Archive for the ‘Baptism’ Category

Rejoicing in Blessings

Dear friends,
The heat wave continues in our part of the world. Air conditioners are working full-time, and losing the battle most of the time. It would be a huge blessing to see some rain, and a cooling down of the daytime temperatures. We’ll just have to pray along those lines.

This week, I am going to just share some observations and some fun things that have happened lately. There might be something here that blesses someone in some way. It would be great if that happens.

A tradition here at Lake Ericson with many of the residents is an evening tour around the community with either a golf cart or some other small personal vehicle. Saturday evening, two young ladies from down the street rode with us. As we drove along listening to them chatter and laugh in the back of the golf cart, I thought, how much fun it would be to return to a time when we had such a carefree outlook on life. Not to start life over, but just to visit there for a short time. It is kind of sad that we get so jaded in our outlook as we age. I’m reminded of the words of Solomon: “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them” (Ecclesiastes 12:1).

Summer seems to be a time of celebration. Every town, both small and large, has a celebration of some kind. How many times have you seen one of those highway department signs alerting you to a “local celebration”, so you will be aware of traffic hazards?

There was a small celebration at the boat ramp across the street from our house Sunday afternoon. A young lady who had invited Jesus into her heart just a few years ago, allowed me the privilege of baptizing her in the lake. There were just a few friends present to celebrate with her, but I know the angels in heaven were celebrating, also. When Jesus taught the parable of the lost coin, he told of the woman rejoicing with her friends when she found it. He then said, “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10).

Rejoicing in these,
Pastor Jerry

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Harnessing the Wind

There is no fishing report this week. I hope to remedy that situation soon. Saturday, the lake community held its annual spring cleanup day. The weather was perfect for the projects that were planned, and if you were paying attention, you could see the Lord’s blessing on the day. I want to personally thank all who were involved. It takes a lot of cooperation and effort from everyone to keep everything nice for residents and visitors.

Sunday afternoon, I took a trip to northeast Holt County for a meeting of our local church association. This is an area with a recently installed wind farm. The approximately 200 wind turbines can be seen from a great distance, and were a reminder to me again, of the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian.

In the Bible, the Lord Jesus speaks of the Spirit as unseen, like the wind, but working His power in the life of a believer. That power shows up in the changed life of a person who has given his life to Christ as his Savior and Lord. Let’s see what the Bible actually says about this.

First, in relation to salvation, and eternal life. A man named Nicodemus asked about miracles Jesus had been doing. Jesus said to him, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again!”

Nicodemus has another question. “How can a man be born again when he is old?”

Jesus continues; “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit… The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit” (John 3:1-8).

Jesus, as he was about to ascend into heaven, promised to send the Holy Spirit. These are His instructions to his disciples: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised… In a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit… You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be my witnesses…” (Acts 1:4-8).

This same Holy Spirit is given to every believer. His power is our strength, much as the wind powers those wind turbines.

Amen!
Pastor Jerry

Testify!

I hope you are enjoying these late summer days. We have had some nice rains here, and the crops and pastures are in great condition. God is good, but not just in the good times, He is still good in whatever bad times we might go through. We were blessed this past Sunday, to attend a baptismal service at one of our area rivers. I had the privilege several years ago, of hearing a young lady ask Jesus Christ into her life. On that day, she and two others followed the Lord’s example, being baptized by immersion in the river. What a blessing it was to be there and see their obedience to God’s word.

On a somewhat related topic, do you remember the guy in the commercial who, when asked if he had ever done heart surgery, answered, “No, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night!” How many people know the terminology of a process or procedure, but have no personal experience in that thing?

I fear there are some who claim to be Christians, and know all the right words, but have no personal knowledge of the Lord Jesus or of his teaching. They have some idea that they need to do good deeds, or get their lives in order, before they are acceptable to God. They learn from their Christian friends some of the terminology, and how a Christian is to live, but they are depending on these things for their salvation.

The simple truth is, God will only accept us on His terms, that we take by faith the gift of salvation provided by the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. There is no way to the Father except through Jesus Christ the Son of God. (John 14:6).

The apostle Peter preached a sermon at Pentecost that had people asking “brothers, what shall we do?” Peter’s answer was, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.” (Acts 2:38).

The proper sequence it this: Admit you are a sinner. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Repent; that is turn from your sin. Then be baptized as a public witness to a changed life. Died to sin, raised to new life in Christ. It’s that simple. Is this your testimony, as well?

Blessings,
Pastor Jerry

No One Else

It was a very good week for me. Thursday, I drove to Topeka, Kansas for a meeting, with my traveling partner of the last 49 plus years by my side. We spent the night in a nice motel, went to the meeting, and drove six hours home. It was a rare opportunity for some quality time together. It was great to see old friends and make some new ones.

Yesterday (Sunday), I was privileged to baptize a young lady from our church. She invited Jesus into her life a couple of years ago, and recently felt led to publicly express her faith by way of water baptism. Congratulations, Autum!!

The following has some bearing on the meaning and significance of baptism to the the Christian.

Along the highway Friday afternoon, there was a sign that said, “Jesus saves as no one else can”. I would rephrase that to read, “Jesus saves. No one else can.” I might even go so far as to have it read, “Jesus saves. No one, or nothing else can.”

Some folks believe salvation comes from doing good works, or joining a church. Or, they might have the idea that holding to some tradition is important to gain eternal life. And, I know of some who have the belief that baptism saves.

Here is the truth from the scriptures. Salvation is by faith in Christ alone. In the book of Acts, we are told “there is no other name by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12). When Peter preached the message of salvation through faith in Christ, it says “those who believed his message were baptized” (Acts 2:41). Belief in the message of the gospel comes first, baptism follows, and is a public testimony to that faith.

Please don’t depend on anything for your salvation except faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. He died for our sins, once for all. There is no other who can save us. Praise God, who raised Him from death to eternal life!
Once again, I welcome your comments and questions. Send them to me at lakecitynews@gmail.com.

In His Love,
Pastor Jerry