A Theological Vision for Our Church

150616--Vision_DiagramThere are many good deeds that we could give ourselves to, and many good churches whose example we could follow. But what does our Servant King want for us, for this church at this time in this city? What kind of people is Jesus making us into? And what kind of works does He want the First Baptist Church in the City of New York to give ourselves to?

Unlike most of our sermons, this one focuses more on application than explanation, and perhaps for that reason this message is critical for us to hear, ponder, and live out as our Savior leads us into the future He has ordained for us.

Title: A Theological Vision for Our Church

Text: 1 Corinthians 13.8–13


  • praise for our never-failing Shepherd
  • what he is making us to be: three qualities
  • what he is calling us to do: nine values


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The King and Unending Love

photo courtesy of econintersect

Of the many Supreme Court decisions expected this summer, one of the most significant regards the Affordable Care Act. For years Republicans have longed for the moment when Obamacare would be overthrown. But now the GOP faces a new, potentially devastating problem. Jonathan Weisman writing in the NY Times on March 6 puts it this way: “Senior Republicans in Congress hope that by June, the Supreme Court will invalidate the subsidies that 7.5 million Americans in thirty-four states have been given to purchase health insurance through the federal website HealthCare.gov. But the prospects of legal victory have raised practical and political fears that Republicans will take the blame for the health care crisis that would follow.”

This scenario points to a timeless adage: be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it. In one sense that monitor hangs over today’s passage. Hezekiah faces his worst fear, wishes to be delivered, and then gets what he wanted. But the answer to his prayer becomes a test for his own heart: would he outlive his love for God? And if he didn’t, what hope does he—or any of us, for that matter—have that we will be delivered when his faith and ours is so weak?

Title: The King and Unending Love

Text: Isaiah 38–39


  • facing death
  • prolonged life
  • hope in life and death


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This Weekend at First (6/5/15)

Book Groups Begin Sunday Morning!

FBNYC-15081 Do We Know Jesus-Card-5x7Just 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! Free copies of the NT are available. To encourage us along the way, book groups are meeting each Sunday to discuss the previous week’s reading. So come with your questions and insights to share with others! The groups meet Sunday mornings at 9.45am 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!

Sunday worship

We plan to sing the following songs during the worship service:

  • “Rejoice! The Lord is King”
  • “There is a Higher Throne”
  • “Rock of Ages”
  • “I Will Glory in My Redeemer”
  • “Ancient Words”
  • “To the Praise of His Glorious Grace”

The sermon text will be Isaiah 38–39.

Help Houston’s First Help First NYC

On June 18–19, a large team from Houston’s First Baptist is coming to take care of a variety of projects for us. God be praised for the help this sister church is providing! But we need your help too. One thing Houston’s First would like to do is give away free lemonade, water, and literature about our church at subway stops near our building. We need volunteers to help make lemonade, keep them supplied, and serve them in any way. This is a great, easy way that you can serve those who are coming to serve us. Please contact Matthew if you’d like to help.

NY CityFest

Central Park will be home this summer to a massive outreach event. NYCityFest is scheduled for July 11 in Delacorte Theater near the 79th Street Transverse. While NYCityFest is free, it is a ticketed event. To get tickets for you and your friends who don’t know Jesus, go to nycityfest.org/tickets.

Please join other Upper West Side churches for a joint prayer meeting to be held at Redeemer’s W83 Ministry Center on Friday, June 19 at 7pm. The gathering will be led by Robert Guerrero of Redeemer City to City and focused on NYCityFest and other UWS NYCityServe projects. Following prayer there will be an optional counselor training for those who want to volunteer at NYCityFest. If you would like more details about serving as a counselor, go to nycityfest.org/counselor.

Prayer Request

Please pray for Wendy S. Her sister in Albuquerque was recently diagnosed with cancer. She began treatments this week. Please pray for her full recovery, and for Wendy as she will visit her sister soon.

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The King and the Truth-Telling Enemy

What makes the enemy so powerful? The answer might surprise you. We know that he is the father of lies, yet we often fail to recognize that his power in our lives stems from his ability to tell the truth. He doesn’t come as a buffoon and is not easily disproved. Instead he comes with an armload of truths—and then he offers a twist. And it is that twist that makes him so dangerous.

What hope that we can recognize how he twists the truth, when we are so easily deceived? This passage shows us the answer.

Title: The King and the Truth-Telling Enemy

Text: Isaiah 36–37


  • the enemy who tells the truth
  • the king who is desperate
  • the prophet who inspires hope
  • the God who keeps his promise


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Do We Know Jesus? Resources for Reading the NT Together

FBNYC-15081 Do We Know Jesus-Card-5x7

On Monday we begin a forty-day journey together as we read through the New Testament!

We want everyone to take part. It’ll be a great time to saturate ourselves in the words and works of Jesus—together!

And we’ll read the NT in a way you never have. That’s because the edition we’re reading has a few distinctive features:

  • There are no chapter numbers.
  • There are no verse numbers.
  • The books are in a different order. First we’ll read Luke‘s two books (his gospel and the Acts), followed by Paul‘s letters, then Matthew, Hebrews, and James. Since Mark’s gospel was influenced by Peter, we’ll next read Mark, 1 and 2 Peter, and Jude (which closely resembles 2 Peter). Finally, we’ll read John‘s five books: his gospel, his three epistles, and the Revelation.

For all these reasons, you’ll want to use the same edition as the rest of the church.

  • Print copies of the NT will be available for free at the concert Saturday and at church Sunday. Be sure to take a copy and begin reading Monday.
  • Ebook. If you prefer to read on your iPad, tablet, or smartphone, you can download a free copy here. Please note: you must pay to have the ebook for Kindle or Nook.
  • Audio version. You can listen to the readings by downloading the zip file here. Each day’s reading has its own mp3.
  • Kid’s audio version. A ten-minute audio version is available each day for children. You can download it here. There are also printed transcripts of the daily readings if you prefer to use that for family worship.
  • Reader’s guide. To make the most of your reading of the NT, be sure to check out this reader’s guide.

You might be wondering, “Wow, that’s a lot! What should I do first?” The easiest way to get started is to click here and register. Be sure to indicate that you’re part of the First Baptist Church in the City of New York, and that you plan to begin reading June 1, 2015. In exchange you’ll receive a daily reminder email with a video introduction to that day’s reading.

The easiest way to keep going is to take part in one of our book groups. These will meet every Sunday in June and July to discuss the previous week’s reading. So come with your questions and insights to share with others! The groups will meet Sunday mornings at 9.45am at First, and Sunday evenings uptown at 6pm.

If you have any questions, just contact the church office.

Make your plans to be part of this initiative as Jesus reintroduces Himself to us through His Word!

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