Yesterday was a day of celebration. For the last 7 weeks, our church has been going through a boot camp. Our goal was not to become the most physically fit church in Southern California (although I'd be all for that). The goal was to become more spiritually fit as a church unit.
The main campus, in Porter Ranch, has been working on a Miracle in the Making. Their miracle is to raise money in order to build a new sanctuary. After much prayer, the leaders of our campus realized that the best thing for the Woodland Hills campus would not be a new building, but to become more spiritually fit as a campus.
After weeks of enduring many sacrifices, it all came to an end yesterday with the celebration of 5 baptisms!
Although baptism has nothing to do with your salvation, it is still a celebration in that it is a public expression of your love for Christ. It's basically saying you're letting go of your old life in order to make way for your new life.
"Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." Romans 6:4
A baptism symbolizes the end of one thing (or death) and the beginning (or birth) of something else. Much like in life, when we celebrate birthdays and the New Year, in baptisms, we celebrate the death of our old selves and the birthd of our new selves. We celebrate the birth of our new life in Christ Jesus.
I also believe that yesterday was symbolic in another way. For the Woodland Hills campus, I believe yesterday symbolized the death of old things in our campus. With the baptisms of those 5 individuals, there was also the washing away of past hurts that were still lingering in the atmosphere of the Woodland Hills campus.
Now there are no more excuses. There are no more reasons to hold on to the past and continue dwelling on how painful and uncomfortable the changes have been. With the close of our first official spiritual boot camp session, I think God is moving us forward into a new season. It is the birth of a new season: a season full of spiritual growth and spiritual maturity.
"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." 1 Corinthians 13:11
The last 7 weeks of preparation were only the beginning. Now, it's up to us (as individuals and a church unit) to decide if we want to continue moving forward or remain fixated on the past.
God's pruning, molding and moving us ahead is never really easy or comfortable time for any of us. It is, however, a time for us to draw closer to Him. It's a time of tremendous blessings. We need only keep our eyes, ears and hearts open and prepare ourselves for what He has in store for us so we won't miss it.