Pastor’s Blog

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


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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


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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


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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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