Pastor’s Blog

What Would You Have Me Do?

In the book of Matthew, the 20th chapter, an account of two blind men sitting by the wayside unfolds. Jesus is just leaving Jericho as he passes by these two souls. He has no plans to stop, He is not heading for them to give aide; Jesus is just passing by. In fact, due to being followed by a multitude of others, unless these two were to call out His name, the impression given to the reader is that the Lord may not have even known they were there. But not only did they call out for the Lord, they kept calling even though chided by the mob to be still. Even then, Jesus does not just go to them to heal them, rather He asks a question. Matthew 20:32 – “…What would you have me do for you?”

Now what kind of question is that? It is obvious that these two are blind and in need of healing. The crowd knows it. Jesus knows this as well. Yet He still asks the question, “What would you have me do for you?” Why ask if the Lord already knew what they needed? It seems that in most cases, with a few exceptions, Jesus did a miracle for a person only after two things took place. In Matthew 7:7-11 says, 7Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 9Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?10Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? The first is the person in need had the faith to come to the Lord for help. We see this in case after case as people approached Him. The second thing would in veritably happen. Jesus would ask, what we might interpret in present day vernacular, “What’s the problem?”

If you have a need, first come to the Lord. Second, let Him know what you need and ask Him to provide it. Often, we just sit around worrying about a problem just waiting for God to do something and complaining when He doesn’t. Have you gone to the Lord in prayer and asked Him to provide for your need? One last thing, if the answer is yes to the last question, remember the final part. You can find the final key to receive from the Lord by looking up and reading Mark 11:24 and Proverbs 3:5.

Be blessed,

Pastor Chris


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Truly Blessed

Have you ever had moments when you sat around staring at personal problems or viewing the things you don’t have and found yourself in a state of depression? Sometimes our inner emotional gyroscope can be knocked off kilter and we begin to feel sorry for ourselves, wanting to throw up our hands and just give up. All we can see are the negative circumstances that we find ourselves in and everything else is just a blur. This is one effect that has become known as “tunnel vision” in psychology circles.

Tunnel vision keeps us looking at one singular aspect in our view and it can distort reality to the point that we refuse to see anything else. If the object of our tunnel vision’s focus is negative, we put ourselves at risk of becoming generally angry, bitter and just downright defeated people. It can destroy our witness for Christ and hinder what God desires to do in us and through us. We can become trapped in this tunnel, struggling to see all of the wonderful blessings that we have been given. Two things will be helpful.

First, get with God through prayer and the Word. Review all the wonderful promises that God has made to us. The promise of His blessings now and those we can depend on for our future. The Bible tells us that all of God’s promises are yes and amen in Him (2 Corinthians 1:20). What He said He will do, He will do! You may be in a place where it seems like things are really bad, and maybe things are bad. But don’t forget, problems are only temporary. The scripture, 2 Corinthians 4:17 says, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”

Second thing, look at the blessings that God has already given. When I feel pressed and depressed, all I need do is look at pictures of my children or now, my new grandson pictured above. I am reminded of how blessed I truly am. Often, depression comes when we find ourselves in a tunnel, seeing only one negative molehill that we have made into a mountain blocking our view of every blessing God has bestowed upon us. It is difficult for me to be a complainer when I see blessings in my life like the one pictured above. What are the blessings God has given to you? “Think on these things…” (Philippians 4:8).

Be blessed even more,

Pastor Chris


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Are You Positive?

I’ve come to the conclusion that every day is a downer for people expecting it to be.  In other words, if you’re looking for the dark cloud in every silver lining, you’ll probably find it.  We’ve heard the old adage about how one sees the cup; half full or half empty.  Here’s what the Scripture says in Proverbs 15:15 KJV “For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.”

The Bible has much to say about having a happy heart and so does medical science.  People with a more joyous outlook on life are sick less often and live longer.  You may say, “Yeah Chris, easy for you to say, but you don’t know my circumstances.”  You’re right, I don’t, but I don’t think they’re going to change before your outlook does either.  Which comes first the outlook or the results?  I believe you attract what you hope and stay in faith for.

It is easy to be negative about the difficulties we experience in life or become a complainer when things are not exactly what we would like to see; it takes a much stronger individual to stay hopeful and joyful when things are not always going the way we would like. Philippians 4:8 NLT says “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

As for me, I know it may be raining and grey outside occasionally, but my response in the midst will reveal how brightly the joy of the Lord shines in my heart.  Go ahead and give it a try. For 30 days, when difficulties come or when events take place that are not what you care for, be positive and joyful anyway. See if your relationships, attitude, and over-all quality of life doesn’t improve.  I know one thing for sure, if your outlook continually displays the attitude of a Debbie or Donnie Downer, those around you are hoping you will give it a try.

 Be blessed and be grateful,

Pastor Chris


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A Holy Anointing

Sunday, May 19 (2013) was a special day at Central Christian Church as we honored and celebrated our men and women of the armed forces. It was a wonderful time of worship and remembrance as we gave allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ and thanked our troops for putting their lives on the line to safeguard the freedom that allows us to pursue a relationship with God, unhindered. I will never apologize for saying that our Church supports our troops even if we may have differences on the validity of our political leaders particular mission (but I digress).

That day was also, what is known in the Church as, “Pentecost Sunday.” It is the day we celebrate and remember the impartation of the Holy Spirit to the Lord’s disciples and the beginning of His Church; the Body of Christ. It was at this time that believers were filled with the Spirit of God and received the power and promised Comforter that Jesus spoke of before His earthly departure. In the book of Acts 2:38, the Apostle Peter tells the listener to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This is that same Holy Spirit that Jesus spoke of in the first chapter of Acts as the promise of the Father that brings power to witness to the world. Without this anointing of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we become spiritually impotent and anemic in our faith.

It is this very anointing of the Holy Spirit that turned a frightened fisherman, Peter, who was afraid to admit he knew Jesus, into one of God’s mightiest of apostles. It was this same anointing that took a persecutor of the Church, Paul, and made him into God’s apostle to the Gentiles. It was this Holy Anointing that healed the lame, opened the eyes of the blind, removed demons from those possessed and brought Lazarus back from the dead. It is this same anointing that draws us to God and gives us the power to do exploits in His Name. To say the least, we need the Anointing of the Holy Spirit now as much as we needed it then. Pray for God’s Holy Spirit to fill us to the full with His anointed presence.

Be blessed and be grateful,

Pastor Chris


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God’s Great Love

We have heard this over and over again. We sing songs about it, preach sermons about it and see it in the hearts and actions of others. What is this you ask? It is the love of God that surpasses all understanding. In the book of Ephesians 3:18-19, the Apostle Paul tells the Ephesians that his wish is that they might know the breadth, length, depth and height; the very knowledge of the love of Christ. Often, we give mental assent to this fact and would sing in the key of G, “yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so.” But there is a difference between giving mental assent to a particular truth in the Word and knowing that truth as a personal reality. When you begin to realize the breadth, length, depth and height of God’s love on a personal level, your relationship with Christ will grow exponentially.

Let’s try this exercise; look up John 3:16 and begin to read it. Only, instead of reading the words “world” or “whosoever,” put your name in their place. For me, it would sound something like this: For God so loved Chris, that he gave His only begotten Son on Chris’ behalf, that if Chris would just put his trust in Him, Chris will not perish but will have everlasting life.   It is one thing to see God’s love directed toward an enormous creation that spans approximately 6.5 billion people. But when we realize that Christ died for each of us as individuals, that when Christ took our place on the cross, He had you and me in mind; I know it is difficult to fathom but yes, God really loves me too! God saw you when He willingly allowed religious leaders to torment and crucify His only begotten son, Jesus. And Jesus willingly suffered and surrendered His life on your behalf and on behalf of those you hold dear.

Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus endured the cross and despised the shame for the joy that was set before Him. I believe that joy the scriptures speak of refers to the joy Jesus has knowing that we will be with Him for eternity which is a reflection of God’s love for both you and me; personally. Be blessed this week.

Be blessed,

Pastor Chris


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Keep On Praying On

I want to, once again, affirm those who meet to pray each week at CCC’s prayer group. I am glad to hear that it will be continued once the Bible study starts up again and I so look forward to participating in it. Thanks prayer warriors!! It is so vitally important. A.W. Tozer, the great Christian writer and holiness preacher, stated these words, “The church that is not jealously protected by mighty intercession and sacrificial labors will before long become the abode of every evil bird and the hiding place for unsuspected corruption. The creeping wilderness will soon take over that church that trusts in its own strength and forgets to watch and pray.” It is pretty clear that we must be vigilant in prayer.

In Ephesians 6:17 – 18a we read, “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit…” (KJV) In this passage, the Apostle Paul lists it among the vital armor that we as believers need to adorn ourselves with if we are to be effective agents of the Lord against the enemy of our souls, the Church and our community that needs an effective spiritual compass. Without prayer, we are fighting the good fight in our own power. Without the power of God behind our efforts, we are ineffective at best and in the God’s way and even against Him at worst.

James, the half-brother of Jesus and leader of the early Church in Jerusalem, said it like this in the Epistle bearing his name, “pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working]” (James 5:16b Amplified). Tremendous power is available for those who pray, trusting in God’s power rather than their own. When the Church refuses to pray, it is the same as telling the Lord we do not need Him; I think we all know we need God desperately, especially in this hour.

Be blessed,

Pastor Chris


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Young Leaders

This past Sunday, we took another trip to the movies as we discussed films made for children. One of my favorite movies involves a little clown fish by the name of Nemo as he fights to return to his fishy father and show everyone that little ones can do great big things. Through the actions of one little fish, a whole catch is able to escape the nets of commercial fisherman.

The scriptures also tell us the importance of young people in the Kingdom of God.   Matthew 19:16-17 says this, “One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” Jesus values the children and requires that we do the same.

In the book of 2 Chronicles, King Josiah took the throne of Israel at the age of 8 years and by his 16th birthday was purging the nation of idolatry and immorality. God did great things through this little person.

In September, we will once again begin our Wednesday evening children’s programs. We need to invest in our youth by continuing to see them as vital members of the Kingdom of God.  We invite the youth of our community to get involved in their Churches as they seek the Lord in whatever direction they have been called and are available to them in Church leadership because little people can do great things too!

Be blessed and be grateful.

Pastor Chris Hayden


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To Spank or Not to Spank

There’s a controversial issue that has reared its head in recent years that has become quite a thorn for some in the Body of Christ; that is, should we spank our children when they misbehave? For some, beliefs on corporal punishment fly right in the face of a modern study recently published in the May 2010 issue of the journal of Pediatrics and referred to in an article in our Indianapolis Star on April 18th.  I looked over the article and then picked up the Bible for my daily reading and in Proverbs 13:24, here’s what I found; “Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children.  Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.”

New research from Tulane University, that was referred to in the article I read says spanking children seems to lead to more aggressive behavior when they’re older.  Of course, I don’t know about you but the fear of getting spanked often led me to put controls on my level of disobedience in regards to physical aggression (I saw no value in risking getting spanked due to hitting someone else).  These examples and information from both sides of the issue add to the debate on “do we spank or not spank.”

As a Christian, what do you do?  Do you go with studies conducted by universities, your own personal experiences or do you go with the Bible?  Does the Bible mean to spank your child every time they misbehave?  Or, does it leave room open for other forms of discipline and simply refers to spanking as one that’s effective?  What do you think?

I’m curious as to how you come down on this issue.  Do you spank your children?  At what age did you start or stop?  Have you tried more than one form of discipline and found one more effective than another?  Have you tried other forms of discipline, but found spanking as the most or least effective?  Being a good parent is not always easy and disciplining our children can be a very difficult thing.  While physical or mental abuse is never an option, Scripture tends to let us know that corporal punishment, when done correctly, can be effective in turning young minds from sinful paths.  Having said that, we need to always remember to mix discipline with love and disciplinary action with the welfare of the child and not as a means of venting our own anger.  What do you think?

Be blessed and be grateful,

Pastor Chris


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Crazy Days

I don’t have to tell you that we are experiencing some crazy times in more ways than one. With the spike in gas prices, the entrance of Donald Trump into the political foray, the exit of Donald Trump from the political foray, Washington D.C. scandals galore and the ever-present upheaval in the Middle East, it is often difficult to determine where we are headed. However, eccentricities are nothing new to the history of our species. Jesus’ day was full of oddities including the rise of decadent Roman emperors (some far worse than our political leaders), immoral behavior of societal elites and the plethora of deities that inundated the religious landscape. Social injustice was the norm for most and overwhelming poverty permeated every state in the empire.

Trouble is a given in our world and it is doubtful that it will be eliminated anytime soon. But the Lord forewarned us so that we would not be taken by surprise. In John 16:33 we read, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (NIV). Jesus tells us that we need to take heart and be encouraged for He is still on the throne and in Him we can experience peace in the midst of the storm. We should be ever vigilant knowing that we are seeing the signs and times reflecting the turmoil Jesus spoke of almost two thousand years ago.   However, we also need to be at peace knowing we have a Savior who has defeated hell and the grave and is continually at work in our lives as we allow him access.

In reference to their suffering, the Apostle Paul sets out to encourage fellow believers at Rome with these words, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us (Romans 8:35, 37).   Paul continues to embolden the reader, “…neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39). Be heartened knowing that while we may be living in crazy days, Christ is with us every step of the way.

Be blessed and be grateful.

Pastor Chris Hayden

 


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Want Some Whine with that Cheese?

I saw an excerpt the other day from Stephen Covey about the 90/10 principle.  It goes something like this: 10% of life is made up of what happens to you, while 90% is decided by how you react to it.  What does this mean?  It means that we have control over 90% of what is currently going on in our lives by our attitudes and decisions from those attitudes.  Here’s an illustration:  You cannot control a red light (10%), but you can control how you react to it (90%).  Just carry that example throughout everything that happens during your day.

What would happen if we did this in regard to how we treat people?  Someone cuts in front of us in traffic (10%) and it ruins our day (90%).  Think what would happen if instead of getting upset, we said, “That person must be in a real hurry, so I am going to pray they don’t get in an accident.” Someone does something we do not like, but instead of getting angry or rude with that person, we are kind and treat them in a manner we would want to be treated thereby making a friend rather than an unwanted stranger.

Philippians 4:6-8 is a passage that encourages and exhorts believers to have a positive outlook on life. Do not be burdened with unnecessary cares, be thankful for the good things, and think on the good report, not the negative one; if there is any virtue or any praise, think on these things. If you need more reasons to not be negative, consider that studies have shown that positive people live longer (on average 10 more years).  Here’s another, positive work environments outperform negative work environments. Positive people attract others to themselves while negative individuals repel them.

Only 2 of the 2 to 4 million Israelites entered into the promise land; those two were Joshua and Caleb.   They saw the difficulties of the land as no big thing for God, while everyone else consistently indulged in a whole lot of WHINE with their cheese. How about you?  Remember, being positive is a choice.  (Tip: negative people don’t think it’s a choice, they think it’s because of their circumstances or someone doing something they don’t like).

Be blessed and be grateful,

Pastor Chris


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