Pastor’s Blog

Want Some Whine with that Cheese?

I saw an excerpt the other day from Stephen Covey about the 90/10 principle.  It goes something like this: 10% of life is made up of what happens to you, while 90% is decided by how you react to it.  What does this mean?  It means that we have control over 90% of what is currently going on in our lives by our attitudes and decisions from those attitudes.  Here’s an illustration:  You cannot control a red light (10%), but you can control how you react to it (90%).  Just carry that example throughout everything that happens during your day.

What would happen if we did this in regard to how we treat people?  Someone cuts in front of us in traffic (10%) and it ruins our day (90%).  Think what would happen if instead of getting upset, we said, “That person must be in a real hurry, so I am going to pray they don’t get in an accident.” Someone does something we do not like, but instead of getting angry or rude with that person, we are kind and treat them in a manner we would want to be treated thereby making a friend rather than an unwanted stranger.

Philippians 4:6-8 is a passage that encourages and exhorts believers to have a positive outlook on life. Do not be burdened with unnecessary cares, be thankful for the good things, and think on the good report, not the negative one; if there is any virtue or any praise, think on these things. If you need more reasons to not be negative, consider that studies have shown that positive people live longer (on average 10 more years).  Here’s another, positive work environments outperform negative work environments. Positive people attract others to themselves while negative individuals repel them.

Only 2 of the 2 to 4 million Israelites entered into the promise land; those two were Joshua and Caleb.   They saw the difficulties of the land as no big thing for God, while everyone else consistently indulged in a whole lot of WHINE with their cheese. How about you?  Remember, being positive is a choice.  (Tip: negative people don’t think it’s a choice, they think it’s because of their circumstances or someone doing something they don’t like).

Be blessed and be grateful,

Pastor Chris


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Love Conquers Fear

The book of 1 John is a powerful book for those who realize the effects that sin has on the sinner and yet realize that God is ready to forgive and cleanse of all unrighteousness, those who turn their lives over to Christ.   I John 1:9 tells us that God is faithful and just to forgive us of all our wrongs if we but come to him humbly and confess said wrongs to Him. He is a Good Shepherd. That brings me to the subject of two, often conjunctive, forces or emotions; they are fear and love.   Many types of fear are antithetical to love, but sometimes they can be symbiotic as one can lead to the other and vice versa.

In the next couple of Sundays, I want to explore this idea of fear, and what appears to some contradictory statements in the Word of God. We want to examine the different understandings of what the Lord is saying when conveying the idea of fear; how fear can either work for or work in opposition to our faith in God and understanding of His love. In 2 Timothy, we are informed that we have not been given a spirit of fear. We are told to “fear not” throughout the Word of God, yet in Proverbs, the “fear of the Lord” is the beginning of wisdom!

How can God tell us to “be not afraid”, turn around and tell us to have the “fear of the Lord” and then make the remark that “perfect love casts out fear” (Isaiah 41:10, Proverbs 1:7, 1John 4:18)? These statements are not a contradiction but can be confusing when not examined in the context and meanings for which they were intended. Yes, fear, types of fear, can lead to terror and torment. Yes, fear, a type of fear, can lead to wisdom and God’s love. Come the next couple of Sundays and find out what we mean.

Be blessed and be grateful,

Pastor Chris


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What a Big God (Father) We Have

This past month, our morning Sunday service we talked about how big God is. We did this by taking a look at the stars, the number of them, and how long it would take to traverse the expanse of our own playground galaxy known as the Milky Way. The Milky Way contains an estimated 200 billion stars and is 100,000 light years across or 600 quadrillion miles. This is so vast that if you could travel at the speed of light, which is 186,282 miles per second or 670,615,200 miles per hour, it would take you 100,000 years to arrive at the other end of the Milky Way! Wow, that is big!

Scientists estimate that there are some 125 to 200 billion galaxies in the known universe (some say there could be 100 times that number of galaxies, we just can’t see that far) with the next closest galaxy to the Milky Way, known as Andromeda, being 2 million light years away or 12,000 quadrillion miles (At the speed of light it would take 2 million years to reach). The Milky Way galaxy, Andromeda galaxy, and about 20 to 25 other galaxies further than Andromeda but nearest to the Milky Way than the other 100 to 200 billion galaxies, are known by astronomers as the “Local Group” of galaxies. The Local Group, are you kidding???

The incredible thing, our God made all of this. Isaiah 48:12-13 says this, “Listen to me Jacob, Israel, whom I have called: I am He; I am the first and I am the last. My own hand laid the foundations of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I summon them, they all stand up together.” Our God, and we call Him our Father, spread out the heavens with His right hand. I guess that is why scientists tell us the universe continues to expand…our Father (God) is still spreading out the heavens and commanding the galaxies as He wills!!! And Jesus was there the whole time! The book of John starts out like this, “In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word was with God and the Word was God, ALL THINGS were made by Him and without Him was nothing made that was made” (John 1:1-3).

I have just two questions. If our Lord is powerful enough to create this vast universe, that we cannot even comprehend its size, is there any problem to big for Him? Second question, if our Father loved us so much that He would send Jesus, and Jesus loved us so much that He would come to this planet and die for our sins when we did not even know Him, is there any good thing that He would withhold from us? (See Romans 8:32) Something to make you go, hum!

Be blessed and be grateful.

Pastor Chris Hayden

 


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Why Study End Times?

If you went to the movie theatre a couple of months ago to see the apocalyptic thriller “2012”, you were able to see a dynamic display of motion picture effects that probably dazzled your senses. The story was a bit weak, but technology in film production took us to new Steven Spielberg like heights. While this was only a movie, the Bible does talk about the future and some things that can clue us in to the eventual return of our Lord and the end of this age as we know it. While some may feel this is not a weighty matter, there are at least three reasons why I believe God made mention of this topic and why we should care.

One reason is found in Matthew 24, the 4th verse where Jesus replies to the disciples on the question of the end of the age. He says to them, “Take heed that no man deceives you.” Deception is a key component in why we should study this topic. Verse 5 says that many will come in the name of our Lord and will deceive many. Deception is rampant in our society in many forms, i.e. David Koresh-Waco cult assault, Heaven’s Gate suicides and, of course, the Jim Jones-Guyana incident (where do you think the term “drinking the Kool-aid” came from). While these events are high profile, there are subtle seductions as well. By searching the scriptures on this matter, we can begin to head off deception.

A second reason, so you will keep watching. Matt. 25:13 – “Watch therefore…” We need to be watching and reminders of the end assist believers in looking to eternal things rather than ignoring them. We can become very complacent with our own personal kingdoms, but often we need the Word to remind us he is coming back to reward the righteous and punish the wicked so you better get busy.

A third reason, to bring comfort to believers. First Thessalonians 4:13-18 describes the return of the Lord and why. Verse 18 tells us that this knowledge is to be used to “comfort one another.” It is comforting to know He will be back to set everything in order. Let’s be informed…let’s be ready…let’s be comforted. We’ll speak more on this Sunday, May 2nd as we address the topic of the end times and begin a last days Bible study starting Thursday, May 6 at 6:30pm.

Be blessed and be grateful,

Pastor Chris


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Scripture Often Confronts

In recent years, there has been a movement in the Church that has become ever so popular. Now don’t get me wrong, I actually like movements. I would rather the Church be moving than to sit in a perpetual state of idling as we so often do. However, movements can become a problem when they begin moving the wrong way. Some movements are seeking to re-interpret Scripture that has an obvious and clear meaning in order to make it more palatable to the world. It is never fun telling the Church or the world what God says in His Word when it clashes with what they want to hear. People tend to want to cherry pick over the Scriptures, hold on to what sounds good and pitch what is uncomfortable.

Questions such as what God views as sexually immoral, will some people spend eternity in hell, is Jesus the only way to heaven, does God want holiness from His people, does God’s love negate God’s justice, and if not, what does that mean? Tough issues to be sure…I suppose there are many such questions that we would like to know the answers to, but where can we go to get these answers? Beware reader, it’s a trap! We know where the answers to these and many of our other queries are, but before I tell you where, let me tell you where the answers are not.

The answers are not usually housed in our feelings, although sometimes are feelings may be correct. Feelings change with the wind and with the political environment. The world (their means and ways) often causes us to feel the way we do and Scripture tells us that the world is an enemy of God (James 4:4). On the same note, the answer does not lie with your neighbor’s feelings or with your favorite Hollywood celebrity telling you what is right and wrong. The answers are not the literary property of Time or Newsweek magazine and even your pastor’s thoughts need to be measured against the only accurate yard stick (God’s Word).

Every book, every sermon and every feeling must be measured by the plumb line of God’s Word. It may not be enjoyable to tell the world (and some Christians who value being liked more than warning others of unpopular truth) what God makes clear regarding Heaven and hell, but remember what the Word says in Luke 6:26, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers (false religious leaders & un-Godly men) treated the false prophets.” Regardless of how we may feel, God’s Word is truth.

Be blessed and be grateful,

Pastor Chris


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