Letters to the Editor





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



By Rev. Jim Reeves

As many of you know, I like to write poetry. A lot of poetry. Every now and then, I think that some of it is actually pretty good. I probably have written more than 2,000 poems over a lifetime, but I would say that maybe less than 100 of them are actually pretty good. I write inspirational poems, humorous poems, cowboy poetry, pretty much every kind.

About four weeks ago, I was sitting, looking at my atlas at the different states. I was recalling places that I have been, places I have lived, but most of all, I was thinking of places I would like to go. Now, you have to understand that I am kind of a weird tourist. I donít get a real big kick out of going to places like New York, Chicago or San Francisco. In fact, I donít get much out of going to any big town, except when I just want to get away for a night or a weekend. I donít go to football or baseball games, so I have no reason to go to places like Dallas or Oklahoma City, unless I happen to be going for a hospital visit or something like that.

Anyways, I digress. I was looking at my atlas and I got to noticing little towns (and some not so little) that had really weird names. Names like Dime Box, Texas. Or Gotebo, Oklahoma. Or Punkin Center, Colorado. Or Dunmovin, California (I wondered just who it was that was done moving and if that was where they wound up dying). I got out a notepad and started jotting down some of the weirdest names for towns in each state. Then I came up with a really weird and wild idea. What if I wrote a poem about each of the weird towns that I had found? So, I came up with the idea of writing 50 poems (one for each state) about some weirdly named town in that state.

I had a lot of fun with this little project. I wrote a poem about Atomic City, Idaho. I wrote one about Alligator Alley, Florida. I actually did write one about Gotebo, Oklahoma. The fun part was writing something about a town that I have never visited. I wrote about Neligh MIlls, Nebraska, a poem about a boyhood memory of living at the flour mill in Neligh, Nebraska, where there just happens to be a historic old flour mill. I wrote about Muddy Gap, Wyoming. I wrote about a young girl from Soddy Daisy, Tennessee, who goes to Nashville to seek fame and fortune as a country/western singer.

I wrote about two star-crossed lovers who jumped off the bridge at Monroe Bridge, Massachuesetts, kind of a take on Romeo and Juliet. It became a lot of fun to imagine a story to fit the town name.

I finished all fifty poems this past week. They may never be read by many, but I had a lot of fun, learned a little geography and got to use my imagination in a little bit different way. What next? Wouldnít it be fun to take a motorcycle trip and visit all those places, from Sourdough, Alaska to Bayou Teche, Louisiana? Hmmmmmm.

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

Brother Jim



By Rev. Jim Reeves

I donít know what happened to the groundhog in Paxatowny, Pennsylvania, but I have a feeling he is suffering from a severe case of dementia. That little fellow thinks heís living in Florida! Well, at best, he has never lived in Oklahoma. Here I was looking forward to an early Spring with warmer weather and maybe even a little rain. What do we get? Winds of thirty miles an hour or better. Temperatures with a 2 for a high. Lows of 5 and possible accumulations of 2 or more inches of snow! Whereís my gun? I think it is time to go groundhog hunting!

I find it amazing that my wifeís weather app and my weather app on our cell phones give us two completely different weather forecasts. For example, up until Saturday at least, mine said nothing about snow and bitterly cold winds, while hers did! The strangest part of all of this is that our weather apps are the same weather apps. The only difference is the phones! Talk about confusing!

When I was going to school at West Texas State University (thatís right, the true West Texas university), there was a weatherman on TV by the name of Dan True. Some of you old-gummers will remember him. One time, he came up with this really crazy gimmick called a "weather rock". It was just a plain ordinary West Texas rock, with a tag taped to it with instructions on its use. You put the rock on the window sill between your window and the outside screen. Most homes in that day did not have weather screens or such. The instructions went something like this. If the rock was wet, it was either a heavy dew or it was actually raining. If the rock had a film of dust on it, you were having a dust storm. Duh! Thatís pretty logical. If the rock had a white film on it, then you were having a frost and if the rock was completely hidden by a white powder, then it had snowed. The one I loved, though, said, "If your rock is moving violently around on the sill, you are perhaps in the middle of a tornado and should probably seek shelter under the sink." Those things were like hot cakes. They were free and thousands of people wrote in asking for one. Maybe we were just as unsure of the weather as we are today.

Another thing that old Dan True would do is that he wouldnít give you a 20% or better chance of rain unless he had already looked out the window and seen that it was raining! I liked Dan True. He had a pretty funny way about him and he often joked that telling the weather was like rolling the dice at best. Dan, you have no idea how true you really were.

So, Iíll just sit at home with the heater turned up in case of snow and wintry weather, sipping on a glass of iced tea just in case it is turning warm outside. As for the groundhog, he probably has more sense than all of us. Heís burrowed deep in the ground.

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

Brother Jim



By Rev. Jim Reeves

I just completed a menís Emmaus walk at the Waka Christian Center in Waka, Texas. Throughout the three day weekend, I was constantly amazed at the stories shared by both the team and the pilgrims we were working with. Over and over and over again, I heard stories of men coming out of families where they were abused, where they witnessed parents getting drunk or stoned on drugs, where the parents were divorced ands how all other actions and many more had affected them. The institution of marriage has steadily broken down over the years since World War II. Too many couples now treat marriage as though it were just an other shopping trip to Wal-Mart or the shoe store. If you donít like what you got the first time, them simply traded it in and get a new one.

What couples donít realize is that their actions affect their children in many ways for the rest of their lives. Children who come from homes that are alcoholic or drug addicted are ten times more likely to become alcoholics or drug users than those from homes where such practice is not evident. Parents who divorce are more likely to have children who treat marriage in the same flippant way. Our country is in the shape that it is in, due in great degree to the I-donít-care attitude of parents who donít realize the effects that their actions have on their children. The moment that we get married and have children (hopefully it works in that order), it is like we are taking up a large stone and throwing it into a still pond. We all know what will happen. The stone will create a ripple effect that spreads out for a long way.

In my work with the prison units, it disturbs me that over 90 % of the men incarcerated today come from homes where they were abused or where they watched abuse. They have fathers who skipped out and were never around or they had fathers who never hugged them or said, "I love you".

To feel love, to know acceptance and to feel wanted are basic fundamental needs of all human beings. We all need to know that we are cared for, especially children. When we as adults act in stupid ways, those actions will affect our children, our grandchildren and their children. We all need to think hard about how we deal with our children. What we do today not affects our lives, it also affects the lives of generations yet unborn.

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

Brother Jim



By Rev. Jim Reeves

I have long thought that tolerance was somewhat based on the same idea as the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Tolerance is a two-way street or at least it is supposed to be. If you want others to be tolerant of you, then you need to be tolerant of them. Somehow, the liberal Democrats have forgotten that idea. They want everybody to be tolerant of them, but somehow, they donít want to be tolerant of others.
Two examples. A few weeks back, a man was walking down the street of one our major cities. He was wearing a Make America Great Again cap. A Hispanic women runs up behind, snatches the cap off his head, screaming that the cap was racist. When the man pursues her to recover his property, the women dashes into one of the businesses along the street screaming that the man should not be wearing the cap because it is racist. She refuses to give the man back his property and ultimately winds up using the F bomb and a few other choice words that should not be used in mixed company. The guy simply wants his cap back. She is calling him all sorts of vile names and finally the police have to be called. She spits in his cap and the police finally have to take her away. Turns out she is an illegal alien.
First of all, letís get something straight. There is absolutely nothing racist about a cap that says Make America Great Again. Now, if the cap had said I Hate Blacks or used the N-word, I would agree that it was racist. I have seen T-shirts on students in our schools that are more racist than a cap that says Make America Great Again. It simply is a piece of headgear designed to keep the head warm. Nothing more.
Secondly, I would say to the liberal Democrats, why do you have a problem with a cap that says Make America Great Again? When you attack people who wear these caps, are you in fact saying to them that you donít want to make America great again? Attacking these caps is about the most-un-American thing that I can think of. What red-blooded, true American would not want to make this nation great again? To attack these caps is about as stupid as saying that you want to ban all sale of pork products because they offend the Muslims of our country and that pork producers, and users of pork products are intolerant. If you want to attack me as being intolerant because I want to eat pork, are you not being intolerant of me and my ideas?
This morning, I received a Facebook message that said, "To all of you who wear Make America Great Again caps, what world are you living in?" Well, whoever you are, let me reply. I am living in the real world, where tolerance is something that works both ways.

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

Brother Jim



By Rev. Jim Reeves

December 8, 1941, the day after Pearl Harbor. President Roosevelt stands in front of a joint meeting of Congress and asks for a declaration of war against Japan and Germany. Every member of Congress, but one, votes for declaring war. The lone dissenting vote is a Republican congresswoman. Following that vote, she is publicly attacked by her colleagues in Congress who label her as a "traitor" to her country.

Other members of both the House and Senate call for her removal from office and possible arrest for being a "traitor" to her country, Both the Senate and the House are controlled by Democrats and the president is a Democrat. Why is it alright for the Congress to call one of its own members a "traitor" yet it is not alright for me to even suggest such a thing? Sounds kind of like the kettle calling the pot black, doesnít it?

I would like to point out that every single war, police action or major military engagement, with the exception of Iraq and Afghanistan have occurred when a Democrat is in the White House. Historically, the Democrats have been more supportive of military action than the Republicans. But then, I forget that the Democratic party very conveniently forgets all about historical FACT when the finger of blame points back at them.

I would also like to point out that the people immigrating from Central America are not doing so to escape political oppression, since most of the Central American countries are not controlled by dictators, but rather they are countries where free elections are held and the countries are basically democracies just like the US. The fact is that these people are headed for our borders because "organizers" have gone into those countries to organize these caravans, handing out flyers that promise free food, free housing, free medical care and free education if they can just get to America. The same idea was used by the state of California, which was controlled by Democrats, during the Depression. Huge numbers of flyers were distributed in the dust bowl areas, promising good paying jobs if the people could just get to California. Yet, when the flood tide of migrants arrived, they were labeled as "Okies", and "Immigrants". They were left to work for pitifully low wages and to live in shanty towns, tent cities and even by the side of the road. Native Californians labeled these people as "immigrants" and demanded that they go back where they came from. Sounds kind of like the kettle calling the pot black, doesnít it?

I have several friends who are immigrants or the sons and daughters of immigrants. The difference is that they came to this country legally, by the book, according to the law. There is a world of difference between a legal immigrant and an illegal alien. I want to emphasize that I am in no way opposed to immigrants who wish to come to this country legally, by the book, in accordance with the law. I have either sponsored or helped to sponsor several children in an effort to bring them to this country because of being street children or whatever in their home countries. The difference is, we did it by the book, legally, according to the law.

In December the ministers of this community, including myself, gave out more than 60 boxes of food to families that needed help. More than half of those recipients were non-English speaking. We did not ask them if they were legal immigrants or illegal aliens. Since then I have personally taken more than one food box to people in this community without asking their immigration status. There is a huge difference between helping those in need in Beaver, Oklahoma and standing on the banks of the Rio Grande River with a box of free food, waving those who are swimming the river to make it to shore so I can shake their hand. Unlike the liberals, this I will not do.

I encourage immigration to this country. I welcome immigration to this country. I will even help immigrants to come to this country, provided they do so in accordance with the law, by the books, legally. This is a nation based on laws and adherence to those laws. The bottom line is that people who choose to come to this country illegally are lawbreakers and should not be treated any different than we treat any others who break the law.

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

Brother Jim



Dear Friends,
Oklahoma Senator, Joseph Silk has authored SB 13 (Oklahoma Abolition of Abortion Act) http://webserver1.lsb.state.ok.us/cf_pdf/2019-20%20INT/SB/SB13%20INT.PDF
SB 13, if passed will criminalize abortion as murder, ending Oklahoma's Holocaust which ends the lives of 5000 innocent unborn children annually.
I encourage you to attend the rally in support of SB 13 at the capitol, February 12th beginning at 10am. We will hear from speakers as well has lobby senators to support SB 13. This will be one of the most vital events you will ever attend. With your help Oklahoma will be on it's way to being the first Sanctuary State for the unborn.
There is no charge to attend the rally and help but you can register at

if you wish, to help with the cause and pick up some shirts and literature.
With God's help and you, we can bring an end to Oklahoma's Holocaust in 2019.
Hope to see you there!
Rescue those being led away to death;
hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
If you say, ďBut we knew nothing about this,Ē
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it?
Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done? Proverbs 24:11-12
For Life,
Kenny Bob Tapp
Boise City


I have thought long and hard about the article Rev. Jim Reeves submitted to the Herald-Democrat a couple weeks ago. In Reverend Reevesí article, he made a recommendation to President Trump regarding how to "deal with" the immigrants on our southern border, as well as, harsh treatment of the Democratic leadership.

However, I will point out that he not only called out for violence against immigrants that he described as "undesirable illegal aliens" but also called democrats hypocrites five times and recommended they be arrested for treason! I know I am only one of a few democrats who live in Beaver County, and I have kept respectfully quiet when I hear people denigrate democrats with no thought that I might be one. But, in this instance, I have to stand up and say, "I do not agree, Rev. Reeves!"

As a self-reported man of God, how can you promote violence on people who are fleeing from poverty and injustice in their own country? Were not Jesusí ancestors immigrants out of Egypt? Were your ancestors not immigrants to America at some point in history? Do you think they were filled with fear about how they would be received and treated in a new country? Why do you live in fear of them? The reason you gave in the article stated they were coming to destroy us. I guess I would fear them too if I had believed that. We are a country of immigrants, people have been coming to America from other countries since our inception. We stand for freedom and a letter life. You want to deny them what you and your ancestors came here for? Not only deny them, but kill them?

Which leads me to my second point of your vehemently judging democrats as treasonous hypocrites. I believe it is biblical to paraphrase, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." In addition, as a professed pastor, you are held to a high standard. Put simply, would you pass the "what would Jesus say" test?

Respectfully submitted,

Janell Pirtle

Forgan, OK

By Rev. Jim Reeves

First of all, let me say that I feel for those government workers who have been furloughed during this latest government shutdown. I truly pray that your situation will be rectified and that you will soon be back to work. I hope that you will be able to sustain yourselves through these times.

Now, having said that, I want to point out that most of us have not noticed any change in the way things go, in spite of the fact that the government has been shut down. My Social Security check (even in its pitifully small amount) has continued to be deposited, the mail has continued to run, airplanes have not been falling out of the sky, and terrorists have not chosen to take advantage of the situation to invade our country. Schools have continued to operate, babies have continued to be born, people have continued to die and the nightly news continues to report all the bad things that are happening in our world. In other words, our daily lives have continued to go on in spite of the fact that the imbeciles in Washington canít even agree on whether it is night or day, much less on whether we need a wall or not.

What does this say about our government? I think it says a number of things. Number one, it says that our government is grossly overbloated. It is way too big. If we can lay off this many government workers and not many people even notice it, that tells me that the government is far bigger than it needs to be. Maybe President Trump needs to help all those laid-off workers to find jobs in other sectors and just leave the government shut-down.

Secondly it tells me that whether or not the government is working really doesnít affect the life of the average American all that much. We continue to live our lives pretty much as normal in spite of the government. Maybe we just need to do away with it altogether.

Third, I would point out that the government shut down really doesnít affect those members of Congress and others in Swamp City. The Senators and congresspeople continue to get paid, in spite of the shut-down. They continue to get free medical care in their own private hospital. They still get to fly around the country at our expense. Their corrupt spending continues unabated by any shutdown. Maybe, if they had to suffer the same way that laid-off workers are having to suffer, they would get off of their dead brain cells and solve this problem.

Last, but not least, you can rest assured that the IRS will continue to collect our taxes.

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

Brother Jim



By Rev. Jim Reeves

I read this morning where, in light of the looming continuation of the government shutdown, President Trump is considering declaring a state of emergency in America. I have a much better idea Mr. President. Declare war on Mexico. Put military forces on war status, man the borders and use any and all force needed to repel the immigrants. Then arrest all of the Democrats in the House and the Senate and charge them with treason and high crimes against the government. Clear the whole bunch out!

Why so drastic a measure? Friends, letís face it: we are at war! As much of a war as the Vietnam War, the Korean War, WWII, WWI and all the other wars we have been involved in. The illegal aliens trying to get into this country are trying to invade our country with the same intentions as the German Nazis and the Japanese did in the second World War. They are seeking to destroy our way of life, our economic system, our moral standards, our religious beliefs, the whole nine yards. Their intent is just as serious threat to this country as the intent of all the enemies who have ever attacked this country.

The sad thing is that the Democrats are not only aiding this invasion, they are encouraging it! They are bent on turning our entire nation into the same cesspool as California is.

I find it interesting that Nancy Pelosi lives in a multi-million dollar home in California and guess what she has around her house? A wall! Thatís right folks, she has a high wall surrounding her house because she doesnít want undesirable people invading her space, yet she attacks President Trump for wanting to build a wall to keep undesirable people from invading America! Come on! How hypocritical can you get?

President Clinton and Hillary and President Obama and Michelle have all built a wall around their homes to keep out undesirables, but they want to attack President Trump and the Republicans for wanting to do the same thing. Not only that, but guess who paid for those walls to be built around the Clintonís home and the Obamaís home? We did, you and I, the American taxpayer! If that isnít being hypocritical, I donít know what is.

So, Mr. President, letís just declare war on Mexico and the illegal aliens trying to cross our borders. I mean, letís go after them just the same way we did the Germans and the Japanese in WWII! And arrest those who want to practice hypocrisy. Shut the government down and leave it down.

While Iím at it, I find it rather hypocritical that the Democrats want to tell us that they want to lower the unemployment rate in America, but because of their resistance to stopping this governmental shut-down, they are directly responsible for the unemployment of over 800,000 government and auxillary workers. How hypocritical can you get?

Letís wake up people. We are at war and you donít win wars by giving ground!

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

Brother Jim



By Rev. Jim Reeves

It has been said that the definition of stupidity is "doing the same old thing in the same old way and expecting different results." If that definition is true, then we, the American voters, must be the dumbest creatures on the planet. Why do I say this? Because we have been doing the same old thing in the same old way since the Second World War and expecting different results.

We all are pretty much in agreement that our government is in a mess. This recent shut-down only goes to prove that. It is inefficient, morally corrupt and outstandingly over bloated. Ronald Reagan was probably our last good president and the Congress hasnít fared a whole lot better.

Yet, what do we do? We continue voting the Republicans in for awhile and then the Democrats. We know that we have major problems, we know they need to be addressed and fixed, yet we keep voting in one of two parties that havenít been able to fix the problem in almost eighty years! In fact, they have made the problems worst! So why do we do it? Why do we keep voting for professional politicians who are so interested in lining their own pockets and advancing their own welfare that they totally forget the reason they were elected in the first place! Our elected officials, all of them, are elected for the sole purpose of representing the constituents back home. They are supposed to protect our best interests, yet they are so interested in their own interests that they canít see the interests of the public.

Our society is going down the toilet because our governmental leadership is already in the toilet! They spend more time bashing each other, one party against the other, that our general population thinks that this kind of behavior is acceptable. A recent news video showed a Hispanic one snatching a "make America great again" cap off of a young manís head and refusing to give it back to him. When the young man told her it was his right to wear the hat, she told him it was genocide and what he could do with his right. The issue escalated and finally, in desperation, the young man told her it was the law that she had to return his property and she promptly told him what he could do with the law, that she didnít have to obey the law! Turns out this woman was an illegal alien. The members of Congress have spent so much time bashing each other and ignoring the fundamental laws of the land that this woman believed that the law and the young manís right to free speech didnít matter!

We know we have a major problem with immigration, yet the two parties are so busy criticizing each other that you could sneak an entire continent into this country and the government would never know it. The Democrats want to bash the president and the Republicans for trying to do something, yet they did nothing for eight long years under Obama! I was always taught that if you thought you could do something better then prove it. Neither party has been able to prove that it has a better plan for running this country for almost a century.

It is time for the common voter to wise up. If neither party is doing what itís supposed to, then itís time to get rid of the whole bunch. Some people seem to be worried about the governmental shutdown. I say let it close down permanently. Letís scrap the whole thing and start over!

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

Brother Jim



There are two things that you can always talk about around the table at the local coffee shopóthe weather and politics. I would rather talk about the weather because nothing about politics makes any sense at all.

For example, take the president. I have never seen so much bashing of a president in my life! It seems that no matter what President Trump does, it isnít right. One could expect the Democrats to constantly be on his case. After all, thatís the only good thing the Democrats are good at. However, the Republicans seem to be bashing the president just as badly.

I have said it before and Iíll say it again. People expect the president to fix all the ills of our country. Iím not even sure that Christ Jesus himself could do that. The simple fact is that the president doesnít have as much power as everybody seems to think he does. He canít raise or lower your taxes. He canít set the spending budget for the government. He canít ratify treaties. He cannot declare war. About all he can really do is to suggest and to exert pressure on Congress. If you really want to be unhappy with anyone in our government, be unhappy with the horsesí rears that we have in the Senate and the House of Representatives and I mean from both parties.

There, Iíve done the obligatory talking about politics. So, letís talk about the weather for a moment. My wife and I both have these "smart phones". Hers gets the weather from one place and mine gets it from somewhere else. Every morning, we check both these so-called "smart phones" and every morning we discover that they give us two totally different forecasts. Sometimes the forecasts are so different as to be comical. For example, we woke up this morning and first thing, checked our weather forecasts. One had that our high temperature was going to be 71 and that we had a 40% chance of rain.

The other said that our high was going to be 52 and that we had a 10% chance of moisture. How can the two weather forecasts ( both of which come from the National Weather Service) be that much different?

Well, guess what? Neither one of them was right! We did get a little moisture (about three drops of rain in three minutes), but certainly not enough to say grace over and the temperature never got out of the 40s.

I have always found it amazing that weather forecasters are the only people I know of that can be wrong 90% of the time and still keep their jobs. If weather people got paid according to their accuracy in their forecasts, we wouldnít have any weather forecasters. Weíd have a whole of street people holding up signs on the street corner that would read, "Will tell your forecast for food" or "Missed my last forecast. Need help getting out of town."

In the movie "Good Morning, Vietnam", there is a line where one of the soldiers is asked to give a weather report over the radio. His reply was, "You got a window? Open it, fool, and see for yourself. Itís hot and wet." To me, thatís the best weather advice possible. Just go outside and see what the weather is doing. You may not know what itís going to be doing for the rest of the day, but in the Oklahoma panhandle, you or nobody else knows that, because the old adage in this part of the world is, "If you donít like the weather, just wait five minutes and it will change." In a conversation with someone the other day who was obviously a Yankee, I made the statement that we, in the panhandle, live 360 days a year, just so we can experience 5 days a year without wind. The guy thought that I was just being windy. Shows how much Yankees know.

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

Brother Jim



By Rev. Jim Reeves

This weekís column will be a short one, as the computer is choosing this season to act up. I have been thinking the past few weeks, as I do every year, about the meaning of Christmas. Yes, it is about the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. However, it is about much more than that.

When you read the stories surrounding the birth of the infant Jesus, you see the intertwining stories of many people. You see the stories of Mary, Joseph, the wise men, the shepherds and others. You see the story of two angels, the one who visited Mary to inform her about the pregnancy, but you also see the story of the angel that visited Joseph and assured him that it was okay to go forward with the marriage.

But you also see the story of another angel, and that angel is Jesus. No, we donít think of Jesus as an angel. After all, we call him the Son of God. But in a way, Jesus was an angel. How many times have you seen a new-born child and said, "oh, what an angel!" Just as the angels were sent to bring a message to Mary and to Joseph, just as the "herald" angels were sent to the shepherds to proclaim the glory of God, Jesus was sent to us to bring a message. In fact, to bring two basic messages: love the Lord your God with all your being and love your neighbor as yourself. He was sent to "herald" or proclaim the message found in those two commandments.

As Christmas is followed so closely by the coming of a new year, this season is not just about receiving and sharing the message of Jesus. It is also about the idea of being renewed, revived and readied for new and exciting things.

It seems that this year, we are focused too much on the things that divide us. Hatred, distrust, uneasiness, bigotry, all seem to be pervasive. But they donít have to be. If we focus on the message, the true message of this whole season of Christmas and New Yearís, we can focus on the love, grace, mercy and forgiveness of a little infant child that was and is a gift to all of us and upon the renewing call that that gift sends to us to focus on what brings us together instead of what separates us.

As we come to the close of one year and the promise of another, from my family to yours: Merry Christmas and may you have the best of a New Year.,

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

Brother Jim



By Rev. Jim Reeves

There is an old Chinese proverb that says, "Never tell a man that he canít accomplish something when he is in the middle of accomplishing it." Over the past several weeks, I have had numerous people, some even from the church community, tell me that we couldnít accomplish putting together 1000 of the "blessing bags" to deliver to the homeless folks in Amarillo, Oklahoma City and Wichita.

It is with a great sense of accomplishment, that by the grace of God, along with a lot of faith, this past Saturday, we not only achieved our goal of 1000 bags, we actually exceeded that goal by ten.

We took a trailer, packed full with 600 plus bags to Oklahoma City. While there, we discovered that many other groups have started similar projects primarily because of seeing our efforts over the past few years. We have another 350 bags which are going down to a particular shelter this week. This shelter feeds that many homeless people every day.

We have already delivered 150 of these bags to the homeless in Amarillo. If your math is any good at all, you can see that we are going to go over 1000 bags by the time this is through because we are also going to be taking bags to Wichita to the homeless shelter there.

We have had the occasion to give bags to transient, homeless people passing through Beaver. We will be putting together several of these bags to be kept at the local food bank for our own people in Beaver County as well as people passing through who need help. In other words, this project has grown enormously over the past few years and it is continuing to grow.

I want to take this opportunity to thank many people who helped with this project. While it is true that my wife and I poured a great deal of our personal money into this effort, it is equally true that many other people helped out to varying degrees. Our collection box at Downingís has been great for getting the word out in our community, and to all the people who put items in that box, we say, "Thank you."

To the various civic groups that have helped out, we say a big "Thank you." I have been surprised and touched by rank strangers who have seen us buying a hundred or so blankets in Wal-Mart who have slipped a $10 or $20 bill into the check-out ladyís hand and said, "Put this toward their bill." Once people have found out what our project is doing, especially with veterans, we have had a lot of encouragement and fortunately, support. I have had people say to me, "Wait a minute and Iíll run back and get you 5 more blankets or socks or gloves or whatever." We have had cans of vienna sausages show up on the step of the church during the night.

I especially want to say, "Thank you", to Downingís market here in Beaver. They have been gracious to order large supplies of vienna sausages, fruit pies, chips, crackers, and other non-perishable food items and to give those items to us at the best price possible. To Craig and all the staff at Downingís, a heartfelt "Thank you.". You have had a part in touching the lives of 1000 people who probably will never get to meet you personally, but they are appreciative, too. I encourage Beaver residents to shop locally at all our businesses, but especially at Downingís. I encourage you to buy an extra can of vienna sausages, a fruit pie or any other non-perishable food item and put it in our donation box in the foyer at the store. Weíre already making plans for next yearís effort.

Finally, thank you, God. You gave us the vision to see a need, the courage to think outside the box of normal ministry, the faith to believe in ourselves and you, and the warm feeling of doing your work. Itís all about you.

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

Brother Jim



By Rev. Jim Reeves

This week, I read in the newspaper that Amarillo was finally going to do something to try and help the homeless folks in that city. They are going to try and establish a voucher program that will get some of the worst cases (families, the most ill, etc.) into some kind of housing. After all, there are hundreds of empty and abandoned houses in Amarillo, as there are in Oklahoma City and other cities and towns, including Beaver.

After all, a totally empty house deteriorates faster and becomes an eyesore in the neighborhoods. Thereís no reason why there shouldnít be some program or some way to get at least some of the homeless people in out of the cold.

In sharing this story with some folks here in our community, I heard the comment that I so often hear, "Well, why should we worry about it? We donít have any homeless people here. That doesnít affect our community."

Oh, contrary to your belief, we do and it does. Just this past week, we had a homeless individual right here in Beaver. In fact, we have more than one, if the truth be known. While this individual was not on our community for long, the fact is that he would have been relegated to sleeping on the sidewalk or in one of our parks had not the ministerial alliance intervened to care for him.

Because this individual had two dogs, none of the motels would allow us to rent a room for this individual, so we were forced to rent the little bunkhouse out at the dunes. It has no indoor plumbing facilities, it was one of the colder nights of last week, and the individual certainly had no food to eat. It only has some bunks, but at least he was out of the wind.

We gave him one of the "blessing bags" from the Share The Warmth project that I have been writing about for some time, and you would have thought he had hit the lottery. He started pulling the stuff out of the bag and when he came to the blanket, it was like he was about to cry. He commented that no one or no agency had ever given him a blanket. In addition, he had a stocking cap, a pair of cotton gloves, a pair of socks, cans of vienna sausages, crackers, and other food items to help him later on. He was fed a meal.

The homeless folks are not a problem that exists "somewhere else and we donít have to worry about it." The homeless folks are human beings: men, women and often, even children. They donít exist just in the big cities; you find them in the rural areas, too. This individual moved on the next day, but he just as easily could have wound up sleeping on your sidewalks or in your parks. When are we going to realize that, just because we live way out in the panhandle, that we are not isolated from the rest of the world.

The Share the Warmth project is intended to help those individuals less fortunate than ourselves. We still have a ways to go to reach the 1,000 bags that we hope to put together. By taking these bags to Oklahoma City, maybe we can help them to find some relief from the winter and perhaps they wonít have to travel through the little towns trying to find some place.

The donation box is still at Downingís and any help that can be given is greatly appreciated.

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

Brother Jim



By Rev. Jim Reeves

Today, our nation is mourning the loss of a former president, a Godly man, a great patriot and veteran, and quite possibly, one of the last great statesmen of our time. There was a heart-wrenching picture posted this morning of President George H.W. Bushís service dog guarding the casket of his former master. The caption read, "Mission Completed." Yes, Mr. President, your mission and the mission of your service dog are completed. May you rest in peace.

The most memorable quote from George H.W. Bush that has stuck with me came from his "a thousand points of light" speech, where he challenged all of us to bring a light into the world of darkness. We were and continue to be challenged by his words and by his character to make a difference in our world. Sadly, the world in which those words were spoken has grown worse since then.

The "Share the Warmth" project that I have been working on since October is my effort to be one of those "points of light" in this world. There are those who are being critical of the effort. Sadly, some of those who are being critical are people who go to church and call themselves "Christians". They say itís a waste of time to try and do something for "those people". It saddens me to hear people using that term as if the homeless are something less than human. I want so bad to remind them of the phrase "there but by the grace of God go I." The majority of us are merely a paycheck or two away from being in the same boat as the people who have to sleep on sidewalks and in alleys and storefront doorways. How would we feel if we suddenly became "one of those people" and heard the supposedly good-hearted talking about us?

President George H. W. Bush was the essence of a man who didnít just "talk the talk". He "walked the walk". His challenge to us to be a part of the "thousand points of light" was a challenge which he, himself, rose to. Born into a wealthy, New England family, schooled in the Ivy League tradition, he was a man who chose to give his life to service. First, as a pilot in World War II, and then later in public office.

People in public office learn quickly what most ministers learn. No matter how you try to do the right thing, thereís always going to be those who criticize everything you do. The ones who are out want to blame everything on the ones who are in. Yet, so often, the ones who criticize the loudest are the very ones who donít vote, donít volunteer, wouldnít serve no matter what and expect something for nothing.

Great statesmen like George H. W. Bush learn quickly to do what you feel you are called to do and let the criticism roll off like water. My favorite expression is "lead, follow or get out of my way." Those who want to criticize the loudest are seldom around to do the work when it gets the hottest. So be it.

Pastors, politicians and others who commit to a life of service must set their vision higher than the vision of the world or nothing ever gets accomplished, nothing ever changes. Like Robert Kennedy, I choose to see the world, not as it is, but as it can be. My vision is of a world where someday there will be no homeless people, no matter where they live. Maybe that day will only come in Heaven, but until then I choose to try and bring a little bit of Heaven to this life. My light may not be much, but I would rather be a part of the "thousand points of life", trying to illuminate the darkness, than to live in darkness, hoping for a little light. And President Bush, I would be honored to be a part of your effort to change the world.

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

Brother Jim



By Rev. Jim Reeves

What a marvelous Community Thanksgiving dinner we had this last week. The 15th annual event turned out to be the biggest and best so far. It is estimated that we may have exceeded our expectation of 500 meals served. There were many who didnít sign in, many to-go boxes taken to local folks, the workers who ate and the to-go boxes we sent to the homeless in Amarillo. This year, we sent 150 boxes to Amarillo plus 150 "blessing bags". Each bag contained a pair of gloves, a pair of socks, a blanket, a stocking cap and several non-perishable, ready to eat food items. Needless to say, they were much appreciated.

So many of our homeless people are mentally or physically disabled and over 50 % of them are veterans. Yes, some have gotten hooked on alcohol or drugs, but that is not the issue. They are homeless and need our help. I am so proud of the little community with such a big heartóBeaver, Oklahoma!

I want to share with you a heartbreaking story which came out of our effort to help the homeless in Amarillo. Toward the end of the day, a family of 4 was found living in an alley in downtown Amarillo. They are living in a small utility building about 4 ft by 6 ft, a man, woman and two children. The only meals the children get are the free breakfast and lunch meals at school, so they are missing 7 meals a week counting weekends and evenings.

We are currently working with this family and officials in Amarillo to find an apartment or small house for them to live in.

We are also trying to put together 1000 of the "blessing bags" to go to Oklahoma City which has more than 5,000 street people. Our target date to get these bags down there is Friday, December 14th. Right now, we have about 150 bags ready to go. As you can imagine, this is a gigantic effort and we can use all the help we can get.

The food items, including the small bags of peanuts, saltine crackers, small cans of Vienna sausages, fruit pies, mixed fruit cups, snack packs of chips, granola bars and other items can all be purchased right here in our local food stores. The cotton gloves can be purchased at Downings. A large collection box is sitting outside the fellowship hall of the Presbyterian church and you can place donated items there.

Monetary donations can be mailed to "Share The Warmth", Box 1311, Beaver, Oklahoma 73932.

It is efforts such as this, the childrenís boxes, the food baskets and others that remind us that we so often lose sight of what the church really is. We need always to remind ourselves that our churches are not buildings. Our churches are the hearts of people who are moving in the lives of those less fortunate every day of the year. Jesus never intended for the church to be a building. He doesnít worry about the color of the carpet, the paintings on the wall, the siding or even the roof. The church He envisioned was a body of people making a difference in the lives of the sick, the hungry, those without clothing, the widows, the orphans, the imprisoned and all others who need to know the love of God.

You and I, we are the church, not just in Beaver, Oklahoma, but to our neighbors. Our neighbors are not just those on our local block or even in our community. Our neighbors are all those who need our help no matter where they might be. May God bless each one of you as you strive to be the church in this season.

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

Beautiful secrets. Our world is filled with beautiful secrets that so often, we are not aware of and never see. Why do we not see these beautiful secrets? Mainly because weíre in such a hurry to get to somewhere that we canít take the time to see whatís right around us. There is a wonderful song called, "Iíve Got A Couple More Years On You" that expresses whatís so often wrong. There is a line in that song that says, "Youíre headed somewhere, but Iíve been to somewhere and found that it was nowhere at all."

In other words, we spend so much of our lives going ninety miles an hour, trying to get somewhere, thinking that when we get there, weíll find happiness, success, wealth or whatever. Then, as we age, we realize that those things donít exist "somewhere" and that we have wasted so much of our life, and we missed so much along the way. The fact is that most of those things exist in our hearts. There is a certain truth to the old adage, "Slow down and smell the roses"

This past Friday, my wife and I had to be in Clayton, NM for a ten oíclock appointment. When we finished, before noon, I said to her, "Letís take our time going home and so some sight-seeing." So we went north out of Clayton, through ghost towns named Seneca and Moses (Let me tell you, Moses wouldnít have led the Hebrews to that wilderness), and into the vast emptiness of Northeastern New Mexico. We crossed into Oklahoma near Kenton, saw the Black Mesa area, the state park, the lake and so much more. The saddest part of the whole trip was that the battery in my camera was dead and I couldnít take any pictures.

However, we discovered once again the hidden treasure, the beautiful secret, that is that corner of Oklahoma and the corner of New Mexico. Few people ever see it, ever see itís beauty, because they are so busy whizzing down the interstate or some major highway, going somewhere.

Then Saturday, I said, "I want to get out and take some Fall pictures." (I had, by then, recharged the camera battery.) So we drove up to Lake Mead State Park. The leaves are beginning to turn, the lake was beautiful and we spent three or four hours doing nothing but taking photographs and relaxing. And guess what? We didnít miss any great games on TV. We didnít miss not cleaning the house, washing the clothes or dishes or doing a lot of other things. We simply enjoyed being outside in one of Natureís beautiful secrets.

The wash will get done, the dishes will get done, life will go on. However, I would like to think that itís a little fuller now for having found again two "beautiful secrets" that arenít that far away. You donít have to travel hundreds of miles, spend lot of money on fancy hotels, restaurants, plane tickets or whatever to find Godís beautiful secrets. Most often, they are simply a dayís drive away or less.

Instead of spending time speeding to "somewhere" only to discover that it really is "nowhere at all", why not relieve your stress by just simply getting out and finding your own "beautiful secrets"? They are closer than you think.

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

October is Pastor Appreciation Month. I am am not announcing that for self-gratification, but rather to tell you how blessed this community is to have a group of ministers who work together for the betterment of this whole county.

I have been in the ministry now for almost thirty years. I have seen and been a part of many ministerial alliances in different communities. Sadly, I have pastored in some communities where there was no ministerial alliance because the churches couldnít seem to get along.

I am proud to say that is not the case with the Beaver County Ministerial Alliance. This is the most close-knit group that I have ever had the privilege and pleasure to work with. While we officially meet only one Wednesday a month, we are meeting almost everyday for coffee, breakfast and pleasant fellowship.

This group of ministers is the most concerned I have ever been a part of about the good of both this community and this county. We pray for the city council before each of their meetings. The ministerial fellowship does a Thanksgiving dinner every year for the entire county and anyone else who just wants to come eat and enjoy good fellowship. This year, we expect to feed close to 500 people.

The ministerial alliance is active in all areas of the community including our schools, civic organizations, fire department and EMS. We do weekly worship services at the nursing home.

In addition to all that, the Beaver County Ministerial Alliance is always helping individuals with food from the food pantry, help with transportation to and from medical treatments, doctorís appointments and other needs. We have helped and continue to help with families needing assistance with utilities and other needs.

This is the first ministerial alliance I have ever been a part of that covers each other during funeral needs. It is not unusual for one of the ministers to do a funeral for someone who is not even a member of their church and to do it in some other church than their own. We cover each other on hospital calls, and medical emergencies. We financially support a licensed counselor for troubled youth in this county as well as counseling for adults.

Remember when you need to turn to someone at two oíclock in the morning because you have lost a loved one that the ministers of this community are here for you. Not only is it the ministerís responsibility to preach the Gospel of the good news; it is the ministerís responsibility to put that Gospel into action by caring for and participating in the community, the county and even beyond.

Your ministerial alliance in Beaver County is the best Iíve ever seen. In our cooperation with each other, our support for each other and our caring for one another, we strive to do the best we can for this county and this community. It is an honor and privilege for me to work with and to know this group of ministers. When you see them around town, take a moment and let them know they are appreciated.

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

Gene Autry was not on the lifeline between Dallas and Oklahoma City. That distinction belonged to Highway 77 which cut through Marietta and Ardmore, but Gene Autry had something almost as good. Gene Autry had the KATY railroad, and every day there were at least two passenger trains and four freights through town. It was the railroad that brought Boudreaux his one-eyed rattlesnake. The railroad and "Snickers" Wilson.

"Snickers" Wilson was the townís court jester. His mamma had named him Twocandy Nuget Wilson because she had a thing for frozen Zero candy bars and she had eaten two whole boxes and a jar of theater-size dill pickles just about an hour before she gave birth. There was a great deal of discussion in the delivery room as to whether her water broke because she was going into labor or because she was bloated.

Having a name like Twocandy undoubtedly had a warping effect on the childís outlook on life, and almost from the beginning, the baby laughed but never cried. Never once. He laughed at everything. He laughed at his food, at his bottle, at all the people who came to view him, but most of all, and some said it was out of spite, he laughed at his mother, who stuffed her mouth with more Zeroes and gleefully nicknamed her son "Snickers".

It didnít take a Doctor Spock to realize right away that Snickersí elevator didnít go quite to the top. Someone had given him a Davy Crockett coonskin cap and he would stand for hours on the corner in front of Elyís Cherry Slosh Drugstore and laugh at everything. Snickers was the only kid in the history of the Gene Autry schools to get kicked out of the first grade because he laughed from the Pledge of Allegiance in the morning to the final bell in the afternoon. Poor Ms. Lumpkins, the teacher, had a nervous breakdown and was last seen heading down the road to Madill without any clothes on. To say that Snickers had a short but brilliant brush with education was the understatement of the year.

The townsfolk of Gene Autry soon realized that they had a real oddity. Here was the one person in town who never frowned. Folks who were having a bad day would look Snickers up on the corner, speak to him, and then sit back and listen to him laugh. For the price of an ice cream cone in the drugstore, Snickers would do you more good than all the high-priced psychiatrists you could find in the city and all three-hundred and fifty residents took Snickers in like an adopted child.

On his eighth birthday, the whole town took up a collection and bought Snickers a genuine Gene Autry, Daisy lever-action B-B gun, and he was off into the woods and fields wearing his Davy Crockett coonskin cap and shooting at everything in sight. Every stray dog in town became his companion, and whenever Snickers needed a horse, some housewife would lose a mop or a straw broom. Snickers was hard on his horses and easy on his women.

It was during one of his expeditions into the badlands of Oklahoma that Snickers came face-to-face with the rattler. He was riding his broomstick pony across the railroad bridge over Brushy Creek when he came upon the snake curled up on the trestle to sun. Snickers promptly threw his horse into the creek, pumped his B-B gun, and squared off against the snake like Wyatt Earp at the OK corral. The snake rattled and Snickers shot him right between the eyes. Well, almost. Snickers was no Annie Oakley, but he did manage to hit the snake in one eye. However, before Snickers could pump his gun again, fate stepped in and changed everyoneís life forever.

The northbound Sunset Special had just pulled out of the station when it rounded the curve and bore down on a miniature Davy Crockett locked in a mortal gunfight with a one-eyed, ticked-off rattlesnake. The engineer threw on the brakes and the train slid to a screeching halt, but not before the cowcatcher caught Snickers square in the rear and sent him laughing out into space and into the waters of Brushy Creek.

Seeing this great tragedy, everyone on the train piled off, including one run-away shrimp cook from New Orleans by the name of Fontaine Boudreaux. While everyone else went scrambling down the bank to save the coonskin cap and whatever was floating beneath it, Fontaine became fascinated by the snake, who apparently thought it had bested the pint-size gunslinger and was now curled up, nursing its one good eye.

Boudreaux grabbed a shovel and a tow-sack from the locomotive and scooped the snake into the sack. Somehow he felt that the snake might be his one chance to make a living. While everyone else was coo-cooing over the kid, Boudreaux climbed back aboard the train and put the snake in the overhead compartment.

With everyone back aboard the train, the engineer threw it into reverse and backed around the corner into the station. The people of Gene Autry had never seen a train back into the station, so everyone turned out to see what was the matter.

While the engineer related the story of what happened, Snickers ran around the platform laughing his head off, and riding a new pony that he had confiscated from the porterís closet. Everyone was reaching out to touch the hero kid or clapping the engineer on the back. All the women were crying and carrying on about a miracle, and the preachers were competing to see who could say the loudest "Amen." The whole thing seemed like a cross between a tent revival and a traveling circus.

Boudreaux suddenly remembered his prize snake, and he jumped up on the platform, holding the snake out at armís length, telling everyone in his best evangelistic voice that this was the one-eyed devil that almost took the townís adopted son. The crowd immediately wanted to lynch the snake or to at least see the varmint that had done this terrible thing, but Boudreaux allowed that, for a quarter apiece, they could all take a peek. Before Snickers rode off to relieve himself, Boudreaux had collected $225 and he realized that it was here that he could make his fortune. That was how the sleepy little town of Gene Autry came to have an establishment like Boudreauxís Chicken Delight Flophouse and One-Eyed Rattlesnake Emporium.

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

I recently was visiting with a friend of mine who works in the Human Resources department for the Texas prison system. He was lamenting about how young applicants for positions in the prison system today have no sense of "work ethic". He talked about how workers routinely donít show up without calling in or no explanations, how they donít want to work even when they are at work and how they are repeatedly having to be reminded of work responsibilities, dress codes, hygiene habits and a whole host of other things that we routinely took for granted when I first started going to work.

I have shared that my dad was in pipeline construction. It was rough work, dirty, outside, hot in the summer, cold in the winter and it could get a little dangerous. I started going out to work with my dad the summer I was ten. Of course, I couldnít legally be on the payroll and get paid regular wages, so he paid me the grand total of $5 a week, a dollar a day. Yes, children, there was such a time.

For that $5, he informed me that I would be expected to do everything one of his regular hands would do or at least try. I greased the equipment every morning, I filled the water cans every morning, I loaded whatever supplies were needed. I built fence, opened gates, carried water, pulled cables and generally got very hot, dirty, and sometimes greasy.

I was expected to go out every day and if I missed a day, I didnít get my dollar for that day. I very quickly learned to show up and to work every day. After all, back in that day, a buck was good money, especially for a ten-year old.

I learned to drive his pickup that summer when I was ten. I remember that he handed me the keys, told me to go learn how to drive it and walked off. There was no complaining that I "didnít know how." I learned by experience. Never mind that I drove around out in the pastures and fields for two weeks in reverse because that was the first gear that I found. The point is that I did what it took to get the job done.

That was my dadís lesson in work ethics to me. Whatever it takes to get the job done. By the time I was sixteen and could legally work, I knew how to operate a front-end loader, a back-hoe, a ditching machine and I could operate a D-8 Caterpillar bulldozer as well as a lot of older guys. And I learned how to operate all of them the same way I learned to drive that pickup.

We didnít have cell-phones, I-pads or any of that other technical junk, so I wasnít proficient with using my thumbs. However, I knew how to use my head, my hands, my feet and my back if necessary to give my boss an honest days work. I didnít complain about how many breaks I would have in the morning and the afternoon. I didnít complain that you only had 30 minutes for lunch and sometimes you had to eat on the run because someone needed something and you had to deliver it.

I learned common sense, a trait which is sadly lacking in todayís youth entering the work force. I didnít shut down completely if the computer quit, because the computer didnít run things then like it does now. I could add, subtract, multiply and divide in my head without a calculator and I knew how to make change without some stupid computer having to tell me how much to give.

I learned how to show up even when you didnít feel like showing up, how to dress correctly, how to do what you were told to do with complaining about it. I learned how to do my job as well as the job of a lot of others because you might get called to do their job. I learned how to give a full-dayís work for a full-dayís pay.

It pains me that the number one responsibility of education, to teach our young people to become productive citizens in the work force, has failed so miserably to do so.

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

Brother Jim



his week, I am sending the column from the Pioneer library in Beaver. Why? Because my regular computer, the one I have done three years worth of columns on, chose to crash? When I say crash, I mean total failure. Nada. Nothing.

For computer geeks, this would be no big problem. For a technically challenged person such as myself, this is a disaster of the Titanic proportions. All the data, every letter, every column, everything, gone. Wiped out. My life this morning is somewhat like the one-legged dog chasing the chicken!

Then I have to deal with people who look at me like Iím some kind of idiot because I canít tell them what is wrong. It isnít working! Thatís whatís wrong! If I knew why it wasnít working, then I would be the computer geek and youíd be the technically-challenged idiot! I feel very lucky just to be able to turn the stupid thing on.

When you start talking about routers and Wi-Fi and Skype and internet servers and all that other stuff, you might as well be talking moon rocks and Mars dust. I donít know what youíre asking me, much less what the answers to your questions might be.

I talked to a salesman at the computer store where I normally do business, trying to decide whether to have the old one fixed or just buy another one. He started asking me questions about giga-bytes and modems and routers and servers and the color of my socks and how many intelligent children I have. Finally, in frustration, I told him what I had for breakfast this morning and could he help me figure out what to do. There was a long pause at the other end of the line and I could almost hear his brain saying, "What century is this old fogey from?"

Hey, I still want to deal with black, boxy rotary phones and TVs that only have three channels. Cut me some slack! I know, without you telling me, that some kindergarten kid with over-sized thumbs could probably tell m exactly whatís wrong with my computer, but Iíll bet you he or she canít tell me who Captain Kangaroo was. So there!

If I donít appear in the paper next week, youíll know that I have voluntarily checked myself into a nursing home somewhere for senior adults with Gunsmoke syndromes.

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

A couple of days ago, I was looking at news on the internet and ran across a kind of trivia game or website about old TV shows and how they ended, but more importantly how they might have ended if the reader was writing the ending. I was looking at some of the questions and one of them asked, "Do you think Miss Kitty and Matt Dillon ever kissed or told each other how they felt about the other one?"

When you watch the old reruns of "Gunsmoke", you just naturally think they probably had feelings for each other and that Miss Kitty hoped that Matt would someday ask her to marry him and the whole nineyards. Of course, it never happened. So I got to thinking about various endings for the show and what would happen if Marshall Dillon ever got so old that he wasnít faster than the bad guys anymore. Then I sat down and wrote the following poem. I hope you enjoy it.

The Night Miss Kitty Danced

By Jim Reeves

I saw Miss Kitty dance here,

The night Matt Dillon died.

Nobody ever saw her stumble;

No one ever saw her cry.

She had loved him for so long;

But she had never told him so.

It was something left unspoken,

For neither one would let it show.

She had stood beside him all those years

And nursed him through a lot of pain,

In gunfights in the swirling dust,

In all the sunshine and the rain.

Then came that time out on the street,

When two cowboys made their play.

After the gunfire ended,

Miss Kitty had stopped to pray.

Then she stepped out on the dance floor,

And every cowboy bowed his head,

As Miss Kitty closed her eyes

For the marshall who was dead.

No, the music wasnít playing,

As Miss Kitty danced alone;

But that night she danced the dance

That she had dreamed of for so long.

What if? Think of how so many TV shows might have ended if you had written the ending. Think of how your life might end, because you are writing the ending.

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

Brother Jim jimrcom@yahoo.com


By Jim Reeves

Well, once again, the argument between liberals and conservatives raises its ugly head. A recent article by an ultra-conservative writer attacks President Trump for his views on immigration, the article saying that immigration diversifies our country, making it stronger, and that immigration is good for the economy. Where do these boneheads get their information?

Letís look at facts and not try to blow smoke touting falsehoods about how good immigration is. All you have to do is to look at Europe to see what unleashed and uncontrolled immigration has done. Poverty levels are up. Education levels are down. European citiesthat were once major attractions for tourists (primarily from America) are now little more than garbage dumps and cesspools. Crime rates are up, it is unsafe for Americans to travel in many European countries, the tax rates are out of sight and the living standards are in the dump.

The pride of America has been for over a hundred years that our economic standard of living is one f the highest in the world, our cities are clean, our water is healthy, our crime rates are lower than most of the world and our cost of living is lower. Sadly, those days are rapidly disappearing.

If you truly want to see what immigration is doing and will continue to do to our country, you have only to look at California. It has the highest cost of living in America, the highest tax rate, the lowest standard of living, the worst educational system, the greatest number of incarcerated offenders and the worst pollution problem of any state in the United States. It has the highest number of homeless people and over half of the population canít speak English. What was once the land of "Golden Opportunity" has become the outhouse of America.

Tourist attractions are overrun by tent cities, garbage is piling up in the streets of Los Angeles and San Francisco and the state holds the record for the greatest number of middle class people who are pulling up stakes and moving out.

The cause of all of this disaster? Simple. It is because of unchecked and rampant immigration. The problems that were Mexicoís back in the 60s, 70s and later are now the problems of California.

Have you been to Mexico lately? Other than a handful of resorts along the coast, the entire country is a cesspool. Streets are piled high with garbage, human waste, abandoned vehicles, used drug needles and every other imaginable eyesore that you can dream of. Tourism is down, drug traffic and drug use is out of control and the country is basically in a state of anarchy. The middle class has all but disappeared and the population is made up of a small percentage of rich (primarily from drug trafficking) and a huge percentage of ultra-poor.

Those same problems have crossed the border and are now rampant in California, simply because of the tide of immigration that has swept into that state.

The rest of the country, especially those states in the Southwest, are facing a future of decline similar to Mexico and California if we donít get a handle on immigration. The fact is that immigration DOES NOT make us stronger through diversity and it IS NOT an economic benefit to our country.

I applaud President Trump for his stand on immigration. If it were up to me, Iíd build a wall so high along our southern border that you couldnít fly over it and top it with barbed wire and concertina. If you want to come to America, do it legally. If you want to live here, learn the language, use it, better yourself through education and contribute to our way of life, instead of bringing the standard of living down.

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

Brother Jim



By Rev. Jim Reeves

This past week, I heard a story so horrible, so incredibly bad that I was physically sick at my stomach and almost got up from the table to go to the restroom and throw up.

Some years back, in the southern part of our state, there lived a couple (they still live there) who were druggies in the worst sense of the word. They made it, sold it, transported it, used it, you name it, and they did it. In the midst of drug-induced sex, over time, they brought into the world children, two in particular. They did not have the foggiest idea about parenting, and even when these two were infants, they would throw them up against the wall, to the point that bones were broken and bodies did not develop normally as they should. Over their infant years the children were awakened when the sun came up in the morning, perhaps fed and they were thrown out into the yard, with the door locked and left to fend for themselves until the sun went down.

They grew up in those formative years urinating and defecating in the front yard, in front of the whole world, because they had no one to teach them differently. DHS finally took the children, but they have permanently been scarred, both physically and mentally. Finally, they are in a Christian home that will show them the kind of love they should have known as infants, but the road ahead is going to be rough and long.

Sadly, this story is being told way too often, in our schools, our community and in our penal system. Over ninety percent of the male inmates in our prison system came from broken homes, alcoholic homes, drug homes, abusive families, families with no male presence, you get the picture. It is a proven fact that the first three years of a childís life are the most critical years, for it is in those years that a child learns what love is, compassion, caring, trust, bonding, all the essential things to make for a healthy and happy childhood.

Alcohol and drugs are rampant, even in our little community. These kinds of stories are being played out right here in what we thought was a comfortable, caring little town. Law enforcement officials recently shared that there are very few blocks within our city where there is no drug use, drug sales, manufacturing or transporting somewhere within that block.

For too long, we as a society have stuck our heads in the sands and pretended that it wasnít and isnít our problem. We who call ourselves Christians have gone to church on Sunday morning in our finery, shut the doors and felt safe from the world, at least for one hour. We have preached feel-good, touchy, touchy sermons where itís all about love, mercy, forgiveness and grace. We have failed to tell our congregations that there is coming a day of judgment, a day when all of us, believers and non-believers, will have to stand before God and account for the things that we did, but more importantly for the things we did not do, to make this world a better place in which to live. We have focused entirely too much on getting to Heaven at the expense of learning how to live a better life here and now. We have allowed our world to go down the toilet because we believed it isnít our problem.

Well, not anymore. It is time that we, who call ourselves followers of Christ, took a real hard, deep look at just what that means. Today, this day, it means rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty in the mud and muck of the world we live in. It means daring to be confrontational and calling a spade a spade. It means getting involved in the lives of those around us, whether we think itís our business or not. It means doing as Jesus, instead of just believing like Jesus.

So, beginning today, this community is going to say to Satan and all His minions, "Enough is enough! No longer will we go quietly into the night, hoping to avoid the reality of our world by the euphemistic escape to a place called Heaven. If you are a drug user, dealer, manufacturer, or transporter, either get yourself into AA or Nar-Anon, which meets right here in our town on Wednesday nights or else pack your bags and leave. You are no longer welcome or wanted in our community. To the child abusers and spouse abusers, take notice. Weíre not going to allow our children to be damaged for the rest of their lives, simply because you are too stupid to know how to be a good parent.

If you donít know what it means to be a loving, caring parent, or youíre an abusive person, donít come to any of us to marry you because the ministers of this town require a certain amount of pre-marital counseling before we will even consider performing a ceremony. If you want to abuse alcohol or drugs, at least bring your children to one of the churches while you do, so they donít have to witness your stupidity.

As a community, we want the best for all of our people, our children, our young adults, our elderly, everyone. If you want to be a vital part of that effort, you are welcome. If you want to destroy that, then pack your bags and get out. Satan, this is your notice. Your fifteen minutes of glory are over. Decent, God-fearing people in this community are coming after you and we are bringing the wrath of the Lord God Almighty with us. No longer will we celebrate Independence Day as a day of political independence only on the 4th of July. From now on, we are celebrating our Independence from the evil that pervades our world and everyday will be Independence Day.

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

This past weekend I had the awesome opportunity to witness the power that can come out of weakness when God is in the process. I worked a womenís Emmaus walk down at the Living Waters Emmaus community in Amherst, Texas.

There were thirty-six women on this walk plus all the women and three of us males who served on the team leading the weekend. These thirty-six women came from all kinds of backgrounds. Some were from abusive marriages, broken homes, drug addictions, abusive childhoods. You name it and it was probably there. When the weekend began there was a great sense of weakness. Almost all of these women felt they were unloved, worthless, whatever.

Over the course of three days, the team and these women shared in fellowship, fun and most of all, reaffirmation that they were special. There was a lot of crying, laughing and hugging.I watched as there was a sense of being released from backgrounds that had beaten down the souls of each one.

The most awesome thing was to see what the power of people working together can do. I witnessed twenty-eight men and women, some pastors, but most lay people, working together over three days to share Godís love for the broken and downtrodden, and showing these "pilgrims" that they truly are special.

By the end of the walk on Sunday afternoon, I saw a change take place that awes me every time I work an Emmaus weekend, whether it is a womenís walk or a menís walk. I saw spirits that were broken being put back together. I witnessed people who came in with their heads bowed leave that experience with their heads held high.

I know that those thirty-six women are going to go back to their churches, their communities, their marriages and their families and things are going to be changed by the power they received over this weekend. Churches will be strengthened and gain new perspectives. New ministries will be started and old ones will be revived.

Communities will be changed by a group of women who will dare to see the world not as it is, but as it can be. New projects will be started and old ones will be strengthened. People who are sick and needy will be touched because there are thirty-six pairs of eyes that will see opportunities for service that they have never seen before.

Marriages and families will be different following this weekend. There will be more love shown, less abuse received or given and there will be a greater purpose in those marriages and families. Children will notice a marked difference in their mothers.

All of this will happen because of twenty-eight people who chose to give up their weekend to work with those women, making them feel more loved, more wanted, and more special.

I urge all of you, men and women, to consider going on an Emmaus walk. I promise you that, if you do, your life will never be the same. If you would like to experience such a weekend, see your local pastor or contact me at jimrcom@yahoo.com

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

I recently bought an old trunk at an auction for a price that I normally, when I am in my right mind, would never have thought about paying. It was way too much, but I had looked at the items on top in the trunk and there was some pretty neat stuff (meaning old), so I wanted to bid on it.

There were two or three ladies looking at the same trunk, but they were smarter and soon dropped out. It got down to one other fellow and myself and the inevitable happened. We got into a bidding war and both of us were bidding more than we either one would have dreamed of in more lucid moments.

I got the trunk home and began to dig down into its contents and to my surprise, I found some really neat stuff. For instance, there was an old property tax bill from 1894 on a 160-acre farm somewhere over in the eastern part of Beaver county. The property tax on that 160 acres for that year was a whopping $20.05! Donít we wish we could go back to taxes like that!

Then I found five old "tintype" photographs from back in the 1800s when they were still putting photographs on pieces of tin instead of on photographic paper or digital as they do now. One was of a gentleman who had served in the Civil War and another was of the woman who became his bride after the war.

There was a letter from a gentleman to a daughter of this couple on the tintypes. He was serving in the Spanish-American War and was writing to her, apparently from Cuba, and talking about them getting married upon his return from the war.

There was a letter written after WWI from this younger couple describing a tornado that had struck the city of Bridgeport, Texas and wiped out the entire town, including the home where they lived. The letter was dated 1934. There were several cards and letters bearing 2 cent stamps and 4 cent stamps. The letters were simply addressed to people in certain towns with no street addresses or mailbox numbers, and yet those letters had been delivered. You see, post offices in those days didnít worry about having the absolutely correct mailing address on pieces of mail. Everyone knew everyone else in the small communities and mail was simply delivered. The post offices in those days knew the true meaning of service.

I guess that we have progressed from those days, but I sometimes catch myself wondering just how much of our culture has been lost by this so-called "progress." Our children today have missed so much. They donít know what payphones are, they donít know what phone books are or phone booths.

This trunk was a reminder to me of days gone by when the family was the center of all activity. It reminded me of the days when the family went to church as a group, of the days when several generations would live on the same land, sometimes under the same roof. It reminded me of days when families took care of the elderly in the family home instead of sticking them somewhere in a "nursing" home and then forgetting about them.

The saying goes that one manís trash is another manís treasure. I donít know that the last owner of this little trunk thought of it as "trash". Maybe they simply needed to downsize a lot and so they put the trunk in an auction and I wound up buying it. I wonít say that it is my "treasure", because I really didnít need it and probably should have passed on it. I will say that the contents probably are someoneís "treasure". The memories certainly are.

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

I believe it was Benjamin Franklin who once said, "If people would just sit down and talk to each other, they would discover that they have more things in common than they have differences." What sound advice, especially in todayís world and especially in the light of political rhetoric that is being thrown back and forth.

Last evening, we had our regular 5th Sunday singing at the church. We never have a message, partly because we donít want to get into conflicts between beliefs and secondly, the message is really in the music. It has always pleased me when we have these singings to find Baptists, Methodists, Assembly of God people, Presbyterians, Mennonites and others coming together to sing the old songs (and some new) of faith. We have a great time of fellowship during the singing, raise some funds for the ministerial alliance, and have a great meal together afterward. We are, after all, followers of the same God and His Son.

I am absolutely sure that when we all get to Heaven (we sang that hymn, too), that we are going to discover that there will no Baptist group, no Methodist group, no Presbyterian group, no denominations of any kind. There will be all the saints that have gone on before us, singing praises to God and weíre going jump right in there with them. After all, it wasnít Jesus who created denominations. I grew up in the Baptist Church, I have been a Methodist pastor, a Disciple of Christ preacher, a Presbyterian preacher and even served a couple of non-denominational churches who werenít worried about having a title. What I have discovered is that most churches of the Christian faith pretty much have the same goal in mind: to preach the Gospel and bring people to Christ.

As I watch the politics of our nation, I am saddened by the divisiveness of our citizenry. We are so worried about whether a candidate is a Republican or a Democrat that we lose sight of what they truly believe. We want Godly leaders for our nation, yet we are reluctant to question them in regard to this aspect, but focus on other things.

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and others of our Founding Fathers warned against the creation of political parties. They felt that the good of the country would be better served by people who had no political affiliation. Washington even went so far as to warn that political parties would lead to division among the population. It seems that his concern has proved valid more than once and is even more prevalent today than ever before. The Democrats donít want to get along with the Republicans and vice versa. We label people who are conservative as Republicans and those who are liberal as Democrats. Arenít we all Americans? Instead of asking the candidates what party they represent, wouldnít it be better to ask them what theyíre fundamental beliefs on America are?

To all the candidates running for office this year, I would urge you first to remember and affirm that you are an American, proud to be one and dedicated to keeping America strong. Be proud of the heritage of this nation, a heritage not born of party but of fundamental citizenship. Be less proud of being a member of a certain party. You can take any animal in the barnyard and call them a Democrat or a Republican, but that donít make them an American. After all, if we would just sit down and have a real conversation with each other, we would discover that we have more in common than we have in differences.

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

Brother Jim



By Rev. Jim Reeves

This week, former First Lady Barbara Bush was laid to rest. At the age of 93 she was the oldest living First Lady, followed by Rosalyn Carter. Her marriage to George H. W. Bush was the longest presidential marriage, having been Georgeís companion for 73 long years. Former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalyn have been married for 72 years and then you have to go all the way back to Abigail Adams and President Adams for the next longest presidential marriage.

Like Abigail Adams, Barbara Bush was the wife of one president and the mother of another. Only twice in history has that happened.

It is interesting that, when former presidents pass away, the public reflects on the life of the former president and the impact that they had on history. For some reason, the former First Ladies, like most wives, get less attention, both for their devotion to their husbands and for their contributions to American life,.

I have done several funerals for both wives and husbands who have lived long and productive lives and many of those couples had long marriages. When I first started in ministry, I decided to try and study why some marriages last and others donít. When I have a couple come to me wanting to be married, I tell them that I require at least six hours of pre-marital counseling before I will perform the ceremony. That hasnít set well with several couples, but thatís the way it is.

The very first question that I ask a prospective bride and groom is, "Why do you want to get married?" Inevitably the answer is, "Because we loooooove each other". (emphasis on all the oís) When I get that answer, I tell them that if that is the reason they want to get married, they ought not to get married. Of course, their indignation goes up about three notches and they tell me they donít understand how I can possibly say that. I tell them, in my estimation, that most of them donít have the first clue as to what love really is. What they often mistake for love is nothing more than physical sexual attraction, and that isnít love.

What I tell couples is that they first must like each other. Really like each other, in spite of their faults and they petty differences and the little nit-picky things that irritate so many of us. Then, if they can accept each other, as they are, they might consider marriage.

To support my idea, I have made it a point to interview couples that I have met and known and who have been married for 50 years or more. I ask each couple what has kept them together for so many years and I have received some surprising and unusual answers. Some say, "Because we have been through thick and thin together" or "She/He has been my best friend", or "We are like a pair of old houseshoes. We just go together". Of course there have been many other answers, but surprisingly, the answer that has never once been the first answer is, "We loved each other." When I ask about love, I have often gotten the answer that, "Iím not sure we loved each other at first. Oh, we liked each other, but it was awhile before we loved each other."

True love has nothing to do with physical attraction. It has to do with going through good times and bad with each other. It has to do with trusting each other, leaning on each other, forgiving each other, crying together, laughing together and generally, growing as adults together. You see, marriage today is too often looked upon like buying a TV. If you donít like it, take it back and get another.

True love in marriage is just like the love of God for us. Itís taking us as we are, committing to each other and staying the course for the long haul. If God based His love for us on the same model that too many of us have for each other, He wouldnít like any of us. Yet, He does, in spite of our faults. Maybe we all should look at the love of folks like the former First Lady and former president George Bush to measure our own love for others by.

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

Brother Jim



Dear Editor,

I would like to thank my neighbor, Tena Fleming, and post master, Calvin Beaver and Mandy Brown at the Beaver Post office for assisting me in a problem Iíve had the past four months. I mailed a package on December 26, 2017, to Allen, TX, that contained a quilted tote special designed and made for my daughter, Monika. Since her husband, Tim, works from home, I called to inform him of the delivery date and tracking number on my receipt. I filed a report on December 30, 2017, and to my surprise, I actually spoke with a live person on a Saturday. I as assigned a case number in regards to the lost package. About mid-January, I had another tote made for Monika, designed like the first one I mailed in order to make sure it arrived safely, I had my son-in-law, Tim, sign for it; he got it.

On January 5, 2018, I went to my local post office to inquire further and was given a "Product Tracking & Reporting" information. It was suggested I give it some time. The following day, received an e-mail from Anthony Alexander, Supervisor, stating he had received my inquire and would review and investigate the information. He also stated that he would contact me and work with me until the case is resolved. On January 27, 2018, I type a letter to the postmaster in Allen, TX, giving all the information plus my phone number and e-mail. I received no reply, but wasnít surprised. After hearing nothing more from Mr. Alexander, i sent and e-mail on March 19, 2018, reminding him of what he stated in his e-mail. Still heard nothing!

Tena is a rural route carrier for the Beaver Post office, so I explained my problem to her. Much to my surprise, I received from Calvin Beaver (his last name is correct) stating to come in, that heíd be glad to help. On April 6th Calvin and Mandy gave me the information I needed plus the address where the mail carrier in Allen, TX, left the package!!! Since this party couldnít be honest and return the package or get it to Tim and Monika who lives just a few houses away, it tells me something about their character. If the tote never get returned to my daughter by this party, they have no idea that is was special made and designed and will be easily be spotted--unless theyíve re-gifted it to someone else in another city.

I mailed all the information to Tim and Monika, so they could take care of the situation. After 60 days, one generally doesnít get reimbursed for insurance, etc. Now I know why I was ignored. I probably wonít be reimbursed, but Iíll be their best advertisement.

Thanks again to the above mentioned folks, I deeply appreciate your care and concern.

Sincerely, Ava Herzer

By Jim Reeves

Every now and then, something or someone really causes me to go off into a spin. It happened this last Tuesday at the senior nutrition center. I was eating my lunch, when someone at a table clear across the room started going off about teachers and the teacher walk-out. The more he talked, the more upset I got because half of what was being spouted was so wrong as to be ridiculous. So I want to set some things straight.

This person was telling his table that someone in our school district right here in Beaver was making $125,000 a year and only working part-time. I want to assure everyone that statement is a bold-faced lie. Not even the school superintendent makes that much. Ignorance talking about that of which he has no knowledge.

The next thing was that our school receives absolutely no state funding because it is an ISD or Independent School District. ISD does not mean that you get no state funding. It simply means that your district has a locally elected school board which makes policy and a paid district superintendent who is responsible for implementing those policies. I donít know of any school districts in the state of Oklahoma that donít receive some state funding. Some get more, some get less. Again, ignorance speaking about that of which he has no knowledge.

The one that really got to me though was when he said that the average worker works 40 hours a week for 50 weeks which means that they work over 4,000 hours a year. But, he said, teachers only work a little over 1,000 hours a year, yet they want to be paid huge salaries for only working part-time. Obviously, this person has never been a teacher. Well, partner, let me set you straight. I taught for over 25 years. My wife has taught for 45 years and is still teaching and neither one of us has ever known anyone in the teaching field that only works 1000 hours a year. Teachers are in front of the classroom from 8:00 in the morning until 3:30 or 4:00 in the afternoon, but you donít stop to think about the fact that teachers have to work the gates at sports events, the concession stand, some are cheerleader or pep squad sponsors. You donít think about the fact that teachers have to show up at 7:30 for bus duty and stay until 4:00 or 4:30 for afternoon bus duty. You donít think about the many times that teachers are required to attend training classes in Woodward, Alva, Ada, or Oklahoma City and have to get up at 4:00 to be there by 8:00 and donít get home until 7:00 or 8:00 at night. Obviously you donít consider how many teachers have to go back to school during the summers to keep their certification up to date or that EVERY teacher goes back at sometime during a five-year stretch because their certificates have to be renewed every five years. Again, ignorance speaking about that of which he has no knowledge.

Obviously, you donít take into account that the two lowest paying jobs in America that require college degrees are school teachers and ministers. Yet you cry about wanting the very best teachers for your kids and the best preacher your church can get. Well, you donít get to drive a Cadillac at Chevrolet prices. You said that teachers want to get high wages just because theyíve been to college and think theyíre better than everyone else. Again, you obviously have never stood in front of a classroom of thirty or thirty-five kids who donít want to be there. You havenít been spit on or cussed by students only to find out that you canít bust them or discipline them because their precious little psyches might be damaged. I know youíve never been stabbed by a sixteen year old student who needed psychiatric care but the school was too poor to be able to pay for help. Youíve never been cussed at, threatened, pushed or shoved by parents who think they have the right to abuse you or to call you at 3:00 in the morning because their little darling didnít pass a test that he/she didnít bother to study for. Again, ignorance speaking about that of which you have no knowledge.

Why is it that youíre willing to pay a lawyer $100 or $200 an hour to write you a will or a doctor $5,000 to take out your appendix, but you never think about the fact that some teacher somewhere back down the road taught that lawyer or that doctor how to add 2 and 2 and get 4 without having to take their shoes off. Maybe youíre not aware of the fact that most school teachers have more college hours to allow them to do their job than the lawyer or doctor has to do theirs.

Yes, I sat there and listened to you, but I came so close to getting up and telling you to hush because you didnít have the foggiest idea what you were talking about. Ignorance may not be a medical disease but for some people, it ought to be. Just when I wanted to get up and say something to you, a little voice whispered in my ear and told me to just get up and leave because it wasnít worth it. I want to tell you that the next time you start bashing teachers and my wife about how they donít deserve to make a decent wage, that little whisper in my ear just may not be loud enough.

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

Do you believe in God? Now, you may be thinking that this is a really dumb question, but let me assure you that it is not. Every year or so, someone comes out with a survey in which one of the questions is just that: Do you believe there is a God or Higher Power or whatever? Every year as far back as I can remember, the number of people answering yes to that question has been over 90%. Nine out of every ten people in this country profess to believe that there is a God, yet on any given Sunday, in any given church, in any given city or town, the percentage of people in a worship service is less than 20%. Where are those other 70% who say they believe in a God?

Hereís the problem. There are two kinds of belief: the head kind of belief and the spiritual belief. The head kind of belief is simply where your brain thinks there probably is a God. Itís kind of like me believing that the Sun will come up tomorrow. I heard Annie sing it, so it must be so. I can look out my window in the Spring and see all the beautiful flowers, trees and grass and believe that there must be something greater than man to make all of that happen. The problem is that this kind of belief in God is shallow; it has no real meaning. Itís like having a ton of book learning, but no practical experience. Any mechanic can tell you that reading a book about auto mechanics doesnít make you a mechanic. Years of experience, years of getting your hands dirty and skinned up, thatís what really makes you a mechanic.

Just the physical act of living in America doesnít make you an American. You have to learn the history of America. You have to learn the principles of American democracy. You need to study the lives and beliefs of the Founding Fathers. You need to read the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. You need to have to memorize the Gettysburg Address in school. You need to be willing to die for this country. Most of all you need to vote. Once you have begun to practice all of those things, then you can call yourself an American and not before. Itís like trying to stand in your garage and call yourself an automobile. It doesnít work that way.

Just simply saying you believe there is a God doesnít mean you have a real belief in God and it certainly doesnít make one a Christian. TRUE belief in God is based on the two commandments of Jesus: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, your mind and your body and (here comes the kicker, folks) love your neighbor as yourself. While the first commandment is hard, the second one is really hard.

To love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and body means you have to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty in the work that is to be done here in this life. It means putting yourself aside, putting your agenda aside and doing what God created us all to do. It means getting up off the couch, turning off the 1200 channel idiot box and doing something to make the world a better place to live in.

To me the second command is both the hardest and the most essential. Loving your neighbor is not an option with God. If you want to tell me that you believe there is a God, then love your enemy. Forgive all those who have done you wrong. Practice love instead of hate. Quit judging people on the basis of their skin color, origin or beliefs. Shake hands with your neighbor even when you canít stand him or her. Put your needs second to the needs of others. Practice civility and courtesy everywhere at every opportunity. Be in church on Sunday morning even if you canít stand the preacherís sermons. In other words, work at it. Donít just mouth it, practice it! If that 90% who say they believe in God really did believe in God with a spiritual belief, we wouldnít be worrying about mass shootings, abortion, abuse and the whole other list of what is wrong with our country.

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

Brother Jim



Where is the Outcry?

These comments are my opinions on the state of Oklahoma, not my personal school district, Turpin Public Schools.

I began teaching in August of 2006. When I started teaching at Turpin we had 3 English teachers, 3 Science teachers, and 3 math teachers. We currently have 2 for each core subject. We had an alternative pathway teacher. That job is gone. We had a Spanish teacher on campus. That job is gone. We had a wood and a metal teacher. Both of those jobs are gone. We had 2 wellness teachers, now we have one. We had a special education teacher for the junior high and high school. We now have one for our whole district. Where is the outcry?

I would like to explain the burden this places on the staff that is left at Turpin. 9 teachers gone. 9 teachers that donít help rotate lunch duty. 9 teachers that donít help with concession stand duty. 9 more sets of eyes that canít help monitor kids in the hall. 9 teachers who arenít here to help contact parents. 9 teachers who arenít here to lift kids up and make sure they are okay. 9 teachers who arenít here to make sure all kids have enough to eat. 9 teachers who could help with extra duties such as bus driving, coaching, and club sponsors. And, while our staff has been decreasing, our student body has been increasing. Where is the outcry?

Wal-Mart/Samís recently cut their employees by 10% and that made national news. The outcry was real. Our staff at Turpin in the junior high and high school has decreased by over 41%. At Turpin, we have 13 full-time teachers for our junior high and high school. We have cut 9 positions. Let that sink in for a minute. The state of Oklahoma still has 500 teaching positions to fill as of March 7th, 2018 for the 2017-2018 school year. We have 1,851 emergency certified teachers in Oklahoma teaching today. Just six years ago we had 32. If your pilot, surgeon, or accountant hadnít finished or even started their training would you trust them to fly your plane, cut on your heart, or do your taxes? Yet, here we are in Oklahoma begging for ANYONE to come and teach the future doctors, pilots, and surgeons without an ounce of training. Where is the outcry?

We used to have summer school. That program is gone. Where is the outcry?

We have lost more support staff than I can count. We have had secretaries leave and their jobs were filled from within. I can assure you that there isnít less paperwork for them to be doing. Where is the outcry?

Here is my outcry. Donít you dare say I only care about my salary. I care about kids. That is why I am still teaching. I care if my students have enough to eat. I care if my studentsí parents are abusing them. I care if my students donít have heat in their homes. Donít you dare say this strike will hurt the kids. These are "my" kids who I am fighting for because you are unwilling to do so. I strike because you remain silent and hold tight to your money. What the legislators and voters of Oklahoma are doing to my students is so damaging; donít you dare go tell a teacher in the trenches that they are hurting kids. Donít you dare say I am hurting "my" kids by not being at school to educate them if we strike. You, the voters and legislators, are hurting them by not funding schools. We donít have physical textbooks for some core subjects. WE. DONíT. HAVE. MATH BOOKS. We donít have hot water tanks because it is too expensive to run. We donít have anything but shower curtains for stall doors. Where is the outcry?

Our state is dead last in paying its teachers...dead last. Teachers and paras havenít had a raise in 10 years. Would you work a job for 10 years that requires a college degree and continued education without a raise? I bet you would have your own personal outcry then. Many say why are you still teaching? Why not go work at Costco? The reality is many teachers are leaving, hence the shortages of teachers, the mass exodus to other states, and the departure because of lack of resources to do our jobs.

Funding has decreased by 23.6% per student in Oklahoma for education. Think that isnít affecting your children or grandchildís education? Where is the outcry?

My outcry is for you, the taxpayer, to wake up and support complete funding for education in Oklahoma. My outcry is for you to realize this is about so much more than my salary.

Are you starting to feel uncomfortable? Starting to feel pressure as a voter who continued to vote for people who donít care about education? Yeah, that is our world every day as a teacher. The pressure we feel to follow all the rules, regulations, and standards that have been imposed on us. But of course, without funding, because we donít dare raise our taxes in Oklahoma.

I didnít become a teacher to become rich, however, I have. Rich in ways that canít be measured by money. Rich with love from students who know I care. Rich with friendships from coworkers who care as much as I do about their students. Rich in happiness as I see students succeed despite the odds stacked against them. Rich in ways you canít imagine unless you are a teacher. Even as much as I adore all the love from my students, support from my coworkers and success successes of my students, it doesnít pay my bills.

Iíve heard your outcry that I only "work" 186 days a year. Let me ask you this: do you see me working the gate at football and basketball games? Do you see me working the concession stand at all of these games? Do you see my car at school before and after school hours in the parking lot? Do you see me at the nursing home with my students volunteering? Do you see me buying school supplies? Thatís for my classroom. Do you see me at professional development in the summer? Do you see me driving the bus to and from camps in the summer? Do you see me praying, worrying and figuring out plans for how to help students academically and personally? If you think I only "work" 186 days a year, you donít know me or my co-workers. Where is the outcry?

People say "we are going to reward the bad teachers with more money?" No, we are rewarding the good ones who stay and fight. We help bad teachers be better or we send them down the road. Donít punish the majority of the teachers because you have a problem with one teacher. Where is the outcry?

My outcry is for you to support not only the teacher and para raise, but restore funding to education in Oklahoma. It is unacceptable to be last in a category that our future depends on.

I hope I hear your outcry soon, because not too far in the future there wonít be any educators left in Oklahoma. My outcry is coming in the form of a strike for the betterment of "my" kids.

Ashley Lehnert

Turpin Public Schools


By Jim Reeves

I am constantly amazed and saddened by the things that parents do to their children that ruin the childrenís lives and often even the grandchildrenís. This past weekend I worked a Kairos prison ministry weekend at the Pampa unit. Next to me was a young man, an inmate probably in his late 20s, tattoos, and one of the worst stories of child abuse that I have ever heard.

This young man had four brothers (he was the youngest boy), two sisters and parents who were into drugs, alcohol and every other thing. The father was one of those men who was from the days when boys were taught that "real men donít cry. Suck it up buttercup." The young man related how his father would beat him or call him a sissy or a girl if he even thought of crying. Even when the death of his favorite pet happened, he was not allowed to cry.

If he started crying, his brothers would be told by the father to beat him. He was often burned with a cigarette or lighter. He was frequently tied to the back of the family car and drug down a dirt road for crying and then beat up for crying because of being drug behind the car. Once, his four brothers took him out into the middle of a lake and tried to drown him for crying.

As if this were not enough, the child was forced by the parents to go out onto the streets and sell drugs in order to help support the family, yet the father was too lazy to get out and get a job. As a result, this young man was incarcerated at the age of 14 and has spent almost all of his life in the prison system.

This young man struck a cord in me, not simply because he sat next to me for three days, but because he said that his father never told him that he (the father) loved him. Just a couple of years ago, the young man received a letter from his dad. The father was dying of pancreatic cancer and he said that he wanted to tell his son that he loved him. The young man never heard from him again.

This young man is going to be getting out of prison in 90 days, and going to Dallas to live with relatives and to seek a job. I pray for him that his walk with God will be strong enough to keep him from going back to prison. As a result of his weekend with the Kairos program, he has a 78% chance of making it this week.

I heard stories from 42 young men that broke my heart. Many said their families had abandoned them, their wives had left them, or their children would not communicate with them. One man said that he had not received any kind of mail in over 10 years. One young man said he craved receiving a letter so much that he would be glad even to receive hate mail. This weekend, he received over 30 letters from the volunteers who wrote to him telling him that someone cares for him.

I am so sick of hearing people say that these inmates donít deserve to live, or that they are getting exactly what they deserve. Most of all, I get sick of hearing people say how easy these men and women have it in prison. I want so bad to take all those people who are so insensitive and let them spend just 24 hours behind the fence. No one, no matter what they have done, deserves to be treated worse than an animal. No child deserves to wind up spending the bulk of their childhood and early adult years in prison simply because their parents were stupid.

It doesnít take much to touch another personís life, sometimes something as simply as a note. I wish everyone would consider doing such a simple act of kindness as to write an inmate and let them know they are human. If you want to know how, e-mail me at jimrcom@yahoo.com

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

This past week, I watched with sadness a rally in Parkland, Florida following President Trumpís visit with the families of the victims of the school shooting. One student, a female, vehemently said to the president and to the rest of the world, "We donít want your prayers and your sympathy." This statement bothered me a great deal, because it was a direct slap in the face of all people across this country, whether they are Christians or not, who were trying simply to express some compassion for those families and survivors of this tragedy.

Over the past week since the shooting, there has been much finger-pointing and blaming of everyone. As expected, the anti-gun advocates came out in force saying that if we simply banned all guns, this tragedy would not have occurred. The liberals came out blaming the president and the conservatives. The school officials were blamed, the FBI was blamed, even the Uber driver who drove the shooter to the school was blamed.

The issue in this tragedy is not whether we should ban guns or not. Gun control is an easy target for those who refuse to talk about the real issues in this situation. Guns did not cause the seventeen deaths. The shooter is not the only one to blame for those seventeen deaths. The cold, hard, brutal fact is that we are all to blame. Parents, teachers, politicians, ministers, all of us are to blame.

The issue here is not about guns. The issue is about the moral collapse of our society. This tragedy started a long time ago when we as a society decided to take God out of our schools and our courthouses. This tragedy started when we took the Ten Commandments down from the wall and prayer out of the classroom. This tragedy started back when Dr. Spock told parents that we ought not to discipline our children because we might "damage their psyches." Well, look at where their psyches are now.

This tragedy started when liberal preachers started preaching that "whatever you want to do is alright because God loves you anyway and there is no judgment." This tragedy started when we started letting our children watch television shows and play video games that graphically show and promote violence, killings, sex, drugs and other acts of immorality.

When we take God out of the picture, it creates a vacuum and every scientist will tell you that the universe cannot stand a vacuum and that something will try to fill that vacuum when it occurs. When we took God out of the schools and the courthouses, Satan and the forces of evil rushed in to fill that vacuum and we, as a society, allowed it and are paying for it. We have nobody to blame for this tragedy but ourselves, everyone, including the students of that high school, who joked about the suspect being the one who would probably someday shoot up the school, yet never reported it to anyone.

I heard one survivor crying, "God, where were you in all of this? How come you werenít there?" I think the answer that God is giving us is, "I didnít ask to leave your schools. You threw me out. I didnít ask to not be a part of your lives. You threw me out. Now you want to know where I was."

People are asking how we can prevent this tragedy from happening again. Iíll give you the first step. Be in church this Sunday morning with your whole family. Put discipline back into your home. Put God back in the schools. Start teaching your kids that they are responsible for their actions, not someone else. Start telling them the difference between right and wrong and that there are consequences for doing the wrong things. These things are more powerful than all the guns in the world together.

The tragedy in Parkland, Florida could just as easily have happened right here in our home town. To see that it doesnít will take all of us. I challenge each one who reads this column to be in church Sunday.

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

I did not watch the last state of the union address by the president. In fact, I havenít watched it since George W. was president. Part of the reason is that I donít have satellite or cable, so I donít get TV, but the main reason is that the SOTU speech is so predictable. Everything is alright or it is at least improving. We are stronger militarily, our economy is in good shape, our people are better off medically, blah, blah, blah. Thereís always the polite applause, the prescribed number of standing ovations, followed by the ripping of the speech by a spokesperson of the opposite party.

Well, Mr. President, I support you as a patriotic American, but I would like to deliver my own "State of The Union" message this week and Iím sorry that I have to disagree with you. It is time that we start calling a spade a spade and not a "tool for gardening". The state of our country is not good, in fact, I would say that America is in the toilet worse than I have ever seen it in my 71 years of existence.

Forget about the economy, medicare/medicaid, Obamacare, Russia-gate, immigration, military readiness, terrorism, and all the other things you typically hear about in the state of the union address. Letís talk about what is fundamentally and foundationally wrong with this country. Mr. President, you talk about the swamp that is Washington, D.C., but letís talk about the swamp that is America. We need to drain the multiple infections that are causing this country to die a little more each day.

The number one thing wrong with this country is the lack of moral leadership, starting at the top in Washington and draining all the way down to local politics, as well as the family and both sides are guilty. We are so busy trying to blame the other guy, the other party, the other states/countries, even the other churches, that we canít get anything positive done for all the negativity. Itís time for our elected officials to stop bashing each other, to reach across the aisle and shake hands, roll up your sleeves and get to work doing the job that we elected you to do. Weíve got enough problems in this country without a bunch of over-age children adding to them by a lot of back-yard pushing and shoving. As far as I can see, we could send the whole bunch of you to "time-out" for the rest of eternity and never realize that your gone. Grow up. Suck it up, buttercup and do what you have to do to make things better.

But the problem isnít only in politics. It is pervasive throughout our society. When we have a bunch of whiny babies taking a knee during the playing of the National Anthem simply because they got their feelings hurt, how can you not understand why people are turning off the TV during NFL games and staying away from the stadiums by the droves? We pay you people ridiculous salaries to play and then you provide us and our children with examples of pettiness, immorality, and childishness. If I were an owner, Iíd fire the whole bunch and start with a bunch of players who really want to play bad enough.

I heard some TV commentator talking about how an ad during the Super Bowl was offensive to the memory of Martin Luther King. Letís get something straight. The way this country is acting today, and all races are just as guilty as the next, our whole state of the union is offensive to the memory of MLK. I remember and have quoted his famous "I Have A Dream" speech many times, and I can say whole-heartedly that the way we conduct ourselves as a society is not the way he envisioned things in that speech. To dream of a day "when our children will be judged, not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character" is not to even dare that we are closer to the fulfillment of that dream.

I hear people talking about the danger of foreign countries, other religions, terrorist groups, whatever, bringing down this country. Our biggest danger is not being destroyed by other countries, religions or ideologies; it being destroyed by ourselves. The greatest danger to America today is the American people ourselves. Unless we turn back to the moral and religious fundamentals that created this country, we will only continue down the same path of self-destruction that we started years ago when we took prayer out of the schools. Itís time for us to look in the mirror and see what is truly wrong with the state of our union.

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

There are words that can destroy or at least ruin nations, groups of people and individuals. There are words like hatred, prejudice, bigotry, suspicion, and many, many others that are often used by those who simply donít choose to look at the betterment of society and thus, of themselves. Their goal in life is simply to tear down instead building up, to destroy instead of creating, to divide instead of uniting. Sadly, too many of this kind of words are often the forerunners of despicable acts of violence such as mass shootings, road rage and a whole host of other acts that simply go against any sense of decency.

Of all the words that can destroy a people or a nation, I think the most dangerous word in todayís vocabulary is "entitlement". Democrats are notorious for courting votes by talking about "entitlements". Entitlement simply means the concept that somebody or some entity owes you something simply because you exist. The word "entitlement" is the single biggest lie ever foisted upon the American people and unless we cease to believe in and use this word, we are doomed both as a nation and as a people.

There are many examples of entitlements. For example, there is the misconception that every child is "entitled" to an education, regardless of their circumstance and regardless of whether they want to work for an education or not. I hear students constantly whining about having to study or to do homework or that school is simply too hard and that we ought to give every student a certificate of graduation regardless of whether they can read or not, or do simple math. Too many students think they should simply be allowed to sit in class all day and play with their I-pads or smart phones. The result is that we are turning out a whole generation of kids who quite possibly have the strongest thumbs in the world, but who canít make simple change.

When I hear these grumblings, I think back on my own education. Attending 44 different schools from first grade to high school, moving an average of every six weeks, having to take three correspondence courses my senior year in addition to my regular classes, all would have certainly been a reason to believe that I was "entitled" to graduate. Yet, my father raised me to believe that the world didnít owe me a thing. If I wanted that diploma, I had to work for it and earn it and I better not bring anything below a C into the house along the way.

Perhaps the biggest disaster in this "entitlement" mentality is found in our welfare system. I read just this week of a woman, an illegal immigrant, who had delivered her 9th child. She had no job, spoke no English, was not married and was receiving $1500 a month PER CHILD! This woman isnít a mother; sheís a professional baby factory! She admits to coming to the United States because she knew that the welfare system would not only take care of her, but pay her good money to turn out kids! She lives in a nice house, receives assistance for food and utilities and drives an Escalade!

Our immigration problem in this country can be solved in a simple, quick way. Cut out all of the entitlements! Recent reports indicate that the majority of illegal immigrants pouring across our borders are not coming from Mexico, but from countries south of Mexico in Central America. The reason is that these countries are so poor that their people are willing to walk extremely long distances across Central America and Mexico, just to get to the border because they have heard that the welfare system in America will take care of them. In fact, so many residents of Mexico are making good money transporting these illegal immigrants across Mexico that fewer people who are residents of Mexico are now coming to the US. For the first time in over one hundred years, more people of Mexican descent are going south across the border.

If we truly want to solve the immigration problem, all we have to do is to stop giving away money! Stop funding women who do nothing but have baby after baby. Stop giving food stamps, housing assistance and other programs to anyone and everyone who feels they are "entitled" to a living. John Smith had a wonderful program back in the Jamestown colony days. It simply said, "If you donít work, you donít eat." We need to adopt such a program again. If that makes me prejudiced, then so be it.

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

I am a history buff. History and Political Science were my majors when I was getting my Bachelorís degree in college. I love to play historical trivia, and I am amazed at how we can look back on history and discover so many things that make you just want to shake your head.

I am currently reading a book on military intelligence, spies and little known facts about World War II. I have discovered in my reading of this book that December 7th, 1941 was not the first time that Pearl Harbor was bombed. It was bombed on February 7, 1932, but the first time, it was bombed by our own military! American military leaders, attempting to prove their theory that America was vulnerable to attack by airplane, created a military plan detailing how carriers and airplanes could be used to attack Pearl Harbor. They planned military maneuvers during war games carried out on February 7th, 1932, and during those military exercises, using dummy bombs, completely destroyed the naval forces based at Pearl Harbor as well as all of the army bases surrounding the area.

This plan was so detailed that it showed the number of aircraft carriers needed, the number of airplanes needed, and even showed that the best time for attack would be on a Sunday morning around sunrise. The plan was submitted to the War Department (the forerunner of the Defense Department), but was rejected as being "unlikely to ever happen." It was studied at the Naval Academy and at the armed forces War College, where it was viewed by a number of foreign military people studying in America. One of those individuals was a Japanese naval officer by the name of Yamamoto, who copied the plan and used it to plan the attack on the Day of Infamy in l941. By then, he was the admiral in command of all Japanese naval forces and he didnít change a single thing about the plan.

The Japanese plan of attack on December 7, 1941 was not developed by the Japanese; it was developed by the US navy and we unknowingly gave it to them! They used the exact same number of ships and planes, attacked on a Sunday morning and at sunrise, just as the l932 plan had suggested!

One might ask why studying such things is important, except to someone who likes to play history trivia. A wise man once said, "Those who refuse to study and pay heed to history are doomed to someday relive it." Pearl Harbor proved that to be true on December 7, 1942. Our military leaders were repeatedly told of the probability of an attack on the Hawaiian naval facility. General Billy Mitchell, at his infamous court martial, publicly predicted that America would be attacked by Japanese naval and air forces, that the attack would occur on a Sunday morning and would involve Japanese aircraft approaching the island from the north. The point at which he predicted those forces would cross from the ocean to land was exactly the point at which the Japanese used.

Can such things happen again? Absolutely! While it is not likely that such an event as Pearl Harbor will ever happen again, the fact is that there are so many other events in our history which very likely could happen again. The key to preventing Pearl Harbor would have been due diligence in studying the events of almost ten years prior.

It is always important for us to remember that ignoring the past is a sure formula for reliving it sometime in the future. Americaís strength lies in our hope for the future, but it also lies in our learning from the past. Too many people believed that America would never suffer a major terrorist disaster until 911 happened in New York City. Too many people continue to believe that all those bad things we read and hear about happen somewhere else. Sadly, we are learning that such tragedies can and do happen, even in small towns such as ours. Let us be ever more diligent in our observation of those things that go on around us.

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

Brother Jim




By Jim Reeves

When I first passed him, I did a double take, because I couldnít believe that such a thing as I thought could still be happening in todayís world. He was an old black man, sitting in a metal lawn chair with his arm resting on the arm of the chair and a chain appeared to be hanging around his wrist and wrapped around a railroad signal pole in a little East Texas town. At a passing glance, the man appeared to be chained to the railroad crossing pole, and I thought, for just a moment, that I was seeing a scene straight out of the movie "To Kill A Mockingbird." Here it was in the 21st century and I thought I was seeing a scene from the slave days of the Old South.

I quickly did a U-turn in the street, my anger growing at the thought of such a thing happening in my older adult life. I pulled over to the side of the street, jumped out and ran over to the man, ready to take on the entire town for its racial short sightedness. When I asked him if he was alright, he lifted his right arm, introduced himself and reached up to shake my hand. It was then that I could see that it was the chair that was chained to the pole and not the man. Relief flooded over me as I returned the introduction and asked what he was doing sitting by the railroad tracks in this sleepy little East Texas town. That was when I got "the rest of the story" and it made for a most delightful afternoon.

It turned out that he was a retired railroad conductor. He had spent almost fifty years of his life working for the railroad company that owned the tracks that ran through his town. As a life-long employee of the railroad, he had come to know by memory every engine and its number, every engineer and their schedule. In his retirement, he would sit by the rails every day in that metal lawn chair and wave at the engineers in the locomotives as they went by. At noon he would cross the street and eat in the local cafe, but from sunrise until almost sunset, every day, he would wave at the trains as they went by.

I pulled up a discarded block of wood and sat at the feet of this man (who was probably in his 70s), listening in rapt attention as he told story after story about his days on the rails. He went all the way back to the days of cabooses and dining cars and passenger cars. He told of celebrities who had ridden on his trains (and he thought of them just that way, as his trains). He told me of politicians who stood on the rear platforms of the trains and campaigned as they briefly stopped in the little town.

As I asked questions, he told me that he lived in the same house he was born in on the north edge of town and that every evening, shortly before sunset, he would gather his stuff and walk all the way home. I told him I would be honored if he would allow me to drive him home that day. His first name was Eldon and as I let him out at the end of the drive to his home, I saw a yard full of railroad memorabilia. He told me he had been collecting bits and pieces of railroad history for all those years he had worked, always at the same occupation, for the same company. In his voice, I could hear both the pride and the sorrow of a man who had given his all to do the best job he could and now had nothing but more old age to look forward to.

Eldon haunted me for the next few days. I wanted so bad to somehow tell his story and so, one evening, I sat down and wrote a poem called "Chained to A Way of Life" and dedicated it to him. The next weekend, I drove to Eldonís house and presented him with a framed copy of the poem. The tears in his eyes were the greatest reward I could ever have asked for and I spent an afternoon in his living room, gaining more stories.

About a month later, I was again traveling through that area and I went by Eldonís house to visit for awhile. The door was locked and there was no answer to my knock. I went by the railroad crossing where Eldon had spent so much of his retirement years. It was then that I noticed that Eldonís chair was no longer there and I knew in that moment that Eldon was free of his chains forever.

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

Brother Jim


Dear Editor:

I am looking for individuals in Beaver who would be interested in starting a local education foundation to support Beaver Public School. As a former teacher of Beaver Schools, and as a wife and mother of Beaver School graduates, I would like to help create an educationalfoundation.

The foundation will be created for the purpose of raising money to help the school by offering scholarships to students who want to come back to Beaver to teach, giving teacher grants for classroom projects and/or professional development, off-set expenses related to sports teams, recruiting new teachers, building needs and so much more.

A public education foundation will offer endless opportunities to support our school financially. I personally have seen how well an education foundation can support teachers and the local school as a teacher in school districts both larger and smaller than Beaver. Iíve often wondered why Beaver didnít have a foundation to support our school, teachers and students.

The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence (OFE) provides support and education to help build and enable local education foundations across our state. From itís website at www.ofe.org it offers this statement about local education foundations: " Through its outreach services to local education foundations (LEFs), the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence has helped build one of the nationís largest and most effective networks of public school foundations, with more than 220 established to date. Together, these citizen-led nonprofits have raised millions of dollars to promote academic excellence in their districts and have encouraged community involvement in their local schools."

By tapping into the support and resources that the OFE offers, interested individuals in Beaver could establish a foundation to do the same for our local school.

Over 220 local education foundations are working within the state of Oklahoma and almost 30 within the Northwest portion of the state. Neighboring communities such as Hooker, Forgan, Balko, Shattuck, Guymon, Laverne, and Woodward provide support for their school through a local education foundation. Why isnít Beaver doing the same to support our school, our teachers, and our students?

If you would be interested in helping a foundation get started please contact: Shelley Noble at sknoble80@gmail.com.


Mrs. Shelley K. Noble


By Jim Reeves

Years ago, Robert Frost, who is my favorite of all poets, wrote a poem entitled "The Road Not Taken." As a life-long traveler, it has become my mantra, my theme song, if you know me very well.

I will not quote the whole poem, but I would like to share parts of it. The opening line says, "two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both and be one traveler, long I stood and looked down one as far as I could."

When I travel (and there is nothing I love better than to just get in the car and go), I do not like to travel down roads I have been on before. The reason is simple: down the roads yet to be traveled lie unknown and often marvelous things to see and experience. I cannot recall the number of times I have come to an intersection, pulled off the road, taken a coin out of my pocket and flipped it to decide which road I should travel.

For those who do not know the pull of the wanderlust gnome who sits on your shoulder and whispers "take that one and see what you will", let me simply say that it is the powerful urge to travel down roads you have never traveled before.

Is it always a pleasure to travel down those unknown roads? No, it is not. Many is the time I have had to turn around and backtrack because the road less traveled came to a dead-end. Many is the time when a trip which should have taken me two hours took six simply because I got side-tracked. Sometimes the road which started out paved, and smooth turned to gravel and then to ruts and became very bumpy. Nevertheless I can say with conviction that I have never regretted taking the road less traveled because I have seen some of the most marvelous and remote sights that can ever be seen and experienced.

The rest of the poem is about the choices that we make: to travel down the same path that everyone else has taken or to strike off down the road less traveled to go around the bend and see what awaits us there. It closes with this line, which has been a guiding factor in my travels and in my life, "two roads diverged in a wood, and IóI took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." How true that is. The roads that I have taken, both figuratively and literally, that were less traveled, have made all the difference. Those choices have not always been easy for others, especially loved ones, to understand, but the roads less traveled have brought countless encounters with some of the most wonderful people in the world. They have revealed to me and to my camera sights that are not seen by the multitudes who choose to travel down Interstate highways. They have revealed to me eateries which can never be matched by fast-food restaurants and small-town shops that cannot be matched by Wal-Marts for the simple pleasure of shopping and visiting and find that rare and hidden treasure.

So the time has come to stand once again at the point where two roads diverge in the woods of life and looking down both, to choose which one to take. It is not a difficult choice to predict for those who know me well know that I will not choose that which everyone else says is logical. The wanderlust gnome is once again whispering in the ear, "What lies beyond that curve ahead that you cannot see?" So once again I will take the one less traveled by, knowing in my innermost being that it will make all the difference.




By Jim Reeves

Winston Churchill once said, "Never have so many owed so much to so few." This, of course, was during the years of great sacrifice that was World War II. That statement, however, was not just about those who were willing to step up to the plate and risk their very lives for freedom; it is a statement about today.

How many of our students will go home to an empty house, or an abusive house or a drug-addicted house, yet we canít get enough volunteers to help with tutoring, after-school meal programs and other efforts designed to make life better for our children?

Are you aware that there are countries right now where the birth of a new baby is not even recorded until the child is two months old because the death rate among infants is so high that officials canít keep up with the paperwork? The reason: unclean water, either in the baby formula or the motherís milk. Deplorable, we say, but are we doing anything to make a change in that situation?

I heard a presentation this past week that disturbed me greatly. It was a statement about how volunteerism is declining in this country, yet the need for volunteers has never been greater. Did you know for example that hunger among the children of America is on the rise? I have heard statistics that say as many as 1 in every 4 children will go to bed hungry this very evening. When you mention that fact, the typical response is, "That is horrible!" Yes, it is horrible, that in a country as rich as the United States is, that any child would go to bed hungry. What is even more horrible, though, is that we (you and I) could be doing something about it. Instead of talking about how bad the problem is, we could proclaim that our goal in life is to see that no child goes without food. Yet, how many of us sit in front of the TV, watching football, drinking beer, scratching our underarms and ignoring opportunities to give or to serve with food programs?

We talk about how horrible it is that more and more senior citizens are eating dog food because they canít afford groceries, yet the "Meals On Wheels" program has to beg people to be a part of their program. Too many people feel like they donít have the time to do such things. How would you feel if you were that one having to eat dog food because fewer and fewer people are willing to volunteer to deliver meals?

We complain about how the children of today canít read or we complain about that freshly graduated high school student who canít make simple change, yet how many of us are willing to serve in the mentoring programs right here in our school? H

As a Rotarian, I am proud of the fact that this last year, there were only 9 cases of polio worldwide because polio eradication has been a primary goal of this civic organization. Yet, we, like the Lions, Kiwanis, Elks, Jaycees and every other civic, service organization are struggling to keep our membership up.

I believe that the reason our world is in such bad shape is that our moral fiber has gone to the dogs. Where we once had strong programs for scouting (both boys and girls), service organizations in school, and a vast array of adult service organizations, we now have empty and blank spaces. We have become a society of "me" oriented people, who are concerned only about what life or even worse, the government, can do for us.

There is a fundamental Christian principle that says the more you give, the more youíll get back. If we truly want our world to be a better place, we each one need to make the decision to give more of ourselves in the effort to make it a better place. What we want for our world can only be what we really get when each of us decides to make a difference.

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

Brother Jim



To paraphrase the opening sentence of one of the greatest novels ever, "It is the worst of times. It is the best of times." Instead of a tale of two cities, our situation today could very well be called "The Tale of Two Worlds".

We are, indeed, living in the worst of times. Our minds and our spirits have become so anesthetized by tragedy that we are reluctant to even turn on our televisions for fear of what senseless tragedy we might hear about. The recent shooting in Las Vegas is just one more example of how crazy our world has become. While all the facts of this senseless act have yet to come out, there is one fact that is crystal clear. The killing of over fifty innocent individuals is just that: it is senseless. This was not an act committed in war. Those individuals were not some enemy trying to do harm to our country or to the shooterís family. He could not have cried, "self-defense." It was a brutal, deliberate, senseless act to take the life of as many individuals as possible.

Since September 11, 2001 and even before that with the various school shootings and other acts of mass murder, there seems to be a weird sense of thinking that demands that the next random act of violence be even more gruesome or take more lives than the last act. Unless our whole world changes in some fashion and soon, I have no doubt that somewhere down the road, there will come another tragic, mass killing that will surpass even the one in Las Vegas.

It is no wonder that people are crying out, "What is wrong with our world?" In the midst of this chaotic time in our history, I would like to point out that, while it may be the worst of times, it may also be the best of times.

I watch with awe and amazement at the response of so many ordinary citizens when such tragedies occur. I am filled with pride that Americans, for the most part, still believe in reaching out and helping those who have been devastated by such events. I am proud of the men and women who performed heroic acts trying to protect others in the midst of the Las Vegas shooting. The Bible tells us that "no greater thing can one do than to lay down their lives for another." The decision to follow that belief may have cost some to in fact lose their life. To me, the definition of the word "Hero" is one who puts the life of another ahead of their own. There truly were some heroes in this event.

However, it was not just those who were willing to put their lives on the line that make me proud. It is all those hundreds of thousands who have offered to help in whatever way necessary. It is all of those at athletic events around this country who stood in solidarity when asked to honor those who died. Yes, there were two NFL players who remained seated during the playing of the National Anthem who said they did it out of protest over Las Vegas. In my opinion, those two need to be fired from the teams immediately, not because of the National Anthem, but rather because of their moral character. Regardless of race, creed, color or national origin, professional athletes are role models for the youth of our nation and any player who displays this kind of action as being acceptable doesnít deserve to draw a paycheck for their athletic skills.

I believe it is the best of times, because there has never been a greater time in our worldís history for God to make His presence known through those who choose to love one another as they love themselves. There will always be those who want to protest against anything and everything. These individuals have a lack of self-esteem and self-respect for themselves and so they feel they have to draw attention to themselves.

It is the best of times for the church to make itself known in the world. It is the best of times for each of us to serve others, to give more of ourselves, to put others above self, to dare to dream of our world the way it can be and not the way it is. Tragedies will come and go, but in the end, those things that are right and good will always prevail and God is still in control.

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

Brother Jim





Brother Jim

My old pappy used to say, "There ainít a bridge that canít be built, and nary a one that canít be burned down. The burning down generally happens a lot faster than the building." All of us spend a good part of our lives building bridges, relationships, between ourselves and others. Those bridges, those relationships, if they are good, solid relationships, do not get built overnight. They take patience, understanding, give and take, doing two steps forward and sometimes one step back, trust, and so much more.

Sadly, those bridges can often be burned by a careless gesture, a hurtful comment, a wrong thought, by any number of things. The bridges that we burn can seldom be rebuilt, but even if they can be, the process is generally long and seldom exactly the same.

I have been watching and listening to the dynamics of the news that our work center (as well as the other work centers) is closing. I was not in the community all those many years ago when the work center was first placed here, but in listening to the stories, I have gathered that it was a stormy and contentious time. Evidently, there were many who were fearful that all kinds of bad things were going to happen if the town let "those people" move in to circulate around. Strange, I remember exactly the same attitude, right here in this community, back in the 1950ís, when the company my old pappy worked for moved a crew into town to build new oil and gas pipelines for Northern Natural and others. When I went to enroll in school, I can remember being referred to as "oil-field trash" and "trailer trash." I even remember one teacher saying that I was probably retarded, because I couldnít possibly be up with the kids who had gone to school here all their lives.

Isnít it strange how our perception changes after a period of building bridges between ourselves and others, sometimes even "those people." Since the announcement of the closing of our work center, I have heard nothing about anyone being glad that "those people" are leaving. In fact, I have heard over and over again how unfair this closing is to the offenders who have been housed in our community. I heave heard more people talk about how the state is pushing them back into the prison mentality that our work center works so hard to eliminate. I have heard how this ridiculous move on the part of the DOC is going to be hard on the offenders. In other words, these guys have shown us over the years that they are not murderers, rapists, big time criminals. They are people, human beings, who most often made bad choices, usually because of a lack of parental guidance or a lack of exposure to the church.

I remember when we got ready to move on to the next job all those many years ago, that the attitude towards us was totally different. The money generated by the oil and gas industry was now treasured. No longer were we "oilfield trash" or "trailer trash" (at least to most people). I even remember a certain teacher, who six weeks earlier, had thought I surely must be retarded, saying how sad she was that we were moving on, because she was losing one of her best students.

The point to all of this is that it takes effort on the part of all parties to build good bridges, good relationships. I think that all the years with the work center here has resulted in good relationships. Now, evidently, that bridge is about to be burned, through no fault of the community. I hope and pray that all of us in the community can show these guys the same attitude that teacher showed me upon leaving. Weíre going to miss you guys.

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

Jesus urges in the Scriptures to strive to be "one with the Father (God)". Most of us would like to be more like God, to have a closer relationship with God. But what does that look like? What does it feel like? What characteristics should we be practicing as we strive to be "one with God"?

This last Sunday, we celebrated Motherís Day. Sermons were preached all over the country (maybe even around the world) on mothers and Motherís Day. Florists did a landslide business in flowers and flower arrangements. The retail stores were full on Saturday with both adults and children who waited until the last minute to look for that special gift for Mom.

My old pappy used to say, "Thereís a world of difference between a woman and a lady, and every female eventually becomes a woman, but it takes a special woman to be a mother." So, letís look for a moment at mothers. I mean real mothers, not just females who happen to give birth to a child, but real mothers. Maybe your mother, whether sheís still living or passed on to her sainthood.

Do you remember falling down as a child and getting a "boo-boo"? You probably jumped up, running to the house, thinking you were just one step away from Heaven. Mom cleaned your wound, maybe put a band-aid on it, kissed it and made it well, gave you a hug and made everything okay. You might have even gotten a cookie and some milk. Mom was there to give you comfort when you hurt. God is there to give you comfort when you hurt. Are you there to give someone else comfort when they hurt?

Do you remember maybe breaking that favorite dish or favorite vase because you were running through the house when you werenít supposed to? You may have thought that she was going to be so angry with you that she would probably rip your head off. Instead, she said it was alright, that whatever it was that you broke could be replaced and she forgave you. When we go to God when we have broken His most precious creation, ourselves, expecting that He is going to be angry, he puts us back together again and forgives us. Do we forgive when someone breaks something special to us, whether itís a relationship or something material?

When you were a child in school, did you ever make one of those little clay bowls or pots in class for Motherís Day? Maybe yours was the ugliest one in the class, but when you gave it to your mother on Motherís Day, she told you it was the most beautiful gift she had ever gotten and she put it in that special place up on a shelf or over the mantle? Maybe years later you found that ugly little bowl or pot still sitting in that special place, covered with dust, long after you had left home or your mother was gone.

God shows us real grace when He takes the ugliest, most insignificant of us and tells us that we are the most beautiful thing Heís ever seen and creates for us that special place. Do you have that kind of grace toward others?

Did you ever come sneaking into the house after curfew, hoping that mother had already gone to bed and you would make it to your room without being noticed, only to find that she was sitting up, waiting for you to come in?

Did you ever hear her say that she couldnít rest until she knew that all her kids were home or safe? God doesnít rest and wonít rest until all of His children are home and safe. Do you have that kind of concern for others?

If I had to think of anyone who was "one with God", I think I would have to pick my mother. Maybe without even realizing it, she showed to me the love, mercy, grace and forgiveness that is God. Perhaps we ought to think of the real mothers, our own and others, who showed us what we need to practice to be "one with God."

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

My old pappy used to say, "If youíre going to spit, make sure youíre not facing into the wind." But he also said, "Son, sometimes when your fighting against the prevailing wind, you just have to put your head down and keep on keeping on." I think that was his way of saying that you have to pick the battles in life that you wonít to fight and sometimes fighting those battles means you have to go against the prevailing wind. It seems that I find myself fighting more of those battles lately than Iíd like to and this may be one of those times.

Down in Texas, the legislators are taking up a bill that is euphemistically being called the "bathroom bill." The South Carolina legislature took up this bill a week or so ago and Oklahoma and other states are sure to not be far behind. Basically, this bill says that if you are not comfortable with the gender that you are and feel you should have been the opposite gender, then you should have the right to use whatever restroom you want to. In other words, boys who think they should have been girls should have the right to use the girlís room and girls who think they should have been boys should have the right to use the boyís room. The ultimate goal of this whole thing is that we will someday have unisex bathrooms.

Now, I have seen horse dung in my day, but this is the biggest pile of horse dung to come down the pike in a long time. This whole idea of thinking that you should have been born the opposite of what you were is so much garbage. Those of you who believe such dribble, listen up: GOD DOESN"T MAKE MISTAKES! If you think He did, then maybe you ought to apply for the position and then you can do whatever you want to! (Good luck with that.)

The fact is that God made men and women different for a reason and itís called reproduction (although, I am beginning to suspect in some cases that reproduction may have gone too far). If God had intended for all of us to use the same restroom, He would have given us all the same plumbing and those of you who are unhappy with being what you are wouldnít even be around.

This idea of same-sex restrooms may be alright with some of the very young, but somehow I donít think a seventy-year old woman is going to be happy with a twenty-year old male being in the same restroom with her at the same time. The ladies room is one of the few private places in which women can go to take care of ablutions without fear of some male butting in where he is not wanted. (Excuse the pun.) There may be a certain amount of gossiping going on in the ladies room, but that, too, is a female privilege in which men ought not to be interfering.

I am simply amazed that, in the midst of all the things that are wrong with our society, we are wasting valuable time and effort deciding which restroom people should be able to use. With the economy in the toilet (oops, there I go again), the number of homeless and hungry people growing and the political scene being nothing more than a wet cow chip throwing contest, I would think we have better things to concentrate on.

For those who are not sure which gender they are, let me give you an update: you donít have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out. To those who want to push your sick and perverted agenda down the throats of everyone else simply because you think one of your genes might have had a little too much to drink before your birth, enough is enough. Those of us who have lived a longer than you have and who are comfortable with who we are and more importantly what we are, enough is enough. If you want to have unisex bathrooms, move to Amsterdam and you can have them. Instead of trying to change something that the majority of folks are happy with, go mark your territory behind some tree or bush. Just make sure youíre out of sight of the rest of us.

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

Thereís something about living in the panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas. If you were not born in this region, or unless you have not lived here most of your life, you truly cannot appreciate what it means to live here. If there was ever an area that still displays the pioneer spirit, it has to be the panhandle region.

This past weekend, my wife and I traveled to Fort Worth for our daughterís wedding. No, we didnít need passports to go there and back, but it was almost like traveling to a foreign country. Once we crossed the Red River south of Altus, the effects of the recent heavy rains were obvious. The grass was a lush green, the wheat crops were up one to three feet high, and all the trees were in full bloom. Trying to skirt around Fort Worth on a couple of farm to market roads, we found ourselves being turned back by signs that read, "Road closed, under water." The Trinity River in places looked to be a mile or more in width.

Then Saturday evening, we returned to Beaver County. Once we passed Sayre coming north, you could tell we were getting closer to the Panhandle. The lush green started giving way to lighter greens and then to brownish green and finally to brown. However, it was the wind that served to remind us that we were getting closer to "home". By the time we reached our house out at the Mountain View cemetery, the wind was blowing hard. In fact, unloading the pickup, the wind actually knocked me down twice.

For people who have never lived in this region, who are just passing through or being transferred here for the first time, it is the wind that strikes them the most (no pun intended). We jokingly say that the wind really isnít blowing around here until it gets up to 25 mph or better. Anything less than that is just a breeze. We also like to say that the wind doesnít blow all the time and we truly enjoy the five or six days a year when it isnít blowing.

I think it may be the wind most of all that makes living in the panhandles truly a pioneering experience. Living here is not for the faint-hearted or the weak. It truly takes resilience to face the bitter cold that can come with winter and the blistering heat of the summers, all tempered with the ever-present wind. I recently read a pictorial history of the dust bowl and its effects on the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma, and over and over again the pictures were of people walking, working or simply standing in the wind and dust. They are pictures of people who did not turn their backs to the wind, but rather turned their faces into the wind, and with heads down, they kept moving forward. Sure, some chose to pack up and leave for areas like California or Arkansas, but so many stayed. For me, those decisions to stay and tough it out make up the stuff that pioneers are made of.

Early explorers of this region dubbed it the "Great American Desert." Early geographers claimed that the area would never sustain continued habitation by any group other than the Indians. Well, they were wrong then and that has been proven by the persistence of those who have struggled to make this area their home. They have been knocked down and gotten back up so many times that they have come to accept it as a part of life. They know the trials of hard work, they donít complain or whine, and they tend to be self-sufficient. Like the wind, they are ever-present, willing to change and close to the earth. Truly, pioneers.

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

I often read the "Serenity Prayer" by the great theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. Most people are not aware that the prayer is longer than most of us think.. Typically, we read the part that says, "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

Now, while those words are indeed powerful and deeply meaningful, so is the rest of the prayer. It goes like this: "Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace: taking, as Jesus did, this

sinful world as it is; not as I would have it; trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to your will; so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen."

Too many people spend a lifetime being frustrated, angry, revengeful and even spiteful over things they cannot change. Especially the people around us. Oh, we might have some influence in changing another personís life (bringing them to a knowledge of the saving grace of Jesus, for example), but for the most part, we cannot change another person. So, what should we do? The commandment, "Love your neighbor as yourself" says it all.

We are to love others, all others, just as we are to love ourselves. Jesus didnít say, "Love those who believe the same way you do," nor did He say, "Love those that are the same color as you, go to the same church as you, belong to the same clubs as you, drive the same car as you, etc, etc., etc.," The commandment is to love all people, EVERYONE!

This is where the first part of the Serenity Prayer plays such an important part: We are to stop being frustrated at the people and events that we cannot change! I wish that politicians would really listen to the people who elect them. Will they ever? Probably not.

I wish the weather forecasters could get the weather right more than 10% of the time. Will they ever? Probably not. I wish that we could return to a lot of the things we knew in the "Good Old Days". Will it ever happen? Maybe, but I shouldnít be frustrated about it.

The second part of the Serenity Prayer is the part that we really should focus on: the courage to change the things I can. In Ted Kennedyís eulogy for his brother Robert, he said of his brother, "He had the courage to see the world, not as it is, but as it can be. He saw the world and instead of asking ĎWhy, he dared to ask why not?í" Everyone wants to complain about the way things are, but few are willing to dare to try and change the way things are. Few will have the courage to stand up and say, "Why canít we have a better world? Why canít we ask for honesty and integrity in our leaders? Why canít we get along better?" These are things we could be changing, demanding to be changed and no longer just accepting. Too many people are willing to opt out of any responsibility by using the trite old question, "What difference can I make? What good does it do for me to try?"

While the rest of the Serenity Prayer says to trust that God will make things right (and He will), God Himself calls on us to help in making things right. He calls on us to act. He calls on us to share and to give of ourselves. He calls on us to question the things we believe are wrong and fight for the things we believe are right. He calls on us to endure the struggle to do these things and the Serenity Prayer reminds us that this struggle we call life is not easy, but in the end our struggle will bring us peace.

So, as I write this, I am reminded of the great song, "One Day At A Time." All Iím asking for, Lord, is one day, this day, to try and hit a lick for what is right, to make a difference in the world, to do what I have to do. To pick and choose the battles that I have a chance to win and to fight those battles with all that I am and all that you, Lord, have given to me.

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

This Wednesday, in the midst of our Cow Chip week activities, our church (First Presbyterian Church) will host the "Old-Fashioned Worship Service". It has, over the last few years, become our largest service of the year, surpassing the Easter and Christmas services.

I have been noticing lately that the term "old-fashioned" is showing up in more and more places. One company advertises "old-fashioned ice cream", another "old-fashioned hamburgers" while still another covers a lot with its advertisement of "old-fashioned service". I have started wondering why the term "old-fashioned" is seemingly becoming more popular.

A number of years ago, a very popular book was published entitled, "Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten". The idea was and I think still is, that for all our technological advances, the simple things we need to know to get along in life were learned in Kindergarten. Kids learned how to line up without cutting in front of others (courtesy), how to raise your hand when you wanted to ask a question (politeness), how to say "yes maíam" and "no maíam" (respect), how to wait your turn, how to get along with others, and a whole host of other simple, basic rules which may have had the primary purpose of preparing kids for the next twelve years of school, but they are also simple, basic rules for getting along in life.

If the first sixteen years of this new century are any indication of how the remaining eighty-four years are going to go, I can only think "God help us all." The simple rules for getting along with others seem to be going by the wayside more and more. Our vocabulary is sprinkled with new terms like "road rage", which is nothing more than a lack of courtesy and respect. Our jails and prisons are overflowing with men and women who had little or no parental supervision or training in the simple precepts of right and wrong. Respect for teachers, the police or firefighters, for those in authority, all seem to be disappearing.

The greatest of these disappearing "old-fashioned" ideas, to my way of thinking, is responsibility. When I was growing up, my parents instilled in me the idea of responsibility for my own actions. If I did poorly on a test or some other activity in school, I didnít blame the teacher. We had a simple rule in my home: If you got a busting at school, you got one when you got home. (Ooops, Iím sorry. We canít bust kids anymore because Dr. Spock told us we might damage their poor psyches). I only got one or two bustings at school, but I can certainly tell you I got quite a few at home, and I can definitely say that none of them damaged my psyche. (Shoot, we didnít even know what a psyche was)

I can tell you that I knew how to say "yes, maíam, no maíam, yes, sir and no sir." I knew that I was to respect my parents always because early on, my dad told me, "As long as you put your feet under my table, you will do what I tell you to." I learned to say grace before the meal because I wasnít going to eat if I didnít. I learned to open doors for women and the elderly, to take my hat off indoors and at the dinner table.

The night I graduated from High School, my dad shook my hand and said, "Son, my responsibility to you is over." At the time, I thought that was the meanest thing he could have said to me. Only later did I realize that he was saying that it was time that I became a man and took responsibility for my own way in life. Again, Dr. Spock and maybe a lot of our "new age" thinkers might believe that it was damaging to my psyche, but I like to think things have turned out okay.

All of this is to say that maybe the return to the "old-fashioned" things in life is simple a way of trying to find the things that we can be comfortable with and sure in. I can only hope that "old-fashioned" doesnít get buried along with the "ancient and forgotten."

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

Brother Jim




By Jim Reeves

I am constantly amazed at what people will file lawsuits over. In Florida (you gotta remember that, depending upon which way the country is tilted, all the nuts either roll to California or Florida) an atheist recently filed a lawsuit against Christians and Jews (wonder why he left out the Muslims) claiming discrimination because Christians and Jews had religious holidays and there no special holiday for atheists.

The judge listened to the lawyer representing the atheist and immediately dismissed the case. When the lawyer objected, the judge pointed out that April 1st is called April Foolís Day and that the Scriptures say, "Only a fool says there is no God." Therefore, the judge said he was dismissing the case on the grounds that he believed that atheists have a religious holiday on April 1st. You gotta love that judge!

One of the points to this story is that people are willing to file frivolous lawsuits claiming discrimination for just about anything. I had a Muslim inmate just this last week accuse me of discriminating against Muslims because I wouldnít volunteer to go to the prison and sit in the chaplainís office (which is empty because the state says they have no money) just so the Muslims can have their worship time. Even though I pointed out that, as a volunteer, I can determine how often and when I want to go to the prison, this person just wouldnít let go of the idea that I was discriminating against his group. As ridiculous as this sounds, itís just the kind of thing that winds up in a lawsuit.

A school childís parents recently filed a discrimination suit against the school district and their childís teacher because their child wasnít getting good grades like other students. When the teacher pointed out that the child wouldnít do homework, wouldnít work in class, and didnít study for tests (therefore failing those tests), the parents claimed it wasnít their fault or their childís fault, it was the fault of the teacher.

Come on, letís get real. All of these idiotic lawsuits claiming discrimination are meant for one of two things. The first is that the person filing the lawsuit is hoping to get a lot of money or two, itís the fact that the whole idea of discrimination is to try and say that we should all be exactly alike.

When the Supreme Court is to hear a case against a baker because they wouldnít bake a cake for the wedding of a gay couple, we have a situation where one group who is different because of their sexual preferences are, in essence, saying that all of the rest of us should fall in line with their views or face possible lawsuits for discrimination.

You have to wonder how long it is going to be before some nut files a lawsuit against God, claiming discrimination, because God didnít make them as smart as, as tall as, as thin as, or as beautiful as someone else. I would love to see God show up for that suit!

As a pastor, if I choose not to perform same-sex marriages (which I choose not to), Iím opening myself up for a discrimination lawsuit. Okay, so I have a choice. I could say that I will just stop performing marriage ceremonies completely or I can run the risk of being sued. Well, the Scriptures very plainly say that being a Christian (and especially a Christian minister) is not always going to be easy and that we may even have to face possible persecution. So be it.

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

It is a sign of the times we are living in. While in a convenience store seconds after the bombing in Brussels, watching it on TV, someone behind me asked the question, "What is wrong with our world?" Gee, thatís a sixty-four thousand dollar question if I ever heard one. Iíll give you and that individual asking the question a simple answer, "Nobody is listening."

There is a beautiful line in an old Kris Kristofferson song that goes, "When you waste your time explaining that the things that they complain about are things they could be changing, who do you think gonna hear?" I have been telling the readers of this column for weeks whatís wrong with our world. I preach it often from the pulpit and believe me when I say that I often doubt that anyone is listening.

Everyone, hear this: The things that you complain about are things YOU could be changing. This world is in the shape itís in, not because of Mother Nature, or fate or certainly, not because of God. It is in the shape itís in because of PEOPLE. Thatís right, people just like you and me, people who put their pants on the same way we do, people who eat, sleep, get up and go to work, raise children and pay bills.

The God who created us in His image, did not create us to hate each other, to cause pain to others, to be divided because of race, creed, color, national origin or religious preference. God created us to love each other. Most of us remember going through school when we often repeated the Golden Rule, when we prayed every morning, when we said the Pledge of Allegiance.

Now we want to complain about everything from Obamacare to the stale bread that the school served our kids today. We want to complain about the government who isnít doing enough for us, having to get up and go to work in the morning, taxes that are too high, the weather, the wind and every other imaginable thing. We have become a world of whiners.

Isis and other Islamic groups want to complain because they say they are Allahís chosen people and the rest of the world is evil. Well, I am sorry, but any God who tells people that itís alright to kill mass groups of people simply and solely because they hold different beliefs isnít a God at all. I do not wish to serve a God who espouses such trash.

The God I know taught us to love one another as we love ourselves. Okay, all you radical groups, if you want me to pay attention to you, to give you the respect you keep demanding, then listen up. If you want love, give love. Blowing up subways and airports and killing innocent people isnít showing love. Neither is it showing respect for Allah or whatever your God might be. These are the acts of sick people, plain and simple. I am willing to extend the right hand of fellowship to all people. Now, what are you willing to do?

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

Every now and then my brain gets rowdy and I start thinking about possibilities that probably will never happen, but could possibly happen. So I would like to present my predictions that will likely never come true, but could possibly happen in 2016 and 2017.

In the world of politics: Donald Trump will win the election in November and immediately began building seventy stories on top of the White House. He will rent the new addition out for penthouses and offices for lobbyists (thus the White House will truly be UNDER the influence). He will also change the name to the Trump House.

Bill Clinton will divorce Hillary and marry Monica Lewinsky. They will move to the Figi Islands and live in a grass hut on the beach.

Hillary will be so devastated that she will marry Bernie Sanders. They will move to Bald Knob, Arkansas and open Bubbaís Bar-B-Que Pit and Beer Barn where the eveningís entertainment will be a dart tournament. Ex-husband Billís picture will be in the center of each target. Hillary will live out the remainder of her life wearing overalls, no shoes and chewing tobacco.

Chelsea Clinton will announce that she is running for President in 2030. That gives you something to look forward to.

Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio will lead a revolution to overthrow the government of Cuba and start their own country.

Isis will start a world-wide chain of doughnut shops as a new front in their Holey War. (Did you catch that?)

Donald Trump will pick Jay Leno as his vice-president because they have the same hair-do and no one would be able to tell them apart.

In the sports world: Jerry Jones will move his team to San Antonio and rename them the San Antonio Vaqueros. Each concession stand in the new stadium will be a taco stand.

Brett Favre will come out of retirement to lead the Denver Broncos and Payton Manning will become a professional hockey player.

In the business world: FedEx and UPS will merge. The new company will be known as Fed-Up.

McDonaldís, Burger King and Wendyís will merge into a new company known as McQueenís and the menu will be replaced by a Sushi bar. Ronald McDonald will be retired in favor of a little red-headed girl in pigtails.

Wal-Mart, K-Mart, and Target will merge into a new store called WTK and a recorded voice of Sam Walton will announce the blue light specials.

The penny will disappear from our currency because it currently costs fifty cents to make a penny. Duh, could that possibly be the reason we are going in the hole? How many rocket scientists do we have working for the government.

Remember that all of these predictions more than likely will never happen, but as my old Pappy used to say, "In the mental institution, all things are possible."

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

I have watched with sadness at the way this election year has gone and how it appears that it will continue to go. Sadness, because I hope that the manner in which all of you have handled yourselves in the debates (on both sides) is not an indication of the way in which the mentality of this country is going. I would have had more fun and gotten more substance out of going to Bubbaís BBQ and Beer Barn in Bald Knob, Arkansas to watch a good old-fashioned barroom brawl.

It appears that all any of you know how to really do is to denigrate each other with name-calling, smirky smiles, and innuendos. You have insulted each others spouses, families, birth-places, educational levels and all manner of other things.

Hear me and hear me well. None of you deserve to win this election based on what I have seen so far. None of you are presidential material. None of you are leaders and wouldnít know true leadership if it bit you in the rear. What you are is a bunch of mouthy school children out on the playground, calling each other names and threatening.

If you want to be a leader, for goodness sake, practice leadership. Mr. Trump, you are a master at sneering, jeering, smirking and name-calling, but you donít know squat about the political and economic needs of this country. I have watched you in every debate and you have yet to give a concrete answer to any question. I want so bad for some moderator to ask you for a yes or no answer to a question, so that I can watch you dance around the issue without really answering anything. To the rest of the candidates, give us a true vision of what this country can achieve. Quit blaming each other for the problems we are having, Believe me, the common folks out here in America know what the problems are and quite frankly, we could care less about who is at fault. Both parties are to blame. What we want is a concrete plan for getting us out of the mess we are in.

Just so you donít think youíre getting by with anything, Hillary, let me say that you arenít doing any better than the Republicans. In fact, this is the first time in my memory that you really canít tell the Democrats from the Republicans. I think youíre all in the same bed.

I remember the election between Richard Nixon and Jack Kennedy and I remember so well, that first ever televised debate. Richard Nixon couldnít do anything but sweat. Kennedy, on the other hand, displayed the assurance of true leadership. He was confident in himself, in his ability and in his belief that he could truly lead this country to a higher level of greatness.

I remember the stirring words of Kennedyís inaugural address when he said, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." In his short term, he inspired my generation to believe in themselves, to set high standards of achievement and to meet those standards.

When he challenged us to put a man on the moon, we had no doubt that we could do it. Thatís the kind of leadership this country needs today. Instead, what we are getting is promises of free education, free medical services, more welfare, more Social Security, more entitlements. Once and for all, we need to hear from our leaders that nothing is really free, that sooner or later, someone has to pay the piper. We are facing the greatest probability of economic collapse that this country has ever faced and all we can get from either party is finger-pointing, name-calling, and a lot of empty rhetoric.

We need a leader who will stand up and tell us that we have to tighten our belts, set a flat tax so that everybody pays proportionately, limit terms in office for all elected officials, set realistic immigration limits, encourage new businesses, resurrect the work ethic that made this country strong and return to a basic belief in the moral right and wrong. If you want to be a leader, for goodness sake, lead!

To all of you, I would paraphrase Kennedyís inaugural remarks, "Ask not what your country can do for you, do instead what you can best do for your country, quit running for the presidency."

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

The following statement has been written concerning the Constitution of the United States: "What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take up arms....The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."

Care to guess who made that statement? No, it was not a member of the Black Panthers or some radical Islamic group or even some radical survivalist group. It was made by Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States, a man who is so highly thought of in our history that his likeness has been carved in stone on the face of Mount Rushmore.

Jefferson was alleging that it is the right of the American people at any time to revolt against the government. In fact, Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that it sometimes becomes necessary for one group to "throw off the bonds" imposed upon them by a bad government (in this case, the British).

It is interesting that this little known or touted idea is a fundamental part of who we are as Americans. It is also interesting that the idea of a new revolution to overthrow the government is gaining in popularity. Almost a third of the fifty states have passed legislation calling for a Constitutional Convention to rewrite the Constitution. The fact is that if thirty-four states can pass such legislation, our current Constitution calls for such a thing to happen.

Proponents of a new Constitutional Convention want to write into a new Constitution provisions for the definition of marriage (to exclude same-sex marriages), place into law a flat tax, require a balanced budget, provide protection for the church, end the debate over gun control and generally to limit the power of the Federal government, especially the use of the Executive Order. They also want a provision that no federally elected official could serve more than eight years.

While I would not advocate an armed revolution, I can and would in fact support a Constitutional Convention if that convention were convened to include the above provisions.

I am a strong advocate of the Second Amendment and wish we could end once and for all, the debate over gun control. I believe the definition of marriage should be in line with the Biblical definition of what marriage should be. I support the idea of one tax rate that everyone would pay under a flat tax provision and doing away with the IRS. Requiring by Constitutional law that we have a balanced budget would eliminate a lot our problems with welfare abuse, Obamacare and a host of other programs.

As to the use of Executive Order, our current president has become little more than a dictator, proclaiming that he has a pen, a phone and a pair of scissors. Ignoring the Constitutional mandates that we now have is not leadership, it is dictatorship. Perhaps this is the reason so many people are disillusioned by the political system.

A poll conducted just two weeks ago indicated that 83% of those polled want to elect a president that has never held an office or at least has held an office only in the last five years. In other words, the majority of Americans want an outsider. Over 50% favored turning out every elected official and electing new blood to every elected office. Jeb Bush was so soundly thrashed in the primaries, partly because a majority of those voting viewed him as a part of the old establishment politicians who have gotten us into the mess we are in. If a new Constitution prohibited any elected official from serving more than eight years and provided for the popular election of the Supreme Court, some of those problems might go away. Food for thought.

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

When I was a child, I used to like watching the wrestling matches on the local channels out of Lubbock or Amarillo whenever we were in the area. I grew up watching Dory Funk, Sr., the Funk brothers, Fritz Von Erich, Iron Mike and others, thinking that those guys really hated each other and loved to beat up on each other every week. Then one day, we were traveling from Lubbock toward Amarillo and this car pulled up alongside us in the passing lane and there were the Funks, Von Erich and Iron Mike, all traveling in the same car, drinking beer and laughing like old lost friends.

It was then that I realized that wrestling (at least what was called "pro" wrestling) was going the way of Santa Claus and the Easter bunny. It was fake, staged, simply entertainment. Those same guys who were riding in that car together wrestled that night at the Natatorium in Amarillo and you would have thought they were going to kill each other. Granted, they were probably better than average athletes to be able to stage those matches and make them look real, but thatís it, they were staged.

Watching the last Republican debate, I had a Deja Vu moment when I suddenly thought of those wrestling matches all those years ago. To listen to Trump, Cruz and Rubio, calling each other liars and other names, you would have thought they hated each other. Yet, they probably had been sitting in a holding room just prior to the start of the debate, drinking tea or coffee, and chatting with each other about how the wife and kids were doing.

The whole thing had a feeling of being staged, fake, put on simply for the entertainment of the audience. Only two of the candidates had the common sense to say, "Isnít this ridiculous? Is this kind of arguing what you really want to hear?"

The answer is no. The debates are supposed to be about substance, about real-life issues such as taxes, government spending, the economy, immigration, military spending, terrorism, and a host other issues. Yet, there was little or no substance at all. One might ask the question, why?

One reason is that the Republicans are not running their own debates. The liberal media is and those who are asking the questions have figured out that the viewing audience wants entertainment, not real answers to real questions about real problems. So, the liberal media is driving the train, and the Republican candidates are letting them.

This election is perhaps one in which the greatest deciding factor may be to vote for the party that is the least offensive, the lesser of two evils. Not since the race between Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey have both candidates really been unworthy of the office of president. Neither candidate in that election caused any enthusiasm in the voters and this election is rapidly shaping up to follow that same pattern.

This election is one in which the greatest problem for the Republicans is not Hillary or Bernie Sanders, but the fact that they have to be careful not to shoot themselves in the foot and give the election away.

To avoid doing that, the candidates must take charge of their own debates. They have to stop trying to kill each other off like the Valentineís Day massacre and start focusing on the issues. They have to stop the questions from the moderators that are designed to start personality attacks and look at the cameras head-on and talk about the issues that are really concerning Americans. If they donít, this may be an election in which the majority of the voters simply wonít turn out because they are so disgusted and fed up with the infighting that they just donít care. That would be the greatest disaster of all. Never before will it be more vital for the voters to turn out and express their desires than in November.

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

Sowing, watering, working, reaping? What role do you play? Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 3:5 and elsewhere that there are some who sow the seeds, some who water the seed and others who work the soil, but ultimately it is God who reaps the harvest.

Letís bring this down to a level that all of us can understand. Henry Ford made his fortune once he discovered the idea of the moving assembly line. Prior to that time, one man or maybe a small team of men would build an entire automobile from scratch to finished product. It was time-consuming, slow, costly and generally ineffective.

Along came the idea of the assembly line where the product moved, but not the workers. Each worker was given a specific task and that task was the only one that worker was responsible for. Maybe it was putting the lug nuts on the right front tire of each unit as it passed by. This system proved to be much more productive than the old way of doing things.

However, there were some problems that developed and they are problems that still plague the assembly idea even today. The first is that boredom can quickly set in if all you do all day is put the lug nuts on the right front tire of every unit that passes by. Another problem is that the assembly line process doesnít foster a sense of accomplishment or success. Itís hard to say, "I built that automobile", when all you did was put the lug nuts on the right front tire.

What does all of this have to do with sowing, watering, working, reaping? Simply put, our role in life is to be the best at what we are good at and not to try and do everything ourselves. The church is a prime example of this idea. I learned a long time ago that I am not the best at being a youth director, I certainly canít play an instrument, and I barely can sing. But fortunately, I can do some other things. Every now and then I preach a good sermon. I do very well in prison ministry. I can write fairly well and I occasionally have a profound idea.

The last time we had a fifth Sunday (which was in January), we had an all-singing service for our worship. We had no bulletin (which drove some people nuts), we called out hymn numbers from the congregation (which allowed everyone hopefully to hear their favorites) and we were very loose and informal. Someone asked if we still had an offering during an all-singing service and someone else said, "Are you wanting to have an all-singing service so you donít have to preach"? Well, let me assure you that we had an offering.

When we came to the sermon time, I performed a miracle (well, for me it was a miracle). I did a 30 second sermon. In fact, it was so shocking, that when I said "Amen", my lovely wife even blurted out, "Thatís it?" Yes, my dear, that was it. Thirty seconds.

Whatís the point? My old pappy sometimes would say, "The best messages are those that are like military showers. Get in, Get done, and Get out. Three minutes at max." An older and much wiser preacher friend of mine, once said, "Preach the gospel and if necessary, use words."

That thirty-second sermon may not have said much, and yet it may have spoken volumes. If it did nothing else, it planted a seed, hopefully in the minds of several. Each of us can plant a seed, and it often doesnít take much. Much time or much effort. Paul tells us in his writings to practice patience, tolerance, kindness, love, forgiveness, mercy, grace and a whole list of other things. These are the seeds that each and every one of us are given. What we do with those seeds is up to us.

We can practice tolerance of others in everything we do. The toughest lesson for us to learn in todayís society is that it is not about us. For all our modern gadgetry, which should have given us more time to spend interacting with others, those technologies sadly have caused us to focus inward, to withdraw from the world around us. It saddens me to see people sitting next to each other and texting each other rather than talking face to face.

Today, each of us can find out what we are good at in making our world a better place. Maybe itís planting the seed of kindness. Maybe itís watering that seed through several acts of kindness. Maybe it working, practicing kindness by being open to the needs of others. Whatever your talent is, donít be like the world around you, turning inward, but rather turn outward. Give and you shall receive. Donít wait, like the assembly line worker, for someone to pass by you. Be like the craftsman and go find someone.

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

Predictions. Trying to figure out how something is going to turn out before it happens. My old pappy used to say that the only good thing about predictions is that you had a fifty percent chance of being right and a fifty percent chance of being wrong.

The weather and politics are two areas that are dangerous to talk about and almost as dangerous to predict. Take that groundhog Phil, up in Pennsylvania. This year, supposedly he predicted an early spring. First of all, I didnít hear the groundhog say anything. Some human spoke for him. What does he do, translate groundhogese into English? What if he got it wrong? The groundhog didnít see his shadow. Duh! It was snowing and gray overcast. That rodent couldnít have seen his shadow if he had wanted to.

Old timers in the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma will tell you that you donít count winter over until at least Easter and even then, itís iffy. Iíve seen it snow on Motherís Day in Lubbock, Texas and there is even a recorded incident in the late 1880ís where it snowed in Amarillo on the 4th of July. Maybe only for fifteen minutes or so, but nonetheless, it snowed. That will put a wrinkle in your knickers.

Then there is politics. The political prognosticators say that the Iowa caucuses are a good predictor of how the race will go all the way to the conventions. If thatís the case, Iíll bet there was some constipation in the political camps after the last Iowa fiasco.

First, Hillary had predicted that she was going to win by a landslide. Imagine her surprise when she comes out neck to neck with Sanders. (Thatís a scary picture: Hillary and Sanders neck to neck. Erase. Nightmare on Elm Street).

On the Republican side, everyone had predicted that the polls were right and that Trump would win by a wide margin. He barely manages to come in a weak second behind Cruz. The Trump campaign said it was because the Evangelicals voted against him, thinking that he didnít pray enough or believe in God. I donít think the evangelicals voted according to their religious feelings at all. If they had, then Carson should have won since he has been most vocal about his religious beliefs. I am beginning to wonder if there is an evangelical vote at all. It would seem that voters on the Republican side simply felt that Trump doesnít have what it takes to go against Hillary in November, and frankly, neither do I.

Yogi Berra, the late great Yankee catcher, whom I admire very much, had a really good saying, "The opera isnít over till itís over." As far as the weather is concerned, that opera will never be over. In spite of all our modern gadgetry and sophistication, we are not much better off at predicting the weather than we were back in the days of arthritic predicting. Mother Nature is going to do what Mother Nature wants. It reminds me of that old TV ad, "Itís not nice to fool Mother Nature!"

When it comes to the political opera, itís more like the old TV soap operas. Thankfully, there will come a time when the political opera will end, at least for this year. Like the old TV soap operas, though, where there were more twists and turns than a rattlesnake crossing the road on a 100 degree day, I still think there are twists and turns coming in this yearís political opera that are going to be so strange that not even the best predictors can imagine. That, in and of itself, is a very scary thought.

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

Ask yourself a question. If you were on the ground in Benghazi, would you trust Hillary Clinton to have your back? Four people, two of them Navy seals, did. They all died.

In l996, America was asking the question, "Mr. President, did you or didnít you?" The answer we got was, "I did not have sex with that woman.

In 2015, America was asking the question, "Madame Secretary, did you or did you not know that the security in Benghazi was lacking?" The answer we got was, "Well, it really doesnít matter now, does it?"

Well, to all the battered, abused, and sexually mistreated women and to the four brave Americans who died in Libya, yes, Mrs. Clinton, it does matter.

Now, before anyone gets the idea that itís just picking on the Democrats, let me say that it is happening on the Republican side just as much. This election is not about immigration, or the economy or national security. Plainly and simply, itís about telling lies to try and get votes. Of all the people still in the race for president, both sides are just as guilty. During the last Republican debate, Governor Christie and Marco Rubio told so many lies, they made national headlines.

Most of us who paid attention during our American history classes remember the story of George Washington and the cherry tree. When asked if he had cut down the cherry tree, George didnít say, "I did not have a relationship with that tree" and he didnít say, "Well, dad, it really doesnít matter now, does it?" Instead, he stood up like a man (your gender doesnít excuse you, Hillary), spoke up and said, "I cannot tell a lie, I did it." He told the truth, and took his punishment. George Washington carried that standard of character and integrity all the way through his administration as the first president, and America pretty much set that standard as the benchmark for presidents and candidates all the way up to Lyndon Johnson.

I say Lyndon Johnson because I distinctly remember him facing the cameras during his campaign and saying, "I will not commit more troops to the conflict in Vietnam." After the election, I also remember getting my notice to report for my physical and induction, and I just as distinctly remember thinking, "Mr. President, what happened to that promise?"

Richard Nixon, of course, set the record (whether you consider it to be a high point or a low point) for not telling the truth, a record that stood until the current president came along. Not telling the truth seems to have become the norm for our politicians. They are the one group that is actually worse at not telling the truth than the weathermen.

(Well, thatís a whole different story.)

Right now, a one-eyed monkey hanging from a ten cent balloon is more likely to tell the truth than anyone currently running, that is if you could even understand the monkey. The way things are I would be willing to vote for the monkey.

What I really would like to see is one person who would stand up and say, "Look, I am a human being just like all of you voters. I have made mistakes, I make mistakes and I will most likely make more mistakes. I probably have even shaded the truth some, but thank goodness, I am forgiven. What I can promise you is that I will do my dead-level best to be the best president that I can be and ask for your forgiveness when I am not. I will not knowingly lie to you and I will do my best to see that you sleep safe at night."

If one of the candidates would do that, I would instantly support that one and most likely would vote for them. The chances of that happening? About as good as a one-eyed monkey hanging from a ten-cent balloon throwing their hat in the ring.

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

Brother Jim


By Jim Reeves

I just finished reading an article where the city of New Orleans had "seceded from the South" because the city council had voted to remove all confederate statues, plaques, flags and any other symbols from city properties. Their reasoning was that the city did not want in any way to appear racist or support any racist way of thinking.

Come on now. First off, I want to assure anyone and everyone that I am not a racist nor do I support any kind of racist activity. However, I can say that I do have some prejudices and one of the biggest prejudices that I have is against stupidity. Where has our sense of common sense gone? Out the window?

This action by the city council of New Orleans is nothing short of simple stupidity. A statue on the site of the Battle of New Orleans depicting a confederate soldier is about as racist as my pet Jack Russell dog. Itís a part of the history of this country that there was a Civil War, that there were Union soldiers and Confederate soldiers, that battles were fought and yes, even that part of the underlying reasons for the Civil War were over the issue of slavery.

One of the things that I pray in my Manna Prayer everyday is that the past is but a memory. What happened over a hundred years ago is just history and nothing more. It may have been somewhat racist in 1861, but the cold, hard fact is that the Civil War was fought over much deeper issues that the ownership of one race by another. The greatest issue of the Civil War was not about slavery, but rather it was about the right of any state or states to pull out of the Union if that state disagreed with the policy or policies of the Federal government.

Fast forward to 2015. Over half of the fifty states last year had movements within those states to pull out of the United States and go their own separate way. Half of the counties in Colorado actually had a vote to secede. Was that in any way racist? Absolutely not and only some idiot with about two-thirds of their brain cells missing would have thought so. The overwhelming point to all of this discussion about banning flags or taking down statues because they are racist is ridiculous.

If I proposed to ban the wearing of crimson red shirts with OU written on the pockets, would some nut say that was being prejudiced against Oklahoma University? Probably and rightfully so, but no more that someone wanting to ban the orange colors of OSU or the University of Texas.

We need to understand that prejudices and racism are about attitudes of the heart and mind and not about symbols, especially those things that are historic. Many of those who fought for the Confederacy never owned a single slave. In fact, some of those who fought in the Confederate armies were African-American themselves. Did that mean that they were "racists" against their own race? No. Many people fought for and supported the Confederacy because they didnít believe in the power of the federal government to force a state or states to remain in the Union if they didnít want to.

Well, guess what? There are still a lot of us around that support that idea. Texas has it written into their constitution that it can secede from the Union at anytime and that provision was accepted and agreed to by the United States when Texas entered the Union. If the state of Texas were to vote tomorrow to pull out of the Union (in fact, if any state wanted to pull out), I would wholeheartedly support that effort.

Why? Because of the simple fact that the Federal government of today does not represent the views of the majority of folks in this country. The economy is in a shambles because of the stumbling, bumbling policies of the federal government. The national debt is now trillions of dollars in the hole. Why wouldnít any state want to pull out? If that makes me prejudiced, then so be it. But letís donít go throwing the baby out with the bath. Letís stop ripping history apart just to satisfy some whim.

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

Brother Jim



From Library

To all those community volunteers who assisted the Beaver County Pioneer Library in the construction and sale of 1200 tamales, to all those who made candy, and to all those who baked treats for the Bake Sale, the Friends of the Library says a heartfelt thank you. The tamale assembly particularly was a very hectic couple of days and although several Friends of the Library members worked very hard, the process would not have been possible with the help of several expert tamale makers, who illustrated the procedure repeatedly to a mostly inept audience. Tamale making is very labor intensive and hard work.

The Mexican Fiesta dinner and accompanying tamale sale raised several hundred dollars for the programs at the library, as did the pre-Thanksgiving Bake sale and the pre-Christmas Candy Shop. The Bake Sale was conducted before Thanksgiving to assist cooks with mostly homemade dessert choices and customers certainly had plenty from which to choose, again thanks to volunteers, several of whom made several desserts. The Candy Shop was held in conjunction with the Christmas on Douglas celebration and again, offered many delicious homemade treats, again thanks to generous volunteer cooks and library supporters. All funds raised from these efforts will go toward projects to supplement library programs, particularly the summer programs for children.

Again, thanks to all those who helped. We certainly could not have done it without you.



By Jim Reeves

If you are like me, you get bombarded by offers from cable companies, dish networks, satellite companies and all kinds of other technologies that Iíve never heard and probably could never figure out, all wanting to offer me great deals on packages of TV channels. The smallest of these packages has something like 160 channels! Who in their right mind needs 160 channels? Everyone but my dog has his or her own channel and I wouldnít be surprised if my dog isnít in negotiations, even as I am writing this.

A writer once said that television was a vast mental wasteland. If that is so (and I happen to believe it is), why would I want to multiply this vast mental wasteland by 160 times or 850 times or whatever?

I know there are people who can watch eight different sports channels at the same time and keep up with every game. My question is: Why would you want to?

Iím a simple guy. donít watch football every Thursday night, all day Saturday, all day Sunday, Monday night and at 2:00 in the morning on New Years.

I will admit that I like to watch the Super Bowl, the 4th (and if necessary, the 5th, 6th, and 7th) game of the World Series, the NCAA championship basketball game and thatís pretty much it. In other words, I watch the last game of the year for those sports. After all, itís only the last game that matters anyway. Why watch all the rest of the games? I donít watch golf because I thinking watching it is just about as boring as watching my grass grow. Hockey is nothing more to me than pro wrestlers on skates. In light of this, why would I need 19 channels of ESPN?

I donít like the movies on HBO, Cinemax, or any of those others because thereís too much violence, sex and foul language. If I want that stuff, all I would have to do is go find a cheap bar somewhere and I could see it all for free (donít worry, Iím not going to.)

Reality TV? Pleeeeeese, thereís nothing real about reality TV and thatís part of whatís wrong with our world. Too many people believe that what they see on reality TV is really real.

Even the shows that are half real donít apply to 90% of us. I mean, when was the last time you drove an eighteen-wheeler over the ice-covered roads of Alberta? For most of us, it would have to be shortly after they released us from the mental hospital.

I really only want about six or seven channels. I would like ABC, CBS, and NBC, so that I could see the news that China has dropped a nuke on Poughkepsie, NY, as it is happening instead of hearing about it three days later when somebody tries to Facebook me.

I would like to see the weather channel so I can keep track of how many times the weather forecasters get it wrong (the only time they get it right around here is when they predict that the wind is going to blow. Shoot, my dog could predict that on his own reality channel).

I like the old westerns, so I could handle the American Movie Classic channel or maybe the Turner Classic Movie channel. The problem is, that just about covers what I would want from any of these companies offering me a "package". Their idea of a package is something the size of the Titanic and my idea of a package is something about the size of a model car. Yet these companies have managed to sell us on the idea that more channels is better.

Our children have so many channels to watch now that they donít know how to pick up a book (they do still make those) and sit down and just read. Read? Why, thatís about to go the way of the World Book Encyclopedias.

Maybe that guy was right about the vast mental wasteland of TV. Think Iíll just pick up a good book, something like the Bible, and spend some time doing that old-fashioned thing called reading.

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

Brother Jim


By Jim Reeves

Did you have your black-eyed peas on New Yearís Day so that you will have good luck and prosperity in 2016? Did you have some form of cabbage so that you will have folding money in 2016? If you didnít, you might be a Yankee. People from up in the Northeast (New York for example) will not eat black-eyed peas because they call them cow peas and swear that they are not fit for human consumption. Get a rope.

Isnít it weird how traditions, superstitions, old-wives tales become such a part of our lives? I mean, come on, if black-eyed peas really brought good luck and prosperity, Iíd be eating those blooming things for breakfast, lunch and supper (you call it supper if youíre from the south, dinner if you can afford a cook and a butler). Of course, Iíd have to have cornbread every time. I mean, I would eat so many black-eyed peas, Iíd be a billionaire like Donald Trump. (Forget the hair; it ainít happening.)

It has always been such a mystery to me that the four most celebrated days of the year contain so much tradition. We wait all year long to celebrate Thanksgiving. Why isnít it that we donít celebrate Thanksgiving every day? After all, the poorest people in America are more wealthy than two-thirds of the worldís population. The average yearly income of most of the third world countries is less than $1,000 a year! A year! We live in the most affluent country in the world and yet we proclaim thanksgiving only one day of the year!

How about Christmas? We wait all year for Christmas morning so that we can sit around an artificial tree, lit up with cheap lights and ornaments, open gifts that probably wonít last the first week, throw tons of ribbons, bows, and wrapping paper in the trash, gorge ourselves on turkey and ham, have an overdose of football and hopefully remember that we are celebrating the birth of the baby Jesus. Why donít we look at every day as Christmas, wakening up every morning and receiving from God the one gift that really has any meaning at all. It is a gift that you canít buy or sell, you can return it, you canít steal it, you canít trade it. The only thing you can do with it is to receive it and to share it. It is the gift of Godís one and only Son, given to all of us, whether we want it or not.

Then, thereís the biggieóEaster. Easter is such a big day that we have a whole week, we even call it Holy Week, leading up to that Sunday. We have 40 days of Lent where we give up drinking Dr. Pepper or coffee or some other thing that isnít any good for us anyway.

We have a sunrise service, dress up in fancy new clothes, watch the kids chase plastic eggs all over the yard and proclaim that it is a day of resurrection, renewal, new birth. Why isnít it that every day canít be Easter. After all, every day is a new day, a renewal and resurrection of that which died last night and is born again this morning. When you get to be my age, every day is a day of resurrection.

Finally, there is New Yearís Day, January 1. We can obviously only have one January first, but why canít we have new yearís day every day. When I wake up in the morning and donít see my name in the obituaries, I give thanks (thereís Thanksgiving) for the gift of a new day (gift, thereís Christmas) in which this tired old body is resurrected for one more time (thereís Easter). Every day is the beginning of a new year for each of us. Every day is the first day of the rest of our lives.

What happened last month, last year, last week, yesterday is dead and gone. This day is all that we can hope for. Itís a new year if we are able to draw a breath. There, I got all four holidays wrapped up in one day, each day, every day.

Of course all of this might really be confusing to Wal-Mart, having to put out merchandise year round to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Yearís and Easter, but think how much more fulfilling our lives could be if we celebrate life that way.

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

I heard someone say this last Saturday in the local grocery that they were getting ready to "hunker down and ride it out." The store was full of people stocking up on provisions, anticipating the snow storm/blizzard. I started thinking that it is interesting that we humans donít learn much from the squirrels, groundhogs and such critters.

They work hard through the summer and fall to stock up, to lay in nuts and such for their winter and then they just "hunker down and ride it out" through the winter.

How are we doing on our "spiritual" provisions? Do we do the typical thing and wait to call on God when the storm has already hit and weíre knee-deep in disaster? If so, we are doing what so many others do. We tend to put God in a box up on the shelf (kind of like the items on the shelves in the grocery) and we use Him only sparingly, then when we have a storm in our lives, we want to rush to the shelves and stock up. We want to "hunker down and ride it out", returning to the same old, same old as soon as the storm passes.

The mark of a true relationship with God is that we seek that relationship the same way that the squirrels and groundhogs and other such critters gather in their store for the winter. They work at it every day and so should we. Because they work at it everyday, they are prepared for the winter storms long before they arrive. When we work at our relationship with God every day of our lives, then we, too, are prepared for the storms of life long before they arrive.

It is a simple truth of life that winter will always follow the summer and fall. We cannot expect everyday to be a warm, sunny, perfect summer day. Storms are a part of our lives. Winter comes and it gets cold and dark, snows come and sometimes those winter storms are more than just light.

Sometimes, we have a blizzard. I heard an old-timer say the other day that he figured we would have a bad winter because we are "overdue" for one.

Our personal lives are like that. It would be nice if all our spiritual storms were minor ones, but the simple truth is that sometimes we are "overdue" for a big one. The key is to be prepared for the storms of life at all times. We should be stocking up at all times on our store of faith, trust, hope and dependence upon Godís grace. The fundamental truth is that God promises that He will never forsake or leave us, if we will simply put our trust in Him.

In my sixty-nine years of life, I have seen many storms. I have been in tornadoes and two hurricanes and yes, even a few blizzards. The one thing I have always noticed is that the people who come out the best in every storm are those who prepare for the storms, long before the weather man tells them the storm is upon them. I have always thought that it doesnít take a rocket scientist to figure out that there is a storm going on when the storm is right on top of you. The true wisdom is to know that storms happen, and to be prepared for them long in advance.

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

Most preachers will tell you that one of the hardest things to do is to come up with new sermons for the Christmas and Easter seasons. Lots of thought and effort goes into trying to come up with something refreshing, new or different.

This week was no different for me than it probably was for lots of other ministers. Do you read the same scriptures as always or do you come up with something different? How do you come up with new ideas for sermons? Then suddenly, I stopped and asked myself a question. Why should you need to come up with something different? The fundamental story of Christmas and Easter is the foundation of what we should be about in both of these seasons.

Christmas is about the birth of a child in a manger in a tiny village in Israel all those years ago. More than just the birth, it is about the gift, the gift of salvation sure, but more than that, Christmas is about the gift of giving ourselves to others. It is the story of giving the world a break from all the bad news that we hear everyday. I am reminded of the story about one Christmas during World War I when both the Germans and the Allies decided to stop fighting for one day and evening to sit down together and celebrate Christmas. The fighting ceased, the guns went silent, and for just a few hours, men who had been shooting at each other earlier, sat down, had a meal together, sang Christmas carols and had fellowship together. They laughed with each other, shared stories of home and family and generally enjoyed the time together. Sadly, the time of fellowship ended and the guns started firing again, men started shooting at each other and the war was back on.

Why canít we do that same thing today? Why canít we decide for at least a day or so, we could just enjoy fellowship with each other? How about putting aside all our hatred, distrust, and suspicion, and just share in the peace and joy of the season? Why canít we stop giving guns to ten and twelve year old kids and share with them candy, toys, love, whatever it takes to just let them be kids?

The fundamental reason for Christmas and Easter is to remind us that our greatest gift is not to receive, but to give. Whether Iím a Christian, a Muslim, a Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, or a member of the church of the third rock from the Sun is not the issue. Foremost, I am a human being, with the need for fellowship with other human beings, with a need to give love and receive love, with a need to know that I am important to someone, that I have worth. These are the fundamental needs that separate us from all the other animals on this planet.

We need to understand that it was not by accident that God created humans. We are the crowning hope of tomorrow, the promise of things yet to come. Forget about the religions or theology, or beliefs that separate us, and seek instead to find those things which can and should unite us. Itís not about us and them; itís about all of us together.

This season, letís stop for just a little while, trying to wreck this world that we live on and try to find those things that we have in common: the need for love, the need for fellowship, the need to feel that we have worth and give worth to human life. Letís stop thinking of this as a season of the birth of a child and start focusing on this as a season for surviving as the human race. Who knows, we might even get to enjoying this joy and peace thing so much that we might decide to practice it all the time.

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

We have all heard the saying, "It is better to give than to receive." Somehow, in our me-centered world, we have rethought that to mean, "It is better for you to give and for me to receive." When we study the history of our great nation, we have somehow gone from "You work, you eat! No work, no eat" to the idea of "You owe me a meal."

In this time of Christmas, we hear people saying, "It is the season of joy and good tidings toward all men." So now we have a Thanksgiving season, a Christmas season and a season of joy and good will toward others? Somehow that seems to make it just like deer season or pheasant season or some other short burst of time. When I last checked, we are supposed to have good will toward mankind every day, all day, all year. Isnít that what Jesus meant when He said, "Love your neighbor as yourself"?

Come on, people, since when do we have to have to have a season in which we are to love one another while the rest of the time, we can despise our neighbor?

As for joy, there is a simple way to find joy. First, love God with all your heart, mind, body and soul. In other words, love God with all that you are. Second, love yourself. Our world is in the shape itís in, because so many people donít love themselves. Because they donít love themselves, they think no one else deserves to love themselves. This is the simple reason that human life has so little value to so many in our world today.

I have a little cartoon of a kid that is so ugly that even a mother would be hard pressed to say anything nice, but underneath that drawing is a saying that goes, "I know that I am somebody special because God donít make no junk." Forget that the English is horrible and focus on the meaning. Every human being is special simply because God doesnít make junk. To think otherwise is to say, in essence, that God makes mistakes.

Third, we need to practice the original meaning of that saying, "It is better to give than to receive." I have found over sixty-nine years of living that when I give my time, talent or money to help others, that the blessing I receive is far greater than the one I give. I recently escorted a young inmate home to see his dying father. Sure, it took some of my time, and resources, but the blessing I got out of that was so much greater than any blessing that I gave. I not only got to minister to the young man, I got to minister to the young manís father, also. I understand that there are people around saying, "Why in the world would he want to do that?" The more important question is, "Why in the world would I not want to do it?" If we call ourselves Christians and then want to pick and choose the things we want to do for others, or worse, not do anything at all for others, then weíre not Christians. Weíre hypocrites.

In this season of joy (which shouldnít just be a season at all), if you think your life is miserable and there is no joy, let me tell you a simple way to find it. Go out and find someone who needs you to do something for them. It may be as simple as changing a light bulb for the little old lady next door or it may be as involved as spending the day beside the bed of a dying person, reading to a child at school, or escorting a young man to see his dad. Whatever it is, I guarantee that the more you give to others, the more you bless others, the more you love others, the more you will be blessed and the more joy you will find.

Shut the TV down for a day and give of yourself. Try it; you just might like it.

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

Brother Jim


By Jim Reeves

My old Pappy used to say, "You can dress a pig in a tuxedo, but at the end of the day, heís still just ham." Somehow seems kind of appropriate for this time of the year. I think what he was trying to say is that we try too much to take the simple, basic things and make them more complicated than they are.

Iíve been thinking a lot on this thing out in San Bernadino, CA, and the more I think on it, the more I think we are trying to take a simple thing and make it into a national debate on so many complicated matters that Einstein couldnít make sense of it.

The simple fact is that it makes no sense. It makes no sense that an off-handed comment about the male shooterís beard would lead to fourteen people being dead. This wasnít about somebodyís beard! This wasnít about theology, or ideology or politics or any of the millions of other things that commentators and analysts are trying to figure out. This was about the simple, basic value of human life.

When I was growing up, we were taught that human life is precious, our own and the lives of others. We were taught a simple, basic, ten Commandment rule, "Thou shalt not kill." You simply did not take the life of someone else unless it was absolutely necessary. That fundamental rule of the Ten Commandments went out the window when we took prayer out of schools, when we stopped opening public meetings, sports games and other activities with prayer, when we started thinking it was more important to watch reruns of Duck Dynasty than it is to be in church. We somehow stopped learning about how to live with each other and started thinking that the all-knowing, Washington eyeball, Big Brother is watching, would somehow keep society straightened out. Well, guess what, the social experiment of "letís just hope it comes to us by osmosis", ainít working. (Please excuse me, all you teachers, for the use of improper English).

Itís time for us to get back to the basics of teaching the basics. All the detractors out there who want to criticize the Christian faith, itís time for you to wake up and realize something. Your way ainít working. (There I go again.) This country has led the world for over two hundred years for one reason and one reason, only. It was created, founded, and for many years was guided by the fundamental values of Christianity. Somewhere, beginning back in the l950s, we started thinking that we didnít need God to help us run our lives. I hope we can all see where that thinking has gotten us. As my old Pappy would also say, "Thatís just plain Stinking Thinking."

Here we are headed into the Christmas season (oops, Iím sorry. The politically correct term is the Holiday season), talking about peace on Earth and goodwill to man, and then we up and shoot fourteen people over a comment about a beard. Come on, letís call this what it is: hypocrisy. Itís hypocritical to go into a national chain store that refuses to allow the Salvation Army bell-ringers a place on the parking lot and then plays Christmas music over the sound system inside. Itís hypocritical to demand that we take the Ten Commandments off the courthouse or statehouse square and then oooh and aaaah at the Christmas decorations on the street lights. Itís hypocritical for Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target and all the rest to say they are not going to allow Christmas activities on their parking lots because it might offend someone and then devote a fourth of their store to selling Christmas trees, ornaments and toys.

If we, as a nation, are not going to truly practice the fundamental reason for Christmas (the birth of a Savior, who would teach us how to live with ourselves), then letís just stop calling it Christmas. Ooooops, canít do that! Then weíd have no reason for Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

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

Brother Jim



OK, folks, itís time for a little fundamental lesson in civics (government, politics, whatever you want to call it). In listening to the debates, both on the Republican side and the Democratic side, I am once again struck how little the American electorate (thatís you and I, guys) really knows about how the system works.

Case in point. Every candidate that I have listened to talks about how he or she wants to cut down on taxes. The fact is that, hear this folks, the president of the United States can do NOTHING about raising or lowering your taxes or mine. That power, the power to create, raise or lower, taxes is reserved exclusively for the Senate of the United States Congress. The best that a president can do is to suggest, propose, or send to the Senate a bill calling for a change in the taxes. Are you aware that you or I have the right to propose bills to the Congress? Not that they would pay any attention to us lowly voters, but, yes, any American citizen has that right.

Second case in point. Every candidate wants to tells you and me that they want to cut spending. The fact is that the budget is only proposed by the executive branch.

The actual budget starts in the House of Representatives and then goes to the Senate and then (and only then) to the president for signature or veto. Yes, the White House sends a PROPOSED budget to the House, but that is all that it is, a PROPOSED budget. The House is not even required to look at it.

We like to talk about the president being the single most powerful person in the world, when the cold hard fact is that that idea is only true in terms of international politics. When you consider the fact that a person literally follows the president everywhere (even into the rest room), every waking moment of the presidentís day with the launch codes for all of Americaís nuclear weapons, then I guess you could say that the president is pretty powerful.

When it comes to national politics, the president is simply not as powerful as the American public likes to think. The president cannot raise or lower taxes, cannot officially start or declare war (although those Korean and Vietnam vets might argue otherwise), cannot affect your social security, medicare, or other endowment programs, except to suggest changes to the Congress, cannot declare a law constitutional or unconstitutional, and a whole lot of other things that the president simply CANNOT do, simply because those powers are reserved for the legislative branch (Congress) or the judicial branch (the Supreme Court). Thank goodness our system is set up that way.

The plain truth of the matter is that I am not impressed by any of the candidates and the primary reason that I am not is that all of them want to make you and I believe that they will be more powerful than they really will be. If we truly want to fix the wrongs of our political system, stop focusing on who wants to be president and start focusing on those who want to be Senators and Representatives. After all, this is the group that has itís own retirement plan (which by the way, they can take advantage of after only one day of serving), their own health care program (and it sure isnít Obamacare), more privileges than a king and little or no responsibility to you and I as the electorate.

If we really want to change things, I suggest that we, as the electorate, demand constitutional amendments to limit terms in office to eight years for Senators and for Representatives as well, amendments to force congressional members to be a part of the same retirement system (social security) and the same healthcare program (medicare) as the rest of us. I guarantee that if we force congressional members to be a part of the same social security system as we are, they would find a way to guarantee Social Security.

Letís focus on the people who can really make a change and let the presidential candidates go on releasing gas.

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

Well, we are entering into that period of Thanksgiving and celebration. For the next 30 to 45 days, our lives will be hectic, with family visits, big meals, football, and hopefully the remembrance of what itís all about. Like I said last week, I donít see why we donít celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas every day of the year. Of course, all those big meals would probably result in the turkey being placed on the endangered list, and we would still most likely forget what the real meaning of the season is.

As we head into this week of feasting (probably over feasting), letís remember that first Thanksgiving, back there in Plymouth. No, young people, there was no football to watch or participate in. Of course, it might have happened if someone had simply picked the spiral-cut ham up and started throwing it. Just think, it would have been the first game between the Cowboys and the Redskins! Oops, I forgot, we canít call them "Redskins" anymore. So, I will use the politically correct terms. It would have been the first game between the indigenous people of the New World and the devious, back-stabbing people of Caucasian persuasion who took advantage of them. Whew, that takes a lot of breath!

If the indigenous people of the New World had only had a crystal ball, they might have looked into the future and seen Custer, and Sheridan and Cody. Then, they might have loaded the devious, back-stabbing people of Caucasian persuasion back into the boats and sent them back to England. Then, just think, we might be taking a break on Thursday for tea time instead of sitting down for turkey, ham, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, rolls and pecan pie and we wouldnít know what wonderful things corn, squash, pumpkins and watermelons are. Wait a minute! Watermelons for Thanksgiving? While there might be ham, there wouldnít be any turkeys. Well, except for the human kind.

It seems that somehow Thanksgiving has lost itís original meaning. Now, it seems to be about the Thursday football game between the Detroit Lions and that other team.

Why is it that we donít get upset about calling them Lions instead of really big pussycats? Right! I want to see you try and call one of the linebackers a really big pussycat.

I heard a group of women talking about driving all the way to Dallas for the pre-Black Friday sales. Why in the world would anyone want to go through that just to save a couple of bucks? Soon weíll have pre-pre black Friday sales. Would that make it Thanksgiving all year round? Just think, those original Pilgrims had no Wal-Marts, no internets, no computers, no I-pads, no cell phones, no credit cards. Gee, that would be enough right there to give thanks for.

Serious, before you sit down at the table to practice your brain surgeon skills on the turkey, join hands with your family and start naming all of the things that you have to be thankful for. If you have a big family and everyone shares all the things they have to be thankful for, youíll still be praying come Friday morning and you will have missed the big meal and that game that might have started between the indigenous people of the New World and the devious, back-stabbing people of Caucasian persuasion from down Dallas way. Hold on, was there a Dallas back then? Maybe. After all, history isnít always what we think it to be.

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

Why is it that special events or holidays should only happen once a year? Is it so that they become more special just because they only happen once a year or is it somehow connected to the giving and receiving of gifts? I can see how Columbus Day should only happen once a year. After all, itís not like old Chris discovered the New World anew every day.

That would be like the Bill Murray movie "Groundhog Day" where he somehow woke up every day and it was Groundhog Day again. Same for Easter, the 4th of July and some holidays like that.

However, I question why we should have Thanksgiving only once a year. Does that mean that we are thankful only one day out of the year? I certainly hope not. I hope that we are thankful everyday for the things that God provides us with. I guess it would be rather ridiculous for the Dallas Cowboys to play Detroit or Chicago every day (not that it would matteróDallas would lose anyway).

How about Christmas? We celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus only once a year, but I secretly suspect that the reason we do is because parents couldnít afford to buy their kids gifts everyday of the year. We would also get tired of having a Christmas tree stuck in the middle of our living room the year round (especially if it was a live one, dropping pine needles everywhere, everyday).

I do think we should seriously celebrate everyday the fact that Jesus came into the world to save us. After all, the greatest gift that we can give Him, ourselves, doesnít cost anything. I personally give thanks everyday for the gift of Godís only begotten Son. So, maybe I am celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas everyday.

I suspect that the turkeys of the world are glad that we donít celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas but once a year. If we celebrated these two holidays everyday, would that mean that we should cook two turkeys and two hams everyday? Heaven forbid! After all, turkey is only good for so long and there wouldnít be enough turkeys to last the whole year. Pigs, now thatís a different story. Just look at the number of pig farms scattered around.

I certainly couldnít stand the idea of cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie or stuffing everyday. Some things lose their appeal after once or twice a year.

Last, but certainly not least, there is the matter of birthdays. I know that we celebrate our birthdays on a certain day because it was on that day that we were born. But when you get older, you celebrate everyday for just being alive another day, so everyday becomes kind of like a birthday. No, my wife would not be expected to buy me a gift everyday, but it might be kind of nice if people would congratulate us or comment on our being alive another day. Wait a minute, that might cause us to start being paranoid, asking ourselves, "Do they know something that maybe we donít"?Maybe those Old Testament guys celebrated their birthdays everyday. Maybe thatís how they lived to be nine hundred years old. Maybe they had a different take on birthdays than we do.

Oh, well, all this thinking is giving me a headache. Think Iíll go break out the ham, make me a sandwich and go take a nap. After all, Sunday only happens once a week. Maybe, though, we should have Sunday everyday. Whoops, there I go thinking again.

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

In my government classes, both in high school and college, we learned that one personís freedom ended at another personís nose. Of course, this means the first personís right to swing his arms with his fist doubled up anywhere and anytime he or she wants to, as long as the swinging fist doesnít connect with someone elseís nose.

This week I heard a story of some high school teacher who was having his students to write a paper and in that paper to somehow include the statement, "God does not exist." Well, you know where this story is headed. One student refused to include that statement and politely told the teacher that he would not. The teacher then told the student, that if he didnít include that statement, the best grade the student could hope for was a 70.

There are a few things about this story that I want to point out. The first is that I, as a former educator, cannot believe that the teacher would be so stupid. Thatís right, folks, I said the "S" word! This is clearly a case of one person (the teacher) wanting to exercise his right to swing his fist, regardless of whose nose got bloodied. In this country, we simply donít have that right.

Secondly, the other person (the student) wanted to exercise his right to religious freedom. That right was in danger of being ran over by the freight train of someone who simply wants to prove his or her point. If the teacher doesnít believe there is a God, then fine, he has that right. But he doesnít have the right to cram his belief (or lack of) down the throat of someone else, simply because that person is a student or just to prove a point.

Thirdly, this is clearly a case of playing the old "power game" where one person believes that he or she has power over someone else simply because of position. Many of us grew up in an age where the teacher was thought to be right all the time, whether they were or not. You didnít argue with the teacher, you didnít refuse to do what the teacher said to do.

On the other hand, those in authority (be it a teacher, principal or other school official) were expected to show at least a little common sense and for the most part, they did. In the case of this teacher and the campus policeman who threw the young high school girl out of the chair, neither displayed even an inkling of common sense.

In both cases, someone should have seen the train wreck coming long before it happened.

We seem to be living in an age where a number of fundamental rules for getting along have been thrown out the window. The first of these rules is to try at all times to display a little common sense. Another is to think always before you act. Yet, somehow, people of today donít seem to display much of either of these two rules. The case of the road rage incident in Albuquerque, where the little 4-year old girl was killed, is another prime example of this.

Common sense should have told the father that getting into a battle of automobiles with children in the car was not a good idea. Common sense should have told the driver of the other car that pulling a pistol and firing it from that car, on a busy interstate highway was not a good idea and that someone was likely to get hurt.

All of this brings me to a basic fundamental truth about rights that somehow seldom gets taught. The rights that we think we have do not come to us automatically. We should earn them, as we grow and as we hopefully gain a modicum of common sense. Secondly, every right comes at a price and that price is that every right carries with it an equal responsibility to use that right wisely and carefully.

Obviously, that responsibility was not considered in all three of the above cases, and now three people are going to have to pay the price. The teacher is being sued and was fired.

The school cop was fired and is being sued, and the driver of that car who fired the shots is facing multiple criminal charges. I say great. They all deserve exactly what they get.

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

A passenger jet was flying across country when it encountered a violent thunderstorm. The plane was pitching and bucking like a wild bull, rising and then suddenly dropping, seemingly into nothingness. The passengers were screaming, some were crying, and some were praying out loud, gripping their armrests, sure that they were all going to die.

All that is, except for oneó a little eight year old girl, sitting in an aisle seat in the second-class cabin, her doll sitting in the seat beside her. The little girl was reading a book, reading it to her doll and never once did she look up in fright. She didnít scream or cry or pray. She just calmly continued to read.

The airliner broke out of the storm into calm air and began its descent into the airport that was to be its final destination. A passenger, sitting in the aisle seat across from the little girl, turned to her and said, "Young lady, I admire you. When everyone else was screaming and crying, and hearts were beating fast, you remained absolutely calm. How did you do it? Werenít you afraid?"

"No," replied the little girl.

"Why not," inquired the passenger?

"Because my daddy is the pilot," answered the child.

Oh, for the faith of a little child. It might not necessarily be the faith that we preachers would seek, but it is an example of the faith that all of us need. Here was a little girl, confident that her father could get them through the roughest storms, that he was going to be there to take care of her and would do everything in his power to keep her safe.

All of us experience terrible storms in life, some worse than others. Each one is a test of our faith. Who do we put our trust in? There is, after all, a father even greater than the earthly father that we all have. That father is our Heavenly Father, God. When the days are darkest, when everyone else is screaming or crying, do we put our trust in the God who promises us that He will take care of us?

In 2005, I had a terrible motorcycle wreck, a wreck so bad that my doctor said, by all rights, that I should not have lived. I had broken or fractured every single bone in my head and my left eye had come out of the socket. I remember kneeling on the pavement, holding my left eye in my left hand, and the first words I said were, "Oh, God, help me." Then suddenly I heard a voice, as plain as any I have ever heard, say, "Donít worry, Iíll take care of it." Thirteen surgeries later, I am able to say that He did.

In 2010, I was diagnosed with stage 4 throat cancer, and my doctor said that there was a good chance that I might not live through the treatment, and even if I did, there was a chance I might never talk again. I simply said to the doctor, "Letís give this to God and trust in Him." Thirty-three radiation treatments and fifteen chemo treatments, and five years later, I can say that my cancer is in remission and Iím still preaching.

We canít always avoid the storms of life, but we can choose who we trust. My question to each of you this day would be, "Who is your pilot?"

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

Since this week is Halloween, I thought we might look at some possibly frightening scenarios in the political world. First on the Democratic side. Suppose Hillary rides the wave into the Democratic National Convention and gets the nomination as the partyís candidate. Who might she choose for a Vice-presidential candidate? She could choose her husband, Bill.

Thatís right, folks. The Constitution says he canít run for President again, but nothing prevents him from being second on the ticket. Then imagine that the Clinton/Clinton ticket wins. A couple of months into her administration, she decides to resign because of a mid-life crisis (sheís past mid-life, for goodness sake), fatigue, because she has a terminal illness, whatever. Guess who becomes President? You got it! Old Slick Willy could legitimately become President for another four years. Thatís scary.

Letís look at the Republicans. Letís say, heaven forbid, that Trump carries the nomination through the convention. Who might he choose? Carly Fiorini? That would be scary, a ticket where both candidates have no experience? Ben Carson? Same thing. Marco Rubio? Better choice. From there, the pickings get pretty slim. Besides that, Hillary would eat his lunch in a debate.

Suppose Carson gets the partyís nod as presidential candidate. Who does he choose? Certainly not Trump. Carson would never get a word in if that were the case. Fiorini? Same drawback as above. Carson certainly wouldnít fare any better against Hillary in a debate. Rubio? Again, a better choice.

Letís imagine a couple of even wilder possibilities. Suppose Carson wins the nomination. Trump gets mad and runs as a third party candidate. In the general election, he splits the Republican party and Hillary wins by default. It happened when Lincoln was elected. He did not win a majority of the popular vote. The Democrats couldnít decide on a candidate and the party split allowing Lincoln to win.

Imagine an even wilder scenario. Hillary wins the Democratic nomination and then chooses a Republican as her vice-presidential running mate. It is allowable, possible and has even been done once in our nationís history. Thatís right, early in our history, the ticket was a candidate from both parties and they won. Would such a ticket (a Democrat and Republican) heal the differences between the two parties or throw us into even greater chaos? If the vice-presidential candidate was a Republican, he or she would be president-pro-temp of the Senate, where most of the legislation is handled, and it would be a republican administration by default, at least for the first two years.

Suppose, the popular vote comes out dead even, 50-50. Then, the election gets thrown into the Senate and they get to choose a president. That, too, has happened, early in our history. Even though the Republicans have a majority in the Senate, would they have enough clout to elect a president? That process could talk months to finish, during which time, the country would be without leadership. The whole country would come out as the loser and we would be left wide-open. Every man for himself.

All of these scenarios have been running through my head so much that I have begun to have political headaches. Maybe not as painful as a migraine, but certainly scarier. I still think that the candidate that I have picked for over fifty years of my life would be a good one and I canít figure out why no one else thinks Mickey Mouse would be a good president. After all, a lot of those running this year certainly look and act like cartoon characters.

All of this thinking is making me hungry. Think Iíll open a bag of candy and pig out. Sorry, kids.

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

"I can remember when". Four words that may well be the most defining four words in the English language. They can define us by an age that is often totally lost to the youngsters of today. They may define us by the region or area of the country or world to which we were born. They may define the way we grew up as children.

Letís try a few "I can remember whens". Can you remember the days before TV? The days when you were lucky if you got three channels on your TV? The days of "rabbit ears" and twists of tin foil between the antenna? (Do you even know what "rabbit ears" were?) Can you remember the very first TV show ever broadcast in color? (Just a hint: It starred Lorne Green as the father of three sons) Can you remember when telephone numbers were a combination of letters and numbers? (Ev3-4735) Can you remember when you could go to the movies for a quarter, get admission, a Coke and a bag of popcorn? You can see where this is going, canít you?

Can you remember "gas wars?" When you could buy gas for 11 cents a gallon? When you could put a dollarís worth of gas in your car and "drag" the main street all night? Iíll give you something else to think aboutócan you remember when the old typewriters had the cent sign on the keyboard? Look for it now on your computer keyboard. Can you remember when the first computer you ever saw was the size of a small house? Oh, boy, I remember how cold they had to keep the room where the first computer I ever saw was.

Can you remember phone booths? The days when you had "party lines" and you might have to ask someone to get off the line so you could make a call? Can you remember the old, black, rotary phones where you stuck your finger in the round holes, spun the dial and then listened to it go "click, click, click" as it spun back?

Can you remember nickel Cokes, nickel phone calls, penny candy, dime novels, comic books that were a dime? Money sure went a lot farther then than it does today. Can you remember Roy Rogers lunchboxes or the days when the milkman actually delivered milk straight to your doorsteps? Can you remember when mailing a letter was 3 cents (there is my keyboard with no cent sign again)?

The list of "I can remember whens" could go on and on forever and there are probably some of you who can remember even farther back than those examples I have listed here. If you can, congratulations on making it this far. The point to this exercise is that so many of our young people today havenít the foggiest clue about how things were 10, 15, even 20 years ago, much less back following the Second World War. I was asked very recently why I wanted to ride in the B-29 and B-17 bombers. Yes, it was for the thrill of riding in aircraft that old, riding in aircraft that played a big role in winning a war. But it was more than that. It was about remembering, about bringing back a time in life when things were much simpler than they are now. It was about remembering a time in our history when choices were about right and wrong, black and white, with no gray areas. A time when honesty, and integrity were words that had meaning. Maybe it was a way of wishing that we could return to those times, to those "thrilling days of yesteryear" and "Hi Ho, Silver, Away".

Oh, yeah, in case you are one of those who can remember those things that I have listed, guess what? Your getting old! Hold on to the memories, share them with your grandchildren, and your great-grandchildren. True, they may ask you if you rode to school on a dinosaur, but the telling of those memories may just bring you a lot of pleasure.

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

On the wall in our living room is a small framed sign that simply reads, "The word canít is not in my vocabulary." It is a left-over remnant of my childhood and yet, it has been such a guiding force in a life lived thus far.

My old pappy did not like the word "canít". Growing up, my two sisters and I were discouraged from using the word and I have even seen my dad fire people simply because their reply was "I canít" whenever he would give them a job to do.

This would seem to be, to most people, an idiosyncrasy of a rather harsh man. Yes, he could be harsh at times, but he knew how to get the best out of people around him and using the word "canít" wasnít a part of that process.

When questioned, he would say, "When a man says he canít, heís already given up. Heís quit before he has even tried. Canít never got anything done." Simplistic, but profound for a man with only a third-grade education. You were definitely going to get farther with him if you said, "I donít know, but I will certainly give it a try" instead of simply saying, "I canít." Over the years of growing up, we three kids learned that there many responses much more preferable than simply saying, "I canít."

Without knowing it, my old pappy had hit upon one of the major components of success in any endeavor. For example, we would never have put a man on the moon if we had started the adventure by saying, "It canít be done." The Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk would never have made that first flight if they had started out by saying, "It canít be done." Indeed, as my dad would say, "Canít never got anything done."

Perhaps the greatest example of this simple truth of success came during the Second World War. The United States successfully accomplished something that has only been done once in the history of the worldóthey fought a war on two fronts and won. Back through history, other countries had tried, but they had all failed. There were some that doubted we could do it after December 7th, 1941, but the American resolve was perhaps best exhibited in a poster showing a red-headed woman with her hair in a bandana, her sleeves rolled up, with a hammer in one hand and her arm bent to flex her muscle. Rosie the Riveter, with her slogan, "We can get the job done", became the driving force for men, women, and in some cases, even children, united in determination to defeat both the Japanese and the Germans on two fronts, half a world apart. The idea of "It canít be done" disappeared from our vocabulary.

In our society of today, it seems to be convenient and easy for us to simply give up by saying "I canít." All too often we expect and hope that someone, often the government, will do it for us. It would have been easy for a kid who wasnít much brighter than a box of rocks, when faced with changing schools every six weeks, to have said, "I canít." That was never an option. When told by the 12th grade counselor that there was no way he could hope to graduate on time, he didnít even think of calling home and saying, "I canít." He simply signed up for three correspondence courses and seven in-school classes and walked across the stage on time. His parents never knew how close he came to not making it.

None of this is said to be arrogant or to brag, but rather to challenge all of us to return to the resolve that has made this country great. America today faces greater challenges that ever before. We can face these challenges and succeed in getting through them or we can simply give up by saying, "It canít be done." Perhaps, if we all adopted the idea that the word "canít" is not in our vocabulary, we might see even greater things accomplished. I encourage us all to remember that Biblical Scripture, "I can do all things through Christ (God) who strengthens me."

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



By Jim Reeves

Have you been listening to the presidential candidates latelyóI mean really listening? (Okay, I know that nobody really listens to them, but still) There is a little phrase that has been popping up in the rhetoric of all the candidates, in both parties. That little phrase is "economic inequality". Sounds pretty innocent, doesnít it? Well, it is, until you really start digging deeper into each candidates plans concerning "economic inequality".

What the use of this phrase means is that all of the candidates are saying that there is inequality between the rich and the poor. Duh! Did it take the brain surgeon to figure that out? There has always been inequality between the rich and the poor. Itís a basic economic fact. Some people, through brains, luck, good investments, risks at the right time, whatever, make more money than others. Some people work more and save more than others and become wealthier. Some people dare to risk. Whatever the circumstance, some people just accumulate more wealth than others.

Now comes the politicians and this little phrase "economic inequality." Hillary is trying to play to the sympathies of what she calls "the common people." I find it hard to put stock in what she says when her and Bill paid a whopping $145 MILLION last year, just in federal income tax. That means, even conservatively, they had to make over $300 million in income! Now, really, my "common people" brothers and sisters, how many of you made more than $300 million last year. I consider myself to be "common people" and if she really wants to play to my vote, Iíll take 1/30th of the Clintonís income and Iíll even pay the taxes on it.

In playing to the poorer classes, take a real close look at what she (and all the other candidates) want to do to solve this "economic inequality." In a speech just last week, she said, if elected, "We will take some of what you have (speaking of the richer classes) and give it to those less fortunate." This quote alone should scare us all (well, unless you are one of those who might receive some of the benefits). This "some of what you have" can be stated much clearer and much plainer. It means that the government (probably the IRS) will take some of your hard-earned money and give it to those less fortunate. Some of the Republican candidates are saying they would support a one-time tax on everyone making more that $200,000 and give that money to the poorer classes. Letís get real, people. When was the last time that you ever heard of the government creating a "one-time" tax?

The plans of all the candidates basically support the idea of taking money from the rich and giving it to the poor. I think communism and socialism tried that back in the l920s and it didnít work then, and it wonít work now. Another simple economic fact is that some people work for their income and others want to live off those who do. Even if we leveled out all the incomes of all the people in the United States, it wouldnít be a week before those who are driven to succeed to start rebuilding their wealth and pulling away from those who donít care.

There are some fundamental things these people are missing here. First, of all, God did not make us all equal. If He had of, we would all be the same height, the same weight, have the same eye color, the same hair color, and like our broccoli. The second fundamental thing that these politicians are missing is that this country was founded on the fundamental precepts of free enterprise, hard work and the desire to get ahead. When a government, any government, starts telling its people that they shouldnít have to work, that they shouldnít try to succeed, that their government should be in the business of taking care of everyoneís needs and that everyone should have the same standard of living, that nation and that government are doomed to failure.

When you hear the phrase "economic inequality", you should check your hip pocket or your purse and make sure you still have your wallet. Better yet, you should check to see if it still has any money in it. After all, the IRS is the biggest criminal organization in America and the sad thing is that it is legal.

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

I thank God that He gave to us the gift of humor and laughter. Even in the saddest or darkest of circumstances, we can often find that little glimmer of laughter or humor.

I known the devastation of dealing with people who suffer from dementia or Alzheimerís disease. My own mother suffered from dementia and I watched it grow progressively worse until it finally reached a point where she knew nothing about what was going on around her or anyone in her family.

Yet, even as her disease grew worse, there were those moments of humor. I remember one morning when my two sisters (who lived much closer) received a call from the nursing home administrator. It seems that Mother had gotten out of her room in the middle of the night and was wandering around the halls. Confused, she tried a door and when it opened, she simply went in and laid down in the bed. Unfortunately, the room happened to be occupied by an elderly man, who fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it) also suffered from dementia. My two highly puritan sisters were absolutely aghast and couldnít believe that such a thing could happen. While they were appalled and apparently worried that Mother would be the talk of the town by nightfall, I found myself smiling a little. I was tempted to ask them if they were afraid that something might have happened, but I decided I wouldnít push my luck.

My mother-in-law is also suffering from dementia and I find myself reliving some of those days with my mother all over again. At a recent family reunion, I thought it was kind of amusing that my mother-in-law knew exactly who I was and even introduced me to people as, "This is my son-in-law, Jim." Yet, for the life of her, she couldnít figure out who Sandra (my wife) was! Her own daughter! I thought maybe it was just a change from all those years when my mother-in-law blamed me for stealing her oldest daughter away from home and I was feeling pretty good about it. I wanted to rib my wife about it,but again, wisdom told me not to push my luck.

Throughout the weekend of the family reunion, I watched as children, grandchildren, in-laws and out-laws laughed (along with my mother-in-law) at some of her forgetfulness and memory lapses and I thought how great it would be if those moments could be the ones everyone remembers.

Mind you, I am not saying that dementia or Alzheimerís are laughing matters. They are two highly devastating and debilitating diseases that rob our elderly of some of the most precious times. What all of us who are dealing with the diseases need to remember is to find what little humor we can, where we can and hold on to those memories. After all, laughter may be the only thing that keeps us from crying.

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

Brother Jim


Dear Editor,

Iím John Vincent the Grandson of Deloris Nichols. Deloris Passed away on the 13th of this month and we had her funeral on the 20th.

The reason Iím writing this to you is I feel the town of Beaver should be aware of a few things.

The Grandkids are all thatís left of the immediate family and we all live out of the state of Oklahoma. One lives in Maryland, one lives in Wyoming, and I live in Utah. With that said, the town of Beaver helped us out in many, many ways.

First Iíd like to give a big thank you for Alan and Joyce Clark for taking care of the funeral. Alan took care of us to every detail. The florist did a fine job on the flowers, and Cousin Dean Starr for all he did, and not to forget the fine lunch at the Baptist Church.

But the real reason for this letter is what happened during the funeral procession. The Police led us to the Cemetery, and were very respectful along the way. All the traffic stopped and let us pass by, but what touched me the most was when we passed the rodeo grounds there was a high school rodeo that morning and I saw young people stop what they were doing, pull their hats and stand with respect as we went by. To me that meant more than anything that could have happened that day.

I wish to commend all of the people at the fair grounds that day and the parents and elders for raising people with that kind of honor and integrity and I wish you would please print this letter in your next newspaper with my heart felt thanks.

As always and with respect,

John Vincent




By Jim Reeves

It is midnight on a tiny island somewhere in the vast Pacific Ocean. Eleven men, some as young as eighteen, pile out of a tin Quonset hut and make their way to a silver aluminum four-engine aircraftóthe largest airplane in the world. The oldest of the group, the pilot, is maybe twenty-two and the pilot only by virtue of the fact that he is an officer.

Fast forward seventy years to a former army air base in the middle of a Kansas wheat field near Great Bend, as a preacher and his wife climb the cockpit crew ladder into "Fifi", the only remaining World War II B-29 bomber still flying and take their seats behind the pilot. Next, takeoff and a flight over the Kansas farmland at thirty-five hundred feet, the four, twenty-five hundred horsepower engines making so much noise that a person canít hear another person sitting right alongside.

As he takes his seat, the preacher experiences a sudden awareness of all those young men, baby-faced and fresh off the farm, who climbed into a metal fuselage held together by bubble-gum and bailing wire, with no heat or air-conditioning, and flew four eight hours through pitch dark nights, thirty-five hundred feet above a cold, unforgiving ocean. All to deliver a message to Japanófreedom is worth fighting and maybe even dying for.

Sitting behind the pilot high over Kansas in the same kind of airplane that dropped the atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to bring WWII to a close, the preacher is painfully aware of the criticisms that still surface from time to time about Americaís decision, specifically President Harry S. Trumanís to drop the bomb on two of Japanís biggest cities. "How can you justify killing one hundred thousand citizens just to win a war." Thatís cruel and harsh. Yes, it was and still would be, but what about the other statistics that nobody wants to talk about? The fact that the military leaders predicted that it would take at least four more years (eight years total) to defeat the Japanese or that those same military leaders were saying that at least one MILLION US soldiers would die on the first day alone if an amphibious assault was attempted on the beaches of the Japanese homeland. This was a war that America neither asked for nor wanted and every opportunity was given to let the Japanese military leaders surrender, even to the point of inviting Japanese observers to witness the test explosion of the atom bomb. The Japanese stoutly refused, saying they would be willing to fight until the last Japanese citizen died. A decision to sacrifice a hundred thousand to save a million or maybe even ten million. Yes, that was a tough decision.

More than all the historical facts, the preacher, as he steps back down on the tarmac after the flight, is honored and awed to be able to sit in those same seats as those kids (many had never been off the farm) had sat in. More painfully, he is stirred by the fact that too many people want to denigrate this country for its role in WWII, never willing to give thanks or even to recognize the sacrifices, not only of those who flew and marched, but also of those families that only received a folded flag as a thanks for their sacrifices.

That flight was Thursday and that preacher is still awed by all that it stood for and hopefully will continue to stand for. That preacher prays today for a leader in the Oval Office who has a third of the backbone of Harry S. Truman. That preacher prays for an American population that recognizes and appreciates the sacrifices made for all of us to enjoy the freedoms we have. That preacher prays for a people who are concerned when unborn live fetuses are bargained for instead of being more concerned about what happened on Duck Dynasty last night. That preacher wants to say to the young people of today, "Put away your I-phones and your I-pads and exercise something more than your thumbsóexercise your minds." America today needs a generation willing to show and practice a little common sense, a generation willing to sacrifice everything, maybe even life itself, to fight against those who would destroy us.

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

Brother Jim



By Jim Reeves

The Friday Night Alter Call. Thatís right, folks, you are welcome to attend the Friday night services at the Church of the First Down and Ten Yards To Go. Now, before any of you start throwing rotten tomatoes at me, let me assure you that I, too, am a fan. I just want to ask a few question of the faithful attendees of these worship services.

How is it that we can go to the Church of the First Down and spend $15 bucks or more on a ticket, a greasy slice of what is optimistically called pizza and a small cup full of ice with just a touch of soft drink, yet we want to complain when the pastor calls for the offering on Sunday morning? How is it that we can yell our lungs out to the point of losing our voice on Friday night, but we canít sing a note on Sunday morning? The Friday night worship service has all the right ingredients: loud music, bright lights, singing, shouting, jumping up and downówhy, we can get downright pentecostal about the Friday night activities, yet we can barely stay awake at 11:00 on Sunday.

We can sit on old wooden bleachers that are apt to collapse at any moment or on aluminum benches with no backs that are prone to collect a sheet of ice during the last game or two, but we complain about how uncomfortable the pews are with their cushions and backrests. We can scream and yell at the referees, but we donít want the speaker to get to loud on Sunday morning. After all, the air conditioning in the summer and the heat in the winter are liable to make us sleepy.

Hey, churches, I have an idea. Letís tear out the pews and put in wooden or aluminum bleachers on both sides of the sanctuary, facing the middle. Letís take up that old bright red carpet and put down some nice green AstroTurf or better yet, some real buffalo grass with white stripes. Letís dress the choir up in some skimpy uniforms and give them some pom-poms and teach them to yell during the call to worship. "Two bits, four bits, six bits, a dollar; all for redemption, stand up and holler." We could dress the preacher in a black and white striped shirt, give him or her a whistle, and let them run down the middle of the sanctuary to the tune of "Drop Kick Me Jesus"!

Huh? Huh? Whatís that dear? Wake up? Whew, thank goodness, I was only having a dream or maybe I should call it a nightmare. Lord, I think Iíll just stick with the faithful who show up on Sunday morning, hope that the message is heard by at least some of the attendees and let those other folks worship at that other church on Friday night. After all, I donít look good in black and white stripes and the image of the choir in cheerleader outfits is enough to cause me to have a nervous breakdown.

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



By Jim Reeves

When I was growing up as a child, my family moved frequently, actually quite frequently. You see, my "old pappy" (as I have lately taken to calling him) worked in pipeline construction. Because of that, we averaged a move every six weeks until I went away to college. From first grade through my high school graduation, I attended 44 different schools in 26 states. Notice I said, "different schools", because there were some schools that I attended more than once. In fact, I attended school twice right here in Beaver, Oklahoma, way back in the late l950s. Thatís right, all you children, there are some people who are that old.

Some of you reading this might be tempted to think how horrible it was to have parents who would do that to a child. Why, for goodness sake, how could a child grow up with any friends? Well, much to your disbelief, I made hundreds of friends across this great land. True, most of them wouldnít know me from Adam if they were to meet me on the street today, but at one time in their lives and mine, they were my friends. One of the great lessons of that childhood was how to make friends and make them fast. After all, I wasnít going to be with them very long.

You might be tempted to say that it must have been terribly hard to keep up with grades in school. Well, I can tell you that it was and it wasnít. (Is that a paradox or an oxymoron?) I took Oklahoma history so many different times that I wasnít sure of my own heritage, but somehow never managed to completely finish that course. I took Texas history, Kansas history, Louisiana history, and a whole bunch more. Thankfully, I never took New York history, so I never was tempted to say that Pace Picante sauce was made in New York City. (Get a rope)

I can say that I learned geography, sometimes the hard way. I saw many of the places that other kids were only reading about in their school books. I read hysterical (oops, sorry, historical) markers from South Texas almost to Chicago and from south Florida to Utah. I heard dialects from the Cajun swamps to the high Rocky Mountains.

The shortest I ever stayed in one school was three days in El Paso. When youíre one of only about ten students among three thousand who didnít speak English, it was no problem for me to throw the key in the water bucket and move on. In my senior year, I finally said "enough" and went to live with my aunt in Lubbock, Texas in October, so that was my longest stay anywhere. I have the distinction of being a graduate of Lubbock Cooper High School with a senior ring from Eureka, Kansas. Go figure.

Sure, there were some things I missed, but there was so much more that I gained. I learned about prejudice first hand, whether it was prejudice toward blacks, Hispanics, or in my case, that "oilfield trash". Yeah, that was me. More than one teacher believed that surely I must have been mentally slow because of all that moving around and they couldnít figure out how I managed to make Aís and Bís all through my twelve years. I can tell them that it wasnít easy, but that was the standard that my "old pappy" set for the three of his children.

I learned first hand the meaning of hard work, starting out on the job during the summer of my tenth year. I learned that no one succeeds without setting the bar a little higher than it has to be. When you never know in the morning if you are still going to be living in that community come nightfall, you learn the true meaning of "adaptation."

True, I wouldnít go back and do it all again, primarily because the way schools teach now is totally different than when I was growing up. But I wouldnít trade those days for anything, because they shaped who I was to be. Iíve come to appreciate people for who they are, not for where they hail from or who their family might be. I have learned that to make friends, you have to first be a friend. I have learned compassion for those less fortunate because sometimes people saw me in that way and show compassion for me. I have learned to appreciate the teachers of this world who take the extra effort for that kid who might face a few more problems, and to feel sorry for those who looked down their nose at those kids who "interrupted their classroom" for maybe six weeks. I donít regret anyplace we traveled to, but I also appreciate the places I never got to live in. I know that the only constant thing in life is change and I can appreciate it more and handle it easier because it has been such a part of me.

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

Brother Jim



It was with sadness that I, along with the rest of the country, heard the news this past week that former president Jimmy Carter has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Being a survivor of cancer myself, I am always hit hard when finding out that anyone, whether they are a relative, friend, or just anyone, has cancer. Of all the diseases in our world, there is no disease that seems to devastate as hard and as much as cancer.

As much as I like to poke fun at politics and politicians, this is one time when I would like to refrain from doing so. It would be easy to say that, being in his 90s, Jimmy Carter has lived a long life and we should be glad for him that he has lived this long. But it is more than just longevity that touches all of us when we look at this almost-forgotten man, who for four years, sat in the highest office in the land.

Whether you are a Republic, a Democrat, an Independent, or you just plain donít care at all, I would hope that all of us might recognize that, in Jimmy Carter, we saw what might very well be the most humanitarian, caring, gentle person to hold the office of President in recent history. The sad thing is that, in the typical world of politicians, Jimmy Carter was and is the a-typical politician. He was and continues to be honest and transparent. He dared, like John F. Kennedy, to see the world, not as it is, but as it could be. As a devout Christian, he dared to dream of a world of compassion, caring, peace and tolerance for all people, and he was slammed for those beliefs.

His ideals have never faltered, never wavered, never failed. Interestingly enough, he was and continues to be more influential in the world since he left office than he perhaps was at any time while he held office. Through the four years of his presidency and right up until today, he continued to teach Sunday School, attend church, give to the community, help to build new homes, new hopes and to share that often misunderstood smile with everyone he meets. While many of his critics and opponents thought him to be weak, he was and continues to be one of the strongest people I have ever watched, because his strength is in his faith. His strength is in his character. Oh, that we might see that strength of faith and character, not only in those who would seek to lead us, but also in those of us who will choose who we follow. May we, like Jimmy Carter, choose not to follow men, but to follow God.

Mr. President, my prayers are with you.

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

Brother Jim Reeves



(EDITOR"S NOTE: We are running the FULL version of Mrs. Kerry Hamiltonís letter and poem dedicated to Mr. Jim Maynard, who recently passed. Somehow, we missed parts of it in the last few issues. We apologize to Mrs. Hamilton and now give you the full version. Thanks Kerry!)
Having Mr. Maynardís talent and inspiration here in Beaver was very much appreciated by all who have experienced his visits to the Beaver 8
th grade classroom. One of my students Tiffany Payne wrote a poem called "The Poetry Man" in honor of Mr. Jim Maynard:
Along came this man whom Iíd never seen.
Though his hands may be wrinkled
His eyes were full of gleam.
He brought along his daughter with auburn hair,
But I sure was glad that he was here to share.
Thatís exactly what he did , ĎSHARE" so very much. For 25 years Mr. Maynard came into my classroom in April, which is Poetry Month, during our poetry unit to excite Beaver students to dabble in a written art they might not have truly experienced.
I was first introduced to Mr. Maynard with a poem he wrote in the Daily Oklahoman, which does not use poems on their editorial page. His poem was about Governor Nighís $10,000 Christmas tree and $500, air-conditioned dog house. With "poetic license" he used the rhythmic elements of Mr. Joyce Kilmerís poem "Trees."Because Mr. Maynard was my mentor and encourager, I thought I would honor him with the mode of writing he adored, POETRY. (the poem is two pages)
A Poet at Heart
In my mind Mr. Jim Maynard was synonymous with the word "POETRY."
He motivated my students to let writing be powerful, fun, fancy, and free.
He came into my classroom and noticed some sentence diagramming on the board one day;
Later he brought me a poem about how important diagramming is for writing in the proper way.
Another year he spotted "Our Class Plan" and wrote an intense and rousing poem about it.
Every time he left my students were encouraged to write about everyday things with cleverness and wit.
Students would leave poems on my desk inspired by their visit with "The Poetry Man."
They found that any subject was ok because he had told them "Yes, you can!"
His yearly presentations were sprinkled with humor, sadness, and excitement.
My students learned that a grown man could use words in a special way and focus on what they meant.
When he read something he didnít write, they glimpsed a side of him that was fun to see;
He definitely endeared himself to the hearts of my students with his "Hawaiian Peace Sign" story.
The students sat taller to hear the letter he wrote to OU basketball coach Kelvin Sampson.
He admonished Coach for using inappropriate language during a televised practice and the damage done.
Using Psalm 19:14 "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight."
He received a Sampson apology that stated, "My mother did the same thing," and knew he hadnít done right.
On several occasions he came in wearing his favorite Atlanta Braves hat,
And started with a memorized poem about a boy, girl, and dad with a baseball bat.
Words and how to use them to the best was what his poetry was all about
Letting words stand up and sometimes get our attention with a shout.
He brought to the Beaver 8
th graders valuable lesson about living and real life,
And how to savor our every day circumstances without bitterness and strife.
He talked of his experiences and losing friends in World War II,
And how he had forgiven the person who had stolen his Purple Heart too.
Whenever Mr. Maynard couldnít come any longer to the school;
My students would watch a video of him, and still learned about "Mr. Poetry Manís" writing tool.
He loved words and how emotional and expressive they could be,
And instilled in my students a love of poetry which is definitely lifeís answer and key.
We would write him a note, a poem, words of kindness, or something really nice,
And to his house I would also bring him a booklet of his poetry which was beyond any price.
Knowing he was still making a difference, his eyes would always wear a smile
As if he were back in my classroom again walking one more poetry mile.Mr. Maynard, itís now time to say good bye;
Iím sure with your angel wings you are writing a poem all over the sky
And certainly you are writing poetry for your Heavenly Father and Son.
Poems you will someday share with your earthly family and everyone.
Thank you, Mr. Jim Maynard, for all of the lives you have sprinkled with sunshine,
And you have definitely helped me with my writing and impacted everything that is mine.
You have found your treasures in Heaven and have reached your celestial home and way;
Your promising words and uplifting poetry will be ever present in our minds each and every day.
Kerry Hamilton



By Jim Reeves

My old pappy used to say to me, "Son, it is best to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool that to open it and remove all doubt." (Sometimes his wisdom flowed like a river. Other times, it dribbled like an aggravating leak).

Listening to the crop of presidential candidates, I am convinced that, if they ever heard my pappyís advice, they certainly havenít given it any heed. They have all opened their mouth and I have been left with absolutely no doubt. They have all talked, but so far, I canít find anything they have said to mean anything. In fact, I canít recall when I have ever seen a bigger group of would-be leaders who were as ill-equipped to lead as this group.

One wants to act like a baby and say, "If I canít be the partyís candidate, Iíll just start my own party and win." I guess if you have 10 billion dollars, you can start your own party if you want to. Another says she wants to be the candidate of "the common people." She also says that her and her husband were "flat broke" when they left the White House seven years ago. Yet, their income tax record for last year shows they paid $145 MILLION just in federal income tax! Gee, I would like to be flat broke like that. Has anyone figured out how much you would have to make to pay $145 million in taxes? Everyone wants to pretend that they are for the "common man", yet most of them are millionaires or better. If they really want to help the everyday working stiff, let them donate some of those millions to the Social Security fund or to the pay-off of the national debt.

Wendyís restaurants had a commercial a number of years ago where a little old lady sat in her car and yelled, "Whereís the beef?" I find myself also wanting to yell, "Whereís the beef?" Our politicians are constantly plowing the same old ground with the same old platitudes. All of them want the elderly vote, so they promise to strengthen Social Security and Medicare and to protect our retirement funds. They all want the military vote, so they promise to have a "strong defense." They all want to get the conservative vote, so they promise to cut government spending, solve the immigration problem, create more jobs, provide working moms with daycare, bring about better education, healthcare, lower pollution, and the list goes on and on.

One of the things a preacher learns very early is that it is impossible to please everyone. Too bad that politicians have never learned that. The simple fact is that our complex list of problems in this country is going to solved only when the people who want to lead us put forth some positive, concrete solutions (as difficult as they may be), and when the American public stops looking to a bunch of people in Washing who canít keep their mouths shut to solve all of our problems. The "common man" that all of these politicians want to appeal to has to be willing to take responsibility for their own well-being and to realize that there is no such thing as a "free ride." Sooner or later some one has to pay the bills.

America doesnít need more stale buns trying to taste like fresh-baked bread. What we need are some concrete, substantive solutions to our problems. What we need is the "beef".

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

Brother Jim


By Jim Reeves

With the economic collapse almost a certainty and looming soon, I have been thinking of ways that we might be able to handle it. I believe I have come up with a novel idea.

I think Texas should secede from the Union and take Oklahoma with it. The two states have a rich history of interaction with each other going back more than 200 years. Why, for awhile there in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, the best football players at Oklahoma and OSU came from Texas and the best players at UT and Texas A&M came from Oklahoma. (I never could quite figure that one out).

For a moment, letís look at the positives. Between the two states, we have enough oil and gas that we could last for generations. We could form our own cartel and call it OTEC. We have more wind and solar energy available than almost anyplace in the world. We raise enough corn, wheat and other food products that we could almost be totally self-sustaining. We have more Wal-Marts between us than anywhere else in America. We could nationalize them and have it made. At a profit of a billion dollars a day across the chain, why, we could do away with taxes.

We have four pro basketball teams, two major league baseball teams and two pro football teams between us. When you start to think about it, we could have our own World Series and our own Super Bowl.

I propose that we name this new nation Texoma since we already have a Lake Texoma, and two communities called Texoma and Texola. Itís just a natural. Besides, Omatex sounds like something you put in a bowl and pour milk on it.

We could make everyone who doesnít speak "Southern" produce a passport and proof of their rabies shots. We could make the word "yaíll" the official greeting of our new nation and Bar-B-Que the national food (well, maybe chicken-fried steak.)

We could re-instate prayer in schools, put the Ten Commandments back on the courthouse lawns and put up toll booths on every highway coming in from "that other place."

Last but not least, we could build the national capitol on a platform over the Red River, thus ensuring that the new nationís capitol would never have to worry about flooding. Mud bogging could become our national sport and we could make anyone who wanted to become a citizen, spend a week in the panhandle during a sandstorm. That would cut down on the applicants.

As Tom Bodett used to say, "Come stay with us at Motel 6; itís mind-boggling". I guess that some minds are just easier boggled than others.

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

Brother Jim


Thank you, Mr. Jim Maynard

Having Mr. Maynardís talent and inspiration here in Beaver was very much appreciated by all who have experienced his visits to the Beaver 8th grade classroom. One of my students Tiffany Payne wrote a poem called "The Poetry Man" in honor of Mr. Jim Maynard:

Along came this man whom Iíd never seen.

Though his hands may be wrinkled

His eyes were full of gleam.

He brought along his daughter with auburn hair,

But I sure was glad that he was here to share.

Thatís exactly what he did , ĎSHARE" so very much. For 25 years Mr. Maynard came into my classroom in April, which is Poetry Month, during our poetry unit to excite Beaver students to dabble in a written art they might not have truly experienced.

I was first introduced to Mr. Maynard with a poem he wrote in the Daily Oklahoman, which does not use poems on their editorial page. His poem was about Governor Nighís $10,000 Christmas tree and $500, air-conditioned dog house. With "poetic license" he used the rhythmic elements of Mr. Joyce Kilmerís poem "Trees." Because Mr. Maynard was my mentor and encourager, I thought I would honor him with the mode of writing he adored, POETRY.

Kerry Hamilton


By Jim Reeves

I had a grandmother who liked to dip snuff and was a hypochondriac, a combination which didnít always make for the most pleasant of visits. Early on, all of us grand kids learned not to ask, "How are you feeling, Grandma?" If you did, you were likely to get an hour and a half dissertation on every disease known to man and probably one or two that medical science wasnít even aware of. Grandma was simply someone who griped about everything.

It was from that grandmother that I came to develop what I call the self-fulfilling prophecy. It simply goes like this: The first thoughts you have upon waking up in the morning set the tone for how your whole day is going to go. If we wake up thinking what a very no-good, lousy, stinking, rotten, very bad morning it is, thatís exactly what kind of day weíll have. We could win the lottery and instead of being happy at our good fortune, weíll complain about how much the government is going to take for taxes. Instead of being happy that we have a job, weíll complain about how bad the boss is. As we go to sleep, weíll think how it was a no-good, very bad day.

On the other hand, if we wake up and our first thought is, "Thank you, God, for the gift of this wonderful day," then thatís the kind of day weíll have, no matter what happens. Our house can blow away, and instead of playing pity-poor-me, weíll give thanks because we were looking for a new place to live anyway. We can lose our job and still give thanks for a better one yet to come. We will go to bed giving thanks for simply being alive for one more day.

Going through a life-threatening motorcycle wreck and cancer that the doctor said I should have died from have both taught me to wake up every morning thinking itís the best day of my life, because itís going to be.

I could complain about Grandma being a hypochondriac and making me uncomfortable every time she wanted a hug or to give me a kiss, but instead, I would rather give thanks for a lesson she taught me: life is too precious to spend time complaining.

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

By Jim Reeves

(EDITOR"S NOTE: Pastor Jim Reeves of the Beaver Presbyterian Church submitted a copy of his sermon from last Sunday (July 5) for publication. We found it extremely interesting. Enjoy!)

This morning we stand on the threshold of the 240th year of this great nation that we call the United States of America. Yesterday, July 4th, we celebrated the fundamental foundation of our homeland, that has come to be known around the world as "one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Today, we find ourselves once again, as we have so often done before, weighing the meaning of each of those very words.

From that first flag, with its 13 stars representing the original colonies, to the proud flag that we salute today, with the 50 stars, America has been a nation seeking unity while continuing to recognize our diversity. Even the darkest days of the Civil War could not extinguish the flickering truth that we were and are and always will be Americans, one and all.

Throughout our history, men, women and children has come from the four corners of the glob to that beacon of hope called America, and with them came their diversity in culture, political views, language, and yes, even their religion. From the Statue of Liberty to the Golden Gate and from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, America has been foremost in the world as the place where all people could be accepted and live free. Free to come and go without hindrance, free to vote or not to vote without governmental pressure or interference, free to believe as they chose to do.

Yet, today, we find the very foundation of this great nation being challenged once again, as it was challenged when women were first given the right to vote, challenged as it was when during the dark days of the Civil War, challenged as it was during the days of the troubling Civil Rights movement, challenged as it was when the American Indians were finally recognized as equal citizens, challenged as it was when the Chinese coolies who built our railroads were considered second-class citizens or when hard-working, law-abiding Japanese were interned during World War II. That foundation has been challenged with every referral to chink, wop, spic, wetback, good, and yes, even the N word.

At no time in our history has the fundamental foundation of this country been more challenged than it is today. We are reminded of the words of President Thomas Jefferson, when he said, "The God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that those liberties are the gift of God? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever."

So, as we begin a new year in the history of America, we find ourselves in a quandary. The beliefs of Christians are being challenged at every turn, from our right to pray in our schools and courthouses to governmental actions which fly in the face of our basic principals. If we are to believe the words of Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers who acknowledged, yes, who proclaimed fervently that this country was built on the providence of God and yet continue to embrace the acceptance of the diversity that has made us who we are, then how can we continue to be "one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all" in the light of recent events?

This morning, I am reminded of the stirring words of another great American, Martin Luther King, when he proclaimed, "I have a dream." This morning, I, too, have a dream, a patriotís dream. For my heart stirs with pride when I reflect upon the men and women who have found for the liberties that we so often take for granted. All of the saints who have gone before us have given some and some have given all.

What, then, shall we give? This day, in this time, what shall we give? Must we give up the Christian values that shape our lives and the lives of so many other Americans? Must we go silently into the night, stifled because of who we are, because of the one we proclaim, or because of the values we hold as fundamental to life? The answer comes back unwavering from the Sovereign God who has blessed this nation above all nations and that answer must resound from the rock-bound coast of Maine to the sun-drenched coast of Californian and from the lakes of Minnesota to the Rio Grande. That answer must be a loud and firm, "No, we will not waver from our belief in and our adherence to the Word of God."

Yet, that very Word of God calls on us to "love our neighbors as ourselves", even when those neighbors differ from us in their beliefs and their practices. Therefore, this patriotís dream is, has been and always will be the mantra of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that we must love the sinner, but we are not to accept the sin. My dream this morning is that we, as Christians, can continue to proclaim and practice the love, mercy, grace and forgiveness that have always been the cornerstones of who we are, while at the same time never giving up or backing down from the Biblical beliefs that make us Christians first, and Americans second. My dream this morning is that the day will come and soon when every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Finally, my dream can be summed up in this manner, "May God bless the United States of America"!


The Rev. Jim Reeves






We took t