Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Perfect Easter--Baptism

Looking back a post, I was so anxious for Easter this year. I was afraid of being alone and that it wouldn’t be the same as in years past. But the day I feared that would be upsetting turned out to be the best day of my life! Today I was baptized...and here is my story.


My sister came to Chapel Hill Saturday night to stay with me so she could go to church with me today Easter morning. I was super excited she could make time to take the trip as I was eager to take her to the church I worship in here in Chapel Hill. I was also thankful and relieved that I wouldn’t have to spend Easter alone this year. Today, I woke up with a smile on my face. I just knew it was going to be a great day, why wouldn’t it be?! Christ has risen, it’s time to rejoice!

The weather was absolutely perfect today, mid 80’s, sun shining, and a slight breeze. So the plan was to go to the 11 am service, grab lunch and then head out to the Old Well on UNC’s campus to take some Easter pictures...oh yeah and dye eggs! Before church the morning went as planned..we got ready, boiled some eggs for later and then lounged around waiting for it to be time to go to church. We ended up leaving pretty early because I was so eager to get there and show my sister where I’ve been spending quite a bit of time. When we arrived there were a lot of people hanging around outside, I thought that they were just socializing waiting for the service to start so I rushed us inside to grab a good seat. I had no idea that a mass baptism was taking place outside.

Today Pastor J.D spoke out of the book of Luke, what a moving sermon it was. He talked about the importance of God’s invitation to his Kingdom and the reasons people miss it. Recently I have been thinking a lot about what it means to become baptized and whether or not I was ready for it. I knew that in my heart I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior but I hadn’t professed it publically and needed to do it. But when? Before the service today I was sure that I’d be eventually baptized in my church back home with all of my family in attendance probably around summertime. But boy was I proven wrong today.

Some people miss the invitation to God’s kingdom because they fail to recognize the importance of the invitation. An invitation from God is more important than anything else...receiving His invitation is the most important decision you’ll make in your lifetime. Any excuse we could give not to receive God’s invitation into His Kingdom is a lame one. Throughout the service I couldn’t help but think about what were my excuses for not publically declaring Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior today.

1. I wasn’t at my home church.

2. None of my family were in attendance with the exception of my sister

3. I had promised my sister we’d grab lunch and take Easter pictures...that would be difficult if I were all wet..( I had no change of clothes)

LAME EXCUSES, LAME EXCUSES, LAME EXCUSES...did you hear me? LAME EXCUSES

But I was still bothered by them..especially with the one about my family (who I knew would want to be there) not being there. I feared my mother would be upset—I didn’t want to hurt her feelings but my love for Jesus is greater. Jesus said “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple” Luke 14:26. He isn’t saying hate your family but love him more. To be a follower your love for Jesus should be so great that even the love for your closest loved ones should seem like hate.

During the closing prayer I prayed that God give me guidance and He did. At the end of the prayer all who wanted to make their public profession in baptism were invited to the front of the church at the start of the closing worship. As the music began I turned to my sister with tears in my eyes and told her that I needed to go, I had to go. It was time to stop the lame excuses, today was the day I was going to be baptized, I was ready. I knew that my church back home is having a mass baptism next week but I couldn’t wait that long. When God says go, you obey and go!

I spoke with a counselor to prepare myself for what was about to happen but I knew I was ready. As I was standing in line waiting for my turn I began to feel anxious my fingertips went numb and my toes tingled. I scanned the crowd for my sister but I didn’t see her. I closed my eyes said a short prayer and when I opened my eyes the numbness was gone. I was next in line when one of the men helping with the baptism approached me and asked me if I was nervous. I looked him in the eye and said “not anymore”, with that I climbed up into the tub of warm water, it was my turn. In that tub I was asked (in fancier words) if I accepted Jesus Christ into my heart as my Lord and Savior and if I would agree to follow him wherever he lead me...with a huge grin on my face I said yes and was then dunked :) I can’t begin to explain to you all the emotions running through me at that time...other than what great joy. It was perfect, it was done, I was baptized :D

After church I was still able to do everything that I had planned to with my sister just at a later time. And to put a perfect ending to a perfect day it was brought to my attention that Pastor Jason, my pastor from my home church quoted and summarized my “More Like Falling in Love” blog to the congregation last week in church. Unfortunately, I wasn’t in attendance because I was in Chapel Hill. But thank God for podcasts :) I follow the podcast but I’m a few weeks behind because I also follow the podcast for the services I miss at the Summit. I’m thankful it was brought to my attention. Pastor Jason was speaking on God’s love and said the post was incredible and that I GOT it! Real love is Jesus! I'm thrilled he shared my thoughts with the church family.  I knew in my heart that I got it but its always nice to hear it from others especially from someone who inspires you like your pastor :)

SUPER LONG POST but now I am finished :)

It was a perfect day...definitely the best day in my life thus far. Happy Easter Everyone!


Sorry You'll have to turn your head sideways because I couldn't get them to rotate!



Today I was baptized! Praise God!
Reactions:

2 comments:

April said...

Praise God! Hallelujah! Christ has risen indeed! What a day for great celebration! I am so happy for you! In your post you said you were worried that I'd be upset about your baptism. On the contrary, my feelings are the exact opposite!! I cant help thinking about the song we sing at chuch, "Oh Happy Day". I am totally overwhelmed with joy!!! I may be disappointed that I could not be standing by your side when you made that wonderful decision and took those steps up that aisle, but I am elated that "You Got It".

You are so right when you say God comes first, in ALL things, always! Nothing could make a mom more happy than to know that small mustard seed that was planted years ago is thriving in her daughter's heart. I am rejoicing with you Samantha, today and always! No matter where you go, what you do or how you do it, ALWAYS seek His guidance first. I can promise you, he will never mislead you, never!

Remember, this is the day the Lord hath made, we WILL rejoice and be glad in it! ;o) I love you!

Mom

Jamie said...

Oh my goodness! I didn't see this before, but congratulations on your baptism! I hope all is well with you, we'll have to catch up soon. I've been an awful friend since I've started working and I'm letting it consume my life. I'll work harder to take a step back and remember the important things in my life....talk to you soon Sam!

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