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 than 12 years when the ministry was first started by a bull rider he met from Chattanooga, TN.

I’m afraid of horses, far from top physical condition and a nervous speaker in front of crowds. I made my living from my head, not with my hands and am not nearly as handy as I’d like to be.

Never had I imagined I’d be a lay pastor to hundreds of cowboys.

Working as a journalist in a small town in western Ontario, I was at least twice assigned stories about people in the community that were packing up their belongings and going into full time ministry in places like Africa.

I thought they were crazy. Whacko.

I wasn’t a Christian at the time. I had grown up with parents taking me to Sunday school and knew who Jesus was but by high school, after some encounters with some charismatic believers I didn’t understand, I thought evangelical Christians were more like cultists that didn’t think for themselves and were far far too happy to be real.

I had always believed in God, more deeply than I probably realized in high school and university, but I didn’t understand anything about salvation. I grew up in the kinds of churches that are common in Ontario that teach lots about the Bible and how to live your life, but that always leave you just hoping and trusting that you will be judged good enough to enter Heaven when you die.

I’d like to think I was a pretty good person but had no idea that meant nothing in terms of finding a place in Heaven.

Working as an entry-level reporter, almost 20 years ago, pay was terrible but I had the chance to take my first vacation and had saved just enough that I could get someone on about a day’s worth of gas as long as I camped. I chose the Smokies in Tennessee as my destination because I wanted to see some mountains after having had a chance to go to Aspen, Colorado as a kid where I first actually learned, fearlessly, to ride horses.

It was up in those mountains on a quiet road overlooking a single farm far below with a dog barking, a rooster crowing and nothing but mountains after mountains after mountains in the distance that I truly felt God. Clearly, there was something much bigger than me out there when I looked at those miles and miles of mountains that we hadn’t even touched with our box stores and developments.

With a growing interest in photography while working in a newspaper that still paid poorly, I found myself working part time as a rodeo photographer with the Ontario Rodeo Association while making Tennessee a regular vacation spot where just the year before, I had attended my first-ever rodeo.  With journalistic scrutiny and skepticism, I explored religions and the Bible and came to the realization that Jesus was the real deal  and the Bible was truth, committing my life to Christ.

As my faith grew and I continued to visit Tennessee, I connected with some bull riders who led cowboy church and began working with them in ministry while continuing to work in the rodeo industry, moving into marketing and building some great friendships among the cowboys and cowgirls. My role in ministry grew, especially when the other bull riders retired from the sport and left the ministry behind. I was stepping up my involvement in the sport of rodeo and had been to a school for saddle bronc riding in Georgia on vacation one winter. That’s where my fear of horses began. I had become an established rodeo photographer in Ontario and was assisting with the marketing for one of Ontario’s producers and finally. As I grew as a Christian, my role in ministry grew as well, as I started leading cowboy church while finding myself in numerous discipleship relationships. The work of ministry was becoming a full time job while I was continuing to be promoted at work, becoming both a sales manager and editor at one of  the company’s publications. Something had to give as I was doing sermon prep until 2 a.m., while spending hours on the phone and by email keeping up with the cowboy’s I was discipling.

A number of circumstances began to line up where I could see God at work. A network of people to support me had been forming in both countries. My church in Blyth, Ontario, the Blyth Community Church of God, had agreed to commission the ministry and take me on as their Pastor to Cowboys, administering the funding so any donations could be tax receipted and accounted for. God began to press me further through the voices of other people and circumstances that were unfolding. That include a random encounter with a woman in a Christian bookstore in London, ON who heard me telling someone I knew there that I was wrestling with leaving my career and life for ministry. She was overhearing the conversation, at 70 years old, was a retired barrel racer who laid hands on me and prayed in the middle of the store before telling me to leave my job. God pushed in a few other ways and I shocked everyone when I announced I was leaving my career for ministry.

But the biggest moment came within weeks of that when I heard from a young bull rider I had worked with years earlier who had since lost track of completely. The young man’s life was falling apart the day he had contacted me asking for help. I would spend time with him each time I was in Tennessee until finally he just disappeared. His story is very long and complicated but at a time when I was wondering what to do, word got back to me at home that he had resurfaced at a rodeo not to ride, but to lead cowboy church. Then, within a month of going into full time ministry, he tracked me down, again, having no idea I was on a week-long trip to Tennessee, to tell me he had become the associate pastor of a small Baptist church.

It was all the proof I shouldn’t have needed that God was in this ministry and an affirmation that I had made the right decision to quit my higher-paying job for a life in ministry.

The ministry itself now focuses on discipleship with more time than anything built into building and maintaining relationships with cowboys who, while I am so unlike them in background, have embraced my presence in the circuits and more and more, are reaching out with their questions and concerns about the Christian faith.

It’s not about leading hundreds to Christ. Most cowboys will tell you they are already Christians. One of the main focuses this ministry has been led toward is helping them to build authentic relationships with Christ. Many of these guys have never experienced the true freedom grace gives us and never experienced the lasting heart change that comes with a life in Christ.

Through short sermons at cowboy church at bull ridings and rodeos, the messages are often focused on topics of growth from how to pray to what the Bible teaches about patience. As often as possible, it includes illustrations they can connect with like a two-part message on tattoos since so many of them have them and that particular week, several went out and get them one afternoon between events because there was nothing else to do. The message talked about how, if tattoos aren’t inked deeper below the surface of the skin, they won’t last, like a life in Christ has to be rooted deep in the heart, not just in the head with a few simples words of prayer.

Cowboy church is the most visible part of the ministry, but it is merely what opens the door to meeting the riders and building those valuable relationships. Time is spent traveling with or staying with riders and hours are put into telephone and email conversations.

Social networking sites and a ministry web site are maintained as outreaches, distributing monthly messages and other devotionals to a network of more than 5,000 cowboys and rodeo fans now, generating online conversations and prayer requests from across North America and even Australia.

As unqualified as a person may sometimes feel, God can use any of us if we’re willing to follow him when he calls.

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 little boy, Mason who help lead cowboy church in Ontario with the Rawhide Rodeo Company.

Growing up I figured I was your every day average Christian. I grew up in a Christian home,  read my Bible, prayed every day and attended church every week. Life was great. My family did all kinds of things together. We camped, went fishing, hiking, we built all kinds of forts and tree houses together. We even took care of the livestock and farm chores together.

When I was in my early teens my parents started experiencing difficulty in their marriage. We ended up selling the farm and moving to a small town in hopes that the lighter work load would help patch things up. That didn’t end up working and a year later they split up and my dad moved out. It was a major shock to me and my siblings. Things just started to fall apart from there.

At 17 I started going to school (we were homeschooled up until then). I started hanging out with fairly questionable peers mainly because I didn’t really have any Christian friends. Slowly my morals and values started to slip and I found myself saying and doing things I had always said I wouldn’t.

I felt my parents really didn’t care about us anymore, even though deep down I knew they did, so I stopped caring about everyone and everything else but myself. My relationship with God at this point was limited to a quick prayer before food and bed, if I even remembered, and attending church out of obligation.

 In the summer of 2009, my poor choices and actions finally caught up with me and ended up  nearly costing me the only thing that mattered to me, my relationship with my girlfriend, Jenn.

To my absolute disbelief she forgave me for my indiscretions and together we decided to try and make things work. The only problem was we had no idea where to start. It was at this point in our discussion that my brother, who I hadn’t talked to in weeks, called me up and invited us out to his church. Reluctantly we agreed to come out Sunday.

I found that the people in this church accepted me for who I was, even though many knew of my history and the way I had been treating others. Their support along with actually hearing and applying the sermons to my life helped me want to change. I started praying and reading my bible more regularly and started to make friends who would build me up instead of tearing me down.

It wasn’t long before Jenn and I became members of that church. For the first time in many years things started to look up.

 Since recommitting our lives to God and His plan for our lives we have had many ups and  downs, struggles, temptations and joys. Living for God and trusting in His promises has given me joy and peace like I have never experienced before. Even though I continually let God down, He forgives me and blesses me so richly. I have found committing my life to God is tough, but following my own will and trying to do things on my own is a whole lot harder.

Michael Damien Moore

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 why that’s important in a minute. This is his story…

    From a young age I knew something had been significant about my life. I was saved around eight years old when my Sunday school teacher asked who believed in Jesus. I remember raising my hand and being called to the front of class. I knew Jesus died for my sins – not that I knew how real death really was – and that he was raised to life again. That’s the best I could remember and that it felt like my conscience was following me around telling me to wonder literally, what would Jesus do.

     I also felt set apart like I was apart of something greater than myself that was not just an association. I later found out we call this being sealed by the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit truly was a comforting person that time in my life, through Him I asked many questions and sought these answers up until I would get distracted fighting with my brother and sister while my mom tried to raise us alone.

       I just want to say this as forward as I can, my dad killed himself while I was home at the age of Four in Cowparas Cove TX. My dad, Marvis “Buster” Moore, was stationed at Ft. Hood as the 142nd Signal Battalion Command Seargeant Major. He was well respected and he was my hero. This event has stuck with me my entire life but I have truly given this burden I carried for so long over to Jesus Christ. With the help and leadership of the Holy Ghost I have learned to address the issues that had stemmed from being fatherless.
     I’m 28 now and God has been so good to me as a son. His chastening proves that he cares how close I am in Him and in fellowship. God has given me hope through His Son’s blood and the Holy Spirit’s restoring power to carry on. I am just merely a sinful man that belongs in the mire of my disobedience and sinful flesh to wallow in, yet I am saved and have promise in Jesus’ name. I believe that He died for my sins, was resurrected in three days and seated at the right hand of the Father and will come again.
       It’s been a long life, more had followed after my dad’s death with institutions and programs for troubled youth and juvenile detention and medications. I mean the list is endless. At the age of 18, I had even attempted to take my own life. However, I realized not long ago that I have a heavenly Father who I know, and that knows me. In every situation, my God has given me the endurance I need. I hope to use my experience to help someone in need. I started riding bulls and bareback broncs because my dad did all three rough stock events, but I hope through rodeo I may spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and get other cowboys to leave their old self behind with all the drunkenness, lust and strife to become a new creation in Jesus Christ. I have sinned no less than you and deserve the same consequences, I just want everyone to believe that there is salvation and no condemnation in our Lord Jesus for those that believe in Him. We have been forgiven.
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 really understand what it meant to be a follower of Christ.   

When I got into high school I went to church and youth group and got really good at “playing the part,” but any other time of the week my faith didn’t affect my life at all. During that time, some pretty big things happened: my brother started riding bulls and competing on a local circuit, and I got started riding saddle broncs. I grew up going to rodeos and had a real passion for it, but in those early years I focused on myself and didn’t honor God with my life or my competing in rodeo.

I’d pray before my ride and attend cowboy church and thought I was good to go, but boy did God open my eyes about my faith the past couple years.  

One thing that still sticks in my mind was when I went to upstate New York and worked at a Christian camp teaching campers how to ride horses. I had a bible study with one of my coworkers and we were talking when he said, “I don’t doubt you believe but you don’t take it seriously.” I kinda blew that off, being a dumb kid, but it stuck in my head. Over the summer last year, God started doing a lot of work in my life. I started competing in PRCA rodeos with my brothers, and throughout the rodeo season God just kept putting people in my life that got me thinking about my faith.

I met Chris Watson, the vice-president of CLG, who had a rodeo ministry. We became friends and he’s been encouraging me in my faith. Another big impact was from saddle bronc rider, Doug Aldridge, and his wife. He really lives out his faith and we could talk about God, faith in Christ, and rodeo which was exactly what I needed. Closer to the end of the summer I attended a cowboy church in Iowa which was led by Cory Wall. The biggest part of that sermon, which I still think about, is when he said, “sometimes you’re the only Bible people read.”

 After that Sunday I really got to thinking about my faith and that I needed to take it seriously since God took it so seriously He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to pay for my sins. During that time I recommitted my life to God.

I’ll be honest my life isn’t perfect. After I accepted Christ I still fail, struggle and I’m still a sinner but I keep reminding myself of 2 Corinthians,“Therefore, If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

It’s a great reminder of God’s promise that through the Holy Spirit He is working on making us to be more like Christ, and that the old sinful person we were doesn’t control us anymore. As this year’s rodeo season comes into full swing, God is really helping me to look at rodeo and this lifestyle as a way to show who He is and spread the Gospel.

Some things God has blessed me with are great brothers/traveling partners that always have my back, my family and my home church: their prayers and support are a great blessing. If you take anything away from my story, I hope it’s this: if you put your trust in God and accept His gift of grace, through His son, Jesus Christ, as Lord and Savior, God will be with you every step of the way. I spent plenty of time going the wrong way but God never gave up on me and opened my eyes to the one thing that matters, Jesus Christ.

My buddy Doug Aldridge once told me, “your spiritual walk and bronc riding are a lot alike,. In bronc riding, you can try all you want and make the best ride but if you miss your mark-out, that ride doesn’t amount to anything. Just like our spiritual, walk you can think you’re a good person but if you don’t have Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior it won’t amount to anything. Just like the mark-out is the most important part in bronc riding, Jesus Christ has to be the most important part of our lives.”

He is the way the truth and the life.   

Alan Burt

Alan Burt

       My name is Alan R. Burt and I live in Defiance, Ohio.

I came to Christ at a very young age, around seven years old. I remember hearing the gosple after a church youth program Thursday night somtime in the wintertime. I sought out one of the leaders and asked about the messege I heard and was asked if I wanted follow Jesus based on what I heard.

I prayed to God and He saved me and I knew there was a change in my life from that moment on. I grew up in Carson City, Michigan going to First Baptist Chruch.

After high school in 2002, I attended Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids Michigan where I studied and majored in Bible. I graduated in 2007. After college I became very interested in horses and took lessons on how to ride. I also began to find a great deal of people who were or had been involved in rodeo. I began riding bulls in 2009 and had to quit for various reasons three years later. I still love rodeos and love riding horses and actually worked for a horse trainer for two years while living in the Adrian Michigan area where I learned a great deal about how to care form then. I had to quit that life as I have been moving around and following full time work.

But God has been faithful to bless me woth work of some kind no matter where I’ve ended up. Currently I work at Arps Dairy in Defiance running the press that pasteurizes soft serve icecream mix. I attend Kings Cross Chruch in Defiance and love the small community of believers there. My aspiration and prayer is to eventually become a pastor myself of a local church but God has always been faithful to me in my prayers to Him so I keep holding on to that hope.

My desire to become a pastor was born out of a renewed love for God’s word when I was in the eighth grade. I decided that in july I would sit down and read through the Bible by the end of the year. For whatever reason that I cant’t describe, I wanted nothing more than to study the Bible, teach it to others and minister to folks using it in anyway I can through the local church for the rest of my life. All I can say is that it became a supernatural desire that God has never let me forget.

Currently He is answering another long time prayer of mine where I could unite my love of equine and love of the gospel. My life has had quite alot of ups and downs but God has always beem faithful to me in whatever situation I find myself  in.  I am excited about the opportunity to serve Him through the ministry, Cowboys of the Cross, where I will be leading cowboy church at some bull ridings and rodeos in Ohio including a weekly winter bull riding in VanWert.

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 person and who was God to not let a good person into heaven.

My senior year of high school I started thinking about God more purposefully. I was questioning things in my life and why, if He had control of everything, why I’d been dealt such a crummy hand. Why had my father left when I was one? Why had he never returned? Why was I so poor and why was I so unpopular in school? Looking back I realize I wasn’t poor, just didn’t have money and I really didn’t want to be popular in school; that’s not who I am (or ever was).

I went on a hunt for who God was, only, being the smart man that I was at 18, I didn’t need help. I could do this on my own. So I thought about God from time to time. I even read a bit of the bible from time to time, though not very much or often. My decision came down to me feeling sorry for myself and not liking someone else being in control of me. I wrestled back and forth on whether I believed in God or not for several years.

  Finally, it all came to a head when my mom asked me, point blank no beating around the bush, if I believed in God. Now, keep in mind, I’ve always loved my mother. I’ve always had a good relationship with her and would NEVER intentionally hurt her in any way. However, at that moment I had to be honest with her, knowing it would hurt her. “No. I don’t.” I replied. Instantly I knew I was wrong. I felt my chest hurt and sadness entering me. I couldn’t hardly breathe there was so much pressure on my chest. I am also an extremely hard-headed person, so while I knew I was wrong, I was not able to admit it. Not even to myself.

  A few years went by and I went back and forth with my belief in God. I knew this time I needed help but didn’t want my family to know what I was doing so I asked people that didn’t know my family life.

A friend suggested I read Job and described it as a bet between God and Satan. I sat up almost all night trying to read it all. I would fall asleep and wake up again a few minutes later and get right back into reading til I passed out again. I needed to know who this “God” was.

  About that time, my wife and I hired someone to work for us in our oversize load escort business. He was a very Christian man and wasn’t afraid to spread the gospel. I remember telling him to take it easy because these truck drivers didn’t want to be preached at all day and night. Boy, did I get it wrong. The guys we work with have been instrumental in bringing me around to believing. Who’d have thought these big, greasy, rednecks would have a faithful side? But so many of them are faithful beyond question. It was me that didn’t want preached to. I just wanted the Cliff Notes and the answer key to go over on my own time.

  Discussions with my new employee, quickly becoming friend, always seemed to lead back to God. Mostly by his dedication to his faith, partly by my growing hunger for knowledge about God. We’d stay up late into the night and I’d ask questions and he’d answer or tell me, “I’ll get back to you on that,” when he didn’t have the correct answer on the tip of his tongue. After several invites to church (I had an aversion to church because I just never felt comfortable there. I always felt the preacher and the people attending were just saying “stuff”.) I loaded up my wife and son and went to church. Forty minutes of drive time to get here left me plenty of time to think of reasons why I should turn around  but I felt I was suppose to keep going.

  The moment I walked in the doors I knew I belonged. I can’t put my finger on what it was, but I didn’t feel like I had in every other church I’d visited in the past. I knew this was where I was suppose to be. After months of talking with the pastor and some of the congregation, I could feel myself starting to lose doubt. I remember after one Wednesday night bible study, I stopped the pastor to ask two simple questions thinking, “five-ten minutes, tops.” I had gone to church straight from the road so my wife had her truck and after a while she and the pastor’s wife left him and I to our discussion. That five minute talk lasted til 2:30 or so in the morning. One question led to another and one answer led to another question. I could feel myself panic when he told me he could see that I was there, ready to be saved. I froze momentarily and replied with “Let me take this new info home and process it.” I did mention I was hard-headed, right?

  A couple weeks later I was still being hard-headed all through church service. At the end of service, our pastor asked the praise team to play and sing while he talked to us about salvation. Anyone could come up front and pray that wanted to or you can pray right where you are. I remember telling myself I don’t want to go up in front of everyone and make a big deal about what I found myself believing, without doubt. Then I was walking. I was kneeling and then praying. I was overcome with emotions and felt all that pressure on my chest since I’d told my mom I didn’t believe in God, being lifted. My pastor knelt beside me and asked if he could pray with me. We talked and I told him I did believe in God (the first time I’d ever said that out loud). I admitted that I was a sinner and I asked God to forgive me for those sins. I told him I believed Jesus was the son of God and Jesus died on the cross for my sins. I asked God to lead my life for His needs. There is no question that He heard me and answered my prayers.

  I was saved that day and know that God has put me here to lead others to Him. I have been told by many friends and family that they can see a whole new me. I thought I was always a good person, evidently there is more to being a good person than just staying out of trouble and being honest and fair to people. I liked to think that just being a good guy most of my life was good enough but I’ve learned that we can never be good enough to get into heaven. Ephesians 2:8-9 says : For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith –  and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.

several years.

Finally, it all came to a head when my mom asked me, point blank no beating around the bush, if I believed in God. Now, keep in mind, I’ve always loved my mother. I’ve always had a good relationship with her and would NEVER intentionally hurt her in any way. However, at that moment I had to be honest with her, knowing it would hurt her. “No. I don’t.” I replied. Instantly I knew I was wrong. I felt my chest hurt and sadness entering me. I couldn’t hardly breathe there was so much pressure on my chest. I am also an extremely hard-headed person, so while I knew I was wrong, I was not able to admit it. Not even to myself.

A few years went by and I went back and forth with my belief in God. I knew this time I needed help but didn’t want my family to know what I was doing so I asked people that didn’t know my family life.

A friend suggested I read Job and described it as a bet between God and Satan. I sat up almost all night trying to read it all. I would fall asleep and wake up again a few minutes later and get right back into reading til I passed out again. I needed to know who this “God” was.

  About that time, my wife and I hired someone to work for us in our oversize load escort business. He was a very Christian man and wasn’t afraid to spread the gospel. I remember telling him to take it easy because these truck drivers didn’t want to be preached at all day and night. Boy, did I get it wrong. The guys we work with have been instrumental in bringing me around to believing. Who’d have thought these big, greasy, rednecks would have a faithful side? But so many of them are faithful beyond question. It was me that didn’t want preached to. I just wanted the Cliff Notes and the answer key to go over on my own time.

Discussions with my new employee, quickly becoming friend, always seemed to lead back to God. Mostly by his dedication to his faith, partly by my growing hunger for knowledge about God. We’d stay up late into the night and I’d ask questions and he’d answer or tell me, “I’ll get back to you on that,” when he didn’t have the correct answer on the tip of his tongue. After several invites to church (I had an aversion to church because I just never felt comfortable there. I always felt the preacher and the people attending were just saying “stuff”.) I loaded up my wife and son and went to church. Forty minutes of drive time to get here left me plenty of time to think of reasons why I should turn around  but I felt I was suppose to keep going.

The moment I walked in the doors I knew I belonged. I can’t put my finger on what it was, but I didn’t feel like I had in every other church I’d visited in the past. I knew this was where I was suppose to be. After months of talking with the pastor and some of the congregation, I could feel myself starting to lose doubt. I remember after one Wednesday night bible study, I stopped the pastor to ask two simple questions thinking, “five-ten minutes, tops.” I had gone to church straight from the road so my wife had her truck and after a while she and the pastor’s wife left him and I to our discussion. That five minute talk lasted til 2:30 or so in the morning. One question led to another and one answer led to another question. I could feel myself panic when he told me he could see that I was there, ready to be saved. I froze momentarily and replied with “Let me take this new info home and process it.” I did mention I was hard-headed, right?

A couple weeks later I was still being hard-headed all through church service. At the end of service, our pastor asked the praise team to play and sing while he talked to us about salvation. Anyone could come up front and pray that wanted to or you can pray right where you are. I remember telling myself I don’t want to go up in front of everyone and make a big deal about what I found myself believing, without doubt. Then I was walking. I was kneeling and then praying. I was overcome with emotions and felt all that pressure on my chest since I’d told my mom I didn’t believe in God, being lifted. My pastor knelt beside me and asked if he could pray with me. We talked and I told him I did believe in God (the first time I’d ever said that out loud). I admitted that I was a sinner and I asked God to forgive me for those sins. I told him I believed Jesus was the son of God and Jesus died on the cross for my sins. I asked God to lead my life for His needs. There is no question that He heard me and answered my prayers.

I was saved that day and know that God has put me here to lead others to Him. I have been told by many friends and family that they can see a whole new me. I thought I was always a good person, evidently there is more to being a good person than just staying out of trouble and being honest and fair to people. I liked to think that just being a good guy most of my life was good enough but I’ve learned that we can never be good enough to get into heaven. Ephesians 2:8-9 says : For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith –  and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.

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