A little over a year ago when the vision of Trailside Church was beginning to be revealed, the initial team dreamt about this day.
"Man, when we pull the first person out of the waters, I'm going to lose it."
"This thing is going to be tough, but every ounce of work will be worth it that day."
"It is going to be so cool to see God move people from death to life."
And yesterday, IT HAPPENED. We have been praying for a full year now that God would begin to move in our city and would begin moving people's hearts away from their own sin and hurt and toward the Gospel. After all, that's what this is all about right?
Jesus is very clear with His followers after the resurrection as to what they should do in order to fulfill the calling He has given them:
"Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20)
So we have 3 commands given and one promise.
Three commands: Go make disciples (more on that later on in the life of the blog), Baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (more on that now), and observed what I (Jesus) have commanded you.
One promise: I will be with you always, until the end of the age.
The three men we baptized yesterday had already made the incredible decision to follow Jesus and to begin discipleship. This is the mission of Trailside Church, and always will be: to make disciples. Disciples serve two purposes: 1. To first be made a disciple of Jesus by giving your heart, life, and identity over to be made all new in Him by following His Word; 2. By seeking to grow more like Jesus and help lead others to become disciples that they may too may be known by Jesus.
Once this moment of salvation came, the second became necessary: be baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This was the great joy for our church yesterday to experience: That Jesus had brought 3 men into the fold of the family of God. That they had received the great hope that there was nothing this world could hold for them greater than that of which Jesus had promised them, and that their hope was not in the things of this world that juke our hearts into false hope; rather it was now in the eternal gift given to them that no matter what may try to overtake them in this world there was nothing that could because as Jesus Himself said: "In this world you will have tribulation, but take heart, for I have overcome the world."
Because of this, we celebrated. You can see the joy on my own face in this picture (unfortunately I do not have a picture of those who were baptized, but if one shows up Ill be sure to add it here) because we have begun to see Jesus accomplish what we believe He has called us to in this city, and WE. ARE. EXCITED. I am unsure if you understand what I am trying to convey: we are not happy in the sense that we ordered a great dessert or had some delicious tacos, won the lottery or made a big sale. We are excited in the sense that 3 men were drawn into the love of God, and that love is so deep, so strong, and so eternal that there is now nothing that can separate them from this great hope.
Lastly is the next step: Observe all that I have commanded you. This, I believe, is the toughest part. It is not a decision of desire or intention; to follow all that Jesus commands us is impossible. If you are looking for a perfect Christian that can follow everything Jesus says, let me know when you find them. What Jesus asks of us is this: when you are found by me, and follow me, and are baptized in my name, seek to follow as close as you can to the dust on my feet.
I pray that is where myself and these 3 gentlemen will be found. I pray that they will be found at the feet of Jesus, following Him as closely as possible as they cling to the word of love and grace He has given them. I pray that I'll be found there too, and that you'll consider joining us.
After all, the Gospel of Matthew ends with a promise as well:
He will be with us always, until the end of this age.
And here is the best news: if He has promised to be with you, there is nothing that can get in the way.
We celebrated our first of what I hope is thousands of baptisms at Trailside Church. If you have supported this vision that God gave us, I want to thank you. If you have considered supporting, I want to encourage you. If you are planning on supporting this vision, I want to thank you.
JT, Nathan, and Aidan are proof that your coming alongside the vision of Trailside Church is already paying off immense dividends, and for that I am eternally encouraged and thankful.