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ABOUT US: Welcome to Cowboys of the Cross: your resource for Christian cowboys. Cowboys of the Cross has been providing cowboy church for the rodeo and cowboy community for more than 15 years. The website 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 leads cowboy church at rodeos and bull ridings in both Ontario, Canada and across the north and southeastern United States.   MORE ABOUT US HERE

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Rodeo/bull riding give more opportunity to find and learn about Jesus

Help Keep us on the road

By Scott Hilgendorff/Cowboys of the Cross

The sports of rodeo and bull riding provide opportunities seldom found outside church communities to honor and worship God.

Even better, where Christianity has been pushed out of much of the public view, the presence of the Christian faith is visible to all from the opening prayers, cowboy church behind the chutes, crosses worn by riders, the publication of cowboy Bibles (New Testaments with cowboy imagery and testimonies), cowboys praying by the arena before their events and Christian messages worn on decals on their equipment.

The opportunity to learn about God, the Christian faith and most importantly, the gospel itself, can be found at almost every rodeo or bull riding.

The presence of Christianity can be found in almost every corner of the rodeo grounds. But it can just as easily be intentionally ignored or unintentionally overlooked by the distractions all around.

 Sin, of course, is one of those distractions. As unique to rodeo and bull riding as the strong Christian presence, is the opportunity to find sin.

From drugs and alcohol, encouragement to participate in after parties to keep sponsors happy, local girls and buckle bunnies prowling around looking to score and sponsors bringing shot-carrying Hooters girls behind the chutes, the rodeo grounds and bull riding arenas have extra temptations not found by those leading traditional lives off the road.

It can get a little discouraging to those of us who have been called to teach/preach through cowboy church when we walk past trucks in the parking lots with “Riding on Faith” stickers and emblems of cowboys kneeling before crosses but the owners won't break away from hanging out before the show to come over for church when it's announced or we walk around to let you know we're about to start and at what part of the arena.

There's never ever an expectation from us that just because someone says they are a Christian, they have to come to cowboy church. But, especially knowing cowboy church is likely the only service they are going to have the opportunity to attend that weekend, it is always our hope and prayer that everyone who professes the faith, will break away from their conversations or any other distraction to give 10 or 20 minutes of their time to learn from the Bible and pray together as a rodeo or bull riding family.

We try to give you messages that point you to Jesus while teaching you something from the Bible, not just for you to 'use' but to disciple you and teach you in the ways of Jesus. It's to help those of us who have been saved, to grow closer to him and become more like him and to help those who haven't made Jesus the Lord and Savior of the lives, learn who he is in the hopes they will surrender their lives to God's saving grace found through Jesus's death an resurrection on the cross.

And we pray that God uses us to help point you to Jesus and away from the temptation of sin that surrounds us on the grounds.

Proverbs 3:6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

In some ways, it can be as easy as that—recognizing God's presence in our lives and letting Him guide our steps. With signs of God's presence are all around us at a rodeo, we have the extra advantage of additional reminders of Him that can make it easier for us to keep Him in our minds as we make choices and decisions that can lead us to walk toward Him and away from sin.

In the sports of rodeo and bull riding, we're blessed that we don't have to look very far to find signs of Jesus all around us. With more opportunity to connect with God at these events, rodeo and bull riding really are special places to get to spend time.

By Scott Hilgendorff/Cowboys of the Cross

When Kris Furr made Jesus the Lord of his life last month, he had no idea God would throw a challenge and learning opportunity at him just hours later.

It made it very clear that God was working in his life.

Kris, a bull fighter from Statesville, NC, was trying to sell his camper on Craig's list when he got a call from a guy who asked if Kris would consider trading the camper for the guy's van. It would have been at a $3,000 to $4,000 loss between the difference in the value of the van versus the camper but Kris was stuck—he had just made Jesus his lord and savior hours earlier and now he was being asked to help a family.

The man had explained to Kris that he and his wife had recently become homeless and were living in that van and a tent and he wanted to trade. The camper would give them a chance to have better accommodation, especially for their two kids that they were trying to home school.

But, $3,000 is a lot of money to give up when you're trying to make your living as a bull fighter, full time, traveling the roads to work events across the country for very little pay. In order to be the best at it and be one of the few to make it to the professional level and the pay scale that goes with it, you have to sacrifice a lot.

But, $3,000. Would God really be asking Kris to give the equivalent of that much money to total strangers? Was this a test from God?

Those are the questions he had for me when we talked about the situation.

The short answer, of course, was that God could very well be asking that of Kris.

“I always knew who God was but until today, I had never given my life to Him,” said Kris as we talked about his whole experience that day, leading up to the phone call.

Now he was afraid to make the wrong decision about the camper. We talked about the difference between feeling guilty or feeling the Holy Spirit's conviction, what the Bible teaches about giving sacrificially, what it can mean to follow Christ beyond that moment of salvation, being a good steward of the resources God gives you and how to know when God is answering prayer about what to do.

We also talked about how emotions can manipulate us and can be used by others to do the same—that he had to be careful.

In prayerfully seeking wisdom from God, Kris realized that a starting point would be to at least meet with the man who called and look into the story more.

When he did, praise God, Kris determined the story was a scam but also learned straight from scripture that he was willing to be obedient to God, even when it was difficult and it meant sacrifice.

And praise God, Kris and I are working out a study plan to dig deeper into God's word since being in church often is difficult for Kris as he's on the road so much.

 

Center Gate Story Postive Thinking Bible Bootcamp A Cowboy of the Cross is

Cowboys for Cops

By Scott Hilgendorff/Cowboys of the Cross

     We all know a bull rider or cowboy or two that have got themselves on the wrong side of the law. Stereotypes exist for a reason but we also know that you can’t assume that everyone belongs to the stereotype.

     Bull riders and rodeo cowboys aren’t always running wild and getting into bar fights and cops aren’t always shooting innocent people.

     So here’s how we can make a difference in some small and bigger ways to the pressures police are facing right now as they are targeted for attacks and facing abuse for the poor decisions of some, the mistakes of others and jumping-to-conclusions of other situations. We can also show Christ to them in the process.

     It’s fair season. That means rodeos and bull ridings everywhere. That means rides, cotton candy and crowds. Crowds mean cops.


Have you hugged a cop today? Don’t worry, we’re not asking you to, but we’re suggesting this:

     When we see them, we’re going to have our pictures taken (or a ‘selfie’) and we’re going to Snapchat, Tweet and Facebook it with the hashtag #CowboysforCops. We’re going to tell them that even when we don’t always see eye to eye, we’re glad they’re out there. We’re going to encourage them and we’re going to do something even more important as Christian cowboys–we’re going to pray with them.

     Yes, pray!


Pray with the police and for them:

     I know praying is intimidating for a lot of people but if we truly believe what we say we believe, then we believe praying for one another is important. There is no shortage of examples of the importance of prayer through the Old and New Testament. Yet many of us struggle with how to do it and it can take awhile to get comfortable praying in front of  others.

     In the book of Acts, we see the early church forming and praying together was part of that foundation. Then, when James was executed and Paul was imprisoned to face death as well for preaching about Jesus, we se this in Acts 12:5  So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.

     Earnestly means with great effort.

     And an angel was sent to rescue Peter from prison.

     So let’s find the courage to pray with those officers as we encounter them in the weeks ahead with a plan to do this from now until at least Labor Day. And in the process, we can get more comfortable praying for one another.

     We’ve studied prayer before and those encounter James Douma at Ontario rodeos have had a new introduction to it as he works this summer during cowboy church to try to help you get more comfortable with who God is and how to talk and respond to Him.

     I’ll continue to teach on prayer in the weeks ahead, largely at SEBRA bull ridings in Ohio and through social media and the website.


Some tips on praying

*  Don’t be afraid to ask if you can pray for an officer or group of offices. Even if everyone feels awkward, most are going to agree to it and be encouraged by it.


*  Ask the officers how you can pray for them. Some will share with you a specific need.


*  Remember, God wants us to pray. Prayer is how we communicate with God. The Lord’s Prayer found in Matthew tells us to pray which includes recognition of who God is (our Father and the holiest of all) ,to seek God’s will and to present our needs. In this case, we acknowledge everything will work for God’s purpose but we can tell God of our appreciation for these men and women who protect us (not just arrest us) and ask that He keep them safe, keep them encouraged and keep them strengthened.


*   If you’re a cowboy comfortable praying, please gather with a few of the guys and be the one to lead it with the police who are around.

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:1-4

Let’s actively pray for all our emergency service workers for wisdom as they make tough decisions every shift, sometimes in the heat of the moment. Let’s pray that those with a history of poor choices would have the wisdom to begin doing what is right.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5

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