They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. – Acts 16:31-33
Posting from me is going to be spotty at best for the next couple of days, as I’m deep in the North Carolina woods helping lead a retreat for Presbyterian pastors. More about that later in the week.
For now – taking some time this afternoon to prepare for my next teaching session – I’d like to reflect on what turned out to be another extremely positive Sunday. Rebekah and I are privileged to be part of a life-charged faith community, deeply alive, and it’s obvious God is up to something beautiful, powerful, and loaded with promise.
It doesn’t matter who is being baptized – a baby, an adult, a teen, or a child – the occasion always serves as an unforgettable witness to the incredible reach of God’s mercy, grace, and love.
This time, both children were old enough to completely understand the deep implications of the covenant we make with God – as families and as a congregation – when we bring children for baptism. It’s not a religious ritual (check-mark, baptism done…), but a covenant sign, a testimony that this family is committed to live as faithful followers of Jesus.
We don’t have private baptisms in the Presbyterian Church because this is a covenant we make together. Being disciples of Jesus necessarily means the encouragement – and accountability – of a community; and it’s exciting to see a family stand in front of the church and make that kind of commitment.
Then, and this was a special treat, our friends Mark and Margi Prater worshiped with us at WFPC then came home for lunch. Mark worked with Rebekah at First Pres Brandon for many years (as part of one of the best ministry teams in history!). It was wonderful to see them again and to catch up.
I often ask people in my Sunday morning class to share “God sightings” from the previous week. When they can’t come up with anything I want to say, “Come on, people! Every day, every hour; there’s always some thing God is up to that’s an amazing gift!”
Another Sunday, another series of stories to tell. Blessings abound – DEREK
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.