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 531

Confirmation from God!

Leviticus 9

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Monday, August 30.

 

Have you ever received a confirmation that you were doing a good job? A simple example would be when your boss praises or rewards your work.

 

Leviticus 9 narrates the inaugural sacrifices for worship at the tabernacle by Aaron and his sons after their seven-day ordination service. The sacrificial system of God’s people has begun.

 

Leviticus 9:22-24 records God’s confirmation to the leaders that they sacrificed to Him correctly and to the people that they were now walking in His ways:

 

Then Aaron lifted up his hands toward the people and blessed them, and he stepped down after making the sin offering and the burnt offering and the peace offerings. Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting. When they came out and blessed the people, the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. Then fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the portions of fat on the altar; and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.

 

This was not a one-time occurrence. Later in Israel’s history, in 1 Kings 18:38-39, God confirmed Elijah’s ministry and called the people back from their false worship of Baal:
 
“Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, ‘The Lord, He is God; the Lord, He is God.’”

 

Seize the moment and worship by giving yourself to God as a living sacrifice. May you experience the confirmation of God’s consuming fire through the activation of His Holy Spirit in 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 35

The Promise of Belonging!

Luke 15:11-32 (NAS95)

 

Reader #1: Luke 15:1-7:

Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” So He told them this parable, saying, “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? “When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. “And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

 

Reader #2: Luke 15:8-10:

“Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? “When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost!’ “In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

 

Reader #3: Luke 15:11-32:

And He said, “A man had two sons. “The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them. “And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living. “Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished. “So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. “And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him. “But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! ‘I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”’ “So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. “And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate. “Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. “And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these things could be. “And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’ “But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him. “But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’ “And he said to him, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. ‘But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.’”

 

The promise of the week is “The Promise of Belonging!”

 

The memory verse for this week’s promise is Luke 15:31-32,
 
“And he said to him, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. ‘But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.’”

 

Last week, we learned from the promise of membership that we are knit together as members of the one body of Christ. This week, we are learning from Jesus’ famous parable of the prodigal son that we are intended to belong one to another.

 

The Parable of the Prodigal Son can also be called the Parable of the Lost Son. Its placement in Luke 15 is essential because it comes after the parables of “The Lost Sheep” and “The Lost Coin”, which are straight forward parables, but this last one has an important twist in it.

Did you hear the twist as you listened to these three parables, back-to-back?

 

God is the central character of each parable: God is like the good shepherd who goes to great lengths to find the one lost sheep; God is like the woman who goes to great effort to find the one lost coin; and God is like the father who eagerly waited to receive back the one lost son.

 

Listeners of these three parables are being conditioned by the Master Teacher to expect someone in the third parable to seek and find! But the twist in this parable is that, unlike the other two, no one went looking for that which was lost. The Father stayed home and eagerly waited for his lost son to come home, back to the family to which he belonged.

 

Who was supposed to go looking for the younger son?

 

It was the older brother and Jesus’ original audience knew that to be true. When the older son doesn’t go after his younger brother, we are left confused and hurt! Something is wrong with this story! Something is terribly broken about this family!

 

Jesus did this on purpose because Jesus’ audience was a bunch of older sons who saw themselves as faithful to the Father but embittered to the Father’s lost children who were not faithful like they were. Listen again to Luke 15:1-2, “Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

 

Jesus’ parable invites our hearts to yearn for three things at once:

  • We yearn for our true elder brother, Jesus Christ, to come search for us. As Luke 19:10 explains of why Jesus came, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
  • We yearn to join with Jesus in His work—to go out from this place and invite all who are lost to come home to the Father. As Jesus commands in Luke 14:23, “Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled.”
  • We yearn for our true Home, where God the Father is waiting to have all His children with Him, as one big forever family. John teaches us of the Father’s love in 1 John 3:1, “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are.”

 

 

From the beginning, God designed us to belong, and He is jealous for us to come Home. This is the mission of Jesus Christ and the perpetual mission of His body, the church. Several times we see this in Jesus’ life. Jesus’ ministry reflects the heart of God as Jesus was “moved with compassion” (Matthew 9:36; 14:14; 15:32; 20:34; Mark 6:34; 8:2-3; Luke 7:13; etc.).

 

Are you moved by compassion to help God’s lost children find their way home?

 

We were created to have a relationship with God—to belong as members of God’s family, to be His Image Bearers (Genesis 1:26-27), but our sin separated us from Him (Genesis 3:22-24; Romans 3:23). That is what it means to be dead in our sin (Ephesians 2:1-10; Colossians 2:13), it means we are cut off from the Family of God and from Home, our inheritance of eternal life.

 

When we are still in our sin we don’t belong because sin cuts off our relationship to God and damages all relationships (1 Corinthians 15:17). As Isaiah 59:2 states,
 
“But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.”

 

God loves us so much that He did something about it—God sent the Elder Son to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10; John 3:16)! This truth is why we listen to these three parables in a row and know deep down that something is wrong at the end, and we are disturbed!

 

Jesus did what the elder son in Luke 15 would not do—Jesus restored the Father’s lost children and brought them Home. In Jesus’ parable, neither son, younger nor older, was being faithful to their Father. They were too busy focusing on their current entitlements and future inheritances, on what they can get from the Father, rather than knowing their Father’s heart for His family.

 

God’s greatest desire for all of us, regardless of age, because this really has nothing to do with whether you are older or younger, but with whether you are struggling with the sin of sinfulness or the sin of self-righteousness, is that we would come Home to Him and belong.

 

You belong to the Family of God, and we hope that First Baptist Church can be a safe place for you to belong, regardless of whether your issue is that you ran away from God a long time ago and lived a life of sin or that you’ve been in the church your entire life and have become focused on your entitlements and inheritance.

 

Don’t let either your morality or immorality be a barrier to belonging! Jesus came to give you a new life in Him, the life of God through the Spirit!

 

You are invited to come Home as the Father wants all His beloved children to belong to Him and to one another. This is the body of Christ, and this work is why Jesus came, once and for all.

 

You can listen to Pastor Jerry’s message below:

 

You can watch the service by clicking the link below:

 
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 529

Today’s hymn focus will be “Precious Lord, Take My Hand”

Isaiah 41:13(NLT)

 

“For I hold you by your right hand— I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.”

 

Thomas A Dorsey wrote this song out of his brokenness after losing his wife and newborn son. He wrote the song while at Ebenezer Baptist Church in South Chicago, and had the choir sing it on Sunday. He was quoted as saying “It tore up the church!”

 

Through the storm, through the night, Lead me on to the light

Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.

 

 

Dorsey said “My business is to try to bring people to Christ instead of leaving them where they are…What I share with people is love. I try to lift their spirits and let them know that God still loves them, still saving and giving them that power.”

 

We need to wake up and have that same heart, that the Holy Spirit can use us to bring people to Jesus. We may be the only Jesus that some people will ever see.
 
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 this song, click on the link below:
 
 

Precious Lord, take my hand

Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on, let me stand
I’m tired, I’m weak, I’m worn
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home
 
When my way grows drear
precious Lord linger near
When my light is almost gone
Hear my cry, hear my call
Hold my hand lest I fall
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home
 
When the darkness appears
and the night draws near
And the day is past and gone
At the river I stand
Guide my feet, hold my hand
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 528

Filled Up for God’s Work!

Leviticus 8

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Friday, August 27.

 

Have you attended an ordination service in your faith tradition?

 

I will never forget my own ordination. I served in full-time pastoral ministry in various areas of ministry responsibility throughout my seminary Master of Divinity degree program, while walking through the ordination and mentorship process in my local church and denomination.

 

I was filled up and ready to be poured out. The ordination service was more than an acknowledgement of that nearly six-year process, it was the seal upon it. When the stole was placed over me and hands were laid upon me, the Holy Spirit filled me up to overflowing.

 

Leviticus 8 captures the formal beginning of the priesthood and sacrificial system, and a significant part of it is the seven-day ordination service of Aaron and his sons. The emphasis is upon the priestly clothing, ordination offering, and the purification rites. Let’s focus on verse 33,
 
“You shall not go outside the doorway of the tent of meeting for seven days, until the day that the period of your ordination is fulfilled; for he will ordain you through seven days.”

 

The Hebrew translated, “he will ordain you” literally means, “he will make full with a sufficient quantity.” To ordain the priest was for God to fill up that person to sufficiency! Through an intricate process, the people set apart their priests as consecrated and purified vessels and then God filled them up for His ministry. The ordination is God’s work, not man’s work!

 

In Ephesians 5:18, Paul invites all new covenant believers to “be filled with the Spirit.” As a follower of Jesus, you, too, like the priests of old, are ordained to be a vessel of God’s glory, filled up with the Holy Spirit to walk in God’s good works. This is God’s grace!

 

Seize the moment and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Trust God to pour out your life 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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Seize the Moment – Day 527

A Worker’s Wages!

Leviticus 7

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Thursday, August 26.

 

Every generation seeks to apply the Word of God to our contemporary cultures in timely and practical ways. One such discussion is that of the role of paid church workers.

 

God’s Word is the foundation for all church discussions, including this ongoing conversation. Leviticus 7:7-9 communicates that a priest is worth his wages:

 

The guilt offering is like the sin offering, there is one law for them; the priest who makes atonement with it shall have it. Also the priest who presents any man’s burnt offering, that priest shall have for himself the skin of the burnt offering which he has presented. Likewise, every grain offering that is baked in the oven and everything prepared in a pan or on a griddle shall belong to the priest who presents it.

 

The sacrificial system was essential to providing for the priests and the tabernacle (temple) workers because these people were without land allotment to farm and subsist. Since God chose them to focus their work efforts on tending to the faith and practices of His people, He built into the Law that their wages came from their work.

 

In the church today, there are men and women—priests, pastors, ministry leaders, church and parachurch workers, and missionaries serving around world—whose chosen vocation has the same exclusive purpose of tending to the faith and practices of God’s people. These people work hard and are worthy of their wages. Those wages are no longer through the Levitical sacrificial system, but they are still flowing through the sacrifices of God’s covenant people.

 

As Paul reemphasized in 1 Timothy 5:18, “For the Scripture says,
 
‘You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing,’ and ‘The laborer is worthy of his wages.’”

 

Seize the moment and give generously to God’s work. Pray for and financially support the laborers you know who are tending to the faith and practices of God’s people.

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 526

Earthen Vessels!

Leviticus 6

 

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

 

What is the purpose of our bodies in this life?

 

Leviticus 6:28 describes what happens to the vessels used to prepare the offering to God: “Also the earthenware vessel in which [the sin offering] was boiled shall be broken; and if it was boiled in a bronze vessel, then it shall be scoured and rinsed in water.”

 

Anything the animal sacrifice touched became holy. Everything that it touched became set apart for God. The priestly garments had to be cleansed from any blood defilement, the fat and blood had to be completely consumed in the fire, the meat portions were specifically allocated to the priests, and even the cooking vessels had to be either destroyed or thoroughly cleansed.

 

What struck me was that the temporary vessels made from clay had to be broken after being made holy, whereas the permanent vessels made from metal had to be scoured and washed thoroughly. While there are lots of practical reasons this was commanded, the connection with our bodies being the temples of the Holy Spirit is unmistakable.

 

Paul spoke of our bodies as earthen vessels in 2 Corinthians 4:7, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.” Again, Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:20-21, “Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.”

 

Seize the moment and use your body as an earthen vessel for God’s glory. One day, you will receive a new resurrected body that will never be broken again.
 
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 525

The Power of Words!

Leviticus 5

 

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

 

Have you been in trouble because you made a promise you couldn’t keep?

 

Leviticus 5 discusses the guilt offering and gives practical examples of the kinds of sins that would require it to purify the person. Listen to a very relevant example found in verses 4-5:

 

Or if a person swears thoughtlessly with his lips to do evil or to do good, in whatever matter a man may speak thoughtlessly with an oath, and it is hidden from him, and then he comes to know it, he will be guilty in one of these. So it shall be when he becomes guilty in one of these, that he shall confess that in which he has sinned.

 

Thousands of years ago if you made an empty promise, regardless of your intent being good or evil, and it was brought to your attention, then a sin offering was required for your purification.

 

Perhaps the person simply did not realize the implications of their promise or maybe circumstances changed, and the person could no longer fulfill it. No matter because the law said that an unfulfilled oath caused a person to be guilty.

 

Words have power! Words flow from a person and carry the power to build up and to tear down, to bind together or to loosen apart. Therefore, we must be wise with how we use our words, especially when making commitments and promises to people and communities.

 

Proverbs 18:21 teaches, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” The Bible is filled with wisdom for our words, and we should listen and obey to God’s Word with how we use our words.

 

Seize the moment and be wise with the words you use when making promises! Death and life are in the power of your tongue, and now, in the power of your fingertips. 
 
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 524

Ignorance is No Excuse!

Leviticus 4

 

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

 

Have you ever heard someone say, “ignorance is no excuse”?

 

The law is an objective standard by which our actions are measured. If a police officer pulls you over for speeding and you say you didn’t know that the speed limit on I-70 went from 70 to 55 in the Indianapolis area, the police officer would still hold you accountable to the law.

 

Leviticus 4 teaches about the sin offering, specifically for sins that were committed unintentionally by the people. Listen for this truth in Leviticus 4:2, 13, 22, and 27:

 

If a person sins unintentionally in any of the things which the Lord has commanded not to be done … Now if the whole congregation of Israel commits error and the matter escapes the notice of the assembly, … When a leader sins and unintentionally does any one of all the things which the Lord his God has commanded not to be done, … Now if anyone of the common people sins unintentionally in doing any of the things which the Lord has commanded not to be done. [italics added]

 

Unintentional sin is a real issue. Sometimes we sin without intent. We simply fall short in our thoughts, speech, activities, and relationships. Sometimes these unintentional sins are not even things we do, but things we don’t do.

 

While it is true that ignorance is no excuse, praise God that even when we don’t know to ask for forgiveness of a particular sin, Jesus’ blood “cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). This is God’s truth and grace!

 

Seize the moment and seek God daily. Be at peace with God and with yourself because you are forgiven and set free from sin to live for 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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Live Like a Champion – Week 34

The Promise of Membership!

Romans 12:4-5 (NAS95)

 

The promise of the week is “The Promise of Membership!” The promise of membership must be built upon God’s Word, not on the world’s view of membership. American Express taught us that membership has its privileges, meaning that if you paid your dues, then you received your benefits. God’s Word teaches us that membership is a privilege and that being a healthy and functional member of the Body of Christ is an essential part of experiencing holiness and wholeness!

 

You are an essential piece of a living organism, and we, as a church, are only as healthy as each of our individual parts. This is the imagery of God’s Word! We are intended by God to be a mutually dependent people, created in His image of community (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).

 

The memory verse for this week’s promise is Romans 12:4-5,
 
“For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”

 

Paul very intentionally gave us the imagery so that we can understand just how important the promise of membership is, not only to us, as the individuals, but to the whole living organism of the church. Remember that Paul was addressing both local congregations and the entire church. Therefore, Paul gave us an extended version of this memory verse in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27,

 

For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.

 

A third and final scripture that is essential to understanding this word picture from Paul is found in Ephesians 4:11-16, which includes last week’s memory verse, from which the Reverend Mark Thompson did an excellent job teaching us the promise of leadership and the vital importance of community and building up our community by speaking the truth in love to one another:

 

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

 

Where the promise of leadership and the promise of membership intersect is how the church will grow. It’s not an either-or, it’s the both-and of Jesus’ promise to Peter from Matthew 16:18, “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”

 

Jesus was very clear that He would build His church and how He does that is through His people—we are the members of the body “according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:16).

 

Leaders are members of the body and must take their call to leadership as seriously as you take your call to membership. We pray for leaders who are fully engaged in the work of the kingdom of God, both in the local congregations and throughout the larger church. Imagine what would happen if church leaders took their call to leadership as casually as many people take their call to membership to local congregations and their call to missions in the world. We all need the reviving fires that can only come through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  

 

Listen to this ancient imagery of how God uses His people as a body to do His will in the world. This is Old Testament imagery from Ezekiel 37:1-10:

 

The hand of the Lord was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry. He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, You know.” Again He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.’ “Thus says the Lord God to these bones, ‘Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life. ‘I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the Lord.’ ” So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life.” ’ ” So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.

 

Just as God was the only one who could make this happen, only God can do this work today! This is not a heavy pressure on us, but an invitation for surrender to God and revival through the work of the Holy Spirit. It is the work of the Spirit of God to fulfill the promise of membership, just like it is a work of the Spirit of God to provide spiritual leadership for the body of Christ. Let us submit ourselves now to the work of the Holy Spirit so that we will be healthy, functional members of the one body of Christ. As Paul said in Ephesians 4:1-6,

 

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

 

Membership is a privilege that comes with responsibilities! The health and growth of the body of Christ is intimately yoked with you and your experience of a life-giving faith where you are manifesting the fruit of the Spirit and the peace of God in your life, which I like to call your spiritual vitality. Let us walk together in the easy yoke of Jesus Christ and watch what God will do in and through His body, for Jesus Christ is the only head to which we all—leader and member alike—must submit.

 

Allow me now to pray for us according to Paul’s prayer for the early church in Ephesians 1:17-23:

 

[I pray] that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

 

Amen!

 

You can listen to Jerry’s message below:

 

You can watch the service by clicking the link below:

 
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 522

Today’s hymn focus will be

“Lord, I Need You”

 Psalm 40:17(NLT)                  

 

 As for me, since I am poor and needy, let the Lord keep me in his thoughts. 

You are my helper and my savior.  O my God, do not delay.”

 

This modern-day hymn was written by the collaboration of four songwriters-Kristian Stanfill, Christy Nockles, Jesse Reeves and Daniel Carson and was sung by Matt Maher at the Passion 2011 Conference. One person would write a line then send it to the group, then someone would add to that line and send it on.

 

Half-way through, Jesse said it reminded him of the hymn “I Need Thee Every Hour”, so they paid homage to that song by including part of it in their hymn.

 

But Maher remembers the big moment when they wrote the lyrics “Where You are, I am free, holiness is Christ in me!” This was the songs declaration of the powerful Truth that when God looks at us, since we have been redeemed by Jesus, He sees His Son.

 

Lord, I need You, Oh, I need You. Every hour I need You.

My one defense, my righteousness, Oh God, how I need You.

 

The challenge of this hymn is to think about whether or not you believe every word when you sing along!

 

We need to wake up and acknowledge the fact that we need God every moment of every day and lean into 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 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 image:
 

 

Lord, I Need You

 
Lord I come, I confess
Bowing here, I find my rest
Without You, I fall apart
You’re the one that guides my heart
Lord, I need You, oh I need You
Every hour, I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
Where sin runs deep, Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord I am free
Holiness is Christ in me
Lord, I need You, oh I need You
Every hour, I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
So teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand, I’ll fall on You
Jesus, You’re my hope and stay
Lord, I need You, oh I need You
Every hour, I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
You’re my one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
 
 

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