Pastor’s Blog

What A Tremendous Honor

What A Tremendous Honor
C. Hayden 10-24-17
We have been given a tremendous honor. An honor that so many overlook, choose to remain ignorant
regarding or just downright reject. An honor treasured by angels and one that men and women of God throughout
history gave all to be a part of. Unfortunately, it is an honor God gives that many continue to run from in favor of
living only for the things of this life. That honor is to be in the service of the King and fulfill the very purpose and
calling given to each one of us by God Himself.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21
says, “
if anyone
is
in Christ,
he is
a new
creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
18
Now all things
are
of God, who has
reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,
19
that is, that God
was in Christ reconciling the
world to Himself, not imputing
their trespasses to them, and
has committed to us the word
of reconciliation.
20
Now
then, we are ambassadors for
Christ…”
Every believer in
Christ has been called to build
bridges between the Creator
of the universe and His
creation – mankind. God’s
Word tells us that we are to be
His ambassadors, His hands
and His feet so that a lost
world can find their way out of
darkness and into our Father’s
wonderful light. Imagine
yourself lost in an underground
cave where no light exists and
the rays of the sun cannot
breach. A place where the
darkness is so prevalent and so
permeates everything so that you could never find your way out – permanently trapped with no hope of
discovering the surface again. That is where those without Christ find themselves. Some realize they are lost not
knowing how to exit this underground prison and live in despair. Others have come to embrace the darkness and
live in ignorance of the chains they bear. Regardless, God has given you the honor to go into this dark world with
the light of the Gospel of Christ to rescue those perishing, bringing them to the surface and into His brilliant glory.
His Word is your Lamp; His Spirit is your fuel that keeps the lamp burning. Some may follow us to the surface and
some may reject our invitation and remain in the dark. Regardless of the choice others make, you have been given
a tremendous honor, an honor that God chose you to fulfill (
John 15:16
). And what a tremendous honor it is! Don’t
run from the Calling God places before you, rejoice in it!
Be blessed even more!!
Pastor Chris

Read more...

GOD Has Won, In Short Order

God Has Won, In Short Order
C. Hayden 10-10-17
It seems like every time we turn around, a tragedy appears all over the news outlets. Whether it is nature
ravaging whole communities as seen with serial hurricanes, fires igniting and consuming neighborhoods out west
or terror induced violence like the recent shooting in Las Vegas, we are constantly bombarded with an uneasy
feeling that our lives are under siege. Add on to these events our national disunity over differing political and
moral values and the ongoing tension with other nuclear and near nuclear armed nations such as North Korea and
Iran, it is no wonder that many feel the planet is on fire and doomsday date setters exist a plenty.
We live in a nation that is in real turmoil and Matthew 24 is becoming more and more relevant, even for
those seemingly untouched directly by these events. In the book of 1
st
Peter, chapter 5:8-9 we read, “
Be sober, be
vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
9
Resist
him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.”
Scripture is clear that we have an adversary who wants to destroy the lives of people. Satan does this primarily
through deception. Deception leading to our disunity as a people, our disjointed attempts to live in harmony with
others, our dysfunctional relationship as a human community and the world’s dislocated relationship with the God
of the Bible. But there is “Good News.” Jesus told us that He has come that we might have life and to have that life
more abundantly (John 10:10) and that we are not to fear because He has overcome the world (John 16:33). He
came to bring His creation back from the brink and He uses us to deliver that message to the world.
Here is some more good news. He is going to lock up the enemy of our souls, the devil, in short order.
Revelation 20:2-3 says this, “He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is
the
Devil and Satan, and bound
him for a thousand years;
3
and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that
he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished.” Now it does say that God will loose
the devil at the end of the millennium for a short time (to fulfill God’s purpose), but will then cast Satan away
forever in the Lake of Fire. We will no longer have to experience the torment of the deceiver any longer. This is
God’s promise and we can take His Word to the bank! Be encouraged, we win because God has already won! Joy
comes in the morning!
Be blessed even more!!
Pastor Chris

Read more...

Make America Sane Again!

Make America Sane Again!
C. Hayden 9-26-16
Wow! This nation is just being torn apart by our politics. It appears so surreal yet has become so totally
unavoidable. I am all for citizens of this country having the right to protest. I protest our lack of prayer in schools
and speak out for its return whenever I have a forum to do so. I speak out against abortion on demand because
giving someone the right to choose should never result in taking another’s life. I protest against the attitudes of
this present world, turning their back on the very One who died for them; using His name as an expression of
disgust rather than calling upon that Holy Name for salvation. However, I would not choose to protest these things
(discrimination against Christian prayer, the killing of unborn babies, and daily offensive use of God’s name) during
a one minute ceremony intended to honor the flag (a symbol of the great things about our nation) and the
wonderful men and women who gave their lives or their health to defend us.
It is true that we have many problems in our country (try and name a country without problems!). And it
may not be the intention of those kneeling during our national anthem to offend our military and first responders.
But intention or not, that is what they are doing because many people in this nation feel a deep disrespect when
we can’t even stand together in
solidarity to honor our nation during
these few moments in life. Are we
not supposed to be sensitive to how
others feel now? Or are we only
sensitive for how some people feel?
Boy, I hope I don’t have to be
confronted by protestors the next time
I attend my grandson’s Karate skills
demonstration!
All of that being said, I think
we have come to the point in our
nation where, if we want any positive
change, we need to double down on
the Biblical practices that might make
America sane again! That is the
practice of humility, prayer, returning
to God, and forsaking sin. Scripture
gives little hope for the nation that
rejects the Lord. However, prayer and
returning back to God will bring us into His presence and re-establish the lines of communication with the Creator
and Governor of the universe. In 2
Chronicles 7:14, God tells us this very thing, “
If My people who are called by My
name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from
heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” If we want to really solve the problems, the healing of our
nation, we must first hold to the 2 Chronicles mandate – humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face and turn from our
evil ways. It can be done. It starts with humbly going to God in prayer.
Be blessed even more!!
Pastor Chris

Read more...

We Passed Another Milestone!

We Passed Another Milestone!
C. Hayden 9-12-17
Our Church has reached a generational milestone in its history! One of our lifelong members, who has spent so
many years as part of the life of Central Christian Church, has gone on to live in eternity with the Lord! This week
we have been and will continue saying goodbye to one of the great matriarchs of our Central Christian Church
congregation. Early Saturday morning, Thais Wilhelm went home to be with our Lord Jesus Christ in the glories of
heaven. She passed peacefully and painlessly as God called her home. During this time, those who love her will
surely experience moments that are bittersweet! Bitter because Thais will be missed. She was such an
encouragement to many and
often brought life to those around
her. But it is also sweet
because we know that she is in
heaven, feeling no more
sorrow and no more pain!
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
gives the believer such hope. It says
this, “
Therefore we do not lose
heart. Even though our outward
man
is perishing, yet the
inward man is being renewed day by
day.
17
For our light affliction,
which is but for a moment, is
working for us a far more
exceeding
and
eternal weight of
glory,
18
while we do not look
at the things which are seen, but at
the things which are not seen.
For the things which are seen
are
temporary
, but the things which
are
not seen
are eternal
.” The things of this life are so temporary. Pain, suffering,
loss, heartache, tribulation and trials are all temporary and very short-lived in God’s economy. But the joy and
riches of heaven with His blessings are ever abundant and never-ending!
Jesus put it this way,
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you
will
have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”
(John 16:33
NKJV). Yes, we will experience
pain, physical, and emotional, while traversing this world. But Jesus experienced the same so that He might
purchase a joyous eternity for us. It often is very bitter to say goodbye to those we love, but for believers in Christ,
saying goodbye to those we love carries with it great joy knowing that we will someday be together again in the
Kingdom of God.
When you feel troubled at times, remember the words Jesus spoke to His disciples,
“Let not your heart be
troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.
2
In My Father’s house are many mansions; if
it were
not
so,
I
would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and
receive you to Myself; that where I am,
there
you may be also” (John 14:1-3). Goodbye Thais, enjoy the glories of
heaven with the Lord…we will be with you again—very soon!
Be blessed even more!!
Pastor Chris

Read more...

That None Would Perish

Pastor Chris & Heidi Hayden

 

That None Would Perish

  1. Hayden 8-25-17

 

It is heartbreaking to see people who are going through disaster events whether nature originated or man-made. It does not seem all that long ago when Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city of New Orleans and turned many lives upside down for years following. The last couple of days have been devastating for many residents in Houston as well as many other gulf coast cities in Texas and Louisiana as we have seen the destructive effects and horrific images of Hurricane Harvey.   The reports of people stranded, trapped, and perishing from the rising flood waters, tugs at the hearts of Americans and causes us to want to do our part to help relieve the suffering of our neighbors in their hour of need. It is in these times where suffering is so visible to our senses that we want to reach out with resources to come to the aid of those unfortunate enough to live in the effected areas along the Gulf Coast. If you want to help, look on the website of these organizations that will certainly be mobilized to provide relief: The Salvation Army, Samaritan’s Purse, and the Red Cross to name just a few.

 

While these people are in immediate need, we need to also remember that there are many who are perishing in our world each day from the human condition ravaged by the effects of sin. The Bible tells us in Matthew 7:13-14 this, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” God’s heart breaks for the lost in this world walking down the road of destruction every day. We know they are there, but because it is not obvious to what we see in our daily walk, unlike the images surrounding Hurricane Harvey, and it is uncomfortable for us to get involved in their rescue from sin, we just ignore it and often act like it is not happening. This pains the heart of our Lord. We read in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” He wants all to be saved. But we must be involved if rescue is to take place.

 

Just like the rescue efforts that we see ongoing to help the residents of Texas, we need to be about rescuing others for Christ. Share your faith with others, invite them and encourage them to come to church and hear the message of God’s love for them and salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Be blessed even more!!

 

Pastor Chris


Read more...

A Church, the Unchurched Want to Be At!

A Church, the Unchurched Want to Be At!

  1. Hayden 8-8-17

 

On October 9th of this year, the city of Indianapolis is going to become host to the “Deep and Wide Tour” featuring pastor, teacher, and author, Andy Stanley and a gathering of other like-minded ministers. The theme of this conference is to help individual ministries to expand their reach into their communities and cities, drawing more unchurched people into our congregations. The theme is summed up in one sentence, “Create a Church, Unchurched People Love to Attend.” What a concept! Now I know that everyone in the world has different ideas of what church should be like, but I think I know what the leaders of this conference are trying to convey. We want church to be a place that people are drawn to, not a place they have to go to because of some sense of guilt or requirement. We want church to be a place they come to because it is irresistible!

 

So how do we make church irresistible? That is a good question and after I go to the conference, I plan on telling you exactly what I have learned. I am sure I will have a list of ideas to share. Part of the answer will certainly be to match the ministry style to the culture that the church resides in. That would include music styles, décor styles, and transforming the ministry atmosphere to something more relatable and relevant to multiple generations. In short, becoming real to the unchurched is key. Of course, those that are churched have to buy in to this concept for it to be effective!!

 

In 1 Corinthians 9:22 to read, “To the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men that I might by all means save some.” Paul made his ministry relatable and relevant to unbelievers for the sole purpose of reaching them. And in Matthew 7:28-29, Scripture says this, “And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, 29 for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” Here, Jesus is not concerned with doing things the way they have always been done by the Pharisees. He didn’t try to replicate the ministries of times past. He spoke to the lost in a way that they could relate to and was relevant to them and translated to Him being REAL with them. He spoke in such a way that they knew that He knew what He was talking about and why they should care. It might behoove us to follow these examples so that we also might reach the unchurched. We need to continue to be relatable, relevant and real more and more each day. Individually as well as a church body community, city and worldwide so that we might reach some!

 

 

Be blessed even more!!

 

Pastor Chris


Read more...

Unfinished

Pastor Chris & Heidi Hayden

 

Unfinished

  1. Hayden 7-20-17

 

This past Sunday I read from a book that challenges and motivates the Church for service to the Lord. Richard Stearns’ work both compels and encourages God’ s people to go from a simple church attender to putting all aspects of their lives, our money, our jobs, our possessions, our relationships, and so forth, under His jurisdiction.  Here is am excerpt from Richard’s book, “Unfinished.”

“Now, here is a really important thing to understand. If you lay down all of these things in the service of Christ and His kingdom, He won’t necessarily take them away from you. He doesn’t ask us all to quit our jobs, leave our homes, and have an estate sale to liquidate all our earthly possessions. No, He only asks that we turn all of those decisions over to Him. If you have built a business that can generate great wealth, He may leave you right there so that the business can be used to His glory and to accomplish His purposes. If you are an investment banker at Goldman Sachs, He may want you to stay put and become a kingdom builder right where you are stationed by letting your light shine in a place where a shining light may be desperately needed. If you love your community, He may use you to help transform it and reclaim it for His kingdom. He might even use your addiction as a powerful tool of His restorative power to transform human lives. But he does require that the certificates of title be signed over to Him. He becomes the owner, and we become the stewards, not of our possessions but of the Master’s possessions.”

Colossians 3:16-17 says this, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Everything we do, we do by the authority and will of God the Father, by the power of the Holy Spirit and through the grace and name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Until we have placed all things at His feet, we are yet, “Unfinished.”

 

Be blessed even more!

 

Pastor Chris

 


Read more...

Works of the Spirit or the Law?

Works of the Spirit or the Law?
C. Hayden 7-10-17
Galatians 3:3-6 says this , ”
Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the
flesh.
4
Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?
5
Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
     In this passage Paul makes it clear that we are redeemed and continue to grow by the Spirit through our faith, not by the keeping of the law or any other ritualistic undertakings. In this passage we see Galatian Christians attempting to find approval with God by keeping certain Jewish practices. Paul gives a slight rebuke to those who attempt to do so with a question. “Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” The obvious answer the Apostle is looking for is, “of course not.” We are saved by, as well as perfected by, the Spirit and never by keeping Levitical, Old Testament priesthood practices. Just as we no longer must sacrifice animals to cover our sins, we are no longer required to keep various dress styles, religious ordinances, nor dietary restrictions to please Him.
Galatians 5:1-5New King James Version (NKJV)  confirms this point

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free,[a] and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

     Circumcision was a requirement of all Jewish males, however, James informs the Church that Gentile believers are not required to join in this practice to follow Christ. And why? Because we have been set free from the law that we might serve Christ in  the Spirit, never to be entangled again by trying to keep the law. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made us free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2). We have been set free to serve God according to His Spirit and not by keeping the law.

Be blessed even more!!
Pastor Chris

Read more...

Attached to the Vine

Thriving On The Vine

  1. Hayden 6-25-16

 

Growing up in my neighborhood was an absolute blast at times. We had a ballpark right across the street from my house where all of the neighborhood kids would gather to play and find out how much trouble we could get in to. We also had this huge pear tree right in our front yard which became the focus of many an activity as neighborhood kids would work to pluck one of those juicy pears for their spoil! The tree had grown old and so large that there were no low limbs by which small children could begin to climb. Only the oldest and best climbers were able to get to the hanging fruit. Most of us had to wait until pears fell from the tree. One thing we noticed is that if we waited too long, the fruit that made it to the earth, would begin to rot no longer being attached to the source of sustenance, namely the old pear tree. I can remember often going through the old rotten pears on the ground in the hopes of finding a healthy, eatable, deliciously green pear to munch on. It was hit and miss as I spent time navigating all of those rotten pears in search of one that was good.

 

That is what happens to us when we detach ourselves from the source of our salvation. In the Gospel of John, 15th chapter, we read what it takes to really thrive as a believer in Christ. John 15:1-5 says this, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” By not remaining in the vine, staying in relationship with Christ, our faith becomes stale, stagnant, and stained with decay.

 

The “Good News” is that this need not be a picture of us. We can THRIVE by remaining in the vine. Jesus tells us that if we will remain in the vine, we will produce much fruit. And that fruit will be healthy and delicious for all the world to partake of. Have a wonderful time as you continue in His Word and prayer throughout the week…abiding in the Vine! Detached from the vine…we die; attached to the vine…we THRIVE!

 

Be blessed even more!!

 

Pastor Chris


Read more...

Spiritual Warfare for Dummies

Spiritual Warfare for Dummies

 

First off, “spiritual warfare” or power over the demonic, is reserved for those people who have taken the time to understand what this phrase means. I’m not talking about simply praying occasionally. I am talking about going to war spiritually against principalities, powers and the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6). They study the manual on “Spiritual Warfare for Dummies” or the Bible. That is they are able to understand what Hebrews 5:12-14 is referring to that says, For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Not everyone is in the place where they are comfortable dealing in areas that go beyond natural understanding. Maybe it is time that we start serving a little more Spiritual meat!

 

There was a time recorded in Scripture where the Apostles were not able to cast a demon out. After Jesus’ resurrection, they became masters of it. When asked why they lacked the ability, Jesus told them in Matthew 17:20 that it was because of their unbelief. In Mark 9:29-30, it was because they needed to pray and fast to cast out the entity. So what have we learned by these two Scriptures? That we need to have mature faith that has engaged in, not only ongoing prayer, but fasting by which we might grow spiritually through the practice of these Christian disciplines. And just as important, you must believe. If you lack faith in the practice, or faith in God’s power to do so through you, go no further…you will be unable to be used by God in this area.

 

Lack of faith and an anemic prayer life seems to be the primary reasons we fail in spiritual endeavors. When Jesus heard that the disciples failed to deliver the demon-possessed person, He lamented, “You stubborn, faithless [or, unbelieving] people! How long must I be with you until you believe?” (Matthew 17:17). Also, when the boy’s father asked Jesus to help him if He could, Jesus responded, “If I can?…Anything is possible if a person believes” (Mark 9:23). In James 5:16 we read, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

 

Do you believe? And more specifically, do you believe God’s Word? Do you have an ongoing prayer life that affords meeting with God regularly? Do you deny your fleshly self through Christian disciplines such as prayer and fasting? If you can answer these questions in the affirmative, you are a candidate to be used by God in these areas of spiritual warfare. If you desire God to use you fully in the things of the Spirit, remember what we found in Mark’s Gospel…”Anything is possible if a person believes.”

 

Be blessed even more!!

 

Pastor Chris


Read more...