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

An encouraging word strengthens a relationship

By Jim Bull / Cowboys of the Cross

I finally worked up the nerve to talk to my now wife, Laura, on September 22, 1999. Just over three months
later was New Years Eve and we, along with her roommate, were hosting an End of the Millennium
party. Some of the girls’ closest friends were there and I had come to know and respect them. During this
party, one of their friends pulled me to the side to tell me how happy she was for Laura and me; how
great we were for each other and how great I was to her.
I remember the feeling of the grin that spread across my face. The assurance, from a woman I barely
knew, was a great boost to my ego but, more importantly, made me want to do better. A little
encouragement goes a long way to building relationships, your own, as well as people you know or
encounter.
Hebrews 10:24-25 says “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good
deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another-
and all the more as you see the day approaching.”
My wife and I have been married for 16 years. In that time, we have had great moments of expressing
our love for each other. We have also had times of complacency, when we knew we loved each other
but failed to make the effort to show it unashamedly. I have had times when I felt I was a failure as a
husband because I knew my wife was feeling lonely and abandoned because I was wrapped up in work
and not putting forth the effort to show how much I needed her; how much I loved her. I have also felt
lonely, like a hired worker or a servant. It is in these times we were lacking communication and the
expression of our love, not that we were ever lacking the love itself.
Proverbs 31:28 says “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her”

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Hurry up and wait, but what are we really waiting for?

Romans 8:25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

The hope being referred to here is not the hope of a 90-point ride and first place win, but the hope found in Jesus Christ. In this case, hope isn’t like wishing something great is going to happen; it’s the assurance we have of our salvation in Jesus Christ, for those who have chosen to believe even though we cannot see Christ. To place our hope in Jesus means to place our trust because we can have confidence in it. We know that through understanding he is the Son of God who died for our sins and rose again, that through repentance of our sins and seeking forgiveness through Jesus, that we can be seen as perfect before God despite our sins, mistakes and flaws, and be assured we have a place in Heaven where there is no more sin or sorrow. Hope comes from knowing and believing this as true which gives us the ability to wait patiently for what we know is still to come

Using good judgement isn't the same as judging someone unfairly

By Jesse Horton / Cowboys of the Cross

Don’t touch it! You’ll get burned!

You know that “judge not” verse in the Bible (Matt. 7:1)? Every day we make judgments about situations and people based on experiences. Matt. 10:16 says we should be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. To go through life without making judgments is foolish, but what you can’t do is make an unfair judgment, and what you should do is always strain your judgments of people through the lens of grace. Don’t let known thieves alone with your checkbook. Don’t let known addicts have access to your medicine cabinet. But show them grace and let them have opportunities to rebuild trust. If you think Matt. 7 means you should never judge another person, you should probably read the rest of the Bible…there are 66 books…not just a single verse.

New stories and devotions every other Thursday

Southern Extreme Bull Riding Association Bull Rider Hayden Townsend teaches one of the junior bull riders some techniques after Cowboys of the Cross was able to bring cowboy church to the Imlay City, Michigan Bull Riding at the fair in July. Young eyes are always watching and learning from us.

DEVOTION

By Scott Hilgendorff / Cowboys of the Cross

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.Proverbs 22:6

When you realize how much they watch us and how much they absorb, one simple proverb from the Old Testament can point us to Jesus and how much we need them to see that is the direction he should go, and just how easy it is to point them there.

 

When you consider the proverb was written over 2,000 years ago, the pictures featured with this show us how God’s design for us to be hungry to learn and grow is consistent throughout the ages and cultures.

In the photos, you see a young bull rider praying, something he learned to do from being at events where he saw that was how the older cowboys prayed. Then you see Ohio bull rider, Hayden Townsend teaching one of the young bull riders what he needed to do to improve his skill after watching the kid take on a junior bull. But in the background, there’s that young kid who was praying, now quietly watching and listening to Hayden.

Hayden and I talked about this a little bit afterward. As someone who is becoming an influencer as he continues to move up in the sport, Hayden can be a bigger influence on these young cowboys than I ever could be in terms of showing them Jesus.

I encouraged him to look to where Jesus can come first, even above his bull riding career.

To succeed in bull riding, the sport requires a lot of dedication. Hayden works out and practices daily, works hard to keep a positive attitude and can’t think of anything else he would like to do with his life.

For most of these bull riders and rodeo cowboys, timed event side, barrel racing or bull riding, there are dangers that require intense focus and skills that have to be developed to win. But it very unintentionally becomes an idol where so much focus shifts to success at the sport that it can distract from seeing how God comes first in it all.

These young kids give us that example. As much as they will listen to what Hayden has to say about bull riding, we talked about how putting Jesus in front of all of that gives him a chance to do both: to teach them to ride but to do it in a way that opens the door to also share his faith.

It was an opportunity to show Hayden how his actions and attitudes in front of these kids can really show them a Christ-like way of living but that as he grows more confident in his faith and knowledge of who Jesus is, he can start to share that with these kids and anyone else.

The goal for me is to always help these guys to see themselves not just as bull riders and rodeo cowboys but as Christians first, looking at everything through the lens of a Christian.

Hayden and I talked about how that doesn’t have to distract from what is needed to succeed in the sport. Instead, it will only help as he learns to see everything as a chance to glorify God and how that priority will drive all the rest forward as well.

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.

Bible Reading Tips

* Use a study Bible–They can be a little more expensive but a good study Bible has notes that will help you understand the text. Note, there is a difference between a ‘life application’ Bible and a study Bible.  Our recommendation is starting with a study Bible to help understand the full context of what you are reading and how it relates to other parts of the Bible

*With a study Bible, be sure to read the introduction to each book before you start one to help understand who wrote it and who it was written to and why. This helps from taking it out of context

* Reading randomly is fine because you can always learn something. The Bible is not structured like a regular book that has to be read from cover to cover. We suggest starting with John to understand who Jesus is more fully but if you also want to get used to ready Scripture, the Book of James is quite direct and can be easier to understand what he is teaching.

*Take your time! Don’t feel like you have to read an entire book or chapter in one setting. It is better to read smaller sections at a time until you feel like you’ve understood it the best you can.

*It takes time! Learning to ride a bull or bronc or learning to rope a calf doesn’t happen with the first try. It takes time to get used to the language of the Bible and to learn how all the pieces fit together. The more you read, the easier it will become but you have to stick with it. Don’t give up!

*Ask for help. Scott is here to help you try to understand what you’re reading and what he doesn’t know, he will help find the answers. He’s a phone call or email away. 865 239 2668  cowboysofthecross@gmail.com

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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Contact Us

 

Phone: 865_293_2668

 

Email: Scott@cowboysofthecross.com  (or use the Subscribe form)

 

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

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