Sunday, November 11, 2007


Yesterday, I could not find the words to express my feelings towards my Baptism. Today, I am given the words. Today I get Baptized. More about that shortly.

Today as you know is Veterans Day and I want to thank all of those that willingly serve our country so that we have the freedoms that we do. Today is also the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. These seemingly distinct events have more to do with each other than I ever could have imagined. This morning a friend of ours who serves in the armed forces was at Church and had brought 3 of his fellow soldiers with him. As the pastor asked them to stand to be recognized as those who serve our country and fight for our freedoms, I was overcome by gratitude to them, but also to God that we live in country where I can sit in a Church and worship the way I want to worship. That I do not have to worry about persecution for my beliefs as so many around the world do. I am thankful that so many men and women have fought and continue to fight for the freedoms that we have in this country and I am so thankful that God chose for me to live in this country.

The service this morning was very powerful starting when the Pastor asked all the veterans to stand. The Pastor then discussed the persecution of Christians throughout the world. It's amazing that 70% of the world's Christians do not live in countries where they are free to practice their religion freely. 70%. We here in America take it for granted that we can go to Church when and where we want and we don't have to worry about being killed for doing so. One study said that 164,000 Christians were killed for their faith in one year. That comes out to 400 people per day. Wow! We were shown a video re-enactment of the story of a woman named "Sarah" from China who was beaten and tortured and imprisoned for 6 years for having been the editor of an underground Christian newspaper. Ironically, in her years in prison, she made Christmas lights to be sent to the US. The story was horrific and I sat there so thankful that I live where I can Baptized. Where I have that freedom. Where those that hate Christians can freely speak against them. Where anyone can speak their mind and not be persucted in such horrific ways. I was humbled by this. I was anxious and nervous about this evening as I knew this was the first time that my real family and my Church family would meet. I was nervous because I knew that the things that not only I would be saying in my testimony, but the testimonies of others, would be hard for my family to hear. I was also overwhelmed by the power of the evening. This was a big step for me, an outward sign of my inward belief, but I also understood on some level that hearing the testimonies tonight could have some very powerful effects on those who do not believe in Christ. I know that God uses events such as Baptism's like this to change lives and I can only hope that my testimony has touched the life of someone that was there tonight.

That may not have done how I felt today justice at all, but I can tell you that I am blessed today.

It is amazing to me that the name Jesus Christ can cause such hatred. If He isn't real, if He doesn't mean anything, if He is not the Son of God, then why do so many people hate Him? Why are people willing to kill those that believe in Him. It is also amazing to me that people will die for Him. The Pastor told the true story of a group of people who had gathered for a Bible study. The police busted in and threw a Bible on the ground and said that everyone must spit on the Bible or they would be shot to death. Many people spit on the Bible as they ran out of the Church. One person knelt down and picked up the Bible wiping the spit from the cover and said, "Forgive those that have spit on God's Word". The last sound he heard was the gunshot that killed him. I wonder if I were put in a similar situation, could I do the same thing. Would I have the courage to stand up for my faith. To stand up for my Savior.

No comments: