Pastor’s Blog

Anticipate Great Things

One thing you may not know about me is that I am a world news junkie! If you ask my wife, Heidi, she will roll her eyes saying, “Oh really, you think!” I watch and listen to several news outlets to keep up on world events. As I do so, I have to keep reminding myself that God is sovereign in the midst of this mess. It is easy to become pessimistic when it seems like so many things are going wrong and the world continues to seemingly spin out of control. The Apostle Paul is a prime example for us to follow of one person who received bad news and experienced difficult circumstances, yet remained positive that great things would happen regardless. Paul regularly experienced the abuses of an unrighteous, decadent Roman Empire. He saw paganism and idolatry running rampant within the entire known world as well as his own nation of Israel. He endured personal attacks from other “believers”, imprisoned by multiple civic authorities and stoned to the point of death by his own people. What a life!
In the midst of persecution, Paul declares while in chains in Philippians 1:12-14 & 20 NLT, “And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. For everyone here, including the whole palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. And because of my imprisonment, most of the believers here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s message without fear…For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die.” He always saw the great things God was doing and anticipated great things to happen regardless of what the devil brought his way. Whether he lived or died, God will be glorified and great things were on their way.
You may feel that aspects of your life are being riddled with trials and struggles that are bringing you down. News that you receive from some may not be pleasing to your ears. But God is still in control and he will not allow you to go through anything you cannot handle without providing a way of escape (1 Cor 10:13). And always be reminded, as the Apostle indicated, whether we live or die, have great wealth or live in modesty, like what we currently view or are dismayed by the news, God will be glorified in us and great things are on the horizon for those who keep their eyes on Jesus.

Pastor Hayden


Read more...

Thrive Where Planted

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 going through a difficult time, 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.

Because of this revelation, Paul declares that he will emphatically boast about his weakness so as to bring more glory and honor to God. This might translate in how we approach our jobs, school, an illness or accident incurred, a person or persons who rub us the wrong way, or any situation that would taunt and tempt us to give up and quit.

When a believer pushes through an obstacle, crashes through a wall meant to defeat them, and keeps on going, it brings glory and honor to God.

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 seem planted, trust the Lord. As you do so, His strength will become apparent in your weakness.

Pastor Hayden


Read more...

Jerusalem, A Heavy Stone

On March 20, 2015, (just last month), the United Nations, through their Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) made the most outrageous declaration concerning women’s rights violations. They condemned only one nation, and one nation only, for violating women’s rights out of the 193 United Nation member body. Well that nation must have been Iran or Iraq, the Sudan or Saudi Arabia, or possibly Syria. In all of these nations you will find women under oppression to the extreme.

Women are made to wear compulsory clothing, not allowed to drive or travel without permission and excluded from political life in Saudi Arabia. In Iran, women are not allowed to run for the presidency and executed if convicted of adultery or if they kill an attacking rapist. Women are denied any semblance of equal rights in Sudan, being subject to marriage at age 10 and genital mutilation, having no age minimum for consensual sex. In Syria, governmental authorities regularly use rape and torture as a tactic of war against women. But all of these nations received a pass. Time would not allow me to speak to rights violations in China or North Korea who are only beginning to make reforms with many obstacles to equality still in the way. Which nation received condemnation above all of these? If you know your Bible, you probably have already guessed. That’s right! It is little O’ Israel.

Why is this important to us? Because in Luke 12, religious leaders were rebuked for being able to discern when inclement weather was coming, but not knowing the signs showing the first arrival of the Messiah. In Matthew 24, Jesus gives signs before His second coming and in the 42nd thru 44th verses, tells us to keep watch and be ready for His return. Israel becoming the target of the United Nations is one such sign.

In Zechariah 12:2-3 we read, 2 “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. 3 And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.” WOW! Coincidence? Is our nation also joining the chorus against Israel? Interested in hearing more on this? If so, email me at: chrishayden60@sbcglobal.net

Be grateful and be blessed even more.

Pastor Chris Hayden
Central Christian Church


Read more...

Peace on earth…?

This past week at the Board of Directors meeting, Bill Bostel brought an insightful devotion that took the listeners through the journey of discovering what is meant in Luke 2 when angels of the Lord visited shepherds and declared to them “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” Yet in another place (Matthew 10:24), Jesus declares, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” So which is it? Did Jesus declare peace as stated in Luke 2 or did He come to bring a sword as read in Matthew 10? Is the Bible contradicting itself? Absolutely not!

When reading the Word of God, understanding comes as we examine the translation, context, purpose and audience of what is said. Jesus certainly came to bring peace to all men, however, not all men are willing to accept the peace wrought in Christ. If we look at the fuller, Amplified translation of Luke 2:14, we get a more exact understanding, “Glory to God in the highest (Heaven), and on earth peace among men with whom He is well pleased [men of goodwill, of His favor].” Jesus absolutely came to bring peace to those who have recognized the sinful state they have been born in and through humility, accept the sacrifice and submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ (men of goodwill on whom God’s favor rests).

It is within this context that we are able to understand Matthew 10:34. Those who continue to reject the Lordship of Christ do not enter into God’s rest nor do they receive the peace He gives. People continue to wield a sword intended to fight against God’s truth, God’s people, and therefore God himself. Jesus indeed brought a sword that separates those bearing Spiritual fruit and seeking the Kingdom of God from those who conflict with Christ’s Lordship. In light of this, we are able to understand the events recently where radical Islamic terrorists murdered individuals in Sydney and Paris. People of all beliefs war because they cannot get what they want and never will due to their rejection of God’s will and His Word (James 4:1-3).

Nations war against nations, terrorists attack those of differing beliefs, political parties fight against each other, families, friends and neighbors continually experience unhealthy divisions and even Christians struggle to be loving. There seems to be no end to the hate we see in the news. The world in general has rejected God’s peace and God’s Savior and carries sword in hand. O’ wretched world we live in…who will deliver us from the sword and ongoing unrest our world marinates in? The Apostle enlightens us in Romans 7:24-25, “I thank God—through Jesus Christ…” When we see a world void of peace…we should be compelled even more to bring the message of peace through Christ to those in such desperate need of Him! When people come to Christ to experience peace with God, He takes away the sword wielded due to hate and sin.

Be blessed and be grateful,
Pastor Chris


Read more...

Another Gift God Gave

The last two Sunday sermons reminded us of God’s generosity toward His people in the gifts or blessings that have been given to us. We reviewed the gift of grace given to all who choose to receive. Last week we spoke of the gift of reconciliation to those in the world. This week we want to look at a third blessing that we can celebrate at this wonderful Christmas time. That is that God has set us free!
In Galatians 3, the scripture tells us that the whole world is a slave to sin. We are in bondage to sin and every consequence/symptom that results from our separation from God. We are chained to the sin of greed and every symptom of depression and anxiety that comes about from the lust of either having or not having money. We are bound by evil arrogance and pride and the hate that stems from belittling others and the appetite for power. We are bound by wrath and the destroyed relationships and crippled souls this sin leaves in its wake. We are bound by lust, gluttony, sloth, envy and the consequences derived from these as well (Every sin has one or more consequences/symptoms and demons attached).
So where is the joyful Christmas tidings? It is found in Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” The Bible tells us that when we give ourselves to sin we become its slave (John 8:34). We are just as much, if not more, slaves needing deliverance as the children of Israel were under Pharaoh in Egypt. But the advent of Jesus our Lord brought about the key that unlocks the prison doors and looses the chains that bind us. Let’s remember John 8:36, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” When we see the Baby Jesus lying in a makeshift manger this year, we are not just seeing one of many Christmas decorations. We are seeing a representation of our very own Deliverer who came to set us free and bless us with the gift of freedom!

Be blessed even more.

Pastor Chris Hayden
Central Christian Church


Read more...

12-02-14 The Gift of Grace

Another gift explored this holiday season is the gift of grace. God gave His wonderful gift of grace to us so that whosoever believes would not perish but have everlasting life. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” God looked upon us, saw that there was none righteous, that all were guilty and without hope, but loved and extended to us grace so that we could find our way back to Him. Now that we have received the benefits of God’s grace, we are called to extend that benefit to others.

Thanksgiving evening, during the Black Friday sales and after our Turkey dinner had settled for the night, my wife and I went to Walmart to pick up a couple key presents (mostly for Reid!!!). As you probably would guess, the place was packed and as the specials were declared open for consumption, masses began moving through the narrow halls of the store. As I searched for my wife who had called for me to bring the cart to her, I found myself bumper to bumper, in an oft standing still, line.

I could see very little in front of me due to the humongous box holding the electric car I was buying my grandson (a replacement for the one stolen a month ago). All of a sudden I started being pushed by the cart behind me!! I resisted, not knowing if I was running into the person in front of me, but the rear offender kept pushing! I swung my head around to give my rude fellow shopper the what for only to come face-to-face with a box in a cart bigger than the one in mine (no person there)!! All of us were caught up in a sea of humanity floating in the same river of holiday bargains; no control, hoping I would pass my wife floating in the line coming towards me!! I began to laugh realizing that I was given God’s grace; maybe I should have grace for the others around me caught up in the mass of shop-a-holism of which there was no escape!!

First Corinthians 13:7, tells us about the love we need to have for one another. It reads, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things.” That is what grace is. Loving others, even when they don’t deserve it. And we, of all people, should extend God’s grace to others knowing that we are all in the same river of sinful humanity, benefiting from the grace God so generously continues to extend to us.

Be grateful and be blessed even more.
Pastor Chris Hayden
Central Christian Church


Read more...

The Gift of Expectancy

As we enter the advent season, we can anticipate a new round of seasonal wonder and holiday expectancy. I still have an overwhelming wonder about how the holidays are going to work out with all the duties needing completed and I fully expect the intense stress and anxiety of buying gifts and food needed for a successful time with the family. Sometimes we can lose the real meaning and purpose of our Holy Days and cynicism can take away from the true magic of the season. But it does not have to be that way.

We can and should have an expectancy of experiencing Christ in a new and fresh way this Advent season. The word “advent” means arrival. When we celebrate Advent, we need to be aware of three aspects of His “arrival.” The first is the arrival of the Babe in a manger some 2000 plus years ago. This is the arrival of our Lord and Savior who became the gift of salvation to all who will believe. Luke 2:10 -11 confirms this, “10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”
But this arrival is not just something that happened in the past, it is also a promise for the future. The second aspect of His arrival leads us to Advent birthing in us the anticipation of His return after the last trumpet. Jesus reminded His disciples before the crucifixion that He was going away, but would come back again to receive them to Himself (John 14:3,28).
Finally, the Advent season needs to bring us to remembrance of Jesus’ arrival and presence now. We need to have a holy expectancy of His arrival as we look to Him for guidance and as the God we worship, waiting in wonder as to how Jesus will reveal Himself to us today. If we made Christ our Lord, we can expect and anticipate Him moving in our everyday lives. The great hymn “In The Garden” states, “…And He walks with me and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own…” Take time to walk with and talk with the Lord each day, expecting Him to manifest His wonders to you…today!

Be grateful and be blessed even more.

Pastor Chris Hayden
Central Christian Church


Read more...

The Gift of Gratefulness

Have you ever been in a place where you had an extended time of feeling sorry for yourself? I know I have. Sometimes we may feel we have every good reason for being unhappy and there are other times we look back and wonder what it was we were thinking and why did we allow such a circumstance to bother us so. There are times in our lives when many of us have a tendency to make lists of how bad we got it and use said lists to accuse God of not caring. Again, been there, done that! However, our happiness is not necessarily determined by what is happening to us at the time as much as it depends on what we have determined to focus on regardless of what is happening.

Philippians 4:6-7 says, “6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. The Word does not tell us that we will not have struggles, but does let us know that first and foremost, do not to be anxious about anything. Don’t focus on what is wrong, but in each situation, pray and be thankful. Verse 7 lets us know that it is the gift of a grateful heart that will have the very peace of God on guard protecting us from spiraling into depression and self-pity.
Verse 8 then tells us what we need to focus our attention on. 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things (Phil 4:8). What good things have happened and are happening? What has God truly blessed you with? Start with being grateful for the blessing of eternal life in heaven and having the grand purpose now of being God’s instrument of giving His life to others.
Remember Psalm 100:4-5, “4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” As we expand from this foundation, I am sure we will find a plethora of things to be grateful for. The rest, give to God in prayer.

Be grateful and be blessed even more.
Pastor Chris Hayden
Central Christian Church


Read more...

Face of Faith, Part 2 Active Faith

On the sign out in front of the Church, we read the message that “faith goes where the eyes cannot see;” an excellent posting for our community and a needed message for God’s people. If we believe what God has told us in the Bible, we will do what it says. Our actions will be shaped by His Word and not by what we perceive by our five physical senses.
In the book of James 2:14, 17-18 tells us, “ What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?…Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yes, a man may say, ‘You have faith, and I have works: show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.’”
Putting feet to what we believe is the active part of faith. If we believe that prayer works (as the Bible tells us), we will take time to prayer. If we believe that worshipping and fellowshipping together as one Body of Christ is important (as the Bible tells us), we will come together at Church regularly. If we believe that faith does come by hearing God’s Word and faith is absolutely vital to us (as the Bible tells us), we will make it a priority to read and study the Word each day.
To be effective, faith must be active. It is not enough just to say you believe something. The devil himself believes in Jesus and knows that He is the Christ, yet Satan will never submit to Him. If we say we believe Jesus is Lord of all, faith compels us to follow Him and to put into action His Word in our life. Our active faith is a testimony to the world that we truly believe in Jesus as our Lord as well as Savior.

Be blessed and be grateful,

Pastor Chris Hayden
Central Christian Church


Read more...

Face of Faith, Part 1

Trust does not always come easily. It often takes a period of time to develop the type of relationship that promotes and allows trust to flourish. But it is that very relationship that God invites us into. Jesus calls us to follow Him, to know Him, to love Him, and to trust Him, to trust Him even when the situation warrants skepticism and doubt. In Proverbs 3:5-6 we read, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.”

When the fortress city of Jericho kept the Israelites from taking the land that God had promised them, Joshua became one of the many faces of faith. God instructed Joshua and the Israelites to do something that was absolutely crazy. They were told to march around the city quietly seven days in a row and to shout with all their strength on that last day. If they trusted God and were obedient to His Word, they would see victory. If not, they would never be able to breach the city’s walls. Joshua trusted the Lord’s instructions, not leaning on his own understanding and did the crazy thing, believing God over the wisdom of men. As a result, the city was delivered into the hands of the Hebrews and the first victory in the Promised Land was assured.

God’s Word does not always make sense. God tells us that His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). We cannot always judge situations by what we see or reason as to the problem or the corresponding solution according to how we feel about it. Jesus simply tells us to have faith in God. And without faith it is impossible to please Him (Hebrews 11:5-6).

Be blessed even more,

Pastor Chris Hayden
Central Christian Church


Read more...