Tag: baptism

Donnalee Jackson’s Conversion Story


Donnalee Jackson and I at outdoor church in Plant City last Sabbath.

As a Bible Worker, I love hearing how people have come to know and accept Jesus as their Savior. I enjoy hearing older people talk about how they came to know Jesus “back in the day” as I find it interesting how methods of evangelism change over the years and how they stay the same. Below is a testimony from Donnalee Jackson, a very good friend of mine from the Plant City, Florida Seventh-day Adventist Church. I hope you enjoy her story as much as I did.

Donnalee C. Jackson

As I look back, to reflect on how I became an Adventist, I see how I was led by the gentle, loving hand of Jesus. It has been a quiet progress that never seemed earth-shattering, however, my desire to find the truth, would take years of experiences, volumes of learning, and a growing longing, to find the right, narrow path.

The people that have influenced me were not pushey or wishy-washy, but people that I respected and cared about. They shared with me things that made me think and wonder by saying one word, and just by their actions. As my years are fading away, having lived a long time, I am filled with an urgency to be a living example that will help everyone I meet and those that I have been so blessed to associate with, including, and so importantly, my family.

Usually I am filled with meekness, patience, and loving thoughts to get a point over, and sometimes I feel that I need to share something unexpected to shake who-ever, to face their problems, pray about it, and find the real answers, usually by looking in the mirror. Now, to get back to how I got to this point—My Story!

As a child, in Los Angeles, California, and my parents introduced me to Sunday school. We always walked to the little church that was down the street, across Temple Street and up to Union St. to the Union Methodist Church. It was comforting to learn about God and His love. On Temple St., we passed the little country grocery store, owned by the partnership of a Japanese family and a Chinese family. I’ll never forget the day when the government hauled the Japanese family away to a camp. It didn’t make any sense to me then, and still doesn’t. They were such wonderful, kind people.

Next door to the grocery store was a small church that housed a group of people called “The Holy Rollers”. They were so filled with the love of
Jesus, that when they sang hymns, you could hear them almost from my house. When I peeked inside at them, they were all on their feet, waving their arms and singing at the top of their lungs. I wanted to join them, but I was pulled away and off to the one up the hill to the white church.

Everyone knew what a stubborn child I was, and I was troubled between wanting to stay and hear these happy people, or obey my parents. I have refined my stubbornness now, with diplomacy and lots of love. Honesty was so important to me, that if someone would ask me If I liked something or not, I would tell them—it wasn’t always what they wanted to hear—and that got me into more trouble. I really hope that I have learned to control this part of my character. However, as a child, I was so small, that something coming out of my mouth was unforgivable. I heard that a child should be seen and not heard, and that made me wonder if honesty was only for children?

Sometimes, my grandmother, who lived with us, took me to church. We went down the hill, through Echo Park to Aimee Semple McPherson’s Four Square church on Glendale Ave. In the front of the church, there were huge bins filled with wooden wheel chairs, crutches and other appliances. People had thrown them away when they were healed in this place. Amee was previously an actress that knew how to dramatize a production. There was a stairway from the balcony down to the stage that she used when she made her entrance to be the preacher. She wore long white, flowing gowns belted with gold ropes, and came flowing down those stairs as if she were flying like an angel. The only thing that I remember her saying was when she took up the offering. She said that wanted us to be able to pin it on the drapes, and she didn’t want to hear any jingling in the plate. So I put my nickels back in my pocket, if that was how she felt. A few years later, when we moved to Glendale, CA, my Dad took us to Forest Lawn cemetery to visit my grandfather’s grave site. Aimee has a really big, white monument for her resting place. It looked to me like the place where Abraham Lincoln’s place was.

From these experiences, I was filled with the desire to find what religion was all about. Living on Cedar St., in Glendale, CA., down the street
two blocks was a Methodist church, and my grandmother took me there.
Sunday school for teens was of some interest, and I met others my age that have become life-long friends. Fran was one of them that I was closet with. She is gone now, and remembering her fills me with laughter, fun and growing to adulthood with her. Now, since her children are like my children, I am reminded of the fun we had at the Methodist church. It’s an SDA church now.

On the way to church, we stopped and got the Herald Examiner Paper. Fran and I would sit in the far back, near the exit, and quietly read the funny pages with each other. Again, I am reminded of the emphasis on collecting the offering. A lot of time was taken up on the needs of the church, and it was mentioned several times during the sermons. I began to wonder if all churches were so money hungry. I never had very much money to do anything with. My Mother made most of my clothes, my Dad worked hard all the time. He even sold his blood to supplement our income. Everything was planned and saved for. There was no such things as credit cards. We used cardboard in our shoes, and wore hand-me-downs. I was glad I had an older brother, because I never had to wear any of his old clothes. We had to share bath-tub water with each other; and were told to eat everything on our plate, because there are starving children everywhere. We had our garden and chickens to supply us with a lot of food.

My grandfather had built our house on Belmont St., Los Angeles, CA. He made his own nails out of wood. So I have always been impressed with how to do with what you got. One man’s junk was another man’s treasure. To this day, my son has made a science of this virtue, and saved his family a lot of money.

After I got married and became a mother, I started looking around for a church to go to with my children. I went to several different denominations. When I went to the Presbyterian church, I went in with a stroller for my son and held on to my daughter’s hand. I had read about the mark of the beast and his number, and was searching for a church that followed and taught from the Bible.

As I glanced at the altar where the preacher was, right next to it was a
set of two foot square blocks. They had been having a building fund drive for repairs on the church and every Sunday they announced the current amount that was collected and, they put it on the blocks. I took a second look, and on the blocks was 666. I couldn’t pack up and get out of there fast enough. Besides, the lady sitting in front of me was glaring at me when my son slurped at his bottle.

So far, none of several churches met my needs. I got a job at the Orthopedic Appliance Center that was two blocks from my home. I knew the people pretty well since they had made my son’s special brace–the Dennis Browne Splint, attached to shoes that he wore at night. This corrected his feet to go straight ahead instead of outward. The Spillers knew I could sew, so they asked me if I could make special back braces and bras.

Now, Mom watched the kids for me, and I finally made some dollars. It was quite an experience making those awful, torturous garments. When the office was slow, I did the accounting and receptionist jobs. Sometimes when everything was done, I told Mr. Spillers that I had to do something, not just sit there and twiddle my thumbs. Mr. & Mrs. Spillers were Seven-day Adventists, and she brought me a whole set of Bible lesson studies. I thought, wow, a church that refers to the Bible for all the answers.

After finishing the series of studies, and receiving the answers from their Bible worker, I wanted more. So I called Betty, the Bible teacher, and she set up a time for me to have lessons every week. This is what I had been looking for. It made sense. She invited me to join them on Saturday for Sabbath school and church service. My husband studied with Betty too, and I was baptized in 1968 and he was in 1970.

Little by little, the Lord has pointed out something that I needed to correct in myself. I am thankful that He didn’t show all of them to me at once, it was hard enough to face one at a time. I was so filled with learning the truth, that I couldn’t wait to teach Fran and her family, another friend,
Betty and her family, and Diane, so to shut me up, they consented to take
lessons from me as the lessons that Mrs. Spillers had provided.

My journey to find the truth, has led me to the happiest, loving people on earth. My three friends, after studying with me, were soon baptized, and we all went to church together. I am still tempted and sometimes I trip, but Jesus still loves me, as He picks me up, dusts me off, and leads me on the right narrow path. My children have been baptized and occasionally we worshiped together. Growing up, I never had family worship at Sundown on Fridays and still feel envious of those who do study together. I wonder what my life would have been like to have done that.

What is your story?
The beginning of the end

Estefania’s Baptism Pictures and Stories

June 20, 2015 was a very special Sabbath at the Iglesias Adventista Hispana de Efeso in Miami and in heaven as Estefania gave all of herself to Jesus, because He gave all of Himself for her.


Estefania and her brother really enjoyed their first year at Tampa Adventist Academy, where they both joined my baptism classes. Estefania was also in my Bible class, where she eagerly participated in choosing to have a close, real and personal relationship with Christ.

Estefania 2

After attending my baptism classes at Tampa Adventist Academy Estefania shared a desire to be baptized in the summer at the church in Miami that is very dear to her heart. You can see she is very dear to their hearts too.


Estefania was baptized by Pastor Samuel Diaz.

Estefania writes of her baptism:

It meant that I was a new person and that God had forgave me for all my sins. That also meant was I can be with God when he comes back to save us so we can go to heaven with him. Also I feel a new person in Jesus Christ.

Don’t let the sun set on you before you decide to give your life to the One Who gave His life for you. I would love to help you in this decision. You may contact me at LayPastor@TampaAdventist.net

The Memorial to the Resurrection.

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.
I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Did you know that Sunday Observance is not a Biblical memorial to the resurrection? God gave us baptism as a memorial to the resurrection.

“Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:3-4 NKJV

In Luke 3:21 Jesus gave us the example of baptism, and in Luke 4:16 He gave us the example of continued 7th day Sabbath observance.

For more on baptism click here. For more on the Sabbath click here. For more on Sunday observance click here. To study this week’s Sabbath School lessons click here.

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.


“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!

Glimpses of the Cross Day 20; “It is Finished”

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.
I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

“It is finished” John 19:30

When Jesus cried out these last words, He gave up His breath, and rested in the tomb on Sabbath. Four thousand years earlier, He had finished creating the world and rested on the Sabbath. Adam and Eve rested too on that very first Sabbath, though I don’t think they were really tired. Adam and Eve did not exactly have a long week that week, and they were not in need of physical rest, but rather they were in need of a spiritual rest. I can imagine God walking them through the garden that first Sabbath and showing them all of His works. They realized on that first Sabbath,

it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves. Psalms 100:3

Likewise, when Jesus cried out 4,000 years later from the cross, “It is Finished” He was not only our Creator but also our Redeemer. On that Sabbath after the crucifixion it was realized, that not only had He created us not we ourselves, but He also redeemed us, and not we ourselves. Jesus is the author and finisher of our creation and re-creation. The Sabbath takes on a special meaning after the cross and makes it more dearer and special than ever before. Jesus gave us an example of resting on the Sabbath both at creation and at the cross. Jesus never gave any notion that Sunday was a sacred day. Rather when He told Mary not to touch Him because He must ascend to His Father, He was recognizing Sunday as a work day and not a day of rest. He rested on Sabbath and then rose on Sunday because He had to see His Father and get back to work! Others say we should observe Sunday as a memorial to the resurrection, yet nowhere is that mentioned in the Scriptures. Rather the Scriptures give us a memorial to the resurrection which is Baptism.

Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. Romans 6:3-6 

When we follow Jesus’ example of resting on the Seventh-day Sabbath, we are recognizing that Jesus finished all the work in saving and redeeming us. We rest from our works on the Sabbath and rest our faith in Jesus. in Baptism we crucify our own works of flesh when we go down into our water grave. We come up out of the water, taking a new breath and living a new life that God has created and not we ourselves. Jesus is the author and the finisher of our creation and our re-creation.

Did Jesus Abolish The Law by Fulfilling it?

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.
I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:17-19 NKJV

Occasionally, while giving Bible studies, I will hear someone say, “Once Jesus fulfilled the commandments He did away with them. He fulfilled them so we don’t have to.” Well, let’s take a look at that. Does fulfill mean to do away with? My Websters Dictionary tells me that fulfill means to carry out. I don’t think carrying something out and abolishing it can be the same definition. My Roget’s Thesaurus tells me fulfill is the same as pleasing or sufficing. I don’t think you please of suffice something by abolishing it either.

Now that we have looked at Roget and Webster’s definition of the word “fulfill,” more importantly let’s see how the Scriptures use that word. Even more important and accurately, how Matthew himself uses that word.

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. Matthew 3:13-14 NKJV

So Jesus fulfilled the rite of baptism. Did He abolish it after He fulfilled it? No, of course not. We know that the command to be baptized is all over the New Testament. Matthew, the same writer who tells us Jesus fulfilled the rite of baptism also records Jesus’ command,

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit… Matthew 28:19 NKJV

So Jesus did not abolish baptism when He fulfilled that rite, but rather set an example for us to follow. Likewise, Jesus did not abolish the law by fulfilling it, but rather gave us an example to follow.

Study more on the Sabbath School lesson at the Sabbath School Network. 

Circumcision; Gospel or Barbaric Ritual?

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.
I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Sunday’s section of this week’s Sabbath School lesson, mentions circumcision, which some people in some cultures now classify as barbaric. I have heard a few good Christians question why God chose circumcision for a sign that you belonged to Him? I have heard Christian men ask, “why the penis of all places?”

We all know circumcision is no longer a sign of a covenant between God and us – thank goodness! Still it puzzles some believers as well as unbelievers alike as to why God ever had anyone do this. My purpose here is to answer the question, “why did God ever tell us to do this” and in the process we will see the gospel where before many people only saw a painful ritual.

The Scriptures say that Abraham had two sons, one from his slave wife and one from his freeborn wife. The son of the slave wife was born in a human attempt to bring about the fulfillment of God’s promise. But the son of the freeborn wife was born as God’s own fulfillment of his promise. These two women serve as an illustration of God’s two covenants. Galatians 4:22-24 NLT

God had made a covenant with Abraham and promised him a son. All God needed Abraham to do was believe the promise. Abraham saw that his wife was old and not even menstruating anymore, so instead of just trusting in God’s promise, he took his much younger handmaid Hagar and worked things out on his own. Together they had a son. This is the old covenant, which is man keeping the commandments in his own power, instead of just trusting God to write them on our hearts. The old covenant is legalism, or the works of the flesh. It’s a me-plus-Christ mentality instead of “Not I But Christ” (SeeGalatians 2:20), the motif Paul shared as the crux of the gospel.

So God had Abraham practice circumcision.

Then God said to Abraham, “Your responsibility is to obey the terms of the covenant. You and all your descendants have this continual responsibility. This is the covenant that you and your descendants must keep: Each male among you must be circumcised. You must cut off the flesh of your foreskin as a sign of the covenant between me and you. From generation to generation, every male child must be circumcised on the eighth day after his birth. This applies not only to members of your family but also to the servants born in your household and the foreign-born servants whom you have purchased. All must be circumcised. Your bodies will bear the mark of my everlasting covenant. Any male who fails to be circumcised will be cut off from the covenant family for breaking the covenant.” Genesis 17:9-14 NLT

Abraham’s part in the covenant was to keep himself from doing those things God had promised. Abraham was trusting in his flesh to work things out, so God had Abraham circumcise the part of his flesh he was trusting in, so that he could realize the gospel is not “me plus Christ” but “Not I but Christ.”

For we who worship by the Spirit of God are the ones who are truly circumcised. We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort… Philippians 3:3 NLT

… like the birth of the child of Abraham, and that of Mary, was to teach a great spiritual truth, a truth that we are slow to learn and ready to forget. In ourselves we are incapable of doing any good thing; but that which we cannot do will be wrought by the power of God in every submissive and believing soul. It was through faith that the child of promise was given. It is through faith that spiritual life is begotten, and we are enabled to do the works of righteousness. –Ellen White, Desire of Ages, Page 98

Abraham had that part of his body circumcised because that was the part of his body he was trusting, more than he was trusting in God’s power. Now we have baptism as a sign that we are casting away self-confidence, as we go under the water washing self away, and dying to self, we rise up taking the new breath we now live, not trusting in self, but trusting in Jesus.

Satan works hard to make us miss the whole point of this lesson by coming up with his own rituals, and then making male circumcision appear to be another cultural ritual. For example, female circumcision,  which has no Scriptural significance is still widely practiced. It is seriously harmful to women and its practice often has ulterior motives.

It is worth noting that there is some evidence that circumcision does have health benefits. There is evidence to suggest that certain health issues are less prevalent in communities where circumcision is widely practised (http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/circumcision/basics/why-its-done/prc-20013585)

Finally, some men who were circumcised as babies, and learning that circumcision is no longer Biblical or morally necessary, have become quite bitter towards their parents for “mutilating” them. To those I would say, first of all, you have not endured anything that Jesus Himself has not endured. Jesus was circumcised too. See Luke 2:21. No matter how awkward or “embarrassing” an area of your life may be, Jesus has been there and experienced it for you. He understands everything! Second,  most parents were simply doing the best they could with the information they had at the time. All parents have to make decisions about the treatment of their babies on a range of issues and most make those decisions with the best information available. And with the health benefits, your parents may have made no mistake at all.

Satan likes to make the Gospel look foolish and even crazy in human eyes, and because circumcision is a sensitive issue it is an easy target. I pray my brief attempt has helped you to see the gospel where before all you could see was a Jewish ritual.