I was walking through a casino and I heard a woman say, “Todd! Thank you for the video!” I looked and noticed it was the dealer at one of the tables. I extended my hand to greet her, but she said she wasn’t allowed to shake hands behind the table. So, I asked how I knew her. She said that she had just watched a video of me breaking a horse and it was very encouraging to her. She was fighting back the tears. I asked her a few questions and she shared some fears. I offered to pray for her and she said yes. With everyone watching, security on high alert and with eyes wide open, I put my hand on her shoulder and prayed a prayer of repentance and surrender to Jesus. It is in times like this that I am startled by our Father’s goodness and willingness to rescue people.
The following is my account of our time in Vegas:
I survived my 12th PBR world finals’ week in Vegas! It was a week of great victory for myself and many of the men and women in the PBR community. I want to report some great news about real heroes of the faith that still walk the earth today. But first you need to understand the setting. When you get in a place like Vegas, you gain a whole new view of how far man can go in sin. As I drove into the city last week, I saw 4 billboards in a row that advertised a celebration called “seven days of sin.” It was an event that would celebrate all that defiles humans. When we are at the world finals, we are required to attend many events a day that force us to spend the entire week right in the thick of Vegas’ seduction. Nearly everywhere you go, there is some form of advertisement screaming at you to loose your character and give in to satan’s traps. To take it a step further, the vast majority of the thousands of people around you have made great sacrifice to travel to Vegas to partake in the horrific opportunities provided. Ladies that may be proper, respectful school-teacher types at home, turn in to sex-craved maniacs. One man I visited with was in Vegas with his son and 10 of his friends to have a bachelor party. They had been at the strip club all night. Well done, dad! It is a modern time account of Romans Chapter 1:21-32 which says:
“They knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. The result was that their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they became utter fools instead. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people, or birds and animals and snakes.
So God let them go ahead and do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. Instead of believing what they knew was the truth about God, they deliberately chose to believe lies. So they worshiped the things God made, but not the Creator himself, who is to be praised forever. Amen.
That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relationships with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men and as a result, suffered within themselves the penalty they so richly deserved.
When they refused to acknowledge God, He abandoned them to their evil minds and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, fighting, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They are forever inventing new ways of sinning and are disobedient to their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, and are heartless and unforgiving. They are fully aware of God’s death penalty for those who do these things, yet they go right ahead and do them anyway. And, worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.”
Here is the good news: Each morning in Vegas, Wiley Petersen and I hosted a breakfast prayer meeting in our hotel suite. Rather than partying all night and sleeping in, many of the PBR’s young couples would make the time to gather and re-present themselves to Jesus and each other. I had a steady stream of people that came into the room throughout the morning to just visit and get refocused. In addition, we had a booth at the trade show that gave fans an opportunity to learn more about Riding High Ministries and pick up a free Bible and other literature. But best of all, it gave us one on one interaction with hundreds. We were able to pray for needs and give encouragement to many people who don’t have anyone in their lives that can speak the Truth and pray with them. On Saturday, Sheila co-hosted a women’s brunch to honor the wives and give them a special time together. Powerful things happen when women get together in the name of Jesus.
Saturday night we handed out 5,000 copies of our new DVD to fans of the PBR. We wrapped the whole week up with our outreach service Sunday morning at 8:00 am. This year we had special music by Mary James (http://mary-james.com/music.html) Mike Lee opened with an honest word and then asked the entire banquet hall filled with people, believers and non-believers alike, to get on their knees and pray. Wiley, who has spent more than a decade showing his character to the fans of the PBR, also gave a powerful word. I challenged the people to consider the opportunity we have as children of God, to change the world. I challenged the people first to be born again and we had many respond. But then I asked for everyone else to consider whether they needed a personal revival. More than half the people stood. Watch out! Cool things will happen when God’s kids humble themselves and call out to Him to heal their hearts and their land. Remember, all this happened in Vegas, but it won’t stay in Vegas. Early one Sunday morning, in the city of Vegas, 500 people bowed to the King of Kings and yielded their hearts to Him. Mighty men and women of faith walked through a bloody war zone that is filled with walking wounded and brought the Kingdom of light. Thanks for sending us!
Captivated by His Love,
Todd and Leslie