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Charlie Sims.....Lewistown, Montana

(Better late than never!)

I like Cowboy Church because I R a cowboy!

Do I look like I'm up to no good?
Do I look like I'm up to no good?

Yes, I play the drums at church!
Yes, I play the drums at church!

My father was born in 1890 and made it through the 8th grade. At 40 he married my mother who was 21. I was born in 1933. My Dad and his mother had two homesteads in the Humbolt Mountains south of Twin Falls, Idaho. I never knew what the trouble was between Mom and Dad who were plagued by loneliness and hard times. At age 2 1/2 my Dad took me travelling and by age 5 I'd been in 15 states and "Old Mexico" (Mexico where it borders the U.S.). We stopped in Riverton, Wyoming where I started school.

When I turned seven we moved to an Arapahoe Indian reservation and I went to school with the Indians. We had a white teacher and I was not the only white kid. Five years later we loaded our wagon and left. We covered 250 miles with a wagon and team along with two saddle horses and a dog. It was very educational. We settled in Big Piney, Wyoming. On the way we lambed out (were present during birthing time to keep the ewes (mothers) and lambs safe) a band of sheep, 1000 head.

Dad lived in the past and blamed Mom for us not having anything but something inside me gave me hope that someday I would see her again. Dad was full of fear and anger but in all the years during which he raised me he taught me honesty, truthfullness and respect for women and how to work. I made a lot of mistakes but in all the years Dad never spanked me or hit me and he never remarried as he didn't want anyone else beating me.

When I was eight years old I cooked for a threshing crew. A binder (which always included a sickle) would be pulled by horses to cut the grain. This was the first half of the operation.

At that time the threshing crew had just one machine pulled by a team of horses and a wagon or by an old tractor with a flywheel.

Two men walked along gathering up the bundles of grain and threw them on to the wagon. When the wagon was full, they took it to the threshing machine and threw it into the mouth of the threshing machine.

The tractor was used to power the threshing machine so the grain could be separated from the stems.

The bundles went through the threshing machine separating the grain from the straw and the grain (wheat, oats, barley, beans) augered out the spout to a landing where it was put in to sacks. The straw went on through and blew out the back. The threshing crew worked within one community area.

The modern combine is self-propelled and is called a combine because it combines the operations of cutting, picking up, and threshing the stalks so the grain flows into a truck rolling alongside while the straw is scattered on the ground behind the moving combine. Modern combines are air-conditioned and have radios.

My Dad would help me start the cooking of meat, potatoes, and biscuits. I had to make the biscuits and watch that it all cooked well without burning which meant tending the fire well and have it ready on time.

When I was 14 I got a letter from Mom as she had seen one of Dad's nephews in Twin Falls and inquired where we were living. It was a real life-changing moment as I didn't know her at all. When school ended for the year I went to Idaho to see her for two weeks. I travelled alone on the bus. Mom's younger sister was a strong Baptist and had been praying for me all the years I had been gone. This was the first introduction to God I had ever had.

I graduated in 1952 and mother came to my graduation. It was the first time my parents had spoken since we left when I was 2 1/2. It was a tense time for me. My mother also was able to meet my first wife (Margie) as we were to be married in September of 1952. From 1952 until 1973 we worked on a number of ranches in the Big Piney area where I had graduated from high school.

As you may have guessed, I was pretty spoiled and had no idea how to take care of and love a family as I had never been shown how to love. I watched Roy Rodgers and Gene Autry as role models as they were what I was hoping to be like.

When we were married we became one but we were still two individuals. My wife and I were two people bumping into each other's problems and we did not know what to do.

Dad died of cancer in March of 1953. He never got to see any of his grandchildren. Our first was still-born two months after Dad died. Then we had two boys. Twelve years later we had two girls.

In 1972 we left Big Piney and moved to Cody, Wyoming. Every move is like starting over. Things are always different and people do different things and you have to make changes. Cody is where I learned the metal building construction business.

In 1976 we moved to Sheridan, Wyoming and started our own business. I was offered a dealership consisting of a metal building contruction throughout all of northeastern Wyoming and southeastern Montana. This was the time during which sagging wooden barns were being replaced with longer-lasting metal buildings. We added buildings to shopping centers, etc. and the metal buildings were often for commercial use.

In 1978 Margie and our girls had a car fire. This is where I would like to preach for a moment. Not knowing our Savior almost cost me my wife and my girls and my life. I spent 115 days at the hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah with time to think, waiting to see if they would live or die. Ministers came to the hospital to pray for us. As time went on I knew that there was something bigger going on. I can look back now and see that if I had known in my heart the authority given to us by Christ and had used it, things would have been different. But I didn't and we divorced. The pastors who came to the burn center and prayed did what I was supposed to do as a husband and father before I myself understood that God was real. So I did lose my first marriage when I slipped into depression and had thoughts of suicide. My first wife was also in depression and I couldn't help her and she blamed me. I blamed myself more than she blamed me which was the basis of my depression. Not knowing God I couldn't handle this myself and didn't know I could turn to Him for help.

I met my second wife, Barbara, when her and her band had played for a benefit dance in midwest Wyoming earlier. We were married in Sheridan in October 1980.

After we were married we moved to Belgrade, Montana, which is now a suburb of Bozeman. Then my two girls moved in with us and Barbara's five kids. This is where I received the Lord and so did my girls. We were there for 3 years. I was a superintendant for a construction company putting up the same buildings I had first constructed and then sold in the dealership.

In 1983 we moved to Barbara s folks' ranch , east of Winnet, Montana by 15 miles on Box Elder Creek, which was a big life change. My brother-in-law had died the day before we shipped cattle. I struggled to learn the changes that had occured in the last 10 years in the ranching business. I was still trying to do everything on my own with advice gained from neighbors who knew the ranch and its operations.

I had been asked by my father-in-law to join the the Masons. I thought it was about the Bible and I went through all the chairs although the name of Jesus was never used. Barbara prayed 2 1/2 years that I would quit the Masons. My personality had changed and I was mean. I finally saw the light and left the Masons. I asked God to forgive me. Interestingly, I changed and became likeable. Even the animals wanted to be with me!

In 1993 I started studying the Bible and listening to teaching tapes by Kenneth Copeland. I could feel God drawing me to Himself and I wanted more. I had hernia surgery. During recovery I interferred with my son's running of the ranch as I wanted to keep control. I loaded the camper and went to the mountains for five days. I read my Bible and listened to tapes and fished. When I got back I found my wife had sold the sheep because she didn't know if I was coming back! Scottish redheads are self-sufficient!

We were invited to cowboy church in the Yogo Inn in Lewistown, Montana, when Glen Smith was here. Glen had a young man and my son pray for healing in each other's bodies, giving them the words to say. Our son's leg grew out an inch and a half! Glen used these young men to command other things to be done and there were more miracles. As the Word of God became real to me, my confidence in the power of prayer grew. I learned the power of prayer.

My wife gave me a book on spiritual warfare which I read. It explained how we have the power to cast out demons, lay hands on the sick, and raise the dead. I started getting excited. We had a dance band and we played on New Year's Eve. Unfortunately, my wife had a nervous breakdown. We sold the ranch, bought a camper and went to our daughter's in Kansas.

When we came back, we moved to Lewistown (2001). I retired from ranch work but not work. I do carpenter work around town. It was just Barbara and I in the house now. We started attending Cowboy Church regularly. I joined the leadership team and began doing radio spots with Pastor Curt of Celebration Church. I attended the pastors fellowship representing Cowboy Church. It was a real breakthough for me as I sat and listened. It's amazing how much you can learn when you stop talking and just listen.

Through attending the Ancient Paths Seminar when it came to town, I had a spiritual awakening. The facillitators helped me to pray and confess according to James 5:16 which by doing I was released from rejection, loneliness, shame, selfishness and greed. I realized I had developed a philosophy in my kids that was not what any of us desired. Ancient Paths showed me I had not blessed my kids but I had actually cursed them with my legalism of "my way or the highway" attitude. I had picked that up from my Dad. It would have continued for generations had it not been stopped by me and through me. I finally realized it was my responsibility to take authority over what satan was using me to do to my kids through my own words and actions. I realized I had failed my family by not being spiritually educated. The only time I ever went to church growing up was at Easter. I was well educated in the cowboy carnal ways, but not in the Spirit.

With every life change we have tests and trials which help us to grow in our relationship with others and in our spirit with God. Phillipians 3:10-14. I know who I am in the Messiah and I hold fast to the gifts Jesus died to give us. Please pray for Big Sky Ministries (Cowboy Church in Lewistown, Montana and the surrounding area). May the Father bless you. May His face shine upon you with blessings that you cannot contain.

There is a balance to everything we do, and if we don't seek that balance in our lives, we will tip one way or the other. I found I was tipping too far to the left and playing God. God does not like you playing His part because no matter how hard you try, you're not that good of an actor. I realize now that when I tried to play God I was not only offending people, but I was also grieving the Holy Spirit living inside of me. I had not been baptized with the Holy Spirit yet. I was not giving Jesus the credit for all He had given me. When you are full of the Holy Spirit, you are complete in faith. When God came to earth in the image of His Son, Jesus, He poured out not only the blood of His Son, but gave us grace and mercy. I was no longer fighting Him. The war was over. Jesus said, "I have done away with sin because you ask the Father in My name to forgive you." It is His mercy and grace that is His gift to you, plus salvation.

I have grown over the last several years. I have made a point in 2005 to go to each of my kids and my ex-wife (she died in 2010), and have asked forgivenss for my former behavior. This freed me from my guilt and shame, and gave me a peace that passes all understanding. It is a peace I have never exprienced before. God isn't finished with me yet, but I'm in a position to be ready and willing. I'm looking foward to what he has for me around the next bend at age 79. May God bless you!

Barbara and I have attended since 1997 the Nazarene Church in Lewistown, Montana, across from the high school. Cowboy Church is usually the fourth Tuesday at 7 pm at Celebration Church on highway 87 just west of town, on the way to Great Falls. We meet and worship and give the Holy Spirit the chance to do whatever He wants, followed by fellowship around cookies and cowboy coffee or punch.

I have been asked to lead Celebrate Recovery, a recovery program based on eight principles from the Beatitudes, a time to unpack our baggage of life. We must co-operate with the Holy Spirit and be very determined not to go back to living in bondage. Our mind has to change to a new way of living. It took me 55 years to find out there was a God and then another 10 years to find out I was supposed to live like Yeshua (Jesus), free of bondage. Matthew 7:13-14 and Jeremiah 21:8 tell us that there are two gates and paths we can take but only the narrow gate and path will lead to life. The wide gate and path will lead to death. So choose life. Life is a choice, however, you can only choose when you know the end results. King David had a lot of baggage through all the sins he committed. In Psalm 51:10 David asked for a right spirit and a clean heart. David asked for a spirit that refuses to give up, that says, "I will not be stuck in past mistakes. I know that what I did was wrong but I'm not going to get stuck in guilt and condemnation forever for what I did." Oh Lord, give me that kind of spirit so I will not quit or give up. David was willing to be changed and confessed his denial of wrongdoing. In a remarkable way Psalm 51 reveals the true nature of sin as a broken relationship with God. David cries out, "Against You, You only, have I sinned." He sees the sacrifices God wants are "a broken sprit, a broken, contrite heart." In his prayer David looks for a possible good that might come out of his tragedy and sees a glimmer of light. Perhaps by reading this story of sin, others might avoid the same pitfalls, or by reading his confession they might gain hope in forgiveness. David's prayer is answered and becomes his greatest legacy as king. The best king of Israel has fallen the farthest. But neither he, nor anyone, can fall beyond the reach of God's love and forgivness. Step by step, the Psalm takes the reader through the stages of repentance. It describes the constant mental replay, the gnawing guilt, the shame, and finally the hope of a new beginning that springs from true repentance.


Jesus is Lord!

This is how I always close my radio program which is heard on
KXLO radio,
Lewistown, Montana
every Tuesday 10:15 am.

Last Updated: 01/23/2015