Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John record what the gospel is and how it was written on the hearts of the disciples. The Book of Acts tells us how it was first proclaimed, and recounts in detail the normal outcome of the good news. As it did then, so the gospel does today: draws all who believe together. They live together, holding all things in common. This life together gives visible witness of the power of forgiveness.
And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common. (Acts 2:40-44)
From that time on, the life, death, and resurrection of Yahshua were foremost to the proclamation of the good news. The “many other words” of the evangelists exactly spelled out the response of faith to the good news.
Those who responded obeyed the so-called “hard sayings” of the gospel. They shared everything because of the love of God that had been poured out into their hearts — a love that could not bear to see any go needy in their midst.
Once the gospel was formed in the faithful men and women surrounding the Savior, its proclamation had several consistent themes. They were the atoning sacrifice of Yahshua, the obedience of faith that resulted in their shared life together (true community), and their personal testimonies. This Newsletter is devoted to the last.
Here are links to collections of some of the testimonies published in our Freepapers in English, German, Portuguese, and Spanish. Please take the time to read those in your language — you won’t be disappointed.2
In English, there are ten: http://www.twelvetribes.com/personal-testimonies.
In German, two: http://www.zwoelfstaemme.de/veroeffentlichframe.html.
In Portuguese, we have five at http://www.dozetribos.com.br/artigos.php.
In Spanish, we have six posted: http://www.docetribus.com/web/Paginas-web/Doce_Tribus_Testimonios.html.
Below are summaries of some of the testimonies.
Sharon writes a simple yet touching account of a day in the life of a woman in the Community in “So We Can Love Each Other.” She gives a brief but clear picture of our daily life. Some of our communities focus on farming, some on running Yellow Delis, some on cottage industry — but all exist so we can love each other. This fulfills the mandate in John 13:34-35, without which no one will know who His disciples are.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)
(See http://twelvetribes.org/stories/so-we-can-love for the whole article.)
Naharah opens up her diary as a lost teenager to tell the story of how she found unexpectedly found life. She tells of running away from home to the fabled “Grateful Dead” scene of twenty years ago. There she met Gladheart, Rose, He’emin and others from the Community. And there she heard the good news! For many years we provided basic first aid, human warmth, and care to those following the Dead. We were a listening ear and place of refuge. Naharah is one who found a home with us. (See her journal entries at twelvetribes.org/testimonies/finally-free)
In “Marriage is not the Cure” I tell a condensed version of my life, and what I did and didn’t find in marriage. It is not (as many think) the cure for loneliness, which has much deeper roots in our souls than simply the lack of a companion. Here is an excerpt exposing what those roots really are…
I had long since learned to put relationships second and myself first. However glittery it once looked, the sexual revolution did nothing but legitimize selfishness. Being excessively or exclusively concerned with yourself pushes others away. So right where I sought refuge from loneliness, it had followed me. Or rather, I had brought it with me.
“The walls around me weren’t destroyed by my marriage certificate. It was just a piece of paper. It had no power to change my heart. That was what desperately needed changing. Selfishness had captured the core of my being because, really, it was easier that way.
“The costs of friendship, of commitment, and of love, were all too high. And if people were willing to meet my needs without a corresponding return on my part, all the better. I was living for myself — wasn’t everybody? Isn’t self number one today? The sight of my weeping wife pleading for help and compassion under the load of the house, the children, the diapers, and – if she would have said it – my lack of affection almost made me see how selfish I was toward her.” (See http://twelvetribes.org/articles/marriage-cure for the rest of the article.)
These testimonies concern the real lives of real people, just like you…and obviously, just like me. They are not all prettied up, so what they have to offer is real, too: real hope. Here is the conclusion of my testimony — the life I found, which is the hope I have to offer.
I was a hurt, fearful, lonely man. I had done many things that I was ashamed of. The memories of them were vivid and stinging. Yet here I was, being offered that for which men ache — a second chance, a clean slate. I couldn’t deny what I saw in their lives nor what I saw in mine. So I surrendered to the Savior — not the one I heard about in church, but the one who dwells in His people. I was actually forgiven. It is the most wonderful thing that can ever happen to anyone. It sets you free to love. That is the cure to loneliness.
Kevin Carlin for the Twelve Tribes
First distributed as Newsletter 3 on March 22, 2012.