CCA Pastors’ & Leaders’ Conference 2021

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Raul Ries Teaches at CCA International Pastors’ & Leaders’ Conference 2021

Story by Kate Larsen
Photos by Tom Price and Josh Larson

Follow Calvary Chapel Magazine as we publish summaries of the teachings at the CCA 2021 Calvary Chapel International Pastors’ & Leaders’ Conference at CC Golden Springs, CA.

In this installment, Pastor Raul Ries, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Golden Springs, CA, challenges attendees to consider the cross of Jesus Christ.

Watch this teaching in its entirety at Day 2 / Raul Ries

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Worship continues to encourage and strengthen attendees on conference Day 2.

Raul Ries presented Session 5 of the International Pastors’ and Leaders’ Conference on Tuesday. He began by deviating from his assigned Scripture in Acts Chapter 5 and led the body instead to turn to Galatians 2:20: I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

It was a tearful plea for those in service to the Lord to remember the cross of Christ and to carry their own crosses in denial of self—living a crucified life. Raul reminded the pastors and leaders of the domino effect their sin has upon others: not only does it take them down, but also their families and the body of Christ. He described the state of some churches as “entertainment centers,” void of conviction of sin, and leaving people the same as how they came in. What power has a church focused on emotionalism? he asked.

“Pastors need to step back and see how their life is motivated—by emotionalism or the teaching of the Word of God?” Raul cautioned. “Can we really lead the people God has given us? I believe the only way is if we have died to ourselves.”

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Matthew 16:2

Raul reflected on the long road the younger generation has ahead of them and on his own desire to finish well. “God has to be real in our lives,” he said with the hope that they would recognize the need to die to themselves, so that others might see Jesus instead.

It was a message of the centrality of the cross to all things and a reminder that the cross is part of being a Christian. With tears, he described the goodness of God even as he has suffered from seizures. Recounting times speaking before the church body and experiencing a seizure, he explained, “It is humiliating, but God is using it in such a way that He has taken me to hear His heartbeat.”

Recognizing Jesus is for us, Raul challenged those in attendance to not feel sorry for themselves in the place of trial, but to remember that we go through them for a purpose. We belong to Him and He belongs to us. We must not forget the importance of His cross, His resurrection, and His coming again.

“It is not what you know, it’s Who you know—and that’s Jesus our Lord and Savior,” Raul emphasized. He pressed the need to remind each other of the heaviness and the wonders of the cross, leading into his eight reasons for the cross of Christ in our lives.

The cross of Christ is a must (1 Corinthians 1:17).

The cross of Christ reconciles (Ephesians 2:16).

The cross of Christ makes enemies (Philippians 3:18).

The cross of Christ brings peace (Colossians 1:20).

The cross of Christ crucifies the world (Galatians 6:14).

The cross of Christ saves us from the wrath of God (Romans 5:9).

The cross of Christ has redeemed us (1 Peter 1:18).

The cross of Christ demonstrates His love for us (Revelation 1:5).

“There are no crown-wearers in heaven who were not cross-bearers here below,” Raul asserted, quoting Charles Spurgeon. The cross is a necessity in the believer’s life.

In closing, he reminded the pastors and leaders that Jesus has never failed. Then he challenged them: “Are you willing to surrender, to die to yourself, to pick up your cross, and to follow Him?”


Watch this teaching in its entirety at Day 2 / Paul Ries

View CCA International Pastors’ & Leaders’ Conference Schedule

Learn more about Calvary Chapel Association

Visit the website of Pastor Paul Ries’ church at:

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A member of the worship team leads attendees to the throne room of the Lord.


All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

© 2021 Calvary Chapel Magazine (CCM). All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.