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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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What we say to each other matters, even to those we don’t like

Help Keep us on the road

By Scott Hilgendorff/Cowboys of the Cross

Name calling (and I'm guilty of it too) isn't okay in any way, but we also have to get over being offended every time it happens or someone disagrees with us.

The current election seems to be worse than most when it comes to personal attacks from the candidates. Donald Trump makes some pretty harsh statements and he’s been accused of calling a former beauty pageant winner, Miss Piggy while Hillary herself referred to thousands of people as ‘deplorables’.  But it’s about so much more than saying ‘mean’ words.

At the rodeo or bull ridings, we all have someone we like less than others. Somone will eventually cross us or tick us off and we’ll develop bad feelings toward that person. While Jesus commands us to love one another, we don’t have to be in relationship with each other, but that doesn’t give us permission to run each other down

However, we're going to fail at this sometimes, maybe often, but this is what Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:29 and it would make a difference in everything from this current round of protests to candidates' speeches to the grocery store line: "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

That’s pretty straightforward. Say things that encourage and motivate. Especially say things that show Christ to others and point them toward saving faith in Jesus.

But for those of us on the receiving end of insults and bad attitudes, we have to think about how we respond as well. The culture has gone to extremes where even differing opinions become a reason to be offended.

Proverbs 19:11 would help us eliminate the perceived need for 'safe spaces' on college campuses and for all the anger we express toward people we disagree with these days. "Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense."

Both of these verses, put into practice together could actually bring about an end to political correctness

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

Click HERE to learn about our #CowboysForCops initiative

By Josh McCarthy /Cowboys of the Cross     

Galatians 3:26-28 (ESV) 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of  you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

There's no denying that where you come from can say alot about a person. North or South East or West, City or Country. Most people will have assumptions of people just by hearing what state or town they're from; some good some not so good, some accurate simply based on culture and common sense, some based on arrogance and bigotry.

In this day and age it doesn't take long to notice the separation of people which seems to be getting worse and worse. In the rodeo and ranching world it's no different. You have roughies v.s. timies or cowpunchers v.s. Buckaroos.  I rode saddle broncs for three years before moving on to work on a ranch so I'm not saying there's anything wrong with having a good sense of humor and joking with friends about "who’s better" with such things. But real bigotry that makes a person think because of what they do or other distinctions that they are so much better then someone else is just wrong and is talked about numerous times in the Bible.

I know when I was rodeoing, we had assumptions about calf ropers, "city folk" or people who didn't associate with the cowboy culture. I had a sense of arrogance and tore people down because they weren't "cool" like us rodeo guys and I wanted to be known more as a rodeo cowboy than a Christian.

This passage of scripture in Galatians, Paul is writing about the Church and how God sees it. The nationality, culture or even church  denomination of a person doesn't elevate or lower their position in God's family. All need Christ regardless of such things and if someone is a believer in Christ that person is part of the universal Church which includes all Christians around the world and throughout history. Now if that's how God sees the Church and we are called to be like Christ, then that's how we should see it. We aren't all called to dress and act alike, or even speak the same language, and in Christ we can enjoy our distinct cultures like we see in Revelations 7:9-10 9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,10 and crying out with a loud voice,“Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”.

This part of scripture shows us a future picture of the Church worshiping God when He comes again to make all things new. But in this day and age we are called to be Christians first and call fellow Christians our brothers and sisters regardless of race, ethnicity,social background,social status and culture.

Through Christ, we can still be united by our differences

Scott Hilgendorff/Cowboys of the Cross  

 How close the election race was in so many states shows clearly something we all already understand: just how divided we are in the United States.

It's muddier in Canada where conservatism has shifted more to the middle. But while the election has faced us with so many illustrations of how we’re divided, let's look to Christ.

Sharing the gospel in a country where "half" the people reject the conservative views the Bible upholds will still be difficult and continue to grow harder even under more conservative leadership. The progressive liberal movement will still work to punish outspoken Christians and pressure will continue to grow for us to keep our faith to ourselves.

But the need to tell others who Jesus is remains the same.

For those Christians who see Donald Trump as God answering your prayers, what are you going to do with your understanding of the Great Commission: the command from Jesus to not only tell others about Him but to teach and disciple others? Have you ever told anyone about Christ? Have you sat down and examined where you're truly at with your own understanding of what it means to be saved? You have the president you want to lead you but is Jesus first in your life? Do you understand what it means for Him to be the Lord of your life?

These are important questions. Many of us know who God and Jesus are but many of us, even professing to be Christians, do not know how to answer these questions. How then, can we face the growing challenges of telling others about Jesus until we really know Him and have been made new through a saving faith in Christ? (If you're wrestling with this, message me and let's talk.)

While protests against Trump continue as the writing of this and we begin to show our own anger toward them, let's get on the same page together, love each other and value others over ourselves the way Christ, the King of Kings (above all presidents and world leaders) looked out for us and our needs.

Philippians 2: 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, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God,did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;7 rather, he made himself nothingby taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

         Sometimes we often loose sight of what our testimony is. For me, it wasn’t just being saved but everything God has brought me through and the grace He has extended to me.          When I was seven or eight, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. As a kid a grew up in church and at the age of 15 I announced my call to preach. Shortly after, my mother and father divorced and my family was torn apart.

          We all quit goin to church. I didn't go to church much of my high school years. After I graduated, I went on to college where had started going to parties. Before I knew it that was what my life became about.

            In 2009 God had changed my life for good, He blessed me with a beautiful baby boy. That made me think about the kind of example and role model that I was gonna be for my son. So I started going back to church and living for God, I started preaching and doing what God would have me do because that's what I wanted me son to grow up to do; doing what God would have him do. But a year and a half after he was born, his mom  and I split up and she stopped letting me see him.

          I got mad at God and blamed Him,  as she kept my son away from me for two years. I didn't get to talk to him or even know how he was doing. She had moved and changed her phone number and I  had no way to contact her to even ask about my son.

Well here I am six years later with the most amazing family anyone could ask for. I have a beautiful wife and two very beautiful daughters now, and on the verge of getting full custody of my son. I'm going back to church and I'm stronger and closer than I have ever been. Preaching His word and living for him. God showed me that things happen for a reason. My brother is kinda going threw the same thing as I had already been through and I can now be there to him through it.

I can't thank God enough for all he has done for me most of all saving me from a place called hell by sacrificing His one and only son to die for me. Just wanna say thanks to Scott Hilgendorff for doing what he does through Cowboys of the Cross, and helping lead me back to the right path.

Alan R. Burt, Defiance, Ohio


Divided we fall, on the gospel we stand

              My name is Alan R. Burt. I’m 33 years old and live in Defiance, Ohio.

I came to Christ at a very young age, around seven years old. I remember hearing the gosple after a church youth program Thursday night somtime in the wintertime. I sought out one of the leaders and asked about the messege I heard and was asked if I wanted follow Jesus based on what I heard.

I prayed to God and He saved me and I knew there was a change in my life from that moment on. I grew up in Carson City, Michigan going to First Baptist Chruch.

After high school in 2002, I attended Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids Michigan where I studied and majored in Bible. I graduated in 2007. After college I became very interested in horses and took lessons on how to ride. I also began to find a great deal of people who were or had been involved in rodeo. I began riding bulls in 2009 and had to quit for various reasons three years later. I still love rodeos and love riding horses and actually worked for a horse trainer for two years while living in the Adrian Michigan area where I learned a great deal about how to care form then. I had to quit that life as I have been moving around and following full time work.

But God has been faithful to bless me woth work of some kind no matter where I've ended up. Currently I work at Arps Dairy in Defiance running the press that pasteurizes soft serve icecream mix. I attend Kings Cross Chruch in Defiance and love the small community of believers there. My aspiration and prayer is to eventually become a pastor myself of a local church but God has always been faithful to me in my prayers to Him so I keep holding on to that hope.

My desire to become a pastor was born out of a renewed love for God’s word when I was in the eighth grade. I decided that in july I would sit down and read through the Bible by the end of the year. For whatever reason that I cant’t describe, I wanted nothing more than to study the Bible, teach it to others and minister to folks using it in anyway I can through the local church for the rest of my life. All I can say is that it became a supernatural desire that God has never let me forget.

Currently He is answering another long time prayer of mine where I could unite my love of equine and love of the gospel. My life has had quite alot of ups and downs but God has always beem faithful to me in whatever situation I find myself  in.  I am excited about the opportunity to serve Him through the ministry, Cowboys of the Cross, where I will be leading cowboy church at some bull ridings and rodeos in Ohio including a weekly winter bull riding in VanWert.

Alan R. Burt, Defiance, Ohio


Friends, we have $7,000 to raise toward our $25,000 budget to keep this ministry on the road another year. Please click the “support” link to learn more about us and how to help. Just 14 people able to give or raise $500 through their friends gets us there. Please prayerfully consider partnering with us.