We gathered recently at Paris Landing State Park located on Kentucky Lake for a very special occasion, three baptisms.
I began with a recounting of Acts 2—the first Pentecost after Christ’s resurrection. You may recall that the Jewish community questioned Peter about what was going on after the disciples received the Holy Spirit in Acts 2. Peter told them and then reminded them of all that the Jesus they had killed had done. Their eyes and minds were opened at that moment to who Jesus was—the God whom they worshipped! In their angst and remorse, they cried out, “What should we do!” Peter responded, “Repent and be baptized because your sins have been forgiven!”
Pastors Doug Tomes, Ed Peters, and I entered the cool, clear water that feeds into Kentucky Lake from the Tennessee River, and we baptized husband and wife, Kevin and Kayla Shaw, and Jayden Fielder on a beautiful, sunny May 28. It was a glorious event attended by 20 family members and friends.Read More
Jayden, our nine-year-old nephew, spent many weekends and school breaks in our home this past year while his military dad was deployed and his mom was at work. Every evening that he spent with us would end with a bed-time Bible story and prayer. Early on it became obvious that a miracle was taking place because his understanding was growing by leaps and bounds. I read to Jayden the story of Nathanael and Jesus (John 1). Jesus revealed that he knew things about Nathanael that he could only have known supernaturally! Nathanael then believed that Jesus truly was the Son of God. Jesus responded, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” Jayden then told me, “I believe.”
I said, “What?”
Again, Jayden said, “I believe.”
Later, Jayden asked, “So good people go to heaven and bad people go down there?” After I explained that it’s not about our goodness; it’s about God’s goodness, Jayden said, “So when are we going to do that water thing?”
After waiting until his dad returned from deployment, Jayden’s mom asked that the baptism take place on the three-day Memorial weekend so that grandparents could attend. Pentecost was the most perfect time for a baptism!
While we were making plans for Jayden’s baptism, long-time GCI member Sue Williams told me that her daughter and son-in-law, Kayla Williams Shaw and Kevin Shaw wanted to be baptized as well!
Kayla told me that as early as she could remember she wanted to be baptized “but never had the courage for some reason. I was timid when it came to that, and Jesus is certainly nothing to be timid about. I want to proclaim his gospel and tell people of the love and mercy he has for each and every one of his children. Kevin had come home from work recently saying he had a conversation with a coworker that had made him want to be baptized. I knew there was a reason it has taken me so long—God’s timing is always perfect! To be baptized with my husband, the father of our children, was a truly special experience.”
Kevin said, “I’ve been around church ever since I was a kid. But I never felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. Or at least I couldn’t understand the feeling of being in the presence of God and Jesus. So, I never really committed to believing or becoming a part of a church for such a long time. I think having kids was the start of the understanding of feeling unconditional love. That is the basis of my relationship with God and Jesus. The unconditional love they have for me and my family and how they continue to allow me to be blessed with waking up every day.”
As Kayla said, it was God’s perfect timing, on a perfect day, with blue skies and the sunshine creating diamonds on the water, when three more of God’s children were added to that three thousand who were baptized in Acts 2.