Pastor’s Blog

Unfinished

Pastor Chris & Heidi Hayden

 

Unfinished

  1. Hayden 7-20-17

 

This past Sunday I read from a book that challenges and motivates the Church for service to the Lord. Richard Stearns’ work both compels and encourages God’ s people to go from a simple church attender to putting all aspects of their lives, our money, our jobs, our possessions, our relationships, and so forth, under His jurisdiction.  Here is am excerpt from Richard’s book, “Unfinished.”

“Now, here is a really important thing to understand. If you lay down all of these things in the service of Christ and His kingdom, He won’t necessarily take them away from you. He doesn’t ask us all to quit our jobs, leave our homes, and have an estate sale to liquidate all our earthly possessions. No, He only asks that we turn all of those decisions over to Him. If you have built a business that can generate great wealth, He may leave you right there so that the business can be used to His glory and to accomplish His purposes. If you are an investment banker at Goldman Sachs, He may want you to stay put and become a kingdom builder right where you are stationed by letting your light shine in a place where a shining light may be desperately needed. If you love your community, He may use you to help transform it and reclaim it for His kingdom. He might even use your addiction as a powerful tool of His restorative power to transform human lives. But he does require that the certificates of title be signed over to Him. He becomes the owner, and we become the stewards, not of our possessions but of the Master’s possessions.”

Colossians 3:16-17 says this, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Everything we do, we do by the authority and will of God the Father, by the power of the Holy Spirit and through the grace and name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Until we have placed all things at His feet, we are yet, “Unfinished.”

 

Be blessed even more!

 

Pastor Chris

 


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Works of the Spirit or the Law?

Works of the Spirit or the Law?
C. Hayden 7-10-17
Galatians 3:3-6 says this , ”
Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the
flesh.
4
Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?
5
Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
     In this passage Paul makes it clear that we are redeemed and continue to grow by the Spirit through our faith, not by the keeping of the law or any other ritualistic undertakings. In this passage we see Galatian Christians attempting to find approval with God by keeping certain Jewish practices. Paul gives a slight rebuke to those who attempt to do so with a question. “Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” The obvious answer the Apostle is looking for is, “of course not.” We are saved by, as well as perfected by, the Spirit and never by keeping Levitical, Old Testament priesthood practices. Just as we no longer must sacrifice animals to cover our sins, we are no longer required to keep various dress styles, religious ordinances, nor dietary restrictions to please Him.
Galatians 5:1-5New King James Version (NKJV)  confirms this point

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free,[a] and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

     Circumcision was a requirement of all Jewish males, however, James informs the Church that Gentile believers are not required to join in this practice to follow Christ. And why? Because we have been set free from the law that we might serve Christ in  the Spirit, never to be entangled again by trying to keep the law. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made us free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2). We have been set free to serve God according to His Spirit and not by keeping the law.

Be blessed even more!!
Pastor Chris

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Attached to the Vine

Thriving On The Vine

  1. Hayden 6-25-16

 

Growing up in my neighborhood was an absolute blast at times. We had a ballpark right across the street from my house where all of the neighborhood kids would gather to play and find out how much trouble we could get in to. We also had this huge pear tree right in our front yard which became the focus of many an activity as neighborhood kids would work to pluck one of those juicy pears for their spoil! The tree had grown old and so large that there were no low limbs by which small children could begin to climb. Only the oldest and best climbers were able to get to the hanging fruit. Most of us had to wait until pears fell from the tree. One thing we noticed is that if we waited too long, the fruit that made it to the earth, would begin to rot no longer being attached to the source of sustenance, namely the old pear tree. I can remember often going through the old rotten pears on the ground in the hopes of finding a healthy, eatable, deliciously green pear to munch on. It was hit and miss as I spent time navigating all of those rotten pears in search of one that was good.

 

That is what happens to us when we detach ourselves from the source of our salvation. In the Gospel of John, 15th chapter, we read what it takes to really thrive as a believer in Christ. John 15:1-5 says this, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” By not remaining in the vine, staying in relationship with Christ, our faith becomes stale, stagnant, and stained with decay.

 

The “Good News” is that this need not be a picture of us. We can THRIVE by remaining in the vine. Jesus tells us that if we will remain in the vine, we will produce much fruit. And that fruit will be healthy and delicious for all the world to partake of. Have a wonderful time as you continue in His Word and prayer throughout the week…abiding in the Vine! Detached from the vine…we die; attached to the vine…we THRIVE!

 

Be blessed even more!!

 

Pastor Chris


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Spiritual Warfare for Dummies

Spiritual Warfare for Dummies

 

First off, “spiritual warfare” or power over the demonic, is reserved for those people who have taken the time to understand what this phrase means. I’m not talking about simply praying occasionally. I am talking about going to war spiritually against principalities, powers and the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6). They study the manual on “Spiritual Warfare for Dummies” or the Bible. That is they are able to understand what Hebrews 5:12-14 is referring to that says, For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Not everyone is in the place where they are comfortable dealing in areas that go beyond natural understanding. Maybe it is time that we start serving a little more Spiritual meat!

 

There was a time recorded in Scripture where the Apostles were not able to cast a demon out. After Jesus’ resurrection, they became masters of it. When asked why they lacked the ability, Jesus told them in Matthew 17:20 that it was because of their unbelief. In Mark 9:29-30, it was because they needed to pray and fast to cast out the entity. So what have we learned by these two Scriptures? That we need to have mature faith that has engaged in, not only ongoing prayer, but fasting by which we might grow spiritually through the practice of these Christian disciplines. And just as important, you must believe. If you lack faith in the practice, or faith in God’s power to do so through you, go no further…you will be unable to be used by God in this area.

 

Lack of faith and an anemic prayer life seems to be the primary reasons we fail in spiritual endeavors. When Jesus heard that the disciples failed to deliver the demon-possessed person, He lamented, “You stubborn, faithless [or, unbelieving] people! How long must I be with you until you believe?” (Matthew 17:17). Also, when the boy’s father asked Jesus to help him if He could, Jesus responded, “If I can?…Anything is possible if a person believes” (Mark 9:23). In James 5:16 we read, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

 

Do you believe? And more specifically, do you believe God’s Word? Do you have an ongoing prayer life that affords meeting with God regularly? Do you deny your fleshly self through Christian disciplines such as prayer and fasting? If you can answer these questions in the affirmative, you are a candidate to be used by God in these areas of spiritual warfare. If you desire God to use you fully in the things of the Spirit, remember what we found in Mark’s Gospel…”Anything is possible if a person believes.”

 

Be blessed even more!!

 

Pastor Chris


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Be Prepared

Be Prepared

  1. Hayden 6-25-17

 

People prepare for a lot of things in life. We save up money for a variety of foreseen needs from next year’s vacations to college expenses for our children to that wonderful day when we can retire from that regular 40-hour, or more, work week. It is natural to want to get ready for the possibility of future hardships or future blessings.   We can see natural events and/or ominous possibilities that we prepare for regularly. That is why whole industries are built on companies that sell such commodities as life, automobile, and health insurance. The wise person prepares for the possibilities!

Why is it that we go to great lengths to prepare for everything except spiritual things. The book of Proverbs gives us these wise words, “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences” (Proverbs 22:3 NLT). Just as it is unwise to neglect prudent actions that avoid dangers involving our physical existence, it is extremely foolish to neglect our spiritual health and prepare for what God is doing in the earth and wants to do in our personal lives.

It is so important that we are preparing now for the things God has in store for the world and for us individually. Matthew 24:42-44 NLT says this, “So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. 43 Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. 44 You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.” We need to prepare ourselves through pray, prepare ourselves through ongoing Biblical learning, and prepare ourselves through the sharing of the Gospel with our family and others. If we take seriously the warnings given to us in this passage, we will be well prepared for Christ’s coming as we see in the next two verses: 45 “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. 46 If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward” (Matthew 24:45-46 NLT).

 

Be blessed even more!!

 

Pastor Chris


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