Israel Study Tour

Oct 20 - Nov 1, 2019

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Kathy's Baptism Story

I was first baptized on Easter Sunday April 1st 1956. I was just over 4 months old. Our church taught that one received the Holy Spirit at baptism, so parents generally got on with it for young babies. Then my parents conscientiously ensured that I studied the Bible and attended confirmation classes. After 3 years (and excessive memorization of the small catechism), at age 12, I publicly confirmed my faith and front of the entire church and more importantly, in front of God! I confessed Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and that I would do my very best to follow and obey him for the rest of my life.

That was over 50 years ago, and I have been joyfully, daily, and pretty much publicly sharing the great news about Jesus Christ ever since. The Holy Spirit has shown himself clearly since I was a teen, displaying His supernatural love and re-directing my path to people and places I would never have imagined.

So why would I even consider being baptized again? Because in 2016 the Holy Spirit began nudging me about adult, immersion baptism.

So I began research, reading both sides of the baptism methods with a new look (ok-it was sorta biased towards my previous doctrinal instruction). My initial research was into Scripture. On the one hand, when I considered how Cornelius had received the Holy Spirit prior to baptism in Acts 10:44, it put a huge chink in past instruction on baptism. On the other hand I looked at adult baptism as a works-based action, fully understanding that I am not saved by anything I do, but entirely by God's grace and Jesus' redeeming love on the cross. On the other hand (I know-- I've already run out of hands) I didn't feel like I needed to go through an adult baptism to be repentant. I repented every Sunday and sometimes daily. Each time I repented with an earnest heart and turned over my whole being to Jesus to clean up and use according to His will!

Still the Holy Spirit wouldn't let me park this adult, immersion baptism thought. So I went way, way, way out on a limb and sent questions to pastor friends and many Texan Southern Baptist friends. You can just imagine the myriad of exhortations, at various emotional and urgency levels, that I received. I understood and agreed with most of what they said. But this was still advice from man and I needed to know for sure what Scripture--Jesus- said about it.

There are many Bible verses about baptism, in the Old and New Testaments. And I looked up words in Greek using Strong's Concordance for many of those verses, to make sure I was reading it the way that God intended. Just in Matthew 3, I learned that Jesus' body was immersed, so I had to be immersed. I learned that Jesus came up from the water, so that I would need to come up from the water. I knew that John didn't need to go to the Jordan River to sprinkle people. The Bible imagery of baptism is very specific and quite profound.

I learned that I had to follow in Christ's footsteps. Jesus was a blameless, upright, sin-free human. He had no need to repent. He wasn't coming to John to receive a baptism of repentance. Jesus was obeying the command of his Father, who had instituted baptism in a certain way. I came to realize I needed to be publicly baptized, immersed just as Jesus was, following Jesus' example, and in complete obedience to the Father.

Romans 6:3-5 lays it out. Baptism is a display of righteousness for Jesus' sake, a picture to all who witness it, a representation of total faith and commitment and Jesus Christ!!!

On the authority of these and many other Scripture verses, I knew I still owed Jesus a baptism!

It was a tremendous joy to be immersion baptized today, Thursday, 24 October 2019, in the Jordan River, at the Sea of Galilee, in the Ein Gev Kabutz, Israel, at 5:55 p.m. (gotta love metadata). I was happy to see on-lookers watch us announce Jesus to the world as our Messiah! (Rich, "forever," not "whatever").

In writing this out, I realize I'm finally in total obedience to God. (Regarding Baptism anyway...He and I are still working on the rest.) And I'm grateful for His abundant patience.

I can't wait to see what this act of obedience has inaugurated! Who knows what Jesus has in store next! I'd better hold on tight to my camel saddle!

Praising God and giving Him glory, for faith and salvation and immense joy.

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