I was ‘raised Christian.’

I can’t remember a time before I was 10 years old that I wasn’t a church-goer, though I remember several years of my teens where my family didn’t attend church.

I confessed my sin and my need for Christ when I was eight years old, but I do not think I completely understood what that meant. In my late teens, I turned to partying and heavy drinking. At 21 years old, I started riding bulls.

There was a guy who always prayed over the riders before each event, but for a few weeks he was gone for some reason. When he showed up the next time, I tracked him down and asked if he’d pray over us before the bull riding…he told me to get everyone together behind the bucking chutes.

When we had all gathered, he grabbed me and said, “Go ahead, brother. You’ve got something to say.”

I don’t remember what I said, but I know it was the true beginning of God’s calling on my life.

 A year later, I found myself at a rodeo I had never been to, and when I asked a friend of mine if they had a “cowboy prayer” at this rodeo, he replied, “No.” I told him, “Well, they do now…get the guys together.”

Seven guys met that evening and prayed. Seven guys gave their lives to Christ on one night the following year, and our small group grew to about 50 people every rodeo. In those early years, I continued to drink too much and seek the company of women I didn’t know or care for.

Then God got my attention when before one rodeo I was asked not to lead prayer in the center of the arena because of my actions. I vowed from that moment on my faith would be evident from my actions.

I still live my faith out imperfectly, but I know God directs my steps now, and I do not choose them on my own. Through obedience, God was able to use me to lead dozens of people to his Son, even though I was a poor witness to Christ’s teachings.

My advice to anyone seeking to deepen their walk with Christ is to OBEY! Even small steps of faith can make a way in your life for God to bring others to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Small steps of faith open your heart up to the work of God’s Holy Spirit in your life, that you might no longer be conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of your mind.

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