A Note From Chris - October 6, 2022

Baptism Sunday at Cornerstone is October 16.

I can’t wait! I am confident that October 16 is going to be a special day for our church. We will be concluding our ACTS series that day, finishing with the passage where a church-hater, named Saul, comes to faith in Jesus and becomes a catalyst for church-planting across the entire world. A few people have confirmed to be baptized that day already. A number of others have confirmed their decision to follow Jesus and don’t want to wait! Several will be baptized this weekend, and others various days throughout the next two weeks. I’d like to ask you two questions today:

1) Do you need to take the step of obedience and be baptized?

We see it all through the book of Acts-- 27 times to be exact. When people are ready to get things right with Jesus, they are baptized into Christ. Is that you? Do you need to step into obedience and say "yes" to Jesus through baptism?

2) Is there someone you need to talk to about getting baptized?

For many of us, it may not be the step of getting baptized, but instead, having a conversation with others about giving their lives to Christ. October 16 isn’t a magical day or anything, and pushing someone toward Jesus rarely works for the long haul. But sometimes God uses days like this to help bring to the surface a decision and life-change that would otherwise remain dormant for a long time. I wonder, is there someone you should reach out to and ask if they’ve been thinking about it? Maybe someone from a small group, on a team you serve with, in your family, or something similar.

Our elders and staff have been challenged to have at least one conversation per week with someone about saying "yes" to Jesus through baptism. Perhaps there is someone, or a few someones, you should talk with as we approach October 16. God is often moving upstream and could be preparing someone’s heart for a conversation with you.

Let me briefly address a few reasons people often have to NOT be baptized with a brief solution to each:

A) “I was baptized as a baby; I don’t need to get baptized again.”
Every baptism in the New Testament is of a person who is of age and old enough to choose Jesus for themselves. Despite a good decision someone else made for you when you were a baby, that isn’t the same decision we see throughout Acts. If you want to wholeheartedly follow Jesus, you should be baptized, even if you were sprinkled as a baby. These are two different things.

B) “I want to wait until some of my family/friends from out of town are here.”
Of course we want those we love to celebrate such a major decision with us. When possible, that is an honorable desire. Yet, baptism is really mostly about the person and Jesus. Obedience should not be delayed. The enemy likes to sneak into those “in between” moments. Thankfully, we record everything at Cornerstone and make it available to everyone who gets baptized to share with family and friends out of town.

C) “I don’t want to be baptized in front of a large group.”
Some people don’t love crowds, and for many good reasons. My encouragement to someone with this concern is often that this public decision is best to do with the church in full support. It’s a first step in saying to Jesus, “I will honor you in every situation.” While not a spiritual requirement, a public baptism is also a testimony to everyone who witnesses it.

While some folks will be scheduled ahead of time to be baptized on October 16, the invitation will be given to respond in the moment during services that day. Please continue to join me in praying for this season in our church. May God move powerfully among us!

Yours and His,
Chris VandeLinde

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