Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sullivan and Harrison's Baptism

We were excited to finally have an opportunity to baptize Sullivan and Harrison who had both accepted Christ as their personal Savior. It was important to us that our friends and family be present to share in the celebration so the Barn Dance provided the perfect setting. We upgraded one of our water feeders to the 300 gallon size and began filling it the night prior to the baptism so it wouldn't run the well dry. Tim and bigger boys, the mechanical genius team, used the chicken processing scalder to heat the huge amount of water needed for an outdoor baptism on a cool February day.First, Sullivan, Harrison, and Sheridan recited a passage of scripture they've been working on. Romans 6 is a wonderful chapter with an encouraging message that as Christians, we are dead to sin but alive in Christ. They were able to recite verses 1 - 18 but continue to work on completing the chapter.

" What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness." Romans 6: 1-18

The joy I feel over my children's baptisms is only second to that of the day they are born. Timmy told the crowd, and I agree, that baptism in no way saves a person. Rather, it is an outward sign of an inward transformation that has taken place.

When Sullivan and Harrison were younger, they woke one summer morning and began talking to me about concerns they had regarding their eternal destiny. They said they wanted to ask Jesus to be the Lord of their lives and save them from their sins.

Timmy happened to be in a remote area of North Carolina that morning cutting lots for our tractor service. Although often difficult to make cell phone contact with the cutting crew, Tim told the crowd how he remembered just where he was when the call came through with me on the other end telling him how the younger boys wanted to ask Jesus into their hearts and lives.

Tim paused from his early work and led each of his young sons in a prayer of confession. What a wonderful day that was!

We mark our children's spiritual birthdays on our calendar along with their physical birthdays so that we can celebrate with them each year.
A long-time tradition has been for me to share each child's physical birth story on their birthday. Some have heard others' stories so often that they remember the details better than I and often will help fill in the parts I forget to mention.
What a joy it is for me, as a mother, to hear my children share their salvation stories on their spiritual birthdays.
Although most of our children's stories are about a simple awareness of their need for Christ and a prayer of repentance, the younger kids especially look forward to Oliver's testimony each year that involves a dream with sharks, death, and drama!

What indescribable happiness Timmy and I experienced as Sullivan and Harrison were baptized. It will forever be remembered as the day these young boys made a public profession of their faith in Jesus Christ.

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