Yesterday was the best day ever! We went ALL IN at Trinity Harlem, baptism style. On the sidewalks of our block, members of our community made a decision that changes their eternity. It was quite a celebration! It was the perfect summer day in Harlem to be with our community, spirits were high and we topped it off with a frozen ice treat. It’s our prayer that members of our community were inspired.
Bobbi, a new servant leader said: "I'm getting ready to be married. I knew that to be the best possible wife in Christ for my husband there were some things I had to permanently leave behind. I want to show myself to NYC and the rest of the world in a very different manner. I feel brand new."
Roxy, another one of our servant leaders, said, "I wanted to do it [get baptized] with my adult acknowledgement of my love for Jesus. It felt like renewal."
Congratulations to all those who chose to go ALL IN and get baptized yesterday! We couldn't be more happy for you. As we rounded out our ALL IN series, we found it fitting that we begin to think about what’s next. Pastor Taylor said what’s next is we advance. We are called to advance. He referenced two verses that brought advancing to reality. First, Philippians 1:12, in which the apostle Paul said, “Now I want you to know...that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.” Also, Matthew 11:12: “And from the time John the Baptist began preaching until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and violent people are attacking it.”
As believers, that’s what we are called to do: advance the gospel through the word of our testimony. One example is a young man who attended and got baptized at our 10am service yesterday. He was so on fire for Jesus that he ran home to grab his friend and bring him to the noon service. His friend came, gave his life to Jesus and decided on the spot to get baptized, too! Now, that’s advancing the gospel. But it won’t always be that easy.
Sometimes, we may have a tendency to get stuck. But we can’t just remain in the same place for years and years of our lives. So often, we can get stuck in our routines and don’t yearn for anything new. But in life, just like in sports, the only way to win is to advance. In sports, it’s the ball that advances. In life, it’s our attitudes and our mindsets that must be pressing forward. So Pastor Taylor posed the question: Are we playing offense or defense? Are we sitting on the sidelines of life or aggressively attacking our challenges to ensure we’re growing? Are we working for a paycheck or stewarding our gifts and talents to become all God has called us to be? Are we simply preventing bad things from happening or making sure good things happen? The reality is: we can opt to just play it safe and avoid sin or we can be aggressive and take the light of Jesus into dark places.
We overcome the enemy when we're on offense, when we are actively advancing. You may be reading this and thinking, “Well I don't know how to advance yet.” If so, we encourage you to do something new, so God can do something new in you! The only way to predict the future is to create it, so we encourage you to forcefully advance in taking steps to be greater and to live out the abundant life we’re called to as believers.
To do so, we can’t live in fear of burning the bridge to our pasts. Instead, we must resolve to go ALL IN with Plan A and be so committed to it that Plan B isn’t even an option to settle for. To put this in perspective, Pastor Taylor quoted the explorer Hernán Cortés. When Cortés arrived in Mexico, he said to his men: “Burn the ships because we are not going back. We are going to die here or thrive here." We believe that’s an attitude we must also adopt. When we cling too closely to what God has done in the past, we can't see what God is doing. There’s a reason we won't find God in the past--His name is "I am," not "I was."
Know that Jesus doesn't want us to passively advance, He wants us to forcefully advance. And we at Trinity Harlem also want you to advance. It can be as simple as deciding to do something new, but it requires that first step. Take it! Jesus has your back. Commit to ending each chapter of your life with an exclamation point, not a period. Now that we're ALL IN, it's time to advance!