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.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sex Is a Small Part of Life


We had a wonderful evening planned. Just my wife and I. Our three children were with my brother-in-law. We had a room at a spa all to ourselves. It was just fantastic. We hardly ever get a chance to be alone without our kids. And here was this beautifully decorated room with a chilled bottle of champagne, fresh flowers, and a Jacuzzi. A Jacuzzi and no kids, Wow! We had dreamed for weeks of this romantic evening in a spa famous for its mineral springs. My brother-in-law called it his favorite get away spot. We filled up the Jacuzzi, got in ready to spend some quality alone time. And then I got light headed. I had trouble breathing and I was starting to pass out. I got out of the tub and ended up sleeping our romantic night away. I had a bad reaction to the sulfur fumes from the hot springs. The spa was famous for its mineral springs – and it nearly killed me.

Oh well, so much for l’amore. Next time we’ll have to find a spa that uses good old fashioned chlorinated water. I hope there is a next time and I hope it won’t be too long in coming. Every couple in love dreams of romantic evenings alone. Romance and sex are wonderful. But our lives are complicated. We are busy with work, family and other stuff. There really isn’t a lot of time for romance – and that’s fine with us. We make time for intimate moments – but our relationship is so much richer than any single component. But one wouldn’t think that could be the case by looking at the culture around us.

For example, when I turn on the TV I am bombarded with suggestive and blatant sexual content. If I were to judge our culture just from what I see on the tube I would say that Americans are consumed by sex 24 hours a day, seven days a week. One TV commercial I’ll never forget is the sexy, scantily clad blond haired woman selling cough drops. She was yodeling a Germanic tune and wearing almost nothing. It sure wasn’t her voice they wanted me to notice. Sex and cough drops – you’ve got to be kidding me. I sure can’t figure out what one has to do with the other, but someone with a lot of money and power figured out that if you put together a great pair of legs and a bag of cough drops you will have a winner. All across the dial the message is clear – sex sells everything.

So I am sure it will not surprise you if I were to say that sex and sports go together. My brother-in-law gave me a subscription to Sports Illustrated as a gift. Yeah, the same brother-in-law who tried to kill me at the spa. Now, I’m not a big sports person but I take a peek at the magazine every now and again. When a big fat issue showed up one cold February day I paid a lot of attention to it. I’m talking about the swimsuit issue. The first time it came to the house it disappeared immediately. I searched all over the house for it. I found it in my sixteen year old son’s room under the mattress. He was hiding it like it was pornography. Actually it’s pretty darn close to being pornography. I mean, why do they call it a swimsuit issue? They show as little swimsuit as possible. I remember one picture - they had a single string going down a girl’s back. And they called that a swimsuit? Obviously the object is to show as much girl as possible without being labeled pornography. And I tell you they show a lot of girl. No wonder it’s the biggest selling issue Sports Illustrated puts out.

And I’m sure that you are aware of the volume of money that flows into the sex industry? I am aware even though I don’t want to be. I cannot express the horror I felt when I first found a pornographic ad in my email box. What if my little girl had seen this garbage? What if my son had gotten to this before me? I wanted to jump through the tube, fly through the cables come out the other end and strangle the guy responsible for this junk. If someone is sending this filth out to millions of people in cyberspace then there must be more than a few people who want to see it. And of course they are willing to pay for it. Pornographic web sites continue to grow exponentially. Sex sells everything – including sex.

I can’t help but wonder why there is so much fuss over sex. Why do people seem to be so consumed by it? It’s fun but there is so much more to life than just this one activity. My wife and I have a wonderful relationship and sex is only a small part of it. I don’t have to be having a ‘good time’ every day to be happy. I love to spend time with my spouse. I love to sit and talk with her out on the deck. I love to watch a movie with her. I love to go to the mall together and shop. I love to go to a nice outside garden and just walk. I love my whole life with my wife including the ins and outs, the ups, and the downs. Our life together is not dependent upon what happens or doesn’t happen in bed. The rest of the things we do together are just as good. Sex is just a small part of the wonderful collage of moments that add up to a great marriage. I wish that more people would see life the way Betsy and I see it. I think they would be happier.

People would certainly be happier if they realized what the sexiest aspect of life really is – a committed relationship. Our marriage is based upon mutual love and respect. Our lives revolve around the sensitive expression of feelings and a respectful consideration for those feelings. Love and respect require open friendly communications. A loving relationship requires sensitivity to the feelings of others. You know the old saying; love given out gets love in return. A temporary surge of emotions will never replace the satisfaction of being truly loved for who you are. Indulging in fantasy will never take the place of a person standing right in front of you who says, “I care about you”. Our successful relationship is much more wonderful than temporary hook-ups or purchased thrills.

And most important, the durability of our relationship is because of selfless sacrificial living. We have a strong commitment to each other and a willingness to sacrifice. If something was to happen to my wife and we couldn’t have sex anymore, we would still remain together. And that is because our relationship is not built upon the sandy foundation of intense emotions but upon the rock of unselfish love. Marriage demands the willingness to give up something for others. A selfish life destroys relationships. Our love creates an equal partnership in which no one person dominates and no one aspect controls. And our relationship is anchored by our faith in God, who gave us the ultimate example of selfless love.

At some point Betsy and I will get a chance to be alone again. Hopefully it will be without any weird fumes coming from the plumbing. In the meantime we will be together with our friends, our family, and our love for each other. No matter what we will be together and that is what counts.

God Bless You,

Pastor Bill Whitehead

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pray for our Do Nothing Government


Please pray for those who serve us in our nations government. Please
pray that they will do their jobs – which is to Work for Us! Please pray that they will look to God for wisdom and energy so that they will get off their stupid backsides and Get Something Done!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Reformed Theologian Responds to Attacks in Norway


In connection with the youth camp massacre on Friday that left 85 people dead, Norwegian police have arrested a man Saturday, whom they describe as a “right-wing fundamentalist Christian,” Hmm Fundamentalist? I think perhaps they are using the wrong word. If anyone murders in the name of Christ it is not because they are taking the Bible too seriously, but because they are not taking the Bible seriously enough. Many people in Norway think they are Christian simply because they are Norwegian. Don't get me wrong, I believe as fallen human beings any of us are capable of the most heinous atrocities. So, I would argue, that human nature is the cause rather than the teachings of the Bible.

Read More…

Monday, July 25, 2011

Pray for Norway


Pray for the people of Norway as they morn the tragedy of this past weekend. Pray for the families of the loved ones lost in a senseless killing spree.

Read More…

Friday, July 22, 2011

Ego in the Sand


An Arabian Sheik has written his name in the sand large enough to be seen from the International Space Station.

Looks like the new Tower of Babel.

Read more…

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Rev Billy Graham vs Woody Allen

A 1970's interview between Rev. Billy Graham and Woody Allen. Rev. Graham talks about his faith while Allen jokes about sex and atheism. It's a really unusual interview but worth the time to watch.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pray for Drought Victims of East Africa


Families in Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia are suffering from the worst drought in 60 years. More than 10 million people are suffering from dire food shortages. Without food, more than 1,000 people are flooding into overcrowded refugee camps each day. Several million children are malnourished. Ongoing fighting in South Somalia and Eastern Ethiopia worsens food availability.

Medical Teams International is responding to this humanitarian crisis. We are recruiting volunteers now to mobilize medical and assessment teams in the next several days.

Read More about the Drought…

How You can Help…

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Science Brings Ukrainian To Christ


Eugene Shevchenko, like most folks in the Soviet Union, grew up in a secular household and had seen a Bible only once in his life before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. But his studies in science pointed him to a higher power, he said. He was intrigued particularly by the second law of thermodynamics, which states that usable energy in the universe tends to get converted to unusable energy over time. (I had to look that up.) I found a website called “All About Science” that explains it this way:
The universe is constantly losing usable energy and never gaining. We logically conclude the universe is not eternal. The universe had a finite beginning — the moment at which it was at “zero entropy” (its most ordered possible state). Like a wind-up clock, the universe is winding down, as if at one point it was fully wound up and has been winding down ever since. The question is who wound up the clock?
Eugene Shevchenko found the answer to that question in the Almighty. He studied the Bible and was baptized in 1993.

Read More…

Monday, July 18, 2011

Camp Orchard Hill

camp Orchard Hill

My children used to attend Christian Summer Camp at Camp Orchard Hill, in Orange PA. They had a great time there and I have fond memories of the Camp. Many years ago Jim the Camp Director talked about building a recreation center. He was having trouble getting the necessary permits from the township council. He came up with a new idea that swayed the local leaders. The recreation center wouldn’t just be for the camp, it would be open to the community for organized sports. Not only did he get his rec center, but he created a new outreach ministry in his neighborhood. Below is an article from a local paper, The Community Voice that shows just how successful this ministry is.

Camp Orchard Hill may one of the best kept secrets in Luzerne County. Their 18,000 square foot recreation center has been no stranger to the local community. From sports tournaments, to intramural leagues and facility rentals the recreation center is in use all year round. Camp Orchard Hill has spent the last few years opening its doors to the local community, providing a safe place to have fun and play sports.

One of the tournaments that had great success this year was their first annual dodge ball tournament. More than 50 participants dipped, dodged, ducked, and dived their way through a four hour tournament this past October.

In addition to dodge ball the camp has found great success in their Co-ed 6v6 Volleyball League. Every Tuesday night in January-February more than 80 people took part in the league. The league pulled 8 teams from around the Wyoming Valley and Back Mountain communities. “During the winter season, it’s difficult for us to get gym time, so having the league as an alternative really helped us get started for the season.” said Todd DeSando, a high school volleyball coach and player in the league. Due to its success they have already scheduled two more sessions for November-December 2010 and January- February 2011.

Read More about Camp Orchard Hill…

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Eric LeGrande Standing Tall

Eric LeGrande, a Rutgers football player who was paralyzed last year, sent this picture through Twitter of him standing with the help of a machine.

Keep praying for Eric, he will walk again!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pray for Christians in Northern Sudan


SANTA ANA, Calif. (July 12, 2011) – While many braced themselves for the historic Southern Sudan Independence celebrations on July 9, the question of what will become of the Church in the north remains uncertain.

Now that Sudan is divided into a Christian and animist southern state, a Muslim dominated Northern state, the dynamics of the Sudan we know are being changed. The overall percentage of non-Muslim Sudanese in the north is decreasing, causing anti-South sentiment to increase. So the North can become an increasingly risky place for Christians.

Although many of the Southern Christians are said to have returned to the south voluntarily, some observers have pointed out that they had departed because they could not be assured of their safety.

"We are concerned about the security of Christians in the north, because they are going to be a minority. We are trying to see if they can be protected through a law as minorities," Rev. Ramadan Chan Liol, the general secretary of the Sudan Council of Churches (SCC) said recently.

A major concern for the Church in the North is the fact that President Omar al-Bashir has already signaled his intention to move the north back to a pure form of Sharia or Islamic law, first installed by former President Gaafar Nimeiry in 1983.
Church leaders are concerned that if the Muslim government in the North adopts strict Sharia law, as it has promised, the church will suffer and be made targets for persecution.

“With this move there is a possibility that churches will lose their right to own land. Furthermore, those who already do might lose it,” said an Open Doors contact.
The churches say they will remain open, although many Christians are migrating south, alarmed by the president’s plan to strengthen Sharia law after secession.
In addition, Church leaders noted that some northern government officials indicated during the referendum campaign that Christians in the north would not be able to hold church services after independence.

Christians who remain in the North fear that they might be singled out. A system of Sharia law could demote them to "second class citizens”.

According to a Reuter’s news report, the churches remain resolute in the face of this uncertainty. “Even if there is just one Christian left in the north, we will be here, because the shepherd cannot leave his flock,” said Catholic Quintino Okeny Joseph, Vicar-General of the Archdiocese of Khartoum.

Representing the northern SCC grouping of Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox churches, Rev. Ramadan Chan Liol confirmed in a comment to the Christian Telegraph that some of their parishes consisted mainly of southern people. "With the mass movement of the southerners and people from the Nuba Mountains [caught up in the ongoing violence in South Kordofan], some of the churches have been left empty," he said.

Finally, the Open Doors contact noted that after the violence has subsided in South Kordofan, the possibility of Christians relocating to the Nuba area is very likely, since the area is predominately Christian.

Prayer Points:

1. Please pray that the church will be able to stand strong in Sudan and that they will continue to be light and salt in their communities.
2. Please pray that an indigenous church in Sudan will develop out of this new situation.
3. Please pray that South Sudan and Sudan will resolve the issues of the contested areas peacefully, and that the outcome will be beneficial to both parties.
4. Across the whole of South Sudan, there are massive challenges to long-term development, stability and security, including deeply rooted poverty, high rates of illiteracy and a lack of physical infrastructure.

An estimated 100 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation, arrest and even death for their faith in Christ, with millions more facing discrimination and alienation. Open Doors supports and strengthens believers in the world's most difficult areas through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development, prayer and presence ministry and advocacy on behalf of suffering believers. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535) or go to our website at

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Christianity in India is Exploding from the Bottom Up


(From Christianity Today)

With a new India rising up, a different kind of Indian Christianity is rising up with it. During a three-week journey across India, I discovered a vibrant, growing Christian community unfolding at the grassroots—a church thoroughly Indian, not Western.

The new-economy India is found in gleaming office towers where techsavvy Indians compete in a global market and climb the corporate ladder. The newly Christian India is found mostly at the bottom rung of society, among men and women like Shivamma, typically poor and illiterate "broken people" (the literal meaning of Dalit). Numbering 140 million or more, Dalits and Tribals (a grouping similar to the Dalits) have begun to shake the foundations of India's social order. They think in ways their ancestors never could have imagined. More of them are following Christ than at any other time in India's history, ministry leaders told CT.

Read the Full Article…

Monday, July 11, 2011

Scenes of Beautiful Puerto Rico

In honor of my son, Edward, who is working in the El Yunque rainforest, here is a slideshow of American Baptist Churches and other beautiful and famous places located on this wonderful island. Enjoy.

Friday, July 8, 2011

What If My Child is a Sinner or worse–Gay?


I know some of you are mad at me for that title, but this is a serious question for conservative Bible-believing evangelicals and needs serious reflection and thought. This issue has come to the forefront to those of us in more liberal leaning states, like New York which recently passed a gay marriage bill. I live in New Jersey, and I believe that something like this will happen here pretty soon, and so I and my congregation will be dealing with this issue in an up close and personal way.

It is one thing to argue about this issue from a safe distance. It’s entirely another thing to have a difficult issue like this one come into our home. I know good Bible-believing Christians who have children who are gay. I also know families who have children who are addicted to drugs or alcohol. My very conservative evangelical brother divorced his wonderful wife and married another woman. I was really, really mad at him. I’m still a little bothered by his actions today. But, he is my brother, and I love him. So, that’s that. In this article I want to answer the question; what if someone we love is doing something that we think is a sin? What should our attitude be towards sinners? Hate the sin, love the sinner? I think it’s more complicated than that.

I think that this question addresses the ethical tug of war between principles and love. Our principles are laws and values that we uphold to create a healthy environment. In order to honor and protect the people around us we have to live a certain way; don’t steal from them, don’t harm them, etc… For most of us the concept of love is unconditional. We love our family and friends no matter what. Of course, that is just a concept. The way we apply it can be vastly different. A member of a family, who feels that another has sinned, may shun that person, regardless of their belief in unconditional love. When I found out that my brother was leaving his wife, I couldn’t talk to him for several months. But I got over it. Sin within the family becomes a tug of war between rock solid principles found in the Word of God, verses loving our neighbors as ourselves.

The story of Jephthah found in the book of Judges Chapters 10 and 11 is one where following principles causes an innocent death. Jephthah makes a vow that if he wins a battle, he will sacrifice the first person he meets at his home. He expects that person to be a servant. Instead it is his daughter. Because he believes in the power of vows and he is a man of principle, he goes through with this terrible act. Strangely enough he breaks several of the Law’s of Moses in his rash action that he should have been aware of. There is a prohibition against making vows, a prohibition against child sacrifice, and of course a prohibition against murder. But in the end Jephthah is a man of principles and regardless of how we see him, he stands by them.

I am a man of principle as well. If one of my children get in involved in drug use, I will do what I can to help them. That is, if they keep the drug use out of the house. If drugs enter my home, however, the kid who brought it in is gone. Illegal drugs in this home could get the house seized by the police and me fired from my job. We could end up homeless and penniless. Therefore, in order to protect the rest of my family, I would throw the offending kid out onto the street. I would do this after talking to him/her and giving warnings, as Jesus taught us to do. My kids know me well enough to know that I don’t make idle threats.

On the other hand the story of Jonathan and David in 1 Samuel 20 is a story of Jonathan defying principles in the name of love. Jonathan’s father Kind Saul wants David dead. Jonathan is David’s friend and protects him from his father’s wrath. He breaks several important laws in this process. The Law of Moses says honor your father. It also says obey authority, in this case the King. Jonathan is aware of the law but puts principle aside for the love of his friend.

However, love gets pushed out of the way when we need to protect ourselves and our families from a troubled family member. My sister-in-law was diagnosed with schizophrenia and became a threat to her mother. Betsy and I tried to help, but the law prevents us from doing anything, unless the person is a threat to herself or someone else. My mother-in-law was forced to remove her from the house because of how dangerous she had become. Fortunately she found help in California, became properly medicated, found a husband and lived a good life. I thank God everyday for that outcome. Because sometimes love isn’t enough to save someone you love.

So let’s get back to the question at hand, what if our child comes to us and says the magic words; I’m gay. The Bible says several things that address this. First, your child is a sinner. I won’t trouble you with the biblical citations, but there are a lot of them. Second, all human beings sin and fall short of God’s glory. Guess what, you are a sinner as well. Once again the citations are too numerous to mention. Third, love God and love your neighbor as yourself. The Bible says, very clearly, you love your kid no matter what. God leaves the way we love our children up to us.

So I can only speak for myself. If I had a child who is gay, I would not treat him/her any differently than I would treat my other children. A gay child does not harm my family or my church family, and does not end the world as we know it (if you believe the political rhetoric). However, I’m not going to become a liberal theologian any time soon. And don’t look for me performing any gay marriages. My conservative evangelical principles can only be pushed so far. But I will love my kid and I hope you will do the same.

God bless you,

Pastor Bill Whitehead

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pray for This Summer’s Vacation Bible School


Theme :- With God All things are Possible.”
Theme Verse: Matthew 19:26.
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Dates:- July 10th, 17th ,24th, 31st, Aug 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th
Final performance day Sept 4th. (total 8 Sundays)
3:00pm- 6:00pm
2yrs -15yrs.

Bible lessons,
Bible verses,
Songs, Activities,
Bible Quizzes,
Sword drill.

Tell your friends and  bring your children

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Christianity Today Searches for Adam and Eve


Christianity Today takes a look at the theology and science surrounding Adam and Eve. Can we using modern science, know anything about these people? A very good article looking at all sides. Below is part of a review by a respected scientist / Christian.

(Excerpt from a review by Christopher Benson)

With a cartographer’s precision, Ostling carefully maps the terrain of the debate on the historical Adam, judiciously bracketing the noisy gongs (no names will be mentioned, although it’s tempting) and spotlighting figures hitherto unknown by vast swaths of Evangelicals, figures such as science-religion writers Karl Giberson and Denis Lamoureux, biblical exegetes Daniel Harlow and Peter Enns, theologian John Schneider, Old Testament scholars Bruce Waltke and Tremper Longman, public policy analyst Michael Cromartie, and biologists Dennis Venema and Darrel Falk. These figures deserve a patient hearing without reflexive and vituperative charges of heresy. The biggest star of all, who should and may already be a household name, is Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health and former director of the Human Genome Project. Posterity, I submit, will regard his research in genetics with the same indebtedness as other pioneers in modern science like Einstein and Watson & Crick. In 2007, he founded the San Diego-based BioLogos Foundation which is now the leading voice in the integration of faith and science, advancing evolutionary creation. (A rival organization to BioLogos is the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, home to the Intelligent Design movement.)

Read More…

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Algerian Christians Banned from Worshipping


(Mission Network News)

In late May, the president of the Protestant Church Association in Algeria (EPA) received the following notice: "I, Mr. Ben Amar Salma, the High Commissioner of the police in Béjaia, have informed Mr. Mustapha Krim, the President of the close down all worship places; the places which are used now and the places which are under construction.... The authorities will make sure that the order will be obeyed, otherwise severe consequences and punishments will be applied."

"They continued to meet and celebrate their religion despite the threats. If the authorities decide to close places of worship, Christians will gather in homes or cell group meetings in the open air, which is already being done in some communities. But we believe the situation will improve."

Read More…

Monday, July 4, 2011

Indian Youth Preacher Coming to FBC Telugu Service


On July 31st - Dr. John Wesly will be sharing the word of God at First Baptist Church Telugu Service. Dr. John Wesly is an enthusiastic preacher, singer and composer. He traveled hundreds of villages and cities with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and won thousands of souls for God already. His preaching has a unique concept and presentation. He preaches not only in large crusades but also in streets and marketplaces.

Visit his website:

First Baptist Church Telugu Service Rahway NJ.USA .(FBCTS)
FBCTS is the one and only Telugu Worship Service in the Tristate area.
Every Sunday from 3:30 to 6:00 PM

for more details -

Friday, July 1, 2011

To Shun or Not to Shun


When I moved into this house, squirrels invaded my attic. There was a little section at the roof line that had developed a space large enough for a squirrel to squeeze through. So they scurried around above my head when I was in my bedroom. I bought a kindness trap and evicted them. Since then I have been at war with the pesky little creatures. They dig holes in my gardens, tear up my grass and scurry across my roof looking for weaknesses in my defensive perimeter. I have sprayed all sorts of noxious stuff around my house to chase them away. Hot pepper sauce seems to be the most effective, but it only lasts a short time. My adopted stray cat, Momma-Kitty is also somewhat effective, when she is not sleeping, that is. Basically, I want the squirrels to stay far, far away from my home. I want them never to be seen, to be shunned from the polite and orderly sphere that I have created around my kingdom. If I started to shoot them with a shotgun, I wonder if the neighbors would notice.

Which brings me to a strange concept that pops up occasionally in the church world – shunning. Jesus teaches his disciples to shun people in Matthew 18:15-20. If someone “sins against you” (NIV) we are instructed to talk to them privately, then with a witness, then in front of the church and then “treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector”. Law abiding Jews of Jesus’ day shunned pagans and tax collectors, and so we have a clear way to handle conflict. Try to work things out, and if that fails, never speak to that person again. If we all followed this advice to the letter, the only people we would end up speaking with would be people who haven’t offended us yet – complete strangers.

This is not the only passage in the Bible that promotes shunning. Hager and Ishmael are shunned by Abraham (Gen 21:8-21); people with skin diseases are shunned (Numbers 5:1-4); Jesus tells the disciples to shun whole towns (Matthew 10:14-15); and Paul tells his supporters to shun false prophets, and in one case names one – Alexander (2 Timothy 4:14-15). It appears to me that shunning is a normal response to adverse situations in the Bible.

And yet, shunning can be an abusive response to disagreements that tear families and communities apart. My Mom’s family is from Amish country and so I have learned a lot about those folks over the years. Shunning is used by that community to keep their members in line. They can’t arrest them, but they can separate a wayward member from his friends and family. And since they live in a society separate from the rest of the world, shunning is a powerful weapon that can break a person’s spirit and force them into obedience. I would guess that most of you think the Amish are quaint and harmless. I’m sorry but I disagree. They are a cult that limits the education, experiences, and resources of their members to control them. Shunning is their chief weapon, and believe me when I tell you, it works.

On the other hand, shunning, in the form of a restraining order, is properly used by the police when someone is threatening to do harm to you or your family. I’m sure that you have had someone in your life who was actively doing you harm. What was the best response? Get that person out of your life! The same goes for the church. Unfortunately there are people in this world who are toxic to churches. I had a member in Scranton who came to church with his girl friend, while his wife was sitting three rows in front of them. I had to tell him that he could come to church, but he could not bring the woman he was sleeping with to church while his wife was attending. The effect of that conversation was the same as shunning. He never returned to our church. But he was doing terrible harm to his wife, and to the rest of our church family. It had to stop and so it did.

The key to understanding shunning is the phrase “sins against you”. If someone is doing you harm or threatening to, they have to go. The people of Nazareth threatened to throw Jesus off of a cliff (Luke 4:14-30). It is no wonder he never returned to the town of his upbringing. If someone is doing something wrong but is not harming anyone but themselves, then we are to reach out. Thus Jesus ministered to sinners and tax collectors. I have ministered to many people who abused alcohol and/or drugs. If they are hurting only themselves, we try to save them. If they are doing evil to others, then I feel the necessity to do whatever possible to stop them. As always our biblical responses need to be measured with wisdom that comes from God.

As to the evil squirrels, in the fall when the acorns drop, they will start to dig up my garden again. Momma-Kitty will most likely be too busy sunning herself. Stronger measures must be taken to rid my world of this pestilence. I’m considering guided missiles.


Pastor Bill Whitehead