Monday, October 22, 2007

Tom's Baptism

Yesterday was a very special day for our family. I will let Tom tell you more.........

I was having breakfast with one of the pastors from church, a few days before the baptism service. We were talking about all the amazing things God was doing in my life, how my faith, understanding of Scripture, marriage, parenting and career were being transformed. I was also expressing regret for being so slow to learn some of these lessons, and how I wished I could just release all my old patterns of foolish thinking and step into the blessings that God has placed right in front of me. To my surprise, Tim (my pastor) asked me if I wanted to get baptized this Sunday. A dozen Scriptures rushed into my head, about how Christ promised that we could die to the old ways of living and thinking, and rise to newness of life in him through baptism. I thought of all the times I had listened to pastors describe getting baptized as an adult, and how that always seemed like a nice thing for someone else. In what must have only been a few moments, but what seemed like echoes of eternity for me, I realized that I really did want, and even need, that moment of surrender. I don't think it was a coincidence that this breakfast took place only a few days before our monthly baptism service, and of course I "yes". Actually, I said something like, "no, I don't WANT to, but I need to". Actually, making this choice was a very important moment for me.I was baptized as a very young man, and although I knew what the symbol meant at the time when I chose it, this was much different. After spending so much time away from God in my twenties, I needed this ceremony to remind myself of how completely covered in His Grace I truly am. Since finding my way back to God 6 years ago, with a lot of help from Erica, it has been a slow climb to understanding His grace, acceptance, and unending, unconditional love.Erica encouraged me to try to explain to Stephen what was going to happen, and suggested I use the story of John the Baptist to do so. As I sat with him in his little bed thumbing through his children's Bible to find the story, I was deeply moved by the stories of Jesus healing with just a word. I remembered the Catholic prayer, "Lord, only say the word, and I will be healed". I remember praying that, "Yeah, God. That's what I need....just say the word, and heal up the broken-ness, heal up the anger and fear, heal up the things that keep me separate from you and separate from my family". We did find the story of John the Baptist, and Stephen really seemed to understand that I was getting baptized, just like Jesus. He understood that getting baptized meant that I was friends with Jesus, and I think that helped me understand it more, too.It was a pleasure to ask Robert Campbell, our small group leader, to baptize me. He and his wife Paulette have been good friends to Erica and I. I wanted Erica there, and she suggested we bring Stephen. I couldn't think of a better example to set for him. He was more interested in swimming in the water than anything else, but someday he will understand the spiritual significance of what happened.For me, I've been born again, raised to new life in Christ. My challenge is to stay connected to the Truth in prayer and through the Word enough to remember that all things are made new. Keep me in your prayers!

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