Pastor’s Blog

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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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


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They’re Coming!

It is no secret that I am a fan of 1950’s science fiction movies. I know, I know, they can be the corniest things to watch with their low budget effects and cheesy dialogue. However, these movies bring back a feeling of nostalgia for me and because they are usually pretty low budget, you get the opportunity to use your imagination a bit more than you do with today’s films.

One such favorite is called “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” A riveting title and compelling story, if you’re an avid sci-fi fan. In this story, seeds rain on the earth, become pods and begin taking over the planet. This is an unbelievable story except for those who have actually witnessed these aliens for themselves. The hero of the story, pictured here, witnesses the invaders and begins a journey to tell everyone what he knows, but no one believes him. No matter how hard he tries or the effort with which he tells the message, they just think he is out of his mind. That does not deter him; the hero tells the story regardless of who will or will not listen. Why? You might ask, because he knows the truth. When you know the truth, it does not matter what others think, you will be committed to the message because you know you are right and to not share the truth will be disaster for those who will not heed the warning.

In 2 Timothy 1:6-8, Paul tells Timothy to stir up what God has placed inside him for God has given us power, love and a disciplined mind; we need not be afraid. He continues by telling Timothy not to be ashamed of the testimony of the Lord nor of his mentor, but to join with him in the afflictions that come from spreading the good news of Jesus Christ. How could he be so bold regarding his faith?! Paul knew the truth and knew that separation from God awaited those who failed to accept salvation through God’s Son.

We have a message to give the world. Now that we are closing in on the Christmas season, this is a perfect time to start committing to this message and sharing it with others. The message, “For God so loved the world that He gave His Son, that whosoever will believe will not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:1). In the same way that Invasion of the Body Snatchers is for sci-fi buffs, the message of God’s love is a “classic!”

Be blessed,

Pastor Chris


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