Pastor’s Blog

 
 

A Dignified Transfer

C.Hayden
9-1-2021
 
As I begin writing the first few words of this blog, I hold back tears as I watch the return home of the 11 of the 13 U.S. service members who gave their lives in service to a mostly grateful nation. I am in such awe as fellow brothers and sisters in arms, march in total lock step carrying our fallen heroes respectfully and honorably from the Dover bound military aircraft to the ongoing transport in what is called a “dignified transfer” of fallen soldiers. As I gaze on this ceremony, honoring our fallen men and women, several emotions begin to overwhelm me. The first couple of emotions include anger and sadness as I contemplate the unnecessary loss of our brave men and women and the heartache of families. They must be feeling a pain unimaginable to most of us. We all lose loved ones that we must say goodbye to but most of us do not suffer the loss or sacrifice of those so young who give so much for our freedom, especially when a few common-sense measures could have kept them safe. 
 
Yet, there are emotions that rise above the others. That is those feelings of extreme pride and gratitude. I feel so blessed to be a part of a nation filled with so many courageous individuals who are willing to give so much for the cause of bringing freedom and protection to the world. It reminds me of the great sacrifice our Lord made for us. He was not given such a “dignified transfer” as He left this world, but Jesus’ entrance when joining the right hand of the Father as He took occupation of His throne must have been one glorious ceremony. Hebrews 10:12 says, “But this Man (Jesus), after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sad down at the right hand of God.” Jesus had His dignified transfer after on the 3rd day, rising from the grave. Someday we will receive our dignified transfer. He offers it to all who would put their trust in Him. One day, when our Savior appears in the clouds and He calls us home, we will leave this planet in a great celebratory transfer to the Kingdom of our God.
 
And it will be glorious. 1 Corinthians 15:54-57 says, “So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ O Death, where is you sting? O Hades, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
 
Be Blessed Even More!
 
Pastor Chris

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God’s Grace / Human Grace

J. Fields
8/15/2021
 
As humans, life will many times throw us for a loop. Have you ever had someone say or do something to you that really hurt? Have you ever felt betrayed or just “stabbed in the back”? Have you ever just felt so angry for what someone did to you that you can’t seem to forgive them? If you have felt any of these things then you are human. However, we are called to be Christ-like which means we must learn how to forgive.
 
Recently I ran into a situation where I had someone get incredibly upset at me, this person got upset with me more out of their own personal frustration and not something that was wrong with me. I was called names that would be very disrespectful for me to relay in this letter. In my past, I would have “pushed back” however, by the grace of God, I am learning how to turn the other cheek, forgive, and move on. As I stopped and reflected, I felt God telling me to forgive, forget and move forward. While I was highly disappointed in this guy, we did end up talking, he apologized and was embarrassed for his actions. I graciously accepted his apology and we have both moved forward.
 
I would be lying if I said there weren’t times throughout my life when I held onto a hurt or grudge much longer than I should have. Holding onto a grudge or hurt will hold you back from what God wants to do in your life. Scripture tells us that we are to forgive, enven when someone may hurt you hundreds of times, you must learn to dig deep within your heart and forgive them (Matthew 18:22). Unforgiveness will put a grip on you that will squeeze the life out of your soul. Matthew 6:14-15 states that if you can’t forgive someone for what they’ve done, how can your Heavenly Father forgive you? True forgiveness will set you free, it will release the yoke that is holding you back.
 
Don’t allow the enemy to have victory over you today. Don’t fall into the trap and voices that may be speaking lies into you. Ife there is someone who you need to forgive, whatever that hurt or pain is when you forgive you will be set free. If there’s something that’s holding you back from forgiveness, pray for God to help you release the grudge. Just think about the difference we as Christians could make if we just follow the life of Jesus and forgive those who have done wrong to us. Forgiveness = True Godly Love. The world is watching us as believers very closely, allow the love of Jesus to flow out of you and into them by the way we live. 
 
Blessings,
Pastor Jason

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Revival, Yes or No?

C. Hayden
8-1-2021
 
The last couple of Sunday messages, and the next couple of Sunday messages, have and will touch on this idea of revival. Pastor Jason Fields has shared the historical context of the revivals of the Reformation period and those of the 20th century where God transformed and changed the landscape of several ecumenical Church movements in Europe and the United States. He also laid the foundation for our need for revival even at this very hour of our nation’s history in light of the trials and troubles we are living through today. My 8 year old grandson was even listening to Pastor Jason as Reid actually made me a paper airplane with the phrase “A Vision for Revival” written on both sides. If revival is such a good thing, and surely God desires revival in His Church and the world, why are we not seeing it in mass as we have in the past? Here are some thoughts. 
 
In the 2nd chapter of the book of Acts, the Scriptures state, “When the Day of Pentecost had finally come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a sound of rushing mighty wind, and if filled the whole house where they were sitting.” It was the first recorded revival that took place after Jesus went to heaven after the crucifixion. The revival continued for in the next chapter of Acts we see the Apostle Peter preach one sermon and over 3,000 people get saved and brought into the Church. Now that was revival! Why is that such a rarity today?
 
For one reason, at that time, the whole Church was in unity. They all wanted God’s presence. They all wanted God to change and transform them, they wanted to know God intensely, and there was nothing in their personal lives they were not willing to relinquish. Unfortunately, I believe that most of the Church, or at least a good portion, does not desire revival. We get comfortable in our lives, we get comfortable in our faith, we get comfortable with our things, and the last thing we want is for someone to disrupt our peaceful existence. Revival is messy!
 
When the Spirit of God brings revival, things get shaken up and “business as usual” is no longer satisfactory. My hypothesis, often we do not want revival and we do not hunger for revival, so we do not see revival except in individual hearts were being a “Christian as usual” is no longer enough. We need to pray for a hunger for the Holy Spirit to bring us a Holy dissatisfaction for comfortable, and a Holy hunger for more of God in our midst. Psalm 81:10 — “I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of Egypt: often thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.”
 
Be blessed and pray for a Spiritual hunger for more,
 
Pastor Chris

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Yes Lord, Yes!

J. Fields
7-15-2021
 
In just a few short weeks the Third Anniversary of my father’s death will be upon us, wow where does the time go! There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about the memories of my dad. While I absolutely love Summer, when I think about life a few years ago with the illness of my dad it brings back some crazy rollercoaster days. Let me explain a little about the hard days but also the joy that came from this adventure.
 
Life can sometimes throw us a curveball, that’s exactly what happened a few years ago when my dad lost his battle with Leukemia. There are many days that I’m out on a run and go through the cemetery where my dad’s body is and wonder why things turned out the way they did especially with how much faith my dad had. I’ll never forget when my dad was in the hospital and he was having a really rough night, I just asked him if he was scared of what could happen, I’ll never forget when he said “no, I am not scared when it’s my time I will be in glory”, wow what a powerful statement!
 
Let me ask you this question. Do you know someone who needs to say “Yes” to Jesus? None of us are guaranteed tomorrow. Is there someone who you would love to see in the church? In the blink of an eye, our life could be done, we will spend eternity in one of two places, don’t you or someone who you care about want to see them spend that “forever” in the glory of Jesus?
 
You may ask why I am so passionate about preaching about salvation, it’s because I want to see everyone spend eternity with Jesus. John 14:6 says “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'” Today is the perfect day to say Yes Lord, Yes. None of us are guaranteed another breath.
 
Blessings,
 
Pastor Jason

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Love Thy Neighbor

J. Fields
6-15-2021
 
The other day I received a phone call from my neighbor asking me if I would be interested in a few bags of leftover mulch that he didn’t use…it happened to be the exact color that I needed. I expressed my gratitude to him and immediately said, “Yes, just let me know the exact amount I owe you and I’ll swing it over.” This neighbor has always been a huge help for my family, so when he told me that I owed him nothing I wasn’t surprised since he has such a good heart and is always a generous person. I sure am blessed with having great neighbors.
 
This experience made me reflect on Matthew 22 when Jesus was confronted and responded about what the great commandment is: Matthew 22: 36-40 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
 
You may be saying, “Oh Jason, your neighbor was just being nice, you are reading way more than you should into his kindness.” I agree he is a very kind man but freely giving his time and never wanting or expecting anything in return shows me the heart that this guy has, Loving your neighbor as yourself means that you not only care about your own personal wants and needs but you have a heart for helping those around you.
 
This man and his family don’t currently go to church anywhere. This family has had many trials over the past several years but instead of losing heart and just being mad at the world, they continue to be generous and kind to those around them. My hope and prayer are that this family will one day be sitting in a service at either our church or another one somewhere. The moral of my story is this, we are all called to love thy neighbor, no matter the curve balls that life may throw at us, we must represent the love of Jesus Christ in everything we do. Jesus didn’t make the second commandment so that we can just have the head knowledge of what it means, he commanded us to live this out in our everyday lives.
 
Blessings,
Pastor Jason
 
 

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Holiness Unto the LORD

6-1-2021
C. Hayden
 
The topic of holiness has always been a difficult subject for the Church to grasp a hold of. In the book of Hebrews 12:14 we read, “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” If we are commanded to be holy, then how are we to do it? Does it mean we have to give up all worldly goods, become monks and live in a monastery the rest of our lives? Hardly. To understand holiness, we need to first remember that it is a work of the Holy Spirit by which we become holy, not our work. There are two aspects of holiness that we need to look at.
 
The first is that we are holy, not just by what we do, but by Who we belong to. We need to first be saved thereby being born again into His holiness. When we come to Christ, commit our lives to Him, receiving Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are washed by the blood of the Lamb and step into the Lord’s righteousness. We become holy, not by what we do or have done, but simply because we now belong to God and are holy because He purchased us, now we are His. The Holy Spirit seals us and set us apart as holy, belonging to God and now are separated for His purposes. We are holy in the same way as the temple utensils, cups, bowls and platters in Solomon’s temple, are holy unto the Lord by the fact that they, and we, belong to God. This aspect illustrates that just as we cannot do anything to save ourselves, we also are unable to do anything to be hold, it is God’s work.
 
The second aspect of holiness is that, now that we belong to God, we need to put off the old man, sinful in nature and deeds, and start putting on the new man which was created in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:24). The Apostle Peter put it this way, in the epistle of 1st Peter 1:15-16 we read, “But as He which has called you is holy, so you are to be holy in all manner of behavior; Because it is written, ‘Be ye holy, for I am holy.'” If we will submit ourselves to the Holy Spirit’s work, we begin walking in a manner that is pleasing to the Lord, submitting ourselves to the ongoing sanctification that can be defined as a holy walk with Jesus. It is not that we do holy works to be holy, but that we submit ourselves to the Holy One. In this way, our actions begin to match His holiness by offering our will as a living sacrifice, allowing Christ to transform us into His image  (Romans 12:1-2), embracing His will for us.
 
Be blessed even more!
 
Pastor Chris

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Seeking Whom He May Devour

C. Hayden
4-27-2021
 
I love the Apostle Peter. This man of God, one of the Lord’s great Church Fathers went from the frightened Simon who cowered when confronted about his relationship with Jesus to the awesome Peter the Apostle preaching with such great power, bringing 3000 to the Lord in one day. Even through often maligned for getting his eyes off the Master and sinking when walking on the Sea of Galilee, the fact of the matter is, he did walk on water albeit for only a few steps. Peter was the only person to do it other than Jesus.
 
The Apostle Peter was also known for writing the 1st and 2nd Epistles of Peter in the New Testament. In Peter’s Epistles, we discover a variety of warnings for the Church. Peter sees the landscape of spiritual entropy taking place, not only in the world, but infiltrating the Church of Christ as well. He warns all who would listen to beware of false doctrines, false teachers, and false spirits (the devil). They lead our children astray, devour our families lives and turn us away from faith in God. In 1 Peter 5:6-8 we read, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all you care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
 
If things seem “not quite right” nowadays and sinful behavior and compromise appear rampant, even in the Church, maybe we are experiencing the devouring that Peter warned us of taking place. Maybe we should begin to take this Epistle’s (God’s Word) warnings serious and start following what the Apostle told us in verse 9 of this chapter, “Resist him (the devil), steadfast in the faith…” If you are not experiencing a resistance to your faith by the enemy of your souls in these difficult days, you may have already been deceived by the devil who has been munching on you without you even knowing it.
 
Be blessed even more!
 
Pastor Chris

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Changing of the Season

J. Fields
4-15-2021
 
After a long Indiana winter, I am so thankful for a changing of the season. Greener grass, flowers starting to bloom, the sound of birds chirping, and warmer weather, oh the sounds and sights of Spring. With the changing of a season comes an opportunity to change your outlook.
 
In the Old Testament, chapter three of Ecclesiastes talks about there being a time for everything. Even through some seasons seem to drag on while others seem to fly right by there is something that we can learn that will help us grow in life. There is a stretching, a time of molding that takes place during the season.
 
Life gets busy, the world is moving fast and with so much available at our finger tips we can keep ourselves stretched so thin that we don’t have a chance to enjoy the season. My challenge for you is to not become so busy with your life that one day you look back and regret the things you missed out on. Enjoy the seasons of life that God has blessed you with, take a moment to stop and smell the roses. Life is full of seasons, embrace each one.
 
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
 
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
 
Blessings,
 
Pastor Jason

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A Real Jesus

C.Hayden
3-25-21
 
Hello everyone, you are reading this blog either before or after one of the highest of holy days in the Christian world. That Holy Day is Easter Sunday, also known as Resurrection Day, the day Jesus Christ rose from the dead to solidify our deliverance from sin and the grave. What a wonderful gift! And even though it is the greatest story ever told, it is not a fairy tale. A real Jesus came down to die on a real cross, buried and rose from a real grave, and is seated on a real throne at the right hand of our real and living Father God.
How do we know this? The evidence of the truth of God’s Word is backed up by the categories of real evidence that when put to the test, is literally undeniable (Read “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel, former avowed atheist, investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune, and later the managing editor of the Daily Herald). There is archaeological evidence, historical evidence, literary evidence, thematic consistency, first-hand witness accounts, second-hand investigative, internal cohesion and coherence, cross checked external evidence (other literary accounts), and strong prophetic evidence. And then there is the miracles witnessed that have never been unproven. Far more evidence exists than most scientific theories out there today. 
But the greatest piece of evidence of all, the empty tomb (John 20). Jesus’ body was never, and has never, been found. The facts surrounding the Lord’s body is amazing. After being brought down from the cross, the Lord’s body was wrapped in cloth, much like a mummy might be, placed into Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb, sealed with a great unmovable stone and guarded by Roman soldiers. Yet, on the third day, the guards fell asleep, the stone was moved away, the napkin around the Lord’s head folded neatly, separated from the bloody body wrappings found elsewhere in the tomb (if thieves or the disciples did it, why risk being caught by taking the time to unwrap the body) with His body absolutely nowhere to be found…Except when He was found alive, not only by His 11 close disciples, but by approximately 500 other disciples who were willing to be imprisoned, exiled and martyred for the testimony that they saw Jesus after His crucifixion. People have been found innocent or guilty of murder by the testimony of only one witness. And questionable scientific theories have been adopted as fact by society on much less than the evidence that exists declaring the truth of God’s Word and Jesus’ resurrection. Pretty strong evidence, don’t you think?
 
Be blessed even more!
 
Pastor Chris

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A Real Devil

C. Hayden
3-10-2021
 
In Hollywood, we have so many examples of characters that set out to portray the prince of darkness, the devil. He is often characterized as a misunderstood imp wearing a red suit. Or he is the angle who was mistreated because he desired freedom from a vengeful and self-centered God. Or he is portrayed as God’s equal brother who simply wants people to have a good time. Sometimes he is portrayed as the evil one, but having the power to outwit or contend with the very Son of God. In fact, the devil is none of those things. These many images of devils and demons are usually meant to entertain for sure, but often the effect of these misguided attempts at humor or horror, serve only to cause individuals to not take him seriously or even doubt that he exists at all.
The fact of the matter is, contrary to the faith of many people, claiming to be a Christian or not, the devil is very real and is very malevolent when it comes to humankind. First Peter 5:8 says “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” And verse 9 tells us to “Resist him, steadfast in the faith…”. Jesus experienced a very real battle with the devil who attempted to derail our Lord’s ministry before it even got started. The devil is a real threat and he will destroy you and your faith (or at least render it ineffective) if you do not recognize it.
The devil’s main weapon is to deceive and lie. Jesus called satan a liar and the father of lies. He lies to get you to believe he is not real or not relevant to your life. He then lies to get you to believe the same in regards to our Lord; that He is not real or not relevant to your life. Neither of these ideas could be further from the truth. In John 10:10 we read, “The thief does not come except to kill, and to steal and to destroy…”. He tries to kill your life, steal your love, peace, and joy, and destroy your witness and relationships with those around you. The physical things you lose are just the end of the road after everything else has been stolen. My advice, don’t let him do it. Recognize that he is real and deadly. The Apostle said that we are not fighting against flesh and blood. We battle against principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness and spiritual wickedness. They are to fear us as we destroy their influence in our lives, our family, our Church and the world. Turn your anger on the deceiver, not on your family or brothers and sisters in Christ. Happy hunting Man or Woman of God.
 
Be blessed even more!
 
Pastor Chris

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