Living Life in the Grace and Sufficiency of Christ: Baptism Celebration 2014

2014 Messages

Baptism is being identified with Christ's death resurrection breaking the power of sin and death in our lives. As an outward symbol of and inward faith to identify to the world that we are followers of Christ. In this service we hear from three individuals who will be baptized, publicly proclaiming how God has brought them from death to life.

Todd WagnerMay 4, 2014Romans 5:8

All right. Good morning. Imagine yourself living about 4,000 years ago in Israel, and every time you walked past the Temple Mount it smelled just like this, because there was always a barbeque going on. There were the morning sacrifices, there were the evening sacrifices, and it was a constant reminder that God in his grace was making provision for sin, that there was innocent life being sacrificed. You understood you had offended a holy God.

It was a pleasant aroma to you because it meant, "We are still acknowledging our need for God to forgive us." God was using an olfactory teaching tool continually. When you smell a barbecue in someone's back yard, aren't you always drawn to it? God's always trying to pull you in.

It's a sweet and pleasant thing to be near a God who is making provision for you, so I love what we do on this particular Sunday. We baptize people all year long. If you're here this morning and you're having a sense that you need to do what these 300 or so people are going to do this morning, I want to let you know we'll do it tomorrow or we'll do it next Sunday with you.

We baptize folks all year long, but one time a year we really do emphasize it and say, "This is an amazing day when a bunch of folks are going to just say, 'Identify me with Christ. I believe Jesus is the means to which I am reconciled to God. I am not, in and of myself, a pleasing aroma to God. God has done something about that, and now the rest of my life I want to offer my life as a sweet, fragrant sacrifice to God.'"

If we are who God wants us to be, the way we live our life ought to be just like the smell of a good steak on your neighbor's grill. You want to go look over the fence and be invited into that life. That's the life we should be living, the life others watch and see and want to be invited into. We tell them the source of that life, and it's not our good behavior; it's Christ's perfect provision.

Today is the day we celebrate that, and it is a party. The Scriptures talk about the fact that when one person is brought back into relationship with God there is a great celebration in heaven, and there have been hundreds of them here over the last year or so, many of whom are going to talk today about that relationship with Christ they have come into. We are thrilled that you're here.

If you're a guest, we usually start at 9:00 and 11:15, but today we're gathering at 10:00. What we're going to do is celebrate in here for a few moments, and then we're going to break out and hear the gospel declared 300-plus times on this campus today. We're going to invite you into one of those smaller communities where you can hear people talk about their personal relationship with Christ, so this service is going to continue for a while here in about 70 different places and then outside all day while we just celebrate and throw a party about what God has done.

If you don't know that Lord, we don't think it would be normal for you to sing a bunch of songs to him. You're welcome to sing along. We want you to know what we sing up here is part of us declaring that good news of the gospel, hundreds of times, and we're about to do that. We believe God is still breathing life into dead men's bones.

We believe our sin and our separation from God is not the end. It's not over. God's done something about it, and we pray today could be the day he does something about it in your life. If that's already happened in your life, I pray you sing it gladly to others.


We want to welcome everybody. We're glad you're here. This is my friend Allye Foster. That song we just sang really comes from Exodus, chapters 2 and 3, and also from Acts 7. Stephen talks about how God came down and delivered his people. The way God delivers people is always through a deliverer. The ultimate deliverer was when God actually came down in the person of Jesus Christ. The amazing thing is then Christ dwells in those of us who believe, and God comes down again through the hands and feet of those who are a part of his body.

My friend Allye Foster is going to talk about how God did that in the form of a gal who was running around here at Watermark. I want you to hear Allye's story, which is symbolic of many of the stories you won't get to hear today. You'll get to hear some, three or four in the group you're in, but I want you to hear Allye's, because in Allye's story maybe is your story, and maybe God of heaven will come down right now through Allye talking to you about the God who came down and did something for her.

Allye Foster: I was raised in the church and was pretty involved all the time there. I was confirmed. I would say that because I was raised in the church I knew of the Lord, but I wouldn't say I had an intimate relationship with him or even knew what that looked like. I can remember thinking specifically in junior high of my faith in terms of an if/then belief. If I do this then I will go to heaven; if I do this then I will go to hell.

I was so focused on the threat of hell and the reward of heaven I didn't even worry about a relationship with God. I didn't even know what that meant. Thankfully, through high school and college I didn't think in such quite specific terms, but I was still a "doer," really focused on being active in the church and doing good deeds; I wasn't really believing and trusting in the Lord.

The way I came to know Christ is kind of twofold. The first part is I moved here to Dallas for an internship, and the weekend I came up here I broke up with a boyfriend who I thought I saw marriage with. Our relationship had been unhealthy because we trusted in each other as our gods, as our idols.

We put our dependence in each other instead of the Lord. That summer the Lord used just a time where I would have wanted to turn to friends or family or things I was comfortable with. All the worldly things I had turned to before were not available for me to turn to anymore.

That was really the first time I turned to the Lord and said, "Okay, Lord. I can't, but you can," and really found out what a trusting relationship in God looks like. Although I had this head knowledge of who God was, the Bible, and all of these things, I really didn't have that heart knowledge yet and I really didn't see Christ's role in my story yet.

Fast-forward to the next summer. I was looking to get plugged in here, and I met with a Porch volunteer, Ally Wall, who was really faithful and just asked me some questions. She asked me, "On a scale of one to ten, if you were to die right now would you go to heaven, with ten being certain and one being not certain?" I said, "Eight," and I really described to her that I thought it was by my works, by being a good person, or by being involved in the church that I could earn my salvation or earn this relationship with the Lord.

Through that conversation, she shared the bridge model with me. She showed me we serve a perfect God. Because of our sin that entered the world we are imperfect human beings, and there's this gap in between us in that my good works and my good deeds can't bridge that gap; it just can't happen. She showed me Christ is the only thing that can bridge that gap and he is the way, the truth, and the life; the only way to the Father; and the only way to have an abundant life, both with him on this earth and eternally.

For the first time I really got it. I understood with my heart just what Christ did for me, the power of the cross, and it has been absolutely amazing to see how the Lord has used that to transform my life in just this last year. I used to see my faith as something that was mine, and I didn't want to tell others about it because I didn't want to offend them. Now the Lord has not only grown my heart for him; he has grown my heart for others who don't know him yet and to just share this free gift he has given to all of us. It has been so neat to see.

Don't get me wrong. I am very tempted daily to trust in myself and in the things of this world, but ultimately I know when I allow the Lord to be Lord over my life his best is my best, and I'm going to get to see the amazing things he can do through me when I trust him.

Todd Wagner: Allye's story… You mentioned this thing called confirmed. If you're not a church person, what does confirmed mean?

Allye: I was raised in a Methodist church. When you're in sixth grade they ask that you would confirm your faith in Christ. I wouldn't say I really knew what I was doing at that point. I'm sure I had some knowledge but didn't really get it.

Todd: What this particular church does is about that time they say, "You're old enough now to make a decision," so they put you through a process. Everybody in that particular age group goes through a confirmation process. It's like, "It's time for you to join the church if you want to." Allye was a part of that. The heart of it is great, just like the heart of parents who want small babies to believe in their faith to do. How many kids in your confirmation class do you remember saying, "I like you people; I'm just not all in with Jesus"?

Allye: I don't think anyone.

Todd: No one opted out, right?

Allye: No.

Todd: Yeah, because Grandma's there, and you get a nice white Bible with your name on it. There's nothing wrong with the idea, but let me just tell you, what Allye shared was her experience, not the experience of everybody who goes through confirmation. It was her experience that she did not have a personal relationship with Christ.

Even in this confirmation, what she thought she was being confirmed in is, "I don't want to go this place, so I don't want to do these things." She had a very "do" based understanding of her relationship with God. All that changed when she heard the gospel. I want you to tell them one more time what you came to a clarity in. What is the gospel? Why are you no longer an, "If I do this, then I'll go there" person.

Allye: The gospel is that Christ came down… God sent his Son to die for us because he loves us and wanted him to take on the sins of the world. We can't, by our own merit and by our own deeds, achieve perfection because we're not perfect and we can't get there, but we serve a perfect God who requires perfect love, so he sent his blameless and pure Son to die for us on the cross so we could have this abiding relationship with him.

Todd: What Allye is here to tell you today is she is no longer, "If I do that, then I'll go here." She's "Because Jesus did that and my trust in him; therefore, I have peace with God through Christ." Allye, if your salvation is already secure and there's nothing you can do to make God love you more and nothing you can do to make God love you less, why not just run your own way and do whatever you want to do?

Allye: Because of the Lord's love, just the way he loves me grows in me this desire to love him in return by being his hands and feet and by living a life that is what he desires for me.

Todd: This is not scripted. This is me putting her on the proverbial spot right here. Did you hear what she said? "I'm not here to do anything to make God love me. I don't have to do anything to make God love me. He died for me while I was yet a sinner. The life which I now live I live in response to the love he has given me. I can do what I want, but what I want is to walk with the God who gave himself for me." That, my friends, is the gospel.

What I want to share with you is if you're thirsty for a God who would love you as much as the God Allye just testified about, his name is Jesus, and we invite you to come to him and stop wearying yourself in performance and thinking you have to do this and if you do it long enough then he'll love you. That is not the Bible.

The Bible says God demonstrates his love for you while you are yet a sinner. Christ came down and gave himself for you, the perfect Lamb of God who was sacrificed as a pleasing aroma to God, that he could then invite you to the party. We're going to sing that song. If you know it would you just let others around you know it through the way you sing, and if you don't know it would you consider the amazing grace of God available to all sinners…like Todd Wagner and Allye Foster…who would come to the realization of the goodness of God.


There is no better song that captures the heart of what we're celebrating today than that song by John Newton, a slave trader who was so base and wretched that even other slave traders who were abusive to people just because they had the ability and power to be were offended by this man's depravity. When he came to Christ he wrote that song about that amazing grace. I want you to meet my friends, Mark Pederson and his son Chad. Speaking of depravity… Mark, take it away.

Mark Pederson: Todd, I thought we were here because we wanted to get baptized together.

Todd: Together, right. You should not be baptized because your son is being baptized.

Mark: [Laughs] Let me just share with you a little bit. How fitting a song to play before a baptism day like this where we can all come together and proclaim publicly our love for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen?

I was one of those wretches, like many of you, probably. You hear Todd speak of God's love for us, how we can never do anything to make him love us any less and how we can never do anything to make him love us any more. Like he just said with Allye when she was up here, it's not about performance, because there is nothing we can do to make ourselves good enough. It's only about proclaiming our faith in him as our Lord and Savior that we are saved.

I was born and raised in the church. I knew about God. I knew about Jesus. I heard all those things, and I was just going through the motions for most of my life. As I look back now on my life I can see how much God loved me, because he was always there, even in my worst sin.

I'm an alcoholic. I spent many years of my life looking for things to fill that empty void inside me: drinking, women, partying, and things of this world, material things, but none of those things filled that void. There was always something missing. I found temporary pleasure or temporary happiness, but it always left me feeling like nothing after it was all over.

To make a long story short, after many years of drinking and several DWIs I was sentenced to two years in prison for DWI. It was there that I really came to know God and know my Lord and Savior, because I could actually see him begin to show up in a big way in my life. At first I had to question it because I had to ask him, "God, why would you put me here? I'm not a bad guy. I haven't murdered anybody. I haven't really hurt anybody." (I could have, though, through my stupid drinking, but I didn't, by his good grace.)

I looked at all those times I'd been drunk and driven home and not even known it but he got me home safely. That's because he had a bigger purpose for my life. Amen? I can't say I haven't dreamed about this moment, being up here, because I've thought about being up here, and I just pray that while I'm up here whatever I say God uses me in a mighty way.

When I was sentenced and put in prison I was put in a faith-based dorm. That's where I began to know God. That's how I learned to have a relationship with God. It changed my life. Things began to change in my life. He started putting my life back together. My sons and my daughter came to visit me. Things began to change.

My son was an alcoholic. He was drinking too because he looked up to me. He followed in my footsteps. See, I led him astray, but God began to work in our lives. He began to do things. I have been sober now a little over three years. God continues to do amazing things in my life. I have family members here I haven't seen in three or four years; my cousin Barbara and her daughter Misty are here. My good friend Peter, who has been a faithful Christian in my life for a long time, is here. God put him in my life for a special reason. I love you, Peter!

I just want to tell you all, if you're sitting on the fence or if you have any doubt, as soon as you put that doubt away and go all in and proclaim him as your Lord and Savior and begin to follow him, you're still going to mess up and you're still going to do the wrong thing sometimes, but it's okay, because God loves you. He wants to help you change your life, and he wants to be a major part of your life. He wants to have that relationship with you and know you on a deep, personal level. So invite him in. I challenge you to. God bless y'all.

Todd: Thank you, Mark. There are people who sit in this church every week and hear the message of an invitation to come and know the God who wants you to live a life that leads to freedom and not a life where society needs to incarcerate you or where your sins separate you from others.

There are people in this room today who, in the midst of their drinking, have been a part of somebody losing their life. I say that because the provision for Mark is the same provision for you. For those of you who are out there and wonder if God's love is sufficient for you, I'm here to tell you it is.

I'm also here to tell you if, by the grace of God, as Mark said, your life has not yet led to that kind of tragedy, the reason God wants to have a relationship with you is to bring you into a life where you will not need to be incarcerated, where you would not be defined by guilt and shame, but where you will walk in freedom, joy, and blessing.

That's the reason Jesus has come, not to rip you off and to keep you from the party but to invite you to the party, a life of faithfulness where your life is a sweet aroma that draws other people in to the source of it. Chad, tell them how you came to know about the source of life in Christ.

Chad Pederson: As my father said, I used to be an alcoholic as well. Today I'm 386 days sober. I was depressed and upset. I didn't know where to go with life whatsoever. I filled it with alcohol, women, and drugs, everything you can imagine. I partied away… Because of drinking and everything else I lost everything I had, literally. My car, my job, my apartment…everything God has blessed me with that I was so blind to see.

I thought I was living the high life; I was nowhere near it. I was confused and far away from the Lord. I was going more toward the Devil's ways. When my father went to prison, my best friend, I felt like I lost everything. My father began to share the relationship he had with Christ, sharing it in letters and visitations. It brought a new hope to my life. I saw how miraculously God could work in someone and, man, has he changed my father and me so much, in so many ways.

This day I have an awesome career. I have a car. (You have no idea what it's like not having a car; you just don't.) God is the most gracious man in my life. Thanks to my father for bringing him back and showing me life can be something worth living for. Amen.

Todd: Chad, is your testimony today that if you trust in Jesus he will give you a car?

Chad: Yes. I mean, no. [Laughs]

Todd: Just to be clear. I mean, seriously. Yes or no?

Chad: No.

Todd: Okay, no. If you trust in Jesus, what will he give you?

Chad: Life. An abundant life full of anything you want.

Todd: It is a shame, and I don't want to rebuke you, but I rebuke you that y'all applauded more for the fact he's been sober for 386 days than when he said when you come to Jesus you get abundant life. I want to tell you as lovingly as I can, sobriety is not the goal.

Chad: No.

Todd: Life with God is the goal. So I'm going to ask him again. I'm going to give you a chance to respond. Is it your testimony that if you come to faith in Jesus Christ you'll get a car?

Chad: No. It is because I've grown a relationship with Christ, and he is my ultimate Savior in life.

Todd: Yeah. So when you come to Christ, what do you get?

Chad: Life.

Todd: And when did you come to Christ? Ballpark it…

Chad: April 14, 2011.

Todd: About three years ago?

Chad: Yeah.

Todd: Since that time, is that when you said you started to experience the life God intended for you?

Chad: Yes.

Todd: Folks, that is what this is about. God is not trying to rip you off. He's not trying to call you from the party; he's trying to bring you to the party. I cannot say that enough.

Chad: The real party.

Todd: Yeah, because there are parties with women, there are parties with alcohol… There are parties with good times that are always chased by guilt and shame. The chaser to that life is guilt and shame. The chaser to life with Jesus is freedom, joy, self-respect, integrity, and sweetness.

Chad: Amen.

Todd: Let's be honest. That other party looks good sometimes because it's the easy way, the sluggard's way, the lazy way, and the mindless way. Discipline, though, is what leads to real life. Dying to self is a discipline. Coming to the God who gives us life is the greatest joy.

The God of heaven came down through a father who he rescued out of drunkenness to become a minister of the gospel to his son. The God of heaven came down through Ally Black, whose story has been in the Watermark News, who had destroyed life within her, who had tried to find life in finding acceptance from men. That Ally Black came to Christ, and the God of heaven came down and lived in her to where she became a source of life to Allye Foster.

You're about to see 300 people who the God of heaven came down in the power of the Spirit, indwelling his church, and led them to a place where they now are ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They want to thank every single one of you who has invested here with service, with resources, with time, with presence, with song, and with the boldness to share the gospel story of Jesus Christ.

Here are just a few of those folks who want to thank you for letting the God of heaven come down and be Christ in you, the hope of glory. Watch this. Friends who are getting baptized, come on up here with me.


Male: Thank you Jim Word, Allen Hankins, Tom Sharp, and Braun Brown. I walked in here with a ton of guilt and shame. God used you guys to show me how much he loved me and that he still desired a relationship with me despite my past.

Female: Thank you, Brittney, Courtney, Sarah, and Stacy, for speaking God's truth into my life.

Male: Thank you, Dad, for always being available to answer my questions and lead me to understanding the true nature of God.

Male: Thanks, Mike and Jerry, for being great resources for me in my new walk with Christ.

Female: Thanks, LC and Mike, for just kind of being the first great examples of Christ in our life and dragging us here and not letting go even when it was kind of tough for us sometimes.

Male: Thank you, Amber, for reminding me that no matter how far away from God I am or how physically broken I was God pursues me, loves me, and calls me into relationship with him.

Female: To my husband, Ryan, thank you so much for helping to show me what grace is and for running to Jesus with me. I love you.

Male: Thank you, Scott, for welcoming me during an early meet and greet and sharing the gospel, which changed the direction of my life.

Female: Mike, I'd like to thank you for pushing me deeper into the Word to look for the real answers and not relying on the world and men as answers for what I'm looking for, and Judy Wimberley, thank you for teaching me and walking with me through this journey as I grow in Jesus Christ.

Male: Thank you, Jon and Philip for showing up at my doorstep and teaching me of God's love and grace, that I would be set free.

Female: I just want to say thank you to my sister Rachel for sharing the gospel with me. Through you I was able to accept God's grace.

Female: Thank you, Watermark.

Male: Thank you, Mom and Dad, for continually sharing the unfailing love of Christ with me.

Female: I just want to thank the girls who have helped me along this spiritual journey, keeping me accountable in my Christian faith.

Male: Thanks, Mommy and Daddy, for always loving me and guiding me back toward Christ.

Male: Thank you, Amy, for your unconditional love and for your support and encouragement on my journey of faith.

Female: Thank you to everyone. I made it! I'm here!

Female: I'd just like to thank Savannah for inviting me to The Porch on Tuesday. It was the start of my beginning here with my walk with Christ. I'd also like to thank Dominique, who was on the front line that day. I was just drawn to her to share with her my testimony. The first time I ever cried, just really being real and authentic with you.

Male: Thank you, Laura and Scott, for bringing me to Watermark where I could hear the Word of God and learn how real men lead their families well.

Female: Thank you so much, Ann and Carmen, for showing me what it looks like and modeling what it looks like to be a woman who loves the Lord with all her heart, all her mind, all her soul, and all her strength.

Male: I want to say thank you to my dad for building my relationship with Christ, to Tyler Briggs for always shepherding me, and to my Community Group for speaking wisdom and guiding me in my life.

Female: Sarah, I just want to say thank you for introducing me to a God I never knew. Because of your faithfulness I am now so radically in love with a sweet, loving, and gracious Savior.

Male: I thank the men I've had the pleasure of being in community with for the past five years. I just thank you guys for loving me and showing me who Christ is and always redirecting me to him.

Female: Thank you, Ally Wall, for just being a faithful servant and having a conversation with someone who didn't realize she was believing in works-based salvation. Thank you for sharing the bridge gospel with me.

Male: Thank you, Mom, Dad, Will Bostian, and the rest of my Community Group, for loving me unconditionally even when I was a complete fool and showing me what it's like to lead a Christ-centered life.

Female: Thank you, Valerie, for taking the time to show me true freedom found in Christ.

Female: Ashley Auzenne, thank you so much for showing me what it looks like to model Christ.

Female: I want to thank Judy and Scott for coming alongside me and knowing God loves me so much. I never believed it, and I believe it now.

[End of video]

Todd: Amen. Thank you, Jesus, for dying for wretches like all of us. Amen? And all of you who know Christ, thank you, Jesus, for continuing to breathe life into dead men's bones. Thank you, Jesus, that you continue to work New Testament miracles and call people out of death. Every one of these stories is a story of resurrection from eternal separation from God to eternal unity with him.

Every one of these stories is a fulfillment of Jesus' prayer in John 17. Every one of these stories is an expression of God working in his church. In every one of these stories, God's intention is that they would be living memorials to Jesus Christ, that their lives would be a fragrant aroma.

We are not here to baptize people today into a relationship with Jesus. These are people who have a relationship with Jesus who want to declare to you they are part of God's family and they need you to admonish them when they're unruly, encourage them when they're fainthearted, and help them when they're weak.

These are members of the body, brothers and sisters in Christ who need you to pray for them, disciple them, shepherd them, and model for them what faithfulness looks like. In a moment we're going to sing a song we've sung here a lot. It's almost a creedal song for us as a church.

Give me one pure and holy passion.

Give me one magnificent obsession.

Jesus, give me one glorious ambition for my life:

To know and follow hard after You.

We are in the business of being and making disciples. We measure our success not by baptisms, not by buildings, not by butts in seats, not by size of budgets. We measure our success by our ability to be yielded to Jesus Christ, to sow the truth of his Word in others' lives, and then to be faithful in following him and discipling those he chooses in his abundant, infinite grace to bring into relationship with him.

It's not according to anything we have done but according to his mercy that God is choosing to use broken people like us to quicken the dead and to breathe life into dead men's bones. My friends, that is worth celebrating and thanking God. Let's do it the way they used to do it before they had instruments. They just used their hands, and they thanked God in a sacrifice of praise. Let's thank him for what he's doing here in our midst.

I want to tell you God's desire is that Jesus would trend not just in Dallas but in the whole world. We're going to take advantage of social media today. There are already a bunch of folks taking pictures. If you're going to use social media, whether it be Twitter or other things, just add #WatermarkBaptism2014.

Those of you who play on social media, I know there are a lot of letters there. Type that along with the picture. You still have 100 characters to celebrate what God has done. Put verses down there. I want the whole community of Dallas today to wonder what in the world is God doing that that many people are talking about what Jesus has done in their lives.

My prayer is that the way we live our lives would be a constant #ForJesus from this day forward, that people would see Jesus trending in our lives. In other words, be the center of what we're thinking about, focusing on, and living for…that we are experiencing life. Take advantage of what is already out there for us in the social media world, and let's just celebrate. #WatermarkBaptism2014. We don't want folks to come to Watermark; we want people to come to Jesus Christ, and this is a place where all we do is talk about Jesus Christ.

Every one of my friends up here is going to do that right now, and they want you to listen to them. They want you to hear them share what Allye, Mark, and Chad have already done in just little 3- to 5-minute testimonies. They want to look you in the eye, and they want you to hear their story of grace.

If you have a relationship with any one of them, just take a look right here at this list. They're alphabetized, and next to each of those names there's a number. Those numbers correspond to a map of our campus which is right inside your Watermark News. Go to that place right now. You're going to get to hear three or four stories, and then in about 30 minutes you're going to see all of us pour outside and start to celebrate the picture God has given us to identify with him.

We identify with him by faith, and we flesh that out with the way we live. They're going to flesh it out with the act of baptism and then every day forward from that moment on. They're not going to get baptized to be saved or live faithfully to be saved; they're going to be baptized because of their faith, and they're going to live faithfully because of their faith. That's who we are: people who are called by his name and who walk in relationship with him.

If you're here this morning and you want to have a relationship with Jesus Christ like Mark, Chad, Allye, these friends behind me, and me... If you want to live with a sober, clear-thinking mind, while everybody else goes other places, would you just come right here? We'll tell you how you can personally come into a relationship with Christ yourself. I'm going to ask that all of us do this.

The cotton candy, the sno-cones, the burgers, and the bounce houses will go up around 11:30. I encourage you to surround that little water feature out there every time somebody you're involved with is celebrating new life in Christ. For the next hour and a half to two hours we're going to be celebrating there and then celebrating what God has done here. Amen?

Here's the way we're going to end today. We're going to stand and all sing together this song, "Give Me One Pure and Holy Passion." Ten years ago today there was a guy whose marriage was tattered, whose life was tattered, whose relationship with his daughters was tattered, who stood here where these guys are. He didn't just get baptized. We're in the business of making disciples. This guy has been a co-laborer in Jesus Christ with me.

He happens to work in the insurance industry. That doesn't matter. He's trying to tell people about what God has done to protect them from sin and death. He has labored with me and loved others with me for 10 years. I'm going to ask him to come close us in prayer after we sing this song, because we're not about baptisms here; we're about relationships with Jesus. I want you to see the fruit of God's ministry in this man who is a pastor, not vocationally but professionally, just like every single one of you is supposed to be if you know Jesus, just like you all are.

You're a kingdom of priests, people called by his name, a holy nation, a people of God's possession who will be faithful in growing in relationship with Jesus and be faithful through the way you live your life, not just in a moment in the water but in every day God gives you to live and honor him and to be God of heaven come down, a sweet aroma that others would know where life can be found. That is your charge. That is your privilege. You are the church, the hope of the world. May God give you one pure and holy passion.


Male: Abba, we love you, and we thank you for today. You are truly amazing, that even today you knew this moment. We are so thankful for what you have done in our lives. We truly know that your Word is a transformation of our hearts and our minds. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life that I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself up for me.

Lord, we truly want to walk like him, talk like him, love like him, forgive like him, extend grace like him, and be faithful to you like him. We truly want to be like him. We pray you will continue to work in our lives in such a way that his works will be seen in our lives and our light will be your light that shines through us, and when we love we love because you love us and your love flows through us to others. May we continue to be loving servants, loving children, loving disciples who love because of what God has done in our lives.

We thank you for our pastor and his passion for your Word and the truth he brings forth to us. We are free because you have made us free. You're showing you're still alive today. Look at the lives that are changing before us, yet there are still more to come. May you use these believers, as you've used them throughout the history of the world, to bring forth the truth of who you are.

We thank you for life change. We thank you for freedom. We thank you for a place we can come and gather together and worship you and glorify your name. We thank you for your blessing and provision in your lives. We thank you for the truth we live and hold on to. We thank you for your Word of truth. We thank you for the Holy Spirit. We thank you and are so, so grateful…so, so grateful…for Jesus. Amen.