My wife recently shared the following story.

While I was standing in the crowd watching the show, I noticed that one of Katie's shoes was untied. I quietly leaned over to Cayla and asked her to tie it. Larah took note of what Cayla was doing for Katie and thought it would be clever to untie her shoes. (She wasn't being cute...she was being ornery.) She proceeded to untie her shoes and so I had Cayla tie them. After Cayla was done, I got down on Larah's level, made eye contact, and told her not to untie her shoes again. She did not...and she did not with a good attitude and a happy "Yes, ma'am."

After the program, a woman walked up to me that had witnessed the verbal exchange between me and my 2-year old daughter. This kind and helpful lady (I'm being a bit sarcastic here) informed me that if I didn't want Larah to untie her shoes I should double-knot them. Yes, I did realize that double-knotting Larah shoes would help them stay tied. I also realized that if I double-knotted Larah's shoes, Larah would have missed out on an opportunity to obey her mother.

I love the way Rebecca thinks and writes.

I think sometimes we want God to double-knot our lives. I think God wants the conversation. Maybe God is less interested in fixing our circumstances and more interested in transforming our hearts. Maybe the next time life comes untied, instead of questioning why God would allow it, I should simply look up for a smiling face and kind instructions. Maybe happy obedience is the whole point.


Believer’s Baptism is the physical act of our relational covenant with God. It confirms to our own hearts and to those who witness it our total dedication of life to God.

Believer’s Baptism is not about religious ceremony. It is a time to surrender who you were in the past, to secure who you will be in the future, and to settle into the love and work of God in and through your life today.

Believer’s Baptism is not about the cleansing of the body. It’s not even ultimately about the cleansing of the soul (for Christ was without sin). It is about living within God’s eternal pleasure found in the wonders of His covenant and passing the joy of that relational fellowship to the next generation.

Believer’s Baptism is a sonata underscored with the continuing melody of history. It is a composite masterpiece rich in the overtures of eternity. But at its heart, it is simply the music of today. It is the daily reality of dying to ourselves each moment only to find a resurrection in Christ awaiting us. A resurrection into a newness of life that secures our hearts in a lush cool garden speaking to God face to face as a friend speaks to a friend. It is life!

Believer’s Baptism is essentially obedience to God as illustrated in Christ and revealed by the Holy Spirit. But it is an obedience of life and not just words. It is the seeds of our soul rooted in God, evidenced by fruit revealed in the daily grind. Baptism is the beginning of a life devoted to God but it is first the culmination of those devotions. We cannot proceed blindly. We purpose to be in God.

Salvation is a fluid reality. It is a once and forever concept. We were saved, we will be saved, and we are being saved. In this big-picture view of eternal salvation, the physical act of baptism plays a crucial role. It is a place of surrender. The surrender of the body in obedience to and emulation of Christ. The surrender of the will in trusting Christ for new birth and new life. It marks a certain and tangible time in the story of our life where our minds rest in the finality of death to self and in the eternity of resurrection with Christ. It catapults our hearts into the everlasting promise of a heavenly future with God. It leads our wills daily in the perpetual reality of moment-to-moment rejuvenation through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Baptism is a submersion into the historical foundation, the future hope, and the daily walk in covenant with God.

We may never understand all the mysterious intricacies of God’s gift and command of baptism. Still, my prayer is that we may embrace the beauty and majesty afforded us in His revelation. As we – in trust, obedience, and surrender – follow Christ down into the water, we open our lives to the daily baptismal work of the Holy Spirit. As we – in humility, confidence, and purpose – follow Christ up out of the water, we join Him as ambassadors of reconciliation. “Go therefore and make disciples…baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”

Genesis 17; Colossians 2; Exodus 30; John 13; 1st Corinthians 6; Titus 3; Hebrews 10; Luke 3; Mathew 3 & 28; Acts 2 & 22; Romans 6; 1st Peter 1; Ephesians 2; Hebrews 9; 1st Corinthians 1


God gave three chapters of His Word to the creation of the entire cosmos. He gave fifty chapters to the construction of the Tabernacle. In this immeasurably important revelation we see both a representation of spiritual reality and an archetype of our personal journey here with the Lord. By the Holy Spirit’s invitation and with soberness of mind we enter into this tent of meeting to be initially and intensely confronted with reality: No one comes to the Father except through the death and life of Jesus Christ.

At Mt. Sinai, God revealed Himself to the Israelites by His own personal name and told them that if they touched the mountain of His glory they would die. And then He said to come up on the mountain. They could not. For love of the temporal and self-preservation, they could not. But Moses did, saying by his actions, “If I die, I will die one step closer to God.”

There on that mountain, I imagine Moses found what we find at the Altar of Burnt Offering.

Ascending into the cloud of darkness, not knowing which step will be our last, paralyzed by fear yet spurred on by an inexplicable passion, we take one labored step after another. And just when the cloud could grow no darker it begins to clear, very little at first, but soon the light is bright, even painful. Then, as our eyes focus we see a small clearing nestled in the foothills of God’s grace. There on a slight rise is a rough-hewn altar and on it rests a lamb, or is it a lion – Oh how our eyes struggle to see through the fear – no, it’s a Son! Standing over him in thunderous silence…our Father. He runs His fingers through His Only Begotten’s hair, then His chin dips just enough to catch our gaze and instantly we are entranced. What love, what sorrow, what pain and what joy! He pierces our soul as a friend looks at a friend. As a single tear streams down His face, He draws His knife across the throat of His Lamb. Oh! We wrench at the horror! The Lamb’s face cries out simultaneously, “My God! My God! Why have You forsaken Me?” And “Father forgive them…” His chest gasps for air as life flows down the altar and pools at our feet. If we could just run away…but grace enfolds us.

We stay. We die. We live again. We worship.


Why is it that when we walk into a kitchen and look at the floor, backsplash, or countertop we instantly recognize if it is hand-laid tile or prefabricated? For the answer, walk into that same kitchen with the one who laid the tile. As we admire the collective beauty, they lament their various minute mistakes. It is only the experienced craftsman that comes to rest and delight in the hope that the sum total of the numerous mistakes ultimately communicates authenticity.

God said Job was perfect. The circumstances of Job’s life, as well as his reaction to them, were anything but flawless, and yet God saw him as a “perfect and upright man(Job 1:8). Noah was a “righteous man(Genesis 6:9), Abraham was credited with “righteousness(Romans 4:3), Zacharias and Elizabeth were “righteous before God…blameless(Luke 1:6), even Lot is remembered as “righteous(1 Peter 2:7). Were the lives of these men and women void of struggles in trust and obedience? Certainly not. And yet, God rested and even delighted in the understanding that the sum total of their numerous struggles ultimately communicated authenticity.

I find that all too often I want God to roll out my life like a prefabricated sheet of linoleum. I don’t mind an aesthetically pleasing pattern, but keep it consistent and predictable. I incessantly balk at the vicissitudes He introduces into the construction of my fellowship with him. But, God is not in the business of prefabricated lives. He lays out the individual narratives of our existence one tile at a time. He is the master artisan who delights in the authenticity of hand-crafted life.

Perhaps if we could discipline our view of individual struggles, fostering a meta-narrative perspective, we too could rest and delight in the authenticity of life in step with God.

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. -­Romans 8:1­