First Baptist Church
Newton, IL

Worship News - 7/29/2021

Worship services at 9 this Sunday, followed by Bible classes for all ages! Join us live or online!

Start bringing in your items for our Summer Give-away! We also are in need of plastic bags. Those of you who have signed up to help - thanks, and check with office if you have any questions! The Give-away is Saturday August 7th from 8 to noon.

Ladies' Day Out is this Thursday for those who registered. Van will leave at 9:45 and return at about 5.

OMS missionaries Brad and Danielle Snowden will be with us Sunday evening August 29.. More on this later!

Pastor Steve

Pastor Steve Willis

Monday August 02, 2021

Some time ago, I walked into a store looking to buy a certain item and was greeted by an employee who asked, "May I help you?" I told the clerk what I needed, but was greeted with an expression that made me realize the person had no clue about what I was asking. So, I went to the area where I thought I might find the item, and there it was. I walked into the same store recently and was greeted by a different employee who asked, "May I help you?" I told them what I needed, and was greeted with a "Follow me." The person took me to the item, actually items. The employee pointed out the choices that I had and then gave a description of the differences in my options. Which of these two experiences do you think I found most helpful?

We who represent Christ are not trying to "sell" anything, but this sales experience demonstrates that a person who knows something about the product that is being offered can provide a more helpful experience than one who does not. We who are called to be representatives of Christ to others need to know about what we are representing, and need to live in such a way that we accurately portray the benefits of a life in Christ. We need to know what the scripture says about walking with the Savior and what is expected from a follower of Christ so that we can speak to others in an informed and an effective way.

II Timothy 2:15 tells us, "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." This should be our desire so that we can help others who want to know about him make the right choice.

Pastor Steve
Sunday August 01, 2021

Karl Barth was exiled to Switzerland during World War II. Upon his return to the University of Bonn when the war was over, his began his first lecture with the words, "I believe in God." This is a basic, but powerful, affirmation. These are the first words of the Apostle's Creed. As believers, it is an affirmation that is assumed, however we need to make sure we add clout to this affirmation.

First of all, we do need to make this affirmation, and make it loudly. I do believe in God. Secondly, we need to make sure we believe in the right God. That is, we need to make our concept of God is correct, and that we aren't conjuring up what we think God should be and using this as a basis for our belief. Study to know what God has said about himself in Scripture. Develop a correct view of God so that when you say, "I believe in God," you are making an accurate affirmation. Finally, let your actions back up your words. If you say you believe in God, this should show in how you live. It should show in how you relate to others. It should show in your character. Saying you believe in God should mean something, and the best way to make this affirmation meaningful is to live what you say.

God acknowledges those who believe in him, and ignore those who don't. Hebrews 11:6 says, "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." He doesn't need man's belief to confirm his existence, but he does reward those who truly believe.

Pastor Steve
Saturday July 31, 2021

When I was young, Dad used to take my two brothers and me on drives to give Mom a break from us. Of course, I didn't realize, until I was much older, the intent of these drives. At the time, I just knew I enjoyed going on drives with Dad. One road we would take was a road that basically went nowhere. This gravel-covered route veered off the main road and then followed a ridge for a few miles and ended up back on the main road. No one lived on the road, but there was an old deserted house that was kind of cool, an old deserted school bus with no windows or tires, and an old cemetery. We sometimes would take food and stop to eat somewhere along the road.

Years later, after I was married and had moved away, I was visiting one time and thought it would be neat to follow that old road again just for the fun of it. I veered off the main road as I had done countless times before with Dad, went up the hill and around the curve to start following the ridge, and slammed on the brakes. There was no road. The road just stopped. Up ahead was nothing but tall weeds, young trees, and other undergrowth, but no road. After years of no use and neglect, the road was overgrown and blocked. I had waited too late to take my nostalgic trip. I went back onto the main road, followed it to where the gravel road came out and "backtracked", but I had the same result. After a bit, I stopped because the road simply was no longer there.

I hadn't remembered this until just recently and a thought occurred to me. The road to heaven is now open for those who wish to follow it through faith in Christ. However, you need to follow the road now while you live. Death closes the road for you and there is no way to open it once it is closed. You need to "make the trip" now while you have the opportunity. Waiting will only close the road. Jesus said, "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Matthew 7:13-14) Now is the time to follow this path.

Pastor Steve
Friday July 30, 2021

Recently in my reading, I came across this little challenge, "Do something good for someone today and don't get caught." Then, I found this story: "When I was a boy, I was lounging one day on a sofa listening to the radio. My dad came in and asked, 'Hey - you don't look too busy, want to do something for the next twenty minutes that you will remember twenty years from now? Go down and shovel Mrs. Brown's sidewalks. Don't let her know you did it. You will always have the memory that will make you glad.' I did what Dad suggested, and he was right. Mrs. Brown never found out who shoveled the walk. I have never forgotten how tickled I was to have done that for her."

In Matthew 6:1 - 4, we find Christ's encouragement to do things for others in secret, "Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

Why not try practicing some "secret service?" Your expression of kindness will benefit someone else, and you will create a memory that will always bring you joy. Do something good for someone today and don't get caught!

Pastor Steve
Thursday July 29, 2021

Scherry and I have not watched much of the Olympics, but happened to be watching this past Monday night when some interesting things happened. First, we got to see a broadcast of Flora Duffy winning the gold medal in the triathlon. She is the first athlete from Bermuda ever to win a gold medal. Bermuda has only two athletes at this year's competition. The next nice surprise was watching 17-year-old Lydia Jacoby win the gold in the 100m breaststroke. She beat heavily-favored fellow American Lilly King. Jacoby is from Alaska, where only one 50m pool can be found. If you have watched any coverage, you probably have seen a roomful of people at her high school (I think) going bonkers after her victory. So, if I had not been watching, I would have missed these events.

Missing out on Olympic scenes is one thing, but often we miss out on things God has for us because we are not paying attention. God has things he wants to show us, teach us, give us, provide for us, and at times we are in danger of missing those things because we are simply not in tune with Him in our lives.

Psalms 123:2 gives us this encouragement, "Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, So our eyes look to the Lord our God." Psalm 85:8 says, "I will listen to what God the Lord says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants." Make sure you are paying attention to what God has to say and what God wants to do. If you don't, you may miss out on a gold-medal moment.

Pastor Steve
Wednesday July 28, 2021

One of the things we do during the times when our grandkids are visiting is shut some doors. Now, for our older kids this is not really a need anymore. They have no problem opening doors anyway; but our little Edie is still small enough that this is a good idea. This is not done to be mean, as I am sure you are aware, it is done because it's a good idea for the little ones. They could encounter things in those rooms, especially the rooms with fixtures (enough said), that we don't want them to mess with or disturb. This is for their good. This is one of those exercises in child-rearing where you don t want to stymie the natural curiosity of your little one, but you also need to help him or her be safe.

This happens in our lives at times. We encounter doors that are shut. There may be many reasons behind these times, but one reason is that God has closed the door. Now, we struggle with this because our natural curiosity and our natural inclination is to want what is behind that door. We think it is best for us and that is what we need in our lives. God may have other plans and, at times, close the door that we think we want to enter. We don't like this, and we may even forge ahead through the door. God can let this happen as he does not always stop us when we express a desire to go our own way. It seems, though that if we encounter a closed door, we should at least pause and take some time to find out the options. We need to acknowledge that God knows what is best for us and he always has our best interests at heart.

Acts records Paul having a "closed door" experience during his travels "Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to." (Acts 16:6 - 8) Why were they prevented from going the way they wanted? Because God had a different direction and wanted the gospel introduced in Europe.

Joseph experienced a "closed door" of another sort. He had been unjustly accused and placed behind a prison door in Egypt. This experience put him in a position where a great deal of good was done. Joseph said, "And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you." (Genesis 45:5) Are you encountering a closed door in your life? Be patient and trust God for the outcome; an opening will be given. God closes doors for a number of reasons - our protection, our benefit, our own good, or other reasons. We need to remember that He is the One who knows what is on the other side of a closed door.

Pastor Steve
Tuesday July 27, 2021

Having a daughter who was living there at the time got me interested in the climate of Edinburgh, Scotland. What I learned was that the folks in Edinburgh enjoy a more temperate climate than that of many other cities located along a similar northerly latitude. Edinburgh and Moscow fall about on the same line, but the winters in Edinburgh are much less extreme. As I imagine most of you know, the reason for this is because Edinburgh is located in an island nation and the surrounding water acts as a buffer, of sorts, that has an effect on climate.

As followers of Christ, we have a buffer as well. We are aware of what is around us, and we still experience the effects of living in a fallen world, but God offers protection and help. Many times, this help is imperceptible to us. God is always there for us, hedging us in, helping us through the rough times, protecting us through satanic oppression, and other things that He does for us for our benefit. We may not be totally shielded from all the bad, but there are times the experience would be much more intense without the protective hand of God.

Psalm 46:1 tells us, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." God gives us this assurance, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10)

Be thankful for the presence of God, even at times when you don t perceive His presence. He is there and He is making your life more "temperate," even though you don't see what He does.

Pastor Steve
Monday July 26, 2021

Yesterday, I wrote about the excitement about learning something new. Allow me to continue along that line of thinking. I have made a startling discovery. When you alphabetize documents, they are easier to find. Yes, of course, I am being a little sarcastic. The sarcasm is aimed squarely at me. I have a big binder in which I store all the lead sheets for our praise band songs. I still play with the group from time to time, and on the days I play, I locate the sheets and usually copy them so I won't lose the originals.

I have always dreaded this process. The reason for my dread was the difficulty I had finding the right sheets. What was the solution? A really profound trick - alphabetize the music! Now, I knew this all along, but simply had never taken the time to do so. The result? A much less arduous experience in finding the music.

I know you are saying, "Well, duh?" at this moment, and I deserve that. Sometimes we fail to do what we know we should do; you know? There was an obvious solution to my dilemma; I had just never exercised the solution. I had never taken the time to do what I know I should.

We often do this with our relationship with God. We know that the best course of action is the most obvious course of action - we need to trust Him and obey Him. Yet we find ourselves neglecting the obvious course of action which leads to problems. It is always best to obey God's principles and to trust in God's provision, but often we ignore what is best and fumble through the pile in search of the right "music." This leads to frustration and disarray.

Deuteronomy 5:33 tells us, "Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess." Later, Moses writes, "It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him." (Deuteronomy 13:4) We might say "well, duh" to this because we know the correct thing to do; however, we sometimes neglect to do what we know we should. Our "new" thing could very well be something old school!

Pastor Steve
Sunday July 25, 2021

Do you still get excited when you learn something new? Do you remember how excited you got as a kid when you learned a new skill? I can still recall vividly the thrill I felt when I tied my shoes all by myself for the first time. I do not recall how old I was, but I still remember shouting, "Hey, I did it!"

For some reason, it seems that, as we grow older, the excitement of learning new things abates. Now, I am not saying that we need to shout out a response, or run around with reckless abandonment when new things are discovered. Oh, I wish I could though. That would be fun. But I digress.

I think we should still have a desire to learn new things, no matter how many new things we have already learned. This should be especially true when it comes to spiritual enlightenment. We should never lose our desire to learn more about the ways of the Lord and about our relationship with Him.

God is excited about doing new things for us. Psalm 40:3 says, "He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him." I can feel God s energy when I read Isaiah 43:19, "See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."

Don't lose the wonder of learning new ways and new ideas about your life with the Savior! You are a new creation (I Corinthians 5:17); don't let the new fade!

Pastor Steve
Saturday July 24, 2021

I have used the following story on a number of occasions. A young boy was trying to lift a large stone. He pushed, he pulled, he tugged, he huffed, he puffed, but try as he might, he could not move the stone. His father was nearby watching his efforts and asked, "Son, can't you move the stone?" "No," his son replied. The father continued, "Have you done everything you can to move the stone?" "Yes," said the boy. The dad said, "I don't think you have - you didn't ask me to help."

Who is helpful to you in the work that God has called you to do? Who walks alongside you so that together you can accomplish more than you could on your own? I think it really interesting that one of the first things Christ did as he began his earthly ministry was recruit others to go with him on the journey. Now, I realize there were many reasons for this, but I think it important to note that even the Son of God did not want to walk alone when he was on the earth. He had trusted companions that may have worked in fits and starts at times, but were there nonetheless to learn, to assist, to walk with the Savior so they could continue his work. Paul had companions on all of his journeys. He told Timothy to "Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry." (II Timothy 4:11)

Ecclesiastes 4:8-10 tells us, "There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up."

Find friends who can help you walk and work the road of God's calling together. Family members and friends who are there for you and have you there for them to share burdens, share ministry, celebrate joys, and experience life are vital. Don't walk alone.

Pastor Steve
Friday July 23, 2021

Earthquakes are events that can have devastating consequences and far-reaching effects. The Sumatran-Andaman earthquake of December 26, 2004, was centered near Sumatra, Indonesia, but it literally shook the entire planet. Fourteen countries near the epicenter experienced tsunamis that killed more than 200,000 people. It remotely triggered other earthquakes as far away as Alaska. The ground shook all over planet earth.

Soren Kierkegaard, the 19th-century Danish philosopher, wrote that his world was rocked by an "earthquake" when his religious father cursed God because of the treatment he was experiencing from others. This event affected Soren so profoundly that he called it "The Great Earthquake." For the rest of his life, he wondered how his life was touched by what took place.

All of us experience "earthquakes" in our lives. We face difficult times and, at times, experiences that leave us devastated. During these events, let your faith step in and hold you fast as your work through the results of what is taking place or has been done. Focus on the strong provision of God who always has you in His hands and will hold you fast when your world is quaking.

We are in God's hands, and he will give us strength, protection, and healing. John 10:28-29 tells us, "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand." Paul writes about God's provision for his children in Romans 8:37-39, "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." When your world is shaken, trust God to hold you fast.

Pastor Steve
Thursday July 22, 2021

In II Corinthians 7, Paul defines his relationship with the Corinthians by calling them "dear friends" and telling them, "I am glad I can have complete confidence in you." (vs. 16) The language Paul uses here in his greeting to them stands in stark contrast to how he had addressed them earlier. When you read I Corinthians, you will come to a section where Paul rebukes the Corinthians for not taking care of a problem that existed among them. (I Corinthians 5)

What made the difference is that the Corinthians confronted the wrongdoing, repentance followed, and the Corinthians forgave the person. This led to reinstitution in the church and a reinforcement of God's desire. The person prospered and the church thrived.

At times, we have a problem with being forgiven and accepting God's forgiveness. Even though we know God forgives, there are times we struggle with allowing God's forgiveness to infiltrate our being and rid us of the guilt we feel for the sins we commit. We cannot undo the past, but when we repent and receive God's forgiveness, we need to present him with the consequences and give this to him.

Psalm 32:2 tells us, Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit. He truly forgives us, and we can live as forgiven people. Fellowship is restored, and we can know we are his "dear friends."

Pastor Steve
Wednesday July 21, 2021

I read the other day that only 30% of the population of the United States do not need glasses. Now, as a person who has needed visual correction for almost all of my life, I am not surprised at this statistic. Actually, I doubt this news surprises any of you. I would imagine only a handful of those reading this article are doing so without some sort of correction. I would imagine you could only come up with a short list of folks that you know personally who do not need visual correction of some sort.

Another need exists among humans. We also struggle with our spiritual vision. Even those of us who are following the Savior do not have perfect spiritual vision. Paul talks about this in I Corinthians 13:12 where he writes, "For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." At the time Paul wrote this, mirrors such as we have now did not exist. Pieces of polished metal served as mirrors and provided reflections that were dim and distorted.

Even those who follow Christ suffer from limited spiritual vision because of the limitations of humanity. This means that things happen that we don't understand. This means that we cannot fully comprehend all that is taking place. This means that, in many instances, answers to life's questions will not be there or will only be vaguely understood. We only "know in part," as Paul wrote. (I Corinthians 13:9).

This is why faith is so important. We don't see clearly now, but we will "know as we are known" at some point. Until that time, we should look to God to help us with our impairment. He is the only One who can supply us with the correction that we need.

Pastor Steve
Tuesday July 20, 2021

On those days when it just seems I am stuck in a lower gear, I start to do a little rehearsing. I have found that a rehearsal of all the things for which I am thankful helps me to put away the doldrums and the lethargy and provide some energy to help me with the tasks at hand. Now, you can think of some specifics in this exercise, but I have found using a "scripture guide of things for which to be thankful" is helpful.

There are a number of passages that can be used for this; Psalm 103 is a good one. David found that lifting up his thanks to God was a way to bring joy to his soul. He thanked God for all of his benefits (vs. 2). He thanked God that he forgave his sins (vss. 3). He thanked God for not dealing with him as sins would dictate, but removed them from his life (vss. 10 & 12). He thanked God for healing and looked forward to the time when all of our physical afflictions will be done away (vs. 3). David thanked God that he would not face punishment but instead be a recipient of God's love and great compassion (vs. 4). He thanked God for the satisfaction he found in Him and for the energy that God supplied to him as he went through life (vs. 5). David was grateful that God's love is enduring and goes on and on, and would even be extended to his progeny (vs. 17).

David found that giving God thanks and praise led him to a peace of heart and an experience of joy that did not come from other pursuits. So, do you need a little kick in your step? Start with the Lord, "Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits." (103:1) This will help you soar like an eagle (Psalm 103:5).

Pastor Steve
Monday July 19, 2021

A newspaper ad for a new model of Jaguar stated, "Once again envy will be standard equipment." It may not be wrong to own a Jaguar, but if my neighbor has one and I am overly envious of having one as well, that is an issue. This is an area that, at first thought, we might not consider too serious; but the scripture tells us that it "ranks" right up there with sexual immorality and drunkenness (Galatians 5:19-21)

Envy motivated Joseph's brothers to sell him into slavery (Acts 7); Envy fueled the fires of those who wanted to destroy Christ (Mark 15); Envy led Paul's opponents in Thessalonica to incite a riot (Acts 17).

Envy left unchecked can lead to actions that are negative in intent and destructive in nature. We need to recognize envy in our lives and remove it from our hearts. Ecclesiastes 4:4 tells us, "And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind."

Don't let envy be standard equipment in your life. Control this attitude that can lead to awful consequences.

Pastor Steve
Sunday July 18, 2021

We all know the problems distracted driving can cause. Distracted walking can also be a dangerous endeavor. I was talking with my brother the other night and something we said reminded me of the time that I walked into a USPS mailbox on a sidewalk in Charleston, South Carolina. I hit it so hard that I knocked it off its moorings. Of course, I took a tumble as well and banged up my legs. I was texting while I was walking and not paying attention to where I was headed. Not good.

We can have problems in our walk with the Lord when we let distractions take over. Activities we should not pursue, issues that we think are so very important, neglect of time that we should be spending with Him, and other circumstances can pull our gaze away from where it should be. When we are tempted to focus on something else rather than our focus on Christ, we need to do something about it, or the consequences could be detrimental. The answer to distracted walking is fairly simple, whether you are talking about your physical walk or your walk with God: don't pursue distractions!

I Samuel 12:21 & 24 tells us, "And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name's sake, Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you." Focus on the Lord and save those mailboxes!

Pastor Steve
Sunday July 18, 2021

We all know the problems distracted driving can cause. Distracted walking can also be a dangerous endeavor. I was talking with my brother the other night and something we said reminded me of the time that I walked into a USPS mailbox on a sidewalk in Charleston, South Carolina. I hit it so hard that I knocked it off its moorings. Of course, I took a tumble as well and banged up my legs. I was texting while I was walking and not paying attention to where I was headed. Not good.

We can have problems in our walk with the Lord when we let distractions take over. Activities we should not pursue, issues that we think are so very important, neglect of time that we should be spending with Him, and other circumstances can pull our gaze away from where it should be. When we are tempted to focus on something else rather than our focus on Christ, we need to do something about it, or the consequences could be detrimental. The answer to distracted walking is fairly simple, whether you are talking about your physical walk or your walk with God: don't pursue distractions!

I Samuel 12:21 & 24 tells us, "And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name's sake, Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you." Focus on the Lord and save those mailboxes!

Pastor Steve
Saturday July 17, 2021

I remember reading a story about an incident that took place during the Korean War. While engaged in an offensive, Baker Company was separated from the rest of their unit. For many long hours, headquarters waited anxiously for some communication from them. Finally, a faint radio message was heard. Headquarters responded, "Baker Company, what is your situation?" The reply from Baker Company was, "The enemy is to the east of us. The enemy is to the west of us. The enemy is to the north of us. The enemy is to the south of us. The enemy is not going to get away from us now!"

Although in a precarious circumstance, Baker Company was thinking about victory, not defeat. This is how we can look at tough times in our lives. Whether we are engaged in a time of difficult spiritual warfare, or we are struggling with a set of circumstances that seem to have us surrounded, we can focus on victory, not defeat. Paul speaks about having an attitude of victory when things look bleak, "We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." (II Corinthians 4:7-9)

When we are surrounded by the enemy, remember the strength you can have through God's provision. Think, "The enemy is not going to get away from me now!"

Pastor Steve
Friday July 16, 2021

Bridges are an important part of our road infrastructure. When a bridge is out, it can be really problematic. Several years ago, a bridge on I-64 that connected Louisville, Kentucky, and New Harmony, Indiana had to be closed when some structural problems were discovered. This made for a long commute for local residents and a confusing detour for infrequent travelers. I traversed that road on my travels to Ohio to visit my family. The detour added a good bit of time to our trip. After the reopening of the bridge, I have never again taken it for granted.

We need bridge builders in our world in general and in our churches. We need people who can help connect disparate circumstances and, at times, disparate people. Barnabas was just such a bridge builder. When Paul experienced difficulty being accepted by the folks at Jerusalem, Barnabas stepped in. You really can't fault the folks at Jerusalem, given Paul's background, but he had experienced the grace of God. Barnabas intervened on his behalf by building a bridge between Paul and the Jerusalem church. Luke writes: "When (Paul) came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles." (Acts 9:26-27)

Are you aware of a situation where a bridge is needed? Perhaps you can be that bridge and keep folks from taking unnecessary detours and going in wrong directions. I have always maintained that the church would benefit from more folks like Barnabas. Are you a Barnabas?

Pastor Steve
Thursday July 15, 2021

An intersection exists in our town where, because of the proximity of a building to the intersection, drivers are unable to see oncoming traffic. Now, a traffic light is present there, and one would think that might take care of the issue, but sometimes on-coming drivers ignore the light and zip right on through. Because of my experiences there, I have learned to hesitate a bit before I start into the intersection when the light turns green. Often, I wish a big mirror could be placed in the intersection, one like is found in hallways of buildings, but that is not possible. Well, you could do it, but the problems this would cause would outweigh the advantages.

At times we wish that we could see "around corners" into the future. If we could just see what is ahead, we sometimes theorize, "we could be better prepared, and maybe even avoid things." This could be true, to some extent, but the problems would outweigh the advantages.

A little girl was helping her grandmother boil some eggs for breakfast. As they were looking at the eggs and talking about how long it would take to get them just right, the girl said, "It's a shame we can't open the eggs up to see how they are doing." But they knew that would spoil them and they had to rely on their guesswork.

Messing around with the future, like opening a partially-cooked egg, could make a real mess. Both what is happening right now, and what is happening "around the corner," could be knocked off-kilter.

Jesus had something to say about how our perspective of today and tomorrow. He said, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6:33 34) Make sure you are doing what you should to take care of today, and trust Christ to guide you with what is around the corner.

Pastor Steve
Wednesday July 14, 2021

I enjoyed the PBS series "Downton Abbey." One of the things that made the series enjoyable for me was listening what they called each other. Titles were very much a part of British culture in the time frame of this series. They still are to some extent. I always got a kick out of hearing Robert Crawley (the Earl of Grantham, played by Hugh Bonneville) call his mother the "Dowager Countess," a role played brilliantly by Maggie Smith. I would think, "She's your mother, for goodness sake!" Oh, I really loved her character. Anyway, titles were very much a part of the dialogue. Some cultures value titles more than others.

In scripture, we find that Paul was not into titles that much, but he did use the term "apostle" frequently in his writings. This demonstrated why he had the right to send the letters he wrote. For example, we read in II Corinthians 1:1, "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God in Corinth, together with all his hol y people throughout Achaia." He used this title upon occasion when he wanted to state his role in the ministry.

There were also other terms he used about himself. These were of a different nature. Paul had formerly been a "blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man" He said that he considered himself to be the "chief" of sinners. But because of God s mercy, he was now an apostle, one to whom "the King eternal" had committed the glorious gospel and whom He had sent out to share that gospel. (I Timothy 1:13, 15, 17)

There are terms that can be used to about us that are not so much titles as they are descriptions of character. "Liar," "sneak," or "two-faced" are titles we certainly don't want. Rather, we would hope that terms like "honest," "dependable," or "kind" could be used. These titles may not be "official", but they certainly are significant. These titles are up to us - we gain them through our lifestyle. So, what is your title?

Pastor Steve
Tuesday July 13, 2021

I enjoy seeing pictures posted on Facebook and other social media of folks' travels to some of the marvelous places we have on our planet. Just this morning, I saw pictures from England, the northwest United States, a beach in Florida, and the mountains of Tennessee. Over the years, I have been blessed to visit some of the beautiful places that God has created. There are many I would still like to see, but I am grateful for some of the sights I have witnessed - rainforests in Costa Rica, sand dunes in Peru, mountains in the U.S., and other marvelous scenes.

Have you ever wondered what God looks at when he observes His creation? Have you ever wondered what he thinks about when he looks at what He has set in motion on Earth? What is it that draws his attention? The writer of Psalm 33 gives us an idea, "From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth--he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do. But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine." (vss. 13-15; 18-19)

God doesn't look so much on the wonders of nature as he does people - us. What does he see? What kind of view greets him? As he looks at his children, is He pleased with what he sees, or does He wince at the sight of what is before his eyes? He looks at us with a heart of love and longs for us to trust him. He wants to help those whose hope is in him. He wants to deliver us and provide for us. Let's show him we appreciate what he does for us by giving him something really special to view!

Pastor Steve
Monday July 12, 2021

You can put this in the "Believe It or Not" file if you wish. I know I found it hard to believe until I actually read some information about it. There is a group that has developed what is being termed the Quantum Sleeper. This is a bed that can help you survive if someone breaks into your home, or there is some sort of natural disaster, or any kind of apocalyptic scenario.

The bed features an alarm system that warns of imminent danger whether an intruder or bad weather. It has bullet-proof armor, a water circulation system, an air purification system, hook-ups for video feed, gaming, and DVD, and, of course, a food supply. Are there bad guys trying to get you? Don't worry - your bed will spew tear gas and take care of the threat. Whenever a threat is detected, the bed closes up and you are warm and safe within its confines. All of this security in order for you to get a good night's sleep!

David had another solution for getting a good night's sleep. We read in Psalm 4:4-5 & 8 "Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Offer the sacrifices of the righteous and trust in the Lord. Many, Lord, are asking, 'Who will bring us prosperity?' Let the light of your face shine on us. Fill my heart with joy when their grain and new wine abound. In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety."

As we submit our lives to the Lord, He brings us a sense of security and well-being that allows us a good night's sleep. All the armor in the world and all the tear gas in the world will only go so far. God goes into areas of our lives that no one else can enter, when we allow Him to do so, to bolster our confidence and bring contentment. So, invest in a Quantum Sleeper if you wish. My hope is in the Lord.

Pastor Steve
Sunday July 11, 2021

Today marks the 50th anniversary of my first sermon. Now, I preached a number of sermons in the living room of the home where I grew up in Deering, Ohio, but my first "official" message was in the Sunday evening service at Zoar Baptist Church in Coal Grove, Ohio, on July 11, 1971.

My text was Matthew 9:36-38, "When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.'" My Papaw, John Mayfield, who was a minister, helped me with the sermon.

I don't recall my original outline, but I see three thoughts in this passage. First, our compassion for others needs to be like that of Christ's. He looked and saw needs that begged to be met. Do we look for needs that ask for our intervention? Secondly, we are asked to pray for action and for answers for the needs that we see, in particular, the spread of the Good News of the Gospel. Finally, we should look to be the answer to our prayer for "workers" for the harvest.

This is the desire that I have for the ministry in which I am engaged. I don't think I have another 50 in me, but I'll keep trying for as long as I can.

Pastor Steve
Saturday July 10, 2021

This summer, we have been able to enjoy a lot of activities and pursuits we missed last year because of COVID. Ballgames, outings, traveling, and other things were back on the docket after being, for the most part, shelved last year. For some, this raises a question - should I actually miss these activities or are they simply frivolous endeavors that we really shouldn't pursue in the first place? What about recreational activities or things we do simply for pleasure? Should these actually be part of our lives? For many, this is not a real issue, but I have been asked questions along this line.

The desire for having fun is a good thing. I cannot help but think that Paul must have been a fan of sporting activities as he used these for object lessons on more than one occasion - read I Corinthians 9:24-27. He also writes about social events such as going out to dinner with other folks (read I Corinthians 10). We are built to enjoy these things, and Paul also comments that God, "richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment." (I Timothy 6:17) We should enjoy activities simply for the sake of having a good time, but as with many things, we need to take care that our pleasurable pursuits do not become our primary pursuits.

King Solomon made this mistake and wrote, "I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure." (Ecclesiastes 2:10) Solomon stated that he put everything, even his work, ahead living to please God. Eventually he learned the emptiness of living this way and the folly of putting his own desires ahead of God's desire for him. He wrote, "He who loves pleasure will become a poor man." (Proverbs 21:17)

Being involved in fun activities and pursuits that bring pleasure is not a problem unless we put them in the place of our pursuit of God. Solomon came to this conclusion, "Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all people." (Ecclesiastes 12:13) This should be our conclusion as well. Enjoy your summer!

Pastor Steve
Friday July 09, 2021

As I read the scriptural accounts about the lives of the people whom God uses, I am struck by a particular observation - they were all ordinary people doing ordinary things when God called them to do something extraordinary. Abram was tending his flocks in Ur when God called him to leave. (Genesis 12:1-5) Moses is interesting because he was a "nobody" who became a "somebody," but was taken back to "nobody" status before God used him as a "somebody." (Exodus 3 & 4) David was a boy watching his father s sheep who became a valiant warrior and ultimately King of Israel. (II Samuel 5:1-5)

I find the account of Mary particularly compelling both for what took place, and because of her verbal response to the call on her life. What sets all of these people apart and gives us insight into the reason they were used by God in the way they were is found in her words, "I am the Lord's servant. May your word to me be fulfilled." (Luke 1:38) These were the words Mary used in her response, and not the exact statement of the others, but these words certainly match the heart of all of the others I have mentioned. What set them apart was not their dynamic abilities or splendid acts; what set them apart was their willingness to obey when God called them to serve.

Mary was living the simple, plain life of a Jewish girl in Galilee. She was doing what all the others of her age were doing. There was nothing out of the ordinary about her life that would have given any indication she had been set apart for her specific, and special, place. What set her apart was her response when she was called. I won t take the time to comment on this now, but I have often pointed out the similarity in her response and that of her Son when he prayed to His father on the night before the crucifixion. Christ said, "yet not my will, but yours be done." (Luke 22:29-35)

What is God asking you to do? It may be something really big, or it may be something ordinary. It may be to respond to a call to act, or simply to wait in the wake of a present difficulty. I am not all that familiar with him, but recently I came across a quote from the 18th-century writer Jean-Pierre de Caussade, "What God arranges for us to experience at each moment is the holiest thing that could happen to us." Let your heart be in agreement with and in the company with Mary and all the others I mentioned earlier. As your live for God, let your response to Him be, "I am the Lord's servant. May your word to me be fulfilled."

Pastor Steve
Wednesday July 07, 2021

As I wrote earlier, in my recent travels I encountered road construction. This is the norm, of course. At the present time, if you travel east on I-70, you will encounter road construction just before you get to Indianapolis. In actuality, if you plan to travel through Indianapolis on I-70 right now, you will detour around the city on I-465.

I have traveled I-70 frequently over the past years, and I know that section just before Indianapolis has been re-worked before. So, the question is, if they have already worked on that section before, why are they tearing it up again and doing more work on it? There may be a number of answers to this, but the bottom line is, it needs to be done to make it better.

In our experience as followers of Christ, we often speak of God using life circumstances to mold us and shape us and help us to be what He wants us to be. At times, it seems as if we go through experiences where we feel as if we have encountered before a similar circumstance. That, of course, may well be the case. God uses experiences to teach us and to build our faith. In His wisdom, repeat experiences may be what is best for us. As with people tearing up what has been worked on before to make improvements, God will use what is best for us to bring us to where He wants us to be. The thing with God is that, unlike people's abilities and understanding, His ability and understanding is always best.

We exercise faith when we yield to His work in our lives and let Him do what He knows is best. I have no clue whether it was the best thing or not to rip up I-70 just before Indianapolis, but I know that whatever God does in my life is indeed the best thing. In Ephesians 2:10, Paul tells us, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." H writes elsewhere, "Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:6) God continues to work in our lives, and, at times, does things over in order to bring us to where He wants us to be. Travel the road with God, and let Him decide which detours we need.

Pastor Steve
Tuesday July 06, 2021

My 18-month-old granddaughter, Edith, makes the cutest facial expressions. I love to watch her as she walks around playing, talking, and singing, all the while making a face to suit whatever thoughts happen to be in her little mind at the time. You can ask her, "Edie, show me your happy face," and she beams and smiles. "Show me your sad face," brings an expression that might must bring tears to your eyes. And be prepared to be intimidated if you ask her to show you her angry face. She is a little expressive sweetheart.

Our facial expressions communicate what is going on inside of us. They let others know what we are thinking and feeling and reveal our attitudes about issues and circumstances. Our facial expressions reveal outwardly what is going on inwardly.

In the Old Testament, we read of a group of people who were profoundly affected by someone's facial expression. After Moses' encounter with God on Sinai, we read about the response of the people to the appearance of Moses, "When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called to them; so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and he spoke to them." (Exodus 34:29 31) The face of Moses was radiant because of his encounter with God. His outward appearance revealed his inner character.

What about us? Does out outward radiance reveal our inner character? Does it reveal that we have had an encounter with God? Now, I am not saying that our face should glow so brightly that we have veil ourselves in the presence of others, but our outward expressiveness should reveal our inner attentiveness. We should do what we can to reveal the character of God in how we express our lives. So, show me your happy face!

Pastor Steve
Monday July 05, 2021

I would imagine you have heard the name Noah Webster. He fought in the Revolutionary War, then became a lawyer. Of course, he is best known for producing the first American dictionary of the English language. I know I have written about this before, but I keep coming across these fascinating articles that remind us of how highly the Scriptures were once thought of by scholars and utilized in our educational process.

In his book, The History of the United States, published in 1832, Noah Webster wrote: "All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible." Webster understood the importance of using the Bible in life.

Moses spoke about the importance of scripture and tells us what we should do: "These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead." (Deuteronomy 8:8 9)

I do not know what lies in the path of our society, but I do know the neglect, in actuality the spurning, of scripture is not going to be without consequence. Noah Webster recognized this over 170 years ago. We are witnessing the decline of Western civilization as a result of the neglect of Scripture.

Don't allow a decline in your life because of a neglect of scripture. The author of one of the most important works in the English language warns against the neglect of scripture. Affirming what Moses said, Webster understood the importance of words and the importance of the Word. We need to follow the advice of the authority about the Authority!

Pastor Steve
Sunday July 04, 2021

Today we celebrate Independence Day. On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted to declare independence from Great Britain. July 4, 1776, is the date of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, a document intended to define just what was meant by the vote on July 2. In a letter to his wife, John Adams wrote that the day should be celebrated with parades, fireworks, and all kinds of other activities. I don't know if our customs of celebration are because of Adams' suggestion, but this is what we do to celebrate.

Independence Day falls on a Sunday this year, and as it does, I am reminded of another year when our celebration fell on a Sunday. That was 45 years ago, our bicentennial year, July 4, 1976. At that time, "Get All Excited," the group I had with my brothers and others, was going strong. We were pretty active on July 4, 1976. I hope you will forgive my reminiscing today, but since the actual day coincides, it has led me to be a bit nostalgic.

We were pretty active on Sunday, July 4, 1976. That morning at about 9, we sang at Gateway Baptist Church in Ironton, Ohio. They blocked off the east-west cross-street that ran between South 5th and South 6th. Some of you reading this may be able to name that street, but it escapes me at this time. Actually, this arrangement was just for high school and college-aged kids, as I recall. We sang and Jim Howell, Jr., spoke. After this, we traveled a little south to the Christ United Methodist Church to sing in their morning service. From there, we traveled upriver to Gallipolis, Ohio, about an hour and a half drive, for a concert in the city park with other groups. There were hundreds of people there biggest crowd we ever experienced. Then, we hopped on Route 7 and traveled back to Coal Grove to sing in the evening service of our home church, Zoar Baptist. For the benefit of those reading who are not familiar with southern Ohio geography, Coal Grove is right next to Ironton. This was quite a way to celebrate, and is one of my favorite memories of our "traveling" days.

We do need to celebrate today. We should be thankful for our country and what it means to be a part of this country. We are struggling with our direction and there are problems, but I am glad I live here. God has used our country in a unique way over the past three centuries to have a profound impact on our world. The people of God are still present in our country, and we need to continue to do what we know is right in the eyes of God.

As you celebrate your freedom as a citizen, don t forget to celebrate your freedom as a follower of Christ. For some, this may sound cliché, but cliché or not, it is truth. Galatians 5:1 says, "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore." II Corinthians 3:17 declares, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." Finally, "And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:32) Celebrate our freedom, and celebrate your freedom in Christ. Happy 4th of July!

Pastor Steve
Saturday July 03, 2021

I once read the account of an elderly lady who lived in Moorefield, Virginia, during the War between the States. Actually, the town was located in the part of the state that would become West Virginia during the conflict. Because of its location, the occupation of the town changed almost daily. One day it was in Union hands, the next it might be controlled by the Confederate army. A knock came on her door one morning. It was some enemy troops, and they demanded to be fed. She had them come in and cooked breakfast for them. When they sat down, she said, "I always read the Bible and pray before breakfast. So I will do that now."

She opened her Bible and randomly selected Psalm 27. She read, "The LORD is my light and my salvation--whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid? When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, then my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident." Then she prayed. At the conclusion of the prayer, she raised her head and found that all of the soldiers had left.

What enemies are you facing? When you have foes in your home demanding breakfast, take time to read Psalm 27, pray about what you face, and trust God for the outcome.

Pastor Steve
Friday July 02, 2021

Did you ever threaten to run away from home when you were a kid? When I got mad at my parents I did. The problem was I could never come up with a good place to go. We lived too far out in the country to have a destination that would work.

David, the author of Psalm 139, asked a provocative question: "Where can I flee from Your presence?" (v.7). He answered his own question with two parallel responses. He first replied, "If I ascend to heaven, You are there" (v.8). It doesn't take a theologian to figure that out. After all, where else would God be?

David's second response is quite interesting. "If I make my bed in hell, you are there." Hell? Yes, that is what he wrote. The point David is making is that you can't go anywhere where God isn't. He is everywhere. This truth is both convicting and comforting. It is convicting because it means God is present when we are doing our worst. However, it is comforting to know he is present when the worst is being piled on us. He is there.

So, don't make plans to run from God - you will not be successful. Yogi Berra once said, "No matter where I go, there I am." Well, the same can be said about God.

Pastor Steve
Thursday July 01, 2021

My handwriting is atrocious. No matter how hard I try, I have never been able to write well. A bird with ink on its feet could walk across a sheet of paper and make something that would be more legible than my efforts. I remember a comment a professor wrote on one of my exams, "Mr. Willis, your handwriting is well-nigh unreadable, but your logic is irrefutable." I'm glad he appreciated that.

There is a discipline of study called graphology which says that one can determine a good deal about an individual's character by studying their handwriting. I am sure mine would make an interesting study, if they could make heads or tails out of anything I have written.

In the scripture, Paul refers to the handwriting of our lives. He says in II Corinthians 3:2-3, "You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts." What kind of writing are you showing with your life? If the handwriting of your life were to be studied, what would it say about your spiritual character?

You may have heard it said, "Your life may be the only Bible some read." If this is true, what is your life saying? We should live to please the Lord. If we do, then we are writing eloquent testimonies to his Grace that can be an effective testimony for our Heavenly Father. Let's determine to write statements of godliness and obedience with the instruments of our lives.

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