Raised To New Life
I’ll never forget it for as long as I live. Tuesday evening, August 27, 1985. 7 o’clock at Beech Street Christian Church. Don Boswell buried me with Christ and I was raised to a new life in Jesus. See, the baptistry at Westwood Christian Church was broken at the time, so we went over to a sister church’s building to use theirs. My wife Peggy was there, as were my grandparents and a few other friends.
Don asked me if I believed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God. I responded with an enthusiastic “YES!” and down into the water of baptism I went. Well, after the declaration that I was being baptized in the Name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of my sins and the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit, that is. I was raised to a new life in Christ (Ro. 6:3-4), and the journey has been astounding.
I love Jesus! I love people! I want people to love Jesus, too!
30 years later, as I reflect on my journey with Jesus, I am first of all amazed that He continues to love and put up with me. I also can see the clear signs of growth in my walk with Christ. I truly was a baby 30 years ago. I was a baby when Peggy and I started working with the youth at Westwood Christian Church. We still have close connections with several of those students some 30 years later, and I am amazed that they would even want anything to do with me. If they only knew how little I knew back then. I guess the one thing I knew and I shared it as best as a baby in Christ knows how is: I love Jesus! I love people! I want people to love Jesus, too!
Over the years, I have had the privilege of serving the Kingdom at Westwood, at the Flemingsburg Church of Christ, at Old Orchard Christian Church, and at Vero Christian Church. With a degree in broadcast journalism from Marshall University, I did my Bible and ministry work at Kentucky Christian (College) University and I can truly say that I have learned much about following Jesus and leading others along the way.
I have run the full gamut of being heavy on truth to being heavy on grace, to (hopefully) finding a balance there because grace + truth = love. I have (and still do) taken public stands on moral issues of the day. I have volunteered countless hours in mission work regionally (though, sadly, never internationally yet anyway). I have counseled countless numbers of teens struggling with faith and with life in general. I have done pre-marital counseling, who knows how many marriage ceremonies, led marriage and parenting classes and seminars, preached hundreds of sermons, taught thousands of lessons and yet when it is all said and done, I pray that one message still rings clear in my life: I love Jesus, I love people, and I want people to love Jesus, too.
In 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul says, “follow me as I follow Christ.” That is my life verse. My only birthday wish as I turn 30 is just that. May much be made of Jesus today and every day.