First Baptist Church of Rahway, 177 Elm Ave., Rahway, New Jersey 07065 is a multi-cultural congregation that has a Blended English Service on Sunday Mornings, a Latino Service at 12:00, and a Service in Telugu at 3:30PM. For more information, call (732) 388-8626. Or click here to send an email. If you wish to help the Mission and Ministry of First Baptist financially click the Donate Button.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Why Am I Still Alive?

By Pastor Bill Whitehead

I have heard many times that caring for people is rewarding. I know this is true because I have seen first hand the rewards that people receive when they stand by an ill loved-one and care for her. I may not be able to document those rewards, but I know they are very real.

A friend of mine was seriously ill and has been given a bad prognosis by the doctor. She was dying and she knew it. My friend has had difficulty getting out of bed for a while and when I visited with her she couldn’t get up any longer. So she asked me a question, why am I still here? She said to me, “I’m stuck in this bed and I can’t do anything.” She wanted to know why she was still alive. This is the toughest question anyone can be asked. At first I fumbled for an answer and I lamely said, “God must have a reason for you to still be here.” That answer didn’t satisfy her and it didn’t excite me either. She wanted something a little more down to earth in order to explain her suffering.

Then I thought about the struggles that my wife and I had with my mother-in-law. We helped her through some tough years. She was in and out of the hospital many times. Once we thought she was going to end up in a nursing home. But God provided and her health improved. Every day either Betsy or I went to see her in the hospital. I used to visit her after work and before class at seminary. Talk about schedule juggling. When I thought about this I realized that Betsy and I received something in return for our service to her mom. We grew as individuals and as a couple. We became more caring and giving as a result. Those were some tough times but we were rewarded for our efforts.

So it turned out that I did have an answer to my dying friend’s question. I told her about my experience with Betsy’s mom. I said that the people helping her were being blessed. She was helping them by needing their help. She seemed to be satisfied with this answer. I don’t know where that answer came from, but I was pretty satisfied too. I knew that I was being blessed just by being with her.

Why respond to need? We gain by it. We gain by doing something that goes beyond ourselves. We gain by feeling good about ourselves. The rewards are not measurable. We cannot observe them through scientific observation. But there truly are many rewards for selfless living.

The Rev. William Whitehead is the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Rahway, in Rahway, NJ. He is an ordained minister within American Baptist Churches and a graduate of the New Brunswick Theological Seminary.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Who Will We Live For

A Poem By Dina Lalumiere

When asked who will we live for, what will our answer be?
Honestly, will we say Christ, or say our loved ones or family?
Or will we be more selfish, answering "why for myself of course!"

Who is it we will decide to live for? What will be our driving force?
Introduction of the faith-life, operation of the Christ-life, two of an important three.
Lots of things for each of us to consider, in making up our minds who it will be.
Look with more faith at the future, than you do with fondness at the past.

Weigh carefully each option, consider all possibilities, times are changing fast.
Embrace the truths of God's Word, listen very closely as it speaks to you.

Let go of the self-life, extinguishing the old self and relinquishing the new.
In dependence of Him may we consciously walk, and His praises may we sing.
Varrious opportunities for ministry to people around us, the year ahead will bring.
Every part of us must agree, must be in accordance, and respond as one.

First decided in our minds, felt in our hearts, and then spoken by our tongue.
Open your mouth and speak your response, or by actions convey it without sound.
Remember, lost people matter to God, and it is they that need most to be found.

written: Sunday, January 6, 2008

Friday, June 18, 2010

Rev Ananth Kumar Preaching this Sunday

Rev. Kumar is the Pastor of a mission to Hindu's called "Harvest International". He is ministering in the homes of Hindu families in the Jersey City and Edison areas. His mission involves visits to Hindu families and friends in homes as well as occaisional worship services. Come here him speak this Father's Day at FBC Rahway.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pastor Bill: 'Kill the Umpire'

By Pastor Bill Whitehead

During a semester break while I was in college, I had one really bad summer. I was working a job as a camp councilor at the city parks. And the worst moment for me was when I umpired a softball game. Now no one is more hated than an umpire. I learned one thing from that experience. If you stand alone and unloved, you don’t stand for long.

Being a sport’s official is an ugly business. A person has to be pretty thick skinned to handle that job for more than ten seconds. When someone buys a ticket to a baseball game, he feels that the ticket price guarantees him the right, as provided for in the constitution, to insult, curse, and verbally abuse the umpire. Normal, good natured people upon entering the stadium suddenly turn into frothing animals when they sit in their seats and look upon the black clad game officials. It is a strange and bewildering phenomenon. And stranger yet when we look at the lower levels of sport.

I believe that when adults and kids play in the amateur levels of a sport they bring an intense hatred of the umpire along with them. I have seen nice friendly people completely freak out at a youth soccer game because of a questionable call. My son’s soccer coach was thrown out of a game because he cursed out a fifteen-year-old referee. Seven-year-old boys and girls were playing the game. How big of a game could this be? Was there millions of dollars on the line when the call was made? Not really. Talk about losing your cool over nothing. Maybe our coach was living out his fantasies with our kids. Maybe he was trying to achieve the height of glory that he had never before experienced in the real world. Then, suddenly, a tall lanky brat in the black and white shirt makes a bad call. And so he was going to get him. With this kind of delusional thinking going on it is no wonder that every sports official is lonely and unloved.

I walked out onto that baseball diamond knowing that I was in trouble. I had never umpired a game in my life. The kids who came to the playground every day did not like me very much. I did not want to be working at this place and would rather have been home watching other umpires being screamed at on TV. The other councilors put me behind the plate. I fumbled and bumbled my way through the game. I was praying that nothing bad would happen. It did.

A ball was hit down the third base line. A kid tried to catch it but it bounced out of his glove and landed in foul territory. I froze and two runners scored. They all waited for my call. I had that deer in the headlights look on my face. In my mind the dreaded blue screen of computer failure had shut everything down. I just couldn’t spit the words out. Finally, I called it fair because it would have landed fair. They came at me like hungry wolves. Yelling, screaming, snarling. It was ugly. Surrounded and alone, I just wanted to get far away from these nasty little people.

They say, “no man is an island.” During that summer I experienced what it is like to be an island. The storms of life washed over me and left me gasping for breath. Try to make it alone without love and support and we are doomed to experience nothing but pain. Try to work with people without caring for them, and they will hate us. It’s really very simple, when we care for others we are cared for in return.

The Rev. William Whitehead is the senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Rahway, in Rahway, NJ. Pastor Whitehead is a New Brunswick Theological Seminary graduate who is ordained in American Baptist Churches.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010

Friday, June 11, 2010

Pastor Bill: God our parent

The Rev. William "Bill" Whitehead is the pastor of an American Baptist Church, The First Baptist Church of Rahway, in Rahway, New Jersey. He is also a graduate of New Brunswick Theological Seminary.

NYTS: An end to a way of life along Gulf

At NYTS Dialogues, the end of the oyster industry is triggered by contamination of oyster beds from the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Comet McNaught a Wonder from God

Saw a pretty bright comet this morning at 3:30 AM with my good friend Helder. We brought several telescopes and gazed with wonder at this amazing sight. God's creation is truly wonderous! Since I started gazing into the night sky, I am awed by what I have seen. The heavens really are telling the Glory of God! This picture is from an astronomy web site that I am a member of. Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Youth Sunday at FBC Rahway!

Sunday, June 13th is Youth Sunday at FBC Rahway at 9:45 a.m. Sunday's event will feature Joshua Ortiz, preaching, and our FBC Rahway Youth conducting the worship service. Very special performances by Heather Orsini and Charlotte Whitehead. Afterward, be sure to enjoy the Church Picnic, hosted by the Whitehead Family, 244 Elm Street.

Something that will Live with Him Forever


My wife works with autistic children. She is part of a wraparound program, in which an autistic child receives help from an adult at school and at home. Betsy helps Tommy keep focused on his work in the classroom. There are eight children and five adults in this particular class. One of the adults is the teacher and there is a teacher’s aid. The others are like Betsy, adults who help a specific child. Little Tommy is nine years old and weighs in at 60 pounds. His size makes him difficult to handle when he wants to cause trouble. He is very smart and is progressing in reading and math. But he communicates only in nonverbal ways. He grunts or points when he wants something. And he screams like all kids when he doesn’t get what he wants. He is easily provoked to anger by the other kids in the class. Breaking up fights is a daily activity for the adults in this classroom. These kids challenge Betsy and the other adults, and yet Betsy loves it.

I can’t help but wonder why she can’t wait to get back into the classroom with Tommy. When he wants to cause trouble he can be very difficult. Betsy has been head butted in the chest, bitten on the hands and arms and had her hair pulled. She came home one night with five bruises on her arms and legs from bites. He has tried several times to grab her breasts, but luckily she has avoided any painful problems in this area. Sometimes Betsy comes home from a rough day and says she feels beaten up. When I see the bruises I can understand why she says that.

I still can’t believe that she stuck with this program after the rough start that she had. Her first child had severe emotional problems. The school district placed him in a regular classroom with Betsy to help keep him under control. He was a sizeable kid at 70 pounds. And he was violent. One day he lost control at the end of the school day and he was under his desk and wouldn’t move. Betsy, the teacher and his guardian tried to pull him out but he attacked them. It took the three of them to wrestle him to the floor and restrain him until he calmed down. After she told me about that episode I was convinced that she would give up. How can anyone handle such a violent kid? And then when she started working with Tommy and I heard some of the stories, I couldn’t believe she was hanging in. And yet she has kept up with the program and now is helping Tommy get through school. Why do Betsy and the other teachers work with these troubled kids?

This is a difficult question to answer. They are getting paid for the work that they do, but there are certainly easier ways to make a living. Many people all around the world work jobs that are equally challenging. And there are even more people who volunteer to do work like this. Some people do this kind of work for nothing! Can you believe it? A Red Cross volunteer has told me that she feels it is a privilege to help people. A privilege! What an incredible thing to say. There is something really important happening here. Something that is motivating individuals to do things which do not have an obvious return on their investment. When someone says that they are engaged in an enterprise that is a privilege and receive no apparent reward, then there is a question that needs to be answered.

I believe that the answer lies inside of us. We possess a desire from within that prompts us to reach out when we see someone in need. My experience has been that we respond out of deep-seated emotions that fill us with good feelings even when it is struggle to help. Can it be explained? Feelings of personal satisfaction are difficult to verbalize. Maybe these feelings come from complicated psychological developmental processes. Maybe they come from God. Does it matter if we can explain our feelings? What counts is that they are very real. People receive something powerful when they respond to the needs of others

What kind of power is that? The power of love. The power of friendship. The power of never being alone. When we help someone we become more than we are. We become partners in life with another. Tommy has received something from my wife. Something that will live with him forever.

The Rev. William "Bill" Whitehead is pastor of the First Baptist Church of Rahway, in Rahway, NJ and a graduate of the New Brunswick Theological Seminary. He is ordained within American Baptist Churches. For more about Rev. Whitehead, see his channel on YouTube by search "Pastor Bill Whitehead."

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Christians pray for oil spill to end

Christian groups around the country are praying for an end to the BP oil leak catastrophe. For more about the spill, go to the New York Theological Seminary blog.

Kids for Christ 2010

Over 200 people attended Kids for Christ at FBC Rahway on Saturday, June 5th. A truly blessed event. Thank you everyone who made it possible.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Pastor Bill: God is Among Us

Pastor Bill Whitehead is the spiritual leader of First Baptist Church of Rahway. He is a graduate of the New Brunswick Theological Seminary, and an ordained minister in American Baptist Churches.

2010 Women's Conference to be held June 16-18

The Resource Center for Women in Ministry is hosting the 2010 Women's Conference June 16-18 at The Interchurch Center, 475 Riverside Drive, New York, New York 10115. For information about the event, contact the Resource Center for Women in Ministry Director Dr. Cynthia Diaz at 212-870-1212, E-mail:

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Being Sensitive to the Needs of Others

We ran into money problems again. After all of the times my family and I have been short of cash, you would think that I would know not to get too upset. We have always solved our cash problems before. Money comes and money goes. I usually figure out what bills to pay and what to hold off on paying. Then after a while the money shows up and everything goes back to normal. But every time this happens, I just can’t help getting upset. And the emotional turmoil is clearly stamped on my face. I usually develop a grim look and start barking at my family. It’s as if I broke out in measles, the little red spots telling everyone around me that something is wrong.

What normally happens is I look at the check register and see something strange in it. As the checkbook balance goes down I get more and more agitated. And then, checks to companies I don’t recognize. Checks for things that are way outside of the budget. For example, there was a check written to Pet Smart the local pet supply store. This normally wouldn’t get me aggravated except for the fact that the check is a lot higher than I would think kitty treats should cost. A lot higher. Like the difference between the cost of a used Yugo and a new Porsche.

So the conversation with my wife usually goes like this.
“What did you buy at Pet Smart?”
My wife answers, “The cats needed food, kitty litter and I got them a couple of treats.”
“Are the cats going to pay the bill for all of this stuff?”
“You know I have to buy these things for the cats.”
“Maybe we should look into replacing them with pet rocks. The maintenance would be less, and they wouldn’t wake us up at night.”

Not appreciating my sarcasm, Betsy leaves in a huff. And I am left stewing about expenses above and beyond the budget. The expression on my face now changes into something more like Frankenstein with a toothache. Not a pretty sight.

And so it should be of no surprise to me when my son picks up on my problem. He takes one look at my face and can tell something is wrong. Eddie is a good kid. He looks after his parents. He looks into my face and without hesitating asks me what is the matter. I appreciate his asking, though I usually say that nothing is wrong and try to change the subject. My oldest son is very sensitive to the feelings and emotions of his parents. He reads us very well, not just by looking at our faces, but also by checking out our body language and listening to the tone of our voices. Eddie and his brother and sister are sensitive enough to pick up the signals their mom and dad send.

The question I ask is, can I do the same thing? Can I be as sensitive to the needs of the people around me as my children are to my emotional ups and downs? I ask this question because I think it is extremely important for me to know and understand the people around me. I want to be able to read the signs that someone is in trouble. I want to be able to spot the cry for help without a word being exchanged. Jesus said that God knows what we need even before we have asked. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to know the needs of my wife or my kids without their having to ask? I know that I am asking for a lot here. But how much more supportive a relationship we all would have if we could only be able to read the silent communication of the people around us.

Now I don’t really want my son to know that there are bills that we are having trouble paying. I don’t want him to be concerned about this. He is too young to be worrying about money. And I just don’t want to deal with the embarrassment of talking about this subject. But, strangely enough, I am glad he noticed. I feel good when my son comes up to me and asks me if there is anything that he can do. It feels good when people see that something is bothering me and take some time to respond to it. Showing concern for others is an important part of life. And I hope that I will show that I care for the people around me each and every day.