Be doers of the word

Practicing what we preach

A special monthly series with our ranch hand Josh McCarthy

God gifts us all differently to carry out the same task: love others and share the gospel

By Scott Hilgendorff / Cowboys of the Cross Draw a picture of a horse. Mine will look more like a stick horse unless I have something in front of me to draw from, then it will get a little better. The next person will draw a picture with amazing shading and detail....

Rodeo and ranch can be tough, life can be tougher so we find peace in the One who has overcome everything

By Jesse Horton / Cowboys of the Cross I love how honest the authors of Scripture were. For starters, none of the fathers or leaders of Israel were portrayed as perfect examples of religious leaders. Abraham’s failure to trust God was recorded three different times...

We can embrace a lifestyle of complaint or gratitude

By Jesse Horton / Cowboys of the Cross

Back in my bull riding days I was a regular at a weekly event that a small association sponsored from April thru October each year. A few times, they chose to do a bull riding clinic. It was an opportunity for the more experienced riders of the association to spend some time with the new guys who were eager to learn and advance their skills in the sport. Participants usually had the opportunity to get on five bulls throughout the day and get some feedback on their rides, learn how to avoid common mistakes and receive encouragement to always fight to move toward the “sweet spot” with each jump and kick. We usually didn’t have paid bullfighters at these events, so the instructors would step in and do what they could to give riders a reasonable opportunity to get up and get out of the way after they came off their bulls.

At one of these clinics, a young rider was thrown early in his ride. When he hit the ground – not so hard – he laid there; he looked up to see that the bull wasn’t coming back for him, then he laid his head down. At this point, I sat everyone down and made this comment: “There are no bullfighters here. We (the instructors) will make one pass to get the bull’s attention and give you time to get up and get out of the arena. If you decide to lay there and get stomped and hooked, that’s on you. The only valid excuses for lying there after you buck off are paralysis or unconsciousness.” I was pretty mad because his thoughtlessness and inaction put me and others at risk unnecessarily.

It really is difficult to do life with other people. Sin not only created a rift in our relationship with God, but it has also caused brokenness in our bonds with one another. We all have our own ideas about how things should or shouldn’t be done, and we tend to value our own lives and opinions over those of others. That’s why when we come together as a group it’s beneficial to have some kind of understanding of what we can expect from one another. My son is a Boy Scout. At every meeting, scouts recite the Scout Oath and the Scout Law. These recitations remind them of who they are called to be and what is expected of them as scouts. If you are found in breach of these expectations, you may be dismissed as a member. The U.S. Armed Forces, the Masonic Lodge, the Ruritans, and most other groups all have expectations and for the good of the group and its missions, will all dismiss those who don’t follow those expectations.

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. 

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 26/27, 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.

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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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

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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