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NEW THIS WEEK

(April 10)


NEW Center Gate Story– What our children just taught us this week about Proverbs 22:6

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ABOUT US: Welcome to Cowboys of the Cross: your resource for Christian cowboys. Cowboys of the Cross is the new home for Riding for Christ Ministries, providing cowboy church and outreach to the rodeo and cowboy community for more than 10 years. The new web site 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 also serves to minister to rodeo cowboys and bull riders by traveling to rodeos, bull ridings and equine events across Canada and the United States. Learn more about us here:   MORE ABOUT US HERE

A cowboy of the cross is…

Strengthening your grip

Are your entry fees paid?

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Cowboy prayer

Center Gate Story

The music we listen to can pump us up

and

honor God

B y Scott Hilgendorff/Cowboys of the Cross

   Psalm 86:9  All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name.

   We were made to worship God. We’re His and through our relationship with Jesus Christ and the saving grace that comes from that, we are going through the process of being sanctified–made righteous (good) before God’s eyes.

     Many verses in Scripture talk about worshiping God or bringing glory to His name. Knowing He has saved us from eternal separation from Him, we can find ourselves driven to want to glorify Him in our words and actions.

    Many of the Psalms are songs, that were written to be accompanied by music. The very words themselves were written to worship and glorify God and many of our hymns or modern worship songs are taken directly from these Scriptures and elsewhere in the Bible.

     We come from different denominations, some that prefer only hymns be song to honor God while others have adapted modern music into the worship songs during church services. While it can be controversial for some what kind of music is used in church, it’s a given that many bull riders and rodeo cowboys listen to music on their mp3 players to get pumped up before an event or to shut out all the other distractions going on around them.

    Modern Christian music comes in all styles now and many of today’s artists write and perform with the same gifts and talents as any mainstream recording artists.

    If our lives are to be about worshiping and glorifying God, something we can do is start exploring the kinds of Christian music that’s out there and filling our mp3 players with songs we find that we like that were written as an act of worship to God. You’d be surprised what’s out there that can both pump you up, be honoring to God and fill your thoughts with the positive messages Christian music provides.

     You’d be surprised by the quality of bands that are out there today, the depth of their lyrics and just how much good it could do for you, filling your mind with the positive thoughts they have for you.

Shifting focus from buckles

to Heaven

By Scott Hilgendorff/Cow boys of the Cross

First, think about this....Besides bull riding or rodeo, what are some things we own or what are some things we like to do that we would hate to be without? What would you miss if you were on a mission trip to Africa for a year. How would you feel about never having those things again?

Now think about this a moment....A woman is 90 years old, has lung cancer and her prognosis is not good--what do we think about her situation?

And this....A guy is 28 and gets lung cancer and his prognosis doesn't look good--what do we think?

Now, can you name your grandparents' first names? What about your great-grand parents?

Keep these questions in mind as we take a look at 1Peter and how the disciple Peter teaches us about how this world is not our home, our time here is shortand that our hope and future really lies in Heaven.

People sometimes go through periods of struggles or trials and that can sometimes make the days seem long. A bull rider or rodeo cowboy who is laid up on the couch with a broken leg will tell you that time seems to drag waiting to be released again. And we know we can be in far worse circumstances than that. We all know people who have been through worse or are going through worse right now. Whatever we're going through, if it's difficult, it can seem to take forever to sort out and there's times when it feels like there will never be any relief. But Peter, who was one of Jesus' original 12 disciples, gives us some prespective to think about in the letter 1 Peter.

1 Peter 1: 3-9  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In his great mercy  he has given us new birth  into a living hope  through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  4  and into an inheritance  that can never perish, spoil or fade.  This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,5  who through faith are shielded by God’s power  until the coming of the salvation  that is ready to be revealed  in the last time.  6  In all this you greatly rejoice,  though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  7  These have come so that the proven genuineness  of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor  when Jesus Christ is revealed.  8  Though you

Read the whole Devotion HERE

So, it was hard for me to step down from the church God called me to lead when I was first diagnosed with Stage 4 head neck and throat cancer on September 7, 2011 and given a year. Through the battle I fought hard until eventually my body would not allow me to lead the church and I stepped down on May 30, 2012.


This medical resignation did not rock my faith as I have continued to pastor in the community to all people. Although the cancer has taken all those things I love doing such as riding horses and enjoying the rodeo lifestyle; I still can be an example and voice for Christ even in this cancer-broken state.


Having cancer did not stop me from trying to fight this cancer with exercise and doing things such as running 5k’s when I was told I couldn’t because my body would not allow it. Prayer has been vital in God blessing me with the strength to overcome things they said I couldn’t.


On January 24, 2014 I was told by one of my doctors that “he had good news and bad news.” He said, “You have battled through everything that has been thrown at you and God gave you the strength to beat it all. You beat Stage 4 head, neck and throat cancer and your scan shows us this. The bad and more scary new is, you have Stage 4 lung and chest lymph nodes cancer and might have six months to live.”


Needless to say, this has not defeated me or weakened my faith and trust in the Lord. If anything, it has made it even stronger. Nor has it weakened my faith in myself. I may not be allowed to get on a horse for safety reasons or spend the time out in the sun looking across the pasture and pond; but I can still get out and about and share the love of God with all those I come in contact with. I can smile and make someone else’s day brighter even if inside I am in pain and dying. I am still standing with my boots on and as long as I can, I will challenge the situation I find myself in.


Where this new cancer is concerned, I fully intend to turn my toes out and sink in my spurs; wrap my rope a little tighter and ride it until it gets tired. They may be worried about a June 2014 deadline, but I do not fear it because God has put my mind and heart at peace by letting me know that He is still in control and our pact still stands: if I do my part with all I have; He will do His part as well. That is the foundation of life I stand on.


“You never know the reality of life until you face the reality of death and look it in the eyes and say, ‘Come get some, but you better pack a lunch and bring some friends because God’s got my back’” (DWChing)!


So whatever you may face today, put your trust in the Lord and do your part; and He will always have your back.

David W Ching, Houston, MS

Testimony

When I was a young man my grandfather instilled in me to always love God and family; be thankful for the things he created; and never quit anything midstream. He instilled this in me that no matter if it was bailing and loading hay; mending fences; vaccinating livestock; or simply helping someone with their chore; you never quit or give up.

When I answered God’s call to preach, I took this learning with me. I was not the typical preacher type, nor did I look the part. I was just a country boy who loved God and would not give up on the path He called me to.

By Scott Hilgendorff/Cowboys of the Cross

    The actions of two little boys this week send such a message of hope for the generation to come. And those of us watching the Christian faith come under attack in ways it never has before in North America. There is so much pressure right now in the United States against Christianity and in many ways in Canada, it has already been driven underground or confined inside the walls of churches.

   The photo above was taken last night (April 9) in the home of Bull Riding Producer Jerrod Jenkins and the one below the day before that at a SEBRA Bull Riding in Abingdon, VA before the mutton busting..

  Tuesday night, a little boy named Brody who has been competing seriously in mutton busting at the weekly bull riding in Abingdon, VA, approached the announcer, Luke Kaufman, and asked if he could say the prayer spoken every week during the opening of the bull riding.  This little boy stood in front of the crowd, on microphone and in a sweet but unwavering voice, said a prayer that included the gospel message of a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. There were tears in many eyes and cheering from the crowd when Brody was finished.

     This came just two weeks after, at the same event, a group of us were discussing how alarming it was to hear that a producer at a PBR event in Mobile, Alabama refused to let the announcer lead an opening prayer. According to someone who was there, the announcer protested but was told, “People didn’t pay for prayer.”

    Prayer has long been a tradition at rodeos and bull ridings. Cowboy church, a short service among the contestants usually behind the bucking chutes has followed on the tradition of circuit rider preachers who traveled to ranches and met up with cowboys on cattle drives to bring some preaching to them as they worked out and away from towns and their churches.  In addition, most every event in North America opened with a prayer led by the event’s announcer. Many  Canadian producers, like BJ Prince of Rawhide Rodeo Company in Ontario, still have an invocation, and cowboy church is always welcome,  but I’ve also literally been cussed out and screamed at by a cowboy for leading church in a Canadian locker room, already almost seven years ago. Right now, the fear of that happening in the United States is almost non-existent. Heck, this ministry helped take part in a successful campaign to have prayer added to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, the biggest rodeo event in the United States where prayer had been excluded because of the diversity of the crowd and the nature of event’s location.

    So to learn there is a producer who has adopted the idea that prayer might offend some of the spectators is unsettling because it reveals to us that, despite our traditions, the pressure from the outside world that has greatly turned on Christianity in the past couple years, is causing some cracks in the walls we thought protected  Christian values in the rodeo and bull riding industry. Sure, we know and accept that not everyone in the industry are Christians or like those beliefs, but the tradition has always at least been respected and “tolerated”. It’s scary to think that that intolerance of Christianity is creeping in.

     But to see a family raising a child who can share the gospel so fearlessly just invokes the power of Proverbs 22:6 and something that may have been written from one father to his son three thousand years ago has the same impact and wisdom for us today as it must have as King Solomon shared it with his son. Regardless of the pressures we face from the culture around us that tells us we’re wrong, we can most definitely take heart that if we teach both our children and the youngest generation of cowboys and bull riders as they come into the circuits, they will not turn from it. If we can show them God’s word , teach them who Jesus is and and why it all matters, what reason could they have to turn from it?

    And further encouragement followed just this morning as Keri Jenkins from Bonifay, FL shared a photo online of her 2 ½ year-old son praying with his father, Bull Riding Producer Jerrod Jenkins.

      "I just went to pray last night and he came with me eventually. I said let's pray and that is what he did. He loves to pray," said Jerrod.

     He said his son watched them very closely. How we live out our faith matters because this next generation is watching. How are we leading them? What are we teaching them? When we teach them the ways of God, Solomon tells us that they will listen and they will live by it.

Mark 10:13-16

People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them.  When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."  And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.

Proverbs 22:6

Train a child in the way he should go,

and when he is old he will not turn from it.

Young cowboys set extraordinary example of Christian life this week

Photo by Amanda Harvey