Pastor’s Blog

God’s Great Love

We have heard this over and over again. We sing songs about it, preach sermons about it and see it in the hearts and actions of others. What is this you ask? It is the love of God that surpasses all understanding. In the book of Ephesians 3:18-19, the Apostle Paul tells the Ephesians that his wish is that they might know the breadth, length, depth and height; the very knowledge of the love of Christ. Often, we give mental assent to this fact and would sing in the key of G, “yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so.” But there is a difference between giving mental assent to a particular truth in the Word and knowing that truth as a personal reality. When you begin to realize the breadth, length, depth and height of God’s love on a personal level, your relationship with Christ will grow exponentially.

Let’s try this exercise; look up John 3:16 and begin to read it. Only, instead of reading the words “world” or “whosoever,” put your name in their place. For me, it would sound something like this: For God so loved Chris, that he gave His only begotten Son on Chris’ behalf, that if Chris would just put his trust in Him, Chris will not perish but will have everlasting life.   It is one thing to see God’s love directed toward an enormous creation that spans approximately 6.5 billion people. But when we realize that Christ died for each of us as individuals, that when Christ took our place on the cross, He had you and me in mind; I know it is difficult to fathom but yes, God really loves me too! God saw you when He willingly allowed religious leaders to torment and crucify His only begotten son, Jesus. And Jesus willingly suffered and surrendered His life on your behalf and on behalf of those you hold dear.

Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus endured the cross and despised the shame for the joy that was set before Him. I believe that joy the scriptures speak of refers to the joy Jesus has knowing that we will be with Him for eternity which is a reflection of God’s love for both you and me; personally. Be blessed this week.

Be blessed,

Pastor Chris


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Keep On Praying On

I want to, once again, affirm those who meet to pray each week at CCC’s prayer group. I am glad to hear that it will be continued once the Bible study starts up again and I so look forward to participating in it. Thanks prayer warriors!! It is so vitally important. A.W. Tozer, the great Christian writer and holiness preacher, stated these words, “The church that is not jealously protected by mighty intercession and sacrificial labors will before long become the abode of every evil bird and the hiding place for unsuspected corruption. The creeping wilderness will soon take over that church that trusts in its own strength and forgets to watch and pray.” It is pretty clear that we must be vigilant in prayer.

In Ephesians 6:17 – 18a we read, “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit…” (KJV) In this passage, the Apostle Paul lists it among the vital armor that we as believers need to adorn ourselves with if we are to be effective agents of the Lord against the enemy of our souls, the Church and our community that needs an effective spiritual compass. Without prayer, we are fighting the good fight in our own power. Without the power of God behind our efforts, we are ineffective at best and in the God’s way and even against Him at worst.

James, the half-brother of Jesus and leader of the early Church in Jerusalem, said it like this in the Epistle bearing his name, “pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working]” (James 5:16b Amplified). Tremendous power is available for those who pray, trusting in God’s power rather than their own. When the Church refuses to pray, it is the same as telling the Lord we do not need Him; I think we all know we need God desperately, especially in this hour.

Be blessed,

Pastor Chris


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Young Leaders

This past Sunday, we took another trip to the movies as we discussed films made for children. One of my favorite movies involves a little clown fish by the name of Nemo as he fights to return to his fishy father and show everyone that little ones can do great big things. Through the actions of one little fish, a whole catch is able to escape the nets of commercial fisherman.

The scriptures also tell us the importance of young people in the Kingdom of God.   Matthew 19:16-17 says this, “One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” Jesus values the children and requires that we do the same.

In the book of 2 Chronicles, King Josiah took the throne of Israel at the age of 8 years and by his 16th birthday was purging the nation of idolatry and immorality. God did great things through this little person.

In September, we will once again begin our Wednesday evening children’s programs. We need to invest in our youth by continuing to see them as vital members of the Kingdom of God.  We invite the youth of our community to get involved in their Churches as they seek the Lord in whatever direction they have been called and are available to them in Church leadership because little people can do great things too!

Be blessed and be grateful.

Pastor Chris Hayden


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To Spank or Not to Spank

There’s a controversial issue that has reared its head in recent years that has become quite a thorn for some in the Body of Christ; that is, should we spank our children when they misbehave? For some, beliefs on corporal punishment fly right in the face of a modern study recently published in the May 2010 issue of the journal of Pediatrics and referred to in an article in our Indianapolis Star on April 18th.  I looked over the article and then picked up the Bible for my daily reading and in Proverbs 13:24, here’s what I found; “Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children.  Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.”

New research from Tulane University, that was referred to in the article I read says spanking children seems to lead to more aggressive behavior when they’re older.  Of course, I don’t know about you but the fear of getting spanked often led me to put controls on my level of disobedience in regards to physical aggression (I saw no value in risking getting spanked due to hitting someone else).  These examples and information from both sides of the issue add to the debate on “do we spank or not spank.”

As a Christian, what do you do?  Do you go with studies conducted by universities, your own personal experiences or do you go with the Bible?  Does the Bible mean to spank your child every time they misbehave?  Or, does it leave room open for other forms of discipline and simply refers to spanking as one that’s effective?  What do you think?

I’m curious as to how you come down on this issue.  Do you spank your children?  At what age did you start or stop?  Have you tried more than one form of discipline and found one more effective than another?  Have you tried other forms of discipline, but found spanking as the most or least effective?  Being a good parent is not always easy and disciplining our children can be a very difficult thing.  While physical or mental abuse is never an option, Scripture tends to let us know that corporal punishment, when done correctly, can be effective in turning young minds from sinful paths.  Having said that, we need to always remember to mix discipline with love and disciplinary action with the welfare of the child and not as a means of venting our own anger.  What do you think?

Be blessed and be grateful,

Pastor Chris


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Crazy Days

I don’t have to tell you that we are experiencing some crazy times in more ways than one. With the spike in gas prices, the entrance of Donald Trump into the political foray, the exit of Donald Trump from the political foray, Washington D.C. scandals galore and the ever-present upheaval in the Middle East, it is often difficult to determine where we are headed. However, eccentricities are nothing new to the history of our species. Jesus’ day was full of oddities including the rise of decadent Roman emperors (some far worse than our political leaders), immoral behavior of societal elites and the plethora of deities that inundated the religious landscape. Social injustice was the norm for most and overwhelming poverty permeated every state in the empire.

Trouble is a given in our world and it is doubtful that it will be eliminated anytime soon. But the Lord forewarned us so that we would not be taken by surprise. In John 16:33 we read, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (NIV). Jesus tells us that we need to take heart and be encouraged for He is still on the throne and in Him we can experience peace in the midst of the storm. We should be ever vigilant knowing that we are seeing the signs and times reflecting the turmoil Jesus spoke of almost two thousand years ago.   However, we also need to be at peace knowing we have a Savior who has defeated hell and the grave and is continually at work in our lives as we allow him access.

In reference to their suffering, the Apostle Paul sets out to encourage fellow believers at Rome with these words, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us (Romans 8:35, 37).   Paul continues to embolden the reader, “…neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39). Be heartened knowing that while we may be living in crazy days, Christ is with us every step of the way.

Be blessed and be grateful.

Pastor Chris Hayden

 


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