Pastor’s Blog

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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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