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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Old Rugged Cross

"The Old Rugged Cross Made The Difference"

Message summary: The old rugged cross still makes the difference and all over the world this day people will be experiencing the life-changing power of Jesus Christ. Has Christ and His Cross made a difference in your life? Is Christ and His Cross making a difference in your life?

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17).

'Twas a life filled with aimless desperation
Without hope walked the shell of a man;
Then a hand with a nail print stretched downward,
Just one touch then a new life began.

Chaplain Bunny O'Hare 3/26/19Yesterday I took to the roads with Dennis "Bunny" O'Hare, a long-time friend  of ours who is also a chaplain to truck drivers. Bunny was raised in the Boston area where his Dad owned a tavern and Bunny was a bouncer. He was also a boxer, a literal "fighting Irishman".

Over time he became an alcoholic but through the redemptive power of the Cross he was delivered from alcohol in 1984 and can now sing and personally testify, "The Old Rugged Cross Made The Difference".

In the mid-nineties he became a chaplain with "Transport For Christ" and has served the Lord in that capacity ever since. For quite a few years he has been serving as the Director of Chaplain Care overseeing all the chaplains in the ministry. Brooksyne and I met him about twenty years ago at a conference in Boston.

His motto is "I used to be a slugger, but now I'm a hugger".

God is in the life-changing business and He's still changing lives today. Bunny is one of those changed lives and, he in turn like those who reached out to him, is reaching out to provide a haven of mercy, love and forgiveness to drivers. In spite of all the spiritual, emotional, and physical benefits that come from serving the Lord it can be very hard work with many setbacks and disappointments.

We rejoice in the work of God seen in the immediate transformation at the time of belief and the slow progressive transformation over a lifetime of following Christ. The old rugged cross made (past tense) and makes (present tense) a difference. We rejoice at the steady change demonstrated by long-term faithfulness and service such as we observe in Bunny.

The Apostle Paul wrote describing this wonderful change, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17). Paul experienced that change in his life and he rejoiced in the changed lives he had ministered to. John Newton, the former slave trader best known for writing "Amazing Grace", said before he died, "My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things – that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Savior."

The old rugged cross still makes the difference and all over the world this day people will be experiencing the life-changing power of Jesus Christ. Has Christ and His Cross made a difference in your life? Is Christ and His Cross making a difference in your life today?

And the old rugged cross made the difference
In a life bound for heartache and defeat;
I will praise Him forever and ever
For the cross made the difference for me.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, there is no sin too great that Your mercy is not greater. We were born with a sin problem, but You provided the solution for our sin sick souls through the wondrous sacrifice of Your Son Jesus Christ on the old rugged cross. We could never be good enough, rich enough, famous enough, or smart enough – nothing we offer is enough. Anything we offer is sin-based because of our human condition and all that Christ offers is sin-less because He is the divine Lamb without spot or blemish. Only Jesus, the sinless Lamb of God, is enough to pay for our sins and begin the wonderful work of transforming us into Your likeness. Thank You that the Old Rugged Cross still makes the difference. Amen.

Bunny with Audrey's team 3/26/19
Yesterday morning we visited Audrey's Distribution Center where they have many trucks that both deliver and pick up products. They want to reach out to these drivers with a small welcome center that includes drinks, refreshments and Christian literature. Bunny shared with the team for a few minutes and we prayed together asking the Lord to bless their new outreach.  Afterwards Bunny informed the team that he believed God was really excited about this. Excitement is an Anthropopathism I've never consider God having. Does God have emotions?

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"The Old Rugged Cross Made The Difference"  Video   Wilburn & Wilburn

"The Old Rugged Cross Made The Difference"  Video   Guy Penrod

"Transport For Christ" website  Connecting drivers to Jesus Christ and Christian community
so that drivers are never alone or without support.

Finally today:

Several days ago Pastor Richard Dresselhaus had this thought in his online devotional "One For the Road":

Waiting for Jesus to come. This is the occupation of every follower of Jesus.

Imagine a busy father who left his young son at a safe and supervised place telling him to stay there until he returned. Unexpectedly the father was detained until later in the day. When he returned the son had remained in the same place where the father had left him.

What is the lesson in this imaginative story? Simply this – until Jesus comes we must stay close to the cross. You are always safe in this place. It is the place of pardon, fellowship and communion with the Savior.

Sadly some wander off and become partners with the world.

So stand firm until Jesus comes.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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