All in all, it's been a good weekend. The weather in Chicago has been just about perfect--clear and hot, except that we could use some rain, which we should get when the remnants of Hurricane Dennis make it to the Midwest on Tuesday afternoon. On Friday night we went with some friends to Antico Posto, a cozy Italian restaurant in Oak Brook.
On Saturday morning I decided to visit the Oak Park Farmers Market to buy some homemade donuts. I use the word "homemade" loosely because I have no idea who makes them but they are much better than supermarket donuts you. I ended up buying a quart of Michigan blueberries as well. Marlene and I had a small feast of donuts and blueberries when I got home.
This morning we baptized seven people in our worship services. I'm doing the math in my head as I'm writing this and I realized that 6 of the 7 were college age or younger. After I explain the procedure to the baptismal candidates, I always pray with them in robing area before we begin. And each time I pray that the young people will never forget the day of their baptism. I almost always say something like this: "Lord, I pray that 50 or 60 years from now, when they are old and their grandchildren are gathered round them, may they still remember the day of their baptism and may they tell the story with great joy." The youngest person we baptized today was seven years old. We've baptized younger than that, but not very often. It turned out that the seven-year-old boy was the highlight of the day. Though he probably didn't stand much taller than my waist, and we had him stand on a black plastic stool so people could see him over the lip of the baptistry, he wasn't intimidated in the least. He lived up to his name--Omer Houston IV. He came into the water with a big smile, and when I asked if he was scared, he looked up at me and said, "No" with great confidence. He had no doubts about his Christian conversion or his desire to follow Jesus. When we finished the baptism, Robert Schuler (who along with his wife assists in baptism preparation) commented that something happened when we baptized Omer. Hard to put your finger on it, but the Holy Spirit was present when we baptized that young boy. I told his father later that I think God has his hand on him to do great things.
In all three services the Men's Ensemble sang a rollicking version of "He Lifted Me" that had the congregation clapping and cheering. I told them that where I grew up in Alabama, they call that "classical music." It certainly put a smile on my face.
Like I said, it's been a good weekend.
(On July 1, Harvest House released my newest book, The Healing Power of Forgiveness.)
To sign up for Pastor Ray's free weekly sermon email list, click here. You can find his daily weblog, online sermons, travel schedule, and other resources at www.keepbelieving.com. You can write Pastor Ray at email@example.com.
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