Friday, June 13, 2008

Baptism Sunday

Besides being Father's Day, June 15 is also baptism Sunday at Jubilee. Baptism Sundays are my favorite because they highlight what Jubilee is all about, Connecting People to Jesus. This mission and passion of ours stems from the Great Commission (Mt 28:18-20) when Jesus commanded ALL of His followers (that includes us) to go in all the world and 1) make disciples, 2) baptize them and 3) teach them everything Jesus commanded. And this commission comes with the promise that He'll always be with us. I'm so grateful that baptisms at Jubilee have become a regular occurrence.

This Sunday, we'll be baptizing Jodi Hertz and Martin Pittman. We've made it a practice to include their testimony in our bulletin, a practice that I rather like. This time, I wanted to go ahead and share them with you as I find them both very encouraging.

Jodi Hertz

Good morning, my name is
Jodi Hertz and I am thankful to spend such an amazing day with my family of God. I grew up in the South, raised Catholic and as a newborn unaware of the commitment being made was baptized in a ritualistic ceremony.

I am now 34 years old, a Mommy to an amazing little boy Elliott and am today with humble pride announcing my commitment to Christ. This day for me represents; encouragement, accountability, discipline, integrity, commitment, unconditional love and hope. This day also represents my transformation from someone who simply respected faiths, into someone who is growing in a real relationship with Jesus.

Before Christ I carried the weight of life upon my own shoulders. I didn’t value anything greater than myself. I gave greater weight to symbolism, taking whatever appealed to me from all kinds of other belief systems. I failed to recognize the need of God’s Love in my heart. What I began to notice was that I repeatedly continued to feel empty and unfulfilled.

My relationship with Elliott’s father was dissolving and I was faced with the harsh reality that my life was not the one I wanted to live, and I did not have as much control over it as I had thought. This time of hurt cultivated my relationship with Jesus. One night I was praying out to some of my ‘gods’, and yet I was overwhelmed with the feeling that Jesus was near. Just as a Mother would tuck in her child, I felt safe in His loving company as I laid to rest. I was met and accepted just as I was, and was asked nothing but to welcome Him into my heart.

I am thankful for all my dear friends who along my journey with Christ helped guide my path. Now, I live life with great hope, trusting my hand in the Lords. I live a life in a committed, faithful and loving relationship with Jesus Christ.

“Look beyond the sun not below the clouds.” –Terry Virgo

Martin Pittman

I had been in & out of churches throughout my adult life; for the most part it has either been superficial or short term. I never really felt “It” for any significant length of time or depth, despite being exposed to HIS love on a daily basis. In February, I began attending Jubilee; I had met Bryan and others and was once again ‘checking in’ to this whole deal.
Shortly thereafter, due to some devastating personal issues that I was experiencing (caused by the sinner in me), I found myself alone (or so I thought) in my loft on a Friday afternoon. It was time…I wasn’t asking for it, wasn’t expecting it, IT was happening whether I wanted it or not. Me & GOD…at that very moment he reached down with his mighty hands and literally turned me inside out…from the tips of my toes through my lips; physically this was certainly the most amazing feeling ever, it was unbelievable-it is what makes Believers. After some moments, I realized what had actually happened. No longer was there anger, hate or evil inside of me. It had been removed and was now filled with HIS abundant love. How lucky am I to have had that closeness with HIM. I can summarize the experience by saying this. “I was a Sinner, I have met the Savior.”

As I look back at my life prior to this, I realize that I had been dying a slow death from the inside out and it was often contagious and destructive to those around me; I never saw it…I was blind to my surroundings and emotionally disconnected. For the last 90 days, I have tried to simply remember the following:“The old has gone and the new has come.” 2Corintians 5:17

I am now talking the Walk with HIM.