Archive for the ‘Baptism’ Category

Yesterday morning we had a baptism celebration.  We baptized a dozen people (that is actually a preacher’s count…the true number was 11…preachers always round-up) in front of a crowd of 4657 (see what I did there?  that is a big round-up).

It was a great morning.  You can check out the video testimonies of most of those who got baptized yesterday morning:

We like to have our children, who normally are back in Kid’s Kanyon for the entire service, join us to witness the baptisms.  I had just finished a message on baptism explaining the what and whys of baptism when our children entered the room.

And then yesterday evening I got this Facebook notification:

I started to think about how terrifying it might be for a kid to watch the preacher dunk people in water without any explanation!!!  And then watch as everyone in the audience applauds and adds their approval!!

Note to self:  it might be a good idea to explain to children what you are doing in baptism before they see it.

To the Medors – should there be any need for therapy sessions for poor Seth to overcome his trauma, you can send the bill to the Living Stones Church.  OR – if he grows up with an aversion to getting baptized, when he meets God – I’ll step forward and take the blame for it! 🙂  Just be thankful this is his issue.  It could be worse.  Rumor has it that our Children’s Minister’s [yea…I’m looking at you Amy Osterhout] child, after Doug Harsch invited everyone to stand and worship, yelled at the top of her lungs – “I DON’T WANT TO!!” 🙂

Preached on baptism on Sunday (you can find the podcast on the church’s website – www.livingstones.cc in the next day or two).  We concluded the message with this video, put together by Doug Harsch, of our last Baptism Celebration in April.  Over 20 people were baptized at that time.  I love these videos.

If you are interested in getting baptized in our next baptism celebration, happening at our 9:30 & 11:30 services here at Living Stones Church on August 28th, send us an e-mail here.

This past Sunday we witnessed 21 Living Stoners get baptized!!  It was a most excellent day.  In case you missed it, I wanted to post the testimony video Doug Harsch put together for us so you can see it (or if you already saw it and want to see it again!).  Don’t forget to be praying for – Lana, Yolanda, Josh, Shannon, Boni, Scott, Michael, Terri, Jennifer, Arika, Rebekah, Michele, Shay, Judy, Jeff, Sasha’, Kayla, Sheri, Rachel, Anthony, and Brenda!!

On April 10th we will have our first baptismal celebration of the year.  We will have baptisms in all three services – 9:30, 11:30, and 5:30 p.m.!  If you have been thinking about getting baptized – here is your opportunity.  It will be a great day of celebration!!  If you are interested (and we need you to respond soon so we can make all the necessary arrangements send an e-mail to contact@living-stones-church.org.

Last year we met at the YMCA for our baptism celebration.  Here is a video Doug Harsch put together of last year’s baptism:

This Sunday is one of my favorite Sunday’s of the year!!!  Baptismal celebration at the YMCA!!!  One combined service at 10:00 a.m. It is always encouraging to have the WHOLE church together so you can see what God has done in our midst over the past year.

Doug Harsch put together this video from last year’s celebration.  Love it!

Yesterday morning at our 9:30 & 11:30 services we were blessed to witness 14 people give their lives to Jesus in baptism!!  It is always exciting and truly a highlight!

This year we have had the high honor of witnessing 52 people (and counting) get baptized!

So…to Melissa, Michael, Brandon, Toni, Patti, A.J., Kayla, Mitchell, Judy, Rebekah, Michelle, Kymmi, Patrick, and Jon...CONGRATULATIONS!!  We love you and we’re praying for you!

(Thank you to Doug Harsch for putting the video together…on top of an already very busy week…thank you my friend for your sacrifice of time)

On Sunday another 13 people have decided to get baptized!!!!  We met last night to talk about baptism, answer any questions, and go over the logistics of the morning (as well as instructions to not wear a speedo for their baptism…not because it is a sin, but because it is gross 🙂 ).  Very exciting to watch people make MAJOR life decisions for Jesus.  So, don’t miss this Sunday as we celebrate together one of the most ancient of Christian practices!!!

This morning was just one of those mornings that I have little words for.  It was a first for us.  It was an amazing experience.  I was humbled, overwhelmed, thankful, happy, etc.  We gathered ALL together for the first time since going to two services this morning.  It was awesome to see that gym FULL of Living Stoners!!  We baptized 36 individuals.  And we sang the YMCA 🙂 .  We worshiped and ate fried chicken.

I need to say a HUGE “THANK YOU” to so many people who invested so much time and energy to make this morning happen.  I was so impressed with the organization, planning, execution, dreaming, etc. that came together today.  I even had a LAMINATED list of people getting baptized.  LAMINATED!!  And how did all that happen?  Because of people like Ann Lynn, Jennae Gee, Doug Harsch, Paco Bayer, Matt Hooton, Alex Peek, Karin Gilbert (YMCA Youth Director and LSC attender), an incredible 1st Impressions team, an incredible Praise team, a crew of people who were willing to sacrifice time and energy to set everything up Saturday evening, people who at the last moment rescued us with heavy lifting (thanks Kenny Boyce and Brad Wilson), a food serving crew, and an additional crew of people who were willing to pack everything up and move it out. It was the first time we had done something like this but watching Saturday night’s assembly (especially all the sound and visual equipment – Thanks Paco & Matt) was just down right professional!  Thank you thank you thank you thank you!! I’m so humbled and honored.  What a joy it is to serve alongside you in our mission of God’s love!

And to the 36 individuals who got baptized – Jamie, Cody, Kyle, Kayla, Ed H., Lori, Wilma, Ed K., Bill, Elaina, Anne, Sara, Emily, Jennifer, Taide, Greg, Gloria, Aric, Adrian, Adam, Pam, Sara, Matt, Chad, Nelfa, Leon, Nick, Quentin, Amber, Kristi, Jabari, Destiny, Tatiyana, Lacy, Doreen, Johnny – congratulations and thank you for letting us journey with you on your next steps in Christ!!  We are praying for you!

Highlights:

  • The video of stories and confessions.  Fought to keep it together emotionally.  I did…because I’m manly.  🙂 Doug Harsch put it together…and it was GREAT!
  • Watching so many people just pour into the YMCA.
  • We sang the Village People’s YMCA getting started 🙂
  • Worshiping together as one church.
  • Not a single hitch (that I was aware of) in sound, video, etc.  Really…we were in a new place…and a gym!!  Amazing.
  • Watching everyone’s face when they ate the “bread” that came with the 2-in-1 bread/juice combo (new portable communion option)…your faces were priceless…in the words of Sky Medors – “foam.”  Don’t worry – back to normal next week!
  • Used Martin’s fried chicken buckets to take up collection and connection cards
  • Seeing that our church was excited to be excited.  Energy was great.  We said today was “celebration” and you came ready for “celebration.”
  • Getting the high honor of baptizing 36 people!  I can’t explain how that feels.
  • After the baptisms my mom and dad came up to me crying and said they were  proud of me.  This was special to my dad.  No one knows our collective story better than my dad.  Long before I got here, he planted the seeds for what happened today.
  • As we left the pool deck Randy Templeton, dad, and I took a moment to remember where we have been.  Trust me – there were some very difficult times.  Today, we committed again that we would do it all over again to get to see what we got to see today.
  • I kept turning around to see what needed to be done next – and Ann, Jennae, Matt, Paco, (and many others) had it already taken care of.
  • Fried Chicken.

Here are a few pictures from the morning.  There are WAY better pictures that were taken by some gifted photographers.  This is what Kelly and I grabbed off our personal camera –

Phenomenal help tonight setting up for tomorrow’s service. HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who helped!!!

10:00 a.m. – YMCA – Baptismal Celebration

One tip for tomorrow:  dress in cool clothes (and by cool I don’t mean “hip” – I mean summer attire).

Last night we had our pre-baptismal meeting that included a video taping session of people’s stories.  WOW!!!! So much of the spiritual life is in some way intangible.  It is hard to measure, gauge, and assess…difficult to put hard statistics and counts on things spiritual.  So our primary measurements take the form of STORY.  It is the narrative of God’s work in people’s lives and the stories that were shared were INCREDIBLE.  You will hear portions of these stories via video at Sunday’s baptismal celebration (YMCA @ 10:00 a.m.).

I’m sure barring death you already plan on being there 🙂 (oh…and those of you that I know were already scheduled to go out of town or whose employers who are making you work)

But for the rest of the Living Stones Church family I just want to give you one last encouragement that this is a day for us to gather and really celebrate.

1.  We get to gather for the first time since August 10th, 2008 as ONE whole church.  God has really blessed us over the past year with growth and an enlarging family.  The evidence of that will be a combined service where we get to collectively witness what God has done among us.  We will see the “brothers” and “sisters” that God has added to the Living Stones Church and be able to celebrate together that he has been faithful and good and allowed the church at 718 E. Donmoyer Ave. to participate in his mission of love in our community!!  The effective power of this collective gathering necessitates YOU!! And your presence in-and-of-itself will be an encouragement to those who have gathered too (Hebrews 10:25).

2.  We will celebrate about THREE DOZEN people getting baptized and sharing their story of God’s rescue.  Baptism is A MAJOR decision and event in life (think about it like you would someone’s wedding, 50th anniversary party, retirement party, graduation party, celebration of a new child, etc…you don’t miss those events because they are important events in the life of those we love), and we are gathering to support, celebrate, and encourage those who are making A HUGE decision and step on Sunday.  This day is about God…and the celebration of those he has rescued.  The Christian life calls us to live for the sake of others…this is a morning where our presence to witness, celebrate, and encourage IS for the sake of others.

We know from Scripture (Luke 15:10) that there will be a great celebration in heaven over this day with us.  And what happens on earth (even at the YMCA in South Bend, IN) will be a reflection of that celebration in heaven (Revelation 5:13).  So, again, I know some of you because of work or travel will be unable to attend.  But for the rest of you – Sunday morning IS NOT the time to decide to get a little more sleep; it IS NOT the time to hit the golf course; it IS NOT the time to take the kids to the zoo to see if the rumor about the passing of Susie Bear the Asiatic bear is true (it is…you don’t need to go); it IS NOT the time to head over to Kohl’s for some great sales.  That would be…to put it bluntly…uncool.

Don’t let in the midst of heaven’s celebration for God to ask, “Where’s _____________ (fill in your name)?”  Only to hear as a response, “Rather than joining your party…they decided to go to the garage sales.”

(How is that for pastoral guilt and pressure!!!!? 🙂  ) – But I love you.