Pastor’s Blog

 
 

Changing of the Season

J. Fields
4-15-2021
 
After a long Indiana winter, I am so thankful for a changing of the season. Greener grass, flowers starting to bloom, the sound of birds chirping, and warmer weather, oh the sounds and sights of Spring. With the changing of a season comes an opportunity to change your outlook.
 
In the Old Testament, chapter three of Ecclesiastes talks about there being a time for everything. Even through some seasons seem to drag on while others seem to fly right by there is something that we can learn that will help us grow in life. There is a stretching, a time of molding that takes place during the season.
 
Life gets busy, the world is moving fast and with so much available at our finger tips we can keep ourselves stretched so thin that we don’t have a chance to enjoy the season. My challenge for you is to not become so busy with your life that one day you look back and regret the things you missed out on. Enjoy the seasons of life that God has blessed you with, take a moment to stop and smell the roses. Life is full of seasons, embrace each one.
 
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
 
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
 
Blessings,
 
Pastor Jason

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A Real Jesus

C.Hayden
3-25-21
 
Hello everyone, you are reading this blog either before or after one of the highest of holy days in the Christian world. That Holy Day is Easter Sunday, also known as Resurrection Day, the day Jesus Christ rose from the dead to solidify our deliverance from sin and the grave. What a wonderful gift! And even though it is the greatest story ever told, it is not a fairy tale. A real Jesus came down to die on a real cross, buried and rose from a real grave, and is seated on a real throne at the right hand of our real and living Father God.
How do we know this? The evidence of the truth of God’s Word is backed up by the categories of real evidence that when put to the test, is literally undeniable (Read “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel, former avowed atheist, investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune, and later the managing editor of the Daily Herald). There is archaeological evidence, historical evidence, literary evidence, thematic consistency, first-hand witness accounts, second-hand investigative, internal cohesion and coherence, cross checked external evidence (other literary accounts), and strong prophetic evidence. And then there is the miracles witnessed that have never been unproven. Far more evidence exists than most scientific theories out there today. 
But the greatest piece of evidence of all, the empty tomb (John 20). Jesus’ body was never, and has never, been found. The facts surrounding the Lord’s body is amazing. After being brought down from the cross, the Lord’s body was wrapped in cloth, much like a mummy might be, placed into Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb, sealed with a great unmovable stone and guarded by Roman soldiers. Yet, on the third day, the guards fell asleep, the stone was moved away, the napkin around the Lord’s head folded neatly, separated from the bloody body wrappings found elsewhere in the tomb (if thieves or the disciples did it, why risk being caught by taking the time to unwrap the body) with His body absolutely nowhere to be found…Except when He was found alive, not only by His 11 close disciples, but by approximately 500 other disciples who were willing to be imprisoned, exiled and martyred for the testimony that they saw Jesus after His crucifixion. People have been found innocent or guilty of murder by the testimony of only one witness. And questionable scientific theories have been adopted as fact by society on much less than the evidence that exists declaring the truth of God’s Word and Jesus’ resurrection. Pretty strong evidence, don’t you think?
 
Be blessed even more!
 
Pastor Chris

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A Real Devil

C. Hayden
3-10-2021
 
In Hollywood, we have so many examples of characters that set out to portray the prince of darkness, the devil. He is often characterized as a misunderstood imp wearing a red suit. Or he is the angle who was mistreated because he desired freedom from a vengeful and self-centered God. Or he is portrayed as God’s equal brother who simply wants people to have a good time. Sometimes he is portrayed as the evil one, but having the power to outwit or contend with the very Son of God. In fact, the devil is none of those things. These many images of devils and demons are usually meant to entertain for sure, but often the effect of these misguided attempts at humor or horror, serve only to cause individuals to not take him seriously or even doubt that he exists at all.
The fact of the matter is, contrary to the faith of many people, claiming to be a Christian or not, the devil is very real and is very malevolent when it comes to humankind. First Peter 5:8 says “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” And verse 9 tells us to “Resist him, steadfast in the faith…”. Jesus experienced a very real battle with the devil who attempted to derail our Lord’s ministry before it even got started. The devil is a real threat and he will destroy you and your faith (or at least render it ineffective) if you do not recognize it.
The devil’s main weapon is to deceive and lie. Jesus called satan a liar and the father of lies. He lies to get you to believe he is not real or not relevant to your life. He then lies to get you to believe the same in regards to our Lord; that He is not real or not relevant to your life. Neither of these ideas could be further from the truth. In John 10:10 we read, “The thief does not come except to kill, and to steal and to destroy…”. He tries to kill your life, steal your love, peace, and joy, and destroy your witness and relationships with those around you. The physical things you lose are just the end of the road after everything else has been stolen. My advice, don’t let him do it. Recognize that he is real and deadly. The Apostle said that we are not fighting against flesh and blood. We battle against principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness and spiritual wickedness. They are to fear us as we destroy their influence in our lives, our family, our Church and the world. Turn your anger on the deceiver, not on your family or brothers and sisters in Christ. Happy hunting Man or Woman of God.
 
Be blessed even more!
 
Pastor Chris

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The Voice of the Spirit

The Voice of the Spirit
C. Hayden 2-25-21
 
The past couple of weeks we have been talking about the importance of the working of the Holy Spirit in order that we might hear the voice of God. While God’s voice is often heard as we read the verses in the Holy Scriptures, it is the Holy Spirit who gives us revelation and understanding of what God is speaking to us. As well, the Holy Spirit will continue to speak to us throughout the day, bringing to light those things Jesus has said during those times of Bible Study and prayerful meditation.
 
First Corinthians 2:9-10 says this, “But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’ But God has revealed them unto us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes the deep things of God.” God reveals things to us by His Spirit if we will simply listen to Him. Verse 12 of that same chapter tells us this, Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.” God will speak to us regarding His will through the Spirit that He placed in us at the time of our regeneration when we were first saved. When we are born again, when we call on the name of the Lord and make Him our Savior, the Spirit comes into our heart and is available to us, interacting and speaking to us the wonderful things. He opens the Word of God to us and guides us, utilizing our conscience, mind and spirit to speak so that we may listen and hear His voice.
 
Often, we fail to hear His voice because either we don’t really believe God is speaking to us, or we just choose not to turn our attention to listen for His voice, or we are distracted by other things in life and can’t hear what God would say. We are either the kind of soil that is too rock filled, shallow or thorn bush filled to be able to received God’s voice so that the Spirit is unable to get His message to our thick and stony hearts (Matthew 13:3-9). We need to be soil that is good, fertile, tilled and Holy Spirit led so that the seed, the voice of God can be heard clearly and consistently.
 
Be blessed even more!!
Pastor Chris

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Broken Yet Blessed

Broken Yet Blessed
C.Hayden 2-15-21
 
At the risk of being inappropriate, I must share this with you this week. It has been a very hard couple of weeks for me. At the end of January we said goodbye to a wonderful member of our congregation, Judy Frederick. Judy was traveling on one of many county roadways around Huntington when she was struck by another vehicle whose driver had run a stop sign, and she was killed. When I had received word confirming the incident, I was immediately heart-broken. It was not much more than a few months past that Judy had seen our church online and came to visit. She immediately fell in love with our congregation, enjoyed our serves, made new friends, and was overwhelmed with the opportunities that lay before her as a new believer with a renewed spiritual focus. She had discovered her new church home and was so excited about getting involved in so many ministry opportunities. She was newly water baptized with a zeal for God that is all too uncommon. She is, and will be, so missed.
I’m not totally sure why I share this with you on this forum. Maybe I tell you in order to inform you of the need to keep Judy’s family in prayer. I know they are hurting at this very moment. Maybe I just want you to know to keep me in prayer (It is a painful thing for a Pastor to let go of a member of the church family). Or, maybe I am looking for some type of catharsis at a time when answers are not always clear. Maybe the offering of this Pastor’s Blog includes all these things and more. What certainly is true is that I am just as susceptible to asking “Why?” as anybody. I know many are mourning her loss, me included, but I have hope. 
 
These things I know, that:
1) We live in a world full of sin and tragedy (Romans 5:12)
2) We have an enemy who hates us and seeks to destroy us (John 10:10)
3) We often see bad things happen to good people (Matthew 5:45)
4) We cannot always avoid pain (John 16:33)
 
Let me tell you why I have hope and what else I know, that:
5) Jesus loves us (and Judy), and never will leave us (Hebrews 13:5)
6) Jesus gives hope when when understanding escapes us (1 Thessalonians 4:13)
7) Jesus provides escape routes so we can bear temptation, even in despair (1 Corinthians 10:13)
8) Jesus will heal our broken hearts and carry our burdened souls (Matthew 11:28-29)
 
And finally by faith in the Word and the Power of the Holy Spirit I know that:
9) I will trust in my God even when my heart is grieving  (Job 13:15)
10) I continue to pick up my cross and follow Christ even when inconvenient (Luke 9:23)
11) I am more than a conqueror in Christ, it is who I am (Romans 8:36-37)
12) I will not fear for Jesus is with me and He is my God (Isaiah 41:10)
13) I have victory over the crushed and defeated devil, he is a loser (Romans 16:20)
14) I will see Judy again and all who love Jesus in the Kingdom of my God (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
 
Oh boy, what stories we will have to share on that day!
 
Be blessed even more!
 
Pastor Chris
 
 

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Freedom to Speak

Freedom to Speak

  1. Hayden 1-25-21

 

There appears to be a trend growing in this wonderful country of ours that is becoming increasing disturbing. And while this trend has not yet touched most of us, we may begin to feel its effects if it is not addressed and resisted.   We still feel the freedom we have known as adults living in a democratic style, constitutional republic. But that may change if our right of free speech, as given by God and guaranteed by the First Amendment, continues to be assaulted.  And that is exactly what appears to be happening.  In the last several weeks we have seen some of our national leaders spout some amazingly divisive and dangerous rhetoric.  Initiating mandated programs that deprogram people or groups because they support someone or some position different than their own is unconstitutional. Canceling people or groups, destroying them financially or socially because their views differ, is extremely dangerous and it is wrong.  

Christians throughout history have suffered mercilessly at the hands of non-believing nations and state run corrupt church institutions because they spoke their beliefs. This concept of free speech is supported and promoted in Holy Scripture.  From the day the Holy Spirit was given on the day of Pentecost, the Spirit-filled Church has resisted being muzzled by those who know better than everyone else.  When told to stop talking about Jesus, Peter and John said no.  Acts 4:18-20 says, So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. 20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”

Some might dare to say, “We are free to say what the Bible says so what’s the problem?” First of all, in many parts of the world, people are persecuted and executed for preaching the good things of God.  In some western nations, some topics from God’s Word are off limits, at risk of severe fines and imprisonment.  And secondly, some Christians, as well as others of different beliefs, are being harassed, threatened, and receiving attempted societal and financial cancellation due to speaking out beliefs not matching governmental or socially accepted speech.  Saints, these things ought not to be anywhere, especially here.  

I will leave you with this familiar poem quoted in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a socialist.  Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a trade unionist.  Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew.  Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.” 

Be blessed even more!!

Pastor Chris


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A New Year, Right?

A New Year, Right?
C. Hayden 1-15-2021
 
Well 2020 is over and now we delve into the next promising New Year, 2021. Doesn’t feel a whole lot different does it? We have traveled from one horrible circumstance to another and it appears 2021 is not starting off much better. Let’s recap 2020: Impeachment, Pandemic, Racial division, Protesting with riots, Looting & occupations throughout the summer in multiple cities, State lockdowns, Business shutdowns, Unemployment skyrocketing, A traumatizing election season & outcome, Families separated during Thanksgiving & Christmas due to COVID, Dishonest leaders, and Unbridled wokeness. This list does not even include our own personal struggles and tragedies. Now that we are in 2021, how’s it going so far: Impeachment, Pandemic, Protesting with riots, and…just about the same thing as last year. We pray the Spirit of God reverses these things of course. But we should not be surprised when life appears to go awry.
In John 16:33, Jesus tells His disciples, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” We are warned that difficult times will come. There will be tribulation in this world, and boy can we testify to that with what we have seen in 2020 and the way 2021 has started out. However, Jesus also tells us that if we abide in Him, since He has overcome the world, we are overcomes also in Him. In fact, one of Jesus’ closest friends in the world, the Apostle John says in 1 John 4:3-4, “And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” Did your heart grasp the words of John? We are overcomes. And why? Because Christ lives in us and there is no one or thing that is greater than Him. As we enter this New Year, may we remember who we are in the Lord. We are God’s children. And no matter what may be on the horizon of 2021, we are OVERCOMERS. “For Greater is He, who is in us than he (anyone or anything), who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Happy New Year! In Christ!
 
Be blessed even more!!
 
Pastor Chris
 
 

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A Christmas Carol Part 3

A Christmas Carol Part 3
C. Hayden 1-1-2021
 
Once more, we will explore a theme from “A Christmas Carol”. We could spend weeks examining the messages conveyed from Charles Dicken’s novel, but this final installment will be one that challenges us and encourages us at the same time. I know that Christmas is a very special time for most, and it is at this time of the year that people are more open to the Gospel’s message. However, we also need to remember that December 25th is not the only day that belongs to the Lord, but everyday belongs to the Lord. During a scene in the film, the Ghost of Christmas Present touches upon this idea as he works with Ebenezer Scrooge on his continued road to redemption.
 
The scene in question unfolds like this: Scrooge awakens to the very presence of the “Ghost of Christmas Present”. Of course, Ebenezer is quite taken back by this apparition’s flamboyant and very boisterous style. As Scrooge converses with the Spirit, he hears these words coming from this ghostly benefactor. “We Spirits (of Christmas) do not live only one day of the year, but 365 days of the year. Just like the child born in Bethlehem, Who does not live in the hearts of men one day of the year but in every day of the year”. How deep the revelation of that statement! While we may celebrate Christmas only one day out of the year, December 25th is our reminder of the Lord Jesus Christ who is with us (As well as coming in the flesh again), not just one day but every day of the year! Hallelujah! And Amen!
 
The Message version of the Bible records Matthew 28:20 like this, “Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave His charge: ‘God authorized and command me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you.  I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.'” God is not only with us on December 25th, He is with us every single day as we continue to follow Him. So in a way, Christmas Day is only the reminder of Christ’s demonstration of God’s love that He has for us every day of our lives!
 
Be blessed even more.
Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!
 
Pastor Chris

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A Christmas Carol Part 2

December 15th, 2020
C. Hayden
 
Continuing on the same theme as our previous Pastor’s Blog, this week we re-visit the movie, “A Christmas Carol.” After viewing the animated version of the film with my grandson almost every evening during his visit last week, I decided to watch the more mature, 1951 black and white version (Also goes by the title “Scrooge” in Britain), starring Alistair Sim (He was just fantastic as Scrooge). There are many tender and memorable moments shared by both offerings of this film. One of my favorite scenes (seen in the animated film as well as the 1951 version) brings the revelation that Charles Dickens, the author of this timeless tale, had a keen understanding that Christ is truly at the center of this Christmas story.
In a particularly heart tugging moment of the film (I begin tearing up every single time), Bob Cratchit, agonizing over his critically ill son (Tiny Tim), is with his family describing a time where he and Tiny Tim are attending Church together, Cratchit recalls the moment, while sitting in the pew together, his crippled, slowly dying son tells his father that “he doesn’t mind people looking at him in church because he was a cripple, as it might be pleasant for them to remember upon Christmas Day, the One Who made lame beggars walk and blind men see”. Tiny Tim sees the value of his own condition puts aside his own needs, recognizing that God can use his difficulty to reach and touch the hearts of others who are in more need then he is. What a deep message for us. Not that God makes us sick so that He can reach others (that is a misinterpretation). But our Lord can use all things for our good and the good of others (2 Corinthians 12:10).
 
Romans 8:28, Amplified version, says it like this. “We are assured and know that all things work together and are [ fitting into a plan ] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.” Tiny Tim knows this truth and is thinking more of others than he does of himself. On December 25th, Central Christian Church will be serving a Christmas Day meal to those that may have no where else to go or family to be with. If you have time and are available, feel free to join us on Christmas Day as we reach into our community, inviting all to come in to minister to those in need, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. 
 
Be blessed even more. Enjoy this wonderful Christmas time!
 
Pastor Chris

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A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol

  1. Hayden 11-22-20

 

This week, both of my grandchildren spent several days with Heidi and myself leading up to Thanksgiving Day.  We had many joyful moments as we played games, visited the War Memorial playground area, had meals together and watched movies with much popcorn in store.  We had a wonderful time with them, but then again, we always do. One such incidence of much joy was when Reid and myself sat down to watch the animated Disney version of the Charles Dickens classic tale, “A Christmas Carol.” It was the first time Reid had ever seen the film and new little about the story beforehand.  He absolutely loved the film. In fact, I had to watch it five more times before the end of the week, as he could not get enough of it.  

I was happy about that.  It gave me the opportunity to talk to him about the themes of the story.  About caring for others at Christmas time, helping the poor and hurting in society, and the real meaning of the season (Jesus giving Himself to save the lost).  This week, Reid learned how blessed he really was as he saw poor children who often suffer without the things we take for granted and without the love that we so often enjoy.  He also learned that the source of all these good things come from God and because of God’s unchanging love for us (James 1:17, 1 Chronicles 16:11-12); and of course, the love our moms and dads have for us (also given by God, Romans 5:5).  He learned so well, that this past Sunday he insisted on him and I sponsoring a child by picking a stocking off of the gift tree on the wall outside the Sanctuary doors. Grandpa was more than happy to accommodate him. Reid was even willing to spend his own money.  Although he did leave his wallet back in Indianapolis…but that is ok.  His heart was there.  

This season, we may be in a bit of a funk due to the discouraging events and circumstances we have had to endure this year.  But we can still redeem the times for good by remembering that we still have opportunity to do good for others (Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31).  There are many in need of physical provision but even more are the spiritually poor who are in need of a Savior.  As we have time, let us remember to convey that message above all others.  It is what we would tell our children and grandchildren, and what we would love to have them come to know.  

Be blessed even more!!

Pastor Chris


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