Are We Thankful For The Cross?

Recently we celebrated Thanksgiving here in Canada. It’s a time to reflect on the blessings in our lives. It’s also a time to reflect on the challenges we’ve overcome. At City Centre, we’re also celebrating 42 years of worshipping and serving God together – October 12, 1980 was our first worship service. Through the years there have been many ups and downs, but God is faithful to give us just what we need if we keep our focus on Him.
In the same way, the cross has its ups and downs. The world knows the downs best. The cross began as a place of torture. Criminals and opponents of the Roman Empire were subjected to public humiliation as they hung naked on a tree. It was a good ending if one died of suffocation and had the body taken down. Often a body could be left on the cross until it completely decomposed. Hebrew beliefs thought that anyone left to hang or left unburied was cursed (Deuteronomy 21:23; Galatians 3:13). This is an awful, awful thing. How could we ever be thankful for such a horror?
It’s because by enduring this very act our Lord Jesus brought freedom. Freedom from sin. Freedom from the guardianship of the law. Freedom from all the systems that keep us from God. As Paul summarizes, “for freedom Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1). Why use a symbol of death and torture to bring freedom? Only God knows. And the testimony of the cross still confuses the world. “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). We can certainly be thankful for the instrument and sign of the cross which brought us the gift of freedom. It’s the last gift we should expect as rebellious children, but our perfect and loving Father knows how to give the best.
In this way we should be thankful for the cross. If that reason doesn’t fill your heart with joy and thanksgiving, take a moment to inspect your relationship with God. I’ve found that when my feelings are reduced to simple obligation it’s usually because something else in my life is out of order and has made a barrier between myself and the Lord. Confess the dysfunction, proclaim Jesus as Lord and King, and then give thanks. You’ll be glad you did.
See you Sunday,

Paul Alli
(Guest Contributor)

Happy Thanksgiving & Happy Anniversary City Centre!

I am excited to join you as your guest blogger this week, and I am excited to have the privilege of preaching to you this Sunday. Thanksgiving is an exciting time for many as they get to be surrounded by family, have turkey, and discuss what they are thankful for. As I began my study this week, I was brought to this passage in Philippians, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:4-7.

Rejoice! The Lord is near! How amazing is it that our All-Mighty, All-Knowing, and All-Loving God is with us always? My question to you all is, when is the last time you thanked God for the blessings He has bestowed upon your life? I hope the answer is today for most of you, but I know that is often not the case for some people. It is so easy to forget about all of the blessings that are present in our lives with the hustle and bustle of the city. Getting caught up in work, school, family life, and Netflix is easy, and sometimes we forget to give thanks. Sometimes we even get anxious about deadlines, politics, or the state of the world in general, and we forget to give thanks to the Lord. We can watch the news or hop on social media and forget about all of the good in this world that comes from God.

My advice as a pastor is, when you feel yourself becoming discouraged, feeling anxious or facing a difficult decision, do two things. First, pray! Pray often! I pray every morning, throughout my day and every night. God cares about our fears, pain, and anxiousness just as any parent cares for their child. Just ask God, “Father what do you need me to do?” Second, focus on the Word of God. As a Christian, the Bible is our life instruction manual, and it has everything you need. The Bible is God’s Word, and it has more wisdom than any individual or group of people. We have access to the Word of God! Why wouldn’t you turn to it for every problem?

City Centre Baptist Church has been serving the city of Mississauga for forty-two years. This is significant as this church could not function without God’s sovereignty and the goodwill of God’s people. I would like to thank every elder, deacon, ministry partner, member and visitor that has visited us over the last forty-two years. We are a God-fearing, Bible teaching Church that continues to follow the mission that Jesus gave to His followers. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” Matthew 28:18-20.  

I pray that all of you can continue to keep the Words of Jesus on your heart as you pray about how you can serve this local church and its people for the next forty-two years and beyond.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Anniversary! I’ll see you Sunday!


Pastor Tom

(Guest Contributor)