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TESTIMONY

 I grew up in a Christian family and I'm glad I did. I accepted Christ when I was young. One thing I've learned in my 38 years is that accepting Christ is just the beginning. We are all works in progress and I'm no different. I'm so grateful for God's mercy which is new every day because like I said, I'm a work in progress.

Paul said in  Romans 7 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. (Romans 7:15, 18, 19, 24, 25 NKJV)


Read the full Testimony HERE

World Champion Bareback Rider Bobby Mote, Huckabay, TX



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NEW THIS WEEK


(Jan. 29)


NEW Center Gate Story– Part 1 of 2 Tackling the Muslim blessing issue at the Forth Worth Stock Show and Rodeo.

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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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Center Gate Story

Strengthening your grip

Muslim blessing or Christian prayer, we have to stand up

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By Scott Hilgendorff/Cowboys of the Cross

John 8:34  Truly truly I say to you, anyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.

Jesus tells us that we’re a slave to the sins we commit. But we know our human nature is wired to sin.

Being a slave means we’re controlled and held back. Our sin keeps us from living up to our true potential.

So what are we supposed to do if we’re a slave to sin to be free of what is holding us back?

There’s only one way to be free from the bondage of our sin and that’s through a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ through recognizing Him as the Son of God who died on the cross for our sins and was risen again then by confessing our sins to Him and asking Him to be Lord of our life.

When we’ve taken those steps, life doesn’t instantly become perfect but we receive God’s grace and a freedom from the bondage our sins have made. They no longer have the power to hold us back as we begin living in a way that we’re focused on God and His calling on our lives. There can’t be a more positive attitude than one that comes out of trusting and following Jesus.

Being a slave to sin holds us back from our potential

By Scott Hilgendorff/Cowboys of the Cross

What's happening this week at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo has huge ramifications for Christians in the rodeo and bull riding industry and without a careful response (and there NEEDS to be a response), we've taken a giant leap toward the elimination of public prayer from the industries. This is much bigger than people's outrage over a Muslim prayer or blessing at an event.

The issue went viral Wednesday in the rodeo community but came to attention Sunday night when an imam in Fort Worth gave a blessing over the cowboys and event.

“We were at a point where I didn't want to eliminate prayer at a rodeo,” said Forth Worth Stock Show and Rodeo President and General Manager Brad Barnes in a phone call to Cowboys of the Cross on Wednesday afternoon. “This was a way to try to be inclusive.”

Recognizing people come to the show from around the world and different cultures, several months ago, the livestock show formed an inter-faith committee based on the Fort Worth Mayor's Faith Cabinet and included members of evangelical churches as well as a rabbi and an imam that Mr. Barnes said has a long and respected history in the Fort Worth community.

“The imam provided a blessing of the cowboys, the animals and all the participants,” said Mr. Barnes. “There was never any mention of Allah.”

Each night a different speaker representing different members of the committee has and will be giving a blessing including the rabbi. He said the imam will not be speaking again with a different person giving the blessing at the start of the event each night. The Worlds Original Indoor Rodeo is one of many events as part of the Show and started Jan. 23, running through Feb. 7.

It's important to understand, cowboy church still takes place at the event but equally important to understand that public Christian prayer was eliminated from the event's opening.

The imam's blessing has been defined as a Muslim prayer in place of a Christian one across social media but each person is asked to give a more generic blessing of the contestants, animals and event.

This has caused an uproar across the rodeo community and a need for us to think very carefully about what this means and how, as Christians, we need to respond to it.

Anger and hatred toward Muslims is not helping.

“The hate speech, it exposes certain prejudices you'd hope not to see among our constituents,” said Jim Bainbridge, senior public relations coordinator with the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association.

He spent part of the day Wednesday monitoring the kinds of comments being seen across social media at the PRCA-sanctioned event while urging and waiting for a response from the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo's communications department.

At the time he spoke with Cowboys of the Cross Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Bainbridge had not had a response from the Show on his inquiry into what he was hearing at the PRCA office and how prayer was being handled at the event.

Whether or not a Muslim prayer or blessing was given at the start of Sunday's performance, the rodeo community MUST see the bigger picture: the Fort Worth Livestock Show and Rodeo decided to adopt a politically correct approach without any pressure for change that eliminated the traditional Christian prayer.

It would be one thing if the tradition of prayer was honored while adding a blessing from different faiths but, and this is key, inclusion came at the expense of accepted and honored tradition and the predominantly Christian faith of the contestants and even the spectators.

Our response can't be to go on the offensive against Muslims. It has to be directed away from the noise and commotion of social media and directly toward the FWSSR and the PRCA commissioners.

Remember when a couple years ago, social media told us the PRCA removed prayer from the NFR when it turned out they never had it at the event since it had been moved to Las Vegas years ago? But when contestants met with the PRCA about it, they actually added prayer to the event.

However, there are a few producers out there already who have decided to remove prayer from their events in the interests of political correctness.

If we don't handle this situation correctly and take it away from social media and direct it with professionalism toward the FWSSR and PRCA and any other producer who is removing prayer, the ugliness, anger and hatred we're showing simply makes the easier choice for the PRCA to work to remove prayer completely from events so that it simply doesn't have to deal with this kind of controversy anymore. We lose it all, Christian prayer and Muslim blessings, in the interests of not offending anyone.

 It's not a lost cause but we can certainly lose this battle if we don't direct our attention in the right direction, the right way. Not by attacking other beliefs, but by supporting our own. We have to help them understand that Christianity doesn't have to be seen as offensive and that while a few may react that way, the average person is willing to respect others' beliefs and, even as an atheist, simply stand during prayer out of respect for others. We're generally willing to do that as a society but two things are happening. First, when the FWSSR decides to make an issue out of prayer possibly offending people, it sends a message out there to others that, well, just maybe they should be offended by the Christian faith. Non-believers that would have otherwise, simply respected or, at worse ignored, the prayer, now have the idea reinforced that there is something wrong with it. The other is that we're showing personal hatred to others instead of Christ, by how we choose to condemn other beliefs through social media rather than putting that energy toward helping others understand why it's as significant to have Christian prayer open a rodeo as it is to have the national anthem sung.

One of the biggest mistakes the FWSSR made in this was adopting a city government's politically correct approach into its private event. The threw gas on the fire by having a Muslim blessing given on a Sunday.

We have to help them understand that there is nothing wrong with asking people of other beliefs to simply respect those of the rodeo community. When you come to a rodeo or bull riding, you come to be immersed in a different culture than your own and Christianity just happens to be a part of the rodeo experience. A few will be loud in their opposition to 'enduring' a prayer but the silent majority either support or embrace its presence.

 But remember, not every cowboy or cowgirl is a Christian, either. They also have to be asked to be understanding of this history and common belief found in the sport and we have work to do to convince them that it's not politically incorrect for us to pray in public.

 The FWSSR is willing to listen to concerns.

 They can be sent online at http://www.fwssr.com/?page_id=512 or they can be called at 817-877-2400

 “We appreciate people giving their opinion. It's the only way we can get better. All these comments will be reviewed,” said Mr. Barnes.



 

What happened in Fort Worth Jan. 25 affects us all

Part 1 of 2