When I was a boy my dad had a book called: Eloquence in Public Speaking: How To Set Your Words On Fire by Kenneth McFarland. It was about how to put sparks in human hearts and it helped to create in me the desire to be a great speaker.
When I finished seminary I became a pastor. After church on Sunday people would say to me: “Good message,” or “Nice sermon.” However when Jesus spoke, people said: “Didn’t His words burn in our hearts.” Perhaps what we need in the church nowadays is “a hunka hunka burnin'” words.
A talk prepared by a mind speaks to mind. However a message prepared in a heart touches human hearts and a message prepared in a life changes people’s lives. Instructing and informing words are fine, but information alone seldom inspires people to live better lives. (Most of us know far more information than we apply.) However, burning and transforming words go down deep and change lives.
The story of the early followers of Christ, the Book of Acts, is full of burning words. Peter spoke and 3,000 people turned to the Lord and began to live transformed lives. Everywhere Paul went and spoke his burning words sparked either a revival or a riot. Even their enemies said that the early believers “turned the world upside down.” Before they became known as Christians, they were called “witnesses.”
A witness gives testimony to what she has seen and heard. The early followers of Christ’s Way passionately showed and told what God had done for them, to them, and with them. And their words and lifestyle were contagious, starting spiritual fires everywhere they went.
Testimony is powerful. If you talk, in detail, about theological concepts, people will probably snooze. However, when you enthusiastically and sincerely show and tell what God has done for you personally, people will be amazed and impacted.
Try it. Sincerely tell someone something that God has done that has greatly impacted your life. If it moves you to tears, let them come. Then watch their response. Sometimes you can see your words burning in their hearts.
John wrote in the Book of Revelation: “They (the believers) over came him (the devil) by the blood of the Lamb, by the words of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto death.” Testimony is mentioned between the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and the willingness of believers to die for Christ. Now that’s unbelievably powerful!
Giving testimony can be intimidating. However, church should be a safe place where you can show and tell what God has done while your fellow Christians support and encourage you. As you regularly tell fellow believers in church what God is doing in your life, you will eventually begin to have the courage tell people in the work place, in stores, at school, and in your neighborhood about what you have seen God do and heard Him say to you. And as you hear other people talk about Christ in church you will catch their fire and passion.
Testimony really works to overcome your spiritual enemy. Come and see for yourself at the testimony church — The Salvation Army Berry Street Worship Center — where people show and tell what God has done: Sunday mornings @ 10:45 & Thursday nights @ 6:30; 225 Berry St., Nashville, TN 37207.
Come and hear a hunka hunka burning words!