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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 family in South Dakota, led by my grandpa who was the guy who was always first to church. Whether it was Wednesday or Sunday we were first. I graduated from a Christian high school and I have relatives who are pastors and missionaries. Exposed to every aspect of Christinaity. I was saved at an early age in a Baptist

church and was raised in a very strict and religous family; so strict

and religious I think I was 14 when I wanted to go to my first movie ever, “The Great American Cowboy,” and when my grandma caught wind of my wishes she was appaled. “You’re going to hell,” she said. You get the idea of  the beliefs. Maybe I rebelled against all that religion. In 1979, I took the fast track to the wildside, and I dove in head first. I thought since I was raised a cowboy I needed to live that way and for many years following the circuit, I also followed the devil, all the time knowing that’s not the way I should be living.

in 1979 i took

the fast track to the wildside, and i dove in head first. i thought since i

was raised a cowboy i needed to live that way, for many years

following the circuit i also followed the devil, all the time knowing

thats not the way i should be living...but i was a cowboy and thats all

that mattered. that continued on until 1994, when my wife said storm, im

pregnant, and wow... im gonna be a dad...instantly my mortilty was

forefront in my mind....i have to change now and change i dont

think i became perfect that day cause im far from perfect, there isnt a

day goes by that i dont mess up....i sin and fall short of the glory of

god...but now i remind myself daily that im daily walk

changed and i am mindful every day about the way i need to

live.....things were going great or so i thought until 2007 i ran into a big

road block, my wife wanted a see all those years of being

married i thought my only job was to provide my family a good living, so

working full time and announcing 30 to 35 rodeos a year meant i was

gone alot, but my wife and kids were living good...but theres more to

giving your family a good life and i found that out the hard way. all

that i had worked for was gone....and i rebelled...why are you doing this

to me god...that was the question, taking away my marriage my things

my place and my kids. i still dont know why that happened, but my faith

in god alows me to forgive the wrongs and to be optimistic that i will

know the answer someday. so whatever bad you or i have done in our

life...whether we did the wrong or the wrong was done to us...remember

one thing.....god forgives us and others and he does it with open arms, one

thing to remember the thought of wrongs done to us never goes away

but his love for us takes away the pain and makes it easier to cope. as my

moms always reminds me, god has great things in store for each and

every believer....he is not working against us.. even though we as

believers think when bad things happen that he is against us...thats not

god talking thats the devil doing his thing...

Read the full Testimony HERE


New Stories and Devotions every other Thursday


(April 2)

NEW Center Gate Story–Bull rider heading overseas to fight ISIS

NEW–Testimony–Rodeo Announcer Storm Denison shares his story.

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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

Bull rider prepares to go overseas

to fight ISIS with Christian Kurds

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By Scott Hilgendorff/Cowboys of the Cross

James 1:22-25-- But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. ut the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

If there's kiwi in a bag of trail mix, I pick it out. I don't like how it tastes or mixes with the other pieces. A mild allergy to cashews means I pick them out too because too many of them and it gets a little hard to catch my breath.

There's a problem in our culture right now where we want to treat the verses of the Bible like a bag of trail mix, picking out the things that cause a bad reaction in our society or just discarding the verses we want to reject that make it easier to live the way we want to live. We sometimes find a way to use Scripture to justify the sins we want to commit like using pot or having sex with our girlfriend by either rejecting certain verses like I might a dried up foul-tasting piece of kiwi or ignoring the ones that would cause us to change our lives in a way we don't want to change.

James is pretty direct throughout his book of the Bible and it's one of the easiest to understand. If he was talking to cowboys today, he might say it like this: to ignore something you just learned from the Bible is as dumb as going to a rodeo or bull riding school or clinic and sitting on a bull or bronc backwards in the chute at your first rodeo.

We’ve got to follow what

the Bible teaches

By Scott Hilgendorff/Cowboys of the Cross

Watching images of Christians being burned alive in the news, bull rider Branden Ramsey decided he couldn't sit back any longer.

“I have to do something. If we don't stop them over there, we're going to be fighting them here,” said, Ramsey who completed three tours in Iraq before leaving the Army a couple years ago. He researched online how to make connections with forces in Iraq and surrounding countries that are fighting ISIS.

“I've got a lot of experience to offer and am going to help train Kurdish Christians,” said Ramsey who expects to leave in the next couple weeks when his passport arrives.

The details he provided on the passport application prompted visits to himself, friends and family from the FBI verifying he wasn't attempting to leave to fight against the United States.

Ramsey and I connected a couple years ago at a bull riding in  Cincinnati where he came up to me after cowboy church and showed me the tattooed letters he had on his knuckles that spelled out, “forgiven” when he put his fists together.

We've been in touch on-again and off-again through email and seeing each other at bull ridings and he's shared with me his struggles with alcoholism and post traumatic stress disorder both of which he's sought treatment for at different times.

On his tours, Ramsey, said, “I kicked down doors in raids, did route clearance looking for ieds (improvised explosive devices), convoy security, taking people different place and protecting them, foot patrols, pretty much everything.”

Now, the Port Clinton, Ohio bull rider wants to take that experience and help train others in a Christian Kurdish unit in the Middle East or be involved in direct combat, whatever it is that they need him to do.

He sees being able to train and fight for other Christians there as a mission trip and honestly, it makes sense to me as much as I would hate to see him endure any more than he already has in combat situations.

Part of my own call into ministry came through hearing preachers talking about how God would use you through your life experiences and with the people and places God has placed you. For me, rodeo was a natural fit because it was the industry I was working in.

For Ramsey, as frightening or hard as it could be for some of us to understand, this is what he knows and where he believes he can help.

We spoke by phone last week where I felt like I was grilling him a little to understand his reasons for doing this and he truly feels like this is a call from God to be involved and do what he can to help. He said he has been praying about this and asking God to close any doors if this isn't the right thing to do.

Even visits from the FBI have left the door open for him to go and Ramsey said being in countries where alcohol is prohibited, he believes will help his sobriety as well.

Obviously this is something he would appreciate much pray for between issues with alcohol, being sure he's following God, for easy travels in connecting with the unit he would be working with and safety while he is there.

Storm Denison,

Wichita, KS

Rodeo Announcer