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.

Search the Blog

Seize the Moment – Day 63

Soul Care!

Luke 10

 

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

 

You have heard it said, put on your own oxygen mask first. This illustration comes from air travel for people traveling with a child. The point is that if you are impaired or unconscious from a lack of oxygen, you can’t help someone else.

 

How do you keep first things first in your life? More pointedly, how is it with your soul?

 

As a culture of Martha’s, we are an anxious people who want to get busy again. It’s understandable, but I wonder how many people actually stopped long enough inside their own heads and hearts to learn what Jesus was trying to communicate. In Luke 10:38-42, Jesus responded to Martha’s complaint about Mary who had actually stopped all her busyness to sit at the feet of Jesus and reflect upon His presence and teachings.

 

Listen to Jesus’ answer in verses 41-42, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

 

Our culture’s anxiety is most visible in the way people communicate to one another and about one another, and how miserably-happy people seem to be to be “worried and upset about many things.” It’s almost like if we aren’t worried and upset about something, then we think something is really wrong. At the heart of it all, our souls are sick because they are weary and heavy-burdened by many things.

 

Well my fellow Martha’s, what is paying the steepest price of our soul sickness is our relationships—with God and one another! I’m putting on my own oxygen mask because who of us really wants to live their lives “worried and upset about many things”?

 

Seize the moment and stop to sit at Jesus’ feet today. Jesus gives you a choice.

 

If you need a more personal touch from your church than this daily phone call, please dial the phone number below and someone will call you today. We are praying for you!  

 

 
 
 

YOUTUBE:

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

Read more...

Seize the Moment – Day 62

Refuse to Let Rejection Take you Off Course in Life!

Luke 9

 

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

How do you handle rejection?

 

Listen to how Jesus handled rejection in Luke 9:51, “He set his face to go to Jerusalem.”

 

In Luke 9:53-56, we see that the disciples of Jesus responded to rejection by getting upset and wanting to call fire from heaven to destroy those who rejected them. But that is not the way of Jesus! Jesus taught His followers a better way than the normal “knee-jerk response.”

 

Here are three simple (but not always easy) steps you can use to deal with rejection:

 

1) Pray. Acknowledge your feelings, for they are real, but instead of letting them take you over, immediately pray and cast the situation on God alone. You won’t hurt Him.

 

2) Guard your tongue. Rejection can lead to a wildfire of emotions inside you. Once that wildfire comes out of you there is no way of taking it back. Don’t light the match with words or actions…

 

3) Stay focused on God’s path for your life. The way to Jerusalem was the path of Jesus’ obedience. Make a decision to refuse to take offense at people and their opinions. Don’t get sucked into a toxic response because God has a better plan for your emotions, thoughts, and energy.

 

Seize the moment and stay focused on God’s path for you and live a life of obedience to Jesus. Remember Jesus’ words from Luke 9:23, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

 

If you need a more personal touch from your church than this daily phone call, please dial the phone number below and someone will call you today. We are praying for you!  

 
 

YOUTUBE:

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

Read more...

Responding to the Plan of God – Week 5

Image Bearers Steward the Body of Christ!

Key Verses:  Romans 8:14-16 & Ephesians 4:11-16)

Written and delivered by Pastor Jerry Ingalls to the First Baptist Church of New Castle, Indiana.

 

I am praying for our congregation. We are God’s family because He has adopted us as His children. The heart of God is for His children to be fully alive in Christ and reflecting His love, care, and stewardship of the world so that the world can see His glory in and through His family. Because God uses all things for His glory and the good of those who love Him and are called according to His glory, God is using this time to bring about a great awakening in His Family. He wants us to see ourselves the way God sees us: as His dearly beloved children!

 

Last week we learned that Image Bearers of God steward their families to the glory of God! It always starts at home—your family is your first ministry because the family is God’s building block of not only the church, but of the New Heaven and New Earth that we are invited to proclaim with our love, care, and stewardship of creation, beginning around our kitchen tables. God reminded us of His plan and where and with whom it starts.

 

I share that with you again because while God has ordained the family as the place where biblical discipline and instruction primarily happens (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 & Ephesians 6:1-4), the church as God’s adoptive family has an essential part to play in keeping family members on plan for their lives. We are each easily distracted. As we have talked about numerous times recently, the reason for our gathering is found in Hebrews 10:23-25,

 

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

 

Many churches have had to relearn this during the COVID-19 pandemic because we have made the Sunday gathering the main event of the church instead of the supporting event of the people of God being the Church of Jesus Christ. We forgot that we are the Temple of the Holy Spirit and made our buildings into holy places, though they are made of brick and mortar and we are made in the Image of God. We forgot that Jesus tore the veil and filled us with His Holy Spirit, making us the holy of holies of God’s presence in the world. Listen to this amazing quote that summarizes our sacred status as taught in the New Testament,

 

We don’t need a tabernacle or temple to mark sacred space. Our bodies are sacred space. Paul calls our earthly bodies a “tent” (2 Cor. 5:4) because we are indwelt by the same divine presence that filled the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle and the temple (Rom. 8:9–11). Eventually our body, the earthly home of our spirit, will die, only to be replaced by a “house not made with hands” (2 Cor. 5:1–3), a heavenly dwelling—the new Eden, heaven returned to earth (Rev. 22:1–3). Since God indwells believers today through his Spirit, each church​—​each gathering of believers​—​is holy ground. This is why Paul, when sadly telling the Corinthians to expel an unrepentant Christian who was living in sin, instructed them to “deliver this man to Satan” (1 Cor. 5:5). The church was holy ground. Outside the fellowship of believers was the domain of Satan. That was where sin and its self-destruction belonged. It’s time we looked at ourselves through supernatural eyes. You are a child of God, fit for sacred space, not because of what you do or don’t do, but because you are in Christ, adopted by God (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:5). You’ve been extracted from the realm of darkness and “transferred … to the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Col. 1:13). We must never, not for a moment, forget who we are in Christ—and what that means to the world.”[1] [emphasis added]

 

The Church, before we are anything, we are the adopted family of God—we are sons and daughters of God. We are the body of Christ. And if you ask families with adopted children, they will wholeheartedly tell you that “these are my children.” Listen to Paul describe us in Romans 8:14-16,

 

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.

 

You see—we are children of God called to mature in Christ to reflect the glory of God in how we love, care, and steward what God has entrusted to us (our talents). For us to live this way, we must see ourselves this way.

 

Listen to a historical example of what happens when the family of God forgets who they are or gets distracted from doing the work of God’s agents.

 

Decades before the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana of Wales occurred, the country had experienced a tremendous spiritual revival in 1904. Wales soon became a launching pad for missionaries who preached to every land of the globe. One missionary ended up in Argentina where he converted a young boy named Luis Palau, who became known as the “Billy Graham” of Latin America. Mr. Palau was so inspired by the spiritual outreach from Wales that he decided to visit the country in the early 1970s. He was saddened by what he found. Less than [“one half of one percent”] of the Wales population faithfully attended church services. The divorce rate had jumped dramatically to an all-time high. The police force now had to take their weapons with them as crime had increased. The sport rugby was now the national religion with families driving miles to faithfully attend tournaments while skipping out on the worship of God. Disappointed by what he saw, Mr. Palau created a documentary called “God Has No Grandchildren”.[2]

 

Howard Dayton concluded about Luis Palau’s documentary, “In Wales, despite tremendous spiritual vitality, the impact of Christianity had all but disappeared in 70 years. Parents had failed to pass their faith to their children. Each generation is responsible for passing on to its children the gospel and the truths of Scripture.”

 

What a sobering story from recent church history. The truth is that God has no grandchildren, but every generation must rise up and take on the mantle of spiritual leadership for the sake of the next generation. Great awakening need to happen in every generation because society can shift that quickly, within 70 years! We have seen the same in the United States of America—from the WWII generation massively building the church in America upon their return from the war and into the 1950s as the Baby Boomers were born and raised, and then passed it on to the third and fourth generations (Generation X and the Millennials), and here we are with churches closing all around communities in our country and organizations like Barna Research Group doing massive research to understand the state of the church in 2020, literally 70 years later.[3]

 

What can American churches learn from the historical lesson of the 70-year spiritual decline of Wales?

 

Here is a learning point: The FAMILY OF GOD exists to empower and equip OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS to transform the world by being THE FAMILY OF GOD on mission for OUR FATHER as HIS ADOPTED CHILDREN. We are not an institution or civic organization—we are God’s Plan A because we are His family. We are agents of God’s Kingdom—on a rescue mission to seek and to save that which is lost (Luke 19:10). Not to bring them into conformity with us, but with Christ! As someone who was not raised in the subculture of the church, but was chosen by God to receive faith while serving in the US Army, here is what I know many a church goer needs to learn and is often blind to because of their own church experience: The church does not exist to meet the needs of its members, but to empower and equip the members to transform the world by being God’s restored Image Bearers, the stewards of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

Have we simply lost focus and are distracted, or have we forgotten who we are and what we are supposed to be doing? It’s one or the other, because the historical witness of Wales is right here staring at us in America.

 

Maybe the problem is that we are having a hard time accepting one another as real brothers and real sisters. We have forgotten Jesus’s words from Matthew 12:50, “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (cf. Luke 8:21).

 

The church is a multigenerational family built on individual members and their families. The purpose of the church is to respond to the plan of God in such a way that we reflect God as one united family with God as our adopting Father. Paul visualizes this united family using body imagery as all of us being one mature body (“man”), as opposed to many independent children. Listen to Paul’s teaching in Ephesians 4:11-16,

 

And he gave the [leaders of the church] to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ [italics added], so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

 

Every multigenerational family has infants, toddlers, pre-teens, teenagers, twenty somethings, middle agers, seniors. Everyone has room to grow, and we all don’t need to be in the same place growth-wise … but we DO need to be growing regardless of our age because in the Kingdom of God your church experience and your age don’t determine maturity in Christ. We are to never stop equipping our fellow family members on who they are as adopted sons and daughters, and how they are to be as a member of God’s adopted family.

 

This is one of the reasons why we see the church dying in America, following the same death cycle as the church in Wales: we forgot that the family is only as healthy as the individual members. We sold our family birthright for larger and more efficient organizations and we hired professionals to the do the work for us, all in the name of Jesus, but we forgot who we are in Jesus along the way and we started managing what we had built instead of stewarding the gospel He gave us to share with the world God created.

 

What a severe mercy for God to use this time to remind us that He is not about our buildings, our programs, and our notability. It is a sad thing to watch pastors and churches vying for visibility in today’s marketplace-driven culture and lose favor with God. May Jesus once again be preeminent in the church! May we cast down our idols and return to God. God is bringing revival to His people—to awaken us for His glory! The church in America has been consumed by the economic-driven cultural progress of the second half of the 20th century. Now, we look and act more like a corporation with stake holders than a movement of disciples united on mission for Jesus. Why do we still wonder why the surrounding culture is not attracted nor interested in joining us?[4]

 

As Jesus said in Matthew 5:13,

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”

 

We must remember, once again, that revival of the members of the family is what makes the family healthy and effective. This happens at a personal and household level and those individual members who make up families living in neighborhoods are the ones who change their neighborhoods and then together, those neighborhoods transform communities… cities… states… nations… to the ends of the earth! This is the plan of God and you are Plan A because you are a son or daughter of God!

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has become an opportunity for the revival of the members of the church; or it is the death knell for many a church that has lost its way over the last 70 years in America.

 

Every crisis is an opportunity! Each branch needs pruning to bear even more fruit (John 15:2)! Every child needs discipline to bear the fruit of righteousness (Hebrews 12:11)! The Lord knows, the churches in America need revival. We’ve been praying for it for decades… Why not now? Why not each of us?
 
This last week, in my morning devotion times, I finished the book of Joshua and entered into the book of Judges. What a crisis time for the Israelites. Joshua put a choice before God’s people in Joshua 24:14-15,
 
Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
 
A great awakening is a personal thing, a family unit thing, a congregation thing, a neighborhood (regional) thing. It is a decision that God puts before His people by leaders who love them. I love you!
 
Revival, as we have come to know it as a programed event, doesn’t do an individual or family any good if there are exciting and glorious moments in a church service or worship conference, but the people as individuals don’t carry revival home with them to impact their families and neighborhoods, their schools or workplaces… Revival was never intended to be compartmentalized or institutionalized, it was meant to radically transform culture—to bring thriving to communities. To be what awakens God’s children to their true identity & mission!
 
Just last week, I listened to an influential leader in the American Church say that the COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to do for the church what years’ worth of hundreds of mission conferences could never accomplish.
 
The image we have been using for this sermon series is that of the life preserver because we have been saved to be a part of God’s rescue mission to seek and to save the lost. What if God’s revival was not even for us, but for our participation in His rescue mission of all those who are in slavery to sin and captivity to the world?
 
We have been blessed to be a blessing, not to horde what was given to us so freely. We are not owners of what God has entrusted to us; rather, we are stewards of the life-giving gospel of Jesus Christ.
 
 
 

Listen to the Message here:

 

To watch the video click HERE

 
 
 

FOOTNOTES:

 

[1] Michael Heiser, Supernatural: What the Bible Teaches about the Unseen World—And Why It Matters (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2015), 83-85.

[2] I first learned of this story from Howard Dayton, but I grabbed a synopsis of it from a newspaper article: https://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/porter/portage/does-god-have-grandchildren-in-your-family/article_8cf164a9-0399-5e1f-87d5-a10cc2205a89.html. Accessed May 11, 2020. Dayton’s quote, immediately following, is from the Stewardship Study Bible.

 

[3] A friend of mine reminded me of this famous Ronald Reagan quote, which speaks to the geopolitical realm of life, but the principle is strikingly the same. “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

[4] A friend wrote to me, “Yes. We may no longer be selling indulgences for absolution of sin on the front steps of the church, but there are too many ways the church in America as a whole tends to run like a Ponzi scheme. “Put in this much effort/money/time, and then we’ll start to take care of you.” No one wants to be part of that.”

 
 

Read more...

Seize the Moment – Day 60

Reach out to Jesus!

Luke 8

 

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

 

A short church update before the devotion: Stages 2-4 are like the longest part of an already long plane ride–the process of landing and then getting off the airplane. The good news is that the plane is starting to land, but please remain patient as we go through the stages of landing (2 & 3) and exiting (4).

 

In stages 2 & 3, we are unlocking the front doors of the church building at 10 AM for our 10:30 service. With that said the elders and leaders strongly encourage you to watch online during these stages if you can. Your safety is our shepherding responsibility. We know this is a confusing time for many, especially our beloved senior adults, so please trust us, we do love you and want you. Only join us in person if you cannot join with us in any other way. If you are coming tomorrow, please help us keep everyone safe by planning to wear your mask, using hand sanitizer upon entering, and staying safely distanced the entire time. Please go to our webpage for detailed information or call the elder on call if you have questions for how this applies to you personally.

 

Luke 8:46 demonstrates that Jesus wants you to personally reach out to Him: “But Jesus said, ‘Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.’”

 

Many people were a part of a crowd that was pressing against Jesus, but Jesus said power went out from Him to one specific person because she touched Jesus in a different way. There is a difference between being a part of a crowd and being a person who reaches out to Jesus in faith. Are you experiencing the power of Jesus in your life?

 

Seize the moment and reach out in faith to touch Jesus today. I pray that Jesus’ power may enter into your life as your reach out to Him in faith today.

 

FBC wants to help you in practical ways, so please dial the phone number below if you would like someone to call you today. We are praying for you!  

 

YOUTUBE:

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

Read more...

Seize the Moment – Day 59

Humility!

Luke 7

 

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

 

Do you believe what people say about you? It’s a dangerous business finding yourself on the front page of the newspaper. Why? Because you might believe what the world says about you.  Once we start believing opinions, whose opinion matters the most?

 

In Luke 7:1-10, we read a powerful story of how Jesus heals the servant of a Roman centurion.  Verses 3-5 narrate the story as the “elders of the Jews…pleaded with [Jesus] earnestly, saying, ‘[the Centurion] is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.'”

 

I am a bit scandalized by the use of the word “worthy” and of a Jewish endorsement for an occupying force’s military leader in their hometown. It strikes me as flattery, but the centurion did not believe his own press release, nor give himself over to flattery (read verses 6-7). Unlike his emperor, who demanded that people worship him as a god, here was a humble man. Jesus concludes about the centurion, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith” (v. 9).

 

This was high praise from Jesus and not flattery! Jesus saw the fruit of repentance in this man. Jesus saw humility instead of pride, love of his neighbor rather than love of self, and a sincere desire to serve his community rather than to be served.

 

Seize the moment and pray with me: Lord, I desire to be a faithful person from the inside out. I know that I cannot produce the fruit of repentance on my own power so please teach me to abide in You so that You can bear fruit through my life for Your glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

FBC wants to help you in practical ways, so please dial the phone number below if you would like someone to call you today. We are praying for you!  

 

YOUTUBE:

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

Read more...

Seize the Moment – Day 58

Stay in your own Lane!

Luke 6

 

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

 

When you drive down the street, do you stay inside your lane? If you leave your lane, what could happen?

 

Jesus commands us in Luke 6:37-38, “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

 

You will be judged by the same measure you judge others. The hope in Jesus’ words is that you will not judge others, but rather that you will give others the same abundant forgiveness that you yourself received from Him. This command comes with the promises of God for those who are generous as good stewards of all that they have!

 

You are not called to be a judge of souls (that God’s job alone), a prosecutor of people’s intentions (only God knows the heart!), or a defense attorney for God because you are called to be an eyewitness of the forgiveness and grace freely given to you.

 

Stay in your lane and let the Holy Spirit do the work of convicting people of their sin. Let the Word of God do the judging—it is living and active, sharper than a double-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). We don’t need to add our sharp tongues to the Word’s effectiveness!

 

Seize the moment and receive the forgiveness and grace of Jesus Christ in your life, today. If you stay in your lane there are always great opportunities to tell other people about what God has done for you. Will you be usable to God by staying in the lane He has assigned you? Who does God want you to give to and forgive by His grace today?

 

FBC wants to help you in practical ways, so please dial the phone number below if you would like someone to call you today. We are praying for you!  

 

 

 

YOUTUBE:

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

Read more...

Seize the Moment – Day 57

I am Willing!

Luke 5

 

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

 

I spent close to a dozen years on active duty military service in the US Army. It was an all-volunteer army which means that every single person who was following orders allowed their own lives to be significantly inconvenienced for the sake of the mission—these veterans, my brothers and sisters, were willing to sacrifice their own freedoms to defend the freedoms of those who either could not or would not do the same for them. I honor our veterans and I pray for them.

 

In Luke 5:12-13, a man “covered with leprosy” begged Jesus, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” “Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man, ‘I am willing,’ He said, ‘Be clean!’ And immediately the leprosy left him.”

 

What a wonderful miracle! What was Jesus’ next move? In our experience with religion, a revival tent would have gone up in verse 15 to accommodate the “crowds of people” who wanted to hear Jesus and be healed. But that wasn’t Jesus’ next move! Verse 16 says, “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”

 

Jesus was on a mission and while most people hear that kind of language about Jesus’ life, they may not realize that this is military language. Jesus was under orders from His Father so while the people wanted to take control of his plans and schedules, Jesus broke off to listen to His Father. Rather than following the crowds, Jesus stayed on mission! 

 

You see, being on mission means you have to know your marching orders from God for each and every day.

 

Seize the moment: Before you let other people take over your life in the name of Christian charity or church volunteerism, spend some time with God to listen to your day’s marching orders. Who is directing your steps—your emotions, other people, or God?

 

FBC wants to help you in practical ways, so please dial the phone number below if you would like someone to call you today. We are praying for you!  

 

 

YOUTUBE:

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

Read more...

Seize the Moment – Day 56

As Was His Custom!

Luke 4

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Tuesday, May 12.

 

The officers meeting went great last night and your leaders are working to ensure our 5-stage reopening plan goes smoothly. Thank you for trusting us to take the right steps for your safety and the well-being of our communities. Please prioritize 5 minutes to read through Stage 2 guidelines on our webpage. If you have any questions or concerns, please call the elder on call. (Phone number at bottom of this page)

 

Over my first decade serving at FBC, I have heard many people say that they are lost without gathering for church on Sunday morning. Why? Because it is such an engrained habit that it has become their custom.

 

Customs are good, Jesus had customs. Listen to Luke 4:16, “On the sabbath day [Jesus] went into the synagogue, as was His custom…” We see this in verse 44, “And [Jesus] kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.” But we must assess and know what motivates and shapes our customs.

 

Jesus’ customs were motivated and shaped by His mission to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God—the gospel. Going to the Jewish meeting place was His custom because that is what God’s plan for His life required of Him. For Jesus, his life mission shaped His custom—to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10) and Jewish synagogues was where His target audience met (Matthew 15:24).

 

As a pastor-teacher, I have continued to enter the Christian meeting place multiple times every week because my mission shapes my customs—to get the word out about Jesus by whatever means necessary to empower and equip you, the church, to trust and obey Jesus with your entire life (Ephesians 4:11-16). God’s call upon my life shapes and directs my customs. Which is to not draw a crowd, but to mobilize the church into the community!

 

What shapes and directs your customs?

 

Seize the moment: “Trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus.”

 

FBC wants to help you in practical ways, so please dial the phone number below if you would like someone to call you today. We are praying for you!  

 

YOUTUBE:

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

Read more...

Seize the Moment – Day 55

U-Turns to God!

Luke 3

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Monday, May 11.

 

FBC enters Stage 2 today in our reopening plan. Check out our webpage www.newcastlefbc.com to learn more about what that means. If all goes well in our communities, we will move to Stage 3 on May 24. Join me in praying for our communities, state, and national health departments, medical personnel, and first responders who are on the front lines. Let’s be great partners with our communities to the glory of God by being the church every day to people in need!

 

Why is this so important? So we don’t have to do a U-turn later…

 

Speaking of U-turns, did you know that is what the word repentance means? Repentance is a word of freedom and love. John the Baptizer said in Luke 3:8, “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”

 

What a beautiful image! John is saying to his audience, don’t assume you are already connected to God, but enter into a relationship with God. Do a U-turn and come home! It’ll become visible in your words and deeds.

 

Jesus builds upon this image in John 15:16, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide…”

 

Both John and Jesus invite us to repent from assumptions and presumptions that keep us disconnected from God’s power and by repenting to produce the good fruit that shows it.

 

Seize the moment and do a U-turn into the arms of God this morning. No matter what your yesterday looked like, God is waiting for you to U-turn back to Him today. His mercies are new every morning. Welcome God into your new week and watch what He will do in and through you to His glory.

 

FBC wants to help you in practical ways, so please dial the phone number below if you would like someone to call you today. We are praying for you!  

 

YOUTUBE:

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

Read more...

Responding to the Plan of God – Week 4

2020: A Year of Celebration!

Image Bearers Steward Family to Reflect God’s Glory!

Key Verses:  Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Genesis 12:1-3; and Ephesians 5:25—6:4)

Written and delivered by Pastor Jerry Ingalls from the building of the First Baptist Church of New Castle, Indiana through an on-line service to the Church of Jesus Christ.

 

The family is the primary small group of the church. The Plan of God begins in the home and then goes with us wherever we go. The mission of God has always started in the household. No matter your current life season or what your household looks like, please know that this message is for each of us as restored Image Bearers of God. The ultimate purpose of our lives is not determined by how any of us feel about our own lives—we are here to reflect God’s glory by loving, caring, and stewarding for His creation as agents of God’s Kingdom!

 

Listen to one of the oldest books in the Bible. The fifth book of Moses, Deuteronomy 6:4-9,

 

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

 

The Word of God is the primer by which we teach children to read and write and that which we hide in our hearts so that we do not sin against God. How can households with children start integrating Bible memory work, reading from the scriptures, cursive writing with the Psalms? How can we work a biblical worldview into how we search on Google and read news stories and engage social media? You don’t need kids to do this… This is an opportunity for each of us.

 

As a congregation, we invite people to be in groups together for Bible study and fellowship, but those were never meant to substitute God’s original design for spiritual growth as a priority of the home. God’s plan for your holiness, maturity in Christ, and social needs was intentionally designed and instructed for your family. The family is God’s first small group, but when we don’t have that, what a blessing it is that there are small groups for singles, widows and widowers, and people who do not experience spiritual unity in their family units.

 

That is God’s grace by being a part of a congregation, because whether at home or in an congregational small group, God’s purpose for your home or small group is the same.

 

How is your small group helping you mature in Christ? How is your home prioritizing spiritual growth?

 

We were designed to live in community, in relationship, because God has always and will always exist in perfect community within Himself—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.[1] There never was a time that God was or will be lonely. He is perfect within Himself. God didn’t create humanity because He was lonely or somehow incomplete without us. God created His creation out of His great love and capacity to love, to delight in us and for us to delight in Him, to know and to be known.

 

Humans are designed and commanded to steward the world that God created. We are to reflect His Image and to respond to His plan by loving, caring for, and stewarding God’s creation. That important job began with Adam and Eve, of course, but we can’t forget that the family has been, from the very beginning, God’s primary plan! The church came much later and when it did come, it did not replace the family; rather, it brought families together with a common vision of the resurrection from the dead and the coming of Jesus Christ to make all things new—to cultivate the soil of this dying world and to plant seeds in human hearts for that which is to come.

 

It was through the family that God designed us to bless all the families of the earth! Listen to Genesis 12:3c in God’s great commission to Abraham and Sarah,

And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

 

Families gather together and make communities and then communities coalesce together to make societies. The larger the group, the more diverse and difficult it gets, but at the heart of every society is the family unit and at the heart of the family is the need for spiritual leadership.

 

Listen to a 2-minute sermon clip from Tony Evans who explains this with his unique charm:

 

We are local congregations made up of family units, whether it is one individual or a five-generation group of people. And local congregations together make up the larger Church, who is called by God to look like Jesus—the body of Christ! As Paul says in Romans 12:5, “so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”

 

Local churches are only as healthy as the individuals and families who covenant together to be a congregation. The Church is only as healthy as the congregations of each community, county, state, nation, and world. We are the only Jesus the world sees…

 

If your family is a church, how healthy are your members? And what do they think about you as a person who is responsible for the spiritual growth of the other family members? How do you and your family affect the health of our congregation? What does the world see through us?

 

Image Bearers are called to steward their own families first because that is where we are transformed into Christ’s image the most. Guess who God is using to cause you to be more gentle and humble, kind and generous, loving and patient? Yes, your parents or your children, your aunts and uncles, your cousins, nieces and nephews, your grandparents…your spouse!

 

As Paul said in Romans 8:29,

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.”

 

The family is where that begins and continues. The family only grows up as each family member matures. So if a parent never matures, but remains focused on themselves (the epitome of immaturity), they are hindering their child’s ability to mature into adulthood. An easy example is when you watch a parent deal with their child’s temper tantrum at a restaurant. We expect that,  but it is an altogether different matter to watch a parent throw a temper tantrum at a basketball game and everyone, but them, knows it and is looking around for the grandparents (the parent’s parents) to bring the adult child back into conformity with the family expectations of attitudes and behaviors. Ultimately, this is why we have police and the department of corrections. When this can’t be done in families, local churches and community organizations such as schools, society has created mechanisms to deal with it—the police and department of corrections.

 

When I always get my way, I’m not forced to grow or change or sacrifice or be obedient or anything. In fact, it is dangerous for any of us to always get our way! When I have to put someone before me by holding my tongue or suspending my opinions, I have to grow in my Christlikeness. Whether it is my immediate family, my extended family, or my church family, those people are sanding off my rough spots, removing the selfishness of my heart, breaking my pride and arrogance, if I choose to let them. I can, if I want to, pull myself out of God’s plan for my life, but it is usually to my detriment personally and to the detriment of the family and church. Christians are formed in the crucible of relationships—at home and at church! Don’t bail before the blessing!

 

Are you maturing because you are willing to remain as a member of a family or church?  

 

The church is a multigenerational family built on individual members and their families. The purpose of the Church is to respond to the plan of God in such as way that we reflect God as one mature body and not act like children. This is what Paul is teaching us in Ephesians 4:11-16,

 

And he gave the [leaders of the church] to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love [italics added].

 

We are to speak the truth in love! Two sides of the same coin—never to be separated. But our culture has lost this skill and unfortunately with it so have many in our families and churches.

 

Church membership has fallen into the same dysfunctionality as the modern family—we have become deceived that church and family are about our personal happiness and fulfillment, to meet our needs. What a dangerous situation it is when your personal well-being is dependent on another person always doing what you want them to do—making you happy and feeling self-fulfilled. That is not real family, nor biblical church, that is self-centered consumerism.

 

When you read about developmental lifecycles of the human, infants and toddlers are cute as a button, which keeps us from eating our own, because they are also some of the most narcissistic and manipulative human beings you will ever meet. They use their smiles, giggles, and those big beautiful eyes to get exactly what they want out of us, their parents and grandparents. And we love to give it all to them, until we don’t! Then, when cute doesn’t work, hang on to your sanity because here comes their sin nature and we call it the “terrible twos”.

 

We cannot be a church full of disgruntled toddlers and expect to function well. The terrible twos is supposed to be a phase, not a lifestyle choice! Maybe that’s a prophetic word for America…

 

Family is designed by God for His glory! Before your family is about your satisfaction, it is about your sanctification. Before it is about your happiness it is about your holiness. God is forming you into His image and He will use members of your family and church to do so.

 

Learning how to serve in love starts at home. Listen to this passage from 1 Timothy 5:1-8,

 

Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity. Honor widows who are truly widows. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God. She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day, but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives. Command these things as well, so that they may be without reproach. But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

 

Powerful! To not steward your family is to deny your faith and to be worse than an unbeliever.

 

In conclusion, listen to the famous household scripture from Ephesians 5:25-6:4,

 

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), ‘that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.’ Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.[2]

 

Are you serving your family in love? Is your home the primary place of your spiritual growth or have you abdicated your responsibilities to someone else in order to have time to pursue other plans for your life?

 

Trust me when I tell you, a couple hours a week of church activities will never get you the results you are looking for, for yourself, your kids or grandkids. We are not enough to get anyone where they need to be, so here is the way Jesus has invited you to become what God commands: you are invited to make Him the center of your life: your ambition, your personal identity, and all your planning—family & finances, career and retirement. Because He owns everything that you are called to steward!

 

I’m calling you to respond to God’s plan! How will you respond?

 

Image Bearers of God steward their families to the glory of God! It always starts at home—your family is your first ministry because the family is God’s building block of not only the church, but of the New Heaven and New Earth that we are invited to proclaim with our love, care, and stewardship of creation, beginning around our kitchen tables. That can be in the season or circumstance of it being just you and Jesus over a cup of coffee and a bran muffin, or it can be the season of chaos where the cereal is flying and the dog is barking, but that is where God designed it to begin.

 

There is always grace for today and hope for tomorrow. So no matter what has happened in your life and in your family, today is the day of salvation. Start with what you do have and don’t focus on the past. Be a good household manager of what you do have for the glory of God!

 
 
 

Listen to the Message here:

 

To watch the video click HERE

 
 

FOOTNOTES:

 

[1] In Genesis 2:20-25, there is something in the Garden of Eden that was incomplete. We were made in the Image of God (Gen 1:27), but not yet able to experience community as God does within the Trinity.

 

[2] This is so important to God that He makes our success at this as a requirement to be a leader in His Church (1 Timothy 3:1-5).

 

 
 
 

Read more...