Car Conversations

My car has become the site of some interesting witnessing conversations over the last year as I give my kids’ friends rides home from the high school and various teen activities. I am so thankful for this opportunity, as I fondly recall that God revealed Himself to me when I was in high school. Here’s a peek into some of the conversations in my car.

‘Susan’ asked me out of the blue what how I became a Christian and wanted to hear my testimony and the gospel. She then asked me heartfelt questions. Now she wants her own Bible to read.

‘Tony’ wanted to know what the difference between “going to church” or “church traditions” and a relationship with Jesus was all about and why.

‘C.J.’ questioned me about my belief in God, in a mocking- scoffing sort of way, as he is a proud atheist, evolutionist, modern intellectual.

Two boys on campus. There was a t-shirt wearing “outreach” event that the kids had at the school. The shirt features the Greek phrase, “He Gives”. So the kids are supposed to wait until someone asks them what the shirt says, and “what that means”, and then they can witness with their answer. (By the way, according to the instructions, they were not to be didactic or preachy, and only positive.) So two fifteen year old boys were wearing the bright orange “He Gives” t-shirts in the student parking lot. I was in my car waiting to meet up with one of my students, and so I gave the boys the opportunity to “practice” on me. I called them over and we chatted at my car window. I asked them what the shirt says, and then, what it means. I played “average inquiring person” for them, trying to get them to think and tell me the Gospel, until they figured out I was a Christian who was teaching them some doctrine. (So much fun!)

They proceeded to repeat the modern cotton candy gospel, which they have heard at church, Christian Club, and youth group. I kept asking them “why” Jesus was given. They were not really sure. They suggested felt needs. They told me part of the good news, but they were not sure why it was good news. My child was delayed in coming out to the car, so I had lots of time to tell these boys the “other parts” of the gospel, and teach them how to witness biblically. It was exciting to observe the lights going on. “Now it makes sense!” And they say you can’t evangelize on the high school campuses…

‘Cora’ was telling me from the back seat, how she is a “student leader” with a local parachurch youth ministry. I asked her some basic questions about her relationship with God and beliefs and she had absolutely no idea what I was talking about. She went on about all the fun they have in their group. I hope to chat with her again sometime.

‘Lily’ is a “pastor’s kid” (…her mother is the pastor…)and I’m not sure she’s heard the gospel. I asked her some questions about her view of God, and she admitted that she is not sure she “has a clue” or “gets it”. She started crying due to news that a fellow classmate and friend of hers died in a tragic accident during a music department trip to Canada. I think we made relational contact (and I hope, seeds were planted) as she listened to me relate my testimony of how this exact situation– a classmate dying in a tragic accident when I was in high school–was what God used to ultimately bring me to the place where He revealed Himself to me as the REAL, saving, forgiving, redeeming, healing and powerful God.

Most teenagers in our culture have not been taught or told much of anything real by parents, schools, campus ‘Christian Clubs’, churches, youth groups, and even many “Christian leaders and ministries”. Most ‘churched’ kids have not heard the true gospel. They are being brought into youth groups for fun,”belonging to the group” and socialization. What they really need is the real Hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Related post: Educate Me

Do Our “Testimonies” Give Glory to Jesus Christ?

Here is something to ponder: “Testimonies” as witnessing. Is this even Biblical? Perhaps testimonies are meant to encourage the saints, rather than witness to the lost. Someone help me out here? Right off, I can only think of this example from the Bible: the woman at the well who went and told everyone in her town what happened when she met the Lord. After a quick review of the words “testify” and “testimony” in the New Testament, it looks like the context is almost always exalting Christ and telling the content of the Gospel! The Samaritan woman was being an evangelist; a true witness of the Lord, telling the Gospel to everyone she knew.

Last week my daughter and I attended a midweek worship service at a huge mega church. A woman told her testimony. She described what sounded like her “false conversion” : church kid, “accepted Christ” at 8, then lived backslidden for the next 20 years. She only praised and gave glory to these things: 1. a relative, 2. the doctors, 3. the psychologists and, 4. the psych drugs they put her on. Now this subject she was speaking on is another topic altogether. But regardless, it was only about her. Jesus was not even mentioned; only a phrase in Psalms that she repeated to herself mantra style that helped her cope. She preached the gospel of “hope in psychologists and drugs”- only.

This is not the first time I have heard this exact testimony from a woman in a mega church. This is the fourth time. Once I also heard a man give his testimony in which he went on about how, being down and out on skid row, some men invited him to church and now he has friends, community and a place to belong (and support to get sober, etc).

We can only give “testimony” if we are actually born again. And if we are, let us not only tell what the Lord has done in our lives to help us, but let us exalt Jesus Christ, (the true encouragement for believers) and represent Him to the lost by testifying of faith in Him and the content of the gospel (the only true witnessing and hope for the lost).

He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. John 1:7

And this is the testimony (witness!), that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 1 John 5:11.

We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. 1 John 4:14

who bore witness to the Word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ.. Rev.1:2