Christian Cowboy Poetry and more

Christian Cowboy Poetry and more
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Thursday, September 30, 2010


Everytime I perform or speak at a gathering, I'm asked if I have a CD of my poetry. That's especially true at Cowboy Churches. I do, but I'm also in the process of editing an audio version of "Ridin' for the Boss and the Brand." It's not the entire book, but I think it makes the point and is broken into fairly short segments that are ideal for listening to while you're on the way to the grocery store or waiting in a parking lot. I mention that because this is one of the poems included in both the book and the CD.


We all see things in a different way.
What’s right or wrong, well, who’s to say?
What’s right for me may not fit you.
There’s really nothing else to do,
but compromise.
I don’t approve of Washington
wasting cash, so what I’ve done
is use a taxing trick or two
to pay far less that what is due.
That’s compromise.
If you don’t like your pay amount
just pad the old expense account.
No one bats an eye because
it’s something everybody does.
They compromise
The Bible says, “Don’t be conformed,
renew your mind and be transformed."
But, Romans twelve seems out of date,
we’re better off if we relate,
by compromise.
Some churches fill up all their pews
with folks who share the same world views.
Their preacher also understands
they’re just suggestions, not commands.
They’ve compromised
And when they see God, face to face,
they’ll just appeal to Holy Grace.
They’ll ask him to ignore their lies
and plead with him through tearful eyes
to compromise.
But, from His Holy Throne He’ll look
and say, “The Way is in the Book,
the key to Heaven is the Christ,
you should have made the sacrifice,
not compromise."

Jeff Hildebrandt © 2008

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Good Ole Days

I don’t know, but it seems to me
that all the popularity
of Western songs and Cowboy rhymes
is ‘cause we long for simpler times,
when folks were free to make their way
without restrictions, like today.
A time when you could ride for days
and never see a city’s haze.
When air was clean and streams were pure
and the strongest smell was cow manure.
A time when every day was spent
not thinkin’ ‘bout the government.
Remember how it used to be?
Folks used to be more neighborly,
when wrong was wrong and right was right
and streets were safe to walk at night.
But now, we lock our doors and pray
we’ll just survive another day.
But there’s one truth that helps us cope.
Despite our troubles, there is hope.
The God who made the earth and sky
is there to help us all get by.
So, we can sing of better times
in Western songs and Cowboy rhymes.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Maze 'N Grace

This is one of those poems that simmered for a long time. I had the title and the concept, but it just wouldn't come together. Maybe its done, maybe not. You'll have to let me know. Maybe you'll think about your choices the next time you see a Halloween maze that kids go thru.

A Maze ‘n Grace

My mind’s a haze. My life’s a maze.
All I see in front of me
are choices.
Turn left, turn right but hid from sight
is where I’ll be, ‘cause all I see
are choices.
Free reign, free will were good until
I found one day I’d lost my way
thru choices.
No matter how much time I’d spend
I wound up facing a dead end.
No way forward, one way out
forcing me to turn about.
Heading back to where I was.
Starting over just because
of my choices.
Free will, free reign just led to pain.
But, up above, God waits with love
No matter what
my choice is
God knew I’d find that peace of mind
I’m looking for if I’d ignore
the choices
If you, like me are lost, can’t see
the forest for that great big tree
called choices.
The path is clear, the map is here.
Kneel down and pray, you’ll find The Way
to clear the haze, escape the maze
and find what you were meant to do.
Stop looking down, don’t look around,
look up instead and you’ll be led
in your choices.

Jeff Hildebrandt © 8/25/2010

Monday, September 27, 2010



A western’s got a hero,
who’s got a special horse.
There’s lots of fights and shoot-em-ups
and the good guys win of course
But, when the bad guy’s got the drop,
and the good guy was in trouble.
Who’s the one who went for help,
and brought it on the double?

Why it’s the trusty sidekick
and it’s a gal dern shame
that no one’s ever opened up
a sidekick hall of fame
to honor guys like Gabby Hayes
and good old Andy Clyde.
Cause a hero’s just a sandwich
if there’s no one by his side.

There’s Nugget Clark and Soapy Jones.
Lullaby and Lasses,
Fuzzy, Frog and Cannonball,
ah-headin’ em off at the passes.
And there were those we’d recognize
before we’d even see ‘em
cause their voice was so distinctive,
we just knew it had to be ‘em.
Smiley Burnett and Chill Wills
come to mind along with
Slim Pickens and Andy Devine.

I tell you those sidekicks were somethin’
and you know, it’s my belief
that somehow we should pay tribute
to those masters of comic relief.
So, doff yer hat and raise yer glass
to the sidekicks of yesterday.
And look to that heavenly round up,
cause, they went that a way.

Jeff Hildebrandt © 1999

Friday, September 24, 2010

Cause and Effect

On the bunkhouse porch I watched these two;
as old Ben Dollar told Pete Purdue
about the troubles he’d had lately
and it appeared to vex him greatly.
Seems an axle broke on the old chuck wagon
and while the rear end was a draggin’
it caused one horse to pull up lame
and then the problems really came.
The wagon tipped, the chuck fell out,
flour and beans were strewn about.
Then the water barrel strap broke loose.
It hit the ground and spilled its juice.
And when it crashed, the noise it made
spooked the horse with the gimpy leg
who started off and then fell down
and lay there kickin’ on the ground.
The boss’s horse slipped in the mud
and sent him tumbling with a thud.
He ripped a hole in his favorite jeans
as he went splat in the flour and beans.
His horse ran off and the air turned blue
as the boss let out a curse or two.
While he stomped in all that waller
he blamed the mess on old Ben Dollar.

Then I heard old Ben ask Pete Purdue
if he’d explain a thing or two.
Said, “I believe in the Father, The Son and The Spirit.
I believe judgement’s coming and don’t really fear it.
I know I’ve been saved by the Blood of The Lamb,
so, why am I having the troubles I am”?
Pete pondered, then held up a book in his hand,
Said believin’ is easy when all goes as planned.
The question’s not why bad luck you’re attractin’
The issue is centered on how you’re reactin’
Faith’s easy to have when you’re well fed and rested
But faith isn’t FAITH until it’s been tested.
Let those with ears hear. Let those with eyes see.
Understanding is found in James One, Two and Three.
You should count it all joy when your life’s black and blue
cause that’s when the Father shows what He can do.
Pete said, “When yer troubled, think this here refrain:
My faith’s like a muscle, no pain and no gain”.
So now when I’m down and don’t know what to do
I think of the lesson from old Pete Purdue
“Let those with ears hear, let those with eyes see,
and follow the truth in James one, two and three”.

Jeff Hildebrandt copyright 2002

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Restoration Hardware

So, I'm walking thru the mall and stop to have a Starbucks. Actually, I stop while Luanne has a skinny vanilla latte. We're sitting across from Restoration Hardware. I get a mental tweak about the words and then....nothing. I wrote down the thought and kept coming back to it wondering what I could do with it. I don't think the rhyme is as important as the fact that now, when you walk past the store, you may be able to use the name as a trigger for witness. "Hey, look at that...I know a guy who...."


Why wonder why the world’s a mess;
Why Jews and Christians are oppressed;
Why everywhere prayer is repressed;
There’s no need to second guess
cause all of that has been addressed.
It’s in the Book.
I find there is a real connection
with those who sought the Lord’s protection
when suffering the world’s rejection.
Just following Divine direction
led to attitude correction.
It’s in the Book.
Reading unlocks revelation
about God’s plan for our salvation
that started prior to creation.
And with the Spirit’s inspiration
you will find there’s restoration.
It’s in the book.
So when you find life hard to bear
go to God in quiet prayer.
Search the scriptures; that is where
the Lord has comfort He will share.
This Restoration…Hardware.
Is The Book.

Jeff Hildebrandt © 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

He's a Cowboy

He’s a Cowboy,
with a hundred years of history
that’s no where near the mystery
and romance on the range the movies show.
He’s like those who rode the Goodnight trail
pushin’ cows from Texas to the rail
when a Cowboy’s Code
was all you had to know.

It’s Courage, Strength and Loyalty,
Good Humor, Trust and Decency.
And when he gave his word,
he wouldn’t fail.
A man who’d face stampedin’ beeves,
wild Indians and cattle thieves,
then swear there weren’t much trouble
on the trail.

He’s a Cowboy

Vaquero blood pumps through his veins
and he is all that now remains
of a breed-a men whose handshake
sealed a deal.
His Stetson’s stained with honest sweat,
his boots are scuffed and you can bet
he ain’t no Urban Cowboy;
he’s for real.

He’s not afraid of workin’ hard
out in the field or his own back yard
and he gives thanks to God
for all His grace
The Cowboy Code says lend a hand
and he does that every time he can
and thanks to him,
this world’s a better place.

He’s a Cowboy.

Jeff Hildebrandt Copyright 1999

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Heed the Call (NRA version)

Several years ago, Western artist, Katie West, asked me to do a poem that would go with one of her paintings titled, "Heed the Call." I did. Since then, I've been able to adapt it to particular circumstances using different Western heroes. This is the latest version. I created it for a National Rifle Association banquet/charity auction on Sept. 11th. I used Charlton Heston as our hero, since he was the long time president of the NRA. The picture in my mind comes from his character in The Big Country.
I was lucky enough to meet Mr. Heston and spend some time with him at his home in L.A. I was impressed with his hospitality and gentleness.


I saw Chuck Heston horseback
in a dream the other night,
wearing six guns and that big brimmed hat.
He was heading for a fight.
It’s not a fight he wanted.
That’s not the case at all.
But when someone was in trouble,
he’d step up to heed the call.

Then I heard the trumpets blowing
midst the sound of shot and shell,
and saw patriots go marching
right up to the gates of hell,
cause when they saw Old Glory,
it inspired them, one and all
to grasp the torch of freedom;
to step up and heed the call.

When I woke up and looked around,
as far as I could see
were people who were ready
to defend our liberty.
Our heroes are not gone, I thought.
That’s not the case at all.
They’re the ones who fight for freedom,
who step up and heed the call.

Jeff Hildebrandt copyright 9/11/2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

By Faith?

Is your church immersed in Stewardship? We've had a number of sermons lately on giving to the cause of Christ. Our pastor makes the point that it is not about giving to this church or that church, but rather, giving so the work of "The Church" can continue around the world. Unfortunately, most of the folks who fill the seats on Sunday just tune out that message. I made the point in my book, "Ridin' for the Boss and the Brand," that our weekly offering should be our response to God's Love, Grace and Generosity toward us. (Not to mention the fact that God clearly expects a tithe).


The church should run on faith, I say.
The church should let God pay it’s way.
Let God inspire each person’s heart
and only then should they take part.

You ask for pledges, but instead
I’ll give each week, as I am lead.
If all I bring’s a buck or two
I guess then, that will have to do.

Cause, the church should run on faith, you see.
Let God support His ministry.
No money, then without a doubt,
God’s saying, cut some programs out.

You want committment, but instead
I have to keep my family fed,
and, the church should run on faith, you see.
What do you mean, the church is me?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Ghost Writers in Disguise

I have heard a number of parody's of famous songs. I've written a few myself, by myself, for myself. If you know the Stan Jones' song, Ghost Riders..then you may be able to hum along as you read the words. If you don't know it, see if you can find it on line, possibly YouTube. You have the rest of the weekend, so no pressure. I picture this taking place in a Beverly Hills Deli where I've seen Larry King and others congregate over breakfast.


A group of writers met one day,
the way they’d met before.
They talked about the books they’d done
and who they’d written for.
One had penned a kiss and tell for
a movie actor’s wife
who told him every detail of
her rather steamy life.
Another one had written for
a former football star,
and several politicians but
he won’t say who they are.
He wrote of things they overcame
as if the words were theirs.
He’s a master of rose coloring
the stories each one shares.
Yippee-yi-ya, Yippee-yi-yo
They’re rolling in ..the dough
Those writers walked on past me
and I heard one make this claim;
If you want to be successful but
avoid the crush of fame
you must not seek the limelight,
write in partial truths and lies
then you can join the group that’s called
Ghost Writers in Disguise.
Yippee-yi-ya, boy does it pay
Ghost Writers in Disguise

Jeff Hildebrandt, copyright 2002

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Your Hat's Not Welcome Here

There is a story making its way around the email trail. And me, not being one to leave well enough alone, turned that parable into a poem. Now that I think about it, this is just how the whole concept of cowboy poetry got started. Think for a moment about a cowboy telling how he was hired to break a really rank Roan. How many times do you think you could listen to that before it got old? Now, think about how many times you’ve sung along to “The Strawberry Roan.” Anyway, I hope you get the point of the story.

Your Hat’s Not Welcome Here

It was a sunny Sunday morning
when a cowboy went to town.
He headed for the nearest church
and quietly sat down.
There was polish on his well worn boots,
his shirt was starched and clean,
he’d brushed the ranch off his hat
and wore his best pressed jeans.
The church was mighty fancy
and the folks dressed fancy, too.
And they all looked him over
as they headed to their pews.
The organ sounded beautiful,
the choir all sang in tune,
the preacher didn’t talk too long
and he was out by noon.
And as he left, the preacher said,
“You’re new here, aren’t you friend?
I thought so by the way you’re dressed.
I hope you’ll come again
but do a little praying first.
Ask God what you should wear.”
Next Sunday, he was back in church
and felt the preacher’s glare
cause he was dressed just like last week.
Not a single soul said “hi”
but the preacher pulled him to one side
and asked the cowboy why
he came back dressed that way.
The cowboy shook his head.
The preacher pressed the issue
until the cowboy said,
“Preacher, I did like you asked
and prayed He’d make it clear.
But God don’t know your dress code
since he never has been in here.”

Jeff Hildebrandt ©2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Paula's Puzzeling Perdicament

“I’m telling you”, grinned Pete Purdue,
“My Paula’s so dern cute.
Blue eyes, blond hair, with charm to spare
and humorous, to boot.”
Well, there must be more than what I’ve seen
to this waitress at the Dairy Queen
so I proceed to ask him to explain
precisely what this Paula did
to make him act like such a kid.
And the reason for his rapture soon was plain.
He said she called him late last night
to say she’s in an awful plight
Her brand new jigsaw puzzle is a mess.
He thought that she was gonna cry
so he got dressed and drove on by.
What happened next I‘m sure you probably guessed

She’s just as charming as can be.
Tousled femininity
in cowgirl t-shirt and her argyle socks.
He saw the problem right away
and told her he’d be glad to stay
and help her put the corn flakes in the box
Jeff Hildebrandt © 2005

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


It seems like it is time, once again, for the church of your choice to encourage you to bring a friend to a worship service. I have been thru the evangelism emphasis more times than I can count. It is a scatter gun approach and I guess it works because churches keep doing it.

Old Ben Dollar and Pete Purdue
were chewing over what to do
about the task they had in store.
They hated going door to door
or calling on the telephone.
So Pete told Ben, once they’re alone,
“Evangelize, a scary thought.
I realize, I’d rather not.
The preacher said, ‘go spread the news
but he just wants to fill the pews
on Easter and on Christmas Eve.
He seems to want us to believe
that if we get them in the door
next Sunday, they’ll come back for more”.

“More what?” asked Pete, “More Bible-light?”
He preaches so we’ll feel all right
about our lives, our hopes and dreams
with scriptures that support our schemes?
We’re told, forget the other stuff,
God’s there to help you, that’s enough.
Just ask and He will sure deliver
AND God just loves a cheerful giver.

Ben agreed, it seemed confused
about why they should spread Good News.
He said they should tell those they know
that Jesus died so long ago
as part of God the Father’s plan
to bring eternal life to man.
He died to save us all from hell,
not so church membership could swell”.

See, worship is what we should do
but where should be left up to you.
Just find a church that’s Bible based;
A church where emphasis is placed
on God the Father, God the Son,
God the Spirit; Three in One.
With that in mind, we just relax
and share how Jesus Christ impacts
our daily life. Tell how we’ve changed;
how values have been rearranged.
Then Pete said when it’s put like that
just hold it while I get my hat
cause when God’s love is emphasized
it feels good to evangelize.

Jeff Hildebrandt © 2008

Now, my thought on Evangelism is to witness how your life has been affected by your personal relationship with God's Son, Jesus. That way, you plant the seed of salvation. If the person you're talking to wants to come to your church, that's great. But we all need to realize that churches are like restaurants. Not everybody likes the same food, and that's all right. The object is to eat. I hope that makes sense.
Keep Ridin' for the Boss and the Brand!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Cowboy Up America

As we approach 9-11, the country is torn apart by controversey. On one hand, there is the Ground Zero Mosque debate. On the other, there is concern about a preacher wanting to burn the Koran. Both are taking our mind off what is happening around the world. There are wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes, fires and floods. Ignore the distractions; keep your head in the game. I had the opportunity last weekend to share this with folks at the Gunsmoke 55th Anniverary celebration in Dodge City. I'm going to share it with you now.

Cowboy Up America

When a Cowboy’s in a pinch,
he just tightens up the cinch,
spurs his horse and rides right through it
cause that’s the way the Duke would do it.
He’d Cowboy Up.
And when our country is in danger
a cowboy’s like the old Lone Ranger.
Ridin’ hard and shootin’ straight,
fightin’ those who spread the hate.
He’s Cowboy’d Up.
A Cowboy’s ready and he’s willin’
to face the foe, like Marshal Dillon.
And when the gunsmoke clears away
Cowboy Spirit wins the day.
So, Cowboy Up.
Pull your hat down tight
and don’t back down
when you know what’s right.
We’ll bring back “Happy Trails” for you
like Hoppy, Gene and Roy would do.
Think back about Flight 93
and how those heroes came to be.
They knew that thousands more could die
if they just let that airplane fly
They Cowboy’d Up.
One widow had this tale to share,
a husband’s love and one last prayer.
And when their sacrifice was done
terror lost and Freedom won
“Let’s Roll”, he said and Cowboy’d up.
Cause Cowboys fight until they win
just like TV’s Paladin.
They will not let our flag unravel
as long as they Have Gun, Will Travel
And Cowboy Up, hell bent for leather.
Cause we’re all in this fight together.
We’re ridin’ hard right on their trail
and with God’s help, we will prevail.
If Gary Cooper, Joel McCrea
and Randolph Scott were here today
they’d fight for what is right and true
like Rex and Tex and Lash LaRue.
They’d Cowboy Up.
So, let’s give Uncle Sam a hand
cause we’re all ridin’ for his brand.
Let New York and the Pentagon
inspire resolve to carry on
We’ve Cowboy’d Up.
In God We Trust.
We fight because our cause is just.
We’re standin’ tall and standin’ free
Cause we won’t stand for tyranny.
So America, Cowboy Up!
Jeff Hildebrandt copyright 2002

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

little miracles

If you don't know where you're going, how will you know when you get there? If you aren't specific in your prayers, how will you know when God answers them? This might seem trivial to you, but read on anyway. It happened in a Cincinnati parking lot between 9th and 10th on Elm. By the way, and this is totally off the subject, but near 10th and Elm there was a little storefront with a "Hand Laundry" sign over the door. I thought several times about filming a long line of people with dirty hands going in..and clean hands coming out. Oh, well, a missed opportunity, I guess.

"little miracles"

Have you ever prayed for a parking space
or to find some thing that's lost ?
Do you go to God for the little things
or just when tempest tossed ?

If you trust in God to meet your needs
no matter what their size,
you'll find He's working miracles
right before your eyes.

Have you every prayed for a parking space ?
Have you had the urge, but fought it ?
Well, today I prayed for a parking space,
there was one left, and I got it.

Jeff Hildebrandt, copyright 1992

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Last Day

A poetic paraphrase from Luke 12:15-21.

In days when life and times were hard,
a man would make his way
by carving out the wilderness
for a place where he could stay.
Floyd Henry Hill was such a man
who worked hard all his life
and never really had the time
to find himself a wife.
But he had land for farming grain
and land where cattle roam.
He built himself a high tech barn
and a big two-story home.
He bought a fancy pick up truck,
a silver inlaid saddle,
and had a pool installed out back
where friends could float and paddle.
From the first gold rays of morning
to the setting of the sun
he’d tour his ranch and look with pride
at all that he had done.
But this rancher had a problem,
caused by way too much success.
He was running out of storage space
and suffering lots of stress.
He told his friends he’d build a barn,
like none they’d ever known.
It would cover several acres,
have a zip code all it’s own.
And no matter what the weather,
inside his grand construction
the climate would be perfect
for the optimum production.
Why he would be the envy
of folks around the nation
who’d marvel at his mastery
of ranching innovation.
But the one thing he did not expect
on his ground breaking day
was the very thing that happened.
Floyd Henry passed away.
And all the wealth he worked for
went to Uncle Sam no doubt
cause you can not take it with you
when at last your string’s run out
So what good did it do him,
all that greed and search for wealth?
He should have done for others
and not solely for himself.
See, the one truth he’d forgotten,
is you don’t leave here alive
But, if your treasure is in heaven,
it’s there when you arrive.

Jeff Hildebrandt, copyright 2002

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Dude Wrangler

If you've ever been to a dude ranch, you know you're always in good hands with the seasoned wranglers who can help you find the right horse to ride and know just the right remedy for the sore spots when you get back. But, I was wondering what those wranglers talk about when those of us with tender feet and other tender spots aren't around. And when we look at them, do we really see the person or just our image of a cowboy? So, I put myself in their boots for a moment.

Dude Wrangler

Look at me.
No, really look at me.
Look through the mist of your imagination.
See me as I am
not as you’d have me be.
See me as a person, not a symbol.
Look at me.
See the calluses and fingernail grit.
Hard work for low wages and no benefits.
Oh, there is one benefit.

Look at me
Saddling someone else’s horse,
sharing dos and don’ts with forced smiles.
See me as I am
Not as I used to be
It’s difficult being an icon when your back hurts.
Look at me,
a saddle pal to new starry eyed wannabes every week.
But, when you go home to Starbucks and stress
I still get to ride where spaces are wide.

Jeff Hildebrandt © 2005