Let 3-Dom Ring
July 6, 2003
Well, this is Fourth of July weekend, the weekend where we celebrate freedom that we share as a nation. What is the Fourth of July weekend? It’s basically a friends-gathering, fireworks-popping, barbeque-eating frenzy, where we really get into the fact that we are an autonomous nation, that we are free. There is nothing like the freedom that we share. There is nothing like living in the United States of America. As great as that freedom is to share, to think about and to experience, there is another freedom that I want to talk to you about today very quickly. It is much deeper, richer and more profound than any freedom we can experience as an American. This freedom lies in something that we have been talking about lately a lot around here.
I’m referring to the Trinity. True freedom is found in the Trinity. What is the Trinity? God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit — one in essence and three in persons. I call this talk, “Let 3-dom Ring.” What do I mean when I say that we have freedom in the Trinity? Well, I’m glad you asked. Check out three quick scripture verses.
Psalm 119:32 says, “I run in the paths of your commands for you have set my heart free.” God the Father frees us.
Look at John 8:36, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” This is not some pseudo-freedom. This is real freedom. So, not only does God the Father set us free, but John 8 says God the Son sets us free as well.
Look at 2 Corinthians 3:15, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” The Holy Spirit frees us up as well. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
So, we see right up front from scripture that the Trinity is all about freedom. That’s true freedom. That’s true liberation. Yet, a lot of you hearing my voice right now are not experiencing true freedom. You know down deep that you have this gnawing sense that something is amiss, something is not right, or that there is a disconnect going on. That’s why I want to take this talk a little bit deeper. I want to discuss with you several things the Bible says about experiencing the transcendence of the Trinity, about experiencing what God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit actually have to offer.
Here is the first one. Mankind was tethered to the Trinity at creation. We were tethered to the Trinity at creation. You see behind me a tetherball set. I have never liked the game of tetherball. It’s a horrible game. It will jack up your arms and mess up your hands. The object of tetherball is simple. One person stands on one side of the pole and tries to whack the ball this way, while the other person stands on the other side of the pole and tries to whack the ball the opposite way. Whoever wraps the rope around the pole wins the game. If you want to totally scar your forearms and break your fingers, then play tetherball. It’s called tetherball because the ball is tethered to the pole. We are tethered to the Trinity. We were tethered to the Trinity.
In Genesis 1:26, God is speaking. What does God say? “Let us (Us? That’s the plurality—God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, co-existent and co-eternal) make man (you and me) in our image.” We are the Trinity. We have a body, a mind and a spirit. We are Trinitarians. We are illustrations of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
The second thing you need to understand is something that is a little bit scary. In fact, it’s very sobering on this Fourth of July weekend. Our sin and rebellion, yours and mine, cut the tether. It just cut it. The Bible says that our sins have sequestered us and separated us from God.
Romans 3 says, “For all have sinned (All? Who is that? Everybody.) and fall short of the glory of God.” So, you have sinned and I have sinned. No one taught me how to sin. I just know how to sin. My parents didn’t give me private tutoring lessons on the art of rebellion. They didn’t put me in a sinning select league as a kid. No, I just know how to sin and so do you. Why do we know how to sin? We know how to sin because we are Adam’s kids. Adam and Eve, you know, bit the big apple. They messed up. They rebelled against God. Our sin cuts us off from God. It cuts the tether and here is what we have done.
Because we are separate from God due to our sins, we have revolved our lives pretty much around ourselves — what makes me look good, what gives me pleasure, what puts wind in my sail. We move from deal to deal, fun fix to fun fix, and relationship to relationship thinking that the next person, the next acquisition, the next thing, or the next amount of money will bring us connectivity and will bring us happiness.
Some of you, right now, know what I am talking about. Because, right now, some of you feel disconnected. You feel empty. You feel like you should be tethered to something, but you don’t know what’s wrong. You thought making that amount of money would do it, but you are still empty. You thought hooking up with that guy or that girl would do it, but that’s not done it. So often, we put Godly and supernatural expectations on humanistic events and relationships. You can’t put the kind of pressure on a person or thing to meet the needs that only God can meet. You’ve got to be tethered to the Trinity. Yet, so many of us right now, find ourselves away from God — that guilt, that sin, and that low-grade sensation that something is not right. You know you are missing the plan and what your life is all about. We were tethered to the creation of Trinity. Our sin cut the tether.
But check this third thing out. The third thing is that we have a need. We need to be tethered back to the Trinity. We need to be connected back to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We need it, and that’s what we are searching for. So many times, relationships, things and money are just simply microcosms of a deeper and more mature yearning — a yearning to be tethered to the Trinity.
So, what is your life like? Are you bouncing around through life, just orbiting around yourself, trying to rope this deal, or that person, thinking that will do it for you? The Bible says in Colossians 1, “For God was pleased to have all of his fullness dwell in him (that’s Jesus), and through him to reconcile to himself all things … by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”
There is no way we can have the peace of God until we have peace with God, and peace with God occurs only when we are tethered back to the Trinity. God saw the situation, and the Bible says God is holy. He is perfect. He is 100% righteous. He can’t wink at sin. He can’t say, “Well, boys will be boys and girls will be girls.” God can’t do that. What did God do? Jot this down.
God the Father planned the work. God the Son worked the plan. And God the Holy Spirit actualized the work and the plan. Let me rewind that for a second. God the Father planned the work. God the Father could have said, “Well, mankind blew it. They bit the big apple. See ya!” God didn’t. God the Father set forth an ingenious plan. He commissioned his son, Jesus Christ, and Jesus voluntarily subordinated himself to the will of the Father. Jesus is not inferior to the Father. He is equal. Yet, in this situation, because of your sin and mine, Jesus voluntarily submitted himself operationally to the will of the Father. Jesus obeyed his plan and did his work. At 33 years of age, after Jesus lived a perfectly righteous life, what did he do? He died on the cross. He shed his blood on Calvary for your junk and mine, for your sins and mine — something we don’t deserve. The last words before he died were these, “It is finished,” Jesus said. “The price has been paid. The work has been done. I’ve satisfied the demands of my father.” Now the Holy Spirit is actualizing the plan and the work.
Friends, you are not here by accident.
“Yeah, I just happened to be in town and visiting some relatives and friends, just kind of hanging out doing the Fourth of July weekend thing. They just kind of invited me to Fellowship.”
The Holy Spirit did all of that and is doing all of this. Maybe you were just driving by and said to yourself, “Wow, that looks like a shopping mall. I’ll turn in.” You found yourself here at Fellowship. All of us are here for a specific reason.
I laugh, because it happened about 48 hours ago. A guy was talking to me and he said, “You know, Ed, I feel like you are talking to me when you are up there speaking.”
I said, “Richard, these aren’t my words, man. This is the Holy Spirit using my vocal chords to communicate truth.”
So, the Holy Spirit, right now, is prompting, convicting, and motivating a lot of people who are here. He did it through the drama. He did it through the video. He did it through some words in a song. That’s how the Spirit of God works. He actualizes the plan and the work of the Lord.
Well, there is one more thing I’ve got to tell you about freedom. It’s great, because we have the freedom to choose. In all of this, we have got the freedom to choose. We either choose it or we don’t. We either choose to be tethered back to the Trinity or we say, “No, I’ll keep my distance. I’ll just remain disconnected and cut off from the Trinity for this life and the next.”
Revelation 22 says, “Whoever wishes (whoever wishes), let him take the free gift of the water of life.” So, it’s our choice. The ball is in our court. It’s our move. The Trinity has done the work. We either receive it or we don’t. You can’t do this for me and I can’t do it for you. You can tell me how to do it or I could show you how to do it, but we can’t do it for each other because it’s a personal choice — a decision between ourselves and God.
To elaborate on what I have said so far, let me just give you the Cliff’s Notes of a conversation I had recently with a young man in his 30s about this very subject. Let’s just call this man, Jeffrey. I’ll change his name to protect the innocent. Who knows, he might be in one of these five services. Jeffrey is a guy who is married, probably in his late thirties and has several kids. I was talking to Jeffrey one day, and as we were talking, things kind of turned toward the spiritual domain because he knows I am a pastor. He began to tell me about his church background a little bit.
I said, “Jeffrey, just to kind of see where you are spiritually, let me ask you a question. Let me kind of give you a hypothetical situation.”
He said, “Okay.”
I asked, “What if someone walked up to you and this person said, ‘Hey, Jeff, how do I become a follower of Christ? How do I become someone who is a Christian? How do I get to heaven?’ If someone asked you that question, Jeff, what would you say?”
Jeff rubbed his chin, kind of sat back on the couch and said, “That’s a good question.”
I said, “Jeff, that’s not a trick question. I just want to see where you are spiritually.”
He said, “Let me see. How does someone become a Christian and go to heaven? Well, Ed, you want to try to do the right thing. If you leave the world a better place, and you go to church, then you’ll be a Christian and you will go to heaven.”
I said, “Really? So, that’s what you would tell them?”
He said, “Yeah. I would tell them be a good guy, leave the world a better place and go to church and that will make you a Christian.”
I said, “Jeff, those are good things. But if you would like to, I’d be happy to share with you what the Bible says about the answer to the question this hypothetical guy is asking you. If you would like for me to tell you what the Bible says about it so you can know the right answer, I’ll just tell you.”
He said, “Well, yeah. I would like for you to tell me.”
Well, I’m a visual person. I majored in the arts so I asked, “Jeff, do you have a pen and some paper?”
He went and got one.
[Ed, over the next several minutes, illustrates what he is talking about by drawing a ladder on a dry-erase board. He writes God’s name at the top rung. He puts the names of Billy Graham, himself, Jeffrey and Osama Bin Laden, in that order, on rungs under God to illustrate the distance between us and God.]
I said, “Let me draw what I am kind of talking about here.” So I took this pen and I said, “Jeff, let me just draw like a ladder. This ladder represents a goodness continuum, a righteous continuum, if you will.” So I drew the rungs on the ladder. I said, “At the top, let’s put God and God’s standard. Now, Jeff, what is God’s standard? Perfection. God is holy. He’s 100% righteous. He’s pristine. He’s perfect. That’s the ultimate. That’s at the top of this goodness continuum.”
I said, “Jeff, at the bottom, I mean, obviously, for illustrative purposes this is not long enough, but let’s put people like axe murderers, Osama — people like that. So evil on the bottom and goodness on the top.”
Then I turned to him and said, “Jeffrey, my father has been a pastor for thirty some-odd years. My brother is a minister as well, and my youngest brother is a Christian singer. He has this band that travels all over the world. I’ve grown up in the ministry. It’s a great life. You know, I don’t want to name drop, but let me name drop for a second. One of my father’s good friends is Billy Graham. I don’t know Dr. Graham that well but my father does. He’s been to his house, and he’s done weddings with him. Billy Graham is the real deal. The guy is phenomenal. He’s one of the greatest Christians to ever walk on the planet. He has spoken to more people than any person who has ever lived. But I’ve heard Dr. Graham say this, Jeff. I’ve heard Billy Graham say, and I’m quoting him, ‘I have fallen miserably short of God’s standard of goodness.’ Billy Graham! Jeff, if Billy Graham is a humble guy, and if he had to put himself on this continuum, he would probably put himself down here. But let me put him where he needs to be. I would say Dr. Graham should be right here, and I’ll put his initials, B.G. [Ed places Dr. Graham’s initials well below God’s name.] Billy Graham is right there. I’ve heard him say that he has fallen miserably short of God’s standard. Now, Jeff, let me just be vulnerable here and put myself on this continuum. First of all, I will never surpass Billy Graham in the righteous column, in the good works column. It’s just not going to happen for me. I’m not going to surpass Billy Graham. So, I’ll put myself well south of Billy. Again, for illustrative purposes, let me put myself about right here, okay?” [Ed places his initials well below Billy Graham’s initials.]
Then I handed the pen to Jeff and asked, “Jeff, where would you put yourself?” I said, “Jeff, remember you told this guy, who asked you how to become a Christian, that if you are a good guy, if you leave the world a better place and go to church, that will get you where you want to go.”
He said, “Well, I put myself south of you, Ed.”
I said, “Okay. Wow, Jeff, we all have a problem here, man. There’s some distance between Billy Graham and God’s standard and I am never going to get past him and I know you won’t get past him. I’ve got a serious problem. I’ve got some distance that I cannot make up on my own. I don’t care how good a guy I am, how much I go to church, how many messages I preach, or how many books I write. I can’t get past Billy. I’ve got some serious distance between myself and God, caused by my sin. But, Jeff, you know what I have heard Billy Graham say? I’ve heard him say that he has fallen short of God’s standard. I’ve also heard him say that he has admitted his distance, his sin, before God. He has received Christ, and Christ has made up the distance. And I’ve done the same thing. So really, Billy Graham and myself are up here [Ed points to God’s standard on the ladder] not because of what we have done, but because of what Jesus has done. But, Jeff, you have got a short fall here that you cannot make up on your own. You’ve got a distance between you and God that you cannot make up on your own. If you are aligned on this performance plan, this good works continuum, it’s not going to get you where you want to go, because God’s standard is perfection. God says if we live a perfect life, Jeff, we can make it to heaven — if we perform perfectly, not one bad move, not one off day, not one curse word, not one omission. If we are perfect, then we will get to heaven. God will say, ‘Let me give you a high five. Welcome to eternity. You performed your way in just like my son, Jesus.’ But again, one sin, one white lie, one stumble, and you’ve got some distance that you cannot make up. Jeff, here is what God did. God loves you so much and he loves me so much, that God the Father sent God the Son. God the Son lived a complete and perfectly righteous life. He died on a cross for your sins and mine and rose again.
The Holy Spirit of God has brought us together, Jeff. He’s linked us up just for this conversation. I might not ever see you again and I’m going to tell you something. The Spirit of God is presenting this to you. If you will appropriate what God has done for you by sending Christ on the cross, if you will receive that and apply that to your life, then the distance is made up. The moment you make that decision, from that day forward into eternity, when God looks at your life, he does not see Jeff the sinner. He sees the righteousness of Christ that you have appropriated into your life. Once you make that decision, what happens? You are tethered back to the Trinity. Jeff, it’s your call.”
Jeff works at a business where they do a lot of contracts, and I just wrote out a contract for him. I drew an X and a dotted line. I said, “Jeff, do you understand the deal that we were tethered to the Trinity? Our sin cut the tether. The Lord has done the work to tether us back. It’s your choice. If you will sign right here, you will become a Christ-follower. You will become a Christian, and that’s the answer to give to this hypothetical person. It’s by God’s grace and mercy — something we don’t deserve. It’s by receiving Christ. That is how someone gets to heaven. That’s how someone understands what it means to become a Christian.”
I handed him the pen and I watched him roll the pen in his thumb and index finger back and forth. I watched him think about it. I knew what was hanging in the balance. I knew what was out there and I was praying for him. I said, “Jeff, how about it, man?”
He said, “No, I don’t want to do it.”
I said, “Jeff, you understand all the stuff you need to know. Is there any good reason you can tell me why you don’t want to do this?”
He said, “Man, I don’t know. I’m just not there.”
I said, “Well, I want you to listen to me very carefully. If you are to die tonight, you are going to face a Christ-less eternity. God does not hurl anybody to hell.”
I’ll say it again. I talked about it this past First Wednesday. God does not hurl anybody to hell. Whenever you hear somebody say that God sent somebody to hell, they don’t understand anything about Christianity. We make that choice. We make the choice whether to spend eternity in heaven or hell. If you kept your distance from him, if you kept disconnected from him, and refused those opportunities to be tethered back to the Trinity, then when you die, God will say, “You know what? Your entire life, you kept me at a distance. Your entire life, you kept yourself cut off from me so you will have a greater measure of that in eternity.” And some will go and live in hell.
Some say, “Yeah, man, that will be cool! I’ll be able to party with my friends!”
No, you won’t, because the Bible says it is a place of utter isolation. It’s a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth. The Bible calls it a place of utter remorse — that forever feeling of knowing that you had an opportunity to be tethered back to the Trinity, and yet, you said, “No.” And I told Jeff that. I knew what Jeff was refusing when he said, “No.”
I said, “Jeff, that’s cool. That’s your prerogative. Let me write out just a prayer for you to say. Jeff, when you say that prayer, when you make that commitment, here is my cell phone number, just call me. Because I want to hear about it.”
I have not received a call from Jeff and Jeff is facing an eternity disconnected from God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. How about you? Are you trying to bank on the good works plan? Are you trying to bank on the Catholic plan, the Baptist plan, the Lutheran plan, being a good guy, good girl, keeping your nose clean, paying your taxes, or leaving the world a better place? That’s good, but it’s not going to get you where you want to go, because you are cut off. What if I handed you the pen? Where would you put yourself? What if I handed you the pen? Would you sign on the dotted line for this cosmic transaction to take place?
Once you do the deal, this transaction takes place: God’s and Christ’s and the Holy Spirit’s righteousness infiltrates your life. The grace and the mercy of God ambushes you and me, and at the same time, our junk, our guilt, and our sin is transferred to Christ’s shoulders. So, we receive the righteousness of Christ and all the junk in our lives is transferred to him. That’s the cosmic transaction that takes place. I can tell you how to do it, but again, I can’t make you do it. That’s what it means, though, to be tethered back to the Trinity.
Let 3-dom ring. Do you want to do that? If you do, just say these words with me right now. Bow your heads for a moment. Every head is bowed and every eye is closed — no one looking around. If you have made this decision before, pray for many people here who need to make this step. What if I handed you the pen? What if I said, “Okay, are you ready to sign?” Because you know the deal. You know the information right now. If you want to, you can just say these words silently with me, and the moment you say these words, the moment you make this choice, you will have this distance made up and you will be re-tethered to the Trinity. Just pray this prayer with me as the Holy Spirit leads, because he is prompting and convicting many people here.
“God, I admit to you that I have been disconnected, that my sin has cut the tether. I admit to you the fact, God, that I have been trying to orbit my life around myself or around my deal or my stuff. I realize that I am separated from you. But, I believe that you did the work. You set forth this ingenious plan to re-tether me back to you. I believe, Father, that you sent Jesus to die on the cross for my sins and rise again. Right now, I receive that. I appropriate that.”
As you are saying those words, here is what is happening, friends. The righteousness of Jesus Christ is infiltrating your life and all of your junk and your sin is being transferred to the shoulders of Jesus. Right now, you are experiencing true freedom — freedom from guilt and pain and sin. You are free now. You can declare your declaration of independence by saying, “Jesus Christ, take control of my life.”
If you prayed that prayer with me, as our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed, all you have to do is say it one time. If you prayed that prayer with me for the very first time in your life, would you just lift your hand up for a second? Thank you. Many hands are going up. God sees your response. I’m going to tell you something. It’s the greatest thing you will ever do — the greatest thing.
God, thank you for these decisions. We ask these things in Jesus name, amen.
Listen to me very carefully, especially if you prayed that prayer with me. Tethered to, but not part of, the decision to become a Christ-follower is the next thing I want to talk to you about. I’ll say it again. Tethered to, but not part of, the decision you just made is something I’m going to talk to you about right now. I’m talking about baptism.
Here is what our Lord said about baptism. In the Bible, once someone made the decision to become a Christ-follower, they didn’t walk the aisle or come down front. In the Bible, they advertised that they had made the decision. They went from the private to the public. They were baptized. That’s the public profession of our faith, scripturally speaking. In Matthew 28:19, Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name (that’s singular) of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
First, we become disciples. A disciple is a choice followed by a process. After we make the decision to become a disciple, then we are baptized.
Let me give you five quick fabulous facts about baptism. You might not have ever heard these before, but download these right quick. Number one, you can follow along, baptism is the first test of obedience. It’s the litmus test of the Christian life. Jesus said, “Okay, you have trusted me in this private decision between you and me. Now, take it public.” It’s our first test of obedience.
A couple of years ago, I was having a conversation with someone who was a celebrity, a bona-fide celebrity. God brought us together for a conversation. This guy looked at me across my desk and told me something I will never forget. He said, “You know, Ed, I’m a Christian, and for me, it’s a private a thing. I can’t go public with my faith.”
I called his name and said, “You’re missing it. Christianity starts with a private decision, but it’s all about going public. It’s all about that. Jesus said, “After we become a Christian we should move out of the shadows and into the light by being baptized. It’s our first test of obedience, and if you are going to tell me that you trust Christ with your eternity yet you are going to balk at the first opportunity to go public and be baptized, then I’ve got to wonder if you have really appropriated the righteousness of Christ in your life.”
Here’s the second fabulous fact about baptism. Baptism, number two, is an amazing illustration of becoming a Christ-follower, of salvation. Every baptism in the Bible was by immersion. The word “baptize” is “baptizo” in the original language. It means, “to dip,” or, “immerse.” For example, if I was going to bury this dry erase board, I wouldn’t sprinkle dirt on it. I wouldn’t pour dirt on it. What would I do? I would dig a big honking hole, drop it in the big honking hole and put dirt on top of it. I would bury it. We baptize at Fellowship Church like everyone baptized in the Bible. When we have a question, we don’t say, “What does Ed say or what does this church say?” We say, “What does the Bible say?” The Bible says that we are to be baptized by immersion. Maybe you are like my wife and are saying, “Well, man, I was sprinkled as an infant.” Lisa was sprinkled in a Lutheran Church. Maybe you were sprinkled in a Catholic Church. Great. I am not at all saying your baptism did not take or it wasn’t any good. I’m not saying that at all. But I am saying, based on the Bible, that if you have made a decision to become a follower of Christ, get baptized by immersion. Get baptized by allowing a pastor to submerge you under water.
Number three — baptism is for Christ-followers only. The baptismal waters are not some super spiritual cleansing stuff. You won’t just walk out there, get baptized and say, “Wow, now I am a Christian!” I mean, I like Krispy Kreme donuts, but does it make me a donut when I go to Krispy Kreme? People say, “Well, I’ve been baptized.” Good. That’s doesn’t mean you are a Christian. Since baptism is for Christ-followers only, every baptism in the Bible was someone who was old enough to appropriate a faith decision, and then they were baptized. That’s why we do not baptize infants here. Infants were not baptized in the Bible. We don’t baptize infants. We have parent/child dedications. We don’t baptize infants because infants are not old enough to make a mature faith decision. Once you are old enough to make a mature faith decision, we will baptize you.
“Well, Ed, I have a child and I think he or she might be ready to be baptized.”
Great. We have a class called Kid Faith. Sign up for it, parents, and go with your children. You can tell if they are ready.
Number four — baptism is a biblical command. It’s not optional. It’s not like Jesus said, “Well, I suggest to you that you are to be baptized. We’ve just got to think about baptism. You might want to play it back and forth in your mind.” No, he said, “Do it. Get baptized.” It’s a command. It’s a beautiful thing. The illustration of baptism is awesome. It illustrates our identification with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection — the old life and the new life. The water symbolizes the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from all sins. It’s like the wedding ring of the Christian life.
Number five — baptism is a public declaration of our independence. When we are baptized, we are saying, “Okay, I’m on Christ’s team. I am free. I am tethered to the Trinity. I am liberated.” We’re not shy about showing people we are Americans on July Fourth. How about baptism? That’s much more important.
Well, I’ve talked enough about baptism on this stage. Let me do a fly-over now and dive into our baptismal pool on the east side of our campus.
(Video of the mechanics of baptism – what happens in the baptismal pool)
Well, that’s the message and that’s the methodology of baptism. I want everyone to take your Worship Guide out and turn to the page that has the picture of the baptism on it. It says, “Special Baptismal Celebration after the weekend services, July 12th/13th.” It’s very important, if you prayed the prayer with me to commit your life to Christ, to be tethered back to the Trinity. Take a pen or pencil and just jot your name, email, phone and etc. and check off the following information. If you do not have a pen or pencil, I’m sure someone on your row will have one, especially the ladies with the big purses. They will probably have about 44 different pens and pencils in there, different colors and whatever. So, if you will take some time, and just fill that out, right now as I am talking, and check off the day you would like to be baptized. Next weekend, we will wrap up this series on the Trinity. If you want to be baptized after the 6:30 pm service on Saturday, just sign up for Saturday – 7:30 pm. If you want to be baptized Sunday after this service, at about 12:30, just check off that box. Someone from our office will contact you prior to your baptism, we’ll talk to you very shortly about this, and answer any questions you might have.
Now, if you have prayed this prayer with me today, turn the page over to where it says, “My Story.” Just simply say, “I prayed the prayer with Ed to commit my life to Christ.” Or, if you want to just write your brief story. You can write your story and fill all the information out during this next song we are going to do called “Baptize Me.” This is a powerful song and I pray that the words ring true in your life and in my life. After you fill this card out, just tear off the perforated page like this, and fold it and drop it in the offering bag as it is passed. If you are still writing, and that’s cool, after the song is over and the closing prayer, then you can just take this card and hand it to one of the ushers or greeters or drop it by the information kiosk. Or, if you still haven’t finished it, you can drop it by the church or jump on our website to fill out the appropriate information there as well. This is going to be a powerful time next weekend and we are just so excited that you have prayed this prayer. Maybe you’ve become a Christian, maybe you have prayed the prayer weeks ago or months ago, but you have not followed through with baptism. This is your time to get baptized. This is going to be, again, just a wonderful experience.
Fourth of July weekend — it’s a friends-gathering, fireworks-popping, barbeque-eating extravaganza. But more importantly, today we have discovered it’s a time for allowing true 3-dom to ring. I thank you that so many of you have made the decision to be tethered to the Trinity, because that is real freedom. Let’s pray together.
God, thank you so much for this message. Thank you for the decisions that were made to follow you. I look forward, Lord, to next weekend and the wonderful things you are going to do through our time of worship as we conclude this series, and as we top it off with baptism. So, Father, hammer the words of this next song into our spirit and into our lives. In Jesus’ name, amen.