Tag Archives: God

The Code…Ride For The Brand

The term “brand” goes back thousands of years and originally meant “to burn”. To the cowboy of the American West, the “brand” not only identified the ownership of cattle, but it also became the symbol of loyalty, pride, and commitment. Some people credit Louis L’amour for coming up with the term “Ride for the Brand,” but I can imagine some cow boss telling a slacker hired hand cowboy that if he wasn’t going to “Ride for the Brand,” he might as well hit the trail. It was his way of communicating that if he wasn’t going to work hard, take pride in his work, and be loyal to his employer, then he didn’t need to be working there. Riding for the brand was, and is a great way to sum up a how to have a good employee/employer relationship, but the phrase can be applied in a number of ways.
As an equipment dealer, we are proud of our brand. We are constantly working to build the reputation of. We brand our caps, tractors, uniforms, buildings, advertising, and just about anything we can think of that is related to Great Plains. We are also proud of the brands we represent, and “Ride for those Brands” each and every time we open our doors. Our goal is to communicate to our customers through our actions that is the “Brand to Ride With”.
As a Christian, “Riding for the Brand”    is really summed up in a scripture that I should remember every day. Colossians 3:23 says.
“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”
My goal in life is to ride for the    and even though I make many mistakes, fall off my horse, and disappoint my Heavenly Father, I hope that at the end of the day, people will see by my actions that I belong to Jesus.
In my opinion, the best example of a person “Riding for the Brand” occurred a couple of thousand years ago, long before the cowboy rode the range on the Great Plains. The apostle Paul was beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, whipped and imprisoned numerous times and said in Galatians 6:17 that “I bear on my body the scars that show that I belong to Jesus”.
Isn’t that what a “brand” is?

This story and others posted in this blog are originally published in Great Plains living.  The official magazine of Great Plains Kubota.

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The Code (When You Make A Promise, Keep It)

One of my favorite cowboy movies is “Lonesome Dove”.  It was set in 1876, during the heyday of cowboy driven cattle drives which developed our perceptions of what we now know as a Cowboy.
The movie was based on the actual life of Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving, and the relationship they built as pioneers during those first cattle drives.  The two leading characters in the movie, Gus, portrayed by Robert Duvall as (Oliver Loving), and Woodrow, played by Tommy Lee Jones as (Charles Goodnight) could have written the “Cowboy Code” as they lived it out.  One of my favorite lines from the movie comes after Woodrow diligently hauled Gus’s body in a wagon from Montana to Lonesome Dove to bury him.
Woodrow had earlier promised Gus he would bury him under a pecan tree by the creek on Lonesome Dove.  Real life accounts report that Goodnight hauled Loving’s body from New Mexico to Weatherford, TX to bury him.  Real or fictional  It was a long, tough journey, and most people would have given up and just buried Gus anywhere.  But not Woodrow.  After he buried Gus he put up the grave marker made of the famous Hat Creek Cattle Company sign, and said.
“I guess this will teach me to be careful about what I promise in the future”.
Woodrow had made a promise and he kept it.
At Great Plains, we have a promise that we’ve made to our customers.  It is something that we take very seriously and is a part of everything that we do.  Our Brand Promise is that Great Plains Kubota is “The Brand That Works…For You”. Here’s how we try to keep that promise.
– Sales –
We’ll work hard to earn every customer’s trust.

– Service –
If it’s not right, it’s on us.

– Parts –
Our goal is to have the parts our customers need when they need them.

– Rentals –
Our equipment will be ready to work.

There’s a reason behind why we make promises, and work to keep them. It’s so that we can be trusted.
At Great Plains we strive to keep our promises so that you will trust us with your business. Unfortunately, we are Human. We do make mistakes at times, and consequently loose customer’s trust. Even though we always work to correct our mistakes, damage is done when trust is lost.
Although people, businesses, and even the best of the cowboys will fail you at times with broken promises, there is One you can always trust.
In Psalms 31:14, David said: “But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands;”
If you haven’t, I would encourage you to place your trust in the One who always keeps His promises.

This article was written by Bill Clark in the Summer 2016 issue of Great Plains living.  To read more about Great Plains living visit www.greatplainsliving.com

The Code…Be Tough But Fair

This is the fifth article in the Cowboy Code series that I have written in Great Plains living.  Of all of the Cowboy ethics we have talked about, “Be Tough, but Fair” might be one of the most lacking in our society today.  It’s really easy to find examples of people who are tough and maybe we can even name a few people who we might consider fair, but the combination of the two is where most people like myself fail.  Who is the first person that comes to mind when you think about someone who was or is “Tough but Fair”.  John Wayne?  Roy Rogers?  Gene Autry?  All of which are great examples of “Tough but Fair” cowboys in the movies, but we know they were just human and in real life, they made some mistakes.  So, as I started to put my thoughts to paper, the week before Easter, I simply couldn’t get off my mind that there really is only one perfect example of someone who was, is and always will be, “Tough but Fair”.  His name is Jesus.
No, Jesus wasn’t a cowboy during his time here on earth, but he did ride a donkey.  My belief that Jesus was fully human and that He is fully God is why I say no one, including the best of the cowboys, has ever been tougher or will ever be fairer.
Jesus as a human was tough.  During the time He spent here on earth in human form, He suffered the most painful and humiliating death known while going through more mental suffering and anguish than any human has ever endured.   His mental strain from carrying the burden of all of our sins was so much that the Bible tells us he literally sweated drops of blood the night before his crucifixion.  No human has ever been tougher.
Jesus as God is fair.  How many times have each of us said or at least thought “that’s not fair”?  I will confess that I probably weigh things on the fairness scales several times a day and catch myself saying “that’s not fair”.  When we see injustice on earth, it is at the hands of men as the Bible tells us that God is just. This means that He is fair and impartial. It also means that He hates the very things that we would call unfair, the ill-treatment and oppression of people and of nature, which He has created.  The fact that God is just means that He can and will judge between right and wrong and He will administer justice in accordance with His standards, in His time.
I have a friend in law enforcement that has a movie poster showing Doc Holliday and the Earp brothers walking down the street of Tombstone, side by side, fully armed.   The poster is titled “Justice is Coming”.   Revelations 19:11 speaks of Jesus’ return to earth.  It says, “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war.”  Justice is coming and this time He will be riding a white horse instead of a donkey.

www.greatplainskubota.com

The Code – Do What Has To Be Done

As a young boy, all I ever wanted to be was a cowboy.  When I was about seven years old, I got a $2 black felt cowboy hat that I loved and wore a lot, probably too much.  When the day came for second grade school pictures, I remember my mother telling me not to wear the hat in my school pictures.   The details aren’t important, but I can tell you that the day I came home with the pictures, I was in big trouble.  I may not have achieved my boyhood dream of being a cowboy who rides the range, but I have been blessed with the opportunity to live on a ranch and have a few cows.
There are so many things I enjoy about ranching that I couldn’t begin to list them all, but I can sum it up by saying, I am continually amazed at God’s creation and I’m blessed to be able to work with the land and livestock with which He has entrusted my family.  But, like so many things in life, being a modern day cowboy is not pleasant all the time.  There are jobs on the ranch that aren’t always enjoyable.  A few come to mind:  pulling a calf in February in a freezing rain, digging post holes in rocky ground in August, fixing fence that bulls have torn down for the third time in a week, etc.  Just like cowboys of the past, you sometimes “do what has to be done” even though it’s not always pleasant.  Most occupations have at least some duties that could be classified as things that we don’t look forward to but must be done  in order to succeed.
As a tractor dealer, one of my “do what has to be done” jobs is listening to customers who have received less than satisfactory service from Great Plains.  Sometimes it’s not very pleasant, but hearing how we have let our customers down is not only necessary, but actually welcomed.  We have gone as far as employing a third party company to randomly survey our customers to find out where we have failed.  We are actually paying someone to ask our customers to criticize us!  We get the results of these surveys by email, and I sometimes dread opening them because I really don’t enjoy dealing with criticism.  But I know this process is the fastest way we can learn where we need to improve our service, so I have learned to at least tolerate the experience.  I liken it to taking medicine: It may not taste very good, but it’s worth it if it makes you better.  Aristotle said:  “There is only one way to avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing and be nothing”.   So I guess no criticism would be a much worse alternative!
Proverbs 14:23 says: “In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.”  What is your “do what has to be done” job?  I would encourage you to work on the things that you have left undone, and hopefully you will find, as I have, that there are benefits to completing those less than desirable tasks.   After all, the only thing worse than doing what has to be done is… doing nothing.

BY BILL CLARK

FROM THE 2015 ISSUE OF GREAT PLAINS LIVING

A Close Connection

     How do you connect with Christ?  Perhaps the better question is, how do you share your faith with others?  Personally, I feel closest to God when I’m surrounded by His creation.  Likewise, Oklahoma native, Brad Clay, finds that sharing his devotion to Jesus Christ through his passion of hunting is an effective way to reach those who want to take their faith to the next level.  
     Final Descent Outdoors, Clay’s nationally televised hunting show, offers inspiration to help those striving to reach that next level of faith.  The show’s title is based on Mark 13 which states that “no one knows the day or hour of the Lords return, not the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”  Clay feels that we must be on guard and alert because no one knows when Christ is going to make his final descent.
     Growing up in the small, western Oklahoma town of Reydon, where the closest Wal-Mart was 55 miles away, hunting and fishing was a way of life for Clay.  He lost his father to leukemia at the age of six which would later play a role in his personal ministry.  After his father’s death, his family moved to Allen, Okla. which is where his faith journey began and, where he surrendered to the ministry.  After graduating from Allen High School he served as a part time youth pastor at the Allen First Baptist Church.  He also attended ECU where he played football.  He suffered a football injury and transferred to Southeastern in Durant Okla.  While in Durant, he served as the youth pastor at Silo Baptist Church, which is where he met his wife April.  April and Brad moved to Sulphur where Brad served at the First Baptist Church until a year ago.  Little did Clay know that God’s plan for him would eventually provide a national platform for him to share both his passion for hunting and devotion to God.
     Clay never had any intentions of starting an outdoor TV show, but what started out as an outreach program for his young adult Sunday school class ended up as such.  Clay and other men from the class were looking for a way to continue their fellowship on Sunday afternoons while their wives were shopping or going out to eat.  A friend of Clay’s from the First Baptist Church in Durant suggested the group put together a 30 minute hunting show for their local cable channel.  For the next six years, Clay admittedly made some really bad television, but over time the show improved.  When asked why he decided to start a show in the first place, Clay had this to say.
     “We want to reach men that are needing the gospel.  We feel that it is our obligation to use the passion that God has given us to share the scripture with others.  We saw the chance to share our dedication with the hunting show that aired on the First Baptist Church channel.  By ending each show with a devotion, we were both entertaining and enriching our viewers.  When the show improved it was picked up by KWHB TV 47 in Tulsa.  It ran there for a year.  Through mutual friends and sponsors we decided to contact the Pursuit Channel to take it nationally, which is where the show is today.  I went full time with Final Descent a little over a year ago.  The decision to do so wasn’t easy.  I let God lead me through the whole process, and I truly feel this is what He wants me to do,” Clay stated.
     Final Descent is more than a TV show.  It’s a living ministry that Clay performs through lectures and other engaging mediums.  This month he is releasing a DVD titled “Predator”,  which is a six week bible study for outdoorsmen.  Predator is one way Clay is
reaching the male audience.  He noted there is a lack of devotional material in Christian book stores for men, and even more so for outdoorsmen.  He also hosts outdoor kids’ camps which is very important to him due to the loss of his own father at such a young age.  The kids camps continue to grow every year.  This September 78 kids met in Sulphur to do everything from shooting guns and bows, to learning about tree stand safety.  He finds these camps are a great way to reach kids who might not have the opportunities to do such things.
     “We take Final Descent day by day.  It is ever changing.  The main thing is we are obedient to God.  If that means the show continues, then so be it,” Clay said.
     When people are seen on television it’s often thought they must be wealthy, but not so with Final Descent.  The truth is of the eight pro staff and ten field staff members, Clay is the only full time member.  It is comprised of everyday guys such as school teachers and salesmen.  The other two owners Jason Charter and Mark Hudson, have additional jobs like laying floor and training horses.  Perhaps this is why they relate to their audience so well:  They are average guys doing what average guys love to do.  When we watch outdoor television it looks easy, but there is more to it than pushing the record button and shooting an animal.  Final Descent
creates a story that is both meaningful and entertaining to their good ol’ boy audience.  The long hours of field work and travel that yield only minutes of video ultimately help create the story and ending devotionals.  Just as Clay lets God lead his life he lets the footage lead the episodes’ devotional material at the end of every episode.
     Obviously Clay loves hunting.  When asked, he stated that if it’s in season, he would like to shoot it.  When asked what it means to be a Christian, Clay said this.
     For me I believe there is a difference in a believer and a disciple.  I want to be a disciple of Christ.  There are definitely times when I fail, but I learn and continue to give all my glory to God.  On the day of judgement I want to be able to stand in front of God and know I was a faithful servant.  I want to earn that title,” Clay proclaimed.
     Clay has dedicated the majority of his life to God and the outdoors.  The relationship between the two really have no beginning or end and are more than a close connection.  I’ve been in a tree stand while the moon was setting and the sun was rising, and thought to myself, only God could create such beauty.  It’s times like this, and Final Descent, which fuel a closer connection with God.
     Be sure to tune in to Final Descent on the Pursuit Channel.  See it July through December; Sundays at 5 p.m., Mondays at 8 a.m., or Thursdays at 3 p.m.

A close connection was published in the 2013 issue of Great Plains living the official magazine of Great Plains Kubota