Do You Ever Have the Itch to Baptize?

Posted on November 21, 2009

This past Sunday we had an amazing number of people make the decision to follow Christ. I watched as hundreds of people flooded the altar areas of our different campuses. And as they were standing down front, I suddenly got an itch to baptize. I hadn’t planned it. We didn’t know it was going to happen. But it did. And it was amazing.

Quickly, our team got everything together for that spontaneous baptism (our staff motto is: I’m always ready to do anything, everything or nothing!) And after preaching, I ran up to my office, threw on a pair of shorts and a tee shirt, and bolted to the baptismal area.

While running out of the building (out of excitement), I cut through one of our flower beds (ignoring signs), bounded down the hill and began to baptize. What an incredible experience! Tears of joy, laughter and applause cut through the crisp fall air as so many young people at the zenith of their lives went public with their decision to follow Christ and do a 180 in their lives.

However, several days later, I began to have a horrendous itch on the back of my legs that looked strangely like poison ivy. I thought, “Where did I come in contact with this demonic plant?”

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. It was in the flower bed (that I shouldn’t have cut through)! I walked away from this ordeal with itchy legs and two powerful reminders.

First: always follow the itch to baptize!

So many of the church numbers lists are focused on attendance. But really, we should follow the number of baptisms. This is what it is all about. It’s great to know who’s showing up. But the bigger question is: who are you reaching?

The second moral: stay out of the flower beds!

In other words, God has a path set for you and he's posted signs along the way. Walk where you are supposed to walk. If we walk on HIS grass and stay out of HIS beds, we won’t have to deal with the poison ivy that may be there, the poison ivy we were never intended to deal with in the first place!

6 Replies to "Do You Ever Have the Itch to Baptize?"

  • Waynejboyd
    November 21, 2009 (1:00 pm)

    WOW, great experience and great lessons. If we take the time to look how many great things the Holy Spirit will show and teach us. Thanks Ed.

  • Cindy Avakian
    November 21, 2009 (1:55 pm)

    I LOVE your motto, Pastor Ed: Be ready to do anything, everything or nothing. I am going to adopt that too. How awesome and inspiring that people were taking their commitment to Jesus Christ seriously and taking the plunge (literally) right away. YES, we Christians need to stay on God’s path, indeed!
    We attend Fellowship online each week, and I have forwarded a link to last week’s “End of the World” message to many.
    What a blessing it was to be at your Sacramento, CA event this month. Your message that Christians need to be on a rescue mission to people around us who are spiritually drowning and on their way to hell reignited my heart. I am, again, back out there tossing out life preservers (pointing precious souls to Jesus) and praying that they will choose to catch THE LIFE PRESERVER offered to them.
    Thank you for BOLDLY teaching the Truth of God’s Word in in a creative and understandable way, and for providing REAL LIFE application and challenge that we so desperately need.

  • Dusty Marshall
    November 21, 2009 (10:22 pm)

    That is amazing, and glad to see God can give you a sermon illustration on the paths of life.
    Just to add to the joy here in Hobbs NM we had four youth accept Christ as their Lord and savior Wednesday. It’s amazing to see the kingdom grow.

  • Karen Johnson
    November 23, 2009 (1:29 pm)

    Wonderful how God works in mysterious ways!! I have always wanted to be baptized in the Jordan River alot of history there for sure!!

  • Chris
    November 30, 2009 (8:47 pm)

    Totally off topic, but I wanted to comment about what Ed means in my walk with Christ. I’m new to Christ, I was baptized shortly after they opened the Plano campus and I can’t imagine another church anywhere in the world I’d rather worship at. I didn’t come from a loving Christian family, I don’t have a lot of history to tell in what Christ means to me, but something Ed said one day changed all of that. Ed’s message set me free in my own mind, he watered a seed God planted in me. I still get choked up and nervous about giving a blessing over dinner, but that’s okay, there are really no words to express my love for my saviour. Thank you Ed for helping me break free.

  • Logan Felder
    December 27, 2009 (12:55 am)

    I love your analogies. I think that a lot of times God can be hard to relate to when we become too religious and forget that He’s our friend as well as our Lord. I am also delighted to read that you and your staff did an unplanned baptism. It not only shows your desire to make sure others are connecting with God, but also how spirit lead you are. I pray your ministry touches many more as it has touched me. I notice my perspective changes when I listen to your chill and casual messages. It actually reaches me. Thanks for being a real, down to earth kind of leader. God Bless.

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