I was a part of an amazing little baptismal service the other day. It started as a phone call from Virginia. A young man from my home town of Traverse City had moved to the Commonwealth of Virginia, while living in the little green hilly state on the east coast he found Jesus as his Savior.
He wanted to obey his Lord by water baptism. However, being baptized in Virginia would not satisfy him. He bought a plane ticket and flew back to Traverse City to be baptized in front of his family and friends. He asked me to baptize him. I wanted to be part of this love story with God!
It was a cold, rainy Sunday afternoon in Northern Michigan. It was the kind of day that keeps people at home sitting around a fire-place not walking into Lake Michigan with cool precipitation drizzling down your head.
As we stepped into the water, I whispered into his ears that my broken hands could drop him in the water but not lift him from the water. (I had broken both my hands very badly in a motorcycle accident.) So I knew gravity and I could get him into the water but God and himself were going to lift him from his chilly Lake Michigan baptism. He just smiled and said that nothing would stop him now.
I said, “Based on your confession of faith, I baptize Doug in the name of the Father and Son and Holy Spirit.” Then I dropped him into the clear water of Lake Michigan. His young frame smashed into the Lake, splashing water everywhere.
It was about; One, one thousand; two, one thousand and then the young child of God pushed off the sandy lake-bottom with his strong hands and emerged from His chilly baptismal with a huge smile that covered his whole face. Ever inch of his freezing body was praising God and full of joy.
It was very clear to his family, friends and this humble parson that this man loves God. May we all love God with all our heart, soul and strength!
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