Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sermon Sunday---What a Beautiful Morning!

It was a beautiful morning at Yorktown Beach. A perfect day for a baptism. Or three baptisms. Today would be the day that the Three Amigos chose to be baptized together in the York River.

What an amazing day for us as know that not only had three of our precious gifts from Heaven chosen to give their hearts and dedicate their lives to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (each at different times, on their own, over the past two years), but today would be the day they chose to publicly profess their faith before their family, friends, and the body of Christ.

The gang's all here...Nanny, Poppy, Mr. and Mrs. Bubba, my brother and his family, and many friends, both from church and the community, chose to join our church group on this special day. Our location, Yorktown Beach. 

The weather was a gift from God, after many days of rain, grey skies held off and gave us a gorgeous background for our occasion, and a cool breeze made the summer heat comfortable for both church services, the baptism, and a luncheon to follow.

We spread our blankets around a stately old tree and the church praise "band" (whichever of the pastor's 14 kids happened to be in town home from college or mission trips) led us in worship that made our hearts sing. I think even the birds were singing along.

Then the pastor's oldest son gave a marvelously challenging sermon about being the person God is calling you to be. He called everyone to do the simple things, the hard things, the unexpected things that the Lord wants you to do because we are all important parts of the Body, and if one of us fails to do what we are asked to do, then God has to find someone else to do that job and we miss out on the blessing we might have gained from following His leading. 

This was particularly meaningful to the children, since being baptized so publicly was a challenge for Ladybug, in particular, and for our family as a whole, as we have been traveling the road to pursuing foster care and adoption, and it hasn't been an easy road.

Then it was time for a refreshing walk around the bend to a small beach away from the crowds where we would hold the baptism. Of course, we had to stop for photo opportunities on the way there...

Here are the "before" pictures. 
I took "after" ones, too. Look for them later. 
Can you see a difference?

We gathered alongside the river and the pastor talked about the significance of baptism in the life of a Believer, and offered that if there was anyone who wanted to accept the Lord's free gift of salvation who hadn't planned ahead for it, they would be welcome to join our joy, someone who had been visiting the church from time to time, decided to be immersed, along with our kids and a few of the pastor's kiddos. What a blessing!

The big moment came first for Ladybug, which was probably good, since she was the most nervous about it. She knew it was what she wanted to do, but the idea of being at the river was a bit intimidating. She told me she'd do anything for Jesus, though, so she boldly walked out to her dad and the other men, who prayed over her, then her father blessed her, then she was asked if she accepted Christ as her Savior, to which she answered "YES!" and then she was dunked in the river, just like Jesus.

Cowboy was next, which was probably good, too, since there was so much to see at the river and he is easily distracted. I was worried he'd not pay attention the way he ought to, but when it came down to it, he listened attentively, answered boldly, and walked out with a smile on his face (though he said later that it was surprisingly of the disadvantages of not having a heated baptismal in your church! But you can't beat the views at the river, for sure).

Firefly went last of the three. As the youngest Amigo, I wondered if they were concerned that she really knew what she was doing, but I had told them how she'd come to me on her own and asked if she could ask Jesus into her heart because she loved him and wanted to live in Heaven with Him forever, and that she was very concerned with pleasing God by being obedient to His Word, and asking for His forgiveness. They agreed that she obviously knew what she believed, so she, too, had her dunking beneath the waters as an outward showing of the inner change that occurred when her sins were washed away the moment she asked Jesus to be her Savior.

Everyone watched from the shoreline...I couldn't resist taking pictures. As you can see, while the last person was baptized, the kiddos couldn't help but join them in the river. I think we carted home at least two dozen "special" shells and rocks, and at least half the beach's sand.

Family pictures after the event...
We are so proud and happy!!

 Here are the "after" pictures of the Three Amigos, and Boo, the up and coming Fourth Amigo. Three down, one to go...

 We saw this seaweed heart on the sand on the walk out and couldn't resist taking a picture. We felt it was there to remind us of God's unfailing love for us, in spite of all of our faults and imperfections. It is a heart made from seaweed...not expensive diamonds, or gold...but instead is made from a single strand of a simple sea plant. To me that is even more meaningful, because just like that plant, we are simple people who have but to be willing to be shaped by the Lord and we too can reflect His love to others in so many important ways.

 Thank you for joining us on our special day.

"For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish, but would have everlasting life."  John 3:16



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