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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

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By Scott Hilgendorff/Cowboys of the Cross

1 Thesssalonians 5:6-8 “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” 
Moving into the Bible belt, I honestly thought I'd see a lot more evidence of Christianity beyond the huge number of churches there are. 

You hear so much about this place or that place being the 'buckle” of the belt which creates the expectation that you'll see more outward signs of Christianity. And for sure you can be in public places and overhear a churchy conversations. However,  the greatest evidence I hear of Christian faith comes from the physical presence of mission organizations like homeless shelters or attacks against Christians in the news and our own efforts to defend the attack. 

Absolutely, there is evidence of the faith all around that goes unseen of neighbors helping neighbors but it always stands out to me how rarely I see people pray before a meal in a crowded restaurant. 

For sure, our prayers are not to be a spectacle to call attention to ourselves, away from God, but when we develop a praying heart that comes from living out those 1 Thessalonians verses, praying becomes a natural part of what we do. 

Praying before a meal in public doesn't have to be done for show or to call attention to ourselves, it's just a natural place to pause in the day and give thanks to what God has provided. When praying becomes just a natural thing to do, there won't be a sense of calling attention to ourselves because at any moment there's time to pause, we just naturally see that as an opportunity to pray. Just like before a meal, what other ways can you think of that you could add prayer to your daily routine? At a rodeo, when you're saddling and unsaddling your horse, it can be a perfect time to pause and pray while you're getting ready. A horse trailer even provides a private place to just step away from everyone and make a few moments to pray in private. It just takes being intentional and making time. You'd be surprised how often it can be added to the routines of normal day, away from the rodeo grounds. 

A natural prayer

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TESTIMONY

I recieved a message from Scott asking me to write my testimony for Cowboys of the Cross, I was stopped in my tracks for a few minutes; the irony, I was talking on the phone at that time to a pastor friend of mine, Don Mayberry. He was asking if I would announce a bull ride for their cowboy church so I stopped him in midsentence and asked, “How do you write your testimony?”

He said to just start typing and it will come; it was that simple.

I was born and raised in a Christian farming and cattle

Read the full Testimony HERE

Storm Denison,

Wichita, KS

Rodeo Announcer

Center Gate Story

Don’t be fooled: know what’s in the word

Part 7 of our new series encouraging digging deeper into the Bible

By Scott Hilgendorff/Cowboys of the Cross

Most of us have encountered a rodeo judge or secretary who wasn’t familiar with the rule book for a particular association. He might want to make a barrel racer run again instead of using the stopwatch time after a timer malfunction or she might not do the payout right. Either way, unless you know the rules yourself, you may not know anything was wrong and it could cost your a paycheck, or even the win. We’ve even seen how one cowboy knowing the rules can stop another from cheating by not getting on his short-round bull and still going to the pay window.

Not knowing what’s in the Bible can have an even worse effect. We can fall victim to false teaching and false arguments against our faith and instead of rodeo winnings in the balance, it can literally be souls at stake.  In North America, we don't have to meet secretly in a basement somewhere, fearing for our lives if we get caught. We don't have to worry about a militant tribe taking over leadership and coming through our village and slaughtering us for our beliefs.

 But the Bible assures us that we will face persecution and for the first time, particularly in the United States, we're seeing people losing their jobs over being public about their faith and we're seeing a pressure to remove evidence of Christianity from everything from text books to public venues.

We're also seeing churches turning away from teaching the Bible in its entirety in order to offer something more satisfactory to a changing culture that wants us to drop what they feel like are outdated and need to change to fit the culture's changing morals.

The Bible warns us that both will happen.

 2 Timothy 3:12 is just one of several verses that teaches us about persecution. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,

 2 Timothy 4:3-4 is one of several verses that teaches us about false teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

One common argument that has spread the past few years by non-Christians is to dig up Old Testament verses that we no longer follow today, such as not eating shellfish or wearing mixed fabrics. The argument either attempts to expose us a hypocrites, prove that the Bible contradicts itself or to make a case that we can't argue for a Biblical view of marriage unless we're willing to follow all the long list of rules found in Leviticus. Those rules were known as 'the law' and what had to be followed in order to be made right before God. What they don't understand is that when Jesus came, He fulfilled the 'law' so that we no longer have to follow those rules to be right with God, but instead, could be freed from our sin through a saving faith in Him.

However, I recently had a bull rider who would identify himself as a Christian, come across these arguments and challenge me with them as if they were a new revelation. His situation gives a very real illustration of what is warned about in that second verse above from 2 Timothy. Researching where he got the arguments from, it came from a post that had been shared through social media from a gay man who clearly hated Christians and their beliefs and was attempting to discredit them as countless other have before.

The problem for this cowboy was that he had very little idea of what was actually in the Bible for himself, so the arguments coming from a man who doesn't like the Christian faith and has no real desire to understand it, sounded good to him and worth listening to.

Without his own biblical knowledge of some basic parts of Christian theology, he was easily fooled into believing something that wasn't true about Scripture and misdirected him away from the saving gospel of Jesus Christ.

If we don't know what's in there ourselves, it makes it very hard for us to stand firm in our faith and easy for us to be fooled, not just by those who actually hate us but by false teachers who would have us pursuing wealth and prosperity instead of Jesus himself.

It's essential that we spend time in scripture ourselves, prayerfully asking God, through the Holy Spirit, to help us understand it, so that we can be prepared to face a culture that doesn't like us and wants us to change. It's easier for them to get us to let go of Biblical teaching when we don't even know what that teaching is.

And even more importantly, we need to know what's in the Bible so that we can teach it to others. The Great Commission given to us by Jesus tasks us with sharing the gospel and making disciples of others, teaching them. We're all tasked with this so we all need to know what's in there.

 For better details about what the gospel is and how to share it with scripture references, click here: ARE YOUR ENTRY FEES PAID?