The blog contains daily devotions and notes from the weekly messages.  We encourage you to review the notes during the sermon or through the week!  Most of the posts will have an audio and/or video link at the end of the notes.  From time to time the pastors will share other insights and devotions here.

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Seize the Moment – Day 115

Happy Endings!

Acts 7

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Friday, July 10.

 

Earlier this week, my 6-year-old was upset because there was someone being mean to the main character in her animated show. Everything was not “sunshine and cotton candy” and Willow was not happy. She, like most of us, wants only happy endings.

 

Stephen’s life and death teach us about happy endings. Acts 7:59-60 records his death, “And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”

 

Stephen’s death confronts us with this reality: faithfulness to God doesn’t obligate God to give us a life of “sunshine and cotton candy”. There will be hardship and suffering, pain and death. Jesus told us this ahead of time.

 

We need to change our minds about how we define the “happy life” and what having a “happy ending” looks or feels like. Here’s the point: as long as your happiness is at the center of your decision making, you can’t have a happy ending.

 

Jesus promises to give you the fullness of His joy in this life and the hope of His eternal relationship with God. For this, He invites us to be faithful to Him.

 

Stephen lived and died exactly as he would have wanted because he gave his life to Jesus before anyone took his life. Acts 7 is all about Stephen’s faithfulness—Stephen did get his happy ending!

 

Until we believe this, we are left living on the treadmill of “sunshine and cotton candy” pursuits.

 

Seize the moment and join with Stephen in giving your life to Jesus. Live a faithful life!

 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.

 
 
 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well.  Click HERE to visit the page. 
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.
 
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 114

We each must do our part!

Acts 6

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Thursday, July 9.

 

Are you ready and willing to do your part in the church body?

 

Acts 6:4 is actually a very important verse to how I view my life and ministry. It frames my understanding of what God has called me to do at FBC.

 

Listen to Acts 6:2-4, “And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

 

When there were needs not being met in the congregation (Acts 6:1), the people went to the leaders and they in turn didn’t drop their work to fix it; rather, they empowered members of the church to fix the situation. From Moses to today, God’s people have learned that delegation is God’s way because one person is not capable of doing it all without being crushed by the expectations, demands, and responsibilities of so many people.

 

The Bible teaches that every individual member of the Body of Christ is equally called to do that which you have been gifted and graced to do (1 Corinthians 12). The leaders are commanded to empower and equip you in that work (Ephesians 4:11-16). We are better together! This is how the church grows in depth and breadth—each individual member gets healthy and does his or her part.

 

Are you ready and willing to do your part in the church body?

 

Seize the moment and do your part as a member of the body of Christ. We are limping around without your active participation. Please start with prayer and let God show you your next step.

 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.

 
 
 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well.  Click HERE to visit the page. 
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.
 
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 113

God is at Work!

Acts 5

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Wednesday, July 8.

 

Is God at work in today’s world?

 

Acts 5 is filled with God’s direct activity in the church and through the Apostles. Acts 5:1-11 is the story of the “active wrath of God” against Ananias and Sapphira for lying to the Apostles about a financial gift they were giving to the early church.

 

The result of such an active and direct work of God was tangible in the church. As Acts 5:11 states, “Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.”

 

The church needs a healthy dose of the fear of the Lord today! To wake those who sleep and to focus those who are distracted.

 

Is God at work in the world? Absolutely!

 

But today, we experience God through the “passive wrath of God” (as explained clearly in Romans 1:18-32), where God gives people over to the consequences of their actions. Here are some examples from my experiences in today’s church world: (1) hearts harden (meaning people becomes even more stubbornly stuck in their ways of life and thinking) when they will not repent of their sin; (2) relationships are strained or broken causing strife in families and in churches when someone lies, steals, or cheats; and (3) the light of Christ’s glory is dimmed through people’s lives when hypocrisy (a double mindedness and divided loyalty of a person’s life) is allowed to exist and is fed by their daily life choices.

 

God is merciful in His justice, slow in His anger, and patient in His judgments. Do not misinterpret God’s grace for apathy (God is good and He cares!), withdrawal (God is with us and He knows!), or impotence (God is all powerful and He is at work!).

 

Is God at work in the world today? YES! Through His people…

 

Seize the moment and be the hands and feet of God’s work in today’s world.

 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.

 

 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well.  Click HERE to visit the page. 
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.

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Seize the Moment – Day 112

The Power of Annoyance!

Acts 4

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Tuesday, July 7—our church’s 110-year anniversary of gospel ministry. Congratulations!

 

There is a lot to be annoyed about in the world, in our nations, and in our own lives… you probably can’t watch the news or go on social media without being annoyed right now.

 

Did you know there is a lot of pent-up power in the emotion of annoyance?

 

Peter and John were arrested for preaching in the temple after they healed the man lame from birth because the religious leaders felt “greatly annoyed” by their teaching and proclamation about Jesus’ resurrection from the dead (Acts 4:1-2).

 

Interestingly, the Greek word, translated “greatly annoyed” is used only twice in the NT. The second occasion is in Acts 16:18 when Paul cast out the spirit of divination from the slave girl being used by her masters to make money fortune telling. Paul was “greatly annoyed” at the unclean spirit’s tormenting of this girl so he cast the demon out and that got him and Silas beaten and imprisoned by the Romans in Philippi.

 

The religious leaders were moved to take action against Paul’s Holy Spirit activity to heal the man in Acts 4 with the same emotion of annoyance that moved Paul to take action against a demonic spirit’s activity in Acts 16. Both times, the followers of Jesus end up in prison. Both times, God used their imprisonment to expand the work of the gospel and save souls!

 

The emotion of annoyance is in both stories—it is a human reality that fuels action. The question is: what kind of words and actions does “annoyance” empower in you?

 

Seize the moment and align annoyance with faith. Love what God loves. Hate what God hates. Pray before you speak, before you act, before you post something on social media, before you hit send on that text or email.

 
 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.

 

 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well.  Click HERE to visit the page. 
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 111

Along Your Daily Paths!

Acts 3

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Monday, July 6.

 

Do you believe there is work for you to do in the well-tread paths of your daily routines & lives?

 

Acts 3 (and into chapter 4) tells the story of the healing of a man who has been begging at the Temple gates for a very long time. Acts 3:1-2 sets up the story in a very peculiar way, “Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple.”

 

This story is peculiar to me because it sounds so ordinary, so every day and that’s the point.

 

This is a well-traveled path for the disciples; they were entering the temple as they had with Jesus many times before. Jesus has walked by this man probably multiple times without healing him. This man is over 40 years old (see reference to him in Acts 4:22) and he had been brought to this gate of the temple daily for years. Even in the places where Jesus’ physical footprints were left there was still a work for the church to do.

 

This is peculiar because for some reason this man has been overlooked for years until the day Peter’s and John’s eyes were opened to his situation (Acts 3:4).

 

Are the eyes of your heart, as well as your physical ears and eyes, open so that God can use you in a similar way in your everyday life? Look with fresh eyes for those people in your daily life who need a touch from Jesus. Who or what have you been blind to until now?

 

Seize the moment and ask God to open your eyes to opportunities in your everyday life, along your well-tread paths.

 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.

 

 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well.  Click HERE to visit the page. 
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.
 

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Responding to the Promises of Jesus (Week 5)

2020: A Year of Celebration!

The Promises of Victory!

Key Verses:  2 Peter 1:1-11 & Romans 8:26-39

 

Happy 4th of July Weekend!

 

How are we invited to respond to Jesus’ promises of victory?

 

I ended last week with one of Jesus’ most famous promises from John 16:33,
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

 

That sounds a whole lot like my understanding of “victory”! Jesus has overcome the world. Peace!

 

So, let me get this straight: We will have tribulation (pressures, stress, suffering, hardship, pain, disappointment) living in this fallen world, but we can take courage because Jesus has won the victory—He has overcome! Therefore, we can be at peace, even when we are going through hardships…

 

Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:7-11,

 

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

 

DON’T BE SURPRISED BY TROUBLE! Jesus doesn’t want you to be surprised that there is trouble in this world and being a Christian doesn’t change that reality. There are only three types of people in the word:

  1. Those in trouble.
  2. Those just coming out of trouble.
  3. Those about to go into trouble.

 

It’s important to know this or you can lose the battle by giving yourself over to your troubles through disbelief and doubts, discouragement and disappointment, or despair and depression. When we give ourselves over to our troubles, then defeat is knocking on the door of our hearts!

 

We need to remember Jesus’ promise so that we don’t let one of these diabolical D’s lodge in our hearts!

 

Jesus told us this ahead of time so we wouldn’t be surprised. Jesus say in John 14:29-30, “Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe. I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me”

 

Jesus was not surprised by the trouble of His life, nor should we! In fact, it was in how Jesus faced His troubles that we can find the promise of victory coming alive in your life.

 

That leads us to the second point I want to highlight: TAKE COURAGE!

 

Courage is not an absence of fear in a person’s life; it is the willingness to act in the face of it! We can take courage as we face tribulations and trials of all sorts because we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus!

 

Listen to Paul teach us this in Romans 8:26-39:

 

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 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; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

We can take courage because the God of victory is with us and nothing can separate us from His power in our lives: GOD IS WITH YOU!

 

This truth is a game changer! It’s like me getting in a fist fight with Mike Tyson. There is no fight; I’m just knocked out. With God on your side, there is nothing that can prevail against you.

 

In John 14:27, Jesus promises,
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

 

The peace Jesus is promising is His presence! God told Moses in Exodus 33:14,
“My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.”
 
This is the promise of shalom—the Hebrew word that is the promise of God’s fullness dwelling in us. God’s presence is our peace!

 

This is what Paul was talking about in Philippians 4:6-9:

 

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

 

Living a victorious life is about living in agreement with the Victory of Jesus Christ! It does not mean that we will get all that we want, nor does it mean life will be easy. It means we will have God with us—PEACE! And  His peace changes everything—us, how we handle our situations, and what we give to other people.

 

That leads us to our application: PASS THE PEACE! Paul says we are to put these things into practice. Be a witness of God’s victory by how you handle your situations—what are you passing on to others?

 

In 2 Peter 1:1-11, Peter teaches us that we can never forget everything Jesus has done for us and what He has given us through faith:

 

Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.

 

Peter says the same things as Paul: practice these things! A victorious life is a life that passes the peace of God to other people.

 

A quick review:

  • Don’t be surprised by trouble.
  • Take courage.
  • God is with you.
  • Pass the Peace!

 

The problem with suffering and going through times of pain is that times and situations like that cause us to get so caught up in our own troubles, in the moment, that we quickly forget to do what we know to do and we end up reacting. That is why I talk to you about these things ahead of time. So that you can think about it and develop a strategy so that you don’t get surprised by trouble and let the situation grip your heart. You can take courage, remember that God is with you and put the promise of God in practice.

 

This applies to every situation and circumstance. Practice these things…

 

Start by memorizing a promise of God. Be mindful of the promise as you go out to the store or about your day. Be aware of how it impacts your day.

 
 
 

You can listen to the message here.

 

This Message Video will be ready by next week. You can watch the entire service HERE.

 
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 109

Our Heritage and Legacy!

Acts 2

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Saturday, July 4. It’s our nation’s birthday, so enjoy your 4th of July and be safe out there.

 

The Fourth of July holiday reminds us of our inheritance as a nation! But it is not only our heritage, it is our legacy.

 

This Acts 2 story is our inheritance as the Church of Jesus Christ! This is not only our heritage, but it, too, is our legacy. The legacy we are called to leave our communities is the legacy of God’s power, presence, and love being in their midst—God is with us! Immanuel!

 

Listen to our heritage and legacy from the founding documents; from Acts 2:42-47,

 

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

 

Are you His church? Never forget that the church is more than a building and more than a community organization. If we have learned anything during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is that the building is not the church; the people are the church. You can’t close the church because the church are people that show the world that God is with us: His love, His presence, and His power—Immanuel!

 

It is to be visible…

 

Seize the moment and be the Church of Jesus Christ.

 

Have a wonderful 4th of July weekend. God is with you!

 

 

 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well.  Click HERE to visit the page. 
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.
 
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 108

The Acts of the Holy Spirit

Acts 1

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Friday, July 3. Please join me in wishing a happy birthday to Sarah Denney and James Thomas.

 

What does a “successful” church look like?

 

For most Christians, the answer to that question means you have to turn to the 5th book of the  New Testament: Acts of the Apostles. Today, we start our 5 weeks of devotions in Acts.

 

Acts 1:14 records of the New Testament Church, “All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.”

 

Here is an Acts mark of church success: the members are in “one accord,” which means, according to a dictionary, that they were brought into agreement with one another. Something or someONE acted upon the members to bring them into agreement with one another!  

 

Jesus prayed for us to have this unity, this “one accord” in John 17. Check out His prayer for us.

 

Did you know that no church can be of “one accord” without someONE acting upon us to bring us there?

 

And that ONE is not me, a pastor, or any man or group of people! In fact, we get in the way of being in “one accord” most of the time, demanding that our ways as His ways and our thoughts as His thoughts. There is no greater and more destructive pride than spiritual pride.

 

For any church to have any chance of being successful, I think we should think differently about the book we call, the “Acts of the Apostles.” It should be called the “Acts of the Holy Spirit”. If we are going to be of “one accord” and fulfill Jesus’ prayer of John 17 in our church, it will only be by the work of the Holy Spirit.

 

Seize the moment and be faithful to God. Get in one accord with God, then let Him get us in one accord with one another.

 

Have a great day!

 

 

 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well.  Click HERE to visit the page. 
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.
 
 

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July 3, 2020: Still in Stage 4: Guarded

COVID-19 Updates

 
In partnership with our Indiana state and health leadership who made the decision yesterday afternoon, July 1, to not move Indiana out of Stage 4, as planned for July 3, but instead created a modified stage 4.5 for very select events, FBC will remain in Stage 4 until July 17 or until such time as our health care and community partners determine it is safe for us to let down our guard. Please remember that is what our Stage 4 primarily is at FBC: a guarded status. This pause in taking the next full step, as I am sure you are all very aware of, comes from an increased concern by our health organizations over the potential of a second spike of COVID-19.
 
We do not take lightly our church’s responsibility as a community leader, so we remain patient, prudent, and prayerful partners. Please remember, we are more open than closed, with church ministries throughout the week (in person and online) and, of course, Sunday service at 10:30 am. The only exceptions, still, are Sunday School classes, children & youth in-person activities, and big food-related activities. Please continue to prayerfully make wise decisions for yourself and your family.
 
 

You can watch Governor Holcomb’s announcement here:

Video from Governor Holcomb July 1, 2020

 

You can see the Governor’s modified plan here: Back on Track Indiana Stage 4.5

 
 
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 106

You Follow Me!

John 21

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Wednesday, July 1. If today is your birthday, happy birthday! Happy July everyone! We are halfway through 2020, let’s pray that the second half of the year is better than the first.

 

Are you content to do what God asks of you or are you distracted by what everyone else is doing around you?

 

I am convinced that people are miserable because they are playing the comparison game, especially right now. Mark Twain famously said, “Comparison is the root of all discontentment.” Contrasted with the Apostle Paul, who triumphantly said, “I have learned to be content in every circumstance” (Philippians 4:11).

 

Which one are you? It’s a choice! It’s a learned behavior…

 

If you are struggling with this, then you are in good company. So did Peter! Listen to John 21:19-22 and how it reveals both Peter’s struggle and Jesus’ focus. Jesus had just restored Peter back to his place as a leader in the church and had given him grace upon grace for Peter’s three denials.

 

[Jesus] said to him, “Follow Me!” Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them… So Peter seeing him said to Jesus, “Lord, and what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!

 

We get distracted by comparison, in and out of the church. Whereas, Jesus wants to keep us focused on Him. How does Jesus want to keep us focused? It is not with busy work or job descriptions or heavy burdens, but through a personal relationship with Him. Never forget that “follow Me” is a grace-based invitation to personal relationship; it is Jesus’ calling you to get back in His easy yoke and learn from Him.

 

Seize the moment and Follow Jesus! Learn contentment by taking your eyes off everyone else and focus on Jesus!

 

If you need any practical assistance or would like to receive a personal phone call, please dial the phone number below and someone from FBC will call you soon.

 

 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well.  Click HERE to visit the page. 
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.
 

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