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, September 29, 2011

We Are Recyclable


The Universe is recyclable. At the beginning of time, when God created all things, there was just hydrogen, the simplest molecule. And God said it was good, and made lots of it. When molecules heat up they get energetic and move around, bouncing away from each other. But in the cold blackness of space, hydrogen with a little help from static electricity, started to clump together. At some point all of these molecules in close proximity created enough gravity to attract more and more hydrogen. Pressure increased and the molecules started to heat up. They moved around and bounced off each other, but gravity kept them in place. Soon, so much hydrogen gathered together that the pressure at the core created tremendous amounts of heat. That combination of pressure and heat caused the molecules to combine or fuse. And God said, let there be light, and a star was born.

Over time the fusion process of most stars produce heavier and heavier elements. A star the size of our Sun will create all of the elements of the periodic table up to and including iron. Some of these heavy molecules will sink to the core of the Sun. Others will circulate throughout the outer layers of the Sun through the process of convection. Eventually our Sun will grow old and lose containment of its outer shell. A good portion of all of the elements that our neighborhood star has produced in its lifetime will drift off into space. Out in the blackness, the molecules our Sun produced might be pulled into a gaseous molecular cloud. If this cloud can pick up enough stray molecules, it will condense and form another star. The end of our star will help to create another.

Larger stars don’t just let their outer shells float away, they explode. The pressure and heat that results from a Super-Nova creates every element on the periodic table. An explosion like this is a cataclysm for nearby planets, but a big plus for the rest of the galaxy. The elements created in the explosion are shot out away from the old star until they start to clump with other elements floating around and the cycle of star and planet creation starts all over.

Everything we are and all that is around us is made from remnants of dead stars. The bodies we inhabit consist of recycled materials.

In Genesis 3:19 it says;

“By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return”. God created our bodies from His magnificent creation, and then reuses the elements to keep the creation going.

Paul even touches on the subject of recycling in 1 Corinthians 15:35-36;

But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else.

Paul says that only through death, can life be renewed. Yet he goes on to say, that we do not return to life in physical bodies. God blesses us with spiritual bodies. And so God’s plan for our future is linked to the cosmic recycling plan. We move on to that mansion with many rooms, while our bodies turn to dust and are reformed into new life. In this way, God allows the universe to constantly renew itself, and to allow an endless number of beings to share His creation with Him.

The creation recycles itself, and God said it is good.

God bless you,

Pastor Bill

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Latino Churches Promote Healthcare


Health advocates have desperately sought to reach the Latino population, which they say is disenfranchised from healthcare because of language barriers, cost and, to some degree, cultural barriers. As more studies show that programs that use churches can be more effective than traditional routes of health communication, including messages straight from physicians, there is some momentum to increase these programs.

"More people are catching on to the importance of churches and health," explained Melinda Cordero, associate director of Visión y Compromiso, a health advocacy group that promotes the use of peer health workers called promotoras. "It's a strong message that churches can relay to parishioners.

Read More…

As the number of people without health insurance rises to an estimated 60 million, please pray for everyone who lacks access to adequate healthcare in our country.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Christianity Growing in Indonesia, and Under Assault


A suicide bomber attacked a packed Indonesian church on Sunday wounding at least 27 people, some critically, and sending terrified worshippers rushing out into the streets in panic.

The morning bombing in the city of Solo, in Central Java, was the latest in a spate of attacks on minority religious groups in the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation.

Read the Full Article…

A religious revolution is transforming Indonesia. Part of the spiritual blossoming entails Muslims embracing a more conservative form of faith, mirroring global trends that have meant a proliferation of headscarves and beards in modern Islamic capitals. More surprising, though, is the boom in Christianity — officially Indonesia's second largest faith and a growing force throughout Asia. Indeed, the number of Asian Christian faithful exploded to 351 million adherents in 2005, up from 101 million in 1970, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, based in Washington, D.C.

Read the Full Article…

Thursday, September 22, 2011

In a Hurry for Ourselves

Now for people who think I am crazy because the world appears extremely messed up I say that positive change only happens over time. And much time still has to pass before it becomes obvious that the world has changed for the better. The hope we have for cures to all of our illnesses will probably not happen in our lifetimes. My hope is that my children will have better health than me. Also the continued growth in individual freedoms worldwide will happen eventually, but not quick enough for the millions of people that currently live under tyranny. And I hope that more and more people will search their hearts for spiritual truth, and by doing so will change the world for the better. However, I will be dead and buried long before any extraordinary improvement will be seen. So for the time being, we have to wait. And the waiting will continue into future generations. And so patience is demanded of us. And there ain’t a whole lot of that to go around.

People compress time into understandable periods. We can understand a lifetime and the smaller units that comprise it. We can understand days and weeks and months and years. But can anyone really understand a millennium? Can anyone really grasp the ages upon ages that have come before and are yet to be? We can understand the numbers, but can we relate them to ourselves? If God were to speak to me tomorrow and tell me that 10,000 years from now the earth and everyone on it will be wonderful. Can I really connect with this vision, when my tomorrow will be the same as today? This is why I think people have trouble with visualizing the future. We relate to what’s happening now - not what is going to happen after we are gone. God has a much different spin on time. We just need a little faith that He will work it all out.

I remember a quote from an obscure book that can be found in the Apocrypha of a Protestant Bible. It is called 2 Esdras and it is not considered a part of the canon. The prophet was asking God why bad things happen to good people. And when is God going to do something about this. The reply he gets is short and simple. We are in a hurry for ourselves, but the Most High is in a hurry for many. In other words we are concerned with ourselves and our immediate circle of friends and relatives. But the creator is concerned with a universe full of creatures. We lack a proper understanding of the big picture. Only through the passage of time will we be able to obtain a more complete understanding.

God Bless You,

Pastor Bill

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pray for Atheist’s


Richard Dawkins is in the news again. A NY Times article has him preaching his gospel of atheism among other things. When he releases a new book he gets a lot of press. And his message is simple, God doesn’t exist.

I think the reason for his success is that atheism is on the rise. I can’t guess why denying God is so popular. I wish I had a proof for all of these questioners that God exists. Unfortunately, I think that trying to prove such a thing with logical arguments is doomed to failure.

All I can say to a person like Mr. Dawkins is that I know that I am not alone. I experience the actual presence of God within me. I know that God speaks to me. I know that God loves me. I can’t prove it. I just know it. I feel bad for people who don’t experience the presence of God the way I do. They walk this earth in isolation, while the people of faith are never alone.

Please pray for Mr. Dawkins and all those who do not yet realize that God is close by.


Pastor Bill

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tamara Jolee Living With Cancer

Tamara Jolee, born Tamara J. Metcalfe, is a TV reporter and living with stage-4cancer. She was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in the Summer of 2009 and is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Tamara now speaks on on the disease. The following is video from The Oaks Fellowship Church in Red Oak, Texas, under the direction of Pastor Scott Wilson. Jolee's testimony ran during a series called "The Next Level..."

Thursday, September 15, 2011

How Do We Know Right from Wrong?


(This essay is inspired by the NY Times essay; If It Feels Right…)

How on earth do we determine what is right? How do we decide right from wrong? Can this be possible when so many people in the world view what is right in so many different ways? Is it conceivable that everyone can agree upon a definite definition of what is right? These are questions that people have been wrestling with for several hundred years now. And today with so many people defining what is right for them, it becomes important to look at whether there is a way to define what is right for everyone.

Up until a couple hundred years ago, people in Europe and in the colonial America’s knew the difference between right and wrong. Doing right was defined by the state through enforcement of laws. The church through doctrine also defined moral codes with the state enforcing them as well. In the fourteenth century the King of France decided he didn’t like a secretive group in his country named the Knights d’Templars. He declared them to be heretics, arrested them, and tortured them until they confessed, brought the church in to verify how bad they were, and executed any whom refused to cooperate. He also, very conveniently confiscated their possessions, which added up to a tidy sum. In those days the King decided what was right, and that was that. The average person didn’t have a choice, unless they wanted to go to jail.

Today, the concept of right and wrong has changed quite a lot. People in the United States consider an individual’s right to choose to be almost sacred. Individual freedom is lifted to very high levels. The concept of what is right becomes one of personal choice. I define what is right for me. So defining what is right in the larger community sense becomes a lot more difficult when everyone has different opinions of right and wrong. Consider this; the last time I read an opinion poll on abortion around sixty percent of people in the US consider abortion morally wrong. And yet the same poll also said that around sixty percent of people think a woman should have a choice. The two opinions seem to contradict each other, but holding contradictory opinions doesn’t seem to matter today. Most people accept choice as a fact of life. Everyone can choose what he or she thinks is right, as long as this choice is not imposed on anyone else.

What makes this even more difficult to figure out is that in our current culture every opinion is valued. Along with this is the right of everyone to express his or her opinion. We sure like to tell people what we think in this country. This comes across most when I watch TV shows that allow people to call in. Now I can’t imagine why anyone would care one little bit about the opinion of an auto mechanic from Kansas on the handling of the Kosovo crisis by NATO. Why would his opinion interest us so much? And yet it must, or else the show wouldn’t be on the air. With so many people expressing opinions that contradict each other, not to mention having contradictory thoughts of their own, sorting all of this becomes very confusing. How is it possible to sort out a universal concept of right and wrong when so many opinions and ideas are being circulated?

And so we come back to the original problem, how do we know what is right? In a world in which everyone’s opinion is valued, is it even possible to judge between right and wrong?

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8

Because of my faith in God, I know the difference between right and wrong. I know what justice and mercy looks like. I know that humility leads to a better and happier life than self-centeredness. And I know that the greatest commandment, and thus the true secret to a wonderful life is this;

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40

If you want to know right from wrong, Love God and Love People.

And then you will know.

God bless you,

Pastor Bill

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pray for America


Lot’s to pray for this week.
  • Flooding in NC, NJ, PA, NY, VT. Drought in Texas. The victims of 9/11 and their families.
Two articles of note;
  • Americans sense of right and wrong comes from what they feel is right and/or wrong. From the NY Times.
  • Most Americans believe in Jesus, but tailor their beliefs to fit their needs. From USA Today.
Pray for America, my friends.

God bless you, Pastor Bill

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Prison Angel Mary Kay Beard

As a young woman, Mary Kay Beard let the pain and anger from an abusive childhood drive her into a life of crime and danger. By the time she was 27, she was wanted by both federal and state authorities and was the target of a mafia contract. Finally captured, convicted of armed robbery, sentenced to 21 years, and thrown into solitary confinement in an Alabama prison, Mary Kay took stock of her life. And she started reading the Bible. Thus began God's amazing transformation of a broken, bitter criminal into a mighty woman of faith and service.

Read Her Story...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mission to Muslims Under Assault


It's been escalating all year, but no-one has yet stopped the killings.

First it was targetted murders, then the slaughter began.

In July, a mob of Karachi's Taliban went on a four-day shooting spree, opening fire on anyone they could see: labourers on their way to work, shopkeepers, even women with small children. The sprawling city of 18 million shut down in terror; rockets were launched into residential areas (as reported by Pakistan’s main English language newspapers:

Read More from Youth With A Mission in Karachi, Pakistan

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Angry With The Muslim World

I used to work in the Banking industry. For a while I worked in the bad bank, though I’m sure you never knew a bad bank existed. The good bank is the one you see every day; smiling, nice, polite, taking in deposits and lending them out. The bad bank is different. This is the bank that works to get the loan money back. In the bad bank no one is nice to customers, or smiling, or polite. No one wants to visit the bad bank, and very few want to work there. In the bad bank we had a special type of correspondence. We called it the ‘Drop Dead’ letter. When we received a proposal to repay a loan - usually substantially less than what was owed - we would send a terse, legally correct reply. If the customer thought about what this formalized document really meant, he/she would quickly realize they were being told to drop dead. Thus the name.

Now when I was a younger lad telling someone to drop dead was almost a daily occurrence. That or some other clever expletive, was just part of the normal way my friends and I communicated. But now that I am a little older and slightly wiser I wish to find a better way to communicate. What I really want to do is to learn how to tell someone that I disagree with him/her, or that I am angry with them, and do it in a way that is loving and kind. I’d like deal with my anger without delivering to someone a drop dead letter.

However, since 9/11 I have been itching to tell the entire Muslim world to drop dead. First came the attacks from Muslim terrorists. Then I learned about the abuse of Christians in Arab countries. Christian communities that have existed for two thousand years are being driven out of Egypt, Iraq and Iran. Other Arab countries throw Christians in jail for ridiculous reasons. Asia Bibi has been rotting in a Pakistani prison for two years after being convicted of blasphemy against Islam. And here I thought blasphemy disappeared with Dark Ages. And then I read about the European cartoonist who dared to draw the Prophet Mohammed causing riots to break out all over the world and hundreds to end up injured or dead (the Jyllands-Posten cartoon controversy). Innocents dying because of a cartoon? This really gets me angry, but not as angry as I feel whenever I look upon the NYC skyline. There should be two towers in lower Manhattan. They’ve been there as long as I remember. Now they are gone, and thousands are dead and thousands more are injured for life. I know it’s been ten years, but I’m still really ticked off.

Jesus says to love our enemies and forgive those who sin against us over and over again. Sounds good, but does this apply all of the time? I prefer the rabbinic teaching from the time period. One is required to forgive a trespasser three times. If the person sinned against you a fourth time, that’s it, time to lower the boom. Seeing that the Arab world has many long standing complaints against the Western world and vice versa, let’s just forget the forgiveness stuff. They’re mad at us, we’re mad at them, so let’s just get it on.

The problem comes in when we apply this strict behavioral standard to ourselves. I have sinned against my wife much more than the allowable three. And so if my wife applied the three strikes and you’re out standard to me, she would be long gone. Yet, she has forgiven me over and over again. The same goes with my relationship with God. I swung three times and struck out long ago, and yet Jesus tells me I’m still up at bat. “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy” Matthew 5:7. I keep receiving mercy over and over, but I have to have mercy in my own heart. That’s a problem when you’re so mad you want to spit.

And so the challenge is on to learn to disagree and forgive. Even to forgive those I want to see drop dead. The angry side of me demands justice. And I know that God is a God of justice. And I also know that a day of judgment awaits all of us. But the merciful side of me reminds me that I too will face a day of judgment. And on that day I will want to be judged mercifully. I will hope to be forgiven “seventy times seven”. Can I do the same with murderous Islamic terrorists? It’s asking a lot. But Jesus said, “Be perfect therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect”. So I guess I can try.


Pastor Bill Whitehead

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pray for 9/11 Responders

September 11

The people who ran to the rescue on 9/11 breathed in a lot of bad stuff. That bad stuff continues to plague them, even ten years after that terrible day. I have several friends that continue to suffer with health problems from their rescue efforts on 9/11. Read more about this problem in the Asbury Park Press.

Please say a prayer for the people who willingly sacrificed their long term health to help the victims of 9/11.

God bless you, Pastor Bill

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Believers Baptism Up Close

Betsy got real close and took pictures of the believers baptism from September 4th, 2011. Check out the slideshow of a full immersion baptism at First Baptist Church of Rahway Telugu Service.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Job Training at Elijah’s Promise


From a small soup kitchen serving meals to moving people out of poverty, Elijah's Promise uses food as a tool to feed people, train people and employ people in the work of ending hunger. The agency's mission is simple: to empower lives, invite justice, and alleviate hunger. We do this by providing culinary training, education, employment, and social services (empowering lives), opportunities for community service (inviting justice,) and nutritious meals (alleviating hunger). Together, we are working to feed and fuel a healthy community.

To Learn More…

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sign Petition to Free Christian in Pakistan

Asia Bibi, a wife and mother, defended her Christian faith against mocking co-workers who tried to make her convert to Islam. She was later convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death.

In Pakistan, more than 150,000 Christians have signed a petition demanding justice for persecution victims, including Asia Bibi. Now you can join with The Voice of the Martyrs and our Pakistani brothers and sisters in a call for mercy. We hope to gather 1 million signatures on behalf of our sister Asia, who now sits in prison awaiting the Lahore High Court's ruling on her appeal.

Invite your friends to visit and add their names to the petition as well. VOM will deliver the petition, along with the list of signers, to the Pakistani Embassy in Washington DC.

Friday, September 2, 2011

How Great Thou Art - Gospel Reggae

George Nooks sings How Great Thou Art in the Gospel Reggae tradition. Try sining along, notice how he does not sing the melody on the beat. He is always slightly behind the tempo, but it works great.

Enjoy, Pastor Bill

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Blessings of Hurricanes

Central Ave in Rahway

Wow, first an earthquake and now a hurricane. God must be out to get us.

Now that we in The Garden State just survived a massive hurricane, we need to sit back and think about what it all means. Some would say these are signs of the end times. Though I can’t speak for whether Jesus is returning or not, I can say that these recent events are a part of God’s magnificent creation and that despite the destructive nature of them, hurricanes are a profound blessing upon our world.

Hurricanes are a part of our planet’s climate control system. They push warm, humid air from the tropics to the northern and southern poles. Ocean water is also pushed along, leaving colder water to rise up from the depths at the equator. This movement of air and water cools off the equatorial regions, warms up the arctic regions and brings balance to the entire system. Hurricanes also flush out estuaries along the shore. Estuaries are extremely important to birds, fish and humans. They are breeding grounds for some of our most important food sources. They are also the barrier between the rivers and the ocean. As such, they end up as the dumping ground for all of the refuse of humans and animals. Hurricanes clean estuaries out like nothing else can, once again restoring balance to the system. Think of hurricanes as a massive environmental regulation system; air conditioner, heating plant, and toilet bowl, all in one.

However, hurricanes create destruction on a massive scale. And it is very proper for people, like the biblical Job, to wonder why God would cause such misery upon creatures God created and loves. In the book of Job, God responds to this question.

Job 37:14-18
“Listen to this, Job;
stop and consider God’s wonders.
Do you know how God controls the clouds
and makes his lightning flash?
Do you know how the clouds hang poised,
those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge?
You who swelter in your clothes
when the land lies hushed under the south wind,
can you join him in spreading out the skies,
hard as a mirror of cast bronze?

This passage makes it clear that God created the system that produces the weather and controls it.

Job 38:8-11
“Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb,
when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness,
when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place,
when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt’?

This passage makes it clear that God placed limits upon the raging weather and surging oceans. God created the storms, but God also controls them. To what purpose?

In the concluding chapter of Job 42, the man says: “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know”. Job acknowledges that God knows all, controls all, and most importantly, knows what is best for us. God has plans for us and our planet that extend far into the future. And these plans are for our benefit, in ways that we cannot fully understand today. Hurricanes are an important regulatory feature of our planet. Their destructive power seems cruel to those in its path. But the long term benefits to the earth are necessary for the health of the planet’s environmental systems.

Job concludes that God knows what is best. He doesn’t understand the functioning of our world like we do today. But he learns to accept the ups and downs of our existence.

We need to accept that God knows what is best for us as well. Our job is not to complain, rather it is to minister as best we can to those who have been impacted by this earth changing event.

God bless you,

Pastor Bill Whitehead