Letters 2019

Beaver

 

108 S Douglas - PO Box 490 - Beaver, Oklahoma 73932

A Positive Web Page for Beaver, Oklahoma

9-12-19

By Rev. Jim Reeves

I have just completed a weekend in prison with the Kairos Prison Ministry. While I love doing these weekends, every one of them is heart-breaking in many ways. The primary heart- breaker for me is to listen to the stories these 42 men have to share.

The most heart-breaking story is that over 90% of the male inmates that I have the opportunity to work with had little or no male supervision or direction. For a good many of these inmates, the only male influence in their childhood was a very negative one. It often involved abusive fathers, alcoholic fathers or fathers who were involved in drugs. Sons tend to model themselves after their dads and if they had a dad who was abusive, they tend to be abusive. If they had a dad who used alcohol, they tend to use alcohol. The same with drugs. Sadly, if there is no dad in their lives at all, they tend to model themselves after others, including gangs.

Much to the disbelief of the general public, there are actually very few murderers, rapists or bank robbers in prison. The largest percentage of male offenders are in prison because they simply made the wrong choices in life. If a child has no parental guidance to show them how to make right choices, then how can we blame them for making wrong ones? The fact is that we all make wrong choices in our lives. We run a stop sign when we see that no one is coming. We pass another car on a yellow line or worse, on a double yellow line, going up hill, around a curve. We pass on a bridge or dam. We keep the money when some clerk gives us too much change. The list goes on and on. We choose to start smoking when we know that it causes cancer. We drink in front of our children. We swear in front of our children. All wrong choices. The simple truth is that the only difference between most of us on the outside and the inmates on the inside is that they made wrong choices and got caught while we made wrong choices and didnít get caught.

It is a sad fact of life that no manual comes with giving birth to a child. Another sad fact is that there are some people who have absolutely no business having children. Yet they get into a passionate moment of sex, create a child and then donít want it. Abortion has become a cheap way to get out of our responsibilities as a parent. If you didnít want to have children in the first place, why did you have sex? I personally would favor a law that requires every married couple to take a class in parenting within the first nine months of their marriage. Then maybe we would have fewer unwanted pregnancies, abandoned or neglected children, and down the road, fewer prison inmates.

I recently heard a father in Wal-Mart using the F-word in every other sentence, in front of his children, loud enough that every one in the store could hear him. What that idiot didnít know and doesnít know is that the courts have held that to be a form of child abuse. I wanted so bad to call the police and have him arrested. Parents who call their children names or belittle them are guilty of child abuse, by law. Fewer than 30% of all the child abuse incidents ever get reported. The result is children who have low self-esteem, do poorly in school, suffer from depression, often commit suicide and all too often, wind up making the wrong choices in life and end up in jail or prison. As a parent, we have to realize that the moment that child is born, life ceases to be all about us and begins to be mostly about them. If you donít want to take on that responsibility, then for Godís sake donít have children to begin with. I too often see the results of such stupidity when I go into the prisons.

Until next week, may the good Lord find you riding on His trail.

Brother Jim

 

9-5-19

By Jim Reeves

As we celebrate Labor Day, let us pause for a moment to remember and reflect on just what Labor Day means. Much to the disbelief of most everyone, Labor Day is not a holiday to go fishing, drink beer or have a back-yard Barbeque. The whole concept of the Labor Day weekend was to celebrate and emphasize the importance of good old-fashioned hard work. It was instituted during a time when there was a genuine work ethic. You got up early in the morning, you worked hard all day and you went to bed that night, knowing that you had given your employer your best effort. Thatís the key to the whole Labor Day weekend: that you have given your best at whatever you do.

For some reason, we have lost the work ethic. The liberals have convinced us that we are owed something. We are owed an income. We are owed free medical service, free rent, free education, and a whole host of other so-called "free" things. Letís get something straight. There is no such thing as free. Everything has to be paid for by someone, somehow. Sadly, our children now are growing up with a welfare ethic rather than a work ethic., They are willing, indeed almost anxious, to give less than their best.

They are willing to take everything they can rather than giving the best that they can. Too many of our school children are willing to take a C rather than to strive for an A. Parents no longer expect their children to achieve. The interest is not in learning. It is about getting "free days" and playing on our technical devices. The problem with our schools is not bad teaching. They problem with our schools is parents who donít demand the best from their children and children who donít strive for the best in themselves.

Trump, Sanders, Pelosi and none of the other politicians can turn this country around. Itís going to take a major shift in the attitude of the population. Itís going to take a realization that all the free government services that they expect is nothing but pure socialism, heading for communism.

Until next week, may the good Lord find you riding on His trail.

Brother Jim

 

8-22-19

By Rev. Jim Reeves

Potholes are a real nuisance to me. I used to be proud of the fact that Texas had the best road system in the United States. Their roads were almost always smoothly paved with good shoulders and paved roads went so many places. Sadly, on my last few trips to Amarillo, I have found that Texas roads, Oklahoma roads, roads in almost every state have fallen into sad condition. The influx of more and more oil field trucks has literally beaten our roads into pothole after pothole, interrupted by the occasional stretch of smooth pavement. Sadly, the stretches are becoming fewer and farther apart.

This has led me to think about the potholes in our lives. You know, those interruptions that cause a smooth-running life to suddenly have a blow-out. Just like an automobile, seemingly running down a smooth road, will suddenly hit one of those three-foot deep potholes and blow a tire or knock the front-end out of line or maybe even worse damage, so our life often seems to be going smoothly, only to hit a pothole and everything goes BOOM! Unlike driving in our automobile, we canít always miss the potholes by swerving around them. Because life is simply that way, we often have to just put our head down and hit the pothole head-on.

In the case of our mental and physical well-being, the issue is not whether we hit the potholes or not, but rather the key is how we hit the potholes. If we have a negative outlook about everything, then each pothole of life will just seem to get bi9gger and deeper. In laymenís terms, we literally can "drive" ourselves into depression by seeing pothole as a disaster instead of seeing it as a chance to grow mentally and spiritually.

Potholes in life are inevitable. Whether itís the "weíre sorry but we have found cancer" or the call that comes in the middle of the night with bad news, our lives donít always run smoothly. God never promises us a rose garden. He simply promises us to always be there if and when we need Him. Hitting lifeís potholes positively is like seeing God as our triple A roadside assistance plan.

Until next week, may the Lord find you on His trail.

Brother Jim

 

8-15-19

By Rev. Jim Reeves

This week, I read of a teacher who was preparing his room for the coming year. He had made a poster on which he had printed a personal prayer that he started every day with. It was a generic kind of prayer, something like, "God may I make this day the best yet and may I be the best that I can be, to myself, to others and to you. Amen." Nothing offensive. No references to any particular religion. He wasnít going to ask the students to recite it. He wasnít going to lead it himself. His intention was for it be what he would read silently every morning during the "moment of silence" segment of the morning announcement.

You can guess where this is going. The administration came in, saw the poster and made the teacher take it down. Their reasoning was that they didnít want to risk getting into a law suit over mixing the state and religion. Of course, they quoted the amendment, down to the letter. and they chastised the teacher for even thinking about mentioning God in any way in the classroom.

When are we going to get it right? The courts have not ruled that there could be no prayer in school. They have only said that prayer cannot be led by a school official. Students are free to say their own prayer during that moment of silence. They can even pray with others as long as it is not led by the teacher or other school official.

Coaches put up motivational posters all the time. To me, this teacherís poster was nothing more than a motivational tool to urge and remind himself to be the best that he can be.

Libraries have Bibles in the schools. Teachers can have Bibles in their shelf of personal books. It is mentioned in English classes as a piece of literature, like Shakespeare or any other writing. So whatís the problem here? Maybe we need to think that this teacherís rights were violated. The right to free speech for one. This wasnít even speech. This was a motivational meditation. No wonder we have the problems that we have in society today. Weíre more worried about getting into lawsuits than we are about protecting individual rights.

Until next week, may the good Lord find you riding on His Trail

Brother Jim

 

8-8-19

By Rev. Jim Reeves

Sadly, we awoke Sunday morning with the news of another mass shooting. Not just one this time, but two, back to back. Twenty confirmed dead in El Paso and nine in Dayton, Ohio. Predictably, the news commentators immediately blamed both of these tragedies on the President.

Come on people, when are we going to stop blaming the president for everything that goes wrong in this country? What are you going to do next, blame Trump because your toilet doesnít work? The bottom line in that Trump didnít cause either one of these two events. Neither did guns or the lack of a gun ban cause these two events. The cold, hard, painful truth is that, if we want to know whoís to blame for these mass shootings, we have only to look in the mirror as a nation. We are to blame.

All of us.
When we took God out of the classroom and off the courthouse lawn, we should have known that we were asking for trouble. Well, we got exactly what we asked for. The moral fabric of our society is completely in shambles. We have forgotten the fundamental rights and wrongs of society. When a mass crowd turns on the very policemen who are present to protect them, sending many of those policemen to the emergency room, something is tragically wrong.

In my day (and yes, I am a baby boomer), we were taught to respect the law enforcement officials. We were taught that the Ten Commandments were not merely suggestions. Most importantly, we were taught that life is precious and not to be taken lightly. Somehow, our society has completely lost any semblance of that idea.
How can we justify getting irate because someone walks into a Wal-Mart and shoots people while we are saying itís alright to abort babies, even after they are born, simply because they might have some defect or because we donít want to take care of them? Back in l939, when the news began to come out of Germany that German soldiers were taking Jewish babies and killing them by holding their ankles and bashing their heads in on stone walls, Americans were highly incensed and irate, denouncing such acts as brutal and sadistic.

Yet, we are today saying that you can abort a baby, even after birth. Whatís the difference? Letís be honest with ourselves, murder is murder. The right to a life rests only with the person living that life, from conception to the last breath. The right to that life does not belong to the parents, the state, or anyone else.
It shocks me, but does not surprise me that we are having these mass shootings. Our children grow up today where a ninety minute movie is nothing but mass killing for the entire show. How can we expect them not to think that itís alright to do the same thing when they grow up?

I have never been an advocate of gun control, but why does a hunter or gun owner need an assault rife that fires 50 rounds of ammunition every time you touch the trigger. Wake up, America! If we want to put a stop to these kinds of violent acts, the way to do so is simple. Start teaching our children that every life is precious and teaching the fundamental wrongs and rights.

Until next week, may the good Lord find you riding on His trail.

Brother Jim

 

8-1-19

By Rev. Jim Reeves

Welcome to the land of the weird and unbelievable. Just when you thought it couldnít get any stranger, guess what? You are now in the land of the Twilight Zone. Two items have come to my attention this week that prove that America has lost its common sense.
First item. Dateline: New York. That should tell you folks, before I even share this tidbit of news, just how weird itís going to be.

After all, all the nuts rolled to California after the last tilt of the earth and so, New York has had to grow a whole new crop. This week, Governor Cuomo of New York signed a piece of legislation making it illegal to declaw cats. Whoa, wait a minute! Did I hear that right? We sign a bill make it illegal to declaw cats on the basis that it is inhumane and cruel?

This from a state that just recently passed the most liberal abortion legislation in the country, making it possible for a woman to abort a baby, even after birth? But itís inhumane to declaw a cat? Give me a break! What can be more inhumane and cruel that aborting a baby after its birth? When we are more concerned about saving some catís claws than we are about holding life to be precious, then itís time to throw the key in the water bucket and ride away. No, cancel that! When we think more of cats than we do of a precious baby child, then itís time to lock up all the kooks and weirdos and restore some sanity to this country.

Second item. The NBA has recently decided that no longer will the owners of teams be called owners, but that now weíre going to call them "governors." Why? Because the African-American community thinks that the word "owner" has too much of a racial connotation and is a reminder of the days of slavery. Come on! How stupid can we get? First of all, there is no one alive today that ever owned a slave back before the Civil War and second, how many slave owners paid their "slaves" 150 million a year to go out and dribble up and down a court?

If we buy this change in terminology, how long is it going to be before we tell every owner of every business that we are offended because the name has racial connotations? Am I, as the owner of a business, supposed to change my title to "governor" of my business? What ever happened to my basic rights t start a business and list myself as the owner? Itís high time that the African-American community stopped looking under every rock, trying to find some reason to bring up slavery again. Get over it! Slavery is no longer legal, it is no longer practiced and it time to move on.

The world is not about any of us, regardless of race, creed, color or national origin. It is time to stop trying to see what the world owes us, but rather to start focusing on what we owe the world.

Until next week, may the Good Lord find you riding on His trail.

Brother Jim

 

7-25-19

By Rev. Jim Reeves

Politics is an amazing thing to me. The next presidential election is over a year away and you would think itís tomorrow. The way that the two parties are going, this one is going to be another disaster in the making.

Iím already seeing signs saying, "Keep America Great, vote Trump." First of all, I guess Iíll have to get a new cap. The old MAGA cap wonít work with this new slogan and I donít want to take a black marker and black out the M and the last A. Just the letters AG would be confusing.

Now I know that it is a given that Trump is going to be the Republican Party candidate for 2020, but he still has to go through the nominating process at the Republican Convention and something could happen that he wouldnít get it. Like maybe, all the delegates could get high on marijuana or something the night before and wind up nominating Mickey Mouse or something.

(Hmmmmm. Maybe Mickey might make a pretty good president).

Then thereís the Democrats. If you think the last round of Republican debates was a dog fight to see who was the lead dog, you ainít seen nothing yet. So far there are 22 Democratic candidates and thereís still some waiting in the wings to declare their candidacy. This reminds me somewhat of those old wrestling matches where they would put ten or twelve wrestlers in the ring and let them go until only one was left standing.

This election could be the prelude for elections yet to come, in which case, Iím glad I donít have too many elections to go. Or it could be the end of an era of free-for-all elections, in which case, I hope that we return to elections with more civility and less name calling.

Until next week, may the good Lord find you riding on His trail.

Brother Jim

 

7-18-19

By Rev. Jim Reeves

Call me old-fashioned. Call me a fuddey-duddey, call me old-school. Call me whatever you want to. I am not into all the newest technology, donít want to be into all the newest technology and because technology is changing so rapidly, I probably will be left behind in the dust. So be it. Maybe someday, some students of archeology will dig up my bones, run my DNA and discover that I really am a Neanderthol man.
I recently was visiting with a school superintendent and they made the comment that new teachers coming out of college today had a lot of technical savvy, but most of them donít have a lick of common sense. They have the idea that the smart board, or the I-pad or the computer or whatever is going to do the teaching and all they have to do is sort of baby-sit the students to make sure that they are not accessing porno sites or other areas unacceptable to the general public and especially to parents. Whatever happened to old-fashioned teaching?

Donít get me wrong, I donít think we ought to go back to individual slate boards and sticks of chalk, but it seems to me that we have gotten so far over into the technology field that we have lost sight of the fact that some old-fashioned drill, memorization, practical hands-on application are still necessary in our world.

I was recently in a McDonaldís during a power outage. Because the grills were not electric, the cooks were still making hamburgers, fries and all the other food that could be cooked without electricity. So there was food available. The area out front of the counters was full of customers wanting something to eat. The hang-up was the clerks. None of them knew how to take an order the old-fashioned way, on a piece of paper. None of them knew how to add up the price for an order and none of them knew how to make change. They were simply standing around, with their hands in their pocket while the store was losing money.

Letís never forget that the greatest computer ever made was not made by Apple, Microsoft or any other manufacturer. It was made by God and itís called the human brain.

After all, if the human brain came up with the idea for all the technology we have, does that not make the brain greater? Think about it, if the creator is not greater than the created, our whole universe would be messed up. Maybe the problem is that we have come to believe that the created (technology) is greater than the creator (the God-given gift of a brain).

Until next week, may the good Lord find you riding on His trail.


Brother Jim

 

7-11-19

By Rev. Jim Reeves

I have had two pieces of bad news this past week. It seems that newsógood or badóseems to come in waves. First, a life-long friend of mine who lives in Vega, Texas recently had back surgery.

Unfortunately, the surgery went horribly wrong and now he is paralyzed from the waist down. Here is a guy that I grew up on the pipeline with back in the 50s and 60s. We both started going out on the job with our dads when we were ten years old. Every summer through college, we worked the pipeline, often side-by-side. He was a robust, big, stocky guy that you could never imagine being anything else. He played football, even into his freshman year at WT.

He took over the family farm, married, had kids, and was always the healthy, hard-working individual. Back in those days, nobody ever told us there was a proper way to pick up heavy objects. We just grab them and went on. Unfortunately, today, too many of us are paying for it and in the case of my best friend, paying for it way too dearly.
The second bit of bad news concerned my little sister, thirteen years younger than me. Her appendix ruptured and when they went in to get it, they discovered a tumor that was a centimeter and a half long.

There was also a tumor in her left side colon. Tuesday, they did surgery and discovered that the cancer has spread throughout the stomach cavity. In the next couple of weeks, they will start extensive chemotherapy treatments. I may be moving to East Texas to help take care of her.
The interesting thing is that both of these individuals have every reason to be bitter about their circumstances. Instead, what I have found is two upbeat individuals, ,strong in their faith and maintaining a positive attitude. I have truly been inspired by both of them.

We all need to understand that, no matter how bad things may look for us, thereís always someone who has worse problems than ours.

Until next week, may the good Lord find you riding on His trail.

Brother Jim

 

7-4-19

By Jim Reeves

While we Americans tend to be very proud of our history, there are, in fact, many parts of our history that we ought to be down-right ashamed of. For instance, many of the Founding Fathers, who wrote the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, promoting the idea of equality for all people regardless of race, creed, color or national origin, were, in fact, owners of black slaves. Thomas Jefferson is known to have fathered several children by one of his slave women.

There is the tale of the Trail of Tears, where thousands of Cherokee Indians were uprooted from North and South Carolina and forced to march hundreds of miles to a place called Oklahoma. Hundreds died along the way.

Then there were the Indian campaigns where a leading Army general said, "The only good Indian is a dead Indian." The massacre at Wounded Knee was an atrocity equal to anything that we tried ex-Nazis for after WWII. The years between 1865 and 1900 constitute the second bloodiest years in American history, second only to the Civil War and ahead of the number of deaths in World War II.

Born in l946, I witnessed first hand the prejudice against blacks across the south. White-only bathrooms, restaurants, hotels, schools and other institutions are stark reminders of prejudices against people simply because of race. The violent riots of the 60s were a blood-letting period in which America was supposed to grow up, but Iím not sure that we accomplished much out of that period.

This last week, my wife and I visited the Amache Relocation Center National Historical Area in Southeast Colorado near Granada. It was the sight of a concentration camp, right here in America, for over 10,000 American-Japanese who were incarcerated during World War II, following Pearl Harbor. Less that 2% of these people were ever shown to be a threat to the national security of the United States. Over 100 of the internees at Amache served in the 442nd Army Division in the European theater. There is even one Congressional Medal of Honor winner (an American-Japanese) buried in the cemetery at Amache.

These people were uprooted, often in the middle of the night, from their homes in California and herded onto railroad cars, buses and trucks for the long journey to the middle of some of the most desolate country in America. They were forced to live in plywood shanties for three years. Sometimes, there were several families in one hut. The rattlesnakes were rampant and the living conditions deplorable. The shacks were not heated against the winters and of course, there was no air conditioning in those days.

All of this simply because these people were of Japanese descent. Many were second and third generation American-Japanese. Never mind that almost all of them were either born in the United States or had been legal residents. They simply were Japanese.

 

Until next week, may the good Lord find you riding on His trail.

Brother Jim

 

6-27-19

By Rev. Jim Reeves

Someone once said that childhood is wasted on children. I have been thinking lately that this is becoming truer with each passing year. Childhood does seem to truly be wasted on children, especially in todayís world.

When I look at my own childhood (and no, it wasnít back when dinosaurs roamed the earth) and compare it with the childhood of this present generation, I am both amazed and saddened. I am amazed at how totally different our children experience childhood today and how we experienced it back when I was a child. our television sets were not the flat-screen "smart TVs" of today and yet we enjoyed them, maybe even more than our children of today.

We were lucky if we lived in an area where you could pick up all three of the networks: NBC, CBS and ABC. We didnít know what FOX was, except that it was an animal that looked like a dog and ran wild through the woods. We certainly didnít have 999 different channels or the magic "clicker" or Blue-Ray or all the other things connected with TV today. But there was something important that we didnít have. We didnít have "surfing".

We tended to have our favorite shows, maybe even our favorite networks. We looked forward to gathering as a family around the black and white screen, then later the color TV and watching a show all the way through, from beginning to end. Now our children seem unable to focus on any one show or channel more than 15 seconds at a time and they have become addicts to surfing the hundreds of choices.
Childhood is meant to be fun.

Most of us older folks can remember when you went outside and played from the time you got home from school until you were called in for the evening meals. We knew what "pick-up" baseball games were. We knew what it was to have "best" friends that you actually talked to instead of texting. We knew what it was to take an old cardboard box and play with it, coming up with pirate ships and army forts and spaceships and a hundred other ideas for its use.

We had something that is vitally important to childhood. We had imagination. We dreamed of sailing ships, spaceships, being an Air Force pilot and all kinds of other things. Children today seem to have little or no imagination.

Yes, school and education were important to our childhood, but it wasnít so consuming and demanding that it blocked out being able to just have fun. Teachers actually taught the fundamentals instead of teaching to state-mandated tests. Education today is not something that is fun. It is a demanding, high pressurized "business", a lot like turning out automobiles.

We have become so dependent on the "technology" of today that we somehow have forgotten that the greatest "technological" tool ever, given to us by God, is the human brain. Our children arenít taught to think, to use their deductive reasoning skills. Instead, they are taught how to "google" the answers to everything. We have become so dependent upon technology that our children today cannot give the proper change or function without a computer to tell them what to do.

Call me old-fashioned, old-school or whatever, but I still like being a child at heart, even at my age. Maybe some children remain children always.

Until next week, may the good Lord find you riding on His trail.

Brother Jim

 

6-20-19

By Rev. Jim Reeves

I am beginning to have a real dislike for weeds. I havenít really thought too much about weeds, that is, not until this year. With all the rain we have had this year, weeds have suddenly become significant in my list of things I dislike.
My old pappy used to say, "Son, never fault the rain until you see the ark go by." Well, I have tried to follow that bit of wisdom as much as possible, especially being a resident of this part of the country. Mind you, I am not complaining about the rain, but when it comes to the weeds in my yard, I am really starting to rethink my old pappyís advice.

I know the farmers always like the rain. Only they want to give thanks for the rain only if it comes at the ideal time of the year. Well, apparently, it hasnít come at the right time of the year this year and I am even starting to hear the farmers saying enough is enough. I have been tempted, with all of this rain, to find me a piece of land somewhere and go into the weed-growing business. Might even apply to Washington for a weed allotment. Those of you who are old enough to remember Billy Sol Estes, remember that back in the 50s and 60s, old Billy Sol got rich applying for gourd allotments through the agriculture department.

He convinced some dumb bureaucrat that gourds were a viable, marketable agricultural product, got government loans to plant a gourd crop, then claimed a loss on a failed crop. Evidently, they donít grow gourds back in Washington.
The thought has crossed my mind to try the same thing with weeds. But then I think that surely they have weeds back in Washington, D. C., even if some of them are the two-legged variety. Surely, even the government doesnít employ people dumb enough to believe that weeds would be a viable agricultural commodity.

One thing about pulling weeds in your yard is that it gives you a lot of time for meditation, prayer, and other religious activity. Iíve said the rosary several times this summer, several Hail Marys and Iím not even catholic. Thereís been a lot of prayer and a whole lot of thanking God that I donít have a bigger yard than I do. Iíve also come to realize that weeds are a whole lot like the woes in our lives.

You know the old tune, "If it werenít for bad luck, Iíd have no luck at all. Gloom, despair and agony on me." Our woes are a lot like weeds. Our woes grow every time we cry about all the things that are going wrong in our lives. Our woes, if not pulled out by the roots, will eventually choke out the beautiful green grass of all Godís blessings and our lives start to get as ugly as a yard full of weeds.

My, thatís an awful lot of deep thinking for such a shallow well.

Until next week, may the good Lord find you riding on His trail.

Brother Jim

 

6-13-19

By Rev. Jim Reeves

I recently had the privilege of being a part of a "Biker Sunday" at an area church. There were thirty-six present. Some of them were dressed completely in their leathers. Some looked as though they hadnít bathed in awhile and a couple looked as though you might not want to meet them in a dark alley. However, I looked at them and felt the experience of that worship service and I came to realize that those bikers probably come closer to what real Christianity is supposed to be than 98% of the churches in America today.

Bikers have always gotten a bum rap, in my opinion, from the so-called church going Christians. They have been seen as the rough-riding, hard-living, drinking, carousing bunch of rejects that terrorize communities, and generally donít fit in with your "polite" population. They get pegged as being part of the "gang" and that word brings with it a bad connotation. Maybe we should realize that, as Christians, we are all part of a "gang", the gang of Jesus Christ.

However, during that worship service I saw Christianity as Christ intended it to be. I saw forgiveness. I saw acceptance without judgment about past, or the kind of clothes one wears or what kind of vehicle they drive or whether they fit the normal idea of "polite" people. I saw grown men hugging each other, high-fiving each other, laughing, clapping their hands and truly worshipping God with a true joy. I heard testimonies of pasts that were pretty rough, but I also heard the miracle of Godís love, grace, mercy and forgiveness for even the worst sinner. I came to realize that if Jesus were present today, this would be the very group that he would be ministering to instead of visiting the prim and proper churches.

The fundamental fact is that the mainline churches of today are killing themselves off because they have forgotten the mission of Christianity and ministry as Jesus saw it, taught it, and commissioned all of us to continue after him. He saw the true ministry as one that accepted even the worst sinner without judgment or reservation. He saw the power of love and what it can do to unite people. The problem with churches today is that they are so busy trying to proclaim their denominational beliefs that they fail to see that those very denominational stances serve only to divide rather than unite. The church of today has become a country club or social group rather than being the church that actively seeks to go in ministry to those who donít fit in with the rest of the world. The churches or fellowships or whatever you want to call them that are seeking and ministering to those that no one else wants to have anything to do with are the ones that are growing.

Bikers may not always be your most acceptable-looking group, but they will stop and help the person stranded on the highway when everyone else is speeding by. They put on more benefit runs for cancer patients, sick children and tons of other ministries than do the mainline churches. So the next time you look at a biker, donít look at the clothes, the beards, the tattoos, the piercings or whatever. Be like Christ and truly look at the person.

Until next week, may the good Lord find you riding on His trail.

Brother Jim

 

6-6-19

By Rev. Jim Reeves

Before school let out for the summer, I had an opportunity to be in Booker High School when the principal came on first thing with the morning announcements. First, he asked the students to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance and then for the pledge to the Oklahoma flag. What caught my attention was what he said next, "Please join me in a moment of silence during which you may pray, meditate or otherwise engage in personal reflection."

As I was looking around, I noticed that some students were actually praying. In fact, there was a small group of may five or six who joined hands and silently prayed together, heads bowed.

It warmed my heart to know first of all that the word pray or prayer was actually being used in the public school and secondly, to know and witness students exercising their right to pray. Ever since we took prayer out of the schools, there has been a trend to downplay the exercise of prayer for fear that we are going to offend someone, get sued or for whatever other reason. Sadly, we have seen the results of this trend.

Some years ago, as a pastor in a small community near San Angelo, Texas, I was given a free pass to all the home football games. Immediately, I noticed that the term "moment of silence" was used with no reference to prayer, praying or other religious connotation. So, being the person that I am, I started standing during that moment and reciting the Lordís Prayer out loud. By the third time, most of the home stand was praying out loud with me. It was not led by anyone connected by the school, but rather by a private individual. You see, there is no abolition of our right to publicly pray, out loud.

In the light of recent mass shootings and other acts, I think that what we need are more people who will stand up and pray out loud, whatever and wherever the occasion might be. We just might find that others will join with us. After all, it is one of our rights.

Until next week, may the good Lord find you riding on His trail.

Brother Jim

 

5-30-19

By Rev. Jim Reeves

One of the most precious gifts that God has given to us is the gift of children. Anyone of us who has witnessed or been a part of the birth of a new-born baby knows the feeling of awe that comes with birth. I have had the privilege to be in the delivery room for the birth of all three of my girls. I will forever remember the moments before, during and after the birth of my oldest. I remember the wife holding my fingers so tight that the circulation was cut off, screaming her head off that this was all my fault.

I remember the doctor bringing her into the world and the feeling that I was witnessing a miracle. Then the nurse handed me this screaming little bundle and said, "Here, take her down the hall to the nursery." I looked at that woman like she had lost all her marbles, and I remember holding it out away from me, like it was something that had some kind of disease that I did not want to catch, and saying to the nurse, "I donít know what to do with this. What if I break it?" She replied, "Youíll do fine. Babies have been being born for thousands of years. Fathers have had to hold their babies for thousands of years, and guess what? Only a handful of fathers have ever dropped their babies. So get going, youíll be fine."

I literally ran out of that delivery room, determined to get rid of that bundle as quickly as possible. My mother-in-law was in the hallway and I went by her like a runaway locomotive with her saying, "Jim, can I at least have a look at it?" And me saying, "No, Iím in a hurry. Iíve got to get this thing to the nursery."

Of course, by the time the third one came along, I thought I was an old pro at this game. I wasnít, but I was certainly more knowledgeable than I was on the first one.

This weekend, we had the chance to be in Fort Worth for the graduation of one of my granddaughters by my first child. I sat there, filled with pride, both in my granddaughter and in my own daughter for being the nurturing, loving mother that I raised her to be.

Then I thought with sadness at the number of graduates who only had one parent there for one of the most important events in life. I thought about who gets hurt the most when parents donít stick together. Marriage should not be something that we approach like we are buying a pair of shoes. With shoes, if you donít like them, you simply take them back and get another pair. Way too many couples approach marriage in the same way.

The most precious gift God may have given to you is a child or children. Unfortunately, they donít come with an instruction book. We have to learn to be a parent as we go along. Sadly, too many donít ever learn parenting at all.

Until next week, may the good Lord find you riding on His trail.

 

5-23-19

We had just finished making an ambulance run to San Angelo. We had picked up the patient and gotten them to San Angelo about 3:00 in the morning. After all the paperwork was finished, we decided to get something for breakfast before returning home, so we stopped at a What-A-Burger. We had just pulled out on the street, about sunrise, when we noticed a group of people gathering at the side of the curb just down the street. We knew something was wrong, so we stopped to see if we could offer some assistance and to call the San Angelo 911 number.

Down on the sidewalk was a man, probably in his mid-thirties, obviously a homeless man by his clothing, and he was non-responsive. We called it into the San Angelo 911 and began CPR. As we were working on the man, and getting no response, I overheard someone in the crowd make some remark about why were we helping him anyway. I thought about that on our trip home. The man was gone when the San Angelo ambulance got there, we turned the scene over to them and left, but those remarks stayed with me. So when I got home, and after we got the ambulance cleaned up and ready for the next run, I sat down and wrote the following poem.

Nicki

Nicki was a homeless man,

I guess everybody knew.

Nicki liked to drink a bit;

He was a hopeless addict, too.

Thereís no telling what diseases

Nicki carried along the way;

We just found him lying face-down

On the cityís walks that day.

Nearby, an onlooker muttered,

"Why not let the drunkard die?"

A rather cruel statement,

And I later wondered why.

For Nicki was a child of God,

Just the same as everyone;

His sins were just as washed away

By the life blood of the Son.

No, God did not abandon

This one who slipped away;

He was abandoned by the rest of us

Who met him every day.

Yes, Nicki was a homeless man;

I doubt that very many knew,

By turning our backs on Nicki,

We were denying Jesus, too.

We need always to remember the saying, "There but by the grace of God, go I." Each and every one of us can be that homeless person, that derelict, that forgotten person in the blink of an eye. Letís all seek to be more compassionate for those whom this life has forgotten.

Until next week, may God find you riding on His trail.

Brother Jim

 

5-16-17

By Rev. Jim Reeves

As I am writing this weekís column, it is Motherís Day. We had a great time at church today with Motherís Day and I hope your Motherís Day was a blessing, also.

As I am thinking about Motherís Day and all the mothers, I am drawn to Jesus and His sermon on the Beatitudes. I realize that it may be hard to think of the connection between the two, but let me give it a try.

First, we have to remember that Jesus elevate women to a new level. Prior to Jesus, in Old Testament times and according to Jewish tradition had almost no status at all. They could talk in the council with men, they couldnít own property and they were not supposed to even speak with strangers unless their husbands were present. They were, in essence, little more than slaves.

Jesus and His ministry changed all that. When Jesus sat by the well and asked the Samaritan woman for a drink of water, He was doing two things that were virtually unheard of in His society. First, He was a Jew talking to a Samaritan (Jews and Samaritans did not like each other). Second, He is a male speaking to a woman, a Samaritan woman at that! He engages her in a long conversation, forgives her and offers her salvation and redemption.

In the case of the woman brought before Him, Jesus does not condemn her as the other men were doing. Instead, He speaks with her and ultimately forgives her. Throughout the ministry of Jesus, there are examples of Jesus lifting women up out of a lowly status and assuring them that Godís grace, forgiveness, mercy and love are for everyone.

In the beatitudes, we read where Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, the meek, those who mourn, those who are peacemakers, etc." He assures them that they will inherit the blessings of Heaven.

While the Scripture does not say that He was speaking to women as well as to men, I have to believe that He was. All of who were once children, have caused our motherís spirits to sink low in the valleys. They wept for us when we went wrong, yet they loved us in spite of our faults. There have been mothers who mourned for the loss of a child, whether it was a loss of life or the loss of a relationship with the family. Most of our mothers put their families ahead of themselves. How many of you remember when your mother was umpire and referee in the midst of all the disputes that come up in our childhood? True, there are some women who shouldnít be mothers, but for the most part, they put family above self.

So, for all the mothers, past, present and future, God bless you!

Until next week, may the good Lord find you riding on His trail.

Brother Jim

 

5-9-19

By Rev. Jim Reeves

Last Sunday I did a childrenís sermon during church on how our lives are, in some ways, like a pencil. An ordinary, common yellow wooden pencil like we have used in school classrooms for years. A pencil has two ends to it: the end where the lead is and the end where the eraser is.

We use the end with the lead in it to write with. Each one of us is writing a story every dayóit is the story of our lives. We write our story by the words that we say throughout the day. Are they words that encourage other people or are they words that are used to tear other people down? Are they words that show some intelligence or are they words that only serve to show our ignorance? Are they words that we wouldnít be afraid to use in front of our mothers or are they words that would make a sailor blush?

We write our story by the actions that we take throughout each day. One of the biggest problems in our society today is that we have become the "me" society. We think that everything is about ourselves. Wrong. A life truly lived to its fullest is not a life that is about ourselves, but a rather, it is about a life that is spent interacting with others in a positive, uplifting way. A writer once said that no man is an island. Yet, the very electronic tools that are supposed to enrich our lives are, instead, creating isolated islands in each of us. How often do we see our young people of today spending all their time on their cell phones, I-pads or other electronic devises. They are oblivious to the world around them. Nothing irritates me like seeing three or four young people sitting at a table, each one on their electronic devices, and not having any conversation with each other. Often, they are texting each other, sitting right across the table from each other. As we are writing our story every day, it should be a story of at least being aware of those around us.

A big part of the "me" way of thinking is that we have lost the art of volunteerism. We donít want to visit the sick, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit those imprisoned or any other activity that enhances the lives of others and makes this a better world in which to live Weíre too busy being wrapped up in ourselves and what we want. Living, true living, is not focused on ourselves, but rather on our interaction and our giving of our time, talent and resources to help others.

The other end of the pencil is the eraser part. The eraser is like the love and forgiveness of God. When we make mistakes (and there are many in each day), we simply have to ask God for forgiveness and he "erases" our errors. In fact, just like a total use of the pencilís eraser, God can erase our mistakes and errors so completely that they canít be seen anymore, they are gone, forgotten, done with. We can be a part of erasing our own mistakes. How often can a simply apology erase some hurt that we have caused in someone else? Yet, we find it so hard to say, "Iím sorry".

Every day that we live, we are using up the writing end of the pencil. As we write our story each day, the lead gets shorter and shorter until it is gone, but the eraser can still be there to forgive us for our mistakes, right up to the very end.

We may not think of it, but our lives need to be more like the pencil. We need to be careful of what we write in our life story, but we need to always remember that, in our relationship with God, we are connected to the eraser.

Until next week, may the good Lord find you riding on His trail.

Brother Jim

 

5-2-19

By Rev. Jim Reeves

I was a sophomore at South Plains College over in Levelland, Texas, when I got the call that my granny was in the hospital in Lubbock. My mother said Granny had something call pleurisy and could I go over and help my Aunt Sharlott stay up with her at night. I had no idea was pleurisy was and I sure had no idea a person could die from it.

It was the middle of March, the week before Spring break. I went over on a Tuesday evening, planning to stay all night and keep my aunt company. Along about midnight, my aunt said she was going to take a break and go downstairs to get some coffee. I told her I would stay in the room and watch Granny and Sharlott said sheíd be gone about thirty minutes or so.

I was sitting in one of those straight-backed chrome chairs that hospital rooms used to have and all the lights were either turned down or off. It was very peaceful and quiet, and I was resting with my head back against the wall. No one else was in the room.

Suddenly Granny sat bolt upright in the bed. She looked down at the foot of the bed and with her eyes closed, she said, "Iím not ready. I have clothes still to wash and my kids are not all home." With that, she laid back down on the bed as though nothing had happened.

Needless to say, I cleared that room in a hurry. Standing out in the hallway, I was trembling, trying to catch my breath. I had no idea who or what, but I had not a doubt that Granny had seen and was talking to someone at the foot of the bed.

Two nights later, I was again in her room under almost the same conditions, alone in very dim light. Again, she sat upright in the bed, eyes closed, but this time, she said, "Iím ready, Lord. The wash is finished, the clothes are all folded and my kids are all in. Iím ready." With that she laid down and died.

Did Granny see the Lord standing at the foot of her bed? Yes, I am convinced of it. Leaving that room that night as fast as I could, I believed then and I believe now, that she saw Jesus as plainly as anyone can see someone else.

That incident was and continues to be, one of the foundations of my faith. Over the years, I have witnessed numerous times when terminally ill individuals see and have conversations with Jesus. For me, it is one of the fundamental reasons that I know my Lord is real.

This week, we lost a fixture in this community. Fifty-eight years old, he and we had no idea that his life would suddenly end last Wednesday night at work. He was going about his normal routine of closing down the store when he suddenly collapsed in the floor and died. Unlike the incident with my grandmother, he had no choice about whether he was ready of not. We can only hope that he was.

He was always smiling and loved to joke and converse with people as he loaded their groceries in their car. He was not someone that stood out. He would probably never receive the Citizen of the Year Award or serve on the city council of the school board, but he touched the lives of everyone he met. We never know when our time is going to come. We, too, may not have time to say, "Iím not ready." We should all strive to live in such a way that weíre always ready.

Until next week, may the good Lord find you riding on His trail.

Brother Jim

 

4-25-19

By Rev. Jim Reeves

Once there was a family living in a small village called Canyon in the panhandle of the land called Texas. There was the father, the mother, and two childrenóone son and one daughter. The son was approaching the age of twelve, and the father did perceive that he and the son were growing farther apart as the child aged. The father did feel that it was perhaps time for that ritual called "bonding" and so he did decide that during the Christmas break from school, he and the son would go fishing at a faraway land called Possum Kingdom. Now the son was not too interested in such a trip, but the father did insist and began planning for this trip to the land of Possum Kingdom.

Finally, the day did arrive that the father and the son were to start out on their journey and the mother did say to the father, "Let me prepare for thee a basket of food that you might have to eat on your trip." The father, in his infinite wisdom and sureness of his abilities, did say to the wife, "Nay, we shall eat what we catch."

Thus, the father and the son did depart from their village and did travel to the faraway land known as Possum Kingdom. Arriving there, the father and the son did begin to search for a merchant who might be open and there they would buy some bread and other items for their time fishing. However, it being the Christmas week, the father and the son did find that all the merchants thereabouts were closed, save one. The father and the son did enter into that merchantís establishment and did find there that the merchant was sold out of everything but some loaves of bread, and a whole shelf of Vienna sausages. The father and the son did buy up seven loaves of bread and the cans of Vienna sausages and did depart to the lake to set up their tent. The merchant did close up his shop with glee and went home.

The first day, the father and the son did arise and fish all day, catching nothing. At the end of the day, the father did take up a can of the Vienna sausages and fry them up and put them between two slices of bread, give them to the son, and the son did partake of the meal and allowed that it was good. Thus ended the first day.

The second day, the father and the son did arise and fish all day, catching nothing. At the end of the day, the father did take up another can of Vienna sausages, open the can, boil the sausages, put them between two slices of bread, give them to the son and the son did partake of the meal and allowed that it was somewhat good. Thus ended the second day.

The third day, the father and the son did arise, fish all day and again they caught nothing. That evening, the father did take up another can of Vienna sausages, broil them over an open fire, put them between two slices of bread, give them to the son and the son did partake of the meal and did allow that the meal was good, but it was slipping. Thus ended the third day.

The fourth day, and the fifth day did go the same, ending with fried Vienna sausages and roasted Vienna sausages between two slices of bread, and the son did eat and did allow that the sandwiches were filling but that the quality of the meals was definitely declining.

The sixth day did arrive, and again the father and the son did fish all day and again, they caught nothing. When the evening came, the father did take up another can of Vienna sausages and prepare to open it, whereupon the son did grab the can of Vienna sausages and heave it as far out into the lake as he could and did yell at the top of his voice, "No more Vienna sausages." The father did perceive that the son was becoming angry and did begin to fear for his life. The son did inform the father that come morning, he was going to start walking home and the father did begin to think of returning to the village of Canyon.

Next morning, the father and the son did leave that place called Possum Kingdom and arriving at the first village that had an inn, did go into that establishment and order breakfast. The father did order a dozen eggs over easy while the son did order the biggest, juiciest hamburger that he could and did allow that it was good. Thus was the seventh day a rest from Vienna sausages.

The moral of this parable? Even in the midst of your Vienna sausage days, have faith that a hamburger day is coming when you will feast at the heavenly banquet.

Until next week, may the good Lord find you riding on His trail.

Brother Jim

 

4-18-19

 

By Rev. Jim Reeves

I came from a family where showing affection was not something we did. I donít recall ever seeing my mother and dad hugging or kissing each other. We didnít say, "I love you" and as a child I think it bothered more than I thought at the time.

While I was growing up, my dad never said, "I love you" to any of the three of us kids. I used to really ride him about this, and looking back, I guess I should be ashamed that I did. But it was important to me. If I really wanted to get something started, I would say to him, "You donít love us, do you?" Of course, that would get things stirred up big-time, with a few expletives thrown in for good measure. He would say to me, "What do you mean, I donít love you? I provide you with food and clothing, with a place to live." And my reply was usually something along these lines, "Yeah, you provide all of that, but you canít say the words. You canít say ĎI love you.í" We would go round and round for a few minutes and finally, he would just storm off. Thatís when I usually held up my arms in the victory sign and said, "Got him again!" I could be a little snot when I wanted to be.

All through school, and into adulthood, I wanted to hear him say it. I got married, we had three daughters and still he couldnít or wouldnít say, "I love you." And every chance I got, I would goad him about it.

When my wife and kids and I moved to Tulsa for me to go to law school, I decided that I would be just as stubborn as he was. We invited them to come visit and it was always the same. They were too busy or he was working or whatever, but we were more than welcome to come visit them.

About the age of forty, I made a decision that we were not going to go see them until they made a effort to come see us. For two years, I did not grace the doors of my parentís home. Oh, we would talk on the phone, but still there was never that "I love you" at the end.

Then one day, my sister called and said, "I think you need to come home. Daddy has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and is not expected to live long." I remember hanging up the phone, thinking he had done this on purpose just to make me come visit. We started making the long journey to East Texas every other week or so and I watched him grow worse. I came to realize it wasnít on purpose.

Then, just before my 42nd birthday, we went home to visit. As we were standing out on the front porch saying good-bye to mother, my wife came out and said, "I think you need to go back inside. Your daddy is having a tough time." I went in and knelt down by his easy chair, asking what was wrong, and in a very weak voice, he said, "I know I never said it, but I want you to know. I love you." I gladly would have made that trip a thousand times more just to hear those three words. They were the last words he ever spoke to me.

Life is too short for all of us. Love your kids, your spouse and your neighbors. Most of all, donít be afraid or too stubborn to say, "I love you."

Until next week, may the good Lord find you riding on His trail.

Brother Jim

By Rev. Jim Reeves

Why is it that so many people are turned off by churches? Iíve been thinking on this for a very long time and have come to the conclusion that people are not turned off by church as much as they are turned off by denominations of the church. Let us go back to the Scripture to find out why.

When Jesus laid his hand on Peter and said, "Upon this rock will I build my church", notice what He did NOT say. He didnít say, "I will build upon this rock the Methodist Church or the Baptist Church or the Presbyterian Church or any other denomination." The fact is that denominationalism is an abomination to God and to Jesus. Denominations can be dividing while the church that Jesus envisioned is uniting.

One of the reasons that people are turned off by the church today is that most denominational churches are more worried about getting their membership up instead of trying to attract worshippers. A lot of this is because of the hierarchy of denominationalism. When I was pastoring in the Methodist Church, our annual reports had a question about how many members we had gained or lost during the year. Membership became more important than worship. Sadly, this is the major problem with denominations. Itís also the reason that non-denominational churches are growing when the old denominational churches (for the most part) are not.

We have to quit worrying about how many members we can get on the rolls and start focusing on providing meaningful worship for those seeking a relationship with God. The fact is that every person seeks to have a relationship with someone or something greater than ourselves. Each of us is born with that desire. Itís as much a part of our needs as food, clothing, or shelter. Some people suppress the desire for such a relationship, but the fact is that so many people are seekers, but too few of our churches are searchers.

Another reason for declining attendance at many denominational churches is the attitude of the church that makes it more of a club and less of a house of worship. If the church looks down on people who donít dress a certain way, who donít look a certain way, people who are ex-offenders, homeless, tattooed or whatever, those seekers get turned off. Church is not about how one dresses or how much money they have, etc. It is about providing a meaningful fellowship with like believers and a meaningful worship of God and Jesus Christ.

Another reason and a major reason is that too many preachers and too many churches have become so worried about being "politically correct" that they forget about being "scripturally correct." Seekers today are looking to know the truth as it is spoken in the Bible, the Word of God. When we start watering it down, we turn people off.

Weíve got to change the whole attitude of the church if we truly hope to see it survive. Weíve got to actively go after the disfranchised people (those who feel left out by the "in" crowd of the church). Weíve got actively preach the Word of God as it was and is meant to be preached. Weíve got to change the way we worship.

There are churches out there who are trying to do all of this and they are growing. If you are turned off by denominationalism, donít give up. There are churches that welcome you regardless of you are, what your background is or what your circumstances might be. There are churches that are more concerned about meaningful worship than about membership. Look for them, and find the fellowship that you seek.

Until next week, may the good Lord find you riding on His trail.

Brother Jim

 

 

 

           

      

               

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Hunting information go to


http://www.wildlifedepartment.com
 

Weather Service web sites at:
http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ama/    http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ddc/    Mesonet

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pictured above is the tornado that hit the Woodbury home. Vance and Barbara Woodbury both died from injuries when the struck their home about 1/2 mile from this location near the Northern Natural Gas plant east of Elmwood. The tornado hit their home Wednesday evening, March 29, 2007 . Photo courtesy Beaver County Sheriff's office.

 

 

 Above is a photo of the USS Mullinnix DD-944 which was used as a sink test back in the 1990's. The United States was testing new weapons. The ship was used during the Vietnam war but later decommissioned in the 1980's. The editor and publisher was stationed on the ship from 1963 until 1965.

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