God stories: I Have Decided to Follow Jesus
Aug 22, 2013
One of the greatest joys we have at Abundant Life Christian Fellowship is watching God at work in the lives of others. We love to see what happens when God remakes people, transforming them into new creations. It's these stories of transformation that we call "God stories," and we count it a great privilege when God allows us to play a role in them.
As a group of believers, we at ALCF are equally excited to see the way that God uses us as a group. We're blessed when God works in us and through us to serve and bless others.
I have decided to follow Jesus…
They came from all kinds of backgrounds, no two stories alike. But they had this one thing in common: in love, Jesus had called them into fellowship, and in faith, they had decided to follow Jesus.
And that’s what baptism is: the public acknowledgement of our decision to follow Jesus for all the rest of our days. There’s a Biblical basis and a church history of this practice that’s full of significance and deeply symbolic, but the decision to be baptized can be most simply understood as the announcement of a decision to follow Christ.
And so on Sunday, August 11, nine believers made a public commitment to dedicate their lives to Jesus: to go wherever he leads, to love whomever he loves, to serve however he asks, to trust and obey. It was no small commitment, but in faith, gratitude, and love, these new believers stood before over one hundred family members, friends, and fellow followers of Jesus to declare: “I have decided to follow Jesus.”
The world behind me, the cross before me…
They had faced difficulty, made big mistakes, and wandered far from God. Many of their stories are full of regret and sorrow, of painful consequences and broken relationships, of anger and hatred. Their pasts were marked by the world—by a host of decisions, actions, and habits that were in rebellion and opposition to God.
But baptism was the mark of a new beginning for these followers. They had decided to follow Jesus, to no longer walk the paths of rebellion, sin, and death. They had decided to turn and walk toward Christ, declaring, “the world behind me, the cross before me…”
No turning back, no turning back…
What lies ahead for these new believers? We can’t even begin to guess. We don’t know where following Jesus will take these nine men and women, but we know that the call is for a lifetime, and that nothing will be the same from this point on.
As their brothers and sisters in Christ, we look forward to taking this faith journey with them. We remember our own commitments to follow Jesus, and together with those who were baptized, we promise: “no turning back, no turning back!”