As a celebration of the transformation Jesus made in Jack’s life, Jack is getting baptized this weekend! Check out his story below:
My name is Jack Nocito and I have an all loving and all powerful creator. I am in my mid-twenties and I am blessed to be married to my beautiful high school sweetheart, Leanne. We recently moved to Maryland from Denver for an amazing job opportunity working on Health Policies, a decision in which we believe God provided and answered our prayers. I am an energetic and optimistic individual who is a friend to all.
My life before Christ can sadly be compared to the common jock character you find on cheesy high school soap operas you watch on TV. I was the social athlete who put his ego, friends, and hobbies before anything else. I set aside my faith (and education for that matter) to place my identity in false idols. I depended on my athleticism and extracurricular activities to carry me through college. After a very sudden and nasty knee injury, my sports career was over for the season. The injury resulted in losing my scholarship leads. With the loss of my scholarship leads, I also lost my chance of paying for college and even getting admitted with my poor GPA.
I was at a loss. I had no idea what was to become of my future. It was at that moment I realized that all the false idols that I sought after to identify myself meant nothing and gave me no purpose. I realized I was going nowhere real fast. I was without meaning and without purpose. I carried a weight of fear and stress with me at all times. I signed up to join the military upon graduating high school to straighten my future out.
The turning point was when I confided my worries and concerns with my high school girlfriend, Leanne (whom I would marry later on). She came from a loving and caring family who spent their life working on evangelism. I would attend church services with her family and have discussions about my faith. I grew up as a “Chreaster” (Christmas and Easter) Christian who had a longing for the Lord but never felt I was able to connect.
During a heartfelt talk with my future mother in-law, she taught me what it meant to have a personal relationship with God. She explained that God would take my worries and stress away but I would need to accept him into my life as my Lord and Savior. A couple weeks later while attending Basic Training for the Air force, I remember lying in bed praying, opening up my arms and asking God, my one true Savior, into my life.
I was a brand new person after that decision. I felt like I had a new sense of purpose and meaning. I was weightless and felt secure with my future. I no longer sought out my identity in my friends or hobbies. I sought my identity in the Lord. I prayed on every decision or idea I had. I started to pray more of praise and less of wants. With a Christ-centered heart, I started praying with God, not at God.
I accomplished Basic Training and worked full-time while earning my degree. I married my high school sweetheart, and my life felt complete. I kept God at the center of all my decisions. I feel as though God is working with me side by side in making these decisions in my life. God has placed me in a great small group in which I have been able to continue to grow spiritually. Accepting God in to my life has given me a new start.
I am getting baptized today to personally accept the Lord in to my life as my one true Savior. I was baptized once before as a baby, based off a decision my parents made for me. I am now returning with my own relationship with God to be baptized as a choice I am making for myself. In the past, I never thought of getting baptized because I felt as though I was impure and “not ready” to be baptized. After watching the last baptism and hearing the testimony of someone who discussed their issue of not wanting people to think that they are “just now being baptized,” I realized that was me too. I turned to my wife and said, “That’s it, I am way overdue. I am getting baptized.” I called my side-by-side buddy, Dave Chow and talked about our common interest. Now today, we stand here together, ready to make that decision and get #dunked.
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!