Month: October 2015

No Needy People Here

By Ty Haguewood

There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.   Acts 4:32-35

There was not a needy person among them. Let me say that in my terms, “No needy people here.”

Imagine a church that

  • sees a need and does everything possible to meet it without hesitation or guilt
  • does absolutely everything in its power to meet people where they are, showing them the love of Jesus Christ
  • responds anytime its people are hurting
  • is truly of one heart and one soul.

Please don’t think I am saying we are not that church. I am only attempting to show the power a compassionate community can have when it unites together to meet each other’s needs and the needs of our community.

Look at the community of Albuquerque and the surrounding area. People seem to be walking through such difficult times, often united only by tragedy. In the midst of that, I see a community of believers that have a hope that sets the worst of people free. I see a fellowship of believers made new by the blood of Jesus, a people united by grace.

Earlier this week Pastor Michael M. Cook challenged us to look out for others because of the One who first looked out for us. Some people will take those words as a simple sermon point or cool quote. I want to challenge us to really examine the way God looked out for us first.

But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

While you and I were still sinners; CHRIST DIED FOR US. This life-changing news changes everything!

When we understand the reality of the resurrection, that Jesus has completely forgiven and redeemed us, we cannot remain the same. When you experience His grace, it is easy to extend grace to others.

Let us be a people that extend that grace. Let’s

  • strive to love without measure
  • devote our lives to the ministry of reconciliation
  • work together to become a compassionate community.

You are loved. You are redeemed. You are His. Go share this great news!

Then we can truly say, “NO NEEDY PEOPLE HERE.”


Compassionate Community- WHY Compassion?

By Karen Polich

Who are you looking out for?

We know compassion is typically inconvenient and inefficient. If we are looking for easy, compassion rarely travels  the easy road. When we stop for compassion, life takes on a different pace. Compassion throws off our routine from the normal and may ask a lot from us.

Compassion can also be a magnetic force. It can alter a bad moment or transform a life.

Pastor Michael Cook’s sermon series, Compassionate Community examines the idea of living a life of radical compassion. Listen to the podcast here. We learn what believers in the early days of the Church did to help those in need.

The “what” is impressive, but the bigger question is, “why”?

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need. Acts 4:32-35

Why were they motivated to live a life full of compassion?

Their compassionate community stemmed from three things.

  1. Compassion envisioned by Jesus. The idea came directly from Jesus. He demonstrated compassion from His days on earth to His ascension into heaven.
  2. Compassion is fueled by grace. Until you receive God’s grace, you cannot give it away. Jesus looks out for you, ready to offer grace.
  3. Compassion is empowered by the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:8 We are equipped to help through the Holy Spirit.

You are His forgiven, empowered, beloved child.

Compassion is a life changer. Through Him, we can bring about a compassionate community, which sees the needs of those around us and stops to make a difference.

Carry each others burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2



Water Changes Everything

By Karen Polich

Imagine drinking clean water for the first time, cool, clear and refreshing. Everything becomes different. It seems so simple. It’s just water, but it changes everything.

What is it about this change that opens up life altering possibilities?

You and I have an opportunity to create massive change. Change that matters. We can impact lives. We can bring good to a place where it can’t be missed, delivering immediate improvement.

Remote villages in Malawi, Africa struggle to gain access to clean water. Life expectancy is low, 38 – 45 years depending on the source of data. Regardless of the exact number, the glaring truth is one filled with disease. Bad water sources bring disease.

Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church is committed to mission work in Malawi. Lives have been transformed through the Gospel. In 2015 a village was also transformed by a well. Clean water means changed lives.  Access to clean water means less disease and a chance for better health. Without clean water limits are set and barriers can’t be overcome.

In the coming year we have an opportunity to help drill another well in a remote Malawi village.  Doing so will provide access to safe, clean water for people who desperately need it. Lives will be transformed.

In May, 2016 a group from AFBC will be on the ground in Malawi teaching God’s Word. They will visit a prison. They will walk along miles of dirt roads, sharing with those in remote villages. They will see God at work.  You and I might not be able to make the trip, but we can make a difference through the gift of water. With our financial support they will be able to drill a new well.

Sunday night, October 25th, AFBC will raise the monies to dig the new well by using our coins (and dollars), to vote for the best chili during the annual Chili Cook Off. It will be a night of worship through music and fellowship through food and conversation. Our goal is to raise money to drill a well in Malawi. Will you join me in making this effort?

Bring your “Change for Chili” and help us raise the needed funds to change lives.

Can’t join us? Click here for more information on how you can be involved in changing lives in Malawi, Africa by contributing to the drilling of a new well. We can’t wait to hear from you.

Choose Gratitude

By Michael M. Cook

While many people believe God is real, many also believe He is only “watching them from a distance” and has no real desire to know them personally.

Actually, God is very interested in you and desires for you to have a personal and meaningful relationship with Him.

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God! They are innumerable! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the gains of sand! Psalm 139: 17-18b

‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the LORD. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’ Jeremiah 29:11

God showed how much He loved us be sending His only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. 1 John 4:9

By the world’s standards, we each have a life of incredible blessing, and the Lord is aware of the reading on our “Gratitude Meters”. He knows you, knows what He’s done for you, and has a clear reading of your thankfulness right now. God is very aware of your heart response to His grace.

When you choose an attitude of gratitude toward the Lord, something changes in your life. Thankfulness leads to wellness at a deeper level.

Celebrating “the gift of Jesus” provides your faith the opportunity to grow. Faith grows in the soil of thankfulness.

Praying for our Pastors – 7 Day Challenge

By Karen Polich

It’s Pastor Appreciation Month, time for us to give back to those who pour themselves out continually to so many.

Pastors work tirelessly to care for their “flock”. Encouragement and teaching are part of a regular day. Pastors show us what it means to serve, leading by example. Answering God’s calling, they mentor others while proclaiming the Truth. They demonstrate spiritual leadership in the home and let us see what it looks like to love your family with complete abandon.

Pastors find needs, fill empty hearts and constantly give to others. They do this without complaint or hesitation.

How can we give back to them for all that they do? We can pray for them. We can ask God to bless their ministry and their family. Let’s bring God’s amazing grace into the lives or our pastors with heartfelt prayers.

Day 1 – Protection

Pray for a hedge of protection. Pray God will protect him and his family in regards to health, ministry, trials, and temptations.

No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. Isaiah 54:17

If you make the Most High your dwelling – even the Lord, who is my refuge, then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. Psalm 91:9-10

Day 2 – Wisdom

Pray he will seek God’s wisdom. Ask God to guide him as he leads his family. Pray for discernment in understanding God’s will for his life. Pray against any doubt that Satan brings when his ministry is difficult. Ask God to give him strong counsel and to bring those who will speak Truth. Pray that God will guard him from those who would seek to distract him from his calling.

For the Lord gives wisdom, and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His might power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Ephesians 6:10-11

Day 3 – Margins

Pray for his ability to see the value in having margins, allowing him to refresh and refuel his strength. Pray God will guide him in creating time for leisure, rest, family, God and health. Ask God to protect this time as it allows him to be his best in all things.

Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

Be at rest once more my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. Psalm 116: 7

Day 4 – Relationship with God

Ask God to strengthen his relationship in Christ. Pray he seeks God first in all things. Pray God will pour into him and pray he will know deep in his heart how much he is loved. Ask God to give him the opportunity to worship and grow closer to his Lord. Pray he will carve out daily time to study God’s Word. Pray for constant renewal.

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

Taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. Psalm 34:8

Day 5 – A Servant’s Heart

Pray that God is at the center of his life and he is humble in his ways, modeling Christ and serving others with a joyful heart. Pray that his service honors God.

And that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him. Deuteronomy 30:20

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 23:15

Day 6 – Leadership

Pray for leadership grounded in Truth. Ask God to give him opportunities to teach and lead others. Pray his heart will remain humble. Pray for preparation of his heart and mind for the difficult days.. Bless his efforts to grow and mentor new Christian leaders.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Philippians 2:3

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

Day 7 – Preaching

Pray for him to always speak God’s Truth with conviction. Pray God would guide him and provide His wisdom so that he may preach the gospel wherever he is called. Pray for hearts receptive to the message he brings and for God to use him to reach people. Ask God to begin preparing the hearts of those who may soon hear God’s word through his efforts.

We proclaim Him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. Colossians 1:28

Therefore my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58

Join us in covering pastors with prayer over the next seven days.


Compassionate Community – Please Disturb

By Karen Polich

Compassion is empathy or concern for the suffering and misfortune of others. – Michael M. Cook.

Compassion can be a challenge. It isn’t always the easiest thing.

  1. Compassion may extend for a full season. There are times when it is one and done, but often it may go on. Those in need of compassion aren’t always a quick fix.
  2. Regaining life’s balance is an essential result of compassion. Deep hurts block the bigger view. Our compassions towards someone can begin the process of rebalancing their life after tough circumstances. (Ruth 2:10-12)
  3. True compassion honors initiative. We see this with Ruth and Boaz.

Are you wired for convenience? There’s so much to get done in our busy lives. We move through our routines with efficiency and speed. Really, there’s just so much to do!

True compassion will require most of us to re-wire. Demonstrating compassion will force us to travel at the pace of the person in need. It may not be convenient or easy.

Compassionate Community, Pastor Michael Cook’s new sermon series, takes us into the lives of Ruth and Naomi. (Ruth 1-2) The story pulls us straight into the concepts of life showing us vulnerability, tragedy and hope. Listen to the podcast here.

Ruth was looking out for Naomi and Boaz was looking out for Ruth. Their compassion was life changing. In each circumstance, compassion brought hope and empowerment that thrust them forward.

We have the opportunity to bring the kind of compassion that can transform another life. Who are you looking out for?

It may seem like a simple question, but it could require us to move into a place where things aren’t convenient and the pace is slower. We must be willing to allow God to open our eyes to the needs around us and ask Him to take of the “Do Not Disturb” sign from our hearts.

God is more than able to take our lives, completely redistributing and reprioritizing, giving us a heart that says “Please Disturb”.





Five Ways to Be Missional On Halloween

By AFBC Staff

Each Halloween, many families take to the streets of their neighborhoods to Trick-or-Treat, attend holiday parties, or participate in community festivals. This is a great time to connect with people in your community whom you have lost touch with, or to meet new people and begin new relationships.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

It is also an excellent time to reach out to those in your community you wouldn’t normally interact with. Don’t miss out on the great opportunities God places in your life. We’ve put together a short list of ways you can be intentional and engaging this season.

1. Give Out Awesome Candy

Let’s be honest on October 31 kids are only focused on one thing and that is getting the best candy around. This is not the time to pass out tracks, dental floss, or coupons. Imagine if you were the child visiting houses; would you be more excited about the house that gave you canned food, or the one that had the best candy?

2. Have Something for the Parents

Make your entry way inviting and warm so they fell comfortable chatting for a bit. Offer the adults who are out with their kids some hot chocolate or pumpkin bread.

3. Be Encouraging and Engaging

When you see them, tell the kids how great their costumes are. Consider hosting a pre-trick-or-treating party for everyone to spend some time together before heading out to get those treats.

Spend time with the families in your community; get to know their stories. Ask questions and learn about what’s going on in their lives. Look for ways you can connect with or serve them.

4. Participate In Community Events

Look for festivals or parties that involve the whole community. Ask your friends and neighbors to go with you. Spend time getting to know them along the way.

Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church is hosting its annual Harvest Festival on October 30, or take your friends to a pumpkin patch for a day of family fun.
5. Pray For Open Doors

Become aware of the needs of those around you. Ask Him to show you how you can connect and engage with others.
Let us know how things go in the comments. We hope that you and your family have an amazing time this fall.


By AFBC Staff

“I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.”
Psalm 118:17

While the Apostle Paul frequently admonishes us not to look back the psalmist reminds us that it is good to recount the deeds of the Lord.

On Sunday October 4th Pastor Michael M. Cook took us for a journey, a journey that led us back in time. Is it possible that just a short season ago our church was 7 million dollars in debt? We were struggling with a property that could not be sold, interest payments that were hard to meet and frankly, a future that was unsure.

Pastor Cook shared that as of today we have sold the downtown property, paid off all debts and settled with the BNSF Railroad. We have 1.6 million dollars in the bank and are completely debt free. God is faithful!

Let’s sit back and rest? No! There is work to be done. Souls to be won! We must move forward with fervor. Pastor Cook now redirected our attention to the future.

Where do we go from here? Pastor Cook reminds us that whatever we choose to do we must be united in thought and deed. The enemy would like nothing more than to divide our congregation.

In 2013 – 2014 our church leadership conducted a needs assessment and identified five areas that needed to be addressed by our fellowship. These are what we consider “Tools for Success.”

• an outdoor play area for our children
• additional classroom space for children and preschool ministry
• the relocation of our church offices to the main campus
• signage
• storage

We are thrilled to report that today through monies from the Eternal Stones project and gifts from the congregation, our children are all smiles as they slide down slides and climb on the bars in the new playground.

Earlier this year AFBC launched the two year Hope Effort to raise just under 1 million dollars to provide for additional needs, namely the addition of the space that will accommodate the children’s/preschool ministry and church offices. To date we have had approximately $496,000 pledged to the Hope Effort. Of that amount approximately $141,000 has been received. As you can see, we have a little ways to go.

Setting our sights on these important improvements is all well and good. But Pastor Cook reminds us that we cannot neglect our general operating budget to fulfill our desires for the future. We must be good stewards and take care of today.

Pastor Cook proposes a two phase approach. Phase One would include using a portion of the funds from the railroad settlement to complete the building addition and the signage on the corner of Paseo del Norte and Richland Hills. It would also allow us to place $225,000 in a reserve fund should we need it in the future.

Phase Two challenges the fellowship to a new project, a basic building that would be situated to the north of the existing building. This new building would allow a large multi-purpose room that could be divided into smaller rooms. It would also provide a needed storage area. Off the back of the building would be a recreational area that could include basketball hoops, etc.

On Wednesday, October 14 at 10:30 a.m. and Sunday, October 18 at 3:00 p.m. we will be holding our quarterly church conference. At this time Pastor Cook will discuss the details of these projects and offer the congregation and opportunity for discussion. Plan now to attend.



 By Gerry Wakeland

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20 NIV

The scripture is very clear in charging us with the responsibility to bring others into the Kingdom of God. For many this is a challenge. Sharing our faith with clarity and conviction, especially when that faith is such a personal thing, can be hard. But the scripture also tells us, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”(John 14:15) Loving God and obeying God often takes us out of our comfort zone.

During the month of October our church focus will be on evangelism. The theme is Time for One. Our pastoral leadership is asking that we do three things to fulfill the biblical mandate placed before us in Matthew 28.

First, we should identify and invite One person to become involved in our fellowship. A great way to start is with prayer. Who would God have you invite? Your neighbor? A co-worker? The mechanic that works on your car? Ask the Lord’s guidance, listen to what He tells you and then follow through with the invitation.

Next we want to engage our One into the activities of our church. What does that look like? You could bring them to your life group or small group. Our 10:31 Bible Study on Wednesdays is an excellent place to integrate people into our fellowship. October 25th is our Night of Praise and Chili Cook-Off. What a great opportunity to bring your One to a uplifting evening of music, fellowship and food.

Finally, on November 1st we will celebrate our One in our Sunday morning worship services. Hopefully, by this time you will have established a relationship that allows you to invite your One to join in our Sunday morning worship where they will hear the Word of God and be surrounded by the love of the family of God.

However, we do not want the relationship to stop there. Our goal is to draw our One into the Body of Christ, thus fulfilling the scriptural command of Matthew 28.

So, have you identified your One? Are you praying, asking God to show you who to invite?

Luke 10:2 (NIV) tells us “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” It’s time for the people of God to take His commands seriously and show Him how much we love Him by reaching out to those who are lost and helping them to find a God that loves them and a church that will care for them.