BGCT president: Lead me to the cross

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It has been a wonderful Lenten experience for me this year. God has embraced me through this time, and I have drawn closer to him. I have been reminded Jesus came to take up the cross and to be obedient in following the Father’s will.

rene maciel headshot130René MacielPhillip Yancey says, “If we want proof of God’s love for us, then we must look first at the cross, where God offered up his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. Calvary is the one objective, absolute, irrefutable proof of God’s love for us.”

Amazingly, Christ came to this earth with his main objective being the cross of Calvary. Luke 9:51 says, “When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.”

The few years he lived on this earth, he never lost sight of the cross before him. He set his face to Jerusalem. He was always reminding his disciples he must be rejected and be killed. He reminds them again in the Gospels that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of man. He came to face the cross, to hold it, to take it upon himself, to embrace death for you and for me. It was his mission, and we were his passion.

texas baptist voices right120He set his face to Jerusalem. On the other hand, we run away from Jerusalem—pain, suffering, anything of danger, evil and death. We especially cannot grasp and comprehend the cross. Why would we want any part of pain and suffering and sacrifice? We want them to sing “O, Happy Day” not “O, The Blood.” It is just our nature to turn away from Jerusalem. We want that easy, happy journey.

I had a chance to lead worship at my church recently, and we sang a song called “Lead me to the Cross.” In the middle of that song, God reminded me of the cross and the reason he set his face to Jerusalem. He was calling me and leading me to that cross.

Lead me to the cross

Where Your love poured out

Bring me to my knees

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Lord I lay me down

Rid me of myself

I belong to You

Lead me, lead me to the cross

As I sang this song, I began to weep with conviction of how difficult it is to ask God to rid me of myself and help me set my face to Jerusalem. My Lenten experience has reminded me of the journey I walk in following after Christ. Probably the toughest part is getting me out of the way—then taking up the cross and embracing the wonderful, marvelous effect it has had on my life, my family, my friends and the world.

My prayer is that we will set eyes and hearts to Jerusalem, the cross, and be amazed as it draws and calls us to be faithful on the road to the cross.

O the wonderful cross,

O the wonderful cross

Bids me come and die

and find that I may truly live

O the wonderful cross,

O the wonderful cross

All who gather here by grace draw near

and bless Your name

René Maciel is president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas and president of Baptist University of the Américas in San Antonio.

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