First Baptist Church of Arlington is a church of faith where people can grow to their God given potential. If you are just now exploring the claims of Jesus Christ for the first time as an adult, or if you have been a personal Christian for years, it would be great to have you join us in our spiritual journey.
We are a group of people who are at different places in our spiritual walk discovering together what it means to be a Christian in the 21st century. Some of us are very traditional church folk. Some of us are postmodern. Some of us are young, some wish we were. We are shades of black, brown, and white.
We are a Baptist church because we believe in the centrality of the gospel, the importance of scripture, the necessity of personal faith, and the freedom that is found in Christ. Our faith has provided a place for us to stand in facing life, and we have found some meaningful answers. We also have many questions.
I'm so glad you're looking at our home on the web. If you'd like to know us better, come by on a Sunday morning for our worship service, or drop in at one of our group meetings or special events. Our worship service starts at 10 am.
I'll be here, and I look forward to meeting you.
Who are we?
“I’m a diehard Red Sox fan for life.”
“I’m a working mother and it’s all I can do to keep up with my family and my busy life.”
“I’m in middle school and play on the junior varsity team!”
“I am a financial advisor who helps people like you.”
“I’m a Republican.”
“I was laid off.”
“I’ve been driving a truck for 23 years and love it. No boss breathing down my neck.”
There’s a line I used to hear many preachers use that I like. I used it Sunday in my own sermon: “If you were on trial for being a Christian, is there enough evidence to convict you?”
In many ways the quip is not just a flippant sound bite, but rather a profound question, and one that, if taken seriously, can lead to profitable soul searching. It can be revealing to ask of ourselves what others see in us that speaks to our Christian faith.
In so many other areas of life it’s easy to see what a person’s true values, their true love, their true identity is all about. Have you ever had to guess about what gets a Red Sox fanatic excited when David Ortiz hits yet another homer in his grand finale?
Sometimes we must struggle with whatever it is that captures our hearts and forms our identify. It’s easy to get caught up in the materialism and egotism so prevalent in our world today. We think we — and others — are defined by possessions, status, and appearance.
Sometimes we must choose if we are to follow Jesus Christ. The need for choice may come at unexpected places in our life. Maybe we must review long held convictions and decide if they are shaped more by habit, tradition, prejudice or self-interest than by Jesus. Maybe we must reexamine our relationships with others if they are to reflect the love of God.
The Christian landscape is littered with churches filled with folks who are members, but who would hardly consider themselves first of all to be disciples, followers of Jesus Christ. The working mother stretched to her limits desperately needs Christ at the core of her soul. The Republican — or Democrat — whose values and wisdom are shaped by King Jesus will be a far more valuable citizen on earth. The middle schooler solidly on Jesus’ team will not be alone in navigating the cliques and intrigues of adolescent life.
Who are we, if not followers of Jesus? What is our core identity? Unfortunately, we all too often are shaped by the prevailing winds that blow across our lives. “If you were on trial for being a Christian, is there enough evidence to convict you?” I must look at that myself. Should you?
Ecclesiastes 3: 1 - 8 tells us that for everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.
Of course, there are seasons. Right now our season of summer is coming to an end. Of course, it doesn’t feel like that as the unusual streak of hot weather continues.
Summer is a time for vacation and beach days! It’s a time for swimming and most recently a time for the Olympics. No skiing or ice skating this go round. It’s not the season for that.
O f course there are seasons, you New Englanders would say. In the south where I grew up we didn’t have the clear distinctions between seasons. You grew up enjoying the joy of a warm, green spring after the gray and cold winter. The daylight lengthens and we get the urge to dig in the dirt and plant flowers that will blossom into a bright array of colors.
Then comes our current season with relaxation and outdoor fun. But already the next season approaches. We see ads for back-to-school sales. Teachers’ cars are seen in school parking lots as they look over class lists and decorate bulletin boards. I was a part of that for many years and even now long to buy notebooks and pens to begin the new season. I will confess that a package came from Amazon the other day. It was the size of a book so I handed if to Jon thinking it was something he had ordered. But, surprise, it was a set of pen I had ordered for myself. After all, it is time to get ready to go back-to-school.
Now, I am am busy reviewing curriculum for new Sunday School classes and Bible studies. Fall programming is foremost in my mind. With the new school year we look forward to the beautiful fall colors and apple and pumpkin picking. Fall is a special time in New England.
But we all know what comes after fall. Limited sunlight, short days and bitter cold. How appropriate that our wonderful Christian holiday of Christmas comes just when we need it most. Already there is talk about the Christmas Pageant among my grandchildren.
Our great joy as Christians is that our God travels with us as we go through the various seasons of life. As we look back, we can see how he has lead us this far. As we look ahead we know the he will go before us and is now beside us guiding us through the seasons.
Every so often there’s a surge of interest in UFO’s and the possibility of alien life. There is a hardcore group of true believers who are sure that aliens exist, and there are others who find the idea worth considering, or at least entertaining. Even Hillary Clinton has gotten into the act, with comments promising that as president she is going to get to the bottom of the UFO stories.
What do you think? Are there aliens? Run through this quick test to find out your interest:
What was the TV series set in outer space mainly on the Starship Enterprise? (Star Trek)
What town in New Mexico do some believe aliens have already landed? (Roswell)
What is the secret storage area where some think proof of aliens is held? (Area 51)
What did E.T. need to do in the movie? (Phone home.)
What was Spock’s catchphrase, accompanied with spread fingers? (Live long and prosper.)
I thought so. From your answers it looks like the First Baptist family has an interest in aliens.
Actually, every one of us knows what it’s like to be an alien. An outsider. We have each had times when we were the only woman in a room of men, the only conservative Republican in a group of liberal Democrats, the only white person in a crowd of black people. Sometimes being an alien is only a passing thing, sometimes it’s something to endure. I recently received an invitation to my high school reunion (“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….”) and it brought back memories of feeling rejected and alone during my adolescence. We’ve all been there, one way or another. A stranger in a strange land.
Sometimes these experiences are easy to get through. Invited to join a new group of acquaintances to watch a Red Sox game at Fenway? Don’t wear your Detroit Tigers gear, and keep your mouth shut. Nobody will know you’re really an alien. In other cases, the experiences of being an outsider can scar for life. Ever wonder what it does to someone born and raised in America who finds themselves shunned and feared because they share the same racial heritage as the bad guys in the middle east? Ever wonder what it’s like to be a passionate evangelical Christian who also happens to be gay? There are a lot of aliens around us all the time.
Jesus himself was an alien. I’m not talking about the pointy-eared, red-eyed kind of alien of monster movies, but the kind of person who would not accept the corrupt standards of a world that was broken by sin. Jesus loved his neighbor. He healed the broken-hearted. He said the first will be last, and the last will finally be at the head of the line. Jesus lived as an outsider in the very world he himself had created.
As Christians, we too, are aliens. We are outsiders just like the One we follow. The Apostle Paul put it directly: “Your citizenship is in heaven.” As citizens of the kingdom of God we are to represent the personal standards of our Lord and Savior. Violence, hatred, and prejudice are simply not welcomed in our way of life, because they are are being replaced with peace, love and acceptance. We are on mission, to bring the alien ways of Jesus to a world desperately in need of a new way of living.
Live long and prosper.