1 PETER 3:15
But in your hearts revere 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 that speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
As a believer in Jesus Christ, one never has the foreknowledge of when God places them in a situation to where this verse is going to be fulfilled in there life. I think in my mind that’s why it says to always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
I personally am a member of a program called Celebrate Recovery and have within CR given my testimony at a few different meetings and it’s always a blessing to be able to do so. But my pastor and ministry leader believe as do I that a believer should have their testimony in 3 different, lets say versions. One written out to give as a 15-20 minute testimony at a meeting or church, a 2nd one a shorter version that is a “rated G” version to give to older kids and teens, and 3rd a 3-5 minute version to give maybe to someone one on a trip or air plane. I also happen to wear my one and only CR T-Shirt quite frequently which I believe puts me in the position to be asked about CR and what it is all about quite often.
. I can honestly say that I’ve never had the pleasure of giving a 3-5 minute version of my testimony until yesterday when at the Emergency Room with my youngest daughter and wife. My daughter was in the back being seen for what we thought was strep throat and I was in the waiting room drinking coffee watching the news, with my CR t-shirt on. I can say it was mid morning and the ER wasn’t full, however there were a good amount of people waiting and in and out when this older gentleman came from around the corner, saying hello and greeting people. Judging from the ID Badge on his shirt I figured he worked for the hospital. It wasn’t until the end of my conversation with this man that I found out he was a chaplain.
When he saw me he boasted of how he loved the program of Celebrate Recovery and how it changes peoples lives. Now mind you this man does not speak quietly at all and as we were talking I noticed people looking our direction and to be honest I wasn’t exactly whispering. It was a small waiting room and we were vocal enough you knew what we were talking about. All of a sudden the chaplain says let me hear it, give me that 3-5 minute version of your testimony.
I did not have any time to rationally think about what I was going to say and if you look at me with all my tattoos (full sleeves, and on fingers and hands) you could guess what my life could have been like. So I started out that CR is a Christ Centered Recovery Program not just for people with drug or/and alcohol issues. CR is a program for people with life issues, that suffer from any of life’s hurts, habits, and hang ups such as grief, codependency, abuse of many forms, sexual integrity issues, anger, food issues the list is endless.
I was honest and I told him how I lived most of my life as a drug addict slash drug dealer, that I had prospected at one time for an outlaw motorcycle club, that after the Marine Corps and medical assistant school I chose to live most of my life outside the law, and that in 2005 through my girlfriend losing custody of her youngest son to her ex-husband God started making attempts at getting my attention. Through that experience I thought that my girlfriend needed spiritual guidance that I couldn’t provide for her then one day she told me that she was good with her relationship with Christ and that God was looking for me not her.
Then in 2009 I submitted my life to Christ, rededicated my life to Christ and was baptized. I then started living the new creation that God had purposed me to live, and how God had led me to CR where I was freed by Christ from the addiction to drugs, and how my life has now been a testimony in how through the 12 steps. I have learned that there are other areas of my life that I need to work on and how God has transformed me from the inside out and that I’m a work in progress.
I said all that in around 5 minutes, but mostly I got to talk about how Jesus changed an old hardened, angry, bitter heart to a loving, kind, gentle heart for Him. My heart belongs to Jesus and He didn’t give me my life back, I don’t want to go back. Jesus gave me a new life, even in the struggles He gives me a life that I want to live, that I look forward to living. With Jesus and Celebrate Recovery I get the opportunity to serve God in my church, my community and in Celebrate Recovery. Hopefully what I got to do in sharing that 5 minute testimony was plant a seed in someone’s mind and heart that there is a place where people can find healing from life’s hurts, habits, and hang ups of all sorts. And I hope for you the reader if you need healing seek Christ and His power. Find someone you can talk to who knows Christ and can help lead you to a relationship with Christ so you can find freedom from life’s hurts, habits and hang ups.
© Copyright By Bart Hickey, All Rights Reserved, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014