It’s not uncommon that I hear people share how powerful the experience was when they were baptized after putting their faith in Christ to save them from the hurts, habits and hang-ups that once controlled their lives. It often reminds me of Carrie Underwood’s song, Something in the Water, as if there was some mystical, transforming power that washed them clean. The reality is we are made clean, but not by the water.
Nothing is more exhilarating to me than the celebration of life change! Only God can change us from the inside out, and He does that by exchanging our old sinful life for a new life in Christ! The former persecutor of Christ followers turned missionary and church planter, Paul, the Apostle, experienced a dramatic life change himself and wrote these words about it in 2 Corinthians 5:17.
Here’s a remarkable story of life change! And it impacted an entire family! One of the great joys we’ve seen at Woodlands Church, over the years, has been when whole families are baptized together – just like the Philippian jailer and his family in this story.
I love grace stories! Nothing energizes me more in ministry than hearing the impact of God’s grace on a life! There’s no other explanation for life change but God!
Each year, we witness the miracle of life change in our Super Summer Baptism Celebration at Woodlands Church! It’s my favorite event of the year! What a thrill to see God at work, healing hurts and restoring lives! Each one is a grace story! Last year, Janet took that step following a painful experience in her life that could have left her shattered and bitter.
How resilient are you? When you fall, do you land like a basketball or a bowling ball? Proverbs says that, even, righteous people fall. In Ecclesiastes the Bible says, “Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins.”
God’s grace to you is not without effect. That word means to cause to change. Your life change as a Christ follower is the result of an exchanged life! It’s not about will power, but His power. What else could have changed a man bent on “destroying the church,” like Paul?
In this passage, Paul calls himself the least of the apostles, not even deserving to be called an apostle. When he writes to Timothy, he calls himself the chief of sinners. (1 Tim. 1:15) In his past, Paul wreaked havoc on the church, breathing out murderous threats! Because of his past, he knew better than anyone what forgiveness meant.
Paul was in the next wave of Christ followers. All the other apostles saw Jesus in the flesh when He lived among them and led them. But, it wasn’t until after His ascension into heaven that Christ appeared to Paul personally on the road to Damascus.
What a difference grace makes! Shortly after Peter’s encounter with Jesus on the beach, we see the impact of his restoration. Though he once shrank back denying he even knew Christ, Peter courageously stepped forward before thousands of Jews at the annual feast of Pentecost and boldly proclaimed the risen Christ!