Surprise! 174 Baptized

Dunkfest411 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. (Colossians 2:11, 12, NKJV).

Last weekend, our church baptized 174 people. They didn’t see it coming. (Neither did we, not in those numbers.) We sprung it on them. Here are some comments from Facebook:

  • I was at the Saturday evening service and it was so incredible. Thank you Jesus!
  • Thank you Bill. What a wonderful surprise and something that I have wanted to do for quite some time. To do it at your offering in front of my own church while holding my wife and in the hands of Dave Hall and Jimmy Botts was something that I will always remember.
  • We got the sneak preview on Sat. night. It was AWESOME! Way to to to all of you that stepped up and got baptized this weekend. Praise the Lord! What great leadership we have!
  • Thank you Bill. It was a fantastic experience for me and my wife. To be baptized together and to have it witnessed by Neighborhood church was an honor and privelage that we will remember for the rest of our lives. Yeah Bill. Yeah Neighborhood Church. And especially, Yeah Jesus!
  • Dude, Praise God! What an awesome celebration of faith!
  • Loved the double dunkers. it was pretty awesome! worth waiting for the surprise

Dunkfest2It’s impossible to convey the electricity in the room (but thankfully not in the baptismal tank). Last weekend,we played “Baptism Catch-up.” We invited followers of Jesus to stand up and say so the way Jesus told us to say so: through water baptism.  We’re “dunkers” so this was pretty inconvenient.

We had shorts, shirts, unmentionables, hair dryers, changing rooms, towels, bags for everybody’s stuff, photographers… there was no excuse not to get baptized.

Our message was based on the gross but cool story of Joshua 5 (it’s part of a series called BirthRight).  The Jews enter the Promised Land through a great miracle. God parts the Jordan River. Now, they are in hostile territory, and have basically declared war on the Canaanites.  Joshua’s first order of business: CIRCUMCISE EVERY MALE IN THE NATION.  Joshua incapacitates his entire fighting force. Does that make sense?

Only if you see life from the divine viewpoint. God had spoken: there can be no VICTORY until God’s people fully embrace their IDENTITY.  That’s was the idea in Joshua’s day, and it’s the idea today.  BAPTISM is how we go public for Jesus; we tell God, the devil, angels, demons, the church, and a million people on the Internet that we belong to Jesus and he belongs to us. “Identity precedes victory.”

That was the message… it will be online soon. At the end, we prayed, pointed to a door in front of the auditorium, and said “READY SET GO!”

People flooded through the door. It was indescribable to see the power of God made so visible.  Tears. Smiles. Hugs. Laughter. Excitement. You could feel it. Our worship team, led by Jon Lepinski, came up, and continues our worship set (we’d cut it short, moved up [and shortened!] my message, and left time for baptisms and more worship at the end).

Dunkfest3Jim Botts and his team (led by Jennifer, Dave, and Janis) were ready. Get clothes, change, sign in, profess your faith, and go get dunked. It was so cool to see an army of volunteers helping people, encouraging, cheering, loving, serving. Our baptism tank is upstairs (behind one of our projection screens, the screen lifts up, making the tank visible in the auditorium).

In each service, one volunteer kept wiping the stairs, up the stairs, down the stairs, so people wouldn’t slip.  Up, down, up, down, all service long. That is a heart of SERVICE and SACRIFICE.

I have some awesome stories… I’ll save those for tomorrow.



9 thoughts on “Surprise! 174 Baptized

  1. Over on this page of the sermons blog Stacy Borelli left the following comment:

    Pastor Bill,

    I have heard at least four years of some pretty fantastic sermons from you and I always think about writing you, and only a couple of things I have ever totally disgreed with you on, and never contacted you on any of them, positive or negative. But today 11/8/09, you blew the socks off of the congregation and the angels are rejoicing!!!!! WOW!!! Is Jesus coming soon or what!! After you called people forward to be baptized, I fell to my knees, praying in the Spirit and started weeping, and the Lord was having me pray for souls. One particular man in his late 70’s at the 9AM service was sitting two rows up from me, got up and went forward after everybody was already being baptized! Praise God! I also feel that this is the break through we needed for our new building and if you want some more funds for t-shirts next week let me know. I will continue to intercede for you and your family. WOW! This is so AWESOME!

  2. It was Amazing.
    To be baptized with a lot of my mentors there.
    It was really special to me.
    Thank You and All of the People that made it possible!

  3. Dear Dr. G: I read your Grinch article – right on!

    I and my son listened to the Ark of the Covenant sermon – he was totally blessed at exactly the right timing! Yeah, God!

    My daughter and I are devouring the emotions series – thank you so very much!! Again, perfect timing for her needs! Yahoo, God!

    And having 174 baptized at once? Wow! Sounds like John the Baptist has returned! Yeah, I know it’s a different baptism. How wonderful indeed! Praise the Lord God Almighty!

    And thank you for being Dr. G! and used of God!

  4. Pingback: Now What!?! | Seeking Peace and Pursuing It!

  5. Bill –

    Thank you for a wonderful idea, a member of our family was baptized and it has had a great effect on the entire family.


  6. I seem to have been drawn to your web page. Sort of unexpected I guess. Maybe it’s the time of year….maybe it’s where I am in life and looking for something more.

    Like so many, I am struggling with addictions that have left me financially in debt, struggling to stay a live, and wondering if my life is even worth it.

    Lately, I seem to be going back to when I was a young boy and went to Church camp. I think I even got baptized that week but don’t remember so much. Since then, church was never a strong point. Have a good wife and good kids but I am not the father they deserve.

    Thank you for posting your testimony on the web. For some reason, unknown to me, I seem to have found a little faith and hope today because of it.

    Thanks for sharing it.


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