The Westside Pre-Teens continue to have a blast on different outings, including their recent event to the Snoqualmie Tubing Center. Their focus is having tons of fun together, and studying the bible at church. Having fun and focusing on what truly matters has been wonderful in bringing the group together. We are so thankful for the support of our inspiring campus ministry members who came along and encouraged us greatly.
Revolution. A procedure or course back to a starting point. When the word “personal” is included in front of it, it has a whole new meaning. Many things change the way our lives work, how they function, how we go about our day. The most important revolution in my life was my baptism, in June of this year. It had been a long time coming, yet in some ways I feel that made it more revolutionary rather than less. It did not come as a surprise, although my life could have gone a different direction entirely, everyone in my life knew what I was setting out to do, and supported me in whatever way they could.
To start off, it’s important for the reader to know what it means for me to get baptized. It means that I chose to study out the bible and understand its teachings. For me, that took about a year, but it’s different for everyone. Because I’m so young, it was especially important that (I and everyone else helping me) was sure that I’d able to make this decision myself. I believe that Jesus (the Lord in flesh) came to earth and walked around and died for my sins, and that God lives in heaven; he’s my heavenly Father. As a result of those beliefs, I was baptized with water (full emersion) and received the Holy Spirit in me. The decision I made was to live out my life according to the bible and to its teachings, with my relationship with God as my number one priority.
I’ve grown up in the church, or as it’s called from here on out, the kingdom. My parents are amazing, strong disciples (a term for those who have been baptized) and have been for over 20 years. Because I’ve lived my whole life in the kingdom, in some senses, this decision has been 16 years in the making. However, at a teen camp organized by all our churches in the Pacific NW, I started to really take the things I was learning seriously for my own life, not just the rules my parents had put into play (keep in mind this was the 5th consecutive camp I had gone to). Some people will say, “well Marissa’s always been a good kid, isn’t that the same thing?” but no, it’s not. It really is a relationship. For relationships to grow, there needs to be initiative on both sides, and both parties receiving and giving encouragement is an important factor of this. However, I had been going about my life living as a “good kid” because of my respect for my parents, who in turn did have their roots and guidelines for life based off the bible. I said earlier that it was at a teen camp that I started to take seriously that I couldn’t live out my life in the kingdom for my parents, but I had to do it for me. After the summer camp between my freshman and sophomore year, I sat down and did a lot of thinking as to whether I really wanted to make this decision. Looking at it as a relationship, imagine someone you know who’s of the age to date and maybe get married. The relationship I was opening was at the same level of importance, maybe even more so because this decision would take priority over every other choice in my life. Basically, I decided to seek out an everlasting relationship with God.
The revolution in this story doesn’t come from many of my physical actions, because, as I previously stated, I had and have been a “good kid,” according to the eyes of the world (those outside the kingdom). But in my mind and in my heart, radical things were happening. I was studying out the bible, reading it, talking about it, constantly, with Christians who had been living the life a lot longer than me. I was really and truly understanding what it meant to be dedicated to God for the rest of my life. The most important factor here is that I was gaining this for myself. I wasn’t just obeying my parents rules, or reading the bible because I was “supposed to,” it was all me and my relationship with God. In any relationship, physical or spiritual, there are essential things for it to be solid. It’s like taking my relationship with God from “friend of a friend” (my parents) to “friend” and ultimately to “my best friend.” Because I was gaining a love for God, I also understood in a much deeper way than I could have before what all the “rules” I had grown up with really are and why I should follow them. They’re ways to not hurt my best friend, or myself. In any best friendship, the two will help, trust, encourage, advise, and love one another unconditionally.
Going through with the decision to get baptized meant I was taking a narrow road, one that not many chose to walk. It was closing the door to ever fully fitting in on my high school campus, something that in some ways was a huge desire for me, and I was changing that direction away from that path. With people making choices every day that were not what was on my agenda anywhere in life, whether it be inappropriate language, impure dancing, smoking, or even just attitudes that change their whole style of life, I knew ultimately this would be a hard choice that would change the course of my life. However, it opened the door to a life I could never have imagined, with amazing friendships that are solely love-based, and having my best friends in the kingdom means I would have support wherever I went, even if they weren’t at school with me or even in the same city or state. My outlook on life has changed greatly, taking into my heart the Lord God and feeling content when I remember him.
Some people view baptism as a requirement, something that has to happen when your family goes to church. It’s hard to entertain the idea of the choice we have, when it’s staring us right in the faces. However, I stand to testify that this choice was definitely my personal revolution, and would wish it on the world if I could. This decision has changed my life in so many ways in just a few short months, and I know all aspects of my life will be touched as I live it out to the fullest, as a disciple.
Scott & Lynne Green share at the Eastside parenting class
Sunday, March 13th, was a special day for our teen ministry as Elizabeth Keyser was baptized into Christ. If you weren’t able to attend the baptism there is a short YouTube video. Click the picture and then you’ll see the link to the Keyser’s video. Congratulations Elizabeth and welcome to the family.