Times of uncertainty and unrest often stay around longer than we would like. This certainly is the case with the struggles we are facing on account of COVID-19. When this first hit, you may have been like me and thought we would be facing a little time of precaution, and then things would "right themselves." Obviously, this isn't the case. As one person put it, "unsettled times have seemed to settle on us like a wet blanket, weighing us down and exposing us to every cold wind that blows." We would like things to return to normal - to be the way they were before we encountered this crisis.
The thing is, we don't know when that will be, and we don't know if things will ever be the same as they were. Now, in the normal course of life, we know that we will face events that are life-altering. We should expect them, and I have written many times before about "expecting the unexpected." The issue with our current experience is that it is something totally off of anyone's radar. It is something for which no end can be defined, and we have no idea the extent of the effect it will have on our lives before the end finally comes. In addition, it is truly a universal experience. Everyone is facing this all at the same time.
So, to help us come to a position of peace with our present reality, we need to quit longing for the days of the past. This may not be an easy attitude to adopt, but it is a step that needs to be taken on the path towards developing peace at heart. God calls us to look for His presence here and now. Remembering who He is and that we are His, that we are in His hands, helps to steady our hearts and transform our perspective. We are in the hands of God, and we can rest assured that His hands offer comfort and peace.
Christ gave these words of assurance, "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father s hand." (John 10:28=29) This is our present reality, and focusing on this and what is, not on what might have been but is not, will give us a more stable perspective of life as it now is.
Proverbs 4:25-26 speaks to the advantage of maintaining focus on the positive path of life, "Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. Watch the path of your feet and all your ways will be established." To maintain perspective in the midst of our uncertain times, focus on the presence of God.Pastor Steve Willis - First Baptist Church - Newton, IL
Stephen G. Wllis has been the pastor of the First Baptist Church since August of 1983. He and his wife, the former Scherry Roth, are natives of Ironton, OH and were married in 1977. Steve has an A.B. in education from Marshall University in Huntington, WV and a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary. In October 2004 he received his Doctor of Ministry from Trinity Theological Seminary. He has been active in ministry since 1971, serving as an evangelist and as a pastor before moving to Dallas in 1979 and then to the pastorate in Newton after obtaining his master's degree. In addition to his ministerial duties, Steve is a member of several committees and boards in Jasper County. He has served as president of the Jasper County Ministerial Association and Newton Rotary, and is currently the secretary-treasurer of the ministerial association.
Scherry is a graduate of ITT with certification in interior design. In Ohio she worked as a secretary and then with the Ohio Department of Health and Human Services. She was a secretary in Dallas at Dallas Theological Seminary. After moving with Steve to Newton, she took some time away from the workplace to have two daughters, Stephanie, born in 1983 and Megan, born in 1985. When both the girls were in school, Scherry returned to the workplace, first at Arndt's Stores, then as a painter with Hidden Blessings, and since 1994, as a secretary for the Jasper County Unit #1 School District. She retired in June of 2016. She is active in the church as leader of the Children's Choirs and directing the adult choir.
Megan graduated from Judson University, Elgin, IL in December of 2007, and received her ThM from Edinburgh University (Scotland) in August of 2008. She married Casey Robbins in February of 2014, and they have one child, Sullivan. She also teaches English at Williamsfield High School.
Stephanie is a graduate of the University of Illinois (2005) and received a master's degree from Marshall University, Huntington, West Virginia, in May of 2007. She is now a speech pathologist with Southern Ohio Educational Services in Portsmouth, Ohio. She married Jimmy Bailey in July of 2009. Jimmy is a teacher and coach with the New Boston, Ohio, School District. They live in Wheelersburg, OH. They have two children, Madelyn and Cullen.
For those of you not currently attending church on a regular basis we would like to extend an invitation to you. Regular church attendance can make a big difference in your life. Worshiping God, learning more about Him and enjoying fellowship with other Christians is a very rewarding way to spend Sunday morning. Our service at the First Baptist Church starts at 9:00 AM and we hope you will join us soon. You will be greeted by some of the friendliest people in downstate Illinois. If you sometimes feel that there is something missing in your life this could be a great opportunity to fill that void. Jesus said in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth and the life." Through faith in Him, the void you have can be filled. He said in Matthew 11:32 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
A good way to find out what you need to do to place your faith in Him is to find a church where you can learn what it means to have a relationship with Christ and what that can mean to you. If you are too far away from our location, please try to find a church near by. It can change your life. If you would like to invite Christ to come into your heart as your Savior and Lord, you may do so by simply asking him to do so. Here is what you can do to receive the free gift of eternal life he offers:1. Acknowledge that you have sinned and need to be forgiven. Romans 3:23 - "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Romans 6:23 - "The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord." 2. Believe that Jesus died for you and wants to forgive you and give you the free gift of eternal life. John 6:47 - "I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life." 3. Confess your sins to him and ask him to come into your heart as your Savior. Romans 10:9-10 - "That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."
If you are now enjoying all the benefits of being part of a church family, wherever it might be, we offer you a challenge. In your community there are people waiting for you to extend an invitation to them. We urge you to find them, invite them to your church and show them how a relationship with Jesus can enrich their lives. The Word of God ends with an invitation. Revelation 22:17 says, "The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life." Be an inviting person!
Welcome to the internet home of the First Baptist Church, located at 400 W. Washington Street in Newton IL. This church was established in January of 1886 as the Newton Baptist Church. The first pastor was J.W Reed who served until 1891 and again from 1896 to 1898. The first meetings were held at the Presbyterian Church until 1892 when it was decided to build a new church. The actual construction was started in 1893 and completed in 1895. The first services in the new building were on April 27th. In 1957 a new educational wing and fellowship hall were added.
The name of the church was changed from "Newton Baptist Church" to "First Baptist Church" on July 25th, 1926. The church has had 31 pastors since its inception including our current pastor, Dr. Steve Willis who has served since 1983.
Our mission is to delight God by developing a church full of people whose integrity is beyond question, whose faith is beyond reason, and whose compassion is beyond compare.
Services at First Baptist start at 9:00 am every Sunday morning followed by Sunday school at 10:30. Our Sunday evening service starts at 6:00 and CrossTraining Bible study is held each Wednesday at 6:30. From September to May, we have CrossTraining classes on Wednesdays for ages 3 through the 8th grade. Our High School group is entitled CIA (Christians in Action) and meets on the first and third Sundays at 6 p.m.
We would like to invite you to join us next Sunday. You will find us to be a very friendly family of believers that loves our Lord and truly enjoys our Sunday morning fellowship.
What a great time we had together this past week in worship! We want to inform you of some changes that will take place for our worship this coming Sunday, June 7. In light of information from the Illinois Department of Public Health, we are planning on moving worship inside this week. While we are eager to do so, there are some guidelines we need to follow in order to provide a safe environment for us as we make this transition. Below you will find an outline of what our worship experience will be. Continue to pray in the midst of all that is taking place, and continue to pray for our church and our ministries. Here are some guidelines for our time together as we take this step forward:
We will have two worship times to ensure that we can remain under the suggested number of folks for a gathering. There is not a perfect way to make this division, but here is what we are going to do. Folks with last names from A - L will attend the 9 a.m. service. Folks with last names from M - Z will attend the 10:30 service. We do NOT want to split families, of course, so if this is the case because of our method, please decide as a family which service to attend. We have a little room to be flexible in this area, but we still need to be careful with numbers for reasons outlined below.
Please be patient with us in this arrangement; we know it is not ideal, but we are in an experience that has rendered many of our activities less than ideal. The services will be identical in format.
Please enter through the west doors. Your family will be seated by ushers as we will be working to maintain spacing.
We will use "wedding dismissal" procedure, and ask you to exit using the north doors - we also ask that there be no congregating as you exit, especially for the 9 a.m. service, as we will be needing as much time as possible to prepare the church for the 10:30 service. Pews will be wiped down between services. Those arriving for the second service, please wait until doors are opened.
We are forming teams to prepare the church before the second service - if you would be willing to help, please contact the church office.
We will observe communion on Sunday, June 7th. The deacons, wearing gloves, will pass out the elements individually. If you want, you can bring your own bread and juice for this.
We will continue to have services on the website, YouTube, and Facebook. Blessings to all of you as we continue to move forward as God's people!Update effective Sunday 6/14.
We had marvelous worship services last week but thought we may want to "tweak" our experiences in some areas.
We think we can do better with our people division, so the groups will consist of folks from A - I in one group, and from J - Z in the second group.
This week, Sunday, June 14, folks in the group from J - Z, will meet at 9 a.m. for worship. Folks in the group from A - I will meet at 10:30. Once again - we do not want to split families, so decide which service to attend.
We will flip the groups from week to week - weekly emails, website news, and Facebook postings will help to keep you on top of your worship time from week to week.
Communion this week! Deacons will serve individually or bring your own elements!Update effective Sunday 6/18. Sunday - June 21st - Group A - I will attend the 9 am service and group J - Z will attend the 10:30 service. Update - VBS 6/18.
Folks - as we announced earlier, we will not have a traditional VBS this year, but we can still have a VBS experience. Attached to this email you will find a letter that details all the information needed about BOLT VBS, which is available now to our church as the CE Board decided to go this route.
The attached letter should answer any questions you might have as to when, how, what, etc. Contact the church if you have something not covered. This is for anyone in the church, and grandparents, if you have grandkids who might enjoy this experience, pass along the contact information contained in the letter! This is VBS, so we can invite whom we wish! If any of you know of other kids who might like this - pass the info along! The website and the password for the information and all you need for the VBS is in the letter!
We hope you enjoy the VBS experience - Great Bible stories, crafts, games, and really good music!FBC CE Board Hi Folks!
BOLT VBS IS HERE! We previously sent you an announcement about our VBS this year - it will be an alternative to our traditional program since COVID-19 has led us to change our plans. Though it will be different - this looks like an exciting program that we are sending your way!
With minimal preparation, easy-to-follow instructions, and a video that leads you and your kids step-by-step through each of the 3 days, BOLT is designed for you to perform with your family at home. It's so simple!
We want to give you some more details to help you and your family have the best possible experience. Decide when you would like to have your BOLT VBS experience and then. ahead of time, go to https://www.gocurriculum.com/bolt-vbs - click on the "Family Portal:link, and then enter this password:
LETSBOLT (all caps).
Start by reading the "Parent and Leader Guide" ahead of time. (I've also attached the guide to this email for your convenience.) The guide will answer so many of your questions and give you simple step-by-step directions for using BOLT. There are a few materials you'll want to gather beforehand, but when BOLT begins, the videos will tell you what to do and when to do it. It really is easy!
The "Family Portal" also has all of the videos and documents you'll need for each day. Be sure to read the games document ahead of time so you can be prepared. Then, when you're ready to begin, simply go to the "Family Portal" and play the Day 1 video. The video will periodically tell you to pause in order to play a game, read from the Bible, or answer a question.
And remember, if you feel comfortable gathering with more people, you can invite as many neighbors, friends, and family to your house for BOLT as you would like. It's such an easy and fun way to share the good news of Jesus with our community.
Lastly, take lots of pictures! We'll give you some opportunities to share them with everyone. In the meantime, let me know how we can help you. You and your family are going to LOVE THIS! If you have any issues or questions, contact the church office at 618/783-2226, or call Pastor Steve at 618/553-4264.
Our worship this Sunday will be as follows: A - I will meet at 9 a.m., and J - Z will meet at 10:30 a.m. Join us as we meet to celebrate the Savior! The services will be on YouTube, Facebook, and our Webpage. God is good, and we want to celebrate the goodness of our Father!Update effective Sunday 9/20.
Folks - Worship this Sunday! J - Z will have service at 9 a.m., and A - I will have worship at 10:30 a.m.! By the way - I am home now and thank you for your prayers - hope to see you soon!Update effective Sunday 9/27.
Worship this Sunday! A - I will meet at 9 a.m. and J - Z will meet at 10:30 a.m. Join us in person, or worship with us as our worship time will be on Facebook, YouTube, and our web page!
ALSO - The churches of Jasper County are planning a prayer event for our nation this coming Saturday in the parking lot at Scott Avenue Christian Church, at 8:30 AM. This is in conjunction with a national prayer event to be held in Washington that day.