Pastor’s Blog

 
 

Are You Positive?

I’ve come to the conclusion that every day is a downer for people expecting it to be.  In other words, if you’re looking for the dark cloud in every silver lining, you’ll probably find it.  We’ve heard the old adage about how one sees the cup; half full or half empty.  Here’s what the Scripture says in Proverbs 15:15 KJV “For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.”

The Bible has much to say about having a happy heart and so does medical science.  People with a more joyous outlook on life are sick less often and live longer.  You may say, “Yeah Chris, easy for you to say, but you don’t know my circumstances.”  You’re right, I don’t, but I don’t think they’re going to change before your outlook does either.  Which comes first the outlook or the results?  I believe you attract what you hope and stay in faith for.

It is easy to be negative about the difficulties we experience in life or become a complainer when things are not exactly what we would like to see; it takes a much stronger individual to stay hopeful and joyful when things are not always going the way we would like. Philippians 4:8 NLT says “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

As for me, I know it may be raining and grey outside occasionally, but my response in the midst will reveal how brightly the joy of the Lord shines in my heart.  Go ahead and give it a try. For 30 days, when difficulties come or when events take place that are not what you care for, be positive and joyful anyway. See if your relationships, attitude, and over-all quality of life doesn’t improve.  I know one thing for sure, if your outlook continually displays the attitude of a Debbie or Donnie Downer, those around you are hoping you will give it a try.

 Be blessed and be grateful,

Pastor Chris


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A Holy Anointing

Sunday, May 19 (2013) was a special day at Central Christian Church as we honored and celebrated our men and women of the armed forces. It was a wonderful time of worship and remembrance as we gave allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ and thanked our troops for putting their lives on the line to safeguard the freedom that allows us to pursue a relationship with God, unhindered. I will never apologize for saying that our Church supports our troops even if we may have differences on the validity of our political leaders particular mission (but I digress).

That day was also, what is known in the Church as, “Pentecost Sunday.” It is the day we celebrate and remember the impartation of the Holy Spirit to the Lord’s disciples and the beginning of His Church; the Body of Christ. It was at this time that believers were filled with the Spirit of God and received the power and promised Comforter that Jesus spoke of before His earthly departure. In the book of Acts 2:38, the Apostle Peter tells the listener to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This is that same Holy Spirit that Jesus spoke of in the first chapter of Acts as the promise of the Father that brings power to witness to the world. Without this anointing of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we become spiritually impotent and anemic in our faith.

It is this very anointing of the Holy Spirit that turned a frightened fisherman, Peter, who was afraid to admit he knew Jesus, into one of God’s mightiest of apostles. It was this same anointing that took a persecutor of the Church, Paul, and made him into God’s apostle to the Gentiles. It was this Holy Anointing that healed the lame, opened the eyes of the blind, removed demons from those possessed and brought Lazarus back from the dead. It is this same anointing that draws us to God and gives us the power to do exploits in His Name. To say the least, we need the Anointing of the Holy Spirit now as much as we needed it then. Pray for God’s Holy Spirit to fill us to the full with His anointed presence.

Be blessed and be grateful,

Pastor Chris


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God’s Great Love

We have heard this over and over again. We sing songs about it, preach sermons about it and see it in the hearts and actions of others. What is this you ask? It is the love of God that surpasses all understanding. In the book of Ephesians 3:18-19, the Apostle Paul tells the Ephesians that his wish is that they might know the breadth, length, depth and height; the very knowledge of the love of Christ. Often, we give mental assent to this fact and would sing in the key of G, “yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so.” But there is a difference between giving mental assent to a particular truth in the Word and knowing that truth as a personal reality. When you begin to realize the breadth, length, depth and height of God’s love on a personal level, your relationship with Christ will grow exponentially.

Let’s try this exercise; look up John 3:16 and begin to read it. Only, instead of reading the words “world” or “whosoever,” put your name in their place. For me, it would sound something like this: For God so loved Chris, that he gave His only begotten Son on Chris’ behalf, that if Chris would just put his trust in Him, Chris will not perish but will have everlasting life.   It is one thing to see God’s love directed toward an enormous creation that spans approximately 6.5 billion people. But when we realize that Christ died for each of us as individuals, that when Christ took our place on the cross, He had you and me in mind; I know it is difficult to fathom but yes, God really loves me too! God saw you when He willingly allowed religious leaders to torment and crucify His only begotten son, Jesus. And Jesus willingly suffered and surrendered His life on your behalf and on behalf of those you hold dear.

Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus endured the cross and despised the shame for the joy that was set before Him. I believe that joy the scriptures speak of refers to the joy Jesus has knowing that we will be with Him for eternity which is a reflection of God’s love for both you and me; personally. Be blessed this week.

Be blessed,

Pastor Chris


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Keep On Praying On

I want to, once again, affirm those who meet to pray each week at CCC’s prayer group. I am glad to hear that it will be continued once the Bible study starts up again and I so look forward to participating in it. Thanks prayer warriors!! It is so vitally important. A.W. Tozer, the great Christian writer and holiness preacher, stated these words, “The church that is not jealously protected by mighty intercession and sacrificial labors will before long become the abode of every evil bird and the hiding place for unsuspected corruption. The creeping wilderness will soon take over that church that trusts in its own strength and forgets to watch and pray.” It is pretty clear that we must be vigilant in prayer.

In Ephesians 6:17 – 18a we read, “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit…” (KJV) In this passage, the Apostle Paul lists it among the vital armor that we as believers need to adorn ourselves with if we are to be effective agents of the Lord against the enemy of our souls, the Church and our community that needs an effective spiritual compass. Without prayer, we are fighting the good fight in our own power. Without the power of God behind our efforts, we are ineffective at best and in the God’s way and even against Him at worst.

James, the half-brother of Jesus and leader of the early Church in Jerusalem, said it like this in the Epistle bearing his name, “pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working]” (James 5:16b Amplified). Tremendous power is available for those who pray, trusting in God’s power rather than their own. When the Church refuses to pray, it is the same as telling the Lord we do not need Him; I think we all know we need God desperately, especially in this hour.

Be blessed,

Pastor Chris


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Young Leaders

This past Sunday, we took another trip to the movies as we discussed films made for children. One of my favorite movies involves a little clown fish by the name of Nemo as he fights to return to his fishy father and show everyone that little ones can do great big things. Through the actions of one little fish, a whole catch is able to escape the nets of commercial fisherman.

The scriptures also tell us the importance of young people in the Kingdom of God.   Matthew 19:16-17 says this, “One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” Jesus values the children and requires that we do the same.

In the book of 2 Chronicles, King Josiah took the throne of Israel at the age of 8 years and by his 16th birthday was purging the nation of idolatry and immorality. God did great things through this little person.

In September, we will once again begin our Wednesday evening children’s programs. We need to invest in our youth by continuing to see them as vital members of the Kingdom of God.  We invite the youth of our community to get involved in their Churches as they seek the Lord in whatever direction they have been called and are available to them in Church leadership because little people can do great things too!

Be blessed and be grateful.

Pastor Chris Hayden


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To Spank or Not to Spank

There’s a controversial issue that has reared its head in recent years that has become quite a thorn for some in the Body of Christ; that is, should we spank our children when they misbehave? For some, beliefs on corporal punishment fly right in the face of a modern study recently published in the May 2010 issue of the journal of Pediatrics and referred to in an article in our Indianapolis Star on April 18th.  I looked over the article and then picked up the Bible for my daily reading and in Proverbs 13:24, here’s what I found; “Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children.  Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.”

New research from Tulane University, that was referred to in the article I read says spanking children seems to lead to more aggressive behavior when they’re older.  Of course, I don’t know about you but the fear of getting spanked often led me to put controls on my level of disobedience in regards to physical aggression (I saw no value in risking getting spanked due to hitting someone else).  These examples and information from both sides of the issue add to the debate on “do we spank or not spank.”

As a Christian, what do you do?  Do you go with studies conducted by universities, your own personal experiences or do you go with the Bible?  Does the Bible mean to spank your child every time they misbehave?  Or, does it leave room open for other forms of discipline and simply refers to spanking as one that’s effective?  What do you think?

I’m curious as to how you come down on this issue.  Do you spank your children?  At what age did you start or stop?  Have you tried more than one form of discipline and found one more effective than another?  Have you tried other forms of discipline, but found spanking as the most or least effective?  Being a good parent is not always easy and disciplining our children can be a very difficult thing.  While physical or mental abuse is never an option, Scripture tends to let us know that corporal punishment, when done correctly, can be effective in turning young minds from sinful paths.  Having said that, we need to always remember to mix discipline with love and disciplinary action with the welfare of the child and not as a means of venting our own anger.  What do you think?

Be blessed and be grateful,

Pastor Chris


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Crazy Days

I don’t have to tell you that we are experiencing some crazy times in more ways than one. With the spike in gas prices, the entrance of Donald Trump into the political foray, the exit of Donald Trump from the political foray, Washington D.C. scandals galore and the ever-present upheaval in the Middle East, it is often difficult to determine where we are headed. However, eccentricities are nothing new to the history of our species. Jesus’ day was full of oddities including the rise of decadent Roman emperors (some far worse than our political leaders), immoral behavior of societal elites and the plethora of deities that inundated the religious landscape. Social injustice was the norm for most and overwhelming poverty permeated every state in the empire.

Trouble is a given in our world and it is doubtful that it will be eliminated anytime soon. But the Lord forewarned us so that we would not be taken by surprise. In John 16:33 we read, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (NIV). Jesus tells us that we need to take heart and be encouraged for He is still on the throne and in Him we can experience peace in the midst of the storm. We should be ever vigilant knowing that we are seeing the signs and times reflecting the turmoil Jesus spoke of almost two thousand years ago.   However, we also need to be at peace knowing we have a Savior who has defeated hell and the grave and is continually at work in our lives as we allow him access.

In reference to their suffering, the Apostle Paul sets out to encourage fellow believers at Rome with these words, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us (Romans 8:35, 37).   Paul continues to embolden the reader, “…neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39). Be heartened knowing that while we may be living in crazy days, Christ is with us every step of the way.

Be blessed and be grateful.

Pastor Chris Hayden

 


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Want Some Whine with that Cheese?

I saw an excerpt the other day from Stephen Covey about the 90/10 principle.  It goes something like this: 10% of life is made up of what happens to you, while 90% is decided by how you react to it.  What does this mean?  It means that we have control over 90% of what is currently going on in our lives by our attitudes and decisions from those attitudes.  Here’s an illustration:  You cannot control a red light (10%), but you can control how you react to it (90%).  Just carry that example throughout everything that happens during your day.

What would happen if we did this in regard to how we treat people?  Someone cuts in front of us in traffic (10%) and it ruins our day (90%).  Think what would happen if instead of getting upset, we said, “That person must be in a real hurry, so I am going to pray they don’t get in an accident.” Someone does something we do not like, but instead of getting angry or rude with that person, we are kind and treat them in a manner we would want to be treated thereby making a friend rather than an unwanted stranger.

Philippians 4:6-8 is a passage that encourages and exhorts believers to have a positive outlook on life. Do not be burdened with unnecessary cares, be thankful for the good things, and think on the good report, not the negative one; if there is any virtue or any praise, think on these things. If you need more reasons to not be negative, consider that studies have shown that positive people live longer (on average 10 more years).  Here’s another, positive work environments outperform negative work environments. Positive people attract others to themselves while negative individuals repel them.

Only 2 of the 2 to 4 million Israelites entered into the promise land; those two were Joshua and Caleb.   They saw the difficulties of the land as no big thing for God, while everyone else consistently indulged in a whole lot of WHINE with their cheese. How about you?  Remember, being positive is a choice.  (Tip: negative people don’t think it’s a choice, they think it’s because of their circumstances or someone doing something they don’t like).

Be blessed and be grateful,

Pastor Chris


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Love Conquers Fear

The book of 1 John is a powerful book for those who realize the effects that sin has on the sinner and yet realize that God is ready to forgive and cleanse of all unrighteousness, those who turn their lives over to Christ.   I John 1:9 tells us that God is faithful and just to forgive us of all our wrongs if we but come to him humbly and confess said wrongs to Him. He is a Good Shepherd. That brings me to the subject of two, often conjunctive, forces or emotions; they are fear and love.   Many types of fear are antithetical to love, but sometimes they can be symbiotic as one can lead to the other and vice versa.

In the next couple of Sundays, I want to explore this idea of fear, and what appears to some contradictory statements in the Word of God. We want to examine the different understandings of what the Lord is saying when conveying the idea of fear; how fear can either work for or work in opposition to our faith in God and understanding of His love. In 2 Timothy, we are informed that we have not been given a spirit of fear. We are told to “fear not” throughout the Word of God, yet in Proverbs, the “fear of the Lord” is the beginning of wisdom!

How can God tell us to “be not afraid”, turn around and tell us to have the “fear of the Lord” and then make the remark that “perfect love casts out fear” (Isaiah 41:10, Proverbs 1:7, 1John 4:18)? These statements are not a contradiction but can be confusing when not examined in the context and meanings for which they were intended. Yes, fear, types of fear, can lead to terror and torment. Yes, fear, a type of fear, can lead to wisdom and God’s love. Come the next couple of Sundays and find out what we mean.

Be blessed and be grateful,

Pastor Chris


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What a Big God (Father) We Have

This past month, our morning Sunday service we talked about how big God is. We did this by taking a look at the stars, the number of them, and how long it would take to traverse the expanse of our own playground galaxy known as the Milky Way. The Milky Way contains an estimated 200 billion stars and is 100,000 light years across or 600 quadrillion miles. This is so vast that if you could travel at the speed of light, which is 186,282 miles per second or 670,615,200 miles per hour, it would take you 100,000 years to arrive at the other end of the Milky Way! Wow, that is big!

Scientists estimate that there are some 125 to 200 billion galaxies in the known universe (some say there could be 100 times that number of galaxies, we just can’t see that far) with the next closest galaxy to the Milky Way, known as Andromeda, being 2 million light years away or 12,000 quadrillion miles (At the speed of light it would take 2 million years to reach). The Milky Way galaxy, Andromeda galaxy, and about 20 to 25 other galaxies further than Andromeda but nearest to the Milky Way than the other 100 to 200 billion galaxies, are known by astronomers as the “Local Group” of galaxies. The Local Group, are you kidding???

The incredible thing, our God made all of this. Isaiah 48:12-13 says this, “Listen to me Jacob, Israel, whom I have called: I am He; I am the first and I am the last. My own hand laid the foundations of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I summon them, they all stand up together.” Our God, and we call Him our Father, spread out the heavens with His right hand. I guess that is why scientists tell us the universe continues to expand…our Father (God) is still spreading out the heavens and commanding the galaxies as He wills!!! And Jesus was there the whole time! The book of John starts out like this, “In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word was with God and the Word was God, ALL THINGS were made by Him and without Him was nothing made that was made” (John 1:1-3).

I have just two questions. If our Lord is powerful enough to create this vast universe, that we cannot even comprehend its size, is there any problem to big for Him? Second question, if our Father loved us so much that He would send Jesus, and Jesus loved us so much that He would come to this planet and die for our sins when we did not even know Him, is there any good thing that He would withhold from us? (See Romans 8:32) Something to make you go, hum!

Be blessed and be grateful.

Pastor Chris Hayden

 


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