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Your Christian Cowboy Resource


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

I always thought I'd be married with a couple kids in their teens by now. Yes, I'm that old. But ministry destabilized my life enough that even now, I don't have solid roots to provide the foundation a family would need. Especially to care for them in a Biblical way.

That's why it troubled me so much when a little girl  with ties to the rodeo community was murdered a little over a year ago. She was born into a rodeo and bar crowd known for how much everyone sleeps around with everyone and how everyone is someone else's ex or baby momma or daddy. The same can be found  coming out of  many weekly rodeo and bull riding events with a local bar that everyone hangs out at after. It’s a normal part of rodeo culture but it leads to some pretty big obstacles to those cowboys following the Christian faith. Many of the relationships out of these bar crowds come with baggage, drama and even hatred for others tied into it all.

It’s often a complicated mess in this cycle of damaging, and ultimately sinful, relationships.

The mother of the child who was murdered was pregnant again and this time, there were three possible fathers, the father of the child, the boyfriend who committed the murder or a third guy who, if I remember right, turned out to be the father. The mom was in prison awaiting her own trial over the death when the paternity was determined.

I found myself angry over the situation and frustrated with my own. I wish I had the chance to be a dad but because of these disastrous relationships, a little girl was dead. I shared the story in a prayer request after a bull rider messaged me about the need to pray while the girl while she was still on life support. When she died, many parents on that prayer chain grieved. As someone who wishes he could be a dad, I grieved too.

The mom, charged with involuntary manslaughter, was one of eight siblings from a couple who were never married and gave custody of her to her grandmother.

“It wasn’t just one bad choice, it was a series of bad choices,” said the judge who sentenced the mom to prison after her guilty plea.

The relationship choices this young woman made are similar to the ones being made by many young cowboys when they look for or find relationships in the weekly bar crowd. There's this seemingly endless cycle of breakups and drama that, while they seldom lead to something as extreme as murder, they have the same unbiblical foundations of sin that led to that young girls death.

The same.

Whether or not it's the weekly bar scene, we know the number of successful relationships in rodeo are outnumbered by the struggles and breakups. We all know many single dads. Some who work hard and are amazing fathers to their children when they can see them. Some who are not in their lives by their choice or the mother's.

It's easy to feel like this is judgmental or to be defensive but that's not what this is about. We're just asking ourselves to be honest about the circumstances many of us find ourselves in. If you identify as a Christian, we're about to bring you a series we’ll hope you follow closely that God could use to change your life. Out goal is to give you at least some of the building blocks you need for a better chance at forming successful relationships—relationships that lead to marriage and children whose parents are growing closer to God and are ready to raise their family to know Jesus.

It’s not that Christians relationships are easy but when they are built on faith between a man and a woman who love Christ more than themselves, they can overcome any challenge.

Most cowboys and bull riders identify themselves as Christians. If that is true, it is our hope and prayer that you will see this as something to help you and see it as something you want to pursue—a relationship built to honor God and one that will see children coming from strong homes built on a Biblical foundation.


PART 1

Unequally yoked

relationships

hold back

who you could become

 in Jesus Christ

By Josh McCarthy/Cowboys of the Cross

2 Corinthians 6:14 (ESV) 14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?

When we read this passage a safe start is to look at who Paul (the writer of 2nd Corinthians) is addressing in this part of the book. From reading this we know he is specifically talking to Christians and how they should live.

While this passage goes into more then dating and marriage by looking at Paul's example of being yoked together it can be understood as part of his meaning. While thinking of this warning of being unequally yoked, to understand what he means, imagine the wagon trains in the old west. Let’s say you had a wagon being pulled by two horses, one strong and willing while the other was stubborn and not wanting to budge, it wont take long before that wagon comes to a halt and is in ruins.

Paul uses this example to relate to his audience and show how much of a bad idea it is to be unequally yoked to a non Christian who can hold back the believer from moving forward in his faith like a a weaker horse holds back the stronger one leading the wagon train.

To further this point I can personally attest to the truth in this verse. Before God saved me I was dating a non Christian. Things were going well but certain aspects of our relationship did not follow God’s plan or honor Him. The summer I became a Christian, things started to change in my life except for my dating relationship. I thought I was smarter then God and didn't need to follow His guidance in that area of my life. Instead of leading the relationship and talking to my girlfriend about it and possible changes needing to be made,  I was passive and ignored it for awhile until one day, my girlfriend ended it  for her own, non-Biblical reasons. I thought things were going well, so it came as a shock to me, but looking back on it, I see God's hand and protection on ending the relationship that I wouldn't take the steps to end.

Instead of letting me settle for momentary shallow happiness by continuing an unhealthy relationship, God stepped in and I'm thankful He did. I was being pulled away from my relationship with Him; the one thing we are created for and the only thing that brings full and lasting joy. God wasn't robbing me of anything or being a killjoy by taking that away. He knew where it was going and saved me from more pain then the minor pain I experienced by being broken up. Finding the right person to marry and grow old with is a good and right pursuit but if you're a Christian, don't try to force a relationship with a non Christian. If both people aren't pursuing God and helping each other in that goal it's a lot like those two horses we talked about earlier. In relationships as well as all things in life remember there is a way that seems right to a man but in the end, leads to death but God's way leads to life and fullness of joy.

Sinful relationships lead to death,

both physically here and spiritually in hell

Introduction