Callin’ in the herd.

by Kevin on May 31, 2010

Think back to the last time you watched an old war movie. When enemy aircraft were spotted, every town had an air raid siren. It starts off kind of low and then increases in pitch until it’s just a long wail. Now picture a smaller version bolted to the top of a ranch pickup. These types of sirens are used all over ranching country to call the cattle in for feeding.

Cowboys don’t use these horns at the house. They use them out in the pasture to call up cattle. When a cow hears this siren, she will come running as fast as she can for the range cubes (better know as Cow Cake). The rancher does this so that he can take a look at his herd. It’s a chance to see how well the rancher has been doing his job. Are the cattle fat and healthy or do they need something else?

Today, I am turning on the siren and callin’ the herd in. I need to take a look and see how well everyone is doing and maybe see if I need to make any changes to the feeding program. But wait, there’s more!

For everyone that comes to the website and gives me their feedback, you have the chance of winning a prize. By saying feedback, I don’t mean that I want you to come throw up on my website. It’s just an expression folks.

This website is geared 100% to spreading the Gospel by way of sharing experiences that cowboys and cowgirls go through on a daily basis. But it’s more than just a one-sided story, it’s a place where everyone can gather and meet new people and discuss important matters in today’s society. It’s a place for your voice to be heard and keep the cowboy culture alive.

So what if I’m not a cowboy, can I still come by and sit a spell?

Absolutely!! Just because you have never been bucked off a horse or had a big calf smash you into the ground doesn’t mean you can’t add something to the story. Cowboys love sharing their lifestyle with those that have never been around a ranch or a round pen. We like “townies” because they will believe every wild story we tell them.

Here’s how you can help.

Take just a moment to answer at least one of these questions by leaving your answer in the comment section. For those receiving this by email, you will have to click on the title and that will take you to the website where you can comment.

(Flippin’ on the siren now)

Question #1

What would you like to see more of? Do you like the Cowboy Devotional Stories or do you like a regular Bible Study type of article? Do you like the humorous list articles or the more serious opinion type postings? Please don’t feel you have to pick from these options, just let me know what touches your heart the best.

Question #2

Do you ever feel you would like more information on the subject? Does the message leave you fulfilled or half full? What could I do differently that would aid you as you browse around?

Question #3

Is the site easy to use? Do you feel at home when you stop by? Do you like the graphics and the pictures or do they just get in the way?

Question #4

Is there one piece of constructive criticism that you could offer out of love and without fear of retribution from a yellow hot shot?

Questions #5

Do you ever share this website with a friend or a co-worker? If so, what makes you share individual devotions? Is it the story or the message that convinces you to share?

Question #6

Have you ever purchased an Ebook? (For those that don’t know, it’s just like a book, but you read it on your computer or other device.) Would you be interested in an Ebook that had daily cowboy devotions where you could enjoy God’s word every day? What type of Ebook would most appeal to you? Would it be a daily devotional or maybe a whole book devoted to prayer, discovering your gifts, or something like dealing with problems? Feel free to add anything you might be interested in.

But wait, there’s more!!

Campfire Cowboy Ministries is giving away a free, hand made cross to one lucky commenter today. All you have to do to qualify is answer one of the questions in the comment section. The drawing will take place of Friday, June 4th.

But wait, there’s still more!!

If you send this on to someone else and have them drop by the site and answer a question and mention your name, you get a bonus chance in the drawing.

This cross isn’t fancy. It’s really not that good to be quite honest. I made it out of a piece of barbed wire that came straight off the fence here at Coyanosa Creek Ranch. It was the first and only cross (besides a small one for my daughter) that I have ever made and I am giving it away to you.

Please don’t just read this and leave it to someone else. Take 5 minutes out of your busy day and show your support for Campfire Cowboy Ministries. Help me make this website a place where the Word of God can be received by thousands.

My goal is 100 comments. I can’t do it without you. Please come see us and help make this site better.

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  • 1) I really like the style of posts you have now that combine the anecdotal and narrative style with applicable teaching. some of your posts might run long according to “traditional” blog wisdom, but the stories are fun and the teaching concise so I think you’re doing great.
    2) I don’t think I’ve ever walked away from one of your posts feeling “half fulled.”
    3) the site is plenty easy to use, but it might be cool to add a few more links on the side bar that can help readers find similar or associated resources…Not sure what those would be, maybe blogs that you follow or your church website. And the pictures are great, you might want to think about finding some that are larger but they’re great.
    4) Well since the only hot shot I have to fear are the ones that AREN’T yellow… 😉 Seriously I like your blog and the look and layout. Maybe expand your sidebar a bit but over all great.
    5) I’m sharing this every chance I get. The stories that help contextualize the lesson are what really motivate me to sharing though. A lot of what you say most of my Christian friends “know” but when you place in context of a great story, I always pass it along especially since that usually helps provide a heart knowledge of the material.
    6) well as soon as I get my iPad I’ll probably be buying more iBooks…of course I have to get my iPad first.

    • Kevin

      Thanks for helping me out Sage.

      One of the things I have considered doing, and even more so now thanks in part to some of your feedback is to go back and re-evaluate my categories and tags. That way, I can put them in the sidebar where people can just find posts related to prayer or gifts or hot shots.

      Let me know when you get your iPad so I can borrow it.

  • 1) I like the cowboy stories dosed with a little wit and wisdom.
    2) I usually look for a categories section so that I can browse through. You have recent posts but only a handful. If you had categories I think it would give more context to your writing.
    3) I think your site it done well. The only thing I see is that you rss and e-mail subscription are not anywhere near each other. Maybe you could add your feed link to the coffee cup and get rid of the link at the top of the page.
    4) Sometimes your posts are a little long for the time I have to read. However, I have read every post since we started this project because you have a great writing style and the stories are great.
    5) I have shared your posts on twitter. I think it can be both for me. I love good stories that share God’s truth.
    6) I would be most interested in something that helped me practice my faith. More like a workbook.

    All of my answers are subjective from someone with limited experience. I hope they help. You are doing good work here. God Bless!

    • Kevin

      You know Larry, I struggle so hard with the lengths of the posts. I just haven’t found the right balance yet. Most people stay reading because of the story, so I don’t want to just say something like, “We were gathering cattle and it was hot….in John, Jesus said it was hot”.

      I know that’s not what you meant for me to do, but I don’t want to skimp on the spiritual side of the post either. I’m gonna work on the post length. How many words to you think is appropriate?

      • I’m no expert. You have been doing this longer than I have. I did some research and came to the conclusion that I was going to shoot for 500 words. Sometimes it is a little more sometimes a little less. I know that doesn’t work for everyone. I have a tendency to ramble so this helps me get to the point and not wonder off.

        Your stories are great and it may be that you don’t need to worry about length the same way that I do. I have not read a bad post or one that I thought, I could have done without that. Sometimes when I turn on the computer, I am looking for short quick posts to thumb through because my brain is fried. Because of that I pass over some of the posts that are longer. I know that I just can’t sustain my thought process that long or think too deeply at that moment.

  • Jo Whitten

    1. It seems as if God touches me through your messages on a daily basis. I can’t wait to get them each morning. I like a variety of different messages.
    2. So far they messages have been just right.
    3. I get my message through email, but have visited the site also. I enjoy the pictures.
    4. I don’t know what it would be, but the “hot shot” story was one of my favorites. Sounded just like my grandpa
    5. I do forward your email messages usually to someone that I believe the message is about or that I was inspired by.
    6. I would like to have a “real” book by you to read at night. I have to look at the computer all day & am usually tired of it by the end of the day.

    • Kevin

      Jo, thank you so much for stopping by.

      Thanks for sharing the posts with your friends and family. That is an easy way to do what Jesus said when He asked us to share Him with others.

      Please, Please, Please keep praying for that book Jo. I would love to do something like that also.

  • Steve Whiteker

    I can’t express the graditude I feel for the “ministry” you bring, convey and relay in your presentation. I get the email about 5am on my way to Odessa; it always lifts, encourages and challenges me. I need them all. I appreciate your efforts and committment to our GOD and how it is reflected in all you do. Bless you and Chris for being who you choose to be. Many thnks and know yall are always in my prayers. Kneeling and submitting to HIS WILL, Whit

    • Kevin

      Steve,
      You don’t know what it means to have you stop by. You have been an inspiration to me and this ministry wouldn’t be possible if weren’t for the honest to goodness cowboys we have prowling around this country.

      Thanks for keeping me in your prayers.

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  • Terry Farley

    Your ‘internet devotional’ ministry has truely blessed me. My son was a ranch manager for a few years and I could relate to many of your experiences. Kevin, the Lord has blessed you with a wonderful gift of communication in a very unique way to a large audience. I plan to share your devotionals to many of my friends. Hopefully, they will subscribe. “Keep on trucking” and may the good Lord richly bless your ministries.

  • Wendy Spoon

    1) I have become a fan of yours since I found your blog through 31DBBB. I have become a fan on Facebook, because when you post it there, I am more likely to read it. (Just my preference.) I love that you take life as it is and make a life changing statement with it. You are real and honest. You don’t see that much these days. Your blog style has true appeal to Cowboys and Non-Cowboys alike. I enjoy your humor and wit, but I also feel that you should include sappy, heart-wrenching stories. There is a time for both. Since you are honest in humor, I think that your honesty would truly resound in a serious account as well.

    2) Your posts never leave me unfulfilled. They always make me think. That is a good thing.

    3) I feel that your blog is a very good representation of who you are and the message you are projecting. I think that of all the blogs I have seen, yours suits you the best.

    4) No criticism. I appreciate that you do not apologize for who you are.

    5) I share because I can share your posts with non-believers easily. The story brings them in, and before they know it, they get the message you are conveying.

    6) My husband is a Kindle user. If he likes an author, he will get every book he can on his Kindle. I myself would steal his Kindle if you had an ebook that is Kindle compatible. I would let him read it after I am done, of course.

    Thank you for your honesty and candor when bringing the message to the masses.

  • Moooo – sorry, felt I had to get my inner cow out as you call in the herd! 😉

    In answer to No.1 I’d say don’t change a thing – keep that mix as you have it.

    I love your site layout – it’s clean, crisp and appears to have everything I need. I especially like the homepage that has the current post on display and excerpts from the more recent ones. If you can find some way to include a tiny clipart there just to break up the text then even better – in my mind I see it working but it may not.

    eBooks certainly have their place and I can take them in small doses but I try (where I can) to get paper based versions. Most of this stems from teh fact that I spend way tooooo much of my time on computers staring at screens for work that when it comes to reading (which I love) I prefer real paper.

    Hope this helps somewhat.

    • Kevin

      (Shaking a little cake on the ground for Stuart) 😉

      I like the idea of the picture with the older posts…I’ll do some checking and see if that’s possible.

      Thanks for the input on the Ebook. That will probably come first, but I think it’s a way to get your foot in the door.

  • Gary

    Pastor Kevin
    I have forgotten how I found your site. However, I read it every day. Many years ago I also grew up on a farm, ranch out west, we rode horses, cows, even a pig once. Your ministry brings back a simpler way of life, the truth of the Word, Christian life in regards to family and work place, honor of God and others which the body of Christ needs today.
    As far as your questions go, it looks to me that you have an ear to God’s voice. Trust in what you are hearing from the Lord and go with it.
    I love the way you use the technology of today to spread the good news. You are doing a great job. Your ministry is touching others.
    God bless you and yours.

    Gary

  • Kevin I like your blog just the way it is. I love how you use cowboy talk and I’m just learning a ton from you. Whatever you blog about is good, I enjoy it all, I enjoyed the conversation about hot shots and I also like the ones that apply to God. I feel full. The background color, pictures, items on the sidebar and header are great. I feel at home here and am comfortable. I have shared your posts a few times and have purchased an Ebook, first one was for 31dbbb.

    • Kevin

      Thanks for the input from a woman’s perspective Becky…I sometimes worry about “design” and other things. I am the type of guy that would either wear and denim shirt or white pearl snap white shirt every day of the week. Lately, my wife has made me step out of the simple box and start wearing other things.

      I could go through my entire life eating chicken pot pies, rice crispie treats, and drinking Dr. Peppers. I am not afraid of change, but simple is good to me.

      Thanks for mentioning me on your blog today http://tijuanabecky.wordpress.com/2010/06/01/honoring-my-readers/

  • Jason Hester

    Kevin,

    I ususally get your devotional by email, so I do not visit the web site. Today was the first visit for me, and I found it very visually appealing and easy to navigate. I like the devotionals as you do them and I have forwarded many to friends. I usually forward those that really hit close to the heart, especially those that challenge to become better Christians. As I have told you before, I think God is using you in a big way and I look forward to receiving the devotional and taking time to brighten my morning.

    With the new age of technology, mabye there could be a one year bible reading plan on your site that everyone could read and learn more about the scriptures from you and each other! Keep on going, pray, and God will continue to bless your ministry!!!

    Jason

    • Kevin

      Thanks for dropping by Captain Hester (He really is a Captain by the way and I’m proud to know him).

      I think your idea of a reading plan is great. I have kind of been thinking about that myself. I can usually come up with a good idea, but trying to figure out all this technology is about like learning to braid 12 line rawhide.

  • awesome man 🙂
    1. I’ld like to see some stories, personally I prefer short ones that could just be honest things that bug you or tear at you.
    2. can’t say
    3. easy
    4. how about some more stuff in the sidebar? and maybe a better RSS coffee cup, that one looks a bit pixelated. put me in you blogroll, nah, only joking – we are niches apart. Any how to videos in Cowboy stuff?
    5. I try to share your posts and other 31DBBB peeps on twitter.
    6. Darren Rowse’s 31DBBB is the only ebook I have purchased. I prefer the tactile feedback from a IRL hard cover.

    • Kevin

      Just for so that everyone knows, Phillip is one heck of a blogger. You should check out his site by clicking on his name.

      One more thing about Phillip, just read the last sentence of his comment and it’s easy to tell that this man is way smarter than I am.

      I don’t know if you cussed me out, congratulated me or told me what type of car you drive. 🙂

      The coffee cup is kind of a funny story. Most people used to get my stories via email. When I migrated to the site, you would enter your email in the space to get it that way or click on the cup to get it RSS. That totally confused everyone and I was getting yelled at because it was too confusing. I figure if you know what RSS is, you don’t need any explanation. Remember, we are dealing with cowboys who want the eight track to make a comeback.

      Thanks Phillip

      • ha ha ha,
        I meant an In Real Life Hard Cover book – love read them. Think I’ld struggle with things like the kindle.

        shot for the referral,

        🙂

        • Kevin

          The only thing you might struggle with is explaining Chaos Theory in 10,000 words or less. lol

          Besides, who can afford a kindle…we’ll just wait for Sage to get his iPad and then we will all borrow it.

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  • Peter Eleazar

    1. Depends on your audience.
    2. You can always extend a blog, but less is always more. Never exceed 500 words, but by all means have a series. Also use skillful questions to assess what the readers feel.
    3. Yup its easy enough – not sure the cyan works on brown – colors clash – go to http://www.2createawebsite.com/build/hex-colors.html – they have a color wheel to coordinate your colors. Also res on banner is a bit grainy. Import original image to a graphics package (powerpoint will do), enlarge it significantly, then save enlarged picture to source file – it sometimes enhances res. If you work in CS3 then you can save to a higher res.
    4. Though you are a cowboy, don’t ramble – be more to the point. Perhaps also try to capture some sense of your objectives in the header description.
    5. No comment – first viewing. But I love the down to earthness of the site. I have no doubt this will find a ready audience out there amongst those good salt-of-the-earths we call cowboys.
    6. I am not into ebooking – but all in favor of devotionals. But that’s just me – ebooking is taking off but some research suggests it only works for certain genres. Do an internet search to gain more insights – but hey, just try it – it won’t cost you anything.

    • Kevin

      Thanks so much for your honest opinion. One thing you have to remember though, don’t ever say “its easy enough” when talking to a cowboy about technology.

      I can’t seem to find the passage, but I think knowing what color “cyan” is might just be a sin. 🙂

      Thanks again for your input. I will now go google point 3 to see if I can learn more. God Bless you Peter.

  • Saddle Ranch

    Question #1 – I like the Cowboy stories. I knew you could write stories about real cowboy subjects ever since you wrote the poem about “The Windmill” at Larry Joyce’s funeral. Just keep writing them the way you have been. The length is just right because it is God speaking through you and don’t cut the message short!! If you worry a bout the length it is like the Baptist Church expecting the Sunday service to be over in 1 hour. FYI – I am a Baptist and I believe in “letting the preacher preach”.

    Question #2 – Your messages are the best ones that I receive because you do it in a way that reaches a poor ole country boy. Only thing that you could do to help me browse is to put the name of the article in the subject line of EMail.

    Question #3 – I get it by EMail and I like the pictures that come in those. Do not change.

    Question #4 – Same as I put in question 2. Put name so that you do not have to open EMail to know which story.

    Questions #5 – I have sent it to many of folks and may have registered. It is all your work that wants me to share it. I do it with friends, family, and strangers who I think would understand the story and message.

    Question #6 – I have never used an ebook, but I would if you did one. I would like either daily devotional or prayers that hit home like your story’s do now.

    • Kevin

      I will get one of my townie buddies to try to explain to me how to take care of #4.

      Thanks for takin’ the time to come by a sit a spell with us. Next time you see me, I hope it’s not at another funeral.

      Thanks for the encouragement and God Bless.

  • I have had a blast just reading the comments and your replies!!! I love your sense of humor and the way you incorporate it into your writing.
    1) Most of your posts are a little long–look who’s talking–and I get lost in too much detail about how the cowboy handles the horses or does ranching. But I absolutely loved your “Hot Shot” post! I think you should keep a mix of devotional, humorous, and serious. Keeps things from stagnating.
    2) Your posts are always full of insight. No hunger here.
    3) Like the brown background and the cowboy banner. I also like the way you put clips from your other stories on the home page. Wonder if I can do that in blogger?
    4) Have not forwarded your posts to anyone else–YET. Good possibility that I will send it to one of my friends that has a feel for the wide-open spaces.
    5) Do not like E-books. Got to have that book in my hands.

    Keep up the great work.
    Janis

    • Kevin

      I think we both struggle with the longer posts. It’s amazing how much feedback I have gotten on both ends of the spectrum. Some say keep it, others say shorten it. I am as confused now as I have ever been. 🙂

  • Brandi Tipton

    Kevin,
    I feel that God directs you in choosing your topics.
    I am always touched, not only by the topic but by your special way of telling the stories.
    I especially enjoy the way you relate the bible teachings with the story and life today as a christian.
    I have told many friends about the devotionals and the website, I know several friends have signed up to receive them daily.
    God bless you and keep that fire burning,
    Brandi

    • Kevin

      Thanks Brandi,

      You’re one of my biggest fans and I really appreciate all of your feedback here and through email. I hope Ronnie is better. (Her cowboy got bucked off real hard the other day.)

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  • Chad Armstrong

    Question #1 kevin I would’nt change a thing, I believe the way you word it through cowboy slang is awsome!!!, exspecially for some of us that just cud’nt hook our spurs into the proper english literature that Mrs Gregg tried to hammer into us ha,ha,ha

    Question #2 I feel like I am getting every word you write down, which at times in church I do have a problem understanding some of it, however if I do not I ask the preacher a question afterwards. But so far I have understood everything you have written.

    Question #3 So far its been great to navigate the website, the pictures add great character to the reading, and shows life as a cowboy and a follower of christ…

    Question #4 Can not think of any constructive critisism at this moment, other than this little toy they gave me at the sheriffs office carries a good blast of electricity that can reach ya at 21ft, so if ya bring the yeller hot shot remember I have 21 ft to retaliate, I’m just saying ha,ha,ha

    Question #5 I do foward you readings to everbody on my email list, Im not sure how many are already on your email list so I might be handing it to them twice, but I do send it to all my family and friends. And so far they have all loved the reading so keep up the good work….

    Question #6 Cant say that I have ever tried the Ebook thing, yeah I would love something on how to deal with my problems and plus the problems I deal with during my Job as a deputy. I have gotten better at this by self experiences and thats a hard way to learn it but one thing about it if its a bad enough experience you will only do it once ha,ha,ha. Kinda like knocking the window out of a consession stand at a roping arena, I promise if you admitt to it you will only do it once!!!! So hear is to painting over your sins with the blood of Jesus Christ our Savior

    • Kevin

      We’ve come a long way together Chad. Who would have ever guessed about twenty years ago you would be in law enforcement and I would be a preacher?

      Thanks for all your encouragement and I knew you’d stop in to give a buddy a hand in making this ministry better. God Bless

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