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January Newsletter

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Rev. Stephen Snodgrass

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Keep The Baptismal Clean...

It was a Saturday morning when I walked into the church. The job was simple. Clean and fill the baptistry. It had been a little over a year since we had used it last, and it was in desperate need of a good cleaning. Before I could clean the baptistry, I had to clean the stairwell that leads to it from a room off the front of the sanctuary. VBS props, spare materials for a remodel project, and a few boxes of church records had been placed in the stairwell until a more proper and permanent place could be determined. All of these items reflected on the fact that our church was busy, and growth was evident.

It was a Saturday morning when I walked into the church. The job was simple. Clean and fill the baptistry. It had been a little over a year since we had used it last, and it was in desperate need of a good cleaning. Before I could clean the baptistry, I had to clean the stairwell that leads to it from a room off the front of the sanctuary. VBS props, spare materials for a remodel project, and a few boxes of church records had been placed in the stairwell until a more proper and permanent place could be determined. All of these items reflected on the fact that our church was busy, and growth was evident.

As I was cleaning, I scolded myself for not having the church janitors keep the baptistry in proper order. The voice of the Lord interrupted and seemed to speak to my heart. Now I have learned to listen to that Voice when it speaks. As I listened, the message was strong and to the point. There were many things that I felt the Lord impressed upon me, and most of them had to with my pastoral duties and how I could do a better job. But I think I can sum up the conversation… no, it was not a conversation, it was a message, because God was speaking, and I was listening! But I could sum it up with these words, “Keep the baptistry clean and the water warm!” As a church leader and a pastor, I find that one of the greatest tools in the devil’s toolbox is discouragement. He starts out in very subtle ways, but if you are not careful you will find yourself listening to his lies. He will tell you that with all the generational and cultural shifts in this world, the Gospel is not as effective as it used to be. He will begin to tell you that you are not as effective and before long (if you listen to him) you will sink into the pit of discouragement. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I have had the father of lies whisper some of these things in my ear, but I have never believed him. It is in these times that I find myself drawn to the Word of God for direction and fresh vision. When I read in Galations 6:9, where it says, “And let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap if we faint not,” I tend to believe it! When the enemy begins to tell me that the day of salvation has drawn to a close I start reading II Peter 3:8-9, “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” As I read this, I’m reminded that there are still many who have not heard the Gospel. There are many who are on their way to hell. There are many yet to be evangelized and brought into the fold of the Great Shepherd, because HE said that He was “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” I’m reminded that the job is not complete and I must be busy about my calling! When I’m tempted to become lax in my pastoral duties and not as diligent in my witness I read, I Peter 3:15, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” This scripture challenges me to “be ready always,” and that can be interpreted no other way. I cannot allow the baptistry to become dirty and in disarray. I must as a minister of the Gospel “be ready always” to welcome someone into the family of God! I must “be ready always” to baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost!” I must be ready always to fulfill the great commission and do it with great compassion! Fellow ministers, today is our day to keep the baptistry clean and the water warm! There are lost souls that surround us every day with a longing in their hearts that only a holy God can satisfy. For a conclusion to my story…the next day was Sunday, and my assistant pastor and I baptized three young Christians. Two were raised in the church and one was recently saved from a horrible pit of sin. As I made my way out of the water, I promised the Lord that I would keep the baptistry clean and the water warm! - SRS

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