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Three years ago, we changed our church’s name from Abundant Life Church to Cross Culture Church. Not that we do not believe in the abundant life, nor is it a matter of changing our assignment. There are times in life when the vision given by God is to be reinforced so that our understanding can be extended. When most think of abundance, their thinking is usually directed towards personal abundance alone. There is a sign in the center of our sanctuary with one word; “OTHERS.” It was placed there so that all who worship among us would focus their attention beyond themselves. We wish all to know that we are blessed in order to be a blessing. Not only that, but to know that our greatest blessing is being a blessing. When we are able to bless others, it is because we are graced by God for Him to serve others through us. “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28) Serving others is giving your life through extending your redeemed soul to others. When your life becomes conduit in the Hands…

 “And thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 The long awaited Messiah was to come through a meek and humble virgin. She was to carry within her womb the answer to every question and the solution to every problem. The deepest questions in life are related to sins. They are multifaceted and pervasive as to penetrate every aspect of life. Sin was deeply woven into the fabric of man’s soul and conscience. He could not save Himself, but was in need of a Savior. Jesus would first come to fully identify with sinners as being his people. He became one of us thus fully identifying with every challenge that we may face in life. Yet He came to liberate us from the clutches of Satan that we may be set free from the enslavement of sin and light to guide us in a direction. All have been provided the opportunity to live differently and have a different walk because we live on the other side of the Cross. He came to save His people. All of His people now can be saved from the power of sin and shame.

“What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me? Psalm 116:12 The Lord provides benefits, many times unexpected and often before we are even aware of our need for them. As He looks far down the road of our lives, if we maintain a steadfast faith in Him, He takes our offering of life and leads us on a course directed towards His standard of righteousness. None can imagine the how many benefits we receive along the way as we journey on that path. It is not just arriving at the destination, but being on course with what really matters in life that is fulfilling. The emptiness of vanity is gone and we are left with a pursuit to know the One who loves us most. Love received demands a response. How can we respond to the overwhelming love demonstrated through our Lord, Jesus Christ? All we can possibly do is take advantage of the purpose for which He came to die such a cruel death on the cross for us. We can take Him up on His offer. By receiving His gift we bring the greatest joy to the heart of the Father.

“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” John 12:32 Those who are drawn to Jesus by the Spirit are kept by the Spirit. The mysterious magnetic pull of the cross of Christ produces within the heart of the believer a willingness to fully follow after Him even when circumstances are difficult. They see the sacrifice that He has made in contrast to the challenges that lie before them and equate all in light of what Jesus Christ has already done. This is not the easy believe(ism) or our day where many are attracted to the trappings of success in this life and the glory that comes from others. It is a heart commitment to fully follow Christ in all that He may assign as a part of our journey. They lifted Him up as an enemy to their doctrines and lifestyles by crucifying Him. He transformed what would have been defeat into victory. Now the message of the cross of Jesus must be preached throughout world in order for any to be drawn by dimensions of love never known before. Love was the motive for Him to die for our sins…

“If it had not been the Lord who was on our side,” Psalm 124:1 The possibilities of failure and calamities would have been overwhelming if things had been different. God chose Israel, for no other reason than His love being bestowed upon her. She was protected from dangers and blessed to prosper. The Lord had favored her thus stood in opposition to her enemies. Yet her worshipful response to God’s favor was expected. God, who blesses deserves to be blessed. When He is acknowledged as the Source of every good and perfect gift, He reveals more of Himself and His purposes to us. Even though the tide may swell and the rivers may rise with their tumultuous currents, yet they will not overrun their borders. He regulates the degrees of testing allowed to cross our path, Instead of being used to destroy us, they are measured and their pressures can only prove what He has established within us. We have received from Him the grace to withstand all the fiery darts of the wicked. It is His strength within us that sustains us along the way. He is on our side. Not only that, He is with us and in…

“For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2 The strong language used by Paul was to express how he directed his will to block out all information that would in anywise compete with the knowledge of Christ that he had attained. This knowledge would serve as the filter because it was the highest level of knowledge ever made available to mankind. He was not limiting what was being made known to his intellect. He was in addition speaking of his experiences. His entire life was to be governed by the dimensions of Christ yet to be known and the deep meaning contained within His death on the cross. There are so many distractions in this life competing with our knowing the things that are most essential to life. Many will major in minors and minor in majors. But none of their information can produce anything that produce a permanent resolve to their challenges and survive beyond this life. To know Jesus is to have eternal life. To know Him as crucified is to identify with His death, thus possessing resurrection life. As with Paul, we must determine to close the…

“For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!”  1 Corinthians 9:16 “I must” is to brave the storms of life in spite of the difficulties required of me to survive. I can only give light consideration to the cost attached to obedience. Obedience is often costly because there are so many options that could lead to paths of least resistance. Yet the call of God to obey rings strong within my heart and ears in spite of my mind fighting against it and telling me that there are other ways go and other things to be done. Some of them appear to be equally important, and at times, seem to outweigh the measure of this assignment because of greater gain and requiring less effort. But God speaks “woe” to the very thought of my disobedience to His command. Necessity is laid on me to speak the truth when the lie or even silence would be of greater benefit. “I must” do what God has called me to do. I must speak what He has given me to speak. Yet…

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 The consistency of the message is as important as the message itself. Messages that contradict what has been established as foundational in our understanding of Christ cause spiritual erosion to occur within the soul. The writer of Hebrews was warning them to remember what was established within them by those who both spoke and modeled the standard of which they once faithfully followed. Consider that their instructions were intended to lead them to an end result that was to reach far beyond the immediate. This is what any faithful disciple must consider. Those who lead are graced to guide their followers into areas that can only be understood once obedience is completed. Disobedience occurs as the result of being carried away or allured, and not led.  Character deficiencies are sensitive to an alien appeal. One is then flesh driven rather than Spirit-led. One’s diet must consist of that which can provide for eternal gain. It should not consist of the delicacies that appeal to the taste but does harm to the body. What Jesus taught His disciples required them to fully follow Him if they were to become disciples indeed….

“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21 Life takes on a new meaning once Christ has come into the heart of the believer. He does not merely exist among the other things once deemed important, but rather sets the priorities for ones existence. Any other place given to Him constitutes a warms feeling in His regards, but not the quality of life He promises and died to give. This was the revelation given to Paul, the Apostle by the Holy Spirit. “For me, the meaning of life has shifted. For me, it’s no longer a matter of consulting with God as to whether it is permissible for me or not to have my own way. For me, to live is for Christ to fully live His life through me.” This ought to be the earnest desire of each and every Christian. This is a life of discovery whereas one is freed from pretense or attempting to force himself to do what he thinks that Jesus would do. But rather discovering in his own flesh the life and works of Jesus personally. “To die is gain.” Death died on the Cross when Jesus was crucified…

“Dear friends, I’ve dropped everything to write you about this life of salvation that we have in common. I have to write insisting — begging! — that you fight with everything you have in you for this faith entrusted to us as a gift to guard and cherish.” Jude 3 It is worth everything to guard and protect what has been entrusted to our stewardship. Out of all the subjects of interest and arguments to defend, our common faith must remain paramount. Jesus prayed that we may become one as He and the Father are one. The unity that He has ordained is the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace. This is only possible when we are able to see Him as He is. Oh how urgent this pursuit must be in these days of compromise and declension! We cannot afford to join the company of unbelieving who have failed by allowing distractions to capture their hearts and minds. There is a need for true conversions. Not merely a step in a supposedly positive direction but rather, transformation of the heart and soul. This is why Jesus died on the cross. Not for us to feel good about…