I grew up in a Christian home with Godly parents; my mother and father were the youth leaders at our church at time. Around five or six years old, my mind was wandering and I decided I wanted to get saved, I remember even standing at the top of my stairs and saying in my head “go ahead, you will get to be in water.” I walked downstairs and talked to my daddy for about 30 minutes about being saved. After we talked and he explained several things that I did not understand, I said a prayer and went back to bed.
A few weeks later a few of my cousins and I were baptized at Hinkle Baptist Church. I held on to that thought and prayer that I was saved and did not have to worry about a thing anymore. When I was in the 7th grade at the FCA Kick-off youth service, I “rededicated” my life, the very next year at the same event in 8th grade I did the same thing, “rededicate.” While playing football and taking classes together, I became friends with a boy named Drew and he invited me to church at Oakland Baptist Church one Sunday. I fell in love with it! Oakland had so many chances and openings for me to grow and learn. I was able to be involved with people my age that loved Christ, I did not have that at Hinkle because my brother, a couple of cousins, and I were the only youth and we did not do anything. When it came to events or activities, I was signed in and ready for everything, even church camp.
Being my first church camp, I was nervous, excited, and ready for the week! On the Monday that we left, something happened to me that, in my mind I thought, would ruin my first church camp. I was depressed and upset, but tried to stay positive the best I could and open to what God had for me; little did I know that He was using it to soften my heart. God had already started working and on Tuesday night during church group time, our youth minister, Bro. Jerry, passed around pieces of paper and told us to write down what God had been talking to us about that week.
As soon as he had those words out of his mouth, I knew what I had to write down, “salvation.” The next day after recreation and lunch, a friend and I sat and talked about his home life. After about thirty minutes of talking, we went to find Bro. Jerry so my friend could talk to him and get some counseling. I sat, listened, and started to cry because I had taken so much for granted with my family. After they were done talking, Bro. Jerry excused my friend so now it would just be Bro. Jerry, me, and the presence of the Holy Spirit. He told me that he saw what I had wrote and asked what I had meant, I told him I do not know but I that I do not feel like I am saved. He led me down Romans road and after a little bit of thinking, crying, and talking, on June 13, 2007, at 12:40 pm, I gave my heart to Christ.
Fast forward to two years later, to 16 years-old and being a leader at church camp instead of a student, God began working again.
There were several small things He started showing me, but one of the biggest things was the door He shut for me to being a Veterinarian. I love animals and being around them all the time, thus, I wanted to be a Veterinarian. I began working at a vet clinic in January of 2009, and I hated it with a passion so that opened up to the question of, “what am I going to do now?” While at the church camp as a leader God started talking to me but I did not know what it was. One night I even questioned my salvation because I could not figure it out, but I could go back to the time, place, and event of my salvation so I knew that was not it. One night during worship service, the camp showed a video of a student that went to Kenya for a summer before his senior year. He loved it and felt strongly about going back. He prayed, talked it over with family and his pastor, and read scripture. God showed him the verse of Matthew 10:39, and after He read that verse I felt God calling me.
The guy went on to give up his freshman year of college to be a missionary in Kenya for a year, he answered God’s call. I found the verse in my Bible and read it time and time again. After service, I talked to the camp minister that week and we prayed it over. Later that night after church group time, I finally was able to talk to Bro. Jerry about what God had been talking to me about. I began having second thoughts because I felt so unworthy to do this, but Bro. Jerry said that he had a teacher from Blue Mountain College to tell him, “If we feel worthy enough to do anything, we should just load up and go home.” Once he said this, I knew there was nothing holding me back to surrender. On June 5, 2009, I got down on my knees and prayed to God that I surrender my life to ministry. Bro. Jerry had been there from my salvation to my surrender to me graduating, he has helped me so much in my growth and counseling me with decisions that I needed to make. By having a family that loved me, let me go to all the church events, and to move to a church where God was calling me to be at, they helped me to grow and answer His call. By having a minister that loved students and helped me when I needed him, helped me in leading me to Christ and counseling me about ministry. By having a church that is in God’s will, showed me how to be involved and be in His will also. All three of these have had a spiritual influence in my life and I am thankful for each one.
At the present time, I am trying to answer what Christ has for me and do what His word says. Around June of 2013 He laid something on my heart about beginning a ministry to reach my fellow rodeo friends that I am around every weekend. The first Thursday of August, Redeemed Riders made its debut at my house in front of my barn with 8 people. Redeemed Riders is a Bible study/Worship service and a practice for rough stock riders in rodeo. We meet at 7 pm at my house; have the service, then get on bucking machines at my home. We have had as many as 24 rough stock riders and now having service in a corn crib at on our property. I have gotten to watch cowboy after cowboy come to Redeemed Riders, grow in Christ, and be so excited about the Lord and riding. It encourages me to see the cowboys coming back every week and having feedback from several of them. I have also just recently took on a job at a Baptist church my area being the youth minister. I get to teach student about the Bible on Wednesday and Saturday nights. God is using me to reach the cowboys and the youth at that church. I am so thankful He has chosen me to do this.
Christian cowboy Daryl Skeeter Spaulding
I first heard the Gospel in the summer of 1978 between my junior and senior year of high school. My brother and I spent the summer with my brother -in-law and sister [Don and Ruth Ann) to frame houses with Don. They are believers in Jesus and we heard the Gospel from them and others that summer. Before we went home to finish school I had made a profession of faith in Christ as Savior for salvation.
Over the years since that summer there has been an ebb and flow in my walk with Jesus. Some of the most meaningful times in my walk have been on the mission field in Brazil and Israel years years ago which still bring fond memories. Some of the toughest and trying times have been some of the sweetest for growing and depending on Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
I want my testimony to the faithfulness of Jesus to be the focus of any and all parts of my life.
Jesus is who He said He is. I want even more to this day to know Him in the power of His resurrection.
John 3:14-16 explains it all. Take time and read it today.
In Christ Name, Chaplain Skeeter Spaulding with Cowboys For Christ
Christian Bull Righter and pastor Stephen Bruner and his wife Tori Bruner from Indiantown, Florida
Well it all started back in 2007 when I stumbled across Gethsemane Ranch by “happenstance” or what I call a divine appointment.
They were looking for a bullfighter to help protect the kids at the bull riding, and I was on my way to pursue a professional rodeo career in just that event. The only problem was that I was leaving God behind and headed out to glorify my own name. So, being that this church just “happened” to be only a mile down the road from the camper I was living in, I headed on over (without God) to get some practice.
Long story short, that’s when I really met Him again…
I met Jesus first when I was very young, from the years of private Christian school to always being at the Baptist church, but I had walked away from Him during my adolescent years and without really understanding, I was really mad at God about the things He allowed during my childhood. I had heard all the truths about how much He loved me, but it all wasn’t adding up in the environment I was in.
There was a lot of drug and alcohol abuse by both my parents, which led to many forms of child abuse and neglect. From there I set out to disguise the hurting little boy inside me who wanted to feel “real” love and approval. All the way through high school and college I looked to the world for approval; never to find it until my rodeo career and God sent me to that place called Gethsemane Ranch. That’s when I met Him again. That’s when God, through His faithfulness, and the loving and caring people at that church, reminded me how much He loved me and that He had a purpose for me!
I was challenged by God to be a real man and not just a boy. I could not live in the past anymore or identify myself by my circumstances and the lies the devil had told me for so many years. It was time to grow up spiritually!! So I pushed hard into God’s word to get the truth! I needed to hear God tell me how special I was and how much He loved me!
I heard him louder than ever.
I made a commitment to never walk away from Him again or put anything before Him. He has brought me through so much; from broken relationships, broken necks, stage 3 cancer, unforgiveness toward my earthly father (the biggest challenge) and so much more! He has never left me or forsaken me. He has completely restored my physical body and is constantly restoring my spirit! He has given me so much back and a lot of my family. Most importantly, He has blessed me with a wife who has been the greatest “help mate” ever! He is constantly teaching me how to love her like Christ loved the church!
We are so blessed to get to serve as ministers of the Gospel and travel around the country sharing that there is hope in Jesus Christ no matter what! We are sure grateful to be a part of God’s business and all the kids’ lives God has allowed us to be a part of! No matter who you are or where you come from, God is dying to love on you and use you!! HE LOVES YOU A LOT!
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)
I found a link to a video of us team roping the other day at Cowtown (the oldest weekly rodeo in the United States in New Jersey) and it made me think a lot about this rodeo. I first showed up there as a 21-year-old bull rider, 21 years ago. My traveling partner, Craig, and I were getting ready, and next to us was a small tent outside of the entry office.
The lady there had some cowboy Bibles on the table with Lane Frost on the cover. Craig and her were talking on and on about Lane, who was one of Craig’s heroes, and she new Lane’s folks. Well I didn’t understand it at the time but she was telling Craig about Lane’s testimony. She then asked Craig if he was saved!? He said, “Yes, when I was 13.” I was just sitting off in the near distance listening. She then asked him, “Is your buddy over there saved?” He said I don’t know even though I had been raised in the church, went to a Christian school and my grandpa was a pastor.
Well I just sat there and thought, I don’t know!?!
Then she proceeded to bark at Craig, “What do you mean you don’t know? You guys travel all over the country riding bulls, and you don’t know If he’s saved?” Then she looked over at me and asked me if I was and I told her I didn’t know. She asked if I wanted to be, and I thought, “Why don’t I know?” and I told her I wanted to be. She read to us some out of Romans, Chapter 9 and then I recited what’s known as the sinner’s prayer with her and asked Jesus into my heart.
I was on fire from the star and I remember being in the bar that night that used to be there right next to the rodeo, I was telling people about Jesus. I remember the whole trip home whenever I wasn’t driving I was reading that Bible she gave me. I was definitely changed.
As an Ohio cowboy, I was just thinking though why I still go to this rodeo, it’s darn sure not because it’s so close to home or the amount of money. I think I’m actually drawn to it because it’s where I met Jesus my Lord and Savior. Suzie Grahm still has that little tent out back of the entry office, and she’s still standing back there telling the truth and offering salvation through Jesus!
May 1, 2016 was the life changing day, having a six-year-old boy, a one-year-old baby girl and a beautiful wife and a string of horses that we finally got to perfection.
I was big into ranch rodeo, riding broncs and team roping along with a wife who barrel races and kids in youth rodeos, all while having a full time job working for CoServ as a lineman. Life was good, we had some rodeos planned out for the month and we were excited and prepared.
My son and I jumped on the four wheeler after getting back form a jackpot team roping to feed, we were headed back to the house and that is all we remember. I woke up in the hospital not being able to move anything. Knowing the shape I was in made me worried what shape my son was in. He had a concussion and a small laceration on his face and was released form the hospital that night.
I broke my neck in three places my C2, C5 and C6 with a C4 spinal cord injury, I was paralyzed from the shoulders down. Dr. Aryan with Axis Brain & Back Institute did surgery that night and gave me a two per cent chance to move again. The thought of never being able to hold my kids and my wife again was devastating.
I was in ICU for a week and was taken to rehab in Dallas were a began to fight for recovery. Four months later, I believe thanks to the power of prayer, I walked out with nothing but a cane, a walking miracle. The power of prayer is amazing. Through the process, I accepted Jesus as my lord and savior as my son as well. Before I broke my neck, life was good. Now, life is great because I now have God in my life. If you have Jesus in your heart and in your life, good things will happen. I am back to riding my horse and roping some and even though my rodeo career is over, my life with my family isn’t