Jesus was not always part of my story. As I think back on the way that Jesus has transformed my life, I’m reminded that He has used specific people and specific events to do so, not the least of which was my baptism.
While I was a student at Bremerton High School, I started attending the youth group at Peninsula Bible Fellowship. One day at a barbeque on Kitsap Lake, I met someone who would end up playing a significant role in my story: (now) Pastor Ryan James. We became friends, bonding over our shared love for music and playing the guitar. He introduced me to many other students in the youth group and I began developing friendships with Christians while trying to figure out what all the fuss was about with Jesus Christ.
I later became acquainted with the youth pastor. He commented on my Bremerton High School letterman jacket and I joked about how golf was the only sport I was remotely good at. He offered to teach me about Jesus if I would teach him about golf. You know him better as Pastor Jon Needham. (And to set the record straight, I never taught Jon how to play golf but I have learned a lot about Jesus from him.)
While attending the PBF youth group I became a Christian. Jon baptized me on a Sunday morning during one of the worship services and that day marked a turning point in my life. From then on, I would be publicly identified with Jesus as a part of His Church — those He has saved from sin.
Baptism is a gift from God to His Church. It is a sign of God’s covenant grace and a visible marker that we have been set apart by and for Christ. My baptism reminds me that in Christ, I belong to God and that in Christ, I belong to His body, the Church.
As I was laid into the water that day 18 years ago, God was showing how He united me with the death and burial of Jesus. As I was raised up out of the water, God was displaying how He has united me with Christ in His resurrection. The old Brandon died and a new Brandon took his place as an adopted son in God’s family.
Baptism didn’t save me. Christ Himself gets the credit for that work and accomplishment. Baptism is a grace of God that He gives to His Church. In it, He displays that He is our God and we are His people, a reality that can only be accomplished by faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins.
If you have put your faith in Christ to save you from your sins but you have NOT yet been baptized, I’d like to extend an invitation to you. This Easter at the Admiral Theatre, Coram Deo Church will be celebrating with baptisms. If Coram Deo Church is your home and you would like to be baptized, we would love to celebrate God’s work of salvation with you. Let us know that you are interested and we will follow up with you. As I did all those years ago, (and even today as I write this), I hope that you can be reminded through baptism that you belong to Christ.