Baptism: what is it and why do we do it?

Dear Parents,

I’ve recently had the kids ask a lot of questions about what baptism is and why we do it. Due to this massive amount of questioning I decided to do a teaching on baptism.  Due to this teaching your kids may began asking to be baptized! Baptism is a wonderful part of our faith and step in our walk with God.

My general rule of thumb, however, is that I do not baptize kids unless the parents and I are both sure that the child knows what baptism is and that they are doing it for all the right reasons.  Kids being kids they will often want to do things simply because their friends or siblings are doing it. It is for this reason that I hold off on baptizing them, so to make sure they are doing it for their personal walk with God.

I’d like to encourage you to discuss with your children about the topic of baptism.  I’d like to encourage you to sit down and see where they are in their walk with the Lord and teach them about what baptism really means. Some of you may not be completely aware of what baptism is actually about and need help understanding it yourself.  This brings us to the second reason for writing this letter, as I’ve stated several times, it is my job as your Children’s Pastor to come along side you the parent and help with the spiritual upbringing of the kids. Below I have given you a little write up on what baptism is and what it means.

Take your time discussing this with your children over the next week or so. If you feel that your child wants to be baptized or you feel they are ready to be baptized then feel free to contact me.

First you should understand is that baptizing people is actually a commandment given to us by Christ himself.

 

Matt 28:19-20

19 ” Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,  20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

NASU

 

In the book of mark we find that Baptism appears to be part of our salvation process.

 

Mark 16:16
He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved;
NASU

So the question now is why? Why is this part of our walk with God. Part of this dates back to the Jewish tradition of Mikveh, which is a ritual cleansing process. In Jewish ceremonies the people of God would immerse themselves underwater (be baptized) as a way of becoming ceremonially pure or clean. It was also required for a gentile (non-jewish person) to go through the Mikveh to become Jewish. The idea was that they would go into the water as an idolater and when they came out of the water it was as if they were reborn as a Jew.

As Christians our baptism fulfills a very similar role. The concept of being pure before the Lord and being reborn is very much part of our baptism. In the book of Romans Paul writes,

Rom 6:4
Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
NASU

When we go down into the water we are declaring that us as a sinner no longer exists [dead to sin/dead in Christ], much like the as the gentile went down he declared that his days as an Idolater who followed false gods was over. When we come back up it is a declaration that we are reborn with Christ as children of the Kingdom of God, just as the former gentile is now Jewish.

Now generally this is a one-time thing. You do at times see people get re-baptized after a long season of their life, when they have walked away from the Lord and they are now making a statement that they shall not fall back again. Some even do it later in life because they feel that when they did it the first time they did not truly mean it, whether it is because they were just faking their faith or because they honestly did not know what was happening.

The last part is why I am writing this letter. Parents, I encourage you to take some time and sit down walk your kids through the concepts of baptism, to do as our Lord commands in Matthew 28:19-20

19 ” Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,  20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
NASU

Go Deep,

Dallas

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Practice What You Preach

This past Sunday I was given the opportunity to preach in our monthly Renewal Service. For those of you who do not know what that is, once a month instead of having cell groups (small groups) the church comes together for a corporate service. Everyone from kids to adults. Generally Pastor Scott shares but since he is on vacation this week he asked me to do it.

So last night I taught about radically fulfilling your purpose as a Christian. If your interested in hearing it you can download it from our podcast (www.thpshreveport.com) in a few days. One of my points was that we have to get in to the word, because what we put in is what comes out. In one of my sub-points I pointed out that while I was telling people that they need to get rid of their TVs or Xboxes they do need to be careful about what they put into themselves.

Well last night I came home and to kind of relax a bit before I crashed I started to play this video game. Now understand I am a bit of a gamer. I’m not one of those obsessed got to play every moment of the day types but I do enjoy games. I had just gotten my hands on this particular game for my PC so I thought “why not play a level or 2?”

As I was playing it I had reached a level where things were just getting weird and very intense. I found myself beginning to get way to wrapped into it and finally had to just shut it off. Last night I had the strangest dream ever. It was very restless night for me.

When I woke up I thought about what I said last night about being careful with what you put into your heart and mind. Now again, I’m not saying that you need to throw out all your video games or go into your child’s PC/Mac and delete every game on their. But as I reflected on last night I realized that particular game for ME was not something in needed. So I got up, walked over to my computer and I completely removed it from my hard drive.

As ministers, if we are not willing to practice what we preach, if parents are not willing to practice what they preach, then what’s the point? We must lead by example. So there you go folks. I’ve made a step. How about you?

Ready to go DEEP

Ladies and Gents! I am excited to announce the launch

of ….

The days of Firm Foundation have passed and God is now moving our kids into a new realm. He is taking them into the Deep things of him.

With this new chapter we are now starting a new curriculum. The curriculum is from Church on the Move in Tulsa, OK. With much prayer i believe God has given me some direction for the start of the year. As i look around i see today’s generation’s lack of respect and honor for God.  As a result this disrespect seeps into ever aspect of their lives. No respect for parents, teachers, or themselves. With this in mind the set of curriculum from Church on the Move that i’ve chosen is called Submission and Authority.

Through this curriculum my staff and I aim to teach our children who God is, why He is the ultimate authority in our lives, and how that effects the world around them. Please join us in prayer as we take this journey into the Deep.

Go Deep,

Pastor Dallas

Father’s Day

So… i’ve decided to deviate away from the Basic Training to discuss with all of the kids exactly what a father is. Here are my notes.

Let me translate a few things: Exp = Explanation
Ill= Illustration
App= Application
TS= Transition Sentence

Title:  God is a Father to All

Text:  Luke 15:11-32, Malachi 2:10, Psalm 68:5, Deut 10:18, James 1:27

Central Idea of the Sermon: God is our heavenly father and loves us dearly.

Introduction: When I first got saved I had a Youth Pastor named Pastor Keith Grabill, we called him PK. He once told this story about a kid who was really excited about riding his bike. However, his dad had made some boundaries for him. He wasn’t allowed to leave his yard. Well of course that’s no fun, so one day this kid took his bike out on the street and he started to cruising. He enjoyed it so much! He had no idea why his dad wouldn’t let him go ride on the street before. Suddenly around the corner came this big Mack Truck. I guess it didn’t see the kid or something because sure enough as it came around it smacked the kid’s back tire and the kid went flying through the air! Somewhere between lift off and the crash landing was when the kid realized why his dad gave him boundaries. His dad knew that there would be a time when it would be safe for his son to go riding on the street, and he knew that now was not the time. His father gave him the boundaries out of love. Like this boy’s father, God gives us boundaries.

TS: This is partly why we can consider God to be our Daddy!

  1. We all have the same daddy and you can call him God! (Malachi 2:10)

Exp: Several times the bible describes God as a Father.  Malachi says that we all have one father. Romans 8:15 says that when we are born again we are truly considered to be His Children. In fact it uses the word “Abba” which is a loving way of saying father. Kind of like saying Daddy!

App: You are a child of God. He loves you the way a Father should.

TS: Like a good father he guards our hearts from things we are not ready for.

2.Don’t be in a rush to receive what you’re not ready for! (Luke 15:11-32)

Exp: In ancient times it was customary for the possessions of a man to be passed down to his children. This could happen one of two ways. One the father dies and the sons split the inheritance, (two thirds to the oldest, one third to the youngest) or a father may at will give his son the inheritance. The son was impatient and rebellious and went to his father and demanded for his father to give over the inheritance before the father really saw fit. As a result the son went out and blew all of his money and ended up in a pig pin.

Ill: Remember the story about the kid riding his bike? See his father knew it wasn’t time for him to go out alone but he did it anyways! As a result he got hurt.

App:  God give us boundaries, because like every good father. He doesn’t want to see us get hurt.

TS: Part of God’s plan to watch over was to give us fathers here to help lead us, guide us, teach us, love us.

3.Dad’s are meant to show you God. (Ephesians 6:4)

Exp: God gives a mandate to fathers to train up their children. To teach them about who God is.

TS:  But what about those who don’t have a father around?

4. God gives us spiritual Fathers. (James 1:27)

Exp: The Bible says that God is the father to the fatherless. Because he does love us all so much, he puts “spiritual fathers” in our lives. These are en to come along side to help teach and train you in the ways of the Lord. To help guard my heart from the things of the wicked and help input the things of God.

Ill: When I was young I did not have a father who was active in my life. From age 10 to age 20 I didn’t even see him. However, God had a plan for me. He looked down and saw me and said “I am going to put someone in your life to be a father.” So what did he do? He put Pastor Matt and Doug in my life to help influence me.

App: For those of you who don’t have a father in your life, Remember God is your father. Look around and you will find that he’s put different men in your lives to help guard your heart and teach you just who God really is.