There were carnival rides, bounce houses, live music, food and shuttle rides to and from the parking lot. One might think this was a vacation destination, but in reality it was Fire in the Sky, a community festival and fireworks show, hosted by First Baptist Church in Troup Friday, June 29.
Not only was the event local, everything was free. People of all ages took advantage of the food and festivities, staying after dark to watch the fireworks at the early celebration of our nation’s independence.
With such an undertaking, planning began months ago, according to First Baptist Church pastor Joe Ballard, with anywhere between 30-40 volunteers working the actual event.
The fireworks show, conducted by The Woodchuck Bomb Squad, lasted approximately 25 minutes but did not take place until after Ballard addressed the crowd.
“There are two symbols of great freedom that are standing before you,” Ballard noted. “One is the American flag, standing for freedom, and it stands for freedom all over the world. The other symbol is the cross.”
Ballard then shared several quotes from the founding fathers of our nation including John Adams and Benjamin Franklin.
“I want to offer you some of the quotes,” Ballard explained. “I’m doing that so that you’ll know that the fabric of this nation is built upon the belief of holy God and his son Jesus Christ.”
A contemporary quoted was Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, ordained Southern Baptist minister, author and political commentator.
“Every single one of us as Americans need to remember that freedom did not come free. As we get on our knees tonight, thank God we live in a country where people are trying to break into it and not in a country where people are trying out of it,” Ballard quoted Huckabee.
Ballard then presented a message based on the idea that although the United States is the freest nation on earth, there are many in America who are in living in bondage. He stated many are held captive by past hurts, a need to please people, religious rules and rituals, job situations, drugs and alcohol and even one’s possessions.
“Jesus came to set you free,” Ballard concluded. “Free from everything, free from sin, free from hell, free from the power of the devil, free from everything; Jesus came to set you free.”