Ephesians 2:1-10

“even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved”

Sermon Transcript:

We just sang some words this morning. Jesus Christ is our reward. There’s nothing in this world that could ever satisfy that comes right out of Isaiah 55. He alone satisfies eternally Through every trial, our souls can sing. We rejoice in suffering. We’ve been set free. Christ is enough for me.

Ephesians one, three, His blood sets us. Christ are all in all, He’s the joy of our salvation. Hope in him will never fail. Eternity with Christ are home. Job says in chapter seven, Life is just a breath. He’s our reward. Let’s pray this morning. Our Father, we stand here this morning as your children. God, we ask, would you speak to us now through your word?

Remind us, Lord, as we sing, that you are our hope. You are the source of forgiveness. We don’t stand here on our own merit. We stand here on the blood of Christ. God, we thank you for the opportunity the church has together each week and and come together as a group of worshipers. Which may sound a little strange in this context in our world, that we worship the living true God, but it’s what we do, who we are, who you’ve made us to be.

And we thank you for that. We pray these things in your name. Amen. Amen. Guys, may be seated.

Well, good morning. Thanks for being here this morning. Um, just want to answer three questions for you. If you have, uh, a little sermon bulletin thing. It’s a bit shorter this morning. Uh, and the first question you might be asking, hopefully you’re asking is, why is there a big hole in the stage? Some of you have had that before and you’ve never been told, but I’m gonna tell you this morning why there’s a giant hole in our stage.

Uh, this morning is our baptism service and, uh, behind me is a tank of water. Uh, it’s not magical water. It is fresh from Mount Laurel’s pipe system, uh, wherever that comes from. Um, Um, we’re gonna be entering into that water to baptize, which literally means to dip or to plunge. Um, those that have followed, trusted Christ as their savior, identifying them with his death and resurrection.

So if you’re newer here, and this may seem a little bit weird to you, that’s okay. Uh, we’ll tell you and explain to you simply what is going to happen here in a minute. Uh, the, the first thing that you might want to know is the word baptism, again, means to dip or to plunge, but it is just simply a symbol of what God has already done.

Again, we are not doing anything magical. There’s no transaction that’s gonna happen behind me that already has not taken place. We’re symbolizing a spiritual. Of what has taken place. You’ll notice the shirt that I’m wearing says, forgiven. And each person that comes into the tank this morning will be wearing that.

It’s not presumptive that we would have them wear those shirts before and during their baptism. It’s signifying an already reality as they’ve put their trust in Christ. Baptism in this way does not make you a Christian. It declares that you already are a follower of Jesus. You’ll hear us say when each person gets dipped under the water in the same way in the likeness of his death, in the bringing them back up, out of the water in the likeness of his resurrection.

The same symbol symbolism that we find compared to Christ’s death and resurrection. So each individual’s gonna be sharing a story this morning about what God has done in their life, their life story. They’re gonna share specifics, but they’ll all share this genuine similar reality. And that is that baptism is for those who have responded to the bad news and the good news of the Bible.

Which leads us to the next question. Is there some news that you’ve maybe missed? Is there something going on in the news that, uh, I don’t know about? What’s the bad news? What’s the good news of the Bible? Well, in his book Telling the Truth, there’s a man named Frederick Bakner and he says this, The gospel is bad news.

Before it is good news. It is the news that mankind is sinful, and to use the old word that he is evil in the imaginations of his. He describes a reality, which we find right in Ephesians chapter two. I’m gonna ask you to turn there with me. If you have a Bible, pull it out. If you don’t, there’s one right in front of you.

Pull that one out. You can tap there on your phone, whatever. If you got a Pew Bible there, it’s page 917. We’ll find some bad news. Good news right here in Ephesians chapter two, which was actually, uh, part of the Bible here, a, a letter that Paul wrote to the Ephesian church. Ephesus was a, a huge city, a, a center of worship for many Greek and Roman gods.

And they all kind of just came together in this center to worship. And by God’s grace, many people through the ministry of the apostles came to know Christ. And so Paul is writing this letter to remind these Christians of the truth and the reality which they have experienced. Don’t forget these things.

So listen in as we read Ephesians chapter two, verse one, and you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked. You were dead. No spiritual pulse in the trespasses, the falling away from God and the sins, the failure to live up to God’s standards. You’ve missed the mark. That’s how you once walked.

Following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, God’s enemy, Satan, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience, among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children. Wrath.

These are strong words. Paul is writing here to this church. That’s what we were like the rest of mankind, you behaved like sinful people because that was your nature. All you knew was missing the mark of God. I’m just gonna pause there. You may actually know and be able to fill in that first blank, uh, a about our spiritual condition from these first few verses, and that condition is dead, lifeless, fill it in.

Our condition is dead. We’re not sick. Ephesians two does not say that we are not sort of corrupt in our minds and in our hearts, we’re dead lifeless, unable to stand before a holy God. Actually, it says this is your standing. You outside of a relationship with Jesus are an object of wrath, worthy of punishment, unable to meet his righteous requirement.

That’s the bad news. Let’s look back at the text. Verse four continues on here, But God being rich in mercy because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ, this language of union oneness. In his same likeness, we, we have a pulse now in Christ by grace.

You have been saved and raised up with him and seeded us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Verse seven, So that in the coming ages, he might show you the immeasurable riches of his grace and kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. There is bad news, but this is some good news. God is rich in mercy.

God is great in his love. He makes us alive by his gracious initiative. We can be forgiven, we can be seated in Christ, and he will continue to make known to us the depths of his grace and forgiveness. So you can fill the next blank here. God’s intention after our condition, God’s intention is forgiveness.

But how is that intention carried out? Right? How can a righteous holy, perfect matchless God accept sinful, broken people who we just heard were described as objects of wrath, unable to stand before him? Think about forgiveness for a minute. Maybe just in a, in a human sense for a second. It’s kind of an agonizing process, right?

When someone, uh, hurts you, uh, when there’s some wrong done or they wound you or they deceive you, you feel this hurt. It’s agonizing. Maybe a form of suffering and forgiveness is not making the other person suffer for the things they’ve done to you. It’s you suffering and forgiving. It’s when you want to make them pay and you don’t.

Instead you pay, you suffer. And if that is true strictly in a human sense, imagine the degree that it is true about God. It’s when God does not pay us as our sins deserve. It’s when He doesn’t treat us the way we ought to be treated. But instead, God suffers in our place. God suffers for us. His gracious intention in sending a sinless Jesus to die.

Hang on across. He came as a suffering servant. He would die in your place. He would die in my place. And you might think, How unfair is that? Why should he die in my place? You might also think, how incredible is that, that forgiveness is made available and how can we be saved? Then how can we accept and receive this forgiveness?

Look back at at verse eight. It says this, For by grace, totally unmarried, gift by grace, you have been saved through faith, and this is not of your own doing. It’s the gift of God, not a result of work so that nobody can boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Fill in the next blank. How can we have this faith, this relationship with Christ by God’s grace, through faith, we respond, by placing our trust in Jesus. The bad news of our sin met with the good news, the grace of God that we might have faith in him. Romans 10, nine says this, If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Now, the word Lord is not something we typically use, uh, in our culture, in in our day, but that’s exactly what the scriptures teach. That if we call Jesus Lord and not just call him, If we live as though Jesus is Lord of our life, we would be saved. The question might be, well, what what does it mean to really have someone be lured of your life?

It’s turning over the control, right? It’s, I’m not driving the car any longer. God is. We’re not looking horizontally on earth for the things that we can gain and we can have in our life. We’re looking ultimately for meaning and purpose and direction vertically from God. We’re not looking to money to bow down to human affection or fame or comfort.

We’re ultimately bowing down in humility before God. Turning over to Jesus as Lord of my life means all of the priorities then are dictated by him. All of my internal motivation now surrenders to Jesus as Lord. All of my time, my plans, even my thoughts, my future. It’s Lord. Lord, what do you want for my.

All of life is lived as worship of Jesus. He’s in control. And I bow, and sometimes we think we just bow like in the posture of our heart. But I mean, if you think of a holy God who’s inviting us into his presence, there are times physically where I’m on my knees like you are holy and I am not God. Bowing and humility to him, that is the bad news, the good news, and the option for you to trust in Christ as your forgiveness.

As we come to baptism this morning, only a, a short bit here, we’ll be looking at some things that are gonna happen behind me and I’m gonna ask you too, that last section there, pull out a pen because I want you to write some things down in this section because as you look, you will see people go down under the water, raised back out again as a symbol or a picture of their death to an old way of life, raised to a new way of life, declaring Jesus’s Lord.

I also want you to listen because we’re primarily not gonna be highlighting the stories of the people that come in this tank. Actually, there are some that will actually say we’re highlighting God’s story this morning. Not specifically first and foremost, my life story. God is writing a story and I happen to be part of that.

Ultimately, it’s about him. It’s not some incredible work they’ve done. They are sharing the incredible God who has poured out his love for them. And then I’m gonna invite you to respond. Baptism time. Sometimes if you’ve been to a church service before, maybe it feels as if it’s appropriate, uh, with a stage and pews design like this for you to just sit and just watch and receive.

Um, but maybe that should be flipped around and there should be some engagement with what is happening here today, because some of you came skeptical. Of church, not really sure what is going on here. Not, uh, all of you have, uh, walked through life without the church. Maybe your people in your life kind of burning you in the name of Christ in a, in a bad way.

Maybe you’re a, a younger person that has grown up in the church or heard about Jesus. Maybe you’ve grown up in this church. Possibly there are some people here right now who are kind of walking just away from the truth of God. Or you’re a parent who’s grieving the son or the daughter who’s walking away from God.

Maybe you’re someone here who’s in the midst of confusion, or some of you are here struggling with your own self worth or mental health. You’re walking through a tragic, broken situation because of the sin that exists in our world and in your own heart. I want you to know that God sees you. God loves you.

And he knows what you’re walking through right now, and you’re gonna hear of all of those circumstances that I just mentioned, talked about this morning specifically. And in general, all of these people have seen God in the midst of their story. So can I ask you with your pen to write down a name of a person up here?

Maybe, maybe a phrase that they said or, or a struggle that you feel like, Wow, I, I have that same similar struggle and I haven’t even asked these people ahead of time. Um, this is a surprise to them, which is what you should always do when you are up here. Make surprises. Uh, approach these people with encouragement this morning.

Potentially approach them with questions about where is God in the midst of my journey? Approach them in joining to worship God. They’re not gonna have all the answers, but what I can tell you is they know a God who does. And finally, um, That’s kind of a dream of mine, that instead on baptism Sunday that we just receive and politely golf clap, um, that there would be like an uproarious cheer, uh, loud.

If you got one of those whistles, bring that out this morning because we are, we are shouting and praising and giving praise to God. It’s not first about these people. It’s the God who we see in our midst this morning. And so, if you can, please don’t be quiet this morning. Um, I’m gonna pray and then I’m gonna invite Pastor Jared and, uh, Julia Lindo to start our baptisms this morning.

Pray with me. Our Father, we, we look to you, we trust you as, uh, a God who knows exactly what we’re walking through right now. Uh, Lord, we, we see you as a God who has broken into our stories. And made a way that we might have a relationship with you through Jesus. God, as we hear of your grace poured out story after story, after story of people this morning, open our eyes.

Turn us from darkness to light. God, that, that even some here today might know you and see you for the first time we worship you, God, and pray these things in your name. Amen. Oh, they’re on. Okay, you guys, can you hear me? Cool. Cool. Hey, Julia. Hi. Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Yes. All right. We’re gonna hear about it

my testimony today. Um, I grew up in church and in a Christian household, so I’ve known all my life, pretty much my need for a savior and my own sin and just, um, that I am completely lost without Christ. And so, at a pretty early age, I was probably about five. I think I first prayed the sinners prayer.

Um, and I believe that Jesus had come to earth and been born, lived a perfect life, died, um, and was risen again. And so through my belief in that I, um, could be saved and have a relationship with God and get to go to heaven, and I’ve had a lot of growth in that sort of knowledge and. Through the years. And so I definitely understand more that it’s not just accepting him as my savior, but also living, um, with him as Lord of my life.

So Christ and living in relationship with him has just made a lot of differences in my life. Um, I recognize now that I don’t need to be perfect and I don’t need to be like everyone else. In fact, um, that’s something I struggled with a lot of not, um, being as good as talking as this one person or being as confident as another, or being as talented as them.

And God really showed me even very recently just that, um, he gave me my own gifts and strengths for, um, that he wants me to use for his kingdom specifically in the place that he wants. And so, Um, my, I now have a purpose in life because of what Christ has done and a hope. And so I get to serve him with the things that he’s given me and, um, that I have a desire to please him and just serve him.

And, um, a verse that’s been really impactful to me recently is Galatians two 20 and it’s Paul speaking and he says, I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me and this life that I now live in the flesh. I live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.

And that is basically the reason that I want to be baptized today. I also wanna proclaim that and just, Acknowledge that my old self in old ways have died and that I want to live a new life that Christ has, um, given me through his grace and just be fully surrendered and submitted to him.

Julia, is it that desire, uh, that you’d like to testify of that relationship this morning through baptism? Yes, it is. It’s my joy to baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and the likeness of his death, and the likeness of

Tyler, have you accepted Jesus Christ of your Lord and Savior? Yes. All right. Let’s hear about it.

Hello, my name is Tyler Stewart. Um, I’m gonna share my testimony. I was born into a Christian family, um, and I always saw the world in through a Christian perspective. I officially gave my life to Jesus when I was five on February 23rd, 2011, three days before my birthday for most of my life, you could say that I believed in Jesus, um, but I didn’t have any, uh, prosing viewpoints to compare him to.

So that was like all I knew. Basically, basically I was sitting on a gold mine. I was oblivious to how blessed I was. Um, I was able to grow, um, being able to grow up and see the world through a Christian perspective. For a long time, I wasn’t self-aware. Uh, I didn’t know why I believed in Jesus, and I had a very basic education when it came to biblical knowledge.

As I got older, I began to question the world around me. I became deistic in my thinking. Um, meaning I separated the world I lived in from God. I, I didn’t think of God as close. I was very lost, and I relied on my own reasoning, um, to decipher from right and wrong. Eventually, my, um, like logic and reason, um, started to become very, it became very irrational and I honestly felt like I was, I honestly felt like I was going insane.

I also became very selfish and started looking for happiness, pleasure, and contentment and everything. Except God, this whole time I was falling into sin. I pray to God, but only out of, um, it was only out of fear of where I’d spend eternity. I’d never read the Bible or worship God in my own time. Um, all the while I had been enrolled in a Christian school and going to youth group as well.

Um, it’s kind of, kind of ironic, but, um, it’s not to throw shade at the school or youth group. It just goes to show that, um, a personal relationship with Jesus. Is dependent on you and Jesus alone. During, during my struggles, uh, I pray to God and like kind of repent. I, I’d ask for forgiveness, but like I wouldn’t do anything to try and change and walk in new life.

Um, I felt terrible during this time. I started taking prescribed antidepressants, um, cuz I got to a point where I felt there was nothing in life worth living for. My parents ended up separating two weeks before my 15th birthday. After they split, I became more lost and I was even possibly on the brink of like, suicidal behavior.

Going back a little before summer. I asked my mother to find me a Christian therapist. I’ve been seeing him for almost three years now and God has used him, um, tremendously in my life. He’d offered me suggestions and help. Um, and ways to improve my relationship with Jesus in my circumstances. But I, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t listen for, I didn’t listen early on.

I was afraid to change. I didn’t think I could. Um, and part of me didn’t want to yet. I’d still ask God for help when I wasn’t using what he’d given me. Um, basically I had a relationship with Jesus, um, but I wasn’t seeking to further it or pursue it or in any way. Um, it wasn’t until like about, like three months ago until I started, um, using the salvation Jesus gave me to better my life and take up my cross and fallen.

I started taking time out of my day to use the daily audio Bible. Um, and I’d start to read Scripture daily. Um, it felt as if I was no longer stuck in a. Of sin that it’s taken years to dig. I felt that Jesus was lifting me out of the same hole in a matter of days. I recently decided to get baptized to publicly declare my faith in Christ and to publicly identify myself as a follower of Jesus.

I just recently learned the meaning of baptism and what it represents, and I am very excited to take this next step in my walk with Christ.

Tyler, is it your desire to, to testify of that relationship with Christ through baptism this morning?

It’s my joy to baptize you in the name of the Father, son, the Holy Spirit and likeness of his dad, likeness of his resurrection.

I think that was gonna happen to Emma. Have you received Jesus Christ as your Lord and see. Yes, let’s hear about it.

Hi, my name is Emma and I wanna be sharing my testimony. Um, so I found myself trying to do a lot of things by myself and like solely by myself. And, um, I wasn’t going down the right path or at least the path that I wanted to be on. And I began getting really frustrated and overwhelmed because I was doing, trying to do everything by myself.

And I slowly started to realize or was told that I couldn’t. Um, and because of that I’ve started to get frustrated and push people that I love away. I was told about young adults by somebody who I really care about. So I went. And the first time that I went, I actually ended up sitting outside of it because I was upset.

Um, and I kind of just wanted to listen. And the first time that I was there, and I ended up meeting this woman, um, who actually is a part of the Stephen Ministry, and she talked to me and she saw that I was upset and she asked me if I was okay. And of course I said I wasn’t. She could tell that I wasn’t.

And we talked, we ended up talking for hours and we ended up being the last two people in this church. And she, she prayed in for me and, and talked to me. And she was actually the one who explained to me that I couldn’t do it all by myself, that I needed to trust and lean on God. And it was a massive, like, realization for me.

And it opened up my entire world as to what like I needed to do. I needed to trust that he knows best. And, um, ever since I started going to church more frequently and being a part of the young adult group, I felt like it, like slowly redirected my life and kind of put me on the path that I wanted to be.

And it made me feel like I was becoming like the best version of myself along with the help of like my friends and my family that were supportive of my choices. And now like whenever I feel upset or angry, it’s kind of become more of a habit to go to God and to Jesus. And, and when I’m upset or frustrated, like I’ll pray whether it’s in my head or I’ll write it down.

But I feel like now over time, I’ve learned to become like fully honest when I talk to God. And I wanted to get baptized because I wanna fully put my faith and my trust in God. And this is kind of like symbolizing my commitment to the relationship that I have with him. And this is the beginning of my new way of life.

Emma, Emma, talking to Mike. Emma, is it your desire to publicly testify to that relationship with Jesus through baptism? Yes. All right. It’s my great joy to baptize you and the name of the father. And the Son and the Holy Spirit and the likeness of his death and the likeness of his resurrection.

Oh, there you are, . This is Ben Parker. Ben, have you accepted Jesus as your Savior? I have. Let’s hear about it.

Hi, my name is Ben Parker. Um, and I’m gonna tell you a little bit about Jesus’s story in my life. Um, so I grew up in a Christian home. Um, , My dad’s a pastor here. My brother’s a pastor here. Um, grown up in this church my entire life. Um, I would say that I accepted Christ at a very young age, probably around seven years old, but it definitely was not a real thing to me.

Um, I, my faith throughout my early years was definitely a product of growing up in a Christian home and it being taught and pushed, um, as I believe it should, but it became more of my parents’ faith than my own. Um, when I was in high school, I had an amazing group of guys around me. Um, our small group at Youth Group led by, uh, Pastor Mike Candy.

Um, it was something that I definitely at the time took for granted. But now looking back, um, as a young adult, being able to see that, how much of. An influence that that had on my life was, um, something that I am glad to look back on. Now as a junior in high school, I had a moment of one of those come to Jesus moments, um, where I really broke down and repented.

Um, it was something that was very real in the moment, but something that I did not follow through with throughout my later co uh, later high school years, um, kind of faded back away. Um, now that being said, graduate high school, college is something that becomes really real. Um, and I decide to go to a college that I would go live at.

Um, decided to get the college experience. Um, did a lot of things when I went to college, um, from, you know, partying, binge drinking, smoking, Um, , lots of sexual sin and, um, different things really faded hard away from the Lord. Told myself, I’ll never, ever, ever go back to being a Christian. I’ll never go back to church.

I’ll never, um, be welcomed back there. Um, I felt a very distant in that time from age, probably 18 till, uh, about 20 around there, um, was a really distant time for me. I remember when I, I remember it was during that time that Mike Candy still somehow in my life at that time, was asked me to, if I wanted to go to passion with a group of people that I went to high school or was in high school youth group with.

And I was very reluctant. Um, I don’t even know why I said yes, I really don’t, but I did. I said yes. I felt like a fool. I felt like a fraud the whole time. until the second night, um, where I just, it wasn’t one of those passionate, insane coming to Jesus moments for me. Um, but it was one of those I felt welcomed again.

I felt welcomed by the Lord again. Um, even though I probably should have felt that from the beginning. But it was the Lord lit a candle I would say. I don’t like to say he lit a flame where it was just like on fire. Oh my gosh, all of a sudden. But he lit a candle and that candle grew and, um, that em grew into something that where I fully dedicated my life back to Jesus.

Um, it was definitely a change. Um, and it was such a beautiful time in my life being able to, being able to look back at that now to see where I am now. Um, obviously mistakes are always made and what the Lord is so good. Um, It’s, it is a crazy thing to look back on. If, if that hadn’t happened or the Lord hadn’t called me back when he did, I don’t think I’d be married now.

I don’t think I’d be, I think I’d be living at home. I think I’d be just all these different things in my life where it is exciting to look and see what he has done in my life. Um, I told myself for so long that I didn’t have a testimony when I was in high school. I was like, And all these people have these cool things they get to say, even though it’s not cool.

It’s like a lot of bad things that would happen. But I always thought, you know, they have all this and this and this. To be able to say and, and to prove to people why they, why they love Jesus, why Jesus loves them. But no matter what, I just wanna encourage everyone that no matter what your story is, the Lord is so much bigger than anything.

Um, every story is, is beautiful. And every time that somebody turns to the Lord, there’s rejoicing in heaven. Um, so yeah, that is, that’s my story. Um, that is, Jesus’s story in my life. Um, and I’m excited to get baptized today to show you all and to, to make a outward expression of what the Lord’s done inside, inside of me.

Um, so thank you.

As you were talking, not to make alliteration here, but the Lord takes fool and makes them followers. I just feel like that’s a, a story, what people need to hear this morning, so I’m, I’m grateful for that. Thank you, man. Uh, Ben, as your desire to be baptized this morning, to testify to this relationship with Christ Sure is otherwise, why would we be standing here right now?

Okay, Ben, it’s my joy to baptize you in the name of the. The son and the Holy Spirit like him is death. Welcome to the Resurrection.

So Ben’s wife, Maya was gonna join me next.

Maya, have you accepted Christ as your savior? Yes. Okay, we’re gonna hear about that now.

Hi, my name is Maya Parker, and today I’m going to be showing my testimony with you all. So I never really had one of those coming to Jesus moments. I would say I grew up in the church. My parents took my, my sister and I to church every Sunday. And you know, I went to youth group, I volunteered in the church.

And then it wasn’t until I was a little bit older, maybe like 11 or so, where my dad decided he didn’t wanna come to church with us anymore. So then it was just my mom who took my sister and I to church primarily. And I would say that looking back, she was definitely the one that laid those, you know, the grounds and foundations for my sister and I to have a relationship with the Lord today.

She was always, you know, giving us encouraging versus and just, um, Always showing us the Lord’s love. So I guess fast forward when I was maybe like 13 or 14, we find out that my mom’s alcoholic. Yeah. So that was definitely something that was hard on the whole family. You know, when you’re that young you don’t really understand, you know, addiction and everything that it is and why your parents choosing this substance over your family or that’s what it feels like.

And then when I was 16 May um, My parents would end up getting a divorce. And also between that time, my mom would be like in and outta rehab, but you know, it didn’t really work. So my parents would get a divorce and when I was 16 and then in December of 2016, my mom would end up passing away unexpectedly, um, due to the alcohol.

Uh, so the addiction kind of overtook her and that was obviously life altering, changing moments for someone who’s 16. My sister was 13 at the time I was in a school when I found out I was in study hall and I got a call to go down to the guidance office. So as I’m walking down in the hallway, um, I just heard.

A voice or like something popped into my head. It was, you know, when everything goes silent around you and you hear the voice of the Lord and it just said, you know, Ma, your mom’s gone. Like, She’s, she’s dead. And I easily, I quickly dismissed it. I had no reason to believe that. Um, one thing I love about the Lord is how he knows each and every one of us so deeply in how we need to be talked to and loved.

And, um, in that moment, he, he knew what I needed to here in order to prepare me for this news. So I, I walk into the guidance office. My sister is waiting there for me. We get escorted back into an office where we’re met with my dad and two police officers. My dad’s crying and he looks up at us and says, Girls, your mom passed away in her apartment last night.

Like, oh, that was crazy. Um, it was definitely, The worst day of my life, . I was mad at God for a long time. I didn’t know I was mad at God. I would say I just kind of, you know, like the person that laid all that found out foundation and that groundwork and my life just is gone like that. So it was definitely life altering at now.

I was trying to, I was in this position where I was like, met with the decision if I was going to continue this relationship with God, you know, without my mom. I, I had to find my faith by myself and that relationship and what it would look like. So, you know, for many years I just, I didn’t go back to church, um, because there was no one to take me, no one to hold me accountable.

So it wasn’t until I had to decide what college I was going to, and I knew that. In my heart, if I did not go to a Christian college, I was just gonna say goodbye to the Lord forever. I, I knew that in my, my heart. So when I went to colleges, I went to tour Geneva College, and as soon as I stepped foot on that campus, it was like peace just reigned over me.

Like I can’t explain it. And I was like, Okay, this is where I’m going. Like, I wasn’t following the Lord at the time, but also he still had such a presence in my life. You know, he didn’t give up on me when I was at Geneva. I was just surrounded by Christians who had a real relationship with the Lord for the first time, and I don’t remember how long.

And it was just shocking and overwhelming. And I was like, I want that. I really want that. So I would say sophomore of. College year is when I really started to dive deep into the Lord and what he had for me and actually understanding what it meant to have a relationship with him and to learn about his love and how much he actually loved me.

Cuz you hear all the time like, Oh, the Lord loves you. But it’s not until you actually, you know, learn about it and grow in your relationship with him too, when you realize, oh my gosh, I’m so loved. And yeah, I graduated college and now I am married and I moved to New Jersey from, you know, Western PA and I, my life totally made 180 8.

You know, I had a lot of hardships and troubles, but the Lord never gave up on me and. He will never give up on you. So thank you for allowing me to share my testimony with you all today. I’m so excited to get baptized and to publicly declare that Lord Jesus is the savior of my life. Thank you,

Maya. Is it your desire to get baptized this morning to share with these people here, uh, testify of the relationship you have with Christ? Yes, it is.

May. It’s my joy to baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, like this of his death, like this of his.

Let’s pray together this morning. Lord, we worship you. You are king of of all things. And this morning we heard your divine artistry and all of these stories weaving together, suffering and hardship, confusion, and even wandering away. You were God, you were good. And I pray this morning for those here and watching online, God, would you open their eyes?

That they might see a God who is chasing after them even this morning, um, in their, in your intention with them being here. We love you Lord, and we’re just grateful we worship you now and pray these things in your name. Amen. Amen. You are dismissed. Thanks for doing this. Okay.