Be doers of the word

Practicing what we preach

A special monthly series with our ranch hand Josh McCarthy

Find the good, share the good

By Scott Hilgendorff / Cowboys of the Cross

Instead of what was said by someone running their mouth about you, imagine it eventually getting back to you that someone was out there saying what a great person you were or what a great thing they saw you do.

When we have a saving faith in Jesus, he changes us and we begin to do good works. Works are the words and actions we put out there based on what we know the Bible teaches us is right and good and that we know will glorify God.

Instead of talking at Waffle House with your buddies about why ‘that gunsel’ keeps getting on bulls or entering the sorting when he can’t even sit right in his saddle, what a life-changing moment it could literally be

for someone to have it get back to them how you never see them without a smile or laughing, even when competing in the mud.

Find the good, share the good.

Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,

Scripture, so easy, even a cowboy can do it–when he puts the time in

By Scott Hilgendorff / Cowboys of the Cross

Ever misunderstood something and felt pretty dumb about it afterward?

Sometimes it’s easy to misunderstand something in the Bible and I think that keeps many of us from reading it. Seminaries teach pastors Greek and Hebrew to help them understand what you’re sitting there scratching your head to understand. Try anyway.

There are more parts that ARE easier to understand than others and just like the awkwardness of learning to handle yourself in the bucking chutes, the first time you try to load a horse on the trailer or the first time you try to turn a rope over your head, it gets easier.

Having a church helps where there are pastors and leaders that can help you understand it. I sometimes need that before I try to deliver a cowboy church sermon behind the chutes and am fortunate enough to have more than a dozen people I know that understand it better than me. When I’m not certain my interpretation or application is right, I can run a section of scripture by to be sure I understand it right. There are also great study bibles out there with notes that help explain it and an internet full of resources though you have to be careful what you follow.

Don’t get hung up on feeling dumb for not understanding something. Be encouraged by the work God and the Holy Spirit will do inside you through the parts you do understand and step by step, more and more of it will make sense.

And step by step, you will see even more, just how big God really is. A passage in the Old Testament suddenly makes sense in how it points to Jesus in the New Testament. A passage in the New Testament’s Ephesians that used to be confusing begins to make more sense because you see how it builds on something Jesus taught in the book of Mark. The more you learn, the more you change and grow.

See what you can learn about the importance of reading your Bible from the two verses below.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

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

Submit yourself to God

(When we think of how independent a cowboy is, whether on the ranch or in the rodeo, it can be a challenge to think of submitting to someone else’s authority. Jesse has a challenge for us in this week’s installment of Strengthening your Grip.)

Discipleship has been at the forefront of my mind, my preaching, and my teaching for years, even before I joined Bethel Baptist Church in North Carolina. Often, our discussions at church focus on the disciplines of discipleship – those things that are the responsibility of every disciple…our obedience, if you will. Some might think this to border on works righteousness. But have you ever considered that God’s call to obey is itself grace?  

We were not designed by God to be free if by freedom we mean an independent, self-sufficient life. We were created to be a part of something much larger than our own existence. “He has put eternity in man’s heart,” (Ecc. 3:11). We are all slaves to something. We are all willing to make certain sacrifices, but to whom? We all give our hearts to something.  

Because of this, God in his infinite wisdom and grace, has not set us free, for we would, by virtue of our own nature, pursue some person, idea, or thing to which we would enslave ourselves. Even once we submit ourselves to the Lord Jesus, we are prone to enslave ourselves to some replacement messiah. So, what does God’s grace offer us? It offers the most wonderfully satisfying, hope-producing slavery to the One who is the ultimate definition of love, wisdom, mercy, and power. Slavery to God through Christ rescues us from all other slavery to which we might submit ourselves – to other slaveries which cannot give us life nor hope in any lasting sense. God’s demand for our obedience to him is itself the grace we desperately need – the grace that sets us free from all sorts of life-sucking, hope-dashing slavery that is ultimately found in all other pursuits. When we choose the path of discipleship, God calls for our slave-like obedience to Him because it is in that slavery that we are ultimately free from the clamor and disappointment of fruitless pursuits for self-satisfaction and free to receive His love, His grace, and ultimately, eternal life! The discipline of obedience to God is grace to all who have freely chosen the path of discipleship.  

Romans 6:22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.  

To what or whom do you find yourself enslaved today apart from God? What obligations have you submitted yourself to that create conflict with your obligations to Christ, discipleship, corporate worship, the church, and fruitful Christian disciplines? Unless all your obligations are fruitful for daily provision and for the Kingdom of God, you might well be enslaved to another master. Identify those replacement messiahs. Reject them and submit yourself wholly to being a slave of God.  

Grace and peace be with you!  

Pastor Jesse Horton

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.

March 13/14, 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.

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

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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