MERRY CHRISTMAS to all of our listeners from WallBuilders!!! Today all around the world we’re celebrating Christ, the reason for the season! In the hustle and bustle of getting ready for family dinners and parties, let’s not forget the reason we come together to celebrate:  The birth of Jesus Christ!  Today, we had the privilege to talk with Pastor Tim Brooks & Congressman Colonel Brian Birdwell on how we can share that Christmas spirit with our military, prisoners, and how to share that love everywhere we go and especially how to remember our vets who are serving during Christmas.  Tune in now to learn more!

On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton

Air Date: 12/25/2017


Guests: Pastor Tim Brooks & Congressman Colonel Brian Birdwell


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Transcription note:  As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast.  However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.

Faith And The Culture

Rick:

Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture.  This is WallBuilders Live! Where we talk about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture, always from a Biblical, historical, and Constitutional perspective.

Today we’re here with David Barton, America’s premier historian and the founder here at WallBuilders. Also, Tim Barton, national speaker, pastor, and president of WallBuilders. And my name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas state legislator.

Merry Christmas to everybody. It is Christmas Day. You can visit our websites today for some great news about Christmas and other things and also some great information and materials – WallBuildersLive.com and WallBuilders.com. Tim Brooks will be with us. Got Brian Birdwell, a Senator from Texas will be with us a little later in the program.

A Great Day to be on the Program

Rick:

Guys, Merry Christmas. What a great day to be on the program.

David:

Yeah, it really is great. And by the way, Merry Christmas. Right up front, right off the top. I’ve been waiting 364 days to say this.

Tim:

You have not wait that long to say it.

David:

Well, that’s true.

Tim:

You’ve been saying “Christmas” all year long. But, actually today it’s appropriate.

David:

Well, it’s appropriate every day. What are you talking about?

Tim:

We can celebrate Jesus all year long and we should. But, it actually is Christmas Day and so now it makes sense to say “Merry Christmas” and talk about Christmas. But, certainly, the point is that it is Christmas and so it’s not a holiday. It’s not “Seasons Greetings” because a season is Christmas and the holiday is Christmas Day. And so, certainly, we are not afraid to talk about Christmas with Christ being the center theme of what Christmas is about.

Rick:

Well, that is the reason for the season, right?

Three Things That Seem to be Disappearing

David:

That is the reason for the season. And I’ve kind of picked up a little thing on that. Well, we’ve heard before you keep Christ in Christmas. I’ve kind of got three of them now. We want to keep Christ in Christmas, we want to keep God in Thanksgiving, and we want to keep truth in history.

Those are the three things that seem to be disappearing a whole lot over the last few years. But, this is the time to keep Christ in Christmas. And so, again, Merry Christ-mas. Merry Christmas to everybody.

Rick:

And we’ve got a special guest with us, Tim Brooks, a pastor there in Hot Springs, Arkansas. A good friend of the show, and the Barton’s, and the Green’s, and we’re just thrilled to have him with us on Christmas Day to remember what the reason for the season is. Not just Christmas Day, but this whole season, period. Tim, thanks for joining us today.

Tim Brooks:

Oh, what a great, great, day. Thank you for having me. The truth is, it’s the greatest day of our lives each year. This is the greatest day of our lives.

Rick:

Well, and it’s a day where our listeners, Tim, are all over, not just the country listening to Christmas Day on WallBuilders Live, but all over the world. We’ve got people that e-mail us from all over the world and a lot of military guys as well. But, some of these folks outside the country — they may not understand why America and Christmas go so well together.

Why Do We Say “Happy Holidays”

Tim Brooks:

Well, and it is a world-changing event. I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about this, but why do we say “Happy Holidays”? You know, we don’t say that Memorial Day, Labor Day, Martin Luther King’s birthday, Washington’s birthday, Fourth of July. We’ve got a lot of fantastic holidays around the year, but why do we only say “holiday, Happy Holidays”?

It’s because that word comes from two words holy-day. When you put holy day together, then you get holiday. Thanksgiving is a holy day. The dictionary says it’s time to give thanks to God. The whole world’s calendar changes on New Year’s Day from 2017 to 2018. 2017 years since what?  Jesus – that’s what we’re marking.

So, New Year’s Day, New Year’s Eve, is a holy day. We’re right in the middle of the holy day season. And today is we’re caught up in the hustle, and the bustle, and the driving, and the presents, and the food, and trying to get to grandmother’s house. * This is a holy day. A day of celebration to God for what He has done.

Man’s Problem

Tim Brooks:

And we celebrate the birth of Jesus. We celebrate the birth of a baby in a manger. Let’s not forget that baby brought salvation to the whole world. Man’s problem is sin. Man’s problem is dealing with the sin nature of mankind. When John the Baptist was baptized and calling for repentance, he looked up and he said, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins” — not of America, not of Germany, not of Japan, He takes away the sins — “of the world.”

For a special day, this is as worldwide we celebrate the birth of the Savior of the world. And make sure today in all of our hustle and our bustle and, “Did we get a present for this person?” and “Did we get a present for them?”  “Okay, did you bring the cranberry sauce?”  Before we get involved in all of that, driving down the road this morning, on your way to wherever you’re going, I want you to celebrate in your heart the birth of the Savior of the world.

Not Just a Time to Exchange Presents

Rick:

We had Ray Comfort on a couple of weeks ago with his new film about Christmas where he interviewed people all over the world about Christmas. That reminded us this is such a great opportunity for us, as everybody’s talking about Christmas, as we gather with our families around Christmas, to share the story of Christ and to share the gospel. This is not just a time to exchange presents – it’s a time to celebrate the birth of Christ and to share the gospel with others.

Tim Brooks:

Well, and as we are, “Happy Holidays, Happy Holidays,” we can’t forget that that word means holy day.

Rick:

Yeah.

Tim Brooks:

And this is — and I do — we celebrate Columbus’s birthday and Washington’s birthday, and we celebrate a lot of famous people’s birthdays, but we don’t refer to them as holy days. This is truly a happy holy day.

Standing Where it all Started

David:

One of the things really cool about this is, Tim, and in this case, Tim Barton, we’re talking to Tim Brooks – a pastor in Arkansas and good friend. But, Tim and I were in Israel and got to stand outside Bethlehem in the shepherd’s field. And it was really fun to think about, “This is where the shepherds were when the announcement came.”

And it really — you got a holy feeling when you kind of thought about, “Hey, wow, everything started right here. This is where all this stuff was going was right here in Bethlehem.”

And it really is a worldwide event. And certainly today, all over the Holy Land, all over the Middle East, there are so many that come in from across the world just to be at Bethlehem, just to be in Israel, on this day because it is such a remarkable time. It is, Tim, as you pointed out, at a time where even our calendar is built around what happened here. This is a huge time, a huge day.

And so, you’re right, we don’t want to get caught up in the bustle and the hustle of the day and all the stuff. And getting ready for Christmas tonight and getting ready for grandparents and family and kids. This is a time to stop and remember just what this day is all about.

Tim Brooks:

Well, it’s sad to me because I hear people say, “Oh, we don’t do presents, we don’t put up a–, we don’t celebrate, we don’t do all of that.” It is a time for families to celebrate. It is the time of us — and as we give presents to one another, that’s to celebrate God’s getting the gift that He gave us.

So, all that we’re doing today, and you’re about right now to be late to getting to grandma’s house. All that we’re doing today is very, very important.

It’s vital that we do that. But, let’s make sure in doing that that we don’t let the tail wag the dog. Let’s make sure that in doing that we remember why we’re doing it and that Jesus is the center of this celebration and not the cranberry sauce, and the dressing, and who got who what present.

Don’t Just Exchange Presents

Rick:

I don’t know about you guys, I can remember as a kid, we would actually read the Christmas story on Christmas Day and all the kids would gather around. But, I’ve noticed that even with the different family celebrations I go to now, that rarely happens anymore. Do you recommend our listeners, hey, bring that tradition back and gather everybody around? And don’t just exchange presents – tell the story of why we’re exchanging presents.

Tim Brooks:

Absolutely. We don’t open a single present until the Christmas story is read and that as a family, and friends, whoever’s gathered there, that we pray and thank God for His gift to us. And we thank God for, “God, thank You for Your present, thank You for Your gift.”

And just as we open a present and yell across the room, “Oh, thank you, this is just what I wanted.” Make sure that we remember, and in prayer, before we open the present that we thank God for the present that He has given us that we are opening in our hearts today.

Rick:

Amen. Christian Ministries Church is where Tim Brooks is from – CMchurch.com. You guys should listen to Tim’s sermons online there. A lot of people do that from all over the country. We encourage you to do that as well.

Tim, God bless you, brother. Merry Christmas. We sure appreciate you spending part of your Christmas with us.

Tim Brooks:

Merry Christmas, everybody. And today, have the greatest day of your lives today.

Rick:

Stay with us folks. Got to take a quick break. We’ll be right back on WallBuilders Live.

Moment From American History

This is David Barton with another moment from America’s history. The key to a self-governing nation is self-governing people. And the key to personal self-government is to live by the standards in God’s word. If someone cannot control himself by those standards then our Constitution certainly will be unable to restrain him.

Understanding this, John Adams declared, “We have no government armed with power, capable of continuing with human passions, unbridled morality, and religion. Greed, ambition, revenge, or seduction would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is holy and adequate to the government, of any other.”

John Adams believed that successful government rested not upon our great Constitution but rather upon moral and religious people. For more information on God’s hand in American history contact WallBuilders at 1-800-8-REBUILD.

Rick:

Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us on this Christmas Day. Thanks to Pastor Tim Brooks for being with us in our last segment reminding us what the reason for the season is and just being thankful for what we have.

We’re back with David and Tim Barton. And also joining us, our good friend, Colonel Brian Birdwell, state senator from Texas. Just a fantastic guy,  a frequent guest here on the program. Hey, we love you, brother. Merry Christmas – thanks for taking some time with us.

Colonel Brian Birdwell:

Hello, Merry Christmas. My treat to join you guys today. Always great to be with you.

Remembering Our Military Service Members

Rick:

Well, David was talking off air a little bit about just how important it is on this Christmas day to think about our friends, and family, and fellow countrymen, that are serving us all over the world right now that don’t get to come home for Christmas and be around their family. And he suggested we get you on the phone and talk a little bit about that. How we can remember those guys that are over there all over the place that right now wish they were home with their family but aren’t. But, they’re serving us.

Colonel Brian Birdwell:

Well, as we’ve spoken about many times before, I’ve had two Christmases in Korea, one of which was in the demilitarized zone. Christmas in El Salvador down in Central America, to Christmas in Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War in the lead up to the Desert Storm, and then of course, a number of them over in Germany. And so, I know exactly what you’re talking about and describing because there’s always that little bit of homesick. You know, coming from Texas and my first Christmas in Korea is the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders came over and such like that. So you’ll get various different sports entities or other things.

A lot of people do – different folks reaching out to our military men and women. But, yeah, it’s very much, when you’re stationed in a remote location, that feeling of homesickness because of being overseas particularly at the Christmas/New Year’s time of year that you wish you were back home. And so it’s always neat to have folks do something, or a care package, or a letter, or something, from home just to let folks know that they’re thinking about you.  It’s very much appreciated. Our military members always appreciate receiving those types of things.

What Can We Do?

Rick:

Well, you kind of answered my next question  – what made it easier for you and what could we do? Here it is already Christmas Day, so it’s a little late to send anything for this year. But, what are some things we can do for those folks that are serving us?

Colonel Brian Birdwell:

Well, first and foremost, always is just to pray for their safety and security. There are folks serving overseas in places that aren’t necessarily hostile. But, then there are folks, you know, we still have people in Afghanistan, folks in Iraq, and then in other places where they’re training with the indigenous folks.

In fact, if you remember just a couple of months ago we had the four service members killed in Niger. Not a country that you think of hostile things going on like Afghanistan, but not necessarily a secure location.

So, first and foremost, pray. As you know, David’s always taught me in scripture, “The prayers of a righteous man availeth much.” And so, first and foremost, pray.

Second, send a card, or a letter, or a care package. The military has its own postal system.

And so, you’ve seen I’m sure, advertisements run on products, APO and FPO. That stands for Army Post Office or Fleet Post Office. And so, there are three different APO addresses that you can use. “APO AE” stands for Army Europe. Or, if it’s “FPO AE,” it’s Armed Forces Europe. “AA” is the Americas, so that package would go to somebody in the Americas – in Central or South America.

And then “AP” stands for Pacific. That would generally go to anybody in the Pacific Command’s area. Hawaii and Alaska, while they are overseas from a geographic combatant command, command relationship since they’re part of the United States, those would still use regular mail. But, you can’t send anything that’s not authorized in those foreign countries. But I’ve gotten many a package of hot sauce or something in Texas from folks overseas that I very much appreciated.

What Was Your Most Memorable or Best Package?

Rick:

Well, you keep answering my questions before I get a chance to ask them, Colonel, are you * today on Christmas? I was going to ask you — Christmas or any other time, and this one I didn’t prep you for so you couldn’t study.  What was the most memorable or best package you ever got while you were overseas?

Colonel Brian Birdwell:

My aunt from here in the Fort Worth area, my aunt sent me six bottles of a hot sauce from a restaurant in a styrofoam package – a restaurant actually out of San Antonio. And we had the chips, but you know here’s the thing you need to know about care packages: just because it may have been mailed to me since I’m in that unit, everybody gets dibs on their share of that care package. So, if somebody gets a cake, everybody gets a slice, okay. Because your platoon members might duct tape you to your cot if you don’t share the goodies with them, okay.

Rick:

So your aunt was thinking ahead. She knew to send plenty.

Communication Was all by Letter

Colonel Brian Birdwell:

Send plenty. Absolutely. There is a weight limit you can go to either stamps.com or the Postal Service website. I did check those out. Because, look, 30 years ago when I was in Korea, you know, no internet, no cell phones, communication was all by letter. Now, in today’s more modern technology arena, there are still limitations to what you can send, you have to send a customs form declaration if the letter is over 16 ounces or if it’s a package it has to be less than 70 pounds. But just check with your postal service.

There’s one other thing. Here’s the second — the third thing I would add, Rick, Tim, and David. This year I decided to send a Christmas card to a prisoner at the Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth. There are a few prisoners there, but they are soldiers even though they’ve been convicted of felonies, there are a few soldiers there. Remember, scripture tells us not to forget the prisoner at all.

Rick:

That’s right.

Colonel Brian Birdwell:

So whether they were rightfully convicted or wrongfully convicted, the United States – it’s U.S. DB, any soldier, any airman. All the military’s felon folks go to the United States Disciplinary Barracks – U.S. DB – at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. There are a few, like Sergeant Miller or Lieutenant *Morant, that I believe have been wrongfully convicted.   

Look, I’m not trying to make this a political discussion, but it was pretty clear in the last eight years the hostility to either people of faith or people on duty that the previous administration had. There’s good reason to believe those two gentlemen were wrongfully convicted and their appeals are currently going through the Court of Military Appeals right now.

Don’t Forget the Prisoners

Colonel Brian Birdwell:

That could eventually go to the Supreme Court. But, I would also strongly recommend let’s not, even though you’ve got folks overseas in the APO and FPO systems anywhere around the world, I would also say the third group of people not to forget is the prisoners that had the uniform of their country on that are now at the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth. Let’s not forget them at this Christmas and New Year’s time either.

Rick:

Yeah, that’s a good message, brother. Good message. And I would say, even though it is Christmas Day today, hey, still send something tomorrow or the next day that these folks —

Colonel Brian Birdwell:

Oh, yeah.

Rick:

–whether they’re overseas or Leavenworth, they’re going to be thrilled to get it yet.

Colonel Brian Birdwell:

Yep. But now you can’t send care packages to the disciplinary barracks. You can only send Christmas/New Year’s cards. You know, mail that does get inspected and such you can’t send care packages to the disciplinary barracks. But, I assure you, that those young men and women that are incarcerated there, just like Christ tells us not to forget them, appreciate a note that communicates. Because I’ve seen–

Rick:

Yeah.

Colonel Brian Birdwell:

–certainly had communication with prisoners. And many times during my life, particularly when Mel and I were running our ministry, that they very much appreciate that.

Rick:

Yeah.

Help Give the Message of the Lord’s Grace

Colonel Brian Birdwell:

Whether they were rightfully or wrongfully convicted. And most of them recognize the evil of what they have done. And they appreciate getting that message of the Lord’s grace just like He came to us on earth.

Rick:

Amen.

Colonel Brian Birdwell:

And the best way we can get to that prisoner is through a card or a letter.

Rick:

Amen. Good work, brother, good work. Colonel Brian Birdwell, appreciate you, brother. Thanks for your time and Merry Christmas to you and Mel.

Colonel Brian Birdwell:

Hoorah! You all take care. God bless you. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all too. Hoorah!

Rick:

Stay with us, folks. We’re going to take a quick break. We’ll be right back on this Christmas Day here on WallBuilders Live.

Moment From American History

This is David Barton with another moment from America’s history. Around 1790 the infamous Thomas Paine wrote his age of reason attacking religion and Christianity. Interestingly, one of the strongest defenders against Payne’s attack was Benjamin Franklin.

In fact, he stiffly rebuked and told him, “He that spits in the wind spits in his own face. Do you imagine any good would be done by this attack against religion. Think how great a portion of mankind consists of youth who have need of the motives of religion to restrain them from violence to support their virtue. I would advise you not to attempt unchaining the tiger but to burn this piece before it is seen by any other person. If men are so wicked with religion what would they be if without it?”

Benjamin Franklin believed that the practice of religion was one of the greatest assets of American society. For more information on God’s hand in American history. Contact WallBuilders at 1-800-8-REBUILD.

Rick:

Welcome back to WallBuilders Live on this Christmas Day. Thanks for staying with us. Thanks to Pastor Tim Brooks for joining us and also to Colonel Brian Birdwell, State Senator from Texas, for being with us on this Christmas Day as well. We’re back with David and Tim Barton. Guys, only a few minutes left with our — for Christmas together today.

Tim:

And, Rick, as we are kind of wrapping down the show, you mentioned an earlier family tradition of reading from Luke chapter 2, the Christmas story. And it’s something that that our family does. In fact, before we open presents, we sit around in the living room close to the tree, we have a Bible, open it up, and everybody reads one verse. And we pass it around starting in verse one getting all the way through verse 20. And I thought it might just be a cool deal if we just read some of Luke Chapter 2 right now in case for our listeners if they’re driving, if they don’t have a chance to read it, or they haven’t a chance to read it yet.

But let me just start in Luke Chapter 2 Verse 1–

Rick:

Yeah.

Tim:

–and here’s the Christmas story–

Rick:

Alright.

The Christmas Story

Tim:

It says,

“And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, unto Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

14 “Glory to God in the highest,

And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.”

There Has to be intentionality With Reaching the Next Generation

Tim:

Guys, that’s something that, for our family, we’ve done, and I think all of my life I don’t remember a Christmas we haven’t done this. But, I would encourage all of our listeners- one of the things we’ve talked about even with faith and Christianity is for reaching the next generation. Parents, grandparents, there has to be intentionality. Because so much of the next generation, whether it’s Millennials, or GenZ-ers, and the up and coming, they don’t have the same faith reverence or understanding of faith that previous generations have. And we really have to start prioritizing faith.

And an easy way to do that, helping them, as Tim Brooks pointed out, remembering what Christmas is about. It’s a holy day, it’s why it’s a holiday. Christ is why we have Christmas. Well, part of how we can emphasize that is, before we do presents, make it a family time that, “Guys, we’re going to read from Luke chapter two before we do anything else.” It’s a great way to bring the family’s attention back to the reason for the season.

Prioritizing Bible, prioritizing faith, and prioritizing Christ in Christmas.

Rick:

Amen, amen. Good stuff today, guys. Thank you, Tim, for sharing that. David, Tim, Merry Christmas. Appreciate you guys and appreciate all that WallBuilders does to get the good news out there and what a special day to be able to share these things.

Remembering Jesus, The Reason For The Season

David:

And Merry Christmas to our folks overseas and merry Christmas, also, to everybody listening and everybody that’s going to download the podcast. Merry Christmas, God bless you.

Rick:

Special thanks again to Tim Brooks for joining us today and Colonel Brian Birdwell. Thank you for listening. Merry Christmas. Thanks for listening to WallBuilders Live.