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, January 31, 2013

A Little Dirty Work at Church

I’ve been mopping a lot of floors lately.

The Church is getting a new roof, and there have been lots of leaks. We have a section of the roof that is flat, and that has been used as a staging area for the rest of the work. The materials are stored on the flat roof, and the workers walk across it all of the time. As a result, the flat roof no longer has a pitch to it. It is more like a bowl shape. And that means the water doesn't drain off, it just sits and waits until it finds a way into my building. And there are lots of ways into the building because all of that activity has opened up seems in the roofing material.

So, I mop and put out buckets and cans. I have grabbed all of the buckets and garbage cans I can get my hands on to catch the water dripping in. However, the location of the dripping changes all of the time, and so I mop. And I mop and mop and mop. Mr. Clean has got nothing on me.
Soon the siege will be over. The new roof will be finished and I will get back to more important matters, like fixing toilets and scrubbing bathrooms. A small church pastor has to do what a small church pastor has to do.

Jesus was a small church pastor. He was a man who wasn't afraid to get his hands dirty. Here are some examples:

·         Jesus the all in one; nurse, doctor, hospital (Matthew 4:23-25).
·         Jesus the motivational speaker (Matthew 10:5-42).
·         Jesus the short order cook (Matthew 14:13-21).
·         Jesus the ‘no need for a boat’ Coast Guard officer (Matthew 14:22-36).
·         Jesus the child care worker (Matthew 19:13-15).
·         Jesus the parade coordinator (Matthew 21:1-11).
·         Jesus the anti-gardener (Matthew 21:18-22).
·         Jesus the event planner (Matthew 26:17-30).

As you can see, Jesus was a hand’s on person, even though his solutions to problems are a bit unique.
And so I try to follow in his footsteps. I’ve done some of the things mentioned above like the anti-gardener plant killing job, which I have successfully done without meaning to.

And of course there is still plenty of mopping. 

God bless you,

Pastor Bill

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

US/Iranian Pastor Sentenced to 8 Years

The State Department said it had confirmed reports of Saeed Abedini's sentencing with the family's attorney and called for his release.

"We condemn Iran's continued violation of the universal right of freedom of religion and we call on the Iranian authorities to respect Mr. Abedini's human rights and release him," State Department spokesperson Darby Holladay said.

Hollaway said Abedini's attorney had only one day to present his defense and the department was deeply concerned about the fairness and transparency of his trial.

The American Center for Law and Justice, a conservative lobbying group, said Abedini was convicted by Judge Pir-Abassi of Branch 26 of the Iranian Revolutionary Court for threatening Iran's national security through his leadership in Christian house churches.

It said Abedini, a 32-year-old father of two, became a U.S. citizen in 2010 through marriage to his American wife Naghmeh.

He was ordained a minister in 2008 through the American Evangelistic Association and had been traveling back and forth freely between the U.S. and Iran for three years until this past summer, when he was placed on house arrest. He was imprisoned in September.

The ACLJ, which is representing Abedini's U.S.-based wife and children, said the pastor had been beaten and tortured during his time in prison, raising questions about his medical condition.

It said Abedini and his attorney were only allowed to attend one day of his trial, which started on January 21.

"This is a real travesty - a mockery of justice," said ACLJ's Executive Director Jordan Sekulow. "From the very beginning, Iranian authorities have lied about all aspects of this case, even releasing rumors of his expected release. Iran has not only abused its own laws, it has trampled on the fundamentals of human rights."

In a statement, Naghmeh Abedini said she is "devastated" for her husband and her family - a six-year-old daughter and a four-year-old son.

"We must now pursue every effort, turn every rock, and not stop until Saeed is safely on American soil," she added.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ministering to Veterans with Stress Disorders

Nate Self's military record was impeccable. A West Point graduate, he led an elite Army Ranger outfit and established himself as a war hero in March 2002 for his leadership during a 15-hour ambush firefight in Afghanistan. The battle resulted in a Silver Star, a Purple Heart, and a position as President Bush's guest of honor for the 2003 State of the Union. But by late 2004, Self had walked away from the Army. In another surprise attack, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) had taken his life captive.
"I just hated myself," says Self. "I felt like I was somebody different. And since I didn't feel like I could be who I was before, and hated who I was now, I just wanted to kill the new person. I felt like I had messed up everything in my life. The easiest way, the most cowardly way to escape, was to just depart."

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Science and the Bible

For more than a century, evangelicals and fundamentalists have typically rejected both evolution and higher biblical criticism. Sometimes there are good reasons: the claims of some biblical scholars are so outrageous and the claims of some scientists so anti-religious, that a strongly negative response is entirely appropriate. Too often, however, the evangelical encounter with modern science conforms to what historian Mark Noll has called “the scandal of the evangelical mind”—namely, “that there is not much of an evangelical mind.” Attitudes toward science have been crucial to this analysis. As Noll says, “since 1960 creationism has done more than any other issue except abortion to inflame the cultural warfare in American public life.”

To read more from Biologos...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Letter from Youcef Nardakhani

(Pastor Youcef was recently released from an Iranian prison)
Greetings from your servant and younger brother in Christ, Youcef Nadarkhani.
To: All those who are concerned and worried about my current situation.
First, I would like to inform all of my beloved brothers and sisters that I am in perfect health in the flesh and spirit. And I try to have a little different approach from others to these days, and consider it as the day of exam and trial of my faith. And during these days which are hard in order to prove loyalty and sincerity to God, I am trying to do the best in my power to stay right with what I have learned from God’s commandments.
I need to remind my beloveds, though my trial has been so long, and as in the flesh I wish these days to end, yet I have surrendered myself to God’s will.
I am neither a political person nor do I know about political complicity, but I know that while there are many things in common between different cultures, there are also differences between these cultures around the world which can result in criticism, which most of the times response to this criticisms will be harsh and as a result will lengthen our problems.
From time to time I am informed about the news which is spreading in the media about my current situation, for instance being supported by various churches and famous politicians who have asked for my release, or campaigns and human rights activities which are going on against the charges which are applied to me. I do believe that these kind of activities can be very helpful in order to reach freedom and respecting human rights in a right way can bring forth positive results.
I want to appreciate all those are trying to reach this goal. But on the other hand, I’d like to announce my disagreement with the insulting activities that cause stress and trouble, which unfortunately are done with the justification (excuse) of defending human rights and freedom, for the results are so clear and obvious for me.
I try to be humble and obedient to those who are in power; obedience to those in the authority that God has granted to the officials of my country, and pray for them to rule the country according to the will of God and be successful in doing this. For I know in this way I have obeyed God’s Word. I try to obey along with those whom I see in a common situation with me. They never had any complaint, but just let the power of God be manifested in their lives, and though sometimes we read that they have used this right to defend themselves, for they had this right, I am not an exception as well and have used all possibilities and so forth and am waiting for the final result.
So I ask all the beloved ones to pray for me as the holy Word has said. At the end I hope my freedom will be prepared as soon as possible, as the authorities of my country will do with free will according to their law and commandments which they are answerable to.
May God’s grace and mercy be upon you now and forever. Amen.
Youcef Nadarkhani

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Osbornville Baptist Helps Hurricane Victims

Osbornville Baptist Church was significantly involved in helping people to recover their lives after the horrendous Sandy hurricane.
It was a strenuous experience for everybody, but we pulled together. Our first involvement as a church was with the Brick Presbyterian Church (also located on Drum Pt Road). Every evening for two full weeks, we served meals to hungry and traumatized people who had lost part, or all, of their homes. The home-cooked meals were delicious, and a real boost for them.
Second, the people of OBC began to collect vast amounts of food, clothing, blankets, toiletries, and other supplies. Our Fellowship Hall was packed almost to the ceiling. People from the community visited us in droves on a daily basis. (The clothes which were left over have since been sent to the Ocean County Hunger Relief Warehouse and Thrift Story in Toms River.)
OBC also extended its hospitality program into the neighborhood. Each day, volunteer-couriers took covered plates of hot, home cooked meals to needy people in their homes.
We also began to serve community people a hot lunch in our Fellowship Hall; in fact, a limited number of people are still gathering at OBC for lunch.
One other item. OBC sponsored a benefit concert of Blue Grass Country Music. Three separate teams of musicians donated their services to the cause. One team came from as far as New York City to perform. The large amount of money raised was given to Sandy-programs for needy people.
Of course many people were responsible for the super effort described above. Some workers came from OBC; some workers came from the Brick community; and some workers came from out-of-state. Yesterday, three ladies from the ABC church in Bethlehem, Penna were sorting clothes in our Fellowship Hall. Also, Rev. Brent Miller and other members of the Baptist Church in Phoenixville paid a second over-night visit yesterday to help people in our community to get their homes back into shape. They were housed in the OBC parsonage.
Shared by Rev. Jim King

Monday, January 21, 2013

The First Home Schooler

Back in 1993, when Mary Pride and her husband appeared with their eight children in the first issue of Wired magazine, it was hard to say what seemed strangest: that the Prides were Protestants who rejected birth control, that they home-schooled their children or that in home schooling they relied heavily on computer software. All those choices would have seemed bravely countercultural, or just weird.

“Bill and Mary Pride have eight kids, all of them home-schooled,” begins the short profile, under the headline “Crash-Tested Homework.” The family’s home classroom is “stuffed with a Mac, Apple IIGS, Amiga, a 386 clone, various CD-ROM devices, Nintendo, a Miracle piano system, and so on.”

Read More from the NYTimes...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Pray for Mali

It appears that the majority of Christians in Mali have fled to the capitol, Bamako. However, the last report I could find on them was from April 2012. It appears that the country is enveloped in chaos. There are at least four rebel groups operating within the borders. The scariest group is the militant Islamic Ansar Dine. They made a move towards the capitol this week, but were stopped by French airstrikes. Christians are fleeing the Islamist's because they are threatening to execute anyone who has converted to Christianity. The majority of Christians in Mali are Muslim converts.

Please pray for the Christians of Mali. Please pray for all of the people caught up in this sad conflict.

To

Monday, January 14, 2013

Evangelicals Push for Immigration Reform

The coalition is called the Evangelical Immigration Table and it is brought together a diverse mix of evangelical groups, including the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the National Association of Evangelicals, Sojourners and Focus on the Family.

Though the groups began holding broader discussion two years ago, Monday will serve as the campaign's first concerted push on immigration, with the goal of getting meaningful immigration reform through Congress in 2013.

"I think we have a window of opportunity in these first months of 2013," Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, told CNN. "I think there is a real, new conversation on immigration reform."

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Famine: Pray for Northern Africa

The largest humanitarian disaster of 2012 was the most under-reported. 

We're talking about the Sahel food crisis in sub-Saharan Africa where nearly 19 million people faced starvation last year. Unfamiliar? 

The Sahel (Arabic for "Shore") is a 3,400-mile expanse that reaches from coast to coast of Africa, between the Sahara desert and the savanna. It covers parts of Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, South Sudan, Cameroon, and Eritrea.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New American Sins

Resolutions relating to technology are becoming more common—particularly those that involve spending less time on it. The research shows nearly half of Americans (44%) say they are tempted to spend too much time with media, including the Internet, television and video games. Another “new” media-related temptation is to express anger or “go off” on someone by text or email. Overall, one out of nine Americans (11%) say they often or sometimes feel tempted to do this.

Read the Article...

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Year's Telugu Service in Rahway

Our Telugu Fellowship had a wonderful service on New Year's Eve. Here is one of the worship songs they performed.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Mission or Marketing

Two links for your consideration today. The first is to an article in The New York Times that talks about new churches in the USA that are trying new approaches to winning converts. Now I am a spiritual entrepreneur because I have started two new churches (one Spanish and one Telugu) and an Internet Mission (of which this site is a part). So I am on the side of these entrepreneurial guys. However, the second link is to a new church that I think crosses the line from evangelism to marketing in order to just get more bodies through the doors. Read and decide for yourself. Peace, Pastor Bill

Link to NYTimes article

Link to Life in Deep Ellum