First Baptist Church
Newton, IL

Worship News - 5/06/2021>

Join us for worship this Sunday at 9 a.m.  This Sunday is Mother's Day, and we will honor our ladies during our time together.  Worship will be followed with Bible classes for all ages!

We continue our study, "Imago Dei," on Wednesday nights at 6 p.m.

The Board of Missions will meet Monday, May 10, at 5 p.m. followed by the Board of Trustees at 6 p.m. and the Board of Deacons' at 7 p.m.

On Sunday, May 16, we will recognize our graduates during the morning worship time.  We need your graduate names, Jr. High, Sr. High, and College, and we would also like a picture for the website and our Facebook page.

Blessings to one and all!

Remember we still have our services on our website, YouTube, and Facebook! 

Pastor Steve

Pastor Steve Willis

Friday May 07, 2021

Dwight D. Eisenhower experienced the winding, narrow roads of Europe during World War II, as he made plans to move troops, equipment, and supplies from one place to another. So, when he became president, he used these experiences to persuade Congress to pass the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 leading to the construction of our present-day interstate highways.

Can you imagine what travel by automobile would be like had this not been done? Well, some of us can remember what travel was like before interstates; however, there weren't nearly as many vehicles then as there are now. A way was prepared for future access.

This is what we need to be doing as followers of Christ. We need to be preparing access for others to find Christ. It was said of John the Baptist that he was the "voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.'" (Matthew 3:3) We need to be doing this as well. We need to do what we can to level out the roads, take down the mountains, build bridges over obstacles, and whatever else needs to be done so that others may see the way to Christ. How are you doing in your spiritual engineering?

Pastor Steve
Thursday May 06, 2021

Each Sunday in our morning worship, we pray the Lord's Prayer. Praying the prayer, we ask the Father to "Give us this day our daily bread." When we ask him this, we are asking for provision for the day. We are asking for guidance for the day. We are asking for illumination for the day. When Christ prayed "give us this day our daily bread," he was putting emphasis on a crucial concept in our spiritual lives - we must trust God day by day. We only know the moment in our lives. What is past is past. We don't know the reality of moments to come, or even if they will come at all. We must trust God with the events of the now, and we rely upon him to provide for the now.

In the day when Christ lived, most did now know from day to day what provision would be there for them. Work opportunities, what was available to eat, goods that were available, were usually available for that day, with no guarantees for the next. But, what else did you need? If you have what you need for today, there was no cause to worry about tomorrow, as tomorrow would bring new provisions.

When God provides for us, it is for our daily needs. We are not able to see beyond today's provision to know what will be done about tomorrow. However, when the needs of today are met, why worry about what might happen tomorrow? God has provided for today, he can provide for tomorrow as well, so leave that detail in the hands of God. This is called faith. When God provided for his people when they were wandering in Sinai, he provided their daily bread through manna. There were strict regulations about gathering more than what you needed for the day, except on the eve of the Sabbath. God ordered this circumstance to show the people he could be entrusted to provide for their "daily bread."

We need to trust God for our daily bread, and realize that tomorrow is to be left up to him. Jesus tells us, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:34)." Trust God for your daily bread, leave tomorrow in God's hands.

Pastor Steve
Wednesday May 05, 2021

Today is Cinco de Mayo. This is celebrated as a holiday in Mexico and by many in the United States, although many do not know why. Some think this is Mexico s Independence Day, but that is not the case. This is a celebration of the Mexican Army's defeat of invading French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The Mexican Army was led very capably by General Zaragoza, and turned back the French who were intent on occupying Mexico City and taking over the entire country.

As stated earlier, many people of Mexican descent living in the United States celebrate today as well. However, it may be a day that should be celebrated by the all of the U.S. Why? Well, the French, under the command of General Napoleon III, had more than Mexico in mind. They wanted to create a means of supplying the Confederate Army during the U.S. Civil War. Had they been successful, who knows what might have happened? They had invaded Mexico under the pretense of wanting to collect Mexican debts to France, but they had an ulterior motive because of Napoleon III's hatred of the U.S. Deception was at the heart of the French effort.

This should not be too surprising. Deception has played a huge part in human events throughout history. We as believers face an enemy who is the Master of deception. Satan s trickery is what causes us to constantly be on the alert. Paul comments on this is II Corinthians 11:13-14, "For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light."

We need to be aware of Satan s propensity to used disguises and deception to trick us into doing and believing things that are not true. How do you avoid these? The best offense is a good defense, a coach once said, and that is true in our Christian life. Know the Word, continue fellowship with other Believers, exercise your prayer life, and you will be prepared for this deceit. Say, since today is a holiday, official or not, let's celebrate our independence in Christ! Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Pastor Steve
Tuesday May 04, 2021

I am always impressed when a store employee actually takes me to what I am looking for when I ask where to find something rather than just pointing out the correct aisle. Now, I don't actually expect this, and I am not disappointed when this doesn't take place; I just am really grateful when it does.

As I think about this, it reminds me about the outlook I should have as a follower of Christ who would like to see others embrace the truth of Christianity. Since this is the case, I need to be willing to do more than just vaguely gesture in the general direction of Christ. I need to be willing to spend the time to walk along the way with others and do what I can to show them the way. Now, it is not up to me to do the convicting, and it is not up to me to do the convincing, but it is indeed my role to be a guide to others to help them find the right path.

When some inquisitive disciples expressed an interest in Christ's work, Christ said to them, "'Come,' he replied, 'and you will see.'" (John 1:39) Later when Philip's testimony was met with a skeptical response from Nathanael, Philip replied, "Come and see." (1:46) We should be willing to walk with others to help them come to belief in Christ. When others express a desire to know more about Christ, we need to be willing to say "Let me take you there!"

Pastor Steve
Monday May 03, 2021

Most folks are really concerned with cleanliness which, in most cases can be stated as a normal desire. This has been even truer over the past year because of our battle with COVID-19. For a time, there was a shortage of cleaning solutions and hand sanitizer because of the demand. That problem has been remedied. I saw a sign at a local store recently offering a "buy one, get one free" on sanitizer.

Cleanliness is an important matter - according to someone, "cleanliness is next to godliness." The thing about cleanliness is that if you really want to be clean, you will be constantly working to maintain the desired state. That which is clean usually won't remain that way and effort needs to be spent to restore the clean.

There is one area where all the effort in the world cannot restore cleanliness. You can't get your life as clean as it needs to be to be in your relationship with God. That is a big problem - but one that God takes care of through the provision of his Son.

David asked God to "Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. . .Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow." (Psalm 51:2 & 7) Only God can get you as clean as you need to be. Don't obsess over this, just seek God's forgiveness and trust in His Son. When you do this, you will be "whiter than snow."

Pastor Steve
Sunday May 02, 2021

Herbert Vander Lugt writes about Pat Fillmore: "Pat Fillmore has been a pioneer missionary in Irian Jaya for 40 years. She taught people to read and brought them medications and medical techniques. She maintained airstrips, built septic systems, and repaired generators and appliances. In addition, she established and managed a quality Bible school, and translated parts of the Bible and many study courses into the language of the people to whom she ministered."

Those are some significant accomplishments! You've surely heard of Pat Fillmore, haven't you? If you have, great, but I must say that I hadn't heard about her until I read Mr. Vander Lugt's article. There are so many people who have many great accomplishments, yet we never know about them. There have been many of these people throughout history - there are many even now who fit into this category.

Sometimes we feel like we may be laboring in a "vacuum" as what we do goes unheralded. Keep a healthy attitude about what you do. On the one hand, don't feel like what you are doing is "insignificant" because you don't attract a lot of attention and on the other hand don't feel like you need to be "noticed." Put yourself in the shoes of Paul's anonymous colleagues he refers to in Philippians 4:3, "the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life." Who are these people? Well, we don't know. However, God does - and that is what matters. What we do for God does not go unnoticed by God. Colossians 3:23-24 tells us, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."

Always keep in mind we are serving God. This helps keep the "attention" factor in perspective.

Pastor Steve
Saturday May 01, 2021

Well, today is the first of May. We sometimes call this May Day. There are a number of holidays in various countries associated with this day. So, it is a significant date on our calendar. Of course, there is another kind of May Day, the mayday distress signal that is used in air, sea and boating emergencies.

According to Wikipedia, the Mayday call sign was originated in 1923 by Frederick Stanley Mockford. A senior radio officer at Croydan Airport in London, Mockford was asked to think of a word that would indicate distress and would easily be understood by all pilots and ground staff in an emergency. Since much of the traffic at the time was between Croydon and Le Bourget Airport in Paris, he proposed the word "Mayday" from the French m'aider.

There are times in our lives when may feel like sending out a mayday signal. We feel like things are crashing down around us, we are trying to hang on as best we can, we feel like the waves are crashing in over the bow of our boat. Rest assured - our mayday signals are heard by God. He is there for us in the crisis events of our lives. Psalm 46:1-3 reminds us, God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

Your mayday signals are not falling on deaf ears - God hears you and knows your distress. He will not let you keep flailing around helplessly. God will not fail you!

Pastor Steve
Friday April 30, 2021

The National Football League draft is taking place right now. It started last night and will continue until Saturday. I follow the draft process a bit because I do like football. Teams pick players based upon a lot of factors and there is always a great deal of discussion on sports shows prior to the draft as to which players would be good "fits" for which teams. The strengths and weaknesses of each player are discussed and evaluations are made as to the players each team will choose. This is based on perceived ability, i.e., how good a player is and how well they would contribute in a particular setting at the professional level.

This process is all well and good for the National Football League, and other professional sports leagues, but I am glad that God does not hold a "draft day" to select those He wants for His "team." He doesn't sit in a room with His "staff" and debate the merits of the players that would best fit into His system. No, God invites everyone to join Him. He says to one and all, "Despite your weaknesses, your brokenness, your flaws, your sins, your problems, I want you to join Me. As a matter of fact, I want that so strongly that I sent my Son to make a way for you to come to me."

Psalm 34:18 tells us, "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Jesus says to us, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." We do not have to be fleet of foot or have a particular skill set or ability to be accepted by God. We just need to come to Him and give Him our heart. He will take care of giving us what we need.

In the closing words of the Bible, we find this invitation, "The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let the one who hears say, 'Come!' Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life." No, there is no Draft Day with God. We can come to Him anytime.

Pastor Steve
Thursday April 29, 2021

There are many things that cause great fear to some, but to others pose no problem at all. Take heights, for instance. There are many who wouldn't climb a ladder for love nor money; however, others have no fear as they regularly scale heights as part of their work, for recreation, or for some other reason. Some fear electricity and wouldn't attempt to work with anything electrical, while others work with "power" daily.

I have an inordinate fear of storms, yet the scripture tells us that God has no fear of storms at all. As a matter of fact, the author of Psalm 97 uses the imagery of storms to describe God and his power. Of course, God has no fear of storms as he is the one who created the forces underlying the storms. Psalm 97:1-4 tells us, "The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice. Clouds and thick darkness surround him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. Fire goes before him and consumes his foes on every side. His lightning lights up the world; the earth sees and trembles."

Yes, there are many things that bring fear to some, but to others pose no threat as they have the skill, ability, and knowledge to utilize the "scary" things in a positive way. There are many circumstances and situations in our lives that bring us fear. That is why we need to trust our scary lives into the hands of Someone who knows how to change what brings fear to us into something good. BOO! Did I scare you? Trusting God with our lives will reduce fear in our lives.

Pastor Steve
Wednesday April 28, 2021

The cacophony emanating from the next room at once brings me joy and contentment. It is the sound of my grandkids at play, and I am enjoying the experience thoroughly. It has been a bit since they have been together, a time long enough to allow the youngest, Edith, now to be old enough to join in on the fun. Even though she is not "talking" as of yet, I can still hear her voice, along with the others, as she has no problem creating volume. I can distinguish all of their individual voices despite the fact that what is transpiring is just below mayhem on the energy scale.

Of course, I can also hear when a voice turns from exuberant play to unwanted pain. I don't like to hear this, but it happens at times for different reasons. And when I hear this, I respond as I can to take care of the problem. I don't have to labor to determine the one needing attention as I can recognize the voices of my grandkids whether joyful or painful.

I would imagine all of you parents and grandparents can relate to what I have been saying. Someone else that I know can relate to this scenario is our Father in heaven. Actually, He defines this experience through His interaction with His children. His ability is much greater than mine, to say the least. He can hear the individual cries of His people at all times despite the roar that our collective voices must create. He knows whether the cries are joyful or full of pain. God hears each of us, knows our needs, and responds to us in the way that shows He has our best interests at heart.

Isaiah 65:24 says, "Before they call, I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear." I Peter 3:12 tells us, "For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer." No matter how much confusion that seems to exist, we can be confident that God hears us and knows just what needs to be done.

Pastor Steve
Tuesday April 27, 2021

Did you ever see the movie "Somewhere in Time?" The movie, which stars Jane Seymour and the late Christopher Reeves, is about a man who goes to sleep in a room in a hotel. He wakes up and finds that he is in the same room, but it is about a hundred years earlier. He meets a young lady with whom he becomes quite intrigued. Of course, the problem is she is in one "time zone," and he is in another. This makes for some interesting situations.

We don't have any choice as to what time period in which we are born. However, we can choose how we are going to live during our time in history. How are you choosing to live your life?

Mordecai pointed out to Esther that she was born for the time in which she lived. Esther faced a great dilemma - a dilemma that called for her to literally put her life on the line for the sake of her people. Mordecai encouraged her to make the right decision when he said to her, "Do not think that because you are in the king's house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this (Esther 4:13-14)?"

Living close to God will allow us to find ourselves in situations where we may have the opportunity to intervene in a positive way. We cannot choose when we live, but we can choose how we live. And "who knows but that you have come (to this circumstance) for such a time as this?"

Pastor Steve
Sunday April 25, 2021

We often feel as if our life is in pieces.  Circumstances occur that cause us to feel as if we are falling apart.  Sometimes decisions are made that leave lives in pieces. It may seem as if the pieces will never go back together again.  However, this isn't Humpty Dumpty, and the king's men aren't the ones responsible for putting the pieces together. They couldn’t do it anyway.  There is someone who can, though.  He has the ability, he has the desire, and he knows what to do.  Christ can take your brokenness and restore you completely. He gave his life to mend broken lives. 

Do you feel as if your life is in pieces?  Do you know someone who is shattered or broken and needs Christ's love?  Joanie Yoder writes "What the king's men couldn't do, the king can!" Psalm 31:12-16 talks of God's restoration, "I am forgotten by them as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery. . .But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, 'You are my God.' My times are in your hand. . .Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love." Let Christ put things back together again. 

Pastor Steve
Saturday April 24, 2021

When I was a youngster, I found a cocoon hanging in a little tree. My mom told me to leave it alone and it would change into something really pretty. Well, my impatience got the best of me as you might imagine, and I tore into the cocoon one day, thinking I was helping the process and would discover this thing of beauty. Instead, I found a mess. My impatience caused that mess. Letting our impatience get the best of us usually does cause a mess.

In this day and age, it is easy for use to forget the virtue and the results of patience. We are so used to instant gratification. We want to be able to see results now; we want to be able to contact others with no waiting; we can pick up what we need at stores that are open 24 hours a day (we even have one right here in our little town). We don't want to have to wait.

Waiting, though, is often the best thing that can happen. Patience is often the means by which we can witness the full power of God. Waiting patiently for the process going on inside that cocoon and allowing it to break open on its own would have allowed me to witness something spectacular. Instead, all I have is a memory of an ugly mess. That is what can happen in our lives when we try to force issues and demand results before the time they are ready to appear.

Proverbs 19:11 tells us, "A person’s wisdom yields patience." Paul wrote about patience a number of times, including Galatians 5:11, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience." Patience produces perseverance. Patience allows us to let God do what he wants in our lives so that the end result is something of beauty, not a mess.

I have often seen the phrase "Be patient - God isn't finished with me yet!" on t-shirts, bumper stickers, and other places. We need to practice what we preach.

Pastor Steve
Friday April 23, 2021

Whoever first coined the phrase "Don't sweat the small stuff" had a good idea, but we need a little balance here. The idea behind this advice goes to stress relief - we shouldn't worry about little details that are not that significant. Richard Carlson has even written a book about this - "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff - And It's All Small Stuff." I appreciate the book and its intention, but there needs to be discernment.

I can think of three circumstances where "small stuff" proved very consequential - the Apollo 11 mission was saved by a felt-tip ink pen3; the Challenger space shuttle was doomed by a little O-ring; and the Titanic was compromised by inferior rivets. I don't have time to go into all the details about these events so if you are curious you can do some research on your own. However, in each of these situations it was "small stuff" that played a big role.

I am all for stress relief, but I do know that there are scenarios where we very much need to take care of the small details. A little crack in a dam can lead to big problems. A little inattention to our personal and spiritual habits can lead to big problems. "Oh, it isn't that big of a deal, this little lie isn't going to hurt anyone." This thinking is not wise. We need to be aware that little things can have a big impact.

Christ tells us, "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much." (Luke 16:10) Small things matter - make sure you gain some perspective here. Yes, there are times when we don't need to "sweat the small stuff," but there are times when we do. Pay attention and pray for discernment to know when to take care of the small stuff.

Pastor Steve
Thursday April 22, 2021

I have said it before and I will say it again - technological advances and social media are wonderful tools but they can be a detriment to proper interpersonal communication. This is nowhere any truer than in the area of appropriate confrontation. There are times when confrontation is necessary, but with the advent of social media sites, we are losing our ability in this area.

Social media sites allow one to vent, and even rant, on issues or people without the usual features and constraints that face-to-face communication brings. This can result in "under done" or "over done" episodes. Employers can now send lay-off notices via email. Corrective missives can be sent without the possibility of immediate feedback that is often helpful in scenarios where confrontation is needed. We need to be aware of this and ask ourselves hard questions before we take to the "airwaves" to share our concerns or to communicate with others about an issue that needs to be addressed.

Confrontation is rarely an easy thing to do, but we see from scripture that it is often a necessary thing to do. Paul had the unenviable task of confronting Peter because of the error that Peter had allowed to creep into his ministry. We read in Galatians 2:11-14, "But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came, he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, 'If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?'"

This was the sort of issue that needed to be dealt with directly and not on Facebook. There are times when this is the case today. Use your discernment before you sign in.

Pastor Steve
Wednesday April 21, 2021

Do you have the courage to say "surprise me" when you are ordering at an ice cream shop, or a restaurant, or some other place where you are asked for a choice? I read a story once about a wife who always said to her husband "surprise me" when they were ordering ice cream at a dairy bar. This usually takes a little bit of courage on the part of the one who asks for the surprise, and a little bit of faith as well. You need to trust that the person whom you ask to do the surprising will not select something that is bad.

We can do this with God, you know. This takes courage and faith, but we can tell God to surprise us and we know that what we will receive will be more that what we expected. Actually, if we do this with God, we can usually expect to experience something unexpected. Throughout the Bible, we read how God delights in doing the unexpected for his people. This may mean holding back waters so you can pass on dry ground (Exodus 14:25-31). It may mean being thrown into a den of lions and witnessing the closing of the lions' mouths (Daniel 6). It also means watching him forgive and embrace those who confess their sins (Psalm 130:1-4)

God delights in doing the unexpected and asks us to trust him as he works in our lives. He is not confined by our limited imaginations or our meager expectations. He is pleased when we demonstrate trust in him and show our faith through times when we are "surprised." We can have faith in him because we know he will never do anything to harm us and has nothing but our best interests in mind.

Christ reminded his followers, "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" (Matthew 7:11) He wants to bless us more than we can ever imagine and will do so to the ones who demonstrate faith by saying, "Surprise me!"

Pastor Steve
Tuesday April 20, 2021

There are 60,000 miles of blood vessels in the human body. Can you imagine that? Actually, we really can t. That is a lot of blood vessels. Our tiny little 11-ounce heart pumps 2,000 gallons of blood through those 60,000 miles of vessels each day. At a rate of 70-75 beats a minute, that is a rate of over 80 gallons an hour. Every day, the heart uses an equivalent of enough energy to drive a truck for 20 miles. Over a lifetime, that would be the same as traveling to the moon and back. A healthy heart can do amazing things. On the other hand, a heart that is not healthy is a problem. Scherry and I both have experienced this.

The same can be said of our spiritual heart. Throughout the scripture, the term "heart" is used for the center of one's being, the real you, the force within you that makes you who you are. If our spiritual heart is neglected, we suffer. Proverbs 4:23 says, "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." While this may indeed apply to our physical heart, the context makes it plain that our inner heart is the subject of this advice.

How can we keep our heart healthy? The writer goes on to give some practical tips for this: "Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil." (vss. 24 - 27) He had already given the advice of heeding his words (vs. 20)

Heeding God's words and following God's ways leads to a healthy heart. Following this advice can help us avoid a spiritual heart attack.

Pastor Steve
Monday April 19, 2021

Sometimes trying to explain to someone else what you mean is frustrating. There are times when communication just seems to break down and we experience difficulty in describing to someone else what we are thinking or how to do something or how to find something.

Christ had that experience with a group of people who really didn't like what they were hearing. They did not understand at all what he was saying. Their reaction was hostile and revealed their underlying attitude towards him. He said to them, "Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say." (John 8:43) In essence, they simply did not want to hear what he had to say.

As followers of Christ, we can hear what Christ is saying to us. However, we need to be careful that we don't fall into the trap of not hearing simply because we don't like what we are hearing.

As we study God's Word, we often encounter principles and precepts that inform us of needed changes in our lives. At times, we don't want to make those changes, so we allow for a communication breakdown and ignore what we are hearing. I don't know how much this frustrates Christ, but I do know it isn't a good idea.

I remember seeing this characteristic in my kids when they were little, and now I get a kick out of seeing my grandkids exhibit the same trait the ability to just shut hearing off when they don t like what they are hearing. You can try to get their attention all you want, but they just continue to do what they are doing as if they don t hear you at all. Usually, this is a humorous thing, but sometimes it isn't when an important issue is involved.

We can be like this - but we shouldn't be. Work on your hearing when it comes to Christ's words. They are important and we really need to hear what he is saying!

Pastor Steve
Sunday April 18, 2021

I once read an article that said, "With few exceptions, the major highways in Michigan follow ancient trails that were blazed by Native Americans hundreds of years ago." Imagine that - modern roads following the path that was determined so many years ago.

Successive generations will follow the paths that we are blazing now. What kind of routes are we choosing? Which way are we directing those who will follow our lead? We see this principle in the scripture. Proverbs 4:18 tells us, "The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day."

Are we making paths that are "like the morning sun" and will be easy to follow? Our children, both physical and spiritual, will be following the paths we create. We need to make sure that we are cutting a righteous, wise, and clear trail. We want to make the kind of trail that will someday turn into a highway. What kind of path are you cutting?

Pastor Steve
Saturday April 17, 2021

We use a lot of olive oil in our home as we use it almost exclusively in our cooking. We enjoy the taste, and it is supposed to be better for you. Olive oil is still an important commodity in our world today, but in ancient times it was really important. Someone once wrote that the Roman empire ran on olive oil - cooking, heat, light, medicine, and many other uses. The oil came from southern Spain in clay pots. Once the oil was consumed, the pots were discarded.

On the bank of the Tiber River in Rome there is a "mountain" called Monte Testaccio that is made from the fragments of millions of discarded pots. It has been estimated that the hill contains the remains of 53 million pots. The Romans used what was valuable and discarded the jars that were considered to have little value.

Paul wrote about this reality in the Christian life: "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." (II Corinthians 4:7) Paul was reminding his readers that what is important about our lives is not the temporal, fading, frail external body, but the internal being. Our greatest treasure is the inner working of Christ within us.

There is such a premium placed on our bodies in our society today. And I am not saying we should neglect the care of the body, or view the body as bad while the good part of us is inside. What I am saying is that we should focus on developing the inner being and our bond with Christ. We need to live so that others can see the glory of Christ in us. We should reveal our inner treasure by radiating the love of Christ.

Pastor Steve
Friday April 16, 2021

The European Cuckoo is really "cuckoo." A female cuckoo will invade a nest built by another bird and lay an egg, then will abandon the egg. The unsuspecting actual resident of the nest hatches the egg along with her own. Then, after the chicks have grown a bit, the cuckoo chick will force the other chicks out of the nest in order to receive undivided attention from the mother.

Paul warns against such freeloading behavior among believers, "For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: 'If a man will not work, he shall not eat.' We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat. And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right (II Thessalonians 3:10-13)."

Make sure you pull you own weight! You may say, "Well, I'm not a freeloader." I can respect that, but what about how you treat others? Be concerned about others, but don't interfere in the lives of others. Busybodies are unwelcome and unhelpful. We should never tire of doing the right thing, as Paul tells us. In actuality, busybodies are just plain "cuckoo!"

Pastor Steve
Thursday April 15, 2021

Being back at Carle Hospital yesterday reminded me of my prior surgeries there and of the doctor who did my last back surgery. My surgeon was an interesting individual whose personality was reflected in the décor in his office. Each of his examining rooms had a theme. For example, one room was his “Star Trek” room. It was filled with objects and memorabilia from the various Star Trek TV series and movies. He even had signed photos of some of the actors he obtained at Star Trek conventions. I liked this room in particular as I am a little bit of a “Trekkie.”

. In the second Star Trek movie, "Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan," Spock enters a radiation-filled chamber to make a necessary repair so that the Starship Enterprise can continue to operate and the crew can be saved. A dying Spock says to Captain Kirk, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one."

I have always thought it interesting that similar words are found in Scripture. The words of Caiaphas about Christ found in John 11:50 are "You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish." My, what a statement. Even though Caiaphas was speaking in malice, this was exactly what Christ did. Verses 51 and 52 continue, "He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one." The needs of the many took precedent - Christ died for the many. 

We know this to be true, and we know we have hope because of Christ being willing to sacrifice himself for the needs of the many. We praise God for this, yet we often fail to apply this principle to guide our lives. We forget that often the needs of the many may outweigh the needs of the one - especially if we are the one, and it is our need that should be tabled for the greater good of the many. When it involves our need, we sometimes push the issue to the point of disruption so that our "rights" are preserved, our needs met.

This happens in our churches as well. The ministry of the church is more important than one's personal desires or wants. We must consider the unity of the church and the welfare of the "many" when considering our personal actions. Ask yourself this question, "How is what I am doing affecting others and the ministry of the church?" We really need to consider the welfare of others over our personal desires. Live for the good of the many. It's the logical thing to do. More importantly, it's the biblical thing to do!

Pastor Steve
Wednesday April 14, 2021

Well, I know I sound like a broken record when I say this (I can make this statement safely now since vinyl records have made a comeback), but I am having surgery today. It will be an outpatient procedure as I have a basal cell carcinoma on my face that needs to be removed. Normally, this is something that is not all that involved and is done in a doctor’s office. I have had this experience before. However, I waited too long before getting this thing removed and now the work has to be done in a surgical facility. Carle Hospital in Urbana, Illinois, is the scene of the removal. I have been a surgical patient at Carle twice before for back procedures.

Anyway, my lax attitude led to a scenario that should not have been. This can be the case with issues in our lives, can’t it? Putting off what needs to be done can lead to difficult circumstances. One suggestion I convey is to not put off medical decisions that need to be made. In my case, it is not a great issue. In other scenarios, it certainly could be.

This is also an important issue when it comes to many other decisions and actions, including one’s decision to become a follower of Christ. This is not a decision that should be set aside for a later time. Proverbs 27:1 warns us about thinking that we will always have tomorrow, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” So, don’t put off what needs to be done, especially when it involves your relationship with the Savior.

Pastor Steve
Tuesday April 13, 2021

What do you want to do for the Lord today? Many of you may be saying, "Well, I really haven't given that much thought." Therein lies the problem. Often, we spend way too much time on trivial pursuits and not enough time on really important considerations.

Do you remember Everybody Loves Raymond? It was popular around the turn of the century (I just couldn t resist saying that). In one episode, Debra confronts Raymond about his lack of desire to do something worthwhile. One of her statements is, "You said the church carnival really wasn't your thing because you didn't think the Lord wanted you to try to fleece other people for money." Her complaint is that Raymond really didn't want to do anything.

We are often like that in our service for God. We have a number of excuses and reasons why we aren't doing anything. We want to do what we want to do and are not concerned about what God wants us to do. We have "Raymond excuses" and I really don't think God wants to hear them. This is not right, and it is an attitude that needs to be eliminated.

Moses tried this - he had "Raymond" excuses when it came to doing what God wanted him to do. We read in Exodus 3:13-14, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?" God said to Moses, "I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I am has sent me to you.'" God eventually said to Moses, in effect, "Quit making excuses and do what you know you should!" He says that to us as well. We need to quit making excuses and do what we know we should.

Pastor Steve
Monday April 12, 2021

David had a problem. For years, Saul pursued him and wanted to kill him. Twice David had the opportunity to end the conflict by taking Saul's life, but he wouldn't do this. He knew he needed to rely on God and his wisdom. At a confrontation just after David spared Saul's life for the second time, David said, "The king of Israel has come out to look for a flea--as one hunts a partridge in the mountains." (I Samuel 26:20)

How did David cope with this prolonged struggle? By continuing to rely on God's presence and his love. He knew there was no other recourse but to continue to place himself in God's hands and trust his promises. He brought his problems to the Lord and registered his complaint with him. He asked, "How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?" (Psalm 13:1) However, he proclaimed his faith in God's plan and proclaimed his understanding that God knows best. "But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord s praise, for he has been good to me." (Psalm 13:5-6)

Facing protracted difficulties is not easy. When we do, we need to bring our complaints to God and give them to him. God interacts with his children and will help bring us to a place where we come back to certainties: He loves us in spite of what we experience. God will not leave us alone and will help see us though the conflict. David had a problem and sometimes so do we, but there is no problem we have to face alone.

Pastor Steve
Sunday April 11, 2021

It has been a week since the resurrection and what a week it has been! We know that sometime during the evening a week ago Christ appeared to his disciples in the room where they were staying (hiding?) They were overjoyed by his appearance. Perhaps there were other times during the week when they had encounters with him. Well, all of them except one.

John gives us the best outline of the week - "Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, 'We have seen the Lord!' But he said to them, 'Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.' A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, 'Peace be with you!' Then he said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.' Thomas said to him, 'My Lord and my God!' Then Jesus told him, 'Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'" (John 20:24-29)

Thomas was absent of the first Sunday, and when he heard about the appearance of Christ, he was a little incredulous in his response. I don't know what all Christ did the next week, but obviously he was never where Thomas was, until the next Sunday. Then comes one of the most fascinating meetings recorded in the Gospels. When Thomas sees Christ, his recognition is immediate. Christ really did not chide him for his "unbelief," but it was almost as if he said, "You need to believe whether you see me or not."

Many often remark, "Oh, if only I could actually see Christ!" To those who say this, Christ's response is like that to Thomas - believe me whether you see me or not! Christ is alive - don't use not seeing him as an excuse for not believing. It won't work.

Pastor Steve
Saturday April 10, 2021

I begin my article today with a statement that I could not have made this time last year: We are a week into the MLB season. As we exist in the present and look to the future, let me tease you with a name from the past - Bernie Carbo. Now, unless you are a Cincinnati Reds or a Boston Red Sox fan, or maybe some Cardinals fans will remember him, you probably won t recognize this name. He came up with the Reds in 1969 and had a great rookie year in 1970, hitting 21 home runs.

Carbo didn t fit the "conservative" mold of the Reds because of his flamboyance, so he was traded to the Cardinals, but eventually ended up with the Red Sox. There, he did some things in the 1975 World Series (against the Reds, as many of you remember) that has made him the answer to a couple of sports trivia questions: "Who holds the record for the most pinch-hit home runs in a series?" (Carbo, 2. actually shares this record) and "Who hit the home run which tied the game and set up Carlton Fisk's famous game winning home run in the 6th game of the 1975 series?" (Carbo).

What I think is more interesting is what Carbo is doing now - he is an evangelist who travels and speaks at churches across the nation. In a TV interview sometime back, he told of how he wants to impress on as many people as he can that God loves them and wants to have a relationship with them. He also speaks in schools on anti-drug themes and positive self-image emphases. It is interesting to see the impact he is having on folks now. Carbo had a substance abuse problem, but eventually became sober and credits his decision to turn his life over to God as what helped him get things straight.

I was a Carbo fan, and was disappointed when the Reds traded him in 1972, but it is nice to see the direction he has followed. As many people as he might have influenced as a professional baseball player, more are being influenced by his current ministry. And the message he now conveys has a greater impact - we can live forever with God if we make the right decision.

God asks the question in Isaiah 6:8, "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' And I (Isaiah) said, 'Here am I. Send me!'" It is good that Bernie Carbo answered God's call. But we don't have to be a former professional ballplayer to be used of God - he wants to and can use you, if you say yes to him. I hope that you do because it is indeed time to "play ball!"

Pastor Steve
Friday April 09, 2021
Twenty-five years ago, we did a renovation to our church. There were two phases to this update - one was to expand our fellowship hall and the other was to build a balcony in the church to provide more seating. A member of the church drew some plans for the project and we contacted a local contractor to do the work.

As the contractor began the construction, he came to me and said, "Come with me. I want to show you something." We walked into the church and he said, "You see that back wall? Well, we have discovered that it doesn't go straight across. It has a slight curve. This was the way it was built. Now, that will not pose a big problem. We will just adjust our work accordingly, but I just wanted to point that out."

I thought this was rather interesting. No one, not even the person who drew the plans, had noticed the curve. It was an architectural feature that went unnoticed until you placed a "straight edge" on the wall. Then it was obvious that the wall did not go straight across.

This can happen in our spiritual lives as well. We can experience curves that are imperceptible to the "naked eye." That is why we need to constantly depend upon the "straight edge" of God's Word and the leadership of the Holy Spirit to make sure we keep going the right way.

In the matter of the wall in our church, that was not a great problem, but it did require some adjustments for the alterations. In our lives we can experience curves that are of greater consequence and need to be avoided. That back wall looked so straight to us when we were looking at it. So it is with our spiritual walk. We think we are proceeding along a path that is as straight as can be, but in reality there are dangers and difficulties that we don't perceive. Proverbs 3:6 advises us, "In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight." Don't just "eyeball" your spiritual walk; let God direct you through His Word and through His leadership.

Pastor Steve
Thursday April 08, 2021

Samuel DiPiazza was CEO of PricewaterhouseCoopers from 2002 2009. He wrote a book about building integrity, trust, and believability in relationships in the business world. He wrote, "either you have it or you don't." He promotes a culture of transparency and accountability.

A good question is: Can you acquire integrity if you are a person who has demonstrated that you are less than believable at times? Certainly, you can by demonstrating character and trustworthiness. DiPiazza contends that you cannot acquire this characteristic if you aren't a person with inherent integrity. I disagree.

With the work of God within you, a fundamental change in character is indeed possible. David asked God "teach me your statutes." (Psalm 119:124) Proverbs 11:3 says, "The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them." Such integrity is something that comes from within, but is a trait that can be acquired and developed. Through turning our lives into the hands of the Lord and trusting the work of the Spirit, we can see our character transformed and our hearts made right. Develop integrity through trust in God's hand. He will guide your ways.

Pastor Steve
Wednesday April 07, 2021

One of the common characteristics we see among those who had an encounter with Christ after the resurrection was that they were changed. Mary Magdalene was changed from a sorrowing mourner into an energetic informer. "Mary stood outside the tomb crying." became "Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: 'I have seen the Lord!'" (John 20:11 & 18) Thomas went from a questioning skeptic to a professing believer. "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands" became "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:25 & 28)

Perhaps one of the greatest changes came within a person who had been a close ally of Christ before the crucifixion, then went through a period of doubt and turmoil because his actions brought him shame. Some might say he even displayed cowardice at a time when strength was needed. This all changed when he encountered the resurrected Christ. Peter was transformed from issuing disclaimers to a powerful proclaimer. "I am not" became "Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: 'Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say.'" (John 18:17 & Acts 2:14)

Having an encounter with the Resurrected Lord brings change. Some may contend, "Well, of course there was change for them, they saw him face to face." But there is more to the change that just a reaction to what they saw. An encounter with the resurrected Christ changed more than just their mental attitude about Christ; there was an inner change brought about by the Spirit of Christ that transformed them to the very core of their being.

This transformation takes place in all who have an encounter with the Resurrected Christ. Seeing him is one thing, but even Christ said, "Blessed are those who have not seen, yet have believed." (John 20:29) An encounter with the Resurrected Christ does change our mental attitude. It also changes our outlook. We are changed to the very core of our being. Being changed by Christ brings hope and brings assurance that permeate our being even at the darkest moments of our lives. There is a release because we have been freed from the bondage we endured during our days as unrighteous people.

When we encounter the Resurrected Christ, we are new people with a new outlook, a new hope, and a new sense of purpose. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" (II Corinthians 5:17) I hope you have been changed through an encounter with the Resurrected Christ. Allow Him to help you make the change.

Pastor Steve
Tuesday April 06, 2021

Perhaps many of you have sponsored a child through one of the several organizations that exist to try to help provide a better world for children. I read a story about a lady who was sponsoring a child in an impoverished nation. She made arrangements through the organization to visit the child. The visit was facilitated and the woman met the young girl who was living in conditions that were hard for her to describe. She decided to take the little girl to a restaurant - perhaps the first time she had ever visited one. The girl ordered a hamburger and french fries along with a drink. Her sponsor ordered a salad.

When the food came, the girl looked at the food before her, maybe the most food she had ever seen at one time, and then looked at what the woman had ordered. She must have thought the small salad the lady had before her was not going to be enough to eat because she took her knife, cut her hamburger in two, and offered it to her benefactor, asking, "Hungry?"

Can you imagine that? This little girl who had next to nothing was willing to share what she had so that someone else might have something too. The child serves as a reminder to us of what we need to be willing to do - share what we have with others so that those who have nothing may have something.

This was a characteristic of the early church that helped to set them apart from the standards of the world. "All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need." (Acts 4:32-35) We need to continue to make this a priority in our lives today. When we take care of the needs of others, we reflect the character of Christ.

Pastor Steve
Monday April 05, 2021

The first person to whom Christ appeared after his resurrection was Mary Magdalene. John wrote, "Jesus said to her, 'Mary.' She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, 'Rabboni!' (which means 'Teacher')." (John 20:16) Mary had come to the tomb with two other ladies to properly dress Christs body after his burial. Mary was a follower of Christ who had been delivered from demonic oppression - "Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out." (Luke 8:2)

Christ appeared first to Mary for a reason, of course. Actually, there were a number of reasons for this, and one that comes to mind is that Mary was where she needed to be when she needed to be there. Her love and devotion and a desire to do what she could for Christ, even though he was dead (or so she thought), put her in a place of special blessing and acknowledgment. I realize there are other thoughts that we might consider to be more profound as to why she was first, but this is one that just seems to jump out at me.

I make an observation from this. If we are where we need to be when we need to be there in our relationship with the Savior, we put ourselves in a position of blessing and ministry. We receive blessings from the hands of Christ because of our obedience and we are able to minister more effectively to others because we are in the right spot at the right time, so to speak. I often close our services with the phrase, "Be where you need to be when you need to be there." The way this thought is phrased may be original with me, but the idea certainly isn't. Mary is a good example of putting yourself where God wants you to be.

Pastor Steve
Saturday April 03, 2021

During the week of the crucifixion, today is a day of mixed emotions and reactions. There must have been a widespread amazement to the events of the day before - the darkness, the rending of the veil between the Holy Place and the Holiest of Holies, and the resurrection of many dead people. The followers of Christ are confused, devastated, and afraid. The apostles have found a retreat in a room somewhere in Jerusalem. Most of the soldiers involved probably went about their lives - they had done this before, although Matthew 27 tells us that some of them were deeply moved by the events.

I don't know what was going through the minds of Pilate and Herod - neither were strangers to crucifixions - but this one was different. Pilate had to think about the events of Friday as the religious leaders wouldn't let him alone even though he had done there bidding. They were worried. The scripture tells us they were worried that Christ's followers would come and try to take the body. So, "The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 'Sir,' they said, 'we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, After three days I will rise again. So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.' 'Take a guard,' Pilate answered. 'Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.' So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard." (Matthew 27:62-66)

What about Christ? That is a good question. Many teach that he "descended into hell" to release captive saints that were waiting his deliverance. This is based on Ephesians 4:8 and I Peter 3:18-20. I take these verses to refer to his descent to the earth and his ministry there, not a descent into hell. We do know that he went to paradise - remember his promise to the dying thief? (Luke 23:43) As to what else he did during this time - well, we don't know everything about him, do we? Oh, but we know what he will do tomorrow! My, what tomorrow will bring!

Pastor Steve
Friday April 2, 2021

What happened on this day, Friday, during the "last" week of Christ's life should go without saying. However, we need to say it; we need to rehearse the details to remind us of the incredible path that God chose that would lead to redemption for those who choose to follow. After the arrest in Gethsemane, there was a night of interrogation and abuse through the trials of the Sanhedrin.

As dawn broke, Jesus was taken to Roman courts before Pontius Pilate, then Herod, then back to Pilate. Pilate gave the people a choice - Jesus or Barabbas. We know whom they chose. Events raced forward like a flood - the scourging, the crucifixion, the darkness, the earthquake, the veil of the temple torn in two, the graves of dead saints opened, the seven statements from the cross, the spear, Christ's death, and, of course, the burial. All in one day - a day we call Good Friday.

Christ was born at night and it became day; he was crucified during the day and it became as dark as night. A divine exchange took place - he bore our sins upon him so that we may have freedom from sin. "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous." (I Corinthians 5:12; 18-19) This is why we call today Good Friday.

Pastor Steve
Thursday April 1, 2021

Today is Thursday, Maundy Thursday, as we sometimes call it. The term "maundy" comes from the Latin word "mandatum" which means "command." This is a day when we reflect on Christ's final commands. Christ gave his disciples some pretty definitive instructions on Thursday before his crucifixion. Matthew 26 tells us how he told the disciples where to go and what to say in finding a location for them to celebrate Passover. Verse 18 says, "Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, 'The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.'"

Before celebrating the Passover, he washes their feet and later tells them, "A new command I give you: Love one another." (John 13:34) During the Passover observance, he gives them bread and tells them "Take and eat; this is my body." (Matthew 26; 26) After the supper he gave them the cup and said, "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." (26:27-28) He tells them to "do this in remembrance of me." (Luke 22:19) Later, they would leave the room where they shared this last Passover and go to Gethsemane. There he would talk with His Father, chide his disciples for falling asleep, come face to face with his betrayer, be arrested, and taken before the Sanhedrin.

We need to remember his final commands as they tell us how we should relate to ourselves, our fellow believers, and our marvelous Savior. Made every day a "maundy" day by choosing to live by the commands of Christ. Pastor Steve


Weekly Schedule

AM Worship - 9:00 AM
Sunday School - 10:30 AM
PM Worship - 6:00 PM
Dinner - 5:45 PM
Cross Training - 6:30 PM
Prayer Time - 9:00 AM


Our Pastor

Pastor Steve Willis

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!

Our Church

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.


Brad Tarr * Adam Wolf * Tyler Ghast * David Stankus * Sam White