My favorite Christmas song has always been Joy to the World. The rest of the first verse gives the reason for joy: "The Lord has Come".
When I was twelve, He came to me, though I'm not sure I came to Him. In a little Baptist Church in Louisville, I repeated a confession of faith and was baptized. I wasn’t really sure what I was doing; I just knew we were expected to be baptized by age twelve. I didn’t feel any differently. In fact, within a couple of years I had dropped out of church entirely.
After a long walk away from God, my friend, Beverly, reached out and invited me to her church. She knew I was miserable and wanted me to find Jesus. I started to get to know Him there. I also experienced unconditional love for the first time in my life. People didn’t try to change me; they just loved me, accepted me, affirmed me and cared. I eventually joined the youth choir and met a girl named Linda (who eventually became my wife).
About four years later, in college, I was baptized again. I was talking to my roommate late one afternoon and said, "You know, Doug, I was baptized when I was twelve, but I didn't know then what I know now."
"What do you know now?" he asked.
I said, "I know that I want to follow Jesus the rest of my life." Then, I added, "I think I'd like to be baptized again...would you do it?" He was pretty nervous about the whole thing.
He said, "Where would we do it?"
I said, "Let's drive over to Morehead and you can baptize me in Cave Run Lake."
I called my girlfriend and asked if she would come. She said, "Absolutely." And so Doug, Linda and I jumped in the car and drove 30 miles to Cave Run Lake. The sun was starting to set on a clear, April evening. We waded out into the water, waist deep, just the three of us. I noticed the sun's reflection on the water. It made me happy.
Doug said, "Why don't you confess your faith in Jesus?"
I said, "I believe, with all my heart, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God."
This time, I felt something being released inside me. It was joy. Doug plunged me beneath the water. I remember that it was muddy, yet I felt clean. For the first time in my life, I was clean—on the inside—where it matters.
That was 39 years ago. It seems like yesterday. Joy is like that. It lasts. It lasts because its source never runs dry, and its source—is Jesus. I met Him in the water that evening and my life has never been the same.
Have you met Him? Do you need more joy in your life? Why not surrender your life to Jesus and make a life-changing decision to be baptized? Call me
. I’d be honored to help. What are you waiting for?