Eight years ago, at a church council meeting my pastor at the time said he was going to start the Christmas season by preaching a sermon titled, The Greatest Gift Exchange. He wanted ideas and music to go along with that topic.
I was driving home and going through the intersection of New Hope and Lowell-Bethesda/Beatty Road and God said two words as clearly as I have ever heard, “Cardboard Testimonies!”
It was not a new thing. It wasn’t flashy or extravagant and didn’t seem all that Christmassy. In fact, it was almost too simple and many, many churches had already done it. Nevertheless, my pastor loved the idea – but he told me since God gave it to me, I had to also organize it. Not what I was expecting. I didn’t feel like people would respond to me. But my pastor wouldn’t let me off the hook, so I got to work. While some people said, “no way” to my surprise I soon had about 50 that responded with excitement. And with each “yes” a great anticipation grew.
December 5, 2010 – God used that anointed sermon followed by the testimonies of people of all ages and from all walks of life to orchestrate two of the greatest moves of repentance and crying out to God that I have ever witnessed at somewhat regular church services. In both services, people were lined around the sanctuary to pray with our pastor. Some to repent and be saved, some to repent and rededicate their lives, some crying out for healing and deliverance, some standing in for their lost and hurting loved ones. Those left in the choir sang and we stood there for well over an hour holding our testimonies of what God had done when He exchanged what we were to the new creation He made us into. What a precious, precious thing God did for us all when we accepted the gift of His precious Son, Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
I don’t say this to boast in any way. It was God’s plan, not mine and one of the most humbling assignments I have ever been blessed to be a part of. While I did my part, the reality is that many did their part too and yet even still GOD DID IT ALL. But I do share all of this to also say – LISTEN to GOD. Sometimes He wants things planned and organized; sometimes He wants things totally spontaneous. Listen to Him, be open and obedient and always, always be ready to tell others what He has done for you! He is still speaking and drawing people to Himself by using ordinary people like you and me.
My Cardboard Testimony: