Chasing dreams and following our hearts can be two very different things when God’s involved

By Scott Hilgendorff / Cowboys of the Cross

Part 1 — Following your heart or following God?

People outside the industry don’t think of rodeo cowboys or bull riders as being people who dream big but there are song and book titles that play on the phrase, “gold buckle dreams.”

Bull riders dream of making it on tour with the PBR and ropers dream of making the National Finals Rodeo. Many dream about riding just once at Cheyenne or the Calgary Stampede. Some dream of making an association finals in their home states.

For some, dreams come true. I’ve been fortunate enough to know a few young men who have recently seen their dreams come true of getting a place in one of the PBR’s coveted top spots.

At 19 years old, Daylon Swearingen is one of those young men and I had a brief conversation with his mom, Carrie this week about how to be praying for Daylon.

“This has always been Daylon’s dream,” said Carrie.

But along with following dreams comes the idea of following your heart and that’s where the trap can come in for Christians. It understandably sounds good and I’ve seen many cowboys and bull riders talk about it and give advice encouraging it. But the Bible warns us about uncontrolled emotion and it especially warns us about the heart.

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

Be strong and courageous? A cowboy can do that

What a simple encouragement from Paul that we receive in his letter to the church at Corinth. All of these words speak to the heart of a cowboy.

The church he was writing to was facing division in a city filled with corruption and part of his letter was to encourage them in the middle of the struggles.

No one wants to come up against a buffalo. They are strong and aren’t going to back down in a confrontation. Paul encourages the church at Corinth to be strong and courageous as they face numerous troubles.

We can take that encouragement and apply it to our own situations but it’s important to remember, this is isn’t about being courageous by not turning out a headhunter or coming back after a serious injury; this is about standing firm and being courageous in our faith. When we practice this thinking, it can spill over into all aspects of our lives but we have to strive to put God first and see the other benefits as secondary to Him.

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.   MORE ABOUT US HERE

Psalm 55:22 Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.

David is the author of many of the Psalms and in them, we often find words of comfort and words of worship and praise, as well as sometimes, like in this Psalm, cries to God to destroy his enemies. Through David and the other writers of the Psalms, we can see what it looks like to have a close relationship with God, willing to share with Him what’s in our hearts in both times of great joy and suffering.

Here, bull rider Thomas Tindell prays on the back of the bucking chutes before the SEBRA- sanctioned Super Bull in Johnson City, TN on Feb. 22. The event was put on by EC Hunt and Kyle Rector

PBR Bull Fighter Lucas Teodoro always reads Psalm 91 before each bull riding

PBR Velocity Bull Fighter Lucas Teodoro always reads Psalm 91 before the start of each performance and then prays over it. The Brazilian has an English/Portuguese translation he uses. Had the pleasure of meeting Lucas for the first time last year in South Carolina. He currently lives in Texas while working for the PBR. Got to catch up a little in Knoxville this past Saturday at the Velocity there.
Psalm 91:1-2 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.2 
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.

WHAT’S IN A NAME? A DISCUSSION BETWEEN FATHER AND SON POINTS TO JESUS

By Jesse Horton / Cowboys of the Cross

This morning my son, Benjamin Lane, asked me what happened to Jesus after he rose from the dead, wondering why He isn’t still here with us in bodily form and assuming he may have grown old and died.

I explained to him that He had ascended to heaven and is now seated at the right hand of the Father. He said, “Hey! That’s kind of like my name!” I have taught him that in Hebrew his name, bein-yamin, means “son of my right hand.”

This brought to mind a beautiful Old Testament intimation of Christ in the person of Jacob and Rachel’s son Benjamin. Rachel died as a result of giving birth to her son, and she named him bein-oni, meaning “son of my sorrow.”

Do you see it?! The son of sorrow became the son of his father’s right hand!!! Just as Jesus was a man of sorrows in his first coming, and he now sits at the right hand of the Father!

The Old Testament points to Jesus in so many ways. The scriptures are deeper than the greatest theologians have ever discovered.

Thankful for this reminder from God through the son of my right hand this morning!

New stories and devotions every other Thursday

TESTIMONY — Jerry Dean, Etowah, NC — Almost a  year ago, God led Jerry to become a preacher

TESTIMONY — Jerry Dean, Etowah, NC — Almost a year ago, God led Jerry to become a preacher

I grew up with a Catholic background. We went to church every Sunday but we didn’t have to work and I never really got too much from it. I went through many of the catechisms and ceremonies that are traditional in the Catholic church and never really understood much of the meaning of any of them.

At the age of 15, I met a young lady whose father was a Baptist minister. They started witnessing to me, questioning me about what the Catholic Church believed and why we believed it. I had always believed in God, believed in Jesus and that he died for the sins of the world, but I never really made that promise my own.

My wife and I were married in January of 2000 and by the end of 2005/beginning of 2006 we had three children. Our youngest was born in October of 2005. In May of 2005, we both realized that we had never truly made a profession of salvation by grace through faith. But we had both been in a church all of our lives and had a head knowledge; we just never had obtained a heart knowledge. The first Wednesday in May, 2006 my wife received Christ as her personal savior.

All the time, the Holy Spirit was calling me to be saved and I didn’t know it. I was in torment because I didn’t have peace about my faith. The following Friday night I bowed my head and heart and asked Jesus Christ to be my Lord and personal Savior and thank him for being that for me.

I did not repeat any specific type of prayer but accepted him and believe in him the best way that I knew how at the time, and he saved me!

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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.

Meet our Teachers / Preachers and Site Contributors

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

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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Michael Damien Moore

Michael Damien Moore is a bareback rider from Athens, TN and the nephew of rodeo producer Mike Moore. Originally from Alaska, Michael has started leading cowboy church, largely at rodeos in the 'south'.  The hat he is wearing in the photo was his father's. You'll see...

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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

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

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

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