First Baptist Church of New Carlisle, Ohio has a rich and unique history in our community. Since 1955 we've been establishing ourselves as a lighthouse for Jesus Christ in our hometown of New Carlisle, Ohio.

We have Bible Study at 9:15 am and Worship Service at 10:30 am every Sunday. Childcare/nursery provided for all services. Wednesdays we have Prayer Meeting at 7:00 pm and Revive Student Ministries for youth at 7:00 pm

Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Key to Spiritual Victory - Pastor Rick Shoemaker

Read: Joshua 7:1-26
Dr. Karl Menniger wrote a book a few years ago entitled, “Whatever Became of Sin?” Dr. Menniger, a world-renowned psychiatrist, was lamenting the dangerous trend in society to become tolerant of all sorts of evil behavior. Sin was laughed at. Sin was commended. Sin was embraced. Sin was encouraged. This broad-based acceptance of evil was seen to have devastating effects on individuals, families, communities, countries, and the world. As long as sin was embraced and not eradicated, all civilization would be in peril. This account of “sin in the camp” is a powerful amen to Dr. Menniger’s thesis.

Israel had just won an amazing victory in conquering Jericho. Actually, God had won this victory. Their next battle would be against the small town of Ai. Joshua sent his spies to check out the area and the spies agreed that this battle would be a cakewalk! Joshua sent 3000 troops against the city. But to everyone’s surprise, the people of Ai soundly defeated Israel. The army of Israelites was routed and 36 men were killed. Joshua was devastated. He falls on his face before God and cries out in despair.(vs.7-9) God sternly tells Joshua to stand up and face the music...Israel has sinned. And sin was the cause of this terrible defeat.

Someone in the camp had directly and deliberately disobeyed God (6:18-19) by stealing a garment, gold, and silver and hiding it away. This hidden sin was the reason that Israel had lost the blessing and power of God resulting in defeat. And God ordered Joshua to deal with it right away. God did not specify who had sinned, but instructed Joshua to do something rather unusual. God would first identify the tribe, then the family, and then the individual men, and then the guilty man would be identified. There surely was a reason God chose to reveal the sinner in this manner. I believe God was giving Achan a chance to admit his sin before God had to bring it to light. Had he done so, I am of the opinion that God would have forgiven him and spared his life. Because Achan tried to hide his sin, the punishment was imposed.
After Achan was punished, a great heap of stones was raised up as a constant reminder of Achan’s sin and his tragic end. God wanted His people to long remember how much He hates our sin. After the sin had been dealt with, the battle against Ai resumed and God gave the victory. What would God desire that we learn from this account?

I.                   The Path toward Sin (Joshua 7:21)
II.                The Pain of Sin (Joshua 7:4-11)
III.             The Punishment for Sin (Joshua 7:23-25)
IV.             The Purging of Sin (Joshua 7:26-8:25)

I.                   The Path toward Sin (Joshua 7:21)
A.    Joshua confronts Achan and with sadness questions him about his sin
B.     Achan then recounts the steps he took that led to this terrible time
1.      “I saw”           
a. What he saw appeared beautiful and desirable to him
b. And it no doubt was impressive. The Babylonian garment, the silver and the gold would be beautiful.
c.       But he failed to see beyond the glitter. He failed to see these objects as God saw them. They were accursed things in the eyes of God.
d.      Eve saw the forbidden fruit but didn’t see the disastrous consequences eating that fruit would unleash on the world.
e.       David saw Bathsheba, but didn’t see the pain his sin would inflict.
f.       Certainly, if we 20/20 vision, we are bound to see lots of things that are attractive or beautiful. That is not sin. But when we take the next step, we move to a slippery slope.
2.      “I coveted”
a.       The first glimpse of something can easily lead to “longing gazes”
b.      When a person “covets” it means that he begins to fantasize about it. he hungers for it. He deeply desires it. It can become an overwhelming obsession. And the defenses against sin are weakened.
c.       “You can’t keep a bird from flying over your head, but you can keep it from building a nest in your hair.” (Chinese Proverb)
1.      When you allow your thoughts to dwell on something, not only will that bird build her nest; you’re about to get “egg on your face”.
d.      It is in the thought life where all sin originates.
1.      “Sow a thought. You will reap an action. Sow an action. You will reap a habit. Sow a habit. You will reap a lifetime. Sow a lifetime. You will reap an eternity.”
e.       What was Achan thinking? We would have to speculate, but probably something like this went through his foolish mind.
1.      “Babylonian threads! Classy outfit! Man, would the girls dig me in that! Designer label! I could never afford such an awesome suit of clothes on my salary! Who’s going to miss one garment? And while I’m at it, that gold and silver would be a nice addition to my bank account. I deserve a bonus for all my trouble. I’ve been marching around this city all week. We’ll consider this overtime pay.”
2.      Maybe, he wasn’t so bold. Maybe he struggled before he stole. Maybe his thoughts were, “Would you look at that Babylonian garment? I have never had anything so fine. But God said that it was accursed and to leave it alone...So I’ll just leave it... But it looks just my size, like it was made for me! No. No. Joshua told us that God said to keep away from this stuff...But Joshua never has had a sense of style...What would be so bad about one fancy outfit? After all, our father, Joseph had a coat of many colors. So why shouldn’t I have one, too? I really shouldn’t...Nobody is looking. Nobody will know. One garment can’t hurt!”

3. “I took”
a.       Once Achan became obsessed with taking the garment, the gold, and the silver, acting on that obsession was the natural next step.
b.      Can you imagine the initial thrill he must have felt at that instant?
c.       He was taking something strictly forbidden. He likely felt both elated that he possessed these things and frightened that someone might find out.
4.  “I Hid”
a.       Isn’t that ironic? He possessed this treasure and has to hide it all away!
b.      By the time he will feel safe enough to wear his special garment, it will likely be moth eaten.
c.       One of the sure signs that we have fallen into sin, is our eagerness to hide what we have done.
d.      Saw an episode on coach when Coach Hayden Fox and Assistant Coach Dauber decide to purchase motorcycles. They had promised their wives they wouldn’t purchase them. But when they saw the bikes, they coveted the bikes, then they took the bikes, and went back to Hayden’s house and hid the bikes under the front porch.
e.       The pathway of sin eventually leads to hiding. If you are hiding something in your life chances are, you have unconfessed sin in your life that needs to be eliminated before it does serious damage to you and yours.
II.                The Pain of Sin (Joshua 7:4-11)
A.    Sin never is a private matter.
1.      Some would object: “Why did all of Israel suffer for Achan’s sin? That isn’t fair!”
2.      That was precisely God’s point! Achan sinned but the entire 12 tribes would suffer because of it!
B.     God had to teach Israel that sin has a way of hurting far more than the sinner.
1.      The consequences of sin can harm countless others!
2.      In this case 36 men of Israel died as a direct result of Achan’s sin
3.      In the case of Adam and Eve, all creation continues to suffer
C.     The shoplifter thinks, “What’s the big deal? This company is worth millions. They won’t miss one CD or one shirt or whatever”
1.      But that act of shoplifting sets in motion a domino effect and everyone pays! Because of that act of shop lifting, the prices go up to pay the added costs for security measures and higher insurance rates and higher taxes to cover the cost of law enforcement. We all pay!
2.      A corporate executive decides that they can make higher profits by cutting corners on the quality level of those tires. And he okays the manufacture of thousands of tires and they begin a pattern of blowouts and people are killed and seriously injured. Then someone investigates and the company hides until they are found out and profits tumble and deficits grow and employees lose their jobs and the domino continues.

3.      Randy Downs foolishly decides that he can make extra money by making a drug delivery. He is promised $300. Just this one time and he sure could use that money. So he sees the money. He covets what is can buy. He takes the money. And isn’t able to hide. He is caught and the dominos fall!
He must pay legal fees far beyond that $300. His wife and children are humiliated and ashamed. His parents and brothers and sisters are drawn into the mess. He spends 3.5 years in prison. That amounts to 30,660 hours of his life for a net profit of $300. That amounts less than 1 cent per hour.
D.    God was trying to teach Israel by Achan’s bad example that sin spreads like an epidemic and contaminates all it touches.
III.             The Punishment for Sin (Joshua 7: 23-25)
A.    We read about the severe punishment that was inflicted upon Achan and his family and it causes us to cringe. Sounds terribly cruel.
B.     But God was trying to demonstrate to Israel how exceedingly bad sin is.
C.     Frankly, this swift and serious punishment would likely be a deterrent to future crime.
D.    God doesn’t always resort to such severe measures.
1.      He killed Ananias and Sapphira for their lies in New Testament times
a.       A good thing that isn’t God’s usual method or we would see politicians dropping like flies!.
E.     Still, this severe punishment likely served the purpose to keep others from such disobedience AND it showed us just how serious God considers sin to be!
F.      One reason that Jesus suffered and died by crucifixion was to emphasize the terrible problem of sin.
G.    Understand all sin will be punished.
1.      Either your sin will be punished on the cross
2.      Or, you will be punished for it...Achan was stoned and then burned.
3.      If you die in your sin, you will likewise die and then burn...but the flame is never quenched. God has issued His warning.
IV.             The Purging of Sin
A.      Once this sin was dealt with, Israel received the blessing and power of God.
B.      They went back into battle and victory was won.
C.      Spiritual victory will not be won so long as sin remains in our lives.
D.       One of the most important keys to revival is to let the Lord cleanse us from sin.
1.      “If my people which are called by my Name shall humble themselves and pray and seek my faceand turn from their wicked ways...then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and will heal their land.”
      II Chron. 7:14
E.       “If you will confess your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” I John 1:9

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Wishing for a Mulligan - By Pastor Rick Shoemaker

What would you do if after two rounds of competition you were leading a golf tournament with a good chance of winning a one million dollar prize and then, you received word that your wife had gone into labor…three weeks premature? When faced with that scenario, PGA professional Hunter Mahan, left the tournament and headed to the hospital to be with his wife. A few hours later, Mrs. Mahan gave birth to a healthy girl, Zoey Olivia, and Hunter managed to arrive before she was born.

When I heard this story, my mind drifted back to September of 1975. Elizabeth and I were expecting the birth of our first child. Our baby was two weeks overdue. Our family doctor decided that he should induce labor rather than delay any longer.

On Thursday, September 18, our beautiful baby girl, Jennifer Dawn, entered into our world at the Southeastern Kentucky Baptist Hospital in Corbin, Kentucky. In those days, at least in that medical center, fathers were not permitted in labor or delivery rooms. In fact, fathers were not even allowed to be in the same room with the newborn at all! (Who established such a ridiculous policy?) 

I did manage to be in the maternity ward hallway, pacing back and forth while waiting for a nurse to carry our child into the newborn nursery so I could catch a glimpse of her. I did get to kiss my beautiful bride in a recovery room about an hour later. But the next day, September 19, I was faced with a serious dilemma.
Months before, I had scheduled a weekend youth revival at the Fairview Baptist Church in Dayton, Ohio. I wrestled with whether or not I should cancel or re-schedule that event. I hated to disrupt the plans made by the church and our income was so limited, I hesitated missing out on the potential income that might be received from the love offering. After all, now I had a baby to feed and clothe and diaper and…
I reasoned that I could go the hospital and spend time with my wife in the morning because I could get to Dayton that evening if I left by around 1:00. I would close out on Sunday morning and be back at Corbin Hospital by Sunday late afternoon. I would only miss being with my wife on Saturday and a couple of our dear friends, Steve and Evelyn Copenhaver, assured me that they would visit her in my absence.
So I headed north. The three day revival went well and I did call Elizabeth on Saturday to check on her. I felt that I had made the right decision.

It wasn’t until six weeks later that I suffered serious regrets. During the post-delivery check-up, our doctor explained that he had delivered over seven hundred babies and had never been the subject of a maternal death inquest, but he feared that my wife’s case would be his first. During the delivery, Elizabeth bled profusely. In fact, she was listed in critical condition! And we had not been told! Elizabeth received a couple of units of blood and she recovered nicely, but when I learned how close I came to losing her, I felt like I had failed her miserably!

I got to bring my wife and daughter home on Tuesday, September 23 and finally held Jennifer Dawn in my arms for the first time. About a minute later, she threw up all over her daddy. It was such a thorough “baptism” that I even had to change my socks. I think I deserved that for “abandoning” the mother of my child at such a critical hour…even if I didn’t realize just how critical it really was.

I applaud Hunter Mahan’s family-affirming decision. No doubt his wife will never forget that he chose her over a tournament championship and that million-dollar award. And I’ll wager that Zoey didn’t  regurgitate all over her daddy’s face!

Sometimes, I wish I had a mulligan. (For all of you non-golfers; A mulligan is a second chance or a do-over)                                                                              

Monday, July 1, 2013

Love, Laughter, & Lessons; An evening of music, comedy, & inspirational stories!

By Pastor Rick Shoemaker

 Life can be painful and hard! Years ago, Roxie Shindlebower who lived a life that was marked by periods of suffering and deprivation used to smile and say, “Pastor, I figure that when life goes bad, you might as well laugh as cry!” And Roxie laughed often! A healthy sense of humor is a wonderful shock absorber.

“Laughter is good medicine.” Did you ever wonder where that phrase came from? This is a paraphrase of a passage from the book of Proverbs that reads, “A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22 (NKJV)                                                                                    
Numerous studies have shown that laughter tends to lower blood pressure, control blood sugar levels, reduce stress, and boost the immune system! Laughter provides health benefits and no prescription is necessary!                                                                                                                                           

Laughter is like a social magnet! In her poem, “Solitude,” Ella Wheeler Wilcox begins by observing, “Laugh and the world laughs with you. Weep and you weep alone!” People are attracted where laughter abounds, but where depression is found, folks are rarely around!                                                                

Have you discovered “Duck Dynasty?” These days so much on television is marked by rude and crude and even, obscene attempts at humor! But, “Duck Dynasty” is one program that I can readily introduce to my grandchildren and trust that nothing will be done or said that would be shameful or questionable! How refreshing to watch a cable show that consistently expresses faith and family values and clean comedy episode by episode!                                       

I have been introducing my grandson, Nathaniel, to some of the finest Christian comedians I know. Nathaniel has discovered Mark Lowry, Tim Hawkins, Ken Davis, Chonda Pierce, Jeff Foxworthy, and Dennis Swanberg on You Tube in recent weeks and with my full approval, he continues to Google for more Christian comedy options!                            

One hysterical new option coming to our church is the comedy duo, Brian and Rhonda Shoemaker from Louisville, Kentucky. I would like to invite you to an evening of inspiration and laughter hosted by the First Baptist Church of New Carlisle located at 8870 St. Rt. 571 on Sunday, July 14 beginning at 6:00 PM. Brian and Rhonda Shoemaker, will present a program filled music and comedy guaranteed to be family friendly…and hopefully, raise your endorphins and  lower your blood pressure!                      

Brian and Rhonda will introduce you to their original comedic characters, “Luther and Loretta Burlap” and “Steve and Stella Stirling.”  You will be treated to inspiring music and stories throughout the evening as well. Following the program, everyone is invited to the gym for sandwiches and dessert.                       

In a world where stress and pressure tend to overwhelm us, I hope you will take the time to join us for some family friendly fun!  And invite family and friends!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Handling Complaints Against the Pastor

by Rick Shoemaker on Tuesday, February 26, 2013

This article originally appeared in Deacon Magazine.

When I was a kid, one of the most dreaded labels any child could receive was "Tattletale!" The strategy of the neighborhood snitch involved confiding in an authority figure by telling in dramatic detail the terrible offense he had witnessed - or had heard about. He hoped that the person in charge would punish the guilty party so the informant could gain some sort of sadistic satisfaction that "justice" had been done.

I always struggled while growing up trying to discern the difference between being a despised "tattletale" and being a responsible citizen who had witnessed a genuine wrong and then reported to the proper authorities for correction.

There are, of course, times when it is wrong to remain silent after learning of a serious offense. For example, if I know of someone who is abusing a child and I keep quiet, I become an "accomplice to evil!" In many states, a person is legally liable to report child abuse. That would not qualify as "tattling."

Look at motives
Motivation seems to be one of the key factors in discerning between a self-serving tattler and a responsible informant. Some folks love to dig up dirt to hurt a person or so they can spread juicy gossip and thereby become the "reporter who scoops everyone else." That kind of attention must be intoxicating because it seems to happen frequently.

The church is not exempt from this disturbing habit. Many times, the victim of the "spiritual informant" is the pastor or a staff member. And what authority figure does the tattler go to with his complaint? Quite often, it's a deacon.

A typical conversation might go something like this: "Deacon Jones, you'll never believe what I heard the pastor saying! Well, I thought you needed to know. And I heard that last week Mrs. Bluhair heard him ...."

If you serve as a deacon, you could probably finish that sentence with a dozen or more "pastoral offenses" cited by church members against your shepherd. The question becomes: how should you handle such situations according to Scripture?

In 1 Timothy 5:19-20 Paul wrote, "Don't accept an accusation against an elder unless it is supported by two or three witnesses. Publicly rebuke those who sin, so that the rest will also be afraid."
Look for the truth
When hearing a complaint against a pastor, your first responsibility is to be certain that what has been told to you is the truth.

How should you determine the veracity of the story? First, consider the source. If the accuser lacks integrity or harbors ill will toward the accused, be careful not to blindly accept the accusation as factual. In every case, before coming to a conclusion, you need to hear the other side of the story. Proverbs 18:17 warns, "The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him."

Next, be sure that what was told to you was not obtained from secondhand gossip but was personally seen or heard. You should seek the testimony of two or three others who can tell what happened.

Church staff members aren't perfect people. There have been and will be times when criticism or accusation is valid. Paul said that those who indeed are sinning need to be rebuked (1 Tim. 5:20). Pastors are only human and, like everyone, they need to be confronted when they are wrong. The accused must have the opportunity to share their story and be considered innocent until proven guilty.

Look to Scripture
Many people who bring complaints about the pastor to a deacon do so expecting the deacon to chastise the shepherd. However, Jesus instructed us in Matthew 18:15, "If your brother sins against you, go and rebuke him in private. If he listens to you, you have won your brother."

Notice that Jesus never said, "If your brother sins against you, go and tell a deacon and the deacon will take care of it!"

Deacons should point the complaining person to Scripture. Jesus commands that a private meeting should take place between the accused and the accuser. The spirit of that meeting must not be to "gun down" but to "gain" one's brother.

Challenge the complainer/accuser to do two things before he meets with the pastor. First, he should pray for the pastor. In Luke 6:27-28, Jesus told us, "Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." The complainer may not feel mistreated and hopefully does not see the pastor as the enemy, but the principle still applies. If you are at odds with another person, pray for the person. Don't pray against them; pray for them. You must pray God's blessing upon the offender. It is very hard to hate someone for whom you are praying!

Look for logs
In Luke 6. Jesus also said, "Take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck in your brother's eye" (Luke 6:42). In other words, before I judge my brother (pastor) harshly, I must consider that I may not be seeing the whole picture. A "log" of anger or bitterness or gossip may be distorting my perspective. Until I remove that, I am ill-prepared to address what I perceive as my brother's fault.

Look to restore
The deacon must prayerfully see that confrontation and restoration occur in the spirit of Galatians 6:1. "Brothers, if someone is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual should restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for your≠selves so you also won't be tempted." Deacons must understand, model, and teach this critical principle of biblical peacemaking.

"But what if the church member refuses to go to the pastor/staff person even after I instruct him how to do so?"

Though Jesus said that the first step is to come privately, it may be advisable in some cases, for the deacon to accompany the member who is upset. Simply say, "I will come with you as you talk to the pastor as an impartial observer."

"What if the church member still refuses to go to the other person? What if he expects me to fix his problem?"

When a complaining member doesn't want to initiate a meeting, volunteer to tell the pastor that the member wants to talk. Let the pastor set up the meeting. In Matthew 5:23-24, Jesus said, "If you remember that your brother has something against you ... first be reconciled with your brother." If the pastor doesn't know there's a problem, he won't be able to obey that command, correct the problem, and repair the relationship.

If deacons would handle member accusations and complaints in this fashion, their ministry would be far less stressful and far more fruitful!

Rick Shoemaker, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of New Carlisle, Ohio, is a Christian conciliator. He works with Church Transformation Ministries, specializing in church conflict intervention.