By Pastor Calvary Callender
loved her little doll. She took it everywhere and did everything with it. Eventually, because of her love for this doll, the family fell in love with the doll as well. In fact, when Mandy grew up and left the house, her mom packed the doll with care and stored it as a keep sake. He tells of a time that they were on a family trip and left the doll, Pandy, in a hotel room and drove some distance before they realized it was gone. Because of Mandy's love for Pandy, the family turned the car around and went back to pick up Pandy.
While this may seem like a silly story, the meaning is significant. You see, this story illustrates true love. There are really two types of love, shallow love and real love. Shallow love is the kind of love that is drawn to an object or person because that object is attractive, important, can give me status, or makes me feel good. We deal with this type of love every day. In fact, we all play the game. We work hard to convince everybody else that we are lovable. What we wear, what we drive, how much money we have, what neighborhood we live in, are all things that we feel might give us value in other people's eyes.
There is another kind of love that creates value in what is loved. We are all rag dolls. No matter how hard we try, how far we climb, what we wear, we are all rag dolls. Honestly, nothing we can do will help us escape the raggedness. Sure, we may be able to hide the raggedness from time to time, but it doesn't change the nature of who we are.
This is why I am such a fan of Jesus. Jesus came to earth to start a different kind of Kingdom. A place where people who get trashed on down here can be loved as if they were up there. What I mean is that He came to bring Heaven to us, and teach us how to live as if we were in the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus didn't only come to pay for us to be able to go to heaven when we die, he came to teach us how to live now. How to love each other like he loves us.
Remember, we are all ragdolls. The next time you look at someone, remember that, and try to look at them the way Jesus might. His kingdom is available to us...today.
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Submitted by Michael McChesney
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February 24, 2015
After a 17-hour day at their jobs at a natural gas drilling site in Ohio, four workmates packed themselves into a truck and set out for their company's shop in West Virginia, a four-hour drive away. Just a few miles from their destination, the driver fell asleep and the truck veered off the road. In the resulting collision with a sign, one entire side of the truck was ripped away and one of the passengers died. Incredibly, the man who was killed had barely escaped death just two months prior when a different co-worker fell asleep behind the wheel and the truck they were riding in smashed into a pole.
The events described above took place two years ago, and they represent tragic examples of how difficult it has been to maintain an overall culture of safety during this time of increased energy-related activity in the U.S. As boomtowns and energy projects emerge in remote places, the risks to workers and others in the surrounding communities have increased.
Innovation Means Rise in Risks, Too
The story of any burst in energy activity logically begins with exploration and production. First, an energy company must locate new sources, and then go about the difficult and often risky business of extracting them.
The recent energy boom has created an entirely new set of associated risks compared to those of the past. Today's drilling methods require significant amounts of water, sand or gravel, chemicals and equipment to constantly be delivered to work sites, accounting for up to 4,000 truck trips per well—a number that can be nearly 50 percent higher than what would be considered a "traditional" extraction process.
At the same time, extraction operations in some cases ramped up too quickly for communities to build sufficient roads to handle the increased and unwieldy traffic patterns or to install appropriate traffic signals.
An analysis of traffic deaths and U.S. census data in six drilling states showed that the population of North Dakota counties where drilling activity is taking place soared 43 percent over the last decade, while traffic fatalities increased 350 percent. Roads in those counties were nearly twice as deadly per mile driven than roads in the rest of the state. Of course, not all of these accidents involve trucks from drilling projects—drivers transporting heavy equipment and day-to-day motorists are sometimes the cause—but the traffic volume associated with drilling activity can quickly surpass a small community's ability to seamlessly absorb it.
Articles & Info
Over the past few years, two of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. are Midland and Odessa, a pair of communities separated by a mere 20 miles of interstate roadway deep in the heart of Texas.
These metropolises have not only seen their populations swell to previously unforeseen numbers, but Midland and Odessa also rank first and second, respectively, in terms of economic growth nationwide.
The fact that these two areas have seen this type of expansion is no accident. Growing a city is like growing a business, and growing a business is all about location, location, location. Midland and Odessa have this advantage, as both sit atop the Permian Basin, one of the largest oil reserves in the world.
"The Permian Basin is arguably one of the most, if not the most, important regions when it comes to energy production," says Bradley T. Ewing, a Rawls Professor of Energy Economics at Texas Tech University. "It has the greatest rig count of any basin or region in the world."
The activity that both areas have seen in energy production – and the subsequent population boom each city has undergone as result – is proof that safe and responsible oil and gas production not only lowers energy and fuel costs for consumers, but that it also harvests economic stability, strengthens national security, increases median household incomes, and improves American competitiveness worldwide.
According to a report published by Texas Tech University, the total cumulative production for just the Texas portion of the Permian Basin exceeds 29 billion barrels of oil and approximately 75 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Much of this production comes courtesy of enormous improvements in technology such as fracturing and horizontal drilling.
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