So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. (Acts 2:41, NAS95).
Okay, so maybe we didn’t baptize 3,000 souls, but we’re still buzzing about 174. Hopefully, God is setting us up for 3,000 some time in the future… that would be our prayer! In yesterday’s post, I shared about our Surprise Baptism Service at Neighborhood Church. Today, I’d like to share some memorable stories… vignettes that capture a little bit of what God was doing.
I’d also love it if you could leave some of your own stories in the comment section… a kind of “stone pillar” for future readers of this blog.
- A young guy named Garrett approached me in the crowded hallway. He said, “I need help.” I asked why. He said, “I’ve never received Jesus and I need to!” I shared the gospel with him, and right there he prayed to receive Jesus… and a few minutes later was baptized.
- A newly engaged couple, going through the line to change and get baptized said something like, “This completes our engagement.”
- A 77 year old gentleman sat with Ken Jones during the commotion to get changed and Ken led him to the Lord. He was the last person baptized at the 5:00 (Sat) service. The next day, he flew home to Wisconsin.
- Jim Botts, our Community Life Pastor, baptized people for 4 services. Dave Hall joined him for the 10:45 service. The rough counts looks like this (these figures may change as we process baptismal certificates).
- Jennifer and Darrin Beaver spent their date night on Saturday shopping for extra shorts and clothing.
- Teams of volunteers helped sign in and process happy, nervous people at every service.
- A young woman told me she wasn’t sure she was saved and wanted to make sure. I asked her what she was counting on to connect her with God and get her to heaven. She said, “Because I love him.” We talked about the difference between pointing to our own works (“I love God”) and pointing to Jesus and his finished work on the Cross (“He loved me enough to die for me”). Who are you going to point to? She prayed to receive Jesus and went public a few moments later.
- We know of four people who received Jesus in preparation for baptism. Any more stories of this?
- The bathrooms and back stairway quickly became slippery. Dedicated volunteers kept mopping and towel-drying (by hand) the stairways and floors all through the services!
- We ran out of shorts! So we had to recycle them. People got baptized, returned to change, and handed off their wet shorts to someone else. Go church!
- At the 10:45 service, we did “double-double” baptisms. Four at once. I don’t have pictures yet, but I will post them soon. A husband stands behind his wife and holds onto her. The both get laid backwards into the water together. Two couples do this, side by side, at once. A double-double, four people at once. It was the only way we could get through 70 people… Jim and Dave had a tough time keeping their heads above water for this! Great job, guys!
- The energy in the hallways and changing areas was ELECTRIC. People were high-fiving, excited, happy, nervous.
- The water was warm, about 80 degrees, and we floated a pool chlorinator in it. It still turned greenish and ugly, because of the dye from the unwashed shirts and shorts. Jim Botts started shivering uncontrollably at 12:30… way to take one for the team! (80 degrees is still lower than his core temperature…)
- When you are baptized, we have to shove you under the water, because you float.
- A number of veteran Christians was baptized… for whatever reasons they never got around to it before, and told us how grateful they were for this opportunity. I was so proud of these guys for standing up strong and proud for Jesus!
ALL THE PICTURES WILL BE POSTED FLICKR… THIS ALLOWS YOU TO DOWNLOAD AND PRINT AS MANY AS YOU WANT!!! As of this moment, only 5:00 and 9:00 have been uploaded. We hope to have the rest uploaded by Thursday. Here’s the link: Neighborhood Church Photostream.
I’m only scratching the surface of an amazing work of God. Thank you, Lord, for letting me witness your mighty hand with my own eyes, and for letting me be a part of it.
What stories have you heard?