Washington Evening Journal
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Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 21, 2018

The highway to God

Watson recounts journey from biker to Soldier for Christ
Jun 26, 2018
Photo by: David Hotle Chip Watson, national president of the Soldiers for Christ Motorcycle Ministry, shared his story of rediscovering God’s love as he and his fellow bikers met at Marr Park over the weekend for their annual meeting.

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL

 

AINSWORTH — Chip Watson’s life changed when he was unable to tell a dying friend about God and Jesus.

The national president of the Soldiers for Christ Motorcycle Ministry rode into Marr Park from his home in Amarillo, Texas to the annual meeting. Soldiers For Christ is a worldwide organization that teach other bikers that Jesus does love them. “It’s one of those things where you preach all the time and speak when you have to,” Watson said. “The best thing to do is just love on them. They know everything else. Everyone else has told them for years what is going to happen to them. They just need to know the love of Christ and that is my job.”

About 150 bikers, not including families that came in other vehicles, showed up to the annual rally, which was held in Marr Park this year. Washington County President of Chapter O of Soldiers for Christ Dale Woodsmall said after a ride that took the bikers past the new Freedom Rock in Brighton and through Wellman, that many people had stopped the bikers to welcome them and say it was great to have them in the county.

As Watson, a large man in a denim biker jacket with the long gray hair and the pleasant Texas accent talked about his journey from outlaw to Christian biker, he spoke of his childhood growing up with a “biker to the bone” father and a Pentecostal Evangelist stepfather. Watson said he grew up between the two worlds. “I grew up in a place where God was mean,” he said. “He wanted to put me in hell. He hated my guts because I couldn’t be good enough. I always knew there was a God, but I didn’t think he liked me.”

Watson told several stories about growing up with bikers, saying he did “some pretty ignorant stuff.” But the story that resignated the most was of Watson’s friend Billy.

Billy became quite ill and after going to the doctor, found he had a mass in his stomach. The tumor spread and Billy began rounds of chemotherapy.

While in the hospital, Watson recounts a stranger asking Billy about God. Billy had told the man off, saying if God existed he wouldn’t be in the situation. “I knew there was a God,” Watson said. “You can’t have this creation and not have someone create it.”

Watson went to talk to his friend about the Lord, but was unable to find the words. He went night after night after night, on the fourth night he found out his friend had passed away.

After the funeral, Watson remembers breaking down and feeling ashamed he had not been able to tell Billy about God. At the time, his wife, Karen, told him she’d never seen him cry during their nine years of marriage.

“I was a hard old man,” Watson claimed. But that was his turning point. He never wanted to be in that position again, where he couldn’t share the Lord’s love with a friend. So he and Karen began attending church where he learned God wasn’t mean, as he’d grew up hearing. Watson learned God is saying that it is OK for people to mess up and that he still loves them. “When I learned Jesus loved me more than anything that is when the change happened,” Watson said.

He and his wife gave up the bikes, drugs, liquor and everything else in that lifestyle. He said they started tackling what they needed to be Christlike. Years later, a man tried giving Watson a motorcycle, but he had given them up as a symble of his old life. He and Karen had made a pact, never to go back to their old lifestyles, but he promised this was different.

“I told her I think God is calling me back to my motorcycle to tell hard-core mean bikers that Jesus does love them,” he said. “I said I wouldn’t be the same man.”

Today he has a set of Christian colors, including a patch proclaiming his biker vest is his church clothes. Watson said he has been preaching to bikers ever since.

Comments (1)
Posted by: James Cuddeback | Jun 26, 2018 20:03

Great article David.

 



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