Lets give Thanks!!
Lets give Thanks!!
It has been 4 years since we started to build the Just As I Am Cowboy Church building and what a wonderful time we have had doing it. But it feels equally as good to know that we are getting close to the end of construction. Jus recently we had a new floor installed and thought it would be nice to let you folks take a look at it. The Just As I Am Cowboy Church was completed without borrowing any money, thank you Lord. If you would like to see just click this LINK and watch the video.
24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
9 And he said unto me, my grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8 Yea doubtless and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
35 And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, if any man desires to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.
12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
Only in total submission to God can we find victory. Victory is not ours to win but it is His who lives in us. Choose today God’s formula for victory. Surrender your heart and life to God and find the peace and joy that only God can give.
If God is in control of everything, why do bad things happen to us? I’d like to believe in God, but I just can’t understand this.
I’ve been asked numerous times why God allows evil to take place, and I have to tell you truthfully that I do not know the answer—not fully. The Bible talks about “the mystery of iniquity” (2 Thessalonians 2:7) “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way”.—and that’s what evil is: a mystery.
But let me tell you three very important facts about evil that might help you. First, the Bible tells us that evil does not come from God, nor can we blame God for all the evils in the world. Evil comes from Satan, and it entered this world when Satan deceived Adam and Eve and caused them to turn against God. Both evil and Satan are real, and the two go hand-in-hand.
Second, the Bible tells us that someday all evil will be banished. The vast spiritual conflict between Satan and God that has raged from the beginning of time will be over, and God will be triumphant. Someday all evil will be cast “into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41) “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:”
Third, the Bible tells us that in the meantime, God can give us victory over evil. This doesn’t mean bad things will never happen to us—but even when they do, we can know God is with us, and He will give us strength to stand against them. Isn’t it better to face life’s problems with God rather than without Him? No, we may not understand everything that happens to us—but when we know Christ, we know we are on the winning side. Why not commit your life to Him today?
Is unity among Christians possible?
Is it the intention that Christians be divided into so many churches and denominations?
Is there something you and I can do about this lack of unity?
How did the first Christian church begin?
The Bible tells us how it all began, how Jesus explained the requirements for being a disciple to everyone who wanted to follow Him: Be willing to give up everything, hate your own life, take up your cross daily, and do not do your own will. As long as He was on earth, He prayed for His disciples, and He kept the unity between them. Even then, there was already a danger of divisions, for example when the question came up about who among them was the greatest.
Just before His death, Jesus prayed, “Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.” (John 17:11)
Later, men like Paul fought and prayed for unity among the first Christians. In his letters to the first churches, He exhorted them to be one and to love one another. To the Corinthians with all of their problems, he wrote, for example, “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” (1 Corinthians 1:10).
To the church in Ephesus, Paul explained that all Christians are as one body. Jesus Christ is the Head, and the desire of each member is to do what He says. Therefore, all Christians, brothers and sisters, are tightly knit together in a group, bound to each other and to the Head in love.
After a short time in the first Christian church…
Divisions among individuals, conflicts about knowledge and doctrines, favoritism, giving into bitterness, jealously and honor-seeking – indeed, all of these things, ever since the time of the first Christian church, have contributed to destroying unity. Instead of striving and praying to reestablish and preserve unity, nearly everyone has grown accustomed to all of these divisions. It has become firmly entrenched and established. True, from time to time ecumenical meetings are held; but afterward, everyone returns to his or her own church or assembly.
Most Christians accept that this is just the way things are. Perhaps they hope that all the different denominations might be unified later all of a sudden, in heaven. Quite simply, they no longer believe that it is possible to end all the disagreements, splits, and factions between true disciples here on earth. The reason for all of the factions is sin in all its manifestations: favoritism, envy, pride, and intolerance.
Can you or I do anything about these divisions?
During the time of the first Christians, this unity began in the small things. The few people who wanted to live wholeheartedly for Jesus had to learn to pray for each other, love one another, forgive and bear with one another. They had to learn not to cling to their own opinions and understanding, but instead, together, to seek light and wisdom from God and the Bible. From there, the little church could continue to grow. However, as soon as they stopped striving for unity, all sorts of churches, denominations, and movements gradually developed.
But you and I in our own places can begin by keeping to what Jesus said to the first disciples: Be willing to give up everything and hate your own life; take up your cross daily, and do not do your own will. We can pray for and search for fellow Christians who also long to live as Christians in that way. Because it’s true unity is also possible among disciples in our time.
As Jesus faced the cross his fervent prayer for his followers was that “they may be one” (John 17:22). And at the birth of the church, God’s love was poured out by the Holy Spirit, creating a unity of heart and mind among the early believers that led them to share deeply in each other’s joys and sorrows. Since, however, these new converts came from different backgrounds, the social and linguistic divisions between the Hebraists and Hellenists very early threatened to disturb the fellowship of the Jerusalem Church (Acts 6). Fortunately, the apostles found a way to overcome this threat to the unity of the infant Christian community.
An even greater threat to the unity of the church was the influx of Gentile converts as a result of the mission activity of Paul and other evangelists in the Hellenistic world. Although both Jewish and Gentile Christians had the same Spirit, their backgrounds were so diverse that tensions were inevitable. At a conference in Jerusalem, they were able to agree on a feasible arrangement, the Jews would not demand circumcision of the Gentile converts, and the Gentiles would respect Jewish scruples (Acts 15:29).
A high respect for the individual believer, however, did not mean that every member of the church could believe as he or she wished, or live as they liked. There were basic doctrines to which every believer subscribed. The creedal formula in (Ephesians 4:4-6) would illustrate this: “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all. . . .” If one did not adhere to what Paul called “truth of the Gospel” (Gal. 2), one could not properly call oneself a Christian. If one did not adhere to “the pattern of sound teaching,” but “swerved from the truth,” one forfeited the right to membership in Christ’s body.
In deportment, also, the apostles expected members of the church to adhere to a core of ethical principles. Several times Paul reminded his readers, “this is the way we do it in all the churches.” His lists of virtues and vices were designed to create a unity in the ethical practices of the members of the church.
This basic unity in faith and practice, however, did not do away with individual differences or squelch independent thought. Nor did the local assemblies of believers all look alike in every respect. Moreover, the picture of the church at the end of the Apostolic Age is in some respects different from the church in Jerusalem in its infancy.
The New Testament bears ample witness to the centrifugal tendencies in apostolic Christianity: we have only to think of the tensions between Jewish and Gentile Christians, between legalists and libertarians, between the rank and file who were content with the “simple gospel” and the spiritual elite who preferred what they imagined to be more advanced teaching. But it bears ample witness also to the centripetal forces which kept churches and Christians together, and the greatest of these was love.
Also, following the Apostolic Age, the church was often wracked by doctrinal dissension. Sometimes subversive movements, at other times renewal movements, threatened to divide the established church. And after the persecutions ceased, the church was divided on the matter of dealing with those who had compromised their faith under pressure.
With the development of the papacy quite a different kind of unity was imposed on the church, although the Greek East and the Latin West split apart—a division that remains to this day. During the Middle Ages dissent was frowned upon and frequently suppressed rather harshly. Yet with the Reformers of the sixteenth century the unity of the Western Church was shattered, and we have the beginning of what we know today as denominations. Often in fierce conflict with each other, the various church bodies (some of them national churches) hammered out their theology. Since then the Lutherans, the Reformed, the Anglicans, the Baptists and others have gone more or less independent paths (often splitting into smaller sub-groups). Anabaptists, too, have had their divisions.
What shall we do in the face of all these differences in the Body of Christ-differences in doctrine, in ethics, in worship, in church order, in denominational structure, in mission? Like it or not, we will have to live with these differences for the time being. Perhaps “denominations” are not the greatest scandal of Christianity, but “denominationalism” surely is: it is that blindness which prevents us from seeing the grace of God at work in other denominations, that arrogance which holds that one’s own church is God’s favorite, that exclusiveness which doubts whether Christians in other denominations are truly “born again.” As long as we have to live side by side with other church bodies, we should find ways and means of demonstrating our unity with all those who have put their trust in the Christ we seek to follow. Instead of fighting each other, we should demonstrate the love of Christ to all those who hope to be saved by the grace of God just as we do.
All of us, however, have to decide which church we want to identify with in doctrine, practice, and mission. As a rule, loyalty to one’s own denomination makes a person strong enough to transcend denominationalism and to appreciate what God is doing in other branches of Christianity. To know wherein and why we differ from other church bodies, to know our “distinctive,” does not by itself fuel denominational pride. Rather it makes us free to share these insights with others.
1) THEY ARE LED WELL.
Healthy churches develop healthy church leaders. Pastors committed to church health equip people rather than trying to do it all ( Eph 4).
2) THEY ARE ORGANIZED AROUND SYSTEMS THAT FREE PEOPLE TO USE THEIR GIFTS.
If people aren’t given ways to use their gifts, their gifts atrophy. They turn into bystanders. They begin expecting the pastors or other professionals to “do all the ministry.” Create systems that unleash the God-given potential your people have.
3) THEY ARE VISION CENTERED.
A healthy church communicates and lives out vision. Be careful vision isn’t simply talked. Make sure it is lived out, inspiring, and so big that it cannot be done without God’s help.
4) THE PREACHING IS PRACTICAL.
If your preaching doesn’t connect to people’s lives, it will undoubtedly have little impact. Make preaching practical, help people to live differently, simply, and be clear.
5) THE PREACHING IS GOSPEL-CENTERED.
In an effort to make preaching practical, some pastors lose sight of the Gospel. Remind your people that their salvation is not merited but a gift from God.
Which of these areas do you need to work on to create a healthy church that impacts it’s community? Pick one and take action.
The church is now offering to pick up those who need a ride from Paris to the church. The church now has a 17 passenger van ready to pick those who would like to go to church from paris and surrounding community. The number to call or text; 573-819-5095 or email email@example.com. The van will be running on most church services and functions. Please call or text the number above or email the above address.
The Cowboy Church movement, a little over 40 years old, began as a ministry to rodeo cowboys and related workers but has since expanded to thousands of people who enjoy the lifestyle of the American West.
Glenn Smith (1935-2010), a pioneer of the movement, had competed as a rodeo cowboy himself and had also worked as a rodeo clown. When he started his ministry in the early 1970s, rodeo life had a well-earned reputation for being rough and rowdy.
“In the years I was competing, it was understood that if you didn’t drink, cuss, chase women, and fight, you were not accepted. I figured this was still the attitude, in general, and in 1973 I was right. It has changed drastically since then,” Smith said in his book Apostle, Cowboy Style.
Pulling a camping trailer behind his truck, Smith began to follow the rodeo circuit, witnessing to anyone who would listen. Smith was ordained to full time ministry, and his wife Ann joined him on the road. They conducted informal Christian services in barns, arenas, metal buildings, and on ranches.
The goal from the start was to reach unchurched people who would not attend a conventional church or who had walked away, hurt by some judgmental aspect of it.
To make cowboy church more welcoming, Smith imposed a few simple rules. It was always “come as you are,” with attendees received in jeans, boots, cowboy hats and work clothes.
There was no collection or altar call. Meetings were held in nonthreatening western settings, not churches. In those years, cowboy churches were nondenominational.
In 1986, world champion calf roper Jeff Copenhaver began having regular Cowboy Church at Billy Bob’s Texas bar in Fort Worth. This marked the first Cowboy Church in a permanent location.
After two years he and his wife Sherry moved services to an old auction barn then the Stockyards Hotel.
Copenhaver notes that the second permanent Cowboy Church started in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, then a third in Nashville, Tennessee.
Seeing the popularity of the early cowboy church movement, the Baptist General Convention of Texas encouraged its churches to sponsor cowboy churches in their cities.
One of the largest of those is the Cowboy Church of Ellis County (CCEC), sponsored by the First Baptist Church of Wexahachie, Texas. CCEC was founded by Ron Nolen in 2000. Gary Morgan has served as pastor for the past several years, seeing the church grow to more than 1,700 members.
Just as CCEC’s services aren’t traditional, neither are its weeknight events. Some of the members take advantage of a riding arena after Sunday services. Tuesday evenings are devoted to barrel racing and Wednesdays feature team roping events. Thursday nights find local high school boys trying to ride ornery bulls.
Although some have criticized the “niche” aspect of cowboy churches as being too exclusive, Morgan says it’s not just cowboys who attend. Jake McAdams, who wrote his thesis at Stephen F.
Austin State University on the cowboy church movement, discovered attendees are more likely to be factory and oil workers, police officers, government employees, teachers, nurses, and accountants.
Whatever the demographics, removing barriers that keep people from attending church has led to an explosion of cowboy churches across the United States. They can be found in such unlikely spots as Anchorage, Alaska and Whitehall, New York. Registered and unregistered cowboy churches total more than 1,000 across the country.
While many cowboy churches follow Baptist beliefs, others were started by Assemblies of God, Church of the Nazarene, and Methodist denominations.
Church planting figures prominently in the Cowboy Church movement.
“Fifty percent of our cowboy churches have already reproduced themselves,” Charles Higgs, director of the Western Heritage Ministry of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, told Baptistnews.com.
To provide ministerial training and networking, several Cowboy Church associations and fellowships have sprung up. Truett Seminary at Baylor University and Dallas Baptist University offer college-level courses for cowboy church leaders.
Some observers complain that permanent churches are offering cowboy church type meetings that are only thinly disguised traditional services. Despite the fact that the movement has been around 40 years and is still growing, many see it as a fad, another in a long line of casual, come-as-you-are services.
“One thing about the traditional churches is they’re going to have to change if they’re going to survive,” Higgs told National Public Radio. “They’re going to have to go beyond their walls and do church different.”