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<< HomeWord, with Jim Burns

HomeWord - Jan. 26, 2009

  • 2009 Jan 26
  • COMMENTS

 

New Life 
This devotional was written by Jim Burns

In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is bom again." John 3:3

I witnessed a baptism like none I've ever seen before. First, the location: Kapalua Beach, Maui, Hawaii. They call it the most beautiful beach in the United States with its crystal clear water, sugary white sand, and a view that helps me understand the definition of breathtaking.

Second, the people. My favorite church in the world is Kumulani Chapel. Believe it or not, they meet in the golf cart shed every Sunday morning in Kapalua, Maui. Some come in Aloha shirts and dresses, others wear more traditional clothes. There are older saints sitting next to surfers (with their hair still wet from riding the last wave before the service starts).

One day after the service they had a baptism. At the end of the service most of the people got in their cars, many with surf boards strapped on the top, and drove to the beach to have church again. They sang, they prayed, they praised God. Pastor Mark explained that baptism was the sign of new life in Jesus Christ. It symbolized the washing away of our sins and the beginning of life with Christ as our Savior. Some of the people (young and old) were still wearing church clothes and others were in swimsuits. As they waded out into the clear blue water, the congregation sang songs of praise:

Our God is an awesome God.
He reigns from heaven above
with wisdom, power and love
Our God is an awesome God.

And Jesus said, "Come to the water, stand by my side.
I know you are thirsty, you won't be denied.
I felt every tear drop, when in darkness you cried.
And I strove to remind you that for those tears I died."

After each person was baptized the congregation cheered, clapped, even whistled! As they approached the dry sand, they were always greeted with one bear hug after another. No one seemed to worry about the fact they were getting wet from those hugs. They sang some more and prayed some more, and then it was time to cheer for the next person. Although I didn't see the physical body of Jesus, I sensed his presence. I had this feeling he was there—and I even had this feeling he was the first to cheer and whistle. After all, he gave the new life, and he was the reason they came and were baptized.

GOING DEEPER:

  1. Although various traditions baptize differently, there is still a great deal of meaning behind this experience. What does your baptism mean to you? 
  2. According to John 3:3, why did John baptize people? What make this practice good news? 

PSALM OF PRAISE:
Praise the LORD!
Praise God in his Temple! Praise his strength in heaven!
Praise him for the mighty things he has done. Praise his supreme greatness.
Praise him with trumpets. Praise him with harps and lyres.
Praise him with drums and dancing. Praise him with harps and flutes.
Praise him with cymbals. Praise him with loud cymbals.
Praise the LORD, all living creatures!
Praise the LORD!

Psalm 150

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