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.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Superman Movie Hints of Christ

By now, Warner Brothers' new Superman reboot, Man of Steel, is now established as a parable for Jesus.
Not exactly a new idea, the Last Son of Krypton sent to Earth to save us from ourselves, has been cast in this light many times before.
Indeed, several previous Superman movies, including the 1978 original, could be praised (or accused) of making these connections even stronger than the 2013 reboot.
Yet, with a modern marketing campaign and striking visuals like Superman making the "cross" pose while floating in space, the superhero flick that grossed $125 million in its domestic opening 4-day weekend has become ubiquitous with comparisons to Jesus as of late.
One of the major reasons for this newly noticed allegorical Christianity is the growing Hollywood trend to reach out to the American faithful with specifically targeted marketing.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Fitness Craze Hits the Church

Losing to Live and the Daniel Plan join a host of faith-based wellness programs launched within the past decade: Firm Believer, Bod4God, WholyFit, Body Temple Wellness, and Body Gospel, to name a few. Faith-based diet and nutrition books, all claiming to shrink believers' waistlines while expanding their faith, continue to make the bestseller lists. Local churches are building gyms and beginning neighborhood health ministries. Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee, opened an exercise facility in 2006 with 200 members. Now its church-run BX (Brainerd Crossroads) Center has grown to 54,000 square feet and 3,000 members.
The Christian wellness trend has unfolded amid national debates about health care, childhood obesity, government-banned large sugary drinks, and who or what is to blame in a country where about 1 of every 3 adults (35.7 percent) is clinically obese. By 2030, nearly 1 out of 2 are expected to be obese, according to a 2012 study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. But it's not an entirely new interest for the body of Christ. The YMCA, founded in 1844, was dedicated to the development of the whole person, "body, mind, and spirit," and Christian diet books go back at least to Charlie Shedd's 1957 bestseller Pray Your Weight Away, which taught that "if our bodies really are to be temples of the Holy Spirit, we had best get them down to the size God intended."

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Fight for Your Friendships

He showed up in church one day looking and sounding very different from my regular parishioners. I have people in my church from many countries; India, Jamaica, Central and South America. But this gentleman was truly unique. He always wore a bandanna, blue jeans and a patterned cotton shirt that reminded me of heavy metal band album covers. In a strange way he looked like he rode a Harley Davidson motorcycle, without the motorcycle. When he spoke he sounded Asian Indian. However, when I asked him where he was from, he said England. I never heard from him the slightest English accent, nor any common English words that Americans don’t use, like lorry or wind screen. He seemed to be floating somewhere between India, England and America; not quite knowing where to land.

We welcomed him into our fellowship without any questions. My family and I had him over for Christmas dinner. I liked him, but I didn't understand him. He was very closed about his life. The little bit he told me only led to more questions. But I didn't press him and I thought we were building a good relationship. Then he started to complain about the church’s fund raising efforts. He was bothered that he were asking for money to support the church. “Why do you need to do this?”, he asked. Because we need the money and this is what everyone does, did not seem to satisfy him. Eventually he disappeared. I tried calling him several times, but he would not answer and did not return my messages. It was a sad end to an odd relationship. I have been a pastor long enough to know that this story repeats itself in our churches all of the time.

Since I became a minister, I have made and lost more friends than I ever had prior to taking the leap of faith. Being a minister brings me into contact with a lot of people. This contact naturally leads to relationships that I would not have had a chance to develop if I wasn't a minister. But along with that comes the rejections. I've had so many people suddenly disappear from my life I honestly can’t keep track of the number. It’s a sad fact of the ministry; we are rejected by people we thought were our friends over and over again. These rejections rarely have causes that make sense to us. Some small slight or minor decision by the church leadership can cause a person to disappear with no explanation. Relationships start, grow and are broken in the blink of an eye. It is truly the saddest part of ministry.

Most of you are familiar with the story of Joseph from Genesis. The musical and movie, Joseph and the Technicolor Dream-coat, is a favorite of mine. In the story Joseph is sold into slavery by his jealous brothers and through God’s blessing ends up a powerful man in Egypt. His brothers come to Egypt to buy food because of a famine. Joseph can seek revenge against his brothers, but he doesn't. He forgives them instead. The relationship which was broken when his brothers turned on him is restored. I like this story because it shows how important forgiveness is in the development of healthy relationships. I have kept my important relationships healthy and strong because I have apologized when I messed up, and I have forgiven when others mess up.

This past week I have thought long and hard about the people who have come and gone from my life. A little bit of anger and a lot of sadness accompanies these memories. What I have concluded is that it is really important to fight for our friendships. Relationships are everything in life, much more important than material things. If we have to humble ourselves and beg for forgiveness, then we should do it without hesitation. If we have to calm our anger down and forgive someone who is a fool, then by all means do it. Our relationships are precious, and fragile. They can be severed so easily and once they are gone they don’t return. So many people in and out of my life has taught me the value of relationships.

Fight for your friendships. The people in your life are your most precious gift.

God bless you,
Pastor Bill

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Iranian Christians Hang in There

The government of Iran increased its persecution of Christians in order to clamp down on perceived threats ahead this week's presidential election, but Christianity is still managing to thrive in the Muslim country.
Elam Ministries, according to Christianity Today (CT), reported in their Summer 2013 report that 246 Iranians were baptized on April 17, "probably the largest baptism service on record in the Iranian church since the fourth century."

Monday, June 17, 2013

Fatherhood is in Trouble

Yet, we live in a country where too many of us have broken relationships with Dad. In America, 1 in 3 kids live apart from their biological fathers. A recent Washington Post article addressed the dad dilemma with the eye-catching title: The new F-Word – Father. In it, Kathleen Parker addresses a question being asked as we discuss the latest stats on America's female breadwinners: In the evolving 21st-century economy, "what are men good for?"


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Everything in Balance

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
    their starry host by the breath of his mouth.
He gathers the waters of the sea into jars;
    he puts the deep into storehouses. Psalm 33:6-7 NIV.

Everything in its place is my motto. I like my stuff to be put away where I think it belongs. For example; I have a tool cabinet with drawers clearly marked as to the contents. If I see a screw driver laying around the house somewhere, I get frustrated because it should be in the drawer marked, screw drivers. How tough is that to figure out? Everything should be in its designated place because then when I am looking for a screw driver I can find it in the drawer, instead of looking all around the house for the dumb thing.

And so it is with the creation. God has done a remarkable job of setting up the creation in such a way that everything is just where it should be. Take our local star, the Sun. All of the elements needed for life on earth are in the Sun. In fact, there are more elements in the Sun then there are in the entire Solar System. But, God left just enough elements to make our world habitable.

God also made sure that all of the elements that make up the Sun stay in place in order to provide us with enough heat and light to make life on our world possible. The Sun is in hydrostatic equilibrium. That means that the gaseous material is balanced between the gravity that brings it all together and the pressure that wants to push everything away. As a star forming cloud gathers more stuff, it creates more gravity. The higher gravity should cause the material to collapse in upon itself creating something other than a star. However, as gaseous material builds up it creates pressure and that pressure wants to push the molecules away. That would cause the proto-star to disburse. Instead the two forces come into balance, which we call hydrostatic equilibrium. Thus, our Sun stays constant and unchanging, because God caused the cosmic forces at work to be in balance.

The Sun is not the only object in perfect balance in our Solar System. The Earth revolves around the Sun at just the right distance to create just the right amount of heat and light for living things to bask in the sunshine. If we were in the orbit of Mars it would probably be too cold on our world. If we were in the orbit of Venus it would be too hot. What keeps us in our comfortable orbit? Gravitational equilibrium is the answer. Earth is moving at a terrific speed through the cosmos, which should create enough momentum to fling us into the great beyond. At the same time, the Sun’s gravity is pulling us inward towards a fiery death. Both the Earth’s momentum and the Sun’s gravitational pull are in perfect balance to keep us right where we belong.

God has put everything in its proper place in the creation. God has placed everything in perfect balance. Just the way I like it.

God bless you,

Pastor Bill

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Weird Church in Texas

There’s the building, for example. The church meets in what used to be Chester’s, an after-hours B.Y.O.B. club that shut down in 2007 after a fatal shooting close by. Members of Vox, as the church is known, cleaned up the building, christened it Space 12 and made it a hub for Austin-style activity. It’s their church hall, yes, but also a Wi-Fi-equipped space that freelancers can use for a small daily donation; a yoga studio; an art gallery; and the home of the Inside Books Project, which sends books to prison inmates.
But what’s really unexpected about Vox, to anyone who knows American Protestantism, is that what began as a church for Chinese-Americans quickly became multiracial. Last Sunday morning, whites were in the majority, and in addition to Asian-Americans, there were Latinos and African-Americans in the pews — or, rather, the metal folding chairs around the small stage where a six-piece band played before the pastor, the Rev. Gideon Tsang, delivered his sermon.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Southern Baptist Convention Continues Membership Decline

Things are tough all over - Pastor Bill

Southern Baptists experienced growth in the number of churches affiliated with the convention in 2012 and the total amount given for denominational missions causes. However, according to the Annual Church Profile (ACP) compiled by LifeWay Christian Resources in cooperation with Baptist state conventions, most of the ACP metrics declined in 2012 including membership, average attendance, baptisms and total giving.

The number of churches in the Southern Baptist Convention grew by 270 to 46,034, a 0.6 percent increase over the previous year. SBC churches also reported 4,992 church-type missions last year, 40 more than in 2011, although some state conventions no longer use that designation which may have impacted the total.

Although the number of SBC-related congregations grew, reported membership of those churches declined more than 100,000, down 0.7 percent to 15.9 million members. Primary worship attendance declined 3.1 percent to 5.97 million Sunday worshipers.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Work Ongoing at FBC Rahway

American Baptist Volunteers from West Virginia, Illinois and Maryland are helping us clean and paint after Hurricane Sandy damaged our roof and caused water damage. 

Thank's to everyone who have helped us, from ABCUSA!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Seminary Graduates Don't Go Into Full Time Ministry

Most of the people I graduated with from New Brunswick Theological Seminary are not engaged in full time ministry. Some of them preached in a church for a while then left. Others do ministry part time. And other left ministry all together.

Below is a link to an article talking about the new ways Seminarians pursue ministry once they graduate.