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.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Changing Attitudes Towards the Bible

Less people read the Bible in America today and more people have a negative attitude towards it. These and more are the findings of a recent poll by The Barna Group.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Please Pray for Pastor Saeed Imprisoned in Iran

Pastor Saeed writes that he cannot even recognize himself after all the beatings and torture he has endured: “My hair was shaven, under my eyes were swollen three times what they should have been, my face was swollen, and my beard had grown.”
After multiple beatings in interrogations at the hands of the radical Islamic regime, Pastor Saeed wrote that the nurse who was supposed to treat injured inmates told him “‘in our religion we are not suppose to touch you, you are unclean. . . . Christians are unclean!’”  He explained, “they would not give me the pain medication that they would give other prisoners because I was unclean.”

Monday, March 25, 2013

Support for Pathway to Citizenship

A majority of all major religious groups in the United States, according to a survey released Thursday, support a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants currently living in the country.

From American Jews to Mormons, from Catholics to white evangelical Christians, Robert P. Jones, the CEO of Public Religion Research Institute, said the overwhelming support for a pathway to citizenship has been growing in the last few years and is a noticeable reason many in Congress are warming to the idea.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Happy Easter from First Baptist

Happy Easter and God Bless You First Baptist Family!

We have a lot to thank God for, and I know that I am truly blessed for being called to be your Pastor. I want to thank you for your support of our mission.

Easter is a time to reflect upon the sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf. Jesus gave up his life so that we may live with Him. He did it because He loves us. And through His sacrifice, we have new life, we have a new beginning.

First Baptist Church of Rahway has seen many people willing to sacrifice to serve God’s greater glory. The people who came before us sacrificed a great deal to build this wonderful old building and to keep it as a place of worship.

Today we have been blessed to host two new missions that reach out to our community in ways that our fore parents would never have dreamed. Our Telugu mission reaches out to the large the expanding Indian community in our area. And the Latino mission is focused on the fastest growing people group in Rahway. For the first time in many years we have been able to get the people who live right across the street from our church to come and praise God with us.

All of this costs money, of course. And we know that is a sacrifice for you. But this wonderful ministry that God has blessed us with can only continue with your support. Please help us pay this heavy cost with a special Easter gift this week.

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 mission.

God bless you,

Pastor Bill

Rev. William Whitehead

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sponsoring a Child Works!

Sending $30 each month to sponsor a foreign child—a practice made popular by Compassion International—has some fresh evidence on its side. A new report from researchers at the University of San Francisco reveals that sponsored children are more likely to graduate both secondary school and college, have salaried employment, and be leaders in their communities.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Teaching the Faith on the Internet

Can all of these new technologies come together and help believers spread the Word? The various technologies of the constant conversation can work to bring our message to the world just as easily as the Pauline letters helped bring Christianity to the Mediterranean.
Long distance communication in Biblical times was through letter writing. We have been blessed with letters to churches written by the Apostle Paul. Within the context of our discussion on the Internet we can ask why Paul wrote the letters in the first place. It’s the same question we confront today, why do people communicate through the Internet. Why use these technologies for communication and what do we wish to accomplish?
For Paul his primary focus for writing the letters was to teach Christian doctrine. In the book of Romans Paul argues that God’s promise to Elijah that there will be a remnant of Jews who have not bowed down to the Baals and will be spared (1 Kings 19:18) is still in force because of God’s grace. Because of God’s grace and because God always fulfills a promise, a remnant of Jews will be spared the final judgment despite refusing to believe in Jesus Christ (Romans 11:1-10). Paul uses biblical prophecy to support his contention that the Jews will somehow experience salvation at the coming Parousia.
The same argument is made on the Christian website On this site is argued the doctrinal principle that the OT prophets predicted the coming of the messiah in the form of Jesus of Nazareth. The creators of the site use the same logic as the Apostle Paul, the great prophets of the past were given messages by God that can and should be used to inform present day audiences as to the veracity of the biblical message. The prophets and prophecies still speak to us today.
Paul most likely sent his letter by currier to the Roman church. The biblical prophecy essay on can be sent to its audience through a variety of methods. In the top right corner of the page is a Share bar with links to the major communication sites across the Web. Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Google, as well as another 317 different services that can help the writer reach a potential audience. Paul’s audience was fairly small. Today’s potential audience is in the millions. As long as Christian doctrine can be communicated in a way that can be digitalized, Christian doctrine can be disseminated around the world at the click of a computer key.
Today writing the way Paul did is not the only way to spread the doctrine of Jesus Christ across the Internet. In the Letter to the Philippians Paul quotes what most scholars assume is a Christian hymn (Phil 2:6-11). In the hymn Paul says those wonderful words; “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow”. These same words have been repeated many times over the centuries in word and song. Today these words can be recited in a video format.
There is an old hymn by Caroline Noel that has been sung in churches for several hundred years. “At the Name of Jesus” is well known and fondly remembered by older generations. For those who want to relive some of the glory of the traditional protestant worship service, YouTube has a recording of this hymn ready to go. Pipe organ, piano and choir perform this song with gusto. And they help to disseminate the gospel of Jesus Christ as well. Just as Paul uses the hymn to teach his churches about their savior, so do churches all around the world record their services and present them to audiences on YouTube. As of the day I am writing this, over 61,000 people have viewed this ensemble singing to the glory of God. That might not be a large number for popular music videos, but all of those people have been exposed to some of the most wonderful words spoken about Jesus. One would hope that Paul would be pleased about that.
In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians he outlines the resurrection of Jesus Christ for his audience. However, he does it to defend himself and his preaching. The Apostle Paul was guilty of many crimes before he met Jesus on the road to Damascus (1 Cor. 15:9). But he uses this reference to his stirring story to say that the power and success of his ministry comes from God’s grace and not anything that he has done. He was given this message from God, and sent out to preach and teach it from God and as a result belief in this message will lead his audience to salvation (1 Cor. 15:1-2). And so the doctrine of Jesus’ death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins is at the very foundation of the defense of his ministry. Paul is not worthy of God’s great love, and yet Paul was blessed by being one of the few who met Jesus face to face (1 Cor. 15:8). Paul is the example of God’s grace in action.
Today we find the same argument in digitally recorded testimonies. “I Am Second” is a website that offers professionally made video testimonies. Most of the people who appear have some sort of name recognition. Laura Klock holds a motorcycle land speed record and has been on television with her husband. Her video testimony describes an unhappy childhood that led to alcoholism. She then relates how attending church with her husband led her to faith in Jesus Christ. It also led her to the belief that with God’s help she can overcome her addiction.
The video testimonies on “I Am Second” can be sent to Smartphone’s via Facebook. The Internet is becoming fully integrated with hand held devices thus making it easier for Christians to bring the stories of our convictions to our friends and family. Thus the constant conversation that is happening online and on Smartphone’s means we can offer real people telling their stories of God’s victory in their lives. The Church has preached from the very beginning that God can perform miracles in the lives of believers. But preaching is often not enough for many people. Many need to hear basic Christian doctrine told in a simple and powerful way, the true stories of people who have experienced the message that is being preached. The Internet gives Christians an opportunity of spreading our beliefs all around the world through personal testimonies that can be accessed by people with access to a digital connection. This new technology takes the doctrine of the faithful combined with personal experience and delivers a message of light and life to an audience that could never have been reached before.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Nigeria is the Most Dangerous Country for Christians

The most dangerous country for a Christian to live during 2012 was, arguably, Nigeria. That's what research for the 2013 edition of the World Watch List shows up: it's produced by the global Christian organisation Open Doors, whose researchers monitor the persecution of Christians worldwide. 

"Between November 2011 and October 2012, we recorded 1,201 killings of Christians worldwide (which gives an average of 100 killings a month!), of which 791 happened in Nigeria", reports the World Watch List. Most of these were in church attacks - from the capital Abuja, across mid to northern Nigeria in cities such as Jos and Kaduna, and through to Sharia-law Northern states such as Borno, Bauchi, and Yobe. 

Boko Haram, which has caused havoc in Africa's most populous country through a wave of violence, is fighting to overthrow the government and create an Islamic state. A former Defence Minister Theophilous Danjuma on Sunday 3rd March described the north of Nigeria as being in the middle of a civil war declared by the religious sect.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Finding an Audience on the Internet

There are a lot of miracles in the Bible that I wish I could do. I wish I could make food appear as needed like Jesus did with the miracle of the loaves and fish. I wish I could heal people who come to me in need. And I wish I could call down fire from heaven when I get mad at people like Elijah did. That would be so cool, but most likely illegal. In the Bible signs and wonders have helped to spread the message that God wants proclaimed. In today’s world signs and wonders are harder to come by, and so there must be other ways that God works to get the message out.
The story of Jonah starts with pretty impressive signs from God. Jonah refusing to do The Lord’s bidding jumps on a ship and heads in the opposite direction (Jonah 1:3). The ship is assailed by a huge storm and Jonah goes overboard only to be swallowed by what one would think is a very sizable aquatic creature (Jonah 1:17). This impressive demonstration of God’s power to persuade a person like Jonah, convinces him to go and to proclaim God’s message of repentance to the people of Nineveh. Which leads to the first principle of Biblical marketing; proclamation.
Jonah and the rest of the prophets were not the only ones who proclaimed a message from The Lord. Jesus proclaimed the Good News of the Kingdom of Heaven to everyone he met. The great sermon Jesus preached from the mountainside lasts three chapters in the book of Matthew (Matt 5-7). In that sermon Jesus gives us the Beatitudes, the Lord’s Prayer, the house built upon the sand parable and many more sayings that are of huge importance to the Christian faith. Thus proclamation is of major importance to the Christian missionary.
The Internet helps us reach our core audience with the concept of Keywords. Keywords describe the words or phrases we type into a search engine. If one is interested in finding a restaurant in New York City, one types in “restaurant NYC” and up pops a lengthy listing of all the restaurants in the Big Apple. For the purposes of Internet Mission we need to find Keywords that will bring to our site those who are interested in our proclamation on behalf of the Kingdom. And example of this would be an essay on the workings of the Holy Spirit. We would want the Keywords, Holy Spirit, to be in the title. It would also be wise to look at frequency of people searching for different combinations of the phrase; Holy Ghost, Spirit of God, Spirit of Jesus, etc… Google’s AdWords Keyword tool will allow us to type in the different phrases to find the one that will bring the most traffic to our site.[1] And so it is very possible to engage in the proclamation of the Word. Proclamation on the Internet is done with the help of Keywords.
Jesus was pretty good at the signs and wonders business. Raising Lazarus from the dead was an impressive demonstration of God’s power. Jesus was also very good at personal evangelism. And the Internet allows us to follow Jesus’ example and pursue a ministry of personal evangelism.
Jesus shows his excellent personal evangelism skills in the story of the Samaritan Woman (John 4:1-42). He starts by showing the woman respect. A Judean man of that era would not be too open to a relationship with a Samaritan, the hated cousins. A respectable man of that era would also not approach and speak with an unknown woman, unless she was a prostitute and he was looking for a good time. Jesus ignores these social mores and engages the woman as if she were a person who deserved her respect, which of course she does. Jesus then moves the conversation to the topic of the Kingdom of Heaven. He stays on topic, despite her best efforts to take him in a different direction. Jesus is interested in helping her see that she is valued by God, and that the Kingdom is open to her, just as it is to everyone else.
In the same way we can do personal evangelism on the Internet. The wonderful thing about social networking is that the information super highway moves in two directions. Facebook is mostly used by people to call the world’s attention to insignificant details of their lives. However, one can strike up a conversation with the poster in the comment bar under the message. This is an excellent way to reach out to people using the technique that Jesus practices with the Samaritan woman. Comments that treat the person with respect and point to the Kingdom of Heaven are very doable on social networking websites. The creation of the world wide social network has opened the path for international evangelism like nothing else.

God bless you,

Pastor Bill

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Monday, March 4, 2013

Don’t Be Afraid to Tick People Off

Sometimes I just can’t believe some of the crazy stuff that I have seen in the ministry. There was no amount of training in Seminary that could have prepared me for these strange situations that I continually find myself facing. Today, I am going to relate to you the curious case of the reformed Jehovah’s Witness.

A woman started attending my church and introduced herself as having grown up in the Jehovah’s Witness movement. She told me she wanted to join my church and wanted to learn what it meant to be a Baptist. So we set up an appointment and we got together to talk about God. I have a basic Christian theology course that I teach everyone who wants to join my church. I don’t teach anything that is too complicated. I just stick with the fundamentals of the faith. And the fundamentals include a section on the Trinity. God is three and God is one. This didn't sit well with my aspiring Christian, and ex-Witness.

The Jehovah’s Witness movement started in the 1870’s and are considered heretics by main stream Christianity. They reject the concept of the Holy Trinity; God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Christians believe that God is three distinct individuals, unified as one. This is a difficult concept to accept. The early Christian Church had a difficult time putting the theology together. Many Christians believed that there was a time when there was only God the Father, before God the Son and Spirit came into existence. This helped them understand the passage in Deuteronomy that says; Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. The problem is under this teaching God the Son and God the Holy Spirit would be creatures. They would be part of the created, and therefore not divine. The Gospel of John says that Jesus is the divine Son of God come to earth. The book of Genesis has God’s divine Spirit hovering over the waters prior to the creation. And so, early Christians developed the formula; God is three and God is one.

I explained all of this to my friend and she left our church, never to return. I never thought that I would get into trouble with someone explaining 2,000 year old Christian theology. I guess I never thought I would experience any of the crazy stuff I have run into since becoming a minister.

The good news is I seemed to have turned a corner in my ministry. Ten years ago I would have retreated from a challenge to Christian doctrine. I would have been scared to death of losing a potential member, and thus would have back pedaled away from a straight forward doctrinal statement. I would have tried to smooth out some part of the Christian faith. Ten years ago I was afraid of failing in my attempts to grow my church. Now I’m OK with it. I have learned the important lesson, Jesus wasn't sent to this earth to make everyone happy and neither was I.

Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. Matthew 10:34.

Jesus ticked a lot of people off. He didn't do it intentionally, like some cheap late night comic. He did it to communicate to people the truth. If they didn't like the truth, Jesus didn't let it bother him.

            Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6.

So if I tick people off while I am teaching them the truth, then I guess I stand in pretty good company. I think after this experience I will try to prepare future ministers by creating a Seminary course called; Truth and Consequences.


Pastor Bill