This site is a mix of personal information and interests and pretty much anything I decide to write about or share. If you have not been here in awhile you will notice the site has changed quite a bit. I dumped the old Webpage format and went to the Blog format. This makes it easier to post on any topic I feel compelled to at anytime. I do maintain two other blogs which is where most of my writing goes but they are on more specific topics.
Wow!! Is what I have to say about this mornings church service. We love our church and today was an example of why. We are currently going through a series titled “Unexpected” which started after our Easter Service in Curtis Hixon Park. If you are from the Tampa Bay area and did not attend, you probably got a hint of it from the signs and T-shirts all over the bay stating “Easteris Near.com“. That Easter service yielded a turnout of over 5600 people – not bad for a church that I think has about 800 members.
This morning the “Unexpected” surprise was enter the worship space and finding the traditional Baptism pool in front of the stage. The message today was about an encounter between an Ethiopian eunach, who was a Treasury official and a young Jewish apostle named Philip from the Book of Acts (Acts 8:26). The encounter and ensuing discussion culminated with the Ethiopian choosing to get baptized spontaneously in a water hole that they passed while traveling though the desert.
We typically do two baptism services a year, and in the last one in early April, my fiancé Kelly and I were baptized. Typical baptisms are planned around 6 weeks weeks in advance, so that those considering it can make the decision and come prepared with extra clothes, a towel and possibly friends or family members that you want to share your experience with. Today was a totally spontaneous opportunity for anyone that had been thinking of it to step up and get baptized. Talk about a tough decision – no clothes, no towel, no plans but to enjoy another lively Sunday service by our Pastor Paul Wirth. But as is usual, Paul and the crew had it all covered. Each person making the plunge would get a black T-shirt, shorts, underwear and a towel – No excuses! Anyone wishing to make the spontaneous decision to get baptized could get the bag of supplies go change and come up front for their turn in the pool.
Before Paul could finish his directions a man in the front row stood up and fully clothed walked up the ladder and in to the baptism pool. Another followed, also fully clothed and then a mass of people made their way to the back where they received their baptism clothes and towel. In the first service alone 31 people made the decision to share their faith decision on the spot. I heard later that between the two morning services a total of 52 people made that same decision!! What really rocked me, besides the courage of these individuals was that during a normal planned baptism celebration, typically 8 -12 people per service make the decision to be baptized – today’s “unexpected” service had over four times that!!
An awesome day for all!