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.

Christian’s story

“I thought I was going to rehab, I ended up becoming a child of God.”

In my old life I was broken! I didn’t know God or Jesus, and I had conformed to the ways of the world! I was living very much in my flesh and living a life of sin. This included lies, debauchery, drugs, competitiveness like one-upmanship and more. This way of living was tearing my life apart and destroying everything in my life. Systematically I was losing everything. My fiance had split from me, I had lost all of my so called ‘friends’, work was a struggle and my life felt empty.

I started to search for a solution to my brokenness, I knew I had to change. I started looking for a rehabilitation clinic. In my secular view, this was what I needed. I found an organisation that looked like they might be able to help. I contacted them and they said to travel to Birmingham and there I could join their programme. My expectations were set. I would join this programme, get fixed and then my life could continue.

I wrapped up my business, packed a bag, sold my motorbike, bought a train ticket and headed to Birmingham. I abandoned everything else. All I had were a few possessions and some photographs. Strange as this was at the time, it felt absolutely 100% right!

I arrived in Birmingham on the morning of September 22nd 2016. Unbeknown to me I was about to join a Christian community and, whilst the first two weeks were a bit of whirlwind, I started to realise. I was living in Christian community, in a house best described as a mansion, with 20 other blokes. There were 4 other houses in Birmingham with just over 100 people altogether. There were, and still are, many other houses around the UK too, with a total of more than 300 men and women all being saved in one way or another. Miracles were happening daily in that place and I am sure still are to this day.

Late October 2016 all the houses from around the UK joined together in a church in Nottingham to celebrate and worship God. During one of the services, whilst stood with everyone else singing praise to God, I experienced what I can only describe as total contentment. An overwhelming feeling of love and completeness.

I knew I was being touched by God and that my life from here on in would be different. The contentment I was seeking in all my sin, I had found in Jesus. I knew my old life was gone and I, from that day on, I began to repent and ask for forgiveness. Of course, I was forgiven. GOD was showing me his forgiveness and grace and continues to daily. Not only was I forgiven, but I was fixed and God fixing me far outweighed my expectations. I thought I was going to rehab, I ended up becoming a child a God.

One of the greatest lessons I have learnt through coming to Christ is that I am nothing without Him. I tried numerous times to fix myself before coming to Christ and failed every time. The first time I asked Christ to fix me, he did! I now know I can rest on Jesus and I will never be alone in the dark again. My faith continues to grow and this day of baptism for me, whilst very important, is just another step upwards in deepening my faith and dedicating my life to Christ Jesus.
Thank you Jesus

Barbara’s story

“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.

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