In review, we have previously looked at the following points regarding telling your story about what Jesus has done and is doing in your life…

1> Ask for permission and don’t be pushy.                                                                                    2> Use ordinary language.                                                                                                                  3> Start briefly and share more as it becomes appropriate.                                                        4> Highlight God’s presence and power

5> Clearly present the before-and-after pictures

6> Share the source of life transformation

7> Let the joy shine through


A testimony is not a bludgeon we use to pound people into submission. It is a witness to what God is doing in our lives and a gift for others to enjoy. We need to be careful that our testimony does not come across as a speech in which we tell people that we are right and they are wrong, or point out how good we are now and how bad everyone else is who does not know Jesus. Rather, a testimony is a humble declaration that God is moving in our lives and that we are grateful for what He is doing.


Be careful not to get locked into one testimony. Don’t just memorize a scrip and robotically deliver the same words with the same inflection every time you tell your story. Instead, listen to the people around you and discover where they are in life. When you share a testimony, make sure it is relevant for them.

For example, if you are talking with someone who is dealing with loneliness and you have experienced God’s presence in a way that has strengthened you when you have felt alone, share that testimony. But if you are conversing with a spiritual seeker who is wondering if God provides for our needs and takes care of His people, you might tell a very different story – a different part of your testimony. As you walk with Jesus, you will have more and more stories about how a relationship with God transforms various areas of your life.

People love to hear stories, and that’s all a testimony is. In the course of most days you will have opportunities to share organically about the difference your faith in Jesus is making in your life. Pray for these opportunities, notice when the door is open, and then share your stories in a natural way. 

The Holy Spirit will infuse what you share with power. Remember, your part is not to change lives or even to have all the answers. But you can talk about the ways God is moving in your life. Your stories might be just what another person needs to hear.


This is the third in this series of blogs regarding giving your personal testimony. Previous blogs had commented on the following points regarding giving a part of your Jesus story…

1> Ask for permission and don’t be pushy.                                                                 2> Use ordinary language.                                                                                              3> Start briefly and share more as it becomes appropriate.                                  4> Highlight God’s presence and power


When giving your testimony work to present a contrast between who you were and who you are now. In other words, gently state the difference encountering Jesus has made in your life. For example:

  • From hate-filled and self-centered relationships to loving and caring relationships
  • From a life without purpose and direction to a life of deep meaning and clear direction
  • From fear of death to confidence in this life and hope for eternity

Though such a pattern isn’t mandatory for every testimony, it does help people see the difference Jesus can make in a life. If you have experienced a transforming work of God, let it become the focus of one of your testimonies. Here are a few more examples:

  • From loneliness to a sense of belonging (to God and His family, the Church)
  • From anxiety to peace
  • From financial irresponsibility and fear to hard work and financial stability
  • From selfishness to generosity
  • From addiction and enslavement to freedom from addictions

The list of options is as diverse as our life experiences.


As we share the story of our life transformation, it is critical that we articulate that Jesus is the source of the change. We could not have brought it about on our own. We don’t want our lost friends and family members to think that the transformation in our lives is the result of going to church or hanging out with a nice new group of people or even getting ‘religious.’ The only power that can changes from the inside out is the work of Jesus. His death on the cross, in our place, and His resurrection in glory are the reason we are becoming new people. We should be careful to express this as we share our stories. 


Joy is a universal language. If we talk about God’s work in our lives, the amazing changes we are experiencing, and the relationship we have with Jesus, but do so without joy, we will send the wrong message. Knowing the Father, walking with Jesus, and being filled with the Holy Spirit should bring a flow of joy that is visible and contagious.

This is not to say that we should paste on a fake smile and blurt, “Praise the Lord,” at the end of every sentence. It means the joy of the Lord is evident in our lives, even in the tough times. When the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) is growing in our lives, people will see it. Joy is always part of our story, because we know Jesus, the Author of joy. 


We are looking at the fact that everyone has a story to tell. You have a testimony. In fact, you have a number of testimonies because God is at work in your life on a daily basis. Last time we saw:

1> ASK FOR PERMISSION AND DON’T BE PUSHY.                                                   2> USE ORDINARY LANGUAGE

Let’s continue and look at two more points briefly…


A short testimony is almost always better than a long one. Rather than telling your life story, try sharing just one experience with God or one event that led you to faith. Then you can always ask, “Could I share a little more about my relationship with Jesus?”

This question gives listeners a natural opportunity to enter into the conversation or to let you know that they have heard enough for now. If it looks like a conversation is winding down, make sure they know the door is open to talk at any time. 

In his book “Just Walk Across the Room,” Bill Hybels encourages believers to develop the discipline of sharing a brief testimony. He suggests trying to share your story in one hundred words of less. It’s doable!

When the door is open to share a testimony, do it with clarity and boldness, but keep it brief. It could lead to questions and deeper discussion. But be careful not to launch into a fifteen-minute story that feels and sounds like a sermon.


As you tell your story, make sure God is central. A testimony in not so much about us as it is about the presence and power of the God who is alive in us. One way people will see God in this world is through His power manifested in us.

Some Christians may warn you not to tell “strange and fanciful stories” that will freak people out. I agree. But if God has moved in your life in a powerful way, don’t be shy to talk about it. Has Jesus brought you healing? Have you been delivered from an addiction or bad habit? Has the Holy Spirit given you a clear leading? All of these stories can be part of your testimony. People want to know if this God you say is real has power to move in this world. If you have seen His power, tell the story.

Testimonies are about declaring that the presence of Jesus is real. As Christians, we are not playing religion or just going to church events. We have met the living God, the Holy Spirit dwells in us, and Jesus is our closest friend. We can talk with confidence about how we experience the presence of God in our lives, in the hard times and in the good times. 

When people hear us affirm God’s power and presence, they know we are serious about our faith. They might not agree with us, but they can’t deny our personal faith is authentic. 


Christians don’t have just one story or testimony; we have many. Our testimonies are stories of God’s power and presence in our lives. Every new day brings fresh stories of God’s goodness and grace. 

Years ago I read Rebecca Pippert’s book “Out of the Saltshaker” on witnessing to others about Jesus. She wrote, “Every Christian has a personal story to tell … God has called you to be a very specific, very special person, and your story, your life, is a testimony to God’s goodness, his grace, his forgiveness. So share who you are with people. Let them know you have struggles, but that God has made a difference.”

In the Scriptures, we read about a woman at the well whom Jesus spoke to about salvation. So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, ‘Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?’”   (John 4:28-29)

Your story can be a changed relationship where Jesus has brought forgiveness, reconciliation, and healing between you and an important person in your life. It can be about finding a new purpose in life and that life is not ‘live…die…end of story. It can be how you overcame, with God’s help, living in fear and are now walking in faith and freedom. 

Followers of Jesus don’t have one testimony; we have many. Because God is active and working in our lives, we have new stories to tell every day. These stories, or testimonies, recount how God is present and powerful. Every time God works in your life; every time He moves in your circumstances and situation; every time He shows you a new truth and gives you a new understanding – you have another testimony or story to tell. God moves, works, and transforms lives and, as He does, you have more to share about His presence and power in your life. So, your story should always be fresh and current.

In some situations your testimony will be a recounting of how you first became a follower of Jesus. At other times it will be a story about how God is at work in your life today. No matter what kind of testimony your share, there are a number of things you need to remember.


If you have a sense that the door is open to share a testimony, first ask for permission. “Would you mind if I told you a little about a way God has changed my life?” Or, “I’d like to tell you how I first came to have a relationship with Jesus. Would that be alright with you?” 

We honour people and show them respect when we allow them to tell us whether they are ready to enter into this new level of conversation.


The longer we follow Jesus and the more time we spend with other Christians, the more sensitive we need to be about our language when we tell our story of faith. We can’t and shouldn’t assume nonbelievers will know what we mean when we refer to sin, redemption, grace, or dozens of other wonderful words. These terms, and others like them, are rich and helpful when believers are talking together. But when we share a testimony with those who are not born again, it is best to assume that others won’t know these terms and to use plain language. 

“Abba Father” Not ‘Daddy God’

Believers today are frequently referring to God as “Papa” and “daddy” or “daddy God.” Every time I hear someone do that or read something they wrote on Facebook or in a blog that includes a reference to “daddy God” my spirit cringes. There is just something wrong with this “familiar” reference to God, our Heavenly Father.

Yes, I know that Jesus refers to His Heavenly Father as “Abba.” We see this in Mark 14:36 “And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

And, I understand that if we translate this Aramaic word it is essentially equivalent to the English word “Daddy.” But, in the context of Jesus’ Words there is a respect and reverence for His Heavenly Father in the situation that is simply not conveyed by the English word ‘daddy’ and its regular use today. A literal translation of a word does not always correctly represent the full meaning and intention in a different time and a different culture.

We see the same reference to “Abba” in Paul’s writings

Romans 8:15 “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

Here Paul has chosen the word “Abba” which is an informal Aramaic term for Father that conveys a sense of intimacy. But, does the English terms “Daddy” or “Papa” convey the same sense of intimacy today? In this verse the context of the word ‘Abba’ conveys the sense of tenderness, dependence, and a relationship free of fear or anxiety.

Galatians 4:6 “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’”

Here it is a term of endearment, used by young children to speak to their earthly fathers. The word ‘Abba’ in Hebrew society contained a deep sense of respect and a recognition of family authority that the word “daddy” no longer conveys today. We live in a different time and a different culture than the one represented in the pages of the New Testament.

So, the word ‘Abba’ is a term that doesn’t actually mean “Daddy,” the way a lot of people will tell you and the way it is used today by many. You simply can’t take a Bible word out of its cultural and societal context and translate it into a current word and still manage to translate the full meaning behind the word in its original context.

Bible words are found in a social context. And, they were used in a cultural context. In the case of “Abba,” Jewish people living in that historical time and place would never have dreamed of using such a casual English term like ‘daddy’ as a means of parental address. This would be the case in both the relationship with their natural father as well as their Heavenly Father. It would have been the height of disrespect. ‘Abba’ represented so much more than the word ‘daddy’ does today.

Our term “daddy” in our cultural context lacks the sense of respect and reverence that a person in Biblical days using the word “Abba” would be sensing and feeling. Our English word ‘daddy’ is too informal and does not represent the biblical understanding of ‘Abba’ properly.

Biblically, while ‘Abba’ does connote a level of family intimacy, it sends up more of the idea that “my dad can beat up your dad,” and that our Heavenly Father is not caught off guard or pushed around by anything that seems too big or oversized for us, no matter what it is we are facing in life. Again, ‘Abba’ is a term representing His power, His position, His ability, His authority, and our respect for His constant and wonderful care. And in our culture today, generally the word ‘daddy’ does not bring to mind the respect, reverence and authority that the original word ‘Abba’ did for the early believers. “Daddy’ is simply too familiar and somewhat disrespectful when referring to our Heavenly Father.

So, my point, is that ‘Abba’ is a term that does not actually mean “Daddy,” the way a lot of people will tell you. “Daddy” is simply too casual a word to use in the context of referring to “Abba” as understood biblically. Word for word replacement – Aramaic to English – simply does not do justice to the meaning and context of the original word.

So, as you may have figured out by now, you will not hear me refer to my Heavenly Father as “Daddy.” With deep respect and awe I call Him “Abba Father.”

The Church As It Will Be – Wow!

When we look at when the Church was first introduced to the world we see the following…

Acts 2:42-47 “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”

If the world is looking for a solid description of the Church, here it is. But instead of just listening to the description, let’s imagine what it was really like there in those first days. Let’s imagine that you are on assignment as a beat writer for the Jerusalem Times with the task of observing and reporting about this new community of people who are beginning to create significant buzz around the city. 

Three thousand people have come to faith in one day, (Acts 2:41) and more are being added daily (Acts 2:47). People are meeting every single day – not just one day a week – in the temple and in their homes. They are selling their stuff and sharing the profits.

These people are shaking things up and rocking the status quo.

Now imagine you have a friend who is a part of this new community. You ask him to meet you in the local cafe just to get the scoop. After catching up on small talk and niceties, you get right at it.

“What in the world has happened to you?”

“Well, I am hanging out with a new group of friends.”


“Anywhere really. It is not really a place but a group of people.”

“What is not a place?”

“The Church. Isn’t that what you are asking me about?”

“Church? What’s church? I have never heard of that before.”

“Well, it’s a community of people who, by God’s kindness, have seen Jesus and gather together to love one another and follow in His steps.”

“Jesus? Isn’t that the guy whom everyone loved but the religious establishment hated? And isn’t He dead? Look, I got sent over here to interview you because word on the street is that something very different – very alive – is happening with you people. And again, what is a church?”

At this point, your friend’s explanation will not include any mention of a denomination, since those do not even exist yet.

“Well, I guess you could say it’s called the First Church of …Ever!” 

It is also doubtful he will offer up a specific address or location. After all, everyone knows where the southern steps of the temple are and beyond that, the Church is meeting all over the community. “Walk down any street in Jerusalem, take a left, and then turn…well, anywhere.”

And though Peter did stand up and do the talking on the Day of Pentecost, your friend will not mention a specific individual as the leader. There is a broad leadership in the movement led by eleven men, original followers of this said-to-be-dead Jesus guy. That’s a whole mess of chiefs, except that they are all letting the personality fall on one Chief – Christ Himself. 

Their church then would not be described using the same adjectives as most people who attend churches today. You ask your friend to describe what is going on, and based on what we know was happening from the passage we just read, we can imagine he would say something like this:

“We are alive.” Makes sense – their whole way of living had changed.

“There are awe-inspiring things happening in our midst.” Since signs and wonders were being done through the apostles, that seems like a fair description.

“We are attractive.” God was drawing many new people to their community – and they were actually coming.

“We are aligned.” They were stedfast under leadership and in service, gathered with one mind in the temple and in homes.

“We are acts-oriented.” It’s hard to accuse them of being lazy or passive.

“Okay, that’s pretty impressive,” you say, feeling confident that you have more than enough to submit your article by the deadline. But before you can express your gratitude for his help, he interrupts and keeps going – and in rapid-fire succession this time.

“And we are biblical, blessed, bonded, caring, Christ-exalting, committed, compassionate, connected, consistent, and creative, dedicated, devoted, discerning, disciplined, driven, effective, encouraging, energized, evangelistic, exciting, engaging, faithful, focused, friendly, fun, fired up, generous, godly, growing…

“Uh, I think that’s plenty. And, besides, I’m kind of running out of papyrus sheets, so…”

But he doesn’t catch your drift or miss a beat.

“We are humble, hungry, hospitable, intentional. Inspiring, intimate, intense, joyful, like-minded, loving, magnetic, miraculous, motivated, neighbourly, obedient, ordained, others-minded, passionate, powerful, praising, prayerful, proactive, productive, progressive, pure, purposeful, redeeming, radical, real, relational minded, relevant, respected, sacrificial, safe, scary, selfless, Scripture-loving, servant-hearted, single-minded, sold out, Spirit-filled, sincere, submissive, tenacious, teachable, transformed, trustworthy, thankful, unified, unselfish, unspoiled, unwavering, wholehearted, and wise. We are a people full of wonder who worship God – you should come and join us!”

By this point the coffee is long gone – and you know you’ve obliterated your editor’s word count. But be honest: If the Church were really all these things – as Scripture says it is – you would definitely be checking it out, wouldn’t you?

How could you not?”

So what happened? Something has gone terribly wrong; that’s what happened. The description of the first church is suppose to be the description of all churches today because the Leader of the first church is suppose to be the Leader of them all. 

The problem isn’t that God has stopped being in the business of changing the world by changing lives. The problem is that we have gotten into the business of doing His business our way, not being “people of His way” (Acts 9:2).

If church, as you think of it today, was truly a reflection of the adjectives we just used to describe it in Acts 2:42-47, my bet is that you would feel differently about it. A lot differently. You wouldn’t be alone.

You might be thinking, That is the exact kind of community of people I have been looking for. That is the purposeful life I really want to live, but I didn’t know it actually existed. What you are describing is what I have been searching for my whole life. In relationships. Clubs. Teams. Work. You name it. So don’t mess with me – just tell me: Where does something like this exist? Even though I am not sure I can believe, just out of curiosity, I’m going to come and check it out.

That is exactly what God had in mind – that in this lost, dark, broken world where there are only shadows of hope, a light would enter in. That people would begin to live in real relationships with a real God. That they would be that alive, awe-inspiring, authentic … a worshipful kingdom-of-God-on-earth community.

The Church is supposed to provide others a picture of God’s kingdom – a glimpse of heaven on earth. It is not a place you are suppose to go; it is a people who are suppose to be … and you can still experience what God intends for His Church to be. 

When you see life change, grace, compassion, mercy, sharing, provision, warmth, and hope – with a diligence to preserve the unity of the Spirit in a bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3) – aren’t these at least small descriptions of heaven? Yes, they are. And instead of growing dimmer over the years, the Church is supposed to be growing brighter day by day as we yield more and more to the Spirit’s grace, power, and direction. Less of us: more of Him.

From the very beginning, this is what God intended church to be. God wants you to experience a community that is alive, awe-inspiring, attractive, aligned … well, you can go back and reread the rest. God created you for this. Your heart longs for it – even if you have only seen a glimpse of it from a distance. But, once you experience this true Church you will want to do more than attend at a church building – you will want to find others who are committed to joining you in being the Church that Jesus has always wanted to build. 

Do any exist? Is that possible? Yes, they do, and yes, it is!


As we close this short series on the apostle and apostolic ministry we need to look at “The Apostolic Measure” which includes their purpose and vision.

“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” Ephesians 4:7 

These are great days to be alive as a builder (apostle) in the kingdom of God! If, indeed, the first is the last restored, we are not far away from the days of the glorious church, having “no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.” (Ephesians 5:27). 

Coming forth is “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession.” (I Peter 2:9) 

The kingdom of “the world (will) become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”   (Revelation 11:15)

The apostle is at the forefront, the visionary, the messenger. He lays down his life, that Jesus Christ may be the foundation upon which others build. He labours until “Christ is formed in His people” (Galatians 4:19), and “until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”  (Ephesians 4:13)

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now we know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”     (I Corinthians 13:12-13). 

Young, emerging apostle: value the time you get with the fathers. Honour the fathers.
Ho farther than they have gone. You will walk over their bones into the kingdom. But, you must travel their path before you find your own. Value most the time you take with your Father who is in heaven. For, “He is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”   (Philippians 2:13)

Senior apostle: Multiply yourself! That is, impart what you have freely received into the sons whom God gives you. Your ultimate success is in your successor. Don’t ever be too busy for your sons. Instruct your sons, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”  (2 Timothy 2:2). Be trans-generational, and train your sons to be trans-generational, until “the kingdom has fully come on earth as it is in heaven.”    (Matthew 6:10)

Apostles: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you.” (Colossians 3:15-16) Jesus Christ, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession (Hebrews 3:1), the builder of all things (verse 4) is in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). He is the radiance of His (Father’s) glory and the exact representation of His nature (Hebrews 1:3), and He is in You that, through Him, you may glorify the Father by the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit. 

“We are at best vessels of clay. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body,”    (2 Corinthians 4:7-10). 

There is no more noble cause than to fulfill the purpose of God in our generation!  

The Great Challenge

Setting the stage:

Jesus died on the cross of Calvary, was buried, rose from the dead, and appeared to His disciples a number of times over a period of 40 days…
Jesus, on one occasion, told them to head to Galilee because this is where most of His followers lived…
He was planning to meet them there…
We are talking here of more than the twelve He chose to be leaders in this movement … now eleven because Judas betrayed Him and then took his own life
We are talking here of a good number of followers…

Read more


We are looking at “The Apostolic Manifestation” within the apostolic church. Last time we saw that the Church will be manifested as:

1> A governing people                                                                                                                                                                   2> A warring people                                                                                                                                                                        3> A trans-generational people 


All believers are committed to glorifying God by accomplishing (completing; finishing) the work which God foreordained for them to walk in (John 17:4; Ephesians 2:10). They have counted the cost before beginning to build to be sure that they can finish what they begin (Luke 14:28-30). They know and are disciplined to focus upon their individual measures of rule (2 Corinthians 10:13), trusting their leaders and their brothers to be faithful to their spheres. They are committed to the kingdom of heaven on the earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10), and deny themselves daily (Luke 9:23) to follow Jesus, for the glory of God and His purpose. 


They know where they fit in the spiritual house built with living stones (I Peter 2:5), each one knowing who is above, beneath, and on either side of him. They build on the foundation of Jesus Christ with gold, silver and precious stones – all which will be proven and purified by the fires which try their lives so that they may receive the reward (I Corinthians 3:11-15). 

They do all by faith, because without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). They faithfully, obediently do what they see the Father doing (John 5:19), co- labouring with God (I Corinthians 3:9), realizing that unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it (Psalm 127:1). They are given to building up one another in love (Ephesians 4:16), encouraging and cooperating with one another as each one carries out his role.  


God so loved the world, that he sent Jesus into the world that the world might be saved through Him (John 3:16-17). 

Jesus sends His disciples: “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation…”   (Mark 16:15). 

The Great Commission of Jesus Christ is to the church of all ages. The church is to be apostolic. We are “sent ones.” The apostolic church has been prepared to respond to the Great Commission. The apostolic church has a biblical world view. Some are literally sent; others give that they may go. Each local expression of the apostolic church has a priority of sending labourers into the harvest field and providing the substance for their missions.

God is love; we are to love one another (I John 4:7-21). The fruit of the Spirit is love. The apostolic church, which is His body, is to carry His love to the world. We are to love God, love one another, love our neighbour, love our enemies, love ourselves. The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) will be fulfilled by a prototype people who fulfill the Great Commandment: 

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind . . . You shall love your neighbour as yourself (Matthew 22:37-40).