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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Live Like a Chamnpion – Week 38

“The Promise of Church Family!

Matthew 19:29 (NAS95)

 

The promise of the week is “The Promise of Church Family!”

 

The memory verse is Matthew 19:29,
 
“Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life.”

 

Let’s listen to it in its full context found in Matthew 19:27-30,

 

Then Peter said to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?” And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last; and the last, first.”

 

Jesus is answering Peter’s question when He gives the promise of increase, which includes church family. But what motivated Peter to ask this question? To answer that question, we need to listen to how Jesus responded to the rich young ruler in Matthew 19:16-26,

 

And someone came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” Then he said to Him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not commit murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother; and You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property. And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?” And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

 

As we now see, it was Jesus’ response to the rich young ruler who was following the commandments of God that caused Peter to first ask, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus essentially says, “You can’t save yourself, but God can save you.”

 

Seemingly, Peter started feeling a little insecure and needed further clarification after hearing Jesus tell the rich young ruler that if he wanted to be perfect, he had to sell everything he had and give it to the poor.

 

Was this a bridge too far for Peter? Peter had recently left his business as a local fisherman to follow Jesus as Matthew 4:18-20 recorded:

 

Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.

 

In our scripture lesson for today (Matthew 19:27), Peter seems to be reminding Jesus of this: “Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?”

 

Jesus then gave the promise of church family for all who do the same in 28-30:

 

“Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last; and the last, first.”

 

The best way for me to explain this teaching is through stories:

 

During the summer and into the fall of 2003, I resigned my commission as an officer in the US Army to enter seminary and full-time pastoral ministry. We left behind the security and support of being a part of the military community and received many times as much from our local church in family and support. We were blessed and loved and cared for those next 6 ½ years.  

 

While it was difficult and sad to leave that church family, the LORD’s promise was proven true again as He called us to leave that to answer His call again. As we entered the winter of 2009-10, we drove to New Castle, Indiana to begin my service as the Senior Pastor of this congregation. Again, the LORD provided through the promise of church family with an abundance of love and support as we moved 2,500 miles to a new home where we had no biological family or existing friend group but received many times as much.

 

Kimberly and I know the truth of the Lord’s promise as a pastor’s family and can tell you from experience that the practice of this truth is “TRUST and OBEY!” Trust that God’s calling is right and true! Trust that God will provide for you when you are obedient to the next step of faith!

 

This is such a challenge among our culture, even for Christ followers. The need for prosperity and control that governs our society creeps in to govern our minds and hearts and decisions. God calls us to something that is “more” in the sense of the Kingdom, but “less” in the eyes of the world. Jesus promised in verse 30, the “first will be last; and the last, first.”

 

Listen to some amazing truths about this principle:

 

  • Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
  • Isaiah 55:8-9, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.”

 

The next story is that of the Apostle Paul found in Acts 9:19b-31, the second part of his story:

 

Now for several days he was with the disciples who were at Damascus, and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” All those hearing him continued to be amazed, and were saying, “Is this not he who in Jerusalem destroyed those who called on this name, and who had come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?” But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ. When many days had elapsed, the Jews plotted together to do away with him, but their plot became known to Saul. They were also watching the gates day and night so that they might put him to death; but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a large basket. When he came to Jerusalem, he was trying to associate with the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took hold of him and brought him to the apostles and described to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had talked to him, and how at Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus. And he was with them, moving about freely in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord. And he was talking and arguing with the Hellenistic Jews; but they were attempting to put him to death. But when the brethren learned of it, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him away to Tarsus. So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase.

 

When telling Paul’s story, we usually tell the first part of the story as that is the supernatural part of it, but it is in this second half and throughout the rest of Paul’s letters that we read about the promise of church family. Paul lost everything he had built in his old life when he followed the Way of Jesus Christ. That is why he wrote in Philippians 3:4b-7,

 

If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.

 

Paul’s heritage, his station, his status, his reputation—none of those things were worth keeping if it meant forsaking Christ. These are not empty words, as Paul is referencing the much that he gave up! When Paul answered God’s call upon his life, God brought the promise of increase to his life through the Church and in the Kingdom of God, but from the eyes of the world he fell from his pedestal to lose everything he had built towards. But He no longer found them worthwhile because the first had become last and the last had become first!

 

This can be your testimony too because when you trust the promise of church family, you will trust God enough to be willing to listen and obey to what your next step of faith is to walk closely with Jesus.

 

As Jesus promised in Matthew 16:24-25,
 
“If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

 

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way. To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

 

 

 

You can listen to Pastor Jerry’s message by clicking the link below:

 

You can watch the service by clicking HERE.

 
 

 


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Seize the Moment – Day 550

Today’s hymn focus will be

“The Bond of Love”

1 John 3:18-19(NLT)

 

“ Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.”

 

Otis Skillings grew up playing the piano in his father’s church. But his life was changed when he was asked to play for the Dayton Youth for Christ gatherings. He would go on to write thousands of songs during his lifetime and travel the world as a music missionary. But this simple hymn was the one he was best known for, expressing our oneness in Christ in such a unique way that is so compelling and timeless. During his travels, he would often find people in other countries singing this song in their native language.

 

We are one in the bond of love. We are one in the bond of love.
We have joined our spirit with the Spirit of God.
We are one in the bond of love.
 
 

We need to wake up, church, and remember that the world will know that we are Christians by our love. Our actions speak so much louder than our words!

 

 
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.
 
If you would like to hear the chorus played, click on this link:
 

The Bond of Love

 

Verse 1

Love thro’ Christ has brought us together,
Making our hearts as one.
By God’s Spirit we are united,
One thro’ His blessed Son.

Chorus

We are one in the bond of love,
We are one in the bond of love,
We have joined our spirit with the Spirit of God,
We are one in the bond of love.

Verse 2

Now, dear Lord, we join in worship;
Thank you for all you’ve done.
Thank You for this love You gave us;
Thank you for making us one.

 

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Seize the Moment – Day 549

First Things First!

Leviticus 23

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Friday, September 17.

 

When you plan out your calendar, how do you protect first things first?

 

For example, if you asked me to meet with you on December 25, I hope you would fully expect me to say, “no.” Why? Because that day is Christmas. We protect that day to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and remember God’s gift of salvation.

 

For the ancients, the Levitical Law gave them direction on how to protect first things first on their annual calendar. Leviticus 23 clearly lays out their holy days:

 

  1. The Passover (5).
  2. The Feast of Unleavened Bread (6-8).
  3. The Feast of First Fruits (9-14).
  4. The Feast of Weeks, later known as Pentecost (15-22).
  5. The Feast of Trumpets (23-25).
  6. The Day of Atonement (26-32).
  7. The Feast of Booths or Tabernacles (33-43).

 

Listen to the LORD introduce these seven holidays in verses 2-4:

 

The Lord’s appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations—My appointed times are these: For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is a sabbath to the Lord in all your dwellings. These are the appointed times of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at the times appointed for them.

 

Did you notice that the annual calendar was built upon a weekly rhythm of work and rest that flowed out of God’s gracious gift of sabbath?

 

As busy and productive Americans, we must learn from God’s rhythms of grace. Not only did the LORD designate times of remembrance and celebration throughout the annual calendar, but He also instituted a protected day off every week. Until we realize that rest is God’s idea for our good and His glory we will continue to live in the tyranny of the urgent.

 

Seize the moment and protect first things first on your calendar today. This is a habit of grace because your life rhythms matter to God!

God bless your day!
 
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 548

Give Your Very Best!

Leviticus 22

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Thursday, September 16.

 

When you give to the Lord, how do you determine what is an acceptable offering?

 

While there are technical issues people love to focus on when it comes to giving money, never forget that God has a strategic purpose for inviting us to give!

 

Leviticus 22:18-22 records God’s command to His people to offer only acceptable sacrifices from the best of His provision:

 

Any man of the house of Israel or of the aliens in Israel who presents his offering, whether it is any of their votive or any of their freewill offerings, which they present to the Lord for a burnt offering—for you to be accepted—it must be a male without defect from the cattle, the sheep, or the goats. Whatever has a defect, you shall not offer, for it will not be accepted for you.

 

God desires for us to give our very best to Him. God desires to be approached by people whose hearts are committed to giving back to Him the very best of what they have been entrusted to steward. It is not by accident that Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, was called the Passover Lamb, a male without defect (1 Peter 1:19), because Jesus gave His all so that we can approach God with our all.

 

God is after your heart, not your pocketbook! He doesn’t need your money; He wants to bless you through your willingness to give Him your very best! As Paul teaches in Philippians 4:17,
 
“Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account.”

 

Seize the moment and ask the LORD to teach you how to give with a right heart so that He may find your giving acceptable in His sight and bring His increase to your life.

 

God bless your day!
 
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 547

High Standards for Leaders!

Leviticus 21

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Wednesday, September 15. P

 

Do you have high expectations of people who hold leadership positions in your church?

 

We all do! It is normal and right to desire of our leaders to have an integrity of faith and practice that manifests God’s love throughout their lives—at home, in the church, and in the community. The problem is not having high expectations of leaders, it is not having grace and mercy for them when they fall short. I have yet to meet a leader who is fully qualified all the time.

 

Leviticus 21 focuses upon the priests and the high standards expected of them and their families by the Levitical Law. Without going into the details of those high standards, verse 6 summarizes them in this one statement:
 
“They shall be holy to their God and not profane the name of their God, for they present the offerings by fire to the Lord, the food of their God; so they shall be holy.”

 

Correspondingly, 1 Timothy 3:2-5 sets high standards for the New Testament Church and its qualifications for elders:

 

An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?).

 

Seize the moment and pray for the current and future leaders in your congregation. It is not surprising that few people are willing to serve as leaders in the church today as our culture moves away from biblical standards, but never forget that none of us are qualified to be members or leaders in the Church except by God’s grace.

 

God bless your day!
 
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 546

The Root of the Issue!

Leviticus 20

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Tuesday, September 14.

 

When I provide pastoral care for a person, which often is a combination of active listening, pastoral prayer, biblical counseling, and Christian discipleship, I am attempting to get to the root of the issue and not manage the bad fruit. Another way I think about this is that while catharsis provides short-term relief, transformation brings long-term victory.

 

Paul prescribed this treatment plan in Romans 12:2,
 
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

 

Leviticus 20 diagnoses the root of holiness issues as false worship. Listen to verses 6-8,

 

As for the person who turns to mediums and to spiritists, to play the harlot after them, I will also set My face against that person and will cut him off from among his people. You shall consecrate yourselves therefore and be holy, for I am the Lord your God. You shall keep My statutes and practice them; I am the Lord who sanctifies you.

 

The previous verses address the false worship of Molech with the Canaanite practice of child sacrifice, forbidding it by penalty of death. The chapter then lists many practices that flow from false worship that carried with them the death penalty, excommunication, or barrenness.

 

So often, churches have mutated Christianity into a laundry list of acceptable and forbidden activities, but that is not the heart of why Christ came. All our behaviors and activities flow out of our relationship with the God we truly serve. The God you worship will determine the fruit of your life because you are designed to reflect what you worship!

 

Seize the moment and worship Jesus in spirit and truth (John 4:24)! Jesus came to show you the heart of the Father and to bear the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

 

God bless your day!
 
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 545

The Second Greatest Commandment!

Leviticus 19

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Monday, September 13.

 

Do you love your neighbor as yourself?

 

This concept comes from Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 22:37-40, when Jesus responded to a lawyer’s question about the most important commandment in the Levitical Law:

 

And [Jesus] said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

 

Did you know that the second greatest commandment Jesus was quoting is found in Leviticus 19:18? This chapter captures the heart of Israel’s moral teachings, which were anchored to their understanding of Yahweh’s holiness:
 
“You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy” (vs 2).

 

Listen to verses 15-18 and learn the fullness of Jesus’ teaching when quoting verse 18 as the second greatest commandment:

 

You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but you are to judge your neighbor fairly. You shall not go about as a slanderer among your people, and you are not to act against the life of your neighbor; I am the Lord. You shall not hate your fellow countryman in your heart; you may surely reprove your neighbor, but shall not incur sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.

 

This teaches me that loving my neighbor is more than being nice and friendly; it is about justice, fairness, honesty, integrity, charity, and forgiveness.

 

Seize the moment and love others with the heart of God! Obedience to the second greatest commandment will change the world because it will first change you.

 
God bless your day!
 
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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Live Like a Champion – Week 37

The Promise of Gathering!

Hebrews 10:24-25 (NAS95)

 

My family has spent the last few weekends working on a big landscaping project to create a fire pit area to sit around and enjoy one another. Our investment is not in the landscaping itself, but in our family’s relationships. Kimberly and I are intentionally creating a set apart place to gather—to talk and share, to build memories, to have places our children want to join with us as they get older, and to have a place where they can invite their friends and bring our future family.

 

Think of the campfire as a metaphor—each of us are the coals of the fire and the more of us that gather the brighter the fire. When one of us is removed from the fire pit, it not only diminishes the overall warmth and brightness of the fire, but it puts that one individual coal in danger of losing its heat and light.

 

How does this apply to the Church of Jesus Christ and its individual members?

 

This week’s promise is, “The Promise of Gathering!” and it provides the answer.

 

The memory verse for the week is from Hebrews 10:24-25,
 
“Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”

 

It is not surprising that the Scripture teaches us to, “not [forsake] our own assembling together” because the Church of Jesus Christ is not just a random gathering like a concert, but rather the assembly or the gathering of those who are called out of the world and into relationship with God through the call of Jesus Christ—the Head of the body.

 

Jesus is the One who gathers us—He calls us out by name! We gather in obedience to Jesus because it has always been and always will be His idea and not our own. We have corrupted the gathering of the Church as a personal preference and that has only diminished our witness. When we make something about us and forget who it is about, we destroy it by making it in our own image. We are designed to be in the image of God and to shine His light for His glory!

 

You are the Church and to forsake the assembly is to forsake your very identity as a member of the body of Christ. Without all the coals in the fire, we have no ability to be the very “light of the world” that Jesus calls us in Matthew 5:14-16:

 

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

 

The concept of a city is significant here. A person wouldn’t call a single light in the distance a city. But the clustering of several lights in one space is often identifiable, even from outer space, as a city. There is strength and significance in numbers. This is why we gather!

 

When you don’t gather you are taking your coal out of the fire, and it goes from being bright to being dull. When you don’t gather you are taking your light from the city, and it goes from being visible to being invisible. God’s will for your life is for you to be the best version of you—burning true and bright for the world to see His love through you—and God designed that to happen in community! From the beginning, God intended you to be His Image Bearers. Jesus came to redeem you to this original purpose, so that the world may know of God’s love.

 

That’s why Jesus Christ said in John 13:34-35,
 
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 

The promise of gathering comes with a practice—the habit of prioritizing first things first!

 

We must put on our schedule first what eternally matters to God and stop forsaking the assembling on a consistent basis. Each of us is going to miss from time to time. I miss being at FBC four to six times per year, but it is my habit to prioritize assembling with you, my church family as an intentional spiritual discipline of my walk with Jesus.

 

It is like prioritizing prayer before meals or Bible intake before media exposure! It’s like protecting a day of rest once per week and reciting Psalm 23 before going to bed. These are the rhythms of grace that we are invited to live in so that we may experience the promises of God.

 

According to Hebrews 10:24, we gather “to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.” We are gathered to bring God glory and make God’s glory visibly brighter to the world!

 

Let’s be clear at this point that our gathering was never intended to be restricted to only Sunday morning worship services. In the New Testament Church, the people would gather daily. Listen to a powerful witness of the promise of gathering found in Acts 2:37-47:

 

Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. “For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

 

The promise of gathering is a priority of you putting first things first, day by day! We find time for that which we prioritize. Is once per week truly enough to shine brightly and consistently?

 

Sometimes we come to the gathering with barely a light left in us, but when we are thrown back in the fire, we are fanned into flame by our brothers and sisters around us! I have found this true at every mid-week prayer service—I come in exhausted, but I leave refreshed by the Spirit’s work in our corporate gathering of prayer, worship, and Bible reading!

 

The promise of gathering invites each of us to have a participant mentality and not a spectator mentality! While athletes appreciate being cheered on and supported, it is the participants who memorize the play book, train themselves, listen for the Coach’s voice, and run the plays as a team. We are inspired and encouraged best by those who are on the playing field with us!

 

As we gather as gospel participants and not church spectators, we are transformed by the renewal of our minds through our Spirit-filled time of worship in song, prayer, and Bible teaching to bring thriving to the community for the glory of God. I encourage you to prioritize first things first and not just for the once per week gathering, but as a rhythm of life throughout your week—not just in this building, but throughout the community!

 

Why more frequently? Because Hebrews 10:24-25 teaches us that we gather to “[encourage] one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” We need one another because it is so easy to become a critical spectator of the religious game rather than being an active player running the plays in need of huddle time to be reminded and encouraged by the other players.

 

We are participants, not spectators! We are the many coals in the fire pit that when together, they each burn brighter to become a bright and shining lights in the world. Listen to Paul describe how this happens in Philippians 2:14-16,

 

Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.

 

Did you hear the daily discipline of prioritizing first things first for the glory of God?

 

You can listen to Pastor Jerry’s message by clicking the link below:

 

You can watch the service by clicking HERE.

 
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 543

Today’s hymn focus will be

“Leaning on the Everlasting Arms”

 Deuteronomy 33:27(NLT)       

 

“The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you;”

                                               

Anthony Showalter of Dalton, GA was a Presbyterian elder that was well-known for being an advocate of gospel music. He published over 130 music books and became known in the South for his singing schools in local churches.

 

He was a very relational teacher, taking interest in his students’ lives even after they had finished his school. After finishing a class one night, he returned to his room to find two letters from two former students, both sharing the news that they had lost their wives. He went to the scriptures to find words to comfort them and found this verse in Deuteronomy. As he pondered on the scripture, these words came to mind:

 

          Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms

          Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

 

After writing this chorus, he sent the words to his friend, hymnist Elisha Hoffman, saying “I can’t come up with any verses” After writing three stanzas, Elisha sent it back to him and he set it to music, giving us these words to cheer us up in our times of trouble.

 

We need to wake up and sing this song loud and with faith proclaim:

 

What have I to dread, what have I to fear? Leaning on the everlasting arms

I have blessed peace with my Lord so near. Leaning on the everlasting arms

 
 
 
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.
 
If you would like to hear the hymn played, click on this link:
 

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms 

 
1
What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the Everlasting Arms!
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the Everlasting Arms!
 
Chorus:
Leaning, leaning,
Safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning,
Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.
 
2
O how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way,
Leaning on the Everlasting Arms!
O how bright the path grows from day to day,
Leaning on the Everlasting Arms!
 
3
What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the Everlasting Arms!
I have peace complete with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the Everlasting Arms!
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 542

Live Pure on Purpose!

Leviticus 18

 

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

 

Leviticus 18 unapologetically dives deep into the intimate practices of people’s private lives. In fact, the Bible teaches us that these most personal places of our lives demonstrate our true loyalties. Listen to how God introduces this most sensitive conversation in verses 2-5:

 

I am the Lord your God. You shall not do what is done in the land of Egypt where you lived, nor are you to do what is done in the land of Canaan where I am bringing you; you shall not walk in their statutes. You are to perform My judgments and keep My statutes, to live in accord with them; I am the Lord your God. So you shall keep My statutes and My judgments, by which a man may live if he does them; I am the Lord.

 

The prelude of this teaching on sexual purity is a call to covenant faithfulness to God. The motivation of God’s heart is to protect His children and to establish a witness of His sovereign grace to those living in rebellion. God’s desire is for His people to escape the corruption of the world and live pure on purpose.

 

Listen to Paul teach living pure on purpose in 1 Corinthians 6:18-20:

 

Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

 

Paul emphasized it again in 1 Thessalonians 4:3, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality.”

 

Seize the moment and live pure on purpose for this is God’s best for you and for His glory!

God bless your day!

 
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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