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, December 27, 2012

Happy Chilly New Year's

I don’t go to New Year’s parties. I don’t drink much, I’m not a very good dancer and I’m definitely not the life of the party.

More stuff I don’t like; Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve = yuck! Watching the ball drop = who cares?! Every hour on the hour parties from around the world = snore…

I like to go to bed early, get up early on New Year’s Day and go somewhere wonderful. Somewhere I feel the wind on my face and see the hand of God in the distance. My idea of celebrating New Year’s is to hang with God’s creation.

When we were living in Scranton, I joined a group of crazy hikers on an annual New Year’s hike up to the top of Bald Mountain overlooking Ransom/Newton. Fifteen minutes from downtown Scranton, it was like walking into another world. The cold wind on my face, the swaying trees, the awesome view from up top, I couldn’t think of any better way to spend my holiday. When we returned from our jaunt, we heated up hot dogs over an open fire and chowed down. Not exactly a fire star restaurant but satisfying all the same. All in all, my time in Scranton provided the best New Year’s celebration I could ever want.

Now that I have been living in NJ I have searched for a similar experience. The mountains that afford views are pretty far away. I have visited them from time to time but I don’t want to spend my New Year’s in a car. So I have turned my attention to the shore. Fifteen minutes from my house is the Raritan Bay. Forty Five minutes, and I’m at the ocean. There are few things I like better than spending a winter’s day at the ocean. First of all, no people. I’m never relaxed in a crowd, so the fewer people the better. Secondly, the views. To the north, I can see NYC and Coney Island. To the east, the endless horizon. You can’t beat that. And lastly, the other inhabitants of this beautiful place. In the winter birds come to the Jersey shore by the thousands. The salt water doesn’t freeze and that gives them access to lots of food. Also, have you ever wondered where Robins go when it gets cold? Why Sandy Hook, NJ, of course. There is a holly and cedar forest full of berries in the winter in Sandy Hook that brings in the Robins by the train load. And have you ever wondered if there are any Harbor Seals on the NJ coast? Of course there are, however the heavy boat traffic in summer keeps them out of sight. In winter, they’re all over the place. The Jersey shore during the winter months is the paradise it should be in the summer. Only, I don’t recommend trying to get a tan.

It’s also a great place to pray and meditate. When I am surrounded by the beauty of nature, I feel closer to the Creator. It seems much easier for me to speak with God out there gazing upon the ocean. I seem to be better able to quiet the busy conversation I’m always having inside my head. And when I calm things down inside, I can better hear what God has to say to me.

Forget New Year’s Rockin’ whatever. Get outside New Year’s Day and spend some time with God.


Pastor Bill

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Happy Christmas from First Baptist Rahway

Happy Christmas and God Bless You, First Baptist Family!

We have a lot to thank God for, and I thank God every day that I am called to be your Pastor. I want to thank you for your support of our church.

At Christmas we thank God for His multitude of blessings, especially the blessing of Jesus Christ. God sent Jesus into our world because He loves us. And because of His love we have a chance to be a blessing in return.

First Baptist Church of Rahway has been able to bless many people throughout our history. Today we are honored to minister to the community around us.

·         Our traditional English service continues to praise God the way we have for over 100 years.
·         We now have a thriving Latino worship service that is reaching out to the expanding Latino community in Rahway.
·         Our Telugu service has a large and active children’s ministry. The kids memorize Bible verses and perform music and skits year round.
·         Our Internet Mission averages 25 to 30 visitors a day. Our visitors come from around the world. The Internet opens up many opportunities to minister to people we would never be able to reach otherwise.

Now I am going to ask for your help. Please help us pay for this mission that God has placed into our hands by sending our church a special Christmas gift this week. We need your gifts to continue our mission efforts.

God has promised that He will provide and we have faith in that promise. Prayerfully consider how you can help our church with a financial contribution and continue to lift up your prayers of petition and thanksgiving for our church.  

God bless you,

Pastor Bill Whitehead

Click Here to Donate to First Baptist Church through PayPal.

Church Creates a Free Herb Garden

So we pulled up our grass and replaced it with drought-tolerant herbs—rosemary, oregano, thyme, and mint—reserving 14 feet of this strip of open land for a vegetable garden meant for the whole neighborhood. Everybody around Riverbend Commons got involved—yanking out the grass one shovelful at a time, wheeling it back to the compost, sifting out stones, and building the box for the vegetables. It took several weeks for us all to get this done. And the neighborhood watched.
When we pulled up with a heaping truckload of soil, our next-door neighbor walked over and helped us fill the box and spread the soil into the corners. Contact. We gathered around it when it was finished and prayed. We prayed for the neighborhood, we prayed the food and for us all. Then we put a sign in the ground: "Neighborhood Garden" (and a second sign inviting neighbors to help plant seeds that Mother's Day weekend).

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Death of Innocents

Christianity Today has an interesting write up on the death of innocents.

The tragedy of Sandy Hook continues to resound around our country. Please continue to pray for the victims and their families.

Link to Article...

Monday, December 17, 2012

Pray for the Victims of Sandy Hook CT

Please pray for the victims and the families of the Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Connecticut.

Below are links to churches in Newtown that are reaching out to the community.

New Hope Community Church - Collecting Donations for the families.

Newtown Bible Church - Offering Counseling Services

Clergy Prayer Vigil

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Please Don't Watch Amish Mafia

My Mother's family is from southeast PA. My Mother lives in Lancaster, PA. My uncle was a minister in several churches in southeast PA. I have spent a lot of time in southeast PA. There are a lot of Amish living in southeast PA. As a result, I know a thing or two about the Amish.

The Amish are not the cute, cuddly folk that tourists think they are, but there is no Amish Mafia. This television show is nothing but a twisted fantasy. Please don't watch it.

Normally I wouldn't comment on a TV show, but this one really ticked me off. The Amish aren't perfect, and neither are the rest of us. But they just want to be left alone to live their plain lives, and we should honor that wish.

A quick note to TV people everywhere. Please go back to the Jersey Shore and find some other weirdos to put on your horrible shows. Leave the Amish be.

To

By the way, if you are visiting Amish country, please don't take pictures of them. It's just rude.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I Need a Private Jet Too

The following article concerns the rising use of private jets among large churches in Nigeria. This article is interesting because of the contrast between pastors of large churches who seem to have acquired tremendous wealth and the average person who lives on about a dollar a day. Where does the money come from and why use it in such extravagant ways?
Just to be fair I must mention that most mega church pastors in the USA have access to private jets. In the words of Mel Brooks, It's good the be the King...
Allegations of extravagant living among Nigeria's Pentecostal preachers have deepened following the gift of a private jet to the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria.
The multi-million dollar jet—a 10-seater with a range of 3,900 nautical miles—was presented to Ayo Oritsejafor by members of his congregation, Word of Life Bible Church in the oil-rich Delta state city of Warri. The gift celebrated the pastor's birthday and his 40th anniversary in ministry.
Oritsejafor, who also serves as president of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, joins a growing list of preachers with private jets in the West African nation, which is Africa's largest oil producer.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Family Living Arrangements


My neighbors up the street bought a house that was also a dentist’s office. The main house is a center hall colonial, but the dentist office was a side add-on. Above the old office is a small one room apartment with a bathroom. My neighbors turned the dentist office into a pretty decent apartment which their uncle Ed moved into. The small space upstairs is used by their parents when they come to visit. Because of this arrangement their house is usually filled with family. They have two children, and the grandparents come by all of the time. They also have Uncle Ed to help with the kids and the house. Here in the good old USA, this used to be the way most people lived. In most of the world today, extended families are the norm. What happened to us?

Betsy’s Mom died when our kids were very young, so they barely remember her. Her Father moved to California and we visit him every three years or so. My parents moved to Florida to live the good life with every other retired person from New Jersey. When their health started to deteriorate, they moved to Lancaster, PA, a three hour one way commute for me that limits my visits. My kids know their grandparents, but don’t know them very well.

There was a moment in our lives when Betsy and I came to the same conclusion. It was this; our kids are not growing up with grandparents - and it stinks. Both Betsy and I had grandparents living nearby. I remember spending many days over at Grandma and Bowie’s (our nickname for him). Until they passed away when I was in my twenties, there wasn’t a time when I didn’t have an extended family around me. Extended family time for my kids is rare. They don’t have the same love and affection for their grandparents that I had for mine. Betsy and I feel our kids got cheated out of something important. There’s nothing we could do about it, but still, it just seems wrong.

Children abandoning parents seems wrong as well. I have a wonderful senior ministry at a local center. One of the ladies complains to me about her daughter. Why didn’t her daughter bring her into her home? Why did she get dumped into this facility? I don’t have any answers for her. It may be because she is disabled and has a difficult time getting out of a chair and difficulty walking. However, I have known many families that have brought their infirm parents into their homes and accommodated them. Instead of spending their parent’s money on a senior facility, they bought or expanded a home so that a grandparent could live with them. There is also nursing care that can be brought in to help Mom or Dad when their children are at work. I’m sure there are many good reasons why a parent ends up in a senior facility. But if I was given the choice, my parents would be here with me.

Mom and Dad went to Florida to live the good life. Mom complained the entire time about not seeing her grandchildren. They moved to the senior facility in Lancaster so that they wouldn’t be a burden on their children. Now that Dad has passed, Mom is surrounded by luxurious living accommodations, and is miserable because she is alone most of the time. This is living the good life? They moved away claiming they couldn’t afford the good life in NJ. I live in NJ and I don’t earn a whole lot, but I live the good life because I’m surrounded by family and friends. It’s not that hard to learn to live on less. And as far as not being a burden on us, I would have welcomed the burden of taking care of my parents. The mistake my parents made was thinking it would be a burden. It wouldn’t, it would be a privilege.

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12 NIV.

Betsy and I have made a decision. Our kids are adults and are starting to move on in their lives. We want to be a part of that movement. We have told our children that the first to settle down, i.e. married, house, popping out babies, etc… That is where we will end up. It’s more important to us to be active grandparents than to worry about where we are living. We want to honor our children by being their extended family. And I am sure that they will honor us as well.

God bless you,

Pastor Bill

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Copper Pipes Stolen out of Newark Church

How low can someone go?

Thieves have targeted a Newark church twice in the past month, causing extensive damage by tearing out almost all of the copper piping in the structure.

The Clinton Avenue Presbyterian Church has had to close its soup kitchen because of a lack of heat and running water.

"It was devastating," church clerk Loretta Hazelwood said.

The pipers were cut to the furnace.  The pipes were also cut to the boiler and the thieves even tore out the water meter, leaving water pouring into the basement.

"We don't have toilet facilities," Hazelwood said.

The nearly 100 year old church was stripped of nearly all of its copper in the break-ins on Oct. 27th and Nov. 9th.  The thieves got inside by popping windows out of the frames.

Pastor Deborah Oosterbaan says the church will not be stopped from its mission.

Please Pray for these good people at this church. Thanks, Pastor Bill

Monday, December 3, 2012

Islamist's Ban Music in Mali

Khaira Arby, one of Africa’s most celebrated musicians, has performed all over the world, but there is one place she cannot visit: her native city of Timbuktu, a place steeped in history and culture but now ruled by religious extremists.
One day, they broke into Arby’s house and destroyed her instruments. Her voice was a threat to Islam, they said, even though one of her most popular songs praised Allah.
“They told my neighbors that if they ever caught me, they would cut my tongue out,” said Arby, sadness etched on her broad face.