Pastor’s Blog

 
 

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol

  1. Hayden 11-22-20

 

This week, both of my grandchildren spent several days with Heidi and myself leading up to Thanksgiving Day.  We had many joyful moments as we played games, visited the War Memorial playground area, had meals together and watched movies with much popcorn in store.  We had a wonderful time with them, but then again, we always do. One such incidence of much joy was when Reid and myself sat down to watch the animated Disney version of the Charles Dickens classic tale, “A Christmas Carol.” It was the first time Reid had ever seen the film and new little about the story beforehand.  He absolutely loved the film. In fact, I had to watch it five more times before the end of the week, as he could not get enough of it.  

I was happy about that.  It gave me the opportunity to talk to him about the themes of the story.  About caring for others at Christmas time, helping the poor and hurting in society, and the real meaning of the season (Jesus giving Himself to save the lost).  This week, Reid learned how blessed he really was as he saw poor children who often suffer without the things we take for granted and without the love that we so often enjoy.  He also learned that the source of all these good things come from God and because of God’s unchanging love for us (James 1:17, 1 Chronicles 16:11-12); and of course, the love our moms and dads have for us (also given by God, Romans 5:5).  He learned so well, that this past Sunday he insisted on him and I sponsoring a child by picking a stocking off of the gift tree on the wall outside the Sanctuary doors. Grandpa was more than happy to accommodate him. Reid was even willing to spend his own money.  Although he did leave his wallet back in Indianapolis…but that is ok.  His heart was there.  

This season, we may be in a bit of a funk due to the discouraging events and circumstances we have had to endure this year.  But we can still redeem the times for good by remembering that we still have opportunity to do good for others (Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31).  There are many in need of physical provision but even more are the spiritually poor who are in need of a Savior.  As we have time, let us remember to convey that message above all others.  It is what we would tell our children and grandchildren, and what we would love to have them come to know.  

Be blessed even more!!

Pastor Chris


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Thrive Where You Are Planted

Thrive Where You Are Planted (Revised)

(Revised by Chris Hayden, 11/10/20)

I heard a phrase from a wise mentor of mine when I was going through a particularly difficult time early on in my ministry.  He said to me, “God will use you and bless you no-matter what circumstances surround you. He will bless you where you are, He can’t bless you where you are not.”  When I find myself planted in a difficult situation, the Lord seems to always bring that phrase to my remembrance.  

In 2 Corinthians 12, the Apostle Paul addresses this same concept as he struggles to deal with his own “thorn in the flesh.”  We do not know exactly what this thorn in the flesh was that oppressed him whether it was a person, a sickness, a physical challenge or another difficult circumstance in Paul’s life.  It really does not matter what it was, what is important is the attitude Paul embraced and the manner in which he dealt with his thorn.  What we know is that it was something the Apostle requested of the Lord to be removed yet God refused saying, “My grace is sufficient for you. For my strength is made perfect in weakness.” God lets Paul know that it is this place of weakness that God can display his power in our lives. Isn’t that how God’s power shows up most of the time?  When we can’t, He always can? Otherwise, we tend to give credit to the person for accomplishments or to ourselves regarding those things that only God can do.

This brings us to today.  We are in difficult times to say the least.  And do not get me wrong.  It is ok to be angry when we see a pandemic that has hurt so many families in so many ways.  And it is perfectly legitimate to get heated when we see injustice and corruption in our government and in our world. I am extremely frustrated by the things I see today and have no problem telling others about it.  But at the end of the day, I know that God is sovereign.  He is the omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, and omni-authoritarian (sovereign) God of omni-things (All things, LOl). So I need to be omni-trusting, knowing I have an omnibenevolent Father who is in charge. 

Are you going through a difficult time right now? Have you prayed, yet it appears that God has refused to remove the thorn? In the place you are planted, and in the circumstances we seem to find ourselves, trust the Lord. As you do so, His strength will become apparent in your weakness.

Be blessed and be grateful,

Pastor Chris

 

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The Best Is Yet To Come

The Best Is Yet to Come
C. Hayden 10-25-20
 
“The Best Is Yet to Come” is a 1959 song composed by Cy Coleman to lyrics by Carolyn Leigh. It is associated with Frank Sinatra, who recorded it on his 1964 album It Might as Well Be Swing accompanied by Count Basie under the direction of Quincy Jones. It was the last song Sinatra sang in public, on February 25, 1995, and the words “The Best is Yet to Come” are etched on Sinatra’s tombstone. Although Sinatra made it popular, the song was written for and introduced by Tony Bennett. Every time I hear this song, it reminds me that something much greater than what we see in this life is waiting for all of God’s children very soon – as promised to us in Scripture. The best is yet to come!
Ephesians 1:13-14 we read, “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” In other words, the Holy Spirit given to us, and that we so
cherish, is just a down payment of the wonderful gift God has given to us. The joy we share in Christ is just the beginning of the exhilaration yet to be experienced when we receive the fullness of our salvation in Him. We have so much to look forward to as well as the benefits of our faith in Him now.
Let us remember this special promise from 1 Corinthians 15:52, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 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.” Yes, indeed. “The best is yet to come, and won’t it be fine!” Thanks for the reminder, Frank.
 
 
Be blessed even more!!
Pastor Chris

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The Return Part 3

Pastor Chris & Heidi Hayden

 

                                                                      

The Return Part 3

  1. Hayden 9-29-20

 

Well, the event known as “The Return” is over and this morning is a new day. Saturday was a wonderful day as Christians gathered in Washington DC and throughout the world by simulcast, praising God, repenting of sin and sharing the message that all of us need to return to God. It was a blessing. However, now we need to carry that message to others and live out the mandate of the Scriptures to walk out our salvation with our Creator. Always leaning on Him and staying faithful to the commitment of being a disciple of Christ. It says in Matthew 16:24-25 the Bible reads, “24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me]. 25 For whoever wishes to save his life [in this world] will [eventually] lose it [through death], but whoever loses his life [in this world] for My sake will find it [that is, life with Me for all eternity].” (Amplified).

 

The Scripture we read in the first paragraph is a serious mandate that is meant for a serious people. To be a disciple of Christ is not just a tag we put on ourselves as believers in Christ, it is a way of living that God has called us to. And for many in the Church, it is a call to return to the commitment we made when we first declared in our hearts that Jesus Christ is Lord. Throughout the history of the Church, God calls His people to come closer and to return to their First Love. After giving the believers in Christ a compliment, Revelations 2 has Jesus speaking to the Church at Ephesus and saying these words, 4 “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.” Sometimes we can get caught up in worldly things, even us “good Christians.” Often we have a tendency to walk away from God when we are drawn away by the affairs of life and forget our God. God calls us to return to Him. If this describes you, do not hesitate to call on the Name of the Lord. He has open arms for you and is ready to receive you back in His arms. Return to Him, He will in no way reject those who wish to draw close to Him.

 

Be blessed even more!!

 

Pastor Chris         

 


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The Return

The Return

1. Hayden 8-25-20
 

On September 26, 2020, Christian believers from all walks of life and many denominations will be descending on the Washington D.C. Mall in a historic gathering of Church leaders and followers of Christ.  This gathering will take place in our nation’s capital approximately 40 days before one of the most important elections our country has ever faced.  This election will decide the direction of our Union and could very well be a pivot point for an entirely different form of government.  Much is at stake.  So what is this gathering in D.C. all about?  Well the event is called, “The Return.”  The Return is not a reference of Christ returning, but of His people and the world returning back to Him. It is anticipated that thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands will gather to pray for our nation and the Church to “Return” back to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and our Lord Jesus Christ.  We will pray for repentance and God’s blessings on our land as we humble ourselves before Him, seek God’s face and turn from our wicked ways (2 Chronicles 7:14). 

The Return is a movement, an appointed time, and a specific day set apart for one purpose – the return to God by coming before His presence in humility, in sincerity in prayer, and repentance.  The movement begins now and will continue through the entire year of 2020 leading up to 10 Days of Vigilant Prayer – Starting with the Biblical Feast of Trumpets and ending with the Day of Atonement (September 18-September 28). The central day of The Return will be Saturday, September 26, 2020 on the National Mall and throughout the nation and world.  Here at Central Christian Church, we will be hosting a simulcast of the event live in our facility on that day.  The day will begin at 9am with speakers and prayers throughout and closing with a prayer service starting at 6pm and lasting til around 9pm.  We are inviting members of Central Christian Church along with any in our community that wish to attend.  Please join us on that day, even if only for part of the day, as we join our fellow believers and neighbors in returning to God with a renewed commitment and zeal for the salvation of the lost and unity of the Body of Christ.

 
 

Pastor Chris


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The Creature Walks Among Us!

8-13-2020
C. Hayden
 
This past weekend I had the opportunity to catch one of my favorite 1950s monster movie characters on the television. It was “The Creature”! You know, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, to be exact. It was a particularly hokey flick being the 3rd installment of that monster movie franchise titled, “The Creature Walks Among Us” (1956). That generation just could not get enough of this terrifying xenomorph in the previous two films including the original “The Creature From the Black Lagoon” (1954) and its sequel, “Revenge of the Creature” (1955).
 
In “The Creature Walks Among Us,” the Creature or “Gill Man”, is taken from his natural habitat and imprisoned in the world of human beings. A scientist (there is always a scientist involved), experiments on the Gill Man and removes said gills, giving him lungs so that the monster is transformed into an air breather and no longer a water breather. This gives him the ability to, as the title of the movie suggests, walk among us. Does this remind us of anything? I think you know where I am going with this. The only difference in this film from its, obvious to me, coming of the Lord Jesus’ first advent, is the Creature is inundated with human faults and failings. The monster begins to experience and act on people’s fear, anger, hate, jealousy, pride, greed, and all manner of sinful emotional displays. The plot is then revealed as the Creature becomes violent over and over again as result of being exposed to these human failings.
 
The Bible reveals a somewhat different scenario. The Word of God reveals to us that the Son of God, Jesus, humbled Himself willingly, took on human form and, for the purpose of saving us from these human failings (SIN), walked among us that we might become like Him; not vice versa. John 1:10-12 says this, “10 He was in the world, and through the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him. 11 He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him. 12 Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, the Creature from his home against his will to become like us and live with us, Jesus willing left His home to walk among us. And Jesus still walks among us in order to make us like Him and to take us back to His home in glory. Oh what a great day that will be. 
 
Be blessed even more,
Pastor Chris

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An Eroding Culture (Still Eroding)

An Eroding Culture (Still Eroding)

  1. Hayden 4-24-16, revised 7-28-20

 

Last night, in a fit of prayer, I felt led to crack open an old favorite book of mine, Chuck Swindoll’s text “The Church Awakening: An Urgent Call For Renewal.” In a nation that continues to drift further and further away from the moral moorings that were considered at one time common sense, the Church is in desperate need for spiritual renewal. On the back cover of Swindoll’s book, we read this quote, “Postmodernism (there is no absolute truth or reality) began in the academic community, oozed into leadership, then morphed into Congress, public schools, and our homes. Sadly, the slumbering evangelical church has also now slid into the murky waters of a post-Christian swamp.” This is often the result of a church that, rather than seek to draw closer in a holy relationship with God, settles for a shallow, religious form having no power. A church that is more interested in being accepted, and better yet, liked by our politically correct world, escaping the persecution that Jesus said all who live Godly in Christ Jesus would suffer (2 Timothy 3:12).

 

Some feel that we are in the process of the great “falling away” in the church, spoken of in the Scriptures, as we see denomination after denomination buckle to the pressures of the world to accept more and more behaviors, lifestyles, and faiths as acceptable alternatives to Biblical truths held by the church for the last 20 centuries. Could this be the great falling away linked to the revealing of the anti-Christ spoken of in the Bible? In 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 we read, “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;” There has always been societies filled with eroded morality (maybe every society). But now many sectors of the church, after holding to standards of Biblical holiness and truth, are voting (and have voted) to not only affirm alternative faiths and lifestyles as acceptable to God but actually plotting to weave these changes into the church. We need to continue to pray that the church will be renewed in the Holy Spirit, be salt and light for the world, leading people to repentance and forgiveness in Christ rather than allow the world to lead the church into a politically correct social club based on good feelings rather than God’s Word. It is time for the Church to rise up, be bold in Christ, speak truth to counter the deception out to destroy our world, call the church to revival and preach repentance and faith in Jesus to a lost world.

 

Be blessed even more!!

 

Pastor Chris         


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Faith, Family, Freedom!

 
C. Hayden 7-8-20
 
I love the messages that we have been putting up on the Central Christian Church marquis the past several years.  They have displayed messages that have been meaningful, relevant to our time and community, and brief enough to be seen by passing vehicles as they glance at our sign while driving to and fro each day.  The current offering has been not only one of our briefest sermon, but oh so relevant and meaningful.  It reads, “Faith, Family, Freedom”, and that is it.   This communication is so simple, yet saying so much.

In these three words, we are able to capture the most important institutions and values of our day.  And it is these institutions and values that have come under heavy attack in our country.  The first word, FAITH, representing everything we know to be true about God and our Lord Jesus Christ.  Faith also represents our connection with our God as the scripture tells us, “Without faith it is impossible to please God…” (Hebrews 11:6).

The second word, “Family”, has also been under attack.  Forces in our nation and world have been attempting to redefine the family for years, trying to erode the Biblical view of the nuclear family.  Now we know that sometimes tragedy and death, sin and selfishness, can cause the creation of non-traditional families.  God still loves them and God can still cause those families to thrive.  But the ideal, God’s model has always been this: “For this cause a man will leave his mother and father and cleave to his wife and the two will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:5).  When we try to downplay God’s model, when end up with a society that is forever redefining God’s Word.

Finally, the word freedom closes our marquis message.  One of the most important of values cherished by Americans who often left their country of origin to come to a new land whereby they could freely worship God in “Spirit and Truth” as revealed to their own conscience. And freedom is so important to God, and coincidently, is also under attack!  Galatians 5:1 says this, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.”  We have been set free by Christ so that we might be free in Christ!   So as you are driving around Huntington over the next couple months and catch a glimpse of the Church marquis this summer.  Don’t let any politician, or anyone else, try to take these things away from you.  Remember those three words representing those gifts that God wants all to have, “Faith, Family, Freedom!”

Be blessed even more,

Pastor Chris


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Small Group Greetings!

The “Small Group” gathering that took place Friday, the 12th & the 19th of this June was a great time of food, friends, fellowship, frivolity, and faith! We took time to get to know each other better and forge some ongoing relationships in the Body of Christ. Now this was just the beginning, but a good beginning at that. The participation of CCC members was overwhelming and wonderful! We were able to get to know others from our small Church in a more intimate way while enjoying food and fun in a relaxed, non-regimented atmosphere. Our time together was very refreshing!
This type of gathering is very much the way the early Christians would meet. In Acts 2:46 we read, “So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart…” Believers would meet in the temple courts but also in each other’s homes, sharing the gospel and fellowshipping together, ministering to each other as they had need. Gathering together in fellowship is an important part of exercising our faith. Coming together includes supporting each other in an experience that helps us to grow, gain strength, and learn exactly who God is and how He loves us.
As we fellowship with other Christians in small groups, we also have fellowship with God Himself. In 1 John 1:3, Scripture tells us, “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship [is] with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” And in Matthew 18:20, we read, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” When we gather together in small groups, sharing in food, sharing in conversation, and sharing our faith with each other, God is right there with us, sharing in the ministry of His Holy Spirit.
The next small group gathering will be held July 10th at the Jones’ home and we are looking forward to it. Feel free to join us in this ministry as we once again take time to relax, enjoy the company of believers, and allow the Spirit to move, as only He is able to do.
 
Be blessed even more,
Pastor Chris
 

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What’s the Answer?

 

What’s the Answer?

 

C. Hayden 6-10-20

 

               

 

Text Box: “…’Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit’ says the Lord of hosts.”
Zechariah 4:6
                Jesus said in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Well country singer Lynn Anderson recorded a song most of us probably remember entitled “Rose Garden.”  While you may not remember it at first, I bet you will recall it the moment I state the first line of the song’s chorus.  The tune echo’s the sentiment that things will not always be fun and games. The chorus of the song goes like this:  “I beg your pardon I never promised you a rose garden.  Along with the sunshine there’s gotta be a little rain some time…”

 

Well I think most of us would agree, that even though we have had a few years of sunshine, we are in a rainy season now as our country has been facing one difficult situation after another.  With struggling through the pandemic and now protests crossing our nation, the question has surface, what’s next? Well I am still waiting for the killer hornets to make an appearance? 

 

                So what can we do?  First let me just say, we will never be able to stop problems from happening.  Tribulation will come.  We are not going to be able to solve all our problems by:

 

  1. Money – Throwing more money at things never seems to work

  2. Education – The more we know the more we realize we don’t know

  3. Uniting – Unity is great but without God it is folly (remember the tower of Babel?)

  4. Politics – I think we all realize that no matter who is in office, no one is ever satisfied

  5. Begging – Appealing to everyone’s good nature?! Good luck with that

 

So what is the answer?  Two things I know. We will always have problems, and secondly, we will never be able to solve all of our problems in our own flesh.  We need Jesus and we need the power of the Holy Spirit!  We live in a broken world with broken people living in it.  No amount of community organizing will ever fix that.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not against the community working together to make a broken world continue to run, but only God Himself will be able to put Humpty Dumpty back together every time he falls.  Zechariah 4:6 says that it is not by our might or our power, but it is by His Spirit. Only through Him the world can ever hope to be fixed.  We must turn back to God as a nation.  Only then can true progress take place.  We will have more on this subject in two weeks.

 

Be blessed even more,

 

 

 

Pastor Chris

 


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