BlogsThoughts and insights from Jubilee Church Wirral
Easter baptisms 2022
At Jubilee, we only baptise people who are believers – those who have made a confession of faith.
Baptism does not make these five perfect and going into the water isn’t going to make them perfect – but it is being obedient. When he preached on the day of Pentecost, Peter said “Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
We believe that you repent and your baptism is a response to that and that God will then open your life. It is about obedience. There’s nothing special about the water.
We also baptise by immersion, because we believe it represents is as you go down into the water, you are being recognised with Jesus’ death, and as you are raised back up you are coming into your new life raised in Christ. That’s what we do and why we do it.
I grew up in a Christian household, I have two Christian parents and I’ve learnt about the Bible and God my entire life.
Growing up in a Christian household did make it quite hard for me to have a lightbulb “knowing I was a Christian” moment. I had a pretty smooth sailing life until my family and I moved to Zambia in 2019, when I was 13.
I think that’s when I first really came to God. When we first got there I really struggled as I was missing my friends from home, I hadn’t made any new friends and my faith was really tested.
I had many thoughts about who God was and where He was and, if he was real, then why wasn’t He helping me?
We went to a Church with lots of youth and some lovely leaders, but I did not under any circumstances want to join in! But of course my mum forced me to, she signed me up for lots of youth activities and made me go to the youth group every Sunday morning.
Then on the second Sunday we’d been at that Church, we went out with a British family and a Canadian family. The Canadian family had a daughter who was my age. We hit it off straight away and I’d made a friend, now going to all these different youth activities wasn’t so bad. Then I met two American girls who also very quickly became some of my best friends. I soon realised that God had answered my prayers and that He was still there and had never left my side.
In Zambia I was only surrounded by my Christian friends, everyone we knew was a Christian. This really helped me grow so much closer to God as I was able to talk about Christianity a lot more freely and I learnt many new things about my faith.
Then we had to move back very suddenly because of COVID 19, that was really hard and another test of my faith. But God knew what He was doing and He placed us in a Christian home with some good friends of ours for three months and I grew even closer to God.
Then when lockdown was over and we came home, I slipped out of habits like reading my Bible in the morning and spending time with God. School was so hard and I began to realise that’s when I needed God the most in my life. I needed Him to help me though all the difficult times in my life and I needed Him there when things went well. From then I’ve been growing closer to God and I feel like I’m now ready to make a full commitment to Him. I’m getting baptised because I want God to live in my heart and rule my life and I want to publicly declare that He does.
Over the years I have dipped in and out of churches. I always knew that Jesus existed but my efforts to pursue a relationship with Him have been sporadic. I found it difficult to maintain my relationship with Jesus without fellowship and I never really felt that at the various churches I have been to.
In February 2020, I had started listening to Christian music and bought a journalling Bible. The spark was going to be ignited again – God had clearly not forgotten me. I Googled “lively churches in my area” and Jubilee came up!
So, with lots of prayer and anxiety, I stepped through the doors. I was immediately greeted and taken under people’s wing. I had found my church family – the missing link!
During lockdown, Jesus provided peace but also encouragement through my Christian family with calls, letters, emails and the odd socially distanced conversation at my gate.
The absolute kindness and love I was shown during lockdown strengthened my relationship with Jesus. During this time I also completed Alpha. I love this course and it taught me so much. I realised for the first time how important I was to Him. I understood that even if I was the only person on this planet, Jesus would still have given His life for me.
One day I arrived at Jubilee and there was a laminated verse on the seats. I put it in my bag and forgot about it. One dark moment during this period, I found it: Jeremiah 29:11: “I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, they are plans for good and not for disaster.” (NLT)
This filled me full of hope and in the next few weeks I was sent this verse via text, it was written in a card I received, and I never went without physically or spiritually.
Over the past two years, there have been family issues and illness, but Jesus has never let me down. Through my church family I have been emotionally supported, practically supported and whenever I have been struggling, Jesus would let me know that he was there, holding my hand.
Why baptism? I have never been baptised by full immersion and I want to declare that I definitely want Jesus at the centre of my life.
On February 14, 1997 I had been praying for a very long time for Jesus to come into my life. After a bitter and painful divorce I started to blame God and felt it was all his fault. Two of my girls left to be with their father and whatever faith I had before vanished.
I had no time for God or the church. When I met Michael, who was already a Christian, we had a few conversations and arguments about God and the Bible and I started to think about my life and God.
I realised I had made a mistake falling out with God and spent months and months apologising and asking for forgiveness and for Him to come in and be part of my life.
I started an Alpha Course and in early 1997 I went to hear J John preach. He prayed and said “If you want Jesus to come into your life, then now is the time.”
As I stood in the row, my legs were like jelly and my heart was beating, oh so painfully! My whole body was being pushed forward to the front. I looked behind me and there was nobody there. I don’t know how my legs got me there but I was there.
I believe that God had answered what I had prayed for.
It has taken me since 1997 to get baptised because of the fear of going underwater. I have always felt that I have let Jesus down because of that fear – and I am here today to actually do it!
As a soldier, from Northern Ireland to the Gulf War, I have seen, heard and even smelt what no normal person should ever have to experience. A lot is expected of a soldier.
You are expected to do things that others will not.
I had always questioned my faith and belief and wondered, with everything I had been through, how I could call myself a Christian.
I felt like God had abandoned me. I was angry at my life and my life decisions. I needed to let go of my shame and guilt.
The chance came when I was invited to church by Arlo. After the first meeting I realised I had found the place I was looking for, especially when Mark Saunders came to preach. It was like a massive light enveloped me.
I asked Jesus for His forgiveness and also that I could forgive without doubting my mind and heart, and to let His light shine over me and my life.
I am being baptised on this special day to symbolise my new life in Christ and commit to Jesus publicly cleansing me from sin.
I feel like I’ve been on the wrong path and I want to turn my life around with the Lord and do right for my family. I want to get baptised as a step of obedience to Jesus.
I believe that Jesus is the son of God, my Lord and saviour – I believe that He died for my sins and is risen from the dead.
In the month of remembrance, Chris on remembering what Jesus sacrificed for us and how we need to act on it.
Helen on the importance of Friends and what God has to say about them in the Bible.
Andrew on evangelism, how we are all evangelists whether we like it or not, and how to evangelise easily.
Dawne on the parable of the lost sheep and the lessons we can take from it as followers of Jesus and members of His flock.
Yvonne on loss and how God has helped her deal with the loss of her mum and the impending departure of her eldest son to his first job
Nicki on serving at Newday and the impact it has had on all three Frodsham children and many, many others
Simon on the frustrations of not being able to get to sleep properly, and the Bible verses that help him stand firm against sleeplessness.
Gerry on how easy it is to be drawn into gossip. “If you can’t say anything positive, don’t say anything at all” isn’t just good advice, it’s Biblical wisdom.
Sylvia on being an encourager: “God knows our troubles. When we open up to Him, He’ll use other people to encourage us through His word.”
Lynne on doing what God wants us to do even when we really don’t want to do it – and why it’s important
Chris on the power of our words and how having a relationship with Jesus can give us the power of the right word at the right time.
Helen on why Psalms have taken the place of Proverbs as her favourite book of the Bible
Andrew Greenhalgh on being much better at giving advice than at taking it – and what happens as a result.
Chantal Robertson on how God and the gospel of Christ has never changed over time – even though the way we package it has.
Nicki on how she was planning to work in the marketing and advertising industry until God led her in a different direction.
Dawne challenges us to look at life with the enthusiasm, joy and exuberance of her Macedonian dog Floki and find joy in the everyday.
Jen on how taking the Alpha Course because she had nothing better to do on a Tuesday afternoon led to a life-changing wheelchair for her daughter Daisy and many others.
Gerry on how her ideas of what love truly is have changed over the years, and how love can be so much more than a feeling.
Matt Wilson on how God is weaving a tapestry – and knows what that looks like. He can see the big picture. Our part is to trust him with the threads he has given us.
Denise Griffiths on resolutions and why she has resolved not to make the usual New Year’s resolutions such as giving up chocolate, eating healthier or doing more exercise!
Vernon on the transience of life, and how, through all suffering, God’s steadfast love has the capacity to satisfy us every morning.
Andrew Greenhalgh on how he ended up going to church on Christmas morning for the first time at the age of 11 – and what it has taught him.
Helen on how preparations for Christmas vary from family to family and country to country. And what happened to Helen’s Lindt advent chocolates?