David Pressgrove: Missing the miracles? Get some cardboard

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— I’ve seen the cardboard testimonies presentation at a church or a camp five times in the past six months.

The latest was Sunday at the church I attend. On Sunday, I even saw it twice in one day, and regardless of the repetition, I was just as choked up after the fifth time as I was the first time I watched a video on YouTube with the testimonies.

If you aren’t familiar with the testimonies, search on YouTube for “cardboard testimonies,” and multiple versions of the presentation will show up.

For the sake of the article, here is a quick summary: People walk out on stage with a piece of cardboard.

Visible on the cardboard is a short summary of who they were before a transformation through their relationship with Jesus.

On the other side is written who they are after the transformation. They walk out and show the “old self” side and then flip it to the “new self” side. The signs are made to look like that of a person on the street communicating a need.

On Sunday, there wasn’t one particular piece of cardboard that overwhelmed me, but the collective of the group was what made an impact.

I found myself praying, “Lord, even if this is wrong, I don’t want to be right.”

Admittedly, it’s a silly prayer, but that’s what God heard from me at the moment.

This week I started to think about the cardboard testimonies of the people of the Bible.

The woman at the well in John 4 would walk out with “divorced five times, in another adulterous relationship,” and she would turn it over to, “first woman evangelist, heroin of my town.”

Zacchaeus (Luke 19) would walk out with, “thief, cheater, despised by many,” and flip over to, “forgiven, philanthropist, caregiver.”

Simon Peter’s “old self” would read, “hot headed, scared, traitor” and he could turn it over to, “loved by him, father of the church, self-sacrificing.”

Really, none of those aforementioned testimonies were much different than the ones I read Sunday or at any of the other places I saw them this last year.

The woman at the well would have fit right in at our church. It reminds me of a friend who told me, “I would believe in God if miracles still happened today.”

He missed about a dozen miracles written on cardboard Sunday. Those miracles could just as easily have been written about in John 4 or Luke 19 because they too happened in the presence of Jesus.

What would your cardboard read? For some of us, our cardboard wouldn’t be as drastic as “cocaine addict” to “clean for 10 years, Jesus addict.” Just start with “forgiven” and see where that takes you.

David Pressgrove is the director of Bear River Young Life.

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