We are so delighted to share the stories of individuals getting baptized, as they demonstrate the love and transformation God offers to us all, and it’s great to see how their testimonies can impact others.
During the last Mission Weekend, Tim Calhoun heard God tell him that it’s his turn. Check out his story below and watch him get #dunked on April 30:
I’ve known Christ from an early age, but I wasn’t always a follower. From my childhood through my early 30’s, I called upon Jesus when I needed something – you know like, “Jesus, if you help me get out of this situation, I promise I will turn away and follow you.” This probably happened a few too many times and showed my true sinful, selfish nature. I confessed often and prayed sporadically. When life was good I forgot who God was as if I didn’t need him. He was my life preserver, only pulled out in emergencies.
My turning point was when my second marriage ended when my then-wife walked out on me December 13, 2003. We suffered the loss of a child at 16 weeks in utero, and there were multiple infidelity issues. That night I got so mad at God – I yelled at him, I cursed him, I was completely broken and humiliated with the failure of now two marriages. I told God that if he wanted me to be married and wanted me to have children then I needed a woman who was a true Christian, a woman who wouldn’t give up, a woman who loved herself on the inside more than the outside and a woman who loved children.
On June 26, 2004 God introduced me to my wife, Jill, at a Happy Hour in Universal Studios Florida. At the time I was living in Virginia, and Jill just recently moved to Maryland, and we were both there for a conference. She introduced herself to me as, “Hi, I’m Jill and I am a Christian and I have three sons.” I was taken aback as I have never had anyone just put it all out there at once.
All I can say is God heard me that night I yelled at Him. He not only heard me but he took grace and mercy on me and began laying out his plan for me. God also provided me with a daughter who is the love of my life and showed me that if I can love her no matter what, how much more does he love me, as he created me.
God also pointed me to attend Liberty University Online for my Masters and provided a study abroad to Athens, Greece. There I sat on the Bema at Ancient Corinth where Paul was brought before the tribunal. I had always struggled with judgment, afraid to be myself and always trying to be whatever everyone wants me to be as well as feeling judged constantly. I prayed to God sitting there on top of the Bema, “Lord, I want to break free from judgment,” and felt in prayer that God said only his opinion and judgment matters. And since I put my trust in Jesus Christ and his work on the cross, God in his fullness of grace, sees me as his child, holy and righteous in his eyes. While I still sin, I can repent and know that I am completely forgiven. That day in Athens changed my life and is the reason why I don’t care about others’ opinions regarding who I am. I am a follower of Christ and my identity is in him.
My life with Christ has been a great journey. I love my church – Jill and I have been coming to Grace since Rumsey, and I have been actively serving in the children’s ministry, which I love. God has also blessed me with the courage to coach/mentor high school boys in Elevate/Upward Basketball for the last 7 years, sharing my struggles, learning theirs and praying together. (I still think we should’ve put a gym where the atrium is, but I am blown away by the love, sharing, prayer and awesomeness it brings. Maybe we could put the gym somewhere between the main building and the Warehouse?)
A few years ago, I was sitting in the back of the church during one of Mark’s sermon and an older woman was sitting in front of me shaking. I felt this urge, this nudge, this feeling that God wanted me to put my hand on her, but my faith was not strong enough and I did not.
That stayed with me for a very long time, that the one time to be God’s warrior I was afraid. After coming to grips that it was God talking to me, I really felt as I let God down, that a failed to let him use me. I made a promise to God that day and said if he ever nudges me again I will not turn away, I will not let him down.
During the last round of baptisms I felt God tell me it’s time for you to tell your story and be baptized. So here I am – a follower of Christ sharing that God is always ready, he is always listening and he is always waiting. He is waiting for each of us to say, “God, I need you, I want you and I am ready to follow. Forgive me and make me new.”
Time is short and we don’t know when God will call us home. Prepare your future and start the conversation with God about accepting Christ. All you have to do is ask.
Baptism at Grace
During all worship gatherings on Baptism Weekends, we celebrate the very reason we exist as a church: Christ’s mission to make disciples, baptizing and teaching in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28: 19-20). We share testimonies of how Jesus changes lives now and for eternity. And the best part… we baptize with a joy that’s out of this world!