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Lift the Cross, Lift it Up...

>> 3.03.2013

For the first time ever, my husband and I were able to attend a Chris Tomlin (Louie Giglio, Kari Jobe, too!) concert.  I really wasn't sure what to expect, other than worship music, of course, but I walked away with two main thoughts and I'd like to share them with you today.

THE CROSS -- We must lift it high!
A few years ago a young man in his early 20s talked with my husband and I and expressed his thoughts on today's "Church".  One of his comments struck me as "odd" which was something to the effect of how so many churches were getting rid of their crosses.  He said, "Now, I'm not a believer or anything, but, if I was, I mean, I'd have a cross in the church I attended.  It's your MAIN symbol and you don't even want it around!"  Being part of the Church all my life, I hadn't really thought about it much.  I mean, cross, no cross...what was the difference?  Even if there was no cross in my church, I still knew my faith was centered around it -- around the sacrifice of the PERFECT, HOLY man/God who DIED was BURIED and the ROSE AGAIN three days later.  (The ONLY God to have ever done that-- and SO many witnesses to attest to it!) So...whether it was on the front wall or not didn't really cause me concern.

.    .    .

Until recently.  There are, in my opinion (and many other church leaders much more well-known than I, lol), two main issues the church must respond to today: Salvation found in Christ alone and our response to the issues of the definition of marriage.  (I won't address the latter today.)  With the rapid rise in Islam and other religions today, we Believers can not simply rely on a "culture" that understands and accepts the Truth of Christ anymore.  Actually, we are seeing more and more "persecution" daily right here on our own dear American soil.  I pray constantly that my children will learn while here in our home to love Christ fully and be ready to sacrifice EVERYTHING for Him...because I see a day approaching soon where Christianity in many outlets will not be allowed at all.  We will all then be living like so many of our dear brothers and sisters who know what it's like to daily "take up their (own) cross and follow Him."  We stand out, if we truly believe that there is only ONE WAY to God-- not through good works, not through Allah, not through Buddah, not through Joseph Smith, not through good health, Mother Earth...etc., ONLY through Christ-- and the cross is our symbol to tell the world.   Listen below to this song from Chris Tomlin that made me confirm in my own heart the need to rely on the cross, not the physical symbol but rather what/ WHO it stands for, and convicted me to cherish our religious symbols in a right way.

"Laying your body down
You took our rightful place...
We raise our white flag
we surrender..."

"We lift the cross, lift it up, lift it up..."

Our treasured symbol-- we MUST lift it high for it cost our Precious Savior EVERYTHING!

PASTOR SAEED -- We must stand by our brother in prayer!
Do you know this man?  Have you heard his name?  Have you heard it and then turned the radio channel or the news channel and think, "so what"?  Well, he is lifting the cross of Jesus high in the world's most dangerous prison known to humankind.  He is AN AMERICAN CITIZEN.  He was taken in the middle of the night in a country known to be severely against Christians.  He had been legally allowed to enter, to work on an orphanage in this country, assured that he would be just fine.  He has a wife and two daughters right here in our United States...perhaps they live in the state in which you live.  They could be your neighbors.  Pastor Saeed's most recent letter can be read here.  I beg you to do so.  PRAY for this man!  He is doing what you and I might imagine we could never do-- but one day we, too, just may be called upon to do this very thing.  It reminds me of Paul.  Paul wrote from horrible prison cells in which he endured many unspeakable hardships...and continued to praise the Lord Jesus Christ (the very One he'd opposed himself just years before) and lifted the cross high.  As I listened to this song being sung out in an arena filled with over 9,000 people, the Lord brought Pastor Saeed to mind and as we sung "lift it up" I couldn't help but pour out more prayers than I have yet to do for this man and his family and thank Jesus over and over for sustaining him, for giving him the grace to respond to his opposers with undeserved love; Christ's indwelling actions pouring out from this man.  (You can read more about this story here.)

If you are a Christ-follower take a minute to examine what your life is saying about Christ.  Are you treasuring Him and His sacrifice?  Are you "not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ" (Romans 1:16) or has some apathy set in?  Let Christ do His work in you...

If you have a favorite Chris Tomlin song, share it with me!


Jeff and Sara Packard March 4, 2013 at 7:24 PM  

So excited you got to go see him. We are big fans of him also. We are surprising Olivia and taking her to see J.J. Heller and Sanctus Real this Friday.

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