I was four years old when my mother led me to Christ. Though I was young, I had full understanding of what was at stake. And I also knew that something had forever changed in me. I couldn’t define in so many words what it was except to say that I had a warm feeling inside me and it gave me a clear impression that I was about to soar above the skies. Days later I still had the same feeling. 50+ years later, I’m still flying high. I still look at that day as the first day of the rest of my life. 

I was eight when I got baptized. Not by choice. My mother held me back, so to speak. Without knowing, I was acting exactly like the believers in the early church and my mom was acting like many modern-day Christians. I wanted to get baptized right away, my mom wanted to wait until I could take a class and understand the doctrine well. Like the Ethiopian in Acts 8, I kept seeing water, and kept asking, “Here’s water, what can stop me from getting baptized?” The answer was “My mother.” But in the end, my baptism, though delayed, was like the seal of the deal. It was like a marriage with no possibility of rupture. I was hitched to Jesus. I promised God that with His help I would never look back. And here I am, 50 years later, still going strong with Jesus.

This Sunday we are stopping everything to celebrate some of our people who are identifying publicly with Jesus in the waters of baptism. And yes, it is a celebration and he is why:
1. Jesus commanded us to be baptized as part of becoming a disciple. We know of seven people who have told us they will obeying Christ’s command this Sunday. In an age of much disbelief and cynicism, it is simply awesome that these folks are taking this step.
2. Jesus humbled Himself, went to John and asked to be baptized. Even John thought it was strange. He protested but Jesus said essentially, “Keep it cool, Johnnie. I gotta do what I gotta do.” Jesus was fulfilling biblical prophecy and John was walking into history. This Sunday our people will be making history of their own and that’s worth celebrating. You gotta do what you gotta do.
3. Baptism unfortunately has become simply another step to membership in many of our churches. But when believers in the early church realized who Christ was, they looked for the first available opportunity to be identified with Him publicly through baptism. This Sunday, our people are jumping in the warm waters of our tank to do just that — they want to show everyone that that they are in for the duration. “I have decided to follow Jesus; no turning back, no turning back.” What is there not to celebrate?
And finally, if you are a follower but have yet to be dunked, get really to be challenged and don’t resist the Spirit if He moves you to this act of obedience, give us the joy of celebrating it with you.
See you Sunday!
Pastor Ivanildo da Costa Trindade
Lead Pastor, Grace Church, Lititz, PA

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