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Welcome Home!

An exciting and emotional reunion took place at this year’s State of the Union address on February 4.

A Fort Bragg soldier surprised his wife and two young children Tuesday night by appearing in the audience of President Donald Trump's State of the Union address.

Amy Williams was sitting next to first lady Melania Trump with 6-year-old Elliana and 3-year-old Rowan when the president recognized her. Trump said Williams works full-time and volunteers to help other military families.

"Amy, your family's sacrifice makes it possible for all of our families to live in safety and in peace. And we want to thank you," Trump said near the end of his speech. "Thank you, Amy."

Her husband, Army Sgt. 1st Class Townsend Williams, has been deployed for the last seven months, Trump said — his fourth deployment to the Middle East.

The audience gave her and the children a standing ovation.

"But Amy, there is one more thing. Tonight, we have a very special surprise," Trump said. "I am thrilled to inform you that your husband is back from deployment. He is here tonight and we couldn't keep him waiting any longer."

Amy Williams put her hand over her mouth. Sgt. 1st Class Williams came down the steps and hugged and kissed his daughter. He then picked up his son and hugged his wife.

"Welcome home, Sgt. Williams," Trump said.

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The reunion here last Sunday wasn't quite as dramatic as that one, but was just as exciting. Enthusiastic people of all ages greeted one another as we gathered together for a worship service inside the building for the first time since March 15. And the presence of the Lord was so very real to us.

The Christian life is all about Redemption and Reconciliation. By His death on the cross, Jesus provides Redemption for us – from sin and to Himself. He also provides Reconciliation – between us and the Father (our vertical relationship) and between us and one another (our horizontal relationships). Both relationships were ruined by sin (Genesis 3) but are restored by Christ’s death, healed by His blood (Ephesians 2).

The longer I have been a Christian, the more I recognize the necessity of the Body of Christ.

It is tempting to think Christianity is only about our vertical relationship: "It's just Jesus and me! I can stay home and watch my favorite preacher on television and be blessed." We are indeed blessed to have access to so many great teachers and spiritual resources, and I encourage you to take advantage of them.

But our horizontal relationships are essential also. We weren't designed to live the Christian life alone. We need the help of the Holy Spirit and we need one another! Paul uses a number of "one another" statements (I saw one total of 59), such as love, encourage, greet, accept, serve, forgive, be devoted to, submit to…one another. It sounds very important!

You may not be able to join together with us right now due to health, age or other vulnerability. Or you may just not be up to being in a crowd right now. That’s OK! Hopefully you will be up to it soon and we’ll look forward to seeing you then.

For those who can, I look forward to seeing you this Sunday at 10:35am. If you aren’t able to join us yet, be sure to access our online resources: Website, Facebook or YouTube channel.

Jesus Christ declared, "I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18). You and I are part of the church He is building. Isn’t that glorious!

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