraphs on how Jesus shapes your life today, using concrete examples to back up abstract statements: DENOUEMENT Write a sentence on how the way God sees in Jesus you makes you feel now: Try telling your story to someone else and hearing theirs. Encourage each other and help sharpen each other s stories. Pray for each other that we d be able to tell people about Jesus in a way that connects, as part of the story of our own lives. 19

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