(Photo: The Christian Post/Scott Liu)
NASHVILLE – California Pastor Raul Ries of Calvary Chapel Golden Springs shared Saturday evening his powerful testimony of inviting Jesus into his heart after watching Pastor Chuck Smith on TV at a time when he was contemplating violence against his family.
Ries said at the National Religious Broadcasters convention that as an unbeliever he hated everything: the world, his life and even his wife and children. But then he "found out that the cross of Jesus Christ is real," he said.
He challenged today's Church in his message to talk about the fundamentals of the scriptures and not shy away from the message of sin, although doing so without criticizing the person. "We don't talk about people, we talk about sin because we hate sin," Ries told the audience.
And he equally called out Christians who do not set a good example, noting that the reason the world views Christians as hypocrites is because many are.
He explained the love of Christ could forgive anyone who sincerely asks, saying he was forgiven for his sins when he fought in the Vietnam War. "If we don't follow Jesus Christ in his steps, we lose the message he gave us."
"I believe the church is drifting from the cross of Jesus Christ," he said. "So many people today compromise the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the church we have people who do not want to offend but we sometimes need to offend the world with the Word."
"When 70 percent of the church views pornography, we have a problem," he said. "The church needs to return to its first love," meaning the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
In 1975, Ries was ordained by the Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and started a small Bible study soon after. Now more than three decades later, Ries pastors a congregation of more than 14,000 people and can be heard internationally on more than 350 radio stations.