I'd like to tell you a story about a good friend I had and loved dearly.
I met Jimmy Bass on a summer day in 1980. I noticed as he walked from his car to the truck we where to be using to load poles on that day he had a very short haircut and had tattoos on both arms. ( the hair grew longer as time went on and the tattoos began to cover more area) I was a 1st step apprentice and he was the Journeyman Lineman on our crew. We hit it off immediately I was fresh off of a cattle ranch I had been working on for five years and I found out he wash fresh out of prison. We worked together for about a year and a half on that crew and grew closer as time went on. I found out he was an Outlaw biker and he took me to meet one of his contacts one day. I call him a contact because that guy is no one's friend. He is the kind of guy who could kill you and not have a care or concern about it at all.
Jimmy and I would drink and go to bars after work; we would drink and have a blast all day long as far as that goes. I stayed in touch with Jimmy after our crew disbanded from time to time and I would see him some times at union meetings but we never worked together again.
I was about as far away from God as a person could get since receiving the Lord as my savior in 1973. Some things had happened, my world had fallen apart and I was not able to understand why God had not pulled me out of that situation the way he had always seemed to do in the past. I didn't blame him for what happened. That was my fault, but he had always helped me in the past. He had always forgiven me and straightened things out, but now he seemed to be far away and I was hurt as bad as I had ever been. I quit talking to God and turned my back on him and his ways. I knew I was leaving reality and living in a nonsensical way, and would have to come back to him some day because he is the reality.
Sure enough I did begin my walk back with God in 1985 I never saw Jimmy again. I moved to New York in June of 1987 and called the union hall in Ft. Lauderdale one day and while on the phone I asked about Jimmy. The Business manager told me Jimmy was back in prison again, that the law had broken into his motel room in Texas, and Jimmy was setting on his bed cleaning his machine gun, he had a suit case full of money also. I don't know what he was doing but it must have been illegal to say the least. I'm glad he had his gun apart cleaning it. No telling what would have happened if it had not been apart, if it had been together and loaded. I called back sometime later and asked about Jimmy again and found out he had gotten out of prison and had been out in a California bar and had an altercation with some one in the bar. They decided to take the argument out side. As Jimmy walked out the door first, the second guy shot him in the back.
Jimmy died there that night, he was my friend, and I loved him dearly. I never told him about the Lord, I have to carry that with me forever.
So I don't know how long we will be together. I hope to see some of you in Branson this year. I want to shake your hand and give you a hug. Our paths have crossed and running together at least for a while. I care about each one of you. You are all very special and have special talents and each one adds to the family here on the message board.
I don't want to go through life and not share with all of you this story about this wonderful Lord I have come to know. If he were just a religion if he was just a story it wouldn't matter so much. But he is the Way the Reality and the Life.
(John 14:6 NIV) Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
It's important to me for you to hear. I risk our friendship to tell you.
God Bless you all.
May we have many happy years together,