Telling Your Story
March 2, 2019
John Newton’s story has made a difference in many people’s lives who came to know God. Born in the early 1700s, John was the son of a commander of a merchant ship; he grew up sailing the Mediterranean Sea with his father. After his father retired, John continued to sail on voyages as a midshipman until being demoted to seaman for desertion.
His life seemingly took a turn for the worse when John became the servant of a slave trader, working on a slave ship. Eventually John became a commander of his own slave ship. John had completely given up on any religious notions he might have gleaned from his mother as a child. He grew to be a hateful, cynical man lacking in moral goodness.
This was his story, until it changed as fast as the weather on the open seas. John Newton was returning on a homeward voyage when he ran straight into a violent storm, causing him to squeeze out a cry for help: “Lord, have mercy on us!” Later that night, after the storm had subsided, John quietly reflected about his encounter with God. The seeds of grace that were planted in his heart that night, May 10, 1748, grew, and he gave his life to God. As a result of his experience he wrote “Amazing Grace.” Read it and try to get an insight into this man’s story.
Amazing grace! how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found, Was blind, but now I see.
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved; How precious did that grace appear The hour I first believed!
The Lord has promised good to me, His word my hope secures; He will my shield and portion be As long as life endures.
Through many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come; ‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home.
When we’ve been there ten thousand years, Bright shining as the sun, We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise Than when we’d first begun.
Memory Text: “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).
Our Beliefs, no. 10, The Experience of Salvation: “This saving faith comes through the divine power of the Word and is the gift of God’s grace. Through Christ we are justified. . . . Through the Spirit we are born again. . . . Abiding in Him we become partakers of the divine nature and have the assurance of salvation now and in the judgement.”
Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 46, 47.
Read Ephesians 4:4-10.
Fifteen-year-old Cynthia called the other day with a heavy heart. She doesn’t feel as if she has a close walk with God because she can’t remember a specific moment when she gave her life to Him. “I know I have asked God into my heart so many times, but that’s the way it has been all my life.”
How do you know when you’ve really given your life to God? What encouragement, insight, or good advice would you give to Cynthia?
Read John 3:16; Mark 9:23, 24; Hebrews 10:23.
God’s love for us is so great that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to save us from sin. He couldn’t imagine life through eternity without us. Even if we may struggle with doubt, when we seek Him and cry out to God for help, He is faithful and will help us. We can trust the Word of God, who promised to never leave us.
Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He came to earth to live and die for you so that you might be forgiven and have eternal life? Have you accepted Him as your personal Savior? If so, how can you affirm your commitment to Jesus? If not, what is stopping you?
What is your favorite text that helps you through difficult times and assures you of God’s love and faithfulness? Write it here.
God has called us to be His ambassadors—to tell others what He has done for us. Using the words listed below, fill in the missing words. Some words are used more than once. The verse is taken from the New King James Version.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled to Himself Jesus Christ, and has the of, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has to the word of. Now then, are for Christ, as God were: implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).
ambassadors committed given new pleading through reconciliation us we
Read Romans 10:17.
When the children of Israel were on the edge of the Promised Land, they received instruction from God on what to say when their children had questions about God’s law. You can read it in Deuteronomy 6:20-22: “When your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies, the statutes, and the judgments which the Lord our God has commanded you?’ then you shall say to your son: ‘We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand; and the Lord showed signs and wonders before our eyes, great and severe, against Egypt, Pharaoh, and all his household.’ ”
God was saying, “When the children cry out for answers, give them your story. Tell them about walking through the Red Sea. Try and recount the way manna was sent from heaven. Tell them your story.” God’s great answer to the questions teens ask is a story. Your story. Stories about what God has done for you are your most effective witnessing tool.
“Have there not been some bright spots in your experience? . . . Will you not let their beauty and sweetness fill your heart with joy?” (Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, p. 117).
Chose from the references listed below and write the correct reference after each phrase. All verses are taken from the New King James Version of the Bible (available online from www.Biblegateway.com).
Psalm 66:16 Romans 10:17 John 21:24, 25 Isaiah 43:10-12 Mark 9:23, 24 Mark 5:18-20
“. . . faith comes by hearing . . .”
“. . . the world itself could not contain the books . . .”
“. . . therefore you are my witnesses . . .”
“. . . I will declare what He has done . . .”
“. . . go home to your friends and tell them . . .”
“. . . all things are possible to him who believes . . .”
Read Psalm 66:16.
Review the memory text.
The demon-possessed man, after being healed by Christ was clinging to Jesus, begging the Lord to let him stay by His side. But the words of Christ are as sure today as they were for that man long ago: “‘Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.’ And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled” (Mark 5:19, 20).
Can you imagine how people would be changed by such a testimony? One of the ways we experience consistency and growth in our lives is by simply telling our story. Not only does it then live in another person’s mind, but it awakens new life in our own. Try it. Tell someone about what God has done for you. Describe how you feel about God’s mercy and grace. Write it in a letter if you have no one to tell, but do something. Your walk with God will improve when you share what the Savior has done for you. No doubt.
“If we have tasted and seen that the Lord is good we shall have something to tell” (Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, p. 88).
Read Isaiah 43:10-12.
What five stories have made a big difference in who you are today?
The following is a simple outline to help you construct your own personal testimony, your story about what God has done for you. It’s important to be as specific as possible with your stories.
My Life Before I Encountered God
My Encounter With God
My Life as a Result of my Encounter With God