Thursday, October 2, 2008

A good day and a chilly lake.

About five years ago I started working at evapco and I met a guy named Billy. My first impression of Billy was that he was a typical Greenup redneck, but as I got to know him a little better I found out that he was a pretty good guy.

One day I decided to invite him to church and when I asked him if he went to church anywhere I was surprised to hear him say that he tried to go to “Sunday school” every week. When I asked him where, he said – CIPS lake. This was the beginning of four years of discussions and questions about things like whether the Bible was true or if Jesus was the only way to heaven.

All through this time I prayed for Billy, that he would see that Jesus was the only way and that he would accept him as his personal savior. I prayed for Billy EVERY day, sometimes many times a day, the same way I do for all of my friends and co-workers. He would often ask me a question and I would give the best answer I could, but as often as I could I would ask him “are you ready to accept Christ yet?” and he’d say “maybe someday”.

Well, to make a long story short I asked him that same old question here recently and I was caught off guard when he said that he had! It wasn’t too long after that that he also expressed the desire to be baptized.

So tonight at about 6:00 pm CST at Sam Parr State Park I baptized Billy and It was one of the greatest experiences I have ever had (it was also my first baptism).

I read a short scripture about a guy in the Bible that wanted to be baptized and the only condition in that story was that the man had to believe in Jesus with all of his heart (Acts chapter 8). One thing I know for sure after tonight is that Billy believes with all of his heart. I’m as sure of that as I am my own salvation.

The great thing about it is that to be saved all that you have to do is believe. Believe that you don’t meet God’s standard of righteousness and accept that you’ll have to get by on the righteousness of Christ. He paid the penalty for our sins when we couldn’t, that’s his gift to us. All you have to do is accept it – BELIEVE it.

That is what Billy did and tonight he was baptized to do what Jesus did and to symbolize the death and burial of his old life and the beginning of a new one. While baptism doesn’t save you, I do feel that it is so important because it is that First step of obedience as a Christian. Billy decided to do this purely out of a desire to please God, I didn’t have to breathe a word about it (that’s how you know it’s the real thing).

Billy You’re the real thing, and I couldn’t have picked a better candidate for my first baptism than you.

Enjoy the pics.


Brett said...

This is the greatest news out of Evapco in a long time. Thanks for being a light, Ray, and helping make that light grow in this dark world.

Anonymous said...

Ray, words can't express how proud I am of you. I see your speaking abilities keep on improving. God is surely blessing you. I feel like I can tell you anything, well, I guess there are some things you don't want to hear about, but you are such a blessing to us. Keep up the great work.

Blair Bunch said...

Your sermon was good. Thank you for allowing God to use you, without getting in the way. It makes all those hour of your hard work worth it. I am glad you recorded it, so handy for the sick girl! I have been trying to live all week like it's my last!

Jace said...

Ray, it appears God is using you greatly. Keep up the great work. Do you pastor anywhere? Good see you and yours at the game Friday. Glad the Eagles finally won again. Was starting to think they had forgotten how. Sorry we didnt get a chance to talk. Maybe another time.

Pastor Ray said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jace said...

Ray, I would enjoy hearing you preach sometime. We go to Scott Avenue but could skip out of sunday school one day and come to your church. I look forward to it.

Pastor Ray said...

we look forward to seeing you!