Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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Baptism at the Ninth Hole
by Tom Goodman
February 27, 2008

Don’t Forget!
This Sunday morning, March 2,
we’ll celebrate in
one combined service at 10:45am!
The 10:45 youth Bible study and Common Ground Café will meet at 9:30.

"Pastor Greg, would you baptize me?"

Not an unusual request of a pastor.  Except this one was made on the edge of a water hazard while four men played golf.  I read the story in a church leadership journal.

Just before his move to another church, Pastor Greg Asimakoupoulos accepted an invitation to play golf with his friend Marty.  Seven years earlier, Marty had been a reluctant visitor to Greg's church.  The young father had been turned off by institutional religion in his youth and regarded the golf course as the best place to spend his Sunday mornings.

That first Sunday in church, Marty noticed an announcement for the annual men's golf tournament.  He signed up for the outing, won handily, and showed up in church the next Sunday for the award presentation.

He and his wife continued to attend due to the friendships built with other young adults, and they eventually committed their lives to Christ.  The young man threw himself into church life, but as the years passed he never followed his commitment to Christ with baptism.  That changed in that last round of golf before his pastor's departure:

As we approached the ninth tee, with a meandering brook and a cascading waterfall, Marty surprised me with a question:  "Pastor Greg, would you baptize me?"  I thought he was joking and reached for my driver.  Marty reached in his golf bag and retrieved the Bible I'd given him the day he became a Christian.  "I'm serious," he said.  "You know I've never been baptized.  And, well, here's water.  What's standing in the way?"

The pastor grinned and nodded at the parallel to the Ethiopian official in Acts 8.  They removed shoes and socks, stepped into the water hazard, and Greg baptized his friend.  "I welcomed my brother with a bear hug as he stepped out of the water," the pastor recounted.  "A water hazard on the ninth hole had become holy ground."

If you're ready to follow Christ in baptism, I'll joyfully baptize you just about anywhere—even a water hazard.  But this Sunday, we're going to have a Baptism Celebration in our auditorium at 5pm.  Contact me right away if you want to be a part of the Celebration!

Drop By the Blog, Leave a Comment.  At my weblog, "Get Anchored," every Sunday I post a new "Song of the Week" (This week, "Breathe" by Keller Williams).  Also, every Tuesday I post some entertaining and informative "Links to Your World."  This week you'll also find a question about your Bible's most important pages, the continuation of my LeaderLines series called "unChristian Christianity," and guidance for reaching our biblically illiterate culture (featured at Eileen Flynn's Statesman blog, Of Sacred and Secular).

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