World Champion Calf Roper
I was raised on a ranch in Post Falls, Idaho. My dad was a two times World Champion Bronc Rider, which was probably the biggest influence I had in getting interested in rodeo.
I won the first rodeo that I competed in for money at Weippe, Idaho when I was 15 years old. Fifty dollars and a belt buckle – that was like winning the National Finals. For 14 years I had an obsession to be the World Champion Calf Roper. In my mind that was the sole answer to everything. I had a big empty place in my life and I thought winning the championship was going to fill it. I did win the World Championship but it didn’t fill my need. I couldn’t believe what an empty feeling I had the night after the awards ceremony. I’d spent 14 years pursuing something which wasn’t an answer to anything but my own ego.
I rodeoed the next 2 years more miserable than ever, not knowing what could fill the gap. In June of 1978, a roper friend of mine, Carl Marino, and his wife, Beverly, told my wife Sherry and I about Jesus Christ. When I was about 14 I had heard about Jesus and wanted to follow Him, but I thought to myself, “I want to rodeo and party and chase around.” I just turned the other way, thinking that I would have to give up too much. Little did I know then that all the real fun and satisfaction in life is in Jesus. That night, Sherry and I went upstairs to our bedroom and knelt at the foot of our bed and told God that we had done it our way long enough, now we wanted Jesus in our hearts, to be our Lord and Savior. One month later we went to Cheyenne where the FCA and Rodeo Cowboy Ministries were having fellowship meetings every night. It was then that we heard about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We both received it with evidence of speaking in tongues just like Jesus said in Mark 16:17.
About 2 months later, when we were back in Ft. Worth, God led us to a church that was having a special 5-day teaching seminar. The teacher was a man named Joe Nay. The last night of the seminar the Spirit of the Lord spoke this inside of me. “If you’re going to learn about Me and find out about all the blessings I have for you, you need to study My Word and cherish the Bible the way you’ve always cherished your rope can.” God knew just how to speak to me to get me to understand. My rope can was a symbol of the god that I had worshipped all my life; now He wanted me to serve Him instead. I decided to do just that. You know, all the time that I was serving a false god no one had any comment. When I made the decision to serve the living God, I heard word back that Jeff had “gone off the deep end.” I thought about that some and then forgot about it.
One day I was driving down the road and it was one of the most definite times the Lord had ever spoken inside me and He said, “My greatest blessings are in the deep end.” Praise the Lord! God has shown us that to be a winner in His eyes, you need to:
1. Receive Jesus as Lord and Savior (Rom. 10:9-10).
2. Receive His power and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).
3. Learn His Word, what’s in His winners manual (Matt. 6:33).
These two scriptures tell us why we need to stay in God’s Word:
2 Timothy 2:15, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.”
Joshua 1:8, “This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it, for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success.” AMP
Jesus is my very meaning of existence, my purpose, my strength, and my Lord and Savior. He can be yours, too.
One of my favorite scriptures is Hebrew 11:6, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”
I want to especially thank the Lord that my dad has given his life to Jesus and is serving Him.
“Yes, happy are those whose God is Jehovah.” Psalm 144:15