Friday, November 11, 2011


Saturday, October 22, I had the most amazing privilege of baptizing my daughter in the cold waters of Lake Lanier. Joined by my immediate family, grandparents, cousins and friends, Emma and I waded into the water until it surrounded her from toe to mid-chest.

Then, after a few private words between Emma and me, I raised my hand into the air and said, “Emma, because you love Jesus and want to follow him forever, and be his friend forever, and live in his grace forever, I baptize you in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

No words can describe the feeling of gratefulness I had standing next to her. No sentence can capture the joy and pride that we all felt. No paragraph will ever recount fully the emotion of the day.

And I can only imagine the Heavenly Father’s gratefulness, joy, pride and emotion!

Emma was baptized “in the name of her Heavenly Father.” And in doing so she symbolized publically what has already taken place privately inside of her—a decision to be part of God’s family and to live now and forever in the loving care and leadership of a Father who loves her unconditionally, celebrates her radically, offers her wisdom impartially, and is with her completely.

Emma came up out of the water, smiling ear-to-ear, to shouts and cheers and hugs and prayers of thanksgiving! It was a day I pray she will always remember.

I wonder, if you have been baptized, do you remember that day or that era in your life when you made the decision to follow Jesus’ example and be baptized? And if so, as you remember it, would you re-dedicate your life to following Jesus, in whom we stake our greatest hope?

If you have not been baptized, do you know why? Be honest. Because if you are not sure you want to embrace God’s grace, and if you are not sure you would like Him to guide your life, then it’s helpful to be clear on that.

But if you would like to embrace God's grace and dedicate your life to following Him, then it's helpful to be clear on that too.

Emma spoke clearly about her desire to be in a relationship with Jesus Christ a few Saturdays ago, when she happily and excitedly stepped into the chilly, Fall waters of Lake Lanier to be baptized in the presence of family, friends and the beloved Creator of all things. He loves her so much. And she would want you to know that He loves you and me so much, too!

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God. And that is what we are!” -1 John 3:1