Tag Archives: baptism pictures

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. 

Tampa Spanish Baptisms

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Last week the Tampa Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church, they had a week of prayer, entitled “Metamorphosis.” Pastor Israel Mora shared over the week on how God takes those who realize they are sinners, and transforms them into the image of God. All things are possible in our lives when we surrender and let God always be in control.

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At the end of the week, this last Sabbath there was a wonderful baptism celebration. Several gave their lives to Jesus. Many of them I have been privileged to work with at Tampa Adventist Academy.

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Leslie (left) and Pamela both attend the upper grades at Tampa Adventist Academy. They both told me they wanted to give all of their lives to Jesus because He gave everything for them. Leslie is in my 7th grade Bible class I teach once a week, and always participates with good questions and comments. Both of them take their over all education very seriously, though they both can be fun. Leslie is currently editing my “In Light of The Cross Bible Study Guides” with verses from the New Living Translation.

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Gabby is in the third grade at Tampa Adventist Academy. Gabby writes:

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“Well baptism means to me that when get in the water that you give your life to Jesus and you be a better Christian and when I got in that water I felt the Holy Spirit going in me and that what you are suppose to feel and I felt like a better Christian.”

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The pathfinders, including Gabby’s sisters Abbi (Second from right top picture) and Kathy (Right on lower picture) sang “I Will Follow” in dedication to Gabby. Abbi and Kathy are very energetic in participating and leading out in their Sabbath school and Pathfinders as well as school activities. They both have attended my Bible chain-referencing classes, and a while back Abbi volunteered to help with one of my baptism classes. Gabby, their little sister appears to be just as on fire for Jesus as they are.

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Janelle writes:

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“What baptism means to me is that I’m giving my heart, life and soul to Jesus and that I’m starting a new life and all my sins are at the bottom of the sea. Also that I set an example for little kids and for grown-ups. Also God and His angels are rejoicing and partying.”

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Keyla, Janelle’s good friend, sang “Dame Tus Ojas” in dedication of Janelle’s baptism. Keyla has been very active in several of my baptism classes as well as Bible-chain referencing classes at TAA.

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Jimmy writes:

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“When I was in line to getting baptized, I was kind of nervous and when they called me to go to the tub, I was even more nervous. When I was in the tub my nervousness had left and I was not nervous anymore. I was shaking because before going into the tub it was cold but the water was warm. I felt great after that.”

I can relate to what Jimmy is saying because I have done baptisms in cold water and warm, and I definitely prefer the warm.

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After the service Janelle’s parents, Carlos and Daisy invited me to a special lunch in Janelle’s honor.

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As we were all eating cake I realized, even though Janelle is only in the 5th grade that she already has a Bluetooth. Get it? Blue tooth? Okay, moving right along…..

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I want to congratulate the Tampa Adventist Academy students from the Tampa Spanish Church, for being so involved in both their church and school, and taking advantage of every opportunity to grow spiritually and be a part of God’s church family. TAA is owned and operated by several churches in the Tampa area. We all share one common goal in sharing Jesus with the young people in our community. It is an honor to know these young people, and for me to have had Jimmy and Janelle in my baptism class last year. They are also in my Bible chain-referencing class that I teach on Tuesdays. I am very proud of all of them! I am also proud of their dedicated teachers!

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Please don’t let the sun set on your life before you accept Jesus and eternal life. I would love to talk to you about giving your life to Jesus. As Pamela and Leslie say, He has given His life for us. I would love to talk to you if you are in the Tampa Bay area, and even if your not, email me anyway. I can find a Bible-based Jesus loving church in your corner of the world Laypastor@TampaAdventist.net

Linda, Marissa, Felix, Terell and La Shanti’s Baptism Pictures

This morning, at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church,  we had a double header with baptisms in both services! Five people decided to give their lives to Jesus because He gave His life for them. Please enjoy the pictures and stories.

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Felix, on my right, has been looking forward to being baptized for a while. Shortly after I studied with his older brother and sister, he was talking about it. This year he was able to attend my Baptism class at Tampa Adventist Academy. Felix also attended my Bible chain-referencing class where he learned how to present Bible studies hand written in his Bible. Later, I found out Felix not only had written the next verse by each previous verse, but he also looked up the page numbers for the next verses, and went back to each previous verse and wrote the page numbers. I had not thought of writing the page numbers with the verses, and neither did anyone else, but Felix did. Now that’s taking initiative.

Workbook

In our Baptism workbooks at TAA, we talked about baptism and other symbols. How do you like Felix’s answer for the “M” symbol? By the way, if you agree with Felix’s answer, we are currently having a “Best Weigh” Weight and nutrition seminar at Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist church. Contact me for more info.

Linda and Marissa

Linda and her daughter Marissa studied with me every Wednesday evening at church. Marissa, wanting to go beyond just the theory of Christianity is already joining the praise teams. She has been in school choirs most of her life, and wants to use her talents to help others become disciples for Jesus.

Terrell and Shante

Just a few months ago Equilla started visiting Tampa First with her family, and has been studying with me, joining my Seeker’s class with her oldest daughter Vanessa. Here we are having baptism studies with her youngest, Terell, and La Shanti. Terell will be going to Germany soon to live a while with his uncle in the military. Terell wanted to be grounded in God’s Word and a relationship with Christ before he leaves his family.

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Terell’s and La Shanti’s cat joined our studies too every week. Every week he would wait for me to lay my lap top case on the floor so he could use it as a pillow. He never missed a study and liked to stay till the very end.

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La Shanti writes: “Baptism means that God loves me ,my sins are washed away and I’m will be a new person.”

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Terell writes: “What does baptism means to me? It means to give myself to God and Jesus, and then He will wash away my sins. He will heal my heart, and give me a new life with God.”

Felix

Felix writes: “I’ve been in baptism classes and I learned a lot. I know that I can get closer to Jesus. I know that Jesus loves me and wants me to be with Him. I want to follow him in all ways. I want to be by his side in the kingdom of heaven. I want to walk and talk with Him. I want to be a servant of God. I love Him and He loves me.

Linda

Linda writes: ” My parents raised me in the church and have always served God. I see how much God has blessed them in their life and he has also blessed me in my life even when I strayed away and I want to serve Him.”

Marissa

Marissa writes: ” For me, being baptized is showing God flat out that you have accepted Him into your life completely and will do anything humanly possible for Him.  I am not getting baptized for my own personal gain either.  I see it as me being one step closer to God.”

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Then He [Jesus] 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

While we rejoice today because these five precious souls have chosen to die to self in baptism, and follow Jesus, each and every day they along with us, have that choice to make all over again. Like a car going down the interstate, each exit is an opportunity to exit the path and go another way. A choice is made at each exit to stay on the interstate or leave. Likewise every day the choice to follow Jesus must be renewed, not only for those baptized today, but for each and every one. If you chose to follow Jesus again today, all heaven is rejoicing for your decision along with those who were baptized today.

Daytona Beach Sunrise 2012

Dawn is just beginning to break in this picture of Daytona Beach. Each dawn brings a fresh day, a blank page full of opportunities and possibilities. Those possibilities depend upon the choices we make. Today is your opportunity to choose to follow Jesus. If you are choosing to follow Him for the first time, or choosing to follow Him again, and would like to talk with me, I would love to talk with you. You can contact me at LayPastor@TampaAdventist.net . If you are not in the Tampa Bay area, go ahead and contact me anyway and I can help you find a caring, Bible based church in your corner of the world.

Alyssa’s Baptism

This month is a special month at Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist church as we already have three different baptisms scheduled for February. This morning, was special as Alyssa was our first candidate to be baptized this month. Please enjoy the pictures and stories.

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Alyssa, on my left, was one of the first to sign up for my baptism class at Tampa Adventist Academy. She faithfully completed her baptism workbook, and actively participated by asking thoughtful questions about how to please God with our lives, and she was very satisfied when we found the answers in the Bible.

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Alyssa read a short testimony on why she was being baptized and what it meant to her. She wrote:

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Alyssa baptism

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“Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.” Romans 6:3-4 NLT

One of the many things we learned in our baptism class, is what baptism means. When you go under the water you stop breathing for a second, since you don’t breathe water. This is symbolic of your  death. You are dying to self, and saying goodbye living life your own way. When you come up out of the water, you take a new breath, symbolizing the new life you are now living for Jesus.

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After church the church family congratulated and welcomed Alyssa to the church family.

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Here is Alyssa with her family. Alyssa was very happy about her Uncle Charlie (Top Center) coming all the way from California for her baptism. Charlie was a member at Tampa First before moving to California, and is very much in love with Jesus, and has encouraged others to make their decisions for Christ as well. In our baptism class, Alyssa was always talking about her Uncle Charlie and how she wanted to be baptized when he could be here. I can tell by the way Alyssa talks about him all the time, he is her hero and a very positive influence in her life. I am so happy when a young person has a real hero and role model to admire and emulate.

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All who follow Jesus will be fishers of men. Alyssa has the same passion for reaching others for Christ that her Uncle Charlie and the rest of her family have. Here she is being presented with her baptism certificate, which includes the fundamental beliefs of the seventh-day Adventist Church.

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Don’t let the sun set on your life, before you give all of your life to Jesus. Alyssa did not want to wait till she got older and give to Jesus just whatever was left over of her life. She gave all of her life to Jesus because He gave all of His life to her. Jesus has given His life for you too! He loves you! If you are thinking about giving your life to Jesus I would love to talk with you and help you prepare for baptism. If you are on the other side of the world I would still love to hear from you, and help you find a Bible based church on your side of the world. You can reach me at LayPastor@TampaAdventist.net

Joyce, Robert and Bradley

In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!.  Luke 15:7 NLT

There was much rejoicing today in heaven and at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist church this morning! Bradley was baptized, showing heaven and earth the love for Jesus that has been in his heart for some time now.. Joyce and Robert also took their stand for Jesus and their commitment to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Please enjoy the pictures and short stories.

Seeker's Class Picnic(Click on pictures to enlarge)

A few years ago the evangelism team had a special July 4th celebration at our church. Joyce, who lives in the neighborhood saw our sign and joined us. She had such a wonderful time she has been coming ever since. She joined my Seeker’s Sabbath School class, which is pictured here on a recent picnic, where we had class at the park. Joyce is on my right. Joyce has also joined a small study group, that Mike and Karmin help me lead out. She also was in the Best Weigh program with me, and was a big source of encouragement with all of her success. We already considered Joyce a part of our church family, but this last fall, during our “One Hope” evangelistic meetings, Joyce filled out a card asking to become a member. Joyce, who was already baptized into the Methodist church, where she faithfully loved and served Jesus for many years, joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church today on profession of faith.

Joyce writes, “I learn a lot about God in this church, and everyone is very friendly. I feel very comfortable in this church.”

Robert was a part of the Seventh-day Adventist church a while back, when the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist church was on Nebraska Avenue. Sadly, Robert and the church parted ways back then, but God has brought healing and that relationship has been restored. Robert has been back with us for about six years, and today, after meeting with Pastor Brad rejoined the Seventh-day Adventist church family. Welcome back Robert!

Robert says one of the reasons he is back,is becasue the Seventh-day Adventist Bible doctrines all make perfect sense.

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Bradley has been preparing for baptism for some time. He has attended my baptism class at Tampa Adventist Academy, and as pictured here, in my 5th and 6th grade Bible Chain referencing class, where he is learning with the rest of his class to give Bible studies and share his faith. Bradley’s sister Heather, has a small study group for teens at her house. While Bradley is not quite a teen yet, he attends and participates in the studies.

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Pastor Brad went over the baptism vows before we voted Joyce, Robert and Bradley into membership.

Bradley writes: “I want to be baptized to wash away my sins and start a new life with Jesus.”

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“In their early years children may be useful in God’s work. . . . He will give them His grace and His Holy Spirit, that they may overcome impatience, fretfulness, and all sin. Jesus loves the children. He has blessings for them, and He loves to see them obedient to their parents. He desires them to be His little missionaries, denying their own inclinations and desires for selfish pleasure to do service for Him; and this service is just as acceptable to God as is the service of grown-up children.”  -Adventist Home, Page 486

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” For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him.” Romans 6:4-8 NLT

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Please don’t let the sun go down on your life before you choose to be baptized and give your life to the One who gave His life for you. “Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:2 NLT I would love to visit with you about making this step. You can contact me at laypastor@TampaAdventist.net

New Family Members!

This morning there was a wonderful celebration at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church.  Five precious souls gave their lives to Jesus through baptism and profession of faith. Please enjoy their amazing stories and pictures.

Francisca has returned to her true love, and was baptized with her daughter Cindy, and grandson Julio. She is so excited to be back in the Adventist Church family.  While doing studies, I ask my students to do two or three lessons a week, hoping they will do at least one. During the course of our studies, Francisca had to make a trip to Puerto Rico for a few weeks. I gave her the rest of the study guides to work on while she was away. I forget exactly how many, but there were a lot, like over 15 or more.  When she returned she had them all completed! I was so excited I had to take the pictrure above.

Francisca first found the church in a miraculous way. Here is her story:”When I was a little girl, I remember my grandmother taking me to Catholic Church every Sunday. I married at the age of 18. A few years later my husband and I bought our first house in the Westside of Chicago. Our children were in elementary school. My husband and I were going through a difficult time and one morning I got up extra early before I got the children ready for school. I got up on my knees and prayed to the Lord, “I want to serve you but I don’t know what church I should go to. Please lead me to your true church. I don’t want to go to just any church. There are so many religions, I don’t know where to go. Please Lord help me!”  We had already visited a few different churches.  About 3 weeks later on a Monday, I walked the children to school as usual. The school was located on the other side of the park. As I was walking back past the park I saw a lady on the corner of Lemon and Potomac St. She was just standing there looking around. She looked lost, so I asked her, “are you o.k.?” And she said, “No, I don’t recognize where I’m at.” I asked her, where are you going? She answered, I was on my way to visit some friends they live on Crystal St. I said you know that’s the street I live on, you passed it. Thank God you ran into me because if not, you probably would have kept going! As we walked back she offered me bible study. She explained, that all I had to do was read the article and answer the questions and that she would pick the study up on Saturday. I accepted, after all I thought to myself it’s only 1 page to read and a few questions to answer. Saturday came and I had not completed the study because I had forgotten about it. When Abrahana arrived and asked for the study, I explained to her that I had forgotten about it. And she said that she would return on Wednesday for it. Well Wednesday came and when Abrahana asked for the study, I told her that once again I had forgotten. Then she said, I’ll be back on Saturday for it. At that point, I thought, Wow! She is very persistent, I have never met anyone like her. I need to complete this study to get her off my back. Therefore, I completed the study. Abrahana came on Saturday to pick it up. As soon as I handed her the study she revised it and to my surprise she gave me a second study. She then told that there were a total of 24 studies and since I had already started, I had to finish them. After completing the third study I found the fourth study to be more intriguing as I learned about the Sabbath. At that point I asked her what religion did she belong to and she said Seventh Day Adventist. That was the first time I had heard of Seventh day Adventist. Later that evening I remembered that I had prayed to the Lord for guidance in my search for a church to attend. And I realized that my prayer had been answered. I then told my husband that my prayer had been answered and from that point on we started going to church on Sabbath. Amazingly, Abrahana and I have maintained contact for over 35 years now.”

Julio writes,“Baptism means that we give our heart to Jesus , washing our sins away and starting a new life.”

Julio was baptized today with his mother and grandmother. During the Bible studies we were having with his family, Julio told me he wanted to be baptized too.  A few years ago, I studied with Lauren before her baptism. A couple years ago, Lauren was in my Bible chain referencing class. As Julio prepared for baptism Lauren helped me give Julio Bible studies. In this picture Lauren and Julio are studying about baptism. I was suppose to help too, but Lauren was doing such a good job, I just sat there and ate pretzels while she taught. Julio enjoyed his baptism studies so much that he is now doing the advanced set of guides.

Not only has Julio been baptized, but this is his first year at Tampa Adventist Academy. I am now coaching Julio and Lauren, as they are conducting a Bible study growth group after school on Wednesdays.

Here we are going over the baptism vows with Julio, his mother Cindy, and grandmother Francisca. Since beginning these studies, Cindy has invited both her sisters to join us, and we are now studying with them every week too! Cindy is now enrolling to an online university to study theology. She would like to work as a prison chaplain.

Cindy writes: “Baptism to me means letting go of the old you, old ways and starting fresh.  A new beginning in Christ! (e.g. Being Reborn) Baptism is making a commitment to serve God.” 

I met Marlice several years ago, when she first attended my Seeker’s Sabbath School class. Later, her husband Ray started attending too. Not too long ago, my friends Barbara and Betty told me Ray and Marlice had mentioned to them that they would like to become members of Tampa First. Immediately we began studying for baptism. It was fun being able to spend more time with them outside of Sabbath School, as we had weekly personal Bible studies.

Ray writes: “While doing our bible studies to become amember of Tampa First, I came to realize that I wanted the Holy Spirit to startguiding me in my walk with God with a renewed heart and the only way to achievethat is by baptism.”

Marlice writes: “I was raised a strict Seventh-dayAdventist and attended self-supporting, church-oriented high schools andcollege, and married a school mate right out of high school.  He and I continuedattending the SDA church, but had no personal devotions or home worship.  Inreality, our faith was hollow, having no relationship with Jesus.  Theworld beckoned.  We divorced after seven years and one daughterlater.   Twenty-six years, three husbands and two sons later, I was sadand empty inside and knew that what I was lacking was “God”, so Ibegan my search for meaning and personal peace.  Through all my searching byway of various Sunday-keeping churches and knowing some truly wonderful,loving, giving Christians there, I could never get over the sound of thatlittle voice in the back of my head that said, “yes, but . . .the seventh-day is the Sabbath that God blessedand hallowed.”  So when I came up “empty” for the lasttime, I could no longer continue going to church on Sunday, I started attendingTampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church, and it felt so right.  Besides that, the Sabbath School classes and the sermonswere REAL.  My husband, Ray joined me in attending, and he found that itstruck a chord with him too.  Eventually, William Earnhardt invited Rayand me to study the Bible with him to prepare us to join this church.  Wecompleted our course of study and have made the life-altering decision to jointhe “Remnant Church” so that when Jesus comes He can say, “Well done, thougood and faithful servant; enter in to the JOY of thy Lord.”  

My dear Mom and Dad would be so happy ifthey knew that I had “come back”, but this way we can all betogether at that great banquet table in heaven.”

While we went over the baptism vows, Lauren stood with Julio and his family that she has been studying with.

Marlice, who joined our church on profession faith, stood with Ray as he was baptized. After the church service, both of them joined the meeting to help feed the homeless. Ray is also becoming active in our men’s ministry, and is joining a men’s Bible study on Thursday nights.

 For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.Colossians 2:12 NLT

I will contine studying with Cindy, as both of her sisters have now joined our study!

For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. Romans 6:4-6 NLT

This evening, our new church family members and I gathered at David and Sondra’s home. They are Lauren’s parents. We celebrated the baptism with a nice dinner, then closed out the Sabbath with family worship. After that we played games and had fun fellowshiping together.

Don’t let the sun set on you, before you decide to give your live to Jesus. He gave His life for you. I would love to talk to you about giving you life to Jesus if you have never done so. You can contact me at Laypastor@TampaAdventist.net

Adrian’s Baptism

Several months ago Pastor Claudette told me her son, Adrian wanted to study the Bible with me. We studied the “In Light of The Cross” Bible study guides, and over the course of the studies, Adrian told me he wanted to be baptized. Adrian was very committed to his Bible study time. Adrian is a big basketball fan. One evening he invited me to stay and watch a basketball game after our Bible study. We had finished the lesson and the game had already begun, but Adrian still had a lot of questions, so we continued our study for quite a while before finally watching the game. The fact that Adrian was a big basketball fan, but wanted to keep talking about God and the Bible instead of just stopping the Bible study to watch the game said a lot to me about his priorities and interest in God. In the picture above, Adrian and I are studying by his pool, where one day we took advantage of the beautiful Florida weather.

I went over the baptism vows with Adrian during our studies, and then Pastor Brad went over them with Adrian before the Tampa 1st Church family this morning.

“I’ve been wanting to get baptized for a long time now. I thought you had to be perfect but none of us are, and the Bible says to start a brand new life and that’s what I’m doing today.” -Adrian

I felt very honored when Pastor Claudette and her husband Rene, asked me to study with Adrian. Pastor Claudette served as a Bible Worker and now has an excellent youth ministry. However, Pastor Claudette and Rene wanted Adrian to have a variety of teachers, as they believe it takes a village to raise a child. I appreciated them asking me to study with Adrian, and we had a great time studying the Bible together.

“Today was one of the most exciting days of my life and ministry.  To baptize my son was truly an amazing experience.  I praise the Lord for Adrian’s decision to follow Him.  I thank God for his Sabbath School and Pathfinder teachers, and specially for William, who gave him Bible studies.  So, in conclusion today I rejoice with the angels as they celebrated Adrian’s baptism.” -Pastor Claudette

For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. Colossians 2:12

You may watch the video of Adrian’s baptism here.

Adrian’s church family and friends congratulated and welcomed him to the church family.

Please don’t let the sun set on your life before you give your life to Jesus. He gave all of His life for you. Will you give your life to Him? I would love to hear from you if you would like to give your heart to God. You may contact me at LayPastor@TampaAdventist.net

Matthew and Samantha’s Baptism Pictures and Stories

Matthew and Samantha joined my baptism class at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church a while back. Later they invited me to their home, where we had studies on how to know Jesus and share Him with others. Later we had more baptism studies in the home, and today both Matthew and Samantha (Sammy) were baptized. All through the studies they both did a good job on their workbooks, and asked very good questions. Matthew asked a question that I had to do some researching to find the answer. He asked why the Bible is often printed in two columns on a page instead of one. We found out it saves money that way. Kewl! Good question Matthew! In the above picture, I am studying with Matthew and Sammy and their mother Sarah, in their home.

Before the baptism we went over the baptismal vows.

Before each baptism I like to pray with the person being baptized, asking God to keep them close to them all the days of their life. Thank you for joining me in prayer for Matthew and Sammy today.

Matthew writes: “I am getting baptized today because I believe in God and because I want to give my heart to Him. And so when He comes He will take me to heaven with Him.”

Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death?  For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. Romans 6:3-6 NLT

Notice the smile on Matthews face after his baptism, as Sammy Writes: “I am getting baptized because I want to give myself to God and be reborn. Getting baptized means giving my heart to God and I am 100% ready to do that. I am so happy that I decided to get baptized and give myself to God. I think that everyone should be given the chance to be baptized and give themselves to God.”

Sammy is all smiles after her baptism as well.

I was very proud to give Sammy and Matthew their baptism certificates, which inlcude the Seventh-day Adventist fundamental beliefs

Sammy writes that everyone should have a chance to give their hearts to Jesus and be baptized. Don’t let the sun set on you before you accept this wonderful opportunity. I would love to visit with you about this, so please contact me at LayPastor@TampaAdventist.net

Edith and Dorothy’s Baptism Pictures

This Sabbath we finished our “2012 In Light of The Cross” week or prayer seminar with two beautiful baptisms. The Lake Placid Seventh-day Adventist Church, led by Pastor Rafael Fernandez, is a very evangelistic church in a beautiful community. I was given the privilege of spending a week, giving a revival, focusing on the cross. Hearts were touched and changed as we explored the depths of Christ’s sacrifice and forgiveness, and how the power of His love and grace makes it possible for us to live a more abundant life. One lady testified in our final meeting tonight, with tears in her eyes, that after our presentation on forgiveness last night, she was finally able to forgive and let go of a grudge that has lasted more than a year. Another member testified that they did not realize how legalistic some of their opinions were until they saw the gospel presented in the light of the cross. It was a wonderful week, exploring the power of the cross, and all of the realities and possibilities that are ours now because of Christ’s sacrifice.  Another lady told me she was so excited about what she was learning about the cross every night, that she took notes of all the sermons and e-mailed them to her family and friends. You just can’t keep the good news to yourself!

Because of the amazing love of God, two beautiful ladies gave their lives to Jesus in baptism, because He had given His life for them.

Dorothy said she has been looking for a spirit filled church in Lake Placid, and she found it in the Seventh-day Adventist Church!

Just before being baptized, Edith testified to the church family that she hopes her husband will be baptized soon one day. I don’t know if she knew or not, but her husband had just told the pastor today that he wants to be baptized too! Too often I have seen one spouse wait upon the other to be baptized, and then neither one ever gets baptized. Edith stepped out in faith, and followed Jesus, and now her husband will soon be baptized as well. Praise God!

Dr. Roa pictured on the left with his wife, began Bible studies, and a Revelation Seminar in his office with some of his patients. Dorothy attended the seminars and decided to be baptized. Dorothy came to our revival meetings every night and said she was strengthened by them, but she had already made up her mind to follow Jesus and be baptized, while Dr.Roa and his family were befriending her and giving her Bible studies. On the far right is Nora, Dr. Roa’s nurse. She has played a big part too, in Dorothy deciding to be baptized. Nora often prays with the patients when they come into Dr. Roa’s clinic.

Edith was raised in the Adventist church but wandered away. She decided she really needed to get married to her boyfriend, so just a couple weeks ago they had a wedding, which the Lake Placid Seventh-day Adventist church graciously provided for them as a gift! Talk about a supportive church family! The power of God’s love has been seen in Edith’s family as they are following through on major life changing decisions in order to have a closer relationship with Jesus. I wanted my picture with Edith’s family and Pastor Ferandez taken by this picture, because I love the title, “Lost no more.”

Mrs. Roa gives Dorothy a great big hug. Hugs were all over the place today! As well as Revelation Seminars, and Bible studies, the Roas and the Lake Placid Seventh-day Adventist Church have an excellent CHIPS program, promoting better health, which has been attended by many in the Lake Placid community, including the mayor.

Our Sabbath ended in Lake Placid tonight, with a beautiful rainbow, a symbol of God’s promise of love and grace. If God’s love and grace has been working on your heart, and you would like to know more about baptism, I would love to talk with you. You may reach me at LayPAstor@TampaAdventist.net