25 Mar 2006

United With Christ – Mar. ’06

I had a great chance to join

25 Mar 2006

I had a great chance to join in on a church camp a couple of weeks ago. It’s a church that I used to visit every once in a while, with many TCCC staff friends and students attending. The church normally meets in a big meeting room of a local guesthouse, and thus does not have the proper facilities for baptizing new believers. So, once or twice a year, they hold a baptism camp for everyone to gather together for two days, to praise God and fellowship – all centered around the baptism of new believers. (And, it’s amazing for this American to see – but about 95% of the church membership participated – yes, that’s normal here). Baptism – tragically, it’s something that often seems like no big deal to us in the States – we see it all the time, right? But, for a group of people that has no cultural background with Christianity whatsoever, it becomes a very meaningful time, when a new brother or sister in Christ is baptized. In a country where becoming a Christian at the very least makes you a total weirdo in the eyes of your friends and family, and often goes much further in making you an outcast, and sometimes even an “”orphan,”” with a few students here and there cut off from fellowship with their families after trusting Christ, the symbolism and weighty meaning that baptism carries is a powerful statement to all that the one who is being baptized has truly broken away and cast off every old belief, and has come into union with Christ instead. In short, it really means something here. It was so awesome to see the excitement of those receiving baptism, and the other believers there as well. It was truly a statement to the world that they are new in Christ, that their old dependences have been cast off, and that they now belong to Him. May we all learn from these believers here, and think of the deep spiritual meaning of our union with Christ in His crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection.

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Marty – (far right, yellow shirt) – and his staff team and students who have become Christians on his campus. Marty was our roommate and Thai teacher during our 1st year in Thailand, during his last year in the university. It was awesome to see him grow in his faith during that time, and even more awesome to come back after three years and see him “”all grown up,”” almost a totally different guy and one who has the respect of all of those around him. When he talks, people listen. He has really become a mature leader and is having an impact in the lives of many as He trusts Christ to work through him. It has been awesome to see God’s work in his life.

Yes, that’s me back there playing the drums. I haven’t played in about 9 years, and have never played with a band in my life – but that didn’t stop me from being the first choice of the Thai people to play drums when the regular guy couldn’t come – despite having several students there who play regularly. The attitude of the Thais often is: “”He’s an American. Americans are great at everything.”” It’a a nice thought – but it surely wasn’t the case with my drumming. I just simply prayed, “”don’t let me keep others from praising God by my mistakes.”” So I played quietly and all was good.

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