Generally I don’t do any writing on Sunday but there are those times when something so very special happens which needs sharing.
I awoke today and had one of those brilliant runs at sunrise through the neighborhood over towards Richlands College. However, one of my most important missions, having relocated to Dallas, is to find a church home where the West family can continue to worship our Lord, Jesus Christ. Our Pastor Scott Eynon back at Community Christian Church in Tamarac sent us three recommendations — one of those is Watermark Community Church, just ten minutes from our new home in Woodbridge.
Watermark is pastored by a stud of a guy named Todd Wagner, who is representative of the Revolutionary War’s Black Robe Brigade. He is definitively a warrior pastor.So this morning I pulled up to Watermark Church, and the first thing I noticed is the young people. The second thing I noticed were the grills going in the parking lot and the fun houses — it was Baptism Sunday at Watermark. I figured, aw man, I will not get to have service and communion (it is First Sunday). However, God knew what He was doing. The service was centered instead on testimonies from those who were to be baptized and worship songs. I found myself drifting back and remembering my own baptism — not the ceremonial one as a child — but the real one in January 1980 at the New Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church in Knoxville Tennessee when I was a freshman at University of Tennessee.
As I listened to the testimonies and Pastor Wagner, one word came to mind; redemption. The whole purpose of the Christian life is redemption; the restoration of that individual relationship between God and man that was lost when Adam and Eve were cast from the Garden of Eden. Jesus Christ came as the sacrifice by which through His actions we could have forgiveness. But the new beginning of redemption, being redeemed, for men and women begins with baptism — as the old is cast aside and the new arises from the water.
As it says in Paul’s letter to the Hebrews 9:12 (New International Version), “He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.”The act of baptism is that first and most important step to spiritual freedom — it is the beginning, not the end. It does not mean all is going to be peachy keen — but you know from whence your strength will come by way of a redeemed relationship to God our Father.
And so for the 334 great Texans – Americans and Christians — who went down into the water today at Watermark Church, I wish to dedicate this song from the group Big Daddy Weave, “Redeemed” — you have been set free. You can follow this special day at #watermarkbaptism15.
But freedom is not free…and that leads to the second special blessing of this day. This afternoon at the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, I had the honor of speaking at the Daughters of World War II V-E Remembrance event. As Jesus sacrificed for our spiritual freedom, seventy years ago brave American men fought and sacrificed to ensure the beacon of freedom burned ever so bright in the face of abject evil. It was on April 29, 1945 that those men of the Seventh Army, 45th Infantry Division liberated the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau.
So today I stood before men who were part of that “Greatest Generation” who gave Europe an important gift seventy years ago — freedom. Sadly, today we have blatant fools and idiots who are going around on social media stomping our American flag, which for many around the world has been a tangible symbol of freedom. Perhaps these individuals desecrating our flag — and no, I don’t consider that freedom of expression, sorry, guess four generations of combat veterans in my family enables me to have a different perspective — should be forced to sit with a Holocaust survivor from Dachau and ask them what it was like to see that American flag. Maybe those survivors can teach these mindless lemmings a lesson about what freedom means.
I walked into Watermark Community Church today not realizing that this day would remind me of redemption and freedom — and the price that has been paid for those privileges.
Lastly, as I walked out of Watermark Community Church a very nice lady named Beth Honeycutt recognized me — as several did — but she came up and began to cry. She told me she was worried about her country. I told her not to cry, and the reason being there are always warriors, men and women, who will defend freedom. Men and women who will redeem our nation — and I can assure you, they will know of God’s redemption because this is a Judeo-Christian heritage nation!