I absolutely love Pathway baptisms! By God's grace they seem to always be personal, powerful and full of life. They are a celebration of new life in Christ and there is nothing worthy of greater celebration than the Holy Spirit regenerating the heart of a person. God is so good and so gracious and I pray that we get to celebrate baptism more and more and more over the coming days, weeks, months and years. I pray that baptism becomes contagious. I pray that people are motivated by the picture of baptism to go out and make disciples of their family, friends, co-workers and neighbors so that we can worship Jesus through baptism more and more. It's beautiful. It's powerful.
Yesterday we saw two amazing things happen in our Sunday gathering. First, we baptized a friend of mine that I honestly never thought we would see come to trust in and follow Jesus including making the bold statement to be baptized. My friends name is Mat and I'm pretty sure I met him around 4 years ago. He has some extremely close friends, family for all intents and purposes, that we got to know through a series of circumstances. Over the years we baptized quite a few people that Mat was extremely close to and he always came in support of them, but never really seemed open to coming into the life of the church himself.
Most recently his nephew Devon gave his life to Jesus and was baptized. Mat and his girlfriend Antigony came to Devon's baptism just to support him in this major life event. I'm pretty sure it was one of the first times Antigony had ever been to a church service. Well, the Holy Spirit did what the Holy Spirit so often does, he fell on our congregation in a powerful way and specifically on Mat and Antigony. He spoke to them through the faithful testimony of their middle school aged nephew and their lives have not been the same since!
Antigony was baptized in June and they have stepped deeply into the life of our church through Intentional Community. To be quite honest, it's difficult now to picture the church without them. Mat has been being discipled in a variety of ways and has wanted to make sure of his commitment to Christ before following in baptism. This Sunday was finally the day. He invited friends and family, we shared his testimony and he confessed with his mouth, "Jesus is Lord!" It was incredibly worshipful and I'm still in awe of the life change God brings through death and resurrection of his Son Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. All glory is due to our God who loves to save!
The second incredible thing that happened yesterday was a spontaneous baptism. We usually don't open up baptism to people on the spot because we've learned that it doesn't usually lead to disciples for us. That's not at all to say that it doesn't for others, but for us it just hasn't been fruitful for the Kingdom. But after I got done preaching this Sunday I went to sit down in my sweet and a young man named Corey grabbed me. He's probably in his mid-twenties. He said, "Will you baptize me today?" He's a close friend of a gal in our church and has been throughs me incredibly difficult times. We talked, we prayed, and he confidently professed Jesus as Lord! We got to baptize Corey... in his regular clothes... freezing and dripping afterward... and it was a powerful, bold, and beautiful testimony of the life change that only comes through Christ. We didn't have to invite Corey to be baptized, just as the Ethiopian declared to Philip after trusting the gospel, Corey's response to the gospel was to seek out obedience to Jesus. I stand amazed and pray for more and more people to come to Christ and be baptized.
Please pray for Mat, Antigony and Corey as they learn what it is to be a disciple of Jesus. As they feel the weight and the burden along with the joy and surrender of taking up their cross daily and following Jesus. And in all things, to God be the glory, the praise and the honor forever and ever. Amen!