Monday, April 30, 2012

Partying for Jesus with Grace & Truth

For all you seasoned pastors and ministry leaders out there, you would seriously laugh at me often for my inexperience.  Everything I'm doing as a pastor and church planter is for the first time.  I'm sure glad God has got my back or I would embarrass my self often.
Maria Kelly coming up out of the
cold baptismal waters

Now I'm not just talking about the fact that I preached an entire sermon yesterday with my zipper down... couldn't one person have caught that before I went up to preach?!  I'm talking about simple things that I so often overlook.  For example, we launched a new sermon series the week after Easter called Hot Topics: What God thinks about...?  I did not even think about the fact that we had planned our child dedication service on the same week we were discussing in detail what God thinks about sex... kind of ironic.  I also didn't realize that I planned our baptism service on the same day that we would be discussing the highly controversial topic of homosexuality!!!  Have you ever tried to make that transition before?  

We met Rosie through our
April is Awesome events
But really, God knows what he's doing... surprise, surprise!  I have never been as nervous to preach a sermon as I was yesterday.  Many of our people have gay friends, family members or are have lived a gay life-style themselves at some point.  The foundation of the message was John 1:14 & 17 and the reality that Jesus came to earth in the fullness of grace and truth.  It was amazing to see the response in the eyes of people who could have very easily been hostile.  As we talked about the truth that homosexuality is a sin, but the grace with which we to are approach people living in that sin it was amazing to see God work.  The transition to the celebration of baptism was seamless because we were celebrating the grace of God in the lives of people based on the truth that Jesus died for us... all of us... to pay for sin... all sin.

We also met Kristina and her son
Anthony through April is Awesome
Yesterday was a party.  I encouraged our church to get loud every time someone was baptized and I anticipated having to spur them along.  Not a chance.  So many of them are living in the reality of the life change Jesus brings and I didn't have to spur them along at all.  Every time someone came up out of the icy cold water, the church erupted!  We couldn't keep the kids off the stage so they were surrounding the baptismal pool.  It was such a beautiful picture of God's love and the way he created the church to be together.  

Julie was baptized surrounded by her
own kids and other kids of The Pathway
Two days before the baptism service one of the ladies being baptized asked if they could throw a party afterwards to celebrate.  It was awesome.  This particular woman... her name is Julie... brought 20 of her family and friends to celebrate with her.  They invited everyone to the party and our church sat around talking, celebrating and partying together because life change is happening.  Our dear friend Maria, who was baptized yesterday, is usually quiet and reserved.  When I saw her after the service she was bursting with excitement.  She just keeps saying how happy and thankful she is for what God is doing in her life.
Ken is a college student at UW Tacoma
who realized his need for baptism through
our Story of God Intentional Community

Poor pastoral planning, God's grace & truth preached and the celebration of new life through baptism.  Can a day get much better this side of heaven?

No comments:

Post a Comment