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Steven Yeadon

Help Needed in Winning Souls

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I have an amazing testimony to share in the hope it will help win souls to Jesus, the Son of God. However, I wonder how to present my testimony. Here is a chapter from my autobiography. I got the idea of writing an autobiography for soul winning when I was told by a friend at church that this chapter alone happening in my life meant I should write a book:

The God of All Creation

Now, while I was in college, I had two Christian friends, a couple, whose faith I became interested in. So, I decided to ask them how to understand Christianity. They told me to read the Bible starting with the Gospels and pray, and I would see that a Christian life would grow on me as it had for them. I also asked them for something philosophical to read that summed up Christianity and they gave me the book Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.

Now, I did pray, but I found that in my heart I believed God existed to me, but in my mind He did not. This meant that my prayers felt both conflicted and pointless. I also tried reading the bible, but I started with Genesis. As a result, I found that my very scientific mind hated the first few chapters of Genesis as they seemed against science. Yet, even as an atheist, I found myself trying to prove the bible was right using science in order to regain trust in the bible as a holy book that contained the truth. This was because I had been raised to believe the bible was a holy book of the truth by my parents. Nonetheless, the result of reading the bible seriously was that I began to lose confidence in it.  

Here I must stop to say that I kid you not, this is a true story, as it will seem beyond belief. Now, I live in Orlando, FL and it was August 2004 with hurricane Charley barreling up the coast of Western Florida preparing to hit Tampa. On a whim, while watching TV, I decided to pray a prayer that tested God to see if He existed. Now, I wanted to be in a high category hurricane to live through the experience, so I prayed that instead of hitting Tampa, hurricane Charley would hit Orlando. Miraculously enough, the hurricane changed course and barreled towards Punta Gorda instead of Tampa. I was shocked at the time. Later, as I looked at hurricane Charley barreling away from Orlando, leaving my house behind, I knew that I had encountered God.

However, even after this miracle, I still did not have much faith in God. However, as only God could arrange, my two Christian friends knew a family whose house had been condemned, because hurricane Charley had put a tree through their roof. I decided to help them evacuate this house out of guilt for what I had prayed for.

The thing that struck me the most during this evacuation was that I saw the love Believers have for each other. This family’s church showed up in force to help her move her stuff out of her condemned home, and they even got a moving truck for her. This, despite everyone being busy with their own homes and clean up after the hurricane. I felt as if I had never seen such love before among the people who weren’t best friends or immediate family.

Yet, after a day of helping evacuate the family’s house, I still had so much unbelief concerning God. On the way home as I was driven by my friends, I mulled over what I had been through. I acknowledged at last that there was hope out there, real hope in the person of a God who loves us, hope for an afterlife, and hope for a just and righteous world in the end. However, even after this amazing miracle of the weather, I was still unsure if God existed in my mind. So, on the way home, in the darkest feeling I have ever had, I prayed for two more hurricanes to hit Orlando that year to prove that God existed.

Beyond all belief, two more hurricanes, Frances and Jeanne, did hit Orlando that year in answer to this prayer.

Unfortunately, I made terrible choices after this and I quickly became a Moderate Charismatic Southern Baptist. It would take twelve miserable years to get to a new heart, salvation, and a biblical faith.

So, what advice could you guys and gals give to me in order to win souls with my testimony?

I also have this story posted in a testimony on this message board:

 

 

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Now, twelve years after my baptism, I was reading the bible in one of the most trying times of my life. I was struck by the reality of the resurrection of the dead and the Day of Judgment while reading 1 Corinthians chapter 15 and Revelation 20:10 through 21:8. I knew that I would face Jesus one day and be judged by Him, and I began to feel a tremendous conviction concerning my sins. I then began to feel an overwhelming conviction of my sin, and I became terrified of death as I figured I was going to the Lake of Burning Sulfur when I died. I believed this because I knew that I had lived a sin riddled life for twelve years. As a result of this experience, I struggled with how to be sure I was saved for days and days, and I became terrified of dying because I did not know where I would go when I died. Now, some of my fellow Believers might tell me that this was just a time of doubt about my salvation, but God spoke through my circumstances soon after in a shocking way.

In the days in which I wrestled with whether I was saved or not, I was on the way home from my sister’s apartment while riding with my dad. On this trip home I finally let down my guard and accepted my doubts. My doubts flooded in, and in the presence of my doubts I felt no confidence that Jesus rose from the dead. I even questioned God’s existence after being given three hurricanes in response to prayer. I immediately thought of Romans 10:9 which states “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.“ I already considered Jesus my Lord and had confessed it openly for years, but in fear of God and His Day of Judgment I decided to believe with all my heart on pure, blind faith that Jesus rose from the dead. Upon doing so I felt great light inside me and I my feelings changed instantly from what felt like great darkness to great light.

What we have as my relationship with God up until now is the relationship between a scoundrel and his Magistrate. However, it is also the story of a prodigal son of course.

Shockingly, the following days showed my internal world to be changed: Many sins I wrestled with hardly bothered me at all anymore, my mind became sober at last instead of being deranged and scheming, as it had always been since high school, I no longer felt great darkness in me all the time, I wanted to earnestly live a holy life and separate myself from Hollywood culture, I became much better at fighting my temptations, I lost the embarrassment I felt when sharing Jesus to others, I found it possible to follow the commands of the bible that I had found impossible to live up to, and my mental health disorders also improved. However, I grew scared that I still wasn’t saved and on several occasions I made a confession of Jesus Christ as Lord to a friend, my dad, and my Celebrate Recovery group.

So, how could I be saved years after my baptism and conversion? First, the Bible warns us that mental assent to God’s existence does not save us. In James 2:19 it states “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder.”  Second, the bible in Romans 10:10 tells us that saving belief in Jesus is found in the heart, the core of our being, when it states “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” This means that a faith in Jesus that is not down to the heart won’t save us. To me the greatest evidence that I was saved twelve years later is my near instant change of heart when I believed on faith that Jesus rose from the dead. I had a filthy heart that didn’t change after my conversion and baptism, but my heart changed radically forever when I came to heartfelt faith in Jesus Christ. Simply put, I have come to the knowledge that evidence is not going to save me as it cannot tell me who Jesus is. The bible is going to tell me who Jesus is, and I have to take it on faith.

Edited by Steven Yeadon

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On 10/7/2017 at 8:33 AM, Steven Yeadon said:

So, what advice could you guys and gals give to me in order to win souls with my testimony?

Very good question Steve.

A testimony, in soul-winning efforts, is a personal story of how the Lord Jesus convicted a person of their sins, realized their need of salvation from an eternity in hell, they then trusted in the Lord Jesus as their own Saviour, and then they relate their experience to others in an effort to see other people turn from their sins and trust in Christ as their Saviour.

Normally, when a person wants to see other people saved, they get involved with the visitation time at the church. As a small word of my testimony. After I trusted in Christ as my Saviour (in January 1972, after reading a gospel tract and John 3:16, I believed in Christ as my Saviour), I felt the need to go to church (I was raised in a non-church, non-Christian, and atheistic household). A friend of mine, through his testimony as a Christian, led me to a church (a southern Baptist Church I found out later), and I started to grow as a Christian.

At church I discovered that they had a time of visitation where they went out and visited homes, and passed out tracts, in an effort to see other people saved. As time progressed, and I visited people, I was able to share my personal testimony with other people.

Steve, I would suggest that you get involved in a local independent, fundamental, Baptist church, and start going out visiting with the pastor. At this time, I would not suggest that you write a biography. As time progresses, and you learn from the pastor, and you have a solid testimony of salvation, ask the pastor how you can be a better witness in other areas.

Alan

Edited by Alan
grammer

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2 hours ago, Alan said:

Very good question Steve.

A testimony, in soul-winning efforts, is a personal story of how the Lord Jesus convicted a person of their sins, realized their need of salvation from an eternity in hell, they then trusted in the Lord Jesus as their own Saviour, and then they relate their experience to others in an effort to see other people turn from their sins and trust in Christ as their Saviour.

Normally, when a person wants to see other people saved, they get involved with the visitation time at the church. As a small word of my testimony. After I trusted in Christ as my Saviour (in January 1972, after reading a gospel tract and John 3:16, I believed in Christ as my Saviour), I felt the need to go to church (I was raised in a non-church, non-Christian, and atheistic household). A friend of mine, through his testimony as a Christian, led me to a church (a southern Baptist Church I found out later), and I started to grow as a Christian.

At church I discovered that they had a time of visitation where they went out and visited homes, and passed out tracts, in an effort to see other people saved. As time progressed, and I visited people, I was able to share my personal testimony with other people.

Steve, I would suggest that you get involved in a local independent, fundamental, Baptist church, and start going out visiting with the pastor. At this time, I would not suggest that you write a biography. As time progresses, and you learn from the pastor, and you have a solid testimony of salvation, ask the pastor how you can be a better witness in other areas.

Alan

Thank you for your counsel. I will have to find a church where I can help out with visitation. I am currently between churches. 

Honestly, I was told by friends at my last church to make a book out of my testimony. I guess I got wrapped up in the idea of making a book because of them, and the idea I could help the Kingdom with my story. I see now, though, that my testimony doesn't need to be a book. In fact it can just be a short story that builds to an invitation. I already have a rough draft of that short story, so I do want to use it to help the Kingdom, but you are right that I need to learn how to witness to others face to face and seek counsel from those around me on how I witness before jumping into something like a short story.  

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On 10/23/2017 at 9:37 AM, Steven Yeadon said:

Thank you for your counsel. I will have to find a church where I can help out with visitation. I am currently between churches. 

Steve,

I am very happy to hear your plan of action. It is my sincere hope that you will be able to find a good independent, fundamental, Baptist Church, that loves the Lord and the souls of men. If possible,  please keep us posted, or send me a PM (private message), on your efforts.

Alan

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