Anticipate Great Things

One thing you may not know about me is that I am a world news junkie! If you ask my wife, Heidi, she will roll her eyes saying, “Oh really, you think!” I watch and listen to several news outlets to keep up on world events. As I do so, I have to keep reminding myself that God is sovereign in the midst of this mess. It is easy to become pessimistic when it seems like so many things are going wrong and the world continues to seemingly spin out of control. The Apostle Paul is a prime example for us to follow of one person who received bad news and experienced difficult circumstances, yet remained positive that great things would happen regardless. Paul regularly experienced the abuses of an unrighteous, decadent Roman Empire. He saw paganism and idolatry running rampant within the entire known world as well as his own nation of Israel. He endured personal attacks from other “believers”, imprisoned by multiple civic authorities and stoned to the point of death by his own people. What a life!
In the midst of persecution, Paul declares while in chains in Philippians 1:12-14 & 20 NLT, “And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. For everyone here, including the whole palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. And because of my imprisonment, most of the believers here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s message without fear…For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die.” He always saw the great things God was doing and anticipated great things to happen regardless of what the devil brought his way. Whether he lived or died, God will be glorified and great things were on their way.
You may feel that aspects of your life are being riddled with trials and struggles that are bringing you down. News that you receive from some may not be pleasing to your ears. But God is still in control and he will not allow you to go through anything you cannot handle without providing a way of escape (1 Cor 10:13). And always be reminded, as the Apostle indicated, whether we live or die, have great wealth or live in modesty, like what we currently view or are dismayed by the news, God will be glorified in us and great things are on the horizon for those who keep their eyes on Jesus.

Pastor Hayden

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The Gift of Expectancy

As we enter the advent season, we can anticipate a new round of seasonal wonder and holiday expectancy. I still have an overwhelming wonder about how the holidays are going to work out with all the duties needing completed and I fully expect the intense stress and anxiety of buying gifts and food needed for a successful time with the family. Sometimes we can lose the real meaning and purpose of our Holy Days and cynicism can take away from the true magic of the season. But it does not have to be that way.

We can and should have an expectancy of experiencing Christ in a new and fresh way this Advent season. The word “advent” means arrival. When we celebrate Advent, we need to be aware of three aspects of His “arrival.” The first is the arrival of the Babe in a manger some 2000 plus years ago. This is the arrival of our Lord and Savior who became the gift of salvation to all who will believe. Luke 2:10 -11 confirms this, “10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”
But this arrival is not just something that happened in the past, it is also a promise for the future. The second aspect of His arrival leads us to Advent birthing in us the anticipation of His return after the last trumpet. Jesus reminded His disciples before the crucifixion that He was going away, but would come back again to receive them to Himself (John 14:3,28).
Finally, the Advent season needs to bring us to remembrance of Jesus’ arrival and presence now. We need to have a holy expectancy of His arrival as we look to Him for guidance and as the God we worship, waiting in wonder as to how Jesus will reveal Himself to us today. If we made Christ our Lord, we can expect and anticipate Him moving in our everyday lives. The great hymn “In The Garden” states, “…And He walks with me and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own…” Take time to walk with and talk with the Lord each day, expecting Him to manifest His wonders to you…today!

Be grateful and be blessed even more.

Pastor Chris Hayden
Central Christian Church

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