The other Sunday, Chris Band announced that on Easter Day, Resurrection Sunday, we would also be “having a resurrection”! He meant to say we would be having a baptism – actually 2. But, in truth, as we witnessed the baptisms of Christian and Barbara on Easter Day, we were witnessing their resurrection, as they died to their old lives and rose again into the new life in Christ – that’s what baptism is, it is a kind or re-enactment of what God does with us in our spirit when we receive Jesus.
What a morning, as we gathered and praised God for Jesus’ sacrifice and celebrated his triumph over death and sin. What a morning, as we heard the stories of how Christian and Barbara had encountered God’s love and restorative power.
“I found God through trying times”
If you would like Christian’s story then please come and ask him. It is a powerful and personal testimony to the fact that God exists and is alive today!
“I was longing for Friendship, and I found it in Jesus.”
I was brought up in a very happy stable family. I went to Sunday School and church in the evening with my parents and was confirmed in early teens. I longed for good friends. The girls in my class were OK, got on with them up to a point, but I didn’t seem to fit in – their interests, films & going out Friday evenings all dressed up, didn’t appeal to me. I was a bit of a loner. Sundays were OK, at least I met with girls I got on with quite well at Sunday School. I hoped that being good and doing well at school would give me friends and acceptance.
Then one Sunday evening a group of young men, lodging nearby, and studying in Birmingham, came to the service and were wanting to set up a youth group on Sunday evenings after the service. They asked my friends and I if we would like to join. Now I am not sure what the real reason for going was – was it the young eligible men, staying up later or their friendship – probably a mixture of all 3. We studied the Bible, prayed and the leaders talked about their relationship with Jesus – something new to me – this was quite natural to them and no mention of being good to have this friendship with Jesus. I enjoyed the weekends away, and days out together – it was good fun and I loved being with them and felt accepted.
Well, I left school at 16 and went to work at the Children’s hospital in Birmingham. There were 2 young people in my department who were extremely friendly and helped me to settle into work there. They also chatted about their friendship with Jesus and the Christian faith – invited me to their church – but I declined, made excuses.
So the witness of work colleagues, youth group leaders, learning about Jesus and his love for me led me want to know Jesus as my friend and have the relationship with Him, which would give me a lifelong friendship, and joy. One night I said the prayer of commitment, asking God to forgive me for trying to earn friendship with him by being good and doing good things, instead I wanted Him to accept me as his friend, come into my life and lead me by his Holy spirit – all I needed to do was to believe that He would do it. And he has!! Also, I have found it easier to make friends.
Yes, I started my new life, it was like starting from scratch – I had to learn so much – the Bible is my hand book. I was grateful for the group, support and encouragement from them. I am still in touch with many of them.
Yes, I did marry one of the men in the youth group – and together we learnt much. The various church families we joined, in this country and in other parts of the world, encouraged and nurtured us and helped us to grow more like Jesus. I feel that I am maturing very slowly in the Christian life – two steps up and one down – but God is very patient as are my friend s here at HBC.
Yes, I expect many of you will be wondering why I want to be baptised now? Until now I hadn’t seen the need to be baptised – I knew I was a Christian. Well, when James announced that there could be baptisms on Easter Day and would anyone like to be baptised. God started telling me so clearly that I should do this and He didn’t stop until I gave in and said ‘Yes’. And here I am.
So on Resurrection Sunday, we gathered together to celebrate Christ’s resurrection, to celebrate Christian and Barbara’s resurrection, and if we’re in Christ then to celebrate our resurrection too.