A personal post of reflection, thankfulness and confidence… 29 April 1973 is a day of memories. At about 7pm, in Portslade Baptist Church, I was baptised as a believer in Jesus Christ. I had the privilege of being baptised by my father- and later I followed a similar call into service as a pastor in Baptist churches across England.
Believer’s Baptism for me was the beginning of really taking my faith seriously. There is something powerful about making a public witness and commitment, and the act of being immersed in the water is a graphic illustration of faith. It marks the “burial” of an old way of life, a “bath” of symbolic cleansing, and a “birth” into a life of obedience to the God of Love and mercy.
Nearly half a century later, I’m standing firm on the foundation I took hold of back then. My memories of the churches in Croydon, Reading, Derbyshire, Devon, and Luton are of people of faith, joy, & patience; and of shared struggles, grief, and some disappointments. God guided through different places and challenges; I have learned a great deal, and been the receiver of great kindnesses and encouragement. I thank God for all of these Christian communities, and even for the lessons gained from those I have disagreed with! The Lord is able to rise above our frailties, and to bring good out of any circumstance and relationship.
Like the tree in the photograph, I’m a bit battered and damaged! But I’m still doing what I was called to do. Despite suffering from health problems which meant I retired from Luton in 2017, there is still some use for me. God has brought us back to Sussex: and to a church where I can do what I’m good at. Being a partner within this new fellowship is a delight. God has been good to us.
I marked the day with a nice limp through the woods of the Slindon Estate. Clear pathways, with beech trees in fresh leaf, bluebells turning the carpet blue, the chatter of birds and the two-tone bleating of ewes and their new lambs. It refreshed me in mind and soul even as it made my legs ache! Meeting with God in the garden of creation, with silence and in solitude, has been so good today.
Lord God- thank you for Your help and patience over these long years. Thank you for the people I have met and walked beside, too many names and faces for me to recall.
I praise You for being Good, for being Saviour, for being Lord over my life and service. Bless those who have touched my life, shared their faith, and who journey beside me and have shared the work of the Kingdom. Lord, a thousand years and ten thousand words would not be enough to praise and thank You for my life, my wife, our families, our friends and the immense privilege of being a servant of the Most High God.
So, Lord, please accept again the faith testified and the promises made at my baptism. Forgive, cleanse, and renew me daily so that I honour You in word, character, and action. Pour again Your Holy Spirit on me, and fill me with compassionate love so I may bless and serve in the Name of Jesus for as long as I live. Amen.