Cody Bertram's story before he was baptized on April, 29th, 2018 in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
I grew up in a house and a church that loved Jesus. All of my friends came from church. I attended church regularly. I sang the songs. I read the Bible. I went to the summer camps and ski trips. From a young age I considered myself a Christian because of these things. How could I not be a Christian since I was surrounded by Christian things?
But a year before my oldest son was born, Jesus brought my dead heart to life. I am in awe of the radical difference between a dead heart and a Spirit enlivened one.
My dead heart did not truly love people. I argued with everyone. I sought to belittle anyone and everyone. In college I would intentionally start arguments to make myself look and feel better. As an adult I saw people as a means to my ends.
Because of Jesus. I can love as I have been loved now. I now can joyfully pursue people and listen with actual love and interest. At church, I find actual joy in seeing others succeed and grow.
My dead heart desired my fame, my glory, my comfort and most importantly, my way. I mocked and ridiculed people with real faith. I was angry with others who showed love for Jesus. I found reasons to argue with anyone and everyone. My goal was to be the smartest person in the room because I read more, thought more deeply, and argued more aggressively.
Because of Jesus, I died and my life is now hidden with Christ in God. My anger is gone and replaced my joy and love for Jesus. I know now that I am nothing without Jesus and my confidence is in his crucifixion alone. I am no longer enslaved by the need to be right all the time.
My dead heart led my wife selfishly and into darkness. My anger and selfishness dragged my marriage through mud. I spent most of my time reading books and listening to authors who did not love Jesus. My goal was to be smarter than everyone else including my wife. We argued a lot. I was angry a lot. We were involved in a good church, with people who loved us and I found ways to undermine their beliefs and care for us. I led us away from that church and into churches that did not love Jesus.
Because of Jesus, I know what it looks like to lay my life down for another.
What is about to happen here—going under water and then coming back up—displays quite literally what Jesus did to me. I was dead—in every sense of that word—and now...
The Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in me. He who raised Christ from the dead has given me life.