Watson Baptist Church
Watson, IL

Activities

Coming Events

July 5
Lord's Supper

Birthdays

July 5
Louise French - Elaine Higgs
July 6
Chip Townsend
July 7
Mayana Blair
July 13
Angie Townsend
July 15
Kenny Warfield
July 23
Thomas Rinehart
July 24
Kade Blair - Allen Hicks - Jan Johnson
July 25
Hope Rinehart
July 26
Nevaeh Peddycoat
July 27
Addison Faber
July 31
Lexie Jones

Anniversaries

July 31
Penny & Dave Gressel
July 19
Loretta & Charles Woods

Our Pastor

Pastor Van Mcqueen

Pastor Van is a graduate of Georgetown Baptist College in Georgetown KY, with a BA in music. He has served churches in KY, IL, TX, and Maryland.

He was married to Dorothy for 48 years. She passed away in 2001. He has two married children. Cindy Slyvester and Doug McQueen. Two grandchildren and three great-grand-children.

Pastor Van has served in almost every area of church-related service. He spent ten years in the field of fund raising for churches. He has no hobbies except he likes old trucks and owns and has restored an old 1950 Dodge pickup. His first love is Jesus, second is his family and third is the Watson Baptist Church.

Our Church

The Watson Baptist Church began as a Mission extension of Jackson Township Baptist Church in 1895. The first church, "The New Zion Baptist Church" started with 17 members at the White School House, later the place of worship was changed to the old Presbyterian Church. Mrs. Cannon of Mason presented a church bell to the church in 1904.

A new church was built in 1969 and the name became "The Watson Baptist Church". The land was donated by Glen and Agnes Martin. The church continued to grow and an addition was added in 1984. There have been 29 pastors to date.


Contact Information

Address:

Watson Baptist Church
100 N Old Watson Rd
Watson, IL 62473
Phone:

(217) 536-6226

WBC Facebook

Prayer List

Pastor Van McQueen * All Church Members * Deacon & Associate Pastor Gary Beck
Government: Local/State/ National * Police Officers * Jail: Inmates/Guards
Deacon Aaron Cline * DOM Joe Lawson * President Donald Trump
All Military * Lost people * Your "ONE"
Church growth * Church attendance
Our Mission field of the Watson area.
Health Issues *** Hilda Webb * Frankie Webb * Bill Wright * Loretta Woods
Mike Welker's wife * Opal Rose * Charles Woods * Louise French * Robin Heltsley
Angie Monical * Marha Vaugh * Chris Beck * Shirley Filer * Luther Fender * Bill Hall
Isaiah Wright * Ronni Morris * John Flach * Jeff Campton * Willie Love * Kay Koester
Jim DeWeese * Don Groves * Sarah Morris * Kevin Moshenrose * Lou Ray
MILITARY *** Shane Evans - Kyle Webb - Jimmy Leist - Adam Nevergall - Jake Nelson
Curtis Webb - Chris French - Michael Niemerg - Justin Hovis - Keith Dial
Phil Blackwell - Lucas Kreke - Jackie Hughing - Chad Reed - Chris Jones - JAlex Artola
Ivan Artola - Tiffany Habing - Nic Lucy - Austin Ashworth - Jonathan Knox - Alyssa Artola
Cortney Mosier - Haley Koester

Devotionals

Wednesday July 08, 2020

July 8.

Sad or Glad?

For they all saw him, and were troubled. Mark 6:50. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. John 20:20.

The disciples saw Him in a storm but supposed Him to be a spirit. They did not recognize Him. But in our second verse they saw the risen Lord and knew Him by the print of the nails in His hands and feet.

Surely the sight of the Lord should make us glad. But sometimes we wist not that it is He. He draws near, but, like the Emmaus disciples, we have holden eyes. What should thrill us only troubles us. Indeed, as the Emmaus disciples related their experience, Jesus appeared, but they "supposed that they had seen a spirit." He quelled their fears then as He did in John's account by showing the marks of the cross.

We walk by faith, not by sight, these days, and are not granted a view of Him with our eyes. But in His dealings with us He still walks our seas and comes into our rooms through doors we have shut. Alas, that fear so often sees a spirit when faith should see the Saviour! What should bring triumph then brings only trouble. See Him and be glad!

Pastor Van
Tuesday July 07, 2020

July 7.

Why Trouble the Master?

Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further? Mark 5:35.

"The little girl is dead. It is too late now. Why bother the Master and take up His time?"

Have you come to a place where the case seems hopeless, where the prospect is "dead"? That loved one for whom you have prayed so long seems in direr straits than ever. The hope long deferred now seems impossible.

But Jesus had no funerals. And when the world says the issue is as dead as a corpse, remember that Jesus can break up funerals. We are so prone to give up and attend the interment of our hopes when God would raise the dead.

Jesus said to the ruler, "Be not afraid, only believe." And so He says to you. When ordinary logic, when undiscerning friends say, "It is too late," be not afraid to "trouble the Master."

Only believe....

All things are possible,

Only believe!

Pastor Van
Monday July 06, 2020

July 6.

"And Today"

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8.

It is said that George Muller kept on his desk a motto bearing the central words of our text, "AND TODAY." Well might he do so and surely few men have demonstrated better the truth of it. It is not difficult to believe in Jesus Christ the same yesterday. And He will prove one day that He is the same forever. But "Jesus Christ the same today" —what a time we have with that middle span! Amid the dull monotony of things as they are, when the skies seem leaden and nothing breaks on the uninteresting scene, it is easier to visualize the Christ of the Galilean Past or the Christ of the Glorious Future than to expect great things from the Christ of the Glamourless Now.

But our text stoutly insists and today. We may not see Him in the flesh as they saw Him yesterday, and we see not yet all things put under Him as one day we shall, but He said He would be with us "all the days," and that includes today.

Is not many a Christian experience like this verse with "and today" in very fine type—strong in faith in the Christ of yesterday and forever, but very weak in faith in His presence and power today?

Pastor Van
Sunday July 05, 2020

July 5.

Faith or "It"?

According to your faith be it unto you. Matthew 9:29.

"According to your faith be it..." Be what? How much does "it" include? Here is one of the mallest and one of the biggest words—small in the dictionary but large in our text! For "it" includes all our need which God will supply according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. And the measure of that supply is "according to your faith." You may have all you need and all that faith will take. Whether that need be trivial or tremendous makes no difference to God—everything is His, anyway. You need not mind bringing to Him the simplest matter. The sparrow's fall does not escape His notice. Nor will you strain the heavenly resources with a stupendous request. The ocean will hold up a boat or a battleship, and God's grace will stand any weight you put on it.

So, whatever "it" may be that you are facing, no matter how hard or hopeless "it" may seem, do not let "it" dominate your faith, make "it" submit to your faith. "According to your faith be it" is God's yardstick, not "According to it be your faith."

Are you living by the tyranny of "it" or by the Triumph of Faith?

Day by Day: A Book of Bible Devotions.

Pastor Van
Saturday July 04, 2020

July 4.

"Wherefore" and "Therefore"

Wherefore Jesus... suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp. Hebrews 13:12, 13.

Jesus kept his "wherefore" and I must keep my "therefore." He went without the gate to suffer and I must go outside the camp to serve. I am not merely to go from something, I am to go to him. Where He is I belong. And it is not His popularity but His reproach that I must bear. The world and some churches have devised a popular Christ, but He is not this Christ of the Wherefore. One can stay inside the camp and follow this fictitious Jesus, but not the One who suffered that I might be sanctified with His blood. This present age, like all ages past, despises a bleeding Christ and a gory cross. There is nothing elegant about following a crucified Saviour and seeking a city to come.

I cannot get by with singing about the wondrous cross. Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all. His "wherefore" demands my "therefore." And that means the sacrifice of person: "Let us... (v. 13), of praise (v. 15), of possessions (v. 16)

"Jesus paid it all" in the Wherefore. "All to Him I owe" in the Therefore.

Day by Day: A Book of Bible Devotions.

Pastor Van
Friday July 03, 2020

Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth. Hebrews 12:6.

When trouble comes our way we are apt to overlook this blessed fact. If we had no chastening we might well inquire whether we are children of God. This passage (5:11) is very explicit: if we are without chastisement we are bastards, not sons. Of course, the ungodly have plenty of trouble, and the way of the transgressor is hard, but the affliction of the unrighteous is not the chastisement of the Father. They are not His sons.

In this day of light and loose and lunatic notions of child-rearing, of course discipline does not mean much. But God has not been converted to the new pattern. Verse 9 says, "We have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us and we gave them reverence." Alas, too many fathers have not corrected, and too many children have no reverence for fathers or for God. But the obedient Christian accepts God's discipline, seeks to learn its lessons, and gains the peaceable fruit of righteousness. God's purpose is that we might be partakers of His holiness. Surely that is worth all it costs.

But never forget this: God's chastening originates in His love. Because we are partakers of the Divine nature, His children, He disciplines us in order that we might be partakers of His holiness.

Pastor Van
Thursday July 02, 2020

U-turns are ambivalent entities. Sometimes they are legal, sometimes, they are not. Have you ever been tempted to make a U-turn at one of those places on the interstate where there is usually a sign that says something like, "Authorized Vehicles Only?" Don't answer that - no need to incriminate yourself. But, as I said earlier, there are times when U-turns are legal. In addition, there are times when they are not only legal, they are absolutely necessary. The key is to know when a U-turn is the right thing to do.

There are times in life when we need to do a U-turn. The people of Israel provide a good example of folks who failed to recognize the necessity of performing a U-turn. We read in Jeremiah 5:23-24, "But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts; they have turned aside and gone away. They do not say to themselves, `Let us fear the Lord our God, who gives autumn and spring rains in season, who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.'"

Israel needed to turn around and head the right direction. They needed to repent and follow the Lord. But they didn't heed the warnings and didn't see the need to make a U-turn. Instead, they kept on the path they were following. The result would not be good. God tells them in 5:15-17, "'O house of Israel,' declares the Lord, 'I am bringing a distant nation against you--an ancient and enduring nation, a people whose language you do not know, whose speech you do not understand. Their quivers are like an open grave; all of them are mighty warriors. They will devour your harvests and food, devour your sons and daughters; they will devour your flocks and herds, devour your vines and fig trees. With the sword they will destroy the fortified cities in which you trust.'"

I wrote earlier that sometimes U-turns are not only legal, they are absolutely necessary. Of course, I am not just referring to those that we need to make on an interstate or something. In our lives, we should know when and where to make U-turns. They can be an important part of getting where we need to be.

Pastor Van
Thursday July 02, 2020

U-turns are ambivalent entities. Sometimes they are legal, sometimes, they are not. Have you ever been tempted to make a U-turn at one of those places on the interstate where there is usually a sign that says something like, "Authorized Vehicles Only?" Don't answer that - no need to incriminate yourself. But, as I said earlier, there are times when U-turns are legal. In addition, there are times when they are not only legal, they are absolutely necessary. The key is to know when a U-turn is the right thing to do.

There are times in life when we need to do a U-turn. The people of Israel provide a good example of folks who failed to recognize the necessity of performing a U-turn. We read in Jeremiah 5:23-24, "But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts; they have turned aside and gone away. They do not say to themselves, `Let us fear the Lord our God, who gives autumn and spring rains in season, who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.'"

Israel needed to turn around and head the right direction. They needed to repent and follow the Lord. But they didn't heed the warnings and didn't see the need to make a U-turn. Instead, they kept on the path they were following. The result would not be good. God tells them in 5:15-17, "'O house of Israel,' declares the Lord, 'I am bringing a distant nation against you--an ancient and enduring nation, a people whose language you do not know, whose speech you do not understand. Their quivers are like an open grave; all of them are mighty warriors. They will devour your harvests and food, devour your sons and daughters; they will devour your flocks and herds, devour your vines and fig trees. With the sword they will destroy the fortified cities in which you trust.'"

I wrote earlier that sometimes U-turns are not only legal, they are absolutely necessary. Of course, I am not just referring to those that we need to make on an interstate or something. In our lives, we should know when and where to make U-turns. They can be an important part of getting where we need to be.

Pastor Steve
Wednesday July 01, 2020

Many years ago, a council of the Ministers of France was being held to discuss a treaty they had made with another country. Specifically, the ministers were arguing about breaking the treaty. Doing so would bring certain advantages to France. The council was leaning towards annulment of the document when one on the ministers spoke up. The Duke of Burgundy laid his hand on his copy of the treaty and said, "Gentleman, we have an agreement." With that, he voted against the dissolution of the document.

It is important that followers of Christ speak so that the Savior is glorified. Others need to know that they can trust what we affirm. Our word should be our bond, and being trustworthy should be looked upon as something to be desired. If you make a commitment, honor it. If you have an obligation, keep it.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:37, "All you need to say is simply 'Yes' or 'No'." If you are tempted to go back on an agreement or to break a promise, remember the words of the Duke of Burgundy, "Gentlemen, we have an agreement."

Pastor Steve
Tuesday June 30, 2020

I would imagine you have heard the expression "you can't get blood from a turnip." This is a truism that can be applied in many ways. Other similar expressions are you don t get orange juice from apples ; you don't get honey from a coconut , and so on. The point of these expressions is to emphasize that whatever is inside of something is that which determines what will come out.

This is true in the case of a person as well. Jesus said, "A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of (Luke 6:45)." A person cannot claim to be kind if his words are unkind. He cannot claim to follow the values of heaven if his mouth speaks the values of the world. Our speech attests to our character. Our heart is the well, and the mouth is the faucet. When the faucet is on, whatever is in the well comes out of the faucet.

Paul addresses this reality in a number of places. In Colossians 4:6 we read, "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." Ephesians 4:29 says, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Clean up the inside so that what comes out will be pure.

Pastor Van
Monday June 29, 2020

Try this sometime - get someone to go with you to a beach or a park or other open area, put on a blindfold (this is why you need someone with you), and try to walk a straight line. You won't be able to do it. There is something within us that takes over and causes us to go in circles in the absence of some external outside point of reference on which to focus. We just can't keep straight.

Well, that's interesting, isn't it? It is also a problem we have spiritually as well. Without a guide, we will go astray. Scripture tells us we should stay on the straight path. The reason we don't is because we are messed up inwardly. Isaiah 53:6 says, "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way." The way to keep our paths straight spiritually is to walk in the way God leads us. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.".

The straight path is the place to be, but you will not find it on your own. Place your faith in God and let him direct your life. We need be led by God because, "There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death (Proverbs 14:12)." Don't walk around in circles as if you are blindfolded. Let God direct you in a straight path.

Pastor Steve
Sunday June 28, 2020

A grandmother took her three-year-old granddaughter to the beach for an afternoon of building sand castles and enjoying the water. After they had constructed a rather elaborate structure, complete with moat, the grandmother got up to deposit some refuse in a near-by trash can. She hadn't gone two steps when she heard a wail from her granddaughter.

She quickly returned to the little girl and asked, "Honey, what's wrong?" "I couldn't see you!" was the reply. "But, darling, I was just right there," said the grandmother. The little girl replied, "I know. But I couldn't see your face!" She wanted to be able to see the "I am right here and I am not going to leave you" expression in her grandmother's face in order to be assured that she was safe and all was right with the world.

David writes in Psalm 27:8-9, "My heart says of you, 'Seek his face!' Your face, LORD, I will seek. Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper." We should want to see God's face in order to receive the assurance of God's help and protection. We seek his face in order to develop a deeper relationship with him and thus allow our faith in him to be strengthened. We seek his face to experience the affirmation of his care and our safety in his arms.

With all that is taking place in our world just now, it is hard not to have concern and to feel anxious. Uncertainty and unrest have brought questions and fear into our lives. We have no idea what might take place tomorrow, but we know we are following someone who does. We need to seek His face. Looking into the face of our Father gives us the faith to confront our most worrisome troubles. When look into the face of the Father, rest assured that we will get that "I am right here and I am not going to leave you" expression!

Pastor Steve
Saturday June 27, 2020
Do you want to know how to win friends and influence people? Be unselfish. When we make a decision to be unselfish, we start looking at ways to be of benefit to others. We look for ways to enhance someone else s life. Selfishness is at the root of the majority of interpersonal conflicts. Selfishness is a major reason why people are stand-offish and really not easy to be around.

Proverbs 11:24-26 says something about selfishness: "One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. People curse the one who hoards grain, but they pray God s blessing on the one who is willing to sell."

Living in an unselfish way means you are easier to get along with. It means that you are respected by others because they appreciate your care. Living like this is certainly Christ-like. Living unselfishly will enhance your own life and help you to be of greater benefit to others.

Pastor Steve
Friday June 26, 2020

An article that appeared in "Lead Like Jesus" some time back said this: "When was the last time you forgave someone who offended you or hurt you? Most of us have the opportunity to offer and receive forgiveness on a regular basis. Forgiveness is a gift that God gives us in order for us to pass it on to others. Forgiveness that is hoarded without being shared freely is not being used for God's intended purpose. How does your willingness to forgive reflect the forgiveness of Jesus? Who do you need to forgive today?"

Forgiveness is very much on the mind of God. Of course, it was at the center of Christ's ministry. It had to be. If God was not willing to forgive, we would not have a hope. Christ came into the world because the world needed to be forgiven. And Christ wants his followers to be known as forgiving people.

Peter asked Christ how many times we need to forgive someone. Christ's response was a statement that said we really should not ask this question. He said, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times (Matthew 18:22)." Forgiveness is more than what we do, it is what we are. We are forgiven people, and we in turn need to be forgiving people.

As you were asked earlier, "Who do you need to forgive today?" Make forgiveness a part of who you are, not just what you do.

Pastor Steve Pastor Steve
Thursday June 25, 2020

Jeffie was a little boy who was doing his best to save his money in order to purchase a gift for his mother. The problem was Jeff really liked ice cream, and he was having trouble not spending his money to buy ice cream when the ice cream man came to his neighborhood in his brightly colored van. So, he prayed, "Please, Lord, help me run away from the ice cream man tomorrow."

Jeff had made a couple of rather astute observations: He knew his tendencies and he knew the best way to avoid these tendencies was to go the other direction.

We need to pray for this discernment in our lives. We should never forget that, even as a believer, we still have the inclination to sin. David proclaimed, "For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me." (Psalms 51:3) We need to develop the same understanding of our weak spots. When we know our weaknesses, then we know we need to avoid those areas in order to resist temptation.

Use the advice Paul gave Timothy, "Flee youthful lusts." (II Timothy 2:22) Pray for discernment to know your weakness, and then pray for help to run from the weakness!

Pastor Steve
Wednesday June 24, 2020

It is possible to be one place physically and another place mentally. It happens every Sunday morning in church. Bodies warm the pews while minds roam the kitchens and golf courses of the nation. In a much more serous example, prisoners of war survive by taking themselves mentally into another world away from the prison and there find meaning and solace.

As followers of Christ, we are to do the same. We are to take ourselves out of the physical world, into the spiritual world, and operate according to its values, truths, and realities. Colossians 3:1-3 tells us: "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God."

Doing this doesn't mean to remove ourselves totally from the world - that is not what Paul meant when he wrote those words. We are to live according to the ideals of the spiritual so that we can have a positive impact on the physical. What he was encouraging us to do was to make sure we do not allow worldly values, thoughts, mores, and ideals to become ours. We need to have values, thoughts, mores, and ideals that are heavenly while we live in this world. In so doing, we give the Holy Spirit room to operate in our lives, and we can be an influence on others for the sake of Christ.

Pastor Steve
Tuesday June 23, 2020

Nehemiah opened himself up to criticism. What did he do? Well, he got busy rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem that was in ruins. His activity invited criticism, which is what usually happens when someone gets an idea and then steps out to enact that idea. Nehemiah 4:1-3 records some of this criticism, "When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, 'What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble burned as they are?'"

There are always critics who make their appearance when someone steps up to put action to words. This happens because of jealousy, fear, hatred, pride and other reasons.

If our activity invites criticism, we might ask ourselves, "Is any of this criticism warranted? Are there any good ideas or helpful suggestions that could make our plans better?" If there are some good thoughts, then all the better for us. If the criticism contains nothing more than worthless comments, then consider the criticism as a compliment that you are actually doing something and file the comments in an appropriate place. In addition, make sure you are not one of those who simply wants to be critical because you have nothing else better to do.

Theodore Roosevelt was a man of action. He said, "It is not the critic who counts; nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood. There is no effort without error and shortcoming."

Ignore the critics and be a person who is in the arena, not part of the crowd. That is how things get built.

Pastor Steve
Monday June 22, 2020

Did you every play "Follow the Leader" when you were a kid? That was a fun game, and it was always kind of nice to be the leader so that everyone else did what you led them to do. They got to follow your example.

What would the world look like if everyone followed your example? What if they used your tone of voice and the words you use? What if their responses echoed your responses? What if they acted in the way that you do? What if they adopted your values and attitudes?

Would they look more like Jesus? Would they exhibit the same compassion, care, and willingness to forgive? Would they work through problems and deal with others with patience and a desire to understand?

If we ask these questions honestly, we may want to make some changes. In John 13:15, we find these words of Christ to his disciples, "I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you." So, are we doing for others what Christ has done for us? How well are we following his example? What would the world look like if everyone followed your example?

Ask this question often and at various times. You may not like the answer in some circumstances, but the reason for the asking is that you might make an honest evaluation leading to meaningful changes. Live so that others can follow your lead!

Pastor Steve
Sunday June 21, 2020

Father's Day - a time to honor our dads and reflect on fatherhood. To all of you fathers, I wish you a good day and a marvelous time with your family. Without them, of course, you wouldn't be a father. Of course, I am also a grandfather, and that is something marvelous. I love time spent with my grandkids. I hope to see them soon

As I reflect on Father's Day, I cannot help but think of my own Dad. Dad has been gone for many years, but on days like today, I cannot help but think of him and how I was so blessed to have such a marvelous man as my father. Dad would have been 100 now. I cannot imagine him as that old. Of course, he isn't. Dad now is where he no longer ages; he is with his Heavenly Father.

I certainly think about my Heavenly Father today. Was it not for him, I would not have the hope I have of seeing my Dad again. I would not have the hope of living forever with my Heavenly Father and enjoying his presence forever. God will welcome me as did the father of the wayward son in Luke 15:23-25, "But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'" Honor your father today, and don't forget to honor your Heavenly Father to whom you owe so much! Happy Father s Day!

Pastor Steve
Saturday June 20, 2020
Once, I read a story about a wounded duck. Some fishermen discovered a duck with an arrow protruding from its chest. All efforts to try to trap the duck so that they could remove the arrow were met with frantic maneuvers by the duck to escape. It is hard to blame the duck, but its instinct for self-preservation that led it to fly away whenever the would-be helpers came close was actually working to bring further harm. After some effort, they were able to contain the animal and take it to a near-by veterinary hospital. The duck was treated and eventually released with the hope that no more arrows were in its future.

We can be like that duck. We can make the wrong moves when we are wounded to cause further harm by evading those who would like to help us. We can even be this way towards God who wants to render aid but is met with resistance because we think we can handle the difficulty we are encountering on our own.

Don't be a wounded duck. When you need help, let others help you. Let God do what he does best for his children - heal your hurt and get them back where you need to be. Remember that "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble." (Psalm 46:10)

Pastor Steve
Friday June 19, 2020

Not much baseball is being played right now, at least in the pro ranks, so I thought I would offer a little baseball analogy for your consideration. I found this story in a newsletter of another church several years ago.

Freddy and the Lord stood by to observe a baseball game. The Lord s team was playing Satan s team. The Lord's team was up to bat, the score was tied zero to zero, and it was the bottom of the 9th inning with two outs. They continued to watch as a batter stepped up to the plate named Love. Love swung at the first pitch and hit a single, because Love never fails. The next batter was named Faith, who also got a single because Faith works with Love.

The next batter up was named Godly Wisdom. Satan wound up and threw the first pitch. Godly Wisdom looked it over and let it pass: Ball one. Three more pitches and Godly Wisdom walked because he never swings at what Satan throws.

The bases were now loaded. The Lord then turned to Freddy and told him He was now going to bring in His star player. Up to the plate stepped Grace. Thinking he had won the game, Satan wound up and fired his first pitch. To the shock of everyone, Grace hit the ball harder than anyone had ever seen! But Satan was not worried; his center fielder let very few get by. He went up for the ball, but it went right through his glove, hit him on the head and sent him crashing to the ground; the roaring crowds went wild as the ball continued over the fence for a home run! The Lord's team won!

The Lord then asked Freddy if he knew why Love, Faith, and Godly Wisdom could get on base but didn't win the game. Freddy answered that he didn't know why. The Lord explained, "If your love, faith, and wisdom had won the game, you would think you had done it by yourself. Love, Faith and Wisdom will get you on base but only My Grace can get you Home: "For it is by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Pastor Steve
Wednesday June 17, 2020

I am sure that you have heard the saying "necessity is the mother of invention." Well, in some cases, it may not be so much of a necessity as it is simply something that is very much desired. For instance, consider the invention of the outboard motor. Ole Evinrude invented a small, detachable motor that could be used to propel a small boat because of an incident with his fiancé. They were out boating when she decided she would like some ice cream.

By the time poor Ole rowed the boat to the ice cream stand and then returned to his fiancé, the ice cream was melted. He decided there must be a better way. A year later, in 1907, he submitted his invention of the outboard motor for a patent. HIs fiancé even came up with an advertising slogan, "Don't row! Throw the oars away!"

Evinrude came up with the idea of a lightweight, detachable motor for a boat because of a limitation he faced and the desire to accomplish a task he could not do under his own power. This is something to which we can relate both in the physical and the spiritual realm. We should always remember that there will be things we cannot do under our own power. We need to depend upon God's help at all times. We need to acknowledge our weaknesses and rely upon his power. A wise 20th century philosopher once said, "A man's got to know his limitations."

Yes, we do, and we need to remember the words of the Apostle Paul, "I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being. . .according to his power that is at work within us," (Ephesians 3:16, 20) As the songwriter put it, "His power can make you what you ought to be."

Pastor Steve
Tuesday June 16, 2020

The early disciples lived life with the awareness that they could change the world through their message of the purpose of God. They realized the message they had could make a real difference in the lives of people. As a result, Paul and his friends received a criticism that was actually a compliment from the people in Ephesus. They said, "These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here."(Acts 17:6) The King James Version translates this, "they have turned the world upside down."

What could happen if we lived with this same kind of purpose and passion? What would happen if we lived life with the awareness that we could change the world? We need to live with the awareness that every person with whom we come in contact is valuable to God. We need to live with the awareness that our interaction with others has the potential of revealing God to them as we live for Him.

Let's "turn the world upside down." As followers of Christ, let's live with the awareness that the message we have can bring about real change.

Pastor Steve
Monday June 15, 2020

Paul Meier wrote a book with a somewhat controversial title, "Don't Let the Jerks Get the Best of You." Few disputed the content of the book that intended to give advice for dealing with difficult people. However, there was some criticism about the title. Many did not like his use of the term "jerks." Now, I don't agree with the use of the term either. However, Dr. Meier did hit the nail on the head regarding the fact that we encounter difficult people. In actuality, we can all be difficult at times.

Christ dealt with a number of people who proved to be difficult - the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the temple priests, and even his own disciples at times. As we encounter difficulties with others, we need to emulate the example of Christ who responded with grace, compassion, and patience. If the situation warranted, he was stern in his response, but he was always in control, and he never let these encounters discourage him from doing what he needed to do. We should look at this example to keep ourselves from getting discouraged and sometimes making unwise decisions in the wake of a negative interaction. It also helps to remember that we can be difficult as well. We live in an imperfect world with imperfect people. Don't get discouraged - draw strength from the example of Christ when you face a time of challenge.

God knew Joshua would face times that would be challenging, including criticism from and confrontations with his own people. God told Joshua, "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9) Keep this in mind as struggles caused by others arise.

Pastor Steve
Sunday June 14, 2020

It seems that you have to be careful if you are relying on a compass for a navigational tool. Since 1989, the earth's northern magnetic pole has been shifting towards Siberia at a rate of 34 miles per year. That has accelerated from 4 miles per year in 1904. So, one needs to be careful when using a compass. You might want to consider a GPS instead, as this device relies on technology that is a little more stable and therefore more trustworthy.

We have to be careful in our spiritual lives as well. We have to be careful with shifting values and standards. Society likes to adjust what is considered to be acceptable and right. We have seen a great moral shift in our culture in the last several years. We should not rely upon societal norms when it comes to what we accept as wrong or right. We need to trust something that is more accurate and not subject to change. God has given us a moral code in the Scripture, and we should rely upon what the Bible says when it comes to living a life that glorifies Him.

Living a righteous life is a sign of maturity. The writer of Hebrews says, "But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil." (5:14) Train yourself to distinguish good from evil. Follow the right instrument.

Pastor Steve
Saturday June 13, 2020

"And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever." (Psalm 23:6b) With these words, David closes what has become the most familiar of all the Psalms. Now, when David wrote this Psalm, even under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he did not intentionally set out to write "the most famous psalm." The psalm has become that because of all the hope and promise it contains.

The opening words are words of assurance and comfort, "The Lord is my Shepherd." The closing words express the hope that is a reality for all who trust the Shepherd, "And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever." When you put the two together, they in and of themselves make a tremendous statement of promise and encouragement, "The Lord is my Shepherd and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever." However, as we have come to see, the psalm has much more to say to us than just this.

What a great promise is ours when we come to believe in the Shepherd. There is the promise of continual care in our current life and then, when this life is over, the promise of living with Him throughout all eternity. The promise of living in God's house is echoed in Christ's comments found in John 14:2, "My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?

I have shared this story many times. When my oldest daughter, Stephanie, was about three or four, she was sad because her uncle (my brother) and his wife were leaving to return home after a visit. She asked me, "Daddy, why can't we just build a big house and all of us live there?" That is exactly what our Father is doing. The Shepherd is preparing a large dwelling for all of his sheep. We will all live there forever. What an ending - no, pardon me, this won't be the ending, it will be the beginning.

Pastor Steve
Friday June 12, 2020

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life." (Psalm 23:6a) When David wrote this Psalm, he was coming towards the end of his life. A lot of things had happened over the years and not all of them were good. Many bad events that David experienced had been brought on by his own bad decisions. Other difficulties were out of his hands. Yet, through everything he experienced, he was able to say, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life." David knew that regardless of what took place in his life or what he experienced; God was with him.

This is a common theme throughout the psalms, whether they were written by David or not. Psalm 46:1 says, "God is our refuge and strength; an ever-present help in trouble." God is always there so that even through times of struggle, we can see goodness and mercy following us. This is a reality we can experience because the Lord is our Shepherd.

We can be confident that even those times of difficulty will work for our benefit because God is in charge and is directing our lives. We never need to ask "Where is God?", he is always right where we are.

Pastor Steve
Thursday June 11, 2020

"My cup runneth over." (Psalm 23:5c) As David reflects upon all that the Shepherd has provided for the sheep (for him), he cannot help but break out in an exclamation of praise, "My cup runneth over." The Shepherd had provided for his every need, protected him from a variety of evils, and proved to be faithful in every circumstance.

Isn't that just like our Lord? He is a Shepherd that provides for our every need, protects us from a variety of evils, and proves to be faithful at all times. Paul tells Timothy, "If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself." (II Timothy 2:13) The Lord will indeed remain faithful and will care for us in ways we cannot care for ourselves.

So, our "cup runneth over" with blessings that He has for us. When we take the time to consider our lives and all that we have received from Him, our cup simply cannot contain all He has for us. We read in Ephesians 3:20, "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us." He deserves our praise because we have more than we need.

Pastor Steve
Wednesday June 10, 2020

"Thou anointest my head with oil." (Psalm 23:5b) Irritations occur in life. We experience physical irritations, emotional irritations, and spiritual irritations. When the sheep experience irritations, the Shepherd uses soothing oil to remedy the problem. The oil helps the healing process and brings comfort and well-being.

God brings healing when irritations are experienced. He can bring healing in all the areas I mentioned above. God knows where to apply the "oil" that soothes the irritations and promotes healing. He gives us what we need to expedite the healing of our wounds.

We receive wounds in relationships, in encounters with others, even in the church, and we need oil to smooth the friction and promote resolution. God can provide what is needed. We need to seek the power of the Spirit when healing is needed. The oil of the Spirit is necessary for good health!

Pastor Steve
Tuesday June 09, 2020

"Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies." (Psalm 23:5a) This statement marks a departure from the Shepherd-sheep motif that is found in the rest of the psalm. Usually sheep do not eat from tables. However, the analogy is certainly true that a good Shepherd will find a safe place where his sheep can eat. He will find a place away from the threat of wild animals, the threat of poisonous weeds, and the threat of not having enough to eat.

This is a good thing because sheep need a consistent source of food, a place away from noxious weeds as they are unable to determine the good from the bad, and a place away from outside threats as outside threats would throw them off their eating habits which would lead to other problems.

God will always put us in the right place. We can be sure that he will put us where we will be safe and where we will be amply supplied. He is the one who prepares the table - we don't have to fret about it ourselves. He knows where they serve the best food, so let him choose where he wants us to be. He will never let us down when it comes to providing for our needs and protecting us from things that would do us harm.

Pastor Steve
Monday June 08, 2020

"Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me." (Psalm 23:4b) The rod and the staff of the shepherd were the tools of defense and guidance for a shepherd in David s time. David talks about how these tools that the Shepherd has bring comfort. The Shepherd has a rod, which is a short club that is used as a weapon, and a staff.

The staff is a longer stick that is used for defense and as a tool for guiding the sheep. The staff also provides support and balance for the Shepherd. In other words, the Shepherd is well prepared to take care of any problem or enemy that rears its head.

God indeed has everything at his disposal that is needed to protect us from any enemy we might face. He has dominion over anything that threatens us. He is in charge and will watch over you. Knowing this should provide comfort as we rest safely in his care.

Pastor Steve
Sunday June 07, 2020

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil." (Psalm 23:4a) I have never actually come face to face with death, although I do have a heart condition that I understand could be life-threatening. I have resigned myself to doing all I can to take care of the problem and trust God with my life. I still do not consider myself to have come face to face with death in the way that many have. People such as Adoniram Judson, Jim Elliot, and Howard Rutledge faced death and remained faithful.

I consider three volumes based on the lives of these men to be required reading for every believer. Judson's life is recounted in "To the Golden Shore." Jim Elliot's life and death are described in "Through Gates of Splendor." Rutledge's book is particularly compelling as it is not the account of someone in the work of the Lord per se, but the account of an American pilot who was shot down and captured during the Vietnam War. His book is entitled, appropriately enough, "In the Presence of Mine Enemies."

Rutledge describes how his nominal faith became a blazing witness through being sustained by singing hymns, quoting scripture, and praying during the seven years of his captivity, torture, and eventual release. Rutledge credits God for his endurance through this terrible experience.

Even though you walk through the valley of death, God will sustain you. In reality, we all are staring death in the face. The stories I have mentioned above are very descriptive accounts of those who faced death, yet continued to remain faithful to the One they knew had their lives in His hands. We all face death. God can and will sustain us in the face of our inevitable demise. Through our trust in him, we need fear no evil.

Pastor Steve
Saturday June 06, 2020

Good grief I didn't notice until I was getting ready to post today's devotional that I had posted yesterday the devotional that was intended for today. Thank you for being kind and not pointing this out. Today's was intended for yesterday, but the message is still the same.

"He restoreth my soul." (Psalm 23:3a) There is a shift at this point in the psalm from an emphasis on physical provision to spiritual provision. Whereas the previous statements regarding lying down in green pastures and still waters are physical pictures that could have a spiritual application, the statement "he restores my soul" is a plain reference to what God does for us spiritually.

What does God do for us spiritually? Well, he takes a soul that was dead, according to Ephesians 2, and makes us alive. Paul writes, "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins. . .But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions." (Ephesians 2:1, 4-5)

He restores our souls. He gives us life. There is a mini-progression in these first verses of Psalm 23 from the provision of what is needed to sustain life to a statement of the giving of life. He restores our souls. If you are estranged from God and you need the provision of life, God will restore your soul if you ask.

Pastor Steve
Friday June 05, 2020

"He leadeth me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake." (Psalm 23:3b) If sheep are left in a given pasture for too long, overgrazing will occur and you will end up with a dust bowl. Sheep require a lot of pasture to ensure a sustainable source of food. Rotating the flock is what many sheep ranchers will do. A good shepherd knows when to take the sheep down a path that will lead to other places of provision.

God will do the same with us. He wants to lead us in paths where we will find new sources of help, encouragement, and provision. We need to be willing to follow him. We need to stay on the paths he prepares for us and go where he leads us. God leads us along paths for His name's sake.

He leads in ways to give us opportunities to reflect his character and his glory. Let him lead us in the way he wants. As I have written before and I will write again, God really does know what he is doing. We need to let him do it.

Pastor Steve
Thursday June 04, 2020

"He leads me beside still waters." (Psalm 23:2b) From what I have read, sheep do not like to drink from running water. Now, I really don't understand this, as back in my younger years, I enjoyed drinking from rippling streams that were found in the hills around my Papaw s farm. For some reason, I always thought that the bubbling water looked fresher and cleaner than the still water.

In actuality, the rippling water was no fresher or cleaner. Another thing that I didn't consider was the fact that, as one writer puts it, "still waters run deep." The ripples were created when the water was moving over a shallower area. When water runs in deeper areas, it is still, tranquil, peaceful, almost solid. There is a lot of substance there.

So it is with us when we allow ourselves to go deeper in the reality of Christ. Plumbing the depths of the mercy and grace of Christ allows us to be grounded, be tolerant of others, and be knowledgeable of God's ways and desires. We should indeed allow Christ to lead us beside still waters. "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water." (John 4:10)

Pastor Steve
Wednesday June 03, 2020

"He makes me to lie down in green pastures." (Psalm 23:2a) I often wonder what has happened to the days when I used to lie down in the yard and just stare up at the sky. There was something so compelling about lying in the grass and watching clouds pass by. It was refreshing, almost rehabilitating, to spend time doing nothing but admiring the surroundings put there by God.

This is why a shepherd makes the sheep lie down in green pastures - it keeps them calm, relaxed, and content. Spending time focusing on what God has provided brings a sense of well-being and tranquility.

God wants to help us lie down in calm surroundings. He wants us to know true peace. He wants us to know true peace of mind. He wants us to experience the fullness of his presence. He wants us to know true contentment.

When you feel harried, depressed, or frazzled, why not take a page from your childhood and go stare at some wonders in God's creation? Why not "lie down in green pastures" and reflect on God's provision for you? Don't ever forget the Shepherd's provision! "I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture." (John 10:9)

Pastor Steve
Tuesday June 02, 2020

"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want." (Psalm 23:1) If the Lord is my Shepherd, that means I must be a sheep. And that is exactly what I am - a sheep that really needs a lot of attention. I need a good fence to keep me in because I prone to wander aimlessly. I need to be protected from parasites that attach themselves to my skin under my wool or in my ears. I need shots to keep me from disease, and food and water (more later on these latter two).

As a sheep I pretty much am totally oblivious to what is going on around me, so constant care is necessary. And that is where the Shepherd comes in. A shepherd understands all the work involved with sheep, yet still chooses to be a shepherd. Even as a shepherd has willingly chosen this way of life, so the Great Shepherd chooses to keep watch over us as his sheep.

He knew he would need to pay a great price to provide for his sheep, and he did. He is willing to do whatever it takes to care for His sheep: "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand." (John 10:27-28)

Pastor Steve
Monday June 01, 2020

For the next few days, we are going to take a look at one of the best-known passages of scripture in the Bible - Psalm 23. I am sure you are familiar with it, and many of you can perhaps even quote the entire passage. I remember memorizing it for a Cub Scout project when I was in the third grade.

I don't remember all the details, but I remember my den mother, Esther Irby, challenging me to memorize Psalm 23. Many of you may remember Esther. She is another person who made a big impact on my life as I was growing up. I was asked to memorize Psalm 23, and so I did. I remember standing on the steps in her house to quote it. Why I stood on the steps is another fuzzy recollection.

Anyway, I wrote this series about ten years ago. I drew upon a number of sources for many of the analogies. I would like to share it with you. As I think about the idea of memorizing this passage, I am reminded of something I heard about memorizing scripture many years ago. I don't know if it was a teacher, or I heard it in a sermon, but I remember someone saying, "It is good to memorize scripture, but just make sure that what is in your head is in your heart." That is a true statement. For example, knowing the 23rd Psalm is not so important as knowing the Shepherd. It is easy to know scripture without knowing the Author.

Right now, as much as any time in history, and many would say more so than at any other time in history, we need the guidance of the Shepherd. Humankind has been in a mess from the time of the fall, and we are certainly seeing the effects of the fall being displayed in horrific fashion. As we see what is taking place, focus on the Shepherd. Let Him move in your heart to bring change where change is needed, comfort where comfort is needed, and courage where courage is needed.

Pray for the intervention of the Shepherd in the lives of people whose hearts need to be changed and in the lives of people whose hearts need to be comforted. It is good to have in our heads the words of the Shepherd, but better to allow the words of the Shepherd to change our hearts. Remember the words of Psalm 119:11, "I have hidden your word in my heart." Make sure that you have.

Pastor Steve

Commentary

July 1, 2019

Just last week, I saw a post that contained a picture of a banner that said, "Bloom where you are planted," with the caption, "This has taken on a whole new meaning." That is an accurate observation. We are where we are, not able to do all that we would like to do, our lifestyles altered from what they were just weeks ago, and facing struggles we had not anticipated we would encounter.

The adage "bloom where you are planted" is usually applied in a circumstance when we find ourselves in a place or a position that is not really our first choice, but we are unable to change the circumstance. That would be a pretty accurate description of what is taking place now. What we would do at those times where the adage "Bloom where you are planted" fits would be something we can do now. Actually, there are several "somethings." Some of these are from an article written by Paul Chernyak. Most of what I will say is simply a reminder of suggestions I have written before, but sometimes reminders are helpful.

A good place to begin is to remember that we are in control of our thoughts. Acknowledge that you can take charge of your attitude about the situation. Another "something" we can do is to acknowledge the change that has occurred. There have been changes, and will be others. Of course, we can include our realistic hope that this circumstance will change in a positive way at some point. Thirdly, focus on what you have, not on what you don't. Look for things you can appreciate. Another "something" is to try to learn from what you are experiencing. Now, I know it is easy to say, "Grief, do I have to go through this to learn that?" Yes, this is difficult, but this is all part of trying to channel what we are experiencing in such a way as to decrease frustration, not elevate it. Finally, focus on acceptance. I hope some time of reflection on these thoughts will be helpful to some who may be struggling.

Let me conclude with some biblical perspective. Jonathon is a good example of someone who "bloomed where he was planted." Although he was Saul's son, and according to the prevailing practice at the time would be next in line for the throne of Israel, he accepted God's decision to choose David as the successor to his father. Jonathon chose to be David's friend and supported him in any way he could, even working against his father to save David's life.

We read about Jonathon's decision in I Samuel 18:1-4, "After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself...And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt." He learned how to bloom where he was planted.

Learning how to bloom where we are planted is good advice for us in a number of situations. Practicing these principles and following the example of Jonathon is something that can be helpful as we are experiencing a time that has given new meaning to an old phrase.

Pastor Steve Willis - First Baptist Church - Newton, IL