Pastor’s Blog

 
 

The Whole Armor

One of the most precious possessions I have, other than my wife and children, is a little Bible that was given to my father when he fought in the Philippine Islands during World War II. It is called, “The Heart Shield Bible”, a pocket size New Testament covered by a steel plate with the words, “For God and our Country” etched in its face. I have been told that the New Testament fits in the uniform pocket that conveniently covers the soldier’s heart to provide, in a small way, partial physical protection from a ballistic projectile (a shot that was not direct or point blank) and at the same time, spiritual protection for those who understand that they might be in the presence of God at any moment. I am moved with the knowledge that my father held on to this book for comfort as he defended this nation during this conflict with tyranny.

In Ephesians the 6th chapter, we are told to put on the whole armor of God so that we can stand against the enemy of our souls and his devices. Verse 12 tells us why; because we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. We have an enemy who will do whatever it takes to subvert us from the path our Lord has placed us on. We are not ignorant of the devils devices. He wants to steal, kill and destroy us (John 10:10). We need to make sure we our adorning ourselves with the armor that has been provided to us. Our Lord won the war on the cross, yet we are still subject to spiritual battles. Let us be comforted in the fact that we need not fear for Jesus is our Captain; more on this later.

Be blessed,

Pastor Chris


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The Trouble With Apathy

The definition of “apathy” from Merriam-Webster’s is illustrated as a condition of lacking interest or concern. The word comes from the Greek word “apatheia” which means lacking feeling or emotion. All of the flavors that describe this word can be found in the Church when we begin to allow ourselves to become disengaged from the mission bestowed upon us from the Word of God. While there are several things we as believers are called to engage in, the mission given to the Body of Christ is articulated quite clearly in Mark 16:15-16a, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe, will be condemned.”

When this simple mandate to bring the Gospel to the world goes unheeded, the Church begins down a slide that ends up with an apathetic and lackluster faith that will struggle to draw those who are truly looking for answers in their quest for meaning and truth. We also fail to truly love others when we hold back the way of salvation because we fear the consequences of confronting a world that excels in promoting the notion of “whatever you believe is ok, just as long as you’re sincere.”

Now, grasping and fulfilling this mandate will not be easy. The world, in general, is resistant to the Gospel because it requires belief in what God says in His Word, and as we see in the scripture above, describes a penalty for those who do not. It is easy to be a Christian if you can believe whatever you want. But when the Gospel challenges a previously held position that is contrary to the truth of the Word, the sinful nature will resist it. If we maintain our faith and integrity in the mist of bringing the Gospel to the world, we will be persecuted. And if we fail to take the Good News to the lost, that Christ has risen to pay for the sins of all who dare believe [who adheres to and trusts in and relies on the Gospel and Him Whom it sets forth…AMPLIFIED], we risk becoming mired in an apathetic form of religion, and miss out on the power the Spirit provides those who truly engage in Christ’s mission.

Be blessed,

Pastor Chris Hayden


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I’d Rather See A Sermon

It’s Monday morning, 7:30am, and we have just sat down for breakfast at the IU Health Center in Noblesville. Moments before we prayed for Maggie as she was being taken into surgery for what we hope will be her last hip replacement. Every person at the hospital, from the receptionist, to administrative workers, to nurses, to the anesthesiologist, to the surgeon himself were beyond kind; warmth and compassion for the patient, family and friends permeated every aspect of the operation. Everyone felt very cared for.

Talking with Doc as we observed the kindness of the staff, he was reminded of the saying, “I’d rather see a sermon than hear one.” I’m not sure if he was complaining about my last sermon or not, J but his point is well taken! It is extremely important that we tell people about the love of Christ, but unless we show the love of Christ and act like a child of God, our words will fall on deaf ears.

In the book of James the second chapter, the James, the half brother of Jesus tells us that faith without the corresponding works to back it up is dead. The 18th verse says this, “But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” James is telling us that we need to let others know that we are a disciple of Christ by how we treat one another rather than trying to be self righteousness with our words but uncaring by our actions.

In 1 John 3:7, the scripture says, “Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.” Let us do what is right in the sight of God, thereby showing the world that we truly have faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Be blessed.

Pastor Chris Hayden


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Give, It Will Be Given

There are many important principles to learn in life and from the Word, another one is that of sowing and reaping.  This is explained in detail in 2 Corinthians 9:6-11.

Let me break it down for you:

If you sow little – you’ll reap little

If you sow generously – you’ll reap generously

God loves cheerful givers

God provides the seed you need

You are blessed to be a blessing

In the book of Luke the 6th chapter and 38th verse (NLT) we read, “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full–pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” While we do not give to get, the principle is still the same that we sow what we reap whether it be good things or things not so good. If we are generous towards the work of the Lord, we will receive generosity in return.

In a few days the leadership of Central Christian will be sending out pledge cards for members and attenders to participate in this years stewardship campaign. During this time of examining the finances and stewardship of this ministry here in Huntington and surrounding areas, I would ask that we examine our own hearts as to what God would ask of us individually in response to the call to stewardship surrounding our participation in the work of the Lord.

The past two Sundays we launched a stewardship campaign (Back in Black) and we talked about giving principles. The last thing we need to do is become legalistic about our obligations to the ministry of God, however let me sum up this past weeks message. God wants us to give to honor him and to provide for the ministry (Proverbs 3:9-10, Malachi 3:10). However, just as important is that do so cheerfully, sacrificially, and regularly.

Be blessed,

Pastor Chris


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What Happened To My 2009-2010 Colts?

My Colts! What Happened?

Well, I have to confess, in January of 2010, I was more than a bit disappointed in the result of that year’s Super Bowl. After the Colts went up by ten points I thought we were on our way to another championship. The newspaper’s headlines stated “Super Letdown.” Maybe so, however, we know that disappointments will come. Not everything always goes our way. The Super Letdown is actually a very minor inconvenience compared to the struggles many go through each and every day with the loss of gainful employment, a home that can no longer be afforded or loss of a loved one.

In the book of Hebrews 2:8, God lets us know that, at present, not all things are under our control. We will experience disappointment, some very minor like our favorite team losing, and some very severe such as the earthquake disaster that hit the island nation of Haiti a few years ago. Hebrews goes on to tell us that, even though these things are true, we can still look to Jesus who went through the same types of struggles and disappointments so that He can be a faithful minister. When difficulties arise remember the words of our Lord regarding tribulation in this life, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Be blessed,

Pastor Chris


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Wisdom From God

In the first chapter and first and second verse of the book of Psalms, the writer gives some very sound instruction. It reads, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord…” Verse three goes on to tell us that if we will keep this simple rule, “Whatever He does will prosper.”

Who you listen to is crucial in the decisions you make which leads to the outcomes you experience.  With that in mind, you better be careful where you get your advice.  The Bible is full of illustrations of this, for example: 2 Chronicles 18 tells the story of Jehoshaphat (King of Judah) aligning himself with Ahab (King of Israel) for battle.  Jehoshaphat wisely suggests that before they march into battle to “first seek the counsel of the Lord.”  However, Ahab invites 400 prophets to come who only tell the king what he wants to hear.  So, they all give the thumbs up!

Instead of being satisfied with this, Jehoshaphat suggests hearing from a “prophet of the LORD” for a second opinion.  Ahab reluctantly calls for a prophet that he despises because he never prophesies “anything good” about him.  Sure enough, this prophet tells that calamity awaits and sure defeat, and Ahab says “I told you he never prophesies good about me.”

Rather than listen to this one godly prophet, they take their advice from the crowd and go into battle only to suffer great defeat.  The same thing will happen to us when we take our advice from a crowd.  I would rather listen to one wise person than a crowd of fools!

Just because a number of people are saying the same thing doesn’t make it right.  We will only bring trouble into our lives if we surround ourselves with advisers whose only thought is to tell us what we want to hear.

Be blessed,

Pastor Chris


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We Are Followers of Christ

In 1 Corinthian 3:1-4, the scripture tells us this…”Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly—mere infants in Christ.  I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.  You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?  For when one says, ‘I follow Paul,” and another, ‘I follow Apollos,’ are you not mere men?”

It is interesting to see how the Apostle addresses this idea of sectarian pursuits, that is, belonging to this group or that group. There were those who thought it was of utmost importance to be associated with Paul while others felt that belonging to the sect of Apollos was the way to go. Paul sets the record straight time and time again. It is neither belonging to Paul or Apollos that is of any importance in what defines a disciple. But it is only by following Christ that we receive our worth.

Paul continues his letter to the Corinthians in verses 5 through 7,”What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task.  I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.  So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” According to the Word of God, what is vital is that we find our worth, not in following any one person or organization for that matter, but in Christ alone. “For it is in Christ that we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

Be blessed.

Pastor Chris Hayden


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Thou Art With Me

Within the 23rd Psalm in the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit through the pen of King David created one of the most well known passages in the Bible. A beautiful presentation of God’s peace, provision and protection are outlined for those who have truly chosen the Lord as their Shepherd. This passage carries such life within its lines that there is no wonder that this Psalm is quoted at funerals more than any other in our Lord’s text; a time when families are searching for life and meaning.

One portion of this chapter stands out for me this month and is found in the 4th verse. It reads …”I will fear no evil; for You are with me…” NKJV. YOU ARE WITH ME. This premise is encapsulated in one of the names given to God Himself; that being “Jehovah Shammah.” Jehovah being the name of God for the people of Israel; Shammah meaning “is there.” He is the God who is always there. This might at times be a little disconcerting when we are screaming at someone who just cut us off on the highway or when taking a shower in the morning! However, for me I receive great comfort knowing that he is with me when I am hurting. He is with me when I have a bad day and things just are not going my way. He is here with me when I am in Huntington and my family is in Indianapolis and I feel very alone. My God is Jehovah Shammah, He is always here with me and will always be there with you, too. Just call on Him, He is there.

Be blessed,

Pastor Chris


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Have You Tebowed?

For those of us who are fans of professional football, this season has brought about a new phenomenon that many in the news media have picked up on. It is called Tebowing! Tebowing is the act of getting on one knee, placing one fist on the forehead in “The Thinker” pose and praying to God to give Him glory for the moment. Tim Tebow, quarterback for the Denver Broncos, invented the practice by praying after each game thereby bringing on a variety of responses. Those responses ranged from avid appreciation from other believers to outright anger on the part of those who think that prayer does not belong on the football field. The crazy thing, football players have been praying on the field since the games inception, so why all the hoopla?

With the recent success of the Broncos getting into the playoffs and beyond, Tim’s prayers and thanksgiving to God before the media have been in the face of fans, players and coaches all around the league. Anytime the Good News of Christ becomes unavoidable by the public, people get offended. Jesus said it would happen. In John 15, Jesus told us that the world would hate those belonging to Him. Verse 18–19 in the Message Bible says this, “If you find the godless world is hating you, remember it got its start hating me. If you lived on the world’s terms, the world would love you as one of its own. But since I picked you to live on God’s terms and no longer on the world’s terms, the world is going to hate you.”

Tim Tebow has made the commitment to live on God’s terms and not the worlds. Because he refuses to hide his faith, displaying his love for Christ through the avenues available to him, those offended by God are not pleased. Tim has the courage to display his faith in a world that has walked away from God. God calls all his children to have that same level of courage. Paul says in Romans 1:16 – “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ…“ (KJV). The Message Bible says it like this, “It’s news I’m most proud, this extraordinary Message of God’s powerful plan to rescue everyone who trusts him, starting with Jews and then right on to everyone else.” So next time you have a chance to give glory to God, do the Tebow!

Be blessed.

Pastor Chris Hayden


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Please God or Please Man

Have you ever felt like people would be unhappy with you no matter what you tried to do? If you turned left, this person or group would be angry with you, yet if you turned right, this other person or group would be angry with you?   And no matter what your decision is, someone or some group will not like it? In those situations, sometimes doing what should be done is not always easy. And even among Spirit-filled believers, compromise can be rejected. Peter experienced this. He was torn between either siding with the Jewish Church in Jerusalem or to stand with his friend the Apostle Paul. The Christian Jews at Jerusalem believed that the gentiles needed to adhere to Jewish law to join the Church while Paul claimed that these believers were free in Christ and were not bound by the tradition of the Jews. What to do, O’ what to do?

At first, Peter sided with both, yet abandoned eating with Gentiles when Jewish believers were around. Paul confronted him with his double mindedness in Galatians the 2nd chapter. In the end, however, Acts 15 tells us that Peter does the right thing as he stands with Paul and Barnabas as they address the Church at Jerusalem on the right of the Gentiles to join the faith without adhering to Jewish tradition. Peter decided that it is best to please God rather than to please man.

Paul says this in Galatians 1:9-10 – “As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Paul’s advice, be a pleaser of God, not of men. Sometimes doing what God wants brings vitriol from those resisting Him. The question we need to ask ourselves is this, “What would please God?” Then do what pleases God, not man.

Be blessed.

Pastor Chris Hayden


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