Keeping The Faith In Hollywood!

Keeping The Faith In Hollywood!

Monday, August 31, 2009

I Got Baptized Today!

August 30th 2009

After years of debating the need to actually baptise again after my initial (and totally unrecollected) sprinkling as an infant, I finally took the plunge (literally)! It was a wonderful and truly life changing ceremony which was performed by Pastor Israel at the Living Faith Church in Eagle Rock. You may wonder how someone who proclaims to be a Christian and writes a blog declaring as much, could have the nerve to not be baptised as an adult and you would be right to feel as much because I have felt the same.

For years I had been debating getting baptized since I am now a mature and spiritually aware Christian adult and I know it is what I needed to do, as a sinner, to live a cruciform life with Christ as my example. The problem has always been that I have never had one moment, since I have known myself, that I did not (1) know and love God the Father, (2) know, love and accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior and (3) love and been aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Because of this, I didn't think I was in need of baptism because I didn't have a need of a conversion experience, so to speak, as that's what I've had since age 3 (as my mother can attest to).

However, I have definitely grown in my faith since childhood and l've grown leaps and bounds in my faith and knowledge of God's word in just the past 4 years. In fact, some who know me may say that I am an entirely new person. So, I have been watching and studying baptisms, Christenings and dedication ceremonies at every type of church I've attended (Catholic, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Seventh-Day Adventist, Evangelical) and even home baptisms and I have witnessed the baptism of several infants, children and adults. Recently, the feelings intensified and I felt compelled to attended every single baptism at church for the past 8 months.

I spoke with the pastors at church privately about my dilemma and they encouraged me to search my heart to know when I would be ready. So when the pastors announced the worldwide Day of Decision Event on September 13th, 2009 (which is my birthday, ironically), I knew it was time for my spiritual "rebirth". I reviewed all the scriptures about baptism like "you must be born again from above" and others like Galatians Chap 2:20, Galatians 3: 26-27, Colossians 2:12, Mark 16:15-16, Matthew: 28;19-20 and Acts 2:38-41. However, the ones that did it for me was (1)Matthew; 3-13-17 when Jesus asked John the Baptist to baptize him and John the Baptist protested that he was not fit to baptize the Christ. Jesus encouraged him to proceed saying "baptism fulfills righteousness" and (2) Romans 6:3-5 " during baptism, we die and are resurrected in Christ" and (3) 1 Peter 3:21 "baptism is the answer of a good conscience towards God".

I also found these two questions to ask yourself before baptism in a book I read online called Understanding 4 Views on Baptism by Tom J. Nettles, Richard Pratt and John Armstrong (page 144).

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Baptism:
1) Have I counted the cost of such a life in which Christ must forever increase and I must forever decrease?

2) Am I willing to let the Holy Spirit duplicate Jesus' cruciform life in my existence?

I answered yes to all of the above. Additionally, today's sermon in church was for us to seek salvation "while it could still be found" and the pastor implored us over the 1 hour and 45 minutes of the service to confess our sins and to not leave church today without accepting Christ. Still, I was surprised when I got dressed in the baptismal gown that I felt so giddy. When I was asked to describe it, the closest to which I could identify was that of a bride about to walk down the aisle to be married (75% happy anticipation and 25% clenched gut and butterflies) though I've never been married and the baptismal gown looked like a hospital smock. I thought maybe I felt that way because I had been trying on wedding gowns and watching tons of "Running of the Brides" videos on youtube. However, the Bible tells us that we, the church, are to be "like a spotless bride" for Christ, so I guess the feeling was appropriate.

I walked to the 4x6 ft inflatable pool and the pastor helped me in and he calmed me as he could tell I was nervous. What was truly funny was when Pastor Israel was about to submerged me, I had a brief uncontrollable moment when my body refused to let my head go totally underwater. I was surprised at this because I have no fear of water and I am an avid swimmer. I realized that my reaction was a fear reaction not of fear of water but because my life was literally in the pastors hands if he slipped and held me under incorrectly. CPR and life-saving images flashed inside my head for a split-second then I had to let go of control and choose to believe God. So, as Pastor Israel spoke those blessed words over me, I placed both hands over my heart I allowed myself to go under, as if in death, and to rise again in Christ. My church friends smiled and clapped, some even cried. I was crying a bit too, as the water streamed down my face and body. Then I was shaking and the most amazing feeling came over me and I just had to whoop loudly! Amazing God!

The rest of the day was just surreal with 100 plus weather and the smoke of the fires in the hills of the San Gabriel mountains as backdrop to my big day. Some friends from church took me to a Mexican fast food place and we had lunch to celebrate. I kept telling them I felt like I was in a dream or in a slow motion movie. I can't tell if it's from the baptism or the closeness of the smoke plumes or both.

As we were heading home, we drive by large billboards and posters advertising upcoming movies whose plot depictions seem absolutely ridiculous (late August is really a bad time for true movie-lovers). I looked at the hills in the direction of Studio City, where some big Hollywood studios are and reflected on Hollywood's take on Christianity and baptism. Many movies use conventional redemption as a theme for its hero (protagonist) and what he/she desires most as a catalyst for change and the driving force behind the movie but usually they shy away from attributing that change to spirituality and/or God, Christ Jesus (God with us) or the Holy Spirit. I can only think of one mainstream movie off the top of my head in the past 20 years that depicts baptism or a meaningful spiritual conversion among its lead characters and that is The Passion of the Christ. I'll do some research on the topic and I'll review the published movie guides and post my results at a later date. If I can't find another movie that shows an unabashed spiritual conversion then maybe I'll write one myself.

Later, I called my mom to tell her about my baptism and not to worry about my safety among the fires here. I told her how giddy and dreamy I was feeling hours after the baptism and she said, "you feel like you are new". Yeah, Ma, I feel like I'm new!

To learn more on Jesus and His baptism:

To learn more of the Day of Decision Event at

Learn more about my church at

Film review resources:

2007 Movie Guide by Leonard Maltin

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