Bob Kettlekamp, a member of New Covenant since 2007, shares his journey to relying on Jesus through baptism.
From an early age, I was very self-reliant. I was the oldest of six boys, went to Sunday School, learned the basics of the Bible, and believed in God and Jesus. Then my Mother became ill and my Dad worked a lot. So I (as the oldest), was expected to set a good example and be responsible. I still said prayers every night, but remember wishing God would say or do something in response. I believed in Jesus, yet took pride in being able to handle whatever life brought….until a series of humbling events made me painfully aware of my need for a Savior. To this day, I thank the Lord for those trials.
Admitting I needed a Savior was hard for a self-reliant person. It was difficult to accept that salvation is a free gift that requires no repayment and is not "earned." After I was saved, I felt the need to do "something" to change myself, to "catch-up" to the mature Christians in the congregation whom I admired, and who seemed to have such amazing "gifts." I am sure that God just rolled his eyes, and thought, “This guy still wants to figure life out all on his own.” I call this my DIY (do-it-yourself) messiah-stage. I spent too many years trying to be "like Jesus" when all I needed to know was that, I am valuable in God's eyes.
I then faced the decision of being baptized. I knew it was a command, but more importantly, I had to learn that this next step of baptism is not for the still proud. In my self-reliance, I had hoped to choose how I would impact others (like solve world hunger, poverty, etc.). I needed to accept my gifts as good enough, and freely offer them to the church body.
I was baptized in August 2017. It has been a long road, but I firmly believe that my baptism marked the end of my independent nature and allowed me to accept my identity in Christ Jesus. Now I am at peace with simply knowing that God has placed me where I am and given me gifts to share as part of a church family. I see now that my many years of serving in Children’s Church, simply helping to impact one person's life, is enough. I am not only an empty “jar of clay”...but one with His name on it...one that He can fill and use as He sees fit.