Jonah Is Getting Baptized
Jonah gets baptized this Sunday
Back in August, I prayed with a couple for their son. His name is Jonah. Literally ... Jonah. I know a lot of people have been saying, “I am Jonah" ... but this dude’s name really is Jonah. In every way possible, he is the prodigal son. He ran far from the Lord. He walked away from church. He jumped into sin with both feet. Yet, God never gave up on him; because we know that "salvation belongs to the Lord" (Jonah 2:9). At his lowest point, God called Jonah to come home. Like the people of Nineveh, he wasn’t looking for the Lord. He wasn’t looking to be saved or wanting to change. But in the middle of his depravity and brokenness, God showed up and called him to repentance.
I met Jonah on Sunday, October 8th, when he joined the Uncommon Community small group. From the first night, I connected with Jonah in a special way. How do I say this ... Jonah is different. He’s raw. He says things how they are. He has lots of tattoos. He has a man’s beard. He usually wears a flannel shirt. He likes helping others. He is genuine and caring. He works on the railroad and recently applied to go to school to become a paramedic. Today, he is installing brake pads on a car for a single woman in our small group while she's at work. He just texted saying, "That’s what we're supposed to do." Like I said, he likes helping others. He is a Marine. He will always be a Marine. And he hasn’t missed a night of small group. Like the story of Jonah, our great God is working mightily. Here’s Jonah’s story written by Jonah himself, with his permission to share it with you:
My name is Jonah. I grew up in church my whole life so I knew about God, but I didn’t know God. I joined the Marine Corps infantry when I was 17 and was deployed to Afghanistan multiple times. That played a major role in how I saw people and how I saw God. Before accepting Christ, my life was full of sin ... this included lots of alcohol and lots of drugs. I was always chasing the next fix, buzz, high, or anything I could get my hands on. For a long time, I pushed away anyone that cared for me or loved me. I remember being unhappy and exhausted from living without meaning.
One morning I got off work and was home around 4AM and I just sat on my couch staring at a 12 pack of Bud Light that I had bought earlier that day. This was my daily routine. I was numbing my pain with drugs and alcohol. I started drinking when all of a sudden something inside me was like ... Jonah, what are you doing with your life? Why are you living this way? That’s when I got on my knees and truly cried out and prayed to God for the first time. That’s when the Holy Spirit convicted me and overwhelmed me with God’s love.
After that, I knew I had to change. A verse that has impacted me is Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” God has been working in my life by showing me how to serve Him and how I can serve others. He took me away from drugs and alcohol. He is now taking me in a completely new direction.
I want to be baptized because I want everyone to know my sins have been washed away. It's time to tell the world.
“And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized..." Acts 22:16a
Rejoice with Jonah
Be here on Sunday. Jonah’s baptism is 15 minutes into the second service, so even if you come to the first service, stand in the back and don’t miss this. Jonah is a story of a Prodigal Son and God has run to him with open arms. This Sunday, we are rejoicing! Parents, never stop praying for your children. Glory to God for what He is doing in the lives of people at Harvest.
I hope we have a thousand more stories like Jonah.