To God be the glory, great things he hath done,
So loved he the world that He gave us his son
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
And opened the life gate that all may go in.
Oh perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer the promise of God
The vilest offender who truly believes
That moment from Jesus, a pardon receives
I’m writing this because I can’t quite contain my joy to the few lines of my diary. I’ve said many times that I love weddings but there is another service that I would argue is equally exciting and that’s baptisms. Last night I got to witness sixteen people, yes sixteen, declare their faith and get baptised and/or confirmed across two services. I actually had a clash of baptisms meaning I had to run across town 27 Dresses style but what a happy clash it was to have. Watching your friends get baptised really is incredible.
I got to hear so many testimonies too. It’s always exciting to hear how your friends came to Jesus. There were testimonies of people going through every kind of hardship imaginable, truly incredible miracles, persecution to stories of groundbreaking salvation just in the seemingly everyday. Stories that make you stand back and just think, how is that even possible? to stories that make you think that could be me! It was also so great to be able to support friends that had overcome personal obstacles just to actually get baptised and share it with people. Friends that I had seen come to faith without even realising it.
Whether stood right next to the pool as friends got baptised or having to stand up on the balcony of an absolutely packed out church, people cheering and applauding, the whole family was celebrating. It made me think back to my own confirmation. I can’t tell you when I became a Christian because I don’t know. I don’t know when I was saved but when I was about twelve I made a commitment to follow Jesus. I might not have known exactly what it entailed or even the magnitude of what it was all about but it’s a commitment I stand by. A while ago I wanted to follow Jesus because it was easy and it was fun. I have since learnt two things: 1. it is not always easy and it is not always fun. 2. it is still always worth it. This is a commitment I haven’t turned back on and don’t plan on either and it was simply amazing to share that same feeling with everyone on Sunday. Simply knowing that no matter who you are, even the vilest offender, can be put right with God and join the celebration.
Both services were just overflowing with hope, there was a real sense of eternal glory all around, singing your heart out knowing this joy and excitement is something that will last forever. Right there, together, we were Kingdom building and I got to be a part of it. I can’t think of many things more exciting than literally seeing God’s family grow knowing you will get to share it forever, it definitely puts some of the things in this world into perspective. I was just so happy I couldn’t contain it, from beginning to end I just couldn’t stop the smile bursting. I often get very scared talking to people about Jesus but looking around, if this is the Kingdom I’m inviting them too, this hands-in-the-air, tears-in-the-eye joy, why wouldn’t I?
The Bible tells us to repent because the Kingdom of God is near (Matt 3:2, Matt 4:17, Mark 1:15). I used to think this meant say sorry quick because we never know when God is coming back and it could be soon. Not quite. Turn around and see the Kingdom here on earth. This weekend I got to taste and see a little glimpse of the Kingdom and it was great.
We often sing a song with a very simple bridge, but if it is true, it changes everything:
I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.
The Cross before me, the world behind me, no turning back, no turning back.
This right here, is the Kingdom I want to be a part of, it’s joy beyond understanding 🙂