Look After the Orphans

By Gai Gai Anderson

The month of November is Adoption Month. That in itself should make us think about James 1:27: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

I can remember ten years ago when Angella and I flew back from Uganda, July 13, 2007, and she landed in the USA for the first time. God had answered many prayers through several years for that moment to happen. Small 2 ½ year-old Angella had become our daughter, to look after from then on. The adoption was finalized on November 17, 2007, on Adoption Day in Albuquerque.
Christians don’t often think of themselves as following a religion. After all, God calls us to a personal relationship with Him, not a religious experience or set of rules. James, the writer of James 1:27, had seen religious leaders flaunting their so-called spirituality in front of the masses. After seeing these leaders, perhaps there were Christians spread throughout the land wondering what God thought about religion. Am I supposed to be a religious person? What does that look like? James felt he needed to address the issue.
We have no problem with the last part of this definition of religion that says God wants us to keep the world’s views from polluting our lives. We know as followers of Christ we are to be set apart from the world and to be holy. In addition, our church serves widows by assigning deacons to support, encourage, and help meet their needs. Even those who are not deacons “love on” the widows in our fellowship.

Haven’t we forgotten the children? We are to look after orphans in their distress.

Every Christian couple and even Christian single adults should pray about adopting a child. Not so they can claim to be religious, but because God tells us to look after them. To some people this may be to sponsor a child somewhere in the world through Compassion International or World Vision. Some of you, no doubt, have been called to adopt a child from here in the States or from another country. To the Anderson family it looked like a precious, extra small, 2 ½ year old Ugandan girl who turned into a beautiful, tall, 13-year- old Ugandan-American.

Yes, keep yourselves from being polluted by the world and continue looking after widows; but pray about how “look after orphans…in their distress” is to be lived out in your life. Be a “religious” person in the true sense of the word.

Family Part Two – Children

By Karen Polich

God’s plan for families begins with parents who seek Him first and follow His direction. This partnership has a profound impact on children. God’s Word teaches us how, when living with trust, we can lead our children in His ways.

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting to the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. Colossians 3:18-21

Children obey your parents. For this to function, there must be structure in the home. Proper leadership establishes direction. Children crave structure and order. When they have it, it brings freedom. When they know the boundaries, they too can begin to grow into who God created them to be. Structure in the family means there is accountability. It is the same for each of us with the Father. It also means mercy and grace can flow into the lives of children. Parents can teach them about forgiveness and why boundaries matter. God has set boundaries in every life for our own protection.

Fathers, do not embitter your children. Children crave approval from their fathers. Fathers must be willing to say “I’m sorry”, when they are harsh beyond what is needed or speak with words that should not have been said. Leading children comes with great responsibility. Children are fragile and fathers are called to love them. Leading from a “God first” life builds trust.

To live with submission, love and obedience, we must start with trust. Trust is over all of it. Husbands and wives, you must put God first. Seeking Him before anything else builds the trust that leads to obedience. An obedient life bears the fruit of a life with God at the center. Obedience is a mixture of submission and love. When we yield to the Father, we can live the life He intends for us, a life beyond our imagination.

What would our lives look like if we were doing everything we are supposed to do from a biblical perspective? Do not settle for anything less. He offers us His best. We can choose to embrace it.

Listen to the Fragile Growth sermon series here.



It’s All About The Little People

By Michelle McFadden

My husband, Curtis, and I began serving in the preschool hall four years ago. We often wondered how we were going to survive.  It was the two of us outnumbered by 20 children, ages two and three. Getting crafts done, going potty, eating snack and being able to shower them with love quickly became a creative juggling act.

Time and time again God kept showing us it was about these little people, loving them and showing them the Savior.

Our passion is to serve these beautiful little faces, to see them light up when we talk about Jesus, even when we have to make do with the limited space we have. Believe me, with 20 playful two and three year olds, the room quickly overflows with love and little ones.

With three young children of our own, we see the preschool area as parents, too. Our children love being there even if space is tight. They don’t really see all the issues but are simply happy learning and feeling the love from their teachers and friends. As parents, we want them to have the space they need to learn and grow surrounded by their friends.

Our church family has set a goal to reach young families and God has blessed our efforts. Along with that goal comes the responsibility of providing adequate space for our preschool and children’s ministry. Almost from the time we moved into our current building we had pretty much filled the early childhood areas.

Recently Pastor Cook shared God’s plan for our church to grow. He talked about the people being what matters most. He talked about buildings and such as being only tools we use to serve the people. One of those tools is an addition to our current building.

Adding the much needed new space would allow us to reach even more families. Our existing programs could expand and we could offer more new programs. When families with young children visit our church they will see first-hand our church’s commitment to the spiritual development of young lives.

On Sunday mornings our children run into church like it’s another home. We want that for other children, too. But more importantly we want children to know Jesus. That can only happen when they have a place where they feel comfortable and loved, a place where Jesus is taught and modeled, a special place, all about the little people.

“But Jesus called the children to him and said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these’”. Luke 18:16 NIV

A Little Child Shall Lead Them

By Michelle McFadden

At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.  Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do. Matthew 11:25-26 NIV

On Sunday Pastor Michael Cook shared with the congregation the vision for the expansion of our current church building. As Pastor Cook stated, “Now is the time to move past just making do and use the right tools from our tool box to grow God’s kingdom.”

God has put Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church in a place where as a church we can choose to grow and meet needs. This means expanding our available tools. On Sunday our family saw the plans displayed for the building expansion and we began to get really excited about the idea of seeing this project through to completion.

Our children got excited, too. My husband, Curtis, and I have three young children. Our children run into church like it’s another home. We truly have a sense of family here and crave for others in our community to be a part of this family with us. But for this to happen we need tools, tools that come in the form of playgrounds, classrooms and space for our church family to grow.

We can have all the excitement in the world but now we need to take action. That action begins with prayer. After hearing the plans for the new project, our son Louis said to us, “Mom, Dad, every time we pass the church I want to pray for the new part to be built and I know God will provide it”. Louis is only eight. But he got it.

There is a definite faith and hope in his heart that made us say, “Yes! These little guys are our future and we want our kids to join us in praying for God’s presence and plan!”  They get it and want more people to join them in God’s purpose for our church. Curtis and I will be joining Louis as he prays in faith for the new part of our church. We encourage you to join with Louis and our family as we pray together. Let us come in humility, like a child and seek God first in prayer.

He called a little child to Him, and placed the child among them.  And He said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18: 2-4

People Matter


People matter. Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church focuses on people through six core values that guide us. These core values are the driving force behind our Kingdom work, holding our church family to a high biblical standard. They support our focus to reach people, plant seeds for spiritual growth, and provide the ability to experience true worship. They describe the culture we desire to create at Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church.


Provide Impacting Worship (Romans 12:1-2; John 4:20-24)

Develop Greater Depth and Obedience in God’s Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17; James 1:22)

Understand that All People Matter to God (Romans 1:16-18)

Nurture Spiritual Development Through Serving Others   (1 Peter 4:10-11; Ephesians 4:11-16)

Demonstrate Authentic Biblical Community (Acts 4:32-37; John 13:34-35)

Strive for Excellence in All We Do (Colossians 3:17, 23; Philippians 4:8)

We are a church rich in history. Those who have come before us built a legacy that is today’s foundation. There have been seasons of joy and seasons of struggle. God’s love and mercy have brought us to where we are today. As we enter a new season in our journey, we can impact His Kingdom through the HOPE effort.

What is the HOPE effort?

HOPE reminds us that God has brought us through days of great challenge…years of indebtedness, contamination, fires and delays. HOPE brings encouragement to each household in our church family. The potential to add additional space for our children and consolidate our campuses will provide additional funds for the ministry budget. These tangibles represent much more than a project; these are all signs of a broader HOPE, of restoration and positive things to come.  Why? Because people matter.

The impact of the HOPE effort will allow potential growth for Sunday morning programs, Vacation Bible School and new week-day ministry opportunities. This space will provide and exceptional environment for children and affirm our commitment to nurture the spiritual development of young lives.

Our core values hold us accountable to Him as we minister to people.

Prayer is vital to the success of the HOPE effort. Pastor Michael Cook challenged us to pray diligently for God’s direction. We are challenged to pray earnestly for God’s plan, God’s purpose, God’s presence and God’s provision.

Please join us to pray for our church as we start this new journey.

Kid’s Klub – Get in the Game

By: Karen Polich with Kasimira Polich

Looking for a game changer? Look no further than the children around you.

Sunday was special. Parents had the opportunity to join their children during Kid’s Klub as the leaders wrapped up the series, ‘Get in the Game’.  It was a time of worship and praise. Games, Bible stories and music revealed how these children seek God. Small voices poured out Bible verses and explained stories from God’s Word. It was beautiful.

I was reminded of the words Jesus spoke in Matthew 18:1-5. At the time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.’

I saw joyous faces and humble hearts, so ready to answer the next question. God’s Word, hidden in the hearts of children, was shining brightly.

I asked my 8 year old daughter to explain Kid’s Klub to me. What does it mean to her? Why is it important? She told me that she enjoys the games. She loves spending the time with her friends and with the adults who are so willing to teach. Then she started talking about what it means when it comes to God.

Praising God – It’s like He is right in front of you. You are giving glory to Him. We do cool moves when we sing to praise Him while having fun. It feels like He is there and He is going to give us the crown of righteousness. It is almost like being in heaven and He is shining bright right there. He’s just going to hug you and keep you in His arms the whole time. When we praise God and play games, it’s all for God, not just for ourselves. It brings us closer to Him.

Bible Stories – They teach me a lesson. We should try not to do what some of the people in the Bible did, but there are others we should copy. They all had consequences. Some of those consequences I don’t want. There’s always something to learn from Bible stories. It feels like God is right there telling us the story.

Review Time – Knowing answers and verses is like God is telling me, ‘You can do this’. Jesus is right there guiding me in His Word. It helps me to know God more.

Get in the Game – It was full of great lessons. If you are in sports or anything else, take time for God. He deserves your best and should be your first priority in life. If He isn’t, you aren’t really living a Godly life.

Attitudes – A bad attitude tries to get you to stop praising God, but a good attitude helps you praise God even more. With a good attitude you don’t talk badly to your friends, your parents, or other people. It helps you to live a better life, the life that God wants for you. Attitudes matter.

I was reminded of the immense value of Kid’s Klub and what it means to build a new generation full of hearts that seek Him. I couldn’t help but examine my own heart. How about you?