Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Putting on the Uni

Imagine that you have just signed a contract to pitch for the Atlanta Braves (Lord knows they could use all the help they can get right now). You meet with General Manager Frank Wren, and you seal the deal in ink. You're now on the active roster. You're an Atlanta Brave.

Now, let's say you head down to the dugout, then out onto the field. You're immediately taken down by security. You struggle and exclaim, "but I am an Atlanta Brave!!" But, that doesn't stop them from slapping handcuffs on you and carting you off the field.

You signed the contract, right? So, that makes you a Brave! Why in the world would you be humiliated like that in front of the home faithful? Simple: You hadn't yet put on the uniform. While putting your John Hancock on the contract in the front office made you an Atlanta Braves player, you are only identified as an Atlanta Brave when you put on the uniform.

This is what we teach our people at NorthStar Church. You seal your eternal future the moment you choose Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Nothing can take that away. But, how do you share this publicly? Do you stand on the street corner and blare it to passersby? Well, you could. But, the Bible is clear in telling us that the best way to profess our faith in Jesus Christ is to walk the waters of baptism.

As followers of Christ, baptism is our uniform. It's how others are able to identify us with the One who came to save us by dying on the cross.

Baptism doesn't save you. Only your faith in Jesus as God's one and only son can do that. Instead, like a wedding ring, baptism is an outward sign of an inward commitment. It's a way for you to stand in front of others and boldly claim that you belong to Jesus.

This past Sunday, 97 people put on their uniform for the very first time and were baptized at Lake Allatoona following our church picnic. It is always a moving thing to see people put themselves aside and obediently walk into the water to proclaim that God is #1 in their lives. And, we had nearly 700 people there to celebrate with them! It was awesome!

If you've accepted Christ, but have never taken the next step and been baptized, pray about it. Allow God to move you closer to Him, and to use you as a witness to others who need Him, too!

Put on the uni!

1 comment:

Robert said...

Believe it or not, I have been baptized at least three times in my life.

Once as a child at the strong suggestion of my father. Looking back on that, I had no clue what it meant or why I was doing it other than my Dad said I needed to do it, some of the other kids my age were doing it, so I should do it.

As an adult after I had pretty much rejected my parents religion which I grew to detest and started building my own from scratch (i.e. from atheism) I was baptized again, this time for the right reasons.

Then about a decade later I did it again probably about the time that I realized during my studies of the scripture that the concept of hell as an eternal torture chamber is not supported by the Bible. Perhaps it was out of gratitude that God led me to the truth about that issue.

My parent's church I was raised in was all obsessed about hell and eternal punishment and that we need to do this, that, or the other to avoid being tortured forever when we die. I now view that obsession as a perversion of the gospel.

When I look at my children, I often think that God feels about me the way I feel about them. Nothing they could ever do would cause me to stop loving them unconditionally. Nothing! I would never solicit their love by threat of punishment, and I can't imagine God doing that either, at least not a God that I would find worthy of love and worship.

But then I hear Christians say that if I don't believe in God and love him, I will be punished eternally for it. It reeks of the same kind of psycological coercion that my parent's church practiced when I was a kid. It is a moot issue for me because I have found peace with my decision to serve Christ for the right reasons, because we love one another, not because my Dad told me he would torture me if I didn't.