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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Is The Cross Convenient?

So what about it? Is the cross, and all that accompanies it, convenient for you? Remember that we're not just talking about any cross, we're talking about The Cross. I recently met a woman who said she needed much more that to just be a 'go to church on Sunday and Wednesday' Christian. To me, she was making a decision that even if The Cross wasn't always convenient, she was ready to step up. I'll tell you just how inconvenient The Cross has become for not only individuals, but to entire congregations. I was blessed by the LORD almost three years ago to be called into the position of Ordained Elder in the prayer ministry International Prayer Response ( We just had our annual banquet, although it was really a potluck, here in Absarokee MT, and were blessed to have the man and his wife who were called by GOD almost six years ago to begin this ministry here with us from Bakersfield CA. Jim Fox, the founder of International Prayer Response, who I've known for 30 plus years now, and his wife Maria spent a couple of days with us, which is always a real treat. While they were here, Jim and I spent some time, like we always do, talking about our burden to get HIS Word to more people. My position on this issue, and I've yet to meet a Spirit-filled Christian who doesn't agree, is that until every single person I have any contact with in any way whatsoever, has come to the Throne of Grace and accepted the shed blood of the SON as atonement for sin, my work for the LORD isn't complete. A theme verse for me is from the Epistle of Paul to Timothy.

'But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.' (II Timothy 4:5 NKJV)

Now that I've given some background on where my thoughts are, let's get back to the subject of whether or not The Cross is convenient. In some of our talks over the last couple of days, and in many previous talks, Jim Fox and I find it disheartening that many churches don't have Sunday or Wednesday evening services. Another sad turn of events is that during the services that are still held, very few include an altar call. I'm now the least bit bashful, and I've been known to ask the reason for no altar call. When the answer was that having an altar call might offend or upset people by being confronted in a 'right in your face' way about their standing before GOD, I was really confused. But, my confusion aside, I understood that it simply isn't convenient for a lot of people, either individually or in a congregational setting, to be confronted by the message of The Cross. Then I realized something else, and that is that if we're in right standing before the LORD, then The Cross and all that goes with it, should not be confrontational or inconvenient. If the mere thought of CHRIST on The Cross makes a person uncomfortable in any way at all, then they are in dire need of some time at the altar! Where does this leave the church (the one built with hands) and the responsibility before GOD to be good shepherds of the flock placed in their safekeeping?

Okay, picture this. CHRIST, already beaten and bleeding to the point of being unable to carry HIS death tree, going up the hill escorted by the Roman soldiers and Joseph, who was carrying the cross. I really don't believe that JESUS was looking forward to what HE knew was in store, despite HIS commitment to carry out the FATHER's Will. So what would have happened if HE gave voice to HIS thoughts, maybe with something like,

"Uh excuse me guys, but it's like this is really not a good time for ME to do this. Do you think we could all get together another time, like in a couple of days? I do hate to sound like a wimp or something, but this is not a convenient time for me."

But, HE didn't say any of these things, HE followed through with a commitment HE'd made to the FATHER.

People don't want to spend their Sunday and Wednesday evenings in church because it isn't convenient. People don't want to be confronted with their own position before GOD by having an altar call as part of the service because it isn't convenient. Pastors and Elders and church leaders don't want to go against the will of their congregations by holding services and altar calls, because it isn't convenient for them to have people a little upset with them.

One thing I noticed early on in my life as a Christian, and that was that most of the teachings of CHRIST were done by example. First HE healed, then told HIS disciples to heal. First HE raised people from the dead, then sent HIS disciples to do the same. HIS final lesson was about obedience, and HE taught it well, again by example, even though it was probably just about the most inconvenient thing HE'd done

How about it, is The Cross convenient for you?

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I know that I haven't mentioned it in awhile, but Yeah, I'm a Believer! Have a Blessed day!

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