Amy’s baptism and Alpha

It sure was a pack out one Sunday morning in February. Whoever put the chairs out had no option but to ignore the highly important needs of those over six feet in size (me). I couldn’t stretch my legs out but I did get a good view, sat next to Heather, Tom and brother-in-law Gordon who had come down for the service – all the way from Gainsborough! Heather’s parents were also there for the occasion.

There were seven of them getting baptised and the service started with them each saying a bit about why they were doing it. Amy was the second one up and spoke clearly about the car crash, the difficulties that followed and a pulling through to an even deeper love for Jesus.

That in itself was pretty tearful for Heather and me to sit through but then her friend Tegan also spoke and talked about how she had been affected by the difference belonging to God made for us. She told how she consequently became a Christian and the difference this was now making in her life.

After the seven testimonies came the baptisms and Amy was dunked by Jamie her friend from Year Dot and Erin who has looked out for her over the last few years just as she did for Claire and Jen. It was all pretty special but the best was yet to come.

We sang songs afterwards and worshipped Jesus and his presence came on me really powerfully. I couldn’t stop trembling and crying at the sense of his sheer kindness and purity and love. Words from songs seemed to fuel the intensity of the experience and I could barely control the muscles in my face. I haven’t experienced anything like that for a while. It was truly amazing. Once again my face was dripping with tears and once again I didn’t care. I crave meetings like that with him. They sort of blow everything else out of the water.

Later in the afternoon it was time to embrace the wintry blasts of the great outdoors – a veterans football game at Corton. Our mission was simply not to lose as we really only needed a point from the opposition to help secure promotion to the next level up.

We were rubbish. With the wind blowing a gale into our backs, we somehow allowed them to have a one-nil lead by half -time. But then the snow came and covered up the lines, so rather than playing the second half into a gale, we had the pleasure of the game being abandoned and so the score didn’t count. Rescued by the snow!

In the evening I spoke at the first meeting of the latest Alpha arranged by our church. It was at the Costa Coffee shop on the high street and it was freezing. But the place was pretty much full and I spoke about society and the media are pretty totally anti-faith and then about the case for Jesus and a bit about the crash and the difference being a Christian makes.

I hope it was ok. You never know and I tend to trust God to give me the words for such talks and just have a general idea what I’m going to say. I refuse to get flustered about doing talks.

Phil
02-02-2009

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