A New and Forever Life

baptizeI stood there in the water in front of the church, listening to the people sing, waiting to start the baptism. Feelings of elation and wonder surged through me.  Six people were about to make the statement, “I am a Believer now.”  Sinners becoming saints; the lost now found, those once without hope now living in the full assurance of life in Christ- the core reason for our existence as a church.  I love Sundays when we baptize!  We feed the hungry, teach the young, provide community for those who struggle but our main mission is the one that Jesus gave 2000 years ago – “Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19, The Message)  The anthem that closed our worship became a shout of victory – “The splendor of the King, Clothed in majesty, Let all the earth rejoice … How great is our God.”

On this Monday morning, my friend, are you keeping Christ first, focused on His promise, living in His way?  Baptism Sundays help this pastor of 4 decades to remember the ‘why’ of the ‘what’ in my life. I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to balance church budgets, tending the business of the organization.  But, then as I speak those words “It is my privilege as a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ to baptize you in the Name of God, the Father; God, the Son; and God, the Holy Spirit,” it is all worthwhile. This is why we exist. You are an ambassador of Christ Jesus, given the responsibility and privilege of turning hearts to their Father, helping people find their way home!

This season of Thanksgiving make it your prayer and goal to help someone know the Hope that Jesus gives. “Jerry, I am not a pastor. That’s your business.” Yes, it is, but not mine alone. You do life with people that I will never know. You have friends and family to whom you are the link to Life.  You do not have to be obnoxious about it, carrying a big black Bible and slapping them down as ‘sinners.’  We live in the Light and He promises that even though “At this moment the world is in crisis. Now Satan, the ruler of this world, will be thrown out. And I, as I am lifted up from the earth, will attract everyone to me and gather them around me.” (John 12:31-32, The Message) He spoke first of the Cross where He was lifted up to save us from sin and by extension, of our lives as we make Him known. Lift Jesus up with love. Make Him known with joy in adversity. Let the hope of life eternal make you steady in Hope. Others will see and hunger for life.

On this Monday morning, He commissions you and me to “Go and tell!”  Let’s remember that actions speak louder than words.

Here is the word from the Word. “For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” (2 Corinthians 5:19-21, NLT)

Abba, this world is burdened with darkness.
Friends are seeking life and hope in places that yield no return.
Evil seems to win, too often.
Make my life radiant with Your Light.
Love through me.  Help me to lift Jesus up for all to see.

 Give me the privilege, this day, to lead someone to consider You
And to turn to Jesus as his Savior.
Spirit of God, empower me to live authentically for You. Amen.

____________

How Great Is Our God

The splendor of the King
Clothed in majesty
Let all the earth rejoice
All the earth rejoice
He wraps Himself in light
And darkness tries to hide
And trembles at His voice
And trembles at His voice

How great is our God
Sing with me
How great is our God
And all will see how great
How great is our God

And age to age He stands
And time is in His hands
Beginning and the End
Beginning and the End
The Godhead three in one
Father Spirit Son
The Lion and the Lamb
The Lion and the Lamb

Name above all names
Worthy of all praise
My heart will sing
How great is our God

Chris Tomlin | Ed Cash | Jesse Reeves
© 2004 sixsteps Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
worshiptogether.com songs (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) CCLI License # 810055

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