Arriving at the church to the sounds of the music group practising “My Lighthouse” and seeing the baptistery prepared gave a feeling of joy for Katie who will be going through those waters in the service. The long banner above the baptistery reads:
“Here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptised?”
Going in the water with Katie will be Kaye who has been helping her on her journey to this point in her faith. Many other people pivotal in Katie’s life are here to join her celebration.
The service began with the music group performing “Open the Eyes of My Heart Lord”. The music group is larger than usual with Adam joining them on bass and several friends of Kate joining to sing – as well as Katie herself of course! Its worth noting that most of the music for the service was chosen by Katie to reflect her own journey.
Steve (our minister) opened the service with a welcome for this special day to everyone who has travelled from far and wide. And invited everyone to the bring and share lunch afterwards.
Katie’s testimony started with a journey through her life. She led us through how growing up as a ‘minister’s kid’, as she put it had its good and bad points but despite learning lots about God she had never really examined her own belief. When she was 14 she worked through Stepping Stones 1 with Kaye and then decided to wait for a sign that she was on the right path before giving her life. Months passed and God seemed silent, she talked of how she was confused and rejecting, blaming her life for God’s apparent absence. She finally decided, following a talk about “sitting on the fence” at the Baptist assembly of all places, to get off her particular fence and went back to Kaye where she prayed her prayer of commitment. She led the whole church in that same prayer before thanking all the people in her life that had helped her reach this point.
Katie, Steve and Kaye went into the water where Katie was asked if she rejected the devil and put her life and trust in Jesus Christ. She was then plunged backward under the water and rose to her new life and rapturous applause. While Steve and Kaye prayed with Katie in the water the music group led the congregation in the worship song “How Great Are You Lord”.
Steve’s talk “What do you do with Good News”
Reading from Luke 4:14-30 “Jesus Begins His Work”
Steve’s talk focussed initially on newspapers and the bad news they always seem to convey and how despite technological change the purveyors of news are much the same as they were when he was doing his paper round many years ago. He went on to say that in Jesus’ day the news was much the same with people wearing sack-cloth and ashes in mourning of their nation. Into this Jesus stood up and, to the condemnation of his peers, said that not only was Isaiah a message of good news but that it was a message to everyone and not just the Jews. Today the message of Jesus has not changed. Katie has reminded us that the message of the Bible is a message of good news, that God loves all of us. She also reminds us that God not only impacted her life but wants to impact yours. But there are two things we must do with good news.
Good news needs to be shared: Steve talked about beating Gordon at golf for only the second time in eight years and how he tried to share this good news, largely with deaf ears. This illustrated that what one person thinks is good news may not be good news to someone else, however it is still good news. We need to thank Katie for her witness because good news needs to be shared!
Good news needs to be received: Steve held up a five pound note and said the first person who reached it could have it, only three of our young people reacted and Anthony got the money. It was a real offer but very few believed it. This was to illustrate that just because you don’t believe something doesn’t stop it being true.
In a world of bad news where sin, death and the devil are alive and well, God has not abandoned us, God is with us, God cares about us and offers us life and hope. The question is what will you do with the news? Will you hear that news and will you act upon it? You may choose to reject it, that is your choice, but even if you reject it it doesn’t stop it being good news. My prayer, the prayer of this church and Katie’s prayer is that you will choose to receive the good news and come to God for forgiveness and hope.
After Steve’s talk Katie and the music group led the church in worship once again with the song Cornerstone.
Before the close of the service Katie was invited back out for prayer and to be presented with her baptism card which reads.
“You are my servant. I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous hand.” Isaiah 41:9b-10
All that was left was to close the service in song with “O Happy Day” and “My Lighthouse”
Photographs Copyright 2015 Sue Green www.imagescape-designs.com