Barney McCormick came to Christ and upon his conversion he asked to be baptized in the Alabama River. Oh… did I tell you it was December and the temperature was 42 degrees? I suggested we use the baptistery that had heated water. He said no. I asked why and he told me that he lived beside the river (I assumed his house was there). He told me he lived in a TENT beside the river!
Now I knew he was middle management where he worked and made a good living. So I asked him why he lived in a tent? He told me that if he lived in a house or apartment he wouldn’t be able to afford to pay his alimony and child support. He wanted to be baptized in the river to remember the event every day. BOOM. At that point I was deeply impressed with his commitment to his family even though it was broken. So we scheduled a baptism… in the Alabama River… for December 10th… when it was 42 degrees! Thus the picture to the right.
He was in a T-shirt and jeans. I had on long-handles… sweats… AND waders. He was fine wading into the water… but when he went under it took his breath away. You can tell how the cold water shocked him by looking at his face in the picture (Notice the waves are downstream as a result of the river flowing). His joy in following Christ that day through baptism is an event I will never forget.
I haven’t seen Barney for many years… but I’ll never forget him. He was a biker who lived a life for Christ from the day of his conversion. Even though I haven’t talked to him, I’m confident that his faith has continued and grown (God willing). Now one more thought…
Do you remember your baptism? Has your conversion resulted in following Christ regardless of the consequences? Do you have a fond memory of when you identified with Christ through baptism? I hope so… regardless of where it took place it was a significant event in your Christian life history.