Month: July 2016

Three Reasons Why We Love Parents’ Day Out

By Cara Lewis

Parents’ Day Out has been such a saving grace for me. My son, Noah, was in the program last year and my three- year old daughter, Paige will be starting the program with the new school year. I was so excited to start this journey, but little did I know what a blessing it was going to be for my family and me.

Here are three reasons why we love Parents Day Out.

1. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. It is no secret that I love my children with all my heart, but sometimes a little time away is a good thing. I love that I can take them to our own church and know they will be loved and cared for of as if they were family. It puts my mind at ease. I am able to get some mommy errands done that are much easier to do when my children are not present.

2. Learning is fun. Parents’ Day Out is more than childcare. The teachers and staff provide the best curriculum and make learning fun. The amazing crafts they do are almost endless. The kids are so proud and excited to show you what they have made. I was astonished at how well my son was prepped for kindergarten. He went in barely knowing any letters and finished in May not only knowing his letters, but also the sounds and he was even able to put together small words.

3. Train up a child. Last but not least, actually the most important, Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” I love the fact that my kids are being taught in an environment that glorifies God.

If you are the parent(s) of young children and are looking for a great place where they can be loved and trained, I want to encourage you to consider AFBC’s Parents’ Day Out. If you are on the fence about this amazing childcare/preschool program, I say give it a go. It is one of the best and most affordable programs you will find. You will not be disappointed.

Parent’s Day Out is a community childcare/preschool program provided by Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church. We are here to serve families by providing a Christ-centered atmosphere giving parents much needed time during the week. Offered for children ages six months through pre-kindergarten, Parent’s Day Out is available Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. The 2016 fall semester begins August 16th.  Learn more and register here.

Great is His Faithfulness

By LuAnn Edwards

Have you experienced a place in time when you felt you couldn’t go on? Everything changed. Life took a dramatic turn. Nothing would ever be the same again. Are you there now? Has despair taken over?

My friend Kate is experiencing that place right now. The loss of her young teenage son has devastated her and her family. Life as they knew it came to an end last month.

Pastor Michael M. Cook finished his series, Quitting Time, this past Sunday. Jeremiah, Chapter 32, takes place just before the Babylonian captivity of Israel. The Lord instructs Jeremiah to purchase some land. Jeremiah obeys God but wants to know why. He knows captivity, death and devastation are near; why buy the land? Listen to the podcast here.

God’s response to Jeremiah restores our hope. When we feel like God cannot help us, He says, “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Verse 27).

The captive situation the children of Israel found themselves in was not the end. Fifty years later the people returned to Israel, and God restored their fortunes. They returned to their homeland and were able once again to purchase land and thrive.

In the dark times of despair we think God cannot help us, but God can do all things. Nothing is too difficult for Him. Like the story of Jeremiah, where a time of restored hope would again prevail over the people of Israel, Kate and her family will laugh again, hope again and enjoy life again.

Likewise, the situation you may find yourself in today is not the end. If you feel like you can’t go on, don’t give up. Wait. See what God will do. Our God loves us; His compassions never fail. Great is His faithfulness.

God’s Call To Men

By Kevin Linthicum

At no other time in the history of our country has there been a greater need for men to rise up and become the leaders God has called us to be. God demands and commands our greatness.

Muhammad Ali once said “I am the greatest”. What was he trying to communicate? Was he, in fact, the greatest? How do we identify greatness? When watching a team sporting event, how do you identify the greatest athlete on a team? Which athlete was greater, Brian Piccolo or Gayle Sayers? Is Tiger Woods the greatest golfer, and if he is the greatest golfer, what makes him great?

The dictionary defines greatness as, remarkable in magnitude – eminent, distinguished – markedly superior in character or quality – remarkably skilled.

In his book Kingdom Man, Dr. Tony Evans said, “The greatest player on any team whether corporate, family, ministry, or sports team, is the player who makes certain that his contributions work best with the goals and strategies of the team.”. The men’s fall Bible study at AFBC will be discussing Dr. Evans’ book Kingdom Man. Has God called us to be great? Why or why not?

1 Thessalonians 4:1-3 (The Message) One final word, friends. We ask you—urge is more like it—that you keep on doing what we told you to do to please God, not in a dogged religious plod, but in a living, spirited dance. You know the guidelines we laid out for you from the Master Jesus. God wants you to live a pure life.

I am praying that God will do something extraordinary in our men’s group as we grow together through this study. I hope you will join us August 7, 2016 at 5:00 pm, at Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church. We will be making a time investment that could change the direction of our lives.

If you have questions, or if you would like to participle in this study you may contact Kevin Linthicum. or 505.205.9992



Scroll Warning – Listening to God’s Voice

By Karen Polich

Weighed down by the garbage in your life? If you find yourself on a path to an uncomfortable encounter with God, keep going. Don’t quit. What may seem like impending judgment can bring a meeting full of compassion. Fearful? Let fear work in your favor. You were created for more; more than struggles, more than sin! God created each of us for His glory, not to live a life void of His abundance.

Pastor Michael M. Cook’s sermon, Scroll Warnings, hit right at the heart of turning your life around when you feel like quitting. Listening to the podcast will take you into the story of Jeremiah and how God’s “judgement” is REDEMPTIVE. (Jeremiah 36) This is one you don’t want to miss as he weaves Jeremiah’s story into our lives. Listen HERE.

There is great danger in a calloused heart, where hard places grow from sin, hurt and exposure that de-sensitives. A hardened heart has stopped listening, hearing and caring. This describes King Jehoiakim.

In scripture we find King Jehoiakim not listening to the words on the scroll. His hardened heart leads him to burn the scrolls. While it is a tragedy for God’s people to not hear His voice, far worse is the defiance of a king, bringing down an entire nation.

Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts. Hebrews 4:7(b)

Ignoring the truth will not make it go away. – Michael M. Cook

Others will pay the price for a hardened heart. Listen for God’s voice. Throw the garbage out and lean in to hear what He has to say. You may just find the compassion and grace you desperately need.

Meet Missy

Missy McElwee recently joined the Albuquerque First Baptist Church staff as our new Ministry Assistant.

If you detect a slight southern accent at the other end of the phone when you call the church office, it’s because Missy is originally from Thomasville, Georgia. Just how did this Southern peach get to Albuquerque? The answer is quite simple, she got married. Shortly afterward, her Air Force husband was reassigned to Kirtland AFB and the rest is history.

Missy has been married to David, her “internet sweetheart” (you’ll have to ask her to share that story) for 15 years. They have two children; Maddie, 13, is active in AFBC’s student ministry. Maura, age 11 loves the preteen group. The McElwees have been enthusiastically engaged in our fellowship since the spring of 2015. Dave is on the security team. Missy has been involved in the women’s program and the Valentine Banquet.

A former dialysis nurse, Missy has redirected her career since coming to Albuquerque. After spending the important formative years at home with her children, she taught in Hoffmantown Church’s preschool program for a number of years, before joining the staff of AFBC’s Parents Day Out last year.

When she’s not busy serving at AFBC, Missy likes to read books by Southern authors, shop and spend quality time with her family. Missy believes that vacations should be spent “anywhere on a beach.”

Asked about the guiding principle of her relationship with Christ, Missy quickly responded with this verse, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6. Since meeting Jesus in her Sunday School class at the age of six, Missy has believed that this verse says it all.

Missy is a welcome addition to the AFBC Leadership Team. When you see Missy around the church, please welcome her to our staff.

Melting Down

By Karen Polich

Imagine your worst day; that low point when you find yourself on the brink of a meltdown and your breaking point is staring right at you. It can strike from anywhere. Relationships, finances, work, a long list of to-do’s, setbacks, health and a multitude of other things can set things off. Darkness, desperation and despair sit all around you.

You are not alone! Jeremiah was intimate with the darkness found in low places. Jeremiah experienced what a horrible day looks like, and he was not alone. Called by God, Jeremiah was a prophet who shared what no one wanted to hear. (Read more here, Jeremiah 18-20) He had clear instructions to follow and his obedience put him in a place of despair. He felt humiliated and alone. Crying out to God, he finds himself in a pit, but still expresses trust in his lamentation.

Jeremiah 20: 7-10 (NIV)
7 You deceived[a] me, Lord, and I was deceived[b];
you overpowered me and prevailed.
I am ridiculed all day long;
everyone mocks me.
8 Whenever I speak, I cry out
proclaiming violence and destruction.
So the word of the Lord has brought me
insult and reproach all day long.
9 But if I say, “I will not mention his word
or speak anymore in his name,”
his word is in my heart like a fire,
a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;
indeed, I cannot.
10 I hear many whispering,
“Terror on every side!
Denounce him! Let’s denounce him!”
All my friends
are waiting for me to slip, saying,
“Perhaps he will be deceived;
then we will prevail over him
and take our revenge on him.”

In the midst of his pain, Jeremiah is doing something of great importance. He is talking, feeling and trusting. Numbness and silence are NOT our friends. Emotions cannot be selectively numbed. It is all or none. Shutting out the pain shuts out all of the joy too.

What does it mean to lament? It is responding to God with pain and not being okay with it. It involves feeling and talking. Trust is expressed. It’s saying, “I’m not okay Lord, my heart aches, yet I will seek you”. It’s knowing God will be good to you in your mess.

In the midst of a meltdown, it’s important to see the difference between guilt and shame.

Guilt: I MADE a mistake.
Shame: I AM a mistake.

God is with you! Despite any circumstances, He loves you and brings the ultimate hope to any situation. You are never alone.

Listen to Pastor Michael M. Cook’s sermon series, Quitting Time, here.

Extreme Love

By Kristi Sullins

And I pray that you may have the power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love Christ. Ephesians 3:18 (NIV)

If you could truly grasp the extreme level of the love of Christ would it change your life? The answer is YES!

This year for VBS we went extreme. VBX focused on the extreme measures of Christ’s love for us. The children journeyed to the vast Artic Tundra, the long Nile River, the highest peak of Mount Everest and the deepest point of the Marianas Trench to examine stories from the Bible that prove God’s love for us knows no limits.

In this journey we saw God work in unbelievable ways. Our average nightly attendance was 229, and there were over 30 children who made decisions during the four days. We had close to 200 volunteers each night willingly giving their time and talents to make the truth of Christ’s love come alive.

VBS is our largest children’s event of the year. It will take hundreds of volunteers and it will use a large chunk of the budget. Exhaustion is always present by the end of the week, and some struggle to understand why we do it every year. Within all of that prep work and exhaustion is the face of a mom who finds out her daughter just prayed to receive Christ, or the connection a preschooler with our senior pastor who dedicates that entire week to be in preschool. The joy in exhaustion can be found in the child who is inside the walls of a church for the first time and is asking questions when they see people praying. It is found in the jars of salsa that go out to un-churched or unconnected families when our church members faithfully give more of their time to go to each person’s home that wants more information about what we are doing at AFBC. For Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church, the reality is that the week of VBS is a time for us all to offer our time and talents, and wait expectantly to see the amazing things that God faithfully does.

For four days, hundreds of children heard the truth about love and the One who loves us without limits. That love is the only thing that will truly make a difference in our lives and the world we live in. To grasp the Extreme love of our God changes everything!




The Truth About Freedom

By LuAnn Edwards

As we look back on our Independence Day celebrations, we are thankful for the freedoms we enjoy. In our church service Sunday morning, my emotions took over as the choir sang “Salute to the Armed Forces.” Maybe it’s because my dad and brother both served our country; possibly it is because I am thankful that men and women love our country enough to serve and fight for our nation’s continued freedom. Although some of our freedoms as a nation seem to be slipping away, there is one freedom that will never end. Truth.

“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’” (John 8:31b-32).

The truth of God’s Word sets us free. By spending time in His Word and doing what it says, we find freedom. This truth, however, needs to dwell in our hearts—not just in our heads.

“The truth will not set you free if you only acknowledge it and discuss it on an intellectual level. For the truth to transform your life, you must believe it personally and allow it to sink deep into your heart.” Neil T. Anderson, author1

My daughter, Libby, is a recent example of this. She accepted Christ when she was eight years old and was baptized. She will tell you, however, she was not experiencing the freedom available to believers. Her knowledge of Christ only dwelled in her head; it had not yet penetrated her heart.

“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ [and] believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved” (Romans 10:9-10). [Emphasis mine.]

Libby declared with her mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” but notice the word “and.” “…[and] believe in your heart…for it is with your heart that you believe….” Until four weeks ago, Libby’s heart didn’t believe. In the Nairobi, Kenya, airport on our way home from our mission trip to Malawi, Africa, she became a true believer in Christ. She accepted Christ into her heart; she surrendered her life to Him. She will tell you that her new life began that day; not when she was eight. She is now experiencing freedom in Christ, because she knows Him personally.

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).

Have you accepted Christ into your heart and life? It doesn’t happen automatically just because you know about Him. You can know Him personally in your heart; knowing Him in this way brings freedom. It’s your choice.

My Name is Old Glory

by Howard Schnauber

I am the flag of the United States of America.

My name is Old Glory.
I fly atop the world’s tallest buildings.
I stand watch in America’s halls of justice.
I fly majestically over great institutes of learning.
I stand guard with the greatest military power in the world.
Look up! And see me!

I stand for peace – honor – truth and justice.
I stand for freedom
I am confident – I am arrogant
I am proud.

When I am flown with my fellow banners
My head is a little higher
My colors a little truer.

I bow to no one.
I am recognized all over the world.
I am worshipped – I am saluted – I am respected
I am revered – I am loved, and I am feared.

I have fought every battle of every war for more than 200 years:
Gettysburg, Shilo, Appomatox, San Juan Hill, the trenches of France,
the Argonne Forest, Anzio, Rome, the beaches of Normandy,
the deserts of Africa, the cane fields of the Philippines,
the rice paddies and jungles of Guam, Okinawa, Japan, Korea, Vietnam,
Guadalcanal New Britain, Peleliu, and many more islands.

And a score of places long forgotten by all but those who were with me.
I was there.
I led my soldiers – I followed them.
I watched over them.
They loved me.
I was on a small hill in Iwo Jima.
I was dirty, battle-worn and tired, but my soldiers cheered me,
and I was proud.

I have been soiled, burned, torn and trampled on the streets of
countries I have helped set free.
It does not hurt, for I am invincible.
I have been soiled, burned, torn and trampled on the streets of my country,
and when it is by those with whom I have served in battle – it hurts.
But I shall overcome – for I am strong.

I have slipped the bonds of Earth and stand watch over the
uncharted new frontiers of space
from my vantage point on the moon.
I have been a silent witness to all of America’s finest hours.

But my finest hour comes when I am torn into strips to
be used for bandages for my wounded comrades on the field of battle,
When I fly at half-staff to honor my soldiers,
And when I lie in the trembling arms of a grieving
mother at the graveside of her fallen son.

I am proud.

My name is Old Glory.

Dear God – Long may I wave.

God Bless America

The Only Nation Under God

By Kristin Overman

As a kid I didn’t go to Fourth of July picnics, parades, or fireworks. I grew up in Spain. When I came to the United States I thought it was weird that Americans sang patriotic hymns in church. I was challenged to think about why Americans mix the state into the church. I didn’t really know. Other countries have good things. What makes America different? Why celebrate America in church?

I began reading original documents and writings of the founding fathers. I saw that America is different because of its inclusion of God. God was part of its beginning. I found that faith was forefront in everything the founders did. Benjamin Franklin states how central God was, “All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of superintending providence in our favor. To that kind of providence we owe this happy opportunity… have we now forgotten that powerful friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance? I have lived a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth- that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the Ground without his Notice, is it probable that an Empire can rise without his Aid?” They sought God in forming the nation.

In my opinion that is what makes America so different, its imitation of God’s ways. The men that founded our nation had a knowledge of God and understanding of Scripture.

There are many proofs that show their ideas of government came from a Biblical worldview. I can list one. The idea of the three branches of government in the Constitution resembles the three duties of God as ultimate ruler in Isaiah 33:22, “For the Lord is our judge, for the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king. He will save us.”

It is funny how a challenge can solidify your thinking. It ended up making me more patriotic. I love my country because it has sought God, and its system is patterned after God’s ideas. In my opinion, that is something to rejoice over as a Christian. Now, I make a huge deal for the 4th of July. I read books to my boys and teach them patriotic hymns. Little ‘soldiers’ march around the house as we sing The Battle Hymn of the Republic. We go to parades, picnics, and fireworks. Those songs in church celebrate the God of the nation, not just the nation.