Pastor’s Blog

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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How Pleasant To Be In Unity

When I first came to Huntington, I had the wonderful opportunity to be a part of the Encounter 2010 meetings which were held at Kriegbaum Field. Approximately 15 to 20 Churches gathered together as they took their first step in developing a stronger bond between members of the Church community in Huntington County. It was exhilarating to see brothers and sisters from different denominations holding hands around the football field as we worshipped our Lord together without pretense or one group’s agenda getting in the way. The excitement was overwhelming as we prayed for each other and for God’s work to be done in this city/county; starting with us.

The Lord is pleased when we come together as one whether His Spirit is unifying believers in Huntington County or simply those at any individual Church. Pastor’s long to see their Church unified just as Christ longs to see the same in His body. In 1 Corinthians, the 12th chapter, the Apostle Paul lays out the case for unity among Christians much like a lawyer might do before a judge and jury. Paul speaks about the special gifts and administrations given to different members, the need for unity of each member for the edifying of the Church and that there is only one source whereby these gifts and administrations are supplied (the Holy Spirit). He then lays out in detail the fact that each member is gifted from God for His use, that every gift is just as important as another and that every gift is necessary for the operation of the Body. The Lord has apportioned to each member as He will for the edifying of the body of Christ; yes, that includes you and me!

Now, of course, we must never compromise the foundations of our faith to reach some pseudo-unification that is void of any Spiritual depth. There are certainly standards of the Gospel that are not negotiable. However, far too often we allow personal preferences to disrupt the mission that Christ has set before his people. We might be more productive as Christ’s body if we adopted a famous slogan which states, “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.” Psalm 133:1 says that it is absolutely wonderful when brethren dwell together in unity. To the Lord, it is like precious ointment that dowsed Aaron from head to toe (a good thing, not like spilling oil on your new shoes). The third verse of that chapter informs us that when we have such unity, that it is here that God commands His blessing upon us, even life for evermore. Here are two questions we should ask ourselves: What can we do to share your gifts with the body of Christ and in what ways can we join with others in Christian unity within our own congregation as well as the Church universal? As we continue to allow God to bring His people together as one, we will see our own individual ministries grow in spiritual vibrancy. Oh, how wonderful it is when we dwell together united as one!

Be blessed

Pastor Chris


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All Things Are Possible

Last summer, a wonderful message adorned the Central Christian Church sign. It was taken from the scripture passage Mark 10:27 KJV, “And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” This message conveyed to all of us that even when things seem impossible, God can always turn things around making things work in accordance with His will. When we are ready to give up in a situation because things seem too bleak, God is not even phased.

Throughout our time in this life we come across situations that serve to try our faith. Days when we experience suffering and loss, face persecution and hardship, battle circumstances that go beyond our ability to conquer or even control. Over the past year, most of you have become aware of the battle my son had been fighting that stumped doctors and eluded the intellect of the experts. In the past year, we have made several trips to Riley’s Hospital in Indianapolis trying to pin down what has been ailing my son. Out of all the difficulties my wife and I have experienced while in Huntington, none have even come close to rising to importance in comparison to this one. Several things have been beyond our control, but nothing like this. The thing is, I know that many of you have also experienced situations that have stymied you as much as this one did us.

Even though the previous paragraph is true, it is also true that God loves us very much. And while we face these difficulties, God is with us, He knows are hardship, and tells us we can trust Him. The theme of last summer’s Vacation Bible School was “We Can Trust God.” We can trust God know matter who we are. We can trust God no matter how we feel. We can trust God no matter what others may do to us. We can trust God no matter the circumstance. Why trust Him? We can trust Him because He loves us very much and because with God, all things are possible. No matter how difficult things become or what others may say or do, trust the Lord, because with Him, all things are possible.

Be blessed even more!

Pastor Hayden

 


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