Pastor’s Blog

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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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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