OPEN HEART SURGERY
A few years ago, I had open heart surgery. I had been having heart problems for many years. Some problems were inherited. Most were because of things I had done. Bad choices I had made.
My wife and I attended several churches over the years. I would go and sit in the pews, sing the songs, and listen to the message. I did my weekly duty and went home. I did not attend church for many years when we had our cabin in the woods. I had heart problems, and it was keeping me from being all that God wanted me to be. Then, God led us to Sac River Cowboy Church. It changed my life. It was here I received my heart surgery.
Some of you know I did radio and television shows for many years. What you do not know is it was hard for me to do. I was a shy person. I would have never believed a few years ago that I would be standing up front and speaking every Sunday. I could not have imagined that I would be shaking hands with as many of you as possible, helping baptize people, leading others to find Jesus, or writing this column every month. Open heart surgery helped me with that.
It says in Mark 2:17 that Jesus is the Great Physician. He came to cure the sick and poor in spirit, heal our souls, and restore our relationship with God. After my open heart surgery, there was no more coming to church and doing my weekly duty. All of you have become like family. We are there for each other however needed.
I have come a long way since my heart surgery. There are some things I still need to work on to be all He wants me to be. I do what I do for His glory, not mine. Hey, I am still His work in progress. I take it one day at a time and put it in God’s hands.
How are you doing in your relationship with God? Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Are you all He wants you to be? God can do amazing things with your life if you let Jesus be your heart surgeon. My story could be your story. Do you need open heart surgery?
THIS SPECIAL PLACE CALLED SAC RIVER COWBOY CHURCH
Another year begins. Our journey continues through life here on earth. I am thankful that Sac River Cowboy Church is a big part of my life. This church has changed me and many others for the better.
I have never been a part of a church like Sac River Cowboy Church. We are family. We are there for each other. We support each other in times of need through prayer and giving.
This past year, you were there for little Shay, Doug, Judy, and the rest of her family. You were there for our son Kelly, his family, my wife, and I. You were there for Weston and his family. You are always there for others through prayer and giving. Those of us who have been a recipient of your love, we thank God for that. We would all like to squeeze your hand three times. As most of you know, that means - I LOVE YOU.
I would like to say to those of you who volunteer your time in so many ways – THANK YOU! You serve in any way that is needed. There would not be a Sac River Cowboy Church without you. Someday, you will hear these words – “Well done, thy good and faithful servant.”
God has richly blessed Sac River Cowboy Church with Scotty, Mark, and Tami. They help us, our kids, and our grandkids better understand and grow stronger in God’s word.
To those of you who are new or first-time visitors, we say, “Welcome Home to Sac River Cowboy Church.” You will find we are a little different, in a good way, than most churches. We are glad to have you as a part of our family.
Could this be the year that Jesus will come to take us home? Are you ready? I like to imagine him reaching out His hand and squeezing my hand three times.
We do not know what we will face this year, but as our son Kelly says, “Take it one day at a time, and put it in God’s hands.”
Happy New Year! God bless America, all of you, and this special place called Sac River Cowboy Church.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS
It is sad that in today’s world, so many people take the emphasis off of Jesus during Christmas. It is His birthday, for goodness’ sake! But that is nothing new to Him. He is shoved in the corner multiple times a day, every day. Why should His birthday be any different?
Oh, but it should be different! So many people these days leave Christ out of Christmas, and sadly, it is not just non-Christians that do this. Some Christians also do too. Without His birth, death on the cross, and resurrection from the grave, there is no hope.
Make a point to say Merry Christmas when someone tells you Happy Holidays. It also makes me sad and mad when I see an X at the beginning of the word Christmas written on something instead of Christ. Taking Christ out of Christmas is accepted these days.
Please do not leave Christ out of Christmas! As Christians, this should be our battle cry. We should start in our homes. Why do we condemn the world
when we get so busy that we sometimes do not honor the true meaning of Christmas?
But as I said, Christ is not just ignored on His birthday. It happens every day all over the world. They reject the gift of salvation He offers to them over and over. How sad He must feel when that happens.
Let us make a special effort to witness to those around us this Christmas season. Tell those you know and do not know! Do not be shy about telling others. Be bold! Put up a nativity scene in your front yard as a witness to others. On Christmas day, read the story in Luke 2 out loud to whoever will listen. Gather family and friends around the Christmas tree and sing -
Happy Birthday, Jesus.
I’m so glad it’s Christmas.
All the tinsel and lights and the presents are nice, but the real gift is You.
Happy Birthday, Jesus.
I’m so glad it’s Christmas.
All the carols and bells make the holidays swell, and it’s all about YOU!
Happy Birthday, Jesus.
Jesus! I Love You!
Jesus! I love You!
LET US BE THANKFUL
People ask me how I could possibly believe in a God I never see or hear. I smile. Then I tell them all I have to do is go outdoors and look around. I can see Him in a beautiful sunrise or breathtaking sunset. I see Him in the beauty of spring wildflowers and the rainbow that follows a storm. I see the beauty He created in the wings of a butterfly and colors of the fall season. I see Him in the sparkling water of lakes and streams. I see Him as I look over a frosted field.
I feel He is there with me under a star-lit night sky as I sit around a campfire. I feel Him in a gentle breeze blowing through the trees. He is there in the dawn’s early light when birds begin their songs, in the rolling thunder, and the honking of geese flying south for the winter. He is there when an eagle cries as it flies high in the sky. I thank Him for what I see and hear outdoors as I experience all He created. The outdoors is good for your body and your soul.
I also feel God is always at Sac River Cowboy Church. When I stand before you each Sunday and look out at all of you, He is there. God is there when we gather at the river for baptism. He is there when we lift up our prayers. He is there with our church bands as they lead us in worship songs. He is there with those that work with our children and youth. God is there with all our volunteers who do so much to make this church what it is. He is there with Scotty and Mark as they teach us from God’s word.
Satan doesn’t like the way our church is growing. He doesn’t like it when people find Jesus here at Sac River Cowboy Church. He will do anything he can to cause division in our church. Don’t let him. For heaven’s sake, don’t let him.
Let us be thankful to God for His gift to us of the great outdoors and this special place called Sac River Cowboy Church.
A GREAT PLACE TO TALK TO GOD
For many years at our cabin near the Mark Twain
National Forest, October was stump sitting time for
me. It was just an old stump where someone had cut
down a tree long ago. It was like an old friend
waiting at the end of the trail.
From that stump, I could see a thin haze over the
valley below. The smell of smoke was in the air from
chimneys. Crows caw to each other on a distant
ridge, and squirrels scurry through the treetops.
In the valley below, turkeys fly down from their roost
and feed in the fields. A doe and her yearling join
them. A buck watches them from his hiding place. A
kingfisher squawks as he flies through the mist over
the creek. It fusses at a heron fishing for breakfast or
a busy beaver.
The sun rises high, and the show begins. The gray of
the morning would suddenly change to a
kaleidoscope of colors. My eyes would feast upon the
bronze of the oaks, yellow of the maples, red of the
dogwoods, and green of the cedars and pines. The
blue of the sky and white of the fluffy fall clouds add
a special touch to God’s creation.
Stump sitting was an escape from the broken world
we live. Good stump sitting time comes only in
October. It helps you forget about any work that is
waiting and other worries. They are all washed away
by the cleansing action of stump sitting.
You don’t have to sit on a tree stump. It can be sitting
on your porch, working in the fields or yard, or
sitting around a campfire. It could be in a tree waiting
for a deer to come by or on a lake reeling in a fish.
You might feel closer to God outdoors in His
creation than ever. It is a great place to talk to Him,
and He is listening.
SHALL WE GATHER AT THE RIVER
When I was growing up, baptismal services were at a river. Everyone from the church and many friends, family, and other locals would come. The women would bring fried chicken with all the fixings. Watermelon and homemade ice cream were a special treat. Everyone would sing the old gospel song, Shall We Gather At The River.
Sunday, September 10th, we will all gather at the Sac River after our second service at the Livestock Center for our annual Sac River Cowboy Church Baptism at the River.
Before being baptized, you must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and His death on the cross for our sins. You should confess your sins to God and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. That is between you and God. If you want to talk to Scotty, Mark, or any of us, we would love to.
Baptism is a public confession of faith and commitment to Jesus. It is a symbol of His burial and resurrection. Baptism shows that you love, trust, and have put your hope in Christ. Baptism does not save you. Only your faith in Christ does that.
Watching kids to senior citizens stepping into the water for baptism is a blessing. One of my favorite memories was last year when Mark and I baptized a man holding two of his children in his arms. Two years ago, we watched the baptism of a special friend in his wheelchair. Three years ago, my dentist was there playing in one of the bands. He was watching with no intention of being baptized. Then, he walked toward us in the water. It is never too late to make that decision.
I encourage all of you to come and support those taking this step in their Christian life. After the baptismal service, we will go to our Event Center for great food and fellowship, just as they did long ago.
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