The first Mission Weekend of 2017 is upon us! During all worship gatherings the weekend of January 28 & 29 we’ll hear stories about God transforming lives and we’ll see individuals publicly proclaim their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior through baptism.
Be sure to join us as we celebrate God’s mission of drawing men and women to Himself this weekend! Also, in anticipation of such a special weekend here at Grace, we’ll share stories on our blog from those who are coming to the water to get #dunked.
Let’s start this week off with Brian Pugh’s story below:
I was baptized as an infant by my parents and was raised in the Methodist Church. We attended church most every Sunday, I attend Vacation Bible School in the summers, we prayed before meals at dinner time, and celebrated Christmas and Easter. I would say in every way that I was raised in a loving environment by parents who taught me right from wrong.
I can never remember not believing in Jesus.
Although we were involved in our church community, it was in my mind as a “this is something I did on Sundays” chore. I was very much interested in other things (mostly sports) and “tolerated” Sundays because that’s what we did. I rarely thought much about Jesus outside of Sunday.
In high school, I began to rebel against my parents and “going to church.” This began a period in my life that I was completely focused on me. That continued into my college years where “having fun” did not include anything about Jesus other than attending church with my parents when I went home on breaks.
My lifestyle choices and my lack of focus on Jesus left me feeling empty. In late 1992 I was living with my parents after college, no job and just feeling disappointed about the direction that my life was going in. I remember one evening sitting in my parents’ house alone crying out to Jesus that I can’t live like this anymore. It wasn’t until years later that I understood Jesus answered my prayer that day and began the process of changing me.
I wish I could say that my transformation was immediate, but it was a starting point. Within a few months, I had moved to Howard County to take a job and had met my future wife.
It wasn’t until late into our first year of marriage that Carver and I were invited to Grace Community Church for Easter in 1997. Although I was a believer in Jesus, I certainly had not been following him up to that point in my life. During that first year at Grace, Carver accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior and “dove into the deep end” right away!!!
My transformation from believer to follower took on a different pathway. It was through the teachings from Pastor Mark in our early years that laid out the Gospel in a way that was completely relevant for my life. It was the relationships we developed in our small groups, the serving opportunities, seeing Jesus work in our marriage. Overall, as I began to trust and follow HIM, I saw how He poured out His blessing into my life.
Over the years, I resisted the invitations to be baptized because I had “already been” baptized. Even when I fully understood that it is a choice only I can make (not my parents), I still resisted. My wife would often “encourage” me during the invitations over the years. I continued to resist.
Jesus would eventually use the men in my Bible Study Small Group to convict me of my disobedient attitude towards being baptized. So, on Sunday I will be baptized and declare in front of the church that Jesus my Lord and Savior through no good deeds of my own, but through His grace by what He did for me on the Cross.
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!