And now what are you waiting for?
Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on His name.
It's hard for me to find the words to write here,
and you know (more than anyone!) that I am seldom without words.
But I want to tell you about this day,
just in case you ever forget.
....having been buried with Him [Jesus] in baptism and raised with Him through your faith in the power of God, who raised Him from the dead.
This morning, I got to help you change clothes,
and watch you and your brother peek into the baptistry as we waited.
It's my prayer that he follows in your footsteps, Lana.
That he loves Jesus like you do,
and other people like you do.
He's watching every step you take,
so lead him well, sister. God chose you to do that job.
....for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourself with Christ.
This morning, I got to hold your hands and pray over you.
I thanked God for your obedience to Him.
I asked Him for the gift of the Holy Spirit for you,
and that you would clearly hear from Him all your life,
and that you would be not just a hearer, but a doer.
Do you know what, Lana girl?
I know He's going to answer that prayer.
I've known since you were a little girl that He is going to fling you out,
use you wildly for His glory.
It terrifies me in the best sort of way.
This morning, I got to watch your Daddy baptize you.
Did you know that I got to watch him being baptized, too?
at Eastern Shore Baptist church in March of 2002.
It's nothing but pure grace that God would let me watch BOTH of you
follow Him in believer's baptism.
I don't take it lightly that He lets me walk alongside the two of you.
John [the Baptist] answered them all, "I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come....He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." Luke 3:16
This morning, I got to listen to your daddy choke up as he told the congregation who he got to baptize.
The word "daughter" is where he almost lost it.
The word "daughter" is where he almost lost it.
The love that he has for you, Lana....it's something else.
That kind of love can move mountains.
I didn't have a daddy to love me like that,
and I am overwhelmed with emotion that YOU DO.
Your daddy's arms were the first to hold you besides mine when you born.
He held you and stared into your little face and I watched him fall in love
in this very precious, miraculous way.
And as his arms held you in those waters this morning,
as you demonstrated to the church your new life in Christ,
my heart almost broke wide open
because he will hold you, Lana.
Your daddy has wrapped you in his arms a thousand times over the course of your life -
when you were sick, when you were sleepy, when you were afraid -
and he will keep on holding you like this, all the days of his life.
You can count on him.
And he's but a dim reflection of our Heavenly Father,
and how He loves you,
and how He holds you,
and how He adores you,
and how He celebrates you.
You always let this magnificent love of your earthly Daddy
remind you of the overflowing, eternal love of your heavenly Daddy.
And you rejoice WILDLY that God has given you both!
You are adored, precious one. Absolutely adored, in heaven and on earth.
This morning, I got to watch you come out of the waters of baptism,
smiling so big that it brought me to tears.
I got to be the one to wrap you in a big white towel and hold you close.
I remember when the nurse put you in my arms the first time,
and all the promise I could feel,
for your future and what God would do with you.
This morning felt quite a lot like that.
There is one Body and one Spirit - just as you were called to one hope when you were called - one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
This morning, your pastors rejoiced with our family.
Dr. Barlow and Pastor Jim were as excited as we were,
and I'm not sure if you can yet understand what that means.
These are the men who, in addition to your daddy, are responsible for the care of your soul.
You will sit under their leadership for many years,
and they are the men who will have the most influence on your spiritual growth
besides your daddy.
And this morning, they didn't just rejoice with us as members of the church,
they rejoiced with us like family
and this mama will never, ever forget that.
I don't want you to, either. This is what it means to be a part of the Body.
Lana, I've been a Christian as long as I can remember,
and I've been so blessed to have been a part of some amazing church bodies,
led by wonderful pastors who taught me much about the Lord, and myself.
And I'm here to tell you: these men are the real deal.
They love Jesus and His people wildly,
and they follow His leadership, and it is a great blessing
to become a believer at Hillcrest Baptist Church.
It's the healthiest church we've known, Lana,
and you will be encouraged here, and held accountable, and loved,
and KNOWN. You'll see.
The rich soil of this church will help you grow in ways that will reap a fertile harvest.
It's an answer to my prayers.
Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and and your children and all who are far off - for all whom the Lord our God will call."
This morning, people who love you came.
Lots of people. We packed 4 long pews, and still there wasn't room for all of them.
This is a treasure, Lana. The Lord has surrounded you with people who love you,
and who wanted to celebrate this with you.
Grace upon grace here in these faces, sweet girl of mine.
May you always be surrounded with people who love you and will point you to Christ.
Do you see all these people?
family, friends who are like family, your 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade teachers.
family friends we've had since you were born,
ones the Lord has been gracious to bring to us more recently.
all ages: from your great grandaddy to little Amelia Kate.
school friends, church friends, from here in town and from out of state.
what a beautiful life.
This morning, Team Davis celebrates you,
and your life,
and your obedience,
and this beginning.
It is the greatest joy of our life to be your family.
May the Lord bless you and keep you,
the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you,
the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.
Photo creds: Katie Barker
Katie, who is a relatively young believer, but who walks with such maturity of faith.
Katie, who never fails to ask about my kids when we talk.
Katie, who loves Jesus and people and looks for ways to serve others.
Katie, who I very much hope my daughter grows up to be like.