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Why Testimonies are Important
E. Norbert Smith, Ph.D.

We continue to add new small group members each week and since we are now listed on some of the major Internet search engines we are now slowing having more visitors visit our website. I always ask new members to share their own personal testimonies. Most have done so and I apprecitate it. Some have asked why I place such an emphasis on personal testimonies. There are several reasons. Let me try to respond in some detail.

1. I hope lasting friendships will grow out of this online small group. In fact it is already happening. When any member of the Body of Christ is hurting we all suffer. We are in a very real sense we are ALL members of One Body, connected by the Internet. We all have different backgrounds and come from different regions, yet worship One God. If we were able to meet together in a room one of the first things we would ask each other is about how they came to know Christ. Sharing testimonies helps us get acquainted by sharing one of the most important events in our lives. Knowing this encourages supporting friendships.

2. As I have indicated before, our small group is sponsored by New Life church and we do not operate in a vacuum. As you are accountable to me, I in turn am accountable to Jim O'Connor, who is accountable to Paul and Lori Clayton and so on. We must all work with and respect this God ordained authority and work within our chain of command. For me to trust you with ministering to some lost seeker looking for Truth and Salvation I need to know a little about where each member is in their personal walk with God. Of course no system is infallible, but I must do my part to reduce error. Errors in ministry can mean the difference in eternity in heaven or hell. We have no more important task before us. Each of us must continually seek God in our online ministering and lift others up to Him for direction.

3. We are commanded in Scripture to be ready to give the reason for the hope that is in us. Without Salvation there is no hope. Our testimonies allows to share with one another what our hope is based on. We must always be ready and eager to do this. But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. (1 Pet 3:15-17, NIV)

4. There is great spiritual power in sharing our testimony. We are all in a spiritual war and must know and use our spiritual weapons. Eventually our Enemy will be defeated by our testimony. Lets get a head start on his defeat! They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. (Rev 12:11, NIV)

Please continue to share our website with your online friends and try to find at least one member from your local church to join our group. That would enable the two of your to share prayer and ministry concerns in a special way. If you have not yet done so please submit a testimony of how you became a Christian so I can share it with our group.