Be doers of the word

What does it mean for a Christian cowboy to live out his faith

A special monthly series with our ranch hand Josh McCarthy

Mindset matters in rodeo, it matters even more in your faith

By Scott Hilgendorff / Cowboys of the Cross

In the sports of rodeo and bull riding, there is so much weight and value put on having the right mindset.

Cowboys who would never pick up a text book in school will read through books that help them harness the power of their minds. They’ll watch video after video of their rides and runs to see what they can improve. They’ll focus on positive thinking. They’ll surround themselves with like-minded people to influence them toward success in their rodeo careers.

Do we put that same value on our Christian faith?

Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Sometimes we need to be forgiven by others

Jesus forgives all but sometimes we still need the forgiveness of others

Part 6 on FORGIVENESS

By Scott Hilgendorff/Cowboys of the Cross

Sometimes we’re the one who needs to be forgiven. Through repentance and a saving faith in Jesus, we can be forgiven of all our sins, past, present and future and allowed in God’s presence for eternity in Heaven. But that doesn’t mean we still don’t need to seek the forgiveness of others when we’ve messed up.

You borrowed entry fees from three friends this year that knew you were struggling. You won the team roping twice but never paid anyone back.

You got a message from your traveling partner’s girlfriend on Snapchat. She was ticked with him and wanted a sympathetic ear. That sympathetic ear went a lot further and he found out she was cheating on him with you. No one has spoken in months.

Matthew 5:23-24 If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.

These are detailed verses with a lot that can be taught and understood, especially if we were to back up all the way toward verses 21 and 22 where Jesus talks about murder and anger against our brothers.

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?

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

While many events are canceled into the near future, Scott and others on the team are posting video sermons and devotions to social media as well as the regularly updated content here to the website.

Jan. 23, Jonesborough, TN with Triple T Bulls.

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. Keith is found at SEBRA and other rodeo and bull riding events in the midwest.

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.

Imagine if Jesus said to others what we say to them

Imagine Jesus walking up to you and saying you’re an idiot. Imagine Jesus interrupting a conversation you’re having with friends to tell you in front of them all just how stupid you are.
Imagine Jesus pointing you out to others as you walk by and telling them what a loser you are. Or you overhear him talking to the other bull riders about what a wannbe you are sitting there in the stands with your chaps on next to your girlfriend.
What would your reaction be? Would you accept his invitation to hear him speak at cowboy church before the rodeo started.
Would you want to hear anything else he had to say?
One pass through my social media feed shows people who identify as Christians saying the first three “imagine” statements, multiple times.
Yet it’s his message that brings love, hope and eternal life and THAT is what people need to be hearing from us right now more than anything else.
1 John 2:6 Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
The ‘him’ being referred to is Jesus. The instruction is to live like Jesus.
If we ever have a hope of being able to share Christ’s life-changing, soul-saving message, we have to love others the way he did, speak to them the way he did and tell them who he is and how, through his death on the cross and our repentance from sin, others can also be saved from God’s wrath and judgement of their otherwise unforgiven sins.
Before anyone can call me out for being self-righteous, believe me, I’m preaching to myself. I’ve been less than kind at times in the past week. I’ve let ‘life’ get to me when Christ in me is stronger than that. It’s okay, we’ve messed up. But let’s take steps to fix it. Apologize to those who need to hear an apology, confess your sin to those you’ve sinned against and ask to be forgiven by those you’ve wronged. That’s a huge step toward them being able to see and hear Christ in you. Scott Hilgendorff
TESTIMONY — Chuck Middlekauf, Austin, TX — God was looking for this Western and Pop Culture Artist

TESTIMONY — Chuck Middlekauf, Austin, TX — God was looking for this Western and Pop Culture Artist

It’s interesting how God has brought my life around to where I am now. I was never looking for Him, but I guess He was looking for me. I wasn’t raised in the church. When I was little, my mom taught me to pray before I went to bed, so I guess I knew there was a God, but we didn’t go to church. I asked God for His help on exams when I hadn’t studied, and you can guess that my grades showed the...

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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 

 

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

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