Ten Years of Worship) I wrote about how God can answer prayer in and through our relationships with others. It's amazing how people just seem to appear in our lives and offer much needed input at just the right time. Strange? Not really. It's not strange at all for those who call themselves Christians - true Christians - who know the great God we serve.
"True" Christians are those few children of God who actually obey the comments of Jesus. That, of course, is none of us, to be brutally honest. Actually, true Christians are those who TRY to be obedient to God's commands and, even though failing, they repent, seek God's forgiveness, and try again. This process is a life-long transformation known as sanctification.
In my last post I wrote about the sanctification struggles of my friend and I. Now I am going to tell you about God's blessings towards those who fall in life but keep getting back up.
Today's story is about a young lady named Zoe. I have known Zoe for several years - a onetime youth group kid, now a young adult woman out in the real world. My young friend struggles with many of the same issues that others her age and younger struggle with - self-esteem, insecurity, doubt, fear. Hmm. Those are the same things I suffer with at age 63!
I'd like to use Zoe's amazing Saturday experience at Lifest to demonstrate how God coordinates and orchestrates situations and people for His ultimate glory. First, some background information.
Zoe had given her life to Jesus a few years ago but had never been baptized. For some reason, on our way to Lifest this year I remembered that and asked her if that was true. "Yes," she said, "but I've been thinking about it."
A couple days into the Christian music festival I noticed an amusement ride for smaller children. It was a 20-foot square pond with little boats in it - kind of a "bumper boat" thing. Knee deep. Hmm. That got me to thinking.
I sent Zoe a text and asked her if she might be interested in getting baptized at Lifest. She said yes. Then evidence of God's working in this whole amazing story began to get obvious.
My ministry partner, Gayle, and I thought it would be a good idea to get permission from the owner of the boat pond so we asked. And are you ready for this? Cuz here it comes.
The amusement ride manager said, "Sure go ahead. But would you baptize me too?"
"Uhh . . . okay."
"What is happening here?" we thought.
My friend and I went inside the merchandise building, amazed that we were going to be baptizing TWO people now. I saw another friend of mine, Bill, at one of the vendor tables (he runs Spencer Lake Christian Center in Waupaca) and told him the story of the pending baptisms. He suggested we speak to the organizer of the event, Bob Lenz, about it, telling us it was something he felt should be offered at Lifest.
So we went to the security office to ask permission and about contacting Bob. The people we talked to thought Zoe's baptism was an amazing thing to do and any would-be red tape never even appeared. Next thing you know we were talking to the event coordinator - the guy running the whole music festival!
"Sure! Great idea." he said.
Why was this going so easy? Why were there no road blocks in this? I think it's because God wanted this to happen. God parted the Red Sea. It would be a snap for Him to part the Red Sea.
One of the staff thought this baptism might be worthy of a photographer . . . so three of them showed up! Everything was arranged and coordinated, by God! He is amazing in how He does this stuff. This would NEVER have occurred at this scale if we had tried to do things on our own.
The time came to Baptize Zoe and everybody arrived at the scene. The bumper boat ride that was underway came to an end, shoes and socks were removed and we climbed into the pond.
I asked my young friend a few questions about her sin, her repentance and giving her heart to Jesus. She answered them all with confidence and she was baptized in the name of The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. The same was done with Todd, the manager of the amusement rides.
"Wet hugs" were exchanged by all. Thanks was given to all those who allowed this to happen. And praise was given to God. We thought we were done at this point . . . but God wasn't. Ha! We thought He was done impressing us. Not by a long-shot!
Later that night, with 20,000 people at Lifest that day, Zoe's baptism was seen on the Main Stage big screen!! Oh, my goodness! I shake my head in amazement. God is bigger than anything we can imagine. He does more in an instant than we could EVER do in a lifetime. As Lifest emcee, Peder Eide reminds us daily, "God is good!!! All the time!!! :)
"There is no one like our God. There is NO ONE like our God. Greater things have yet to come. Greater things have yet to be done"
This story of Zoe's baptism isn't really about her but God used her baptism to remind thousands of people just what we were at Lifest for. It's about dying to self and turning to Christ. It's about leaving our old way of life behind and embracing the new you! God was glorified and He used Zoe's baptism to do it. What an honor!!
Thanks to everyone at Life Promotions for allowing all this to happen and to the amusement ride manager, Todd, for letting God use some of his equipment. And let's not forget Zoe. Thanks to her for giving her life to Jesus and desiring to be transformed . . . from death to life. What an amazing day!
God Of This City - Chris Tomlin