It was twenty-one years ago today that I was baptized. I had been investigating the Bible for awhile, actually devouring it – hours and hours and hours a day, trying to determine if it was true, and what it meant for my life. Finally I had come to the conclusion that not only was it true, but Jesus was so absolutely amazing the rest of my life had to be all about Him. If it was about anything else, it would be a waste.
I happened to fly down to Florida on May 21st to see my father who had just gotten out of prison. I told him of my decision. He didn’t care, but did connect me with the pastor who led Bible studies at his jail. That man, Bob Hargrave, and I spent hours that day talking, and me asking and him answering questions. Finally he asked me a question, “Do you want to give your life to God? Do you want to follow Jesus? Do you want to make this official by being baptized?” I gave him the best theological answer I knew, “Duh.”
The next morning he baptized me at his little church in Crystal River. I came out of the baptistry, went by myself into the changing room, and sat there stunned and overwhelmed.
And I had no idea what God had in store for me: becoming a pastor, starting two churches, adopting an unreached people group, writing books, speaking all over the world, getting to go to Israel. I wouldn’t have believed you that day if you told me all that would happen. But in another sense, I wouldn’t have cared, and I still don’t. I’m grateful for all those opportunities, but all I wanted that day was Jesus. And it hasn’t changed since.
And if you really know Jesus, you understand. And if you don’t really know Jesus, I pray someday you do. Because you’ll know how amazing He is, and that living for anything else is a waste.