The below message was delivered by Travis Yates, Director of Ten-Four Ministries, at a Memorial service for "Creed", a Police K9 on August 15, 2012.
I want to thank Justin Adams for asking me to participate today and I want to thank the Panama Police Chief for permitting this Memorial.
I think most of us thought a couple of different ways this tragic event should go because it certainly isn’t what most of us are used to but I am grateful we have had the opportunity to do this.
Chief, thank you…this was the right thing to do.
I stand up here in awe of the relationship that a K9 has with his handler. I will not pretend to understand that relationship but anyone that has had the privilege to patrol with a four legged partner will tell you it is special beyond comprehension and that in of itself makes this event all the more tragic.
Pets have a special place in all of our hearts and much of that is because of their innocence and their loyalty. We all have stories, whether when we were kids or of today of a special place animals have in our life and when you talk about a K9 and its handler, it is so much more.
It is a special bond. It is a special relationship and in times like this, it is especially difficult.
But in that pain and sorrow, I want you to know this.
Creed has left Andy with memories that can never be taken away.
Creed has left Andy’s family with thoughts and joy that can never be removed.
Creed has left an impression on this community that will never be forgotten and I’m certain there are a few criminals that have some memories of Creed they would like to forget but they won’t be able to.
My friends, these are gifts from an animal to us and I will take that even farther and tell you the gift that Creed gave you and will continue to give you through remembering those happy times is a gift from almighty God and for that we are blessed.
In Genesis 1, God details the formation of this earth and everything on it and Day 5 even before man was made, we get the account of God Himself making animals and some just like Creed and God said something very important at the end of verse 25.
“And God saw that it was good”
Now that is a powerful statement. The Sovereign God of the Universe took the time to provide us with animals such as Creed. You see God is all knowing and despite what the evolutionists will tell you, God Almighty, on Day 5 of creation, knew the gift that Creed was going to provide us.
We need to understand this. That God did not have to provide Creed to us but He chose to do that very thing and we should be thankful and praise Him for that.
Job 12:10 tells us that “In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.”
Think about that. God holds the life of every animal and every human being in His hand. The Lord gives and the Lord Takes away and in all that, our command is to praise the Lord.
With that said, I want you to know that with all the love and the memories and the great times that Creed gave us, he continues to give us a gift today.
This K9, this protector of His community, has brought all of us together today. There will be friendships that form, there will be fellowship among our brothers and sisters that wear the badge and more importantly, Creed’s sacrifice has brought you in this church at this very moment in time that God Himself has ordained.
With God there are no coincidences. Everything and absolutely everything happens for a purpose and Creed’s very name demands the message of eternal life.
The word “Creed” means a statement of belief and Wikipedia describes this statement of belief as a “statement of faith”.
Whether you are a believer in Jesus Christ or not, we all have a Creed….We all have something that we believe.
• Some of you may not believe in God. And that is a belief, that is a creed.
• Some of you believe in God but it is not the God of the Bible. Maybe it is the God that the Mormons talk about or the God that Muslims talk about or even a false God that any particular religion has discusses and all of that would be a Creed…it would be a belief.
• But as I close, none of those Creeds matter. You see the only thing that matters is truth and we live in a day and age where everyone seems to be seeking for the truth and all along it is right here (The Bible).
The truth is this. There is a separation between us and God. That separation was caused with Adam and Eve in the Garden and their sin was passed on to you.
The Bible says that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God but the Bible goes much deeper than that and I would be remiss if I didn’t explain that to you in detail. We are in the Bible Belt and all of us have heard that statement, “we’ve all sinned”, but do you know what that means?
You see it wasn’t until I really understood my sin and what it looks like to a holy, righteous, God that I knew I needed a Savior. You would not go to a Doctor if you didn’t know you were sick and you definitely aren’t going to care about Jesus until you know you need Him.
Well, just a few verses explain the judgment and wrath we are under as sinners.
Ephesians 2:3 tells us that by nature we are “children of wrath”.
Romans 3 tells us that none of us seek after God and that none of us are good and I could continue and I would tell you it doesn’t get any better for us.
Dr. A.W. Pink states that “A study of the concordance will show that there are more references in Scripture to the anger, fury, and wrath of God than there are to his love and tenderness.”
Indeed, everyone can cite John 3:16, “that God so loved the world that he gave His only son and anyone that believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life”
But what about John 3:18? Just 2 verses later, we are told that if we do not believe, we are “condemned.”
These are not words that should make us feel good. These descriptions of God’s wrath and anger and fury are the truth but there is another truth that is so important.
God is good, He is perfect and he demands perfection and anyone violating God’s Standard will be punished. You see, God would not be good if he did not punish.
When we catch this criminal that did this to Creed and marched him in front of a judge, we would expect punishment if the judge was any good. We expect that until it comes to our judgment in front of God.
Your human nature can tell you that you are a pretty good person and in the eyes of society, you no doubt are. After all, you stand in the gap between good and evil and that is heroic in every sense of the word but according to Isaiah 64:6, your good deeds are nothing more than filthy rags to God.
There is nothing we can do to please Him and if you haven’t figured it out yet, that means we are all in trouble. The penalty for this sin is an eternity in hell. The Bible describes it as a place where there will be weeping and knashing of teeth…a place where the worm never dies.
If the story ended there we are indeed in trouble but praise God that while he is a God of judgment and a God of wrath, He is also a God of love.
He is a God that before the beginning of time, he knew Creed would bless your life and He is a God that has saved some of you into salvation before today and he is a God that has permitted some of you to come here today and to hear his message of redemption.
I’ve been asked since the death of Creed if dogs go to heaven and while I would like to stand here today and tell you many things, it is my responsibility to tell you what the Bible says and God has chosen not to reveal that answer to us. We simply don’t know.
The answer to that question is not given to us but there are many answers to many questions that God chose not to reveal to us on this side of eternity but
we know that heaven is a place where there will be no tears and it will be all joy and heaven is described to us in great detail and there is something else described to us in great detail.
And that is the redemption of man kind. You see, earlier I gave you the bad news and that is we are fallen and left on our own, we are walking towards a cliff of death and if it was not for a God of mercy and redemption, we would of all walked off of that cliff.
But God is good and over 2000 years ago he sent our redemption. His name was Jesus Christ. Both God and man, walking this earth just as we do today but this Jesus was different.
Jesus claimed He was God but many through the years and even today have made a similar claim but Jesus Christ was different.
Unlike you and I, Jesus was sinless…He was perfect and His claim to be God was just one of the reasons He was nailed on a tree and murdered in the most brutal fashion.
It was called a Cruxifiction and it was nothing unusual. This method of death was reserved for the most vile of criminals and the Romans were experts in this style of death penalty.
Jesus Christ, the perfect, sinless, lamb of God, hung on that tree and breathed His last breath, looking up into the sky and saying that “it is finished.”
Now the death of Jesus would have just been another execution with the exception of an event that will change the course of history forever.
Three days after Jesus was buried, He rose from the dead and He didn’t rise without anyone seeing Him. He was seen by hundreds and if you march a few hundred eye witnesses into any courtroom today, those jurors would believe it without a doubt.
Now believing those facts are not enough. The Bible tells us that demons believe and most of you know people that claim to believe but they live like the devil. The Bible tells us that the requirements for redemption of our sin is repentance and faith.
John the Baptist, The Apostles and Jesus repeat this throughout the New Testament. This repentance is a turning away from sin; a change of attitude about sin and a turning to Jesus Christ unto salvation.
Repentance doesn’t mean you are perfect but it means that your attitude and your life is a turning to God and away from sin.
Now you may say to yourself, “I don’t want that truth” and you can say that but I submit to you the truth does not consist of what you want….the truth is what God has declared. It’s not exactly popular to bring a message of wrath and hell and repentance but never the less, my duty is to tell you this.
And today, we are brought together by a four legged hero and God has declared His truth and the call for you today is to celebrate the life of Creed and to examine your own life in regards to the Creed that matters eternally…repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
In closing, I want to personally express my sorrow to Sgt. Andy Bevel, the handler of Creed and to his family. Andy, I speak for everyone here that:
• We will not stop until this coward is brought to justice.
• We will not stop until Creed’s successor is patrolling the streets of Panama.
• And we will not stop until the State of Oklahoma recognizes the murder of a Police K9 as exactly what it is…a heinous, violent crime where nothing short of multiple years in prison shall be required.
Thank you and May God Bless You.
Monday, August 13, 2012
On August 5, 2012, the Panama Police Department K9 Dog “Creed” was killed in the line of duty, while protecting the home of his handler. The investigation is ongoing and it is believed that Creed was targeted because of his service to the Panama Police Department.
A Memorial Service will be held on Wednesday, August 15, 2012, at 11 am. The Service will be held at the Panama First Baptist Church (107 Jones Street, Panama, OK).
Ten-Four Ministries, a non-profit organization that supports law enforcement across the country, has partnered with a local business to offer a $1000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the suspect in this crime. CherryBerry Yogurt Bar in Fort Smith (AR), an adjoining city, has joined in the efforts.
Creed was a two-year old German Shepherd that became a member of the Panama Police Department in August of 2011. During his service with the community, Creed assisted in the search of illegal narcotics in both Panama and Wister Public Schools and also participated in demonstrations for educational purposes during Red Ribbon week. In his short but successful career, Creed had countless alerts to narcotics on vehicle traffic stops and aided in the tracking and apprehension of numerous suspects.
The Panama Police Department is not mourning the loss of Creed but rather celebrating his many accomplishments.
Creed was the only K9 serving the City of Panama and a fund has been set up by Ten-Four Ministries to provide the Panama Police Department with a K9 and training. Donations are tax-deductible and can be made here