What is baptism?

Baptism-2011Have you ever thought about all the things that happen when a person is baptized?

Baptism is a killing. The “old man” of sin and shame is killed and buried with Jesus (Romans 6:4).

Baptism is a birthday. A person is “born again” not of flesh and blood, but of the Spirit of God to walk in a new kind of life (John 3:5-8, Romans 6:4).

Baptism is an imitation. A person who is baptized is doing what Jesus did (Matthew 3:13-17).

Baptism is a change. It a part of the process we call repentance which is a change in thinking and living (Acts 2:38).

Baptism is a bath. Ananias told Paul to quit waiting, “Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins” (Acts 22:16)

Baptism is gift. When a person is baptized, they receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, God’s personal presence and power in life (Acts 2:38).

Baptism is a celebration. When someone repents, the angels rejoice (Luke 15:7).

Baptism is clothing. Paul told the Galatians, “as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27).

Baptism is a unification. Everyone who is baptized is baptized into the body of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13).

Baptism is the birth of a new Christian, the saving moment when a conscience is made clean (1 Peter 3:21).

If you never have been baptized into Jesus, you’re missing something incredible. Don’t put it off any longer.

Five Ways to Help the Burns Church

1.10.BestWayHelpChurch_458597731Sometimes when people hear about some of the good things going on at Burns, they ask, “How can I help?” There probably are a million ways—but here are five that almost anyone can do.

ONE: Show up. It sounds simple—because it is—but simply being here when we meet helps more than you know. You matter. Your voice improves the singing. Your question improves a Bible class. Your hug improves our hospitality. Your presence adds energy to the room.

TWO: Refuse gossip. I know that none of you reading this would ever repeat gossip, but there’s more you can do to stop it. If someone starts to tell you something that you don’t really need to know about, politely stop the conversation. If you refuse to listen, it will help stop the damaging effects of gossip in the church.

THREE: Gossip! Not in the bad way. Tell a friend what’s happening here. Did you know that 82% of unchurched people say they are at least somewhat likely to attend worship if invited? Stats from 2010 say that over half of Dickson county is religiously “unaffiliated.” The number is higher if you count those who are inactive at their church. Invite a friend to an activity, class, or worship at church. They’re more likely to come than you’d expect.

FOUR: Give. Your consistent giving makes the work of the church possible. Consider using your bank’s free automatic payment feature to automate your giving if you’re forgetful. Giving blesses the giver and the recipient.

FIVE: Prioritize. I’ve never met a person who has as much time or money as they’d like. You demonstrate your priorities by how you allocate those precious resources. If you prioritize the kingdom of God (in the words of Jesus, “seek first the kingdom”), you will help other people see that God’s family is more than a nice add-on to your life; it is where we found life.

The Parade of Nations

Twenty-two time Olympic medalist swimmer Michael Phelps carries the Stars & Stripes to lead Team USA into Maracana Stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Aug. 5. U.S. Army photo by Tim Hipps, IMCOM Public Affairs

Twenty-two time Olympic medalist swimmer Michael Phelps carries the Stars & Stripes to lead Team USA into Maracana Stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Aug. 5. U.S. Army photo by Tim Hipps, IMCOM Public Affairs

The Olympic opening ceremonies concludes with a beautiful ritual: the parade of nations. Athletes follow a flag-bearer into the stadium dressed to reflect their culture. You can feel the energy in the scene through your television. In a world that is more polarized and factious than ever before, it almost feels like a miracle to watch people from over one hundred countries coming together in unity for two weeks. When we watch, we feel hope.

Revelation 7 paints a similar scene. John said, “After this, I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’” (Revelation 7:9-10)

John’s parade of nations is not celebrating the beginning of a new series of Olympic games. They are celebrating the coronation of the king of God and the beginning of an era where no sin or death will ever be seen again.

The parade of nations in Rio gives me hope, but the parade of nations in Revelation excites me even more. The one I see on TV reminds me that the one in heaven is yet to come—and it’s going to be even better!