Dead to the World

“Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death?  For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.” Romans 6:3-4

Its late here Saturday evening, almost time for bed. Was a somewhat rough day working with the cattle in muddy conditions. But this evening I listened to a sermon on the internet, a subject not talked about all to often in Christian circles and that is the two sides of the coin about pride. Most know about what we’d call puffed up pride, but I ain’t talkin about that tonight. I’ll talk about the other side of the coin, called false humility, which is a form of pride because in all reality as a Christian we are disagreeing with how God sees us. When God looks at a blood bought believer He sees righteousness, He sees the righteousness of Christ because we are washed in the blood. When we call ourselves poor sinners we are throwing out God’s view of ourselves and replacing it with our view, which is pride.

We are dead to that old sinner man in God’s eyes. God does not see it, He sees the Blood. God never stops loving us or looking at us differently from the moment we became Blood bought believers when we were born again. He sees His child! He will never leave us or forsake us. Only we can walk away. And walking away is pride, whether its puffed up pride or if its self condemning pride.

I like old Paul, he gets to the point, he says we are dead, the old man is dead. We are new, new creations in Christ. We don’t have to worry what God thinks of us as long as we remain in Him, and we don’t have to worry what man and the world thinks of us either. That fear of man that cripples so many Christians. And its a hard one to overcome unless we put our faith in the finished work of the cross and what that means in God’s eyes concerning us. And once we get that revelation on who God says we are, bit by bit that fear disappears and we become more like Jesus!

One way to say it is, imagine if I was dead, in the coffin and some folks were talking against me, calling me every name in the book, saying all sorts of things about me that weren’t all that great. I truly wouldn’t give a hoot, why, because I’d be dead. Nothing on this world can affect a dead man, he’s dead. No power, no person, not anything could affect me in the grave, cause I’m deader than a door nail. Tonight it hit me, my old self is in the coffin, he’s dead. No man can hurt me, no talk can affect me, I’m dead to this world in the eyes of God. And I’m not letting pride get in the way and try and bring the old man out of the grave, he’s dead! And I’m alive in the eternal heavenly kingdom!

This is one of the most wonderful truths of the Gospel! To know who we are in Christ. All of a sudden things look different. The fear of man and the world is fading. I always looked forward to preaching the Word before but there was always a fear there. A fear of man. That’s diminishing, and there is only that reverent fear of God. Makes it much easier to get out and preach.

 

 

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Road House

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him.

  Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners.  But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?”

  When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” Matthew 9:9-13

I’m writing this on a Monday evening, its hotter than you know what outside and after a day out there I’m showered up and not going out in that heat again unless there’s an emergency. A good day though, all in all, and yesterday, Sunday, was a day I’ll remember for a long time. Had some church business to attend to in the afternoon which require a few of us from our little country church to travel to a near by city and spend a few hours there. And being the country boy, cowboy at heart type of person I am I had it planned in there to go eat while a fella was near by all those eating establishments. When you live out in the countryside, quite a ways from the city, a fella has to make any trip to town worth it and that’s what I do. But I’ve been itching to try out a place called Texas Road House that I’ve been hearing about allot lately from folks.

Sometimes I wonder how in the world a fella like me can even be considered for ministry and all. Just don’t fit with the regular mold. But when I walked through them doors yesterday into the Road House I was at home! Noisy, peanut shells all over the floor, crowded with a regular folks type of clientel. Now when I’m in a high class restraunt I’m about as uncomfortable as you can get. Here I was relaxed even with the loud country music and hustle and bustle. The waitress durn near had to shout to be heard, instead of some waiter trying to use a fake accent to impress phony people that he was a real high fauluting waiter, but mean while probably goes home and watches All Star Wrestling while drinking a 12 pack of cheap beer. I like real, not fake.

But again, here I am in ministry and I’m more at home in a Road House than some swanky place where the “real ministers” hang out. And the verses above just flowed through me while I was there and afterwords too. And that quiet voice saying, “I died for these folks too.” In my heart its settled, was settled a long time ago really, that the regular folks are my people. I don’t want to put on a fake face and preach fake to people who really don’t care anyhow. I want the underdogs of society. And really they ain’t the underdogs, but it just looks that way the way society is set up nowadays. It seems the underdogs are really he folks that a fella can trust. I know out here in the countryside that is the way it is. Folks give their word and that’s that for that. It ain’t dead, as much as society wants it dead.

I can tell you, at them high class places you won’t see no cowboy folks. But you get to the places where the religious folks look down on and they’re everywhere. Just like in the days of Jesus, and Jesus went into those places and enjoyed Himself. I ain’t saying it, the Bible says it! And who am I to argue with the Bible? Give me the cowboys, give me the ranchers and their families, give me the farmers and anyone else who loves the life out here. Regular folks! People that can understand a sermon about doctoring a calf, about getting hailed out for the year, about high and low cattle prices. Yep, regular folks. I’m looking forward to our next trip to the Road House one of these days!

 

Speak To Them Bones!

 The Lord took hold of me, and I was carried away by the Spirit of the Lord to a valley filled with bones.  He led me all around among the bones that covered the valley floor. They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out. Then he asked me, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?”

   “O Sovereign Lord,” I replied, “you alone know the answer to that.”

  Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord!  This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

  So I spoke this message, just as he told me. Suddenly as I spoke, there was a rattling noise all across the valley. The bones of each body came together and attached themselves as complete skeletons. Then as I watched, muscles and flesh formed over the bones. Then skin formed to cover their bodies, but they still had no breath in them.

 Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to the winds, son of man. Speak a prophetic message and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.’”

 So I spoke the message as he commanded me, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army.

  Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones represent the people of Israel. They are saying, ‘We have become old, dry bones—all hope is gone. Our nation is finished.’  Therefore, prophesy to them and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: O my people, I will open your graves of exile and cause you to rise again. Then I will bring you back to the land of Israel. When this happens, O my people, you will know that I am the Lord.  Ezekiel 37:1-13

Dry bones, nothing but dry bones. It seems like that’s the way it is nowadays. Like a prophet of old a fella sometimes wonders if anyone even cares. If anyone cares about what Jesus did for us, or is it just filling time at church, or no time at all as folks get caught in the hustle and bustle of everyday modern life. Well I had a day off today of sorts, was raining. Did basic cattle chores and that was about it and this afternoon headed to the county seat to get a haircut so I’d look half way presentable next month at the cowboy church service that I’m preaching at near here during a summer event. Figure at least if they botch the job with the haircut it gives it a few weeks to repair itself. At the county seat, and this town only has 7000 folks living there, it was all hustle and bustle and everyone was in a rush. A guy like me notices that because even though I have to rush many times around here with the work, especially in hay making season, I do realize its at a much different level. Its just man against work and most of the time man wins. But there’s none of the hustle and bustle of normal society out on this outfit. A man’s word is still his word, work isn’t a bad word, and God is God and we ain’t.

Seems like everyone got a cell phone growing out of the side of their head so they can’t even relax on the drive home from a hectic day at some job, its all the time hurry, hurry and hurry. Now, I have a cell phone but its about the least used thing I have, but it is handy when there’s a breakdown a couple miles out when I’m in the field. Folks like to stretch the truth allot nowadays too, especially to get what they figure they deserve, which is another thing implanted in folks the last couple of decades or so. Folks look at the government as something that is supposed to support them and get all high and mighty when its suggested that folks can make their own way, again, by a thing called honest labor.

Honesty, integrity, a fella’s word meaning something are all going by the wayside at a rapid pace. Now its just me, me, what can you do for me. Even religion has turned that way and is making the Lord a heavenly vending machine that has no choice but to bless you of all your earthly desires if you so called “speak it and believe it”. The folks that do go to church don’t need much of an excuse to miss to do something “fun”. And so many have turned their backs entirely away from God and are totally immersed in the world system. It doesn’t look all that good anymore from a man’s point of view, no sir it doesn’t.

But God’s ways ain’t our ways and God doesn’t want to lose a single person, the Bible says so. And I figure if it looks impossible, it looks like there’s no hope, like its all going down the tubes all I have to do is read my cattleman’s handbook, (the Bible), and I’m told differently. God can take the impossible and make it possible! That’s what keeps this old cattleman going, knowing that God will tax the furtherest star to bring in more folks into His corral.

Like I said, God’s ways ain’t our ways and that Handbook is very clear He loves us! He ain’t sittin up there waiting to hurl a lightening bolt at us for every goof up we make. I read some where, forget where, that nothing, and I mean nothing pleases God more than when we look to Him with some trust. You look at them oldtimers in the Bible and almost every one of them was a screw up of sorts, always screwing up, failing in so many ways, but God backed em up every time when they cried out to Him. There’s a lesson there I tell you! But back to the dry bones, I get so excited just talkin about Jesus I just keep on yammering. (Nothin wrong with that.)

Can God take an area like where I live and bring it back to life? Yes sir, He can! Of course He does want some solid folks to get out there and do some of the work. Solid, but I didn’t say perfect, cause like I said, them heros in the Bible were sure normal people. Just normal folks that did what they thought was impossible and changed the world. But they were folks that feared the Lord more than man and when you get right down to it, man is nothing compared to God. God can and will use anyone that accepts His call on their life. Use them big, having them do things that would seem totally impossible a short while before. He can bring them old dry bones and bring em right back to life, real life! And He’ll do it in ways that sometimes don’t make sense to regular folks. He’ll even use cowboy preachers, yes He will!

There’s gonna be some bones rattling in this region! The Word gets right into the very marrow! I’m excited to be riding for the brand finally! Excited about preaching the Word like the old circuit riders, like cowboy preachers, to the regular folks and not in a church. Over a year ago I had a vision and I don’t get visions all to often, believe me, and it was about these verses up above and I seen the dry bones in this area waking up, coming to life. But I didn’t know what to do. I knew there was the call but didn’t have the slightest idea where to start. I argued with God a bit, kinda like ol’ Moses when God called him from the burning bush, I was saying I can’t do it but God said don’t worry about the impossible details. He’d take care of em. And over the last several months what was once totally impossible has become possible, nothing of my doing. The right connections, details taken care of that I had not the slightest idea on how to take care of. All is getting set, and my only job is to speak the Word of God in the Valley of Dry Bones!

Rained Out Tonight

This has been a hay makin week up here on the Northern Plains and I finally got shut down early this evening by a welcome rain. Durn near got everything I had down rolled up, so I can’t complain. I’ll start again in a day or two. 

Well, the outfit I wrote about earlier has a web site now, click here, Save the Cowboy. Its in the makins yet and just gets better as time goes on. If your interested in any of these types of ministries give them a holler, or just holler here and I’ll pass it on fer ya.

  • Sale Barn Ministries
  • Circuit Ridin’ Preachers
  • Cowboy Churches
  • Rodeo Ministries (Bullfighter, rough-stock riders, ropers, barrel racers, and rodeo announcers)
  • Ranch Day-workers
  • Chuckwagon Ministries
  • Ranch Rodeo Teams
  • Mounted Shooting
  • Old West re-enactments
  • Photographers
  • Leather workers and Saddle makers
  • Trail Rides
  • Dutch Oven Cooking
  • Musicians and Authors
  • Radio Personalities
  • Horse Trainers and Clinicians
  • Dog Trainers
  • Ranchers
  • Farmers
  • Breeders
  • Whew!!!…..Let’s add your ministry to this list.

From time to time I’ll be posting reminders of this great ministry.