Baptism is one of the ordinances that Jesus gave to the church. The good news of Jesus’ death on our behalf and his resurrection that gives us hope over death are not just things that we merely believe. They are historical facts that demand action. When Jesus calls us to repent and follow him, we are brought to the waters of baptism to identify publicly with his death and resurrection, to proclaim that we desire to be obedient to him as Lord in all things. Katie’s baptism story that follows shows that God graciously, over time, convinced her of this truth.
I was born and raised in a southern church. I grew up in both Baptist and Methodist churches. My mother raised me to not just believe in the church, but to believe in God. However, as I got older, I fell out of going to church or really having much to do with God.
Last year, during a very difficult time in my life, my sister begged for me to start a bible study with her. She was smack in the middle of one of the worse seasons of her life; so, begrudgingly I agreed. Each week, my sister and best friend fought to get me to participate. However, I knew she needed this, and I would do anything to help my sister. Throughout the study, I kept thinking, “Where is God in my life?” I felt bitter and alone.
After we finished our study of Ruth, my sister once again begged me to start a study on Esther. The study actually begins with the words, “This is for all the people who wonder what happens when the Red Sea doesn’t part!” I felt like the Israelites standing before the Red Sea, saying “Hello God, it’s me. Are you going to part this?”
Throughout this time, my coworker (and work best friend) was disciplining me even while I wasn’t hearing all she had to say. It’s hard to stay positive in our career, but she would always bring it around to God. She had invited me several times throughout the years to attend Mercy Hill, but I never really felt the need to. While telling her about how much I was enjoying my Esther study, she pulled out her journal of sermon notes and said, “Look Katie! You’ll love Mercy Hill. There are notes!” (she knew how much I loved anything with note-taking). She explained that she felt better having the information with her throughout the day. She saw an opening and she took it. She had my logical side convinced that to learn more about how I felt, I needed to immerse myself more into the gospel.
It was as if the more I drank from the gospel the thirstier I was. I learned that my life was a lot greater than the season that I was in. I slowly realized that instead of living for myself, I wanted to live for Christ. I felt myself changing in my relationships, my personal life, and my work life. As I talked to Christ more, I realized that God was there even on the days that I couldn’t see him. I realized that to live like Christ I had to know Christ and the answers of who Christ was were found in the gospel. I felt God tugging on my heart to be baptized, because for the first time in my life I was actively pursuing a relationship with Christ. I realized that it wasn’t enough to believe in God, I had to live it too. So, on Sunday January 29, 2017, two days after my 25th birthday, the woman who discipled me all along the way, Ashley Schlossberg, baptized me in front of my family and friends. I gave my life to Christ and I look forward to continuing to grow in my relationship with him!
-Katie Toomes (Mercy Hill Member)
Your Next Step
Perhaps Katie’s story resonates with you. Maybe you believe in Jesus and the salvation that he offers to you through the gospel, but have been neglecting baptism. As Pastor Andrew says, “Delayed obedience is disobedience.” We are saved by grace through faith alone, but a saving faith is a faith that animates us to submit to the Lordship of Jesus in all things. If you are ready to follow Jesus with your entire life, we are baptizing on Thursday 2/23 at our Regional campus and at both campuses on Sunday 2/26. Sign up to talk to one of our staff about your desire to get baptized at http://mercyhillgso.com/baptism/.