Independence Party – A Great Success

In A Christian Life, The Pastor's Blog on July 5, 2009 at 11:19 PM

We had been planning this event for several weeks, and today finally happened. After hearing Dr. Owen Weston at our Florida Campmeeting this year, I became acutely aware of the need to reach out to the community more than ever before. Along with some of my leadership, we began planning a 5th of July party at our local church. We called it an “Independence Party.”

I’ve added a couple of pictures so you could see some of the day’s activities. The one on the left shows Pastor Lee Browning (Umatilla Church of God) on the right and me on the left. What a privilege it was to be part of what the Lord did; this was truly the highlight of the whole day.

The party began during the 11:00 morning service. The message was titled “A Fight for Freedom,” using Jude 1-3 as the foundational scriptures. The premise of the message was our need to fight for the faith which has been handed down to all the saints. Jude wanted to write to the people about their common salvation, but felt it more important to stir them up regarding the fight for their faith, which was under heavy attack. We celebrated Independence Day because brave men and women sought a better life for themselves and future generations. We must do the same in order to keep our faith active and alive.

There was a wonderful spirit of worship in our little church as people lifted their hands and voices heavenward, praising God with one voice. It was a powerful reminder that people have a desire to offer praise to the Lord of glory. I believe worship is a common denominator around the world – people were created to give honor to our creator, and that desire is a thread that crosses borders and language barriers across this world we live in.

After the service, we began setting up tables outside under a cover for the food and places to sit. The Umatilla Church of God and Praise Cathedral our of Eustis joined in with us for an afternoon of fellowship around the table. We used to have fellowship meals like this on a routine basis many years ago, but I think we got too busy; hopefully, there’s a change in the making. Our church provided the fried chicken and families brought cover-dish meals. We all shared what we had, and I don’t believe anyone left hungry.

We had the use of a water slide for the day, and there were plenty of people who enjoyed themselves in the heat of central Florida. In fact, this was the first time the pastor ever slid down one of those things; it was a blast and required another run down into the pool. Who said old people can’t have fun? Let me tell you, it didn’t take long to fill up the line after we opened the water slide for use; those kids ran as fast as I’ve ever seen.

The height of the day’s activities was our baptismal service. It was conducted outdoors in a large pool. Pastor Lee Browning from Umatilla and I shared in the privilege of baptizing 24 people. What an honor! Sister Connie Beck ministered to each person after baptism, speaking what the Lord had laid on her heart to share with them. I had asked her to take part in this important service, and she gladly accepted the invitation. I could sense the Spirit of God speaking words of encouragement and purpose into the lives of every one who made the choice to be baptized. You can look at some videos on Facebook if you would like.

After the baptism, it was time to begin cleaning up and putting things back in order. It didn’t take long because there were many volunteers from our churches who wanted to help. That’s the way it ought to be: cooperating together to reach a common goal. Chairs were stacked, tables were folded and utensils were washed. People working together – that was a beautiful sight.

After most everything was put back in order, my family and I made our way back to the parsonage, tired, but full of amazement at what the Lord had done today. We had some supper and I made my way to the couch to watch some TV. For some strange reason my eyelids closed pretty tight and what was on became very uninteresting. The day had finally caught up to me.

Thank you, Lord, for this great day. My heart’s desire would have been more people to enjoy it with, but we had a wonderful time with the ones who were here. (A pastor is never satisfied!) I don’t know what God has in store for us, but we will keep looking for his hand guiding us along the way.

  1. Glad to hear of great events for you!

  2. What a delightful day it must have been.

    Sincerely, I wish I were there. Would have loved a bite of that famous chicken, and … oh that water slide! I’m not a water person (I prefer the mountains), but I would have enjoyed watching people having fun! Hope you posted pictures to go with this entry… sounds so wonderful.

    That other churches joined in too was really special, and to have a baptismal service right on the Independence Day weekend, how truly symbolic.

    The cleanup after is what gets me, cause I’m some kind of a neat freak, but how wonderful it is when willing hands work together. What a beautiful picture of unity and love.

    A truly heartwarming story. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi, Lidia. It was truly a remarkable day beginning with Sunday School and all throughout the afternoon. To answer your inquiry, I didn’t have time to take pictures and have to depend on others who did. I will get copies and add them to the post as soon as possible.

      Sis, I must confess the highlight of the day was the baptismal service. Speaking to the crowd gathered around to observe and offer thanks to God for his wonderful works was a joy, indeed. I suppose one thing that really thrilled my soul was when it was time for my two granddaughters to get baptized. What a joy that was! One man got in the pool (the last candidate) at the last moment. I said “I didn’t know you were going to be baptized” and his reply was priceless – “I didn’t either.” He said that with a joy on his face and tears streaming down his cheeks. I wouldn’t trade that moment for all the gold in the world.

      Be blessed and thanks for your friendship.

  3. Hi, it’s 3:30 a.m. here in the Philippines, and I still haven’t slept much. Decided to check my blog, and there everybody is… comments coming in… to my heart’s delight.

    As the saying goes, “To a friend’s house, the road is never long.” This was how I felt.

    Annie read five of my recent posts and left comments one after the other, and then suddenly there was you… glad to catch all of you on real time.

    And hey, these pictures are great! Helps one get a better idea of what the words look like in living color!

    Thanks for visiting, and also for posting the pictures.

    • Annie afforded me the same blessing and it was very welcome, indeed. Glad you like the pictures. I’ve not been able to figure out how to post videos on WordPress from Facebook, but will keep trying; in any event, the link is visible. Be blessed and get some rest.

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