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Trail Notes

Celebrating!

by Jim Johnson

Celebrating a child’s first birthday is way cool! You invite close friends and family over for the occasion. You hang crepe paper streamers all through the kitchen, buy some noisemakers at the Party Store, and get a new memory stick for your digital camera. Then, you put the guest of honor in the high chair and the birthday cake in front of her and let nature take its course. Very little prompting is needed from the guests and before long you’ve got a one-year-old with a smile as wide as Texas plastered on her face as well as half the cake and most of the icing. After the damage is done you take as many incriminating pictures as possible and put them away only to be brought out again at the Rehearsal Dinner!

At a deeper level, what is being celebrated here? The guest of honor hasn’t done anything to merit this kind of hoopla. So what gives? What is being celebrated is the simple fact that this child has been born and has come into the family. Now, she is getting all this attention just for showing up! There is something deep and lasting that happens in a child’s heart when they learn that their presence in the family is celebrated as something of great value.

As you may know, our next baptism celebration is going to be held at the home of Blake and Jennifer Bolin on Sunday afternoon, May 1 at 5:00 o’clock. As we have been making plans for that wonderful occasion, it dawned on me that the celebration of a child’s first birthday party is powerful picture of what a baptism service is supposed to be. A baptism party, as we like to call it, is held because the power of God’s spirit has conceived and given spiritual birth to someone and it demands to be celebrated! Baptism is the church’s way of saying we are glad that God has brought you into the life of his Son and that you are now a part of our family of faith. Something deep and lasting happens in the heart of a believer when they learn that their presence in God’s family is celebrated as something of great value.

That’s why I hope you will do one of two things in reference to our upcoming baptism party. First, if you have trusted Jesus as your forgiver and life leader, but have never experienced the joy of being celebrated by God and his people you need to sign up to be baptized. Your experience of coming to Christ isn’t complete until you allow your church family to celebrate with you God’s new work in your life. Second, if you have already been baptized, or are curious to see what a baptism party is all about, I hope you will join us as we celebrate the new life that God is bringing to those who have been attending Preston Trail. The party will be enhanced by your presence and you will be blessed!

Celebrating already!

Jim