Losing Weight

“This is why Asians are thinner than Americans.” The missionary across the table raised her well manicured eyebrows meaningfully. Was she was calling me fat, or introducing the earthy drink in front of me?

Options for Bible study were slim at the small university I attended. There was a large Catholic group. They were committed Christians, but I wasn’t Catholic. There was a large Protestant group that seemed to consist of non-alcohol social activities, led by friendly grunge-clad upper classmen. Without question, they were filling a real need on our “party school” campus. However, it wasn’t really a religious group, not my  freshman year anyway. The only option for Bible study that I found was small group lead by missionaries, so I joined it.
Bible study

Testimony Writing

For the next three and a half years I met with a Missionary to study the Bible one on one in their trademark discipleship practice. Sometimes she would bake something, not too sweet. Sometimes she would feed me delicious pears from their Asian trees. For a while she attempted to feed me an entire meal when I had just eaten lunch. Maybe I wasn’t too fat after all?

From the Missionaries, I learned to make authentic green tea and the practice they called “Testimony writing.” In the churches where I grew up, “Testimonies” referred either to the story of your conversion or to something good that had happened to you. To the Missionaries, a testimony was a paraphrase of the passage you had studied that week, followed by an admission of how it exposed that you were in sin.

 Testimonies were the main event at the Wednesday night group Bible study. The most senior missionaries went first, admitting their current struggles. Encouraged by their example, students began to follow. At conferences, Testimonies were labored over for hours. Afterward, the presenter would be lauded for her efforts.
On Wednesday nights, you would be prayed for.
5:16 So confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healedThe prayer of a righteous person has great effectiveness. 
 
Taken from the NET at net.bible.org
 

Testimony writing was healing. The failings I admitted were no longer part of who I was. I wasn’t discouraged by the process of continually trying to do better. God became responsible for making me a better Christian, not me.

Outside of my experience with The Missionaries, I’ve had little experience with the discipline of public confession. Usually my admission of, “I’m struggling” is met with responses of

“You’re not really that bad.”
 
“Here’s how I over came that sin…” 

But one day, a friend set me free. She responded with a smile, “Yes! I will pray for you about that.” Her response was so unusual, I still remember it ten years later, although I have no idea what I confessed.

Randall Goodgame’s Bugs and Slugs Bible Memory 2 is playing in the van as the kids and I make our way around town these days. This morning I heard this,

 

“When I tried to hide my sin, I wasted away, so I said, I will confess my sin to the Lord.”

Then comes the airy refrain, “You forgave me, all my sin is gone.”  

from Psalm 32
 
Confession is the path to freedom from the weight of spiritual failure. 
 

Practical ways to implement confession in your life

 
  • Write your own “testimony.” When you find a passage that convicts you, take some time to journal what the passage means, and how that contrasts with your own life.
  • Ask for prayer. Think of a  friend or two whose walk you respect. Send her a quick text that says, “I’ve failed in x.” Would you pray for me?” 
  • Make it part of formal prayer. If you’re the one leading the prayer or worship meeting, consider adding a few minutes for confession.  
  • Request forgiveness. When you realize you’ve messed up, stop, go to the person you’ve wronged and  say, “I realize that I  . . .” Would you forgive me?”

Two keys to effective confession

  • When you’re confessing, just tell what you’ve done. Don’t offer excuses or promises for next time. 
  • If someone comes to you with a confession, just pray for them in the name of Christ who died for them.  Don’t offer advice or reassurances.

 

Green tea

Making do.

 

This week I want some green tea. The cold winter weather calls for a good hot drink, the fresh new year calls for something healthy, and I have a few pounds of baby weight to loose. I didn’t find true green tea at our grocery, so I’m making do by cutting open the tea bag.

To make authentic green tea, sprinkle a few leaves in the bottom of your cup, then pour in boiling water. By the time it cools enough to drink, it’s ready. Don’t add anything or take the leaves out.

Just drink it.

2 comments

    • Christy says:

      I’ve haven’t heard of it before or since, but I found it to be a really helpful exercise. Thanks for taking the time to read!

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