Two Sundays ago was “Baptism Sunday” here at GCR. Six beautiful people confessed Christ Jesus as Lord and were buried with him in the waters of baptism and raised to walk in newness of eternal life with God and with his Church. It was a glorious day. It was a testimony to our Savior and a glory to our God. Six baptisms.

And the preacher didn’t preside over any of them.

Six different people baptized these six new Christians. What was taking place was described to the church in six different ways. Six different things were said as the converts went under and came back up. Most of these people hadn’t baptized anyone before, so there was minor floundering and forgotten phrases and awkward hand-to-nose coordination.

And it was beautiful.

You know, it wasn’t that long ago–maybe just 20-25 years ago–that the preacher would have handled all six of those baptisms. The preacher did almost all the baptisms all the time; it was that way for decades, even centuries. And, not surprisingly, the baptisms were all very much the same. The same preacher said the same correct words and confidently used the same motions and expertly put the person under and brought the person back up in the same way. Every time. And I wonder if that didn’t help perpetuate the ideas among us that baptism is foremost something we do. A decision we make, a command we obey, an act of faith or a good work that we initiate and execute with precision. It’s a little too tidy, it’s a little too controlled. We’re in charge of baptisms and the preacher does it right. He’s the minister, he’s the “authority,” he’s the one who does it right.

No. God is the One who acts at baptism. This is God’s work, not yours. Not ours. God is the one doing the calling and the saving, the forgiving and the restoring. We don’t do anything in baptism, we don’t achieve or accomplish anything. We receive everything! It’s got nothing to do with my goodness or your correctness or the right words being said by the right person or the right amount of water being used or how much or how little I know about what’s going on. This is God meeting you in the water and making you an eternal child of his forever. Anything that adds to or takes away from that is legalism and denies the very Gospel of Jesus.

And I think our baptisms today communicate all that a little better than they used to.

It’s a teenager and his youth minister, it’s a couple of co-workers, it’s a child and her two parents demonstrating their faith by jumping into the water together and trusting that God is going to save. Giving themselves to the Lord, fumbling through the words, getting each other too wet or not wet enough, almost drowning each other, forgetting what to say–believing that God is the one in charge.

Just thinking out loud here. This seems like a really healthy development.


So, the Cowboys have their running back for the upcoming season. Ezekiel Elliott. For real. In Elliott’s last year with Dallas, he ran for 3.8 yards per carry, the worst of his career at that point. Last season with New England, he ran for 3.5 yards per carry. Jerry Wayne told us last week that he saw something in the last part of last season that gave him confidence Elliott could still be an effective runner. Well, in his last six games with the Patriots, his average per carry was 2.9 yards. This is what it looks like for Jerry to be “all in.”

It’s more like, “The window is closed, again, and I’m not spending any more money on this mess. Good luck to Dak and Lamb, go do the best you can. Mike McCarthy, go ahead and line up some interviews because when this season is over I’m firing you and bringing in Belichick.”