Lord have mercy on this road we travel

Lord have mercy on this road we travel

The song Kyrie may unintentionally point us toward some strong Biblical lessons about God's presence in our lives.

The song Kyrie may unintentionally point us toward some strong Biblical lessons about God’s presence in our lives.

By Scott Hilgendorff / Cowboys of the Cross

Kyrie eleison means “Lord have mercy” in Greek and when I learned that as an adult, the 80s song Kyrie by Mr. Mister became a favorite all over again. It’s still a ‘play it loud’ song for me and is regularly on rotation traveling to rodeos and bull ridings. (link to the song in the comments since Facebook hates external links). While many readings and phrases that are repeated in Catholic church services are in Latin, the Greek words, Kyrie eleison, are, as I understand it, still used.


“My heart is old, it holds my memories
My body burns a gemlike flame
Somewhere between the soul and soft machine
Is where I find myself again
Kyrie eleison, down the road that I must travel
Kyrie eleison, through the darkness of the night
Kyrie eleison, where I’m going, will you follow?
Kyrie eleison, on a highway in the light”


Lord have mercy, down the road that I must travel.
Lord have mercy, through the darkness of the night.
Lord have mercy, where I’m going, will you follow?
Lord have mercy, on a highway in the light.


It isn’t straight-up biblical but there are biblical encouragements in this as we look at scripture and what we can take from the song.
Hebrews 4:16Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.


Every week, we’re out there on the roads together. Whether we’re in the same truck or rodeo wagon, we’re on the phone, texting or snapping but one way or another, we’re sharing the journey together talking about bulls, times, runs, judging, the ground conditions and sometimes even what we’re going through. More of then people realize, conversations about God and the Bible come up and sometimes we’re praying for one another.


But we’re also sharing a journey together that only God and people in this industry fully understand. “Lord have mercy, down the road that I must travel.”
His mercy and grace are there for all who want to receive it. Instead of punishment for our sins, we can be forgiven through repentance and a saving faith in Jesus Christ–that he died to take the punishment for our sins that separate us from God without the forgiveness He gives us (His mercy and grace) when we truly repent and ask for it.


As we travel this week and weekend, and any time, I just want to encourage us to take time to pray for one another and those who have not yet experienced God’s mercy and grace.


And I want us to take comfort, not in the song lyrics but in the verse from Hebrews that God is there for us in any time of need. No matter how hard it gets or how abandoned we sometimes feel, like we’re going down that road alone, He is always with us. #CowboysOfTheCross

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!

In the fall of 2017 God started dealing with me about being a preacher or just going to Bible college. I argued with him and said that it was just something that I wanted to do and not what he wanted me to do. By the time the January, 2018 came around, I could not get away from the call to preach, and announced my call publicly at a big event at our church in March, 2018. I’m now currently enrolled in Bible college at my church and preaching from time to time and have never looked back nor regretted any decision I have ever made for the Lord Jesus Christ.

(Jerry is a whip maker from North Carolina)

Are we boasting about the “good we do” for attention? When we understand how much God loves us, we no longer need the acceptance of others

Are we boasting about the “good we do” for attention? When we understand how much God loves us, we no longer need the acceptance of others

Our desire to be accepted can cause us to call attention to ourselves when we need to find our acceptance in knowing how much God loves us.

Our desire to be accepted can cause us to call attention to ourselves when we need to find our acceptance in knowing how much God loves us. A cowboy church lesson.

By Jesse Horton / Cowboys of the Cross

Micah 6:8 says this: Mankind, He has told you what is good
and what it is the Lord asks of you: to do justice, to love faithfulness, and to be humble walking with your God. (Translation mine)

We all generally know what is just – that good is rewarded and evil is punished; justice is the law of God, which also tells to abide by the law of the land. We are to love faithfulness – we keep the promises we make and are careful to follow and obey the instructions of those to whom we are accountable. Being humble in our walk with God means we don’t think of ourselves – we love God, we love people, and we don’t need accolades or point to ourselves at all. Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less – or not at all.

Humility is a hard thing to grasp. We can be generous, giving to the poor, purchasing and handing out tracts or Bibles, hospitable to the outcasts, care for the sick and elderly, and look out for the widows and orphans. But the moment we make much of our selflessness – even if only in our own minds – we are no longer selfless; we have forsaken a humble walk with God! At the core of everything we do, we can find the desire to be loved and accepted by our peers, overlooking the need for humility.

Jesus has some great advice on this in Matthew 6:1-4. “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of people, to be seen by them. Otherwise, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So whenever you give to the poor, don’t sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be applauded by people. I assure you: They’ve got their reward! But when you give to the poor, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (HCSB)

Jesus reminds us here that the problem is not that we want to be loved and accepted, but WHO WE LOOK TO for love and acceptance. We all struggle with feelings of inferiority – some more than others. The entirety of our adolescent existence seems to revolve around peer group-jumping to figure out which group we are most comfortable being liked by and associated with, and sometimes the decision is made based on who accepts us and affirms us the most; we’re really selfish!

Here’s the point: The beginning of knowledge and wisdom is the fear and respect of God. When you realize that the eternal creating Father of the universe set his affections on you before you were created – before you could even have a performance mentality – all this strutting about and posturing for ourselves and for others ceases. We know that our value does not lie in the way our peers perceive us, or even in the way we perceive ourselves. No, our value lies in who our Creator says we are, and he says our value is a direct result of whose image we bear (Gen. 9:6 – Whoever sheds man’s blood, his blood will be shed by man, for God made man in His image.).

God loves you. Now go out and do justice, love faithfulness, and be humble walking with God, and don’t let a lack of humility rob you of an eternal reward.

Hey, we agree, the Bible can be hard–stick with it–it gets awesome

Hey, we agree, the Bible can be hard–stick with it–it gets awesome

The Bible isn't always easy to understand but like anything, it gets easier with practice.

The Bible isn’t always easy to understand but like anything, it gets easier with practice.

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 as you open up the Bible. I know many who decide they are going to read the Bible cover to cover and dig right in. Genesis goes okay until Chapter 5 when you hit the ‘begats’–a long list of genealogy that can be a quitting point for someone already struggling to understand what they’ve been reading.

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 or the first time you try to turn a rope over your head, it gets easier. We approach the Bible like any other book from a western to a text book, thinking we have to read it from front to back, chapter by chapter. That isn’t the case at all. While there is a very specific structure to the Bible, sometimes a great starting point is all the way up in the New Testament with the Book of John. Many recommend that as an easier start and a way to learn about Jesus and the plan of Salvation. I often point people to James as it is written in a very straightforward manner.

It gets easier with time and practice, just like any of the sports you compete with or how each branding can run smoother for you than the last.

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 that I can run a section of scripture by to be sure I understand it right.

Context is very important. You may randomly point to a verse and read it but without knowing what happened in the verses ahead, and sometimes the books ahead of it, it is very easy to misunderstand it. But again, in time, as you learn more and more, the context is easier to follow and you will be amazed at how much deeper your faith becomes when you see for yourself just how well books of the Bible do fit together despite being written by authors hundreds of years apart. You see on the pages just how real God’s word is to us and why 2 Timothy refers to it as God-breathed (living word).

There are also great study bibles out there with notes that help explain it. 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. Step by step, you will see even more, just how big God really is as you see how the scriptures you just read are played out right in front of you. See what you can learn about the importance of reading your Bible from the two verses below and what else each section is teaching us. There’s a lot in just these two verses. Find at least five facts and truths you can understand from what Paul is saying in this letter to Timothy. The word “righteousness” is an important one that comes up again throughout scripture. Take some time to look up what it means through your Bible’s study notes or the concordance (at the back that helps you find other verses where the same word appears). This is a great way to help you get started understanding your Bible. It isn’t how much you read in a single sitting, it’s just taking your time to understand it piece by piece. 

And before you start, pray—ask God for the wisdom to understand.

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

Cowboys for Cops initiative gets relaunch after rough start to year for law enforcement

Cowboys for Cops initiative gets relaunch after rough start to year for law enforcement

By Scott Hilgendorff / Cowboys of the Cross

The month of January was bad for law enforcement. More than a dozen officers lost their lives in the line of duty with minimal coverage or follow-up, particularly in the case of an officer murdered in her home.

A year and a half ago, when similar incidents were occurring frequently and there was a negative focus on policing in general in the media, Cowboys for Cops was started. It was the name given to a special weekend particularly in the PRCA in which contestants were urged to where blue. We hijacked it as a hash tag and turned it into an ongoing initiative encouraging cowboys and bull riders to ask the police they encounter at events and on the road, how they can pray for them. They’re encouraged to take selfies with the officers and use the hashtags #CowboysForCops and #CowboysOfTheCross to help this initiative spread. The rodeo and bull riding community has more opportunity to connect with police than the average person. No, not because we get in trouble all the time, but because we’re at large and public venues which means a police presence becomes necessary. That means we have a great opportunity to be an encouragement to these men and women who risk their lives to protect us.

But let’s look at some Biblical reasons this initiative is important.

We know throughout scripture that praying for one another is seen as important. The following verse from Ephesians is just one example of why that’s important

Ephesians 6:18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

By choosing to pray with these officers, we are simply living out biblical illustrations of what the Christian life looks like. Daily prayer is a significant part of that. Most people, even if they do not believe in God, will not be offended if you ask how you could pray for them and it can become an easy way to talk to someone else about Jesus.

But more importantly, what I want us to see how easy it can be to carry out a simple verse from Galatians in which we’re shown the need to carry each other’s burdens.

Galatians 6:2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Just knowing someone cares about you and is willing to pray for your needs can ease a burden and leave a person feeling encouraged.

As we gather more photos from cowboys and bull riders interacting with police, we’ll share them to social media but also to the website www.cowboysforcops.com and encourage you to point officers to the site. Think of how encouraging it can be for them to see different pictures of you guys caring enough about them to pray for them. Through pointing others to the site, one person’s simple act of praying for an officer can go a long way to encourage even more when they see these photos.

You can also help by sharing this post and encouraging others to do this. We most recently had a chance this weekend (Jan. 25 and 26) to pray with one of the officers providing security at the Southern Extreme Bull Riding Association Finals in Murfreesboro, TN.

In the photo is Finalist, Tim Taylor with MTSU Police Officer Jason Hicks. Officer Hicks joined us in the locker room for cowboy church Saturday night and afterward, a couple of us prayed for him. He is hoping to lead a team of youth on a mission trip to Guatemala. Officer Hicks then turned the tables on us by asking how he could pray for us.

Indiana Bull Rider Tim Taylor with Middle Tennessee State University Police Officer Jason Hicks. Hicks was prayed for in the locker room at the SEBRA National Finals after cowboy church on Jan. 26 as part of a relaunch of the Cowboys for Cops Initiative.

Indiana Bull Rider Tim Taylor with Middle Tennessee State University Police Officer Jason Hicks. Hicks was prayed for in the locker room at the SEBRA National Finals after cowboy church on Jan. 26 as part of a relaunch of the Cowboys for Cops Initiative.

If you find it too uncomfortable praying with an officer on the spot, it’s okay to commit to pray with him after, but we do encourage you to try. It means even more and no one expects us to pray perfectly or have all the right words to say. It’s the action and intent behind it and God knows what’s in your heart as you stumble through it.  The officer does too.

 

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