We have the joy of celebrating God’s mission of transforming lives as we’ll witness 32 individuals proclaiming their faith in Jesus through baptism this weekend. We also have the privilege of sharing their stories with you. Check out this one from Vijay:
My name is Vijay Mathura. I am married to my wonderful wife Ericka, and we have a little dog named Kimi.
From my late teens to my early thirties I thought that happiness and fulfillment came from indulging in worldly pleasures, such as drinking, partying, and objectifying women. I found in the end that these things did not satisfy, so I looked to philosophy, atheism, agnosticism, psychology, Buddhism, meditation, and living a healthy life (eating right, vitamins, etc.) to bring peace, joy, and satisfaction to my life. Each one of those ventures (not including atheism and agnosticism) had some benefit, but I still was not satisfied.
I knew a little about Christianity at that time, but much of information that I knew about Christianity was false. From my limited information I rejected the claims of Christ and disliked believers because I thought they were self-righteous and arrogant.
Then one night I was flipping through TV channels and I came upon a pastor talking about verses in the Bible and how they relate to our lives today. I was shocked; I had no idea that the Bible had practical advice about living life. I continued to watch this pastor, and I started to attend a church across the street from me. It was strange to me at the time, because every time I went to church my throat would get tight, and my eyes would water as I held back tears.
One night while watching the pastor on TV I asked Jesus Christ to be my Savior. At that time I really didn’t understand the good news, but I knew I wanted what Christ offered to me, which was love, acceptance, and forgiveness.
For a while I felt like everything was right, but I kept falling into one particular sin, which most men struggle with at some time in their lives. I started to think that maybe I was not saved, and maybe Christ rejected me, because I could not break free from this one sinful habit. A tremendous amount of doubt crept into my thoughts, and my faith was small to nonexistent.
Then I learned about grace and how Jesus has taken my sins at the cross. I learned that I am righteous not because I always do the right thing, but because Christ died for me on the cross. Understanding this good news and being in a Men of Grace small group is helping me break my sinful habit and helping me to feel loved and accepted. I realize now it’s not about me and what I can do to earn my way to God the Father, it is about Christ and what He did on the cross.
I have since found that Christianity stands up to critical scrutiny. I studied scientists’ theories of creation and evolution and other major religions, and I have found they do not stand up to scrutiny. These studies have shown me that my faith is based on solid facts, which is important to me.
So that is why I am here today. I want to publicly declare that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior.
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!