I am awesome (or so I thought)
On Sunday I had the immense privilege of doing my first baptism. It will certainly be memorable, for a number of reasons. One is on Sunday morning at 8:30 (our service is at 10:15) I found out you’re supposed to turn on the water to fill the baptismal the day before because it takes 4 to 5 hours to fill. Clearly we didn’t have 4 or 5 hours, so the only option was to fill it with cold water (the cold comes out much faster). Even at that it was full about ten minutes before the service began. That water was so cold that after about 30 seconds standing in it my legs felt hot. I got the feeling back in them in time to preach the sermon.
On a much more important note, I will remember that baptism because of Julie, the woman I baptized. She and her husband and son came to Mountair about two months ago. One Sunday after the service she and her husband came to tell me she wanted to be baptized. Her story is one of those you read about in books (or on blogs). She grew up in a Buddhist home where the Bible was forbidden. Over the course of her life she tried out different religions and spent many of her years deep into witchcraft. God has been calling her through dreams since she was 9, but only now has she responded.
Her story made me acutely aware of something I know but forget too easily–the Holy Spirit is powerfully at work drawing people to Jesus. He may choose to use something I do or allow me to forge a friendship with someone that will help them explore following Jesus, but I am not the one who saves anyone. It’s too easy to think if I preach a freakin’ awesome sermon, love somebody just enough, or have a series of engaging conversations about the philosophical underpinnings of Christianity someone will fall to their knees eager to find life in Christ.
That’s just not the deal. The Holy Spirit works through us in all those ways and more, but apart from his power it doesn’t get us too far. I can be confident in the ways God has gifted me, but things don’t happen (at least not the really great things) because I’m awesome, it’s because he is.