Baptism

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Baptism March 13. 2022

Adam Snyder

Before I felt called to know Christ, I was 12 when I felt prompted to ask for forgiveness of my sins toward a loved one that just passed away. At that moment I experienced that the love of Christ was personal and truly profound.

A song that's recently grown special to me, the chorus repeats with increasing energy, "You've been faithful, over and over, you deserve all of the praise. I will trust you, over and over. Hang on every word you say." This song reminds me of God's faithfulness even through the hard times. And when I'm hard on myself, I've learned to remember the grace of God. From 1 John 3:1, "See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are."

I'm not perfect and moving forward, I continually ask Jesus for forgiveness of my sins. A tune from my past that I even taught my fiance the melody is, "Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and uphold me with your free spirit."

I will continue to turn to Christ to learn how I should honor God and love others.

 

Bethany Jensen

Hi! I'm Bethany Jensen, and I've been a disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ for the last year and a half.

My live pre-Christ was exactly as Paul describes in Romans 1: By my unrighteousness I suppressed the truth; Although I know God, I did not honor him as God nor give thanks to Him; Claiming to be wise, I became a fool; I was filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice ... full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, and maliciousness; I was a gossip, a hater of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, an inventor of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, and ruthless. For those of you who think murder might be a bit extreme, Jesus's sermon on the mount equates murder to anger - and anyone who is angry with his brother is liable to judgement and to the hell of fire.

In the fall of 2020, I had a fit of rage and directed all my anger at God. I told Him I wanted to be able to sin without having my conscience convict me. I even went so far as to tell God I never asked to be chosen, and I begged him to unchoose me, so I could live a much easier, guilt-free life, while continuing in rebellion. I was a slave to sin, and the fruit I was getting at that time (from the things of which I am now ashamed) was death.
    God showed me that a part of what I said that night was true - I didn't ask to be chosen. My salvation depends not on my own human will or exertion, but on God who has mercy. He has powerfully demonstrated His grace to me - in that while I was dead in my sins, including that night, Christ died for me. God has given me the faith to believe in His Son, and therefore be justified, and be at peace with God.

How profound is it that we once were enemies with God, and he was enemies with us ... BUT GOD being so rich in mercy & because of the great love with which He loved us has made us alive together with Christ - which means we aren't fighting anymore with our Creator and Sustainer. Instead, we're on the same team, and our life is hidden with Christ in God.

The Holy Spirit has filled me with desire to study and meditate on Scripture, just like the blessed man in Psalm 1 whose delight is in the law of the Lord. I've seen evidence of God's Word as living and active, discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart, and of being profitable for training in righteousness. After all, how can we be disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ without studying Scripture? Actually, through Adam's and my study through Romans last summer, the Spirit piqued my curiosity at Romans 6, which brought both of us to getting baptized today, to #1 - Be obedient to Christ's command, and #2 - to take part in the unity that we have into Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. Romans 6:4 says "We were buried with Him therefore by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead, we too might walk in newness of life".

I'm thanking and praising God today for this beautiful sacrament he's given to use; For my joy and my crown, my fiance, who loves God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength, and who shows me the love of Christ; For our sweet friends who have been a great encouragement in the faith, several of who are here today; And of course for Jesus - who foreknew, predestined, called, justified, and glorified us.

For from Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen!

Baptism January 16, 2022

Patricia Neal

My name is Patricia. I was born and raised in New Jersey to teenage parents who came from less-than-ideal home lives. My mom was a single mom who tried her best to overcome her childhood traumas and instill a strong moral core in me. Although she had many stumbling blocks and setbacks on breaking generational curses of poverty, abuse and adverse adaptive behaviors, she tried until her death from Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at 24.

At the age 6, as a result of her death, my life took a monumental shift in focus and core ideology. I was no longer Patricia the individual but Sabreen’s daughter the legacy. I was tasked with validating my existence through fulfilling her dreams and hopes. I distinctly remember asking one of my aunts at the time: if she loved me for me or because I was my mom’s daughter. My family’s actions at the time and through subsequent years lead me to the conclusion all love I would receive had to at least be actively earned and at best be conditional.

If I wanted connection, I had to be perfect. This thought mechanism led me to be a people pleaser and always strive to go the extra mile. You needed someone to move a couch, organize your closet, babysit, tutor, or take the overnight shift, I was your girl. While this made me successful in many avenues of my life, I was not content. My professional and personal relationships became transactional and the condition of loving me was I had to be the good man in the storm. It was performative heroism.   My actions were begging for others to pick me, choose me, love me. I continued investing in these patterns and pathologies for most of my life.

In 2019 this came to a head in my life, when professionally unfulfilled and personally adrift I was hit with multiple storms that converged into one. In the span of six months, my son was diagnosed with autism, and I was grieving the child I thought I would have, my short marriage was rocked by insecurities, and I grappled with forgiveness and worthiness, my daughter had a near drowning experience and had to be revived, there was a custody battle for my stepsons. I was a good man in the storm again but this time I became completely unanchored and angry.

I collapsed one day in the hallway, and I screamed at God. Is this what you want for my life? Just pain? I completely broke down. I prayed in my pain. When I came out of prayer, I knew God loved me unconditionally. I knew he was always with me and shielding me in every storm I walked into and through. My focus shifted from the pain to its purpose. I knew with everything inside of me he wanted more for me. In my brokenness I was worthy of his unconditional love. I made a commitment to him in that moment. My chains will not break my praise, my praise will break my chains. And it starts with finding my way back to Him

2 Corinthians 4:8-10 we are hard pressed on every side but not crushed, perplexed but not in despair. Persecuted but not abandoned struck down but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

 

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