Category Archives: Baptism Pictures And Stories

Celeste’s Baptism Pictures and Stories

Celeste at Camp Kulaqua after responding to an altar call.
Celeste at Camp Kulaqua after responding to an altar call.

Celeste writes:

I have grown up in a seventh day adventist home since I was born. I followed the rules and did what was expected of me. It wasn’t until about two years ago that I really realized why I’m here. I realized that God had a special purpose and plan for my life and that it was my duty to fulfill it. But I was still scared. I still had that little thought in my head that I’m not good enough just yet. So I waited. Waited to find a change in myself before I found myself “worthy”.
A few weeks ago, I went to the annual high school bible retreat at camp kulaqua. It wasn’t until then that I really realized that I’ll never be worthy of the grace of God, but that’s okay because in his eyes, I am. I felt him calling me, so how I felt about myself didn’t matter anymore. I am “Unfinished” but God tells me that he’s that missing piece to complete me.

Pastor Claudette enjoyed studying with Celeste a couple years ago, using the In Light of The Cross Bible Study GuidesCeleste is an outstanding young lady both in our church family as well has her school where she is a high school senior. Still Celeste had not made her decision to baptized, and while Pastor Claudette and I invited her to, we did not want to pressure her. Baptism is a personal decision one must make on their own. As Celeste wrote, a few weeks ago I went as one of the chaperons to the high school Bible retreat. The theme was “Unfinished” and how we all are unfinished and imperfect without Jesus. I was very happy when I saw Celeste respond with several others to an altar call for baptism. I know the theme for the retreat was designed by God, and Celeste took her stand.

Many people, like Celeste think they must wait to be better to come to Jesus. But as Celeste realized, this is not so.

Do not listen to the enemy’s suggestion to stay away from Christ until you have made yourself better; until you are good enough to come to God. If you wait until then, you will never come. When Satan points to your filthy garments, repeat the promise of Jesus, “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” John 6:37. Tell the enemy that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin. Make the prayer of David your own, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7.-Christ Object Lessons, Page 205-206 

If you see your sinfulness, do not wait to make yourself better. How many there are who think they are not good enough to come to Christ. Do you expect to become better through your own efforts? “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” Jeremiah 13:23. There is help for us only in God. We must not wait for stronger persuasions, for better opportunities, or for holier tempers. We can do nothing of ourselves. We must come to Christ just as we are. -Steps to Christ, Page 31

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Before the baptism today at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church, Pastor Brad went over the baptismal vows with Celeste.

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When Celeste decided to be baptized she chose November 1st as her date to be baptized as she did not want to wait any longer to give her life to Jesus.

Behold, now is the day of salvation. 2 Corinthians 6:2

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 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:19-20 

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All smiles! All beautiful smiles!

I am writing today from somewhere in beautiful Florida.

Please don’t let the sun set on your life before you give your life to Jesus. You will never be compete or “finished” without Jesus! Wherever you are, whatever your situation is, you can come to Jesus and He will accept you just as you are! Jesus will accept you even if you feel you are still a great ways off. God will run to meet you where you are.

And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. Luke 15:20 

Jesus loves and accepts unfinished and incomplete people!

If you want to come to Jesus and want someone to talk to or pray with, you can always contact me at LayPastor@TampaAdventist.net or (813) 933-7505.

Triniti and Destini’s Baptism Pictures and Stories

There was much rejoicing in heaven and at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church today when Triniti and Destini both gave their entire lives to Jesus. Instead of waiting till they got old, and just give Jesus what is left of their lives, both Triniti and Destini have been taught in their home and church about Jesus giving all of Himself for them, and so they chose to give all of themselves to Him.

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Rachelle, was the Bible Worker who studied with Triniti and Destini’s mother, Gail, when she got baptized, and so it was a wonderful privilege for Rachelle to also get to study with Triniti and Destini as they prepared for their baptism.

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Pastor Brad went over the baptismal vows with Tiniti and Destini, as well as with Alexander who was already baptized at the pathfinder camp in Oshkosh, but was welcomed into membership today with the girls.

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Triniti writes: The main reason why I want to get baptized is that I finally came to realize,  I don’t live forever. Also it’s not guaranteed I’m going to wake up tomorrow. It’s a gift. So I want to live my life in honor of the man who died for me and helps me wake up every morning. I’m glad I’m getting baptized. I know it’s time. I also know it is the kingdom of the bronze and clay and when the boulder strikes the statue I want to go with God to heaven.

Right before Triniti’s baptism we prayed a special prayer for her, and asked God to baptize her with the Holy Spirit as I baptized her with water. 

Then John testified, “I saw the Holy Spirit descending like a dove from heaven and resting upon him.  I didn’t know he was the one, but when God sent me to baptize with water, he told me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit descend and rest is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’  I saw this happen to Jesus, so I testify that he is the Chosen One of God.” John 1:32-34 NLT 

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Destini writes: I wanna get baptized because I want to start a fresh new life. I want to start a new life with my Savior so when He comes He’ll take me with Him. 

Right before Destini’s baptism we prayed that God would always be with her, drawing her close to Him each and every day. Today Destini chose to follow Jesus, but God never turns us into a robot, so every day we are free to choose who we want to serve. Our prayer is that Destini will always choose to follow Jesus, just like she did today, and every day while preparing for this moment. 

Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. Luke 9:23 NLT 

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We had a special fellowship lunch today, where we prayed for those being baptized and awarded them with their baptism certificates. Liam, who was baptized in Camp Kulaqua, received his certificate as well today.

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Please don’t let the sun set on you today before you too make your decision to follow the only One who died to save you. Maybe you chose a long time ago to follow Jesus but have not been making that choice lately. I invite you to make that choice again today. Maybe you have never made that choice but would like to make it now, or would like to learn more about Jesus before you make that choice. I would love to hear from you. You can reach me at laypastor@TampaAdventist.net

Alexander’s Baptism Pictures and Testimony

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This is a picture of Alexander several years ago in our neighborhood Bible study group. Alexander and his family have always been very active in sharing Jesus with their friends and neighbors. Several years ago, while we were all studying the Bible, Alexander told me he wanted to be baptized one day.

Now, several years later,  his parents were using the In Light of the Cross Bible Study Guides, to help prepare him for his baptism.  Years before, Alexander was already in love with God. One day when he was little the family had been saving up their spare coins in a huge jar. As the jar got full the family realized they now had quite a bit of money in there. One night at dinner they started discussing ideas of how they could spend their hard earned and saved money. Disney World? A vacation to the beach? An expensive video game? As they sat at the table discussing ideas, Alexander and his sister Ailyn came up with an idea. “Let’s give it all to the church to help others learn about Jesus” they said. And that is just what they did! Alexander knew that God had given everything He had when He gave us Jesus, so Alexander wanted to give God everything that he had!

Last Week at Oshkosh Pathfinders camp in Wisconsin, Alexander once again gave all of himself to Jesus because Jesus had given all of Himself for Alexander.

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Pastor Brad, our senior pastor at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church was on hand to baptize Alexander at Oshkosh.

Alexander writes: “The reason I wanted to get baptized was because at Oshkosh the preacher on the third night said something very powerful that moved me. Near the end he said, “If you would like to give your life to God, tell your director and come to the front at the end. We did but nobody was there, so we prayed with this kind guy that was standing there.

After that everyone went back to camp. Everyone was tired but I was excited to give my life to God! So I went to the charging station to charge my I-pod so I could get pictures for the baptism that started at 7:30 to 9:30 in the morning. So we woke up  I was excited. We all left we got there and there were so many people giving their life to God I was surprised we went in line again when you get up there they ask where you’re from and your name and I go into the water feeling and thinking of all the wrong things I have done in my life, and thinking that God gave His life for me that we would one day see Him that one day He will come to pick His children and I want to go with God. I want to live an eternal life with Him that I want to go to heaven. Then I go to the pastor, look around , and there under the water I saw the sun shining  directly on top of me and I heard that God said, “Welcome my son I have been waiting.” 

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I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

God’s love is shining on you just like it is shining on Alexander! If you too, would like to give all of yourself to Jesus, because He has given all of Himself to you, I would love to hear from you. You can reach me at Laypastor@TampaAdventist.net

Liam’s Baptism Pictures and Stories

Baptism Class Outside

This last year, Liam was in our baptism class at Tampa Adventist Academy.  We met during lunch on Fridays, and in this particular picture, our regular meeting room was unavailable so we enjoyed our lunch and study outside. This was in December by they way. Only in Florida! :)

Liam comes from a nice Christian home. His father is Pastor Brad, the senior pastor at our Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church.  His mother Julie, teaches at the Tampa Adventist Academy and helps out in several children’s ministries in the Florida area. He has two big brothers who make excellent Christian role models. While this is an advantageous  situation for Liam, he is still his own man. In the baptism class, as well as in school chapel Liam makes thoughtful comments and questions, showing that he is doing his own thinking, and making good choices.

Last year, while I was giving the talk for chapel, I was talking about Jesus calming the storm. When I got to the part about the storm being calmed, Liam raised his hand and asked, “If the sea was calm then how did the boats move?” Liam was making a very deep and mature observation, that in life we need a little wind and turbulence to propel us to where we need to be. Sometimes its the storms in life that take us to places of growth and maturity.

When we finished the baptism class Liam announced he wanted to be baptized at summer camp-and he was!

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This June, at camp Kulaqua, the Florida Conference of SDA campsite, Liam was baptized by his father, Pastor Brad.

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Many of Liam’s family and friends were unable to be present at the baptism, but Liam’s mom, Julie was kind enough to share these pictures and a little report so we can all share in the celebration.

“It was a sunshiny Sabbath afternoon on June 7 at the Camp Kulaqua Spring.  Liam Cassell had been waiting for this day for four years–that was when he first started asking to be baptized, and specifically at Camp Kulaqua.  Finally, after going through baptismal studies with William Earnhardt at TAA, having many discussions with his family and friends, and waiting for the weekend of his 10th birthday, Liam was baptized by his father, Pastor Brad Cassell.  Despite the cold spring water, father and son were all smiles, while mom wiped away her tears of joy.  What rejoicing in heaven and earth when a young one gives his life to Jesus!” – Julie Cassell, Liam’s Mom

 

Ric’s Baptism

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area. Home of Tampa Adventist Academy.
I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area. Home of Tampa Adventist Academy.

Every year I hold a baptism class at Tampa Adventist Academy where we go over the Bible beliefs of the Adventist church, and learn what baptism and being a disciple of Jesus is all about.

Florida weather provides several opportunities to have class outside.
Florida weather provides several opportunities to have class outside.

Ric, is our latest class member to be baptized, April 12th at the Brandon Seventh-day Adventist Church.  Ric has not only attended my baptism class, but he is also in my Bible chain-referencing class I hold at TAA as well, where he has learned with the other students, how to present Bible studies about the plan of salvation, baptism, the Sabbath and several other topics, as well as ask for decisions at the end of the studies.

Ric shares with us what his baptism meant to him.

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“I enjoyed the baptism class with Pastor Earnhardt. I liked the stories of the Bible character’s lives. I also liked how we got to go outside and have class in nature. Baptism to me means to start new. In God’s eyes I am a new man now.”  -Ric, newly baptized student

Ric is fun loving with a sense of humor much like mine (I hope that’s a good thing!) but on the morning of his baptism he was, while being happy, also very serious, showing his sincerity and appreciation for the event, as Pastor Rex Frost, his pastor baptized him. Afterwards Ric appreciated a special prayer of dedication that I, along with his family and church family had for him.

Please continue praying fro Ric as he continues his walk with Christ, and for all of the students at Tampa Adventist Academy!

Issay’s Baptism Pictures and Stories

Today was a very special Sabbath at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church, where Pastor Art Grayman, of Port Charlotte, was given the privilege of baptizing his grandson, Issay. Issay has been a member of the young adult Sabbath School Class at Tampa First. I made contact with him several months ago when he told me he wanted to be baptized. Chad, is also a member of the young adult Sabbath School Class, and has received training on how to give Bible studies. I put them together and they really hit if off. Please enjoy their pictures and stories.

After Sabbath School and church, Issay and Chad met together faithfully for Bible studies leading to Issay's baptism today.
After Sabbath School and church, Issay and Chad met together faithfully for Bible studies leading to Issay’s baptism today.

Chad shared with the church family today, right before the baptism:

“I have always enjoyed giving Bible studies and becoming friends with the people I have the privilege of studying with. I had started a Bible study in November 2012 but I had to give it up to the William, the Bible Worker at Tampa 1stbecause our schedules didn’t allow us to continue. I started praying that God would send me another Bible study in March, 2013 and also that He would send me a new friend as well. I didn’t think that within a week of praying that prayer that God would send me both a Bible study and a new friend all in one. In addition God worked it out for us to study when both of our schedules permitted. During the next 6 months everything went with very little problems. Issay and I have developed a friendship and I have seen him grow spiritual over our time of studying together. Seeing my friend get baptized gives me great joy!” -Chad

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Right before the baptism Pastor Brad went over the baptism vows.

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Issay shared his testimony:

“Testimony – How God brought me back to Him

I was blessed to be born in a pastoral family. As a result of my father being a Seventh Day Adventist Pastor, I got to see in first hand all the good things God can do for his children and the love he has for us, even when we take it for granted. But ironically that same blessing of being a pastor son was also tough for me because people expected the very best if not perfection from me at all times.  In my late teen years I didn’t deal well with the pressure of being the “the perfect Christian” so I started to do things that were not good, I started to spend more time with my non-Christians friends, therefore I started to act, talk, eat like a non-Christian. However I kept going to church every Saturday and trying to be what people expected from me, basically I was living a double life.

I wasn’t happy with my double life, it never felt right for me, because I knew that God didn’t want that life for me. So I started to truly pray to God and just be honest to him about my life I asked for forgiveness and for a second chance. I truly believed that God brought me to Tampa for a reason.  I’m thankful that I met Chad and Shaunda because they have been a good support during my new chapter in my life.

The truth is that I never stopped loving God. Now I know what it really means in Proverbs 22:6 “Instruct the child in the way he should go; and when he is old he will not depart from it”.  I am very thankful for the family that God gave me because they never stopped praying for me and they were always there during my hard times.  Today I am very excited to renew by baptismal vows and I’m looking forward to keep growing with my new family here in Tampa First.”  -Issay

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But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:13 NLT

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And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. Galatians 3:27 NLT

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The Collegiate/Young Adult Sabbath School class at Tampa First has embraced Issay in fellowship and Bible study, and celebrated with him today, with a class luncheon.

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Please don’t let another day pass before you give your heart to the One who gave His heart and life for you on the cross. If you would like to know how to get to know Jesus better I would love to help. You can contact me, William Earnhardt, the Bible Instructor at LayPastor@TampaAdventist.net or call me at 813-933-7505.

Eva and Ramiro’s Baptism Pics

This morning at the Tampa First-Seventh-day Adventist Church, we celebrated the baptisms of Eva who was renewing her faith with a new beginning by baptism, and Ramiro who was baptized for the first time.

Ramiro William Tony

Several years ago, I studied with Tony (Right) and he got baptized. Tony also found Merlyn, an elderly spirit filled man in our church, to be his mentor. Merlyn and Tony both began giving Bible studies together, and even though Merlyn has had to slow down recently because of his health, (Merlyn has been giving Bible studies well up into his 90’s!)  Tony has kept right on going. Tony has been studying with several people lately who he meets in various places. One of those is Ramiro (Center) who was baptized today! Tony studied with him for quite a while, and then he felt he was ready we all studied together. As I went over our fundamental beliefs it did not take long for me to see that Ramiro had been a very diligent Bible student and Tony had done a good job of teaching him. There was not much work, if any, left for me to do and Ramiro was cleared for baptism.

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Merlyn was unable to be at the baptism due to his health, even though he is doing much better. Merlyn has been giving Bible studies for decades, and as I said earlier even recently while in his 90s. I hope I am still giving Bible studies and teaching as well as he does, when I am his age, if we are not already in heaven by then.

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Eva shared in her testimony:

“I praise our God and  Father and  His Son  Jesus Christ and their Holy Spirit for their grace and mercy towards me and you.I want to testify of God’s wonderful love and patience. I desire to renew my baptismal vows, I was first baptized when I was 19 years old. I have failed my God in many ways and have broken His tender heart many times. Today I want to testify before heaven and earth that I love my God and your God,  in 1 John 4:4 it is written” Greater is He that is in me, then he that is in the world.”

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Ramiro shared in his testimony that at age 55 he is being born again, and that by being baptized he wants to have all the power of the Holy Spirit to live a new life, walking with Jesus and obeying all of His laws of love.

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As Eva entered the water we played upon her request the song “Take me to the Waters.” It is a beautiful song setting the tone for a meaningful baptism.

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Another meaningful song that was shared was “In the Sanctuary.”  A very powerful song for a meaningful occasion.

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Please don’t let the sun go down on your life before giving your heart to the One who gave His heart on the cross for you! Why not make that decision today to give your heart to Jesus? I would love to talk to you about this. You can contact me at LayPastor@TampaAdventist.net . To find a Bible teaching church in your corner of the world you can find one here.