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“It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in.  He paid with Christ’s sacred blood, you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb.” 1 Peter 1:18-19 The grace of God has been freely given to us but it is not cheap. Love requires sacrifice. And the more we love the greater the sacrifice. Since God is able to see the depth of our sinful state, only He would be able to convey to us what we needed in order to be set free. The naïve may think that a moderate adjustment is sufficient to stop the free-fall to destruction. But who independent of God is able to know the affect of even apparent innocent acts upon the character?  This is the environment in which all were raised. No one knows any other life than this. But God knew of our need for help. And He supplied it before we had the sense to desire it. Jesus Christ, God’s Son redeemed us with His blood while we were yet sinners. Now all must apply what has been appropriated for us if any is ever to benefit from such great a sacrifice.

“From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it. That’s how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. (14) Whatever you request in this way, I’ll do.” John 14:13-14 (MSG) Out of the personhood of Jesus, He does what only He alone is able to do. It is the character of Christ to love unconditionally. Every act was an act motivated by love and an expression of love. His objective is to free those who have sought the authentic but have settled for a substitute. Too many seekers have succumbed to merely settling for a level far beneath the level established by Christ. Therefore the requests are restricted to their limited understanding. The only prayer that the Father is obligated to answer is the prayer of His Son, as His passion burns deep within our hearts. He honors His Son through hearing His prayers through yielded vessels whose lives are fully engaged in the works of Jesus. They are His sons brought to glory. Through them, the works of God continue.

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10 The household of faith is the instrument in God’s hands to bring sinners to salvation. They are the carriers of the Gospel message with the potential of setting the captives free. To do good concerning those who are of faith is participating in the expansion of faith. Our practice must be to do good to all. Benevolence must be practiced until it becomes a habit. But special care must be given to those who are of the household of faith. It frees the hands to work and the soul from unnecessary burdens so that it may be extended to those to whom God will to reach. The world is awaiting the release of love bestowed from God that is free from pretense and selfish ambition. Therefore we must take care in prayerfully considering those who are faithful within the household assisting them so that they may distribute to others what they so desperately need. Where should we lend a helping hand, and where should we direct our giving? God unites our hearts to a household of faith…

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free.” Galatians 5:1 The most secure place is the position of true freedom. Permission is granted to us by our Sovereign Authority to fully participate in a work that extends beyond the passions that once ruled over us. We once thought of freedom as being able to follow the dictates of our hearts. Our old selves willfully responded, as it had been conditioned, to the stimuli of influences surrounding us. Not having the ability to see beyond this, we did not understand that an offering was extended that we might be liberated from the confinement of a world that offered nothing beyond itself. The liberty in which we now stand is an inner freedom that makes us aware of things that exist beyond the confinements of a shrinking worldly existence. As our external life gives signs to decay and decline, the inner man is being renewed for its expression of eternal life. We are free to live forever the life that we now have come to experience in time.

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.

“He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve, nor pay us back in full for our wrongs”. Psalm 103:10 (MSG) If we received what we deserved, every inhabitant on the earth’s surface would warrant the consequences of their transgressions. Our treatment would be harsh while the sentence would be measured against the deserving. None would be able to survive the plight of heavy-handed justice from a God who would remain just in meeting all with the same treatment commensurate to their treatment of God’s Law. God does not give us what we deserve even when it is deserved many times over as result of repeated acts of rebellion. Instead of justice, He tempers justice with mercy. His sentiments remain the same in relation to our deeds. But continues to extend opportunities for us to hear something different than what we may have grown accustomed to hearing in order to give expression to a new way of living. His mercy cannot be demanded. It is arbitrarily granted. He will have mercy on whomever He wills. Yet we all receive it extended towards us. He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just…

“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, (2) fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” Philippians 2:1-2 The objective of preaching the gospel is for those who are following to have the mind of Christ. Whatever Christ has provided for us is to be provided through us to others. It is with His comfort of love that we become loving. A difference is made in our lives as the result of being loved by Christ. He settles us down and gives us both rest and a peace that surpasses all understanding. The disturbed soul cannot interact with others on the same level as one who senses the security of the arms of Christ. There would be a caution that interrupts that degree of fellowship. But the soul that rests in His love is free to love others because he is not dependent on them but gives to them expecting nothing in return. The Lord supplies all our needs according to His riches in glory. We are complete in Christ thus able to love…

“We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” 1 John 4:6 The surety of the gospel message is an unflinching confidence that God is with him. God provides the messenger an assurance that all who love the Christ of the message will also love and accept the Christ within His messenger. The message and the Messenger can never be divided. As he further yields himself to Christ, that which is of Christ flows freely through him without any restraint. He does not rely upon a response from the people, even though positive responses are encouraging. But his motive is to please the One who sent him on the mission and nothing else. The Spirit of Christ can recognize Himself inside of him. He can make such bold proclamations as, “we are of God!” he doesn’t have to cautiously and timidly approach the subject. He is confident and radiant as he stands as God’s representative. He who is of God hears the one sent forth by God. His sheep both hears and knows His voice and…

If the Lord can see everything in the world of the dead, He can see in our hearts.” Proverbs 15:11 (CEV) God examines the inner-workings of the hearts of men. He is able to observe every secret thought and the development of the mindset of men. It is not just the immediate thought or idea that He directs His attention to. He looks at all that contributed to the formation of the thought long before it is given expression. This text expresses His gaze into the dark mysteries of the world of the dead. He has full knowledge of every detail existing there. Even the underworld of demons and devils all of the mysteries of hell, God knows. If death itself cannot shroud the degree of knowledge fully known by Him, then it should be clear to all that He knows the hearts or the inner life or the secret life of men or human beings. “How then can we hide our thoughts from God?” (TEV) The Psalmist requested divine introspection from God; “Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; Try my mind and my heart.” Psalm 26:2 He did not trust his own judgments, but requested that God would…