Pastor’s Blog

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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God’s Great Investment

Just recently, Tina, our wonderful Church secretary received a fundraiser coupon book in the mail. You know the type. Church youth groups and school clubs purchase discount books that carry coupons for free stuff from businesses in their local community, then sell them for a bit more in order to raise the needed funds for their organization. Parents, other family and friends purchase these discount books and spend the next few months trying to figure out how they are going to utilize said coupons in order to get their monies worth out of them. A great American activity!

Most of these coupons say something like this: “Receive a free (whatever) with the purchase of one (whatever) of equal or greater value.” A good deal to be sure if you dare to use it. Buy one, get one free. It is good to get something free.   God’s Word describes a similar deal, only His discount goes so much further. In the book of Romans 8:29, we read, “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren” (NAS). In other words, God purchased salvation by giving His one and only son, but got so much more than just one other person was saved in return. The blood of Christ was shed that there would be a mammoth return of men and women into the kingdom of God.

The wonderful thing about this deal is that Jesus paid the original price so that salvation would be a gift of God’s grace. We need not pay a thing, only take advantage of what God has already done; as the scripture states in 1 Corinthians 15:21, “For since death came through a man (Adam), the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man (Jesus).” The act of the Savior of the world dying on the cross became the ultimate purchase that makes salvation a free gift for the rest of us; a very good deal if we would but utilize the coupon provided.

Be blessed and be grateful,

Pastor Chris


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Spiritual Discernment

Spiritual-Discernment

In the scriptures, 1 John 4:1, John the apostle tells us, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is discernment.  One definition given for spiritual discernment is the ability to see things as God sees them.  In a world that continues to be at odds with the Word of and will of God, along with ever increasingly loud voices drawing people away, seeing things as God sees them becomes more and more tenuous.

In 2 Timothy we read, “But KNOW this, that in the last days perilous times will come . . .Evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse,deceiving (lying) and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:1, 13).  We live in a world that is deceiving and being deceived and we, as the Body of Christ, need to always be on guard discerning God’s will as we reach out to reconcile people back to the Savior, knowing that His arms are open to all who turn to him and away from embracing sin.  When we embrace sin as a church, it only emboldens the world, that hates the Word of God, to approve of more unrighteousness.

James, the Lord’s half brother, declared this, “…don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” What James is saying is that we need to discern what is of the world and what is of God, then by doing so, we always choose God.  This is not an easy message to give.  The Pharisees and ungodly rejected Jesus for giving this very message.  The 8th chapter of John illustrates Jesus’ condemnation of those who rejected him when He discerned where the non-believing religious were coming from.  How can we learn to discern the truth?  Jesus said these words, “He that is of God, hears God’s words…” (John 8:47a).

Be blessed,

Pastor Chris


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Not Just Auditing the Class

In Matthew, the seventh chapter, we see the words of Jesus expose individuals who claim the title of being a believer, but fail to follow Biblical instruction.  In this passage, Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'”

Claiming to be a Christian does not always translate to truly being one of His disciples.  The difference is that a disciple of Christ will not only seek to know what God’s will is according to the Word, being a mere hearer only, but they work to do the will of the Father as well.

In James 1:21-22, we find this scripture…”Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.  But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” The word “hearers” comes from a Greek word that gives us the picture of a student who takes a class at college but never completes any of the lessons given to them.  It is like a person who audits a class, they hear the lectures, but they never complete any of the assignments therefore never receive any credit at the end of the semester.

Verse 23 continues by informing us that those who hear the Word but do not do it, are only “deluding themselves,” Those who listen to the Word but never order their life accordingly are satisfied with religious activity but rejects a true relationship with Christ.  They become satisfied with providing God tiny sacrifices in order to appease God, which never works, rejecting the grace of God freely given to those who humble themselves by receiving the gift of a true relationship with Christ.

Be blessed

Pastor Chris

P.S.  I would love to hear from you.  If you would like to comment or share opinions regarding this offering, feel free to email me at chrishayden60@sbcglobal.net


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Evangelize, Proselytize or Both

This past month, I spent some time reviewing the constitution of Central Christian Church. Within the pages of this document you will find details of how the Church is to operate regarding leadership and committees and the like. What caught my attention, however, could be found on the very first page under Article II regarding our “Purpose.” The first paragraph in this section begins with this statement, “The purpose of this church shall be as revealed in the New Testament: to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and win people to faith in Him…” The ideas put forth hear is not only completely scriptural, but an accurate description of what we should be about busily doing.

In 2 Timothy 4:2, Paul tells his young protégé to preach the Word of God whether it is convenient or not to do so. We need to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ in times when it is convenient (on Sunday mornings), and in times when it is not (every other day of the week). This preaching the Gospel has come to be known by many as “evangelism.” We evangelize individuals by telling them about Christ and the way to Him. The Apostle later tells Timothy to do the work of an evangelist (2 Tim. 4:5).

In 1 Corinthians 9:22, the writer declares, “To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. While this scripture is also describing evangelism, we could also call this proselytizing since Paul is trying to win people to his way of thinking. The word “proselytizing” carries a negative connotation in our culture today which is largely unfair. The word is only negative when you do not approve of the group that people are being drawn to join or the reason for their enlistment.

The word proselytizing simply means to recruit someone to join a group. Everyone does this. Colleges proselytize new students, sports teams proselytize athletes, political pundits continue recruiting others to their side and individuals proselytize others to agree with their interpretation of an issue against someone else in conflict. Proselytizing is not always bad, what can make it bad is the way it is done and the reason for it. Christians should be about evangelizing and proselytizing for the right reasons and in a manner that shows Christ’s love. It is not only God’s will, but should be our desire to see others receive eternal life along with receiving the infinite benefit of being a member of His family.

Be blessed,

Pastor Chris


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