Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

Articles written by Bill Lanes


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  • WHITEHALL WATER PROJECT: The Simple Facts, Week 3

    BILL LANES, Whitehall Town Council|Jun 12, 2024

    Week 3: Myth- The Town of Whitehall is bilking residents for water/sewer/garbage. Here are the facts: 1. The Bond Council have set the rate increases with the Lien Holders that the Town must comply with to receive funds. Again, the increase it only because we have loans to repay. The town is not “pocketing” the money or using it for any other projects. 2. Whitehall current monthly base rate is comparable to many other towns in our vicinity. For example: • Three Forks $83.75 (water/sewer) • Manhattan $88.00 (water/sewer) • Boulder is currently...

  • Connecting Point: Necessary U-Turns

    BILL LANES|Jun 12, 2024

    It was 1989, and I was in Helena, Montana, at a great restaurant, Frontier Pies. After enjoying dinner and of course, some pie I exited the parking lot with a friend in my 1979 Mustang. I turned right, shifting through the gears, and to my shock, about a block later, all I saw was oncoming traffic in both lanes! I immediately pulled a U-turn; this was necessary. Horns honking in the background and the dismay of other drivers caught my attention. Having never driven much in Helena, I was unaware of the one-way street. I most likely missed the...

  • WHITEHALL WATER PROJECT: The Simple Facts, Week 2

    BILL LANES, Whitehall Town Council|Jun 5, 2024

    Myth: The Town of Whitehall could have budgeted for the new water treatment facility. Here are the facts: 1. The Town of Whitehall has an approximately $293,100.00 annual water budget. This is the ONLY budget that would have been allowed to pay for any items related to water. Currently, those funds pay for equipment, facilities, maintenance, public notices, unexpected repairs (broken water lines), a portion of employee wages, etc. Budget planning is held each year, and we are hard-pressed to stay within this small budget to simply operate....

  • CONNECTING POINT: The Aroma of Forgiveness

    BILL LANES|Jun 5, 2024

    Have you ever been in a setting and observed the difference between an individual’s sincere emotion and pseudo-emotion? We all must be cautious about “reading” people because sometimes our take may be off; however, there are moments when we can truly “read the room.” This occurs in Luke 7 when Jesus is invited to Simon the Pharisee’s home. Jesus had an ability, unlike others, to understand the intentions of the heart. Simon was a cold-hearted keeper of the law, evident by his hidden motives towards the sincere woman washing Jesus’ feet...

  • WHITEHALL WATER PROJECT: The Simple Facts, Week 1

    BILL LANES, Whitehall Town Council|May 29, 2024

    Myth: Uranium in the Town of Whitehall Water is due to mining operations at Golden Sunlight. Here are the facts: 1. Uranium in the Town Hall of Whitehall is naturally occurring, having been in our valley’s aquifer for multiple decades. In fact, wells outside of town limits also contain levels of uranium. 2. In 2014, DEQ notified the Town that we must be placed under quarterly monitoring for exceeding newly adopted levels of uranium set by State and Federal Governments. In 2015 and 2016, uranium levels exceeded multiple months. In January 2...

  • CONNECTING POINT: The Aroma of Forgiveness

    BILL LANES|May 29, 2024

    Humans can distinguish between 2000 and 4000 different odors. Some have a heightened sense of smell and can distinguish nearly 10,000 types of odors; they are supposed experts in the wine and coffee industry. I would like to claim expertise in one of my favorite fields, chocolate, but if you follow my logic, I could be more of a consumer than a professional who distinguishes the various succulent odors. LOL! Other odors are not glamorous to discuss, especially dirty and smelly feet. Over the centuries, innovation has brought breathable shoes an...

  • CONNECTING POINT: Party Crasher

    BILL LANES|May 22, 2024

    It’s almost summer, the weather is getting nice, and it’s time for some outdoor BBQ. Maybe your plans include inviting guests for a meal and conversation in the weeks ahead? Last week, we had two separate occasions like this with friends and family, which was very enjoyable. Have you ever had an unannounced guest or party crasher show up at your home? Dinner can get quite awkward, can’t it? Certainly, being hospitable is challenging if this occurs. In Luke chapter 7, we see a rather interesting setting where Jesus had a dinner invite from...

  • CONNECTING POINT: Luxury of Hindsight

    BILL LANES|May 15, 2024

    Hindsight is everything someone once quipped. Looking back at circumstances, we can gain a greater appreciation or come to a better understanding. However, when in real-time, some matters can be confusing or completely misunderstood. Christians today have the luxury of hindsight when it comes to Jesus Christ because we have the Bible in our hands, and most accept the tenets of faith about His birth, death, resurrection, and Messiahship. This luxury was not always shared in the 1st century, even by His followers, including Thomas and, at times,...

  • CONNECTING POINT: Chain of Command

    BILL LANES|May 8, 2024

    The term "chain of command" is well used in business, law, military, and more. Defined basically as a ladder of authority for any organization to direct others or a system that ensures individual members stay on task and report to a supervisor. Such structure enables any organization to move forward with its mission. A perfect example of a "chain of command" is seen in Luke chapter 7. "When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum. There a Centurion's servant, whom his master valued highly, was...

  • CONNECTING POINT: The Character Test

    BILL LANES|May 1, 2024

    We all have good days and bad days, but our character is constantly tested through every experience. I would say the test is much more difficult in the latter. Life is good when you’re on “Cloud 9.” Jesus makes this point in his teachings about loving one’s enemy and the danger of being hypercritical of others. We must be cautious about lambasting others, sometimes the plank is in our own eye. There is a place for correct judgment while incorrect or harsh judgment is off the table. Within the context of the church Paul states that judgmen...

  • CONNECTING POINT: Eclipse Hype

    BILL LANES|Apr 24, 2024

    Some matters are important to address in a timely fashion from time to time. Next week, I will get back to the Look What the Doctor Ordered series. However, today, I want to draw your attention to the events from the past week. Where were you on April 8, 2024? I saw friends on social media across the country either sporting some new specialized glasses or others being crafty and making some homemade spectacles, all to look at the eclipse. I was flying to Tennessee with my wife to see the brand-new granddaughter during the eclipse. I thought we...

  • CONNECTING POINT: Judgement Gone Awry

    BILL LANES|Apr 17, 2024

    Certain verses of the Bible are well-known, yet many of those same verses are taken out of context and improperly applied. Doing so breaks several rules of Bible interpretation, notably understanding the original author’s intention and cultural context. Next, identify the text principle and consider if the application applies today. Many principles do, and others do not; as a pastor, I will beat this drum of “context” until my last breath because without proper context, the truth can be muddied. You’ve probably heard statements like, “Jesus...

  • CONNECTING POINT: Sacrificial Love

    BILL LANES|Apr 10, 2024

    Jesus Christ exemplified the greatest degree of love through his sacrificial death on the cross and subsequent resurrection of the dead, something many of us recently celebrated. We must refrain from letting the typical holiday celebration lose significance, particularly Good Friday and Easter. What Jesus did for any of us who call on His name to be saved through repentance and faith is for every day, not just the last day in April. In Luke Chapter 6, we find Jesus challenging any of His followers to love their enemy. If we are honest, doing...

  • CONNECTING POINT: The Degrees of Love

    BILL LANES|Apr 3, 2024

    “Love” has always been an interesting word, and it is used within various contexts, so it’s vitally important to understand one’s intention. We can use “love” in flippant ways, such as “I love movie theater popcorn,” which has little bearing on relationships. Or we can use or misuse “love” in the context of relationships that leave emotional scars or bring emotional healing. Love that is genuine and not egocentric is healthy and vibrant, and most of us long for this type of love to be extended our way. To be frank, most of us love those who h...

  • CONNECTING POINT: Hunger Pangs

    BILL LANES|Mar 27, 2024

    Have you ever had to deal with true hunger pangs? Honestly, in my lifetime, the answer is a firm “no.” Of course, there have been moments, especially in my teen years, where I used a possible exaggerated expression like “Mom, I’m starving, and if I don’t get some food now, I will die!” Fast forward to today, I’ve tried something similar with my wife, lol! Every few nights of the week, I find myself bored, looking aimlessly into the fridge or the empty cookie jar. Within this audience, I estimate that very few of us deal with starvation or...

  • CONNECTING POINT: Paradoxical Truths

    BILL LANES|Mar 20, 2024

    Jesus had an uncanny ability to communicate truths for everyday life because He is known as the “author of life” (John 1:3). His perspective matters and there is wisdom in listening and applying His teachings daily. In last week’s column, pointed out in Luke 6 how Jesus offered a different approach to what it means to be “blessed,” one that we are not accustomed to. Typically, we associate “blessing” with the good stuff; those things in life which center around positive physical and emotional experiences. Jesus turns the message a complete 18...

  • CONNECTING POINT: Rx For Life

    BILL LANES|Mar 13, 2024

    In recent months, I’ve gotten to know more about Luke, the physician who wrote about the life and ministry of Jesus. For most of my life, I’ve assumed that Luke was one of the original twelve disciples of Jesus, but I was wrong. Luke was a close friend to Paul and accompanied him on several trips as they spread the message of Jesus across the region. Many scholars believe Luke is the author of Acts, and as a physician, one can understand why the healing power of Jesus caught his interest. You may be familiar with Matthew’s writing, and the ...

  • Connecting Point: Don't Go Alone

    BILL LANES|Mar 6, 2024

    I’m going to go out on a limb and date myself regarding age since many in this audience share a similar experience. Many of us grew up watching The Lone Ranger and Tonto, the iconic 1950s western show about a presumed dead Texas Ranger who travels to the West to assist the helpless affected by lawlessness. Such a theme resonates and has been recreated in other movies and sitcoms. The only problem is that in real life, going after injustice alone is not practical or wise. We need others in our lives for accountability, correction, and e...

  • CONNECTING POINT: Sacred Cows

    BILL LANES|Feb 28, 2024

    Figures of speech abound all around us. I’m certain in the past week you’ve used some form of a figure of speech, I certainly have. I want to examine with you today a “sacred cow.” Dictionary.com defines this as “an individual, organization, institution, etc., considered to be exempt from criticism or questioning.” Sometimes we hold dearly to our own “sacred cow” and expect others to fall into line. Well, Jesus in Luke chapter 6 addresses the topic. “One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and his disciples began to pick some heads...

  • CONNECTING POINT: Expired & Worn

    BILL LANES|Feb 21, 2024

    I recently found myself digging through the fridge to grab some milk, I was looking forward to enjoying a rare bowl of cereal. Disappointment set in as I took a whiff and squinted to read the expiration date on the milk container. Dina, my wife, pointed out a small amount of heavy cream in the fridge door so I watered that down to enjoy the rather rare bowl of cereal since the expiration date was safe. In Luke 5 we read of Jesus describing two parables: new and old patching of garments and new and old wineskins to make a point, all the...

  • CONNECTING POINT: The Proper Prescription

    BILL LANES|Feb 14, 2024

    A large percentage of us are used to hospital trips, either regular doctor’s appointments or even periodic emergency room visits. As a pastor, I’m accustomed to visiting people in these circumstances, some for routine care and others in serious condition. Although this is a familiar practice, I wouldn’t dare say I’m comfortable, mostly recognizing that those I visit are experiencing pain and discomfort. To be candid, there are times when I don’t have what seems to be the “right” words, however, being present can be a source of comfort for t...

  • Connecting Point: Untouchable & Impossible

    BILL LANES|Feb 7, 2024

    I love reading about Jesus’ ministry in the Bible, we learn about His character and how well He interacted with everyday people. Jesus was compassionate and kind rather than disconnected and pious. The Jewish culture of that day was marked by arrogant priests who chose to distance themselves from most people, especially those who were ill and poor. Adopting the mindset of Jesus is of great value today for all of us. Luke gives us inside details into the ministry of Jesus and in Chapter 5 we read of two instances where Christ’s character shi...

  • Connecting Point: The Big Catch

    BILL LANES|Jan 31, 2024

    In my 40s I started to go back to fishing as a hobby, something I really enjoyed in my youth. There’s something about being at a mountain lake or stream that captures my attention, the tranquility of enjoying God’s creation and of course the many beautiful species of trout here in Montana are a great catch. Fishing was a mainstay for 1st Century Jews and continues to be one of the prominent occupations in coastal regions today. Luke gives us insight into Jesus’ ministry as He built a connection with a fisherman’s family. “One day as Jesus was...

  • Connecting Point: Authority & Power

    BILL LANES|Jan 24, 2024

    The two themes “Authority & Power” are seemingly ageless throughout history. We certainly are accustomed to governing bodies today overplaying or seeking to hold authority and power. George Orwell said, “We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end.” In the 1st century, this was true as the Roman occupation of Israel put a bad taste in the mouths of the Jewish people. The God-fearing and God-honoring Jews became blinded by their animosity toward others. Those who were shown G...

  • Connecting Point: No Hometown Hero

    BILL LANES|Jan 17, 2024

    How many of us have welcomed a hometown hero back from a duty post or deployment? Maybe you’ve joined others honoring law enforcement or emergency services personnel for a special occasion. Since I’m the proud son of a Vietnam Veteran and know some of the sad history of our nation in which many men and women were rejected as they returned home back in the late 1960s and 1970s, I tend to have some compassion for anyone who serves the public. In my opinion, negative sentiments toward those who lay their lives on the line or give through vol...

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