First thing’s first. I’m getting baptized tomorrow. Before I get into the why, I’ll talk about the where and when. It’s going to be at Edmonds Marina Park, and put on by Mars Hill Church Shoreline. Here’s the event page for more information. The picinic starts at 6, then Pastor Steve (lead pastor at Shoreline) will preach, there will be some testimonies including me and then the dunking will begin.
Now for the why:
I grew up in the Lutheran church where the tradition is to “baptize” babies. I use the quotes because as Pastor Mark describes in his sermon from this last Sunday, infant baptizm is nowhere to be found in the Bible. Here’s what the Bible does say about baptism:
Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” (Acts 2:36-39)
The pattern is clear: repent and be baptized. When I was baptized I didn’t have that opportunity, so now I’m here 29 years later and I haven’t come forward to make that public declaration of faith.
The topic of baptism is something that came up as long as 6 years ago when I became a member of Mars Hill. I had never considered the topic very seriously, and honestly didn’t feel like God was directing me that way. I prayed a little about it since then and honestly didn’t feel like I wanted to do it. Only recently, though, has God put it more on my heart through earnest prayer as well as conversations that the Holy Spirit used with my wife and community group.
The primary reason that I didn’t want to get baptized was fear. I’ve been getting more plugged into Mars Hill and I had a strong hunch that I would be asked to share some of my story if I decided to go through with it. I’m not someone who likes being in front of a big crowd. I much prefer things behind the scenes. So my nerves got the best of me.
On top of that, I reall don’t know exactly what I’m going to say. I really started to take ownership of my faith around 10 years ago, but before or after that haven’t really struggled with the “big” sins. No drugs. No porn addiction. But the reality is that I have been proud. I have been somewhat of a gossip. I have been gluttonous. Those are some things that I still deal with now, even. And I still remain a sinner in need of God’s grace.
I decided to get baptized before Sunday, but the sermon we heard from Pastor Mark really nailed it when he said this:
And one of the most common answers I get is, “I’m shy.” But obedience says to repent of shyness, because your shyness might be a sin.If Jesus is saying, “Be my witnesses,” which is exactly what he says, and then people are baptized, one way you are a witness is through your baptism. So, let me encourage you today to consider:
Are you a Christian? Have you turned from sin?
Have you trusted in Jesus?
And have you been baptized?
If not, why is there disobedience? And I would tell you, your obedience glorifies God.
So that’s the big reason I’m getting baptized. I want to be obedient to Jesus. I know he died for my sins. I know he rose and conqured death. I know that the Holy Spirit will give me the words to say tomorrow. Because he is with me.