Having grown up indoctrinated into a very legalistic church, where
children are culturally baptized at the age of 8, I was never actually
given the choice to accept Jesus Christ as my Savior. Being pressured to
attend church in my youth, I grew up largely apathetic–but still very
intrigued by religion. But as my years rolled on, my experiences with
religion and spirituality broadened. As a result, I left my faith in my
early adult years–recognizing that I had a journey to pursue. I embarked
on a truth journey studying Buddhism, Catholicism, Judaism, and the
I got married to my wonderful wife in my mid
20's and we began searching for a church that would unify our family.
Having grown up in the Mormon tradition, and my wife as a Catholic, you
can imagine the conversations that ensued. After we had our first child,
we could feel God putting the urgency more intently on our hearts. A
funny thing happens when one becomes a parent, you begin to see the
world through the eyes of your children. Your ears open up to the words
they are hearing and how/what they are being taught. We went through
several years of going back and forth to her tradition and then mine.
earlier used the adjective, "wonderful" to describe my wife. That's
because she is exactly that. As we went through years of searching for
the right church, she always supported me, and I her. At one point, we
thought perhaps we found our church family, but the Lord had a different
Work opportunities took my family and I to several states
and communities. In retrospect, we see the Lord had a hand in all of
those moves. We thought we were chasing a job, when in fact God was
simply drawing us closer to His word.
Through all of our
searching, God continued to seek us. He put friends and experiences
before my wife and I, as a couple, that would reform our understanding
of Christ and His gift of grace. Through these experiences, God would
teach us about true worship and how praising Him shapes our hearts
through the gratitude of His mercy. Through the Holy Spirit, we
understood the unparalleled joy that comes with knowing and accepting
Jesus–and we wanted that for our entire family!
and action, we found Hazel Dell Christian Church–which embodied all of
these qualities we desired. Shortly after becoming members of HDCC, we
joined a small group where I learned further about the power of prayer.
As our first "Baptism Sunday" approached, I asked my small group to pray
for me to know if the Lord would like me to get baptized. I had
discussed it with my wife previously and really wanted some direction.
Being a man in his late thirties, who was already a full participant in
my church community, I felt awkward and possibly a little embarrassed at
the thought of getting baptized. After-all, hadn't I already been
baptized as a child? Looking for further guidance, I also approached my
pastor, Mark Wright, and explained my story. He was all ears as he listened and then effortlessly and thoughtfully explained that the decision was between myself and the Lord.
Going into "Baptism Sunday", I was still not 100% sure if I was going to get baptized that day. But as they invited anyone whose heart was compelling them to come up and accept Jesus Christ and to follow Him, I knew. Just the plain and
simple realization that this was my own choice to make, hit me so hard.
It was finally up to me, and me alone, to accept Jesus Christ as my
Savior and to follow Him. I had my answer.
After I emerged from the baptismal font on stage, our pastor, Mark, asked me, "Are you all in?"
"Yes" I replied. "I'm all in."