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

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Web Ministry? Why a Web Ministry @ FBCNC

A recent Barna Group survey states that when people look for a church home, more than 75% start by using the Internet. They also state that less than 2/3 of American churches have websites and only 1% of those websites are actually designed to lead people toward Christ and lead people to join a local church. If you are familiar with the Internet of today, you have to be asking yourself: Who doesn't have a website and/or online connection?

First Baptist Church of New Carlisle has maintained a website (fbcnewcarlisle.org) in some form or fashion since the early 90s. If having a website meant having a Web Ministry, then FBCNC has been online. The FBCNC website was born during a time when the Internet was just becoming mainstream and everybody was rushing to take their place on the World Wide Web. Websites back then were mainly static pages of information that changed very little and basically told you a little bit about the church, some contact information, and directions. Boy! How the Internet has changed in the last 20+ years. Everything on the Internet is now "Interactive" in form and based around making personal connections with you as an individual. That personal connection could be to sell you a product, give you information about a college, check the status of your bank account, fill out an application for a loan, connect with friends/family on Facebook, share your photos via Facebook, share your videos on YouTube, and share just about anything you want to open up to the world. If you are a writer and love to share your opinion with others, you might even maintain a "Blog". The Internet is now filled with people, places, and things wanting to make a personal connection with YOU!.

So...Why does FBCNC need a stronger Web Ministry? Personal Connections is the reason. As church members/Christians we need to be actively present in our online communities. A "Ministry" in the church today often can be defined by its purpose. The Bethel Churches United Food Pantry is a ministry providing food to those in need. Upward Sports is a community ministry providing a safe place for young children to play sports and do cheer-leading in a loving supportive Christian environment. There are many other ministries all performing similar functions and filling needs in people's lives. The common thread in all these ministries is that they all make personal connections with people just like you and me.

A number of years back, Rick Shoemaker and I had several discussions about what the Internet and all of this online stuff means to us as a church and to each of us, as Christians. If you knew Rick Shoemaker it should be very easy to determine what Rick's number one use for all this online stuff was; Jesus! You would be correct! The Internet is another tool to help make personal connections and to tell others about Jesus and share the Good News with a dying world.

So...the question should not be "Why have a Web ministry at FBCNC" but "Why aren't we doing more with our Web Ministry!"

Demons and Fallen Angels - By Ken Lawler

Back in December of 2013 I heard a man on the radio say when the Bible talks about demons and fallen angels it’s the same thing. I don't claim to be an authority on this (or any other) topic but I disagree with him.

The Bible has a lot to say about angels, much less to say about demons. In fact, the word demon is not in the King James Version; it uses the words devil, devilish and devils. Those words are only used four times in the entire Old Testament, but lots of times in the New.

One of these days I'll write an article about angels, but for this one I'll be brief about who they are. Angels are heavenly beings who are superior to humans in power and intelligence. They are spiritual beings who have the ability (I assume with God's permission) to take on earthly form. Several times the Bible has them appearing on earth as a man. They seem to be organized into three functional groups: God-praising, messengers, and soldiers. The Bible doesn't say how many there are, but when Jesus was being arrested He said He could summon "more than twelve legions" of them to help Him. Even if He was talking only about Michael's soldier angels, using the average number of soldiers in a Roman legion of that day, it would be between 80 & 90 thousand. When angels are being discussed in Rev. 5:11 it talks about "10,000 times 10,000 and thousands of thousands." This expression has been estimated at between 100 million and 100 trillion. I think we can safely say there are lots of them.

The concept of fallen angels comes from Rev. 12:4, 7-9, where a great red dragon (Satan) is at war in heaven with Michael and his angel army, and v4 says the dragon "drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth." Many Bible scholars agree these stars are 1/3rd of the angels in heaven that followed Satan in his rebellion against God and were cast out of heaven. The question as to whether these "fallen angels" are the demons on earth I think was answered in 2 Pet. 2:4, where Peter says they (fallen angels) were "cast down to hell, and delivered into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment." They are in prison in hades, not roaming around the earth.

So who or what are the demons and where did they come from? I think they are the spirits of the wicked "giants" destroyed in the flood of Noah's day. The word giants in Hebrew is nphiyl (nef-eel'), meaning a feller, a bully, or a tyrant. The Hebrew Bible calls them Nephilim, the same word used in ancient Ugaritic literature to describe "god-men," or half-divine demigods. It was because these Nephilim had corrupted the human race, according to Gen. 6:2, 4, that God destroyed all humans except Noah and his family. The New Testament speaks often of the spirits of devils inhabiting people and generally causing havoc on earth. Both Matt. 25:41 and Rev. 20:10 say their ultimate fate is everlasting fire (the lake of fire).

Kitchen Korner (Holiday Fudge) - By Dolly Lawler

In my search for a recipe one might want to use during the holiday season, I landed on this excellent fudge recipe.  Although in my book, it's entitled "Ken's Holiday Fudge," it actually came from Chuck Srode.  Many of you will remember him and Charlene; both were members of our church at one time and active in our music ministry.  I really should just call it "Good and Easy Fudge" or maybe "Super Simple Fudge."  You call it whatever you want, but it's sooo good.
 
KEN'S HOLIDAY FUDGE
 
12 ounce package semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup walnuts (English or Black)
 
1.  Grease an 8-inch bake dish with softened butter.  Set aside.
2.  Combine the first 4 ingredients into a medium saucepan; put on the stove and
     turn the heat to LOW.
3.  Stir chips and milk until they melt together, about 3 minutes.
4.  Stir in nuts.
5.  Scoop the fudge into the buttered 8-inch bake dish.
6.  Refrigerate and chill until firm.  Cut into desired serving squares or slices.
 
Please submit a favorite recipe to:
lawlers@windstream.net

Why do you go to Church? - By Wanda Hess

How many times have you been asked that question?  Don’t you wish you had some quick answer?  Some might answer like this: I like the music, I like the preaching, My Sunday School is the best, my friends go to this church, my mom makes me go….Whatever your answer I feel if that answer gets you to church that is a first step. Now Bonnie Zimmer gave me an answer to this question and I want to share the thought with you.
 
In 2 Tim 2:21 it says: Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from these things he will be a vessel for honor sanctified useful to the Master prepared for every good work.
 
Let’s compare ourselves to a vessel (or pitcher).  It can be a refined one or a hard old antique or a brand new one never used.  If you think about how useful a pitcher can be but you have to fill it up to get its best potential.  You could sit your pitcher on a shelf and let it collect dust. Or we could fill it up with knowledge. You can also fill up your vessel by attending church where others come to fill up their vessels.  And then it is up to us to either keep the knowledge or joys we learn and let it remain in our vessel or pour it out to others.  Pour it out to family and friends.  Pour it out by joining church.  Pour it out by being in service for your church.   Luke 8:16 says No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed but puts it on a stand so that those who  enter may see the light.  So no one should fill their vessel and not pour it out!
 
2 Corinthians 4:7 says But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellency of the power may be of GOD and not of us.
 
Why do you go to Church?  To get filled up and ready to pour it out!
 
God Bless You All

What Happened to My Church? - By Pastor Jeff Christmas

Have you been asking yourself this question lately? Do things just feel different for some reason? As I reflect back on the last year it seems surreal to me that more than 12 months have passed since we were severely traumatized at the loss of our beloved Pastor, Rick Shoemaker. There are times that I still find myself incredulous at his passing. Maybe it is middle age that causes me to be nostalgic, but it really doesn’t seem that long ago that I was 14 years old and wondering what the next pastor would be like. How could I ever have imagined how my life would be forever affected some 35 years later by a man and his family? Many of us could say the same thing which makes it even more difficult to imagine what the next chapter will be like. Rest assured, however, that there will be a next chapter and God is completely aware of our hurts and struggles as well as the course of our future. That being said, I believe there are a few things that we must remember even in the midst of our difficulties.

God is still on the throne. No matter what we are going through, we know Who holds the future. We can rest in the knowledge that our Creator loves us (He’s proven that many times). He knows us and He knows what is in our best interest. It may be easy for us to complain, it always is, but imagine yourself in the very throne room of Heaven. Would it be so easy then, bowing down before the One we call Lord? Don’t get me wrong. God is big enough to hear our complaints but at some point we just need to realize that He is in control and that He works for our good. I am reminded of God’s response in Habbakuk 2:20 as the prophet complained about the injustice in the world. “But the Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.” (KJV)

God understands. He sent His Son to this earth not only to die for us but also to live for and with us. Jesus is “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” (Isaiah 53:3) He knows loss, pain, discomfort, and most anything else we can think of that is a part of the human experience. Hebrews 2:17 says that He is a merciful and faithful high priest since He was made like us. Trust me that no one understands us like Him. Not only does He empathize, He pleads our case before the Father. (Romans 8:34) Our task is to allow Him to do His good work on our behalf in His time.

It’s not about you or I. That’s right, I went there. If most of us were to be honest, much of our time is spent trying to be more comfortable. When our “zone” is violated in some way, we squirm, complain, and go to most any length to return to our placid state of repose. It becomes easy to point the finger of blame in any direction but our own when things don’t go our way. We let personal conflict lead us off course or allow us to walk away rather than strive to lean in and work it out. We tend to think ours is the best solution rather than come together in one accord through prayer to find the answer. We all know in our minds that we should be supportive and encouraging to one another but our hearts tend to forget. Just whom are we serving here? Whose church is it anyway?

Church family, it may feel like we’ve fallen on hard times, but God has not forgotten about us. He has provided us with all that we need to grow during this time. He has given us a transitional pastor with a wonderful heart toward Jesus and our community. He has given us each other and all the things He has brought us through together. I can look back on my life and see all the times that I needed my church family to be there for me and all the times that they were there for me. Folks, First Baptist needs you and me more than ever. Now is the time to come together and do what God has called us to do, not complain and disengage. If you think we need change (and we do), then be the change.

Bro. Jeff

Tim's Thoughts - By Pastor Tim Binns

December can be one of the busiest times of the year for families.  So many gatherings, events, as well as shopping, crowd our schedules.  We can get so involved in the Christmas season that we forget what the meaning is all about.  It is all about the coming of our Savior Jesus.  So as your life gets hectic this month, remember to put a priority on worshiping the One whose birth we celebrate.
 
Transitional Notes:
We have an online survey that we really need as many people to complete as possible.  This will help us get a better picture of our church.  The survey can be found at http://tc.lifeway.com.  The passcode for our church is xeescybfgk.  If you cannot complete this online, we are researching some options including setting up a few computer stations at the church for you to complete the survey on a Sunday morning. 

Solemn Assembly

In the Old Testament, a solemn assembly would be called for God’s people to get back on track with God.  It was time to return to God for His forgiveness, mercy or special direction.  I believe as we move in the transitional process it is time for us to repent and focus on God to show His direction as we continue in the process and before we can consider forming a pastor search committee.  We will be having a special Solemn Assembly prayer service on January 7th at 6:30 PM.  We need as many of our church membership to be involved in this service.  It will be for youth on up.  Please plan to attend. 
 
My family and I want to wish you a Merry Christmas!
 
Brother Tim 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

What is Christian discipleship?

By definition, a disciple is a follower, one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another. A Christian disciple is a person who accepts and assists in the spreading of the good news of Jesus Christ. Christian discipleship is the process by which disciples grow in the Lord Jesus Christ and are equipped by the Holy Spirit, who resides in our hearts, to overcome the pressures and trials of this present life and become more and more Christ like. This process requires believers to respond to the Holy Spirit’s prompting to examine their thoughts, words and actions and compare them with the Word of God. This requires that we be in the Word daily—studying it, praying over it, and obeying it. In addition, we should always be ready to give testimony of the reason for the hope that is within us (1 Peter 3:15) and to disciple others to walk in His way. According to Scripture, being a Christian disciple involves personal growth characterized by the following:

1. Putting Jesus first in all things (Mark 8:34-38).The disciple of Christ needs to be set apart from the world. Our focus should be on our Lord and pleasing Him in every area of our lives. We must put off self-centeredness and put on Christ-centeredness.

2. Following Jesus' teachings (John 8:31-32).We must be obedient children and doers of the Word. Obedience is the supreme test of faith in God (1 Samuel 28:18), and Jesus is the perfect example of obedience as He lived a life on earth of complete obedience to the Father even to the point of death (Philippians 3:6-8).

3. Fruitfulness (John 15:5-8).Our job is not producing fruit. Our job is to abide in Christ, and if we do, the Holy Spirit will produce the fruit, and this fruit is the result of our obedience. As we become more obedient to the Lord and learn to walk in His ways, our lives will change. The biggest change will take place in our hearts, and the overflow of this will be new conduct (thoughts, words and actions) representative of that change. The change we seek is done from the inside out, through the power of the Holy Spirit. It isn’t something we can conjure up on our own.

4. Love for other disciples (John 13:34-35).We are told that love of other believers is the evidence of our being a member of God's family (1 John 3:10). Love is defined and elaborated on in1 Corinthians 13:1-13. These verses show us that love is not an emotion; it is action. We must be doing something and involved in the process. Furthermore, we are told to think more highly of others than of ourselves and to look out for their interests (Philippians 2:3-4). The next verse in Philippians (verse 5) really sums up what we are to do when it comes to everything in life: "our attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus." What a perfect example He is to us for everything we are to do in our Christian walk.

5. Evangelism - Making disciples of others (Matthew 28:18-20).We are to share our faith and tell nonbelievers about the wonderful changes Jesus Christ has made in our lives. No matter what our maturity level in the Christian life, we have something to offer. Too often, we believe the lie from Satan that we don't really know enough or haven't been a Christian long enough to make a difference. Not true! Some of the most enthusiastic representatives of the Christian life are new believers who have just discovered the awesome love of God. They may not know a lot of Bible verses or the "accepted" way of saying things, but they have experienced the love of the living God, and that is exactly what we are to share.
Recommended Resources:Making Disciples - One Conversation at a Time by D. Mike Henderson and Logos Bible Software.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Millennials and the Demise of Print: Five Implications for Churches

 As the president of an organization that has huge investments in both print and digital assets, I watch the trends related to the two closely. Current discussions focus on a few basic issues. First, digital communication is pervasive and growing. Any metric will affirm that reality. Second, print as a form of communication is suffering in most areas. Third, print will have occasional rebounds that will give print adherents hope that it is not going away. In the past couple of years, for example, print book sales have stabilized.

But a recent article by Henry Blodget in Business Insider shed some fresh perspectives on this issue. He notes the allegiance to print media is highly influenced by the age of the readers. Simply stated, the older you are, the more likely you are to like, or even prefer, print. Of course, that information is really stating the obvious.

The Stark Reality of the Future of Print
But Blodget notes recent research that is almost breathtaking. The research looked at media preferences for different age groups. The stark reality of the future of print is most noticeable in the 16-to-24 age group and the 25-to-34 age group. The Millennials have absolutely no loyalty to or preference for print media.Blodget’s words are worth repeating:

“Media consumers in the 0s, 10s, 20s, and 30s have no such print alliances. To them, the idea of printing on a dead tree and then trucking it to houses and newsstands seems ludicrous, old-fashioned, inconvenient, and wasteful. To these folks, paper-based publications are a pain to carry and search, easy to misplace, and hard to share, and the information in them is outdated the moment it appears. For those who weren’t raised on paper, digital is superior in almost every way.”
Wow. Those words are painful for an old print adherent like me. But facts are our friends, and I would rather deal with reality than deny reality.


Five Implications for the Church
Of course, after I read the article, my mind traversed quickly to implications for local churches. I see at least five at this point.

  1. Churches not fully acclimated to the digital age need to do so quickly.It’s a matter of gospel stewardship. There is no need to compromise biblical truths, but there is a great need to be relevant.
  2. More of our congregants will be turning on their Bibles in the worship services rather than opening them to a print page. Some pastors view this practice as troublesome. One pastor recently commented to me: “How do we know if they aren’t looking at sport scores or something else?” We don’t know. And we don’t know where their minds are wandering if they don’t have a digital device with them.
  3. Church leaders should view this change as an opportunity to be more effective missional leaders. We would not expect international missionaries to go to a place of service without learning the language and the culture. The language and the culture of the Millennials are all digital.
  4. Leaders must keep current with changes in the digital revolution. While old guys like me will never be as conversant with the digital culture as our children and grandchildren, we must do our best to understand this ever-changing world. What is current and relevant today may be dated and irrelevant tomorrow.
  5. Social media is a key communication form for the Millennials; churches and church leaders must also be connected. I recently wrote an article on this issue. For now, a church not involved some way in social media is neglecting a large part of the mission field.
Implications and More Implications
I recently was reading a print magazine article to one of my grandsons who was cuddled in my lap. He saw a photo on the page and tried to swipe it like he would on an iPad. When nothing happened he declared my “picture was broken.”
That is the age and the era that are quickly approaching. The implications are many and staggering. But we in churches cannot be complacent. The very communication of the gospel is at stake.

This article was originally published at ThomRainer.com on May 14th, 2014. Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam,  Art, and Jess; and seven grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at facebook.com/Thom.S.Rainer.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Tim's Thoughts - By Pastor Tim Binns

Have I told you the importance of prayer lately?  We need to be a praying church.  We need to pray for those who are sick and hurting.  We need to pray for those who are serving in the military and as missionaries.  We need to pray for families that are breaking apart.  We need to pray for jobs.  We as a church family need to pray for these and many other things.
 
However, I believe we need to set a number one priority of praying for the lost.  Our prayer lists need to be saturated with the first names of people who need Jesus.  We need to be on our knees praying for them.  We need to be praying for the lost by name. 
A recent survey of the top evangelistic churches in our nation found that 82% of them pray for the lost by name.   I think we need to start praying for the lost by name in our church.  Why does it make a church more evangelistic?

When we start praying for the lost by name it starts working in our lives.  It begins to remove the fear of witnessing by putting our focus on someone we know and care about instead of the whole world.  It also clarifies the gospel for us.  The more we pray the more we understand what needs to be done.  Praying for the lost by name also gives us confidence because we know that God is going before us.  Praying for the lost by name also unleashes the power of the Holy Spirit who will begin to convict that person of their sins.  Last, praying for the lost by name prepares their hearts to hear the Gospel.
 
Let's create a prayer list of lost relatives, friends, co-workers, neighbors who need to know Jesus.  We can record the first names only and celebrate when some of those come to know Jesus. 
 
Transitional Focus Team Meeting dates:
  • November 16 – Team reports due also
  • December 7
  • January 4
  • February 15

Is it Halloween or Harvest Time? - By Wanda Hess

Jeremiah 8:20 says “the harvest is past, the summer is ended” and it truly is happening with the change in the weather. We have seen some beautiful leaf colors this year and having seen snowflakes already in Miami Valley. In the month of October begins the harvest time and also the end of the month brings Halloween festivities. I read Halloween is the second best holiday that people decorate. Are you a person who celebrates Halloween or do you celebrate Harvest Time?

I googled Halloween and this is what I found. Straddling the line between fall and winter, plenty and paucity, life and death, Halloween is a time of celebration and superstition. It is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints and martyrs; the holiday, All Saints’ Day, incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows’ Eve and later Halloween. Over time, Halloween evolved into a secular, community-based event characterized by child-friendly activities such as trick-or-treating. In a number of countries around the world, as the days grow shorter and the nights get colder, people continue to usher in the winter season with gatherings, costumes and sweet treats.

When my children were in school we celebrated Halloween in their respective grades at school with a Halloween party and some schools have parades. Children were allowed to come to school in costume. I remember the years my daughter was in Band. And the band members who wanted to could dress up in costume and wear that on the football field.

This year I had the opportunity to work “Harvest Party” at my grandchildren’s school. I didn’t see too much different other than no costumes allowed. We played games; we had snacks and sent home sweet goodies for later. Harvest time took on a different meaning for me this year because I have been driving up into Champaign County to visit and be with the grandchildren and there are a lot of farmers up in that county. Seeing the fields take on their different looks from planting time, growing time, and the harvest time made me appreciate and be aware of how our lives could be compared to fields. Isaiah 53:2 says "for he shall grow up as a tender plant" ……we could compare those tender plants as our children and how we need to plant the seeds about Jesus and going to Sunday School. II Peter 3:18 "but grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." We all need to grow just as those young plants. We learn more and more about Jesus by Bible study and attending church. And then comes the harvest. To me the harvest is the rewards when we get to heaven. Just like those farmers who reap the rewards of their hard work and monitoring their crops….So if you are a Halloween person or a Harvest person make it a good end of the season.

Kitchen Korner (Brownies) - By Dolly Lawler

When I was a kid, I spent as many weeks at summer church camp as I was eligible for and worked at some of the others. I loved camp. One night of each of the weeks I spent at camp, my mom would come visit camp and take in the evening services. When she came, she would always bring a box of fresh baked blond brownies for me to eat and share with my friends. On one of those occasions, she entrusted the box to a faculty member who assured her he would give them to me first thing the next morning. That night, after "lights out" for us kids, the faculty had a meeting in the dining hall. You guessed it; the group became aware of my box of brownies, was tempted and then gave in to that temptation. There was not even a crumb left the next morning. They apologized profusely and gave me free access to anything I wanted from the canteen the rest of the week. I smile when I reflect back on that incident, but back then I remember being a little miffed. Needless to say, this recipe came from Mom. I think of her every time I bake them, and recall they were among the many things she did to let me know I was special to her.

BLOND BROWNIES

Mix dry ingredients:
1 C. sifted flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix the following then add the above dry ingredients:
1/3 C. butter
1 C. firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

Add the following:
1/2 C. chopped nuts
1/2 C. chocolate chips, butterscotch chips or other

Spread in greased 8x8x2 inch pan; bake in 350° oven for 25 to 30 minutes. (I always double the recipe and spread in a 13x9 inch pan sprayed with pam, then bake until it's done.) "Until it's done" is one of those ambiguous instructions I hate, but it's the best I can do.

Please submit a favorite recipe to: lawlers@windstream.net

Jesus In Hell? - By Ken Lawler

I'm no theologian, haven't been to seminary, but I can read and have lots of books smart people have written about the Bible. My Dad told me to "Let the Bible say what it says." One book I couldn't do without is Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. It lists every word in the Bible and tells what the original word used meant. Volumes have been written about the title of this article. I heard the answer of a well-respected pastor the other day and I thought his response inadequate.

First, I need to define this place called hell. In the Old Testament the Hebrew word is showl (pronounced, sheh-ole') (we usually say SHE-ole). It is the abode of the dead, and was understood to be the underground cavern to which all dead people go. In the New Testament three Greek words are used for this place. Hades (hah-dace), the place of departed souls and geenna (gheh'-en-nah), the name of a valley SW of Jerusalem where child sacrifices were made at the high places of the Canaanite gods Baal & Molech. It was also the city garbage dump where fires burned continually. This word was used figurative for the place of everlasting punishment. One time, 2 Pet. 2:4, the word used is tartaroo (tar-tar-o'-o), the deepest abyss of hades.

The most complete description of hell in the Bible was given by Jesus when He told about the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31. According to Jesus, hades had two compartments with a "great gulf," chasma (khas'-mah) between them. Great gulf means an impassable "gape" between the compartments. My Dad assumed this chasm was tartaroo; "the pit" Ezekiel wrote of (28:8); and also the "bottomless pit" John wrote about in Rev. 9:2, 11; 11:7; 17:8; & 20:1, 3. Jesus described the compartment on one side of the great gulf as a place of torments and the one on the other side as a place of comfort He called Abraham's bosom. The question this article addresses stems from the fact that when Jesus was dying on the cross He didn't tell the repentant thief that He would see him in Heaven or in hades, or in Abraham's bosom; He said He would see him in Paradise, paradeisos (par-ad'-i-sos).

Where is Paradise? Both Paul and John tell us. Paul says in 2 Cor. 12 that he had been "caught up to the third heaven" (God's abode), into Paradise. In Rev. 2:7, in Jesus' message to the church at Ephesus, John tells about the Tree of Life (which was originally in the Garden of Eden) being in the "Paradise of God" [in the third heaven]. So it seems clear that Paradise is now in Heaven, but it hasn't always been there.

The key to all this is found in Eph. 4:8-10 where Paul told the Ephesians that when Christ died he descended into the lower parts of the earth, then ascended up far above all heavens, and led captivity captive. Peter tells us in 1 Pet. 3:18-22 that "He went and preached unto the spirits in prison," mentioning as an example, those spirits of Old Testament saints like Noah.

"Letting the Bible say what it says," here's what I think it is saying. Prior to the atonement for man's sin by Christ on the cross everyone who died went to showl. Those people determined to be right with God (the requirements varied depending on what dispensation they lived under) went to the comfort compartment, Abraham's bosom/Paradise; those not right with God went to the torment compartment. Once the atonement was made (I'll do a follow-up article on what Jesus was doing during the 3 days and nights before His resurrection), believers could go directly to God when they died. There was now no longer a need for Abraham's bosom. Also, though having been declared righteous when they died, none of these people had accepted Christ as their personal savior. God solved that problem. Peter tells us Christ went there to "preach to them," [giving them the opportunity to accept Him], and Paul says He then ascended to Heaven [with those who did]. He obviously took the entire Abraham's bosom/Paradise compartment to Heaven with Him since John saw it there. Paul tells us in 2 Cor. 5:8 that now when the believer dies he/she is immediately present with The Lord (in Heaven).

In Peter's sermon, recorded in Acts 2:14-36, he plainly says, in Acts 2:27, "thou [God] wilt not leave my soul in hell", [he's quoting David (Psalm 16:10)], and "that His [Christ's] soul was not left in hell" (Acts 2:31). So yes, Jesus went to Abraham's bosom in showl (hell) when He died on the cross.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Shroud of Turin - By Ken Lawler

Running To Win, a radio program on WEEC each morning at 8:30 is from The Moody Church in Chicago.  On most programs Dr. Erwin Lutzer, the pastor, answers a question from a listener.  One day it was about The Shroud of Turin and I would like to expand on his answer.  He basically said there was no proof it was the shroud of anyone identifiable.

The Shroud of Turin is a centuries old linen cloth that bears the image of a man who has suffered physical trauma in a manner consistent with crucifixion.  Modern science has completed hundreds of thousands of hours of detailed study and intense research on the Shroud, making it the most studied artifact in human history.

It apparently appeared around the mid-1300 in Lirey, France and was transferred to Turin, Italy in 1578.  Many people believe it is the burial shroud of Jesus.  The one visible hand has a large, round wound, the side of the man has an upward gouge in it, and there are small punctures around the forehead and scalp, and scores of linear wounds on the torso and legs.

As much as that sounds like wounds the Bible describes Jesus suffering, there are some problems with this apparently blood-stained flax fabric.  First, it carbon dates to around 1260 - 1390 with 95% confidence, almost that many years after Christ's crucifixion.  Second, forensic tests describe the apparent blood as "tempera paint tinted with hematite (iron oxide).  Third, Matthew, Mark and Luke all describe Jesus' burial cloths as strips of linen (multiple pieces).  Fourth, a 1st Century burial shroud discovered in a tomb near Jerusalem in 2000 is composed of a simple "two-way weave" as opposed to the complex herringbone twill of the Turin Shroud.  In the Shroud's favor, a textile expert has stated the 3:1 twill weaving pattern is consistent with 1st century Syrian designs, and a high resolution microprobe analysis of dirt particles on the Shroud are chemically identical to samples of limestone from ancient Jerusalem tombs.

I could go on and on.  Crucifixion probably originated with the ancient Persians.  There is evidence of crucifixion in the port of Athens in the 7th Century BC, and it was common during the reign of Alexander the Great (356 - 323 BC.).  He crucified 2000 survivors of the siege of Tyre in 332 BC.  The Romans adopted the custom from Carthage and used it for slaves, rebels, despised enemies and criminals.  No one knows how many people Rome crucified, but they did approximately 6,000 of Spartacus' gladiators and followers along the 200 km road between Capua and Rome after one battle.

Crucifixion was abolished in the Roman Empire by Constantine in 337 AD, almost 1,000 years before the Shroud was made if the carbon dating is anywhere near accurate.  It is possible the image on the Shroud is of a crucified man since crucifixion continued in other countries.  We know Japan crucified people as recently as 1597, a missionary to Burma reported people being crucified there in 2000, and Saudi Arabia crucified a man as recently as March 2013.

In spite of all the evidence pro and con, it seems highly unlikely the "fine linen cloth" Jesus was buried in would have wound up 2200 miles (as the crow flies, at least twice that over land) from Jerusalem in France.  The Catholic Church has not endorsed it, but they have kind of unofficially accepted it.  I don't think we should do that.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Sewing Basket - By Wanda Hess

Every mother who sews gets real excited when her young daughter asks to be taught how to sew. Memories fly in the mother’s mind as to when she asked her mother to be taught to sew, remembering the first items that were sewn - an apron, pillow case or A-line skirt. We worked so hard to learn how to use the sewing machine, keeping in mind that when we step on the pedal not to push too hard (you aren't driving a car). As a child, learning to sew by hand can be time consuming and very tedious, especially when your thread gets knotted up. Or how in the world do you keep that thimble on your finger? I still have problems with those thimbles!

This year my 36 year old daughter asked for a large sewing basket for her birthday. I was so excited, I went out the next day shopping for the basket. Now my daughter is not new to sewing. She is making clothes for her daughter and doll clothes for American Girl dolls (who by the way are better dressed than me!) When a person learns how to sew there is a gathering of supplies that is needed. Hence comes the sewing basket to hold all these much needed supplies (kinda’ like men are with their tools/toolboxes). Victorian parlors or sewing rooms were not finished without a work stand with a work-box or sewing basket attached. 

Passing down the knowledge of sewing garments for your loved ones is a tradition which started even in the Garden of Eden, when fig leaves were used to make a covering. 
I wonder when they made Joseph’s coat of many colors how long it took that to be completed. Sewing by hand was the only way to put clothes together, until the sewing machine was invented in the 19th century, which made sewing a much faster procedure.

In the 1940’s women used feed sacks and carefully pulled the threads to use for sewing their quilts or garments. Cavemen (or women) sewed fur garments with bone needles with cuts of finely thin leather for the thread. What about in Bible days, what did the woman use for sewing…..Proverbs 31:19 tells us this was the woman's responsibility. She layeth her hands on the spindle.”

In Grace Coolidge’s autobiography (President Calvin Coolidge's wife) I quote: ”Every girl should be taught to sew, not merely for the sake of making something but as an accomplishment which may prove a stabilizer in time of perplexity or distress. Many a time I have needed to hold myself firmly, I have taken my needle, it might be a sewing or knitting needle whatever its form or purpose it often proved to be as the needle of the compass keeping me on the course .” taken from Grace’s Sewing.

I was lucky to have a mother who sewed and taught me how to sew and how to gather those supplies for the Sewing Baskets!

Kitchen Korner—by Dolly Lawler

I hope it’s not too late in the season for you to try this recipe. If you’re a pepper lover and do not already have a good recipe, try this one. It’s the one Ken and I have settled on.

Canned JalapeƱos, Anaheims, or Banana Peppers

Rinse, cut, and prepare your peppers for canning. (If your peppers are really hot, you may need to wear rubber gloves.) I cut the stem end off of each pepper and remove the seed cluster. Don’t be too concerned about getting all the seeds. Then on a cutting board, lay each pepper on its side and cut into numerous circular slices. (Include a few peppers that have turned red; it adds color to the peppers once they are canned and in the jars.)

In the bottom of each pint canning jar, put the following spices:
a sprinkle of dry minced garlic
a sprinkle of dry minced onion
a sprinkle of dry mustard seed
1 head of fresh dill (or a sprinkle of dry dill seed)
a little fresh cilantro if desired
1 tsp. canning salt
a pinch of turmeric
a sprinkle of crushed red peppers

Canning (flats) lids: Prepare lids by placing in a pan with water. Bring to a boil and let simmer until ready to place on jars.

Brine: For 3 pint jars of peppers, bring the following to a boil:
2 cups white (5%) vinegar
2 cups water
½ tsp. yellow food coloring
(If you have more than 3 jars of peppers, adjust your vinegar/water recipe accordingly.)

Pour boiling vinegar/water mixture over peppers leaving a ¼ inch head space. Immediately place hot canning lids on jars and screw canning caps (bands) on snuggly. Turn capped jars upside down a few seconds then set jars upright to seal and cool for 12 hours. Caps (bands) may be removed at that time.

DO NOT PROCESS IN HOT WATER BATH OR PRESSURE COOKER.

Please submit a favorite recipe to:
lawlers@windstream.net

What would Jesus Do..with all this Technology??

What does the word “Technology” mean to the average person? This question can bring many different answers from many different people, depending on their age and experiences. For most of us, technology refers to the new products and/or gadgets that help make our work or life easier and more enjoyable. Most of us take for granted some basic things in our lives, that at one time were considered new and revolutionary technology; like electricity, indoor plumbing, heating and air conditioning, automobiles, television and radio to name just a few. Most of us would agree that since the mid 1970’s through today we have seen an explosion of technology around electronics, communications and the ways we can interact with other people not just locally but around the world. With all of this in mind, let’s look at a basic definition of technology.

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary has the following definition for technology: Technology is “a manner of accomplishing a task especially using technical processes, methods, or knowledge”. Using this definition of technology, we can see that the human race has always been pushing the boundaries in the development of new technologies to help us accomplish any task set before us. Any technology that makes our life more enjoyable and makes our work easier is a technology that will probably be successful and be widely adopted by everyone.

So, you might be asking yourself: What does technology have to do with Jesus or even Christianity? Jesus did not have all this technology back in his time! What would Jesus do with all this technology if his ministry on earth were taking place right now? Would Jesus use a smart phone, a Facebook page, or a Twitter account? Would Jesus use group texting or email to communicate with the Apostles? Would Jesus use YouTube to spread the Gospel? Would Jesus have a blog? These may sound like silly questions to ask but these questions are very relevant to the world we live in today and to the next generation of young Christians; the same young Christians that will be the future leaders of the church. What should we as the Church and as Christians be doing with all this technology?

Join me in this 3-part series of articles as we explore the Bible and ask the question: What Would Jesus Do…..with all this Technology??

Tim's Thoughts - By Pastor Tim Binns

First impressions are so important for a church. When a guest arrives on a Sunday morning the first 10 minutes is critical. They decide in those few minutes whether they will come back for a second visit. The clock does not start in the sanctuary; it starts as they pull into our parking lot. The deacons have recommended that we designate prime parking spots as guest parking spots. We will be telling guests that they are important to us. It will also allow our First Connections team to observe guests before they get out of their car. I think we need to add more friendly people to our First Connections team. We need young legs to assist our guests in finding the First Connections station where we can welcome our guests and help them find classrooms or the sanctuary as needed. This First Connections team will include our present Greeters as well as our ushers. We will need more volunteers to adequately staff this ministry. I will have a sign-up for volunteers for this ministry. 

The Church Memories Workshop will provide an opportunity for an interactive review of our past to determine both positive and negative effects the church’s collective memory has on the present nature and ministry of the church. The focus of the process is to view the church’s history through the eyes of Christ. During the workshop participants will discover both the dynamic and the dysfunctional qualities in the church’s past. Then church members can respond appropriately with repentance and celebration. The workshop is part of helping our church turn loose from the past in order to take hold of the present and move with spiritual power and holy confidence in the future. Then we as a church can celebrate how the Lord has blessed us in the past and how He can use us in the future. This workshop will include three major parts: (1) What did Jesus say to the seven churches in Revelation 2-3? (2) What would Jesus say to our church? (3) What are the good memories and painful memories throughout the time each of us has been a part of our church? 

The Church Memories Workshop will take place on September 14th at noon. Sign-up for the lunch and workshop outside the office.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Interdependence - By Pastor Jeff Christmas

I grew up on School House Rock. Now if you are a child of the 70’s you will no doubt remember learning all sorts of great history, grammar, and mathematics while watching your Saturday morning cartoons over a bowl of Cap’N Crunch, Quisp, or Alphabits (see 70’s breakfast cereals on the Interwebs for a trip down memory lane). Those short, educational cartoons that arrived between commercials for toys like Stretch Armstrong and Spirograph taught us valuable information in a fun way. Do you know that I can still quote the entire pre-amble to the Constitution? If you hear me pause in strange places while reciting it’s because I am going over the tune to the song in my head as I say it. Setting the learning to music and using colorful images made a lifetime impression on me. I still find myself using those catchy tunes to count by 3’s or to remember the rules for using conjunctions. One of the most memorable of the bunch was the one entitled “I’m Just a Bill” which outlined the process that congress uses to pass legislation. Seeing that lonely piece of paper sitting on the steps of Capitol Hill in Washington illustrated the sort of cooperation necessary in order to get things done. The 3 minute cartoon brought the complexities of legislative function down to its common sense core.

We have just celebrated the July 4th holiday and our declaration of independence from the rule of tyranny and oppression that so plagued us back in 1776. We value our independence on a corporate level when we stand and remove our hats as the Star Spangled Banner is played. It has also become an individual value as historically we have taught our children to grow up and become productive members of our society (although this instruction has seemingly been abandoned more and more of late). While being independent is an important virtue to have, it stops short of a higher value. Being interdependent underscores more possibilities in life than simply making your own way. I understand that the word interdependence can be used as a sort of new age buzz word, but the principle is Biblical. At the end of Acts chapter 2 we see the church coming together as a body, doing good amongst themselves and others. Galatians 5:13-14 tells us not to abuse our freedom for selfish gain but to “serve one another humbly in love.” Interdependence means that I am counting on you and I both to do the right thing and work together so that we all benefit. 1 Peter 2 says we as Christians are being built together as living stones in a spiritual house with Jesus as the Cornerstone to be a royal priesthood that declares His praises.

Understanding the work and sacrifice that went into our celebration of freedom and independence, I think we owe it to our God and our fellow man to sit down once again and work out how we can build up the Kingdom together. What’s your favorite cereal, again?
 
Jeff Christmas is the Associate Pastor of First Baptist Church of New Carlisle. Contact him at www.fbcnewcarlisle.org or by joining him at church on Sundays at 9 and 11:30 AM.

Tim's Thoughts - By Pastor Tim Binns

This is July.  This is the month of vacations,  heat and youth camp.  I get the joy of spending 3 weeks at Seneca Lake with over 1000 youth and their chaperones.  It is usually the best time of my year.  I get to see God move powerfully in the young people’s lives.  However, I have to admit I have been enjoying being a part of First Baptist.  Our church is filled with people who genuinely love the Lord and want to see our church continue to be a mission point to the community and the world.
 
When I was interviewed I promised that I would not come into the church with programs and changes already determined.  I have been talking to people, observing and praying about what we can do to make the church become even more of an impact in the community and transition you to your next pastor. I have spotted a few changes we can make that should not cause too much pain, but will help the church.   Many of the changes will occur starting in September, but we might make one as early as the first Sunday in August. I have to meet with some key leaders to make that change.
 
We have formed a transition committee.  This is a committee that will study the church and the community.  It is made up of the church council and deacons.  It will help us to find our strengths and weaknesses in more detail.
 
Some dates to remember for July:
July 27 - Transition Committee workshop on the History of the Church

Replacement Theology - By Ken Lawler

I got the idea to address this topic from two articles in the summer 2014 issue of Israel's Messenger, the publication of Jewish Awareness Ministries.  So the credit for this goes to Dr. Keith Megilligan, Wake Forest, NC, and the JWA Executive Director, Rev. Mark Robinson.
 
Replacement Theology, also called supersessionism, is the view that God has turned His back upon the Jews, Israel and His promises to them in Scripture and has replaced them with the church.  Thus, whatever covenants and provisions God has made with and for the children of Israel now belong to the children of God in the church.  God has rejected the "old Israel," and the church has become the "new Israel."
 
This view started with Origen, one of the most prominent early church fathers (~185-254 AD).  He taught that the Jews would never be restored to their former condition.  In his view, all of the promises to Israel was "spiritualized" in its meaning to refer to the church.
Another more recent proponent of this theology was Martin Luther.  He ended up with strong anti-Jewish sentiments, writing at one point, "thus all the Gentiles who are Christians are the true Israelites and new Jews, born of Christ, the noblest Jew."  One German theologian, Rudolph Bultmann, implied that Jews were children of Satan.
 
You would think the "fundamentalists" of the early twentieth century would have cleared up and corrected the view of disparaging the Jews and replacement theology.  It hasn't happened.  We have major denominations, seminaries, and Christian leaders who still espouse the view of replacement theology, or supersessionism.  Many, if not most, seminaries that consider themselves "reformed" (or covenantal) in their theology are also "replacement" in their Israelology!  On the other hand, those Bible colleges and seminaries that are more, or exclusively, dispensational in their view of Scripture (that is, there is a distinction between Israel and the church and God still has a plan for His chosen people, the Jew) do not adopt replacement theology.
 
To a certain extent, the development and declaration of the modern State of Israel (1948) boosted the dispensational view of Israelology.  Bible believing Christians can see God preparing the way for fulfilling His Scriptural promises to Israel and her people.  The modern State of Israel shows clearly that God would/could bring Israel's dead bones back to life (Ezekiel 37).
 
A few prominent denominations today who are replacement theology advocates include:  the Roman Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church, the Mormons, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the Episcopal Church, Churches of Christ, and Jehovah's Witnesses.  Prominent theologians of our day who advocate replacement theology include:  RC Sproul, Michael Horton, Meredith Kline, and JI Packer.  Even John Piper has called Jewish people, "a non-covenant-keeping people that does not have a divine right to hold the land of promise."
 
These denominations and theologians need to read God's clear statement to Abraham (Genesis 12-15) and His promise to keep Israel as His own in the land (Jeremiah 31,33).
 
Be discerning.