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 196

For People with People-Pleasing Tendencies!

1 Corinthians 10

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Tuesday, September 29.

 

Do you struggle with people pleasing tendencies?

 

Paul declares of his life and prescribes for fellow followers of Jesus in 1 Corinthians 10:21-33, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.”

 

At first glance, this teaching seems to be Paul setting an example of “people pleasing” that appears to be addicting on the best of days and maddening on the worst of days.

 

But, it’s not! Paul’s emphasis in this verse is not on “please everyone” as I have placed it for years, the emphasis is on “do all to the glory of God!” Just like in pronouncing the syllables in a word, it is important where we put the emphasis!

 

Yes, we are to be pleasing to people, but it is not our life ambition to seek their pleasure. As followers of Jesus, we don’t work for people even when people are our work; we work for God and His purposes for our life and this world! Jesus was not people focused in His earthly ministry. Rather, all that He did was according to God’s will and for God’s purposes; Jesus was God-focused even when people were in right in front of Him. Jesus was obedient and true to God which allowed Him to speak hard truths, love in the most honest of ways, and set people free from the deepest and most seductive sins within their hearts and souls.

 

Seize the moment and focus on glorifying God, not on the pleasing of people… If you mis prioritize these, there is a chance your life will be taken off course…

 
 
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 195

The Discipline of an Athlete!

1 Corinthians 9

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Monday, September 28.

 

Christians are called to live with the discipline of an athlete.

 

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”

 

At West Point, I was a Division 1 All-American and First-Team Academic All-American in Track & Field, and then as a post-graduate I was a national team member and Olympic Team Trials finalist, I have experienced the life of an athlete at the highest amateur level.

 

It is not the exciting life that one would think, but a life of daily disciplines and true sacrifice. Did I love it? Honestly…Yes & No! Definitely not all the time! I had to train my whole life and exercise self-control in all things to accomplish the one goal of attaining the prize. Every part of my life was regulated by the goal—years of my life were submitted to a higher goal—including sleep habits, eating, travel, friendships, recreation, calendar planning, time usage, and a myriad of other personal details.

 

The same is true in the Christian life! And more so, because in the Christian life we are submitting our lives to an even greater calling than a personal goal. 

 

In the Christian life, we are free in Christ, but we must in all things bring that freedom into submission so that our lives proclaim the good news that set us free in the first place!

 

Seize the moment and live in such a way that demonstrates the love that saves and the grace that transformed you from death to 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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Responding to the Presence of Jesus – Week 3

“The Rule of God’s Peace!”

Colossians 3:15-17 & Philippians 4:7-9 (NASB)

 

I have two guiding images for today’s sermon. Let’s start with the first: What is the job of an umpire in any sport? To make sure the game is being played by the rules… The umpires must make hard calls, some popular and some not so popular. But what would baseball be without an umpire calling a strike or ball, telling you that you are safe or out. What would football be without an umpire throwing up a yellow flag or putting his arms up in the air.

 

Umpires are important for any game to be worth playing… You ever watch a bunch of kids play pick up sports without an umpire. It gets dirty quick and rarely ends well… I hate to say it, but we all know that high school, college, amateur or professional athletes would try to get away with it if they knew they could. Why? Because we all fall short of the glory of God!

 

The umpire keeps the players playing by the rules of the game. The very presence of the umpire brings a civilizing effect to people who are trying to knock one another’s heads off on the football field.

 

I believe there is even greater freedom on the field for the players to play the game because of the presence of the umpires. Their presence alone is a game changer! Without the umpires, the players could not be free to become their very best…

 

In the same way, we need an umpire in our everyday lives; One who will bring freedom to our lives so that we can become our very best to the glory of God. Paul knew this and was very clear on what should rule our lives.

 

Listen to Colossians 3:15-17,
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”

 

The umpire of our lives is to be the peace of Christ, which is to rule our hearts—the center of who we are and why we do what we do.

 

Colossians 3:15-17 is a summary statement of Paul’s “rule of life.” If that is new to you, then please know that it is not new to Christianity. It’s an ancient concept that brings order to our lives. Paul said that for the peace of Christ to rule in our hearts we must remember that we are called to be a thankful, worshiping, unified people. How? By setting up rhythms of life that cause the word of Christ to richly dwell in us and to let the teaching of God’s wisdom and the thankful singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs admonish (umpire) our lives together. We are to speak to one another, work with one another, and serve one another as if we were doing it for Jesus Himself to the glory of God.

 

This is Paul’s practical teaching on how the peace of Christ umpires our lives.

 

Let’s transition to the second image: Just like an umpire rules the game, so a guard protects a person or place of value. Paul says that we are to let peace umpire our lives and now listen to what else God’s peace can do.

 

Listen to Philippians 4:7-9,
“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.”

 

Again, Paul is teaching us how to follow Jesus—to become like Him from the inside out. We are to focus our minds on the right things—dwell on these things! We are to imitate Christ and to live our lives according to His word and example and here it is, then God will manifest His presence with you.

 

Please remember there is a distinction between the omnipresence of God and the manifest presence of God.

 

What does an umpire and guard have in common? They are actual people—present to the situation. An umpire is the manifestation of the “spirit of fair play” because He stands behind the catcher or is out on the playing field. In the same way, a guard must be in the location of the person or place the guard is protecting. Just their presence takes intangible concepts (i.e. fair play and safety) and makes them concrete.  

 

What does that tell us about Paul’s promises for the peace of Jesus Christ to rule and guard our hearts and minds?

 

The promises of the peace of God are the promises of the presence of God because God is the peace! The peace of God is not a cease fire from hostilities, but the very presence of God in our life’s battles. God’s peace is not a removal of pain and suffering, poverty and injustice, disease and death, but the reality that God will be with us in the midst of these very real issues of life and death.

 

Jesus said in John 14:27,
“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.”

 

Jesus promises to be with us, like an umpire on the fields of friendly strife or a guard in a war zone. The more you respond to His presence as umpire of your heart and as guard to your heart and mind, the more you will experience His peace. This is a promise that comes with a praxis, like every other promise in the Bible.

 

Paul has very practical things in mind with both of these verses and the church has understood this for a very long time. Enter the discipleship tool called a “rule of life.”

 

Developing a rule of life is first of all a biblical endeavor. “Paul’s overarching rule of life is that every word and every deed be done in the name of Jesus (see Col 3:17). Following such a rule affects our outlook on life. We begin to wake each morning with the sense that we are serving Jesus himself.”[1]

 

Pastor Scazzero encourages the use of a “rule of life” in a recent Barna Group report on pastoral well-being, as well as in both of his influential works, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality and Emotionally Healthy Leader:

 

Don’t be intimidated by the word rule. The word comes from the Greek for “trellis.” A trellis is a tool that enables a grapevine to get off the ground and grow upward, becoming more fruitful and productive. In the same way, a Rule of Life is a trellis that helps us abide in Christ and become more fruitful spiritually. A Rule of Life, very simply, is an intentional, conscious plan to keep God at the center of everything we do. It provides guidelines to help us continually remember God as the Source of our lives. … The starting point and foundation of any Rule is a desire to be with God and to love him.[2]

 

Ruth Haley Barton explains a “rule of life” in her excellent work Sacred Rhythms:

 

In Christian tradition, this structured arrangement of spiritual practices is referred to as a “rule of life.” A rule of life is a way of ordering our life around the values, practices, and relationships that keep us open and available to God for the work of spiritual transformation that only God can bring about. Simply put, a rule of life provides structure and space for growing.[3]

 

Even more specifically, Marjorie Thompson explains the details of a rule of life in Soul Feast:

 

A rule of life is a pattern of spiritual disciplines that provides structure and direction for growth in holiness. When we speak of patterns in our life, we mean attitudes, behaviors, or elements that are routine, repeated, regular. Indeed, the Latin term for “rule” is regula, from which our words regular and regulate derive. A rule of life, like a trellis, curbs our tendency to wander and supports our frail efforts to grow spiritually. … We choose particular disciplines to help us reframe the whole of our lives around God, the true center of all… spiritual disciplines are simply ways we position ourselves to see divine beauty and grace more clearly, so we might respond fullheartedly [sic].[4] 

 

When we pray for peace we are actually praying for God to be in our midst and His will be done. When God’s peace comes, He rules, He guards, He structures our lives for His will to be done in us and through us.

 

So often, the answer to our prayers is found in our response to the presence of God! How will you order your daily life to respond to the presence of God?

 

A rule of life umpires our life decisions… by focusing us on the presence of God and His will for our lives through intentional times of Bible study, prayer, personal and corporate worship, and church gatherings!

 

A rule of life protects that which is most central and sensitive of who we are… our hearts! It allows us to remain focused on our life purpose and guiding principles as we work unto the Lord and not for man.

 

One ancient wrote, “Let your truth teach me. Let it guard me, and keep me safe to the end. Let it free me from all evil affection and badly ordered love, and I shall walk with You in great freedom of heart.”[5]

This is the work of a practical rule of  life: it is a conduit of God’s grace for growth in Christlikeness… for our holiness… for us to experience the promised peace of Jesus Christ in very real and practical ways.

 

Do you want the peace of Christ to rule your heart? Or do you want to continue to feed the fear and anxiety our culture seeks to pour into you throughout the day? Then pay attention to your rule of life. We all have one! The question is whether your’s is “the rule of God’s peace” as commanded by Scripture.

 

Build your life on the promises of God… don’t just claim them, live them, let them be the trellis of your life, the umpire of your heart, the guard of your well-being.

 

Remember, Jesus is not promising you an absence of tribulation, but an abundance of His presence—peace in the midst of the tribulations!

 

As Jesus said in 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.”
 
 

You can listen to the message here.

 

You can watch the message HERE.

 
 

FOOTNOTES:

 

[1] NIV Stewardship Study Bible, 1566.

 

[2] Peter Scazzero, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, 190.

[3] Ruth Haley Barton, Sacred Rhythms, 14.

 

[4] Marjorie J. Thompson, Soul Harvest, 150.

 

[5] Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, 101.

 
 
 

 

 
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 193

The Solid Rock

 
Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”

 

Even though Edward Mote’s parents were hostile towards religion, he became a Christian through the influence of the cabinetmaker for whom he was apprenticing. He grew up to become a skilled cabinetmaker himself with a successful business.
 
No matter how busy he was, he always found time to worship God. One day in 1863, he felt inspired on his way to work to write down a verse that God had laid on his heart. Before the day was finished, he had completed four verses, starting with the words, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” His friend, William Bradbury, helped him put music to this beloved hymn.

 

Won’t you seize the moment today, and declare with a loud voice the words of this hymn so that all will know on whom you put your hope and trust?

 
 
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 Ken 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.
 
 
Text for hymn devotional:
If you would like to read the words to this hymn or hear the melody played, click on this link:
(You can slow down the tempo by clicking on the settings symbol.  I suggest a tempo or 80)

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Seize the Moment – Day 192

Walk Simply in Faith!

1 Corinthians 8

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Friday, September 25.

 

A quick leadership update: our local and state health partners have moved Indiana into Stage 5, starting tomorrow. The new executive order is called, “Stage Five – The New Normal During A Global Pandemic.” The “new normal” requires social distancing and the use of face masks when you are not socially distanced. I pray for the mental and emotional well-being of people as they read the executive order. May the peace of Christ rule your heart and mind.

 

For the last seven months, we have worked very hard to innovate ways to never stop our ministries at FBC. With that said, we know that Stage 5 is what some people have been waiting for to return to the public gathering of worship on Sunday morning. It’s time to come back.

 

The doors open at 9 for children, youth, and adult classes. The worship service begins at 10:30 and I am planning a message called, “The Rule of God’s Peace!” from Colossians 3:15-16. It will be a very accurate and timely message. I hope to see you there.

 

I join with the Apostle Paul in exhorting the mature Christians in our fellowship to not let their great learning to cause the simple and weak in our fellowship to stumble in what they hear and see from us—whether in person or on social media. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 8:11-12, “And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.”

 

Seize the moment and walk simply and intentionally in your faith. Your life is for the sake of others and not for yourself! Never forget who you represent—Jesus Christ, crucified, risen, and coming again. Focus your eyes on Him!

 

 
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 191

Experiencing Contentment!

1 Corinthians 7

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Thursday, September 24.

 

Today is my 46th birthday and I want to thank my mom for doing all the hard work! Today, I am thanking God for the birthday gift of contentment. Contentment is very different from complacency and they should not be confused with one another.

 

Contentment is defined as “the state of being mentally or emotionally satisfied” (dictionary). 

 

We are called to this mental and emotional state by Jesus Christ in Matthew 6:25-33 and the Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:12-13, as well as the author of Hebrews in Hebrews 13:5-6.

 

Contentment is more than an emotional or mental state; it is a way of life! First Corinthians 7 can be summarized with a faithful admonition from Paul to each of us in 1 Corinthians 7:17, “Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.”

 

A “rule” speaks to a way of life. Paul calls Christians to a deep abiding trust in the Lord. We are to find our identity and our provision in Him and not in what we do. Whereas, humanism calls our society to a trust in ourselves and our identity in our ability to provide for our own wants and needs. The prevailing humanistic philosophy of our culture is summarized by the saying, “He who dies with the most toys wins!” This saying gives to the person who adheres to it an inability to feel secure in who they are or content in what they have.

 

Seize the moment and live faithfully to Jesus and the relationships He has entrusted to you. Find your identity in Him and your daily bread as from Him. Being faithful to Jesus in your daily life is the key to experiencing contentment and a simple summary of 1 Corinthians 7. Contentment is experienced when you keep your eyes on Him.

 
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.
 

Have a wonderful 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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Seize the Moment – Day 190

Freedom From Binging!

1 Corinthians 6

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Wednesday, September 23.
 

Have you spent any quiet time with God lately?

 

To binge is “to indulge in an activity… to excess” (dictionary). This term is popularly used for how many people do media consumption—watching countless hours of shows at a time to complete whole seasons in short order; we call this “binge-watching.”

 

I had someone say to me recently that there is less than 5 seconds between one show ending and the next beginning. Why? Because they know that the average attention span of their younger viewing audience is that of a goldfish, which is about 9 seconds. They want to grab you before something else gets your attention.

 

Paul addresses the entire church in a multi-chapter dialogue about church discipline and the damaging effects of sin, but the principles he give us apply to how we personally live our lives. Listen to one of these principles from 1 Corinthians 6:12, “‘All things are lawful for me,’ but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful for me,’ but I will not be dominated by anything.”

 

Paul addresses food and sex in these verses. Why is Paul dealing with such personal issues in our lives? Because God cares about our sensuality and what is competing for our attention. He cares about what we binge on because, as Paul teaches us in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, our bodies are the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

 

What dominates your mind’s thoughts, your heart’s desires, and your body’s neediness? I encourage you to take 15 minutes today, turn off all gadgets and sounds and just listen to where your mind goes, to what your heart feels, and what your soul yearns for. What is distracting you from focusing on God’s Word and Spirit?

 

Seize the moment and be quiet before God. Invite God into these places. Be free from that which seeks to dominate and distract you from God.

 
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 189

With You in Spirit!

1 Corinthians 5

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Tuesday, September 22.

 

I miss seeing so many of the people I used to see on a regular basis a little over six months ago. As social creatures, it is a challenge to maintain the strength of community when our paths are not physically crossing on a normal basis.

 

Paul knew this and wrote a lot of letters to the churches he once gathered with physically. He reached into their world even though he couldn’t be physically present. He stated in 1 Corinthians 5:3, “Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit.”

 

That is the reason why Pastor Ken and I are doing these daily phone calls to you every day for 189 days and counting, and why Delora is sending out so many emails to you from the church. That is our modern day equivalent of attempting the same thing to each of you. We desire to be together—to remain united in the Word and Spirit. We are still a community, even if our paths aren’t physically crossing on a normal basis.

 

Seize the moment and reach out to your church family today and let us know what is going on in your life.

 

As we enter the fall of 2020 and school has begun and many activities are starting to pick back up, I truly hope you will let us know how you are doing. Send us an email or card, text us, write a letter, make a phone call… If you are not returning to the church gathering because you do not yet feel safe, we understand and are as patient as you need us to be. But if there are other reasons you are not returning to the church gathering, we want to know and learn from you what is going on in your life. We want to be with you in spirit until we can be physically present once again.

 
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.
 

Have a wonderful 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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Seize the Moment – Day 188

The Aim of Apprenticeship is Love!

1 Corinthians 4

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Monday, September 21.

 

If you want to become a master electrician, you must start as an apprentice. Every student needs a teacher. We all must learn from someone!

 

Paul explains his heart for this truth in 1 Corinthians 4:14-17, “I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you, then, be imitators of me. That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church.”

 

Jesus’ call to be a disciple is a call to apprenticeship—to submit one’s life to God by becoming like our Master Teacher Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

To what aim? LOVE! 

 

But, let’s be honest: we need someone to learn from on how to do this God’s way. Yes, of course, we are called to follow Jesus and not man, agreed, but we need someone to show us what following Jesus looks like. It has always been this way, even from the very beginning of the church.

 

Every apprentice needs a master teacher. Here’s how to choose a good one:

 

  1. LOVE! You will know by their love for God through their personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
  2. LOVE! You will know by their love for the Word of God and how they are humbly learning to obey all that Jesus teaches through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
  3. LOVE! You will know by their love for you and people; not just church people, but the people they encounter.

 

Who are you learning from?

 

Seize the moment and faithfully obey the Lord by loving others well  (F.O.L.L.O.W.).

 
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 Presence of Jesus – Week 2

Truly Follow!

Philippians 2:1-5

 

“Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate?  Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.  Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.  Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.                   

Philippians 2:1-5

 

Last week, as Jerry was preaching on knowing the difference between the Omnipresence of God and the manifest presence of God and why we need to gather, the Lord spoke this scripture to me. I knew that I would be sharing today, focusing on responding to the presence of God by following Jesus. As I was reading through the passage, I did not see the word ‘follow’ appear even once, no matter what translation I read (NIV, ESV, NLT, KJV, NASB). So, I was like, “Okay, God…how does this show us how to follow?” I prayed over it , thought about it, even talked with Jerry about it, and then it hit me during the closing prayer of our Elder’s meeting…it could be an acrostic…a group of words who’s first letters make up the word you want to remember. And this is what I felt the Holy Spirit give to me:

            F – Faithfully

            O – Obeying the

            L – Lord by

            L – Loving

            O – Others

            W – Well

 

Faithfully (meaning full of faith, being consistent or resolute, in a manner that is true to the facts or the original) Obeying (submitting to the authority of) the Lord (Jesus Christ, whom you invited into your life to be your Savior), which means your follow His commands by Loving Others Well.

 

If you look back at today’s scriptures, Paul was telling the Philippians there are conditional clauses in being a true follower of Christ. Let’s examine those together!

 

I. The IF Clauses…  if these things are present in our life

 
A. If there is any encouragement
 
~Testimonies of God’s provisions

Imagine how much that would change Facebook and Instagram if we flooded it with testimonies, rather than rants and raves of how we were done wrong that day.

Testimony of God whispering to us and getting us up early in the morning to spend time with Him (a quiet time on the porch, a walk in the woods, a drive down a country road)

~A scripture that has spoken to you

This is why it is important to start the day in God’s Word

Later in the day you find God brings that scripture back to your remembrance and you are either able to share it with someone or it encourages you in that moment.

~Finding a renewed joy in Jesus.
 

      “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done.”                                                                                                          

Philippians 4:4-9

 

B. If there is any comfort from His love
 

~Finding peace in the storm

Recognizing that He is the Rock and has us hidden in the cleft of the Rock!

~Feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit wrapping His arms around you, assuring you of God’s presence with His peace and mercy

During a loved one’s surgery

C. If there is any fellowship
 

~Realizing His presence in your day to day situations.

ILLUS:  Sitting on the front porch this past Tuesday after date night and watching the sunset.

~Finding encouragement in gathering together with other believers. There is joy in the gathering, being together with the family, whether it is blood relationship, or through the blood of Jesus relationship
 
D. If your hearts are tender and compassionate

 

~Being moved by the Holy Spirit to do something for someone

Send a card, make a phone call, drop something off on their porch, give them a ‘Pentecostal handshake’

~Giving of your time, treasures or talents without the expectations of getting something in return.

Seeing a need and meeting that need by helping them move, or clean up their yard, or helping put in a hot water heater or buying the food of the person behind you in the drive thru.

 
 

II. THEN prove it…let others and the world see the evidence.

 
A. Agree with each other wholeheartedly
 
~Are we expected to always agree on everything?
 
No! Christians can have differing opinions and disagree with each other about some things. To be like-minded is not suggesting for us to be marching in lockstep. But rather, to be good listeners and hear the heart of the one we are working with so that God will be glorified in all we do! We should not focus on the differences, but instead, find the common ground to see God’s plan fulfilled.

 

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”      

Romans 15:13

 

It is God’s desire to see us not only restored in relationship with Him, but also with one another, bringing healing over past hurts.

 

B. Love one another
 
~Meme from FB:
 
“Some of y’all need to stop running around with a mouth full of scripture and a heart full of hate.” Just like oil and water, these two do not mix!  Love has to be our first response! Yes, the Word of God is a sword, but we need to know who the true enemy is and how we are to use it.

 

“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”                                                         

John 13:35 (NLT)

 

C. Work together in unity
 

~Henry County 500 met on 8/30/2020. 440 people in person, many more met virtually, for a time of prayer, worship and reconciliation. From this, a group has formed and are planning to continually meet to help bring about peace and unity, not only across racial boundaries, but denominational and non-church groups, agreeing that it not for a political agenda, but for the glory of God.

 

~Opportunity to serve a fellow pastor and his church. Two Sundays of filling the pulpit at First Assembly of God.

 

Charles Stanley wrote:

“The joyful unity of believers in Christ offers a powerful testimony to the world that the gospel of love we preach is real, unique, powerful, and welcoming to whomever will believe in the Lord Jesus. It is only through the gospel that people from every nation, race, language group, and socioeconomic level find forgiveness and peace and can join together in harmony.”

 

III. How are we to do this?

 
A. Don’t be selfish and try to impress

 

“If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.  But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying.  For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic.  For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.”                                                                                                                                            

 James 3:13-16

 
B. Don’t think of only what you want

 

“But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.”     

 James 3:17

 
C. Don’t forget to consider others ahead of yourself.

 

“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”  

Romans 12:10

 

“But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble… So, if what I eat causes another believer to sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live—for I don’t want to cause another believer to stumble.”  

1 Cor. 8:9,13

 

“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”  

Ephesians 4:2

 

 

Conclusion:

 

Why? Because of verse 5: “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.”  This is a call to have attitudes like Christ—loving and accepting one another despite our differences. In fact, God delights in our diversity; he made every person unique. But we should all be like-minded in our obedience to Christ and in our care for others. Our attitude demonstrates the position of our heart. Jesus did not use His position to bully someone into submitting. He did not use His rightful power and authority as a trump card.

 

“But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them.  But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave.  For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” 

Matthew 20:25-28

 

So we are called to truly follow Jesus by faithfully obeying the Lord by loving others well.

 

 
 
 
 

You can listen to the message here.

 

You can watch the message HERE.

 


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