11 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
It’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).
Jim 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.
CLICK HERE FOR A SPECIAL, FUN, FREE, ARTICLE I WROTE ABOUT TAKING THE STRESS OUT OF THIS HOLIDAY SEASON! Please tell your friends about it.