Taking the Plunge…

Lawrence Baptism (640x427)

Have you taken the plunge with simply the bungee rope saving you from certain death as you dropped from the launch platform? Bungee jumping is a popular adventure activity and while I haven’t taken the plunge I can imagine the experience is exhilarating.

The whole experience of being baptised is also exhilarating and while initially there may be anxiety, even fear if you are afraid of water, baptism is an important step in the faith journey.

In the sacrament of baptism we identify ourselves with the death and resurrection of our Saviour and God performs a miracle.

The Apostle Paul in Romans 6;3-5 describes it this way, “…don’t you know that all of us who were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.”

And Romans 6:11, “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

In Acts 8 we find the story of the Ethiopian official, who upon being told the good news about Jesus from Phillip, when he came across some water said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptised?”

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The resurrection…

Cemetry (640x362)

The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:18 states, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who are being saved it is the power of God.”

By his death Jesus paid the price for our sin. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). However, the Christian message doesn’t end at the cross. There is the resurrection miracle! God not only demonstrated His mighty power in raising Christ from the dead He placed His stamp of approval on the saving work of Christ on the cross. The resurrection confirms the hope we have in Christ.

Returning to the disciples on the first Easter morning Mary Magdalene announced, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” (John 20:2)

“So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separated from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.” (John 20:3-8)

 Peter’s testimony to the resurrection of Jesus is remarkable from one who denied his Lord before the crucifixion.

 Peter declared, “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs,… This man was handed over…and you,…put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keeps its hold on him. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it.”

Have you seen to the power of the cross and the resurrection miracle at work in the lives of people around you? Over recent months I have been privileged to observe the mighty power of God, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, bring new life to AA, OF, ZM, LJ, CA, RV, SV, GA and LL. I also have the privilege of observing the love of God seeking out others, CS, JB, KP, AM, MM, BS, and GM, drawing them to himself, that they to may discover the new life that comes through receiving the living Christ as Saviour.

The Cross…

Lake Eyre (800x532)

The message of the cross is foundational to our Christian experience.

The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:18 states, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who are being saved it is the power of God.”

Rather than the opposite of foolishness, which is wisdom, Paul chooses the term, power of God. The Gospel or Good News is more than good advice, telling us what we need to do, nor is it simply information about God’s power, it is God’s life-giving power!

In Romans 1:16 Paul declares, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.”

The gospel is more than head-knowledge; it is the amazing power of God that radically transforms people’s lives.

A wonderful illustration of the miraculous transforming work of the gospel is the Lake Eyre Basin, which is one of the largest drainage systems on a global scale. The Basin covering an arid and semi-arid part of the Australian continent spans four states and territories. When the rains arrive the river beds and surrounding countryside are remarkable transformed by the life-giving water. Vegetation springs to life and wildlife multiplies. The scale of the transformation is exemplified by the filling of the usually dry Lake Eyre, the fifth largest terminal lake in the world.

All this reminds me of Geoff Bullock’s song, The Great Southland,

This is our nation, this is our land
This is our future, this is our hope
A land of reaping, a land of harvest
This is our land, this is our home

This is the great southland of the Holy Spirit
A land of red dust plains and summer rains
To this sun-burnt land we will see a flood
And to this great southland His Spirit comes

This is our nation, this is our land
This land of plenty, this land of hope
The richest harvest is in her peoples
We see revival, his Spirit comes

This is our nation, this is our land
This lucky country of dreams gone dry
And to these peoples, we see a harvest
And to this land, revival comes

The message of the cross is the life-giving power of God that can dramatically transform a dry and thirsty soul and transform a nation.