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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Ezekiel 19

Day 1560

As through the Fire!

Ezekiel 19

 

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

 

Hardship and suffering are an unfortunate reality! Will any good fruit come through such fires in your life? The prophet concluded his message to the princes of Israel in Ezekiel 19:14b, “This is a lamentation, and has become a lamentation.” Whereas Jeremiah wept from the ashes of Jerusalem, Ezekiel grieved from the riverbanks of Babylonian exile, concluding his lamentation in verses 10-14a:

 

Your mother was like a vine in your vineyard, planted by the waters; it was fruitful and full of branches because of abundant waters. And it had strong branches fit for scepters of rulers, and its height was raised above the clouds so that it was seen in its height with the mass of its branches. But it was plucked up in fury; it was cast down to the ground; and the east wind dried up its fruit. Its strong branch was torn off so that it withered; the fire consumed it. And now it is planted in the wilderness, in a dry and thirsty land. And fire has gone out from its branch; it has consumed its shoots and fruit, so that there is not in it a strong branch, a scepter to rule.

 

Fire is an interesting metaphor. It can invoke the image of annihilation, the destruction of that which is thrown into it, or that of refinement, the purging of impurities from that which passes through it. In the above lamentation, if the fire invokes destruction, then there is no longer any purpose for Israel, all hope is gone. The Messiah had not yet come through Israel, so the fire must speak to their refinement, for they are the vineyard of God from which Jesus Christ, “the true vine” came, and from whom all eternal fruit flows (John 15:1-16).

 

Seize the moment and allow your lamentations to be a refining fire in your life, transforming your soul to the glory of God (Romans 8:28-30).

 

God bless you!

 

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.

 
 
 
 
 

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The Call to the Great Community 9

Lesson #9:

Build the Body of Christ by using your Spiritual Gifts!  (Pt 2)

Romans 12:1-8 

(with supporting verses 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, 27-31; Ephesians 4:11-12; and 1 Peter 4:9-11)

 

Today, we are focusing on how you can build the body of Christ by using your spiritual gifts. Last week we laid a good foundation that every Christian is called to live the life of devotion, which we call ministry (Ephesians 2:8-10; 4:11-16 and 2 Corinthians 5:17-20). We learned the 5-step process of discovering your ministry from Romans 12:1-8, which is the foundation of your daily devotional life, ensuring you’re living a life of devotion and not just checking a box. Today, we are going deeper on the spiritual gifts themselves (as described in Romans 12:6-8), but the big point we all need to remember is that God wants to build the body of Christ in and through each of our lives. God chose you on purpose because you have good works to walk in with your life! We are better together in Christ because each of us has an important SHAPE for ministry: God has given you spiritual gifts, a heart or passions for certain people or issues, abilities to meet those needs, personality to effectively work with others, and life experiences that uniquely equip you.

 

A spiritual gift is one aspect to how God has shaped you for ministry; it is a special ability, given by the Holy Spirit to every believer upon being saved, to be used to minister to others and therefore build up the body of Christ. All gifts are given to help the church fulfill its purposes to the glory of God. The spiritual gifts are related to, but are distinctively different from, the fruit of the Spirit. Whereas gifts are given to equip you for your life of ministry, the fruit of the Spirit are the maturity of your personhood as a minister of the gospel. It is the Spirit of God at work in you that defines both your person as a Christian – “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” – and your work as a Christian, empowered through your spiritual gifts. In Paul’s discussion about spiritual gifts, he stated in 1 Corinthians 12:1-11:

 

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware. You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the mute idols, however you were led. Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

 

The Bible does not lock us into tight restrictions as to the number of spiritual gifts, or even their definitions. The four major lists of gifts are found in Romans 12:6-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, both of which I have already read to you, and the list continues in verses 27-31:

 

Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way.

 

The next passage of spiritual gifts is found in Ephesians 4:11-12, which I read to you last week; it covers the five-fold ministry of spiritual gifted leaders to equip the local congregations in their unique ministries; and finally, the last one is 1 Peter 4:9-11:

 

Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

 

Here’s the bottom line about spiritual gifts and why they are important to the building of the body of Christ: spiritual gifts are the temporary to build the eternal, so don’t worship the gifts (nor those who are working more maturely in their gifts), but only worship the Gift-giver! Remember the admonition of James 1:14-17:

 

But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

 

You don’t need a separate “baptism of the Spirit” or a “second movement of grace” to manifest the fruit of the Spirit or use your spiritual gifts in and through your Christian life. These are your birth rite as a Christian, so learn how to grow strong in God’s grace as a Christian disciple, as Paul exhorted his protégé in 2 Timothy 2:1-6:

 

You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules. The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops.

 

At conversion, you were already given everything in Christ through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Through God’s grace, you have everything you need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1).  You are not lacking in any way, except maybe in willingness, motivation, or obedience, but that is between you and God, and that brings us back to where we began this sermon last week, with the five-step process to mature in Christ and go forth to minister in His name.

 

Step 1: Dedicate your life to God!

 

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Romans 12:1).

 

Step 2: Eliminate competing distractions!

 

“And 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” (Romans 12:2).

 

Step 3: Find your identity in God!

 

“For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3).

 

Step 4: Gather with the Body of Christ as a healthy, functioning member!

 

“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” (Romans 12:4-5).

 

Step 5: Live a life of wholehearted devotion by using your spiritual gifts to build the body of Christ to the glory of God – Live on Mission Today! CM! Live like a Champion Today! Live Strong in God’s Grace Today! This is what I’ve bene teaching you for years because this the life of discipleship, practically lived out in your life and through community!

 

“Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness” (Romans 12:6-8).

 

In conclusion, and to illustrate this, we are now going to call forward the 15-person short-term mission team going to the Dominican Republic in support of Jim & Teresa White and Sharing the Vision. While they are coming up to be commissioned, I also want to invite you to join me in prayer for Nathan & Ethan Hughes, the sons of Jeff & Michelle. The twins traveled to Honduras on Monday and will be serving on a short-term mission team there until June 29. I encourage all of you to look for the ways you are being called to build the body of Christ.
 
 

Available Materials:

 
If you would like a printable PDF file of the message, click HERE.
 
If you would like to watch this lesson on YouTube, click HERE.
 
If you would like to view the entire service including music, etc. click HERE.
 
 
 

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Ezekiel 18

Day 1558

Examine Conventional Adages!

Ezekiel 18

 

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

 

There was a proverb used in ancient Israel that was thwarted by God in both Jeremiah and Ezekiel, “The fathers eat the sour grapes, but the children’s teeth are set on edge” (Ezekiel 18:2 and Jeremiah 31:29). Moreso, in Jeremiah 31:30, God corrected their conventional adage, “But everyone will die for his own iniquity; each man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth will be set on edge.” The original expression taught that children would pay the penalty for their parents’ sins, but the revised one taught that people experience the consequences of their own actions. This correction came when generations would be born into captivity due to the sins of those who had come before them, so God hammered it home in Ezekiel 18, concluding with an eternal truth about personal agency in verses 29-32:

 

“But the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not right.’ Are My ways not right, O house of Israel? Is it not your ways that are not right? Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, each according to his conduct,” declares the Lord God. “Repent and turn away from all your transgressions, so that iniquity may not become a stumbling block to you. Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! For why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord God. “Therefore, repent and live.”

 

When conventional adages are not true, deviating from the Word of God, even if they had originated from the Bible, do not live by them. Examine their precepts, ensuring that the wisdom you live by has not been compromised by cultural norms, political ideologies, superstitions, or other religious doctrines.

 

Seize the moment and listen to what you say because your tongue is like a rudder, which can unknowingly steer your life off course (James 3:1-12).

 

God bless you!

 

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.

 
 

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Ezekiel 17

Day 1557

Relief from Life under the Sun!

Ezekiel 17

 

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

 

Have you ever found relief from the unrelenting heat of a scorching sun by resting in the shade of a beautiful tree? After a parable of judgment about two eagles and a vine, the prophet concludes with an oracle of restoration in Ezekiel 17:22-24:

 

Thus says the Lord God, “I will also take a sprig from the lofty top of the cedar and set it out; I will pluck from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one and I will plant it on a high and lofty mountain. On the high mountain of Israel I will plant it, that it may bring forth boughs and bear fruit and become a stately cedar. And birds of every kind will nest under it; they will nest in the shade of its branches. All the trees of the field will know that I am the Lord; I bring down the high tree, exalt the low tree, dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will perform it.”

 

In exile, God was giving His people hope, reminding them of the Messianic promise of Isaiah 11:1, “Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.” In fulfillment of this promise, in Matthew 13:31-32, Jesus quoted Ezekiel 17:23 in one of His parables, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” This invitation to find shade is available to “birds of every kind,” which means that there is hope for you and for all who are experiencing the unrelenting heat of living under the scorching sun.

 

Seize the moment and find relief in the shade provided through faith in the Son.

 

God bless you!

 

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.

 
 
 

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Ezekiel 16

Day 1556

Give God Glory through your Giftedness!

Ezekiel 16

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Thursday, June 20.

 

Were you born with health, beauty, athleticism, or intelligence? Have you been afforded opportunities in life to develop your innate intellect and latent skills? Do you see the goodness of God at work in your life or do you take credit for what you have done with what has been entrusted to you?

 

There is so much pain and heartbreak woven into today’s allegorical retelling of Israel’s history, which presents Israel as an abandoned infant who was rescued only to become a beautiful bride who then played the harlot. Intensifying the prophetic emphasis, Yahweh narrated the story in the first person, with Himself as king and husband. The people needed to understand why and how they ended up in captivity, so God spoke through an extended metaphor, grabbing their attention with visceral images of scandal and betrayal. Ezekiel 16:14-15 captures the heartbreak of this sixty-three-verse allegory,
 
“‘Then your fame went forth among the nations on account of your beauty, for it was perfect because of My splendor which I bestowed on you,’ declares the Lord God. ‘But you trusted in your beauty and played the harlot because of your fame, and you poured out your harlotries on every passer-by who might be willing.’”

 

God is the one who rescues us to fulfill His magnificent purpose through our giftedness. Our right response to His salvation is to dedicate all that we have to Him, seeing how He shaped us as part of His calling (Romans 12:1-8). It has always amazed me that God designed me in the womb already knowing the good works that He has prepared for me to fulfill (Ephesians 2:10). That’s a mind-blowing truth! Therefore, it is your calling, as a rescued child of God, to mature into the fullness of adulthood, fulfilling the purpose of what God has bestowed upon you from the beginning.

 

Seize the moment and give God glory by maximizing what He has entrusted to you!

 
 

God bless you!

 

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.

 
 
 

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Ezekiel 15

Day 1555

Live with Purpose!

Ezekiel 15

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Wednesday, June 19.

 

You are designed to live your life with purpose. From the beginning of His ministry, Jesus called people to live their best lives for the glory of God, which He believed could only be done when we live according to God’s creative intent and for His salvific purposes. Jesus warned about becoming like salt which has lost its saltiness (Matthew 5:13), or like a light which was hidden under a basket (Matthew 5:15). In John 15:5-6, Jesus illustrated this point by connecting Old Testament imagery about Israel being God’s vine, “I am the vine, you are the branches; … If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.” Imagine that you were designed to produce choice fruit, abundant and eternal, only to find yourself withered and discarded because you stopped abiding in the One who created you for this very purpose.

 

The One who designed you is inviting you to return to Him, finding meaning and value in His creative intent for your life, and living with purpose every day. The danger of not heeding God’s call has always been straight forward, as Ezekiel 15:3-5 describes of a useless vine:

 

Can wood be taken from it to make anything, or can men take a peg from it on which to hang any vessel? If it has been put into the fire for fuel, and the fire has consumed both of its ends and its middle part has been charred, is it then useful for anything? Behold, while it is intact, it is not made into anything. How much less, when the fire has consumed it and it is charred, can it still be made into anything!

 

Seize the moment and live your life on purpose, according to the Creator’s intent – “For [you] are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that [you] would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
 
 

God bless you!

 

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.

 

 
 

 

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Ezekiel 14

Day 1554

Set your Heart Free!

Ezekiel 14

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Tuesday, June 18.

 

God cares about your circumstances, but He cares even more about your heart. Often enough our priorities are backwards (Matthew 16:26). That’s because our hearts, by nature, are idol factories. This heart condition is one of the primary reasons why we are instructed to bring everything to the Lord in prayer (Philippians 4:6-7). Even if your heart’s desire is to get God to work on your behalf, God responds to your prayer by cleansing your heart as His holy habitation. He is a jealous God and is unwilling to share your heart with any idol, even a well-intended one. The prophet emphasized this to the exiled elders of Israel in Ezekiel 14:3-6:

 

Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts and have put right before their faces the stumbling block of their iniquity. Should I be consulted by them at all? Therefore speak to them and tell them, “Thus says the Lord God, ‘Any man of the house of Israel who sets up his idols in his heart, puts right before his face the stumbling block of his iniquity, and then comes to the prophet, I the Lord will be brought to give him an answer in the matter in view of the multitude of his idols, in order to lay hold of the hearts of the house of Israel who are estranged from Me through all their idols.’” Therefore say to the house of Israel, “Thus says the Lord God, ‘Repent and turn away from your idols and turn your faces away from all your abominations.’”

 

God may not answer your prayers the way you think He should, but He is seeking first what’s in your best interest. Are you seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33)?

 

Seize the moment and trust God’s unrelenting resolve to set your heart free from idols. “Pray without ceasing” so that you may be cleansed continuously (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

 
 

God bless you!

 

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.

 
 
 

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Ezekiel 13

Day 1553

Give People Real Hope!

Ezekiel 13

 

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

 

People need hope when they are suffering, but it can be difficult to discern real hope from wishful thinking during hard times. Criminals know this which is why so many scams are targeted at those who are going through hardships, such as financial woes, medical crisis, or personal grief. God used the metaphor of a whitewashed wall to make a distinction between those who give the people His truth and those who speak falsely. At a time of great danger to His people, God raised up prophets to speak hard truths, warning the people of the coming disaster and equipping them to stand firm, but false prophets countered their hard truth, weakening the people’s resolve to repent and draw near to God. In Ezekiel 13:10-14, God addressed the false prophets who were misleading the people with their wishful thinking:

 

“It is definitely because they have misled My people by saying, ‘Peace!’ when there is no peace. And when anyone builds a wall, behold, they plaster it over with whitewash; so tell those who plaster it over with whitewash, that it will fall. A flooding rain will come, and you, O hailstones, will fall; and a violent wind will break out. Behold, when the wall has fallen, will you not be asked, ‘Where is the plaster with which you plastered it?’ … And you will know that I am the Lord.”

 

The false prophets hurt the people with their wishful thinking because they did not motivate them to heed God’s Word, repent of their sin, and prepare for the coming storm. Give people real hope during times of suffering, biblical truths that will guide and strengthen them through their hardships, as well as lead them into eternal life.

 

Seize the moment and build your life upon the true and eternal teachings of Jesus Christ, who promises to be a firm foundation on which no storm will prevail (Matthew 7:24-27).

 

God bless you!

 

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.

 
 

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The Call to the Great Community 8

Discover Your Ministry! (Pt 1)

Romans 12:1-8

 

Being involved in ministry is a fulfillment of Ephesians 2:8-10, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ministry is anytime you work unto the Lord. It is an outward expression of God’s grace at work through you. I would argue that it’s impossible to do ministry apart from Christ or for any motive other than Christ. It may be called a ministry, but it’s not! Just like we may not call it ministry when you go about your day, doing whatever it is you do unto the Lord, but it is!

Every single person, called by God and chosen to receive saving faith by grace, is called to live by the anointing of the Holy Spirit as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as taught by 2 Corinthians 5:17-20:

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

Ministry is not for an exclusive group, such as pastors and missionaries, and, if we were to define ministry as something for an “exclusive group” of people, then the simple fact that you are a Christian puts you in that exclusive group. With that said, how do you discover your ministry? That is a similar question to the philosophical one, “Why do I exist?” or “What on earth did God put me on this planet to do?” Discovering your ministry helps you find your place in the body of Christ because we are called to be members of the one body of Christ. According to Ephesians 4:11-16, the body of Christ is built up when each of us uniquely finds our ministry:

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.

 

You were chosen by God and called to be a member of the body of Christ on purpose! That purpose is to be build the body of Christ because we are the closest thing to the incarnation the world has after Jesus’ ascended to the right hand of the Father. If people are going to see Jesus, it’s through the church, the people of God who bear His image and manifest His fruit! Discovering that purpose invites you to take a 5-step process of discovering your ministry from Romans 12:1-8:

Step 1: Dedicate your life to God!

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Romans 12:1).

Step 2: Eliminate competing distractions!

And 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” (Romans 12:2).

These first two steps are summarized with a military image from 2 Timothy 2:4, “No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.” The focus of a Christian soldier is what it means to the fear the Lord, or to “seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33).

Step 3: Find your identity in God!

For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3).

Step 4: Gather with the Body of Christ as a healthy, functioning member!

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” (Romans 12:4-5).

Step 5: Live a life of wholehearted devotion!        

Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness” (Romans 12:6-8).

This is the biblical, five-step process to discover your ministry, but there is a significant issue that I must help you with if this is going to be of practical assistance to us as the Great Community of God! Jesus taught in Matthew 7:24-26:

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”

You must now go and do what you have learned! And not just once and done, but every day of your life. We work unto the Lord six days per week, and we dedicate one full day per week to cease from our unfinished works to rest in His finished work – to delight in God!

 

Discovering your life of ministry is truly about living a life of devotion to the beliefs and values you hold true in your heart; it’s about being a person of integrity. You must figure out how to align your heart and mind so that you speak and act in agreement with who you say you are in Christ. A life of devotion must include a devotional life because it is in our time with God that we hear from Him and dedicate our day to walking in the Way with Him. When done properly, your devotional life fuels your life of devotion, just like your Christian discipleship fuels our community life as the Great Community. What we do personally informs what we do corporately, and what we do together gives direction and boundary to what you do alone. This is how God designed it: for us to be totally dependent on Jesus, who is the head, and mutually dependent on one another, the unique members of His body.

 

We are designed by God to be better together in Christ!
 
 
 

Resources:

If you would like a printable PDF of the sermon notes, click HERE.

If you would like to watch this message, click HERE.

If you would like to watch the entire service, including music, click HERE.

 
 
 

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Ezekiel 12

Day 1551

The Severe Mercy of the Lord’s Delay!

Ezekiel 12

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Saturday, June 15.

 

There are so many promises of God which have not yet been fulfilled. While we wait for the Day of the Lord, we live in dark days, filled with the death and destruction. For millennia, the people of God have cried out for the Lord to make His triumphant return visible, to commence His rule with an iron rod, and to make all things new. Why must the Lord delay His return? We add our voices to the countless generations who say, “How long O Lord? How long must you tarry in keeping Your Word?”

 

What we don’t realize is that the Lord’s delay is not a bad thing, but a severe mercy. In 2 Peter 3:9, the reason for the Lord’s delay is the salvation of the nations, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” Never forget that the Lord delays His return for the good of many, not only your friends and family, but also for those who are far off. In Ezekiel 12:22-23, the Lord addressed the prophet, admonishing the Hebrews for taking His patience for granted and mocking Him in their rebellion:

 

Son of man, what is this proverb you people have concerning the land of Israel, saying, “The days are long and every vision fails”? Therefore say to them, “Thus says the Lord God, ‘I will make this proverb cease so that they will no longer use it as a proverb in Israel.’ But tell them, ‘The days draw near as well as the fulfillment of every vision.’”

 

Seize the moment and live faithfully as the Day draws near. Pray for the fulfillment of every promise, but until He comes, shine His light through your good works (Matthew 5:14-16; Philippians 2:15-16).

 

God bless you!

 

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.

 

 
 

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