Monday, August 17, 2009


Wow I have really fallen behind on my postings! The good news is, now I have a lot to catch everyone up on so this week should be nice and filled with Mauneyland news. So let's start where we left off...

The weekend before last we headed up to the main church campus for B3... it's a church-wide celebration that includes barbeque, beach volleyball (well, Illinois style anyway), and baptism for anyone who wishes to participate. Crossroads has five satellite campuses in addition to the main campus so it's one of the few times that everyone comes all together in one place. Our campus is the newest (in fact, we have not even had our first service yet, which will happen in September) but we had quite a crowd represented! The baptisms were supposed to be outside, but due to some stormy weather they moved everything inside to the main auditorium. At first we were a bit disappointed, but when you put that many people in a place that wasn't made for that many people, the energy is palpable! The worship band sounded awesome and played throughout the service and by the end of the night over 120 people, including yours truly, publicly proclaimed their faith for Jesus Christ. Talk about amazing!

So I know that there is much confusion about adult baptism. Most everyone I know was "sprinkled" as a baby (as was I) and are a little bit leery about the idea of the "dunking" method as an adult. To be honest, I did not understand it myself and did not really see the need to participate had you asked me six months ago. And then you get into the Bible... the place to find obvious answers. I was surprised to learn that nowhere in the Bible do infants get baptized! Now don't get me wrong, I am not against infant sprinkling as I do think it's a sweet ceremony and it's very special for the parents and the family, but the purpose behind it is to bring the baby into the church family. The church and family promises to look after that child's spiritual growth and help guide him or her through their own personal spiritual journey. Biblically, the closest thing to infant baptism is when Hannah dedicated her son, Samuel, to the Lord (1 Samuel 1). Later in the Gospels, Mary and Joseph bring their son Jesus to the temple to present him to the Lord as well (Luke 2:22), but during this process there is no reference of baptism.

It is also in the Gospels that baptism is introduced. Along comes John the Baptist, who was born about three months before Jesus and is actually related to Jesus (it's never specified how, but cousins is the primary conclusion) to pave the way for the Messiah. He goes out into the Jordan River and does the Lord's work by baptizing with water for repentance. He states that "after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." In fact, Jesus Himself was baptized by John the Baptist, which is recounted in three of the four Gospels, and referenced in the book of John. When he showed up, John the Baptist did not feel worthy and therefore was not going to do it saying that Jesus should be baptizing him, but Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness" (Matthew 3:13-15). It goes on to say that "As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased'" (Matthew 3:16-17). From this we learn that God approves of this process.

The more I learned about it, the more I realized that the concept was not so weird or outlandish after all. The word baptism actually stems from a Greek work that means to "submerge in water" and so the dunking concept made much more sense to me. Not to mention, I had the opportunity to participate in something that we know for a fact that Jesus did himself, and God approves of. How awesome is that? So baptism is just that... a public statement of faith to show outwardly that this is who I am, and this is who I follow. As an infant, I did not know what that meant, but now I understand what it means to be a follower of Christ. So baptism is a celebration to show the world that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior and I want the world to know it.

With all this being said, it does not state in the Bible that you have to be baptized to go to heaven and I certainly will never claim that as truth. If this were true, the thief on the cross next to Jesus would not have been told that he would spend eternity in paradise. I also do not believe that there is a "sprinkled" heaven and a "dunked" heaven. All I know is that it felt truly incredible to stand in front of hundreds of people and demonstrate my love for Jesus... that rush compares only to the other big moments in my life like saying "I do", finishing a marathon, and holding my nephew for the first time. It was a great day.

On a funny side note, I did get teased a little bit about kissing the pastor after being dunked, but maybe I just got carried away with excitement! I guess it was a little bit shocking to anyone who did not realize that I was married to him!

It's amazing to think that one day way down the road this man will baptize our own children... what a day that will be!

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