TESTIMONY

Colton Ponder, bull rider, Tyler, Texas

Careful where your advice comes to be sure it’s of God

By Jesse Horton / Cowboys of the Cross

We continue to consider how God communicates with us this week. We already know that God speaks to us primarily through the Scriptures. He also speaks to us through prayer, which includes us doing more listening and less talking. Today, I’d like to consider how God speaks to us through other people.

Rodeo cowboys and bull riders know what it means to give and seek advice. They do it all week long when it comes to decisions about what events to enter to how to set their saddle, how much reign to give or for a barrel racer, how to handle to ground at a particular venue. But even the smallest decisions shouldn’t be made without taking into account our need to hear God.

As a general rule, it’s always wise to seek the advice of trusted counselors before making any decisions that have potentially important alternative outcomes. Proverbs 12:15 tells us, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” None of us has perfect or complete insight into any matter. We all have our own blind spots. That’s why we need to consider the wise and varied perspectives of others. To assume we have it all under control and forego the discussion of important decisions and the various possible outcomes is nothing short of foolishness. On the other hand, we need to be cautious when someone comes to us claiming to have a word from God for us that is not confirmed by Scripture, our prayer time, and the witness of the Holy Spirit. Not all the voices we hear are the voice of God!

Nevertheless, we need the advice of others, and we may need lots of it. In fact, there is great wisdom in seeking advice from several different people prior to making an important decision. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” Our understanding is never perfect – not of the world around us, the circumstances we live in, nor of ourselves. The experiences and perspectives of many varied counselors can be important in increasing our understanding and leading us to make a better-informed decision.

God wants you to know Him and His will for your life

By Jesse Horton / Cowboys of the Cross

We’ve recently been studying the topic of how God communicates to us. We all want to know what God’s will for our lives is, but most of us are unsure how to determine what that is or if God will even communicate that to us. Let me assure you, God wants you to know him, and as you know him personally and intimately, his will for your life will become increasingly clear.

We’ve established that the primary way God speaks to us is through our study of and meditation on the Scriptures, and that the secondary way God speaks to us is through prayer. We conclude our examination of Jesus’s model prayer – called The Lord’s Prayer – today.

For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

This has given me such great comfort and perspective in my life over the past year or so. Why? Because it is so easy for me (and probably for you too!) to let my prayers be focused on either my needs or the needs of others. Someone is sick; we pray for them to get better. Someone is injured at the rodeo; we pray for their healing. Someone lost their job; we pray for them to find another one quickly. But couldn’t God be using some of these circumstances to achieve a more perfect faith for those affected? A person may be laid out in a hospital bed and on the couch for a few months, but God can bring about a lot of changes in that person’s life in that time. Jesus’s prayer began with an acknowledgment of the holiness of God and then moved on to the first request Jesus said we should make to God. Do you remember what it was? Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Let’s be honest. In my sinful, fallen, self-centered existence, I want to establish my own kingdom where I am sovereign, and everything works together for my personal definition of what is best…and you’re just like me because you’re a sinner too! The first request Jesus taught his disciples to make was that God’s kingdom would invade and overtake our world, which presently is the kingdom of Satan because Adam and Eve traded obedience to God for the lies of the devil. Now, at the end of this model prayer, Jesus teaches us to remind ourselves that everything we ask is in submission to God’s perfect kingdom rule.

Asking for help can be a backward way into serving others

By Scott Hilgendorff / Cowboys of the Cross

It can become hard to serve others when your services makes them feel like they have to return the favor. The best advice I ever received about being able to serve others in our culture is to actually ask them to serve you first.

It sounds like it goes against what the Bible teaches but here’s what happens: if I’m the new guy in the neighborhood and I try to do something for my neighbors as a way to serve them and get to know them, we unintentionally put them in the position of needing to return the favor; they owe us.

Buuuuut, if you ask THEM to help YOU first, you are now in the position of owing them a favor and unless they are just horribly unfriendly people, most are going to be willing to help you when you ask. You still get to know them, a relationship with the neighbor can start and it will be easier to serve them when opportunities arise.

My friends that explained this to me had this happen with a new family that moved in the neighborhood. I don’t remember the details but they had an opportunity to just jump in and help the family with something fairly significant but after that, found the couple was avoiding them. It wasn’t until my friends tried asking them for help that they all then started talking freely across the street and my friends realized they were being avoided because the couple felt they were in debt for the help and felt awkward.

I’m still the new person on the mountain and have a handful of neighbors where I live near Gatlinburg. One of the couples are descendants of the original family that settled the mountain and eventually sold portions of it that have become a handful of homes and rental cabins that make up our little mountain neighborhood.

When I first got up there, I did a terrible job of meeting more than the closest neighbor who sits a bit behind and above me on the ridge we share.

Be doers of the word (part seven)

We’re called to rein in our emotions and not let them run rampant like a wild fire

A special monthly series with our ranch hand Josh McCarthy

How we treat our animals or handle a loss shows our hearts

By Scott Hilgendorff / Cowboys of the Cross

How we treat a drive thru worker when the wait is long or the order is messed up.

How we handle a person trying to merge in front of us in heavy traffic.

What we do with our shopping cart when we leave the store.

How we treat our animals, the ones that are worth the least, or nothing.

How we spend the drive home after we’ve bucked off or missed our catch at the rodeo.

Jeremiah 17:9-10 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”

Thankfully, through repentance, seeking forgiveness from God and a saving faith in Jesus, God will no longer condemn us for the words, thoughts and actions that come from our hearts.

Once saved, God begins to change us through the Holy Spirit in us and though we’ll never be perfect, we begin to change how we handle ourselves and each other in this life.

How we respond or navigate in each of the described situations can be a good heart check as we try to work out our salvation or want to see just how far we still have to go to be more like Jesus.

Cowboys of the Cross

Welcome to Cowboys of the Cross: your resource for Christian cowboys. Cowboys of the Cross has been providing cowboy church for the rodeo and cowboy community for more than 15 years. The website is your source for stories of faith and encouragement as well as devotions and news and information affecting cowboys of faith. Cowboys of the Cross leads cowboy church at rodeos and bull ridings in both Ontario, Canada and across the north and southeastern United States. 

New devotions every other Thursday

Where to find us

Sept 24, Bristol, TN, cowboy church at Rodeo in the Valley with Brad Nelms rodeo.

 Triple T Bulls practice pen as announced for Cowboy Church before practice.

Scott/Cowboys of the Cross can be found at Spur’n S Rodeos with the National Cowboy Association and he serves as the Chaplain for the Southern Extreme Bull Riding Association, often found at their sanctioned events.  He can also be found at PBR Velocity Tour events, International Professional Rodeo Association events  and others.

In all your ways...

In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths — Proverbs 3:6
A Cowboy of the Cross believes God comes first and strive to follow His leading from a desire that comes from the knowledge of the cost of our salvation, paid for by Jesus Christ through is death on the cross. Through a saving and repentant faith in Jesus and the knowledge of his resurrection, we know God has forgiven our sins and will take us home to Heaven when our time here is done. Through God’s grace, we’ll get through the mistakes we make and grow more like Christ with study of Scripture, time in prayer and learning to hear God and following the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Contact Us

 

Phone: 865_293_2668

 

Email: Scott@cowboysofthecross.com 

 

Mail: Cowboys of the Cross, 3710 Warden Branch Lane, Gatlinburg, TN, 37738

Are your entry fees paid? How to have a saving faith in Jesus Christ

Just like getting on the back of a bull or reaching out to grab that steer, finding salvation takes courage.

It means looking closely at yourself and your beliefs and, as an adult, overcoming the challenge of believing in something you cannot see or touch with what might require child-like faith.

Jesus was real. Beyond what we see in the Bible, he was a real, walking, talking, historical figure verified in more than the Bible itself. But He was much more than just a prophet or a good teacher as many describe him–Jesus was the Son of God, fulfilling Old Testament prophecies of a coming savior.

And like the courage needed to compete in any rodeo sport, finding salvation, a perfect eternal life in Heaven, means finding the courage to believe with all your heart that Jesus was the Son of God and believing the sin we are born into keeps up separated from God without Jesus.

Think of the rage an infant is capable of expressing, untaught, to understand we’re born into sin and it is that sin that separates us from God. Isaiah 59:2, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that he will not hear”.

But while God shows both wrath and love, He is also just and in his justice, sin must be punished. Romans 9:14-15, “What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’”

Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord”. But as the last part of that verse tells us, God is also good and has provided a gift to us in his Son, Jesus Christ. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Christ was sent to die for our sins, to receive God’s wrath that was meant for us, before being resurrected so that through our faith and belief in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, we could be ‘saved’; given eternal life in Heaven because through Jesus we could be see without sin and allowed in the presense of God.

Jesus paid the penalty we deserved for our sin. Sometimes we don’t like some of the rules in a particular rodeo or bull riding association’s rule book but those are their rules and we have to accept them because it is the only way that it’s fair for everyone. For God to be just, sin has to be punished and all sin is looked at equally. Sometimes we find it hard to accept that God could punish an essentially good person with a life in Hell but those are the rules that make it fair for everyone since there is no denying we all have sinned in some form, big or small.

And we all have the same opportunity to take Jesus as our savior so that we can be forgiven from our sins and made whole, able to be in God’s presence when we die.

Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 10:9-10, “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” The Bible documents the willingness of Jesus to die an agonizing death, nailed to a cross. It documents His resurrection three days later and the preparation of His disciples to spread the word of salvation to the rest of the world. Since that day about 2000 years ago, generation after generation of Christians have been spreading that message, helping others find Christ and the salvation he offers. If you can find the courage to ride a bull or wrestle a steer, can you find the courage to make Jesus the lord of your life?

Meet our Teachers / Preachers and Site Contributors

Keith Miller

Keith Miller

Keith Miller grew up in a strict Amish home in Indiana until discovering the freedom of an independent relationship with Jesus Christ. As a bull rider, he met his wife Natalie and together, they have a daughter Gracelyn and have settled in Westport, Indiana. Keith...

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Scott Hilgendorff

Scott Hilgendorff

Scott heads up Cowboys of the Cross, a ministry dedicated to bringing cowboy church to rodeos and bull ridings across North America but with a focus on discipleship. The ministry evolved out of Riding for Christ Ministries, the name which Scott operated under for more...

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James and Jenn Douma

James and Jenn Douma

Hey everyone, my name is James Douma. I have been involved with the rodeo for the past several years. I am a full time firefighter in Ontario during the week and ride bucking horses on the weekend. I am married to an amazing woman named Jenn and together we have a...

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Josh McCarthy

Josh McCarthy

Howdy! My name’s Josh McCarthy and I compete in saddle bronc riding in the PRCA and I’m the youngest of five from northeastern Wisconsin.  I grew up in a Christian home and went to church every Sunday. I accepted Christ into my life when I was little but I didn’t...

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Jim Bull

Jim Bull

I grew up always praying before meals and hearing that our friends that passed were in heaven. However, I never felt I knew who God was and definitely didn't have a relationship with Him. I lived my life thinking if I seemed like a good person, then I must be a good...

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Jesse Horton

Jesse Horton

I was 'raised Christian.' I can't remember a time before I was 10 years old that I wasn't a church-goer, though I remember several years of my teens where my family didn't attend church. I confessed my sin and my need for Christ when I was eight years old, but I do...

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Email: Scott@cowboysofthecross.com

Contact Us

 

Phone: 865_293_2668

 

Email: Scott@cowboysofthecross.com 

 

Mail: Cowboys of the Cross, 3710 Warden Branch Lane, Gatlinburg, TN, 37738

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