to walk worthily of the Lord, pleasing him in all respects

Monday, March 19, 2012

Lent, day 23; My Baptism Story

God “delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved son” (Col 1:13).
Please forgive me while I recover from a 1,000 mile, 19-hour trip we finished this morning at 2:10 AM. Tuesday through Friday we’ll look at Baptism in Colossians. For today, I post my own baptism story - published originally as an article in my church’s bulletin (preparing for a sermon series I preached on baptism).

My Baptism Story
I was baptized as an infant but was not raised with any Christian faith. While a sophomore in high school, a friend invited me to church but I said no. However, that following summer (1984) God brought many different people and experiences across my path that opened my mind to faith. I traveled with relatives to South Dakota and then by myself to Oklahoma to spend time with my father, his wife and their three daughters. Along the way, I spoke with a Jehovah’s Witness relative, an evangelical college student, a Methodist Sunday school teacher, and a couple of Mormon missionaries. I also found myself praying a lot more to Jesus. When school started I told my friend, the one who’d invited me to church, that I’d like to go with him. His church was the Torrance Church of Christ. My brother, not a believer then, would drive me to church on Sunday mornings and then come to pick me up afterwards; later I would occasionally get rides from church members or ride my bike the 7 miles. I studied with the youth minister after school. I remember he gave me a worksheet that involved finding and reading different scriptures about baptism. In late November or early December of 1984 I received baptism at the Torrance church. I don’t recall too much about it apart from the trip home on the back of a friend’s motorcycle; I remember my hair was wet and felt strange in the helmet. Though I continued to attend church, my life did not change much initially (I still ‘partied’ with alcohol and drugs) but rather quickly a change took place in my life. By the time I went to college, I had increasing clarity about who I was, how I was supposed to behave and how much God loved me. While I don’t remember many of the Bible studies or sermons from my last two years of high school, what I do remember is how consistently members of the Torrance church loved me, going out of their way to include me and do kind things for me. My baptism came alongside authentic, self-less relationships unlike anything I’d ever known and from which I learned a great deal about God that I still cherish and that still shapes me.

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