Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation,
Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them. — psalm 111:1
Yesterday evening, Leland got baptized.
Let me unpack this for us.
Leland – He is our oldest son. He is the son for whom we waited and prayed, and praise the Lord, He gave. About a year ago, we were impressed by the Lord to pray for him that he would be saved THIS year. We realized that he knew as much as he could, and he accepted by faith as much as he knew, and we prayed that he would know, trust, and commit to Jesus as His Savior as much as a little boy could. We prayed, and we watched. We watched the Lord transform this little boy – from preferring himself to preferring his brother. from choosing to disobey to choosing to obey (not by default, but choosing). from loving self to loving and learning to love others. We watched as the Lord convicted him of sin, convinced him of His love, and began to conform him into His Son’s image. Praying and watching the gospel of God begin to change your child from the inside out is a miracle of grace. Jesus, thank you for the heart to pray, for the eyes to see, for the mind to comprehend the Spirit of God working out Your salvation in Leland.
got baptized – Little doctrine lesson, friends. Baptism = when and after an individual confesses God as Lord and Savior, Jesus calls the person to baptism. In Scripture stories are told of a man and his household coming to faith and being baptized immediately afterwards; the story of the Ethiopian eunuch, who believed and was baptized on the side of the road; an account of a large group of people moving from death in sin to life in Christ and then being baptized. Baptism = after one realizes that they are a sinner and turns from, or repents of, their sin, confesses that only Christ can save them from their sin and into real, true, eternal life, and commits their life to be lived under Jesus, the Lord and Savior, a person is baptized. Baptism is when the person is immersed under water as a symbol of death with Christ, death of former self, and raised to life with Christ, His new life in you. Like the stories in scripture, baptism can happen with only two people involved, and baptism can occur with many eyewitnesses. As the church has grown and developed, oftentimes baptism happens in the context of church and includes coming under church membership. The eyewitnesses amen your conversion to Christ and your commitment to Him, and the church members answer the call to help you live out this new life in Christ. So there’s a lot jam packed into baptism, making it one of the most significant outward acts of the Christ-follower.
Leland got baptized – As we watched and prayed for the Lord to save Leland, He answered our prayer. Leland moved from belief in Christ to commitment to Christ. Of course, a five year old little boy doesn’t understand much about commitment, or what the call of Christ in his life could look like, but as our pastor said ‘any step toward Jesus is a real step toward Jesus… walk with him there.’ We happily said, ‘ok! here we go!’ (And as an aside, who of us totally understand what it might mean for us to be committed to Christ?,… this is a place of continued growth and prayer for Leland, as well as for ourselves and our faith family.) As we conversed with Leland, we asked the the Lord to confirm what we sensed, and He did. Leland talked with the pastor, his Uncle Daniel – which is so cool! Thank you, Jesus!, we gathered up our family, went to our church’s annual celebration; Leland went with his daddy and took seriously the meeting, stood on the dock, walked into the water, and Leland got baptized.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Not to us, o Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory, for the sake of Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness! — psalm 115:1