“Remain in me, as I also remain in you.” John 15:4

Jared Horton - Lead Pastor | Real Life Ministries Newport, Newport, WA

My family has called Newport, Washington home for nearly 18 years. Every July, this small town in northeastern Washington is the home to a professionally sanctioned rodeo called the Newport Bull-A-Rama. Thousands of people come to watch young men attempt to remain on the back of a bull for 8 seconds as it bucks and kicks. The bull rider prepares himself in the chute by positioning himself on the back of the bull and adjusting his grip on the bull rope. The bull rope is a rope that is wrapped around the body of the bull and rests on its back. The cowboy’s grip on the bull rope will be his only means of remaining on the bull during the ensuing torrent of twists, bucks, and kicks from the bull. Most lose their grip at some point during their ride and are thrown from the back of the bull. However, there are always a handful of cowboys that endure the wild ride for 8 seconds and exit the arena to the cheers of the crowd.

In John 15 Jesus implores His disciples to remain in the vine. Teaching about how a disciple remains in the vine usually emphasizes the quality and consistency of the quiet time we spend with Jesus. Quiet time is vital to our spiritual health, but our command to ‘remain’ cannot be confined only to the arena of our quiet time. I believe Jesus called us to remain in Him like a bull rider remains on a bull in a rodeo. There are times in our lives when we are in the chute. We are not being bucked or thrown, rather we are in a place of life where there are fences and boundaries that seem to keep us secure. During these quiet times, we may be tempted during these times to loosen our grip on the bull rope of our dependence on Jesus. However, for anyone who has seen a rodeo, the gate will open, the bull will cut loose, and the quality of our ‘remain’ will be put to the test.

Jesus’ instruction demands a deep committed consistency to this word ‘remain’. When He says, “Remain in me, as I also remain in you” (John 15:4) Jesus gives Himself as the example of what it means to remain. Jesus is our perfect example of what it looks like to remain despite the whirlwind of uncertainty in life. Jesus steadfastly remains in us despite our sinful rodeo ride of life. He said, “I will be with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) Should we not follow His example and strive to remain in Him when the rodeo of life fights with every ounce of its strength to separate us from our King?

Using the metaphor of a rodeo, there are three truths that we must hold:

1) Jesus is our bull rope—The quality of our lives of discipleship will be defined solely by our grip on Him. The rope is strong and will not break no matter the violence of the bull. Like a cowboy holds with all he has to the bull rope, we must remain in Christ.

2) Don’t waste your time in the chute—We know that life, relationships, and ministry will all take us on an unpredictable ride at some point. We must take full advantage of the quiet times we have with God. Our quiet time in the chute must prepare us to remain in Him when the gate opens.

3) “If you get bucked off, get back on”—This old cowboy adage displays the truth of God and His grace. There are circumstances in life that buck us off and we lose grip of the bull rope. Jesus calls us to return to the chute, prepare ourselves, and ride again.

The rodeo is my reminder that consistency in Scripture and prayer is not only to feed my Spiritual walk with God, but also to serve the purpose of preparing me for the ride ahead. It’s easy to remain when we are in the chute. But will you hold to the bull rope of Jesus when the gate opens?


Jared Horton
Lead Pastor
Real Life Ministries Newport
Newport, WA

RDN Team Member
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