Cross Branch Cowboy Church - Pastor's Blog

Even Now...

Last Thursday, a friend and I went to minister to the guys at the Teen Challenge ranch nearby.  I had been accepting questions from the guys, then I'd come back with anwers.  Sometimes we don't get done with a particular question or set of questions.  Such was the nature of our visit on Thursday, preparing to get back to the topic of "What is sin?"  and "How can sin impact me?"  was the only thing on my mind.  But, then we went into praise and worship.  It's interesting how God's voice is easier to hear when you're focused on Him in the first place.  The hard thing is getting our focus placed fully on the Lord; too many things compete for out attention.  Yet, while taking the opportunity to be still, and focus on Him, God directed my mind back to a passage we'd recently hit on during a study on divine healing, John 11 (the resurrection of Lazarus).

One of the key points in the story is the faith exhibited by Martha as she said two little words in verse 22:  "even now".  Even now, though the body stinks and we try to hide it, though the body is dead and a stone is rolled over the point of access, though it seems there is no hope... no hope for the broken relationships... with others... with God... no hope in life.  Yet, there IS hope, for with God all things are possible; and, even now, He speaks life back into the situations we left as hopeless, dead, stinking, and covered up.

Even now, I will praise Him, for nothing is impossible with Him.  He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  He is the RESURRECTION and the LIFE!  You've heard it said, "It ain't over til the fat lady sings" yet I tell you "It ain't over when God's on the scene".  It ain't over and hopeless when Christ Jesus starts speaking words of life!  Put your focus on Him.  Put your confidence in Him.  Put Him in the center of things, and watch as the He restores that which the enemy has tried to destroy.

- Pastor Tim

The Greatest of Christmas Gifts

According to Matthew 2, the wisemen - whether they numbered three or not, who knows - were no doubt late in arriving at the house of the one born King of the Jews.


Note - They did not arrive at the manger scene the night the Christ child was born.  Rather, they arrived at the house where Joseph and Mary had taken up residence.  The best guess of just how late these wise men were... well, anywhere from the 41 days required for completion of the Jewish rituals / ceremonial rites on up to the time Jesus was a couple years old (based on the fact that Herod the Great had male children up to that age executed.


However, when they arrived at the house of the child King, they were bearing gifts described as gold, frankensence, and myrrh.  Although I could go into some detail about these gifts, it is obvious to me that the greatest gift they offered was themselves.  They fell before Him and worshipped.  They opened up their treasures, they opened up their hearts, and bowed before Christ, who was born King (not born to become King).  Christ was, is, and always will be King of Kings and Lord of Lords; He was already King before He came and gave wise men the greatest gift of all, Himself.


As He is the Resurrection and the Life, when wise men such as the apostle Paul fall before Him, and die to their own will... humbly laying down their will for His... making Him King, their Lord... He in turn gives back what we give unto Him.  He offers us life eternal.  Sure, we may shed this fleshly body, but we will live; for true life is found in Christ.  He IS Life!


Hebrews 9:27 says that is appointed unto man once to die, then the judgment.  If we have accepted HIS gift to us, the gift of Life, then we will appear before Christ as His temple, the dwelling place of His Spirit.  However, if anyone has not accepted the free gift of Life, when he appears before Christ, having rejected Him... having rejected Life, he will not at that time be forced to accept the gift of Life.  Rather he will be eternally separated from Life eternally as a matter of his own will and personal choice.  To be separated from Life is essentially death personified.  Yet, Scripture declares that this state of "death" is to exist in a lake of fire, created for the devil and his followers.


If you were to pass on from this life today, where would you spend eternity?


Have you accepted the free gift of Life?


John 3:16 declares that God gave His only begotten Son, that whoever should believe in Him, accepting the free gift of salvation (re: Ephesians 2:8-9), shall have eternal life, and Life eternally.


If you have not accepted the free gift of God, and at this Christmas season would like to receive the greatest gift of all time, simply say the following:  "God, I believe that Jesus Christ, Your Son, came to earth to offer Himself as a free gift, taking upon Himself the penalty for my sin.  I realize my need for you, and ask that you forgive me of my sin and be Lord of my life.  Come into my heart and life, and dwell with me by Your Spirit.  Guide and direct my path, and increase my hunger for Your Word.  I give you my life, and I thank you for eternal life in exchange."


By the way, there are no "magic words" or mystical phrases leading to salvation.  Praying, and accepting the free gift of Life (salvation), is a simple matter of calling upon the Lord.  Scripture says that whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.  It's that simple.  In faith and humility, call out to the Lord, and find the gift of life, and that more abundantly.


- Pastor Tim

This little light of mine... I'm gonna let it shine!


There is an old song I learned as a little rascal in what our church called "Children's Church" that went like this: “This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine... let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!" I sang it, but I didn't always live it out.

The Psalmist declared, “This the day that the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24)!  How often we who claim to be forgiven, washed clean, and covered in the righteousness of Christ Jesus… how often we fail to live each day as if we truly understand, believe, and are thankful for what the Lord has done for us.


I recall an old hymn that said, “Count your blessings, name them one by one… and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”  There’s a lot of truth to that, but this world has taught us – rather well, I might add – that we should look for the negative.  Complain and murmur.  Groan, and when asked how we’re doing, say, “Oh, I guess I’ll make it,” or, “I’m alright” (with just enough inflection that people will know we’re no more excited or better off than they are (and they don’t know Jesus Christ… they may know OF Him, but they don’t KNOW Him).  One must question just how well WE do based on such a pitiful testimony of such an incredible God.


If all we have to doffer others is the same thing they see in everyone else (who is without hope in Christ), then where is our witness?  Where is our confidence?  What are we really focused on?


Psalm 107 starts by saying, “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!  For His mercy endures forever” (COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS), and the Psalm continues with “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, who he has redeemed from the hand of the enemy.”  If you have asked Christ to forgive you of your sins, to come into you your heart, and to be Lord of your life (thereby giving you life, for the life that you once lived was not life in its fullest sense)… you have something to be excited about!cc


According to Psalm 78:40-42, God’s children, the Children of Israel, did NOT remember the day that they were redeemed from the hand of the enemy.  They did NOT remember the day they were delivered from the hand of their adversary.  And, as they exchanged the proper view (a focus on the goodness of their Deliverer) for the same view the rest of the world holds (hopelessness and despair in a life quickly passing), the Psalmist declares they limited God.  How often do we also limit God?  How often do we – His children – who He desires to bless limit His ability to open the windows of heaven and pour down blessings upon us… all because we do not look to Him with thanksgiving, living our lives DAILY remembering the salvation of our Lord, the blessings of being adopted by the One true and living God who loves us and watches over us every moment of the day?!


How many times have we missed divinely appointed opportunities to minister to someone… to witness to someone about the goodness of a merciful God, simply because we did not wake up and reminder ourselves of His goodness, and our incredible position of being a recipient of grace and blessings beyond measure?  Perhaps in part this is why Paul learned to crucify his flesh, and to “die daily” to his will and fleshly tendencies, preferring rather to let the Lord live through Him… being focused on Christ rather than being focused on himself and the things of this world.  May we also remember to declare the goodness of the Lord and crucify our worldly thinking, replacing it with a testimony of praise and declaration of His goodness!  This can happen, our thought patterns will be transformed, and we will be more a more effective tool in the hand of the Master if we will – with intention and determination – place our focus on Christ, the blessings He has placed upon us, and spend time in His word… time in His presence… time seeking His face.


At RRVCC we’ve frequently said, “Relationship is spelled, T-I-M-E.”  This is not only true of human relationships, but also regarding our relationship with the God who created the heavens and the earth, who created each of us (with a plan and purpose for our lives), and who loved each of us so much that He suffered the penalty for our sins that we might be able to find eternal life in and through Him, the Resurrection and the Life!  Praise God, He who the Son sets free is free indeed!  Another old song says, though “I once was lost in sin, Jesus took me in; and then a little light from heaven filled my soul…”, praise God!  May we not cover that light up – or put it out – with the things of this world.  Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men that they might see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven” (Matt. 5:16).



Rodeo Bible Camp 2012


Rodeo Bible Camp 2012 is headin' this way fast!

Its that time of year when our younger folks have finshed STAAR testing and are now trying to get their final exams out of the way.  June is only a couple weeks away, and Rodeo Bible Camp (RBC) will be here before we can count to ten.  Well, before I can count to ten; you're probably faster than I am.  Still, I've found that time flies by quickly.  Scripture says life is like a passing shadow; and again, life is like a fleeting vapor.  So, RBC will be here and gone before you know what happened.

RBC 2012 will bring lots of excitement for all involved.  With world champions and NRF qualifiers as instructors, all campers will receive the best of instruction during the clinic sessions.  With exceptional chapel services during the heat of the day, games and more, Rodeo Bible Camp 2012 is sure to be great for all involved.

Registration for RBC needs to be done by June 1st if possible.  Cost is $195 during regular registration and $245 for late registration (after June 1st).  RRVCC will provide $100 of the RBC cost per camper, which brings the price down to less than $100.  That's a great price!  Where else can you get such a superior clinic, church, and rodeo for under $100?

The events available for campers during the clinic include bull riding, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing, calf and breakaway roping, horsemanship and more!

If you are interested in being either a volunteer worker or a camper... don't delay, let us know as soon as possible.  Again, time will fly by before you know it, and you're likely to get left in the dust as everyone else heads to Montgomery, Texas for RBC 2012.


Here we go!

I am excited to say, "Here we go!"

April 1, 2012, was only a few weeks ago, and it marked the first service of the Red River Valley Cowboy Church, the Cowboy Church in Paris, Texas!  For this I am thankful; not because it is a life-long dream as if it were a business I'd always longed to launch, but it is much better than that.  The start of Red River Valley Cowboy Church in Paris, Texas, is a dream that God had in mind from before the foundation of the world.

"How's that again?"  I know somebody's asking that right now.  Or, perhaps in your mind it went more like this, "Now, just exactly... how do you know that?!"

I am confident that the start of Red River Valley Cowboy Church is something the Good Lord had in mind throughout the ages because in as much as Scripture declares He is the First and the Last, Who always was, is, and always will be, He knows the end from the begining.  Just as you and I were not created without purpose, but as a part of God's plan... Red River Valley Cowboy Church is a part of God's plan; it sure wasn't a part of mine.  He simply shared his plans with us, and we were willing to step out in faith.  After all, what is faith if it isn't present before the confirmation? 

Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith it is impossible to please God.  So, as Abraham went forward and claimed the blessings of the Lord in faith believing in the Word he'd received, so we step forward.  Now, don't say in your mind, "Well, that's fine and dandy, but what's that have to do with me?"  After all, each of us (including you) must learn to step forward in faith.  Without faith in the Word of God there is no life, peace, nor fulfillment.  The problem is that most of us struggle with faith and hearing the Word of God because we don't spend enough time in the Word (the Bible), nor do we pray much more than to toss a petition God's way as we rush here and there to feed the cows, work the horses in the round pen, or get the hay cut and baled.

God's Word declares in Romans 10:17 that faith comes from hearing, and hearing from the word of God.  How can we hear if we are too busy to read his Word, and too busy to stop and listen?

Anyway, I'm glad to know that Red River Valley Cowboy Church is no longer something planned, but something present.  Come join us every Sunday morning at 10:30; we're currently at the Red River Valley Fairgrounds in Paris, Texas.  For more information... check out our homepage (www.rrvcc.com)!

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