Dunkfest Sermon

Here’s the first Dunkfest Video. After this message, 174 people came forward to get baptized, and 4 people received Jesus as Savior. This is part of a series called BirthRight: It’s Yours, Take it Back (based on Joshua).

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Non-spontaneous baptisms?

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Click this for the kids/youth schedule this weekend!

God blew us all away last weekend, when a huge crowd came forward for baptism. (See the previous two posts for the awesome stories.) By the way, we baptize by immersion. That means we dunk you all the way under water.  So this is a pretty big deal.

For this coming weekend, we’re facing 2 big issues:

1) Integrity with regard to youth/children/minors — it has to be their choice, they have to understand the significance of baptism, and their parents or guardians most likely want to watch it! So last weekend, you had to be 18 or over. But not this coming weekend (details below, so stay tuned)

2) Crowd control –– because our 10:45 service had about 5 empty seats, and that’s it! If we open that service to young people, and you invite aunts and uncles and grandparents, we’ll have some very disappointed people!

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About to be baptized together as a "double."

Remember… this weekend will not be our last baptism service ever. If you don’t fit the guidelines below, please know we care about you and can’t wait to celebration your public declaration of faith in Jesus. We’ll schedule a service just for you soon, so please be patient!

GUIDELINES:

Students (12-17) can get baptized if you bring your parent or guardian with you, backstage, when we give the invitation.  They’ll check you in, and then return to the auditorium to watch you get baptized. You have two choices (only): Saturday at 5:00 or Sunday at 12:30.  Bring all the family you can!

Students (10-11) can get baptized if bring your parent or guardian with you AND if you have completed our Kids’ Baptism Training packet with your parents.  (There’s one exception, below).  Same choices: Saturday at 5:30 or Sunday at 12:30.

Families (down to age 10) can get baptized without completing the Training Packet, if another adult in your immediate family with be baptized with you. Please make sure you child understands the meaning of baptism: it doesn’t save, doesn’t wash away sins, doesn’t open up heaven. It is a symbol of your faith in Jesus as your Savior, and of your union with Him. Same choices: Saturday at 5:30 or Sunday at 12:30.

It sounds like something Congress would write, I know.  But integrity with kids, and crowd control, loomed big in our minds.

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There are TWO people under the water here!

Looming bigger, however, is the powerful hand of God at work among his people!  Pray for this weekend. Pray for our gospel messages (Bill in the Celebration and Classic services, Todd at the Well). We’re going to invite people to receive Jesus, and then get baptized.  PRAY!  The devil hates this, an

d we’re on a battleship!

See you this weekend! I can’t wait to see how God shows up!

Photos of each person getting baptized (more to come; we have some extra processing to do), click here.

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Jim Botts, Baptism Hero

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The Incredible Jon Lepinski and our Awesome Band

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.

GOD IS GOOD.

IMG_1048CLICK HERE FOR A SPECIAL, FUN, FREE, ARTICLE I WROTE ABOUT TAKING THE STRESS OUT OF THIS HOLIDAY SEASON! Please tell your friends about it.