not to be confused with the plunger :)
this sunday, i'm being baptized at the 7:00 pm service at sojourn community church. if anyone who reads this is in the louisville area, i would love for you to celebrate this with me, especially since my family won't be able to attend.
i've never actually attended a baptism service at sojourn because of work schedules and being out of town, so i'm a little bit nervous about how it's all going to go down (pun intended). but i know this much: i wrote my baptism testimony for them, and someone is going to read it before i'm dunked :) i thought it might be an encouragement to someone out there, so i'm posting it here as well. some background: i was baptized in the methodist church when i was a month old. i was saved when i was 13, after which time i went through confirmation (and a public confession of faith) to join the church. because of this, even as i learned more about doctrine and denominational theology, i became conflicted about whether or not i needed to be baptized "again" -- or maybe just plain ol' baptized. i was afraid of offending my family. i was afraid of causing other people in similar situations to doubt their salvation. but ultimately i came to understand this: baptism is not magical. it's not salvation-inducing. it's not something that will give me heaven insurance. in fact, i am already completely assured of my salvation, so it's not going to even make me "feel better."
so what is it? it's an act of obedience. it's conforming my life to be more like Jesus'. it's putting action to my faith. it's worship and submission to God.
that's certainly something worth doing.
I was raised in a church-going family, and I was the Sunday School know-it-all. But even though I knew a lot of things about God, I didn’t know Him as my Father, my Sovereign Lord, or my Savior. In fact, I didn’t even know that I needed a Savior—by my own estimation, I was a pretty good kid. Then, when I was 13, I heard the gospel (probably for the hundredth time) and finally I understood what God had done for me. God gave me eyes to see and ears to hear, and I saw that I had spent my whole life in self-centered disobedience to God. I was a sinner, and I deserved death. But I also heard the call of hope: I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I needed and wanted to know Jesus Christ who had paid my debt and who had put death in its grave on my behalf. I responded to God’s call to repent of my sin, to believe and to follow Him. That night, at a church camp in Northern Indiana, I prayed for Jesus to take my life, to be my life. Since that time, He has not stopped His work of sanctification in me, by His grace, and I could speak of countless ways that He has changed me and is changing me. He has taught me how to love and forgive in the face of hatred and injustice. He has given me new eyes to see people with compassion instead of judgment. And though I am still wrapped in flesh and struggle with sin, He continues to take my stubborn, stony heart and make it His again. The same God who made me is the same God who saved me, is the same God who is perfecting me by grace in Christ Jesus for His eternal glory. That is why I come for baptism today. Although I was saved by God’s grace 12 years ago, I was never baptized afterward. My parents ‘baptized’ me when I was an infant, and I made a public confession and joined the church after I was saved. But the truth is that God desires and delights in my obedience, and it is His command for me to follow in Jesus’ footsteps with baptism. I am a servant, certainly not greater than my Master, and with my baptism I am telling God, the Church, and the World that I am His and He is mine! I belong to no other, all I have is Christ. His life, His death, and His resurrection are my only plea. So wash me in the water of the Word, make my life His own. Hallelujah!