Pastor’s Blog

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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Got Vision?

Got Vision?

I remember a quote that has meant so much to me. It says, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” This past Sunday I reminded the congregation that God has a vision for your life.  Not just some lives, but all.  No one is here by accident and therefore each of us has a role to fulfill in God’s grand story.  How are you doing with yours?  I need to ask that because it is far too easy for us to get caught up in mindless work, texting, email, web searches and hide from the vision God has for us. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 29:18 that, “where there is no vision, the people perish.” What is God’s vision for your life?

The constant barrage of information and inputs deliver a perfect distraction from living according to the vision that God has for us.  By asking yourself if you’re living God’s true vision, it brings you face to face with the truth. Only when we allow ourselves to turn off the noise can we hear the voice of God so that we can discover His vision.  If all we have time for is the world and what it has to offer, an hour after you have kept up with the gossip of the day, you may not have much to show for it.  Sure, you know that some movie star is splitting with their spouse, who will be coaching Michigan next year or who the next Batman villain is going to be, but what have you done to grow your relationship with the Almighty Lord of your life? The Apostle Paul implores the believers in Rome (Romans 12:2) not to be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds…” We do this through prayer and Word study or simply put, spending time with God.

There are millions and millions of us busy searching the internet, connecting, responding, and wasting a lot of time.  Here’s an experiment:  turn off the noise for a while, spend some time in prayer and the Word and see what happens to your spiritual productivity.  Do you find yourself getting more done?  Doing work that really matters?  Living more of your divine destiny?

Be blessed,

Pastor Chris


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Time For Encouragement

Everyone needs encouragement from time to time and most need it more often than not.  I’m so glad for the encouragement that I receive from the members of this congregation and from what I find in God’s Word.  In service Sunday, we discussed the concept that, while our life may be brief, God wants us to weave our short story with His wonderful everlasting story. If we will make God the point of our life, He will use us to make an impact that goes beyond our limitations of time and shortcomings regarding our personal abilities and resources.

In the same way, when we experience difficulties in life or see things that would tend to be disheartening, we don’t need to allow discouragement to get the better of us, but rather be encouraged because we know Who is about to return.  Instead of asking, “what is this world coming to?” we are able to help others know “who is coming to this world?” During my study time, I was reminded of how awesome the God we serve really is through the story of Hezekiah in the Old Testament.  In 2 Chronicles 32, the prophet encouraged the people with these words, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him.  With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.”

The Bible says that the people gained confidence from Hezekiah’s words in spite of the odds. I don’t know what you may be facing or what challenges are before you, but I do know that ”there is a greater power with us” that is able to deliver.  Get a hold of the powerful promises of God’s Word and refuse to give into self-pity, depression, thoughts of defeat and fear.  Instead, gather your thoughts upon the Word of God and hope, strength and courage can fill your heart regardless of what the circumstance may look like.

Be blessed,

Pastor Chris


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Who Will Carry My Baggage?

As a person goes through life, we often experience hardships and heartaches that leave marks upon us. At some point, maybe you felt rejected by others or were treated unkindly in some manner by fellow employees or schoolmates. Maybe you were lied to or betrayed by someone close to you. Maybe you were never appreciated by certain family members and no matter how hard you try, could not win the appreciation of those close to you. It is this kind of interpersonal hurt that leaves blotches on the soul of an individual that often affects the manner in which we treat others and the decisions we make later in life. This is called carrying baggage.

King David experienced these types of interpersonal problems. In fact, his life was a mess! David himself declares in Psalm 109:22, “For I am poor and needy and my heart is wounded within me.” He had some serious baggage!! It is no wonder that he feels this way. In the 2nd and 3rd verse of this same chapter he says this regarding his enemies, “For the mouth of the wicked and deceitful are open against me: They have spoken against me with a lying tongue. They surrounded me with words of hatred; and fought against me without a cause.”

Have you ever felt this way? I have felt this way at times but am comforted knowing that King David did as well. His former boss, King Saul, tried to kill him, his wife Michal constantly mocked him and his son Absalom wanted him dead so that he could take control of the family business (David’s throne). But rather than seek revenge, David refused to act against them himself; he sought the Lord for restoration and justice. Psalm 70:5 says this, “But I am poor and needy: make haste unto me, O God: You are my help and deliverer.” David said it again! He is poor and needy! Actually, David says this about himself four times in the book of Psalms. Yet each time he takes his baggage to God and lets the Lord do the restoring.

Rather than continue to carry the baggage that weighs you down, leave your luggage with Jesus. The Lord brings justice and restoration as we fellowship with Him in prayer and through His Word.

Be blessed.

Pastor Chris Hayden

Central Christian Church

 


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