Glory to Glory

God's glory is beautifully evident when we hear from those of us who have freshly walked out of the baptismal waters. Personally, my own faith is bolstered by their words—far from being dried— as they are baptized into the body and as they drink into the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13). In fact, it might be better to just hear the gulps for yourself.

From left to right: Jackie Holden, Carol Wang, some dude, Mar Carmona Nájera

From left to right: Jackie Holden, Carol Wang, some dude, Mar Carmona Nájera

Jackie Holden 

"I testify to God's love for us and the wonderful Gift of salvation. Baptism was purely a great moment! As I stepped into the water I felt abandoned to Christ, free from every fear. I did not feel my physical presence. Coming out of the water, I became overwhelmed. I thought I should pray but I couldn't, only cried but a different kind of tears. Hearing the music on the other side sounded like God's Kingdom waiting for us. During the rest of the service I couldn't stop thinking about what had just happened and what it meant.

This is the first time I've ever experienced pure joy and peace—no kidding. All because of God's Love and the debt Jesus paid on the cross.

I just realized I've walking around hunched over and with my eyes half-open. I guess it was due to shame, guilt, self hatred, selfishness, self-pity, resentment, and all of satan's dominion. It really feels good to enter a new life. I love that I'm hungry for the Word—a little too excited at times. I know there will be challenges, but I trust God will walk us through. Thanks to Pastors Jeff, Danny, Rosario, Dorothy, Steve and others. The teachings from my beloved friends—wow!!! I can't name everybody but I'm so grateful that I've been blessed with the Lighthouse family. 
God bless you all!" —reposted from the Lighthouse Facebook page

Carol Wang

"To me, it happened so quickly, but it represented so many years of prayer, prayers said in fear, prayers said in gratitude , but prayers always answered, then or later, in expected and unexpected ways.  I've always felt He was watching over me, over us.  My baptism was a public affirmation of the power of prayer, and the belief in God's grace and goodness.

That tremendous energy of everyone around me -- Pastors Danny and Jeff, Jackie, Mar, the ladies in my church group that came by—that moment will be one I remember and call upon when I again am in doubt and pray to Him for guidance.  So my baptism was only a few minutes, only a moment, but a crystallizing, catalyzing instant.  I praise the Lord for that.

Jesus Christ our Lord has always been my "secret weapon," my hidden refuge and strength. Ever since I was young, I prayed to Him when I was nervous, unsure, uncertain.  He always delivered the peace He promised.  In being baptized, I am making my reliance on Him public.

This reliance comes at a time of many questions over how best I can realize His Spirit and healing in my day-to-day work. My Christianity has to reflect in some way in modeling my life's work after His, including lifting others up, setting their paths straight, bringing peace and meaning to their lives, even when it means at great sacrifice.  But I find my way to this work fraught with unanticipated challenges.

In our church huddle, Angela Thomason has asked me that in every trouble I face to ask: "What could God be saying to me in the midst of this?"  My answer lies in "making the most of every opportunity."  I will give my best effort to every opportunity I am given, knowing they are God-given.

I hope to seek scripture for practical applications of daily living. Ephesians 4:17 instructs me on how to live as a child of Light. Jesus descended to us to teach us to be humble and gentle and patient. I will seek to learn and apply the teachings of the Beatitudes.  And I will rest my glory only in Him, not in "counterfeit Gods," including fame, fortune, the love of a "perfect boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife," the favor of other people, etc...

My baptism today makes this my commitment to my family, my friends, my church group, SF Lighthouse, and our larger community."


Mar Nájera

"I have been wanting to do it for a long time. Every time the pastor would say,  "we're having a baptism coming soon," I was always curious. As my birthday came close, a Voice said "you should do it," until I couldn't ignore it anymore and I approached Jeff about it. The Voice became stronger and now instead of just considering it, I heard, "do it on your birthday," which fell on Easter Sunday. I didn't want to be the center of attention and talked to Jeff about it and he said, "we're actually already having somebody else do it." I was like, "Ok."  

The fact it was gonna do on my birthday meant a lot. It mean from now on I'm going to surrender my life to God, trusting that He loves me and what Jesus did. I was raised Catholic and was baptized as a baby. But this was about leaving the past behind. More than anything I wanted a fresh start, I want to see what my life would look like if I surrendered it. For a long time, I heard the story of Jesus, but I didn't really buy it. I didn't believe that God loves me. 

But I decided: OK, God, I'm going to give my life to you. I'm going to be reborn in the Spirit of Christ. I'm worthy of His forgiveness and worthy of His Love. The experience: It was incredibly amazing. I was nervous about it, feeling lots of anxiety, but the moment I went into the water, the first toe in, I felt an immense peace, the worries dropped out of my body as I stepped into the water. When I came out of the water, Pastor Rosario said she could see me as a priest and that I was going to reach out to people and preach and talk about my experience with God. That was very powerful. I have been feeling something deep inside of me that there's a big calling for me. I feel like there's something bigger, not just going to work every day, but to be able to help change somebody's perspective of about life. 

Finally, last Friday I was laid off from my job. I've been praying for a long time for an outlet to leave the workplace. Every time I prayed there was a fear behind the prayer, thinking they were going to fire me. So finally on Friday they let me go, I felt this relief: "I don't have to come here anymore." I was so surprised how peaceful I was and I wasn't questioning Him. My full trust was in Him. This is the way it needs to happen and He is in control and I was going to be just fine. In that moment, I saw that this is really God working through me. There's no other way because the old Mar would be freaking out. That is the proof of my transformation that I feel so loved and confident that I'm worth of His forgiveness and His love. He's taking care of me all the time. 

God is in my life. When I was in the water, I told Him I surrender my life to you. Whatever you want, my life is yours. 2 weeks later, I'm feeling reassurance and faith that everything's gonna be OK. My normal reaction would be crying and stressing about it. There's no bigger proof for me than this and how I feel in this situation. I feel so grateful right now."