This Weekend at First (5/22/15)

Here’s a look ahead to this weekend at First!

Men’s and Women’s Bible Studies

Men’s and Women’s Bible studies resumed today for the rest of May. They begin around 9.30am. Hope to see you there!

Sunday worship

These are the songs we’re planning to sing Sunday morning. If any of them look unfamiliar, click on it and you’ll find a video with the text and tune.

The sermon text will be Isaiah 34–35.

Handel’s Messiah


design courtesy of Ottoman Creative Group

Next Saturday, May 30 at 7.30pm, the choir and orchestra of The First Baptist Church in the City of New York will present parts two and three of Georg Handel’s Messiah. The first part was performed in December and put the glory of our Savior on stunning display. Please be sure to note the new time: the concert will begin at 7.30pm. Be sure to join us for the rest of this inspired oratorio.

Do We Know Jesus?

Just because we say we’re Christians doesn’t mean we actually know who Jesus really is. This summer, we’re taking a forty-day challenge together—to read through the New Testament as a church! This Saturday night, we’ll invite our friends and neighbors to join us on this journey.

There are some great resources to help us along the way. Click here to get the NT as an ebook, as an audiobook, and audio resources for your children—all for free! And click here to sign up for a daily email that will help you with that day’s reading.

To encourage us along the way, book groups will meet every Sunday to discuss the previous week’s reading. So come with your questions and insights to share with others! Beginning June 7 the groups will meet Sunday mornings at 9.45am here at First, and Sunday evenings uptown at 6pm. Make your plans to be part of this initiative as Jesus reintroduces Himself to us through His Word!

Calling All Green Thumbs!

Do you have a love for gardening, but nowhere to use your skills? In God’s kindness, a friend of the church is redesigning our garden, so we’re looking for a few green thumbs who can help maintain the garden outside our building. If you’re interested, please let Matthew know.

​Looking forward to worshiping with you Sunday!​

Posted in Weekend Announcements | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The King and His Gracious Deliverance

image of Rembrandt’s painting courtesy of pictify

They were experienced sailors. They knew how to navigate the seas. And they had spent many hours on this body of water. So when a violent storm arose, they knew they were in trouble. They jettisoned cargo and began rowing for their lives.

So you can imagine their frustration when they realized that one of their crew was missing—not just missing, but asleep in the hull. And not just anyone, but their leader. So they frantically woke him up: “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” Their leader got up, walked to the deck, and spoke to the storm: “Quiet! Be still!” And amazingly the storm stopped.

If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time, you’ve heard that story about Jesus. What is strikingly relevant today are His words at the end of that account: “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mk 4.35–41).

Jesus makes a connection between fear and faith that recurs throughout the Scripture and that forms the backbone of our text today. Jerusalem was in a moment much like London in 1940. A lethal threat was at the doorstep, though for Jerusalem the threat was not Germany but Assyria. At this fearful moment, God speaks words of hope and grace, words to inspire faith, words to dispel fear.

Title: The King and His Gracious Deliverance

Text: Isaiah 33


  • fearful
  • faithless
  • formidable


Posted in Isaiah | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Preparation for Worship (5/16/15)

Scripture to consider: Isaiah 33

1 Woe to you, destroyer,
    you who have not been destroyed!
Woe to you, betrayer,
    you who have not been betrayed!
When you stop destroying,
    you will be destroyed;
when you stop betraying,
    you will be betrayed.

Lord, be gracious to us;
    we long for you.
Be our strength every morning,
    our salvation in time of distress.
At the uproar of your army, the peoples flee;
    when you rise up, the nations scatter.
Your plunder, O nations, is harvested as by young locusts;
    like a swarm of locusts people pounce on it.

The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high;
    he will fill Zion with his justice and righteousness.
He will be the sure foundation for your times,
    a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge;
    the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.[a]

Look, their brave men cry aloud in the streets;
    the envoys of peace weep bitterly.
The highways are deserted,
    no travelers are on the roads.
The treaty is broken,
    its witnesses[b] are despised,
    no one is respected.
The land dries up and wastes away,
    Lebanon is ashamed and withers;
Sharon is like the Arabah,
    and Bashan and Carmel drop their leaves.

10 “Now will I arise,” says the Lord.
    “Now will I be exalted;
    now will I be lifted up.
11 You conceive chaff,
    you give birth to straw;
    your breath is a fire that consumes you.
12 The peoples will be burned to ashes;
    like cut thornbushes they will be set ablaze.”

13 You who are far away, hear what I have done;
    you who are near, acknowledge my power!
14 The sinners in Zion are terrified;
    trembling grips the godless:
“Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire?
    Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?”
15 Those who walk righteously
    and speak what is right,
who reject gain from extortion
    and keep their hands from accepting bribes,
who stop their ears against plots of murder
    and shut their eyes against contemplating evil—
16 they are the ones who will dwell on the heights,
    whose refuge will be the mountain fortress.
Their bread will be supplied,
    and water will not fail them.

17 Your eyes will see the king in his beauty
    and view a land that stretches afar.
18 In your thoughts you will ponder the former terror:
    “Where is that chief officer?
Where is the one who took the revenue?
    Where is the officer in charge of the towers?”
19 You will see those arrogant people no more,
    people whose speech is obscure,
    whose language is strange and incomprehensible.

20 Look on Zion, the city of our festivals;
    your eyes will see Jerusalem,
    a peaceful abode, a tent that will not be moved;
its stakes will never be pulled up,
    nor any of its ropes broken.
21 There the Lord will be our Mighty One.
    It will be like a place of broad rivers and streams.
No galley with oars will ride them,
    no mighty ship will sail them.
22 For the Lord is our judge,
    the Lord is our lawgiver,
the Lord is our king;
    it is he who will save us.

23 Your rigging hangs loose:
    The mast is not held secure,
    the sail is not spread.
Then an abundance of spoils will be divided
    and even the lame will carry off plunder.
24 No one living in Zion will say, “I am ill”;
    and the sins of those who dwell there will be forgiven.

photo courtesy of The Gospel Coalition

Thought to consider:

“Shall our sins discourage us, when he appears there [at the throne of grace] only for sinners? Are you bruised? Be of good comfort, he calls you. Conceal not your wounds, open all before him and take not Satan’s counsel. Go to Christ.”

Richard Sibbes, p. 9

Posted in Meditation for Worship | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

This Weekend at First (5/15/15)

God has grace prepared for us this weekend, and it will be a joy to share it together!

George Russ of the MNYBA

This Sunday morning we look forward to hosting George Russ, the Executive Director of the Metropolitan New York Baptist Association. George will give a brief presentation about the ministry of the MNYBA, explain what partnership with the MNYBA would look like for us, and answer any questions you may have. This is a great opportunity for you to get to know the MNYBA better ahead of our congregation’s vote on Matthew’s recommendation. So please make your plans to be in Haldeman Chapel by 9.45am to be part of this important conversation.

Sunday worship service

Here’s a look ahead at the songs we plan to sing this week. (If you don’t know one of the songs, click on the link below and you can preview it.)

The sermon text will be Isaiah 33.

Monthly fellowship meal

Make your plans to stay with us after the service for our monthly luncheon. There is no charge for the meal, and everyone is welcome.

Men’s and Women’s Bible Studies

Our Men’s and Women’s Bible studies will resume Sunday, May 24 for the last few weeks of May. They will begin around 9.30am. Hope to see you there!

Handel’s Messiah

Saturday, May 30 at 7pm, the choir and orchestra of The First Baptist Church in the City of New York will present parts two and three of Georg Handel’s Messiah. The first part was performed in December and put the glory of our Savior on stunning display. Be sure to join us for the rest of this inspired oratorio.

Volunteers Needed

We are looking for people to help with office and/or administrative matters for the church. Some of the work could be done from home if you have access to the internet. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Matthew.

We hope to see you Sunday!

Posted in Weekend Announcements | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Mother Bird Protecting Her Young

Like birds hovering overhead,
the Lord Almighty will shield Jerusalem;
he will shield it and deliver it,
he will ‘pass over’ it and will rescue it.

—Isaiah 31.5

This verse captivated our imagination last Sunday—fittingly on Mother’s Day. God presents himself as a mother bird, fluttering over her nest to protect her young and distract a predator, even if saving their lives means she has to sacrifice hers.

photo courtesy of Tim White

But this is no mere metaphor. It’s the natural instinct of a mother bird, as evidenced by a story last week in Erie County, Ohio. A Canadian goose remained seated on her nest, even though it was on fire, in order to save its eggs. You can read about it here.

What a picture this is of Jesus’ sacrifice for us! Even death could not stop him from saving us. Soli Deo Gloria.

Posted in Isaiah | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment